Happy New Year 2021!

It is finally here!! – a brand new year with bright new hopes and dreams. πŸ₯‚πŸŽ‰

Back in the day, I would be spending this day making my list of New Year’s resolutions. Most of them would be long forgotten by mid-March. A few years ago, I changed gears and chose a new ‘focus’ for each new year. Last year my focus was on peace and I have to admit that will be a hard one to beat. Going forward, I will definitely keep ‘peace’ a priority but for this year of 2021, I have decided to make ‘BEAUTY’ my focus.

During the summer of 2020, I spent a LOT of time outside – enjoying nature as I hadn’t for decades. On the days when the sun was shining, the grass was green, the flowers were blooming, the sky was blue and the birds were singing, the beauty of our world was easy to immerse oneself in. What really surprised me was that, on the gloomy and dreary days, it was even more heartlifting to find a tiny beautiful treasure to appreciate – be it a wildflower, a leaf, a perfect raindrop, or a baby’s smile. That is what convinced me that a year focussed on beauty, would make for a memorable year.

Today, I am fortunate to be able to share a family moment to kick off my year of beauty – and beautiful it was.

Yesterday afternoon, son Dan married Amanda, the love of his life – the woman of his dreams. More than a basic joining two hearts, it was the official joining of two families – a yours, mine, and ours celebrationπŸ’ž Even in the midst of a pandemic, with a very limited ‘live’ attendance this group made it an amazing event, while family and friends joined them via technology.

Live from the basement of the happy bride and groom. Gabby with Cason, Cori-Lynn (friend), Amanda, officiate, Dan, Lucas and Gregg (friend). Dan made the floral arch, while Amanda had a big hand in the rest of the decor.
The wedding cake – Dan made his amazing sour cream German chocolate cake (2 sections – 4 layers each) and mounted it on the wood base. Amanda decorated it with her typical talent and understated, humerous, flair!

This group does nothing half-way. They feed off of each other’s abundant, positive energy to make everyday a celebration. I was concerned about how well they would make out in a slowed down pandemic year like 2020, but they made the most of it – as always!

To the happy couple, the beautiful family and to all – Happy New Year!

December 17th

My Father with my son DannyπŸ’ž

Today marks the 27th anniversary of my Father’s passing. This week is always intense for me. My Father was a good man and he lived a good life – but his passing was the result of five years of pain and grief, as sinus cancer ravaged his body and our lives. His passing was a devastating and heart wrenching relief and blessing – set against a full blown stage of Christmas flowers and decorations, Christmas carols, and of course a raging, frigid blizzard. It was, and still is memorable.

This year, this week is particularly intense. This year, many have lost loved ones due to the Covid 19 pandemic that continues to rage. Many of those lost have been elderly parents, grandparents and loved ones. Everytime I hear another horror story of a nursing home that has been overwhelmed with cases of this brutal virus, I think of my parents and I feel for the residents and their families. I know what it means to be with loved ones when their time has come. I know that it is irrelevant how long a person has lived, or how much they have done or been through in their lives. I know how important it is for the elderly and their families to experience compassionate, loving final hours and days. When it is all that is left, it is everything.

I could go off the rails here and rage about those who protest wearing masks, or spread bullshit about the virus conspiracy, or complain about missing sports or holidays, or whine about whatever else is disrupting their pathetic self-centred lives. I could, but this blog is a tribute to my Father, so this is not the time or place.

I will just take this opportunity to express gratitude for all who have stepped up this year to do their a part – the medical personnel, the caregivers, the support workers, the truck drivers, the store clerks, the teachers, the suppliers of all essential services and products, the politicians who have worked together in good faith with the medical community, the teenagers who have supported their families and their communities, those who have followed health guidelines and done everything possible to protect themselves, their families and their communities. To everyone who has done their part, thank you. πŸ’–

I would also take this opportunity to share my thoughts and prayers and condolences for anyone, anywhere, who has lost loved ones, or who has been separated from their loved ones throughout this pandemic. My heart goes out to you. πŸ’–

Finally, I would like to take this opportunity to share my thoughts and prayers and condolences for those who have been personally affected by the Covid 19 outbreak at Parkside Extendicare in Regina. In one, two hundred resident, senior’s care home – within three and a half weeks – there have been one hundred and sixty residents who have tested positive, many who have become severely ill – twenty residents who have passed away – plus eighty six care workers who have tested positive. There have been many from the community that have gone in to assist – paramedics from the Regina Fire Department, doctors and nurses and support workers from SHA, all risking their own health and well-being.Β Β Β Β The statistics are staggering. The reality for all affected – residents and their families and their caregivers have been beyond devastating. I am so sorry for all you have been going through – all you continue to go through. πŸ’–

Dedicated to my Father – Rest in Peace, Dad. You will always be a part of me & a part of my lifeπŸ’–

Kitchen News

I was in the mood for doing some cooking this week. I started on Thursday by doing up a batch of Carmel Corn. (My late Mother’s recipe).

Yesterday morning I cooked a couple of pounds of bacon to have on hand for when we have salad. (It keeps the lettuce from sticking together πŸ™„)

Then yesterday I baked chocolate chip cookies with my sister, Lorraine. Since we are a few hundred miles apart, we couldn’t judge them on a taste test – but it doesn’t look like either of us burnt them, so we will call it a win-win πŸ‘. Chances are the hundreds of miles between us saved our cookies. We baked a ton of buns together one time, burnt the lot, and tried to stash them in a garbage bag before our husbands came in for lunch. On the off chance that they did not notice that the house reeked of burnt buns, the bag fell over when they walked in the door and about two hundred blackened buns rolled out – one by one by one. Saddest friggin parade I have ever seen. 🀣🀣🀣

I don’t use Keg Spice in my cookies πŸ€”

The only thing I am making today are croutons for our Caesar Salad tonight. Is there any reason why croutons have become scarce as hen’s teeth and rediculously expensive lately? Have the TP hoarders turned their attention to croutons? It seems odd. 🧐

Hope everyone is having a great December weekendπŸ’ž ❄️

Ps for Neese – my recipe collection leaves is less than elegant but here you go!

Home and Family

We received the most amazing news last week! Dan’s sister Joan has decided that it is time to leave her paradise in Costa Rica and return to Canada. She has a beautiful home there on a stretch of land where her front yard is the Pacific ocean and her backyard is a fresh water river. She is looking at relocating to a couple of different area in Canada (both very nice) but I can’t imagine them stacking up to Costa Rica.

Regardless, we are both thrilled that she will be back in Canada. Joan is Dan’s only sibling and they have always been very close. I have several siblings (four sisters and one brother) but in some ways, I have more in common with Joan. She is far more adventurous and independent than I will ever be, but our core beliefs are very similar. We are “soul sisters”😊

We will both be glad to see Joan back in Canada and look forward to visiting her once she gets settled (and we gets this Covid situation under control πŸ™„). It may take a while but is exciting to have something to look forward too!

Even Kat is excited!

Another Day on the Prairies

It has been a while since I have posted. Everything changes from one day to the next so by the time I go to write about something, things have taken a turn. πŸ™„

Our weather goes from snowy to icy to brutally cold and back again. I have all but given up on walking, which of course has been detrimental to my health. I have been working on my meditation, which is helpful and I have been enjoying sourcing out different You Tube videos on that – so that is something!

There has been an uptick of Covid cases, including quite a few at the plant where Dan works (right in his area πŸ™„). We seem to have dodged it. Personally, I believe Dan and I had it in February, which was when my health went sideways, but they were not testing then. The doctors can tell I have lung damage that suddenly shows up on scans but they cannot tell what caused it.

I went out one day last week to help granddaughter Genie pick out her Christmas present. Our favourite dress shop (Le Chateau) is closing down so we went looking for a dress for son Dan’s wedding and her graduation (should they have one this year).

This is the dress Genie went with. It fit her perfectly! It will look even better with fancy heels instead of fuzzy black socksπŸ˜‚

Then, son Dan called last night to say that due to new Covid restrictions in Alberta, they are postponing their wedding party until next summer. They are going ahead with their wedding ceremony on New Year’s Eve – with just their children, officiate, and the couple who are standing up for them. They have had to wait long enough, they just want to be married already. We look forward to celebrating with them in the summer!

Dan & familyπŸ’ž

With case numbers going up here every day, we have stayed home as much as possible. We did go to Leon’s and got a new mattress for our bed one day. (Kat does NOT like it). Dan had to go to Canadian Tire so he picked up a new monitor for our computer. I went and did our weekly shopping early Monday morning – by myself. With things being bad at Dan’s work I thought this was our best option. I did amazing btw. There were only 3 items I did not get (frozen okra, oven gloves, and soda crackers) and I only went rogue twice (picked up 4 cans of tomato soup and a container of sour cream). I hate shopping but actually got through it ok – even packing everything up at the cash register. πŸ™‚

Dan is at work starting a new round of shifts today. They are finishing off a couple of orders, then he expects to be laid off mid-January until the company picks up more work. He has been expecting lay offs for about fifteen years and they always come up with something, so who know? We will see when, or if, it happens.

Have a great week and take care out there!

Holidays

Growing up in my family we kept to a fairly predictable schedule. (My mother was a drill Sargent in her previous life 🀣) Dinner was at 12 noon, supper was at 6 PM, laundry was done on Monday morning, and birthdays and holidays were celebrated on their appropriate dates.

When my family was young, our schedule was somewhat predictable. Meals were always at the table. Supper was 6ish, I did laundry once a week, and birthdays and holidays were celebrated on or close to appropriate dates.

Between Dan’s 24/7 shifts, kids growing up and having their own families, and various births and health crises, our schedule has become rather loosely goosey…. We eat, we do a load of laundry when one of us happens to go downstairs for whatever reason, and we celebrate birthdays and holidays.

Last night we had granddaughter Genie and her boyfriend Alex/Ben over. We enjoyed our Christmas turkey supper, topped off with a peanut butter cheesecake to celebrate Genie’s birthday (she will turn 17 on December 24th – and she doesn’t eat peanuts 🀦- I made her a mug cake and dressed it up for the occasion).

Aren’t they the cutest?
I love Genie’s hair – gorgeous colour.
My amazing husband who helped make supper and cleared away all of the leftovers. My less than amazing dog lurking for any flying food that Genie lost control over.

Dan is scheduled to work straight through December 22nd to 26th but we will be getting together with Genie and Alex/Ben on the 30th. But, we won’t be celebrating New Year’s πŸ˜‚ – they are coming with us to son Dan’s wedding on the 31st. New Year’s will have to merge with Easter and Dan’s birthday sometime in the spring.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year’s – I hope you have the opportunity to celebrate the holidays with your loved ones!πŸŒ²β˜ƒοΈ And for our southern neighbours – Happy Thanksgiving! πŸ¦ƒ

Beauty 2021

Every year I choose one special focus for the year – something I want to strive for. I have been doing this for several years now and have worked my way through love, happiness, and peace to name a few.

I find positive affirmations that are relevant to my focus for the year and I copy them into a journal every morning. Throughout the day, during the ups and downs, I try to stay on ‘focus’. At night, when I go to bed, I try to relax and keep my focus in mind as I drift off to sleep. (That doesn’t always work for me – I am usually asleep before I hit the pillow.πŸ™„)

Typically, I pick a focus for the upcoming year later in the current year and I generally have to spend some time contemplating my choices before I decide on THE one. Last week, it just came to me. πŸ’‘ I decided that for 2021 my focus would be on BEAUTY. I knew that would make the perfect focus for next year. As a bonus, I thought it would be especially fun to find moments of beauty to share on my blog.

Yesterday, as luck would have it, my son Dan called. Apparently, we will be kicking off 2021 with the perfect event to celebrate beauty.

Dan & Amanda – Gabby, Lucas and Cason

On December 31st, we will be celebrating the long awaited marriage of Dan and Amanda. It will no doubt be a beautiful ceremony – which Gabby, Lucas and Cason are naturally to be a part of.

It has been four years since Dan and his daughter Gabby and Amanda and her son Lucas joined forces to become one family. Two years later, they were blessed by the arrival of Cason. It has been a long wait for them to be able to make it official but their time has finally arrived!

There could not be a better way to end 2020 and begin 2021, year of BEAUTY, than by celebrating this beautiful occasion.

Happy Birthday Mark

Happy Birthday to my firstborn – Mark Benjamin. I remember bringing you home from the hospital like it was yesterday. You were so very tiny. Now, poof – forty three years later!

So much has happened in those years. I remember the little boy who refused to walk through puddles. How did you become the man who works construction, camps out with Erin and Dom every chance you get, crawls through the bushes with airsoft guns blazing and spends your spare time on one home improvement project after another? All the never, evers I heard for years and yet here you are. 🀣

It truly makes me wonder where the next forty three years will take you?

Happy Birthday, son. I will love you forever, I will like you for always!

Parenting 101

My Parents’ 50th Anniversary (1989)

On January 1st, I made a commitment to make PEACE my priority this year. I have made a strong and consistent effort to stay true to my commitment. In many ways, I have made significant progress in becoming less anxious and in making my life more peaceful.

There is one area of my life where I continue to struggle on a regular basis . My problem area is parenting – and grandparenting – and when the time comes (if I do not pull myself together) – it will be great-grandparenting. πŸ‘΅

The problem (for me) started with my Mother. She taught me, that if you love someone you care about them. If you care about someone you WORRY about them. I am sure that is what her Mother taught her and, God forbid, that is what I taught my children. 🀦

I love my children and I adore their children. I care immensely about them all. So, when my children or grandchildren face any challenge whatsoever, I worry. If they face a serious challenge, I go into a full-blown anxious meltdown.

I know in my mind that I am over reacting. I have faced challenges in my life. I have made bad choices and I have had to deal with the consequences. I have had my heart broken. I have tried and failed. I have struggled with health and finances and grief. I have survived and, more often than not, I have come through each challenge stronger and better for having been through it.

I know my children and grandchildren are smart and capable and resilient and everything else that they need to be to survive every challenge that they will face in life. I want to stop worrying about them and start showing them that I believe in them. Regardless of the situation, I want to be a strong and calm presence in their life.

I have long believed that “The only thing we have to fear is fear itself”. This quotation has been repeated by many strong men throughout history. It is true and so extremely important! It is the basis of my commitment to making peace my priority this year.

There is nothing more debilitating than fear. Fear makes any challenge – physical, mental, or emotional – all the more difficult to conquer. Fear makes any dream or goal all the more difficult to achieve. I know because I have too often allowed fear to rule me. I do not want it to rule me or my family going forward!

There is no form of fear that is productive or helpful. Worrying about those you love, even your precious children and grandchildren is not productive or helpful. If anything, it undermines their confidence and that is unhelpful and detrimental to their well being! Worse yet, it teaches them to perpetuate this unhealthy form of love when then become parents and grandparents.

Going forward this year, I will continue to make peace my focus – for myself, my children, and my grandchildren. πŸ•ŠοΈ