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. 👵

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. 🕊️

Walking Meditation

Peace is my Path

This summer I have done a lot of walking. What began as a means to improve my health and well being, became my favourite part of my day – rain or shine.

Yesterday I came across an article on walking meditation. I found it interesting because I find walking very relaxing and peaceful and because I have never been able to quite capture the essence of meditation.

I have tried meditation several times through my life. I have tried various methods. I just never quite get there. I either get distracted, get frustrated, or my personal favourite – I get so relaxed that I fall asleep.

Walking meditation sounded ideal for me. This morning as I headed out for my walk, I decided I was going to try ‘Walking Meditation’. One step, two step – Kat stopped to smell a post. Start over. One step, two step – some guy on a bike came barreling down the sidewalk and tried to run us down. Start over. One step, two step – busy street, have to focus. Start over. One step, two step – Kat stopped to poop. Give it up already!


Obviously, walking meditation is strictly a solo endeavour meant to be done along a quiet beach – possibly at midnight. 🙄

Since we do not have any beaches in the vicinity and I am sound asleep well before midnight (not to mention Kat has a fit and guilts me out if I leave her behind when I head out for a walk), my quest for a workable meditation technique is still a work in progress.

Any ideas? I am open to suggestions🙂

More Summer in Saskatchewan

Dan went on his annual golf trip last week.  He and his golfing buddy went down to the southwest corner of the province to play Whitebear and Kenosee for three days.  He took a few photos for me.

Since he has been back he has been getting busy around here.    He replaced the springs on the garage door, which was a pretty impressive accomplishment. He also got the tires changed on the boat trailer. That was not quite as impressive, but it needed to be done.

I have not been too busy but I have been walking my dog every morning. I have also been puttering around the yard, picking fresh tomatoes, cucumbers, and zucchinis.

Zucchini brownies made from scratch – with our own homegrown zucchini.
Our peppers are huge but not turning red yet🤷
We have enjoyed quite a few tomatoes but a lot more to come if the weather holds for a few more weeks.
Cucumbers, carrots and peppers
Ever producing Hungarian peppers.

Hope everyone is enjoying a nice summer day!

Monday Morning

Retirement is the best! There is nothing like starting the week with a walk in the park and flowers blooming in our yard.

Walking with Kat💞
We were joined by a fine feathered friend
Day lillies
The petunias are a bit lacking this year but still nice to have.
Miniature Sun Flowers
I can’t believe I saved this geranium!
These look like miniature pansies. I don’t know what they are or where they come from but they pop up in all of our flower beds🤷
One little brown eyed Susan
Twice as Nice!

Have a great week!

Garden Update

We finally got a couple of decent rains this week and plenty of sunshine. The garden and flower beds are taking off now. Dan finished a couple of his little projects and we have a new regular visitor.

Kat will be eating fresh carrots soon.
The Tiger Lillie’s are blooming.
The frog duo got their horns painted up.
Tinkerbell got decked out with new skirt and wings.
And – we have a squirrel! Yay🌞

Hope everyone had a nice weekend. Stay safe and have a good week. 😉

Rainy Day Sunday

We are finally getting a good soaking rain today. Our garden needs it and our house was more than ready for some attention. The dust bunnies were starting to compete for shelf space with the elephants.

From our trip to Edmonton last summer
Christmas gift from son Mark, Erin & Dom
I just thought this little elephant family was too cute to pass up💖
My pink crystal elephant from Dan
Christmas gift from son Dan & family
My Winnipeg Elephant
Ellie the Elephant – to mark the anticipated arrival of Maddy

Hope everyone is having a great Sunday – Rain or Shine!

Cleaning Up

It had to be done. I went out this morning and got rid of my Covid hair. My hairdresser did her best but I still have a fringe of colored hair that makes me look more grey than white. Next time!

After – obviously 🤦

A friend of mine recently had her hair cut short and dyed pink. I thought it looked super cute so I considered perking things up with blue dye once my hair goes pure white. Then I thought back to the days of blue haired old ladies who reaked of cheap perfume and decided against that move.

Speaking of older women… When I was a kid my grandmother used to wear a blue paisley dress every Sunday. She would sit down and totally disappear into the pattern on her couch. Just one of those odd memories that stays with you for life.

I returned home to find Dan trimming his ‘Tree of Enchantment’. It looks much neater but it is still too short to actually look like a tree, in my mind.

Tree of Enchantment – Weeping Willow

We have gale force winds again today so I will have to take a break from painting planters. Darn!

Have a great day and remember to keep safe. This virus isn’t over yet.

Choosing My Battles

It appears that technology (currently WordPress) is determined to pose ongoing challenges. I have never been one who enjoys conflict, so I make an effort to choose my battles.

Today my battle of choice was aligning my website address with the title of my blog, since WordPress had gone rogue on me and decided my website address should be ‘seclusion101withannemarie.com‘ instead of ‘retirement101with annemarie.com‘.

Since chances were slim to nil of getting the website address changed, I decided to go with it and change my blog title instead. That alone was battle enough as WordPress did not seem to believe I really want to make the change.

This has been my mission since 9:00 this morning. I have taken short breaks to have a bath, do my hair, have brunch, dust the livingroom, run to the pharmacy, go with Dan to get the Jeep washed and buy groceries, put away the groceries, walk Kat the dog, and have a short chat with my neighbour Kim. Finally at 4:00 this afternoon, my mission appears to be complete and my new blog title is here to stay!

Tomorrow, I will work on changing my tag line or adding a category to my menu. One battle a day and I should start to see some progress!


It has been almost a year since I started posting blogs on Word Press. I was getting frustrated with other social media that I had been using. I felt that Instagram was too superficial and commercial. Facebook was too political, nasty and negative. I was looking for something better and, for the most part, I have found it on WordPress.

I enjoy the opportunity to be more creative on WordPress. I enjoy meeting people from different countries and totally different walks of life and getting to actually know them on a deeper level as neighbours and friends. I enjoy the time and effort people put into sharing their posts. WordPress is a deeper, more personal experience.

The only issues I have with WordPress are the technical challenges that it presents. Much of my time at work over the past couple of decades has been dealing with technical meltdowns, glitches and the like. I have had more than my share of such nonsense so it is not something that I look for in a pastime.

The most persistent and annoying issues I have are relative to the WordPress Reader. The search tool is so frustrating, I generally cannot even find my own blogs on it let alone anyone else’s. Having found a blog I want to read, I often cannot download the pictures or video clips or my phone locks up. I have no idea why. I can download an entire set of commercial drawings from an electronic planroom on my phone but my phone has to be constantly restarted when I am trying to use WordPress.

The most bizarre issue I have had on WordPress happened when I was setting up my account. I went through the entire process, including choosing the name – Retirement 101 with AnneMarie. That was where I was at – navigating my own path to retirement. WordPress, in its infinite technical wisdom, decided to name my website ‘seclusion101withAnneMarie.com’. Why? I never asked for that website name. I am fairly sure I didn’t agree to it. Was someone in the black hole of technology anticipating the pandemic of 2020 and the social distancing that it has created? No idea. My website needs work to look more professional but I think I am going to have to live with the seclusion that comes with my web address.

Maybe I can move to a secluded spot in the woods?