February 5th – Ontario

While going through my archives looking for today’s post to update, I came across this one highlighting our trip to Ontario some years ago.  Every photo in this post still holds the happiest of memories for me. 😊

Along with the beautiful Ontario scenery and sites, I will always carry the fondest memories of the people that we met during our visit.Β  From the time we stepped off of the airplane at the Pearson International Airport, to our visit to Construction Specialties Inc., to our time spent at restaurants, hotels, shops, and tourist attractions,Β  the people of OntarioΒ  were exceptionally friendly, considerate and helpful.Β  They made our visit truly special.πŸ’ž

https://seclusion101withannemarie.com/2019/12/06/ontario/

I have only one update for this post – Dan’s sister has moved back to Ontario and I cannot wait until we can go to visit her and this beautiful province! 😊

That is it for today. Take care and have a great day!πŸ’ž

December 5th – Snowing❄️

‘The weather outside is frightful’ so what better way to celebrate the season than by sharing a few photos of our authenticcally Christmassy landscape.

Looking out our backdoor
Out to feed our furry and feathered friends
Different trees and bushes sporting their winter look
Ground cedar by our front steps
Snow covering the neighbourhood
Temps are celcius so yes it is as cold as it looks!

With a few more inches of snow to come and winds picking up, this will be an excellent day to curl up in front of the fireplace with a cup of tea or a glass of wine, a good book, and a warm dog. Celebrating the season the Canadian way. πŸŒ¨οΈβ˜ƒοΈπŸŒ¨οΈ

That is it for today, folks. Take care and have a beautiful Sunday! πŸ’ž

November 25th – Neighbours

Today our friends and family in the USA are celebrating their Thanksgiving. I decided this would be a good day to pay our respects by sharing some ‘words of wisdom’ on neighbours.

“Be at war with your vices, at peace with your neighbours, and let every new year find you a better man.” – Benjamin Franklin

“Being a good neighbour is an art which makes life richer.” – Gladys Taber

“Day after day, ordinary people become heroes through extraordinary and selfless actions to help their neighbours.” – Sylvia Mathews Burwell

“We make our friends; we make our enemies; but God makes our next-door neighbour.” – Gilbert (G.K) Chesterton

“If every man would help his neighbour, no man would be without help.” – Bruce Lee

“A good neighbour is a priceless treasure.” – Chinese Proverb

“Someone who loves his neighbour allows him to be as he is, how he was, and as he will be.” – Michel Quoist

“Geography has made us neighbours. History has made us friends. Economics has made us partners, and necessity has made us allies. Those whom God has so joined together, let no man put asunder.” – John F. Kennedy

Happy Thanksgiving to our neighbours to the south.

Take care! Have a great day making new memories with family and friends and cherishing the memories you carry from years gone by. πŸ’ž

November 22 – Faith

Faith is one of the most powerful gifts we can possess and yet one that we seem to struggle with our entire lives. Personally, I tend to access this power when things are either great in my life or when they are terrible. When things are great, it is relatively easy to have faith. When things are terrible, it takes more effort to have faith but having attained that mindset, the results can be nothing short of miraculous. I have seen the miraculous. Today, I share some ‘words of wisdom’ on faith. I hope they can inspire us all, regardless of our current circumstances.

“Your faith can move mountains and your doubts can create them.” – Unknown

“Faith, it’s all about believing. You don’t know how it will happen. But you know it will.” – Unknown

“Faith is taking the first step even when you don’t see the whole staircase.” – Martin Luther King Jr.

“Let your faith be bigger than your fears.” – Hebrews 13.6

“Sometimes your only available transportation is a leap of faith.” – Margaret Shephard

True faith is not a leap into the dark; It’s a leap into the light.” – Eric Metaxas

“Faith is seeing light with your heart when all your eyes see is darkness.” – Unknown

“That’s the thing about faith. It works.” – Lauren Oliver

That’s it for today, folks! Take care and have a great day.πŸ’ž

November 18th – Politics

My challenge for November is to find ‘words of wisdom’ that I find particularly insightful on a variety of subjects. Some subjects are obviously more challenging than others. That being said, these are the words from the wise and the erudite that I have chosen to share on the subject of politics.

*** Erudite – “having or showing great knowledge or learning” (new word for the day)

“Politicians are the same all over. They promise to build a bridge even where there is no river.”

– Nikita Khrusshchev

“Politics is the art of looking for trouble, diagnosing it incorrectly, and applying the wrong remedies.”

– Groucho Marx

“Instead of giving politicians the keys to the city, it might be better to change the locks.”

– Doug Larson

“One of the penalties of refusing to participate in politics is that you end up being governed by your inferiors.”

– Plato

“I don’t think we should go to the moon. I think maybe we should send some politicians up there.”

– Ron Paul

“We believe that to err is human. To blame it on someone else is politics.”

– Hubert H. Humphrey

“Voting is like choosing your favourite mosquito out of a swarm.”

– Unknown (but it was probably a Canadian)

“The problem with political jokes is that they get elected.

– Henry Cate VII

That’s it for today folks! There is plenty to say about politics these days so there was no shortage of material to choose from – unfortunately a lot of it just isn’t fit to print in a family friendly blog. πŸ€·β€β™€οΈ

Family news update – Logan and Mom have scored a couple of more days in hospital due to a couple of minor complications, so Dom will be coming for some Grandma and Grandpa D. time tonight. Fortunately our new stove arrived yesterday so Dom and I will be making pizza for supper. πŸ•

Take care and have a great day! πŸ’ž

October 13th – Special πŸ€¨

I am veering off the warm and fuzzy for today’s blog post. The news story that attracted my attention today is one that focuses on yet another Canadian ‘special interest’ group.

The group in the news today, are the “Conservatives of Chinese Descent”. They are pushing Erin O’Toole, the current leader of the Conservative Party, to resign after his loss in our recent federal election. They claim that his loss was at least partially due to O’Toole’s “tougher approach to China”.

There are more than twenty thousand special interest groups in Canada. A list of some of these groups in Canada can be found here. These special interest groups (listed or otherwise) typically have three things in common : a desire for government funding, a desire to influence government policy and legislation, and a total indifference to find workable solutions or to compromise with any other group of Canadians. Being special, it is all about them and their agenda.

In my view – Governments are formed to collect funds (taxes) to provide and maintain the services that individuals, individual communities, or individual provinces cannot manage on their own. Once elected, governments should do what they are elected to do without pressure from thousands of ‘special interest groups’ who feel that their rights and agendas outweigh that of society as a whole. During elections, politicians should be expected to release their platform and state their qualifications for ensuring that their platform can and will be implemented. Period.

People in Canada (and probably in every country in the free world) are forever complaining about the size of government, cost of government, corruption of government, and incompetence of government. Then, they run to government in little groups, hands out for money and fists pounding for action on their demands. How is any government supposed to operate efficiently under such conditions?

I have no idea how we reverse this trend of special interest groups and massive government, but this is not working and it is only getting worse.

Thanks for listening. πŸ™„ (For the record, I have nothing against Chinese Canadians, nor am I particularly for Erin O’Toole. I do not belong to the Conservative Party or any other political party.) As always, feel free to comment below. All I ask is that you keep it respectful. Thank you. πŸ’ž

Just a group of happy musical frogs 😏

Take care and have a great day! πŸ’ž

September 10th – Politics

Today I am moving forward into that wee ‘piece of my mind’ that cares about politics.

Canadian go to the polls on September 20th to elect a new or re-elect the old political party that will lead Canada for the next four years (more or less). Just two years ago we elected a minority Liberal government. They are now vying for the power of a majority government but they have some stiff competition and some solid opposition.

For the record, I do not, nor have I ever, stood solidly behind one political party or another. Whether it is a federal, provincial, or municipal election, I vote for the leader that I feel will best represent our country, province, or city. Also, my vote is mine, and mine alone – as it should be. Dan and I seldom discuss politics and we do not always agree when we do, but we do respect each other’s right to vote as we see fit.

In this current election, the Liberals and the Conservatives are neck in neck for first place. The NDP (New Democratic Party) are a distant third. The Green Party, Bloc Quebecois, and The people’s Party of Canada do not have the overall support to seriously affect the election one way or another.

These are my thoughts on politics, this election and the leaders of our top three parties.

First, I do not think it makes a lot of difference who wins or looses any election in Canada. We are a democracy with so many checks and balances that no party in power can make changes that are terribly sweeping or detrimental to our country.

Second, I do not think any of the main party leaders are particularly great or terrible. Justin Trudeau of the Liberal Party has been our Prime Minister for six years. He has his strengths, but his public speaking leaves much to be desired and he does have a history of embarrassing himself and our country with his wardrobe, his questionable connections, and regular public faux pas. He has tried to enact policy that is in the best interest of all Canadians and to help all areas in a manner sensitive to specific challenges.

Erin O’Toole is the leader of the Conservative Party. He is dignified, polished, and seems relatively intelligent and reasonable. I have two issues with Mr. o’Toole. The first and worst is that the Conservative representative in our riding is Andrew Scheer, who I personally have no use for as a person or a politician. The second is that Mr. O’Toole obviously supports the Conservative election campaign. Their campaign rests on questionable and ignorant attacks on Justin Trudeau and the star of their ads is a typical arrogant ‘Karen’ making typical patronizing snotty ‘Karen’ remarks. They have already lost two elections using this tactic, why would any leader support a third round?

Jagmeet Singh is the leader of our federal NDP party. As leaders go, he appeals to me. He is charismatic, dignified, and appears to be genuine. Unfortunately, I cannot get behind his doctrine of wealth and power distribution, unions and the like. I am not against helping those in genuine need – but I am a serious supporter of personal responsibility. I believe that there is a point where empowering gone too far becomes enabling irresponsible behaviours.

I believe that all three men who could become our next Prime Minister went into politics with a genuine desire to lead with integrity. (Which I believe is typical of most people who go into politics). I also think that most people who go into politics are painfully naive. They grow up surrounded by one group of people and share a lot of their beliefs. They think good governing should be relatively easy. Except, they get into politics and realize that there are countless people with countless different, and often opposing, views, beliefs, and desires. Few, if any, who want to change or compromise. We all want everything we want or need, we do not want to pay for anything that anyone else might want or need, and we all object to adequate government to make it all happen. Sounds simple enough. πŸ€”

Fortunately, most Canadians are reasonable and rational. Unfortunately, as elsewhere, there are extreme supporters and detractors of any government policy. Those are the Canadians who drive semis through cities (horns blasting), demonstrate outside of hospitals, throw gravel and scream obscenities at our Prime Minister, drive tractors and combines and tie up traffic from the Prairies to Ottawa. I cannot imagine anyone going into politics, being prepared for such goings on. Nor can I imagine anyone engaging in such goings on and expecting a positive outcome. πŸ₯Ί

That is pretty much my ‘piece of mind’ regarding politics. Although I know who I will be voting for, I wish the best for all who are running in this election and for all Canadians who will live with the results.

Take care and have a good day! See you tomorrow. πŸ’ž

September 2nd – Rights, Responsibilities, and Consequences

In Canada, we have a number of rights established to protect the quality of our life as Canadians. πŸ‡¨πŸ‡¦ Today, my ‘Piece of Mind’ focuses on a few of our rights and how we use and/or abuse them and the inevitable consequences we face for having a lack of respect and appreciation for them.

One of the more unique rights we have in Canada is our right to publicly funded healthcare. For those of us who are fortunate enough to live in a country that provides universal healthcare, we should appreciate it and do everything in our power to protect it. We fall far short by making unhealthy lifestyle choices (allowing ourselves to be an unnecessary burden to the system) and by failing to hold those in charge of our health system accountable for how they manage it. Our right to publicly funded healthcare depends on our doing our part to protect it, because there is a breaking point and we are close to it.

In Canada, we have equality rights. That is a good thing, but we need to appreciate them and protect them in order to preserve them. I believe in equal opportunity and equal pay for those in the workforce – but that has got to be based on equal ability and equal effort. If you cannot or will not, do what is necessary to get the job done – leave it for someone who can and will. You cannot, and should not, count on co-workers to pick up for your short comings. Companies cannot thrive and survive with an incompetent workforce. If the company does not survive – there is no need for a workforce. Everyone will be equally unemployed.

In Canada, we have the right to free speech. That is not the right to violence, threats, or physical intimidation. That is not the right to spread lies, innuendos, or harmful exaggeration. That is not the right to deny others of their right to free speech. That is not the right to spew hate towards anyone or any group of people. No one wants to be silenced or censored, but if people keep pushing the boundaries of human decency, that will happen.

As Canadians, we have the right to movement – to live and work in or out of Canada, as we choose. If we are warned to avoid a country or area of the globe, and yet we choose to ignore such warnings, there may well be serious consequences. Obviously, if anyone is sent to a dangerous area for official reasons, it is our responsibility as Canadians, to do everything in our power to bring them home safely if need be. Those who deliberately ignore risks and warnings and move to a dangerous area of the globe out of curiosity, or for an edgy holiday adventure, or to chase a lucrative business opportunity, may discover that our right of movement does not guarantee a right to be rescued from their own bad decisions.

In conclusion to my ‘Piece of Mind’ for the day…. Canadians (and all who live in ‘free’ countries) have a number of valuable rights that others cannot even imagine. We need to do our part to protect them, maintain them – and to keep them. πŸ˜‰

Trust everyone is having a great day! Take care & see you tomorrow. πŸ’ž

PS…. Yay! My CT scan is booked for mid-September and the papers for my blood work should be at our local lab today. Two steps closer to hernia surgery. 😁

August 3rd – Accessible & Abundant

I grew up in small town Saskatchewan. My Mother was a more than capable homemaker and cook, but shopping was limited and there was only so much she could do with a seasonal garden. She made do and she did amazing with what she had to work with.

Shopping nowadays is something that never fails to amaze me. We are so fortunate to live in an abundant country like Canada, at a time when producers, modern science, and adequate distribution methods keep our stores stocked with affordable goods to fill our every need.

If I am ever looking for a reason to feel grateful, it is as easy as looking around our house at the variety of food, pet supplies, cosmetics, and general household products that fill our shelves and cabinets. Naturally, I then feel grateful for my husband who works so hard to provide for us and who actually does the bulk of our shopping. I feel grateful for everyone who works all the way up and down the supply chain. And, I definitely feel grateful for the power who has placed us here in Canada and blessed us with this abundant life. Gratitude is like that! One grateful thought leads to another, and another, and anotherπŸ’ž

I don’t remember ever having fresh mushrooms as a kid and I definitely don’t remember having artichoke hearts. Now they are always in our fridge. πŸ˜‹
Variety is the spice of life – and the oils and the Caesar mixes. πŸ₯³
Feeding our furry and feathered friends is as easy and economical as a trip to the Dollar Store. 🐿️🐦
Pampering my hair and skin. πŸ˜‰
Healing Dan’s feet from decades of workboots and cement floors. πŸ€—
Keeping it clean – easy peasy with readily available cleaning products πŸ—‘οΈπŸ§½πŸ§€
Dan made a dedicated trip to a hardware store and came home with insect repellent refills to keep my meditation corner bug free and comfortable. πŸ¦ŸπŸ•·οΈπŸœ

There is no end to the variety of amazing products that are readily available to me – every day! So much to be so grateful for. 😘

I hope you are all having a great day! Take care and I hope to see you tomorrow. πŸ’ž

What separates privilege from entitlement is gratitude.

Brene’ Brown

(The difference between privilege and entitlement is that one is a blessing and one is a curse. πŸ˜‰)

Day 7 – Go With The Flow

Day seven of my “Accentuate the Positive” June challenge.Β  It seems like a good day to share a few photos of Canadian waterscapes that Dan and IΒ  have visited and enjoyed.Β Β  The beauty and tranquility never gets old. πŸ’ž

Paddle boats on Wascana Lake, Regina SK.
Heading to Granville Island from Vancouver, B.C. 
The view from our hotel room at Niagara Falls, Ontario
Dan kayaking at Burleigh Falls, Ontario with his sister’s chihuahua Luna.
I am not positive but I think this photo was taken at Souris, Manitoba. I love the sunlight on the river. 🌞
Burleigh Falls, Ontario
Saskatchewan Legislature Building across a corner of  Wascana Lake
Condie Nature Reserve  north of Regina, SK.

One week of my June challenge completed! I hope to see you tomorrow.

Have a nice day. πŸ’ž