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Wednesday, January 16, 2019

Tired Tuesday: Monday Got a Bad Rap


The third Monday of January or Blue Monday is apparently going to be the most depressing day in 2019. This only applies to the fortunate souls living in the Northern Hemisphere because of our weather patterns. To top it off there will also be a full moon.

Why do we hear about this every year?  I always thought that it was because the holiday glow had worn off and we were left feeling lousy because we had overindulged ourselves in every possible way.  The numbers on the credit card statement and the scale were both up.

Well, now I find out that this idea originated from an advertisement a travel company did to convince people to book a winter vacation.  Pretty ingenious if you ask me. 

We all heard this news and thought it had some scientific basis and we were convinced of the validity of this concept.  

The power of suggestion. If we expect something to happen a certain way, our expectations play a major roll in how things play out.

One of the perks of retirement is that if I am at home for a couple of days in a row, I forget which day of the week it is. There is a good chance that Blue Monday could pass me by before I realize it. It is great to get the most miserable day of the year out of the way right off the hop.  It should be smooth sailing after that, shouldn’t it?

When I was working full-time, Tuesday was my worst day, not Monday. Poor Monday always got a bad rap. I usually felt wiped out physically and mentally on Tuesday. I called the dreaded day Tired Tuesday.  Now I see a study conducted by the London School of Economics that concurs with my feelings about Tuesday. I knew it! 

You probably lay awake needlessly Sunday nights stressing about getting up for work Monday morning, but it is Tuesday that you have to watch out for.  Sunday night tell yourself you don't need to fret about Monday and go to sleep. It should be Monday night that you are laying awake worrying, but by then you are too tired to remember this warning about Tuesday and you will sleep like a baby both nights, problem solved.

If the power of suggestion can implant negative thoughts in our minds, then technically we should be able to replace those thoughts with positive ones.  Why are negative thoughts more powerful?

First, we need to be mindful and recognize negative thinking, which usually involves dwelling on the past or worrying about the future.  Second, replace that thought with something positive and repeat it often. Replace fear with hope. For me personally, I use humour as a coping mechanism in difficult situations. 

The days are starting to get longer in Saskatchewan. We pin our hopes on an early spring but brace ourselves for a few blizzards between now and then. Each winter is about the same; we survive and are so happy when we feel that warm spring sunshine on our faces.  

What will you be doing on Blue Monday to make it through?

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Tuesday, January 15, 2019

I Miss Summer Series: Life in the Village - My Office View

Winter can beautiful when she is in a good mood. I can feel the warmth of the sun through the window.  There is hope. 





Friday, January 11, 2019

I Miss Summer Series: Summertime 2018


Summertime on the Canadian prairies is a beautiful time of year.  Where we live there are many amazing lakes for boating, swimming and fishing.  When the trees are green, the flowers are blooming and the fields are lush with the promise of a bountiful harvest, there is no place like it.


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Tuesday, January 8, 2019

When Healthy Eating Goes South: How to Get Back on Track

baby boomers, retirement, eating healthy, weight loss

Weight loss wasn’t included in my New Year’s post, I couldn’t put that on my list again this year.  I feel it is time to progress, step forward and focus on different things in 2019. 

It is still lurking in the back of my mind though, and I thought it was possibly on your mind also. I want to share my thoughts on this issue before I move on.


Over the years, I have tried many diets and spent my fair share on products with all sorts of fabulous sounding claims. Even now, I still get carried away and buy something that I think will be the next quick fix.

I have good intentions, I really do, but when I see apples, I picture apple pie; bananas as muffins with chocolate chips; cucumbers slathered in a rich creamy dressing; potatoes with gravy or cauliflower dripping with cheese sauce. Carrots turn into a cake with luxurious cream cheese frosting and zucchini into chocolate brownies. Tomatoes and peppers are nestled under a thick layer of cheese and pepperoni on a pizza. When I look at healthy foods in their original state I don’t say “oh goodie I want to eat that”.

Should I be faulted for being a culinarian? That is how my mind works. I feel guilty throwing food away. I try to give it a second life. I ate a bunch of vegetables the other day and then I had a tummy ache and I lamented “my body was not made to eat this healthy stuff”.  I don't know if I will ever love plain fruits and veggies, but I keep trying.

It is all very confusing to me. There is gluten free, sugar free, high fat, low fat, high protein and diet plans where you only eat a certain food. So called experts suggest you should cleanse this or that. They advise taking a mile-long list of supplements.


Then there is the whole carb issue, oh the carbs. I was raised eating fresh bread, buns, pie, cereal and potatoes. I honestly don’t think I can give them up completely, but I am trying to eat carbs in moderation. Some days I am successfully and other days not so much. At the end of each day I remind myself that tomorrow is another day with new strength and new thoughts.

Some days I feel like my head will blow off if I see another diet option, but the next day dawns and there I am reading up on a new plan. When I think about all the time I have spent reading about and stressing over this it makes me feel a little sad that is what I spent those moments. All the diet information we are bombarded with can drag on our lives and make us feel negative towards ourselves.

I applaud those individuals who stuck to their healthy food and exercise plan over the holidays and didn’t eat themselves into an almond bark coma. In truth, I dislike you just a little bit for that, but I will recover nicely from that jealous, self-loathing lapse in character.

I know I feel better, in so many ways, when I watch what I consume, eat smaller portions and am more physically active. I need to continue to tell myself that I am worth the effort. 

How do you motivate yourself to keep fighting this exhausting battle year in year out?


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Listen to my New Year’s Episode -“Sage Souls - What I am Learning on my Journey” on my podcast @

Listen to “When Healthy Eating Goes South” on my podcast @
https://anchor.fm/grandmag552018/episodes/When-Healthy-Eating-Goes-South-e2shbe

Saturday, January 5, 2019

Oh Deer: I Miss Summer Series: Life in the Village



I was out in my corner garden one summer evening and this beautiful creature casually trotted by and disappeared down the street.  We had made eye contact and I had a feeling it would be back.  I picked up my camera and waited a few minutes and sure enough there it was. The only sounds in the village that evening were the birds singing, the deer's hooves on the pavement and the cool dude in the background with the loud muffler.

Thursday, January 3, 2019

Monday, December 31, 2018

Sage Souls: What I am Learning on My Journey

New Year's resolutions, Sage Souls: What I Am Learning on My Journey

I am starting to settle into retirement, I was unsure at first, but I think it was the right decision for me. Not working full time anymore has given me some quiet time to think and reflect. As I browsed through my 2018 posts some thoughts came to mind.


      What I Appreciate Even More Than Before

  • parents that are still with us
  • immediate family - spouse, children and their spouses and grandchildren
  • siblings and their spouses
  • extended family of aunts, uncles and cousins
  • friends and all our crazy adventures through the years
  • silly moments in life that have made me laugh
  • conversations I have had with my mom and mother-in-law, what sage souls these two are 

2019 Goals

  • live in the moment - yesterday is history, tomorrow is an unknown story, make today a day to write about
  • embrace the changing seasons
  • accept other people’s talents and passions
  • expand my knowledge of technology
  • spend more time on our boat 
  • step outside of my comfort zone 
  • continue to learn about my family history
  • be more aware of how negativity drags on my life  

What I Have Come to Realize

  • pressures of parenting are eventually eclipsed by the love you have for your children and grandchildren
  • expectations we place on ourselves are often unnecessary
  • what a gift it was to grow up on the farm 
  • change is hard, but it is a good thing
  • importance of doing things that challenge and fulfill you    
I would like to take this opportunity to thank you for taking the time out of your busy lives to read my posts and listen to my podcast. I hope you continue to join me to see what 2019 has in store for Grandma G.

Happy New Year!

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This episode is available on my podcast @

Thursday, December 27, 2018

Special Boy - A Birth Story

birth story, special boy,

In the spring of 1990, I learned that I was to become a mother for the second time. I carefully calculated the dates on my calendar and then ran the numbers again. “Well, that didn't go as I had planned,” I said to myself.

My calculations indicated that this second blessed event was to take place on December 26. Who wants to be in the hospital over Christmas? As the time for my confinement approached, I became increasingly anxious. I did not want to miss the family Christmas gatherings at our parents’ farms or be apart from our five-year-old daughter at Christmas.

On December 25 I attended my family's Christmas dinner and the Hubs family's Christmas supper. When we got home that night after two turkey dinners and being at the end of my ninth month of pregnancy I put my hand on my tummy and said to The Hubs ”now this is the definition of full!”

On December 26 I grudgingly began month number ten, relieved that Christmas was over. I had a doctors appointment on December 27 and we planned to stay in the city with my sister C and her husband as the forecast was calling for extremely cold and stormy weather.

We went to my appointment and that evening had supper at my sister and brother-in-law's home. My brother-in-law left to work a night shift and the three of us settled in for the night. The Hubs and I were asleep on the sofa bed in the basement when around 12:30 a jerking feeling in my abdomen woke me up. I got up and quickly realized the time had come. I was in labour!

We started getting ready to go to the hospital. My sister heard The Hubs go out and start the truck and came downstairs to investigate the commotion. The three of us started buzzing around folding bedding and putting the sofa bed back up. We were moving around like zombies or The Three Stooges, I am not sure which. Afterwards, we wondered why we were so worried about cleaning up and putting everything back in order.

I remember the short drive to the hospital and how cold I felt on that -28 night. I was staring at my feet pressed against the floorboards of our truck bracing myself against the contractions and the jerking motion of the truck hitting the snow drifts that had formed across the highway.

Once we got into a room at the hospital, the Hubs was worried about plugging his truck in so he went out to take care of that. By the time he got back to the room the baby was coming and I was taken into the delivery room. At 2:15 in the morning on December 28 we were blessed with a son, weighing 8 pounds 7.5 ounces and 21.5 inches long. We named him after his paternal grandfather.

The Hubs went back to my sisters, told her the news, took the sofa bed back out, unfolded the bedding and tried to sleep. By the time my brother-in-law got back from his night shift, the action was long over. He and the Hubs had a celebratory beverage at seven a.m. to mark the occasion.

It was so cold all that week, I can remember the windows of the nursery in the old Holy Family Hospital in Prince Albert were coated with a thick layer of frost. I found one clear little spot and peeked out at the world.

My boy and I spent his first New Year’s Eve in the hospital. The nurse brought him to me just before midnight and I wished him Happy New Year.

As the years passed his older sister was at times put out at the freedom and privileges her younger brother received at an age she felt she did not get the same treatment. She sometimes resentfully referred to him as “special boy”. The term stuck and I still call him that, he is my special boy, my only boy.

I wrote this story not because his birth story is particularly exciting or unusual. I wrote it so that he would have a record of the night he was born, many people don't have that.

I am sharing it with you in the hopes that you will record the details of your children's births for them to keep and share with their own children one day.

I have found that once your children become parents they have a lot of questions about the day they came into the world and when they were little. Thank goodness I have always liked to write things down!

Happy Birthday Son

You can listen to the audio version of this post on my podcast @

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Thursday, December 20, 2018

I Cracked - I Do Give a Flying Flip

    

Ok, I cracked, I confess I did do some more Christmas baking.  I couldn't take it, that self-imposed pressure was too great.  I say I don't care about this stuff but then I start to feel a sense of nostalgic longing. I do give a flying flip, after all, I think my heart just grew two sizes bigger.

I decided to make some almond bark this year. I went to the bulk food store to get the chocolate. I filled one bag with white chocolate wafers and without really paying attention filled another bag from the bin that said Belgian chocolate on it. 

I proceeded to the till and when the sales guy rang it in he said, ”$47.00 please”. In my mind, I was saying, “whaaaat”. I was too shy to say I changed my mind so I whipped out the old credit card, paid and got out of there.  

I was suffering some buyers remorse over that chocolate purchase but I have recovered.  I am going to enjoy that darn bark, the white stuff is a little waxy tasting but the chocolate kind is epic!

I also purchased some Christmas pudding from my supplier. When I got to the craft sale where she was selling the pudding, I saw that there were only three jars left. 

I rushed over to her table, panicking but trying to look nonchalant, and grabbed two jars. I don't know what I would have done if some other Grandma had made a move for that pudding at that same moment.  It wouldn't have been pretty.  


Can you stick to your guns better than I can?

Listen to this episode on my podcast @

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Monday, December 17, 2018

Flying Flip - Are You Ready for Christmas?

  

As the sparkle of the festive season cloaks everything around me, that to-do-list is causing a sense of heaviness in my soul. How many times do you hear the question “are you ready for Christmas?” Everyone has their own definition of what ready for Christmas means.

Some people go to great lengths shopping, decorating and baking, while others don’t really give a flying flip if they ever see a butter tart. I want to be somewhere in the middle of these two ideals. Ok, I really aspire to be in the flying flip group but deep down inside I know my personality will never allow me to be that chill.

It has taken me many years to let go of some of the pressures I put on myself surrounding holiday preparations. It took me way too long to realize that most of the pressure was self-imposed.

I finally asked my family what things they really wanted and to my surprise, they never even mentioned a lot of the things I was stressing over making or doing as being important to them. They asked me “who told you that you had to do all that anyway?” Burn! I was left stuttering and stammering with no real answer. That was how I was raised and how I had always done things.


I was fortunate enough to be able to spend the first forty-four Christmas’ of my life with my dad. After he passed away, I was doing some reading about grief and one of the suggestions was to start a new tradition going forward. We started doing a Christmas Eve seafood meal which we have done every year since then.

Years ago, Mom crocheted tree ornaments out of gleaming white cotton thread. The sugar starch hardening method that she used allows the bells, stars and angels she made to hold their shape. When I look at the intricate work that she was so proud of it makes me cry that she can no longer crochet. It was something relaxing and enjoyable to her. Like a thief in the night, a disease like Parkinson's can steal away a person's small enjoyments.

This memory reminds me that the holiday season can be filled with grief, loneliness and anxiety for many people.


Why do we keep doing the same things over and over if they don’t fulfill us just because that is how it always has been done? We buy kids expensive gifts when they really prefer to just play with the box it came in and we make the fruitcake that the next generation doesn’t like.

This year I am taking it easier; buying less, doing less and making less. Our adult children take turns hosting holiday meals now. It is a real treat not to be the host every year.

Retirement maybe has changed my outlook, which is weird because now I should have the time to make a million butter tarts. Go figure.

Stay safe and warm with those that you hold dear. Merry Christmas! 

If you think your friends would like this post, 
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Listen to this episode on my podcast -
https://anchor.fm/grandmag552018/episodes/Flying-Flip-e2mhaq

Wednesday, December 12, 2018

I Love Winter, I Love Winter - Trying to Convince Myself


Canadian winters, Saskatchewan, winter activities

The struggle is real - trying to convince myself to love and embrace another Canadian prairie winter.

There are some genuine perks to a long, cold winter.  There isn't any grass to cut, weeds to pull or flowers to water and there are no mosquitos. 

For some winter is a time to rest and regroup from all the hard work of spring through autumn. A time to gather their thoughts and reconnect with family and friends.

If you have young children at home, there really isn’t much time to rest. I know you are probably reading this sitting on a hard bench at a rink or a gym somewhere thinking, what is she talking about, we don’t rest EVER! I hear you, I have been on that bench.

We have spent many hours at hockey rinks across the province over the years. The Hubs played hockey and then it was our son’s turn to take up the game and our daughter figure skated. They also participated in school sports.  I must confess, I still like a good rink burger now and then.

Those were good times. That was where our social group was. It was easy, in that sense, you just showed up at the rink and your friends were there ready to visit.

It is nice in retirement not to have your life so scheduled by kids’ activities, but it is also good to have planned activities as something to think about and look forward to. I guess that goes back to the whole living in the moment business - not wishing away today even if that bench isn’t very comfy.


It wasn’t uncommon to strike out with our young son early on a Saturday morning to spend twelve hours at a hockey tournament. Games were seldom cancelled because of the cold, it is Saskatchewan after all. Forty below zero or not the games went ahead.


Figure skating was a bit different. We didn’t have to travel like we did with hockey, but it was still a big commitment. Lessons, practices and test days in an unheated rink took some grit on the kids’ part. Parents ran the concession and did a lot of planning for the annual ice carnivals. Many hours went in to making decorations, costumes and playing music. Parents even dusted off their skates on occasion to perform at carnivals and hockey games. When people look at these events as casual observers, they would never realize the effort that goes into it.  




The Hubs was often on the coaching staff of our son’s hockey teams, so he seldom missed a game. They share a passion for hockey. The Hubs, other coaches and parents spent a lot of time organizing games, referees, scorekeepers and transportation. I sewed names on uniforms, made posters and programs and helped with fundraisers.  We all cooked burgers and fries and sold tickets. 

I do try and venture out into winter on occasion. We attend some of our son’s hockey games and go ice fishing. Granted, I am sitting in an ice shack beside a roaring fire, but I do have to get from the truck to the shack. If by some miracle I catch a fish, that is a bonus. Grandma G is out there trying to put meat on the table so cut me some slack.

The other day in the city I was picking my way across an icy parking lot trying not to wipe out and break a hip while wrestling my coat trying to zip it up. When I got near the building a huge gust of wind kicked up and sent the loose snow from the roof blasting into my face and down my neck. 

I am not going to lie I was struggling at that moment, wishing that I was somewhere tropical. Being the prairie girl that I am I zipped up that coat as the snow melted down the back of my neck and soldiered on. What else could I do?

Are you a lover of winter, what are your favourite things to do?

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Friday, November 30, 2018

Down a Mountain in a Basket - Skiing Vacation

California 1988

In my twenties, I attempted downhill skiing on a number of occasions. I was never particularly good at it, but I went along with the crowd and tried to do my best. The Hubs and I, along with some of our closest compadres went on several skiing adventures over the years. 

We skied Banff, Jasper and Lake Louise in Alberta, Whistler Mount in British Columbia and Boreal Mountain in California. The year we went to Whistler, we took the train to Vancouver which was really cool. 

Some of those mountain runs were a bit out of my comfort zone. The Hubs is a natural athlete and never had to many problems on the advanced trails.  I, on the other hand, was scared on those runs.  I had to claw my way down the side along the trees a few times when I took a wrong turn and ended up on a black level run. 

We rented equipment, so on one particular trip to Lake Louise we secured skis, boots and poles and headed out with our friends to enjoy a beautiful day on the slopes. After spending the morning exploring the runs, we stopped at a mountain top chalet for lunch. 

I placed my rented skis in one the appointed racks near the chalet and went for lunch. I carefully noted the number on the skis, so I would be able to find them amongst the hundreds of pairs lined up in the racks when I returned.

When we were finished lunch, it was time to hit the slopes again. Everyone located their skis and suited up. Everyone that is, except me. My skis were nowhere to be found. I searched the racks looking for the number I had memorized but to no avail, they were gone. 

I had to get down that mountain somehow and I had noticed ski patrol workers on snowmobiles throughout the day.  I reported my situation to a patrol member and they radioed for a ride to come and get me off the mountain. I assumed that someone would come and pick me up with a snowmobile and give me a ride down. Boy was I mistaken. 

A young woman on skis came ripping up to me towing a wire, metal, body basket, sleigh contraption and tersely said: “get in”.  My heart sank as I realized no snowmobile was coming to get me.

I laid down in the basket on my stomach. There were straps to hold you in the basket, but my driver didn't offer to fasten them or give me time to do it myself. There was a short piece of chain at the top where the basket was attached to the long pole handles that went on either side of her.  Off we went with me laying in the basket, going head first, unsecured, down the mountain, towed by a girl smaller than me. 

Our speed picked up as we proceeded down the mountain. She cut across the slopes trying to keep our speed down and maintain control of the basket. I was hanging on to that chain for dear life.  The snow from her skis was spraying into my face. When she made one particularly quick turn I flew out of the basket and went sliding down the mountain on my back, head first, unable to stop myself because my ski suit was so slippery. Other skiers were trying to dodge me, so they didn't get picked off. I finally came to a halt in some deep snow and my chauffeur pulled up alongside me and I jumped back in my basket.

We finally made it to the bottom.  I crawled out of the basket and stumbled to my feet, melting snow running down my face.   I ventured over to the rental shop to let them know that my equipment had been stolen assuming I would be facing a rather large bill. 

As I was standing in line at the rental shop waiting to face the music, my eyes focused in on the pair of skis the lady in front of me was holding. She had my skis, that was my number.  I questioned her and she just shrugged her shoulders and said: “I couldn't find mine so I just took these”.  I stood there too exhausted and flabbergasted to say anything. Luckily, I had the receipt with the number on it as proof, so I wasn't charged extra.

I am not sure where all my compadres were during my near-death experience. Enjoying the mountain sunshine, I suppose. 

I think the Hubs eventually caught up to me at the rental shop. Even with all his athletic splendor he hadn't been able to keep up to the basket coming down the mountain. He was relieved though that his bride was safe.   

Although the mountain view was spectacular when I was sliding upside down over those moguls, like a sheet of paper in a windstorm, it isn't an experience I would care to repeat.  

What would you have done in this situation? Would you have gotten into the basket? What would you have said to the lady at the rental shop when you discovered she was the culprit?

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Wednesday, November 28, 2018

“Car” - Street Hockey


     
Hockey was a big part of our son and his friends’ winter activities. When they weren’t at the rink, they could usually be found playing street hockey out in front of our house.  

From the time our son was five years old he kept an impressive list of phone numbers of guys and girls to call to come and play street hockey.  I can still picture his little list sitting beside our home phone.

Most week days after school throughout those long winters our phone would start to ring with inquiries as to whether “the game” was on or not. Eventually, I gave up hope that a call would ever be for me.

I can remember one frosty day as I was drudging home from work, I observed that the game was already in full swing.  The kids, then in their early teens, were yelling out which NHL player they wanted to be and one of the boys yelled “I’m Hayley Wickenheiser”.

Whenever a vehicle would approach, the players would yell out the word “car” to make sure everyone was alerted. The game would abruptly stop, and the nets were dragged to the side of the road so that the vehicle could pass by.  

The village traffic and the neighbors were pretty tolerant and often took a different street so as not to interrupt the big game. Those kids ran and played in the cold for hours until supper time finally ended the game for the day. 

Our garage became the storage unit for hockey nets, goalie pads and masks, blockers, sticks, pucks, tennis balls and abandoned items of winter clothing.  I was the equipment manager and part owner of the equipment, delegated to repair ripped pads and goalie blockers. Trying to stitch those up by hand was no easy task. 

I also served cookies and hot chocolate once in awhile if they hadn't already raided my fridge before I got home from work. 

Sometimes on a clear winter day when I look out my kitchen window I can still visualize “the game”. Those years flew by so fast. 

Those small-town street hockey games are great memories my son and his friends share. That same group of road warriors are still best of buddies today. Seven of them were at his side in June, standing with him as he was married. An awesome tribute to lasting childhood friendships. 


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Listen to this episode on my podcast 

Tuesday, November 20, 2018

Secret Ingredient - Passing Recipes Down Through the Generations


Grandma G - My Journey Into Retirement, Saskatchewan, Canada, Hungarian, heritage
My Mom and Mother-in-Law Christmas Eve 2010

The Hubs and I both grew up in Saskatchewan but come from different cultural backgrounds. We grew up eating some of the same things as well as different foods based on our parents' ethnicity.

My mom is from a French background, my dad’s family is German, and The Hubs parents are both of Hungarian descent. 

Dad liked basic food. He was a meat and potatoes kind of guy for sure. He didn’t like casseroles. He loved pie though, his nickname was pie at one time, so I’ve heard. 

I remember mom’s turkey dressing, Christmas pudding with hot maple sauce, fruit cake, pies and rhubarb and strawberry compote. 

My mother-in-law is an amazing cook. She can make scrumptious goodies out of a few basic ingredients. She has made many Hungarian dishes and desserts over the years that I would never attempt to replicate including: noodles, dumplings, chicken paprikash, soups and poppyseed pastries.

Years ago, The Hubs and I attempted to replicate his mom’s recipe for Hungarian gomboc leves (dumpling soup). We made the soup base using the recipe she gave us and things were going well. We proceeded to make the dumplings, which are made using mashed potatoes and flour.  We dropped them into the hot soup base, put the lid on and left the soup to cook.

When I refer to the recipe she gave us, I mean a couple sentences jotted down on a tiny piece of paper. The recipe included vague instructions and no specific ingredient amounts. What could go wrong? 

After repeated experiences like this over the years, I have learned that when you ask for a recipe from your mom or mother-in-law you must get the entire recipe; ingredients, directions and all. She may try and dodge your questions, but you need to pin her down and make her give it up or you are just setting yourself up for failure.

We were so excited to eat our soup. When we thought the time was right, we lifted the lid and cautiously peered inside. To our great disappointment, the dumplings were gone! Gone I say!  

We hadn’t added enough flour to hold them together and they had dissolved when they hit the hot liquid. We laughed so hard and it was a pitiful culinary experience that night with only broth to drink. 

I have concluded that some things are just better left in the category of “my mom used to make that” or the dreaded and foolish comment some men have made “that doesn’t taste like my mom’s does”.  I think I will put a section in my recipe book entitled Mom Used to Make This, But Don’t Try It!   

When The Hubs read the draft of this post he thought he and I should have a cook-off to see who could make this soup better.  I said, “nice try, that recipe comes from your heritage you should make the soup. Don’t put the responsibility of whether or not it gets passed on down the generations onto my shoulders.”  This was way too much pressure for me.

He phoned his mom for a recipe consultation and set about making the soup.  It was edible but was still not as good as his mom’s. I am starting to think she is withholding a secret ingredient...our quest to perfect this recipe continues.    

Gomboc Leves attempt 2018 

This soup has a lot of carbs in it, but that was how they cooked back in the old country many years ago. They used accessible and inexpensive ingredients. They were making a big pot of soup to feed a large family that had worked outside all day. The Hubs and I ate our soup and then laid down on the couch. I guess that is why we probably don’t need such big, hearty meals all the time. We don’t toil in the fields much these days. 

What are your favourite foods that your mom or mother-in-law made?  Have you cracked the secret code to make it as good as she does? 

I cook with wine, sometimes I even add it to my food”.  WC Fields

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Thursday, November 15, 2018

Wheelhouse - Accepting People’s Talents and Passions


accaptance, wheelhouse

To me, my blog feels like a conversation between two friends. In the short time I have been working on this creative writing project I have learned a lot. I think I am becoming more observant and look at things with a more discerning eye.

The technical aspect of the online world was an eye-opener for me. I guess I thought I knew more about technology then I really did. I have learned a lot setting up, designing and writing my posts and pages as well as recording my podcast. I still have lots to learn about editing and coding.  It is exhilarating and challenging to learn new things. 

By doing research and talking with family members I learned things about my family history that I never knew.

One of the things I have come to realize is that I never took the time to acknowledge other people’s talents and passions. I was dismissive of their hard work because I didn’t share their enthusiasm for their craft.  I lacked an understanding of what it took to be successful in areas that were outside my wheelhouse. 

My world view was narrow. Criticism sometimes was easier to hand out than praise. Maybe I felt jealous, inadequate or intimidated when I was around people who had talents I do not possess.  

The people that I know have a very diverse set of skills and talents. What an amazing group of people you are, coming from all walks of life.

I see more and more people stepping out of their comfort zone to try new things. Starting their own businesses, selling products and services that people would not previously have had access to in rural communities. People are trying their hand at all sorts of artistic endeavors and business ventures. I think that is awesome. Obviously, people can't financially support everyone all the time, but it is great to have access to these options from the comfort of our own homes.

When life gets so busy that we can’t hear ourselves think, it can be hard to imagine that we have any creative talents at all. Try to look within yourself to recognize your talents.  You might be pleasantly surprised at what you find out about yourself.

Don’t be afraid to follow your passions or take a chance and try something new. Accept, appreciate and support the talents and interests of those around you. People who truly love what they do are the blessed few.

Some people always knew what they wanted to be from the time they were young; others, like myself are still trying to figure out what we want to be when we grow up!

What brings you joy, peace and fulfilment?   

Listen to this episode on my podcast - 

Tuesday, November 13, 2018

From the Archives - Music Box


Our home once belonged to my grandmother on my dad’s side of the family.  When we bought the house in 1981, her music box was still here when we moved in.  It has been sitting in the same spot ever since. 

I have often wondered where it came from and why she kept it?  It is a powder puff music box and still plays a little song when you wind it up.

I have a romantic notion that maybe she kept it because it was a gift from my grandfather, her late husband. It could also have been a gift from one of her children. 

Its story will probably always remain a mystery. It feels like it was left here to tell me something...but I haven’t yet figured out what it is.  

Tuesday, November 6, 2018

Save the Waltzes for Me - A Wartime Love Story


wartime lovestory, 1947, Canada, Saskatchewan

The year 1941 found my Dad working in an Ontario gold mine. He worked at the mine until April 1942 when his brother joined the army. Dad knew he would soon be drafted so he returned home to the farm in Saskatchewan. 

Dad was drafted into the Canadian Armed Forces in November of 1942. He wanted to join the Air Force but because he was partially color blind that was not an option. 

He was stationed in Regina, Saskatchewan, Vernon, Prince George, Terrace, Campbell River and Nanaimo, British Columbia from 1942 through 1945. He was part of a reserve army that was trained and stationed in British Columbia, as they feared an attack from the west.

Mom was in grade 10 when the war broke out. Her parents would listen to the war news on the radio with the kids listening in the background, too afraid to ask any questions. It helped alleviate some of their fears when their teacher showed them on a map where the fighting was taking place in relation to where they lived.

It was a frightening time. When they went to the theatre there were fifteen minutes of war news with graphic images shown before the movie.  Those images were forever burned into their consciousness. Mom would see a plane flying overhead and watched until it was out of sight before she felt safe. Gas, sugar, syrup and coffee rations were common.  

Toward the end of the war, rubber was getting scarce because they were saving it for plane tires, etc. Lingerie companies started putting drawstrings in panties instead of rubber elastic.  It was alright, apparently, if you didn’t lose your drawstring. 

In the fall of 1945, Dad was home on a farm help furlough when he met Mom. Their first date was to attend a wedding dance in the big, beautiful Marcelin hall. When they were walking in Dad made a comment about the music and Mom thought “don’t tell me he can’t dance”. He was just kidding, and they danced beautifully together; he asked her to save all the waltzes for him. 

The war was coming to an end and fortunately, Dad was never sent overseas. He was discharged from the army in February of 1946.  I can only imagine the worry and fear people must have felt for their loved ones that were sent so far away.  Those months and sometimes years must have felt like an eternity.  The magnitude of the sacrifices they made is something we all should stop and think about.

Their courtship blossomed over the next year and Dad proposed on Mom’s eighteenth birthday in January.  He got the engagement ring and they were officially engaged on Valentine’s Day, 1947. They were married in June of that year and, as the saying goes, the rest is history.  At the time of Dad's passing in 2006, they were married for 59 years.

Whenever I think about their love story, I can’t help but wonder if Dad wouldn’t have been color blind and had gotten into the Air Force where would he have been stationed? If the war hadn’t ended when it did he would have been sent overseas. What would have happened to him there? 

Do you know your parents' or grandparents' love story?  How do you keep those memories alive in your family?    

Side Note

I played this episode for Mom today at the nursing home where she lives. She listened intently with a faraway look in her eyes. I asked her if she ever would have imagined that their love story would be recorded like that.   She replied “I guess that is where love stories come from; real life stories with a little bit of fiction added in”.


Listen to this episode on my podcast- 

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Saturday, October 27, 2018

In the Interest of Safety - Halloween

Kids costumes, Care Bears
Care Bears Trick-or-Treating 2017


I would probably have to say that I am a reluctant participant at best when it comes to Halloween celebrations.  I marvel at people who get so excited about Halloween. They are usually creative people who can come up with great costume ideas and make those ideas come to life.  

I know making costumes was something my Mom dreaded and when I became a parent, I felt her pain. Thank goodness for my talented mother-in-law who made several of my kids costumes over the years including a clown suit and a bunny rabbit made from fuzzy brown car seat covers. 




We did bust out our fifties costumes last year for the community dance which was a lot of fun. My mother in law donned a poodle skirt and she enjoyed that outing with her great grandkids so much. 


Halloween, Fifties Costumes
Community Halloween Dance 2017 - Fifties Family

The Hubs and I were always very diligent about sorting through the kid's candy and confiscating anything we thought might not be good for them - in the interest of safety of course. I think we were more excited for them to return home with their bags of candy then they were. Eventually, my son caught on to our thievery and no longer trusted us around his candy, so he kept it secured in his bedroom. Seriously, if those mini chocolate bars are in the house, I can hear the evil little things calling my name. 

The spirit of Halloween can bring out some pranksters for sure but there are always some heartwarming stories to go along with the cute kids in their fuzzy little costumes. 

One year when my son was four years old, he was sick on Halloween day and wasn’t up to trick-or-treating. Understandably, the poor little fella was very disappointed. It was a cold, rainy, windy day, as Halloween in Saskatchewan often is, but his nine-year-old sister took it upon herself to take his treat bag out and get candy for him to have when he felt better.  I think that is one of my favourite Halloween memories.  

Do a lot of parents still feel inadequate when it comes to Halloween costumes for their kids like my Mom and I did? Just know that being there enjoying the experience with them is more important than an expensive costume. When you are sorting through the candy, mentally scoping out what you are going to eat later, enjoy a conversation with them about their Halloween adventures.   

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