I'm so glad you could stop by. This is my personal blog of daily life and my journey through life. You will find a strong emphasis on family and friends as well as finding my ancestors through genealogy. Unlike my other blogs this blog is more of a catch-all so any topic is fair game.

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Saturday, February 23, 2008


Taking a Ride
February 23, 2008

The past couple of days I've been dealing with things. I am by nature a bit of a clutterer even though I like the neat and tidy, clutter free look. This past week I've spent time and energy gathering up things that took time, energy and money to get in here in the first place. In fairness some of the things migrated with us during our last move but have not found a home here. Funny thing about homes, some things fit while others do not from one home to the next. So I'm going through the things that simply do not fit here. That means lots of things are making their way out the door. I briefly toyed with the idea of holding a yard sale in the spring but that would mean the things would sit in the garage giving the temptation to sneak them back into the house. So I've decided to do a clean sweep by donating whatever I can eliminating any temptation.

Why is it so hard to part with things? For me there is always the "this might come in handy sometime" and in some cases the memories attached. Even though the thing has long out lived its usefulness and even though it might be pretty tatty looking, I will still hang onto it for one or both of the two reasons mentioned. What I've started doing with some of these things is to take a couple of digital pictures then let go of the actual thing. Using Photoshop I then create a scrapbook page using the picture along with journalling as the memories attached to the thing. This way I can clear a bit of clutter while still hanging onto the memories.

Garden Gnome

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Nature's Eye Candy

ocean view at Hallandale, Florida
Ocean View
Hallandale, Florida
January 23, 2008

Nature provides all the eye candy you would ever need! Last night's lunar eclipse was amazing! It was bitter cold here forcing me to put my winter jacket on for picture taking. Now, I've been avoiding my winter jacket all winter preferring instead to take advantage of layering for ease of removal as needed when Mother Nature reminds me I'm not a spring chicken anymore. My winter jacket is just too heavy and confining! I managed a few good shots but not as good as the last lunar eclipse. The sight was worth braving the cold!

Monday, February 18, 2008

Bizarre Power Outage

Road Trip to Pick up Beef
February 16, 2008

Saturday we were on the road to pick up our beef. The weather was very cold despite the sun and the sky was a brilliant blue. I took several pictures along the way while enjoying idle chit chat with my husband in the beauty of the day. It was a busy but very enjoyable day. On the way home the sky turned cloudy hinting at the incoming storm.

We had the most bizarre power outage last night. It had been a very busy Sunday with a social event even though my husband was not feeling well. So when we got home we decided an early bedtime was in order. About 2 am one of our kids who is staying with us temporarily awoke us because the electricity was doing rather strange things. Some fixtures didn't work at all while a few worked but the light output was greatly reduced. The display panels on the stove and microwave were on but very dim. Having dealt with electrical problems just after moving in my first concern was a tree branch had hit our incoming lines. My husband decided to get dressed and to outside to see if he could see a problem where he met up with our neighbour who was also outside because of the electrical problem. He had already called HydroOne who told him to flip the main breaker because the existing problem coupled with when the power was restored could cause some appliances to be damaged. So we flipped the main breaker then waited for HydroOne to restore the power.

We live on a small secluded, dead end street off the main road. The entire road was out and then some in both directions. Apparently some 1,500 homes were without power for reasons that weren't disclosed. We heated with wood for a number of years spanning two homes. When we finally bought a house with a natural gas furnace it seemed a treat. There was no hauling wood, chopping wood or stacking wood. Wood does warm in so many ways besides the flames! Then we moved to our previous house also heated with natural gas but the electricity was so finicky it would go out if there was a cloud in the sky. Honestly, the power was out on average three times a month while we lived there bringing the problem of how to stay warm when the power was out because the furnace wouldn't work. Onto this home where we also have a natural gas furnace but the electricity is considerably more stable. Again I was concerned about a secondary heat source for power outages during the winter months. We have a lovely natural gas fireplace that was a retrofit for the existing wood fireplace. I really want to turn the fireplace back to wood. This power outage showed that the natural gas fireplace will work without electricity so we have secondary heat. This is pretty cool :)

At any rate, it was the most bizarre power outage we have ever experienced!

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Punch Buggy

pink punch buggy
Punch Buggy
January 19, 2008

Several years back one of our then teenage kids introduced us to the punch buggy game. Being the sane, level headed and mature adults we are, the game caught on and still remains quite popular. The game is quite easy. A punch buggy is the Volkswagon beetle or van. The scoring is 1 point for a new style punch buggy, 2 points for an old, original style and 5 points for a VW van. The game is played while travelling by any means including walking. Simply be the first holler punch buggy with the colour and punch someone. The punch is only symbolic not meant to inflict any harm so it really is more of a tap. The person with the most points at the end of the trip is the winner. A trip is usually from point A to point B, one way not the entire trip as both of us sometimes forget our scores. A one way score makes it easier to remember. Quite often I end up losing because I'm the official picture taker and my attention span is kaputz.

I spotted the pink punch buggy while we were taking a tour around the South Beach, Florida area. This is the second neatest punch buggy because of the funky colour. The absolute neatest one is a black and white OPP punch buggy spotted up on the 400 Hwy. We usually boo when we spot a boring beige punch buggy as well. When we are walking and spot a parked punch buggy the conversation always turns to whether the trademark flowers are there as well. And there you have what goes on behind the closed doors of our vehicle and then some :)

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Blog Your Blessings Sunday - Our House

ocean view from condo
Ocean View from Condo
January 21, 2008

Update: Things are going as well as to be expected here. The weather is more like March than February so we never know what to expect. The health problems that almost cancelled our vacation have not subsided and it appears from two ultra sounds that the obvious suspected causes are not the causes so I'm onto more tests this coming week and the next. We've started working on the kitchen and baths as well as adding finishing touches to the family room. This has been a nice diversion. I'll be posting about this more on my homemaking blog.

It has been an event filled week with more good than bad. I'm not negating the bad but rather choose to dwell on the positive. I think that in itself is a real blessing. I'm really lucky to live in a country where medical treatment is easily available. I'm sure with persistence the problem will be resolved so just having that faith is a blessing as well.

As many of you know we moved here last June. We did a full month of get go to get the house presentable for a large family event. After that we were tired and honestly we really didn't have a good feel as to how we wanted to decorate. The lower level (main level) is mainly tongue and groove wood with the exception of the field stone fireplace and about a 5' height of wall from wainscotting to tongue and groove wood with large beam ceiling. This room is open to the kitchen that has cabinets in the same wood with the same wood ceiling. It is quite impressive and was the selling feature that sold us! I do have to stress what a blessing it was for us to find and be able to buy this house!

I have made several comments over the house to the effect that "it will be a matter of being at the right place and the right time" and "when we see it we will know it will work". I've been searching for a mural for an upper level accent wall but just couldn't find what I wanted. Friday we stopped at Home Hardware and here was this gorgeous wallpaper border so I mentioned to my husband that we could buy the 10 feet needed since they sold it by the foot, paint the wall and at least that would be one more thing done. Well we bought it, then discovered it matched perfectly to the lower level family room. Talk about a real fluke! So Saturday, we picked up more of the border along with fixtures for the upper bathroom and kitchen. Then we went shopping for ideas and tile for all three rooms. This is a bit different as I normally make most of the decorating decisions but my husband is actually giving input this time so that is really a nice change. We had a very enjoyable shopping trip and while we didn't buy a lot, we learned a lot. It really was a lovely day spent with a loved one.

The blessings this past week were many. Some were very subtle and others quite obvious but all were blessings!

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

US 1

driving along US 1
US 1
January 17, 2008

The first thing that pops into my mind about US 1, the only route between Miami and Key West, is all the negative comments we heard even before we arrived in Florida. Much of the drive down US 1 to Key West was done in the dark so we didn't get to see a lot. There are several areas along the highway where the speed is greatly reduced that does make the traveling time longer. We left Key West Thursday (January 17) morning heading north towards No Name Key where we planned on stopping for a short visit with my husband's aunt and uncle. It was a beautiful, sunny day so we had the top down on the car. It really was a pretty drive, well worth slowing down to enjoy.

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Goodbye Key West

God Bless America statue in Key West, Florida
God Bless America by Steward Johnson Jr.
Key West Museum of Art and History
January 17, 2008

During our trip to Mallory Square I noticed the workers putting up a statue God Bless America by J. Seward Johnson Jr. statue that pays homage to the painting American Gothic by Grant Wood. This statue stands twenty-five feet tall in front of the Key West Museum of Art and History. It was being installed as we wandered Mallory Square so I couldn't get a good picture because the lift and workers were in the way. We took a drive by the following morning so I managed to get a couple of shots of the statue. It is obvious from both that they were still working on the statue but still it was impressive. I really would have liked the time to view the exhibit in the museum but we were on a schedule to arrive in No Name Key by lunch time. So with a bit of a tear we bid good-bye to Key West heading north on US 1.

Key West was amazing to visit! We had a wonderful but too short time there. We are already planning our next visit there. This is a must visit location filled with a lot of beautiful scenery and beautiful people. You certainly won't regret the journey.

Monday, February 04, 2008

Coral Reef Mural

coral reef mural
Coral Reef Mural
Key West
January 16, 2007

Wall art has always fascinated me right from the time I can remember. I am rather partial to old advertising on brick facades that more and more are being restored for historical value. However, any kind of wall art will get my attention including graffetti. This type of art as with any art is always conveying something from the artist that they want to share with others. It can be a message, a feeling, an advertisement or anything thing in between. I will go out of my way to get pictures of these gems so was quite excited to discover an original mural by Wyland on the Waterfront Market/Reef Relief in Key West. The building sits on the corner of William Street and the mural wraps around two sides of it (not shown). Artist Guy Harvey contributed to the painting in the later stages. This mural replaces a mural Wyland completed at the same location in 1993. The new mural was unveiled on September 29, 2003. The photo is of one side of the mural only. As you can see the colours are stunning and so appropriate for the Key West landscape!

Sunday, February 03, 2008

Blog Your Blessings Sunday - Vacation Memories

Ocean View from Condo
January 18, 2008

I'm sitting here taking a brief breather before getting the final touches going for the Superbowl party we are hosting today. Last night some 30 people gathered here for my husband's monthly poker game. We host the majority of these events and surprisingly I look forward to them. They are always a lot of fun even if the other wives complain, tongue in cheek, about me spoiling the guys. And to some degree they are spoiled but you know what better way to show someone you appreciate them and their company than to spoil them just a bit? Some of them decided to play cards until breakfast so I fed them a nice, hot breakfast then set about getting things ready for this afternoon and evening of which some 30 to 40 people will be entertained. So that leads me into my many blessings over the past couple of weeks.

As you know we vacationed in sunny Florida of which I'm still sharing tid bits of our vacation with you. I was very blessed to even be able to go as traveling was almost cancelled a couple of days before the flight. We had uneventful flights with really nice crew members each way. The weather for the most part co-operated while we were there and we had a lovely, relaxing yet event filled vacation full of amazing sights and food. How much better could that get? We arrived home to a snow storm and it took us almost twice as long to drive home. Angels above ensured our safe journey so all was well. Health follow-ups have been tentative with complications but I have every faith that all will be well even if it takes a little time. This weekend the angels again watched over our kids as they traveled home safely. The house has been filled with a lot of love and laughter that promises to continue into the late evening hours tonight.

Grandbaby, always our delight snuggled up to me last night, gave me baby kisses then finally drifted off to sleep. Aside from walking and refining many actions, the little one is giving hugs and oh they are so, so precious! Grapes are a tasty snack but blueberries after one taste were hastily shoved into Daddy's mouth. I really had to bite my tongue to keep from laughing! This little one has already learned anything deemed not edible is fair game for anyone's mouth other than the intended one. Grandpa has grown quite fond of soggy Cheerios. Grandma's cookie jar has taken on a whole new meaning. Soon this little one will be teaching the ropes to the new grandbaby who is doing quite well while awaiting his or her's entrance into the grand scheme of things. And life is good :) So many, many blessings!

So our blessings have been overflowing.

Friday, February 01, 2008


the hanging tree
Hanging Tree
Captain Tony's Saloon
January 15, 2008

We had pre-arranged a Jimmy Buffet walking tour before we left home. We met our tour guides at Captain Tony's Saloon on Greene Street, Key West. We arrived before they did so had a chance to look around the saloon. The first thing that strikes you about the bar is the decor. Almost every conceivable surface is covered with business cards! My husband promptly added his to the collection. The second notable is a pirate skeleton behind the bar, eerily greeting patrons. The third notable is the tree trunk but this is easy to pass by as part of the decor as it could easily be camouflage for building support. This bar was so rustic looking I just had to check it out. The main floor bar has a rough paved stone flooring. It opens onto Greene Street. To the left of the main floor is a smaller room sporting rock walls, a brick fireplace with glass bottle ends showing, a pool table and a tombstone laid in the floor are the features. Next to it furthest away from the road is another small room about two feet lower than the main level, rimmed with rock walls and housing a pool table.

This bar has a rich history including being the oldest bar in Key West, the first morgue, the original Sloppy Joe's for Ernest Hemingway. Apparently because of a rent increase dispute the bar owner at that time (Josie Russell) moved the entire bar and fixtures to it's third and final location of the current Sloppy Joe's. There are still graves (16 bodies) under the floors. What is more interesting is the hanging tree that was the city's hanging tree for criminals and pirates. Captain Tony's Saloon is built around the old hanging and on top of the old morgue! Seventy-five people were hanged from the tree that. The saloon is reported to be haunted by . Captain Tony (Captain Tony Tarracino) placed bottles filled with holy water to bring peace to the haunting spirits. Rumour quotes him as saying he often stayed by himself in the saloon but was never alone. Orbs and apparitions mysteriously appear in photos taken in and around the saloon. I took nine photos inside the saloon and unfortunately did not capture any orbs however there is what could be a ghostly apparition in one photo. It looks surprising similar to a photo that reports to show the ghost of lady in the blue dress.

The unique decor of the saloon originated by folks trying to get messages to Captain Tony while he was out on his boat so they hung the messages on the door. When he arrived back he would get in touch with those folk. The practice was seen as being unsightly and a fire hazard so Captain Tony told them to hang the notices inside the saloon instead of on the door. It caught on so now the decor is business cards galore along with anything else that can be pinned to the walls or ceiling including feminine garments. This really is a must visit saloon in Key West!