29 December 2011

My sentimental (or just mental) Christmas thoughts...

Christmas is one of my favourite times of the year and not because of the presents (my family stopped doing big gifts years ago) but because of the most wonderful gift I carry with me always in my heart.  It's love. I am, most likely, the most sentimental and sappiest person in the world and I pretty much tear up at anything remotely sad, lovely, heart-warming or generous through the entire month of December.  This usually makes listening to Christmas carols, watching television or simply speaking with people difficult.  In fact, I usually start to lose my shit the moment that the Goodfellows are out on the street collection donations and handing out their newspapers.  Each year I promise that the next year I will be one of those cold people standing on the corners hocking this special edition in hopes to give Christmas to those in need of assistance.  Most people put the paper on their dash so that as they continue to drive through the city, the other volunteers will know they have already given and move on to the other cars.  I do the same however I give every time I am stopped - it's usually whatever change i have at the time so it's not like I'm giving millions but those volunteers - they make you feel like you are.  They see your paper and say "oh thank you for giving" and I say "no I want to give again" and beckon them over.  At that point when they are more than thankful is usually when I tear up and drive off.  l

table for 25 please
Having lived away from home for so many years, there is a feeling that comes over me every time I hear "I'll be home for Christmas" or see the Folgers coffee commercial where the brother comes home from South Africa and the teenage sister has waited up all night.... It's that anticipation of knowing you are going home - there is nothing like it.  Packing and getting gifts ready, dealing with holiday travelers, it was all just part of this pure excitement to get home to the people you love. Luckily in all the years of living in Ottawa, Toronto and Finland there was only 1 Christmas that I missed. Just even driving over to my parents house on Christmas, knowing our family was all going to be together.  It feels like it goes by in a second (even though it's a three day long affair!) but that loud and crazy second is the best part of the year.  It's so hard for me to imagine those who aren't over the moon to see their aunts, uncles, siblings, parents, cousins etc.  To think of those who are focused more on the gifts to give and receive then the people in their hearts who are the biggest gifts of all.  I know I'm blessed.  I'm beyond blessed and I am so very grateful.  

Boxing Day Bowlers
So as I mentioned Christmas is really a three-day affair with our family, starting Christmas Eve through Boxing Day.  As children we had a few "athletic" traditions such as Labour Day Baseball (aka The Emily Cup) and Boxing Day Bowling.  Not that we're uber competitive (I mean it's not like we make people judge who makes a better pumpkin pie or broccoli/ cauliflower casserole or anything....yes we do lol) but we do like to have a good time! So this year, after a few years hiatus, we brought back Boxing day Bowling followed by yet another meal of leftovers and pizza at my cousin's house.  We took up four lanes (oddly they put us at the very end of the place away from others!) but I'm pretty sure our decibel level rocked the joint! There were a few chipped nails, some spills onto the lanes (they are slippery!) and my incessant desire to get a turkey (3 strikes in a row for you non-bowlers!).  I kept getting 2 strikes and then a spare which we then decided to coin the term of "cornish hen"... Ridiculous. Hilarious.  Very loud! I'm not going to lie, I did the above demonstrated STRIKE X with my arms and pretty much yelled it at the top of my lungs before then chest bumping my cousin on the lane over every time I got one.  I may or may not start to hang out at the singles night ... ok I'm NOT. I promise.  I am however going to look in to my own shoes and team shirts for next year!

So as the holidays start to wrap up and we look forward to ringing in the new year, it's also a time to be reflective and yet again thankful.  Thankful for the love and the prayers sent into this world by my family which have supported me through a difficult year.  Thankful that there is a giant group of people who are all so happy to be together.  I'm thankful for our laughter, our loudness, our love.  

22 December 2011

Feeling blessed

Today marks the 20th anniversary of the loss of this great man - my grandfather, my Nannu.  Though I was only blessed with him for 14years he taught us all so many things.  He was famous for saying "when you are dead, you're dead a long time" and usually it was in response to my grandmother yelling at him for eating or doing something he wasn't supposed to! And it is very true. Life is short so we really should count our blessings and live in each moment.  This is likely where my check the dessert menu first philosophy came from....

It seems as though all the blessings in your life come out of the woodwork and land smack dab in your lap around this time of the year.  It's a time to take stock in who is around you and reach out to them.  It's a time when you realize that you really do believe in miracles and that good inherently lies within people.  As you spend extended periods of time with your family, you realize just how blessed you are to have them.  As crazy as they all are!! Just kidding. Maybe. *wink* It's the time of year where you do miss those who have left us - there is nothing more I would give then to be sitting in the dining room of my grandparents home, in the midst of a Christmas Eve seafood feast, where the decibel level hits way above what any human ear can take.  I miss them both every day but especially this week.  The two of them shaped each of us and made each of us appreciative of just how wonderful a family we are blessed with.  

Now, for those of you who know me, you know that I'm a big sap.  I go through Kleenex like it's nobody's business at this time of the year.  It's not because I'm sad but there is just something so magical about Christmas.  I cry each year when the Goodfellows are out selling their papers - I read the "Yes Virginia" story each year and it always warms my heart.  I do believe.  Not in Santa himself but in the magic and goodness of the season.  I have literally cried at pretty much any commercial that involves someone returning home for Christmas, soldiers or veterans, or those doing good deeds for others.  Yes I cried at the Kmart layaway story and I cried through the montage on Good Morning America that highlighted so many great things and great accomplishments of this past year.  I'll likely bawl all the way through New Years just being grateful for the wonderful things and the amazing people I have in my life.  I draw my strength from them and their support.  I give my love because I have been blessed with love.  Christmas is pretty much a full 3 day affair with our family and I can't even wait for it to begin! We are so very, very lucky.  

I hope that this time of year reinforces the belief of others that people are inherently good and that we are here on this earth to love each other and to be good to each other.  I hope that the miracles that surface are remembered throughout the year, that the outpouring of love and support won't end when the season does and that the approaching new year will be filled with amazing things and new memories.  I believe.  I choose to believe.  In love.  In Peace. In Family. In hope.  

01 December 2011

being happy, being me

 It's hard to believe but it's been a year now since I made the move back to Canada. So much has changed in that year and yet, my perspective remains the same.  I may have had to give up on the life that I thought I was meant to lead, but I do so willingly in the hope that there is something else I am destined to do.  Someone else I am meant to love.  Another chapter of life I am meant to write. It doesn't make it unscary (if that is even a word!) and it doesn't make it easy but what worth anything in life wasn't scary or came easy? 

We aren't given many choices in life but the perspective in which we face each day is most certainly ours.  It is our opportunity to exhibit grace by remaining positive in the face of adversity.  What life is without adversity? Who could possibly move forward or grow without change, without trials or without moments of fear?  It doesn't mean that there aren't moments where we recognize heartbreak but that is also the moment we realize the passion and greatness of loving. It takes strength to see that the bump in the road is not meant to break us, but rather it is there to remind us of both the ups and the downs.  Without rain, the warmth of a cloudless sunny day would never feel as sweet.  It isn't about not dealing with sadness, but rather by being happy in spite of it. 
We have the opportunity to live gracefully, to love fully and to be positive.  It is our one life to lead.  Why not do so with a smile on your face and love in your heart.  just sayin'

30 November 2011

the little things

Tonight ends a lovely combination mini-vacation/business trip up in Toronto. Although it is lovely to be living in the same city as family & friends again, being back here always reminds me how much I miss the city. There are just certain things about living in the city - like the art of Sunday brunch,  or weekends exploring unique neighbourhoods, finding new treasures of shops & restaurants and of course, the arts.  I love going to the theatre.  It's one of the things that T would refuse to join me on despite how much I enjoyed it.  It's been forever since I've been in a production but every time I step in to a theatre, no matter how large or small, I remember that feeling.  The anticipation getting in to character in the green room, or finding your mark on stage awaiting the lights to come up, or the moment that you are completely engrossed in this other identity... It's sort of the feeling I get at the start of a race - waiting (usually in the dark) at the starting line trying to find internal focus and feeling the pulse of excitement.

So today was the day to I set aside to spend with my favourite person...me! :) Actually I spent the morning with one of my lovely sales reps followed by a nice chat over lunch with her.  Then some solo afternoon roaming & shopping before I took myself for a wonderful dinner and then, to see Dying City.  As much as I enjoyed the "me-time", it would have been lovely to have had someone to sit and discuss this performance with afterwards.  As many who are close to me know, sometimes I struggle topics that include 9/11 and the war.  After being in NYC that fateful day, being there in that moment and seeing it firsthand, I carry a piece of that horror with me always.  Knowing that this play would touch on the topic made me go in with a bit of trepidation but it ended up that it was completely other moments in this play that caught me, hand to heart, wiping away tears. 

This Christopher Shin play not only starred two amazing Canadian actors but was also directed by a lovely man that I happened to be seated next to for the performance.  The location may have been small but the characters were larger than life and provoked some intense emotions leaving me wishing it wouldn't end.  In the manner of a truly great production, the characters left me wanting more.  Handsome and talented, Sergio Di Zio skillfully portrayed two of the main characters, jumping back and forth between personas and moments in time without any confusion as to which voice he was speaking from.  As "Peter" the brother seemingly lost in his grief, unsure of the boundary between himself and his sister-in-law and as "Craig" leaving to Iraq with his own internal war raging.  In the moment that Lesley Faulkner's character asks her husband if he loves her - the hurt by his lack of response and her raw emotion beating upon him drew tears. That instinctive moment when you are consumed in trying to make that person feel, to evoke some sort of emotional reaction when they seem to have shut down and your heart is shattering.  Or the moment that you learn horrible truths about the person that you love and your chest feels so heavy that you're unsure if you are breathing.  I wasn't expecting that. I have lived through that exact heartbreak.  It truly is a moment that I hope most people don't ever experience firsthand. 


Knowing that it was only an 80min production, there came a time when I knew it had to be wrapping up and I found myself wishing for just a bit more.  I feel sort of the same returning to my hotel room knowing that it's time to leave tomorrow.  When I am here, I feel like I'm meant to come back.  The only reason I ever left Toronto was to marry T and with that chapter closing, I have to admit I feel the draw to return to the city, to the vibrancy.  Perhaps it's the desire to start fresh when we move forward in to new adventures in our lives.  Like the character "Kelly" in tonight's play, sometimes peripheral changes such as packing up memories or painting walls are not enough to allow us to move forward.  Sometimes once we have finished grieving, whether that be the loss of an actual person or the dreams you have for your life, you need to allow the inner voice that speaks within you to guide you in moving forward.  

21 November 2011

It's an honour to be nominated.....

But to be honest it feels even better to win!!! 

I was honoured to be nominated for the Biz X Magazine Oscars among other amazing businesses for The Best Little Retail Shop in Windsor Essex.  Friday was the Awards presentation and well, let's just say it feels really great to win!! 

Here are a few snaps from the evening that I shared with the girls from the store:
Rockin' the red carpet
With my award - just a little bit happy!!

Peggy, Jeanine, Sparky The Fire Dog and me :)
It was a very fun night - we met some great people at our table with wonderful local businesses.  After all the hard work put in over the past few years, it makes me very proud that I have built this successful business.  As I said in my speech, I couldn't have done it without my family, friends and customers.  Thank you everyone and yay me!!! xo

19 November 2011

What we learn from angels

Perhaps they are not really stars in the sky but rather openings where our loved ones shine down to let us know they are happy. -Eskimo legend
 
Dear brother, 
I can only hope that the above legend is true - that you are looking down on all of us as we keep you in our heart.  This photo is how I will always remember you - how I will remember us.  It will always be us playing under the stairs on Piche street and trains on Alexandra, going to Cranbrook to look at dinosaurs and dig for bones, family camping trips and Bob's scavenger hunts. Then when I moved to Ottawa, Sunday dinners around the table and discussions about a million topics. I remember when you told me you were going to marry Laleah and then dancing with you at your wedding. I remember your voice telling me about Emma when she was first born, how happy you were to be a father.  There was nothing but love and happiness in your tone.  It's hard not to feel like you were taken too soon. I hope what we can learn from angels is that each day matters - that we can't let a moment go by without appreciating what and who we have in our lives. I still remember the moment I heard - I was in total disbelief. Putting together collages of photos for the service was like seeing our childhood laid out in front of me.  I remember standing in the funeral home and my legs were paralyzed.  I couldn't go to your casket for the longest time - I was not ready to say good bye to you.  You live on in all our hearts and in Emma's smile.  Her strength, her tenacity and her spirit - they are you.  We can only hope that you were there, smiling down on us and keeping a watchful eye.  I promise to tell Emma all the crazy stories, to hopefully give her our love of dinosaurs, to always help her remember her wonderful daddy and yes, I will break out the Beta tapes of our New Years Eve music videos and commercials! Brother, wherever you are please smile down on us and know that we are looking up to the heavens with our love for you.  You live in our hearts forever.  xo

13 November 2011

Cinnamon Maple Bread

There is always something comforting about a warm mug of coffee and a slice of something delicious.  My mom always made various forms of coffee cake or breads (zucchini, banana etc) when we were kids.  I've got a lovely coffee date with my girl E in the morning and so after stumbling upon this recipe I decided that it would be the perfect thing to bring along.  Now the recipe was for a loaf of this Cinnamon Maple bread however I could not for the life of me find my loaf pan, hence I decided to use my lovely fluted bundt pan and cut the baking time down to 30min.  

Not only does the flavor of maple warm my fall-loving heart, there are also many benefits of cinnamon in our diets.  Here are a few: 
~ Help with indigestion
~ Mild anti-inflammatory
~ Slows the spoiling of food
~ Diarrhea
~ Sniffing it can improve brain function
~ Improves type 2 diabetes
~ Helps with insulin resistance 


So whether you share the love of all things maple (and by love I mean literally could drink the syrup straight out of the can) or looking for the heath benefits of cinnamon, here is the recipe: 

For the bread:
  • 2 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup pure maple syrup
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup browned butter
  • 1/4 cup cold butter cubed
  • 1 tablespoon cinnamon
  •  
    For the icing:
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla 
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt in a large bowl.
In a medium bowl, whisk together the maple syrup, buttermilk, eggs, and vanilla. Slowly whisk in the browned butter.
Combine the wet and dry ingredients and mix until just combined.
In a small bowl, cut the butter and cinnamon together until you have small pea sized chunks.
Fold into the batter.
Pour into a greased 9x5 loaf pan.
Bake for 45 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.
Allow to cool for 15 minutes before icing. To make the icing, whisk together all ingredients. Add more sugar or cream to reach the desired consistency. Drizzle over the top of the bread or spread on individual slices. 


I added another 1/4c of maple syrup - just because I love it so...tasting it now, I would add in some nuts or perhaps do some sort of pecan/walnut/maple filling to layer in before baking.... I didn't have heavy cream to make the icing so I just sprinkled with powdered sugar however tomorrow I may make some fresh whipped cream to bring along and yep, most likely drizzle with more maple syrup!

10 November 2011

Scattered

I've started about four posts over the past week or so but I can't seem to get my thoughts right and/or organized in to a coherent message so I just keep working on them and saving for later.  I guess it's just one of those weeks - a million things on the go and the insanity of the holiday season at our feet.  

It's not like me to be at a loss for words and to be honest there is a lot that I want to say but my own thoughts seem to be a bit jumbled up.  I've been helping a girlfriend sort through some stuff and trying to help her see the brighter side.  Perhaps that is part of the writers block.  


We are in the middle of what I believe is the happiest time of the year - from Thanksgiving to New Years.  It's such a wonderful, beautiful time to be grateful for all the wonderful things in our lives.  It's a time when the colour of the sun is so bright and the crisp in the air is so fresh.  

It's just that time when miracles seem just around the corner, when even with the crisper air the Christmas lights warm you from the inside out and hope is ever present around us.  This season never ceases to amaze the heck out of me.

So since I can't seem to get my own words together, here are a few thoughts that I came upon recently.  Hope to be back with my own words soon.  
 

31 October 2011

Happy Halloween

Pumpkins carved, fuzzy slippers on, candy in bowl - we are ready for trick or treaters!! That said, we ran out of candy by 7:15 and had to turn out the lights lol!! 

 Yes Ruby you are cuter than my owl pumpkin!!

23 October 2011

cheese + cheese with a side of cheese

"kitty litter" cheese dip
A friend of mine called asking for my cheese dip recipe a few weeks ago and I haven't been able to get it out of my mind.  Not sure if perhaps my period is imminent however today I pretty much craved everything in the garlic and cheese variety.  This dip is not a pretty one - this picture doesn't really do justice to really how awful this dip looks.  I tried to make it prettier with rice chips and usually if I make it for a party I spread it out on a giant square platter and surround with crackers.  Affectionately, at an office where I used to work, this dip was referred to as "the kitty litter dip" because of it's colour as well as the texture.  It's the dip that people may be hesitant to try but then can't walk away from because it tastes that good.  My father-in-law will literally stand next to the plate any time I made this for church or a family gathering.   People will ask me "what's in this?" - I'm usually hesitant to say until I know that they have tried it because if you were to just hear the ingredient list, there is probably no way in hell you would dig in.  By now you are probably wondering so I won't keep you in suspense any longer... 

1 brick OLD white chedder cheese (shredded) 
1 white onion diced small 
2 sml packages chopped walnuts
couple of dashes of franks red hot sauce 
1 diced clove of garlic 
1 cup mayo 
seedless raspberry jam 


When I used to have a food processor I would blend the onion & walnuts until they were chopped so tiny and then shred the cheese.  Put all the ingredients (except for the jam) in a big bowl and mush them all together.  Let sit in the fridge for a few hours.  To plate, spread out the cheese mixture on a plate and then top with raspberry jam - serve with crackers.  Like I said, it sounds gross - but trust me you'll love it. 


So as the dip was chilling I made a modification of my healthy mac n cheese recipe. Then as I put that in to cook, I sat down with a plate of cheese dip as an appetizer and yes....then I ate a bowl of mac n cheese.  I may never go to the bathroom again...

19 October 2011

till it feels right

A friend of mine was over the night before last and since it was cold and gloomy out (and since I refuse to put the heat on in my house before November!) I decided to cook to warm the place up.  I made some ribs and a pot of soup for lunches for the week.  It's kinda funny to watch me cook I'm sure because a. I drop so much on the floor and b. I don't ever follow a recipe.  I decided to make corn chowder again because I had left over light cream from my Thanksgiving ice cream creation.  K stirred the onions cooking in some of the left over bacon fat (heart healthy!) and looked at me in amazement (or perhaps amusement) as I just chopped stuff and threw it in the pot.  Mushrooms, zucchini, corn, creamed corn, light cream, can of water, salt, pepper, bacon... bring it up to a boil and Ta Da! Soup of the day! She looked at me and asked "how do you know what to put in? or how much?" My answer (thank you Nanna) "Just till it feels right".  When the soup looks full enough, or when the dough feels like the right texture or when the meat gives just a little.  That's how my Nanna taught me to cook - I always thought she was nuts because I at first I couldn't understand how I would just know or what it would be when it felt right.  But I just cooked along side her and learned.  

I think it's true with a lot of things - sometimes you just know when it feels right.  When T and I first separated, the pragmatic side of me wondered about logistics and when it would feel right to date again or to change my name back. People would ask it of me as well and I would answer back that it'll have to wait until it felt right.  I had a hard time with the word ex-husband at first but now that it will soon be a reality, I find myself finding it easier to say.  I don't have my eye on anyone in particular but there has been some flirting and yes it has felt right.  I'm not 100% sure how starting to date will feel but I do feel like it's the right time.  It's at least the right time to be open to it and I have a feeling it will make for a few interesting blog posts.... stay tuned :)

16 October 2011

13.1 miles of fun!

there is something crazy special about runners, especially those who like to race.  We actually pay for the torture of running an exorbitant amount of mile, starting before the sun comes up.  

Take this morning, it's 5am - it's dark and cold outside.  The rest of the world is still asleep (except for some nursing moms and some hard core clubbers!). I am rubbing warming cream on my muscles, attempting to put contacts in my eyes, taking my vitamins and making oatmeal. 

I've had this feeling in the pit of my stomach since yesterday - it's excitement.  It happens before each race and I'm a middle of the pack runner.  Can't even imagine how it would feel for those in contention of actually winning the race.  

I've battled an injury this time around - but I decided this morning I was going to give it a try.  I didn't worry about my time.  In fact I stopped and took photos along the way. It was pretty chilly & rainy thru the race - luckily my pink knee high compression socks kept me toasty! I ended up actually getting a new PR (personal record) of 2:28 even with the stops and the gimpy leg! I'll take a few weeks off to heal now and just be nice to my body with ballet, pilates and yoga but then it's time to pick the next race!! I'm thinking Miami in January - who's with me???

15 October 2011

Pumpkin Muffins & Marathon Prep



So I had some left over pumpkin from Thanksgiving last weekend and what else to do but bake of course! Here is the recipe that I came up with: 

Ingredients
2 eggs
1/2 cup pumpkin puree
1/4 cup agave nectar
1/4 cup maple syrup
4 Tbsp melted butter
1 tsp vanilla
3/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp ground ginger
2 1/2 cups almond flour
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
1/4 cup ground flax 
2 tbsp chia seeds 
handful of dark chocolate chips (optional) 

Instructions
1. Preheat oven to 325.
2. Line a muffin pan with paper liners or prep silicone baking cups
3. In a large mixing bowl, use an electric beater to thoroughly combine all ingredients EXCEPT almond flour, walnuts, and raisins.
4. Stir in almond flour until well combined.
5. Stir in walnuts and chocolate chips.
6. Spoon batter into muffin cups, using wet fingers to press down any bumps on the tops before baking.
7. Bake for 25-30 minutes, until golden brown and a toothpick comes out clean.
 
Happy Fall Baking :) 

11 October 2011

to run or not to run....

acupuncture with electric currents - not a great angle!!
In less than a week I should be running the Detroit Free Press 1/2 Marathon.  I love running this race, not only because it's a home race, but I love coming up over the bridge just as the sun is coming up and seeing my city ahead of me.  That said, it's also nice to do a race where you actually know people along the sidelines cheering you on! 

Now even though mentally I feel great for this race, physically my body is slowly revolting against me.  It will be my second 1/2 marathon this year, with a couple 10mile races mixed in along the way.  I'm pretty sure my body is now finally telling me to slow down and perhaps stop pushing so hard.  I made it a promise to just get me through the week and one last race and I won't bother it with running for most of November.  I promise to stick to ballet, Pilates and yoga for the next few months and give it some time off.  I'm doing my best to help out - chiropractic adjustments, massage, acupuncture, ultrasound, heat, ice, magnesium...... all I ask is for maybe 20 more miles.  I know I need to let go of my time goal and just enjoy the run (except for the tunnel because I truly hate that part of the race).  It's hard to let go of the goal because besides this darn IT Band and Hip Flexor I feel great! My times were under a 10min/mile - which isn't breaking any records but for me is damn good! Now with this inflammation, I'm back in the 10:30min/mile - which is still good don't get me wrong but it's frustrating to know you're not where you could be.  For now I'm just going to take it one day at a time. Rest and continue with the therapy and rolling on my foam roller at home and play it by ear. 

Then this morning, as I was tweeting from the massage table, there was a running quote posted that read "sometimes your PR has nothing to do with time but what you conquer inside".  Perhaps I should focus on that a bit more.

09 October 2011

a thankful heart & a full bely

Today was a perfect fall day - the sun was high, the air was warm and all the colours of fall appeared on the tree lined streets.  I was lucky to start the day with yoga, taking yet again a few moments to focus inward and to count my blessings. It's hard to believe how many changes have happened this past year as I mark the 1 year mark of T & I's separation.  It makes me realize that good things fall apart so that even better things can fall together.  I'm not exactly sure what the better things will be but I don't have a doubt in my heart that great things lay ahead.  

Spending a holiday with my family, it's not hard to find wonderful moments to celebrate. I am truly blessed and it's days as perfect as these which remind me.  Tonight close to twenty of us sat together, enjoying both a plethora of delicious food and each other's company.  I'm pretty sure that anyone watching us would have been ultimately confused at the topics & decibel level of our conversations.  Hopefully Nana & Nannu were smiling down on us as we were all very thankful for the time that we had with them.  Their presence was truly missed. 

My afternoon was spent in the kitchen and on the front porch.  I put on my favourite pink frilly apron given to me by my lovely sister-in-law last Christmas and began to follow some new recipes (by follow I really mean use as a guide-line and slightly adapt what I find online).  My creations today were a Maple-Walnut pie in a Gluten-free Almond Flour Pie Crust accompanied by Pumpkin Pie Ice Cream. 
To take a snapshot of my family, someone is always reaching over the other, putting their finger in the bowl or snagging a bite off someone's plate. This picture of the fingers in the ice cream bowl certainly made me feel like my Pumpkin Pie Ice Cream was a hit! 


To see the actual recipe for Pumpkin Pie Ice Cream click HERE.  However I did modify the recipe by using 5% cream rather than heavy cream and I left out the burboun.  It was beyond delicious and paired with my Maple Walnut Pie it was a great combination.  Now don't be fooled, there was still a real pumpkin pie as well as a blueberry pie but I have to say that I was pretty partial to my creations!!


So since I opted for morning yoga I decided against making my own gluten-free pie crust and opted for the tried & true Almond Flour Pie crust care of Elena's Pantry - for the recipe, click HERE. You can use this crust for pretty much any pie as well as quiche. 
Now for my Pie I will try my best to remember what I did.... 

Filling:  2 cups walnut pieces
5 Tb unsalted butter, melted
1 cup packed light brown sugar
1/4 tsp salt
3 whole eggs
1 egg yolk
3/4 cup pure maple syrup
1 tsp vanilla extract

In a large bowl, whisk together the melted butter, the light brown sugar, and the salt. Whisk in the whole eggs and the egg yolk, the maple syrup, and vanilla. Whisk until well-blended. Stir in the chopped nuts.  


I baked the shell while I was prepping the filling.  As soon as the pie shell comes out of the oven, reduce the heat to 275 F and pour the filling directly into the HOT crust. Return the pie immediately to the oven and cook for 50 to 60 minutes until the pie is just set. It will jiggle like jello in the middle, but will be firm and slice beautifully after it cools. Transfer pie to cooling rack. Let pie cool for 4 hours before serving (or it won’t slice.)

So now I sit, writing and sipping peppermint tea trying to commit to memory all of tonight's laughter and love.  I'm lucky to have had a happy childhood, a close-knit family and wonderful memories to treasure.  I'm thankful to put this year to a close and to move forward with a thankful heart and a full belly.  

Happy Thanksgiving! xo 

02 October 2011

Love trumps fear...

I began today with morning yoga.  I usually go for my long run Sunday morning so it was a variation in my schedule but it turned out to be exactly what I needed to do and where I needed to be.  It was that perfect, cool and sunny fall morning without a cloud in the sky.  Admittedly, I'm not very good at yoga as much as I try - I never seem to be able to shut off my brain and stay in the moment.  But today, I really focused and let myself just listen and breathe. 

Today would have been my seventh wedding anniversary. 1 year ago I was happily married.  It's amazing how much can change in a short time. I am not the same woman that I was a year ago or seven years ago for that matter.  I'm still happy but I'm stronger.  I'm more aware.  I'm living more in the moment and trying to focus on what really matters the most. 


During class, our instructor guided us through the practice.  Her words seemed to reach out and settle me.  As we lay there in our first pose on our backs, eyes shut and soul opened she had us tense our arms, legs, shoulders and face as tight as we could and then, with an exhale, breathe out that tension.  Feel the worry and the guilt leave your body.  I realized then that I did feel guilty still - I felt guilt that my marriage failed and that I couldn't do anything to fix it.  I said my vows with every intention that it was forever so to go back on those words, to walk away, was one of the hardest things I have ever done.  I don't doubt that it was the correct thing to do for both T and I but it doesn't make it any easier.  I know that it's over and I've made my peace with it actually.  The only thing that I still dislike is the actual word. I didn't marry with the thought that I could divorce one day if it didn't work out - I went in to it for forever - feet, or rather heart, first.  I don't want what has happened to me, to define me. I guess I have to keep working on letting that go but I know I'll get there. 


Feel the strength of your body. My body doesn't feel strong right now.  My runners hips are pretty disabling lately, which has been discouraging at times.  I do know however that I've come in to my own strength this past year.  Since I started tracking my mileage in February I have run over 300 miles so far and I'll complete my second half marathon of the year this month.  I've toiled on the pilates reformer, I've spent hours at the ballet barre and I've let Jillian Michaels kick my sorry butt.  I am confident that my legs are strong enough to carry me through any trial. I know my strength runs deep and it is what gets me to believe that each moment happens to us for a reason and that we truly aren't given more trials than what we can handle. 

Focus on your breath.  Be in the moment.  Let go of the fear or the worry.  So an actor from a favourite Canadian TV show had a great message in his twitter profile and for some reason it has resonated with me. I'm not sure if it's a quote he's taken from elsewhere or just words he believes but they stuck with me when I read them.  "Love trumps fear every time". 

Right now this moment in my life is scary.  Starting over is always difficult but I've realized that sometimes what we define as fear is really just a mixture of excitement and anticipation.  I have a lot of fears starting over again.  I worry that the next person I fall in love with won't be honest.  I worry that I'll give my heart again to someone who won't cherish it as they should.  I worry that I'll choose wrong again. Can the prospect of love, and all the amazing things that come with it, really trump the fear? I can only hope that like the song The Dance, that the moment of heartache as something ends is worth all the amazing moments that led up to it. 

Shoulders back, head held high. Open up your heart. Opening your heart in yoga feels wonderful and freeing and strong.  I can only hope I will be able to open my heart again in the real world with my shoulders back and head high just as it was in today's practice.  I'm starting to feel ready but I know I've redefined what it is that I'm looking for and what I feel like I deserve and what I refuse to compromise on.  What I hope to find is simple really.  I want someone honest.  Someone who asks me how my day was or what the book I'm reading is about.  Someone who will rub my back and tell me a story on the rare occasion when I can't fall asleep.  I want someone who whole-heartedly loves their family and who wants to love mine. Someone confident, loving and respectful. I want him to thoroughly enjoy a Sunday morning of quietly sitting over coffee and sharing a newspaper for hours on end.  Someone I can trust with my heart. Someone who wouldn't walk away.   Someone who would never let me go.


Let go.  Grieve whatever it is that you have to say good-bye to.  Release it back to the world.  
Remember when you were a kid and you would scour the beach for those pieces of glass, smoothed out but the ebb & flow of the water washing them in and off of the beach day after day.   I'm hoping to be a piece of beach glass soon - smoother around the edges and even more wonderful after all this back and forth, ebb & flow, love & loss. 


So as we wait for our divorce to be final, I do go back to the part of me that truly believes people are meant to be in your life for a reason.  I wonder truly what T was meant to teach me.  That I'm strong enough to walk away - that my spirit is even stronger? Was I meant to learn that things aren't always what they seem? That even though the music inevitably ends, it's more important to have danced than never at all. 

Seven years ago I said I do, because I did.  I believed in forever and happily ever after and to be honest I still do.  I know I am meant to be exactly where I am, in this moment.  


Take a moment to focus on your blessings.  I journal my blessings every night so I know, truly, that the good in my life by far outweighs any of the struggles.  My family, my friends, my heath, my business - all keep me remembering just how blessed I am.  I am thankful - very thankful. 

This is my moment.  It's time to move forward.  To keep believing in love.  To kick fear to the curb.

01 October 2011

Sept 11, 2001 - A Decade Later

(this was originally written on the anniversary of 9/11)
It was 10 years ago already.
10 years since I phoned my frantic parents to tell them I was still alive and not to worry.
10 years since they told us our location was the next potential target & to prepare to evacuate. 
10 years since we walked to give blood, but there was no one to give it to. 
10 years since the streets flooded with ash, papers & people.  
10 years since the emergency siren went off and we grabbed our bags to head for the doors. 
10 years since I feared for my life. 

It is hard to imagine that it was a decade ago already. On each anniversary I have sat and listened to the names being read of all those who did not survive and thanked God for my name not being on that list.  It's frightening to think that the very next day, we were actually going to have lunch at the World Trade Centre.  It's ironic that of all the times I traveled for work, this was the only time I had given my parents my hotel contact information. 

It has been 10 years however there are things I cannot forget.  I will never forget the looks on the faces of people searching for their loved ones who were in the towers.  Handing you a paper with their picture on it, asking if you had seen them.  Searching for something in your eyes, a glimmer of hope that perhaps they had made it.  I will never forget the eerie feeling of walking the always crowed and vibrant streets of NYC that were now littered with military personnel and no people.  Being on a bus where half the occupants were covered in ash, in blood and in fear.  I will never forget the feeling of trying to sleep that night, worried that there were bombs or something worse that would blow up during the night.  The incessant sounds of the sirens.  Ten years later, I still shudder and freeze up when I hear sirens.  

I have a lot of thoughts on why this happened and who was to blame but that isn't the purpose of this post.  The purpose is to honour those that lost their lives, those that lost their loved ones and those who this date has impacted forever.  How or why it happened doesn't negate the fact that there were many heroes that day that ran up those stairs to save people or who charged the cockpit or who searched through the rubble to find missing souls.  It is a day that has changed our lives forever and that will hopefully remind us how precious life is despite the evil that is in our world.  

It's been a decade.  
10 years since we crossed by ferry to NJ & watched the towers smouldering still the next morning. 
10 years since we drove towards the Canadian border not knowing if we could cross. 
10 years since we all struggled with guilt for leaving and not doing more to help. 
10 years since I got home to my apartment and finally allowed myself to cry.  

It has been 10 years and yet, it still feels like yesterday.  I will never forget. 

Overdue

I openly admit I'm a Type A personality, multi-tasking, digitally connected kinda gal.  That said, leaving on vacation one of the stipulations was that we had WiFi in our villa so I wouldn't be out of reach for my store that was remaining open without me.  I was hoping to be able to blog freely through our trip, post photos, tweet, check email..... 

However once we got to our home for the week, we discovered that there was no internet access.  There were a few cafes downtown that we could go to but that also meant dragging a laptop up and down the hilly streets.  So with the comfort of knowing the store could text me with any problems, I disconnected.  No news, no email, no contact with anyone really outside of Positano.  It was weird at first but then admittedly, kind of nice.  

Now there were a few posts I had written that I will now post - they are a bit late but hopefully still relevant.  I mean it wasn't like I stopped postulating while I was on vacation, I just had no way to connect it to the outside world!! So as it very clearly turns to fall here, the temperature dip and the gloomy rain, it's the perfect time to bake, write and nest.  This is my favourite season of the year.  The colours are changing on the trees, the clothes are comfortable and homes feel cozier.  Happy Fall everyone.....

08 September 2011

VIva Italia

In less than eight hours we leave Windsor en route to Italy!! Posts will likely be infrequent for the next 10 days however you never know! Pictures will be plentiful upon our return and I promise to think of some fun stories. 

Last night we got to spend the evening with Claudia & Ness visiting from Ottawa as well as, Marnie, Michelle & Garth visiting from just around the corner.  I can't tell you how many laughs we had as they were uncountable.  Remembering moments of our lives all interlaced together.  Makes a girl really grateful.  I'll leave you with this nice thought: 


Ciao Ciao!! 

02 September 2011

Moments in Time

There surely are never enough hours in a day, days in a week nor weeks in a summer.  Time passes quickly - sometimes too quickly - and memories are usually what sustains us.  Fifteen years ago this weekend, at the age of 18, we packed up a UHaul trailer, hitched it to my dad's Ford Explorer and drove it to Ottawa where I became a Raven.  A Carleton University Raven that is! Actually first I was a Flamingo which was my residence floor's mascot for Frosh Week - C U in the Tropics! Then I was a Raven.  Now although it is close to a lifetime ago, I still remember some moments perfectly. 

A very good friend of mine sends her son off to University this week and I know it's hard for her so it's gotten me thinking of that first step in my adventure so many years ago now.   We arrived in Ottawa and headed over to Bob & Claudia's for the first night and then over to residence in the morning to pick up my room assignment, laundry bag, student card etc.  Luckily I was the first one in the room so I chose the bed & desk closest to the window - Erin my (not so friendly) roommate arrived soon after.  I was on a co-ed floor so quickly made friends with Ryan and Rollie across the hall. Mom & Claudia scoured the room clean, we unpacked and got settled.  We went back to Bob & Claudia's for dinner and then my parents dropped me off at the dorm to sleep.  At which time, little miss independent, got in her single bed, covered her head with a pillow and cried.  I remember thinking "what the fuck am I doing so far from home?" but as always I allowed myself to be scared and then remembered all the reasons I wanted to be here.  Luckily I also had a second parental unit in Bob & Claudia here in Ottawa with me so by morning I was good to go.  I remember my parents saying good bye and all of us trying not to cry - I don't think my mom did a very good job! I remember my dad slipping me a $50 - which at the time felt like I was rich! I walked back up to 3rd Grenville, put on my Flamingo Tee Shirt and without looking back, proceeded to enjoy Frosh Week Festivities with a vengeance and later, a hangover.  

If one day I am blessed with children, I will make them go away to University and like my parents, I will make them pay for it because when you know how much each class cost you, you are less likely to skip it.  Being in residence and living away from home was such an amazing experience - there are things you learn about yourself, your family, your friends that you just don't learn staying at home.  You learn how the nutritional value of poutine (best in our nation's capital), how to balance laundry, exams and buying your own toilet paper.  You learn the subtle display of love from your mother and your friends who send you care packages in the mail and deposit $20 in your bank account.  You learn to appreciate your sister because distance really does make the heart grow fonder.  You get yourself up and to class, to meals and commit yourself to the study room rather than the tv lounge.  I learned that going to a uniformed high school made you completely incapable of dressing yourself in the morning - it was much easier to put on a kilt, dress shirt and knee socks.  Home sometimes seems so far away but being with people who feel the exact same way, cry the same tears and long for something familiar makes it bearable, even enjoyable.  

I was lucky - I had 4 things that no one else had which gave me strength every time I wanted to pack it in and go home. They were Bob, Claudia, Iain & Vanessa.  Every Sunday (pretty much) I got to be in a home that felt like my home, with people who felt like my parents, brother & sister.  We cooked, we laughed, we watched Sunday tv shows while doing my (and usually some of Rollie & Ryan's) laundry and then back to the dorms.   I will be forever thankful for the moments I got to share with them and for the moments laying under the Christmas tree, drinking Vernors and thinking of home.  I'm sure I would have made it through University without them but I'm glad I didn't have to.  My heart is fuller for the moments we shared.  

Dearest Angie, I wish you a few good cleansing tears this weekend, lots of hugs and the knowledge that you raised a wonderful son.  He likely will get in less trouble than I did and look how good I turned out! :) You have given him all the tools that he needs to succeed and as hard as it will be to watch him leave the nest, with you as his mother he will undoubtedly soar.  xo

Lastly I must regale you with the Carleton University fight song - directed against our fiercest competitor, Ottawa University....

There's a hole in this city, and it's name is Ottawa U
If you're tall & boring, than it's the place for you 
And if you're into concrete & ugly buildings too, 
Then welcome to Ottawa, U
2.3.4
Fuck you Ottawa U, Fuck You Ottawa U 
En francais, it's Fuck-eh-vous 
So Fuck you Ottawa U! 

29 August 2011

I Ran for Chocolate....

This weekend was a great event called The Chocolate Race up in beautiful Port Dalhousie in the Niagara region. There was a 5K, 10K and 10mile full of chocolaty goodness! This race, as I'm sure you can guess, was 85% female but kudos to the gents out there as well - the odds were certainly in your favour! When my friend Fran told me about the run I was instantly hooked and then when I told the ladies who I'm helping train for Detroit about it, they wanted in too so we made it in to a road trip, met a few more friends up there and had a great run!

It was overcast and very windy and the course was all hills but it was a great route mainly on trails and along the water's edge.  As usual, I'm thankful for the people out on their front lawns, with their cups of coffee cheering on total strangers with homemade signs and lots of spunk! Half of our group did the 10K and the rest did the 10miler but no matter the distance we all had a blast.  Along the course the water stops included chocolate-dipped marshmallow & strawberry kabobs, soft serve chocolate ice cream in addition to water and gatorade.  Post run was a buffet of chocolate crossiants, chocolate milk, truffles, salted caramels and more! It was certainly a choco-holics dreams and I think my sister-in-law Tiina better get ready to do this with me next summer!! 
my medal :)
I was overall happy with my time (1:46) which if I can keep that pace for 3 more miles then I will be on track to meet my 2:17 goal for Detroit in less than 2 months time.  I am amazed sometimes as how strong I feel during a race - as much as I worried about not being prepared for this run, I felt great pretty much until the last 500m and that makes me feel confident for my next race.  10 miles is a pretty perfect distance - I think it will be a hard time to decide what I like better between that and a 1/2.... I do run for chocolate - not only in races really but in life.  I run for balance.  To even out the treats with the healthy items.  To keep my heart and body strong.  I run for me.  I run because I can.  I run because I can't fly.  I run for life.  

24 August 2011

I believe in...

"I believe in pink. I believe that laughing is the best calorie burner. I believe in kissing, kissing a lot. I believe in being strong when everything seems to be going wrong. I believe that happy girls are the prettiest girls. I believe that tomorrow is another day and I believe in miracles."

- Audrey Hepburn

21 August 2011

Friends & Fiesta

So what better to do on a Saturday night than cook up a storm for a few people such as my sis and friend Sarah.  I yet again lucked out at the market and scored a bunch of gorgeous poblano peppers! The perfect reason to cook up a Mexican fiesta! Plus it also means a trip to Mexico Lindo grocery store where I relish the chance to speak Spanish to someone!! Hola!

After the lentil salad overload of last week, I felt that there would likely be little leftovers of these bad boys if I were to make Julie's Poblano & Corn recipe along with some chicken tacos and fresh pico de gallo salsa.  It was a lovely night, with open windows, a cool breeze through the house and then some chatting on my new sofa.  

If you are like me and could readily eat Mexican food every night, you are sure to like this one.  
- char the poblanos - I usually do on the bbq but it was raining (and admittedly I'm slightly scared of the bbq) so I just broiled them until the skins burned enough.  Let them cool a bit and then peel the skin off - just make sure not to touch any part of your face because it will burn.  Trust me on that one.  Ouch.  
- In small pan, saute diced red onion (about 1/2 a large onion) in oil until semi-transparent.  While these are heating slice the poblanos into thin strips. If you don't like it too spicy make sure to get rid of all the seeds :) Toss these in and saute.  
- Toss in a good amount of frozen corn (I think I used about 3/4 bag) and then cover with milk or cream, bring to a slow boil and then down to a simmer and let stew.   

For my tacos I poached chicken breast in boiling water with salsa and 1/2 a poblano and then shredded it.  Amazing, juicy and slightly spicy meat - perfect contrast with the fresh pico de gallo.  Today I felt the need to run 6.5 miles to get rid of the guilt of eating this much deliciousness! But it was most definitely worth it!

18 August 2011

Lentil Salad Overload

So here is the thing with cooking for one...I'm pretty much used to cooking for 5.  T used to eat for two at dinner (plus me is 3) and then two more portions for each of us for lunch.  I'm not used to scaling down yet - I try but I'm not always successful as with this week's lentil salad.  

So Tuesday night I made a lovely piece of wild salmon lightly seasoned with salt, pepper and fresh lemon.  To accompany I made lentil salad. As per usual I didn't have a recipe but here is what I'm pretty sure I did! 

Bring a bot of water to boil and then add 1 cup of lentils (beware 1c dried lentils will make double when cooked) and cook uncovered on medium heat for 15-20min.  Chop various veggies that you enjoy in your salad - I included tomato, carrot (shredded), cucumber, peppers and onions.  Drain & rinse 1 can of chick peas.  When lentils are finished drain and rinse w/ cool water to stop cooking process.  Mix everything in a bowl and top with dressing and sliced almonds.  Dressing was 4 parts grapeseed oil to 2 parts balsamic vinegar, 1 tsp honey, 1 clove garlic minced.  Put in jar and shake well until blended.  ENJOY! 


Now since I had this massive salad I have enjoyed it for Wednesday lunch and dinner and lunch today.  It goes well with Turkey burgers, chicken breast and pretty much whatever else is in your fridge!! It's a good thing I was raised to enjoy leftovers - Oy!

14 August 2011

My inner Alanis and life's ironies

Life is kinda full of ironies...

Like on Friday when logging in to Facebook, there was a little note in the top right corner that said "Your status from today in 2009" which happened to read "First day in Finland = First day of shopping" reminding me that it was the 2nd anniversary of the day we moved.  Last week was also the six month mark of our official separation which means that we can officially now file for divorce.  So two years ago was the start of a whole new life and now it's the start of a whole new life.   Weird.  Poetic. Ironic. 

Jess & I headed up to visit Ana in the big smoke this weekend.  She single mom'd it last weekend when her hubbie went to Vegas for four days so it was time for a quick getaway before the school year begins and summer ends which really is just around the freakin' corner.  So here we are - two nerds about to hit the town! We arrived by train early evening, quick freshen up and then we headed out to The Keg where Ana was working for the night and hung out there on the gorgeous patio.  Ana's man T.O Double D (aka Todd) met us there, along with a few other friends and we dined on steaks and garlic mashed and closed the place down! It most certainly reminded me of many Friday nights after work finding a hustling city patio with friends and enjoying food & drinks in the summer air.  Makes me miss the city.  A lot.  Our Saturday was filled with shopping, coffees, sushi and then we gussied up again to hit The Drake hotel for a lovely dinner.  



After the most delicious meal and Salted Butterscotch Pudding for dessert (and by delicious I actually mean that if I could have stuck my head and/or my hand into this mason jar to scrape out every last morsel, I would have) we then went over to visit a friend working at The Bowery and met up with a few more pals and chatted the night away.  There really is just something that makes you feel a bit more alive being back there.  I kinda feel more like me there.  It's just that being at this crossroad I remember that the only reason I left was to come home and marry T.  The city is full of people I don't know and there is room for new adventures and fresh starts and I am not Lindsay the divorcee there - I'm just Lindsay.  Sometimes it's kinda nice to be anonymous and not have to have memories hit you in the gut everywhere you turn. But I know now isn't the time to make any more changes so it remains just a remote idea in my head.  

Now, no adventure is complete without at least one crazy character and here is ours... We took the train up so that we didn't have to worry about parking and rush hour and mainly so we could just relax and read trashy and/or fashion magazines.  It just so happened that there was a nerd  bachelor party of 7 Americans headed up to Toronto for one last hurrah.  You know they are serious when they bought the Frommers Guide to Toronto.  Pictured here is the groom (whom we affectionately referred to as the DoucheBag) showing off "his stack" which was actually 200 single dollar bills in his suit jacket, Captain America Tee, ball cap, plaid shorts and running shoes.  When they asked where they could find a place to "spend their singles" (which I have to admit likely do work a lot better than loonies for the manner in which they were intending to use them) I made up a few locales such as "Vaginarama" on Yonge Street which they then tried to find in their guide book....but since I made it up most likely they got lost along they way :) 

Anyways, as always the weekend was too short, the laughs were many, sleep was minimal because we stayed up talking until past 3am each night but well worth every second.  I guess there are always ironies and there are always new beginnings and life is good. 

11 August 2011

Daily Gratitude

My whole life I've been a journal'er.  Putting my thoughts in to words at the end of each day to keep perspective, to capture moments and to find gratitude.  Blogging does a lot of the same for me but I still journal for those thoughts I'm not ready to share with the world just yet.  I sat with a friend on the weekend and tried to help her find perspective after she received a lay-off notice from her job.   She was spiraling down into despair of how horrible her life was, how over weight she was, etc and my question to her was "what are you thankful for?".  Sometimes I wonder if my friends want to punch me in the face for my positive attitude.  Here's what I think: 



There will always be times in our lives where we feel down on our luck and sorry for ourselves but if we take a moment to shift the focus on to what we are thankful for we can see that in fact, it's not the end of the world.  We have the choice at that moment to dwell in the negative or find something positive that we can hold on to like a life preserver.  There is always someone out there who is worse off, someone fighting a harder battle and no one lives their life without challenges.  

So in the midst of our talk I told her about this great online service called Happy Rambles which is an online gratitude journal.  It sends you an email at the time of day that you select (if you want to go to bed grateful or wake up grateful) and asks you "what are you grateful for".  And all you do is email them back with the 3 or 5 things that you are grateful for and they journal it for you.  See you are never too busy to be grateful!! I think it's great.  Then you can't forget your gratitude moments and it sends you what you wrote the day before so you can also remember those things.  It's just a great way to take a few moments and put things into perspective and realize that we can always find something to be grateful for - even if you are just grateful that you had today.  


Every moment in life is what makes us who we are - the moments of happiness as well as the moments of struggle.  Be thankful equally for both because they ultimately are what shapes us.  Be thankful for something as small as a great cup of coffee or something larger such as a great love or a successful project.  Taking those few moments will actually help you try to note things to be thankful for during the day and hopefully bring a smile to you more often than not.  It's just a few moments here but at the end of the day, we really should be thankful for having that day because life is short but your list of blessings should be long.