A Midsummer's Day

Ohmigosh - I haven't posted anything since March. How time flies! Here we are on a hot midsummer's day - a perfect time to catch up.

It's been a great year so far. Completed my CPM in June and was presented with a tiara from my wonderful accounting group at work. It sparkles!

Joined Sundowner's Toastmasters and am up to speech 5. Another fabulous group of people and a great place to learn public speaking skills (my number one fear is speaking in public) and share written words out loud.

JP and I visited our daughter in St. John's in June - a different island adventure for us. She's almost halfway through her master's in marine biology at Memorial University. Republic of Doyle is a fave of us all and exploring St. John's was a treat. Pale ale and roasted veggie and goat cheese pizzas at Yellowbellies were truly sublime. Whale watching at Bay Bulls and a museum visit to Heart's Content were simply amazing. A fabulous time and so good to see our Katie (and Jackson too).

Back home in Alberta led to more adventures - we ventured out with our tent to the wilds of Elk Island Park and Wapiti in Jasper for some camping. Haven't done that for many years and we'd forgotten just how much we loved being outside enjoying the best of the season here on the prairie.  Next trip will be to Waterton National Park - a new experience for us both.

Writing going well too. Was interviewed by Dialogue in June for their VIPP column and a new promoting payroll article is in the July/August issue. Working on a bimonthly column for an online payroll magazine - lots of fun.

This past week, we caught up with family - lunch with Janet and Susan on Wednesday at Olive Garden - love their soup and salad lunch. Caught up on their news. Thursday was spent with my sister Anne - delicious tea at the Wild Earth Cafe off 142 Street near our mom's place.

Saturday Heather and I got pedis at Spasation - decadent, divine and simply beautiful. More sparkles! Ev and Heather are moving into their own place soon - adventures for them in their life's journey but also for JP and I. Empty nesters - just us and the cat. :-)

So many changes happening but today, sitting on the deck in the sunshine by the pond, our gardens look lush and green and vibrant. Life feels that way too - everywhere you look, things are growing, changing, reaching for the sun and the stars.

Happy to be here, in this place, right now, with you.

Starry Starry Night

Today the afternoon sun actually held some warmth, true spring sunshine. Even though we’ve had some snow lately, knowing that April is just over three weeks away lifts our hearts. Springtime beckons, slightly out of reach but well within the realm of hopefulness.

Last night the full moon coasted behind a thin veil of cloud but tonight it is bright and clear, in a deep blue sky rimmed by wispy clouds. The stars softly twinkle and the air is thick with the promise of a new season just around the corner, laden with endless possibilities.

As the world thaws, our senses tingle with anticipation. Everything smells better after being encased in winter’s deep freeze, preserved and perfect. Colors seem more vibrant, sounds clearer and sharper as Technicolor images replace the sepia trails of winter’s stark beauty.

A softer time is at hand, a time of renewal, of hope. Soon the rains will come and mingle with the sunshine, coaxing life from the earth as winter melts into spring. While there are a few weeks left of winter’s lingering farewell, this starry night gives us a glimpse of what is to come. Sparkling spring days, long lazy hazy days of summer and endless evenings of the moon and stars.

Oh starry starry night.

Perfect Oatmeal

Several months ago, I stopped eating most wheat products including bread. I’m not celiac but I discovered that my tummy is happier without them. Rice pasta has replaced whole wheat pasta while quinoa and other non-wheat grains have slowly crept into our house. I also don’t eat much dairy due to lactose intolerance which effectively already removed cow’s milk, ice cream, cheesecake and most cheeses from my list of acceptable food choices. Almond milk is my new favourite non-milk as well as soy milk.

Of course this makes it difficult when we travel. Not eating sandwiches or wraps limits my options and in some instances, eliminates them altogether. I have been known to order a sandwich and simply eat the insides. On the rare occasion when I cave in and eat the bread, my body reminds me in no uncertain terms why I chose this dietary route.

Oatmeal is one of my staples and I am eternally grateful to Starbucks for coming out with Perfect Oatmeal. Every airport has a Starbucks and almost every Starbucks has Perfect Oatmeal. I can nosh oatmeal at any time of day – paired with a soy milk extra hot Chai latte, my cup of happiness overfloweth and my tummy is content.

Like bathrooms, I now know every Starbucks from here to Hawaii and back. In June, we are visiting our daughter in St. John’s and I plan to make the acquaintance of the Starbucks at the Toronto and Ottawa airports for at least a snack during our stopover.

Who knew such a small thing such as adding plain old fashioned oats to a menu could make such a difference? A small thing with great benefits for at least one person out there…me!

Simple really is better. Something to think about while I savour every spoonful of my Perfect Oatmeal. I was overjoyed recently to discover that the Starbucks at NAIT where I take my payroll courses also has Perfect Oatmeal. This has become my supper on class night although the young fellow behind the counter always looks surprised when I order it at 5:30 in the evening. It is the simple things that make all the difference. Hmm, words to live by? Somehow, I think there is a message there. Perfectly simple...simply perfect. I like it!