25 March, 2015

Signs of Spring...

As I’m sure everyone is well aware, it’s been a long winter - everywhere.  Longer than usual in my opinion.  Here in Ontario, Canada “winter” started a bit later than is typical.  Don’t get me wrong, it wasn’t tropical beach weather by any means for the months of November or December, but the real “winter” with the snow, blowing snow, ice pellets, more blowing snow and polar vortexes didn’t arrive until sometime in January.  But since January, it’s been constant cold, little sun, snow and wind.  It’s been a never-ending story of misery - for me at least.

Having said that, I see the proverbial “light at the end of the tunnel”.  Slowly but surely, we’ve had a few warmer days, a little more sunshine and only trace amounts of snow.  I’m still wearing my winter coat, but I have now given up my winter boots for shoes.  Seems like a minor detail, but for me, it’s a BIG deal.

There have been other signs of Spring in the air (most of them literally are in the air).  Here are some signs that tell me, brighter, warmer days are on the Canadian horizon…

Robins and Red-Winged Black Birds

Yes, the birds are back in town!  Typically robins return from warmer climates once the ground clears enough that they can begin finding food sources – worms, bugs, etc.  The red-winged black birds return once the marshes have begun to thaw.  I’m not a “bird” person, but I can tell which bird is in our yard, just from the sounds of their calls.   It’s a nice feeling.

Tundra Swans

We are lucky enough to live near a migratory route for tundra swans.  They stop in our area to rest and feed on the way to their summer feeding/breeding grounds in the Arctic/tundra regions.  Once there are enough open fields for the birds to feed upon remnants from the previous year’s corn harvest and enough open water for them to land, the come through by the 100’s.  They been late in arriving this year because of the lack of open water, but they are now here nonetheless.  It’s a nice sight on my morning commute.

Turkey Buzzards

These have to been the least attractive bird in our area, but I will admit, I’m happy to see they have returned – ugly as they are.  Turkey buzzards are scavengers and I believe they only eat dead animals.   You can tell when something is dead or dying as you can see them circling high overhead – waiting for the moment to close in for their feast.  I understand they overwinter in Central America, so a sure sign of Spring is when the snow cover dissipates enough for them to return to find what didn’t make it through the winter. 

The Arbor

What is this and what does it have to do with Spring?  Well, The Arbor is an institution that I’ve grown up with.  It’s a family owned food booth that’s been in business for over 100 years.  It is located in Port Dover, Ontario, Canada and is open during the warmer months - typically from late March until mid October.  The Arbor serves the BEST foot-long hot dog and homemade fries on the planet.  Yes, I will stand by that claim.  They have the most toppings you can possibly imagine (pickles, cucumbers, tomatoes, carrots and mustard, coleslaw, onions, beets, relishes, lettuce, etc.) and their zucchini relish is to die for.   They are scheduled to open this weekend, but unfortunately my Arbor dog will have to wait, as I am bound for the beach – not Lake Erie either.

The Beach
Of course, no arrival of Spring is complete, without my semi-annual escape to warmer climates.  I've paid my winter dues and now... a beach in Puerto Rico is calling my name...


What means Spring to you?  I’d love to hear about it…

06 March, 2015

Putting Pen to Paper...

Well, if we want to get technical, it's more putting fingers to a keyboard, but nonetheless, I've had some ideas, checklists, methods brewing in my brain for sometime and I've finally decided to do something about it.  What is "it", you ask?

I've decided to create a digital, downloadable, fillable travel planner.  I know, it's been done - many times; however nothing out there will compare to mine (yes, that's my opinion).  My travel research methods, checklists, packing lists, etc. have been honed, tried and tested many times, with many destinations and for that, I think I've included insight that you might not find with the existing digital travel planners out there (once again, that's my opinion).

Initially I'm offering it solely on Etsy, but who knows where it might lead.  There will be deluxe and basic versions, packing lists, budget templates, etc. - all in various color choices.

Stay tuned...who knows what I'll start to create next.  I would like to expand and share my knowledge on other travel aspects - in particular "how to successfully get "off the beaten track", finding great accommodation, restaurants, etc.

In the meantime, if you're in need of a travel planner or know of someone who does, please feel free to send them to my Etsy listing

19 January, 2015

Most Depressing Day of the Year?

Today is apparently "Blue Monday" - a.k.a. the most depressing day of the year.  I'm not sure about the "most depressing day" thing, but it's more like all of January that gets me down. 

With all the hype of the holiday season out of the way, New Year's resolutions that have not started, cold and damp weather, bad roads and of course, lack of sunshine, all of January saps my strength. 

With the beginning of every January, I try to convince myself that I'll be okay.  By mid January, I've lost the "you'll be okay" battle with myself and have chance my mantra to "what doesn't kill you, makes you stronger", "you can keep going long after you think you can't" and of course "suck it up buttercup". *sigh*

If I could call in sick for the month of January, the month would be manageable.  BUT, since that's not an option, I continue to trudge along in my cold weather gear with the knowledge that January only has 31 days and 9 of those days fall of the weekend, SO it's really only 22 days of work and having to leave my house.  I can do that...most likely...

Happy Blue Monday!

01 January, 2015

Happy New Year...

New year, new beginnings...

29 December, 2014

Nothing Since October? How Has That Happened?

I can't believe that I haven't posted anything since October.  Wow!  I don't know where the time went.  There are the usual excuses - work, family and the many, many craft/jewelry shows that I participated in.  There are times when the time passes so slowly and then there are other moments when the time just screams on by.  Apparently, October through December contained a lot of those latter moments.

Well, rest-assured I'm still here and all have been good.  I've been lurking, I just haven't had the time or energy to put anything to "paper".

J and I were fortunate to spend two glorious weeks on Bonaire at the beginning of December, with plenty of diving, sunshine and relaxation.  You may recall to Bonaire is one of the "finalists" in the places we wish to retire to in a few years, so it was good to spend time looking at the island from that perspective.  We toured many neighborhoods - discovered those that held potential and ruled out a few more of as well.  We looked a potential building lots, got a feel for home styles and made a wish list in the event we decide to explore the building aspect of things.

I think Bonaire is somewhere I could reside long term, I just wish it was a little more affordable.  That's not to say, we couldn't afford it, it just means we may not have the "cushion" I would ideally like to have.  I guess with great reward, comes a certain measure of risk.  What do you think?