Yesterday afternoon, I got tired of looking at my bare Christmas tree and decided to start decorating it. I’ve been putting it off because I’ve reinjured my back recently and it hurts – a lot. I’ve been taking it easy this past week and sleeping in a bit more the past few days.
Did I tell you that I found out at some point in the last 12 years I fractured my spine? I’m still miffed at this. My former doctor never told me about this injury. I’m glad we get our health records now – this is how I found out about the injury. It showed up in a scan I had last fall when I got checked for fibrosis of the lungs. The injury is wedging between the vertebrae towards the bottom of the spine. No wonder it hurts. I suspect this happened during one of many falls on ice. Lord knows there have been enough of them over the years.
So, I’ve been taking it easy. Getting lots of sleep. Taking pain killers every day. And exercising.
But it was worth the pain. My little 4 foot tree looks adorable. I’m on the hunt for something to decorate the fireplace with. Maybe garland. I have to get new command hooks so it doesn’t damage the paint. I’m also scared to put anything on the tile. It’s so pretty.
I call this my Charlie Brown Christmas tree. I have a lot of Keepsake ornaments and Charlie Brown ones too. I love it. The tree is looking a little pathetic though.
While decorating the tree, I listened to Nana Mouskouri’s “Old Toy Train” which my mum played every Christmas. She loved Nana’s music. These are the sounds that filled my house when I was young. Nana is Greek performer that was hugely popular in the 80’s and 90’s. Mum had all her albums. We would listen to Perry Como, Dean Martin, Vera Lynn, Rita MacNeill and of course, Nana.
This song makes invokes so many emotions – my throat closes up and I choke back the tears every time I hear it. Even my aunts joke about it because mum was obsessed with this Christmas album. And so it’s fitting, that when I decorate the tree with ornaments inherited from my mother, that I listen to her favorite song.
Mostly Single News
I got in touch with WordPress yesterday. They reminded me that the business plan for this site is expiring. I’ve made the decision to let that expire and go back to a personal plan. That means there will be less posting here. I don’t know what I can do to get more engagement.
I realize most of my followers came here for my old fitness posts and health advice. But I want to do things that I enjoy and focus on things that make me happy. I’ll still post here from time to time. If you wish to follow me on my new journey of life, visit my new website. I may transfer some of my older posts from here to that blog.
Also, my new album is out on Spotify! Please give it a listen.
Samhain is traditionally known as a Pagan festival or spiritual celebration that dates back to ancient Celtic times. It is celebrated on October 31 which is also known as the eve of All Saint’s Day. Those who celebrate Samhain believe that this is the day when the veil (walls) between the living world and the spirit world are the thinnest. This makes communication between the living and the dead much easier than it is the rest of the year.
Samhain falls in between Summer and Winter Solstice which are also popular Pagan or Wiccan celebrations that date back to the ancient Celts and Druids. Summer Solstice honours the beginning of summer and the longest day of the year while Winter Solstice honours the shortest day of the year – December 21.
It is believed that evil spirits could cross over to the living world during Samhain and so children wore masks and costumes as protection from the monsters hiding in the dark shadows. Villagers would leave offerings for the spirits and Pagan gods that they worshipped. They also left offerings for fairies, or Sidhs. It is said that monsters like Pukah or The Lady Gwyn (a headless woman) would come out at night and steal children from their homes or those who wandered the streets alone.
Here is a short video on Irish fairies that you might like!
All Saint’s Day
All Saint’s Day is traditionally celebrated on November 1st each year. It is a festival in which people honour and celebrate the dead. This celebration has many names around the world and is also known as All Hallows Day, and Hallowmas.
If you have someone that you have loved and lost, to honour them, simply light a candle at night time and think of them. They may appear to you in your dream if you ask them to before you fall asleep.
Samhain and Halloween
Over the years, Samhain eventually became known as All Hallows Eve or now as we know it, Halloween. Much of the traditions that were celebrated by the ancient Celts and pagans are still celebrated today. Children dress up in costumes on October 31 and go from house to house asking for candy. Families and villagers give up offerings in the form of candy. We carve pumpkins and hang decorations in our homes.
Halloween is predominantly celebrated in North America and some European countries like Ireland. Halloween has become more popular in countries like Australia, but it isn’t like it is here in Canada.
The term Trick or Treating is said to be from ancient Irish and Scottish traditions in the days leading up to Samhain. Villagers in Ireland would go door to door singing songs to honour the dead. Instead of exchanging candy, villagers gave out cake.
It is also widely believed that tricks and pranks originated from Samhain traditions but they were blamed on fairy folk who are known as tricksters in folklore.
In Celtic regions, people hang juniper decorations around their homes and create an alter for the dead. A large feast with autumn or fall vegetables is held among family and friends to worship the dead.
My favorite show, Supernatural, had a really good episode about the legend of Samhain. Here’s a clip from the episode. I re-watch this show every couple of years, at least the first five seasons and these are episodes that really stand out.
Halloween around the world
Dia de las Brujas is celebrated in Mexico on October 31 every year, however, it is often overshadowed by the Day of the Dead which is akin to our All Saint’s Day celebrations.
Much like Halloween here in Canada, children of Mexico wear costumers and masks to go from door to door and ask for candy. They shout things like “We want Halloween.” People decorate their homes with skeletons, paper wreaths and flowers.
If you want to learn more about these traditions, I suggest the Disney movie Coco – it’s on my watch list for today.
The following information comes from various sources including History.com – and I thought they would be fun to share. I had never heard the Jack-o-lantern story before!
Samghnagans (Fire Festivals)
In the middle ages throughout Europe, villagers celebrated Samhain with large bonfires. These fires were said to protect families from evil creatures such as witches and the fairies. It was also during the middle ages where villagers would start to carve Jack-o-lanterns that were attached by strings and sticks. This would later become a tradition known as pumpkin carving in the modern world.
According to History.com, the “Stingy Jack” was an Irish man who invited the Devil to have a drink with him. Jack didn’t want to pay the bill, and asked the Devil to turn himself into a coin that Jack could use to pay for the drinks. Instead of paying for the drinks, Jack kept the money to himself and put it in his pocket trapping the Devil. It is believed that Jack freed the Devil and he made a bargain for his life. If the Devil left him alone for one year, and if Jack died, he could not claim his soul.
Jack tricked the Devil once again and the Devil climbed into a tree for a piece of fruit. Jack carved a sigil into the tree that prevented the Devil from escaping. In folklore, this is now known as a a Devil’s or demon trap. And much like the crossroad Devil deals, Jack convinced the Devil to leave him alone for TEN years.
When Jack finally died, the Devil was not happy with the trickery and refused Jack to enter hell. Jack was sent off into the night as a lost soul with only a burning coal to use as light. Jack placed the coal into a turnip and is said to be roaming the earth still to this day as a lost soul. And this is how the term “jack-o-lantern” came to be.
Halloween, my favorite holiday
Honestly, I think I love Halloween more than Christmas as you can tell by my many posts this week. My mum loved making our costumes and decorating the house for all the neighbourhood kids. Some kids would get so scared from the Disney spooky sounds playing on the stereo that they would, and it would make us all love. I’m convinced my mum had a bit of an evil streak in her. But it was all in good fun.
Today, I’ve left a box of candy outside my door with a sign as an offering for anyone to help themselves. I’m going to settle down with a drink of rum tonight, and watch spooky Halloween movies. And tomorrow, I’ll light a candle for my mum and all those souls we’ve lost over the years.
If you love this post, please let me know! Supernatural legends and folklore – I love these more than movies and music combined.
To close the post, I’m going to leave you with this classic clip from Charlie Brown the Halloween Special.
Follow blog for more articles like this! I love sharing spooky stories and tales!
I started this post on October 1st but it’s taken me a few days to find some new content to share with you. October already? That means — Spooky season has officially begun! Next to Christmas, this is my favorite holiday/celebration of the entire year. My mum loved decorating the house when we were kids and we would all take turns handing out Halloween candy. We used to count how many kids we’d have. By 8 or 9 pm, the doorbell would stop ringing and we’d close the door, turn off the lights and that’s when my favorite part of the night started.
My mum wasn’t a fan of gory slasher movies, and neither am I to be honest, but we LOVED watching spooky movies about ghosts, or anything supernatural related. We would watch a lot of the classic movies together as well.
So, for this month’s Good Reads recommendations, I’m focusing on classic horror (TV shows, movies and books). There’s so many good shows and movies that I may do a series of posts for you over the next few months.
Every year as an adult, I adopted the tradition of watching scary movies every night in the last week of October. I’d line up about four or five movies for Halloween night that I watch every year. Some years I’ve done two week long marathons. This year, I’m attempting to start the marathon now.
I’ve already binged watched a bunch of original Twilight Zone episodes, finished watching Lucifer, and have moved onto True Blood – which is such a cheesy but fun show to watch.
So, without further ado, here are my top 5 recommendations for Spooky Good Reads.
Remember: my recommendations aren’t just about books. They also include movies, tv shows, podcasts and all forms of digital media.
Only Murders in the Building
I’m starting the list off with a new tv show called Only Murders in the Building. I’ve watched a couple of episodes and I’m really loving the vibe so far. It’s like modern horror mixed in with classic horror. Why is that? Because it stars two of my long-time favorite comedians, Martin Short and Steve Martin. This classic duo has starred in some of my favorite movies over the years like Parenthood, It’s Complicated, Inner Space. But to keep the show fresh and attract a younger audience, we also have the talented Selena Gomez in the main cast.
The main premise:
All three characters live in the same building but other than spotting each other in the lobby or elevator, they don’t really know each other. That is, until one night, there is a grizzly murder in the building and the residents are forced out of the building for a few hours. The hilarious trio happened to pass by each other in restaurant and connect instantly over a shared interest – a podcast about true crime.
I loved the episodes I watched. It’s on my to watch list and is available on Hulu (for US customers) or Disney Plus for those of us in Canada. Guess that means I’m renewing my membership! Only a few episodes have been released, so I’m waiting until I can binge watch the show.
I can’t think of another show except maybe Supernatural, that gives so much to fans and fan fictions. Because let’s be honest, who doesn’t love a good “who done it” story?
The Twilight Zone
This show right here is what got me hooked onto sci-fi and horror as a young teen. As an 80’s kid, I grew up watching the reboot which is so cheesy to watch now. But as I got older, I started watching the original show from the 1950’s and now it has become one of my favorite shows of all time. The Twilight Zone is like the OG of sci-fi shows. Other cult hits like Supernatural and X-files were inspired by old episodes of the The Twilight Zone.
This show has been remade several times but nothing beats the original one that aired from 1959-64 and was hosted by Rod Serling. I’ve seen some episodes so many times that I’ve almost got the opening scene memorized by heart. I’m such a huge fan, and sci-fi nerd, that I’ve seen most of the episodes from the 80’s show, the 2000’s show and have even listened to podcasts and radio drama (dramatized reenactments).
I have never sat down to watch all of the episodes of the original series. I usually would just pick a few favorites. I’m about 1/2 of the way through season one – and there are so many episodes to get through. This challenge might take a few months.
In the original series, there are 5 seasons but there are like 156 episodes all together. That’s a lot of tv to watch.
Many of the episodes still hold up today while some are so cheesy to watch. But if you’re looking to watch the OG of sci-fi shows, then you must revisit this classic. I’m sharing my favorite episode with you – The Living Doll which still creeps me out today. I might do a separate post on my favorite episodes as I rewatch them.
If you love the OG Twilight Zone, then you might consider checking out shows like The Outer Limits, Alfred Hitchcock Presents and Night Gallery. These are all one off episodes with great story telling – so it doesn’t matter if you miss a few here and there. A modern day version of the show would be Black Mirror. I tried watching it and wasn’t crazy about it. I did however appreciate the episode with Miley Cyrus which is rumoured to be about Britney Spears.
If you’re a Stephen King fan, which I was as a teen, then you might appreciate the 80’s movie that has many stars like John Lithgow and Dan Ackroyd. This is one of my must watch movies for Halloween.
And as usual 80’s fashion, the special effects in this movie are generally laughable. But, it’s The Twilight Zone and one of my faves. The segment with John Lithgow on the plane is just good acting all around.
Podcasts: In the Dark (true crime)
These days, everyone has a podcast. And I mean, everyone. I don’t know how these celebrities find the time to go on each other’s show because there are so many of them now. I think the pandemic made celebs realize they could cash in on what us little people started.
Because everyone seems to have a podcast, it’s hard to find a really good one that stands out from the rest. And so, in keeping up with spooky suggestions, I thought I’d turn to one of the more popular true crime podcasts. According to TikTok, true crime podcasts are all the rage and even inspired the show I shared above with Selena Gomez.
So for this month, I’m going to share a separate post with my podcast recommendations. I’m listening to No Sleep Stories right now. If you’re a Reddit user, you’ll know what no sleep means. I’ve listened to a few of these and the dramatization is decent. But be careful when you listen to them! You might not be able to sleep after listening.
Books: separate post coming soon
Throughout the 90’s, Stephen King was an author that got me through life in general. I was a chubby and teen young teen who was still struggling to keep up in all my classes. The only classes I really did well in was English and Music. I did fairly well in languages in general so French was another good class.
I discovered solace in the form of books and would spend most of my Friday nights at the library. I would walk over to the library or take the bus after school on a Friday night and come home with a stack of books. I’d have the stack finished by Monday and this became my weekly routine. I loved reading. I couldn’t get enough of books. And one of my favorite authors at the time for horror was Stephen King. By age fourteen, I had read almost all of his books that was available at the time. I really regret giving away my book collection. I had SO many of them!
There are way too many spooky books to share with you, so I think I’m going to do a whole separate post. Just a reminder that my Good Reads recommendations include all media – movies, tv shows, podcasts, audiobooks.
I got my Good Reads account back up and running so you can follow me there. We could also start a book or movie club as I get more into reading. I signed up for Kindle again and have been reading a little every day on my phone. I think for Christmas, I’ll get a cheaper tablet instead of an Ipad for reading so I can stretch out on the couch too or read from anywhere.
As for future posts, expect more recommendations in coming weeks. I’m discovering new podcasts and things to do to pass the time. I’m also trying to spend less time in the evenings on the computer so this is a great way to pass the time.
What are you listening to or reading right now? Let me know in the comments and I can add them to a master list!
Goodreads – check out the books I’ve read
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About a month ago, I decided to start watching at least one movie each week. Now that’s it’s October and spooky season is here, most of my nights are filled watching horror and sci-fi classics. It’s what I do every year. But to change things up and get out of a funk, I decided to pick a wildcard movie of the week on Netflix or Prime and write a review
The challenge is to watch one indie film each week and write a blog post about it. The rules are simple. It can’t be a movie I’ve seen before. It has to be considered or labelled as an “independent film” on Netflix or Prime. And it has to be something I know very little about. Mainly, I just go through the list of indie films and click on a random movie to what happens.
My watch list is growing full of independent films that I’m looking forward to watching. Some films are really great while others are a miss. I watched The Starling with Melissa McCarthy last week and I LOVED it despite the film receiving harsh reviews from critics.
I have a certain set of things I look for in a film that makes it a hit or miss for me. That’s how I’ll rate movies – hit or miss. But everyone has their own tastes, and unless a movie is truly awful, I won’t tell you not to watch it. I’ll let you be the judge of how good it is.
What I look for:
Overall storyline – is it unique?
Acting – it’s all about who stars in the film and if I like the actor or not
Music – a film with a great soundtrack is always worth it in my books
Scenery – films like Life of Pie with stunning scenery will always get in my good graces
Writing – is it good or consistent? Are there too many plot holes?
I love musicals and anything to do with biographies or historical figures. So, be prepared for some musicals in this list. I loved the Elton John biopic and the soundtrack was just so great.
Cast and Crew
Directed by: Rupert Goold
Screenplay: Tom Edge, Peter Quilter
Based on: End of the Rainbow (stage play)
Genre: Independent Film, Biography, Music
Cast: Renee Zellweger, Finn Wittrock
Judy Garland was a beloved child star, singer and actress who was most known for her role of Dorothy in the hit film The Wizard of Oz (1939). Judy is portrayed by Renée Zellweger who is almost unrecognizable in this role with short black hair. Her voice however is unmistakable. Zellweger has an impressive resume but she is most known for her role as Bridget in Bridget Jones Diary and also for movies like Jerry MacGuire, White Oleander and a really good horror film called Case 39.
The beginning of the film takes place over 30 years after Oz was released. Judy is kicked out of her hotel due to her account being in arrears. Judy is drowning in debt and faces a custody battle for her children. Throughout the film, we see flashbacks to the early days where Judy was in her prime and we see the development of her relationship with her fifth husband, Mickey Deans (Finn Wittrock).
We see glimpses of Judy’s past and how she was treated by her handlers. Basically at this stage in her life, Judy is a hot mess and is still reeling from trauma she suffered as a child star. Judy moves to London to return to the stage and her adoring fans.
And that’s all I’ll tell you at this point. You’ll have to watch the film to find out the rest for yourself.
I admit. I was a Judy fan growing up. Meet Me in St. Louis is a film I watch every December. The Trolley Song is still one of my favorites. Other songs included are Get Happy, Somewhere Over the Rainbow and Come Rain or Come Shine.
And before you ask, yes, Zellweger is actually singing in those scenes. She worked with a well known coach to prepare for the movie and she did a wonderful job.
Critics and Awards
For some reason I wasn’t in the mood for Judy when it hit theatres in 2019. The film won many awards and the critics gushed about it. Zellweger’s performance here would lead to her winning an Oscar. Here is her acceptance speech from the ceremony. I’m glad I finally sat down to watch it. I used to love Renee back in her Bridget Jones Diary day, and I’m glad she is doing well and is being recognized for her talent.
Overall I enjoyed the film and the music. Zellweger’s performance was top notch as usual. I didn’t recognize anyone else in the cast which is unusual for a movie buff like me.
What I would have liked to see was more flashbacks into Judy’s childhood and more of her backstory. Movies like this definitely help to expose the corruption in Hollywood and especially the abuse that child actors face. We still see this today with stars like Brittney Spears. But we only see a small part of this in the film.
The ending of Judy really hit me hard. I didn’t expect to cry but I did. All you need to watch is just one song – Over the Rainbow – and you’ll know what I mean.
To finish this post off, let’s watch a Judy Garland classic.
Hit or miss
If you’re a fan of The Wizard of Oz or Judy Garland, then I recommend giving this film a try. This endearing and emotional film is worthy of a watch.
Thrifting is not something that I grew up with in my life. My mother always enjoyed the finer things in life. We weren’t rich by any means but she sometimes acted like we were and would spend so much money shopping. I think she passed on the habit down to her girls because it’s definitely something that I like to do as well. I spend many hours on Amazon each week looking for new things to try.
But in an effort to remain “frugal” and be more conscious of how much money I’m spending, I suggested that my bestie and I go thrifting today. I’ve been so excited for this, that I went to bed at midnight last night and woke up bright eyed at 5:00 am. I sat outside for a bit but it was so cold – I bundled up and went back to bed.
I’m sitting here with my morning cup of coffee, a bowl of Special K cereal, my water, almond milk and some piano music in the background. This – is my new happy place.
My bestie has a booth at a local antique mall. We’re going to hit that and then check out some garage sales. She’s the one who got me into thrifting a few years back. We would head to the mall after work or on Saturday morning, go for brunch and have some quality time together.
Because of the pandemic, we really haven’t been able to do that in a couple of years. It’s been since 2019 at least and I didn’t realize how much I missed thrifting and looking through people’s treasures until this month.
The Hygge life and thrifting
My journey to a happier life is a work in progress. Something I learned this week about being Hygge, is decorating your home with things you love. One YouTube channel I discovered suggested that finding vintage items like canvas art, candles or other decor items adds more history and character to your home. So, that’s what I’m on the hunt for today.
We’re going to hit Good Will as well. And before anyone jumps down my throat and accuses of being “trendy” – I’m still on disability leave. That means I’m taking home less money than I would if I was working full time. I can’t afford to buy new artwork right now at the prices they charge on sites like Amazon.
And besides, I’ve found some great furniture over the years via places like Marketplace and Kijiji. It’s where I got my last piano. And the piano I have now is one we bought for the church in 2005. It sat in storage unused for many years when we got an acoustic piano and so I asked if I could use it as a practice piano.
There’s nothing wrong with buying second hand items. Especially if money is tight – which this year especially, that’s the case for a lot of people. Most of my living room is full of second hand furniture and items from my parent’s house. The only new item I have is my sofa. And as you know, the reason I bought that is because my last couch broke a few years ago. I haven’t bought new furniture since 2008 save for a few things for my bedroom from Ikea.
What not to buy
If you are new to thrifting and are looking to bring items to your home, do be forewarned. Some items are better to buy brand new. Things like sofas, mattresses and even clothing can have bedbugs in them or worse – cockroaches. Those suckers get into everything. Mattresses are definitely not something I would ever buy second hand. Unless you know the home it comes from – I would highly recommend getting a new mattress and linens.
Other things to consider when buying second items:
Look for yellow or black stains. This could indicate that the item came from a smoker’s home. The smell of smoke can linger on fabric items and can be hard to clean.
Check for holes in wood or fabric of furniture. Look for rodent droppings, white stains (urine) or tiny little black marks which could be from bedbugs.
If buying from Facebook Marketplace, ask for the history of the item. If you can, check out the seller’s profile and their other listings. I’m more inclined to buy from someone with a well kept home. A well kept home, is a good indicator that the item you are buying has been properly cared for as well.
One of the reasons I prefer thrifting or garage sales compared to using Marketplace is people play too many games on Facebook. I gave up trying to sell anything online because of the 20 question game people play and then decide they don’t want the item. And then there are the low ballers who will offer you half of what the item is listed for. I wound up giving away so much stuff when I moved because of that.
Things you definitely want to buy
Today I’m on the hunt for vintage artwork, lamps, lanterns, and anything I can decorate my home with. More specifically, the bedroom and balcony.
Things that are definitely worth buying at thrift shops or garage sales include:
Vintage artwork (canvas art, photo frames)
Vinyl records – these have made a comeback
Art supplies (scrapbooks, paint brushes, paints, etc)
Books – I’m definitely going to be looking for old music books to replace some I’ve lost
Jewelry – rings, gems, stones, beads, (sanitize before wearing)
Signage, and posters
Trading cards and other collectables (stamps, coins, etc)
Dishes (plates, bowls, etc)
You just never know what treasures you might find in a thrifting store or antique mall.
The pandemic is still going strong here in our city. The city council brought back a mask mandate and so we will be wearing masks today. I strongly recommend that you wear masks and gloves when going thrifting at best of times. Or carry hand sanitizer and wipes with you.
While many shops are really strict about the quality of items they accept, shelves can become incredibly dusty. Plus you just don’t know the history of the item you’re picking up. If you have allergies or are sensitive to dust, then gloves are definitely recommended.
Cleaning and sanitization
Wash your item as soon as you get it home from the shop or garage sale. Wood furniture can be wiped down with a wet cloth and cleaning solutions – or just vinegar and dish soap. I did this with my sofa when I ordered it from Leon’s because it had that musty warehouse smell. The smell has disappeared from the cushions. I used a wet cloth and warm water and will do this about once a month to keep the sofa clean.
Wood, metals and hard materials are easy to clean. Use products like vinegar, baking soda, dish soap or ammonia for deep cleaning.
Follow cleaning instructions for clothing and fabric items. Check insides of bags and purses for signs of bugs. Machine or hand wash all clothing items before wearing them. One tip I learned is to toss in some vinegar with your laundry. This helps to get rid of some stains and lingering smells.
Saturday Thrifting Adventures
And that’s it for today. I’m excited to just go out for a few hours and be social. My bestie just texted me so I should get ready for our day. I’m hoping to get to see dad later but might have to wait until tomorrow or Monday. There is a COVID case at his residence so maybe we need to be careful of who visits him.
I’ll come back later this week and share my finds with you! I think we’re planning on stopping for lunch today. We have been trying to get out to Elk Island park to go for a walk and take some photos but my knees haven’t been cooperating for that. Hopefully we at least get out for a drive to take some amazing fall photos. It’s a glorious day outside right now with the sun shining and the golden leaves outside my window.
Have you ever been thrift shopping? What kind of treasures have you found at an antique mall? Let me know in the comments.
Last night was a bit of a rough night. Between shoulder pain, and new found back pain, I couldn’t sleep. After tossing and turning for a few hours, and scrolling mindlessly through TikTok videos, I decided to sit outside for a while. It’s my quiet time. I love sitting outside when the rest of the world is quiet. Even if it is four in the morning. It’s currently 4:26 am as I write this out.
The weather has been up and down all week with really strong winds. It’s supposed to get extremely hot again this weekend with temperatures as high as 34C on Friday afternoon. But I suspect this is the last of the heat we’ll see for the year.
Early September is usually my favorite time of year. The days are warm, and the night cools off enough that it makes you want to curl up in bed with a warm fuzzy quilted blanket. The mornings can be chilly. But the best part – is you can finally wear sweaters again. I love sweaters.
It’s still technically summer here, for another week or so. Our autumn usually starts around mid-August. The leaves start turning golden yellow, crisp brown and auburn colors. Sometimes, if we’ve had very little rain, or too much rain, the leaves will start turning early in August.
The days are already getting shorter with the sun going down at 9:00 pm. That’s a sign that autumn is here. In a couple of weeks, the days will get even shorter and it will start getting dark around 8 or 8:30 pm. The sun wakes up later each morning until the dreaded time change that happens in November.
I just came in from outside. Even with my fleece and fuzzy pants on, it’s really cold out there. Like, what happened? Just a few days ago the temperature was 15C at night. I could sit out there without a jacket. But as the weeks go on, the temperatures start to drop a little more each night. By next week, we’ll be hitting single digits at night time.
But it’s not the weather changes that make me love this season. It’s so much more than that. It’s the beautiful colors that the leaves turn. It’s the golden sunsets. It’s waking up to cool crisp air in the morning. It’s seeing fresh dew on the grass. And frost on car windows.
To me, autumn is a reminder to slow down and reflect on the year that has passed.
Time moves so quickly that before you know it, fall will be over. Halloween will arrive. And Thanksgiving. And next thing you know, we’ll be hanging Christmas lights and writing cards for our loved ones. That’s when things become – chaotic.
Autumn is the time I often think about what I want for the next year. I start making a list of all my goals that I want to achieve. I start making lists, and plans. I think about how I can achieve those goals.
As someone who grew up in a family of Danish farmers, I know that autumn is the time for harvest. By September, the stores are usually full of delicious vegetables like zucchini, spaghetti squash, and pumpkins. It’s my favorite time of year for cooking vegetable stews, soups and casseroles. This year, I’m praying that the crops are healthy enough to provide the healthy foods we need to nourish ourselves.
The rest of the world around me is silent. The sky is still dark outside. The birds are quiet. There’s no traffic. I’m at ease. My mind is at peace. I’m listening to acoustic music and just enjoying the moment. For what it is.
What do you love about autumn?
To celebrate my favorite time of year, I created a playlist with autumn themed acoustic songs. Please give it a listen & follow if you’re a fan of indie music.St. Augustine at Night is a beautiful and haunting tune.
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Every few months, I sit down and review my previous fitness plans and challenges. I hate that I’ve let myself get to a point where I can’t even walk up a flight of stairs without wheezing. Part of that is asthma, but part of that is also the weight gain too. Partially caused by hormones, and partially caused by medications – and stress.
One of the big reasons why I chose the location I am in now – is how safe it is compared to downtown. I have plenty of places I can explore for walks and once summer is here, I can take my camera out again and explore the trails down here. That’s what I’m excited for the most. Getting back into hiking and nature trail walks.
When you spend a year in isolation – you fall into bad habits. Like sleeping in until noon because of insomnia that keeps you up at night. Or you sit on the computer all day without fitness breaks. Never mind the effects of being on your own and cut off from your support group due to restrictions.
Community rec centres are still closed here as are swimming pools. But I’m very close to a pool here and can’t wait for it to open. I really want to get back into aqua fit classes. It’s a great way to exercise and easy on the knees.
So, I thought I would start the month off with a brand new fitness plan. No excuses now. I have access to a fitness centre for FREE once I get my keys. I have a clean carpet I can use for yoga, pilates and strength exercises. And I have access to nature trails just a 10 minute walk away.
Fitness Goals: Exercise Plan
This plan is very preliminary. Things may vary from day to day depending on migraines and overall health. But I am determined to get back into working out every day.
SUNDAY: weather permitting – go for a 10-30 minute walk
MONDAY: exercise bike 15 minutes, weights for 15 minutes
TUESDAY: strength only – 30 minutes
WEDNESDAY: weather permitting – go for a 10-30 minute walk
THURSDAY: yoga or pilates
FRIDAY: weather permitting – for a longer walk up to 45 minutes
SATURDAY: day of rest — use the time to clean the condo and enjoy a drink on the balcony
Eat more greens and salads
Cook at least three times each week – left overs for other nights
Order in food – twice a month only
Try one new recipe each week and blog about the experience
It’s Easter weekend here. I’ll be working on some music for YouTube and planning a meal just for me. I hope to have this posted by Saturday to help others who are single and have to cook their own meals!
Social goals are a bit harder given the restrictions here. I still can’t see my dad which is disappointing. I’ve seen my sister a few times as she dropped things off for me but they weren’t really “social” visits. They were providing a “service – like installing my bed, the microwave, etc. She even dropped off a delicious Shepard’s Pie last night. I’m not normally a fan of this pie, but it was SO good. I’ll be having that for dinner tonight too.
I’d like to find a friend to go for walks with on the weekends. We’re still allowed to meet with friends outdoors. Walking is low impact. It would be great to catch up with friends I haven’t seen in over a year. I hope we can also have more family zoom nights.
I think as weight drops off, I’ll feel more up to socializing and being around people. I’m just tired of feeling tired all the time and I know my weight has something do with it.
My goals this weekend are to finish off the bedroom and organize my closet. I need to donate some more clothes as I have entirely too many sweaters and shirts I don’t wear. I downsized a lot before the move, but still have too much “stuff”. So, my main goal this spring is to really get organized and “purge” whatever I don’t need.
I also hope to make it to Ikea so I can pick up some plants and things for the living room. I’m getting used to the new condo. It’s feeling less like a hotel and more like home. My bed and I are still not getting along so I may order a mattress topper from Amazon.
And so, that’s it for my goals for this month. I think that’s a pretty good start. I stopped focusing on weight loss goals and just trying to set a good exercise routine and return to healthy eating. I’ll keep you posted on a weekly basis for updates.
I really need to get back into designing products. I took the month of March off to focus on the move. But the store is just sitting there. I’ve made 11 sales and got a review – but I need more to make it more than a hobby shop. Right now I’m spending more money on advertising than I am bringing in from sales. So stay tuned, I’m working on some fitness planners too.
What are your goals for this spring? They don’t have to be fitness related – they can be anything you want to work on or change. Let me know in the comments!
It’s Monday and I thought I would just post a quick update before signing off for the week. Today is a chilly day and it’s snowing. All the snow finally melted in the front of the building. At least it’s big flakes and hopefully won’t stick around too long. My knees are feeling it today.
I had plans to take out all my garbage and recycling today but we’ll see how the weather plays out. I should have done it on the weekend when it was sunny and clear. But such is life.
I’m coming along with packing. But I’m running out of room. I can’t line boxes against the walls because mice are still around. I think they might have either moved to another suite or are in hiding. I haven’t seen any new droppings in the last couple of days. But it doesn’t mean they aren’t there. I am worried that one might crawl into a box and come with me. But I suspect it would likely die in the process of moving as some boxes won’t get unpacked right away.
Three more days!
I went to the condo with my sister yesterday. It’s in pretty great shape. The owner was there fixing some things but had an accident with plumbing. So, I have to wait a couple of days for the carpets to dry. What I am excited about is how much storage there is. Even the master bedroom closet is huge. So I can store my bins safely neatly. There’s ample storage in the spare room for all my boxes too.
The plan is to purge even more once I’m settled in. I’ll separate boxes into groups of what I want to keep and what I can get rid of. I had a mini panic attack when I realized I grossly under estimated how many boxes I would need.
Ordering a mattress was pure hell re: covid. I called around stores for THREE hours on Saturday and wasted most of the day. I finally settled on a $600 mattress from Leons. They were the only ones who could guarantee delivery this week. Which means, I had to have the mattress delivered Wednesday.
My old bed is getting picked up on Thursday morning. I may have to switch this around if I have to pick up the elevator key. I didn’t know this was needed. But I’m hoping the property manager can just meet me on Thursday when we get there with the moving truck. That would make life a lot easier. I’m so excited to have underground parking for my relatives when they’re able to come visit.
One sister really helped with finding a new condo and even came with me yesterday for the inspection. She asked all the questions I always forget to ask. I may have to order in new curtains and a microwave. But I’ll get a better idea when I drop a few things off tomorrow. The place looked like it was in good condition. The walls could be cleaner – but I can always work on that later.
The kitchen – I can’t wait to use my new stainless steel stove and fridge! The freezer is huge too. There is lots of room for my pantry and dining table. So I can actually have people over for dinner. I may need to order a love seat for the living room space. But.. all in good time. I do not have much counter space. But I can always get a little cabinet for the microwave later on too. There’s plenty of room for it.
It will just be nice to have a new kitchen. There’s a brand new washer for laundry too and LOTS of storage in the laundry room. The living room isn’t a bad size either. And there’s a nice balcony.
The only caveat is the gym is a bit of a walk away and I have to book appointments to use it. Perhaps for now I’ll just use the walking trails and enjoy being so close to the ravine.
I do plan on ordering in covers for my arm chairs and cushions for the dining chairs to match the decor in the new place. New shower curtains are needed too. I have lots of everything else.
So, that’s where we are today. I’ve got my feet up right now and am waiting for the pain killers to kick in before I pack.
Hello dear readers! It’s Sunday morning at 7:42 am and I’m wide awake. Sipping my first coffee of the day – I’ve moved onto Nestle’s Gold Cafe and am loving the medium roast. Since switching to instant coffee, I’ve tried the Tim Horton’s Dark Roast, Starbucks Vanilla Latte, and Folger’s Dark Roast. I think Tim’s still might be my favorite and I don’t miss regular coffee as much as I thought I would. Did you miss my post on this major announcement? No worries, check it out here – the day that I switched to instant coffee and never looked back.
I’ve been hooked on audiobooks and podcasts lately. I’m getting tired of YouTube and the same shows on Prime and Netflix. I’ve turned to Spotify and am really enjoying discovering new content. So, along with my monthly Good Read recommendations – I’m going to start a monthly series with podcast recommendations and updates.
And hey, guess what? I started a podcast this morning! I have two episodes up on Spotify and apparently, even have two followers already! That’s amazing. I plan on recording at least one per week – if not daily while I’m off work. I’m researching various topics I can cover. So first off – go follow me on Spotify. Or you can follow my stream on RSS (I think).
Armchair Expert – Dax Shepard
I’ve been listening to this podcast for a few weeks now and it’s just enjoyable. Dax is a well known American actor who has starred in shows like – wait, I have to look this up. The Ranch (Netflix tv), El Camino Christmas (terrible movie by the way), Parenthood and Robot Chicken. But most people know him as Kristen Bell’s husband. He had a short cameo on The Good Place which Bell starred in and it’s pretty hilarious.
The first episode of this podcast Dax interviewed Kristen – whom he lovingly calls Bell when talking to other guests. They had just had a fight and were still annoyed with each other. It was sort of like listening to couple’s therapy and mostly talking about Kristen’s tiny “boobs.” I learned entirely too much about her anatomy. Other notable guests that I enjoyed included Seth Green, Jason Segel, and even Hilary Clinton.
Amazingly enough, the show has been on air since 2018 and has grown in popularity. I guess I’m just late to the party. Make sure to check it out – here’s the first interview of the show.
Oh – I almost forgot. Dax has a costar named Monica who comes back at the end of each episodes and corrects every time Dax made an error during the interview. Their banter is pretty hilarious.
Conan O’Brien Needs a Friend
Now I’m not a huge Conan fan and I just discovered his podcast this weekend. I’m more about the people that are being interviewed. Just looking at Conan’s recent guest list – I followed the podcast without listening to any interviews. Is that terrible of me?
His first two guests are David Spade and Bryan Cranston – two both very talented comedic actors. I loved Bryan in Malcolm in the Middle and later in the hit show Breaking Bad. But honestly, Bryan is great in everything he does. Even in an old episode of Xfiles.
Conan has had some great guests on his show in the last year from Jim Parsons, Kevin Hart, John Leguizamo to the amazing Bruce Springsteen.
I’m really looking forward to listening to these interviews! I think Spotify podcasts may have just replaced my daily morning YouTube routine. Isn’t it great how much content is available to us now?
Wow this is really hard sticking to just three podcast recommendations. It seems like everyone has a podcast these days. Does anyone have time to actually listen to them? There are podcasts for all genres and walks of life. So, I’m just going to recommend one that I’ve listened to a few times and is a bit of a guilty pleasure.
And no, it’s not Joe Rogan. I used to listen to his podcast until he switched to Spotify and removed his content from YouTube. He said he wasn’t going to sell out. But it feels like he sold out. And who wouldn’t for a cool $100 million deal. I’d do a lot for that kind of money… does that make me a terrible person?
Hosted by two stars from The Vampire Diaries – Candice King and Kaylie Ewell – these two lovely ladies interview a great variety of women – and of course on occasion, friends from The Vampire Diaries like Michael Trevino (Tyler) and Julie Plec (show runner). Admittedly, I tune in when they have their friends on the show. Topics range from self-help, spiritual guidance and motherhood.
If you were a fan of TWD – it’s a guilty pleasure – I highly recommend checking out early episodes of this podcast. Here’s the interview with Paul Wesley – I’m listening to it next.
What are you listening to right now? Let me know your favorite podcast in the comments below! Have a great Sunday!
Last month I gave some book recommendations that I wanted to read – which I haven’t yet. I finally finished listening to Carrie Fischer’s audio book “Wishful Drinking” which was just delightful. I still have to read Michael J Fox’s new book which my sister bought for me for Christmas. It’s on my to-do list this weekend.
I’ve been listening to Dax Shepherd’s podcast “Armchairs” and it’s quite entertaining. He’s had some impressive guest stars including one of my favorites – Matthew McConaughey. I first fell in love with him with the movie A Time to Kill which was a dark movie about racism in the southern states. A movie that would be very “questionable” today. But back in the day – it was one of the best movies – Donald Sutherland, Sam L Jackson, Keifer Sutherland, Sandra Bullock, Ashley Judd and Matthew as the lead. An all star cast. The book was amazing too by John Grisham.
This podcast episode is hilarious because Dax is just fan-girlin’ over Matthew. It’s cute.
I’m listening to Dax’s interview with Matthew right now. I think what I like about him is he’s so articulate and well-spoken. It doesn’t hurt that he’s got a sexy southern Texas drawl. But he tells stories in such a fascinating way that you can’t help but stop what you’re doing and listen.
It’s a great way to have background noise while working on Etsy products. I’m working on a new line of daily planners and journals for you.
So, here are my good read recommendations and books to read for February 2021. For me – I’m only picking 3 but I’ll more than likely just read one.
Matthew McConaughey – GREENLIGHTS
Oscar winning actor Matthew McConaughey spent some time alone in the desert to put together this book about his life. I was interested to learn that Matthew was also a “diary” kind of person and wrote daily to keep track of life’s little and big moments. One day he decided to go through his collection of diaries and chose some of his favorite stories to put in this book. The podcast episode with Dax was so interesting – that I signed up for a 30 day free trial with Audible just so I could listen to Matthew’s audiobook. I just like audiobooks better than reading because I can do other things while listening.
Greenlights was published in October 2020 and Matthew has been working hard to promote his book. I think I’ve watched just about every interview did in the last year. That’s how much I love this guy. Matthew has done so many movies but you might know him best from hits like Interstellar, How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days, A Time to Kill, Dazed and Dallas Buyer’s Club and The Wolf of Wall Street.
He also has a sleep app called “Calm” in which he speaks to you in that soothing Texan drawl to help you fall asleep. I’ve listened to it via YouTube and it’s fantastic.
LAUREN GRAHAM – TALKING AS FAST AS I CAN
Fans of the 90’s hit show The Gilmore Girls will recognize this author’s name. Lauren Graham was the main star of Gilmore Girls and played the role of Lorelai Gilmore for seven years. She joined the cast again in a reboot of the series in 2016 which I have to say was extremely disappointing. But aren’t most reboots?
Lauren has had a steady acting career and has written four books – according to her author profile on Good Reads. I didn’t even know that Lauren had written any books until I listened to her interview with Dax. This is why I love podcasts! You learn so much about artists that you never would have guessed.
Quote: I must work harder to achieve my goal of not seeking approval from those whose approval I’m not even sure is important to me.”
I’m excited to listen to this audiobook. I’ve always enjoyed Lauren as an actress and she seems like a genuine kind of person.
BORN STANDING UP – STEVE MARTIN
Steve Martin is one of those actors I grew up with as a child of the 80’s. He was the funny man along with greats like Billy Crystal, Robin Williams and the legendary John Candy. One of his most popular movies, Planes, Trains and Automobiles plays on a loop every Christmas season.
I fell in love with Steve Martin in the movie Parenthood which was a great family comedy that starred a young Keanu Reeves and Rick Morranis. Other notable movies include The Jerk, The Man with Two Brains, Roxanne, Father of the Bride, The Pink Panther, and more recently – It’s Complicated. A hilarious coming of age movie about mid-life dating starring Meryl Streep, Alec Baldwin and John Krashinksi.
Steve recently paired up with another favorite of mine, Martin Short (Father of the Bride) and performed in a slap-stick comedy tour – at least until COVID restrictions came along. Steve is mostly retired from acting but is one heck of a banjo player! He plays often with his bluegrass band The Steep Canyon Rangers – and let me tell you, they are just a delight to listen to. Steve’s instagram accounts is one of my favorites to follow.
Born Standing Up is Steve’s story about why he left stand up comedy and what he’s doing now with his life. I can’t wait to read this book!
That’s it for my February recommendations – what are you reading? Let me know in the comments. I’m on a memoir kick right now as I often find them to be highly entertaining and an easier read. I’m not interested in politics or history. I will get back into fiction reading – but most of my time is spent working on my own artistic projects.
If you’re interested in following me on Good Reads – here’s the link. I update my reading list about once a month. I feel like everyone has a book these days. It’s motivation for me to keep writing!
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