For the eyes. For the heart. For the ears. For the feet. For the soul.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Tiny Toes

I had the chance to spend an evening with my friends and their children last night and wow was there ever a lot of girls in one room at a time. They are so funny, cute and tiny.

This blog post is dedicated to the teeny tiny cute feet of babies.

Enjoy these images!

"Nothing lasts forever...."

Driving home from Binbrook yesterday towards our home, I saw something spray painted across the guard rail along the 403 that caught my attention.

"Nothing lasts forever....." the scrawled graffiti read.

This got me pondering. First, as I sat hand in hand with my husband, windows wide open and warm air cascading through the pane on our bare arms, sun on my face and beautiful music playing, I wondered, after a beautiful weekend spent, what this sign really meant.

Immediately I panicked at the thought of this loving person next to me not in my life.
I shuddered and couldn't bear the thought.

In relation to a recent devastating tragedy which has struck our family, I decided to see the positive in this phrase and similar to "This too shall pass," I suppose the pain will eventually heal. I've learned that in death, there is always a hole in your heart for the loved ones you have lost but in time, it's not as sharp of a stabbing pain in your heart as it is more a dull ache.

We must hold onto our happy experiences which eventually turn into memories, as life here is very transient and temporary. It's comforting to know that even in the most challenging of times, that nothing lasts forever and there are rainbows and fairy dust ahead.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Verses from my Kitchen - Michael's blog

My husband is the most talented person I know. Not only is he a hell of a guy, but he excels in all sports, trivia, writing and most of all in the kitchen. His love of cooking has added a few extra pounds to my frame over the years but wow, is it worth it.

Here is a link to his food blog called "Verses from my kitchen"

Tune in daily for new and delicious recipes.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

O-Ray O-Ray O-Ray O-Ray

Last evening, was the recipe for a perfect night spent. We had tickets to see Ray Lamontagne and David Gray at the Molson Amphitheatre. It was one of those warm and breezy August evenings that trigger many happy memories of the tropics or previous summers. We were with great friends who recently moved here from Montreal and had never experienced the CNE.

As you have to walk through the Ex to get to the concert, we wandered about like little kids with eyes scanning the brightly lit midway. We bought cotton candy, people-watched and played games.

If you've never seen a concert at the Amphitheatre, there really isn't a bad seat in the house. For more affordable seating, you can scoop up some lawn seat tickets for a reasonable price but fortunately for me, growing older allows room for more grown up purchases such as covered seats at a concert.

Before embarking to our seats, we munched on pub fare and draught beer and I saw a familiar face of someone I hadn't seen since my young days of Toronto partying. We reminisced and shared some laughs and catch up time, and took our seats.

The sky was starry, the air warm and to one side of us had a view of the CNE midway and the other, the CN tower. To the centre was one of the best live venues we've ever been to.

Ray Lamontagne, with his smoky, raspy and sultry voice was belting out tunes that had my girlfriend and I gasping and clapping in sheer delight! Our men were rocking to the tunes and enjoying the night. David Gray was headlining but his voice was a little rough. He apologized, in his oh-so-charming British accent that his vocals were taking a bit of a bashing.

The four of us were on cloud nine and despite our trains, trains and automobile saga of getting to Toronto and getting home at 2 this morning, it was well worth the journey!

Check out our favourite song of the night. The sound was absolutely amazing.

We all screamed loudly when he played You are the best thing which is going to be our friends' upcoming wedding song. This song gives me chills and when we heard it, the two couples turned to each other with adoring eyes, all of us feeling lucky and happy to be in love and to be loved.

Is there anything better?

Thursday, August 26, 2010

White House, Black Market

If you looked in my closet, you'd find numerous amounts of colourful accents from scarves, belts, hats and jewellery, yet when shopping for fall, I always seem to be drawn towards the basics of the classic black and white.

In 1985, The White House, a tiny women's boutique exclusively offering white and ivory apparel and accessories opened its doors in Baltimore, Maryland. Continuing its monochromatic theme, the same owners opened Black Market in 1995. The concepts were combined in 1997, creating White House | Black Market stores. To date, there are over 330 stores, including outlets.

White House | Black Market is known for its sleek lines and variance of shades of b&w.

They even have a reasonably priced bridal line!

Here are some images to delight your visual senses:

The sunny side of life

A good friend of mine who was well on his way to becoming a Minister at one point in his life, offered me the following advice during some recent troubling times.

Remember people are all in different places in their life spiritually, or closer to or farther from, the light if you will. The more we walk in the light, the closer we become to God and the more we evolve in our journey. After we leave the physical world and we all will; all that will matter after that, is how much light we have in us, through our love and selfless acts of loving and helping others. Everything else will decay with the physical body. It a good thing when we listen to our conscience and do the good and right thing; it is the voice of God speaking. The real danger comes when you are so far from the light that you never can hear his voice and you may never indeed ever hear it. So, take peace and solace in knowing, you're on the right track with so many good people who like us, are discovering the sunny side of life.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010


I'll always remember to forget,
the things that made me sad
but I'll never forget to remember
the things that made me glad.

Can you hear my thoughts or read my mind?
I'm in my own private grief where I'm pressing rewind,
to the days of laughter, sunshine and smiles,
to see you again I'd travel for miles.

They say life is short and not to delay,
stop being proud and don't waste a day,
in telling your loved ones how you really feel
because when they are gone, the absence is far too real.

That warm summer evening just back in July,
we shared a private moment just you and I.
Many years had past and too many tears shed,
it was time to say "I love you", it needed to be said.

Under the star filled sky a song played, we danced to "Crazy" where we both sang
"I'm crazy for loving you."

It was time to mend the broken fence of unaccounted for and wasted time.
You are in my heart always and if you didn't know then, please know now,
that I have always loved you and never stopped.

Tonight, I grieve for many. I grieve for a husband who survived his angel. I grieve for two daughters who's mother was taken far too soon. I grieve for granddaughters who have many memories but who's time was cut short with their nana. I grieve for siblings who now have a missing link. I grieve for nieces and nephews who cling to their memories. I grieve for friends who have lost a listening ear and a bountiful laugh. I grieve for myself in this time of confusion and uncertainty.

I seek out answers about where we go in the afterlife yet find nothing comforting.

I can't find the answers.

One thing I know for sure: Love takes the sting out of harsh words exchanged.
Love trumps all.

Sleep peacefully.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

See you, in September.

There are times, when passion just pours from my heart as I write something that I deeply connect with or feel. This is one of those times.

We have a group of friends that have re-connected from our high school years. This group of eight takes a turn every month hosting a dinner party at our homes. What we have decided to do is have every other soiree with children, and the opposites without children. On the fifth turn, the eight of us will put on our finest, and hit the town for an evening out.

We kicked things off with a birthday in June. The limo was rented, the booze was flowing, tunes cranked and the evening only partially planned. We jaunted from venue to venue with no real plan other than dinner reservations, and had an absolute ball. Sometimes, when you click with people, you just click. This group of eight has an unbelievable dynamic. We are all so different yet alike at the same time. After that amazing evening in June, we vowed to continue the tradition every month. This is always easy to say however not always so simple to coordinate and commit to. I'm happy to say that this plan was not at all lip service, and so, we carried on.

In July, it was mine and Michael's turn to host. We have rented apartments for many years and not had the space or luxury to entertain and we really felt like we owed our friends an evening to remember. Given the fact they are all full-time employees as well as parents, we put a lot of effort into ensuring our friends and guests would be able to put their feet up and enjoy.

I carefully arranged some music compilations to suit the mood of the entire evening from the upbeat beginning, to the mellow dinner, and back in the swing of things after dessert and finally lounge-like beats to phase out the night.

We created a welcome drink which was reminiscent to us of our honeymoon in Mexico and symbolized the long flight and adventures of finally walking in the lobby and putting our feet up. The welcome drink to our friends was just as symbolic as they rarely get a chance to relax. This beverage consisted of jamaican rum, bitters, pineapple juice, orange juice, a pinch of sugar, splash of lemon juice, and a mint leaf for garnish.

An appetizer soon followed with a prosciutto wrapped peach. The first course entailed a two potato bisque lovingly created by my husband and an avocado salad with bacon, arugula and lemon juice. In between this course, we took a break from the table as the ladies gathered outside and the men gathered in the kitchen. In between courses, we digested our food with some Italian Limoncello liqueors. We returned to the table where we dined on a cilantro coleslaw, candied carrots, fingerling potatoes, stuffed pork loin with herbs and peaches, followed by a raspberry & lemon pie, all made by the one and only, Michael Lewicki.

We had a round table discussion of what we loved the most about our spouses and there were many emotional tears shed. It was a fairly unplanned evening, but you know what they say about spontaneity being best sometimes. My rule of thumb is to always over-plan and then go with the flow.

We sent our guests off with full bellies and no automobiles as they wisely took a taxi home until the next day when they could safely return to get their cars.

Last night, we continued our party at my girlfriend's. We weren't sure what to expect since the house would be full of kids but we knew it would be a different venue. We arrived at 5:30 pm and were looking forward to watching the kiddies jump in the bouncy castle however we weren't sure if electricity and rain quite mixed? We opted out of the bouncy castle and were entertained by the kids' antics.

The host and hostess ran around seemingly effortlessly making sure everyone was comfortable. I marvelled at how my friend prepared food in front of us and kept the kids under control at the same time. We had engaged in several conversations and I don't think any were completely finished. Appetizers of bruschetta and salsa mix laid on the island while we all centered around the food and conversation. The kids ate well and I wondered how my friends so calmly hosted a party of 14? Colourful plates and snacks and cutlery were placed out to please the eye and appetite of the wee ones. The ambiance was wonderful, positive and comfortable and everyone was happy.

An older boy took the responsibility of watching the girls while the adults ate dinner and had a chance to enjoy conversation and great food. We really enjoyed the Australian Shiraz that was served with the most perfect cut of meat you could ask for. Double-baked potatoes and grilled veggies with a balsamic glaze complimented our meal to perfection. Did I mention the candied walnuts the hostess made to adorn the salad? A snack worth having on it's own! The cobbler and ice cream was the belly-busting finale and we all stepped away from the table to relax.

The men of course, took in some sports and lounging. The women, gathered their dames and headed for a slumber party of sorts. We watched in amusement as the young toddlers and girls bounced off the walls with excitement as they performed songs of whatever the moment struck them. We had a chain train massage and chatted on the bed and floor. It was jammie time and my girlfriend challenged me to get her twin girls dressed for bed. I asked myself what the big deal was, and then spent the next half an hour chasing and bribing them to get their pajamas on. I finally succeeded when I locked the bathroom door and promised them I would put mine on as well. Little did I realize they would continually remind me of my promise which was one I couldn't keep since I did not have access to my sleepwear at that moment!

We spent the remainder of the night as a group chatting, laughing and snuggling with the kids.

We arrived home after midnight and I was far more tired than I was at our own party. I think what Michael and I discovered was how much joy children bring, but at the same time, the exhaustion parents go through. It's nice to switch things up a bit and add some balance to our lives, as childless people as well as our friends with kids who sometimes need adult time.

One thing is for sure in my eyes. Balance, in life, is most certainly important. You need a break from the norm sometimes. If you spend all day, every day for your kids, it's crucial to get away once in awhile and be pampered. Alternatively, the unconditional love and innocence that children offer is nothing that could ever be bought in a store. In life, if the childless couple and the couple with kids could see eye to eye, and put themselves in the other's shoes sometimes, there may be far less resentment dually. I'm proud to say, in our group of 8, there is zero judgement about the other's lifestyle or choices.

We waved goodbye to our friends, until next time, and watched as their little ones grew tired and weary and were ready to scurry their tiny feet and full hearts to bed.

Thanks for the memories. See you in September.

Saturday, August 21, 2010


Amidst all the hysteria of the newly released "Eat, Pray, Love", Julia Roberts is at the centre.
Although quite dowdy and frumpy looking in the film, here are some beautiful photos of one of the best actresses of our time.

Friday, August 20, 2010

The diaries of an introvert

Sometimes, my phone rings at home and I don't answer it. Once, a neighbour knocked on my door and I hid behind my chair, much to my chagrin that my neighbour (who happens to also be my friend) could see my silhouette through my chocolate brown, yet sheer panel curtains. This is the diary of an introvert.

There are two types of people on the spectrum of social interaction. Jane, for example is a sales person by daylight. After a long day spent driving from one location to the next, probably making phone calls during the commute from Client A to Client B, Jane goes home to unwind. She picks up the phone or sends an email to make plans for her friends or acquaintances to meet her for dinner and drinks at a lounge downtown. Her energy feeds off the dynamics of her surroundings, whether it's her present company, other patrons or wait staff. When some of her friends pack it in for the night, she accepts other plans to continue the party at another location the same evening.

Mary is an I.T. analyst. She spends her day in her office with the door mostly closed and crunching numbers. She does not sit on the social committee at work or volunteer to host jewellery parties at her home. Mary unwinds with a good book in her backyard or a drink somewhere low key with one friend, her sister or spouse. On the weekends, Jane bartends to make some extra money. Her high energy levels attract many paying patrons. Mary takes her dog for a long walk on a Saturday night.

This is not to say that Mary and Jane's worlds don't ever collide. Jane may crash and burn one weekend from exhaustion and Mary might decide to turn it up a notch and go dancing.

Meet Wendy. That's me if you're new here. What is interesting about me is that people are usually surprised to find out I am more like Mary than Jane. Because of my people pleasing nature, I always want to make sure everyone is good, happy and comfortable. For some, that comes easy. For me, sometimes it does, and sometimes not so much. Growing up, I preferred reading books to playing with the neighbourhood kids outside. In high school though, my mom had a hard time keeping me home. I went out with friends to parties and dances and participated in all sorts of activities from baseball to dance contests to school trips. In my 20's, when I lived in the big city, I was never home. I lived right downtown but often wondered why I started staying home and declining or cancelling invites. Then one day, an older friend informed me that she thought I was a homebody and that there was nothing wrong with that. For some reason, personally speaking, when something about myself that I don't like or understand becomes labelled or assessed, I feel a sense of relief. After all, if there is a term for it, I must not be alone.

Lately, I have heard a lot about the expressions extrovert (Jane) and introvert (Mary). I decided to do some research. Like anything, not every situation is an extreme of the definition itself. For example, introverts are often referred to with a negative connotation. Words like "recluse" are used to describe someone who spends weeks worrying about and dreading a party they are to attend, and weeks after that analyzing everything they said that night that was wrong or stupid.

Although I've never been to that extreme, I did mention to you that I once hid behind a chair; not entirely normal behaviour.

For me, after a day of interaction with staff and clients at work, I enjoy coming home and spending some time alone. My husband is a huge conversationalist by nature. He also has a career in sales and does very well at it. He could come home after 12 hours of talking to customers, and then spend 3 more chatting to neighbours. Then, he could grab 4 guys and go out and converse about anything or nothing at all, over wings and the hockey game.

Sometimes, like tonight, he'll ask me "What's the matter?" In actual fact, there is nothing wrong. I just regroup and recharge my emotional batteries we call energy, by taking in the sound of absolutely nothing at all. The water fountain trickles, the birds chirp and I write. I watch a bit of t.v., go to bed and wake up with a full battery life the next day. The world is full of a vast mix of personalities but for some reason, the introverts seemingly need to justify their personality.

I've been told I am fun, hilarious and even the life of a party. If I feel comfortable with you and rested, I can be. This confuses people when I'm in shut-down mode and just don't have my usual energy to properly contribute. I suppose if one was always like Jane or Mary, you would take them for exactly who they are but for me, it really depends on the day or my mood. I'm also a very sincere person which is why I was never any good at sales. Bullshit is written all over my face and if I don't agree or believe in what's being said, I find it hard to fake it. Quite bluntly, sometimes I just don't like you and in many cases, I'm sure you don't like me but I am bad at pretending. I find pretending to be exhausting. The good news is though, if I stand around chatting to you or continue to make plans, I truly enjoy my time with you.

I find it hard to say no to people, but over time realized it's better to be honest when it comes to making plans than to make up some feeble and weak excuse. It's not fair to your present company when you're not putting your best self forward. Fortunately for me, my husband and very close friends love me for all of who I am; negative and positive, quiet or loud, sad or jovial.

With age, I've gotten better and told myself to grow up. Is it really such a bad thing that people want to knock on your door or talk on the phone, when you consider the alternative of total solitude?

I however, apologize in advance if, on a Friday night at 6pm, you drop by unannounced and my smile isn't as wide as it usually is but hey, at least you got my face at the door and not my ass under the chair.

Ahh. Evolution.

Have a great weekend!

p.s. I found the below introspection interesting when doing some research.

I have a problem. I'm an introvert. I'm not shy. I'm not afraid of being in public. But I am horrible at chit-chat and gossip. If I spend an evening at a social function with people I don't know or don't like, I get home and feel like I've spent all day at the ocean. It's that fighting-the-waves and drained-by-the-sun kind of tired. I would rather spend four hours with my head stapled to the carpet. I would be more comfortable that way.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

You are always on my mind: Weight and women

You've seen the commercial. A cover of Willie Nelson's "You are always on my mind" is playing while a woman is shown with a scale attached to her ankle at all different junctures of her day, whether she is at work, on the road, climbing stairs or eating lunch.

The message? Weight or body image is always at the forefront of your thoughts. You can never get past the guilt of what you eat or rather when you are not working out.

People often wonder why small framed people complain about their size however I think overall, women of all shapes, frames and ages have been programmed to pine for a figure they will never achieve.

My personality is somewhat of a perfectionist. If I cannot master something, I instantly frustrate. Then, I usually give up, or put aside what I cannot seem to get until a later date. Isn't that just the norm of life? Think of a school or work project. It's usually the things you're not sure about or require the most thought process or effort that you leave aside until a later date, but that constant nagging reminder never goes away.

The ironic thing about women is that they are never quite happy with what they have. If only in our 20's we realized no matter what size and weight we were, we were beautiful and young. In our 40's we would give anything to have that body back. I'm the type of person that if in my heart, I know I've given my all, I can accept my ultimate destiny. This includes anything from friendships, relationships, my wedding plans, body weight and work ethic. It's when I'm sitting around not doing anything about the very thing I'm whining about, that annoys the shit out of me.

I once picked up a VHS tape that cost $5.97 from Walmart. It was a pilates tape that I thought I'd try. It bored me to tears. I like fast paced, loud music, hard core workouts. This was slow, zen-like and involved ballet steps. I did this tape a couple of times a week for a few months. I was never so happy with my shape in my life. I have always been small, but short-waisted and pilates changed the way my limbs looked. I was long, lean and fit! I'm the type of person who can lose or gain weight quite quickly depending on my life situation. When I dated Michael, I gained 30 pounds. That doesn't sound like a lot but 30 pounds is a few extra dress sizes and none of my clothes fit.

I finally succumbed to the E-bay phenomenon and bought the DVD of this same program. It's called "The Method, Target Specifics" and I'm going to give it a whirl again.

No amount of ab crunches, circuit training, tai-bo or hip hop classes gave me the results pilates did. Wish me luck. It's so damn boring, but it works.

I guess it really is true that slow and steady wins the race. I guess I should throw out the beer and potato chips while I'm at it.