Staying Alive in the 905

box day saleSpanner’s warehouse sale was a month ago but NOW both of the showroom locations have marked down the current fall/winter line. It’s an early Boxing Week sale. 


GoCooking at the Hamilton Spectator has announced their line-up of sessions for the 2010 winter season.  View and register here.

Tonight I will be serving the salad on a pretzel stick that I learned to make during my GoCooking session at the Spec’s test kitchen in November.  It is a basic tomato and bocconcini salad but I will not prepare it on a plate as pictured.

I will use a wooden skewer to pierce each mini boccocini and each small grape tomato.  Then I will thread one tomato, one basil leaf and one boccocini onto a long pretzel or skinny bread stick.  Voila! Salad on a stick.  The salad sticks will be arranged on a plate and drizzled with balsamic dressing.  Each of my guests can select a stick and eat their salad as finger food.

“It takes a heap of living…”

Katherine Johnson, mother of my dear friend Joanne. 

Thank you for sharing your mother with your friends Joanne.

I will always remember Katherine.  I was in my late twenties when I met her and I always looked forward to her visits.  She would come from Montreal to visit Joanne in New Brunswick.  She became a mother figure to all of us who were living far from our own mothers.  We loved her lady-like, kind, gentle and calm approach to life.  I feel lucky to possess a framed reproduction of all Katherine’s Words to Live By.  There will be more to come.  

I thought of this phrase when I read the blog post of a much younger social media classmate.  It’s about having a quarter life crisis.  When I read her post I immediately thought of Katherine’s words and wanted to advise my young friend to not stress and just start living.  It really does take a heap of living to make a life journey and we never know where or when the journey will end.

It is all too easy to dismiss stress felt by young people as trivial because we boomers know what  is to come – more stress! However, every phase or decade of life has stressful periods.  When you are in each phase it is very real to you, regardless of your age.  I commend Natalie for writing a post about the new version of mid-life crisis on her blog.  There are many whole blogs devoted to the subject.  I want to be informed of the stress my own sons may face as young men graduating and entering the workforce. Thankfully, Natalie is not dwelling on it. She is busy looking for work and having fun.  I wish for her many jobs, more fun and minimal stress.  I wish for her a “heap of living.”

Here is a definition of quarter life crisis and a link to Natalie’s post.

In the past the only online shopping I did was for books through Chapters/Indigo.

This year I have done more online shopping for Christmas gifts than in the past five years combined.

I’m glad I did.  It has been convenient and reliable.  I have started to make purchases online for items other than Christmas gifts.  I have learned to go first to the Air Miles shops because if I can access a store via that site I will earn air miles for my purchase.  For example if I shop at Apple via the Air Miles shopping site I earn air miles but do not earn them if I shop at the Apple store at the mall.

I was glad to see a good review in the National Post recently regarding a Canadian discount designer shop – Beyond the Rack.  It is a bit like an online Winners.  Once again, you can shop at Beyond the Rack via the Air Miles site.  I’ve made two purchases from this site and am happy with the merchandise.  There is the option to return but I have not needed to yet.  It is based in Montreal.  It is like a club and you must sign up for membership but it is free.

For many years it seemed that we did not have good Canadian online shopping and I was reluctant to shop from a U.S. site.  Now that we have good Canadian sites I think I will be doing more shopping online.  What about you?

                   I would love to know about other reliable Canadian shopping sites.  Please share.



It is traditional at this time of year to reflect back on the year that just whizzed by.  It seems that 2009 has been one big reflection. That’s because 2009 was the 40th anniversary of 1969.  A lot happened in 1969.  It was an important year in pop culture and the history of the world.  It seemed everything changed as the sixties rolled into the 1970’s. 1969 was a very big year for me and I remember why.  It was the year I became a teenager and started high school. I wrote about all the reflecting and remembering in an email to my friends this past summer: 

It seems this summer that everyday in the news there is something that happened 40 years ago.  For example: Ted Kennedy is dying, as a revered statesman, 40 years after he got away with murder. Woodstock!!!! Woodstock was that summer but I was only a teeny bopper wanna-be hippy.  I didn’t venture far in those days.  So if anyone my age or younger tells you they were at Woodstock they are probably lying or they went with an older sibling… or they were ahead of their time, had run away from home or …their parents took them. Wow – 1969 was a very big year. 

Q107 has been inviting listeners to share “where were you when Apollo 11 landed on the moon?”  I read some of the comments on the website and entered some contests but decided not to fess  up as to my whereabouts.  I remember exactly where I was when man landed on the moon.  Do you?

The summer of ’69 was a pivotal period for me – between the end of grade 8 and the beginning of high school.  I tie-dyed a sheet, black, to hang in the door way of the grade 8 grad dance – yes, I was on organizing committees back then too.  I wore my white lace bell-bottomed pant suit and white chunky heels.  I still have that outfit and some of you saw me wear it at my 30th birthday party – after a few too many drinks.  I have the shoes also.  This outfit was a hit when my son’s female classmates modeled items from my cedar trunk in Grade 7 for a retro fashion show.  

I think I remember so much of that year and the few that followed because of the little B&W television that was added to our kitchen so my news junkie father could keep up with the world during dinner.  Prior to that I remember parents reading newspapers a lot and if you owned one, the televison was in the living room.  That little TV on it’s chrome stand was mod and funky. Man, I thought we were rich when we got that thing.

All the Vietnam news footage bombarded us with war and then we saw the demonstrations etc. etc.

When I started high school girls were not allowed to wear pants and no one could wear jeans.  As a member of student council I campaigned for the right to wear pants and felt so empowered when we achieved our goal.  Everyone bought cords and we soon dressed just like the guys.  Afterall, those mini skirts were sexy but brutally cold in the winter.  I still fear my mother was right when she said that baring our thighs to the cold would make them fat!!!  Remember – females had never worn such short skirts before – ever!  We were told that the body would layer on fat to protect itself.  LOL….that’s my excuse and I’m sticking to it.

The next year we won the right to wear blue jeans. That was the most pivotal fashion moment of my life.  Anyone remember how they were so stiff and dark?  My brother and I took a new pair of jeans to New Brunswick every summer purposely to wear them in the sand and salt water to break them in and fade them a bit.  That dark stiff denim is back in vogue and the current trend is not to wash them so they remain dark and stiff.  Imagine.

  Now I buy something denim every year but I started high school without it in my life. 

Back to 1969 and the moon – I can not tell a lie – when the American astronauts landed on the moon I was at a Bobby Sherman (Here come the Brides) concert in Buffalo, NY.  My friend’s’s father took us to see the hot teen idol/singer/actor.  When the concert was over we dashed to their relatives’ home nearby to watch footage of the historic event.  They were complete strangers to me and distant relatives to my friend but sitting in silence in their living room we all felt connected – we were all the mankind Armstrong spoke of and you needed to share it with someone.  I wondered if we would all be living on different planets some day and wondered why we needed to go to the moon.  I’m still wondering about that.

I am amazed at what has transpired in the last 40 years as I write this on a computer.  Not enough has changed though.  We still fight wars and people still die too young and now we pay too much for a pair of  jeans.  Denim was invented for miners in California to wear because they needed an affordable tougher fabric that would withstand their climbing over rocks.  We are paying $ for a pair of work pants!!

So that’s my musings about 40 years ago – it was a pivotal year to become a teenager.

Where were you when man landed on the moon? Please don’t say”not born yet!” I know some of you weren’t – I’m lucky to have friends of all ages.

I googled Bobby Sherman.  I see he had the good sense to leave the entertainment world when his 15 min. of fame were up. He became a sheriff and a family man.  He’s still kind of handsome for 66.  Eeew!  He was only 4 years younger than my mother.  Glad I did not know that then.


Please note: I work at Glen Eden during the winter months but not in a PR capacity. I am a part-time ski instructor. So, yes I am biased.  No one asked me to write this.  I write voluntarily because I believe Glen Eden offers a great customer experience.  I want to spread the word. 

GLEN EDEN OPENED TODAY!               Glen eden 

Glen Eden’s season begins today!! NEW state of the art guns have been blowing snow every possible hour of allowable temperatures.  Thanks to the hard-working crew the hill is opening only six days later than originally scheduled despite the unseasonable weather we’ve had. 

Special lift-ticket price for opening weekend is only $20.  What a great chance to take the first runs of the season for those of us who have not been up north.  Check the website link below to find out which runs are open.

I’m excited about the changes at the hill for our 2010 season.  Awaiting customers in the rental shop are 350 brand NEW pairs of skis and ski boots.  100 NEW snowboards have also been added.   This means that everything in the rental shop is new or 3 years new – nothing older! Looking good!  Be among the first to strap them on!

A brand NEW carpet lift replaces the T-bar at the Galaxy Learning Centre.  The terrain park has moved which means Twister is open again as a regular run on the west side of the property.  The main chalet has NEW floor tiles.  Everything is ship shape and ready to go.  Our season here in the GTA  is short but it is sweet.

The snow making and grooming crew at Glen Eden are the best! Last year we were the only hill to make snow late in the season and we were able to remain fully open through March break.

Check out all the options for passes.  Glen Eden introduced a 5×7 pass this year.  There is also special pricing for Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday evening lift tickets at only $20.00.  

Glen Eden ski and snowboard center is part of Conservation Halton’s Kelso Conservation area.  Minutes from Milton, it is conveniently located just south of the 401 and only a short drive from Mississauga, Hamilton, Kitchener, Georgetown and Guelph.   The center offers 240 feet of vertical, 12 groomed runs, a terrain park and snow tubing.   The snow school at Glen Eden is one of the largest in Canada, with 300 instructors teaching more than 50,000 lessons to skiers and snowboarders.

I work weekdays teaching mainly school groups and adult ladies day groups.   I end each day with the four and five-year olds we call Kinderski and/or private lessons.  It is very rewarding to help new skiers overcome their apprehension and nervousness.  Gaining confidence is key to learning a new skill.   Eight years ago I attended the Glen Eden Ladies Day program to refresh my skiing after years away from the sport.  Then I took the CSIA  Level 1 course to make the jump to instructor.

This local ski and snowboard centre is a great place to learn the sport with lots of moderate terrain.  There are so many lesson programs at all levels for all ages.  Check the Glen Eden website for availability.   Bring the family. See you on the slopes!

 Here’s how to find Glen Eden.  Join me at the top of the escarpment – it’s a great view!  Be cool, not cold!  Being active is part of staying alive in the 905!

Can you tell I’m excited?  Have you ever visited Glen Eden?  Would you in the future?

Guess what?  I received a Tassimo coffee machine from the @TassimoCanada  Twitter promotion.  It was delivered yesterday.  I’m still in shock!  I’m also using some pliers to remove my foot from my mouth.  Those beverages will go great with humble pie.

It’s a beautiful machine – much more compact than I had imagined.  Life has been so crazy the last few days that it is still in the box but I still have a week to experiment and figure it out before taking it into my final social media class (#mcsmpr on Twitter). 

I can not tell a  lie.  I’m happy to have it and to be able to share it with the class so they can see what all the fuss was about.  I’m working on getting a mug for everyone, perhaps from my husband’s employer.  Just like a kid who changes her mind I’d sort of like to keep it but I’ve decided to raffle it off to the social media class – a fun Christmas activity that will also support the new Interval House Flamborough Women’s Centre.  They have a fundraising campaign on now.

It has been an educational adventure in the twittersphere that I did not expect.  I had no idea that companies were using Twitter to promote product and… that consumers would so willingly tweet for a give-a-way.  Quite a change from the days of mailing in a single contest entry. 

I learned the value of researching a subject more thoroughly before blogging and tweeting about it.   I’m still questioning how much free advertising we consumers should give a company.  Face to face word of mouth is very different from tweeting online.  I’m a product of the sixties, when we bucked the system, revolted against the establishment and would not help a corporation get free recognition and/or advertising.  Times have changed.

I don’t want Twitter to be clogged with repetitive product tweets but I won’t rule out the possibility of tweeting again for a great give-a-way.

I also learned that you can make new friends on Twitter.  Twitter friends support each other’s brands, products and blogs.  In this hostile, cynical world that is a good thing.  So I must give a big shout out to @marcyberg from  Thanks Marcy for helping me learn about Twitter and for sending your friendly tweets my way.  I hope we can have coffee some day.  It will have to be with your machine though.

I am so loving these videos from Muppet Studio.  Long live the Muppets!

Play it again!

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