Turning sixty this year

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No, not me, I am NOT turning 60 this year, but my big brother is, so I thought I would honor his upcoming birthday with this post.  You know, instead of trying to find a unique (tacky) “turning 60” or “old fart” birthday present.

My brother is in great company, apparently, 1957 was a great year…do you know who else turned 60 this year?  Lots of celebrities including Steve Harvey, Melanie Griffith, Vanna White, and John’s favorite, Homer Simpson!

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After all, 60 is a good chunk of 150; 40 percent, 0.4 or 2/5 of 150 Canadian years to be exact.  Any way you look at it, sixty is alot of years, almost half of Canada’s 150 years!

 

 

Canada turned 150 this year and we Canadians are celebrating all year around.  I think those turning 60 (or fifty or any other momentous number for that matter) should too. Actually,  I think my brother may have started celebrating last winter when he was visiting our sister in Texas, good Canadian boy that he is.

I hope my brother is not too bothered about turning sixty.  I know he has his priorities right, retiring from work recently to spend more time doing the things he loves to do.  We are not always sure what those things are, but he does appear to be enjoying himself.

There are lots of good proverbs about turning sixty, so pick one (or three) and run with it…

 

The other good news I have heard (I don’t really know as I am not there yet) is that sixty is the new forty, at least it will be when I get there!

 

 

A busy birthday week in Corpus Christi, Texas

Corpus Christi, Texas is a beautiful city to visit, especially when the weather is cold in my hometown of Ottawa, Ontario, Canada.  Last week I surprised my sister for her birthday, spending a whole week with her visiting all of the popular tourist spots and catching up on sister stuff. The surprise party was held at Talon’s Sports Bar, owned and operated by friends of my niece, and a great location for the party to kick off the birthday week…

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As mentioned in my previous post, I did manage to get some gardening in by planting a garden in my sister’s front yard.  I do love seeing the different varieties of plants that grow in the places I travel to.  I knew that succulents and cactus are prevalent in Texas, I just never knew there were so many varieties of each…

 

Another great thing about vacations is that I don’t have to cook.  This past week I experienced most of the culinary delights Texas has to offer.   At restaurants, a few of which are located right on the water, I feasted on seafood, including delicious crab cakes and gumbo, Mexican, Italian and Thai food,  and of course steak, a Texan favourite.  Home-made, deliciously spicy, chicken tortilla soup, pico de gallo and guacamole prepared by my niece, as well as jalapeno peppers stuffed with cream cheese, then wrapped in bacon, grilled to perfection and served with sausage wraps on the beach by her husband.  I think I will stay away from the scales for a few days…

 

To wear off some of the calories, I was coerced into dancing, Texan style, at my sister’s favourite nightclubs Whiskey River and  Ropers . Thanks to her very patient and kind dancing friends Sinoel, Martin, Benny, Ray and others, I had lots of fun and many laughs trying to master the art.  One-two-three and quick-quick-slow are still echoing in my head…

 

Of course, when heading south to escape a Canadian winter, you have to go to the beach. The beaches in the Corpus Christi area of Texas are spectacular and plentiful.  Padre Island National Seashore, McGee Beach, North Beach, Packery Channel and Mustang Island are just a few popular spots.  Even though this was my fifth visit, I still find the waterfronts confusing.  Bay, gulf, channel, port…

 

My last day in Texas was the only one warm enough (78F or 26C) to hit the beach.  Although I found the water was too cold for anything more than dipping my toes, there were a few brave people playing in the waves.  It is winter in Texas too, although winter temperatures there are much more enjoyable than those here.  We walked the beach during the day and then enjoyed a bonfire on the beach using dried out Christmas trees collected from curbs in my sister’s neighbourhood…

 

We spent a few hours shopping for bargains too, and even though the Canadian dollar is currently so low in value, I was still able to get a few good deals on clothing.  Although we did not venture across the border into Mexico, I picked up a few Mexican inspired souvenirs in Texas, including an adorable ceramic gecko for my garden and some tequila…

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The best part of this trip to Texas was the opportunity to spend quality time with my sister, her children and grandchildren.  I kind of put her on the spot by showing up, not just for her surprise party, but also announcing that I was staying at her place for a week.  I had already made arrangements with her son to use his bedroom in her home for the week.  Thanks to Facebook messaging, I was able to make plans with my niece and nephews before my visit without my sister suspecting a thing.  The only time she was suspicious that something was going on was when her son got up early the morning of my arrival to clean up his room.  Also fortunate, and much appreciated, was the fact that she was able to play hooky from work all week to spend time with me, thanks to her staff Cristi, Chrisy and others.

The birthday week in Texas was a huge success and tons of fun, but over much too fast.  Reality has called me back home to Canada and my sister back to work.  Arriving back in Ottawa via Houston and Toronto, I was greeted by snow and missing luggage, both indicators that all good things must come to an end…

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Please be sure to visit my other blogs:

Laugh out loud (LOL) with me at YOUR DAILY CHUCKLE

and

be inspired and motivated by famous words of wisdom at WoW

My gardening website can be viewed at GARDENS4U

 

 

Everything’s bigger in Texas, especially the surprises

This week I am in Corpus Christi, Texas to help my sister celebrate her 60th birthday. My niece planned the party; my job was just to show up.  I flew from Ottawa to Chicago to Houston to Corpus Christi, landing a mere 45 minutes before the surprise party started Saturday afternoon.  My sister’s birthday is not until Wednesday, January 13th, but we decided to make it a birthday week…

Flying into Corpus Christi, I could easily see why it is dubbed “the sparkling city by the sea”…

 

Arriving at the restaurant where the party was held just 10 minutes before the guest of honour, my brother and I took our positions behind the bar pretending to be bartenders.  Our sister arrived, was greeted by her friends and family who guided her to the bar for a margarita. The expression on her face when she realized the bartenders were her brother and sister visiting from Canada was priceless…

 

The surprise party was a huge success, just the beginning of a wonderful week spent with my sister I haven’t seen in several years.  Stay tuned for more pictures as the birthday week goes on….

 

Please be sure to visit my other blogs:

Laugh out loud (LOL) with me at YOUR DAILY CHUCKLE

and

be inspired and motivated by famous words of wisdom at WoW

 

Happy birthday dad!

mom & dad

Today, September 19th, marks the day of my dad’s birthday.  He would have turned 87 today. I often wonder what he would be like at 87.  After my mom died in 1994 at the age of 65, dad’s love of life and will to live seemed to diminish.  He was only 66 at the time, and the quality of his life deteriorated quickly after her death.  He used his advancing age as an excuse preventing him from enjoying his golden years, but we all knew it was the void in his heart that was the culprit.

Happy birthday dad, we are all thinking of you today and hope you  are celebrating with mom and others that left us too soon.

Happy Birthday Dad!

These pictures were taken on Dad’s surprise (sort of) 75th birthday where he was celebrated by his family and friends.

Today, September 19th, would have been my Dad’s 86th birthday.  Although he left us eight years ago already, I think of him in some context daily.

I woke up to frost on the rooftops and lawns today, an early appearance even here in Ottawa, but somehow appropriate for Dad’s birthday.  As I looked out the window at the whiteness, I could hear his voice saying “HAH, frost in September!”

Other reminders of my dad come in the form of his expressions, interests and habits (some bad ones):

-his affectionate phrase “dum dum” when someone did something silly, often used on his children and grandchildren.  I must admit to using it in my own household too, softened with a giggle, just like he used to.

-his use of the expression “HAH” as used above, meaning “who would have thunk it?” or “I don’t think so” (when he didn’t want to do something) or when he found something funny or ridiculous.

-his ride on lawnmower that his six children purchased for him on his 75th birthday.  It currently resides at my cottage where the lawns are big enough to need a ride on mower.

-when I am out “puttering” in a garden as he used to love to do.  In his latter days he would have a list of things for me to do in his garden each visit.  As a youngster I remember my mom picking out the plants, but Dad was always the one planting and looking after them.  I know he would be proud and not the least bit surprised about my new profession, Gardens4U.

-when one of my sons (or me) yell at the TV during a hockey game.

-one of his sweaters that I found in his closet when cleaning out his house, barely (if at all) used, that I now use as garden apparel on cool days.

-his use of an accelerant to start the campfire at the cottage, especially after a week of rain when everything is damp.  My husband calls it “grandpa’s firestarter.”

-wandering around my gardens in sandals (Dad often wore his slippers to do this, much to my Mom’s dismay)  with a cup of tea in hand, stopping here and there to pull a weed or two, or to “stop and smell the roses.”

-his goofy grin, that fortunately lives on in my son Derek.

The list goes on and on….Happy Birthday Dad, I miss you!

an Amazing Race in Kanata

Are you looking for something different for an End of Season or Team Bonding party for your teen’s hockey/soccer/football/ringette team or for a Birthday party?

I have created an Amazing Race for my son’s hockey team for the past 4 years, so have plenty of experience and ideas on how to make your event a great time.  Over the past few years, I have had many people ask me about this idea, so have decided to offer my services…

I can create a customized Amazing Race throughout Kanata for your group/team to provide hours of fun.  You  provide the contestants, the drivers and a few other parent volunteers to supervise the challenges; I can provide the rest!

For more details and questions, contact me at gardens4u@mail.com