Friday, September 30, 2011

Friday night video....

Pulling out some vintage Black Eyed Peas.... gotta say, this is my favourite Peas song, such a great message.... Where is the Love?....

Enjoy your Friday everyone ;)

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Anniversary getaway....

So, here it is.... our whirlwind, one night, two day, 11th anniversary getaway....It all began last Christmas; as a WOW! gift, I went waaaay out of my comfort-zone money-wise, and splurged on a gift for Mr. Monkey.  While struggling to decide on the perfect "stocking-stuffer" gift, I had one of those light bulb moments (financially, I hate when that happens).

I said to myself, "What about one of those eco-adventure trips?"  It was something that the monkey-man had talked about often; but, seriously, I hadn't really considered it too much only because I didn't know the cost.  If you know me at all, then you know that I like to hang on to my coin.... it's a good thing.... and a bad thing too.  But, for some reason, I felt like I just had to do it (it may, or may not, have had something to do with the fact that I wanted the gift just as much.... just sayin').  Aaaanyway, I was relentless in my search for the right package.... and I say that like it took me weeks - when really, it took me two days.... hey, what can I say, I'm efficient (eyes rolling at myself).

Well, I finally got around to booking the weekend.  It was to happen the day before our actual anniversary; unfortunately, life sometimes takes over and plans had to change.  Now, I'm a roll-with-it-kinda-girl, so this little bump in the road didn't affect me whatsoever.... Mr. Monkey, on the other hand, was very, very annoyed.... of course, he was the one who had to work on our anniversary weekend - totally understand his frustration.
I found the perfect little bed and breakfast, 21 North, that was hosted by a retired architect/chef named Jean-Claude.  He offers 3 beautifully decorated and spotless rooms, all with private baths.... a definite must in my books as far as B&B's go. 

Our room, the master, looked out over vast apple orchards in the Beaver Valley, to which we had no problem taking in the view.

After dropping our bags at the B&B, we set off.... Our excitement began at Scenic Caves Nature Adventures .... the beginning of our eco tour started here....

As told by our very knowledgeable tour guides, this suspension bridge was built in the middle of a very cold and harsh semi-northern Ontario winter.  Stipulations were that the forest floor not be disturbed whatsoever other than to place the footings of the suspension posts.  This meant that no heavy equipment or machinery could be trucked through to the places where they were needed.  Essentially, everything had to be put into place using a huge crane, pulley systems and good ol' manpower.... did I mention that the weather was frigid?  Imagine, you're at the top of a mountain, stringing cable and slugging 3" thick wood planks from British Columbia in below zero temperatures.... not really a job that I'd like to do :P

After crossing the bridge we took a bumpy; but, fun wagon ride to where we'd do our tree-top walk.  This was a 600 metre, 15-span walk from 20ft-60ft above the ground (as close to the tree-tops as possible).  The only things keeping us from plunging to the ground were our harness systems and some 10" wide boards held up by tension wires.... This was the part of the day that I found the most nerve-wracking.  It was definitely a mind over matter thing, I kept telling myself to focus on my footing and not the big waves being caused by the two huge men flanking me - one being my husband.  We made it across in one piece, as I knew we would, and I am very proud to say that I did it.  Here's a picture of the beginning of the tree-top walk.... umm, there were no photos along the way as our hands were in a death grip on the tension wire "hand rails", and yes, there were white knuckles....

From the last tree-top platform, we hooked up for our first of two zip lines.  This one was between trees and only ran a 330ft. span.... in all, it lasted less than 10 seconds; but, it was less than 10 seconds of TOTAL exhilaration!  Check me out here....

What a rush!  I couldn't wait to get to the next one which was 1000ft long and off the side of the escarpment.  I was originally going to film myself on the ride down, then quickly decided against it for fear of losing my camera.... that would really, really suck!  Anyhow, I took a couple of pictures at the top of the 1000ft zip....

"Caution: When falling, be aware that your head will become dislodged from your body."   At least, that's what I get from this picture.... Too funny!

And, just to give you an idea of how far up our last zip was, here's one of our guides getting into position to harness us up.... you can see Georgian Bay in the distance.... Breathtaking view, and believe me when I say, the zip was AWESOME!  One of the greatest experiences of my life.

I hope you all get to experience the feeling of doing something so inspiring, exciting and daredevil-ish.... The only problem now is trying to top it!

Have a great night folks ;)

Friday, September 23, 2011

Friday night video....

I know I've missed a few Fridays... but, here you have it, your Friday night video.... The Beautiful Adele - Someone Like You....

Have a great Friday evening all ;)

Thursday, September 22, 2011

S.A.P. seeks S.A.S to spice things up....

While away for a belated anniversary adventure with Mr. Monkey; we stopped in some little towns full of great shops and interesting galleries.... I promise in the near future to devote an entire post to said adventure....

Aaaanyway, we came across a little "antique" shop FULL to the brim with trinkets and treasures.... these are my favourite kind of "antique" shops.... And - Just as a side note:  I have trouble with these shops calling themselves antique shops only because over half of the stuff in them are not really antiques at all, not in the true sense of the word anyway.... I prefer to think of them more as vintage or curiosity shops.... Ok, so I've aired my big beef - moving along.

While browsing this crammy little place, sans children (can I just say:  I love my children.  But, being able to do one of my very favourite things without having to tell a little monkey to stop touching the expensive china or please don't chop your brother's arm off with that ancient samurai sword - well, let's just say, it was a very calming experience for me)....

Again - aaaanyway, I found this little fella....

A single, aluminum pepper shaker.  There were two actually.  This one was in the best condition, a little dirty; but, nothing a little white vinegar couldn't fix.  I searched high and low for it's mate and came up empty-handed.  Rats!

This little guy actually goes with my canister set which makes me a very happy camper.... and now, the only items missing are the salt shaker, the large flour canister and the grease canister.... I'm 100% positive that I'll never use the grease canister; but, it'd be nice to complete the set anyway, right?

Have a great day folks.... officially, I think, it's the last day of summer.... and it looks like a lovely day in my neck of the woods.  So long my peeps ;)

Monday, September 19, 2011

Lots going on....

I have tons of stuff to show you over the next couple of weeks.... most of it will be re-finished, re-furbished, re-worked, re-purposed for my girl-monkey's room.  I've managed to pick all of her large bedroom items:  bed, dresser, magazine rack (a little project that's going to house some special items), chair... at second-hand shops, used and consignment shops!

My middle monkey, while watching American Pickers last week, turned to me and said "Mommy, you're like an American Picker guy."  I was so surprised that he would compare the way I like to shop for things, to these guys.... I guess when you think about it, I am kinda-sorta like a picker.  Only difference is that I'm not educated when it comes to antiques; and I'm really only trying to find things for my home that fit my vision and aren't cut from todays' cookie-cutter manufacturers.  Ok, so maybe I'm not a picker.... I'm more of a junk buyer :)

Anyhow.... Here's an itty-bitty piece of the dresser, we'll call this the before shot....

Sorry about the picture.... right now, it's living in the garage piled high with, well, garage-type-stuff.  I picked up this nice stick of wood at a consignment shop in my own little town.  Heavy solid wood, well-constructed, in near mint condition, complete with dove-tailed drawers.... and the price, you ask?

$75.00; I know, it may seem a little more money than what I'd normally like to spend.  But, when it comes to furniture of this construction, there's no way you could find a new piece even close to this quality at a reasonable price point.

Of course, I'm going to rough it up, strip it down, re-paint it and give it a lift with some new (or used) hardware.  I'm thinking the colour will end up being some sort of creamy white.... I'm hoping to remember to take step-by-step photos when I start the re-furb.... but, that remains to be seen.... knowing me, I'll remember halfway through the process.

Aaaanyway, it's dull and rainy here today, the perfect day for makin' soup, I say.  On today's menu:  Butternut, sweet potato and red apple soup.  A great soothing fall soup that will go well with tonight's meatloaf and rice dinner.  Yum!

Have a great day all ;)

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

The walk....

Day One - 35km:

My friend and teammate, Crystal, along with her husband Tom, picked me up in the wee hours of the morning and we drove to Toronto.  We were able to see the sun rise on our way, and somehow it helped calm me.
Crystal, Louise and I

Upon arrival, we found Louise, our other teammate, and stood in line to check-in.... I was amazed at the number of people who were all there for their own reasons, and at the same time, all for the same reason.

4013 people in total.  $9.4 million dollars.  It's astonishing, really.

We had a quick bite to eat, then sought out the facilities.... in all of those people, each of us were dumbfounded that we didn't have to wait for a bathroom.... that is, until we came out of our stalls and noticed the line on the opposite side of where we had first approached.  The line for the loo was about 30 people long - funny though, nobody once even gave it a second thought that 3 people had just butted.

We found a spot atop one of the grandstands and were in awe again at the sea of people.  The opening was very touching.  There was a morning t.v. host who started us off with stretches and warm-ups; brief speeches were made; a singer crooned a song.... then we were on our way at about 8:00am.  There was no turning back.

The whole first day was filled with cheering volunteers, police directing traffic, everyday citizens honking horns, businesses offering goodies.... and lunch and the pit stops!  We were spared no luxury.  We ate well, we were refreshed, we were given provisions to make our walk more bearable....

A delicious and nutritious lunch... yum!

Louise was the first from our team to cross the day one finish.... I came in half hour after her at 4:30pm.... and Crystal came in 45 minutes after me....  The feeling was so gratifying.  I was tired.  I was euphoric.  I was saddened; but, at the same time, so full of hope.

I tried very hard to focus on what I was doing, where I was going, and enjoying the scenery.  Thoughts of Becky entered my head a few times, and I used them to push me even harder.

At days end, we enjoyed our dinner, some laughter.... much needed showers.  By 9:00pm we were tucked neatly into our sleeping bags and resting up for....

My home away from home...

Day Two - 25km:

2:55am:  Note to self - bring air mattress next time.... oh, my aching body!

4:55am, need a bathroom.... BAD!  Can't sleep.... I walk the camp after washing up.... find tea, omelets, yogurt and BACON!  I ate with the road crew.... what a great bunch of people.  I went back to the tents, by that time, Crystal and Louise were up.  We got ourselves ready.... then, I received a text message:  "You up?"  It was Kim.  "Where's your tent?"

I emerged from the tent, expecting to just see Kim, as she had said she might greet me that morning.  I didn't expect to see her little family, and Becky's as well.  A nice surprise.... and at that moment of seeing the faces of Becky's beautiful children and her husband, I felt she was with me.

A beautiful pink sky to greet us that morning

We headed out on the road again a little after 7:00am.... and again were greeted with the same enthusiasm as the day before.   The only difference for me was that my energy and drive felt like they had increased 10-fold.

I was on a mission, the same mission I was on for the whole year leading up to this event.  It wasn't until the last hour of my journey, about 7km out from the finish, I started thinking of her.  This whole year had been working toward making her proud, and hopeful, and just doing something.... anything to make me feel like I could help.  Keeping it together was difficult... there were tears, there were happy thoughts of her smile, her embrace, her calling me a goof for countless things I had said or done.

She was with me, I knew it, I felt her.... of course, seeing her family that morning had given me perspective into why I was there.  I needed to see them that day.

At the finish, I heard my family cheering, honking horns, clapping.... I saw them and I was so proud of what I had accomplished.  As I crossed, I was met with the open arms of my husband, then my children, my mother and father-in-law, my sister and nieces.... and when the wave of family hugs parted, I saw Peter.  Becky's Dad.  And that was so very special.... she was there - in him.  We embraced, we cried inconsolably.... and he said to me, "Becky would be so proud of you."  I can't tell you what it meant to hear those words from Peter.... Crossing the finish line is truly a moment I will never ever forget.

Louise and I just after we crossed the finish

The closing ceremonies were very heartfelt and left me, and I'm sure others, with a feeling of hope. 

"Hope sees the invisible, feels the intangible and achieves the impossible," anonymous

Was it worth it?  Yes.
Will I do it again?  ABSOLUTELY, just try and stop me.

Have a great night all, thanks for joining me on this journey of hope ;)

Thursday, September 8, 2011

The 2011 Weekend Has Arrived....

So, here I am, 2 sleeps away from what I can only describe as a life changing event for me.  The Toronto 2011 Weekend to End Women's Cancers Walk.

I signed up for this walk almost 1 year ago.  I knew that this was a commitment, I just wasn't prepared for how it would change me as a person.  I wasn't prepared for how many people would give so openly to my endeavour. And I wasn't prepared for how much this would become a part of who I am.

Our dear Becky, who was so happy that I was doing this in her honour, has now become my guiding light through the end of my journey.  Bittersweet is all I can say this weekend will be.  I know that I am a part of something huge, and something good, and something worth fighting for.... I don't really need to explain the rest, right?

I look at Becky with great admiration.  She lived her life with love in her heart - and she proved to all of us that truly, this is the glue that bonds lives together. 

I have so many people to thank for helping me get to this point; and I'll do my very best to list all of you...

Carrie B.
Lindsay A.
Heidi M.
Charlotte B.
Jeff and Alana P.
Scott T.
Teresa B.
Zvonko H.
Norfolk Fighting 3/4
Madeleine S.
Grete K.
Juliann D.
Ron L.
Rachelle and John S.
Jen who works with Jacquie
Neighbours who donated to my bottle drive
Friends and Neighbours who donated to rummage sale
People who attended our Think Pink Tea
Everyone who baked and volunteered for the Tea
People who came to our Rummage Sale for a Cause
Tranquility Place Retirement Home Bottle Drive
St. James Anglican Church
Paris Presbyterian Church
Rebecca and Joel
Nicole and Jonathon
Kim and Devan
Auntie Marilyn
Sharon and Garry
Tasha, Mark and Eric
Umma and Boppa
Oma and Opa
Aunt Mary and Uncle Paul
Jane and Justin
Sherry and Michael
Shirley, Michael and Joshua
Jacquie, Chad, Madi and Caiden
Mom and Ronnie
Laurie, Eric, Nyk, Hali and Dayna
Kim and Steve
Peter and Dorothy
Becky and Greg
Craig, Liam, Marek and Camryn xo

If I've forgotten to list anyone, please accept my apologies; but just know that I am forever grateful for the love and support of my family and friends, for the generosity of my donors, and for the giving spirit of my neighbours and community.

I am a better person for taking on this challenge.... I have gained more perspective and have found a greater appreciation for the people I am surrounded with.  I will not take life for granted ever again.  We are here for such a short time; we need to enjoy the life we have and seek out that which we deserve.  We need to fight for what we believe and stay strong for those who don't have the strength themselves.  We need to be selfless and not selfish.  We need to slow down and take in every single moment; because you just never know what's around the corner.

Thanks everyone.  My shoes are laced, my legs are limber, and my heart is ready to receive it all.  Wish me luck.... I'll meet you at the finish line ;)

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Fiesta... ole!


Just so you know ;)

The vibrant and fun colours, the clean, simple and concentric lines, the art deco styles of the vintage pieces.... What's not to LOVE???

I've never owned any of my own.... unti-il today  (SMILES)

Aaaanyway,  while browsing a long weekend outdoor antique market, I came upon these little pieces of eye candy.  Beautiful plum, turquoise, yellow, periwinkle, and sunshine....

They were missing their saucers; but, really, I'd never use them so I'm not too concerned.... Do you use saucers with your tea cups? ....Well, I guess I shouldn't say I never use saucers.... when I use my china tea cups for Christmas gatherings, I use saucers; but, seriously, a fine china tea cup is totally naked without a saucer, right?

6 beautiful, genuine, authentic Fiesta ware tea cups.... $15!  Yes, I said $15!  Anyone wanna come for tea? 

I have a couple of other thrifty and vintage pieces to show you in the very near future.... believe me, it's hard not to snap fifty-thousand photos and post them all at once....  I'll just say this... It's time to get my girl-babes room under way....

Have a great night all ;)

Vintage granny pattern....

New in the shop!

This super cute and super classic, vintage 1974 (wow! I was just 3 years old when this baby was fashionable) granny square halter top PDF pattern is now available in my etsy shop.  Check it out!

Have a great day ;)

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Vintage yummy-ness in the shop....

Whilst browsing one of my favourite thrifty hot-spots, Value Village.... during their HALF PRICE sale.... I found these little cuties....

Vintage half aprons.... so cute and very useful.... Check them out in the shop!

Happy evening all ;)

Friday, September 2, 2011

Friday night video....

Great song going into the long weekend, and a fantastic song to tell my honey, Happy 11th Anniversary, love you lots ;)

In View - by Tragically Hip

I love you. You know I do
Yea, it’s perfect…well, it isn’t and it is

And I’ve been meaning to call you
I’ve been meaning to call you
Then I do
I’ve been meaning to call you
I’ve been meaning to call you
Then I do

Phone rings once
Phone rings twice
Phone rings three times

I am of you
You are in everything I do
I do

I trust you, that makes you true
I don’t care if it isn’t the way it is

I’ve been meaning to call you
I’ve been meaning to call you
Then I do

Phone rings once
Phone rings twice
Phone rings three times

I am of you
You are always in view
Yea, I am my will
But you are in everything I do
I do. I do. I do

In the Day Eraser’s dark of night
In the Excited States, gone in plain sight
Under the wave or by cavelight
I lose, things change, but never in your eyes

I am of you
You are always in view
I am my will
You are in everything I do

Have a super long weekend everyone ;)