Something In, Something Out

Last weekend we went to an antique store just outside of the city. It was not the typical antique store that we think of, filled to the rafters with things that look a little less like an antique and more like someones long-forgotten garage sale, where you spend most of the time searching out the hidden gem and wading through plastic-y odds and sods.

This place was different.

Bud, the owner, does his purchasing and selecting meticulously. He only buys what he would proudly want to place on his shelves. And the difference is measurable. Don’t get me wrong, the place has tons of items. But they are all there, visible, for you to pore over, run you finger across, stare at for a good long while. And they are all quality.

Bud also knows the full history of just about every single item in the joint. He knew when it was from, where it was from, what it was used for, if it still worked, when it last worked, what it needs to get it to work. He was a fountain.

It was superb.

So we came away with a box full of carefully wrapped goodies and found them new homes lickety split. The replacement of old items with our new old items was fairly simple as we purchased with these spots in mind. The best part? Convincing Pat that the items we took away did NOT need to find a new home.

One in, one out.

That is the rule he has for my shoes and my bags. Well guess what? If it applies there, it applies here.

So I happily took what we removed off our own shelves to make room for our new old items and placed them in my garage sale pile.

I have no doubt we will be regular visitors to the Lamplighter. Pat peppered Bud with endless questions and I think the level of fascination and  interest from Pat was equaled by the level of enthusiasm and pride from Bud who happily answered them all.

He told us next time we should call ahead so they know we’re coming. He would put out some special things for us.

Now THAT’S service.


You can find Bud and all of his amazing wares at the Lamplighter, Hwy 15 (Dugald Road) just before the turnoff to Oakbank. 


Duty Calls


This girl got called for Jury Duty!

I knew my years of watching Law and Order would come in handy! They’re gonna LOVE ME!

But seriously. I’m a little torn. On one hand I’d love to participate in the judicial process and do my part to ensure guilty people get put away and innocent people do not. But on the other hand, what if it goes on for months? What if one of the other jurors is a total jerk? What if the perp is accused of something so horrid that I can’t ever stop thinking about it? What if we make a mistake?

I’m not sure what exactly gets you excused from the process. I know each lawyer has a set of qualities in mind that they are looking for in a juror and they each have the opportunity to nix a certain amount of potential jurors. Do they want the daughter of a retired city cop/detective/sergeant? I’m thinking one side might.

Do they want a parent? A woman? A woman who works? A woman with opinions? Who knows.

I’m not sure I could sit in that little box and actually keep my mouth shut for that long.

I’m not sure I could sit in that little box and not give away my feelings purely by facial expressions.

I’m not sure I could sit in that little box and not tweet my way through it.

(Does one get in trouble for that? Probably, yes.)

So we’ll see how it goes. I will write and let them know that our morning routine is such that from 4:30 am till 8, I am my daughters sole care provider and her means of transportation to school. I can ask for help with that for a few days but if this ends up being  a prolonged case, I would not want to put that on anyone. I will let them decide if that is a sufficient enough reason to leave me be.

And if not, then I will do my duty and participate in the process.

No further questions, your honour.

jury duty

Has the jury reached a verdict?


Have you ever been summoned for jury duty? Did you go? How was your experience? Do share in the comments!

A Little Bit Downton

Ornate wallpapers. Measured table settings. Wood features from floor to ceiling. An era when children were raised by nannies, men wore tails to dinner and ladies didn’t dare operate anything trickier than a book.

There are many things to love about that era in Britian, the 1910’s to the 1930’s…the stunning dresses, the introduction of jazz music, the elaborate decor. But also many to abhor…the attitude towards women, the ranking of human beings, the disinterest in children until a certain age, the fact that an unmarried woman is considered a failure to the family, that marrying relatives is commonplace.

Watching Downton Abbey has been a lesson in history. The invention of the telephone, the refrigerator, record players, electric mixers. How in awe these people were with each new toy, resistant to the change or otherwise. We could all take a lesson from that. We demand the release of the newest smart phone and then feel blase about the fact that it doesn’t do enough. We have lost the ability to be truly wowed.

If you have written Downton Abbey off as another British soap opera I am here to say, think again. This is no Coronation Street-style show filled with such heavy accents that I find myself having to translate English to english for my husband, where so-and-so slept with so-and-so, and this one smacked that one and oh look, she’s pregnant.

Oh wait.

Yes it is.

But it is drama on another scale. It is elegance and storytelling with amazing backdrops and plot lines. You can leave a show like Coro and come back two years later and still know what is going on. I dare say that would not be possible with a show like Downton.

And what a show from the 1910’s does as well as any other modern show, perhaps even better, is approach issues with a degree of class and indicate to us how little we have grown as a human race.

The three most recent topics broached on Downton:




Part of me was surprised each was brought up as a story line, I’m not sure why. Perhaps they just seemed too modern, too controversial. And the other part of me was incredibly depressed that it was still a concern today. Slap some modern clothes on these folks and it could easily be 2016 with all that they were experiencing and sharing.

Sad really.

That in the span of 100 years we have gone from telephones only just being introduced to family homes to a phone that can change the temperature in your house from 1000 miles away. We have gone from oil fueled lanterns to lights that know how to turn on and off simply by whether or not someone is in the room. We have gone from women only being allowed to sit there, look pretty and get married, to women running countries and doing whatever they hell want.

And yet…

Law HB2.

The Ghomeshi Trials.

Donald Trump.

1916. 2016. If watching Downton Abbey has taught me anything, it is that we can do better.

And that your plate should sit one inch from the edge of the table when positioning settings for a dinner.


The glitz and glamour of a time gone by.



An Everything-Free Dinner

Guess who’s coming to dinner?

Yep. My ma, who is currently living a gluten free, egg free and dairy free lifestyle. After years of just living with various ailments, she finally got herself checked out, referred, and diagnosed and as such has had to make a number of dietary adjustments. Which flow into the menus of those who cook for her.

Challenge accepted!

We started off with basics. A homemade pico de gallo and some Que Pasa purple corn chips. To accompany that, we added our long time fave, Freybe’s fine liver sausage and two types of cracker-ish things. My fave of the two was the Wild Riceworks Sea Salt and Black Sesame. Fabulous! The one my ma kept reaching for was the Crunchmaster Multi Seed cracker.

The main course consisted of slow roasted ribs in our favourite Mr. Spice GF BBQ sauce mixed with some blended apple and pineapple. I was pretty skeptical on that one. But they turned into the best ribs we have done thus far. Accompanying the ribs was a salad full of fresh veg and an oil and vinegar dressing. Since my mum can’t even have balsamic anymore, we pulled a portion out after just adding oil. Poor lass.

My fave part, as always, is the roasted potatoes. Nothing beats them really. In there for an hour or so, crisping up the edges, dressed only in oil, salt, pepper and a little seasoning salt because that’s how my pa-in-law makes ’em. Toss with some carrots and you’ve got a full meal deal.

And dessert. Well. Given the difficulty one has finding all natural, edible, raw cacao butter in this city (to make my own white chocolate), the dessert plan changed mid-way.

McK made us some cinnamon tortilla chips using the recipe from her Home Ec class and I whipped up a fruit salsa to go with it. And then good old Lorenzo’s filled in the rest! Along with all of their gluten free baked goods, they actually had a few GF, EF and DF treats! Cupcakes for everyone!

Reading labels has become a regular part of life for many people for a variety of reasons. I read them for carb counts, for wheat ingredients, to see if there is corn listed, to see how many I can’t pronounce (those usually go back on the shelf). To create a meal that incorporates allergies and sensitivities is not an unusual thing for me so this did not seem an insurmountable task.

What I think many forget is that real, whole foods don’t have labels.

Go to those first.

Build your menu around whole, clean items. You’ll be amazed at how little you need outside of that.

eat better feel better

It is really just that simple, isn’t it?


How do you incorporate healthy changes or dietary restrictions in your meal planning? Share your tips and tricks in the comments!

When Does the anti-Hate Law Pass?

North Carolina passed a law that says you must use the bathroom that equates to your birth gender, not the gender you live and breath as.

I think they missed something.

They local yokels and likely Trump-supporters were up in arms about how they don’t want to share their urinals with a dude who used to be a woman. That dude should go use the women’s washroom.

You’re telling me that the same fella who was so against the lovely lady in grey actually using the women’s washroom, wouldn’t raise hell if the gentleman in black went in to the women’s washroom? To say nothing of what sort of treatment the woman can expect upon entering the “men’s” room.

America. Why so messed up??

And now Mississippi has passed a law that says pretty much ANYONE can refuse to provide service of virtually any kind to anyone they believe is LGBT. If you have a “sternly held religious belief” you can just up and say no. Just like that.

I really don’t even know what to say.

People may make fun of him for corny boxing photos, or may not support his party, but I’d rather have a guy like this helping Canada make the rules than have what’s happening south of our border, happen up here.


Trudeau being Trudeau

So I suppose a big thank you is in order to my parents, to my dad who is married to a lovely woman named Juanita  and to my mum, who is also married to a lovely woman named Carla, for bringing us to Canada, and not somewhere where evil seems to make the rules.

However I WILL note that huge kudos go to companies like Disney and PayPal who are removing their plans to operate their business in the states that operate the way NC and MS are, and all of the other companies and sports teams and organizations who have spoken out about their support for the LGBT community.

We’re not perfect here in Canada, not by a long shot, but by golly we could be ten times as worse as we are right now and we’d still shine like a diamond in comparison.

Oh Canada. Indeed.

Back to Routine

It is rather astonishing, how quickly routine can falter when a piece of it is modified in the slightest way.

I suppose that a week off for McK (Spring Break) is more than just “a piece” of our routine though. When there is no requirement for her to be up at a certain time, things change, the morning doesn’t flow like it typically would.

Add to that we had a day off on Monday, and two days of work-from-home for me and there was really no reason to set my alarm at all. There were no lunches to be made, no bags to sort through, no schedule to keep.

It was a week of waking up when the body decided it was time, having brekkie when you got hungry, watching the sun fill the room at leisure.

But that’s over, we are back at it again. Alarms are on, workout gear set out, coffee prepared, lunch bags open, backpacks ready.

There is something to be said for the blissful state of laissez-faire, where nothing is urgent or planned. Where the contents of your day are decided as they happen and not a moment sooner.

But there is even more to be said for maintaining the routine, day-to-day, scheduled plan where everyone knows what they are to do and what comes next. It doesn’t fit with every family, but it fits with ours.

So yes, I will take my lazy mornings, and 2 coffees before getting dressed, and bacon and eggs with my kiddo. But I will happily jump back into the swing of things when the calendar dictates.

It would appear it dictates it today.

Back at ‘er, fam!

order foundation

Good order indeed!


How do you get back into the swing of things after some time where schedules don’t matter and calendars are altered? Do you just jump right in or do you have tricks to ease back into it gently? Do tell!