What is Love?

Baby don't hurt me...
Baby don’t hurt me…

Love, amour, amare, amo, любовь,爱, agape, eros, älskar…..

The Concise Oxford Dictonary, Ninth Ed. describes love like this:

love n. & v.  -n. 1. an intense feeling of deep affection or fondness for a person or thing; great liking. 2. sexual passion. 3. sexual relations. 4 a a beloved one; a sweetheart (often as a form of address). Brit. colloq. a familiar form of address regardless of affection. 5. colloq. a person of whom one is fond….

Yadda yadda yadda.

After 9 definitions of the word love as a noun, it goes on to provide 4 definitions of love as a verb and the use of the word in various contexts, such as fall in love, for the love of, in love, love-hate relationship, making loveand so on and so forth.  All of which make me believe even more strongly what I am here to say today, on Valentine’s Day, when love is celebrated above all else:

There is no true description to the word love.  It means something different to everyone, in every situation. Each time the word is uttered (which is often – I also think it is the worlds most overused word) it means something different.  Love is such a vast, multi-layered complex concept, that those folks that wrote that dictionary barely even scratched the surface in their very long definition of the word.

Let us break it down.  I can only speak for myself, but I think that the general concept is universal:

I love God.  God loves me.

I love my son.  My son loves me.

I love my husband.  My husband loves me.

I love my Mom.  My Mom loves me.

I love my Dad.  My Dad loves me.

I love my friend Jolene.  My friend Jolene loves me.

I love my friend Renee.  My friend Renee loves me.

I love my friend Karen.  My friend Karen loves me.

I love all my friends (you know who you are) and they all love me.

I love my dog Sophie.  Sophie loves me.

I love reading.

I love my job.

I love being home, nice and cozy, on a cold winter day.

I love soaking up the sun on the beach on a hot summer day.

I love my cell phone.  Also my Macbook Pro.  And any kind of amazing technology.

I love shopping in Sephora, Indigo, Coach, and other various clothing and shoe stores, etc.

I love bacon, pizza, popcorn, chocolate, the smell of BBQ in the summer, the smell of baked beans in the winter.

I love to cook, bake, and create things in the kitchen.  I love to share those things with the folks that I love.

I love Harry Potter.

I love music.

I love the sound of my son’s laughter.

I love my bed.

I love cuddling.

I love a good cup of tea.

I love how you get the idea…..I’m sure you get the idea.

I just used the word love in almost 50 different ways.  Each time I typed the word, it meant something different.  Each time I typed the word I totally meant it.  Relative to the subject I was writing about.  Do I love a good cup of tea as much as I love my Mom?  Uh…no.  But I do love them both.  I love my son more than anything in the world.  I also love my husband more than anything in the world.  You may ask how I can say that.  You may think I am contradicting myself.  But I am not.  I love them both more than anything in the world, yet the love I feel for my son is so completely different than the love I feel for my husband, that there is absolutely no comparing the two.

Love is a pretty big thing.  It makes the world go around.  There is a reason why many people wait to say it in relationships, and have a hard time saying it for the first time.  It means something, or at least it should.

I hope you all have an amazing Valentine’s Day, and use this day to celebrate love.  It doesn’t matter if you’re in a relationship or not.  We are all capable of love and because of that today is for everyone, everywhere.

Enjoy!

 

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A Re-boot

Sometimes it feels as though you're lost in a forest.  But if you stay positive and look up, you can make it through to the other side.
Sometimes it feels as though you’re lost in a forest. But if you stay positive and look up, you can make it through to the other side.

Hey.  How are things?

It’s been a while. Almost 8 months to be exact.  I guess it was time to take a break from my completely sporadic, non-grueling, when-I-felt-like-it blogging schedule.  Perhaps it’s because the last 8 months have been a time of real transition for me.  My life was turned on its head, in what turned out to be a good way.

Those of you that know me will know that I worked at my last job for 17 years.  I worked in the office, primarily in Purchasing and Materials, of a factory that painted parts for the automotive industry.  Sounds thrilling, doesn’t it?  It was a love/hate thing sometimes, but it was kind of in my blood.  This factory was owned by my parents since I was a little girl, and I started working there full time when I was about 19.  Then it changed hands about 9 years ago, and I stayed on, as did the majority of the staff.  It’s pretty safe to say that after all those years, this was in my blood, it was what I knew, and going into work every day was just like breathing.  It was natural for me.  I guess I never really envisioned myself working anywhere else or doing anything else, although I wasn’t dim enough to believe that it wasn’t a possibility.

I guess though, that nothing lasts forever.  It started to become obvious that the days that the factory would remain open were numbered.  Another new, state of the art factory was opening by the same owners, two hours away.  Though it originally seemed like there may be a chance to keep it open, eventually, the writing was on the wall.

This was pretty scary for me.  It’s scary enough when it looks like you’re going to lose your job, but it’s really scary when your job is all you know, and it’s woven into the fabric of your life so tightly that it is truly a part of who you are.  It’s also scary to think about the process of looking for another job, when I had never really done up a resume before, never been on an interview.  It was very nerve-wracking.

I started to think about where I would want to work, and what I would want in my next job.  I sent out a couple of resumes on to some online postings.  I also sent a resume to the long term care facility in our town.  They had no jobs posted, but I thought it couldn’t hurt to send in a resume and ask them to please consider me if a position in Administration became available.  To be perfectly honest, I didn’t really expect to hear from any of them.  You can imagine my surprise when I received a phone call from the LTC Home.  They had a part time, three day a week position available they wanted to see me about.  It was to cover for someone else that was on leave.  It was a temp position, but there was no end date for it.  I decided to go for it, hoping that I would be able to eventually stay on permanently. I hoped that if I got it, they would let me go down to two days a week at the factory.

I ended up getting the job.  My boss allowed me to go down to two days.  He was actually really great with me, and flexible, working with me around my new hours.  This was an extremely busy time, as although I was only there for two days a week, I still was responsible for most of the same duties I had been, I only now had to do it in two days instead of five.  This meant sometimes coming in early, staying later, and working on the weekends now and then.  That was okay though, I was extremely grateful for being able to continue on there while starting a new chapter of my life at the same time.

The inevitable ended up happening.  In August, we received notice that the company would be closing on October 3rd.  This was tough.  This was actually happening.  I had spent the better part of my life at this place.  From running around pestering everyone when I was a kid, to riding my bike up the laneway, exploring in the ravine below, to working there every day, I was finally going to have to say goodbye for good.  It was tough.  The place was a part of me.  The people were a part of me.  I was so fortunate to have somewhere to go, something to do.

And so it went.  The company closed in October, I stayed on for a couple days a week until the end, and beyond until the end of the year, doing a bit here and there for them.  I still get the odd email every now and then asking me to help out, which I don’t mind doing.  Just before Christmas, I got offered permanent full time at the nursing home (4 days Monday to Thursday) starting January 5th.  I was ecstatic.  I really love it there.  The people are wonderful, they have all been so welcoming, and I have learned so much.  It is a very different atmosphere, going from industry to healthcare, but I’m learning as I go.  I am looking forward to staying on there and heading into the future with this wonderful organization.

So 2014 was a bit of a topsy turvy year.  Beginnings, endings, uncertainty, joy, tears, a broad spectrum.   I learned a lot about myself, what I’m capable of, and what I hope to achieve in life.  I have tried to remain positive, although at times it has been tough, particularly at the beginning and middle of the year when most of the craziness was going on.  It may have been a good (and interesting) time to blog, and perhaps get everything out.  There were lots of other awesome stuff that happened, my kid started Grade One, we had another trip to Great Wolf Lodge.  We had a really great Christmas and New Year.  My parents sold their house, my childhood home, and moved into an apartment in town.  But I think it was good for me to take a step back and let things play out.  I thought I would take the time to update my readership (all three of them – you know who you are! 😉 ) on my current situation, to get that out of the way.  I would say that now, I’m likely to go back to posting about food, and books, and makeup, with the odd little update and opinion piece thrown in.  I can’t say that I’ll post with any regularity, but who knows…stranger things have happened.

I hope everyone is doing wonderfully, and that life is treating you good, and you’re all staying positive and counting your blessings every day.

Love you all to bits and you’ll be hearing from me soon.

I’m almost positive of it.

Family Time

Buddies
Buddies

Today my baby boy turns 6.  It’s hard to believe that 6 years ago today he entered our lives.  Each day has gotten better since.  He has truly made our lives complete.  Being a Mom can be the toughest job in the world sometimes, mostly because you simply love that little one so much that they become an extension of you.  When they laugh, you laugh.  When they hurt, you hurt.  When they feel bad, you want to step right in and fix whatever the problem is.  Even when you can’t.

Anyway, I just wanted to fill you in about the little trip that our family took to Great Wolf Lodge in Niagara Falls.  We had gone in February and spent a couple of days, and we all had such an amazing time, that we thought we would take another trip to celebrate Nicholas’ Birthday.

So last week on Wednesday, we packed up the car, and headed for Niagara Falls.  It was a lot better drive than it was the time before, as we were in a snowstorm that time.  We had my parents with us, as we had the last time, and this time was even better because we had all been there before, we knew the ropes and how to go about doing everything, and how to best utilize our time there.  We had such an amazing time, I thought I would share the experience with you, and show you some of our pictures.  I was able to get some awesome pictures, as we purchased a waterproof camera a few weeks before our trip, which came in very handy in the waterpark, as I didn’t have to worry about it getting wet, as well as it allowed me to leave my phone in the room and causing me to be unplugged for hours at a time, which astonishingly enough, did not bother me at all.  I kind of liked it actually!  I got some great waterpark pictures, and I plan on using this camera a lot at the beach this summer too.  Already a great investment.

We arrived at GWL at around 2pm on the Wednesday.  We were delighted to find that our room was ready, so we were able to check in.  So we unpacked, suited up, and hit the water running!  Here are some pics from Day One:

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And from Thursday, Day Two:

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And lastly Friday, Day Three, and the day we came home:

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As you can see, we had a lovely, fun filled trip, where Nicholas spent a large amount of it under the water.  It’s such a nice place, we’re already planning our next trip, probably for October or around there.

Hope you have a great weekend, and a very Happy Mothers Day to all the Moms out there. 🙂

When the Tough Times Teach You a Lesson

The silver lining is there. Can you see it?

I went to a funeral yesterday.  My sister in law lost her Dad.  He was in his 86th year, and the last year or so had been a rough one for their family.  They have gone through a lot.  Hopefully they are at peace now knowing that he is now at peace, and they can move on remembering the best of times with him and keeping him alive in their hearts.

I also received news last week that a man that I have known since I was a little girl whom I have respected and admired for the better part of my life, has died.  I knew him through work, and didn’t see him very often anymore, but he was a wonderful man, and upon hearing that he passed away, I was quite saddened.  He was a younger man, in his 60’s I believe, with a wife, children and grandchildren.  He was probably on the brink of what would have been one of the best times of his life.  He and his wife likely would have travelled quite a bit, and I imagine his retirement years would have been very full and very blessed, had he not been taken so early.

Neither of these passings effected me directly.  There are a lot of other people who are suffering due to these losses, and though they have impacted me somewhat, my prayers are with the people that are truly grieving their father, husband, grandfather, etc.

Everything in life holds a lesson though, and I like to try to take something away from every experience.  Therefore, when things like this happen, they get me thinking.  These are two different situations, yet the ultimate outcome is the same:  there are two families out there that are grieving a loss right now.

I don’t think about death very much, though I will admit that since I had my son I have definitely considered it a lot more.  I think it’s natural when you have children to think about dying – hoping you stick around as long as possible so you don’t miss anything, making plans in case tragedy strikes and your child needs to be provided for, etc.

But it is in times like this, where you encounter loss that strikes a little closer to home, that you really realize that what they say: “you can be here one moment and gone the next” is totally true.  Some day, we’re not going to be here anymore.  When I look at it this way, it makes every minute precious.  It makes wasting time a horrible thing.  It makes me want to grab on to the people I love and squeeze them tight, so that there will never be a question of how much I love them.

I try to find the good and the positive in every situation.  Maybe a month from now, when I’m stressing about something that I can’t change, that I shouldn’t be stressing over, I’ll look back on this time and remember that I shouldn’t sweat the small stuff.  Maybe 3 months from now when it’s summer and my kid is driving me crazy because it’s summer and he is bored, I’ll remember this and instead of pulling my hair out, I’ll take a deep breath and remember he’s a kid, and he’s bored, and he just wants my attention.  Maybe when my Dad cooks something in my kitchen and leaves the stove a mess because he boiled something over, I’ll remember that I’m just lucky that a) someone is cooking me a meal and I don’t have to do it, and b) someday he won’t be here to cook for me and I’ll remember this wishing he was messing up my stove again.

Life is full of tough times.  Some times are worse than others.  Some people seem to have it worse than others.  I think the important thing to remember is when tough times happen, the best way we can deal with them is to look for the positive things.  I believe every cloud has a silver lining, and there is a lesson to be learned from everything life sends our way.

Until next time.

Kelley Armstrong Photobombed Me

The one and only Kelley Armstrong during her Q&A
The one and only Kelley Armstrong during her Q&A

Well, not really.  Not intentionally, it just looked like a photobomb.  Sorta.  So it doesn’t count.  But whatever.  I’ll get to that.

Kelley Armstrong is one of my favourite authors.  I have reviewed some of her books on this blog here, here, and here.  I love her style of writing, I love her characters.  I have read almost all of her novels and novellas both for adults and young adults, and enjoyed each one.  The fact that she is from the London, Ontario area is very cool to me as well.

Naturally, when I heard from my bestest Jolene that Kelley Armstrong was going to be doing a book signing and a pre-release event for her latest book Sea of Shadows where you could meet her and have her sign the book for you 3 days before it comes out, I was in.  Especially when I found out that it was as close as Brampton, ON.  Okay, at first I thought it was in Burlington, not Brampton.  But that’s a long, not very interesting story that doesn’t really bring anything to this story, so I won’t expand on that.

So I got an e-mail from Jolene a few weeks ago, telling me that Kelley Armstrong was going to be in Brampton, because she knows that I like her books a lot.  I immediately asked her if she was free and wanted to meet me there.  A true testament to what an amazing friend she is: she didn’t hesitate to agree to drive over an hour to meet me and stand in line with me to wait for an author she has never read, and probably never will read, as it is a genre that she has no interest in.  I also called my good buddy Karen, who I have to credit with introducing me to Kelley’s books in the first place.  She was in too.  I don’t know if I mentioned this before, but I have awesome friends. 🙂

We had an awesome day, got to meet Kelley Armstrong (who is charming as all heck), and got to spend time with two of my dearest friends.  We had a lovely lunch, and we had a great time with lots of laughs.

If you’re into the supernatural at all, both adult fiction and YA, be sure to check out Kelley Armstrong’s books.  She has created an awesome world and characters you fall in love with.  Start with the 13 books in the Otherworld series.  Bitten is the first one.  That’s a good place to start.

Waiting in line
Waiting in line
Meeting a favourite
Meeting a favourite
Sadly, the only pic of Jolene from the day.  She was taking them all!
Sadly, the only pic of Jolene from the day. She was taking them all!
Doesn't it look like she photobombed me?  Maybe?  A little?
Doesn’t it look like she photobombed me? Maybe? A little?

It’s Been a Long Winter

Winter 1
At least someone looks like he enjoyed winter!

I think that statement is the biggest understatement of the year.  We have had an incredibly long, cold, snowy winter this year.  It was only a few weeks ago that the high temperature reached a number on the positive side of freezing, and that was only for a couple of days and then we were back to -10, -17, -29, with wind chills at times of -40.  It is only now that looking at the 14 day weather forecast (which could also be a bunch of malarky, but here’s hoping) and the high temperature is consistantly in the positive numbers every day.  This is like a heat wave.  Even though there is only 2 days in the next 14 that we are supposed to be above 10 degrees.

Winter seemed to start early this year.  Earlier than usual anyway.  The last two winters before this we barely had any snow or cold weather at all.  I don’t think we took our snowblower out of the garage once in either year.  This year probably seemed far worse in comparison to those two years, but the cold temperatures certainly didn’t help.  Since the beginning of 2014, we have been under at least 3-4 cold temperature alerts, and they tend to last for about 2 weeks at a time.  It has been brutal, and it hasn’t let up.  Every week it seemed to be about a new system, a new storm, a new pileup on the highway.

But, what can you do?  We live in Canada, we accept the winter along with the rest of the seasons.  Hopefully we have a nice long hot summer where we can spend lots of days at the beach.  That will help make up for it.

At Disney on Ice
At Disney on Ice

Overall though, we have had a good winter.  We have kept busy, and done some fun things. Back in February, we went to see Disney on Ice at Budweiser Gardens.  It’s the second year in a row we have gone now, and we really enjoy it as a family.  The look on Nicholas’ face when he sees Mickey and Donald and Goofy – is a true testament to the magic of Walt Disney.  It also adds to our conviction that we really need to try to go to Florida to take him to Walt Disney World.  I think we are going to try to go next February.  If Disney on Ice makes him excited, I can only imagine what Main Street USA will do to him.  I went when I was a kid – and again with Joe when we were engaged, and I seriously can’t wait to go back.  I really hope we get to go next year.  I really want Nicholas to experience it.

A little later on in February, we went with my parents to Great Wolf Lodge in Niagara Falls.  We drove through a snowstorm to get there (how fitting), but we had a wonderful time.  We stayed for two nights.  If you’re not familiar with GWL, it is amazing, and worth checking out, especially if you have kids.  It is a huge lodge themed resort that has an awesome arcade, bowling, mini golf in the summer, and among other things, over 100,000 square feet of water park.  The water park is simply amazing.  There are slides, a wave pool, lazy river, splash pad with bucket, hot tubs, and so much more.  We all had a really amazing time.  This place is so geared towards kids, it is so relaxed and fun, we were all really sorry to leave.  It is an awesome place for loads of family fun, and we have made plans to go back again for a couple of nights in May for Nicholas’ Birthday.  It is a bit expensive to go, but if you plan ahead, and take snacks, it can be doable.  It’s totally worth it.

The Family at Great Wolf Lodge
The Family at Great Wolf Lodge

The rest of the winter has been good.  The frigid temperatures have made it hard at times because even a beautiful sunny day can be hard because when you would normally be outside playing you can’t, because the news reports are saying that exposed skin can freeze in 2-5 minutes.  Not exactly the type of weather you want to send your kids outside to play in.  Nicholas has managed to get out tobogganing a couple of times this winter though, he got a new sled for Christmas, and has enjoyed those times out very much.

Winter 4
Out on the hill

In other news, my Mom just celebrated a Birthday this month.  She turned 65 years young.  She continues to inspire me on a daily basis with her energy, her dedication, and her ability to get things done.  She may be 65, but she really is so much younger than that.  She and Dad are selling their house, my childhood home, to move into an apartment in town.  This is going to be bittersweet for everyone I think.  It will be odd that they won’t be living in their house anymore, there were so many good memories there.  Still, it’s time.  Where they are is too much for them to comfortably look after.  It is getting to be way too much, especially for Dad, and Mom doesn’t want to live anywhere that she doesn’t feel that she can effectively look after.  Being in an apartment will be so much better for them.  No grass to cut, no snow to shovel.  They are looking forward to it, and it will mean that they will live even closer to us, so we’re happy about that too.

65 years young!
65 years young!

So that’s it for the updates I guess.  Not much else to say at this point.  We sit and we patiently wait for summer to come around again.  I look at the local forecast and it says 2 degrees.  This makes me happy!  Tomorrow is supposed to be a high of 11.  This makes me want to dance!  If you read this blog and/or know me at all, you know that I love days at the beach or by the pool, and though I do love each and every season, I am certainly excited to feel a bit of warmth when I step outside.  I’m looking forward to running out to the store or to work or wherever without having to put a coat on.  To slip on a pair of sandals and go.  Those days are coming, we just have to keep being patient I guess.

 

I just wanted to make a note about this blog.  I have a few plans for it, which include expanding the focus slightly.  There will be more about that to come in future weeks.  I know that lately I haven’t been blogging as much, and I really hope to turn that around a bit.  I haven’t had a computer at home for quite a while now, so I have had to resort to blogging when I can, and often on an iPad.  Now I love my iPad, but it is really not the greatest thing to write nice, long blog posts on.  It’s also a little hard to format the posts on the iPad.  Not for everyone maybe, but definitely for me.  I recently got a new computer for various reasons, and I’m hoping that this will lead to many many more blog posts in the future, about various topics, on a regular basis.  I know I’ve made this promise before, but now I have the tools, and I mean to use them.

Hope you’re having a great weekend, and you’ll be hearing from me soon.

 

 

 

Weekend at Home – In the Kitchen

I love to cook, I love to bake. If you know me, or if you read this blog, you know this. But sometimes I find that cooking gets a little tedious for me. If I haven't planned ahead, it's getting home at 5:00 pm through the week, and thinking to myself, what the heck am I going to cook? What can I throw together to get supper on the table fast?

It loses something like this. The passion goes out of it and it becomes a pain in the ass. Then the weekend comes and we go out somewhere, or you just don't feel like it, so you just eat whatever. It's not always like this, but sometimes that's the way it goes.

This weekend the weather has been BAD. I figured that we weren't going anywhere and that we wouldn't be seeing anyone. I got up Yesterday morning and thought to myself: I feel like cooking! I feel like baking! A quick trip out to the store (once the laneway was shovelled) and I was good to go. I thought I would share some pictures of some of the things I made. Though if you follow me on Instagram, you've already seen these. 🙂

 

The beginnings of Italian Wedding Soup

The little meatballs that go in

The finished product

Homemade spaghetti sauce at the beginning stages

A few hours later, all done.

Tasty lemon loaf

A meatloaf – last nights supper.

This morning I made a banana bread.

 

I had a lovely weekend, home with my family.

Now I have to figure out what to cook for supper tonight. I was thinking a nice teriyaki chicken…stay tuned!