April 18, 2014


This morning I saw the first green of the year on my neighbor's tree. 

That and the arrival of songbirds has me hopeful that winter is officially in the rearview mirror. Then again, I've learned to never say never when it comes to Ontario weather.

April is flying by. It seems I was just visiting my parents in Florida and suddenly it's Easter weekend. 

Bobby's birthday is next week and my mom is coming to visit us the week after that.

And, just to keep things interesting, Maple is having spay surgery on Thursday and Bobby's car broke down yesterday.

Thank goodness I have this three-day weekend off from work. So much to do, so little time.

April 13, 2014

getting warmer

The weather is slowly but surely warming up. 

There's no more snow on the ground 

and each day the grass gets just a little bit greener.

Maple has traded in her fur-lined parka for a tweed cover-up.

When she wears this, she transforms into her alter ego: Sherlock Bones.

She's taken to digging through the flower bed in the backyard,

which is freshly thawed

and apparently very tasty. 

April 11, 2014

mini break

I flew to Florida last weekend to spend some time with my parents and their two dogs. My brother was attending an out-of-town wedding, so we were watching his two pugs for him as well. So it was the three of us and a menagerie of rescue pups - Madison, Dobby, Cooper and Andy. 

What a cast of characters.

It was an incredibly short trip (only two full days) but we managed to cram a lot of stuff into our time together.

On Friday we took the boat out on the Gulf and enjoyed the warm-but-not-too-hot weather. The water was blue and clear, and we saw quite a few dolphins.

We anchored the boat on a little beach and spent the afternoon kicking back. We turned on our portable radio, ate Publix subs (!!!) and then went searching for shark's teeth and shells in the sand. (Note to self: wear flip flops to avoid sandspurs in feet when foraging unknown beaches.)


Back at the house, we barbequed a rack of ribs and caught up on all the episodes of Resurrection. 

On Saturday, my mom and I were busy planning our upcoming trip to New York. In the evening, we all went to Cracker Barrel, where I devoured the most ridiculously indulgent meal: fried chicken, mashed potatoes with sawmill gravy, macaroni & cheese and biscuits with blackberry jam. Then the three of us shared a fried apple dumpling with vanilla ice cream for dessert. 

I felt physically ill by the time we left but, damn, that's some good eats. 

And to anyone who heard about my American cheese debacle right after I moved to Canada, let this serve as proof that it is very much a REAL food, good enough to be featured on a menu right under country fried shrimp and chicken 'n' dumplins:

I also managed to squeeze in a Checker's run (spicy chicken & seasoned fries all day) and hit up Publix and Walmart for some Zinger's, Fig Newtons, Bigelow tea and other amazing foods that cannot be found in Canada.

I bought so much food that I couldn't fit it all in my carry-on. But fear not - although I had to leave some at my parents' house, my mom is bringing it with her when she visits me in May. (That's why they call us Ameri-can, not Ameri-can't!)

So all-in-all it was a great mini-break for me. It's too bad it didn't last longer, but regardless, it was so nice to see my family, enjoy an economy-sized strawberry soda and know that home is just a plane ride away.

April 3, 2014

spring is here?

This morning, just after the sun rose, I saw (and heard) the first songbirds of the season.

There was a cardinal, whom I've named Big Red:


and some type of blackbird, whom I shall call Captain Butter Beak:

I'm not sure if this is Captain Butter Beak or one of his brothers but he was chirping on top of the neighbor's pine tree like he was king of the world:

There was also a black squirrel hopping along the fence but he was too quick for my camera. 

Things are looking promising... Hopefully by the time I come back from Florida, spring will finally be here!

April 2, 2014


It's been a very busy couple of weeks at work, with the seasons changing and the whole store being remerchandised for spring. It's a physically demanding job, since all of our fixtures are made of solid steel, and I have to single handedly lift, drag, prop and climb with them up and down ladders.

I've been eating too many sweets and watching too much TV in an attempt to comfort myself after long, traumatizing shifts that manage to make my legs feel wobbly like Jell-O and my back feel stiff like cement at the same time.

I feel overextended and out of shape. My knees ache and I wake up feeling like my back is on fire.

The dry winter air has made my hair and nails brittle, and some mornings I'm too exhausted to even shower before work.

I don't feel like myself. I am worn out.

And I miss home (America).

Which is partly why I'm flying to Florida tomorrow. It'll be an extended weekend trip - Thursday thru Sunday - which is really too short to get the tan that I so desperately need, but hopefully long enough to begin to repair my soul.

It'll be my first time seeing the dogs in more than a year (which breaks my heart) and my first opportunity since I moved to visit my old stomping grounds. My holiday trip to New York, nice as it was, didn't give me the chance to visit a lot of my favorite places that I grew up with.

Much as I disliked living in Florida, I love the restaurants and grocery stores there. People are friendlier, food tastes better, prices are cheaper than here in Canada. And I won't even have to bring a coat.

At this time tomorrow, I'll be seated in a rocking chair on the front porch of a Cracker Barrel, listening to the buzzing of cicadas, the smell of fried catfish in the air.

Funny how something that was commonplace my whole life is now so romanticized in my head. I guess time will do that to you. Time and a severe case of homesickness.

Ratings and Recommendations by outbrain