Posts Tagged ‘Happy New Year’

Things change. Sometimes rather abruptly. It may seem like I dropped off the face of the earth recently and it certainly feels like it.
The last six months have not been my favourite.
It all started the first week of July. I received a phone call from my sister. This particular sister and I share something that none of my other sisters do. We are both cancer survivors. Her news was not good. After 13 years her cancer had returned. Now, as my niece once put it, our family does cancer very well, but we all have our limits. We lost our mother to the same disease and quite frankly, this news hit us pretty square in the face. A few days later we returned home having spent the day getting “beat up” in a court case only to be presented with the news that we were losing our home. The owners of the house we leased were selling it. Immediately. Yes, it was their house, but it had been our home for four and a half-years and the timing could not have been worse. Rather sadly, I had actually spoken face to face with our landlord the previous weekend at length and she looked me straight in the face and gave me no indication that this was coming. Yes, I felt betrayed and a little dirty.

Thus began a whirlwind of preparing the house for pictures and viewing, packing up to move, finding a place to move to, trying to be there for my sister and continuing to work. HeWho has spent many years driving from the Durham Region down the 401 Highway to Woodbine Racetrack in Etobicoke. The 401 Highway is one of the worst highways known to mankind and it was killing him. He bitched and whined every day. You may think I am exaggerating but there is an actual TV show about it called “Heavy Rescue:401“. With the move forced upon us it was a no brainer that we had to move as close to the track as possible. That meant that we would be moving into a high rise. Something I never thought I would do. The first couple of places we saw were terrifying. Perhaps you think I am being overly dramatic…some would say it seems to be in my genetic makeup. Don’t judge. You did not see what I saw! We were, however, lucky to find out about a place: before it was advertised; in a nice building with a lot of amenities; and a really lovely couple renting a clean, renovated, two bedroom, two bath on the top floor.

While the move was going on, one of my clients asked me to post a job opening in their office. I told her I was moving closer to her location and asked if she would consider letting me have the position. She did and thus began a crash course in several new computer programs and duties, while continuing to service my existing clients evenings and weekends.

A lot of things have changed.

We live almost directly across from Woodbine Racetrack. Often it takes HeWho more time to get down the hall, down the elevator and out of the underground parking than it does for him to get to work.

Although I still work from home, I also drive 45 to 60 minutes to and from the new day job, depending on traffic. It has been 8-years since I worked outside the home.

We used to have 1,600 sq. ft. open plan area to make our home. We now have 800 (at a much higher price).

We had room for two cars in the driveway and a garage for storage. We now pay extra for a second parking spot and an extra storage unit.

Once a year, three fit young firemen would visit me to check my smoke alarms and make sure I knew what to do if there was a fire. Number one was to get out. We are now on the 30th floor, yes, I said the 30th floor. We know if there is a fire, we die. There is no way we would make it down 30 flights of stairs and no way the firemen could reach us.

Did I mention we are on the 30th floor? I thought it was my imagination when I could feel the building swaying in the wind. Apparently not. I have been informed by engineers that actually live here that the building has to sway or it would fall down!

Do your remember all the lovely pictures I use to post of the waterfront where I lived. I have yet to get a decent picture off my balcony because I can’t make my whole body actually go all the way out there and I am terrified of dropping my phone while taking a picture. But HeWho tells me there are at least four deer living in the conservation area below us. He worries about them getting enough to eat.


The weather is never the same on the 30th floor as it is on the ground floor. The temperature is different and quite often the visibility.

Now. I could not see a thing past the balcony. When I pulled out of the underground I had to switch to sunglasses and take off a layer of clothes.

If I bend over to take something out of the oven I get rammed in the butt by the cupboards. For those of you who know the actual size of my butt, that is not the problem. Well, maybe a little.

Food preparation is a challenge. My kitchen is now put together like a Jenga puzzle. I always have to move at least 3 things to get to what I need while risking the whole thing crashing down around me.

HeWho says you have to be a contortionist to use the toilet because it is in such a tight space. ‘Nuff said about that.

Feng Shui advocates would have a stroke if they came here. We have one love-seat and one chair. They do not fit in the living room area. We can only use three of our four chairs in the eating area. I think it’s adorable that HeWho still refers to it as a “dining room”.

The “office” area is so small that we have to do the dance of the computer chairs (use the music of “The Sugar Plum Fairy”) to both sit and work at the same time.

We can no longer fill the car with groceries and pull up to our front door and unload them quickly. Now we either have to borrow a bellman cart from the front desk or only buy what we can carry in two hands in one trip. Oh, our Costco days are over! There is no more bulk buying.

You know how it is when you have been out all day, or on a long drive, and you can’t wait to get home so you can pee? You run in and relieve yourself and then come back to unload the car. That can’t happen here. We usually stop at the closest public washroom to home, even if we have to eat a Big Mac. You may make it to the building, and you may make it to the underground parking. You may even make it to the elevator. You might be lucky enough to make it inside the elevator, but let me tell you, it doesn’t matter how many prayers you say to the elevator gods, or how many deals you make with the condo demons, that elevator is going to stop at least 15 times before you get to the 30th floor. This is the real reason people who are of a certain age that have retired, downsized and moved to a condo are wearing depends. It has nothing to do with bladder control or a prostate issue. It’s the damn elevator ride! HeWho’s eyes light up because he has a stop watch and knows that with no stops we can make it from Parking level to the top floor in less than 30 seconds. He’d like to bet on whether we will be the only ones taking the ride.

Lest you are under the impression that I really don’t like where we live, I will neither confirm nor deny it. But here’s a couple of other things that have come out of this.

HeWho is healthier and happier than I have ever known him to be. The stress that he endured doing that suicidal drive had put years on him and they now seem to have melted away.

We have both lost weight. It’s not as easy to run to the corner store for a snack. If there’s no junk food here neither one of us wants to get dressed and begin the long haul to the car and then the big search for what we want because there is nothing handy. HeWho has yet to find a Chip Wagon. But…he has discovered several restaurants with great burgers or deep fried halibut and awesome fresh cut fries.

A remarkable women, someone I admire deeply, gave this 60-year-old lady an opportunity to prove that she was still capable of learning new things and be a productive member of the workforce. I can’t think of anyone else who would do that. Most would have hired someone much younger and quicker to learn. I am determined to not let her down.

We can’t buy a lot of stuff. There’s no room for stuff. There has to be a lot of deliberation for something new to come into this confined space and most likely something else will have to come out. Like how my new Nespresso machine relegated HeWho’s deep fryer to the storage room.

My sister is doing well. She went through surgery and some excruciatingly painful radiation and rang the gong at the other end. As far as we are concerned she is cancer-free again.

It is officially a New Year. A bright, shiny New Year. I’m counting on it staying that way.

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Wait. What? It’s a few days before Christmas. This may not be the best time to talk about dieting. Maybe we should leave the diet talk until the New Year.

I suppose I could talk to you about Christmases gone by. I do have one picture of me sitting on Santa’s knee and Christmas is on Thursday this year so I could combine it with TBT (Throw Back Thursday).

Michelle & Santa Circa 1965ish

Michelle & Santa Circa 1965ish

There is no indication as to when this was taken but I think it was around 1965, give or take a year. Apparently I dressed like I was in some kind of prison program. It was when Santas wore more makeup than a working girl on New Years Eve. Other than that, I think we can all agree I was absolutely adorable. Right?

Or, perhaps I could tell you about what’s happening behind my house. And, with pictures being worth a thousand words, here are a few that should save me several thousand. So when you tally it up, this will be a novella!

Christmas Lights

Christmas Light2 copy

Christmas Light3

Christmas Light4

Christmas Light5 copy

Christmas Light6In case you missed it, that one shot somewhere in the middle includes Santa and some steel drum players…actually playing the drums for all to hear.

The CP Holiday Train is still one of my favourite Christmas activities but you are probably tired of hearing about it.

CP Holiday Train


Let’s see. There is the weather. Remember last year at this time? Most of the people in my neck of the woods were headed into the Polar Vortex and sitting in cold houses with no electricity.

Ice Storm 2013

Ice Storm 2013 – 30,000 Remain Without Power In Toronto

I get cold just thinking about it. We were lucky. Our power came back on Christmas Eve day.  Others? Well, not so much. There were people without power for weeks! Not to mention the homeless people who were out there in that insanely cold weather. Which brings me back to the knitting diet.

It bothered me a lot that I was warm and watching reports of people who were not. I couldn’t stop thinking about it. Here’s the thing — yes there is always a thing, isn’t there? Those crazy neighbours with all the lights? They collect food and donations for the food bank from everyone, including the bus tours whose riders come to look at the exhibition. Then there’s the Holiday Train, which goes across the country entertaining families and collecting donations of food and cash for the local community food banks. So, when I tackled my latest weight loss program, I decided to do something that might benefit someone else. Now, my talents are limited but my vices are bountiful. “Where am I going with this,” you ask. Well, probably my biggest vice, addiction, or what ever you want to call it is TV. I am a hard core TV watcher. The only time I watch less TV is when I am making TV…something I haven’t done for a while. See if you can follow along. TV watching is conducive to snacking — snacking on junk food. Popcorn and potato chips are my main companions when I’m indulging in a little binge watching. So what could I possibly do to keep myself occupied while succumbing to my addiction which I have no intention of stopping? Knitting became the answer. It’s impossible to eat chips or popcorn while knitting. Sure, I suppose you could do it, but the wool would become greasy and the popcorn fuzzy. Yech! I’m not a very good knitter but I can knit one, pearl two and I finally learned to cast off. So I knit a scarf! Then, I knit another one. Around scarf five or six, He-Who noticed.

He-Who: What are you doing?

Me: Knitting.

He-Who: Yeah, but what are you knitting and for who?

Me: Scarves. It’s all I know how to do.

He-Who: Who’s going to wear all those scarves?

Me: Cold, homeless people. I’m going to keep knitting until next winter and then give them away to people who might need them.

And thus, my friends, the Knitting Diet© was conceived. My habit of watching way too much TV never waned but I continued to knit through the summer and into the fall. Before too long, the cost of wool became an issue. Well, to be honest it was an issue from the start. But other people chipped in and bought wool for me to work with. I learned to watch for sales and cashed in on the coupons at my local craft store. Here are some of the scarves I made over the past several months.


A sampling of the scarves

We packaged them up and a Chaplain friend of ours is seeing that they get to people who will really need them this winter.

packaged scarves


The knitting has officially begun for next year.

I know someone is going to ask if the diet worked. Yes! Yes it did. I actually lost about 65 lbs. this year and the knitting definitely contributed to that total. There were other measures taken but I think we can leave that for the New Year.

Merry Christmas Every One

Stay Warm 

Logo pig bookends Christmas

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