Tag Archives: simple woman’s daybook

The Simple Woman’s Daybook – Black Dog Edition


FOR TODAY, July 26th, 2011…

Outside my window… .

..it’s grey, but cool. The oppressive heat and humidity of the past weeks seems to be subsiding and I hope to spend more time outside.

I am thinking…

Churchill’s black dog has returned.  I’ve had a couple of periods of depression over the past ten years and I seem to be in the middle of another. For this reason, I have backed out of the trip to Stockholm that Z and I were planning and he will go alone, to be with his family, on the anniversary of his mother’s death. This was not easy for me to do, and I know that it was a significant disappointment to him, but the thought of being away from home for 10 days was simply overwhelming. I need to make some calls and get some advice and counsel. Adjust my meds. More exercise. Keep off alcohol (as I’ve been doing for a few weeks now) and improve my diet.


I am thankful…

for my supportive family, for a husband who understands as best he can, for a sense that my life is valuable.


In the kitchen…

…I made Pioneer Woman’s delicious meat loaf last night, with potatoes and carrots in the roasting pan. Michael made a meatloaf sandwich for his lunch today, and we had a discussion about why I’d never made meat loaf when he was younger, and how he probably would’t have liked it back then!


I am wearing…

…my pyjamas. ‘Nuff said.

I am creating…

…not a lot these days. Creative projects have fallen by the wayside.


I am going…

…to take a long walk with Wilson at Sherwood Park today, in the off-leash area.


I am wondering…

…if I will ever lose the habit of putting two spaces after a period when I’m typing. Apparetly, it REALLY annoys some people.


I am reading…

The Untold Story by Monica Ali.  It’s a kind of thought-experiment, wherein the author imagines an alternate world where Princess Diana did not die but rather escapes anonymously to the American Midwest and assumes another identity. Riveting! I’ve loved Ali’s previous novels and this one is no exeption. I’m also listening to an audiobook by Elizabeth Peters called Devil-May-Care.  A young woman housesits a haunted mansion belonging to her elderly aunt.  I”ve read a couple of Peter’s Egyptian mysteries, and this one seems enjoyable so far.


I am hoping…

I am hopeful.


I am looking forward to…

…checking things off my to-do list.


I am hearing…

…the hum of the air conditioner and the tapping of a mason working on a driveway down the street.


Around the house…

 …I have  few projects on the go. I need to choose a paint colour for the exterior of our stucco and wood trim house and I have some Behr samples to try out.  I need to get a roof repair person in to work on our leaky skylight. And the decluttering continues.


I am pondering…

…how to move forward.


One of my favorite things…

…eating a popsicle while reading a book.


A few plans for the rest of the week:

Getting Michael through his summer school exam (Physics)
Getting Z off on his trip to Stockholm
Getting appointments with my doctor and other helpers.


Here is picture for thought I am sharing…

The world lost the great painter Lucian Freud this week.
Requiescat in pacem.


The Simple Woman’s Daybook – 13 July 2010

Outside my window…
…the sun is setting.  It’s been cooler the past couple of days with a bit of rain.  Everything feels a little fresher and more focussed.

I am thinking…
…about the future.  I turned 50 last Friday and it feels like a time to think about what I want to do with the next 50.

I am thankful for…
…my Kindle e-reader, a gift from Z that arrived from amazon in the mail today!  I am so excited about it.  I have already downloaded one book and moved a bunch of pdfs that I’ve been wanting to read over from my computer.  It’s so small and light, and I’m excited about always having reading material with me!

From the kitchen…
…we had grilled flank steak with a salad of romaine, cucumber, tomato, avocado, and blue cheese for dinner tonight.  A perfect summer meal.  Accompanied by bread and Ontario cherries.

I am wearing…
….an olive green sport skirt and tank.

I am going…
… to see Miss Saigon at the Four Seaons Centre this Friday night.

I am reading…
Major Pettigrew’s Last Stand, a terrific first novel by Helen Simonson.  Am about two thirds of the way through and wish it would never end.  I love books like that!

I am hoping…
…for continued cool weather this week.

I am hearing…
…the television in another room, where Z is watching Life Unexpected.  Also some strange intermittent beeping from the kitchen, the source of which I cannot determine.

Around the house…
…I still have curtains to hem and a lot of dusting to do.

One of my favorite things…
… is preparing a meal that everyone in the household enjoys and comments (positively) on!  

A few plans for the rest of the week:
I’m getting together with a friend for lunch on Thursday, and then taking Michael to his tuba lesson that evening.  Friday is Miss Saigon.  I also want to get a couple of weeks work done in my genealogy course, and do some photocopying at the North York Central Library for an enquiry that’s come into the Toronto Branch of the Ontario Genealogical Society.  And play with my Kindle!

Here’s a picture thought I am sharing:

This is my mother-in-law Josephine taken with all her children when we were in Paris last month.  They are not often all together, so this was a wonderful opportunity.  From left to right (back row):  Marie-Louise, Jean-Louis, Gemma, Tony.  Front:  Zouheir, Jacques, Josephine.




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The Simple Woman’s Daybook – 7 July 2010


Outside my window…

…it’s hot-hot-hot.  So hot that the dog is spending the day lying on the cool tile.  So hot that I cannot contemplate turning on the stove to make a meal.  So hot that I might even jump in the lake at the cottage this weekend.

I am thinking…
…about the Renaissance music I’ve been singing with my summer choir, The Voices of St. Francis.  It gets in your head and for days after rehearsal, it bounces around between my ears.

I am thankful for…
…my first fifty years, in which most of my dreams have come true.

From the kitchen…
…I’m thinking about salad with grilled chicken, harboiled eggs, and mango slices for dinner tonight.

I am wearing…
….a sleeveless cotton knit v-neck top, linen a-line skirt, and just the bare necessities underneath. And a hairband to keep my neck cool.

I am creating…
….a quilt for our bed in a Jacob’s Ladder pattern.  From 101 Fabulous Rotary Cut Quilts.  I’ve been a bit hampered by the heat and my lack of desire to iron, so I’m stalled at the end of the first step.

I am going…
…up to the cottage this weekend to see my family and relax in and around the lake.

I am reading…
The Irresistable Henry House by Lisa Grunwald.  A wonderful novel of a boy who is raised in a “practice house” for aspiring homemakers. Hard to put down.

I am hoping…
…to get going on some embroidery.  It’s such a wonderful way to beautify ordinary household stuff.  Check out these pillows!

I am hearing…
…faint sounds of lawn mowers, the washing machine, and my dog’s active dreaming.

Around the house…
…I need to get a handle on our bedroom, where my ironing pile is growing wild and I need to hem our new curtains.

One of my favorite things…
… is all the wonderful summer fruit and vegetables that are appearing in the markets these days.   

A few plans for the rest of the week:
This week is pretty plan-free!  My fiftieth birthday is on Friday, and I’ll be heading up to the cottage to spend the weekend with some extended family. In the remaining days, I’d like to crank up the quilting and get one genealogy course finished and another one started.

Here is picture for thought I am sharing… 

I love this picture of Z and Alex.  It was taken in a creperie in the Quartier Latin when we were in Paris a few weeks ago. In a rare stroke of solidarity, they both used it for their Facebook profile picture!


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Simple Woman’s Daybook – February 8, 2010


February 8, 2010…

Outside my window….it’s sunny and cold!  Just the way I like it….
I am thinking… about dinner tonight.  I just called my mother-in-law in Sweden and had a somewhat fractured conversation in French about how to make one of her dishes (a casserole of layered onions, potatoes, and spiced ground beef patties with tomato sauce).
I am thankful for… the chance to see Carmen at the Canadian Opera Company yesterday.  Wonderful production, gorgeously sensual Carmen, and time with my sweetie.
I am learning… to be open to opportunities for hospitality, and to not stress about it!
From the kitchen… I’ve realised that it’s been a while since we’ve had a family dinner, with Z being late at work all last week, then meals out, and meals in front of the TV.  We need to get back to the table this week!
I am wearing…mauve cotton v-neck sweater, black cords, black socks.
I am creating… a list of quick, sellable, things I can make for a craft sale at the end of the year.  Right now, I’m thinking of quilted coaters and cocktail napkin sets, embroidered tea towels, hand-knit mittens and wrist-warmers, tote-bags.
I am going… to interview a potential financial planner tomorrow night.
I am readingLast Night in Twisted River


 by John Irving. Still.  I really have to get this done.  I’m also reading the February chapter in The Happiness Project


, which is all about marriage/love!
I am hearing… the furnace kick on.
Around the house… I need to put away a few things that were displaced by the emptying out of the armoire in our living room.  And then I need to find a way to get it consigned.  I’ll probably take some photographs and measurements over to our local furniture resale shop around the corner and see if they are interested in it.
One of my favorite things… is my city.  Toronto.  There is so much to do here, and now that I’m getting better about planning ahead, my calendar is full of options.  We meant to get down to the Art Gallery of Ontario on Saturday but the day slipped away.  Maybe next weekend….
A few plans for the rest of the week: Declutter chat tonight. Financial planner meeting tomorrow night.  It’s Michael’s 15th birthday on Thursday, so we will take him out for Dim Sum and are planning an extended family party in a couple of weeks.  On Friday, Z and I are going to see David Clayton-Thomas with the TSO at Massey Hall, on Saturday, the Catholic Women’s League in our parish is hosting a wine and cheese reception for married couples after the 4:30 mass, and on Sunday Z is taking me out for dinner to a nearby restaurant that we haven’t tried yet.
Here’s a picture thought I’m sharing:  This is Rinat Shaham as Carmen and Bryan Hymel as Don Jose in the Canadian Opera Company’s production that we saw yesterday.

Photo Credit: © 2010 Michael Cooper

Head on over to The Simple Woman’s Daybook to read other participants thoughts!

Simple Woman’s Daybook – February 1st Edition!



February 1, 2010…

Outside my window….it’s cold and grey, although not as cold as it has been!  The weird thing here in Toronto is that, unlike my hometown Ottawa, the snow comes and goes all winter.  So the supercold feels strange without the white blanket.
I am thinking… about the next area that I should tackle in the Declutter challenge.
I am thankful for… calm yesterday after a busy Friday and Saturday.
I am learning… to be open to opportunities for hospitality, and to not stress about it!
From the kitchen… Friday and Saturday were cooking extravaganzas, so yesterday we got Indian takeout.  There’s lots of good leftovers for lunch today.  Must plan some meals and get groceries today.
I am wearing…pyjamas and slippers. Tsk.
I am creating… some order to my unstructured days.
I am going… to see my doctor tomorrow for a follow-up check on my blood pressure.
I am reading… Last Night in Twisted River


 by John Irving.  The first section was rather slow, but it’s definitely picked up.  It’s amazing to see the same themes running through his books:  bears, loss of body parts, wrestling, ice…
I am hearing… that others felt that the Grammys were all style and no substance.  Went to bed with my book after an hour.
Around the house… I need to deal with Mount Washmore today and make some more decluttering progress.
One of my favorite things… is singing with my parish choir.  We rehearse Sundays at 10 and then sing at the 11:30 mass.  Yesterday we sang Mendelsohhn’s Grant Us Thy Peace and If Ye Love Me (Tallis).
A few plans for the rest of the week: Declutter chat tonight.  Doctor’s appointment for me tomorrow and orthodontist for Michael after school.  On Saturday, Michael has his first session at U of T’s Saturday Science and Engineering Academy and in the evening, we’re heading to Harbourfront to hear Saidah Baba Talibah and her band (including Michael’s tuba teacher on sousaphone!).  On Sunday, Z and I see Carmen at the Canadian Opera Company!

Here is picture for thought I am sharing… my husband and my godson and nephew Will and my brother’s birthday party on Saturday.  I think it’s a great picture of both of them.


Head on over to The Simple Woman’s Daybook to read other participants thoughts!

Simple Woman’s Daybook


January 25, 2010…

Outside my window….it’s wet and warm.  6C (about 43F) which is wacky in this big Canadian city.  The local liquor store has blue and white banners reading “Winter Romance” outside, which look silly considering the grime, water, and greyness of the neighborhood.
I am thinking…about the recent airlift by Air Canada employees of supplies into, and children out of Haiti.  Read more from my favorite priest/writer Raymond De Souza.
I am thankful for… lunch out with all three of my men yesterday.  It was great having Alex home from Queen’s this weekend.
I am learning… to let go of my stuff.  This decluttering process can be painful, but ultimately brings peace.
From the kitchen…I haven’t got a clue right now.  But I still have frozen black bananas to be used up so I”m likely going to bake this afternoon.  There are also some apples ready to be milled for applesauce.
I am wearing...v-neck striped tee, black (really grey at this point) jeans, black socks.
I am creating… a mental list of crafts to start working on for an Advent craft/bake sale the Catholic Women’s League is planning.  I’m trying to think of relatively inexpensive crafts that are marketable to a wide range of women.  I’m thinking knitted mitts and wrist-warmers, sets of 4 quilted coasters (great stash-buster), embroidered tea-towels (maybe using some of these patterns)…
I am going…to my second meeting of the Toronto Branch of the Ontario Genealogical Society tonight.
I am reading…  Last Night in Twisted River


 by John Irving.
I am hoping… that Alex is ready to turn off the distractions and get down to work.
I am hearing…far too much about Brangelina.  I mean, really…who cares???
Around the house…I”m full steam ahead on decluttering our living room, and am almost finished the bookcases.  Next up is a TV armoire that we want to sell, but I have to empty it of all the linens, candles, knitting supplies, and other stuff first.
One of my favorite things...is my iPhone.  Seriously, I know it’s pathetic, but how much can a person be in love with an electronic device?
A few plans for the rest of the week: OGS meeting tonight, optometrist appt tomorrow morning, Wilson to the groomers, and then an interesting-looking debate on the nature of time tomorrow at 7pm (we’re all going). Thursday is my cut and colour where I broach the subject of growing out my grey via creative use of highlights and lowlight with my stylist, and then Saturday night is (I think) a birthday party for my brother.  Note to self:  get a gift.
Here is picture for thought I am sharing… Would you not love some retro-atomic kitty cats on tea towels gracing your kitchen?  Pattern from Sublime Stitching’s Cat-a-Rama collection.


Or what about this cute java-jacket from Coyote Craft featuring a caffeine molecule?


Head on over to The Simple Woman’s Daybook to read other participants thoughts!



January 18, 2010…

Outside my window….it’s grey, mild, and damp.  Must remember to put Wilson’s coat on for our walk as his pale beige coat will get filthy!
I am thinking…about the fun afternoon and evening I spent with my brother and his children yesterday; a trip to the ROM, dinner, and bedtime.
I am thankful for… a great evening out with new friends on Friday night.
I am learning… that with the right motivation, I can be very disciplined with diet and exercise. It would have been better to start that before the motivation kicked in, but whatever!
From the kitchen…it’s just Michael and me this week, so I’ll be preparing some tasty but simple meals for two.
I am wearing…black light-weight trousers, striped cotton sweater.  Bare feet.
I am creating… a peaceful master bedroom.  Still a work in progress.
I am going…to attend the first online chat tonight with the declutter group I’m joining!
I am reading…Logicomix: An Epic Search for Truth


by Apostolos Doxiadis and Christos Papadimitriou and  Last Night in Twisted River


by John Irving.
I am hoping…for a good turnout at our first general meeting of the parish Catholic Women’s League on Wednesday night.
I am hearing...Z typing upstairs in his office. Oh…the fax is going off….it’s a fax from the Vatican!  Saying that we have tickets for the Holy Thursday mass at St. John Lateran!  Seriously, folks.  A fax from Prefettura Della Casa Pontificia.  You’re the first to know.
Around the house...I’m backed up in the laundry department and need to take a load of stuff to Goodwill.  I have “sign-off” on the duvet cover for our room, so I hope to either pick it up this week or at least order it.
One of my favorite things…is the pink wool wrap/shawl that my MIL gave me a couple of years ago. It’s a little wacky, with bright pink pompoms along the bottom edge, so it’s not really something I wear outside the house, but it’s very cozy!
A few plans for the rest of the week: declutter chat tonight, babysitting and feeding my nephews and neice on Tuesday evening, Catholic Women’s League  general meeting on Wednesday, and a TSO Concert (“Beyond the Score” Mozart Piano Concerto 27 with narration by Paul Gross) on Saturday night!
Here is picture for thought I am sharing…


Here’s my dog Wilson having a snooze in his kitchen bed.  Perhaps he needs a bigger one, LOL!

Head on over to The Simple Woman’s Daybook to read other participants thoughts!

Simple Woman’s Daybook – January 11, 2010


January 11, 2010…

Outside my window…it’s grey and snowy, but not as cold as yesterday, thankfully!  I’ll still need to put on some long undies for my half hour dog walk later this morning!
I am thinking…about being alone today, the first time in a long time where I have no-one at home to nurse, supervise, listen to, or otherwise occupy!
I am thankful for…yesterday’s outing with my SIL and nephews, and the chance to be around little ones again, to put them in pyjamas, read a book, sing a few songs, and turn out the light.  But maybe not EVERY night, LOL!
I am learning… how to be disciplined in my diet, goals, and to-do lists.  It feels good to have things (more-or-less) under control.
From the kitchen…I have ton of old bananas in the freezer to whip into bread and cake.  Plus I found a great-looking soup recipe in today’s paper that I”m going to make for supper: Spicy Fava Bean Chickpea Noodle Soup.
I am wearing…black screen-print long-sleeved tee, black cords, cozy slippers.
I am creating…a home management system to keep the housework under control.  I”m using the Task Pro app on my iPhone.
I am going…to see Quartetto Gelato and Ethel at Koerner Hall this Saturday night, with Z and Michael.
I am reading...Logicomix:  An Epic Search for Truth


by Apostolos Doxiadis and Christos Papadimitriou and  The Cure for Death by Lightening


by Gail Anserson-Dargatz.
I am hoping…for a productive week, that my blood pressure continues to stabilize, and that I continue to shed some pounds!
I am hearing…nothing.  Ahhh.  Peace.
Around the house…I want to work on our master bedroom this month.  We desperately need new window treatments as the old ones were left by the previous owners of the house, are unattractive, faded, dusty, and the suspension system is failing (they’re balloon shades).  My plan is to get a new duvet cover/sheet set and then pull colours for paint, window treatments, and accessories from that.
One of my favorite things…sitting reading the paper with my (single cup of) coffee in the morning and my dog curled up beside me.
A few plans for the rest of the week: Catholic Women’s League executive meeting tonight and the aforementioned concert on Saturday night, and nothing else booked!  (Unfortunately, I’m double-booked for tonight and will be sending Michael to see High Life with Z on my free pass.)
Here is picture for thought I am sharing


Here’s my dog Wilson with his coat and boots!  The boots are like thick balloons…they’re called Pawz


and protect his feet from the salt and chemicals on the street.  The coat is to keep his fur clean on our walks!

Head on over to The Simple Woman’s Daybook to read other participants thoughts!

Simple Woman’s Daybook – January 4, 2010


January 4, 2010…

Outside my window…it’s bright and snowy. Very Christmassy (finally, LOL!)
I am thinking…about the new year, my plans and resolutions, and wondering what the year has in store for me.
I am thankful for…spending this month with my mother-in-law, listening to her stories and learning to cook some excellent Syrian and Armenian dishes!
I am learning… how much a little extra sleep at night helps with my energy.  My resolution about going to bed by 10 is spot-on.  Thanks to Gretchen Rubin’s Happiness Project


for the idea.
From the kitchen…my MIL and I have made more kittal this morning, plus kibbe bi riz.   Kittal is a large circular disk of ground beef mixed into a dough with bulgur, stuffed with a mixture of ground beef, onions, and spices. Boiled and eaten with plain yogurt or sour cream.   Kibbe bi riz is ball of ground beef mixed with ground rice, stuffed with ground beef, onions, and spices.  It’s typically boiled and eaten in soup like dumplings.  Yumsters.  It’s bagged and frozen for future use.  I’ve promised to pray for my MIL every time we eat some of it!
I am wearing…jeans, old long-sleeved t-shirt, socks.
I am creating…a new template for this blog.  Slow going though, as I’m learning still.
I am going…to see my doctor tomorrow about my high blood pressure.
I am reading…The Sweet By and By


by Sarah Evans and I See Satan Fall Like Lightning


by Rene Girard.
I am hoping…that Alex’s laptop gets fixed today.  I mentioned previously that he cracked the screen and that Dell wanted to charge $499 to replace it.  We found a local shop that will do it for around $200, while you wait, so that’s great.  He’s off to get it done and then heading to a doctor’s appointment.
I am hearing...my MIL taking a shower after five hours of cooking. And the sound of Wilson’s nails as he runs around the house.  Note to self:  book a grooming appointment!
Around the house…the Christmas decorations need to come down this week.  I like to leave them up through to Epiphany which is on Wednesday. My garbage day is Thursday and they’ll be picking up trees with the collection this week to mulch, so the timing is good!
One of my favorite things…eating the above described kittal with yogurt for breakfast!
A few plans for the rest of the week: doctor’s appointment tomorrow, plus last dinner with my MILbefore she returns to Europe on Wednesday, chauffeuring Michael to orthodontist and tuba lesson on Wednesday, appointment with financial planner on Friday, plus free tix to a preview of the latest Jackie Chan flick The Spy Next Door Saturday morning! I won them through a Facebook promotion for a new oldies radio station, Vinyl 95.3.
Here is picture for thought I am sharing…


Today is the feast day of Elizabeth Ann Seton, the patron saint I took at confirmation.  She was a convert to Catholicism and the first native-born American saint.  She founded the Sisters of Charity and her work is said to the beginning of the Catholic School movement in the United States.

Head on over to The Simple Woman’s Daybook to read other participants thoughts!

Simple Woman’s Daybook – November 30, 2009

For Today, Monday November 30, 2009:

Outside my window…it’s sunny and cool, just hovering around the freezing point and not going up much today.  But it’s great to have some sun again!

I am thinking…about how to make this Advent a holy season in the midst of a lot of activities and seasonal busyness.

I am thankful for…my mother.  Today is her 83rd birthday and she’s here in Toronto for a visit.  She returns home tomorrow, and it’s been a lovely week together.

I am learning….about giant amounts of misinformation that have been spread about diet.  See my current reading below.

From the kitchen…I need to get back into cooking mode after a week of the kitchen being out of commission due to painting and dinners out.

I am wearing…my nightwear and housecoat.

I am creating…a welcoming space for my visiting family this weekend!

I am going…to my theology class this morning. I’ll take my mom down with me and she’ll visit my brother in his office at the same college. It’s a gorgeous building and they’ll have lunch while I’m in class.

I am reading…Good Calories, Bad Calories: Fats, Carbs, and the Controversial Science of Diet and Health


.  A very interesting expose about how the dietary advice that’s been doled out over the past 20-30 years has made us fat.  I posted a video by the author, Gary Taubes, a few weeks ago that is very interesting and pointed me to the book.

I am hoping…that Z feels better soon. He’s got a terrible sore throat that doesn’t seem to be abating. No fever or cold symptoms (yet). He is supposed to be travelling tomorrow for six days, so those plans are still up in the air.

I am hearing…the Weather Channel….my mom’s favorite, I think!

Around the house…we got our dining room and kitchen painted, new chandelier installed, and just need to re-organize and replace the accessories and dishes we had to move.  It’s lovely to have a new space!

One of my favorite things…is my new chandelier in the dining room! Along with new paint and crown molding, it feels like a completely different space. Pics to follow soon.

A few plans for the rest of the week:  today I have my theology class, where we’ll be discussing Thomas Merton.  Tonight is the monthly meeting of the Toronto branch of the Ontario Genealogical  Society.  Z leaves town on Tuesday for six days.  On Friday, my sister and her family arrive for the weekend to see their new niece/cousin.

Here is picture for thought I am sharing…


My mother and her new granddaughter, and namesake, at their first visit together.

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