Happy Labour Day Canada!

fighting for fairness - labor day

fighting for fairness

On the first Monday in September, Canadians celebrate Labour Day, in honor of the workers who build the countries’ roads and bridges, hospitals and schools, and serve in the public and private sector in numerous roles such as: firefighters, police, farmers and retailers; all contributors to society and the economy.

Labour Day in Canada began in 1872, when workers held a demonstration parade campaigning for fairness in the work place, a 9 hour work day, and the right to join a union and go on strike without being imprisoned.

The huge public support for the ongoing demonstrations prompted Prime Minister John A Macdonald to promise to repeal all laws against trade unions.

Trade unions brought safer workplaces, improved working conditions and higher wages and benefit plans. By 1883, the Canadian Labour Congress was founded.

*source: Surrey Now newspaper & www.timeanddate.com

photo credit: Copper Kettle via photopin cc

A Movie for Boomers – Best Exotic Marigold Hotel

Movies for boomers

A gentle film for the boomers

My husband and I watched “The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel” on Netflix this week, and what a sweet movie it is.

It is rare for a Hollywood movie to focus on the baby boomers, but this 50 plus dramady does it with style.

The script is peppered with dry UK wit, and the cast is stellar, including Maggie Smith and Judy Dench, both 78 years old (an inspiration in itself). The movie details how a group of cash strapped British seniors embark on a new adventure for their final years.

Much of the movie takes place in India, where elders are viewed as a little more useful than in the UK or North America, and the guests are wooed there by ads touting the hotel as a place for the “elderley and beautiful”.

My husband and I laughed and sympathized with the characters in this delightful movie. In one scene, Mrs Donnelly, played by Maggie Smith, refers to planning for the future and quips: “I don’t even buy green bananas”.

So refreshing to watch a movie with a good story that celebrates the older generation, which we either belong to now, or someday will be a part of, if we are so lucky.
photo credit: DomsGuide.com via photopin cc

Week 36 – Bettering Yourself – Aug 26 – Sept 1, 2013 – Embrace My Shyness

“Shyness accompanies love. See how children are endowed with shyness; it is natural to them.”

Wisdom Dawns Website

For this week’s bettering yourself exercise, I am going to erase “don’t be shy” from my mind, and accept my natural shyness as part of me. I will let you know how it goes next week.

Review of week 35 – Bettering Yourself – To Recognize and Communicate My Needs

Recognize and Communicate your needs

Ask and ye shall receive

“Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you.”

The Bible, Matthew 7:7

For this week’s bettering yourself exercise, recognizing and communicating my needs, I asked for what I wanted, and I received.

Whenever I felt unease in my body, I asked what need was not being met, and worked on getting it met, until I was comfortable.

For instance, I wanted to discard an old door, but I didn’t want to wrestle the awkward heavy item into my van by myself and risk twisting my back. So instead, I asked my son, who is big and strong, to help me lift it.

While he did the lifting, I was able to adjust the door handle between the folded down seats, and it only took a few minutes for us to load it. A side benefit was my son seemed happy to do something nice for me.

Another day, my husband asked me to go out for breakfast to a restaurant. He likes to go to the same place, but I get bored of the same décor and food.

When I suggested another restaurant, he was happy to oblige, and that morning our breakfast chatter was unusually pleasant, and I got a Belgium waffle with fresh blueberries on it to boot.
photo credit: jessica wilson {jek in the box} via photopin cc

Happy Birthday to My Forever Young Sister

Bob Dylan Forever Young

Ann’s Forever Young Sister’s Birthday



As we celebrated my sister’s birthday this week, Bob Dylan’s song “Forever Young”, played in my head. 

We had brunch at the stunning VanDusen Botanical Gardens in Vancouver, and walked beside the Weeping Giant Sequoia tree, the sunflowers and the water lilies.  Pictured here are my sister, her daughter, and our two cousins.

Bob Dylan Forever Young Lyrics

May God bless and keep you always
May your wishes all come true
May you always do for others
And let others do for you
May you build a ladder to the stars
And climb on every rung
May you stay forever young
Forever young, forever young
May you stay forever young.

May you grow up to be righteous
May you grow up to be true
May you always know the truth
And see the lights surrounding you
May you always be courageous
Stand upright and be strong
May you stay forever young
Forever young, forever young
May you stay forever young.

May your hands always be busy
May your feet always be swift
May you have a strong foundation
When the winds of changes shift
May your heart always be joyful
And may your song always be sung
May you stay forever young
Forever young, forever young
May you stay forever young.

lyrics: Lyrics Freak

Starfish Poem


making a difference

Every Starfish matters


One day an old man was walking down the beach just before dawn.  In the distance he saw a young man picking up stranded starfish and throwing them back into the sea.  As the old man approached the young man, he asked, “Why do you spend so much energy doing what seems to be a waste of time?”  The young man explained that the stranded starfish would die if left in the morning sun.  The old man exclaimed, “But there must be thousands of starfish.  How can your efforts make any difference?”  The young man looked down at the starfish in his hand and as he threw it to safety in the sea, he said,” It makes a difference to this one!”

(I love this poem because, as Philip Kocisko observed, we are all at times a bit like the starfish who needs a little help,the old man who doesn’t see the purpose to his actions, and the young man who believes he is making a difference.} There are many versions, the author is unknown, but the poem is inspired by the writing of Loren Eiseley

photo credit: <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/ouyea/117406611/”>ouyea…</a> via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photopin</a> <a href=”http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/2.0/”>cc</a>

Bettering Yourself – Week 34 – Aug 19 – 25, 2013 To Recognize and Communicate my Needs

communicate needs

Ask and you shall be calm

For this week’s bettering yourself challenge, I am working on getting better at identifying my emotional needs and communicating those needs to others.  

Unmet needs create emotional upset, says Marshall Rosenburg in his book “Non Violent Communication”,  and to feel more emotionally balanced we can ask for what we need.

He says by asking for the behavior we want as specifically as possible, we are more likely to get it.

This week, I am going to challenge myself to ask for what I need in my relationships at home.  I will let you know how it goes next week.


Review of Bettering Yourself – Week 33 – Using household products to clean and solve problems

This week I used household products to solve problems – a banana peel to cure a scrape on my hand,  lemons to deodorize the garbage disposal, and baking soda to freshen the carpet on the stairs, and all the solutions worked exactly as stated for this week’s bettering yourself challenge.

I am going to continue to go down the list and try the other solutions as the weeks go by.   

Bettering Yourself – Week 33 – Aug 12 -18, 2013 How To Use Household items to clean and solve problems

how to clean and more with common household items

How to clean and more with common household items






My friend Audrey shared this amazing list of household tips this week.

For this week’s bettering yourself challenge I am going to try some of these solutions with common household items that are environmentally friendly and affordable.  I will let you know how it goes next week.


1) Toothpaste: Buff a CD/DVD

Apply toothpaste to a cotton ball and wipe the disc. Wash with water afterwards and you’ve got a brand new disc!
2) Cornstarch: Untangle Knots
Sprinkling cornstarch into tough knots, such as shoe laces helps loosen them.

3) Walnut: Buff Dings out of Wood Furniture
Get rid of unsightly scratches and dings on wood furniture by rubbing a walnut on the areas. The blemishes will vanish quickly and your furniture and pocket book will be saved.

4) Club Soda: Make Your Breads Fluffier
When baking, where recipes call for water, add club soda instead to make pancakes, waffles and any other breads fluffier.

5) Salt: Keep Windows Frost Free
Pour a cup of salt into a liter of water. Sponge the liquid onto the inside of window to prevent frost from forming during the winter months.

6) Rubbing Alcohol: Remove Permanent Marker
Dab the surface that has the permanent marker on it with a cloth or cotton ball covered in rubbing alcohol to make it disappear quickly.

7) Chap stick: Stops Bleeding When Nicked Shaving
Cut yourself shaving? Just swipe some chap stick over the cut to stop that constant bleeding. No more tissue squares!

8) Apple Juice: Removes Dandruff
Don’t ask how it works, but it does! Instead of buying a special shampoo, just wash your hair in apple juice to rid your scalp of pesky dandruff.

9) Aspirin: Get Rid of Armpit Stains on T-Shirts
Grind up an aspirin tablet or two, then make a paste out of it using water, lemon or vinegar. Spread the paste on the stained area and let sit for an hour before washing.

10) Olive Oil: Make Pets’ Coat Shinier
Add a bit of olive oil to your pet’s food to give them a healthier, shinier coat of fur.

11) Newspapers: Clean Windows and Mirrors
Instead of using a spray and a streaky cloth, use only newspaper to clean off your mirrors and windows for a streak-free finish.

12) Baking Soda: Remove Bugs from Windshield
Mix baking soda with warm water to make a paste. Spread the paste over your windshield for fifteen minutes. Then wipe or spray off with a hose.

13) Bleach: Extend Life of Flowers in Vase
Add a few drops of bleach to vase water to prevent the build-up of the slime caused by bacteria. It works just like chlorine in a swimming pool.

14) Kitchen Dish Soap: Flea-Killing Dog Shampoo
Kitchen dish soap (not dish detergent) can double as dog shampoo for its flea killing abilities.

15) Coke: Remove Blood Stains from Clothing
Soak the stain in coke until the stain is dissolved, then wash the clothing as usual. Wash before the coke dries, though.

16) Honey: Remove Blemish Overnight
Have a blemish you need to get rid of by tomorrow? Put a dab of honey on the blemish and cover it up (it’s best to use a Band-Aid) and the honey’s natural antibacterial properties will clean out the bacteria by the morning.

17) Wax Paper: Clean Can Opener Gears
Run a few small strips of wax paper through the can opener to clean out of the bits and pieces that have built up in the gears throughout the year. The wax will also rub off on the gears to protect for future use as well.

18) WD-40: Remove Crayons from Walls
Use the lubricant and a cloth to remove stubborn crayon marks from the walls just by spraying the wall and wiping with a cloth.

19) Chalk: Keep Ants and Slugs Out of the House
Ants and Slugs Won’t Touch Chalk. So, simply draw a line in front of your doorway where you are having problems with these pesky critters and they won’t cross it, meaning they won’t be able to get into your house.

20) Vinegar: Kills Weeds and Helps Flowers Grow
Vinegar is a magic wonder when it comes to gardening. It not only kills weeds but they help flowers grow as well. Douse vinegar all around your garden to prevent weeds from popping up and to help your flowers to grow healthy and strong.

21) Mayonnaise: Remove Bumper Sticker
Spread mayonnaise on the bumper sticker and let sit for at least thirty minutes. Then, rub the sticker off with a towel, leaving a clean bumper!

22) Tin Foil Ball: Replace Dryer Sheets Permanently
Instead of using a dryer sheet ball up one or a few sheets of tin foil and toss it in the dryer. It removes the static electricity from your clothes and one can last up to a year.

23) Banana Peel: Polish Leather Shoes
Use the inside of a banana peel to give shoes a professional and natural shine that will last for quite some time.

24) Mouthwash: Cure Athlete’s Foot
Pour mouthwash on cotton balls and then swab your feet. The alcohol will disinfect the bacteria completely if you continue this for a week or so.

25) Baking Soda: Clean BBQ Grill
Mix a cup of baking soda with half a cup water to make a paste. Dip your brush into the paste and scrub the grill. The caked on pieces and black residue will come off much quicker and using baking soda is much safer and cheaper than using cleaning chemicals.

26) Coffee Grounds: Fertilizer
Coffee is full of nutrients and vitamins that are very beneficial to soil. That’s why some people include it in compost piles. If you want to get the most out of your coffee, pour the grounds on areas where you want more grass or flowers.

27) Olive Oil: Shaving Cream
The smoothness of the oil can replace the need for shaving cream, and it also provides great moisture.

28) Dryer Sheets: Gets Rid of Static Electricity
Use dryer sheets to remove static electricity from things such as clothing, TV screens or your own hair. Tame fly away strands by running a dryer sheet over them.

29) Freezer: Freeze Candles to Make Them Last Longer
Put candles in the freezer for at least 2 hours before using. Once you burn them, the wax will melt at a much slower pace, making them last much longer!

30) Two glasses of water: Cure Headache
Water is the cure to most common headaches. To make the headache go away quickly, drink two cups of water very quickly.

31) Lemons: Deodorize Garbage Disposal
Toss whole slices of lemon into the garbage disposal then run it. The acidity of the lemon will rid your sink of all odors and leave a fresh scent that usually lasts for a few months.

32) Alka Seltzer: Remove Burnt-On Grease and Food Stains
When letting your pots and pans soak, throw in one or two Alka Seltzer tablets and the caked on residue from cooking will come off easily when you scrub/wash.

33) Apple Cider Vinegar: Relieve Diarrhea
Mix two tablespoons of apple cider vinegar into eight ounces of water to soothe your stomach. The taste may not be the greatest, but the antibacterial properties of the vinegar will end the unpleasantness of the bowel problems.

34) Toothpaste: Remove Scratches from Glass
Apply toothpaste to scratch, then rub with a cloth until the scratch is gone. Make sure the glass is clean beforehand.

35) Cheerios: Relieve Pain from Poison Ivy, Chickenpox and Sunburns
Pound one to four cups of Cheerios into a powder and add to your bath to soothe your skin while you soak. You may not feel relief while in the tub, but you will soon after.

36) Buttons: Sort Earrings
Organize your earrings and prevent them from becoming entangled by using spare buttons as holders for each pair.

37) Corn Oil: Prevent Hairballs for Pets
Add a few drops of corn oil to your pets’ food to prevent hairballs from forming. The thick oil helps the fur pass through the animal’s system much quicker and easily.

38) Whipped Cream: Remove Gum from Hair
There are many remedies for removing gum from hair, but this is a lesser known one. Give it a try rather than peanut butter the next time you’re in need.

39) Coke: Remove Oil Stains from the Driveway
Oil stains are very difficult to remove pavement, but one method guaranteed to work is Coke. The highly acidic drink will eat away at the oil until clean.

40) Brown Sugar: Facial Scrub
A scrub is good to do about once a month to remove dead skin and bacteria built up in pores and remove excess oil from the skin. Brown sugar does just as well as expensive products and will definitely result in a clearer and smoother complexion.

41) Dryer Sheet: Lint Brush
You already know that dryer sheets remove lint in the dryer. Well, it can do the same thing out of the dryer, too. When you’re in a fix, use a dryer sheet. It works just as well as a lint brush, and if you like the scent, it’s an added bonus.

42) Newspaper: Deodorize food containers and Food Drawers in the Refrigerator
For that stinky Tupperware or smelly refrigerator drawer that is too much to deal with, toss in a sheet of newspaper overnight before you deal with it. The paper will absorb the smell greatly reducing it or eliminating it completely.

43) Olive Oil: Unstick a Zipper
The oil will help the zipper slide more easily, fixing the problem!

44) Salt: Cool Something Quickly
You know that feeling when you’re having a BBQ and someone asks for a drink and you realize that no one has put them in the cooler? There’s nothing worse than a warm drink on a hot day. Chill a drink quickly, by adding salt and water to your ice. The drinks will be cold in a matter of minutes; saving your party and making you look smart all at once.

45) Scotch Tape: Prevent Wall from Chipping When Nailing
The wall can leave unsightly chips when hammering in a nail. Prevent this by simply placing a piece of scotch tape over the area you’re going to nail. The wall will be held tighter, preventing chips from occurring.

46) Alka Seltzer: Soothe Insect Bites
Dissolve two tablets into a glass of water. Then use a cloth or cotton ball to apply it to the affected area. The red will go down and most importantly, the itchiness will vanish usually in fifteen minutes.

47) Lemon: Whitens Whites
Add about half a cup of lemon juice to your load of whites to makes them extra white. You can use lemon juice with bleach or detergent, so don’t worry about mixing chemicals with the acidic lemon.

48) Banana Peel: Whiten Teeth
This may sound a little odd, but rub the inside of a banana peel on your teeth twice a day for two weeks and you will receive the same effect from a teeth-whitening kit. Plus, you’ll save yourself money and the hassle of using chemicals.

49) Hair Dryer: Free Photos Stuck on Pages
If you have a photo stuck on a page that you can’t get free, try using a blow dryer on the back of the page. It will loosen the photo from the page and the adhesive holding it there.

50) Banana Peel: Heal Most Skin Problems
Bananas are the magical fruit, because they heal many common problems on the skin. By rubbing the peel on your skin, you can heal bruises and cuts and eliminate rashes, itching and warts. Basically if you have a common skin problem, it can be cured by this fruit.

I hope you can put some or all of these to good use to save money and make your home a safer environment. There are tons more DIY uses for common household items like these. make sure to share the info with your friends!


photo credit: <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/jessicamullen/4431643843/”>jessica mullen</a> via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photopin</a> <a href=”http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/”>cc</a>