The White Cottage


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Eating Humble Pie But Still Feeling Good

SO !!  After my email to Cafe´ Amore´ expressing my disappointment in our Valentine’s Day lunch, I received a response a day later. I really wasn’t looking for any response, but a nice gentleman sent me an email explaining the Dinner Menu being used on special occasions instead of the Lunch Menu. He also apologized for my burnt Lasagne, which was very nice.

It appears I had jumped to a few conclusions – or assumptions – and I was soon made aware that I had to dismount from that high horse of mine. I decided to post the response from Cafe´ Amore´ – even though I didn’t make a copy of my original email (that was done directly from the restaurant’s web site), but there is a small synopsis of how our evening went on my previous posting. I’m also posting my reply and duly apologizing for certain assumptions made. After all, fair is fair.

Email from Cafe´ Amore´:

Thank you for your email and your thoughts regarding Valentine’s Day.

I am sorry your lasagne was dry, it is usually quite delicious and moist. I apologize for that.

We do run our dinner menu all day on three occasions each year. Valentine’s Day, Mother’s Day and New Year’s Eve.

We do this for several reasons. First, these are the three busiest days of the year and there is a lot of preparation to do in the kitchen to ensure there is enough food ready. We don’t have time to prepare food specifically for lunch and then again for dinner while  trying to switch the kitchen over from lunch service mode to dinner service mode. We therefore focus on one meal service for the entire day and execute that all day long.

Second is the demand from customers who want to order from the dinner menu on special occasions. For example, this Valentine’s Day there was a party of 25 who were coming at lunch and wanted to order dinner.  It was a special day they wanted to celebrate together. Then there are others who want to have an early dinner to avoid the crowds that occur on special occasions, so they come for dinner at lunch.

We always inform people who are making reservations of the menu offered, just we did with you.

The meatball pasta your husband enjoyed is the same price and portion at lunch as it is at dinner. The large salads offered at lunch are exactly the same at dinner. There is no price difference. For lighter fare a bowl of soup and small side salad can be ordered if that is all someone really wants to eat. There are several lighter choices on the dinner menu as well.

Our intention is not to be greedy but rather to do what we can to service the demands of the day and the requests of our guests.

If you would provide me with a mailing address I can send you out some coupons to use another day to make up for the dry lasagne. I know you didn’t ask for anything but I would like to send them to you.

Thanks again for your comments.


My Reply:

Dear Allan:

Thank you so much for your response. It seems I’ve made certain assumptions regarding your Restaurant and am now eating humble pie. I was taking out previous frustrations from another restaurant that charges “Holiday” prices on at least 10 occasions and during the month of December. I should never have clumped other establishments into the same group.

I apologize if I implied your establishment was being greedy, and assumed your Dinner Menu was used more often than the 3 occasions you stated. I broke my only golden rule – “never assume”. It’s also quite apparent I’m making certain assumptions about other customers – again, my assumptions were wrong and just re-affirmed my golden rule.

I turned 68 years old 12 days prior to Valentine’s Day – so may we please chalk this whole affair up to me having a “Senior Moment” – which appears to be quite frequent for me these days.

I really did have burnt edges around my Lasagne and was a tad disappointed. I’m a “meat and potatoes” kind of gal, so when I order a pasta dish, Lasagne is my favourite. I’m going to chalk this little matter up to a busy day for your Chef and leave matters at that.

As for the coupons – I appreciate your offer, but it’s truly not warranted. As we live in Ridgeway, we only dine out at a restaurants in St. Catharines on special occasions. The coupons, I’m afraid would therefore would be wasted. We will, however, revisit Cafe Amore again in the future.

A  little anecdote:- When Cafe Amore first opened on Lake Street, we lived on Green Maple in St. Catharines. By way of coincidence our phone number was 688-1794 and the restaurant’s the same, except for the last number. We were astonished at how many reservation calls we had to re-direct. Our curiosity was finally piqued and we went for dinner just to see what all the fuss was about. We soon found out why you moved to a larger establishment. Congratulations.

Again, thank you for your response and much success in the future.

Yours truly,


I don’t regret my email to this restaurant only because I felt a need to let them know that I did, in fact, have a disappointing meal. Restaurants, as well as other commercial establishments should always be informed when there is no customer satisfaction. We’re paying for those goods and services and we at least deserve a good bang for our buck. When you’re wrong, your wrong and you should admit it or at least own up to your mistakes. I’ve also argued that anyone who “Assumes will somehow regret it or certainly be wrong in most cases. I just proved my theory right, and I deserved to be corrected.

As for an update on my disappointments with The Mandarin (Niagara Falls). I did receive a reply, only looking for further information. The response was from the powers that be higher up the food chain and I gave them my answers as honestly as I could. I never criticized the restaurant’s staff, cleanliness or service. My main concern was the downfall of the food, which I truly hope somehow, somewhere and by someone will return to its former tasty, delicious self. The Mandarin opened up a location in Niagara Falls because of public demand and I, for one, hope the public continues to get meals it deserves. I really do not want to loose a good restaurant that serves oriental food at its best.

To date, no response. But I’m not looking for one. I’m hoping to return sometime in the future for a great meal.

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Dining Out And Dining Injustice

Age to me, is a state of mind. Mine, of course, is presently hazy, but that’s been the case for some years now. I turned 68 on February 2nd and as far as birthdays go, it was just how I wanted it. No fuss, no bother. Just a good meal. The good meal I got as Nat booked a table at The Keg in St. Catharines, which is my favourite place to eat. I’ve been a “meat and potatoes” kind of gal since I was knee-high to my father.

The evening was very nice, as we sipped a gorgeous glass of unoaked Chardonnay and waited for our steaks to arrive. We were both well into our meal when we began to realize the steaks were good, albeit a bit chewy. Not so bad that we couldn’t finish them, but we have had far superior ones at The KegWhen a waiter (other than our own) took our plates away and asked how everything was, Nat spoke up and said they were just a little chewy. We never thought twice about anything else and began to wait for our regular waiter to return so we could order the piece de resistance – Billy Miner Pie. Suddenly we were greeted by the Manager who immediately apologized repeatedly. Again, no big deal, but very, very nice gesture. Then again, he returned, only carrying a plate of that spectacular Billy Miner Pie. How did he know?? I told him we were about to order that as it was my birthday and it went without saying I wouldn’t leave without a piece. He smiled and thanked us for our patronage. Can’t get much better than that in service and goodwill. It didn’t help either that he was good looking!!

As a younger sister of mine, Michele, has her birthday five days after mine, and as I wanted to go out to lunch with her for a good “bitch session”, I took her for a meal at the restaurant of her choosing. We decided on meeting inbetween Cities and had lunch at the Swiss Chalet in Niagara Falls. It was no big huge celebration of her 60th birthday, but we both had a great time getting caught up on family news, her trip to New Orleans, and getting certain matters off of our chests to make us feel better. Venting is always good for the soul!!!! Doing that lunch with Michele made me realize I really do need some ‘alone’ time with my sisters and I really want to do that again. It just felt so good!!!!

Since I was on a roll dinning out, Nat and I decided to go to Cafe Amore in St. Catharines for our Valentines’ Day lunch. Dear Thamazine had given us a gift card to this restaurant as a thank-you gift for wrapping her Christmas parcels. Really, no need, but who am I to refuse a gift card to any restaurant. I love eating out.

As I made reservations for 12:30 for lunch, I was informed that they would be serving from the Dinner Menu that day, instead of the Lunch Menu. We agreed, as this was the only time we were able to attend – the day prior and after February 14th were tied up with other appointments close to that time.

When we arrived we were escorted to a bench and a half-bench table. There was one full bench on one side and the opposite had a half-bench which allowed other customers to wiggle past to another area where there was a semi-circular table and large bench. As it happened my bench decided to shift as I started to settle in and I almost fell. I then proceeded to move the bench back to a more convenient location where my hands could at least reach the table. Whew, we were able to proceed.

It was no surprise when we read the Dinner Menu that the meals were going to be larger than any Lunch Menu and also more expensive. With our gift card in hand we felt we could manage the whole meal without too much of an over-flow. We both found something we liked – Nat ordered Meatballs with Pasta and I ordered the Lasagne. We also decided on a glass of wine – not quite as good as the other unoaked Chardonnay we had at The Keg. When our meals arrived, everything look great, except my Lasagne was a corner piece with burnt edges. We also received a nice small loaf of garlic bread to accompany our meal. As I cut into the Lasagne I soon discovered the burnt edges were there for a reason – the Lasagne had been overbaked, dry and not very gooey with cheese.

I realized I should have returned my dish, but there was nothing else on the menu I wanted. Everything was too large for me to finish and at those prices I wasn’t going to risk it. I also figured that if they gave me another piece of Lasagne that it would have been cut from the same pan. Again, the same dry, overbaked dish. I took some of Nat’s extra sauce from his Meatballs to moisten my meal a bit and managed to finish at least up to the burnt edges. The garlic bread was good!!

We decided to treat ourselves to dessert, which we don’t normally do. Nat had the Key Lime Cake and I had the Double Chocolate Fudge. Both were good, but nothing we would hurry back to have again. Turns out their desserts are Gluten Free. In my opinion if you’re serving decadent desserts at those prices – for God’s sake put in the Gluten!!!

We returned home shortly after 2:00 PM, completely full from our meal and feeling very bloated and heavy. Neither one of us are use to eating such bigs meals at noon time. We’ve both become very small eaters for every meal. We were also a bit disappointed about the whole affair but at least this treat was on dear sister, Thamazine. Not that she would have known any different, of course, but we still love her for the kind gesture. After all, her family has enjoyed a lot of good meals at Cafe Amore, so she had no way of knowing what kind of luck Nat and I always have.

Once we returned home, we both jumped into our comfy evening clothes and whiled the rest of the afternoon away with Nat doing his Crossword and me on the iPad. Our supper was going to be nothing at all, or maybe some toast and tea in the early evening.

It soon began to bug me – naturally, any little injustice always does – about serving Dinner Menus at lunch time on Special OccasionsThe Mandarin does the same thing, as we found out on Fathers’ Day where we were dinged with a $70.00 meal at lunch time. They do notify their customers on their menus about Special Occasion pricing, but it still doesn’t make it right. I tweeted about my disappointment with The Mandarin at the time and at least received their apologies for my disappointment. I then decided to at least let Cafe Amore know about my disappointment, too. In order to at least get this restaurant menu injustice off of my chest I emailed them from their web site. I don’t want anything in return I just want restaurant owners to realize not everyone wants a large meal at large prices at lunch time.

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Let’s See, Shall We

The eyes are the windows to your world. Every reason why no one in Hell is going to touch mine, or so at least I thought.

Our lives have finally settled down after Nat’s chest pain attack. He’s been given anti-biotics for his pneumonia and is continuing to take the blood thinners. His family doctor is now on the case and will be monitoring his health from here on in. From his visit yesterday, it sounds like the Doc is really going to check things out and keep on top of it. Thank goodness – we really were not impressed with the Doctor at Welland General. He seemed to be on the wrong medical diagnosis from what Nat’s family Doc has indicated (but not said out loud – Doctor/Doctor loyalty!!)

The rest of the week turned my way. It was time for my eyeballs to be measured for the upcoming cataract surgery in March. Not really knowing what to expect we attended the appointment and everything went well. Looking into a “Doctor Who”-like machine (front facade had swirling lines that remained still) bright red lights flashed as my eyes blinked every few seconds. It’s hard to keep the eye-lids open when you’re flashed at!!

We then met with another person who explained the surgery, went over the requirements and filled in forms galore for me to sign. Every form was set up to cover every base, including possible heart surgery, or so it seemed. At least now I’m that much closer to getting this whole ordeal over with. All this so I can see that hunky Laurence Fox and other good looking men on the television!!!!

As a treat, Nat and I went to The Mandarin (Niagara Falls) again for lunch. We’ve not been since that Fathers’ Day financial shock, and thought we’d give it another try on a non-holiday. Sorely disappointed again. This time it was the food. New management? New cooks? Making cut-backs? We weren’t too sure, but everything was flavourless and certain items over-cooked. The buffet trays of food were also a little slack in getting filled up, and it wasn’t that busy. Nat and I are both thinking we’ll pass this restaurant for now. Too bad, it started off so great!!!

February is looking to be quiet on some fronts. An appointment here and there, but hopefully things will get back to normal and I can find some bloody energy to get baking again. I’ve become hooked on some games on my iPad and can’t get my ass out of the recliner long enough to do anything productive. Nat, too, is having a hard time finding things to do around the house and except for plowing the drive whenever it snows, he’s finding his recliner just as comfy!!!!

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Our 15 Hours To Hell And Back

It all started around Wednesday afternoon when Nat complained of his right shoulder being really sore. Thinking he’d twisted a muscle or joint when moving the snowblower in the garage to make room for the new riding lawn mower we purchased from our neighbours (more about that later) he put a heating pad on it and the next morning it felt liked it had eased up. Not to be free and clear, he felt some of the pain moving over to his left shoulder only this time more intense.

Neither one of us are nonchalant about such things, we both had that look in our eyes, as he complained the pain was getting worse by Friday afternoon. Come Friday evening, while watching the hockey game the pain became very intense down his side. I soon began to Google such pains and realized this could be the signs of a thrombosis near the heart. As the hockey game was now over, and being 10:30 PM, I drove Nat to the Douglas Memorial Hospital where we were checked in and soon told again!!!! that we should have called an ambulance which would have taken us to the Welland Memorial Hospital ASAP. How are you suppose to know?? But lesson learned.

After a blood test and other things, Nat was advised by the attending Physician that it looked like he had elevated ??? levels indicating some blockage to his blood vessels. As we now had to wait for the Ontario Paramedic Transport to take Nat to the Welland Hsopital (about an hour and half wait), I had some time to slip home, grab whatever I could (snack, drink, iPad, etc.) and would meet him at the Emergency Department. This was the only way we could have worked keeping the car nerby in order to drive the two of us home once this whole ordeal was over.

Not knowing where Welland Hospital was, the nurse drew a map for me and while at home I grabbed Garmin and also double checked on Google Maps on where to go. I’m also not a lover of night driving and had to re-assure Nat over and over that I’d be okay. This was something that had to be done, no brainer. Plus the way there looked really easy with my 2 maps and Garmin, and at 1:30 AM the roads are vehicle free.

I arrived earlier than Nat and once he was checked into an emergency room, the wait began. Once seen by the night shift Doctor a chest x-ray was ordered. Waiting for results. Then an ECG was ordered. Waiting for results (I’m guessing around  3:30 AM by now). More inbetween blood tests and blood pressures. Then a Cat Scan was ordered. Waiting for results (had to wait for Radiologist who doesn’t check in until 7:00 AM – and it’s only 4:30 AM). Once the night shift had gone home and the day shift was getting their instructions for the day, there were more updated blood tests, etc. and then we were told we would have to wait for the Consulting Doctor who wouldn’t be in until 10:00 AM (Saturday) to give us the results of every test and then her final opinion. It had now been well over 10 hours of waiting and tid-bits of information along the way.

Finally as Dr. Sun came into the room she was giving us news we really did NOT want to here. That Nat may have to stay the night!!!! He had already had his very first ambulance ride, was now lying in his first hospital bed and he really wasn’t in the mood to be told he’d be having an overnight stay. Well, he wasn’t alone and between the two of us we managed to convince the Doc if there was any way he could evenutally be released we were hoping she’d find it.

With more repeated questions by the Doc, she ordered an Ultra-Sound and advised once those results were in she would see what could be done. Fingers, toe and even eyes crossed at this point in time – now around 1:00 PM Saturday. Finally the results were in. Nat was told he had several small blood clots in and around his chest, plus he also had Pneumonia. We were absolutely baffled as to where that came from. He had had an extremely bad cold back in December, but things soon cleared up and he was feeling great. Oh well, only Mother Nature knows the answer to that one.

Inbetween all of the waiting, worrying and intermittent pop-ins by nurses, Nat couldn’t get a wink of sleep, I was so bloody tired and physically wrangled by sitting in a small office chair for over 12 hours, I finally grabbed my coat and laid down on the floor beside Nat’s bed. When one of the nurses found me down there, she whispered to another nurse to grab a small bed and put it in Nat’s room. I love this woman, she saved me.

I’ver never been on the waiting end of things in a hospital. It’s absolutely exhausting and unbearable. Once I was given the bed, I fell asleep at least for an hour or two and was able to sit more comfortably to keep Nat company. He had insisted I go home at one point, but what was the use. I’d only worry, I’d go to sleep and miss anything important, and I really didn’t want to leave Nat at all. I was determined I would be driving him home sometime on Saturday.

Dr. Sun finally agreed that we could go home with a prescription and instructions on how to behave and take care of himself. He was given Blood thinners for the clots and she was going to prescribe pain killers but that may be even more detrimental to blood clots, as they clot the blood to stop the pain!!!

By 2:30 PM Saturday we arrived home. SOOOO tired, Sooooo hungary we didn’t know what to do first. We ended up making a couplel of grilled cheese sandwiches, sat in our recliners and soon fell asleep for a couple of hours. We were both very dopey when it was time for the 6:00 o’clock news. It was also Saturday Night Hockey and the Leafs were playing the Senators and it would take Nat’s mind off of things.

As the evening wore on, Nat’s pain was still relatively substantial, so after a little research we discovered that moist warm heat would help to reduce some clotting. We grabbed a hand towel, ran it under very hot water, stuck it into a cloth and Nat put it on his side where the pain was, along with the heating pad over it to keep it warm. Finally, the pain was beginning to subside enough for him to enjoy the game.

I ended up hitting the hay by 9:00 PM while Nat watched the game and came to bed by 10:00. We were both dead to the world, until Nat felt a bit more pain around 4:00 AM and had to get up to walk about and sit in his recliner where he felt some relief. Me, myself and I didn’t hear a thing and slept for a good 12 hours. What a treat.

Sunday morning neither one of us felt normal – somehow we had been on some sort of weird trip to hell and back. At least, however, we were now home and were staying put.

As for that riding lawn mower – our good new neighbours that moved from Thunder Bay, are moving again. The husband has brain tumours and they are downsizing to a condo in Kitchener, where he’s close to his family. He’s not yet  had his operation, so I may never hear the results, but I’ve told his wife that we’ll be thinking of him. They’ve been really good to us and we’ll miss them a lot. Therefore, because we kept good care of our lawn and house, the hubby felt we should have first dibs on the lawn mower and it was sold to  us at a price we couldn’t resist. God, I’m glad Nat’s finally got one. I hate watching him in the scorching heat mowing the lawn. Now, he has a little relief which is better than none!!!

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Let’s Start Again, Shall We??

Another adventure gone wrong for our travelling granddaughter, Felicia. It seems every time she ventures out locally or internationally something bad happens, and New Years Eve was no exception.

Her first bad adventures happened while she was travelling in Europe (Italy, Greece) and she just happened to get bitten all over by mosquitos. Her legs swelled up like watermelons. Long story short, she got help and continued on her European adventure relatively unscathed.

On another excursion during the Christmas holidays, her and some friends went to the Distillery District in Toronto. As they were taking pictures in front of all kinds of festive decor, she put her purse down in order to get a picture taken without her purse hanging around her shoulder. She went to retrieve it and it was gone, despite the fact she had only been steps away. As luck would have it, Nat and I received a late night call from an Officer with the Toronto Police. Her purse had been turned in and as she had her cell phone on her, he had no way of accessing any contacts. He was lucky he found her passport and as we were the Emergency Contacts, he called us. After a lot of confusion on our part (have never received call from TO Police at night), we were asked by the Officer to call her cell phone, let her know it was found and to meet him by the Christmas Tree where she could get it back. I had asked for his Badge Number so Felicia would at least have some way of identification for herself. Naturally, she was extremely relieved and was very lucky, especially at this time of year.

Well, as her dumb luck would have it, her and her friends drove to New York City to Times Square to watch the ball drop on New Years. They had a great time up until they decided to go for a bite to eat afterward. When they got up to leave, she had left her wrist wallet on the table and naturally when she realized it was no longer on her wrist, they ran back but it was gone. They also checked with the NY Police but was informed it had not been turned in. Absolute devastation set in. Everything she had was in that wallet, including cash, credit cards, driver’s license, health card. The only thing that was saved was her Passport, which she had zipped up safely in her coat pocket.

When she contacted her Mom to let her know what had happened, she also realized she wouldn’t be able to help with the driving home, as she had no driver’s license and if stopped by the NY State Police she’d be in dire straits. This was turning into a hell of a life lesson and was going to cost her big time once she replaced everything. She was SO lucky to at least still have her Passport in order to cross the border. Otherwise, it would  be a real struggle to get her back home – that’s if Mom and Dad were willing to go and identify her!!

On the quiet side of things, Nat and I went to Canyon Creek Niagara restaurant at the Fallsview Casino for his birthday supper on January 1st. We left earlier than our reservations in order to walk about the shops and Casino for an hour, but after loosing money in the slots, we decided to head over to the restaurant and check in early as we were now really hungry.

Our meal was delicious and pretty much the same as The Keg Restaurants, only witih a bit more on their menu. The service was also very nice, as was the view looking over Niagara Falls and surrounding City. We really enjoyed our time and meal. We would certainly return, especially for lunch, as we’ve been told they make a killer burger.

Today, Nat’s actual birthday, saw the kids coming over for brunch – cold cuts, pasta salad, desserts. As dear Felicia was still on her way home, she and her father (working) were the only absentees. We had a great time getting caught up on family news and stories from their jobs. As Karly and Mitch were going snowboarding in New York State, the group left around the same time they did, and we were soon left with another quiet afternoon. We cleaned up, sat in our chairs and discussed all the family news we heard, along with the usual “Fatherly” concerns about how some things were being handled. It’s not like “back in the day” anymore and he and I both have to come to terms with how the younger set decide to handle their lives. It’s especially hard for Nat – being a man and from a stricter family upbringing. As for me, well, sometimes you just have to say Que Sera 

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My Last Words – Honesty And Truths

Finally, December 31st has arrived. I’ll make an attempt tonight to stay up, despite the fact that my sleep last night was just plain crappy and bad. I’ll be dog tired by the time I hit my pillow in 2017, but I feel I should keep Nat company this year. Maybe our New Year’s kiss will usher in better, healthier and happier year.

Our Christmas was nice. To Laura’s home at 4:30 Christmas Eve for a bite to eat and give our grandchildren their money. Then on to sister, Gail’s, where the rest of my family was already in the throws of having all kinds of goodies laid out on the dining room table. That feeling came upon me again, but I put it in the back of my mind and tried to carry on as best I could.  Once we arrived home we watched a little TV before I had to retire for the night. My craving for sleep begins earlier and earlier these days.

Christmas morning was a little busier than other years. We drove off to Susan’s home right after my pill regime and were able to join her family for bacon-on-a-bun and then watch as our granddaughters and Mom and Dad opened their presents. I really enjoyed seeing some frivolity Christmas morning. We both enjoyed watching Felicia and Bridget act surprised as they opened some of the gifts they knew they were getting. Mom was given a strict list of clothes picked out the months prior, but there were still one or two little surprises under the tree. I was also glad to see our two granddaughters do right by their Mom and gave her  a couple of well-deserved presents she would never have bought for herself. Koodos, Ladies!!!!

Nat and I opened a few gifts from my side of the family when we arrived home. A lot of chocolates and some biscuits, which Nat always enjoys, along with a gift card for dining out by Thamazine. Her thanks to me for wrapping her gifts. Much appreciated, but I’d do it for free anytime of year – just to put me in the spirit. Otherwise, Christmas means nothing to me anymore.

We mashed the potatoes, packed them up and carted them off to Claudia’s for Chistmas dinner. The meal was delicious, as always, but that feeling came back to me again. I tried to put it behind me one more time, but now and again I felt as if I was having an out-of-body experience – looking inside Claudia’s home and watching the frivollity being enjoyed by everyone. The chit-chat amongst sisters, the catching up on who was doing what, etc.

Arriving home, again, I was in bed early and that’s when it hit me. I felt disconnected from my sisters. Somehow along the way I had nothing to talk to them about, nothing in common with any of them, nothing to contribute to any of the conversations. I was a stranger in a sister’s home and didn’t know how to get out of it.

I put my thoughts aside, and soon began to plan Nat’s birthday. I booked a table at (a restaurant recommended to me by my great hairdresserCanyon Creek in the Fallsview Casino for the 1st, then began my To Do list for his birthday get-together on the 2nd. I had invited Susan’s family, Laura’s family and boyfriends over for our usual brunch. I try to make it as easy as possible – cold cuts, kaisers, pasta salad and cookies and squares for dessert. Everyone always has plans for the rest of the day so no one stays very long, but at least Nat gets to see his family for a few minutes that day.

My depressian came back again last night despite the fact I was fine once my head hit the pillow. Suddenly I soon began to feel that “disconnect” again. I told myself it was jealousy. My whole family had places to go, things to do and people to see, and I was the ghost in the room.

I’m unable to talk about family events, as I’m never a participant during most of the year. Only at special occasions – Thanksgiving and Christmas. I even feel at times any presents received at Christmas are more out of pity when, in fact, we’re not suppose to exchange at all. I will never get use to an empty tree Christmas morning. I tried to talk to Nat about it and he can’t understand why I won’t let it go. Even the disappointments I’ve felt from family members during my health issues (over 16 years ago, for God’s sake!!), all of which I had no control over. As it was, everything worked out for the better, but I felt in my heart the support wasn’t there for me to lean on.

The time I called two of my sisters after a huge, mega argument with Nat about Laura that went on for almost two weeks. One was too busy, which, in turn, made me feel guilty for even calling. What was that about? I was the one about to leave my husband or walk down to Lake Erie. The other sister wasn’t at home and only called hours later when she wasn’t needed.

My brain is storing some pretty petty stuff. I’ll be the first to admit it. Anyone with even a whisper of depression or feelings of neglect will tell you these feelings are so deep-seeded your brain doesn’t know where to find them to delete them from your memory. For most of my life I was spoiled because of my illness, and as a result I’m always looking for some sort of attention or support. That person in me will bake for others, give away stuff to family just to hear “Thanks!” and receive a little attention, even if for a fleeting second. The need to please is all around me. The adult in me knows I have to live my own life to the best of my ability and talents. I have a husband that loves me, but let’s admit it – every woman needs another woman now again just to talk to. Somehow I’ve lost that along the way.

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Good Riddance to 2016

From the very day that Glenn Frey died in January, I somehow suspected that 2016 was going to be different somehow – and I wasn’t far off. It turned out to be a crappy year all around. From entertainment news – unexpected deaths – to U.S. and world politics – this year just kept getting worse. Even our personal lives had some twist and turns we never expected nor wanted.

Hubby and I came out unscathed, despite the bad news about his sister in England having a rough time of it. She fell, ended up in hospital with a broken hip, had surgery for that and then took a small heart attack. More surgery – stents – and is still in hospital as I’m writing this. She’s 82 years old, never been in a hospital for this long, is extremely excasperated, frustrated and just bloody well wants to go home to her own bed. My heart goes out to her – I’ve been there – and the longer you dwell on things, the worse it gets. Your mind, however, won’t give you peace and somehow you can never see the end of the road. I’m thinking about her everyday, as is hubby.

Our major hurdle this year was completing the new kitchen. One of the few good things. We’re extremely pleased with the way it worked out. We have more space,  am more organized and I can’t believe how well the baking area is working. At last, less time and energy walking around, going to and fro from one cupboard to another and back to the pantry, now everything is in one of two places – the pantry and the baking drawer. Beautiful.

Naturally, some good things have consequences – we’re still paying for the kitchen but have no regrets.

The last half of the year has been more routine – Doctor appointments, special anniversaries and dinners, some craft shows, baking and some shopping. Nat was able to play golf 3 times a week, and sometimes more. Still very frustrated with his game, but it’s a great chance for him and his golfing buddy to get out for some “guy time”.

We both struggled with colds this Fall. Nat had his earlier on, then I caught it, and it’s taken me over 2 weeks to shake it. With my bad immune system, it takes me longer to shake anything in my chest and having to sleep with my head somewhat raised has been very tiresome. My sinuses were the worst and I’m just now getting caught up on the sleep I did miss.

As Nat and I have a lot of idle days when the snow falls, I try to get some baking done, but with the cold I’ve had, I was in no mood to turn any oven on, so I fell behind. I volunteered again to wrap Thamazine’s Christmas gifts and, as usual, had fun. As her kids are getting bigger, the presents are getting fewer and sometimes larger. So the task went a lot easier this year.  As another favour to fill my idle days I took on sister Gail’s recipes. She had a bag full of magazine clippings, hand-written notes and newspaper articles of recipes from breads to veggies, that she’s collected over the years. I had a great time sorting them all out, typing quite a few of them and then assembling together in a couple of binders. She should now be well organized and ready to try everything she’s ever saved. Hope most of them turn out to be winners for her.

It looks like we’ll be having our usual Christmas this year. Going to Laura’s for Christmas Eve for Nat’s side and to see the grandkids open our gifts to them. After the guests have left, she’ll have her little Christmas with her two children before they have to leave for other family events. We’ll be heading to Gail’s for her Christmas Eve after leaving Laura’s for more food and excitement.

Our Christmas morning will be spent at Susan’s with her family,  hopefully to watch her two girls open some of their presents and spend the morning with them before heading back home to make the mashed potatoes for Claudia’s Christmas supper. It feels like a lot of road time for us and if the weather is co-operative, we’re usually pretty good. When the snow flies and the wind blows is when we worry about road conditions and in the back of our minds would love to spend the time at home. We’d miss the whole season if we did that, so we make the sacrifice. We’re still very grateful for what we’ve got.

2017 is going to start out with a bit more activity on our part. My cataract surgery is set for March and I have the pre-op bit in January. Have to take eye drops 4 times a day for two weeks before the Optometrist’s. Just what I’ve always looked forward to – watery eyes. I have a huge aversion to anyone coming near my eyes, but for the sake of seeing more clearly, I’ll go through this crappy ordeal!

I’m not superstitious, but now and again I have a “sense” that somehow things are going to be good, whether for the week ahead or for special events. It’s been a bit of a trend that the years ending in an even number – ie 2014, 2016 – are sometimes crappy and the odd ending years are pretty decent. So here’s to 2017 – an odd ending year. We all have to believe in good things sometimes.