Friday, 28 December 2012

See Spot Run...

Have you ever noticed that as the Yuletide season approaches there can be increased levels of activity! Even the more organized souls seem to jog and jaunt faster – it’s as if we’re caught up in the swell of it all!

Blustery winter winds can be a good excuse for red faces and noses – and the quiet mention of too much partying and added stress that can also contribute to flushed cheeks.

It’s not only young beauties who are dismayed when an explosion of one or several “zits” mars their appearance. Boys and men aren’t excluded! Everyone wants to look their best in holiday clothes….. the sparkle of decorations, twinkling lights and scintillating conversations contribute to the overall feel that this is a special time of year. Who wants to be ambushed by the avid recipient of a new digital camera though, when our complexion is dotted with bumps. Ugh!

I recently sought expert help from a skin care consultant who had cleansing suggestions and gave me a few samples to test. To no avail though, my face felt like a volcano with small inconsistent eruptions – so off to the doctor who immediately diagnosed the condition as rosacea.

A new cream now replaces the ineffective selections, finally I am encouraged to “see spot run”!


Friday, 21 December 2012

Singing The Same Tune...

In 1963 Walt Disney released a movie entitled “Summer Magic”, in which young-girl actress Hayley Mills played a significant role. Nearly 50 years later I can still hum the tune and remember most of the words to the song “Walk Feminine, Talk Feminine”!

It may be true that the modern business world may frown on women appearing womanly or reflecting femininity; both could perceived as inappropriate. And in some professions, such as a REALTOR®, one must be prepared to either climb a fence,  go up a ladder or trudge acreage – none of which is easily done in a skirt and high-heels! So best practices prevail.

A couple of years ago my husband and I received a lovely Gift Certificate for a fine restaurant, which we saved to use on Valentine’s Day. What a surprise to realize that I was the only woman in the dining room in a dress, and my husband was one of the few men who didn’t sport a baseball cap turned backwards!

The cosmetics and other age-defying industries take in countless millions every year, worldwide, in return for the promise of women “looking your best”.  Somehow though, when I am looking my best, I also want to feel my best – and that includes being female!

Despite the effort now required and heels not-so-high,  I’m singing the same tune! 

Friday, 14 December 2012

The Story of Mur and Shirl...

In 2011, I read with interest about Spain’s Duchess of Alba  who, at the age of 85, married for the third time after being twice widowed.

We’re all familiar with the expressions about “second time around romances” – and people seem to feel most touched when a new couple have kindled a meaningful and promising relationship after being having being bereaved and feeling bereft  when a former  partner has died.

The ringing out of new names together is always exciting – as the royal example  of “Will & Kate”. Some names just seem to “fit” together and are years later always thought of as a single unit, such as Bonnie and Clyde!

In my house, the names are Mur and Shirl. Spoken of with fond remembrances, their memories bring pleasure, sweet recall and humourous recounting of once upon a time.  Their photos are not on the mantle; nor are they face down in a dusty box. If, once in a great while, either my husband or I call each other by the wrong name, both of us take it as a compliment that we each see in each other, and  enjoy and value, the comfort of a happy marriage, the second time around.

Lyrics sung by Frank Sinatra are all about “The Second Time Around” -  which extol the glories of having both feet on the ground .  For some what was “before” stays before and is no longer admitted as part of the present - but for others, their partners from the first time around still have a place in the heart and a room in one’s mind.

And good luck to the Duchess who, on her wedding day, danced the flamenco.

Friday, 7 December 2012

Must Love Dogs...

The popular movie, produced and released in about 2005, was a testament to the wiles and wonders of internet dating.  An internet presence is an integral part of finding that special person whom you are seeking.

As a REALTOR® my online profile is factual and not overly glossy. My interests are client-centric and my business is focused on “making the pathway pleasant and smooth” for both Buyers and Sellers.

When you’re searching for a REALTOR® to work with in the process of accomplishing a real estate transaction, it’s important to bear in mind that actually liking that person is a real plus.

In addition to providing Buyer information and imparting special knowledge of the area and its amenities, we may spend a considerable number of hours together quantifying and qualifying properties we’ve seen or will be seeing.

For Sellers, the travels are fewer and time spent in each others’ company may be less – but the importance of building a relationship with your REALTOR® with the intention of working both intuitively and seamlessly is immeasurable.

The buying or selling of real estate is not a project to be taken lightly – it is a significant process and probably includes life-changing events.
There are specific questions you should ask of a REALTOR® whom you may be considering to represent you; likewise of a REALTOR® who may be awarded the listing of your property.

 Facts, figures, experience and other pertinent information however does not dispel the importance of working with someone you feel comfortable with.

Another factor might also be “must love dogs”!

Friday, 30 November 2012

On Golden Pond...revisited

At the annual Thanksgiving time of year there are many thoughts which may come to one’s mind. Personal circumstances though can sometimes make feeling thankful a difficult mindset!

The different “ages and stages” that we grow and progress through affect our emotions and confidence – there can be plenty of “Aha!” moments when concerns become clear and the path out of the woods discernible; and the choices we make are hopefully well thought out and balanced.

On a recent “get-away” for a couple of days in Autumn, I had a serendipitous revelation! The beauty of the seasonal colours felt vibrant, contrasting somewhat to the personal “slump” I was feeling…my usual upbeat enthusiasm was absent.
The road trip was lovely, and nigglings of my mind were assessed, reassessed and evaluated again. The themes – both obvious and more subtle as well of that famous “On Golden Pond” movie seemed appropriate –  the awareness of how some things change, some stay constant, and some challenges appear which must be resolved.

Whether we are thriving and zooming or  simply managing to get by and can’t quite get our heads around the “golden years” that are ours – to everything there is a reason and a season. If we can summon even the teensiest sense of adventure,  and seek out activities or subjects that are of interest, it’s inevitable that the autumnal feeling will give way to the eternal hopefulness that is Spring.  Funny how our viewpoint can change with just a nudge – being “On Golden Pond” might be the adventure of our lifetime!

Friday, 23 November 2012

Leaf Peepers In Muskoka...

It came as a great realization to me how easy it is to over-estimate someone’s stamina and have that too-weary feeling after having tried hard to make an event pleasurable and interesting!

Recent visitors to my home in Bracebridge wanted to come and “see the leaves” – so the day was set for an excursion by car. With me driving, there were four others in the roomy vehicle; sun was shining and everyone had a full tummy!
We toured several smaller towns and stopped at three lookout points through the day, as well as lunch at an adorable restaurant in Dorset named Zachary’s.

The end of the afternoon found us back where we’d begun – but astonishingly, our visitors were tired and seemed almost bored.  I felt foolish that I had taxed their energy and enthusiasm….heads bobbing as they dropped off to the land of nod from time to time wasn’t rewarding for them or me. The pleasure of being a positively scintillating tour guide was lost!

After supper, everyone settled in front of the television for a movie we’d all been anticipating. Shortly into it they were snoozing in their chairs – jolting into wakefulness from time to time and wondering what they’d missed.

A lesson well learned –make the jaunt shorter and it will be all the sweeter if you want to host friends and family at Leaf-Peeping time in beautiful Muskoka

Friday, 16 November 2012

Blarney Stones...

We can all recall a popular advertising slogan several years ago that suggested “freedom” from the workaday world at time calculated to be ten years sooner than traditional retirement age.  Anticipation flushed many a cheek!

Since that time, global economies have suffered deep and truly devastating influences – delusions of grandeur and speedy sports cars have evaporated for many. And yet, workers everywhere have set their shoulder to the wheel and have been able to move forward, though sometimes imperceptibly. Keeping one’s head above water is a struggle for many.

The advent of Instant Win lottery tickets, Early Bird draws and all manner of puzzle prizes have lured hopefuls by the throng and in Ontario the casino crowds now outnumber those who bet on the horses!

As time rolls along I have learned that the plea “if someone would just give me a break” falls on deaf ears and a non-existent “someone”. We make our own breaks by making informed choices, few guesses, and keeping our eye on the ball. A more recent probability  is that most of us who have achieved 60-plus years under our belt may have to toil on longer.

The proverbial “pot of gold at the end of the rainbow” is, for the majority of grown-ups, an empty crock of blarney stones.

Friday, 9 November 2012

Changing Gears...

When I was a young girl and yearning for my driver’s license, my Dad felt it was very nearly essential that everyone know how to manage a manual transmission. He stressed that I “might be able to save someone’s life someday” by being capable of either reversing or moving a vehicle forward to free someone from underneath! 

Decades later, never having found myself in that particular situation by the way, it seems like so many adults are driving through life’s changes on “auto”-pilot rather than shifting gears on the grades and bumps in the road. Perhaps the different stages of living were viewed at a younger age as having a certain set of how’tos that everyone seemed to follow. An example might be “getting married and having babies” or “having a split-level house with a two car garage and manicured lawn”!

Just as every roadway requires adept maneuvering to get over the bumps and around obstacles, so it is with baby-boomers like myself! We may not drive quite as fast as in earlier times, but our senses are acute and experience serves us well. Whether we’re in the proverbial fast lane or not, being able to smoothly change gears can result in a stall when we least expect it!

I think of my Dad often when the way is uneven and treacherous – being able to move forward or reverse if necessary can indeed be a lifesaver.

Friday, 2 November 2012

Flying Free

November 2, 2012

Several years ago, having saved up travel rewards points for awhile, an invitation came to my husband and me to vacation for two weeks in beautiful Barbados. My cousin and her hubby have been going for many years – and I’d been dreaming of the beaches, sand and sun!

The four of us met at a small hotel near Pearson airport in Toronto, had dinner and then early to bed so we could be ready for the shuttle in the pre-dawn. Excitement was palpable – an adventure to say the least! We would be joining an already established group of 4 other couples and were full of anticipation!

When our bags were checked, Duty Free purchases stowed safely, we made our way to the Departure Lounge – in good time. The Flight Attendants at the desk were well organized and all seemed to be moving along smoothly. Until our names were broadcast over the loudspeaker and we were summoned to The Desk!

My heart was in my mouth with apprehension – surely we wouldn’t be bumped from the flight because we flying on rewards points!!! My husband and I were informed that the plane was overbooked, and that there would have to be some changes made. I told the Attendants earnestly that we were travelling with another couple – and having never been to Barbados before we simply couldn’t be split up from them. Forthwith, my cousin and her hubby are also summoned – and with distinct pleasure, the Attendants at The Desk asked if we would mind moving up to First Class seating, at no extra charge!

We’ve continued to accumulate rewards points – and anticipate making another reservation when we’ll again be flying free!

Sunday, 21 October 2012


It’s interesting to observe from afar how people in a waiting “mode” contend with and manage their time. Doctors’ or dentists’ offices are often back-logged if the appointments are running behind; hospital waiting rooms have both tolerant non-complainers and impatient pacers – the TV may be too loud or cellphones not on Silent mode.

Our strength of character and being able to put things into proper context is a real bonus when it comes to clock-watching. Thumbing through a magazine – if you can find one nowadays in public waiting spaces – or coaxing crossword clues to fit the puzzle can help take one’s mind off the obvious. New e-reader devices are popular instead of lugging around a book. Games on a hand-held device might be fun – if the volume is not on to disrupt others nearby.

One long-lost activity that created a special bond between people is the practice of note or letter writing, sometimes to an old-fashioned “pen-pal”! I always carry several notecards and pre-addressed, stamped envelopes with me – my profession as a REALTOR® creates valuable opportunities to “keep in touch”. Clients love the contact and there’s no more pleasant a surprise than to receive a handwritten note!

Transportation delays, the advent of newborns, the heartaches of palliative situations or other circumstances can actually be opportunities to be creative, think innovative thoughts and even brainstorm project ideas. You can light up a room for others by demonstrating that one of the most unfulfilling exercises is, simply,  clock watching.