Hello and welcome to Weekend Coffee Share #39! I’m glad you’re here. Please come on in, help yourself to a cup of coffee, tea, or hot chocolate at my coffee station and let’s chat.
It was a mainly sunny week with daytime high temperatures around 19C (66F). I had a fun week that included a day trip to Niagara Falls. Today is the first day of October, a new month, so I took a look back at September and appreciated the month just passed.
Here’s my summary of what made September special.
Photography: I enjoy taking photographs when I go outside. I’ve shared many images of nature, buildings, flowers, murals and sculptures on my blog. Here are two additional artworks that I like:
Reading: I finished seven books in September and updated my Books in 2021 page. I love opening a new book and see where the story takes me.
Travel: My sister and I took a day trip to Niagara Falls and had a fantastic time. We enjoyed sunny weather, stunning waterfalls and beautiful flowers. Good food and good conversation again. More details in a future post.
Writing: I wrote five blog posts and enjoyed hosting and blogging every weekend in September:
Looking back, what made September special was the heartwarming social time that I had, either in groups with my family and friends, or one on one with my sister and my neighbour. On weekends, I enjoyed virtual coffee shares with my blogging community.
I’m grateful for all the good things that happened in September.
Hello and welcome to Weekend Coffee Share #22! I’m glad you’re here. Please come on in, help yourself to a cup of coffee, or tea, or hot chocolate at my coffee station and let’s chat.
I know we are a few days into June already. In the first week of every new month, I usually look back at the month that was and plan fun activities for the new month. So what made May marvellous for me?
Temperatures quickly warmed up in May and it was like the switch flipped. Vegetation just go from buds on a tree to full leaf, and all of that happened within about 10 days. There were many beautiful blooms in the gardens in May as my photos show below. Click on any image to see it bigger.
I continued my health routine in May with cycling, walking, playing disc golf, body weight training, meditation and yoga. I’ve enjoyed more cycling on weekends in May thanks to 2 conditions: 1) Good weather and 2) Weekend road closures when a few routes are closed to vehicles and open to cyclists and pedestrians.
My family and friends are well. Most of us have received our first COVID-19 vaccine dose, some of us are fully vaccinated. Starting May 22, outdoor social gatherings of up to 5 people are allowed so I met my sister for a walk on a beautiful day.
On May 20, Ontario announced a three-step plan to gradually reopen the province through June, July and August based on vaccination rates and key public health and health care indicators. Things are looking up after a long lockdown. Hurrah!
What I did for fun in May
Explored the city by bike and on foot.
Walked in public gardens and smelled the scents of flowers.
Played disc golf in a beautiful park.
Watched bird families and listened to bird songs.
Visited Heritage buildings, art murals and sculptures.
Hosted 4 Weekend Coffee Share link-ups.
Started a small herb garden.
Learned French and Spanish on Duolingo.
What I read in May
I enjoyed reading 8 fiction novels in May and increased my Books in 2021 total to 40. Here’s my list of books with asterisk indicating new-to-me author:
Keeping The Moon – Sarah Dessen.
The Trespasser – Tana French.
Force of Nature – Jane Harper.
The Dry – Jane Harper.
The Survivors – Jane Harper.
Naïve. Super – Erlend Loe. *
Camp – L. C. Rosen. *
The Burning Girls – C.J. Tudor.
I’m now caught up with C.J. Tudor’s and Jane Harper’s published books, 4 from each author. This includes The Burning Girls and The Survivors, both were released in 2021.
May was marvellous! I’m grateful for all the good things that happened. I hope you had a good May, too. I’ve blocked time for my health, home, and leisure activities in June. I look forward to making the most of every day.
What do you look forward to in June? Let me know in the Comments.
Hello and welcome to Weekend Coffee Share #10! I’m glad you’re here. Please come on in, help yourself to a cup of coffee, or tea, or hot chocolate at my coffee station and let’s chat.
It’s been a very good week with spring-like and mostly sunny weather here. The daytime high temperature reached 17C (63F) on Thursday. I complete my meditation, body weight workouts, and yoga at home before going outside to cycle and walk most mornings.
When I walk in the parks and along the lake shore, I see and hear red-winged blackbirds, sparrows, starlings, woodpeckers, ducks, geese, gulls, long-tailed ducks and swans . Most trees, except evergreens, are still bare with small buds on the branches.
Nature continues to keep me smiling and feeling positive. I also blog, chat with my family and friends by phone, learn French and Spanish online, listen to music, sort my photos, read, and write. I just finished a very good thriller, The Suspect, by Michael Robotham.
A Year Later
One year after the COVID-19 pandemic was declared, I reflect on some of what’s been happening:
March 13, 2020
March 12, 2021
Lockdown in Toronto
First lockdown lasted from March 13 until June 2020.
Second lockdown that started on November 23, 2020 is still on.
All venues were closed. Exhibits and shows moved online or outside.
All venues are closed. Exhibits and shows are available online or outside.
City-led and City-permitted outdoor major events
Outdoor major events were cancelled (e.g. Parades, running races, festivals).
Outdoor major events are cancelled through July 1 (e.g. Parades, running races, festivals).
Personal and recreational services
Libraries offered digital services and closed branches.
Hair salons, gyms, and swimming pools are closed.
Public parks are open. Going outside is allowed for essential reasons (e.g. exercise, health care, groceries).
Libraries offer excellent digital services and limited services inside library branches.
Hair salons, gyms, and swimming pools are closed.
Public parks are open. Going outside is allowed for essential reasons (e.g. exercise, health care, groceries).
Public Health advised people to practice hand washing and social distancing (2m or 6 ft. apart).
Masks were introduced later and mandated in indoor public spaces and on public transport.
The 3Ws (Wash hands, wear mask and watch distance) continue. Masks are required in indoor public spaces and on public transport.
Indoor gatherings are banned, except with members in the same household. Outside gatherings limit to 10 people.
Canadians abroad were advised to return to Canada.
Airline and tour operators started cancelling flights and tours.
Canada added travel restrictions (e.g. hotel quarantine, COVID-19 test).
Non-essential travel is discouraged.
No vaccine available.
Canada has approved four vaccines and vaccine rollout is in progress.
There was a temporary relief in Summer 2020 when the first lockdown was lifted. I got a haircut, socialized outside, and enjoyed a fun-filled summer paddling around the Toronto Islands.
This 3-geese distancing sign reminds me to do my part while keeping a sense of humour, including in difficult situations like living in a lockdown and a pandemic.
A year later, the main improvements are stable food and household supplies and vaccines. Since December 2020, Ontario has started its three-phase vaccination plan. I’m in the last phase to get the vaccine at the end of summer 2021 depending on vaccine supply.
I choose optimism. Yellow is the colour of optimism. So I updated this post with some yellow flowers from my photo archive. All florals are shared with FOTD photo challenge and Life This Week.
How did your week go? What improvements have you noticed 1 year after the pandemic started? I’d love to hear your comments.
Happy New Year, everyone! I hope you had some rest and relaxation leading up to and including New Year’s Day. I celebrated New Year’s Eve virtually with the City of Toronto’s live Celebration of Light & Sound at the CN Tower. It was beautiful and safe fun.
In the last two weeks, I enjoyed a quiet holiday at home. I baked a batch of tasty Parmesan shortbread biscuits, a Magical Coconut Pie, had phone chats with my family and friends, made online donations to charities, finalized my Books in 2020, and organized new files for 2021.
Mother Nature delivered snow for a white Christmas and clouds on New Year’s Day. While cycling and walking outside, I enjoyed watching many birds, especially hawks, red cardinals, and flocks of long-tailed ducks. Their antics made me smile.
During the holiday break, I cleaned up my blog and media library behind the scene and did a back-up. I keep most things the same. Here’s a short list of what’s updated on my blog and what’s new.
The Menu bar and the content of the Pages at the top of my blog.
My Copyright statement on the bottom right widget and at the end of each post.
On January 1, 2021, Alli at Eclectic Alli blog decided to step away from hosting the weekly Weekend Coffee Share. I volunteered to continue hosting it.
My guidelines starting on January 8:
Everyone is welcome to join in the Weekend Coffee Share in any and every week.
Topics are open – e.g. What’s been going on in your life? What are your weekend plans? Is there a topic you’ve just been ruminating on that you want to talk about? Mid-life musings? Wellness goals? etc.
Leave the link to your Weekend Coffee Share post in a comment below my Coffee Share post. No InLinkz button or code required at this time.
You can link to your post any time between 8 a.m. Friday and 5 p.m. Sunday (both Toronto time).
I’ll be flexible in the way I title my Weekend Coffee Share posts.
I’d ask that participants be social. Read my post and two posts from other Coffee Share participants and leave a comment so we know you’ve dropped by.
I’ll merge the monthly Wellness series that I hosted in the last 2-3 years with the weekly Coffee Share.
In 2021 I continue to focus my energy on three main areas, Health, Home, and Leisure, to live a healthy and enriched life. In lieu of a Word of The Year or a list of resolutions, I choose to allocate time for at least one activity in each of the three areas every day. My typical day is generally spent on Health (morning), Home (afternoon), and Leisure (evening).
I continue my self-care routine to maintain good mental and physical health. It includes meditation, yoga, cycling, walking, body weight training, rest days, and health check-ups. I add seasonal sports when possible (e.g. paddling in the summer). I like to keep my fitness routine fun and I’m open to try new things.
Home to me is about the physical space where I live and the relationships with my family, friends, and community. I continue to practice the 3Rs (reduce, reuse, recycle) to keep my home tidy and low maintenance. I use technology to stay connected with my family and friends who live in different time zones.
In 2021 with the rollout of vaccines to prevent the spread of COVID-19, I anticipate adjustments to gradually return to pre-pandemic level of activities. I intend to give back to my community and contribute to the recovery.
This area is about fun activities that satisfy or expand my curiosity and interests. Examples include arts, languages, movies, music, nature, photography, reading, writing, travel, wandering, etc. There is no shortage of activities or topics that I’d like to explore. The main challenge has been time.
At present, the lockdown in Toronto that started on November 23, 2020 remains in place until at least January 23, 2021. I continue to follow public health measures to stay safe and well. During a lockdown, life is simplified because only the essentials are available and everything else is either closed or available online.
I feel organized going into this year with new days waiting to be filled with explorations and enrichment. I look forward to 2021 with gratitude and optimism. I hope to see you at my Weekend Coffee Share starting January 8.
How did you celebrate New Year’s Day? What’s the top priority for you in 2021? I’d love to hear your comments.
Today is the last Wellness Weekend link up in 2020. The optional prompt is Wrapping Up. I hope you join in on the fun right here.
We’ve all been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic throughout 2020. Personally, it started in mid-March for me. Since March, I’ve lived through two waves of the pandemic and two lockdowns in Toronto: The first lockdown from March to June and the second lockdown from November 23 to January 4, 2021 at least.
To wrap up the year, I reflect on what I’ve accomplished and how I spent my days in 2020. Here’s the ten things that stand out for me.
Self-care – On the Health front, I’ve done well in 2020. I practice the 3Ws (wash my hands, watch my distance, and wear my mask) to keep myself and others safe from COVID-19. I meditate daily, cycle, exercise, practice yoga, and walk most days. The physical activities and being outside close to nature keep me in good spirits.
Trying new and healthy things – When the gym and swimming pool are closed, I find several body weight training videos on YouTube. I learn new exercises and do workouts at home. In the summer, I go canoeing, kayaking, and stand-up paddling. I focus my time and energy more on healthy or useful activities and less on news and social media.
Enjoying home comforts – For the first time in many years, I stay home the entire year without traveling. I keep my home tidy and designate space for my workouts and my leisure activities. I embrace the quietude, stock up on essential items, bake new recipes, and make all meals at home.
Socializing outside – In the summer when the first lockdown is lifted, I meet with my family and friends outdoors. We practice physical distancing, stay at least 2m (6 feet) apart, and bring our own drinks and snacks to our coffee dates.
Using technology – The second lockdown requires Torontonians to limit contacts to the people we live with and the cold weather makes meeting outdoors less inviting so I rely on my phone, email, and FaceTime to stay connected with my family and friends. The important thing is we are all well.
Continuing cultural fun – During the pandemic, I go almost 100% digital with my cultural activities. I learn French and Spanish on Duolingo, listen to concerts online as opposed to at indoor venues, visit outdoor public art installations as opposed to indoor art galleries, and watch virtual shows or movies at home as opposed to in the theatres.
Exploring – 2020 is the year when all my trip reservations are cancelled with full refunds. Since I’ve been to many countries, some several times, I feel fine to wait until it’s safe to travel again. The pause of travel this year is an opportunity for me to explore wonderful places in Toronto, and to prioritize my international travel in the future.
Reading – I read a lot of books in 2020. My current count is 111 fiction novels and memoirs from more than 70 authors. This is my best annual reading record to date. A tough one for me to repeat. I switch from books to e-books in the summer. To my surprise, I love this change.
Writing – I enjoy writing 55 blog posts and one guest post in 2020. I’m still having fun after four years of blogging. I’m thrilled when my blog readers find my story and photos interesting or inspiring. The best is when I make you smile.
Gratitude – I feel grateful every day for many things, such as a new day, my good health, my family and friends, comfortable home, good food, amazing technology, excellent library system, well-maintained city parks, beautiful Lake Ontario, fantastic Waterfront Trail, and more.
I’d like to thank all of you who read my blog and share your thoughts. Your blogging friendships and comments are my awards. I wish everyone a healthy holiday season and a happy New Year 2021.
Hello blog friends! How are things going? I hope all’s well with you. Come on in to my blog space for a coffee or tea and let’s chat. The weather was typical autumn this past week, mainly sunny and cool, with some showers and strong winds mid-week.
I had a good week with my usual cycling, walking, workouts, yoga, meditation, house work, language lessons, blogging, and reading. I also got in touch with my family and friends by phone and text. This weekend I’m celebrating my blog anniversary and Thanksgiving holiday.
4 Years of Blogging: Some Thoughts
A milestone: I reached a blogging milestone, 4 years of blogging, on October 10th. I started my blog with Blogger in October 2016 and then switched to WordPress in June 2019. Same blog name Natalie the Explorer on both platforms. I didn’t move my old Blogger blog posts over to WordPress yet and probably won’t.
A good habit: I like the rhythm and habit of thinking and writing. This year I’ve been posting once a week. My blog is where I record some of what I’ve been up to, write down some thoughts, share some of my photos, and interact with my blog readers and other bloggers.
Friendships: I had the pleasure to meet several blogger friends IRL on Vancouver Island last September. I hope to meet them again and meet new blogger friends in the future.
Ongoing learning: One of the reasons for my platform switch was to learn something new. I jumped “cannonball” style into using WordPress block editor right away. I think all bloggers would agree with me that there’s always something new to learn from blogging, whether it’s new technology or general blog improvements or from readers’ comments.
Thank You: I want to thank everyone who reads my blog and everyone who takes the time to leave a comment. Blogging has been a fun ride for me. Your comments and friendship make it more fun and they motivate me to continue blogging. I hope you continue sharing your thoughts here.
Thanksgiving Musings: 10 Personal Gains
Currently, Canada is in the second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic. Toronto public health officials have urged residents not to invite anyone over for Thanksgiving dinner this year, and to mark the holiday with only members of their immediate household. So it’s a quiet Thanksgiving at my place.
I made donations to the local food drive. I contacted my family and friends to chat and wish them a happy Thanksgiving. I spent some time thinking about what I’ve personally gained in the last seven months since COVID-19 restrictions started in mid-March.
Ten personal gains in no particular order:
Health Focus: I’ve always been active, however, this pandemic brings a laser focus for me to continue being physically active, eat a balanced diet, get enough sleep, and stay mentally healthy.
Time: I gain time from not getting ready to go somewhere, not commuting, not attending cultural and social events, and not traveling. This allows me to spend more time outdoors, linger when and where I want to, and read a lot more books.
Money: I save more, mainly from not traveling. I’ve redirected some of my travel budget to recreation which is still a fraction of my usual travel budget. At this rate of saving, I may be able to upgrade or extend my trip next time I travel.
Childhood Favourite: I resume and enjoy one of my favourite childhood activities, i.e. Cycling. When I was a child, I taught myself how to ride a bicycle using my mom’s adult bike. No training wheels for this kid. I’ve been cycling a lot more this year than previous year.
A Quiet City: Toronto is the largest city in Canada. With event cancellations, business closures, online schools, and working from home arrangements, the city centre has been much quieter than normal. Less car and people traffic makes it relaxing and easier for me to maintain physical distancing when I go outside.
Local Beauty: I’m grateful to have easy access to the Waterfront trail, Lake Ontario, local beaches, parks, gardens, Toronto Harbour, and the Toronto islands. This year I have more time to explore my home city by bike or on foot, and did a lot of paddling around the beautiful Toronto islands.
New Discoveries: The more flexible and resourceful I am, the more fun and less stress I bring to myself. Examples: Closures of indoor gym, art galleries, concert halls, library branches? Do workouts at home, go digital, and switch to e-books. Jasmine rice unavailable? Buy Basmati rice. In the process of substitution, I discovered new videos, web sites, authors, brands, etc. Some substitutes have met or exceeded my expectations.
New Skills: I use some of the extra time on hand to learn how to bake. I’ve baked several recipes and they all turned out well. I approached this as a learning experiment and proved to myself that yes, I can bake. I also improved my paddling skills by canoeing, kayaking, and stand up paddling this summer.
Simple Living: The pandemic restrictions simplify life down to the essentials like staying at home and going out for exercises, groceries or medicine only. So my typical day involves going outside for fitness activities, grocery shopping, making meals at home, doing house chores, keeping in touch with family and friends by phone or text, and relaxing with books, films, and music.
Life Experience: Even though I wish the pandemic would be over right now, it’s still part of our reality. Living through COVID-19 Wave 1 has given me the experience to prepare for Wave 2. Unlike Wave 1 which occurred during Spring and Summer here, Wave 2 is in Autumn and possibly Winter when it’s darker and colder. I know I need to step up my game and ride this out.
How did your week go? What personal gains have you experienced during the pandemic? I’d love to hear your comments.
Hello blog friends! How are you doing? I hope all’s well with you. Come on in my blog space for a coffee or tea. It’s the last day of May and a Sunday so I hope we can linger and catch up on what’s been happening. Let me share with you what brings me smiles in May.
Spring continues to transform the scenery in my neighbourhood. Every week what I see is like one of many acts in a theatre play, where each act brings on new props. Tulips, trilliums, and dandelions have reached their blooms while lilacs and other flowers are getting to their prime.
I’m thankful that the lockdown started in the spring, as opposed to winter. Spring is the ideal time to visit local parks and gardens to see the beautiful trees and blooming flowers. They brighten my day and keep me in good spirits. I’m also thankful to have Lake Ontario nearby so I can go and soak in the ever-changing views and watch active bird life.
I’m committed to stay fit and have fun in May. I do a combination of meditation, strengthening exercises, walking, and yoga to keep me calm and strong. By adding Chloe Bent’s 20-minute dance cardio workout to my Friday fitness routine, I have something fun to look forward to on Fridays.
Grocery shopping continues to be interesting. Some products are still on short supplies or unavailable when I’m at the store. Fortunately, brand substitutions have brought satisfying results. One of the three supermarkets in my neighbourhood requires shoppers to wear masks. Bars, coffee shops, and restaurants can offer take-outs, delivery, drive-through, or curbside pickups only.
I used Jean Paré’s Muffins and More recipe book to bake my first Coconut Bread. It was easy to make and turned out very good. It would go well with coffee or tea. I’m learning to bake one new recipe per month just for fun. I’ve progressed from no baking to five successes!
Blogs: May 31 marks a full year that I’ve been using WordPress for my blog. I’m happy with WordPress and still enjoy blogging. Several ideas are floating in my mind so stay tuned for the next post 🙂
Hot Docs 2020 Festival: I enjoyed viewing some of the thought-provoking documentaries from the Hot Docs 2020 festival, one of the biggest documentary film festivals in the world, from the comfort of my home.
Languages: I learn French and Spanish lessons daily on Duolingo.
Movies: These movies are all about love and relationships. I gave them 3.5 to 4 stars out of 5. Their locations made my travel heart happy.
Ma Ma starring Penélope Cruz (Spain).
Boy starring James Rollestone & Taika Wahiti (New Zealand).
Girl on a Bicycle starring Louise Monot (France).
This Beautiful Fantastic starring Jessica Brown Findlay and Tom Wilkinson (England).
Take Me Home starring Sam Jaeger and Amber Jaeger (USA).
Music: I listened to a lot of pop music in May plus 2020 Jazz concert at Lincoln Center Gala, and classical concerts at Berlin Philharmonic Digital Concert Hall.
Readings: To shake up my reading routine and since May is Short Story month, I paused my book reading and started reading73 Canadian short stories available free online. I also listened to actors’ readings of Harry Potter’s The Philosopher’s Stone or The Sorcerer’s Stone, chapters 1 to 7.
Shows and Theatre Plays: In May, I watched MacBeth, The Tempest, A Streetcar Named Desire (with Gillian Anderson), and the Cirque du Soleil special One Night for One Drop.
With a little planning, each of my walks outdoors is interesting. It’s getting warmer as we move into summer so I leave home earlier in the morning and add sun protection to make my walks more comfortable.
Two nice wildlife surprises made me smile this week. I saw a bunny, maybe the same Easter bunny that I spotted in April, and three new Trumpeter swans with tags X01, X02, X03 in the harbour. They are not the Trumpeter swans P24 and T63 that I saw before. The Trumpeter swan was near extinction about forty years ago so I was pleased to see five of them in two months.
The end of May marks 22 weeks into 2020 and 11 of those weeks were under heavy COVID-19 impact. I anticipate that it’s a long haul even as restrictions ease up. In my own small world, May is a good month. I’m grateful that everyone in my circle of family and friends is safe and well.
June usually brings good weather here and Toronto Public Library starts curbside book pick-ups in early June. I look forward to being outdoors as much as possible and reading more books in the coming weeks. After all, the lake view and a good book are irresistible.
How did May go for you? What good things happened? I’d love to hear your comments.
Hello blog friends! How are you doing? I hope you’re well. Come on in so we can share a coffee or tea and our news. If we were having coffee, I’d share with you what made me feel positive and gave me five big smiles since I mentioned my Gratitude list. Heads up that there are lots of spring flowers in this post.
Smile #1 – Family and Friends
My family and friends are well. We stay in touch by phone, text, email, and the occasional virtual meetings. Most of my family members who are working are essential workers so they’re actually busier and under more stress than usual. Knowing that everyone in my circle is safe and in good health makes me smile.
Smile #2 – Health
If we were having coffee, I’d share that I was diligent about my health routine in April. I meditated every day, practiced deep breathing and yoga three times per week, and did strengthening workouts three times per week. I also walked outdoors five or six times per week, about one hour each time.
I’m mindful of keeping a safe distance from everyone else. Most of the time, it’s easy to do physical distancing because there is no one in my path when I go. My 5K walks let me see Lake Ontario, beautiful spring flowers, wildlife, and interesting murals and sculptures. They keep me in good spirits.
Smile #3 – Home
If we were having coffee, I’d share that in April, I baked my first Blueberry Coffee Cake. It would go well with our coffee or tea. I used Jean Paré’s easy-to-follow recipe from her Muffins and More book. She’s a Canadian and author of the Company’s Coming cookbook series that has sold over 30 million copies since 1981.
The cake was a success so I’d make it again in the future. The topping has cinnamon which smells very nice when I bake the cake. I included the recipe. Note that I used blueberries instead of cranberries. Raspberries work, too.
Smile #4 – Leisure
During this global pandemic, there is a huge amount of arts and entertainment available online 24/7 without extra cost. With my library card, I have access to more leisure materials than time to explore them all. In April, here’s some of what I enjoyed:
Books: I was happy to spend time away from the screen and read over 1,000 pages from three compelling books, Dear Life by Alice Munro who won the Nobel Prize in Literature in 2013, Angela’s Ashes, a memoir and Pulitzer Prize winner by Frank McCourt and The Sisters Brothers, finalist of several literary prizes in 2011, by Patrick deWitt.
Films: My library card gives me access to a great collection of films and documentaries. I chose to watch three films in April: The Gold Rush, Modern Times, and Call Me by Your Name. The first two are Charlie Chaplin’s comedic masterworks. The third film won several awards in 2018 and its location reminded me of my wonderful time in Italy.
Languages: French and Spanish lessons on Duolingo are my fun brain exercises, 30 minutes/ day. I chose two languages that have similarities to challenge myself. They also remind me of my many trips to France and Spain. The happy memories make me smile.
Music: I listened to Andrea Bocelli: Music for Hope, One World: Together At Home, and Stronger Together, Tous Ensemble concerts, plus numerous classical concerts online at the Berliner Philharmoniker Digital Concert Hall, and music played by professional DJs on the radio.
Shows: The Cirque du Soleil Premier show on CirqueConnect and The Nutcracker ballet at Moscow’s Bolshoi Theatre were incredible to watch. Pre-pandemic I wouldn’t be able to watch them from front row seats. In April I could watch them in close details from home for free.
Smile #5 – Blogs
I wrote five blog posts in April and the “Oscar” goes to Life is Like A Box of Chocolates with the highest number of comments I received to date. Your comments brighten my day, thank you! Please keep them coming. I have fun reading your blogs and leaving my comments, too. Check out this page to see where I link up.
Stay Safe and Healthy
So I had many good reasons to smile and feel grateful for in April. The recipe for me to be well emotionally, mentally, and physically is to stick to my health routine and spice up my day with a variety of leisure activities.
I expect to continue staying at home most of the time in May, except to go out for exercise walks and groceries. I hope this 3-geese sign brings you a smile. Stay safe and healthy everyone!
How was your April? What makes you smile? I’d love to hear your comments.
March was such a turbulent month due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Where I live, event cancellations, business closures, and school closures have been happening since March 13 to slow the spread of the virus.
The Province of Ontario has ordered all non-essential businesses to close since March 25 until further notice. The City of Toronto has cancelled all events and festivals until June 30. This means my family and I are prepared to live our new “normal” in a much quieter city for the long haul.
I had planned a trip to Spain, leaving on March 16. Fortunately, the airlines cancelled my flights on March 12 and gave me full refunds. I was able to cancel my hotel bookings without penalty. I’ve been feeling grateful every day.
Since March has thirty one days, I thought I’d list 31 things that I’m grateful for:
Being at home.
My family: Everyone is well.
My friends: Everyone is well.
Access to clean water, fresh food, and a warm home.
Access to a phone, a computer, electricity, and internet service.
Quiet time to reflect.
Opportunities to cheer up my friends.
Opportunities to help my elderly neighbours.
The first signs of Spring, a new season.
The trail by Lake Ontario.
Outdoor walks to exercise.
The changing weather: sun, clouds, and rain.
The clear blue skies.
The sounds from birds, ducks, and swans.
The warmth of the sun on my back.
The soft petals of spring flowers.
My resistance band for strengthening exercises.
Yoga practice time.
Free public art to view.
My blogging community.
Books to read.
Free online concerts to listen to.
Free online shows to watch.
Free online courses to take.
New recipes to try.
Home-made meals with my family.
Being an introvert.
My morning coffee.
My afternoon tea.
Every item on my list makes me feel calm and smile.
Thank you, my blog friends, for reading. I hope you and your loved ones are in good health and are adjusting well to the current situation. I’d love to hear from you.
Happy New Year! I hope everyone enjoyed a wonderful holiday season and you’ve gotten off to a great start on this new year and new decade. It’s exciting to have a brand new year ahead of us and a fresh calendar to pencil in upcoming events and activities.
2019 was an amazing year for me. It’s going to be a hard year to top. I’m thankful for all the good things that I either achieved or received in 2019. Now I’m planning to make 2020 a fantastic year.
Plans for 2020
I see this year and the new decade as part of my “go go” phase. I intend to stay active while I can. This doesn’t mean that I fill my calendar with all kinds of events. On the contrary, I’m selective with what I add to it and there is blank space for relaxation and spontaneity.
For blogging purposes, I group my plans under Health, Leisure, and Travel. Embedded in them are time with my family and friends and new learning. I like the simplicity of having three items for each group and add a bonus item under Travel to round up my list of ten.
Greet every new day with a smile.
Continue to maintain good health by doing meditation (15 minutes daily), outdoor walks (6x/ week), strength workouts (3x/ week), yoga (2x/ week), and swimming (1x/ week).
Try a new fitness activity.
Continue to enrich my life with arts (3 exhibits/ month), books (3x/ month), concerts (3x/ month), movies (3x/ month), and lessons of French and Spanish (30 minutes daily).
Volunteer at a fun event in the city.
Try one local dish at each new travel destination.
Do four fun trips in Canada with my family.
Revisit wonderful countries like Spain and Iceland.
Attend a reunion with my longtime friends in California, USA.
Explore one Canadian province and three countries that are new to me.
I use a simple spreadsheet to track my activities and goals. Stay tuned for my progress updates in my monthly wrap-up blogs.
Wellness Weekend link-up
A friendly reminder that I’ve changed the title of last year’s Wellness Wednesday series to Wellness Weekend and it’s now on the 3rd Sunday of every month. The first Wellness Weekend link-up is on Sunday, January 19. The optional prompt is Warm up. You’re invited to join in on the fun with your wellness-related post.
So what are your plans for 2020? I’d love to hear your comments.