Warm Weather Party Punch

We have been extremely fortunate this summer to have lots of sunshine and warm weather. There have been many afternoons and evenings that were perfect for sitting on the deck and sipping cooling drinks while enjoying the company of family and friends.

The following punch is one that is perfect for these occasions and it is family friendly as well as long as you add the vodka to the adult’s glasses and not the punchbowl.

Party Punch

Very refreshing on a warm summer day.

1 large bottle white pop such as 7-up
I can frozen pink lemonade – diluted as per instructions on can
I can pineapple juice
I bottle cranberry cocktail
1 bottle vodka (add this to your taste or pour shots in glasses and add punch on top)

For a fancier presentation, add fruit to the punch (pineapple chunks, lemon slices, lime slices, cranberries)

Serve over ice. Enjoy!

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International Cat Day

Today is International Cat Day. I’ve blogged before about my Maine Coon Cat, Coed, but on this day, it seems fitting to do so again.

He’s a mama’s boy. We have our daily routine. It starts with me making my way to the coffee pot. He jumps down from the front window, where he’s spent the last little bit waiting for me to get out of bed, and follows me. All the time I’m making the coffee he is intertwining between my legs and, as Main Coon Cats do, he is chirping and talking to me. Sometimes I think it is just “hurry and get food in my dish”. But other times I swear he is telling me about guarding the house all night, or on the rare occasion I sleep in, I believe he is telling me how bad a mother I am for making him wait for his breakfast. I make my way to the fridge for my coffee cream and his can of food, holding on to the island countertop so I don’t trip over him. I divvy up the mornings ration to his dish and place in on his placemat on the floor and he settles in to snack away.

Once the coffee is made, my cup poured, and his breakfast done we make our way to the kitchen table. I sit with my feet up on another chair and he jumps up for his routine cuddle time. We sit like that while I read my emails, drink my coffee and coast my newsfeed on social media or until my legs get numb from his weight I have to put him down so the blood can start to circulate again.

Next, it’s off to the shower for me. I learned very early in our relationship that I must close the door to the en-suite or the cat will find his way into the shower with me. Maine Coon cats like water!

He waits, impatiently, outside the door for my return. He will chatter away and swish his paw back and forth under the door making sure I know he’s still there waiting and that I should hurry.

He jumps on the bed once I open the door where he waits for me to get dressed and then we head for my office, me in the lead and he, tail held high, waddling along behind. I sit in my chair and turn on the computer and he jumps up on the desk and lays behind my laptop. When he figures I need a break he will stand up and try to walk around the laptop, stepping on the keyboard and adding his paragraph to my story. No amount of talking or pushing will get him to leave until I push the laptop back on the desk to give him room to lay in front of it and I stroke his coat a few times and tell him how handsome he is. Then he settles back in his spot and we are off for another writing sprint.

As much as he can be a pain when I’m in a hurry, or trying to get that last sentence down, I’d never part with him and I know I couldn’t live without him. He’s a whole lot of unconditional love wrapped up in a furry, purring body. And did I mention that face?

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How quickly the summer is passing

It’s August already! Where has the month of July gone? Holy cow, summer is half over, but what a summer it has been. The weather forecast for this week is sunny skies and high temperatures with a fair bit of humidity. Yesterday it was 32.9 degrees Celsius before 10 am on my back deck. The deck faces the direction of the rising sun and is always hotter than the actual air temperature with the sun beaming on it from early in the morning until late afternoon. It is my favorite place to work on my stories, under the gazebo in a bit of shade with a light breeze and the warmth of the sun. Yesterday and today it was not the ideal place to work. The air temperature and humidity made it very uncomfortable to be out there for more than a few minutes at a time.

I had a writing dry spell for a while in the early part of this year and figured maybe I needed to get out and interact with people again. I found a part-time job for the spring and summer at a local shop that carries clothing and jewellery and among other things, books by local authors. They kindly accepted print copies of my books for their shelves.

The number of tourists visiting our area has risen quite dramatically this year. We are seeing lots of people from all over Canada and the United States.

Last week a group of ladies were in from South Carolina and along with other things they bought my book. I had a great time chatting with them about where they were from and places for them to see or that they’d visited while they were here. They were headed home last weekend and sad their time here was coming to an end. They commented how much they’d enjoyed their month-long visit to our area.

They were surprised when I told them I was the author of the book they’d chosen. The lady who purchased the book was quite interested in an author’s life and asked me many questions that I enjoyed answering.

Work is progressing slow where my writing is concerned. I’m still a little confused where I want my career to head. I’ve got a couple of different ideas. Recently I tried my hand at a different genre, and am happy with the story. It is far from finished, but the first draft is done. I’m still playing around with another idea and I spend time working on both projects. I find when I jump from one to the other my creativity stays sharper and I am more focused.

Yesterday was a good writing day, today I spent a fair amount of time on the computer too. Here’s to progress for the rest of the week…

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Life is a story, make yours the bestseller.

I have a few inspirational quotes on my office wall. One that sticks out every morning as I sit at my desk and glance up is “Life is a story, make yours the bestseller.”

This is so true, only you can make your life the best it can be. Your attitude toward the things that happen in in your life determines what kind of future you have.

We’ve all heard the stories of people who were down on their luck, or so we all thought, but they were the happiest people we’ve ever been around. How can that be? Attitude.

The way we perceive things is the way life reflects them back at us. Just like the little ant – if you think you can, you can, if you think you can’t, you’re right too.

I know it’s hard some days to see the positive when you are feeling like your world is imploding all around you. Like everyone, I have those days too, and struggled to get myself back on track. But, if you want to be happy and have the best life you can, you need to take a moment to think about how your reaction to this bump in the road is going to affect you.

It’s okay to be angry, grieve, show feelings, but then you have to shake it off and let it go. It has happened, you can’t go back and change time and make it not happen. Carrying guilt or anger over it, or blaming others will not make it disappear and only make your life miserable for as long as you continue to feel this way. I’m not saying forget it has happened, it has. What I am saying is don’t waste precious minutes, days, weeks, putting your life on hold because of it. Forgive, but you don’t have to forget.

Believe or not in good Karma it’s up to you, but I’ve witnessed the benefits over and over. On the days I’m feeling upbeat and happy and believing in myself, amazing things happen. Out of the blue I receive information that will enhance my life – something pops up on my social media news feed that is an opportunity or something I’ve been looking for, I get an email from an acquaintance with a crazy opportunity attached, etc. Everything I do, works out magically on these days.

On the days I’m allowing myself a poor me day, I continue to see more negative things happen. It could be as simple as others pick up on my negative vibes and become grumpy too, which makes my day worse. Or I hear of more negative things from others, stub my toe on something that I’ve walked by millions of times without getting caught on, burn my toast, the list goes on. Regardless of what I do, nothing works and nothing moves forward in my life.

What makes a bestseller, is characters we can connect with and the growth of these characters as they work through life’s ups and downs. Like our favorite characters, we need to grow from our experiences, learning from our past but not letting what happened determine our future.

Start today and make the story of your life a bestseller.

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Celebrating Teddy Bear’s Picnic Day

Yesterday, July 10, was Teddy Bear’s Picnic Day. The neighbourhood bear decided he would be a taste tester, having a few practice runs to check out what dishes I was serving from my green bin.

I think he wanted to make sure things would be perfect for picnic day because he’s come back, three times just to make sure my culinary skills were up to his expectations.

The first night he showed no fear of us. As a matter of fact, he turned towards us and sat back on his haunches, raised his front paws and basically said come and make me leave. We shouted and banged on our deck, but he didn’t seem as if he was going anywhere. After 20 minutes, something must have finally spooked him and he took off down over the bank beside our garage and into the woods. Unfortunately for him, the green bin had been emptied that morning and there wasn’t anything yummy inside.

The second time he came back he worked feverishly for 5 hours banging the bin on rocks until he finally cracked the top enough so it would give when he pushed down on it. This allowed him to slide the previously too tight ratchet strap over to one side of the lid and get his paw inside to sample the buffet being offered. No amount of lights lit around the property or shouting at him or making all kinds of noise made him leave the gourmet feast. He slid the green bin beside a small car parked beside our garage so we couldn’t see him and every so often he would look around the edge of the car to see if we were still on the deck. We watched for a bit while he bashed the bin against the rocks but eventually we closed the door and went to bed. He made so much noise we didn’t get much sleep until he was finished feasting around 4 am.

When he returned for his third sampling, he arrived at 6:15 am. I heard the green bin moving over the gravel in our driveway. I assumed it was my father, dragging the green bin out to the end of the driveway for collection because it was collection day. When I got out of bed an hour later I looked out the windows in the front of the house and couldn’t see the bin at the end of the drive. When I questioned my father about where he put it, he said he hadn’t put it out yet. We both went to the back door and sure enough the green bit was not where it was supposed to be.

The bear had drug it in a different direction this time, across in front of the little car, scratching the front fender and then his path took him through our vegetable garden. Our plants were all uprooted and laying on top of the stirred-up soil. He took the bin to a little flat spot just beyond the garden, and by the look of the the way the grass was all flattened and the things he didn’t like in the bin were strewn around, I’s say he enjoyed his breakfast. I’m sure he was particularly happy this week because his meal included local strawberries and whipped cream for dessert!

We were not sure quite how big he was because we never got a clear look at him with the little car between us and the fact he’d come at night the first two times, and then he was gone when I realized he’d taken the cart on Friday morning. However, that all changed on Friday night. A friend and I were sitting on the back deck in our screen gazebo around 8:30 pm. All of a sudden, this thump – de – thump sound came from the side of the deck. We turned to see what the commotion was. There was the bear running down the side of the deck and heading towards the woods at the back of our lot. We were both too shocked to say anything as we watched the bear speed past.

Once he disappeared we both turned to each other and yelled “BEAR”. We quickly headed to the patio door and into the house.

We laughed about our response to his streaking through the yard for the rest of the evening and all-day Saturday.

Right on Schedule he showed up sometime through the night last night to picnic on his special holiday. We’ve since added another ratchet strap to the top so he was unable to get the bin open. His patients must have been limited because he left without dragging the bin off or making too much of commotion. I didn’t even know he was here this time until I got up and saw the bin lying on its side. I’m sure he was disappointed. I’m hoping the second strap has frustrated him and he’s decided to move on to a place with far better culinary delights and easier access to them.

I don’t have any pictures of the bear because I was too stunned to get my phone up and take one, but here is a picture of his paw print in my garden. He certainly is a big guy but don’t think his size slowed him down. He was running faster through the yard than I could have.

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Celebration Days

Over the past few days both Canada and the United States have had celebrations.

Canada celebrated its 150th anniversary of Confederation on July 1st. There was major fanfare in cities, towns, and villages all across our vast land. Lots of food and fun and fireworks.

Today marks Independence Day for our US neighbours. 241 years ago, on July 4th 1776, the US Congress adopted the Declaration of Independence. There will be major fanfare in the US today to mark this occasion.

Both countries should be proud of their heritage and truly have reason to celebrate.

On another note: July 4 is a personal celebration day for me – my wedding day. Although we have not made quite the number of years as the above mile stones we have made it 37 years – also reason for major fanfare and celebration!

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Happiness is… When all things come together.

What an amazing day I had yesterday. The sun was up and shining brightly with nary a cloud in the sky and the temperature was a balmy 16 degrees on my back deck before 7am. It was shaping up to be the perfect day for me to sit in my girly gazebo and make some headway on my manuscript. The gazebo is my favorite place to work – the sun warming my skin, the fresh air, the birds singing. Unfortunately, the climate I live in only allows me to do that for a few months of the year, and then only on the days that are not rainy.

First thing in the morning I downloaded a writing program, imported my WIP file and set it all up before I even started to write so I wasn’t expecting to grow my word count by many words.

I’d used the writing program before on my PC and loved it. When I bought my Mac, I downloaded the version for it, or so I thought. I tried using it a few times but it didn’t seem to work very well. I contacted the developer, but because I didn’t buy it through them, but another broker, there was little they could do for me, but being the great company they are they tried to give me some pointers unfortunately nothing seemed to work. I was frustrated and a little angry that I’d purchased something that didn’t work, so I put it aside.

I went back to using word, but it just wasn’t working for me. I’m not a linear writer so I was finding it really frustrating to search through my word document trying to find the place to add in the scene I wanted to write at the moment or cutting and pasting parts here and there later on. So much so I was not very productive the first 6 months of this year.

Yesterday I decided enough was enough and deleted the version of the writing program I had and download the “real” version directly from the developer’s web site (where I purchased the PC version), something I should have done months ago.

Early in the morning I was a little overwhelmed with what I perceived would be a lot of work to get my WIP imported and set up into chapters and scenes, I’m not techy at all, but truly it wasn’t that bad and I’m so glad I did.

I must have been truly inspired because I even shocked myself when I looked at my word count at 4:30 pm and it had rose by 6000 words.

Finding and using tools that help you write the way that is most productive for you is like winning the lottery. Time flies by and word count grows before you even realize it. It takes all the worries and frustrations out the equation so that the creative juice can flow like a fountain and brings the fun back into writing.

When all things come together: Sun, gazebo, fresh air and a writing program that works it’s the perfect combination for a highly productive and inspiring day.
This morning will be another day like yesterday. Already 31 degrees Celsius by 10:00am on the back deck. I’ve set up in the gazebo for another productive day.

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