Stripes24's Blog

A single mom, raising two boys, living life as it comes


Day 100: June 27–

With no plans for the night, I look outside and notice how beautiful it is. Time for a walk in the forest…alone.

This is one thing I’ve realized that really makes me happy — walking, thinking, appreciating the nature around me. And being alone allows me to take as much (or as little) time as I want, looking for something (or maybe nothing) as I explore the forest within the city that backs onto my backyard. What did I find?

A new path. Sure, it’s probably been there for months, used by the students at the school during lunch time, but this was the first time I’ve travelled down it. And what a perfect ending to my #100happydays challenge.

These past 100 days have been amazing — finding the little things every day that makes me happy; spending time with family and friends have meant so much more; doing more things for my own personal happiness rather than relying on someone else to make me happy; and trying and experiencing new things. Like this newly found path, there are so many new things ahead for me and I know it’s up to ME to find them and discover what makes me happy πŸ™‚


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Day 99: June 26 —

Someone told me I should do something just for myself during my vacation. I have to admit, I had no idea what that really meant.

I mean, I’ve done a few things that have been fun, but not necessarily things for myself. I’ve spent a lot of time with my boys, which always makes me happy, but wouldn’t ‘fit’ into the ‘just for myself’ category. I’ve caught up on things around the house, but that certainly doesn’t qualify!

I think I’ve finally realized what my friend meant. I know you have to make yourself happy in life because you can’t rely on other people to do it for you. Everyone needs to spend time on themselves — whether it’s just an hour a day or an hour a week — to focus on being happy with yourself. By doing something just for you, you are giving attention to the most important person in your life — you.

So today I spent some time outside, just relaxing in the sun. I looked through some scrapbooks I’ve made and relived some great memories. I did Sudoku puzzles, which I haven’t done in age, but secretly love. And I finished watching a season of Doctor Who, just for my enjoyment.

A day just for me. And I knew what would make me happy and just did it.


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Day 98: June 25 —

It felt like a ‘family day’ today, as my boys were home from school and I am still on vacation.

Lazy day watching TV together, including the Blue Jays game, and making homemade pizzas, added to the feeling of a holiday.

Sometimes you just have to enjoy these days — even if nothing much happens — you are still spending time with people who make you happy.

And adding pineapple to my pizza makes me happy, too πŸ˜‰

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Day 97: June 24 —

So incredibly proud of my son. Tonight he graduated from Gr. 8 and that alone should be enough to make me happy.

He earned three awards tonight and it was the small speeches given by the teachers who presented those awards, that filled my heart. To hear such nice things being said about him, in regards to his academics, athletics and all-around citizenship at the school, really felt amazing. I knew he was a really great person, but when other people acknowledge him, it truly makes me an incredibly proud mom.

I’m glad I was there to hear these speeches, as was his uncle and aunt. We will remember this night and have pictures to always remind us of his elementary school accomplishments:

–Male athlete
–Geography (which I won in Gr. 8!)
–Big R medal (for academics, athletics and citizenship)


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Day 96: June 23 —

During the past few months, I have realized that there are so many things I have never experienced in life, and what’s more? I really enjoy experiencing new things. It’s too bad I didn’t learn this about myself sooner, but at least I found it out while I’m able to do something about it.

A new friend taught me how to play disc golf today, something I hadn’t even heard of until recently. It was a lot of fun to get out and try something new. For a few hours I thought of nothing but disc golf, enjoyed a fantastic walk in a beautiful setting, and had an amazing time. It didn’t cost a thing and it made me happy. What could be better than that?!?



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Day 95: June 22 —

Already halfway through my vacation, trying to keep busy and enjoy the great weather, my youngest son and I decided to hit up the International Food Fest today. We may not have tried new foods (although we did enjoy some fantastic treats — including Beaver Tails for breakfast!), we definitely enjoyed walking around the park together and actually made plans to attend a future summer festival (RibFest).


But, to be honest, the best thing about today was meeting up with a friend I hadn’t seen in five days. I know, five days doesn’t seem that long, but it felt even longer to me. Knowing it will be another five days before we see each other again, I really appreciated having someone to talk to today (or vent to!); enjoyed drinks and conversation on the patio (though we didn’t order food due to the constant cigarette smoke around us!); loved the stroll downtown and through the park; and finished the night by watching a little TV.

Not sure how these last five days of my #100happydays challenge will go without seeing my friend, but I do know I’m still on vacation and will definitely be enjoying all the little things in my life this entire week. And maybe Friday will be a pretty good ending . . .

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Day 94: June 21 —

My favourite season of the year started today — summer. I just love the hot weather, the sun, the outdoor festivals, and spending time with family and friends just about every weekend during the summer.

Even though I had absolutely no plans for today, and no one to spend time with, I still spent the entire day outdoors. Cutting the grass, gardening, trimming raspberry bushes, BBQing, and even closed my eyes for a short nap on my patio.

Just thankful for my life and truly loving the day πŸ™‚


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Day 93: June 20 —

Absolutely nothing beats surprises. You are never expecting them and they almost always put a smile on your face.

Parent volunteers were recognized at my son’s school today. They are a fabulous group of people who help out in classes, on field trips, volunteer at book fairs, organize hot lunches for the students and a number of other things to make sure our kids have a memorable year.

My son brought home a thank you gift for me today. Totally unexpected. Totally amazing. Made by students, which mean so much. So appreciated.


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Day 92: June 19 —

I hope everyone reads this short entry and remembers the little things that can make people happy:

Say hello and smile at a stranger; hold the door open for someone; say thank you after being helped by someone; compliment someone; offer to do something nice for a friend; text a nice message to someone.

It’s only 3 p.m. and these things have already happened to me and have made my day simply fantastic. Can’t wait to see what happens tonight πŸ˜‰

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Day 91: June 18 —

Today was the last field trip I will ever volunteer for. I have enjoyed being involved with both my sons’ schools and classes over the years and have so many great memories.

My son is in Gr. 8 and those classes, along with Concert Band, went to Canada’s Wonderland.

It was amazing to watch my son have fun with his friends, going on rides and roller coasters he has never experienced before. I always felt guilty that I couldn’t take him in the past, since I’m definitely not one for rides.

I spent the first hour and a half walking around, just to get some quick exercise while enjoying the sunshine. Then ran into one of the teachers and spent the rest of the day with him — taking pictures, people-watching, running into students, having lunch, just really having an incredible time.

One thing I did experience for the first time was a funnel cake. Even though I hardly touched it, I can now scratch it off my must-try food list πŸ˜‰

Unfortunately, at the end of the day, we did get caught in the pouring rain. Everyone ran under shelter to wait it out a few minutes, and that’s when I took a selfie with my son (and photo bombed by his friend!). You can tell we were both happy!


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Day 90: June 17 —

Even if you get caught in the pouring rain at the beach, it’s still better than being at work . . . or pretty much any other place.

And . . . if you wait it out, you can enjoy yourself for a few hours, taking pictures and watching people at the beach — kiteboarders, volleyball players, families with young children, couples walking down the beach holding hands, four women getting together for drinks and pictures together . . . so much happiness to see.

Finishing a great afternoon by having nachos and strawberry daiquiris (for first time!) at GTs by the beach and you have one very happy Robin!



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Day 89: June 16 —

Things that made me happy today:

— watching an episode of OITNB in my pjs after the boys went to school, because I’m on vacation πŸ˜‰
— accepting favours from two amazing coworkers
— surprising someone with a little note, knowing they appreciated it
— watching my son play in a softball tournament and seeing him have fun with his friends and the girls I helped coach this year as well
— finally realizing that a friend’s pet actually likes me πŸ™‚
— having someone cook dinner for me (which also tasted incredible!)

It’s ALWAYS the little things.


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Day 88: June 15 —

Sigh…don’t you just love those weekends when everything goes right and you find yourself smiling ALL the time? It was simply fantastic to follow up such a perfect day yesterday with today…

New favourite thing: going out for weekend brunches. I know making meals at home are better for you (calorie- and budget-wise), but I just love spending that time with great people. And … I don’t have to clean up afterwards, which is a huge bonus. French toast at Billy’s Restaurant is definitely a personal favourite πŸ˜‰

Walking downtown on a warm, sunshine-filled Sunday afternoon makes me smile. Checking out comic book and games stores, watching families enjoying themselves at a children’s festival in the park, and ending at London’s first Comic Con, filled my early afternoon. (Batman is always fun to see!)

Today was also a perfect day for a visit to the dog park. Even though the dogs get much more exercise than we do there, I was quite happy with how the city takes care of the park for them. Strolling down the path and seeing all the dogs just loving the opportunity to be free, was incredible. My friend, Tom, was keeping the smile on my face every time he fetched his ball in the high grasses πŸ™‚

Learning to play a new card game (Dominion — pretty fun!), hanging out with my boys while playing video games and watching Suits, and enjoying Stobies pizza and wings, finished my incredibly happy weekend.

I know some people may question the amount of happiness I have experienced this weekend (and maybe these past 80 days or so), but if you want to be happy, you need to surround yourself with people who make you happy and find/do things for yourself that also makes you happy. It’s up to you to choose happiness each day. Why wouldn’t you?

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Day 87: June 14 —

Amazing experience today kayaking for the first time down the Big Creek near Long Point/Port Rowan. I knew I was paddling slow, but no one seemed put out about it and a couple times waited for me to catch up with the group. Honestly, I didn’t even care how long it took me to do it! I was having so much fun, with an incredible friend along beside me, and even putting my body through a total workout, I would gladly sign up to do it all again next year. It’s a shame I missed seeing the deer, but maybe the frog and swallows made up for it? πŸ˜‰

An afternoon nap was much needed before a movie date to see Edge of Tomorrow, which was awesome, by the way. Pretty exciting (and funny) Tom Cruise sci-fi film was very entertaining. Highly recommended.

Ending the day with another first … learning to play chess. I’m not sure why I never learned to play when I was younger, unless it was the fact my family didn’t own a chess board when I was growing up. My son and nephew learned to play at school, but I don’t recall any chess clubs when I was in school. In any case, I really enjoy the game. Three matches gave me time to learn the pieces and their roles and practice moves in a game setting. Sure, it will take a few more (well, many more than a few) games before I can actually take someone on, but I look forward to it.


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Day 86: June 13 —

Today is the first day of my two-week vacation. My friend who has been working out-of-town this past week is coming home tonight. And I’m looking forward to a day of kayaking tomorrow. Pretty super day πŸ™‚

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Day 85: June 12 —

I voted in the Ontario election today. Ever since I became old enough to vote, I have done so in every election and am happy to exercise this right. I’m not sure if one vote can make a difference, but if everyone who could vote actually voted, I believe it definitely would make a difference. Here are some thoughts from my friends on social media today:

“Many people have died around the world for the right to cast their vote.”

“This is your duty to do so. I know it is a very hard decision but make your vote count.”

“Another year of not liking our choices but doing my duty as a Canadian citizen.”

“Because this is a democracy and we have freedom. Vote. Because people in other countries risk their lives to. Vote. Because many have died for the right to. Vote.”

“Make sure u get ur voices heard! Have a say in who decides ur future.”

“It’s the best exercise I can think of today – it takes little effort, gives you a feeling of satisfaction and accomplishment , and the long term benefits are especially important.”


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Day 84: June 11 —

I may have mentioned this before, but sometimes a smell can make me happy. This time of year it could be the smell of freshly mowed grass, or the smell of rain hitting the pavement on a warm day. Today, while sitting in my living room, I happened to smell another amazing spring/summer fragrance — my lilac trees. They were the first purchase for my front garden when we moved here in 2006. I planted them directly in front of the bow windows, where two of them open, in hopes that we would be able to enjoy their fragrance inside the house. Job well done!


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Day 83: June 10 —

Today was a perfect day for a walk in the neighbourhood. I passed many people — sitting on their porches, working in their flower gardens, landscape workers, postal carriers — and everyone was smiling. Something magical happens when the weather is nice.

After my walk, I checked out the backyard garden. Did a little weeding and stood back looking at it…amazed. It hasn’t been long since everything was first planted, but it’s starting to look good. I cannot wait to be able to eat what we’re growing this year: cucumbers, green beans, onions and kale (pictured below — compare to Day 63), lettuce, strawberries and tomatoes. Seeing everything growing most definitely makes me happy . . . and looking forward to it all!


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Day 82: June 9 —

Working night shifts sometimes has its benefits. I enjoy having the opportunity to lounge around in bed, without having to get up at 5:30 (8:30 is more like it….even if I’m awake at 5:30!). I’m able to see my sons off to school and in the case of the youngest, during his nutrition breaks when he comes home. Household chores also get done more frequently when I’m working nights, and more dinners are prepared ahead of time so the boys aren’t always eating frozen pizza (though they would, if they could!).

I also have a nice benefit at work — especially when there are numerous sporting events on — as there are big screen TVs mounted all over the newsroom, with three pointed in my direction. Tonight I felt lucky to have been able to watch both the Toronto Blue Jays win their game, as well as Stanley Cup playoffs, where LA Kings won their game. Two games I wanted to watch, two teams I wanted to win. And all while I was working. Not bad πŸ™‚

Minnesota Twins v Toronto Blue Jays 2014 NHL Stanley Cup Final - Game Three

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Day 81: June 8 —

When it has been a grey and rainy day, seeing the sun shine late in the afternoon makes me happy (even if I’m stuck at work!). I just hope everyone who can, is enjoying the sun πŸ™‚

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Day 80: June 7 —

Such an amazing day today! Many things made me smile and feel happy:

–running errands with a friend and her daughter (great company!)
–spending hours outside working in the backyard (in the sun!)
–putting together a BBQ with my son (and enjoying dinner that he’s made!)
–seeing some incredible photos posted on Twitter by friends (and one adorable pic as well!)
–watching my boys play video games and having fun (while ignoring certain language from online players!)
–cheering for a hockey team who has players from London (and a cousin of a friend!)
–waiting to see someone all day (then being surprised by going to a late night movie!)

Got to just love these ‘perfect’ days!


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Day 79: June 6 —

I really try not to look at the past. I understand everything I’ve ever done has led me to this point in life, and I accept it. But I don’t believe in wasting time thinking about what’s already happened. I would much rather enjoy today and look forward to what tomorrow brings.

Or next week.

In one week I start my two-week vacation. It’s been a long time since I’ve taken two weeks together…I couldn’t even guess when the last time was!

This vacation is already making me happy just thinking about plans I’ve made: kayaking for the first time with coworkers, going on my last school field trip, celebrating my son’s 16th birthday, watching my other son graduate from Gr. 8…just to name a few.

Life is meant to be lived and enjoyed. So I’m doing it!

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Day 78: June 5 —

Raising two teenage boys alone is fairly new to me, and can be frustrating, difficult and incredible, all at the same time. You hope to always be friends with them, so they will feel comfortable coming to talk to you about anything. But at the same time, you want to be the parent and hope to be respected for the tough decisions you are making every day, to ensure their lives are the best possible.

Today, we were all friends, enjoying a couple hours together watching TV and making jokes. Some days we need this time together to remember that life isn’t always difficult, it doesn’t have to be serious 24/7 and having good company really can make your day…

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Day 77: June 4 —

The simple things in life — homemade pizza, watching X-Men Origins: Wolverine and Stanley Cup playoffs going into overtime — can sometimes be the best (and happiest) parts of my day.


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Day 76: June 3 —

I think everyone wants to feel appreciated in life, whether it’s for the little things you do every day or for much larger things you spend considerable time doing for someone else. But do you, personally, ever tell someone they are appreciated? If you don’t, how can you expect someone to let you know?

Saying ‘thank you’ is the easiest way to make someone’s day — especially when they don’t expect it. It only takes a short phone call, a quick visit or even a simple text.

Or — a card. That’s what absolutely made my day today. A simple thank you card, with a message from all the girls’ softball players at the school.


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Day 75: June 2 —

Spending the late afternoon in Mitchell’s Bay, watching the kiteboarders ride, and enjoying time alone to just relax and empty my mind, was really an amazing time. No work to think about, no worries to fret about…just listening to the wind, sometimes taking photos of kites, jumps and nature. Happy thoughts for hours.

Beauty of an afternoon, and with a constant view of this…cannot wait to do it again!


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Day 74: June 1 —

This is my last month of living the #100happydays challenge. I hope I have inspired some people to think about each day of their lives, looking for the little things that make them smile.

Today was another day in which I found myself smiling — ok, sometimes smirking — thinking about things that make me happy. Last night was such an incredible experience, just remembering it makes me ridiculously happy.

This morning I slept in (huge bonus, since I rarely sleep more than five hours at night), then went out for a late breakfast downtown. I have truly fallen in love with the patios downtown, especially sitting in the sunshine at Symposium Cafe, enjoying my favourite meal of french toast and bacon.

I then spent the afternoon watching Alien and Aliens — two movies I had never seen before. Though they may be dated, the films definitely stand up on their own and I enjoyed them both.

The evening was spent with family, watching Game 7 of the LA-CHI NHL playoff series — and enjoying a Wendy’s Frosty. It’s been such a long time since I’ve had one, I’d almost forgotten how much I liked them.

I feel like I’ve written the word ‘enjoy’ too many times in this posting, but really, it’s the little things in life πŸ™‚


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Day 73: May 31 —

Such an amazing day….full of surprises and happiness.

All described through my Facebook post below πŸ™‚


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Day 72: May 30 —

I like watching a cartoon. Very few people know this about me.

It’s called Archer.

I was able to watch a couple episodes today and found myself laughing out loud. I absolutely love ANYTHING that can make me laugh, so Archer definitely makes me happy.

Little things…


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Day 71: May 29 —

There was so much talk at work this week about obesity. When people being polled are asked about their body and their weight, the majority will give incorrect numbers. Even when there is an anonymous poll question asking if you are obese, would you answer it honestly?

I’ve been overweight pretty much my entire life…except for a few years in high school/university. Since having my children, I have definitely been obese. Not saying that I wasn’t healthy…but going by BMI numbers, I was obese.

And still am. Until I lose 10 lbs. When that happens, I will be in the healthy range for the first time in more than 17 years.

So, when I have a huge craving for cookies or something sweet, I am happy to be able to make a good choice in snacking like I did tonight. I truly can’t wait until I’m ‘officially’ healthy and I know I can do it πŸ˜‰


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Day 70: May 28 —

Spending time with family and friends is very high on my to-do list lately. These important people bring joy to my life and I’ve stopped feeling guilty for wanting to be happy every day. Why should I have to waste my days…you never know how many you are going to wake up to, so why not surround yourself with the best people you know?

After work, I helped coach the school’s girls’ softball team in their playoffs, with a really great teacher, who I consider a friend. The girls played an incredible game…I’m just so proud of how they have improved during this short season. So many smiles during that game and high fives, it just warmed my heart to see them happy.

Coming home, I spent some time with my youngest son watching Walking Dead episodes. I’m so lucky we both enjoy this series and can re-watch episodes whenever we want together (thanks to Netflix). We’ve already scheduled a Lost marathon for Saturday afternoon, so I can’t wait for that!

I had already made plans to watch movies with a friend, which was a great ending to my busy day. We stopped to pick up dinner (something new I’ve never tried), then watched an X-Men movie together. Dinner and a movie at home = perfect!


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Day 69: May 27 —

I was finally able to watch my youngest son play baseball tonight. This was the first game of his I’ve watched — without helping coach — in more than four years. It was so nice to just enjoy watching him play and not have to worry about anything else. The only downside to the game — it rained. I was too wet to go to my oldest son’s game afterwards. Hopefully, I’ll be able to watch him play one last time before the summer is over.

Watching my boys play baseball makes me extremely happy πŸ™‚


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Day 68: May 26 —

Sometimes you have a bad day. Things happen that make you feel down and out, but it’s how you deal with them that makes you stronger and able to change your outlook of the day.

I am thankful to have someone I can talk to when I have such a day. The understanding, the listening, the positive replies are always appreciated. Probably more than they will ever realize πŸ˜‰

And once my mind has changed its outlook from a bad day to a day I can handle, I try to immerse myself in something that helps cheer me up. Today, it was a two-hour session of gardening. Honestly, if we all did something we enjoyed every single day, I believe we would all be that much happier πŸ˜‰


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Day 67: May 25 —

To be honest, I was completely happy the entire day today. Really. I sincerely hope people were not only enjoying the amazing weather today, but also were able to spend some quality time with good friends or family members.

I realize you can’t rely on others to make you happy…but choosing the right people to share your life with is part of being happy. Having positive people around will in turn help you be more positive. If you can be yourself with friends and family, you will always know that they like you, and enjoy your company, for who you are…not someone you may be pretending to be. Be yourself..and happiness will find its way into your days.

Of course, I may just be rambling since I’ve had one of the best weekends ever πŸ™‚

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Day 66: May 24 —

Beautiful weather. Gardening early in the morning. Running errands with my son. Buying a new pair of shorts that fit. Finding an oversized ‘chia pet’ kind of plant ball at Walmart (see photo below…and really? What is it??). Laying with a fur baby while watching Dr. Who. Dinner and drinks on a patio. Walking downtown. Dreaming of breakfast in the morning. Perfect day. Happy day.


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Day 65: May 23 —

Having thoughtful coworkers make me happy.

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Day 64: May 22 —

Walking down my street in the spring is a beautiful thing. The trees are turning pink and they look gorgeous. And when the other trees and front lawns are green…well, it just makes you smile.

Tonight after work, the walk down my street was even better than usual. I couldn’t see the pink of the trees, but I could definitely smell them! Add to that a sky full of stars (I’m so lucky to live beside a forest with very few street lights around) and the thought of looking forward to a week of 20+ temperatures….made for a fantastic, quiet walk alone.


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Day 63: May 21 —

I’m realizing that doing new things in life truly makes me happy.

It started today with planting kale in my garden for the first time (and the interesting Twitter conversation that followed!). Now just hoping the kale will grow well enough to be able to make kale smoothies πŸ˜‰

An incredible dinner with a friend at a restaurant I’ve never been to (on the patio, overlooking Richmond Row and watching all the people below us) was simply amazing. Always love the chance to learn more about my friends πŸ˜‰

Playing Assassin’s Creed 4 and the rebooted Tomb Raider for the first time was exciting…and even though I may be mixing up the controllers, I know eventually I will get the systems straight!

Finished a day off work by watching a fantastic lightning show was perfect. Though this wasn’t a first, it was a nice ending to a very happy day.


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Day 62: May 20 —

Rainy days makes for busy days . . . inside. Too wet to garden outside, too meh to actually leave the house to do anything (other than work) — so that left me staying inside and getting some housework done.

To be honest, I don’t have many visitors at my house. So tidying up is a daily occurrence, but cleaning is not. Today was one of those days I put in extra time to clean up a bit more than usual.

That didn’t necessarily make me happy (would it make anyone happy?)…it was the fact that I had Netflix on while doing it. Watching and listening to Archer and Mad Men while cleaning, was definitely the best part of the day.

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Day 61: May 19 —

The best thing about my street is that most homes have a flowering crabapple tree in the front yard. In the spring, they begin with red buds, then later flowering into dark pink flowers. These will turn lighter pink within a week and fall off. The tree’s leaves will turn dark green and the small red fruits will stay on throughout the fall and into the winter. I remember birds and squirrels still feeding off these trees in February this year.

Right now, my tree is the only ‘red’ tree on the street, so I’m assuming it will be turning pink first. I cannot wait for that week to happen, but hope the neighbouring trees catch up. Walking down the ‘pink street’ in the spring is just about the prettiest thing I’ve ever seen. Though it doesn’t last long, my pink street will bring smiles to anyone stopping to take pictures.

red tree

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Day 60: May 18 —

I can’t say how much I love Twitter. I started using it for work and after a few years, decided to try a personal account.

I have met some really fantastic people through Twitter (you all know who you are!), and others I’ve never met in real life, but I feel as if we’ve been friends forever (and you know who you are!).

This week I’ve been curating an account called @PeopleOfLdnOnt. It has been such an amazing experience. Even though I have lived in London all my life, I don’t have many close friends to whom I can talk with every day. This week gave me the chance to chat with the followers of @PeopleOfLdnOnt and learn more about them…and finding new friends. It really has meant a lot to me and I hope everyone takes the opportunity to do this once in their lives.

People of London Ontario are truly awesome. Thanks for making my week a happy one πŸ™‚

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Day 59: May 17 —

There is nothing like the anticipation of doing something you’ve been thinking about for days…weeks even.

Since the list of pre-summer movies was posted online months ago, I have been thinking about Godzilla. I’ve always been a fan so when a friend suggested we buy advance tickets last week, I was ecstatic!

One week of waiting…one week of reading reviews…listening to other friends talk about it after going the first day it came out. Anticipation. Love that feeling.

But seeing it tonight….well worth the wait.



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Day 58: May 16 —

This year I resolved to focus more on me, to take care of myself and become healthier and happier. So far, so good.

My weight-loss goal was to lose 16 lbs. (one more than last year). I achieved that and made another goal: to have a healthy weight in regards to BMI. Update: I have lost more than 22 lbs. and need to lose 10 more to be in the healthy weight region. I can, and will, do this!

My exercise goal is to cycle 10km. I’m now up to 8.5km, so I know I will get there. I’ve also decided to start running (or at least learn-to-run, as I still really enjoy walking)…just waiting for some better weather as I don’t have a gym membership.

As for being happy…I’m clearly the happiest I’ve been in years. I’m surrounding myself with positive people, doing things that I truly love and looking for the little things that make me smile every day.


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Day 57: May 15 —

Rainy days are definitely indoor days. It’s not like I can work in the gardens when it’s pouring rain…although…maybe one day I’ll try it!

I spent most of the morning cleaning my bedroom. For the past couple years, my room has been the ‘drop off’ centre of everything. Things that need to be put away in the basement; bags of clothes ready to be donated; sports equipment?!? Yes, even that. So I decided to start tackling things, hoping to see my floor by the time I had to go to work.

While I was able to organize and put away a number of things, it was the ‘finding’ of things that got me excited. A long-lost Sudoku book I had been looking for, books I have yet to read (but was excited to see them again!), an invitation to a classical concert (yikes…this weekend!), and these stickers. Ok, the stickers didn’t get me terribly excited UNTIL I saw The Flash…my all-time favourite superhero πŸ˜‰


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Day 56: May 14 —

As I walked down my street this morning, on my way to a dentist appointment, I suddenly realized how green everything was.

The trees had started budding sometime in the past week or so, but now they are full of leaves!


The many front yards on my street have freshly, mowed grass that looks amazing!


Seeing all this green takes me back to when I was a child. I used to lay on our lawn, looking upwards at the trees and their leaves and the sky, just enjoying the quietness around me. I remember laying there for hours (well, it probably was only minutes, but definitely seemed longer!).

I’m hoping the weekend weather is pleasant enough for me to do this again…in my own backyard.

— — —

Day 55: May 13 —

Still feeling happy about last night πŸ™‚ A friend mentioned that I could probably use what happened yesterday for a few happy days and he might be right.

The biggest thing that is making me smile is all the congrats and support I’m getting. Not really used to it.

A few people who haven’t seen me in a while have given me the best compliments: saying I look good. I see myself every day so don’t notice any difference. Sure, I might have been wearing a dress and heels (which I normally don’t!), but if someone else has noticed I’ve changed then that’s a good thing, even if I can’t see it.

Little compliments just warms my heart. Who knew a bunch of words could do that?


— — —

Day 54: May 12 —

Could have been one of the happiest days of the year!

Amazing e-mails from friends started my day (calling me ‘awesome’ for my volunteer work).

Incredible support from Twitter followers (whom I’ve never met) saying I was ‘awesome’ to have been chosen as curator for the @PeopleofLdnOnt account this week.

Fantastic help in choosing attire for an event I was attending tonight, especially since I’m not a girly-girl. Just hearing that my first LBD was beautiful and the shoes I chose were gorgeous helped calm my anxiety.

Helping coach a girls’ softball team for three innings in the pouring rain, but ending in a win, was well worth it! To be thanked for my help and called ‘awesome’ simply warmed my heart. I just hope the girls are having fun and learning at the same time!

Rushing to get ready for the event (TVCHSA AGM and Awards Gala), it was so nice to have a special friend by my side. Telling me later that I looked ‘amazing’ earned some extra points!

At the gala, I was completely blown away by being recognized by my years of volunteering with Home and School. Truly honoured to be named alongside past recipients who I have always respected for their dedication and countless hours of volunteering. And sharing this night with more than 100 other awesome volunteers, just seemed fitting.


— — —

Day 53: May 11 —

Even though I had to work on Mother’s Day, my son started the day off by making homemade waffles and bringing me breakfast in bed. He even cut up the waffles for me πŸ˜‰

I’m one lucky mom πŸ™‚


— — —

Day 52: May 10 — —

This was just a fantastic day! One of those days when I really appreciate the people in my life.

My morning and early afternoon was spent with my son. We enjoyed breakfast together (taken care of by my sister-in-law, even though I missed seeing her in person!), he waited patiently while I found new running shoes, visited the market to check out milkshakes, and worked outside in the backyard. I realize he is getting older and know these days will come fewer, so I really savour these moments.

In the late afternoon, I visited a friend I used to work with. She has been retired for over a year and I rarely see her, so it was fantastic to spend time with her again. Remembering the good times at work, chatting about our kids and sharing some stories about life in general, really made me see how important friendships are…even if you don’t keep in touch every day, cherish those days you do.

An evening of walking around downtown, dinner on a patio (with a cold Sommersby!) and some quiet time snuggling with a fur baby, all led to an amazing finish to my day.

I am so incredibly lucky to have such great people in my life and I truly appreciate them all!


— — —

Day 51: May 9 — —

The summer-ish weather has arrived. I spent the day thinking about all the things I’m looking forward to this summer: planning and taking care of my garden (see below…lots of work needed but my onions are already up!), watching my boys play baseball, trips to the beach, late nights spent with friends…my list is never ending!

Good thoughts always seem to make my days better


— — —

Day 50: May 8 —

Some people scoff at this challenge saying people shouldn’t need a ‘challenge’ to be happy, they should just be happy every day. I’m using this challenge to discover the little things in life that make me smile. You are never guaranteed to be happy all the days of your life, but if you are aware of things that can make you happy, you can then appreciate them that much more.

As I reach the midpoint of this challenge, I realized that nothing really made me happy today, and I accept that, but there were many things that made me smile. And smiling is the beginning of happiness for me…definitely needed in my every day life:

— standing at the bus stop in the warm rain, listening to the birds at 6:30 a.m.

— remembering I had Multigrain Cheerios in my desk at work, after forgetting to bring breakfast

— coworkers noticing me and saying good morning (honestly, some days I go unnoticed for hours)

— the little side conversations at work

— having someone say ‘thank you’ to me

— being able to run into the grocery store for a couple items between buses and catching the connecting bus right away

— trying on those shorts that were too small on me last summer, finding they are now too big

— sitting outside, wearing capris, BBQing in the sun

— being able to have a much-needed quick nap

— receiving good messages from teachers at the school

— following (and watching) the most gorgeous sunset on the way back to work

— that one phone call at work means a lot (even though I hate talking on the phone!)

— texts/tweets from friends always make me smile — I truly appreciate the new friendships I’ve made these past few months

— sitting on my porch at 1 a.m., feeling like it’s a summer night

Maybe some people feel it’s silly to write down or notice the little things that make you happy, but I’ve truly learned so much about myself over the past 50 days and find myself smiling more…it’s totally worth it for me.


— — —

Day 49: May 7 —

One text can totally change your day. I fully believe this after the day I had.

Not that my day was bad…it was just very trying. Things kept happening that were frustrating and chewed away at my time, even though my day was completely booked.

In the end, I was able to get everything done I had scheduled, but it was that one single text from a good friend that truly got me through the day. #appreciate

— — —

Day 48: May 6 —

Internet is back at home. That is all.

— — —

Day 47: May 5 —

This week, we have had issues with our phone and Internet service. It’s really amazing how much of our lives is connected online. I’m unable to check the weather, when my bus will be at my stop and more importantly, how much money is in my bank account.

But it has made for some changes in our house. More cleaning/tidying has been done in the past few days than in the past month. We spend more time together in one room (living room) rather than in each of our bedrooms. I’ve put more effort into making healthier snacks and meals, and have been focusing more on my exercise…not to say I don’t normally, but just not as much time.

Tonight was the premier of 24, a television show I had been a huge fan of for years, so decided I would catch it. On commercials, I ran to my exercise bike to get in a few minutes here and there. And why not? I’m unable to check my e-mail or Twitter and other than sitting through the commercials, I wasn’t really doing anything.

After two hours of doing this, my show was over and I felt like a snack. When I opened our freezer downstairs, the Firecrackers jumped out at me. It had been years since I’ve had one. And I had just done about half an hour of cycling…so why not? Treats make me happy!


— — —

Day 46: May 4 —

When I was a child growing up, my parents always had Sunday dinner at our house. This was a time when my three older brothers would come home for dinner, to spend time with the younger three siblings (which included me). As a parent, I’ve tried to keep this ‘tradition’ going, although it does become difficult when I work Sundays.

This weekend I had Sunday off. I wasn’t prepared to make a huge roast beef dinner like my parents usually did. For one thing, there are only three of us. But seeing as it was a pretty nice day, I decided to BBQ.

Sunday was definitely a ‘family day’… it doesn’t matter what you do or what you eat, it’s the time spent with family that truly matters. I now realize the importance of Sunday dinners growing up.

Watching my son play video games, enjoying a Star Wars movie together, then eating dinner after my son did the actual BBQing, simply made this family day special. Note to self: plan more family days πŸ™‚


— — —

Day 45: May 3 —

For anyone who personally knows me, they know of my difficulties sleeping. If I’m lucky, I will get four hours of uninterrupted sleep each night. If I’m unlucky, I wake up every couple hours and am exhausted first thing in the morning. I dream of four hours a night πŸ˜‰

After working an afternoon shift Friday (after a string of day shifts), then watching a couple episodes of Dr. Who, I feel asleep….soundly. I must have slept for at least six hours before waking up and finding it was already 10 a.m. Simply incredible.

Just knowing that it is actually possible for me to sleep this long, definitely makes me happy. Excellent start to my weekend!

Pillows on an all white bed

— — —

Day 44: May 2 —

Not sure why I feel the need to follow different ‘challenges’ in my life, but I am really looking forward to the one I’ve chosen for May. #MayMiles.

When I first clicked on the link I saw a friend post on Facebook, the first sentence grabbed my attention: “When it comes to building healthy habits, consistency is the key.” I do need consistency in my life. Especially regarding my health. I’ve been looking at a walk-run program that I’d like to start as soon as I can (after purchasing a good pair of running shoes for the first time ever!). I think #MayMiles will help get me ready for that.

Yesterday, I cycled a few miles in my basement (exercise bike). Today, I decided to head downtown before work and walk a few miles. I really adore London’s downtown — the shops, the people, the Thames River. I would love to live downtown at some point in my life.

Oh, and I was even lucky enough to walk along a path with this guy…although, when he started hissing at me, I knew we were just not meant to be together πŸ˜‰


— — —

Day 43: May 1 —

During the past few summers, I have helped coach a boys’ fast pitch team. Last year was the first time I was head coach and it was such an amazing experience.

My son switched leagues this year and I didn’t feel as if I was ready to coach in a new league. My son told me to just relax this year and enjoy watching him play (as opposed to coaching him and his teammates). Sounded like a good idea…

Until a teacher at his school asked if I would consider helping with the girls’ softball team. I hadn’t realized how much I was going to miss coaching this summer, until I said yes, and started thinking about it again.

The teachers involved with the team are fantastic and I really like the way they work together…and how they actually listen to what I have to say. Although it’s a fairly short school season, I’m really looking forward to it.

I may have to remember to bring running shoes next time I go straight from work though…


— — —

Day 42: April 30 —

I love listening to music. It is the one thing that can lift your spirits whenever you are feeling down; it can help you celebrate special occasions with others, like weddings; every song tells it’s own story and I just love hearing what they have to say (well, maybe the ‘country’ stories not so much…).

I have two good friends who have taught me about jazz and have made some really great suggestions on who to listen to. I have come to really appreciate jazz music.

April is International Jazz Month and today is #JazzDay. What better way to end the month, than listening to my favourite jazz artist — Charlie Parker. Listening to him will always put a smile on my face πŸ™‚

— — —

Day 41: April 29 —

If you didn’t already know, I work in the newsroom at the local newspaper. Some days are more exciting than others, but today was a really great one.

I rarely work day shifts, but one added bonus to working a Tuesday day shift is being there when the entertainment reporter features a local musical group in his weekly video shoot.

Today saw the band, Dark Folk, playing in the newsroom. I fell in love with their sound during their practice. The music went through my entire body and it felt great. Such an amazing song πŸ™‚

When the video gets posted tomorrow, I’ll definitely share it here. But it certainly brought smiles to my face this afternoon.


— — —

Day 40: April 28 —

After an incredibly busy week of vacation, and going back to work early Monday morning, I was looking forward to a quiet night at home. Just some time to relax. Sometimes you have to listen to your body and your mind — especially when they tell you to slow down.

Picked up subs for dinner, watched Game of Thrones and an episode of Lost, and was in my pjs by 6 p.m. No chores, no exercise, nothing but relaxing. I deserved it tonight. Maybe not tomorrow….

— — —

Day 39: April 27 —

Enjoyed a road trip to Port Stanley today. Couldn’t even remember the last time I’d been there. Felt amazing to feel sand between my toes again.

On the way home, stopped at Shaw’s and tried an orange milkshake. Tasted so much like a creamsicle…really brought back memories of trying to eat one before it melted!

Ended the day spending time with my boys catching up on Lost episodes and chatting about video games and hockey.

Perfect end to a week’s vacation.


— — —

Day 38: April 26 —

Today was a day of firsts for me and each experience made me happy, all for different reasons.

— I saw three deer, just steps away from me, and watched their white tails bob as they ran away after I scared them
— I presented a workshop on social media to conference delegates, overcoming my nervousness of speaking in public
— I won an amazing door prize and the first thing I thought was how much my boys were going to love sharing it
— Spent the night with a dinner table full of incredible people…not one awkward silence and so many shared laughs
–Stayed up late watching Dr. Who (never in my life would I have imagined ever saying that!)

Definitely one of the best nights I have experienced lately. So many people have commented on how happy I’ve been recently. Something I wasn’t aware people could see. Must have something to do with all these new ‘firsts’ happening in my life πŸ˜‰


— — —

Day 37: April 25 —

Such an incredible night! Simply amazing start to #OFHSAconf2014, meeting new members, talking to fundraising vendors, spending time with volunteers from my school (J.P. Robarts ‘Angels’), then finishing the night visiting my brother, his girlfriend and another friend. Can’t stop smiling πŸ™‚


— — —

Day 36: April 24 —

So thankful to have someone who was willing to spend three hours with me today, while I was waiting to meet up with a new friend. Long walk, visit to the Unlab, chipmunks and wild turkeys.

Also thankful to have spent the night with 6 fantastic women … nice to be able to be a woman (not just a mom or a volunteer or an employee) again. Love these new connections and new life experiences, including getting ‘shushed’ at Blu Duby’s


— — —

Day 35: April 23 —

Starting tomorrow, I am attending a four-day Conference. I also have dinner plans with people I’ve never met, hopefully meeting my brother – who I haven’t seen in ages – for drinks and a night out with a friend. Thank goodness I took some vacation time this week!

The biggest challenge I’ve faced with these busy plans, is choosing clothing to go from one event to another. So I decided to go clothes shopping, or at least take a look, since it’s been more than a couple years since I have.

To my utter disbelief, I kept trying on dress pants — starting with the size I thought I was — and had to go down 8 sizes before finding the right fit. Obviously, all styles are different and fit differently, but to actually see how much I’ve changed in two years without really acknowledging that I had, was pretty amazing.

I’m still overweight and have at least another 25 lbs. to lose before reaching an ideal weight for my body, BUT, I’m feeling pretty happy with my journey so far.

(*No full body photo until I reach my goal…but I know I will, so keep watching!)

— — —

Day 34: April 22 —

When you take the time to look at each day, and what brings smiles to them, it’s getting clearer and clearer it’s the ‘little things.’

  • No cavities at the dentist
  • Watching your kids having fun together
  • Catching up on household chores (honest!)
  • Receiving nice texts from friends
  • Trying a new mushroom recipe
  • Viewing a favourite TV show or movie
  • Feeling like a teenager again (remember getting butterflies?)

It all adds up to a happy day πŸ™‚

— — —

Day 33: April 21 —

The reason we bought our home was the back yard. The boys were still young, 6 and 8, and we had so many dreams of spending hours with them there. And we did.

As the boys have grown older, there’s less need of them wanting to be in the back yard. It is now, officially, my back yard.

I usually cut the grass, plant and take care of the gardens and it’s often just me sitting out there, enjoying the sun, birds, even the quietness.

I love my gardens. Last summer was quite a busy one and I did not spend as much time there as I would have liked, but…I was so proud of the abundance of food grown — tomatoes, cucumbers, onions, beans, raspberries….it was amazing.

This week I will spend hours of my vacation working on getting the yard ready for gardening next month. I already know hard work will pay off and can’t wait to see this year’s results


— — —

Day 32: April 20 —

Today was simply a beautiful day. I had nothing planned…spent a couple hours just reading in the sun on the patio. Some people would think I was wasting my time, but it’s definitely not a waste if I’m enjoying myself.

Instead of turkey or ham for Easter dinner, I BBQ’d burgers and roasted veggies. New traditions being made in our family πŸ™‚

Later on, the boys watched a movie with me and I watched some hockey with them. Lots of chatting and laughing. Perfect end to a holiday spent at home. With family πŸ™‚

— — —

Day 31: April 19 —

Do you ever worry that when your friends are out of town, your days are going to be long, drawn out or boring? I may have felt like that early this morning, but soon realized that meeting new friends fills in that void you may be feeling.

I have met 4 people through Twitter and when I went to the Western Fair Farmers’ Market today, I met two more amazing people. Though I may have only exchanged simple messages with them in the past on Twitter, once meeting in person it felt like we had known each other much longer…and it felt…surprisingly comfortable.

I’ve always been that quiet person, hanging in the background, not ever putting myself out there in any social setting. But recently, I have found some comfort in being with people I may have something in common with….with people who are genuinely kind and thoughtful….people like me.

I’m really enjoying this new part of me I’ve found, and am feeling pretty lucky to have already met some incredible people who I may not have EVER otherwise met in real life. Feeling blessed … and of course, happy.


— — —

Day 30: April 18 —

Feels pretty amazing that I’ve been able to look at life a little differently each day, and have been able to find small things that have truly brightened my days…made me smile…made me happy, if only for a moment.

We aren’t guaranteed any amount of time living, so enjoying our time now, what each day offers us, is so important in life.

I really love walking downtown. Whether it’s during the summer festivals, or Doors Open, or even just during the week. I love the feel of it and I love watching people.

Tonight after work was no exception. A beautiful night πŸ™‚


— — —

Day 29: April 17 —

My evening included two things I have never done before: watched a movie in 3D and played pool. Both made me extremely happy.


— — —

Day 28: April 16 —

I absolutely love Game of Thrones. The television series — I once watched 10 episodes in two days, just to catch up on it — and the book series — which I read while commuting to work on the bus.

My biggest issue is not being able to watch new episodes Sunday nights. While everyone is watching it, tweeting about it, chatting about it…I need to stay away from it all. I usually work Sunday nights, but even if I were home, I don’t have access to it. I don’t open my newspaper Monday morning, for fear I will see a spoiler. I also try to stay clear of the Internet…well, as best as I can πŸ˜‰

What I do have is a friend who brings me the Sunday episode on Monday, so I can watch it. I’ve been using the hashtag #ThronesTuesday when I tweet because that’s usually when I finally get to watch it and want to talk about it with someone!

Here’s the thing that really makes me happy though…even more happy than catching up on #GOT, if you can believe that. My friend has been drawing #GOT-related pictures and leaving them on my desk for me to enjoy. The recent creations I’ve seen include a map of Westeros, Needle, The Iron Throne, The Wall and Castle Black, the Lannister lion banner, three-eyed raven and today, a Daenerys dragon. The thing about Game of Thrones, my friend should never have to worry about running out of ideas on what to draw me!


— — —

Day 27: April 15 —

It was one of those days.

Busy first thing in the morning with a meeting at the school, followed by organizing things for an upcoming conference, followed by laundry. Add to that getting dinner ready for the boys before I go into work early on OT.

I forgot my work clothes were in the laundry and I didn’t time the drying right. Luckily, I was able to find something to wear. Then I left the house without my dinner. Not good.

Get to work and my computer turns on . . . black. Strange. Took a few minutes and a couple restarts before everything was fine. Just one of those days. Did I mention it was snowing most of the day (yes, it’s spring in London, Ontario).

The best thing about my day? A coworker offered to run to Tim Hortons to grab me something to eat. I’m getting through my extended shift all due to the kindness of a coworker… and the French toast bagel πŸ˜‰


— — —

Day 26: April 14 —

This week is a busy one for me. Working overtime at work, organizing things for a conference next week, fielding calls and Facebook messages from my sons at work, begging me to go grocery shopping (yes, I had a busy week last week as well and ‘may’ not have had time to pick up groceries)…

I try to find time for myself every day because being alone makes me happy. I don’t sleep well, so I’m usually awake any time between 3 a.m. and 5 a.m. This morning was no different. But I decided to go for a brisk walk through the forest, instead of just laying around, waiting for my alarm to go off. And I thought it might energize me…well, it certainly did more than that.

There is nothing better than being completely alone in such a beautiful space, watching the day begin. It’s simply amazing (and today, I was especially lucky to come home afterward and watch the only sun of the day rise, right in front of my window).

It makes me happy to experience such things…makes me happy to be alive.


— — —

Day 25: April 13 —

Some days you really have to look for that one thing that makes you happy. This is the reason I signed up to do #100happydays in the first place. You can’t count on others to make you happy, so you need to be able to see things in a different way to appreciate what really does make your life happy.

I had made plans to meet with someone today; someone I haven’t seen or talked to in more than a year. I knew this was going to be difficult, but I also knew how strong I’ve become over the past months of being alone. I just needed to find the strength and courage to face this person today and get through this first meeting, then I would know for sure that I’m ready to move on with my life.

Unfortunately, this person did not show up. All those feelings of anxiety and stress I had been experiencing during those two long hours waiting for them, were for nothing.

EXCEPT…I came to the realization that I AM ready to deal with this person. I AM strong enough to handle a conversation, a meeting, or whatever is needed to find closure.

I can’t show this in a photograph and can hardly explain it well in words, but this is what made me happy today. And I will be able to carry this feeling with me from now on…

— — —

Day 24: April 12 —

After a crazy busy week at work, I was looking forward to attending Edcamp London today. The only drawback was giving up an entire day of spending time with my boys, since I had hardly seen them during the week.

I debated about skipping the event, but in the end realized it was something I wanted to experience, so I went. Very good decision πŸ™‚

When I came home, I was completely blown away when I saw our front and back yards had been raked and cleaned up. Did I mention our back yard is pie-shaped and the biggest yard on the street? It took a lot of work to clean it up. (I admit, last fall I did not stay on top of yard work…but I promise to work harder this summer…)

Who did it? My 14-year-old son. He and his brother are a huge source of my daily smiles. I’m incredibly lucky to have them in my life…


— — —

Day 23: April 11 —

I don’t own have a cellphone. I don’t have a computer at home, although last Christmas I did buy laptops for my boys. I also don’t have cable.

So for someone like me who really enjoys watching movies and the occasional television series, sometimes it’s difficult finding them, or rather, just difficult waiting until I can stream them through the computer!

Everyone talks about Netflix. The Netflix series (Orange is the New Black, House of Cards), the huge number movies you can watch, all for one low monthly fee. I caved and signed up today.

Looks like a great decision, based on what I saw during my initial search. Except for some reason, the list of 7 horror movies I have been wanting to see were NOT on Netflix. Curious. But no problem, there are enough television series to keep my weekends busy until summer comes.

For those few (maybe, couple) people who truly know me, you won’t be surprised by the first TV show I watched today: Dawson’s Creek. What? It made me happy πŸ™‚

mad men

— — —

Day 22: April 10 —

Do you ever feel happy by just watching others who are happy? Seeing people, especially children, smiling and enjoying themselves really fills my heart.

Months of planning, days of organizing every last detail, and hours worrying how things will turn out, meant nothing after seeing the students and families of our school having fun at our Family Reading Night.

I would do it all over again just to listen to those children reading along with the guest author, showing the creations they made at the craft tables, seeing them excited about taking home a new book to read.

My heart is happy tonight.


— — —

Day 21: April 9 —

Have to admit, today was a pretty amazing day.

In no particular order, things that made me smile:

  • staff member at the school said the work I do was appreciated
  • someone laughed at my sarcasm
  • I read some kind tweets from some pretty fantastic people
  • someone thanked me for checking up on them when they were ill
  • I found my favourite old video game I had mentioned to 4 different people in the past week
  • someone said I was ‘out of this world’ but in a good way
  • a conversation started about sunshine coming through my window and ended with Corey Hart
  • I saw a cool drawing of the GOT iron throne by a friend
  • found support on Facebook when I was feeling anxious
  • got excited about watching horror movies
  • saw an adorable picture of a dog under the blankets

Honestly, I could go on. It was just one of those days you’ll never forget, even though it was a bunch of little things I’m sure no one even gave a second thought to.

Oh, and I loved seeing this at my son’s school…such a fabulous idea to stay in touch with students and parents.


— — —

Day 20: April 8 —

The best thing about my house is the back yard. It was the reason for buying it, when the boys were young. So many
possibilities! Though, I never did consider how much time it would take to cut the grass…

I like to garden. I’m not a real gardener, but I like growing my own fruits and vegetables. Every year that garden gets bigger and bigger.

The front yard is much smaller. For the first few years I lived here, I would plant something new, something I wouldn’t have to remove or replace, and it went well. Every spring flowers and plants surprise me by showing up.

These early blooms give me hope for a fantastic spring/summer of surprises.


— — —

Day 19: April 7 —

Last year, my son was in Grade 7. There were issues within the schools, as to whether extra curricular activities would take place. At his school, they were on hold. I remember him being so sad that he would miss out on an entire year of playing sports such as volleyball, basketball and softball.

This year has been simply amazing at our school! All activities (sports, concert band, field trips, etc.) have taken place and the students have been busy taking part in everything they can, especially the Grade 8s before they go off to high school.

The only issue so far: the late start to spring may cause the wet baseball and soccer fields to not be ready in time to start their seasons. I’m desperately hoping for warmer (and dry!) weather so I can watch my son play his favourite sport. Not only is this his last year at the school, but it’s also my last year to be involved and engaged in the school and all the activities as well.

Just thinking about him taking the field puts a smile on my face. Now if only the weather would cooperate…


— — —

Day 18: April 6 —

Growing up in a single-income family with six children, we didn’t have the luxury of eating a wide variety of foods. We were lucky to still have fresh groceries the day before pay-day (every two weeks). I am thankful that my parent always made sure there was food in the house, so we were never hungry.

Since moving out of my parents’ home when I was 19, I have tried a number of new foods you may find surprising: tacos, lasagna, steak, omeletts, asparagus — just to name a few off the top of my head. I have made sure my children have been able to try different foods — otherwise, how would I ever know what they like?

Yesterday while shopping at the Western Fair Farmers’ Market, I stopped to buy some asparagus for the BBQ (my boys’ favourite vegetable). Right next to them, the brussels sprouts were staring at me. I had recently seen a few friends post photos on Instagram and Twitter of their brussels sprouts dinners and figured it was time to try something new.

After questioning people and Googling instructions on how to prepare brussels sprouts, I had made them and left the house smelling a little . . . noxious . . . before leaving for work. My poor coworkers had to sit through the heating up of my brussels sprouts in the microwave, but I’ve had to sit through even worse smells (honest) through the years, so it didn’t even bother me.

Final evaluation: they aren’t bad at all. So glad they don’t have an overbearing taste of cabbage (that’s what I was most afraid of!). But I do tend to agree with a friend — everything is better with bacon. That’s how I’ll try them next time πŸ˜‰


— — —

Day 17: April 5 —

Everyone has dreams.

When I was a girl my dreams were to become a teacher (I didn’t), get married when I was 25 (I was 21), have children after I bought a house when I was 30 (I had my boys when I was 23 and 24, bought my house after having kids), and have a husband who brought flowers home for me after work every week (I’m single now).

Obviously, not all dreams come true but I think people need to have them, to see what ‘could’ possibly happen in their lives to make them happy.

That being said, sometimes you have to make your own happiness. Only you are in control of that. You should still have dreams throughout your life, but maybe once in awhile take actions to make sure your days are happy.

Which is why I enjoy treating myself to those flowers I never got. On a day like today, I think I deserve some happiness. You do, too.


— — —

Day 16: April 4 —

Rain. I love rainy days. And I especially love falling asleep to the sound of rain.

Listening to the sounds of the drops hitting my windows and watching them slide down the glass, just makes me feel alive. Like every snowflake tells a different story, every rain drop makes its own music. Whether you think of each drop as a tear falling down from the sky, or thinking of them washing your life’s worries away, or maybe you just want to get naked and dance in it, rain definitely has some type of music for those who take the time and listen.

I’m one of those people who can hear the music. I’m one of those people who smile when walking in the rain. And I wouldn’t have it any other way.


— — —

Day 15: April 3 —

I have been involved in my children’s schools for 12 years. Field trips, making photocopies and transparencies, one-on-one reading help, speaking engagements, class events, and so much more.

For the past five years, I have been deeply involved with the Home and School Association and all the great things they have done for the students and families at our school. This year is my last, as my youngest son is graduating Grade 8.

Today, I volunteered to be a judge at the school’s Talent Show, because I wanted to help celebrate all the dedication and hard work our students and the teachers involved (Mr. B and Ms. W.) have done for the show. The entire school was there and you could tell by their clapping and laughing that they truly enjoyed themselves. As for the talented students — Breanna, Serra, Maggie, Selena, Bryanna, Jamie, Gabby, Julia, Ally, Ryan, Danielle, Darren, Ryan D., Hannah and Mya — they were simply amazing. As someone said, what they did today, most adults wouldn’t have been able to do. Myself definitely included!

I was honoured to have witnessed one final show at the school. I’m sad that this chapter in my life is drawing to a close, but today I was very happy to be involved once again, and thankful to have been able to judge with two fabulous teachers (Mrs. K and Ms. T). This treat was more than enough payment in return πŸ˜‰


— — —

Day 14: April 2 —

I am definitely not a ‘girly’ girl. I have never been pretty and have always had boys as friends, as long as I can remember. It was also really great when I had children, to have boys instead of girls, as we like a lot of the same things (baseball, superhero movies, video games).

Since I don’t dress like a ‘girly’ girl, in dresses and heels, wearing makeup and perfume, I’ve pretty much stuck to wearing the colour black. It’s like I can hide behind the dark clothes and no one will notice me.

Until last year. After I found myself alone and desperately wanting a change in my life, I started being more active by walking and cycling. And I needed new shoes. Obviously I decided on black Nikes, but the one pair that just kept drawing my eye had pink shoelaces. I do not own anything pink. Absolutely nothing. But, I wanted a change and decided to get them anyways.

Everyday I exercise or go for a walk alone, I look at the pink shoelaces and think, maybe someday I could possibly become a ‘girly’ girl…then I step up the pace and know that I definitely won’t. But I still love my shoes …


— — —

Day 13: April 1 —

Last year on April Fool’s Day, it snowed. I remember waking my boys up in the morning and complaining about it snowing. They thought I was joking, but were disappointed to find out I wasn’t.

This year, the weather was beautiful. Sun shining and warm temperatures. A nice, relaxing walk by myself in the forest was exactly what I needed to clear my head. I’ve been doing this a lot lately, while taking nature pictures along the way. So much beauty in the city…and it was all mine.


— — —

Day 12: March 31 —

Truth be told, I don’t have many friends. I love my family, but we don’t live close enough to see each other often. There are many coworkers I really like and have a lot in common, but we are in different stages in our lives to actually be able to hang out together. And I have met some pretty incredible people through my volunteering but haven’t made those close relationships most people have. But honestly, I enjoy being alone. Usually.

My work schedule is horrible this week, working Monday night, then three day shifts, then back to nights again. Tonight was going to be tough…

When I finished work, I just about ran to my bus stop, but was a minute too late as I saw it drive away before reaching the corner. Of course, I tweeted my predicament, then was going to get my book and read for the next hour, until my next bus arrived.

Before putting my iPod away, I was shocked to see a reply. Someone had asked if I wanted a ride home. This person always seems to say and do exactly what I need, when I need it. Always encourages me and compliments me when I least expect it. I couldn’t believe the offer, but knowing I had to work early the next morning, I accepted. I am so very grateful that I have this one person I can count on. I just hope they know how much they mean to me.

And I truly hope everyone has this one person in their lives, too. Even if you don’t see them every day, or talk to each other every day…those little moments make up for all those other times. Sometimes it’s nice not to be alone…waiting an hour for a bus.

— — —

Day 11: March 30 —

Perfect day today. Windows were open, the house filled with a spring-fresh breeze. Sunshine all day long, started in my bedroom in the morning and settling in my living room for the rest of the day. I had planned on going for a photo walk downtown, but changed my mind at the last minute.

Stayed at home in my pyjamas all day long, catching up on my favourite TV series before the season finale airs tonight. Sometimes a relaxing day is needed to clear your mind and rejuvenate your body.

In the afternoon, after chores were done and cookies were made, I started working on creating posters for a school event I’m helping organize. The crafty part of me came alive.

One of my favourite hobbies is scrapbooking, and today reminded me of how much I miss it…some day I will spend an afternoon reliving memories again…


— — —

Day 10: March 29 —

So many things happened this morning that could have landed on this list! The older woman at Walmart who started talking to me about movies and eventually discussed the book Pride and Prejudice. The father walking along with his toddler at the Western Fair Farmers’ Market, who was content with letting her push her own stroller down the aisle. The cashier who didn’t mind my four separate orders and actually complimented me on being so organized. The guitar-playing busker who stopped in the middle of his song to thank me for dropping my five-dollar bill into his case. All great moments.

But the one thing that truly made me happy today was spending a couple hours with BOTH my boys, watching Lost. I had never seen the show before, but both of them have seen those episodes in school as part of a lesson. It was fun discussing what had happened in more detail (instead of just being entertainment) and when they asked for my ‘guesses’ on what may happen, they really listened to me. Have to cherish these times now. Soon, they will be leaving me for college or university, and they will definitely be missed.

Good times πŸ™‚


— — —

Day 9: March 28 —

I have not had a real appetite in more than a month. Yes, I’ve seen a doctor and had some tests done, and other than not sleeping well, I’ve been feeling fine.

I guess you could say I’m ‘grazing.’ I try to eat nutritious snacks throughout the day to keep my energy up. But raising two teenage boys, I need to provide them with ‘real’ meals, so my food prep work is never ending. I’m positive I spend more time in my kitchen than any other room in my house.

Honestly, it can get tiring. Some days it feels like I’m their personal chef. So when someone offers to take care of dinner for me, how can I possibly say no?

I am grateful to Dominos Pizza for only being a phone call away.

I am grateful to friends who let me relax while they make a salad for me.

And today I am grateful for my parents, who realize how trying this past year has been for me, and treated me to breakfast this morning.

Whether I’m hungry or not, or whether my next meal is a Metro take-out salad or diner food, it will always taste better if someone takes the time to make it for me.

— — —

Day 8: March 27 —

The first day of spring was an entire week ago, yet our weather hasn’t really shown it lately.

I’m still wearing long johns and hat and mittens for those freezing nights after work. I’m also ignoring the snow falling this very minute, longing for milder weather and more sunshine.

About a week ago, I counted almost 30 robins in the trees along my street. They were hoping for spring. Since then, the number has doubled are more birds are arriving daily.

Last night I noticed there was still light outside at 7:30 p.m. Very good start.

Today I noticed purple flowers showing on the early plants in my front garden. Better start.

The forecasted temperature for Sunday is +7, and I’m already looking forward to a photo walk in downtown London. It’s been a long time coming, but I’m very happy spring has decided to show!!


— — —

Day 7: March 26 —

Do you ever find yourself somewhere when all of a sudden you smell something that takes you back to another time and place? I love those smells.

I clean my face daily with Noxema and every now and then the smell takes me back to the summer after high school. Not sure why, but I had good memories of that time BBQs, walks on the beach, summer festivals. It all comes back.

Whenever my boys cut the grass, that fresh smell just makes me smile…making the day even more enjoyable than knowing I’m not doing the mowing!

Another amazing smell is men’s body wash or cologne. Whenever someone walks past me, or sometimes just standing near me, that clean smell makes me think of someone stepping out of a shower, clean and fresh. But really…how could it not?!?

But today, after cutting a fresh pineapple, the sweet smell of it just made me smile. A recent memory came quickly to mind, about how kind and thoughtful someone had been to me when I was ill. Those memories are what makes me happy today.


— — —

Day 6: March 25 —

The few people who know me know I am not one for talking on the phone. I would rather text or e-mail messages throughout the day, than spend minutes (or yikes….hours!) on the phone. I don’t even own a cell phone. I know…shocking, right? Obviously, at work I have to answer my line, but not before I roll my eyes and sigh a little.

Today though, when I answered the phone at home I was surprised to hear the voice on the other end. It was a family member of my ex. It has been almost a year since we’ve parted ways and it is very rare to hear from anyone in his family. Honestly, it’s been difficult losing those people who had been such a big part of my life for 20 years. Always hard losing family…

Well, it was pretty amazing to be able to catch up on things (ie. life) in that short hour. She mentioned more than once that she misses my boys and would like to see them. I know my boys have missed her, too. I have missed the family as well. That’s the truth.

The last thing she told me was if I ever needed anything, I should call her. She is one of a handful of people who have said that to me this past year. It’s actually good to know someone is still thinking about you, even if you haven’t seen them in months…or a year. That’s the truth, too.


— — —

Day 5: March 24 —

Truth: I am a cat lady.

A few years ago, I attended a family reunion just months after my mother-in-law passed away at our home. She spent the last few months of her life with us, whenever she wasn’t in hospital. The family reunion was her side of the family.

While we had celebrated her life, as per her wishes, it was still a difficult time. As we walked around the farm, where the reunion was being held, my boys couldn’t help notice all the barn cats. We were told not many would survive, living close to the highway. We may have been looking for something to get us through the day, but that pretty much hooked us.

Midnight was the kitten I saw first. Just a grey and white puffball, smaller than my hands put together. I chose him right away. Along with Midnight we brought a calico friend home as well (Tiger). Everyone said to have cats in twos so they would have someone when we weren’t there.

A month after ‘adopting’ these kittens, my boys rescued two tuxedo kittens that were left at their school, under some portables. Four new kittens in one summer…now you know why I’m a cat lady.

Midnight was always my first choice and I don’t think he forgets it. Every day I’m home from work, he is there. Right beside me. He always seems to want my attention, but I wonder if he’s actually giving me attention, because I need it?

Friends forever? Happily ever after, at least…


— — —

Day 4: March 23 —

I have always been a bookworm. When I was old enough to walk over the Quebec St. overpass by myself, you could find me reading Sweet Valley High books at the Carson Library. When I was in high school, you could find me in the school library during free periods reading Ernest Hemingway. If you see me on the LTC late at night, I’m probably reading a book from the Ender’s Game series.

A couple weeks ago, I was thrilled to find the last book of a series I’d been looking for for about a month (The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo). That was a good day.

But today I finally found a series of books I’ve been looking for since Christmas. Knowing my housework is going to suffer, and my boys will be making their own dinners this week, will not get in the way of me spending hours reading. Reading truly makes me happy because I can leave my own worries behind and live through these words πŸ™‚


— — —

Day 3: March 22 —

You just can’t rely on other people to make you happy. Only you can guarantee your own happiness, and sometimes you have to work to make this happen. This is something I’ve learned recently.

Today started out dark and gloomy, but as I’m writing this, the sun is sneaking out from the clouds. Seeing the brightness of the sun always makes me happy.

As I walked around Western Fair Farmers’ Market today, I looked for something bright . . . and found it. It was the first time I have EVER bought something for myself to make me happy. (Totally inspired by two friends, Amanda and Alex. Thanks!)


— — —

Day 2: March 21 —

When people smile, how can you not? It’s so infectious…contagious. That’s what makes me happy. Seeing other people smile.

Today, I planned on going to school to work on a Family Reading Night event I’m helping plan. After making photocopies of a flyer to go home with students, I was working in the office and chatting with the secretary. She was in a fantastic mood, telling me stories and at one point laughed out loud. Smile.

The Grade 1 classes had the fire department visit outside with a fire truck. I followed the vice principal out to the truck, hoping to catch a photo opportunity. The students were in awe. They were listening to the firefighters and looking up at the truck as if it was the greatest thing they have ever seen. The VP did get into the driver’s seat and looked like an excited little schoolboy himself. Smile.

After finishing my work, I walked down the hallway to see another teacher. Passing by the music classroom, I looked inside and saw the teacher listening to his students play, while smiling and nodding his head to the music. The sounds were not perfect, but when they hit the right notes, simply amazing. Smile.

Visited with my friend for a few minutes before she asked me to do something for her. How could you ever say no to someone so pleasant and always cheerful? Smile.

Before I left the school, I remembered one other moment in the office. A young girl, around 7 years old, was explaining to the secretary why she wouldn’t be in school next week — her family was going to Disney World. She was super excited, hardly able to contain herself to tell the details. Smile.


— — —

Day 1: March 20 —

It’s been an entire month since I have been sick, with not much of an appetite. For the past couple weeks, I have been able to handle eating a bit more food every day. Today, I woke up with a craving for bacon (which was probably due to the fact my son was making omelettes and bacon at 5:30 a.m.). It may not seem like much, but I am very grateful to have been able to satisfy that craving today.



On March 20, 2014 — the United Nations International Day of Happiness AND the first day of spring — I will be starting a self-journey of finding happiness in the next 100 days of my life. There have been many ups and downs in my life this past year, and I just feel it’s time to start thinking about what makes ME happy and appreciate the little things in life.

The final day of this challenge will coincide with the last day of my youngest son’s elementary school education, marking it a double celebration day.

This challenge has been tried by many people all over the world, mostly through the posting of photos in social media using the hashtag #100happydays. Not everyone completes the challenge, citing issues such as not having enough time. I will be sharing my happy moments here, whether through a short description or by photos.

Everyone deserves to be happy but don’t always take the time to appreciate what really makes them happy. I hope you will enjoy following my journey with me.





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