The "Whiz-ard" That Is Dr. Oz

Following Dr. Oz's Advice For A Year

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Driving Miss Daisy, KonMari and Other Things to be Thankful For

Happy Thanksgiving to my fellow Canadians!

This weekend was a very busy one with Frousin time, Family Thanksgiving on Sunday and Thanksgiving with friends that are like family today.  In between, I also had my fifth and sixth driving lessons and have started to take the advice of Marie Kondo – author of “The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up.”

Conquering fears, trying to de-stress and decluttering is really what my Dr. Oz journey has been about this year.  Driving is another fear that I am conquering – especially driving in a big city.  It’s an adjustment driving again, but every time I get behind the wheel, I feel a little less Miss Daisy, and a little more like I can do this – I can drive faster than 60 kilometres an hour!  I can do a 3-point turn!  I can drive without running anyone over!  I still have a ways to go and need a little more confidence – don’t we all – but I believe I’ll be ready for my road test in December.  Wish me luck – or wish yourselves luck if you happen to be a Toronto driver.

In addition to driving, I also have spent a good deal of time starting my next round of decluttering.  I know that I wrote many a post about this last year.  Like a Smugly McSmug Lady, I bragged about all of the things that I was getting rid of…then I read “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up – The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing” and realized that my work has just begun.  The book divides your home into different categories (part of the KonMari method) and suggests that you tackle one category before you move on to another.  You don’t purge rooms – you purge categories.  I’ve started with tops, as Marie Kondo suggests starting with clothing and even tells you down to the item, what order you should do this in.  Some of her suggestions are hooey – I’m not going to say hi to my home or thank my clothes for serving me, but I do see her point about getting rid of things that you no longer love or have no use for.  I also understand her advice about getting rid of things that you may have an emotional attachment to  – the memory will still be there, but the item of clothing or knick knack no longer needs to take up space.  So far, I have a mouton of clothes, literally, that I’m either going to donate or toss.  It’s a lot more than I expected after last year…but it’s been cleansing in more ways than one.  I’ll keep you posted on my progress, with photos.  Dr. Oz will be very proud of me, and in a weird way, it is relaxing.

As it’s Thanksgiving, I should express some sort of gratitude…but I have to say, it’s been a bit of a challenge this year.  I’m always grateful for family and friends, but I think that right now, I’m the most thankful for the life lessons that I’ve learned this year.  Right now, the lesson that I’m learning is that it’s ok to get rid of possessions but it’s also ok to keep what you really love.  It doesn’t seem like a big deal, until you are in the process of it yourself.

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A Day In Amsterdam and Embracing Jet Lag

Amsterdam 1

Did I ever mention that I love to travel?  Europe – all of it, is my particular favourite.  Sure I’ve been to a lot of other places, but there is something about this little continent that keeps bringing me back for more.  Travel for me is pretty stress free (except flying) and lengthy airport stays – a very good thing according to Dr. Oz.  Jet lag, on the other hand, can be really unbearable.  Part of the issue was that they 6 of us took a 5:30PM flight, not a true overnight flight, and we got into this beautiful city at 6am Dutch time – a recipe for my worst jet lag nightmare otherwise known as #firstworldproblems.  There wasn’t much that I could do other than stumble through the day, but me and my 5 other travel companions still managed to squeeze in a lot!

Before I get into all of the great things there are to do, I have to confess, I’ve been to Amsterdam before, in my 20’s.  I saw a lot then and that meant I could skip the Red Light District (I didn’t find staring a poor prostitutes fun, even then), the “Cafe’s”, the Rijks Museum and a few other highlights and concentrate on what I wanted to do.  Here is a list of what I did if you only have a full day and a half like I did:

  • Take a Hop on Hop Off Bus Tour to orient yourself, and to be able to take a nap if you’ve just gotten off of a plane.  I totally fell asleep every 3 minutes, but still managed to see quite a bit and get a better idea of where I wanted to go back to
  • Take a nap in a well located hotel (we stayed at the Marriot Stadhouderskade – try saying that 5 times 5) and then go for crepes!
  • Enjoy a canal cruise – it was a great way to see the City since it has over 100 kilometres of the watery little bodies and it’s a good way of killing 90 minutes
  • Go to Vondelpark – very quaint, but don’t spend too much time there – especially when you only have a day!
  • Head Museum Quarter – come on, you know you want to take a cheesy picture with the Amsterdam sign!  It’s really beautiful – take your time and walk around, we found these weird, yet cute “Hello Bunny” type of statues.  It’s a really nice part of the city and great for people watching.
  • Check out the Van Gogh Museum, but just don’t be disappointed, a lot of his more famous works are in the Musee D’Orsay in Paris and MOMA in NYC.  We went at night and there was a huge line up, but it was still better than going during the day and it takes about 45 minutes to do the whole thing if you aren’t loitering.  Not the most exciting thing that I did, but I always wanted to see it….and I did.
  • Last, but not least, it’s important to visit Anne Frank House.  If you don’t book a tour, you’ll find yourself waiting in at least a two hour line and that’s at 9:30.  You don’t want to waste time in line ups, so if you are planning on visiting, PRE-BOOK THIS!!!   Different people have different opinions about the museum.  Be prepared for two things – there is absolutely no furniture – this was at the request of Anne Frank’s father Otto and you have to be able to go up some very steep staircases that get even steeper the farther up you walk.  If you aren’t able to climb, don’t do this tour. The steepest staircase is basically almost a ladder.  I still found it moving even though this was my second time.  The rooms are big, but they could never open the blinds, so it was always dark – they still have the blackout blinds up.  Seeing the diary is also pretty special.  Several people though, found the lack of furniture a little jarring, although it didn’t bother me and this was my second time.

I hope you like my day and a half guide to Amsterdam – and I’m not boring, really – I did all of the fun stuff before…in my twenties when it was appropriate!  Check out some photos below for your viewing pleasure.


What would The Netherlands be without a Windmill?

Amsterdam 3

The Bunny Statues in Museum Quarter

Jill Amsterdam

Wishing that I wasn’t jet-lagged, and that there was a J in the Amsterdam sign.


Canal Cruise

Canal Cruise

Canal Cruise

Statue of Anne Frank

Statue of Anne Frank

You can't take pictures inside, so get a picture of the sign!

You can’t take pictures inside, so get a picture of the sign!

The line up at Anne Frank House at 9:30 in the morning!

The line up at Anne Frank House at 9:30 in the morning!

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Chicken Soup for the Soul – The Real Deal


I made this and so can you.

Yesterday, for the first time ever, I made chicken soup.  My mother sat in the kitchen and told me what to do, because like most women of a certain generation, they just know instinctively how to cook.  They aren’t like me who goes into a tail spin if I lose the recipe.  Chicken soup isn’t just a Dr. Oz approved cure for all colds and flus, although he, like many doctors extolls the virtues of Jewish penicillin, it is my all time favourite food.  My Bubbie made the best chicken soup, followed by my mother.  My grandmother’s special ingredient?  Love of course.

I’m here to help my readers, so I’m going to share the secret recipe to the world’s best soup, but unlike most sites, this is for people exactly like me that have never made it before and who need more guidance than professional cooks require.  Just a warning, I only tried one spoon of the soup that I made, so I can’t tell you if it’s great or not, but I’ll keep trying until it’s the third best chicken soup around.  Nothing can top the chicken soup professionals (Bubbie and my mother).


-2 packages of chicken bones (yes, that means that you may have to head to the butchers or try the kosher meat section of the grocery store – that’s where we picked them up)

-i cube of chicken bouillon cube or half of a small package of it (just enough so that the broth turns a little yellow)

-water (duh)

-2 sprigs of dill

-Mirepoix – just a fancy way of saying one onion, 3 stalks of celery and either 3 cooking carrots or 1/3 of a package of baby carrots but doesn’t it sound nice?



-Your biggest pot – I don’t understand quarts – I’m Canadian, but it should be big

Step 1 – Get ready to toss your cookies, because you have to take those UGLY looking bones out of the package and plop them into the pot.  Don’t worry – there is plenty of meat on them to make a great broth. I recommend using a knife to cut the packages open so that your fingers don’t have to come anywhere near those bad boys.  Plop the two packages of bones in as quickly as possible.  Trust me – it’s gross so you’ll want to get it over with quickly.  I looked and I shouldn’t have.

Step 2 – Go to the sink, turn on the water and fill the pot up enough to cover the gross bones up really well.  Put the pot on the stove on high until it comes to a boil.
Step 3 – Get your mirepoix ready.  Wash the celery (I bet some of you think that putting it in the boiling water is enough – it’s not).  Cut the stalks in half.  Cut the top and bottom of the onion off and peel off the skin.  That’s all you have to do – no need to chop it up.  If you use baby carrots, just take out a third of the package.  If you like manual labour, feel free to peel 2-3 big carrots.

Step 4 – THIS IS A DOOZY – THE GROSSEST PART  BY FAR!!!! Don’t say I didn’t warn you.  Once your bones have boiled, get yourself a bowl and a big spoon because the most vile, disgusting scum comes to the top of the pot.  It looks like foamy brains.  You’ll need to skim off as much of it as possible BUT, reduce the heat to low first.  I know – I know, it stinks and I almost tossed my cookies, and what’s even worse is that I believe that some people leave it in there.  I asked my mother what was in the scum – she told me to stop asking questions that I didn’t want to hear the answer to and to just keep skimming.  I did as I was told and got almost a bowlful of that putrid mess out of the pot.  I sang “Just Keep Skimming”  to Finding Nemo’s “Just Keep Swimming” to distract myself – in my inside voice of course.

Step 5 – Once you’ve finished skimming – pour in the bouillon (or plop it in if it’s a cube).  Gently place in the mirepoix that you lovingly prepped (that’s your vegetables if you weren’t paying attention).  Lay in the dill (I know it sounds a little pervy, but that’s your dirty mind).  Last but not least, put in the salt and pepper.  How much?  Do a shake, shake, shake (your booty).  That’s three shakes of each (make sure it has the top on so that you aren’t pouring either in – you want dashes.  Remember novices, you can always season to taste after, but you you’ll have to throw a potato in to absorb the salt if you over do it (I’m not sure if I’m even right about that, but correct me if I’m wrong).

Step 6 – Cover and let it cook for 2.5 hours.  Yes that’s right, you have 2.5 hours of free time to do anything that you want as long as you don’t leave the house.  I made a honey cake from scratch – that’s a whole other story.  It just confirmed what I already knew – baking sucks.

Step 7 – After the cooking time is over, there is still more grossness, but this is manageable.  Get a plastic bag and use the big spoon to get the bones out of the soup.  Toss them immediately so they don’t stink up the kitchen.  Take the vegetables out and puree them (using a hand blender or food processor), and put them back in your soup.  Wait until the soup is cool enough, then put into containers to freeze or to have later.

Step 8 – If you are going to eat the chicken soup, let it sit overnight in the refrigerator.  The fat congeals on the top (it looks like a solid white sheet) and you can skim that off.  Also very gross, and also makes me want to toss my cookies, but it you want soup that isn’t greasy, that’s the way to do it.  If you freeze it, when it defrosts, the fat will rise to the top and again, skim it off.

There you have it.  A step by step recipe – something that I thought that I would never do – ever.  The next few will be devoted to my trip, but I wanted to do this while I still remembered.

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Fear of Ugly Photos


My love of travel and need to try something I’ve never done before often leads me into situations where I look a little less than coiffed.  In fact, I may not even be wearing make up in some cases because it just wasn’t worth it.  As some of you who read my blog on a regular basis may be aware, this year, I’ve semi-devoted to facing my fears.  No one likes looking like they have a case of the uglies in a photo, but, if you are going to go on a RIB boat at 50-60 miles per hour, let’s face facts, it may not end up being your best hair day (see above for me with dark circles trying not to gag in this musty little number that you have to wear).  I have to prove that I did it – so see me getting ready above.

Over the next few blogs, I’m going to regale you with tales of my most recent trip, where I conquered some more fears (the RIB boat included).  Even though this is supposed to be all about Oz, I’m sure travel is very healthy for your piece of mind, so I’ll also be sharing some of my other favourite places with you and maybe give you a couple of tips of where to go in some of my favourite new and old cities.  And yes, I’ll share even more FUGLY photos like the one below at sea on the RIB.    I was terrified, but it ended up being so much fun – I can’t wait to do it again.


I wrote last year that I love travel because every day is different.  That hasn’t changed.  This time I realized, that outside of getting to the airport and packing, there really isn’t very much stress with travelling – very healthy and Oz approved, don’t you think?  Tune in this week to find out more…

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Slurpy McSlurplord, The Art of Not Procrastinating, Kelly Clarkson and Phoning it In


I was coming home today on the subway, not always my happy place, when I found myself trapped next to an unusually tall man eating an unusually large meal RIGHT NEXT TO ME.  I shall call him Slurpy McSlurplord.  On the long journey home, I got to enjoy a meal – his – mostly because I felt that I was eating right along with him.  All I heard was SLUUUURRPPPP, SWIIIISHHHHH, PHHHHHTTTTTT, YUMMMM, UM, UGH, OOOGA CHAKA, OOGA Chaka…so I’ve created a little song for the disgust that I felt to “Hooked on a Feeling”:

I can’t stop this feeling
Deep inside of me
Boy, you just don’t realize
What your slurping noises do to me…

When you hold your dinner
In your arms so tight
You let me know
That your food is all right

I’m hooked on a feeling
I’m high on believing
That you’re disgusting to me

Chicken and Ribs and Fries as sweet as candy (POETIC LICENSE)
Its stench is on my mind
Boy, you got me thirsty
For another cup o’ wine or Coke or whatever it is you are drinking in my EARRRRR…

Got a bug from you boy
And I’d like a cure
I’ll just stay a victim
Of your germs I’m sure

All the good stuff
In your carry out tray
I feel like I’m in there with you
The stench from your fingers makes me go boo hoo

I’m hooked on a feeling
I’m high on believing
That good subway manners are a possibility

All the good food
In your take out tray
With your greasy fingers
As shiny as a sunny day

I said I’m hooked on a feeling
And I’m high on believing
That you’ll act politely
I’m hooked on a feeling

I actually hated sitting next to him more than I hate sitting on a warm seat…and I really hate warm seats.  Not only did he eat like a cave man, he actually opened his little sauce container with his teeth…yes, it’s nice to know that Cro Magnon Man  exists.  I kept thinking he was going to drop his meal on me.  He ended up just losing his sauce.  In an enlightened moment, I felt grateful that he didn’t lose his cookies, because it would be aimed in my direction.  Trying to get to my happy place, I yelled Kelly Clarkson the way that I do sometimes – in my inside voice (and the way 40 Year Old Virgin did when he was getting waxed…actually so do I, it helps me cope with the pain).
Seriously – are manners really dead?  And seriously, I love Kelly Clarkson – she’s just talented and herself – and in this day and age that’s a rarity.  I went to see her in concert a few weeks ago and she was fun and completely genuine.  Love her – she’s a lesson on why being yourself is a good thing.  She could get rid of the half shaved head, but that’s her choice.  Go see her if you have a chance.  She doesn’t phone it in…
Speaking of phoning it in – did any of you do Deepak and Oprah’s 21 Day Meditation Experience on Gratitude?  You know I love DOPRAH too, but this was completely phoned in and disingenuous, if I may be so bold.  I’ve done several, and admittedly, I’m not the deepest person, and I’ll NEVER be able to meditate properly, but I’ve always liked Deepak’s message.  This time, meh.  He may have had a couple of messages where I felt he was back to himself, but can’t say that I feel that this was time well spent.  I’ll keep doing them, but totally not grateful for this one.  I just hope that they haven’t jumped the shark, so to speak – or is that just a TV term?
I’m also going away shortly – which I’m so excited about, but I did something scary on Monday.  I packed for my trip…yes, all of my clothes and shoes for two weeks are neatly packed and I don’t leave until Thursday.  Does this mean that I’ve learned the art of not procrastinating or am I just getting old?  I don’t know what’s come over me lately!!! I miss the good old days when I’d run around two hours before my plane left throwing things in a suitcase and hoping for the best.  Times have certainly changed.  I’ll be writing about my little adventure when I get back.
Until then, I remain gratefully yours…

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What’s the Black Ribbon For and Other Ways of Dealing With Loss…

The loss of a parent, regardless of the relationship that you may have had with them is difficult in a way that can’t really be put into words.  When you aren’t close, it opens you up to a different type of grieving.  Maybe it’s the loss of possibility that I’m grieving now or the loss of hope – I can’t really describe to you what it is.  The reality is, that everyone’s experience is unique to them.  I can give you all of the tips and tricks that have worked for me in getting through this last month, but they may not work for you – everyone is different.  The one thing that I know for sure is that in death and mourning, there is no real right or wrong, you have to do what feels right for you.

Since this is a blog about taking Dr. Oz’s advice, I checked his website and found a video featuring Dr. Richard Smith.  He laid out the three stages of grief – these really didn’t apply to me, but I’ll share them with you anyway:

  • Stage one – loss of control, denial and a lack of reality…maybe even anger.  This totally didn’t apply to me.  In some ways, the death of my father has been easier than I thought, in some ways more difficult, but I’ve never, for a minute been angry or in denial over what happened.  Maybe, because it was expected, maybe because no matter how early it was, I did get to say a needed good-bye or maybe because there isn’t a one size fits all on death and mourning, but I never went through any part of this stage.
  • Stage two – persistent sadness and emptiness…this one, I’m not sure of.  It’s a complicated situation.  After the funeral, and when I went back to work, I could easily focus on the job at hand.  As time has moved on, there have been weeks where I felt numb inside.  I could even watch a sad dog video and not cry.  Just numb and in some ways, on auto pilot saying and doing the right things and what is expected of me. I have had a lot of other things that have needed my attention though, and maybe that’s why I feel more myself than I perhaps should.
  • Stage 3 – reinvest with other people.  It’s too soon for this one I think.

Sorry, I wish I could tell everyone that there is an exact process to follow, but there isn’t.  I’m not religious, but one thing that helped me, was taking part in some of the observances that Jewish people following the death of an immediate family member.  The practice of K’riah (literally ‘tearing’) just prior to the funeral, where the mourners rip and a black ribbon and continue to wear it for 30 days has helped me.  It is supposed to be symbolic of loss, and permanent scarring to your life at the loss of one so dear to you.  For me, it was a reminder that whenever I had any doubt, that my father was no longer here.  People would ask me what the little black ribbon was for and I’d explain that my father had passed away.  Each time I said it, it made it more believable to me.  I went to synagogue to say Mourner’s Kaddish (a traditional prayer for the dead) during Shloshim – the 30 days of mourning after the funeral.  I did this 3 times, and again, I’m not religious, but having a process to follow brought me comfort.

The one thing that was most helpful was going to the cemetery by myself a few days after the funeral.  I went because I didn’t have any time at the end of my father’s life to say the things that I needed to say and I wasn’t afforded the opportunity at the funeral.  I spent ten minutes there, but it made everything so much better for me.  I had the whole place to myself, and I just stood there and said (mostly in my inside voice) what I felt at that moment.  It didn’t take long, but for me it was time well spent.  Sometimes, it’s not about getting every question answered or “getting closure” that counts, it’s about taking the time that you need, for yourself.  I know that I may never really understand my father and I know that he likely didn’t understand me, but that’s ok.  I understood, in that moment, that I didn’t need either, I just needed quiet time to process everything and it helped.  What surprised me was how little time I needed there.  I knew that I wasn’t going to get a sign from my father that he was there with me, and I was also ok with that.  I went with no expectations, and I left with even fewer but being there helped a realist like me, in ways that I just can’t explain.  You will never get time back, especially time to deal with complex emotions – so take what you need for yourself.

Some people have gone above and beyond, and I know that I’ve thanked them for everything that they have done – make sure, no matter how sad you may be to do that.  Everyone deserves to be appreciated and when times are tough, and people go out of their way to help, let them know that you value them.  You will get through your loss whatever it may be and there will be days, which may come sooner than you think where you will feel exactly like yourself.  I know for me, that writing about how I feel about this has been cathartic, but I’m at the point now where I just want to write about fluffier, more enjoyable things.  Maybe one day I’ll want to revisit this time in my life, that’s the beauty of having your own blog – you can write about what you feel like, and when it’s time, you can let it go…


One For My Sisters

Sorry, to my precious readers, but I’m afraid that this entry is not really intended for you.  It’s for Maichie and Eyesore, my two older sisters.  We’ve had a difficult month and I thought we could all use a dose of some good memories.  We did have them, and we are continuing to make them, no matter how challenging things may seem today.  Here are my top ten:

  • Sitting in the Big Room as a family on Saturday nights to watch The Love Boat and Fantasy Island (even better, when they had the two hour cross-over episodes) – if that dates me, I don’t care.  Everyone had their spots – Maichle in the leather rocker, Eyesore on the other leather chair, Mummy on the gold couch, Dad on the leather sofa and Rascal in front of the fireplace or next to his favourite person – we all know who that was.  The only one who didn’t have a spot was the baby of the family – me.  I drifted from ottoman to ottoman, or wherever i could squeeze in.  Sometimes, if it was a really good night, Dad would make popcorn for us on the stove.
  • Swimming in the pool on the few hot nights that we had in Sydney.  The pool felt warmer than during the day, and it was so fun swimming with just the flood lights on.  Plus, I didn’t have to worry about bees or wasps chasing me into the pool.
  • Going to movies with you both was a highlight and always made me feel like “a big girl”.  I remember lining up with you both to see Star Wars at the Vogue having no clue what it was.  Then, being totally freaked out by the Sandmonsters and Darth Vader.  We all slept in Maichie’s room that night.  You two lying in the normal sleeping position, me across the top of the bed because I was too scared to sleep on the floor.  I remember Mom forcing you to take me to Charlotte’s Web, but I knew that I was really doing you the favour.  Best movie EVER!
  • Speaking of Charlotte’s Web, I loved reading that book aloud to myself day and night and all of you telling me to SHUT UP over and over again.  Thanks to the verbal abuse from my older sisters, night after night, I finally did learn to read using my inside voice.
  • Remember when we went to Miami and Disney World for the first time?  It was my first time on a beach and I couldn’t quite get the hang of sandcastles, but you guys tried your best.  I’ll never forget, at Disney, the old woman coming out of the parade and hitting Dad on the head with her rolling pin.  It didn’t knock any sense into him, but it sure was funny.  I remember Goofy coming up behind Mom and covering her eyes with his hands – only he and I knew what was happening.  Mom yelling – “Larry, would you cut it out!” then Goofy revealed that it was really a top dog playing a trick on her.  Goofy took a picture with me and I’ll never forget that moment, especially since Mickey and Minnie dissed me earlier in the day.  I remember you guys went on Dumbo together and were soaring!  I was on the ride with Mummy and every time I’d try to make Dumbo go higher, she’d push the lever down so we were closer to the ground.  She pretended it was so that I wouldn’t be afraid, but I knew the truth.
  • I remember FINALLY getting to go to school like you two.  It was one of my best memories.  Argyle was the only time that the three of us were in the same school together because I was so far behind you both.  You both protected me at school – Michele fighting off the bullies and Donna telling me who I could speak to and who I had to avoid because they were one of the “bad kids”.  You even taught me to play hopscotch.
  • Sitting outside, under the umbrella and having our barbecues.  Remember how a nice day in Sydney was the nicest day ever – no humidity – just warm and sunny…
  • The odd time, getting to play games together as a family.  Monopoly and Pay Day – it wasn’t often – Dad didn’t have the patience and Mom didn’t like to lose (she still doesn’t).  They were still fun memories.  Later board games were replaced by cards.  Gin, black jack, bloody knuckles – whatever we felt like at the time.
  • I remember your high school graduations – you both got to wear such beautiful white dresses.  I was a little disappointed that you didn’t have the mortarboard, but I got to wear that.  Bobbie came to both graduations, and she was bursting with pride.  I was too – but happy/sad – as proud as I was, I knew how badly I was going to miss both of you in the fall when you went away to school.  I learned a valuable life lesson when I went away to school a few years later – it’s always easier leaving that being left behind.
  • Best of all, I remember the days when the power would go out.  Maybe nobody liked it as much as I did, but we all got to be together with no distractions.  We didn’t have to go to school.  We got to sit near the fire…toast marshmallows…our enterprising mother cooking our dinners in the fondue pot…taking naps together because there just wasn’t a lot to do…but it was just nice…

These are just a few of my highlights…I welcome yours.

To my other older sister – Babs – thank you so much for today.  It was the best day that I’ve had since my father died.  Thank you for making the mani-pedi appointments, taking me shopping and picking the dinner location.  I’m so happy that I got to hang out with you and it was so nice not having to decide anything more stressful than what shoes to buy.


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