Where did October go?

It has been a crazy few weeks. Friday was the grown-up Halloween party. The DJ was great (in Oakville, people hire DJs for house parties.) So great that, apparently, I thought I was twenty. I ended up dancing for about 6 hours in heels. I now need a new set of knees. Seriously. 

Saturday, I was up early for the Full Circle Live. Move. Be conference at Crossroads. I was groaning when my alarm rang, but it was so worth it. The always terrific Joel Auge was leading the worship and my pal Melinda Estabrooks was the hostess with the mostest. 

The keynote speaker was Lisa Whelchel. Yup, Blair from Facts of Life. She's 50 and has not aged and still has great hair and she rocked Survivor and published something like 750 books, so you kind of want to hate her. But she's actually pretty fabulous. 

She spoke a lot about wearing masks and trying so hard to be perfect that you never make real connections. She talked about how things that crack the veneer (like her fairly public divorce) are a blessing, as they allow you to ask for help and receive the grace already given. 

I was so impressed that I bought her book, Friendship for Growups, and read it immediately. While it is about crafting solid adult relationships, it's also about healing after trauma and resetting one's life course. I'm not sure I would like some of her earlier parenting books but this book shows a wisdom and maturity that only seems to develop with the hard knocks of life. 

The whole idea of functional relationships was further explored by Dr. Merry C. Lin, a clinical psychologist with a book dropping in January. And yes, I ordered that book too. 

One of the highlights of the conference was when Cheryl Weber and Melinda Estabrooks talked about child trafficking. Cheryl discussed some of the important outreach work done rescuing children and Melinda talked about how easily their story could have been hers if, as a young girl in an orphanage in the Philippines, she had not been adopted by her parents. They passed the proverbial hat around the room and raised enough money to free over 80 children.  

And this is, of course, the body of Christ at its best: to recognize and help those people living in the margins not because it's good to help "those people" (read Scary Mommy's post for an excellent take on this) but because we recognize them as brothers and sisters and know that it could so easily have been us.

Sunday, Bruxy hit it out of the park with his talk about Modern Family and how sometimes we, as Christians, need to agree to disagree on some key issues. And the worship band was fabulous as always. Ditto for the Sunday school.

The rest of the weekend/week has been filled with intense Halloween planning. The kids know what they want to be and we simply have to get Serena in line. Clown, hot dog or pumpkin: it's so hard to choose...

Dude, where's my post?

Let the blog slip for a bit. I've had some tough days. It's all par for the course, evidently but I have had some good people rally around me.

I'm also switching my business stuff to a PC (in my personal life, I'm still a Mac girl) which is time consuming.

Also, I've been eating out a lot.

Last Friday, I ate at Buca on King W in the city.

It's fun, hip (the waiters wear leather butcher's aprons) and fairly foodie (when pork blood dessert is featured, they aren't kidding around!) And the food is pretty:

I ate at The Alex. The food in Oakville is good but sort of boring. To get fun food without going into TO, you have to go to Burlington. Yes, Burlington! Who knew? The Alex serves small plates (my fav!) so the boyfriend and I were able to share chicken terrine, ham hock and cheese curd stuffed deboned chicken wings, jerk lamb, and braised short ribs (if you are going to get a hockey dude to go for the small plate idea, best you make it a carnivorous feast!) Oh, and a homemade twix bar. Yummo.

I also ate at La Palette. Now, I did not know about the whole horse meat thing before going there, so please do not email me in protest. For the record, I did not eat anything that ever neighed or whinnied. I had some duck parts sausage and the steak frites. Clearly, I'm no longer a vegetarian. I was hanging with this fun secret society - sort of like the illuminati with stock options.

I've been pretty good about doing my 5K runs so that I can still fit into my clothes after all this gluttony.   I'm slow but I'm still out there. And for the first year, I've managed to keep the Halloween candy sealed. This requires crazy will-power for me.

I'm still on an austerity budget because I need to finance my upcoming beach vacation. So only two new fashiony things to describe. My mother brought me back a Burburry Prorsum scarf from her UK travels. It looks jaunty with my Joules fox sweater:

I also found the deal of the century on a pair of vintage, never worn, authenticated Roger Vivier pumps from the 1950s in the original box. They were only $50, which is a steal.

I've been lusting after a pair of his shoes forever but could never justify the price so I was pretty pleased.

The kids are crazy excited for Halloween. Their Halloween party at the club was last weekend. I was entrusted with decorating the fireplace.


My daughter won most creative costume for age group for her Cookie Monster costume that she pulled together herself. My son was annoyed he did not win so we had the "if you insist on only wearing the police jacket over your sweatpants and refuse to put on the police hat, you might not win a prize" talk. Oh well, at least he is not Party Man this year (for years, he refused to wear anything but a cone-shaped cardboard party hat with his regular clothes.)

The grown-up Halloween party is this weekend. I'm one of those Bavarian beer gals to match my bf's beer-themed costume. Oompapa! Oakville seems to love parties. Halloween lasts about a month around here.

I've also landed at a new church. I know quite a few people who attend The Meeting House and I've been enjoying the services. At first, I missed the Anglican liturgy but now I quite enjoy the service. And the music is amazing. So in spite of the fact that at one point, they literally ran down the lovely Alexa Clark, I think I'll be there for a while.

Saw Gravity. Best movie I've seen in forever. Highly recommend.

I can't believe what I put up with!

Well, that's all for now. I'm doing lots of serious business stuff so I have less time over here but I'll still pop in from time to time.

Take care and don't eat too many of those little Kit Kat bars...

Weekend wrap up

It was a very busy weekend. On Friday, I met a friend for dinner at Weslodge Saloon. What a fun spot!

It bills itself as a refined saloon. I love the quirky decor:

They had a fab cocktail list. I decided to try one with tobacco liqueur. Yum!

And the menu! We shared ricotta dumplings, crispy hen and biscuits (to die for!), bison ribeye, thrice cooked fries, grilled snap peas and deconstructed peach melba. Needless to say, I felt I needed to go for a run the next morning.

Saturday was Oakville's Fall Fest. My pal Melinda and I wandered the main street for several hours. I picked up a classic black sequin sheath dress for a song. I love deep discounts on in-season merchandise.

During our Lakeshore shopping, we got photo-bombed by a guy on stilts.

I lingered over every Diptyque candle at Soap and Water. Feu de Bois or Galliano. Decisions, decisions...

I also realized that I know quite a few people in this town. I'm an introvert and meeting people is not my strong-suit but between the club, the school, two churches, the bf's large social circle, and friends of new friends, I can't go anywhere without bumping into someone I know. (Never again will I do my croissant and coffee run to Whole Foods on a Saturday morning as the cool-down portion of my run. As I'm looking gross and out of breath at the cash, the people behind me reminded me that we'd been at a party together a couple of months ago. Mortified!)

Late Saturday night, I crashed a Gatsby party. I'd had an earlier engagement and did not feel right about showing up late at first. As the evening progressed, I was convinced otherwise and so threw on a LBD, pearls, a 20s-style headband and a fur stole. Fun evening! Like, as in 'professional singers whose albums I own doing karaoke' kind of fun. And apparently, you can be forgiven a variety of social faux-pas (like crashing a party) as long as you bring your own gin.

Sunday, I slept until 10! So, sadly I could not attend the service at The Meeting House. I've really come to love the music there and miss it when I don't go. I did listen to Revelation Song several times though to partly make up for it.

I had brunch at O&B. More yum. I should let the fact I need to be in a bathing suit in three months govern my behaviour a bit more, I suspect. Oh well. Sunday afternoon was spent relaxing and marvelling at the newest rainbow loom creations. Wow, I wish I'd invented that! I watched the Long Island Medium marathon. Why has nobody told me about that show?? So good. I bawled. It's been added to my old-lady tv roster.

And then I listened to the trailer song a bunch of times.

It was a pretty perfect fall weekend, which feels like such a gift. I purchased my house a year ago last week and can't believe how much different (and improved!) my life is. The saying 'don't give up' comes to mind. As one of the Gastby-ers said, God is faithful.

I hope y'all had a lovely fall weekend. I'm spending this week up to my eyeballs in business reading so I'll check back in on Friday.

Bliss Notes: Sweater Weather

sweater weather
delicious for thin arms
nothing like 
the ecstasy of yarn
to protect against the lean times
                                            - Janet Lynn Davis in Haiku Harvest: 2000-2006

You won't hear me grumbling that the air has turned chilly; I have always adored Fall.  

I love getting back into a routine, walking the dog through newly fallen leaves, and, of course, enjoying all things pumpkin. Most of all, I love being able to wear the sweaters I tucked away last spring. 

I fully identify with Michelle Hunevan who, in her essay in The Knitter's Gift, wrote "David Byrne once sang that his life could me measured out in shirts; with my life, it's sweaters." We can remember the great ones: the pale pink Adrienne Vittadini with the pom poms at the neck, the LAMB cashmere fair isle, the Ports cardigan with the gold buttons. A great sweater is the fashion equivalent of a salted caramel hot chocolate with a swig of Baileys. As mystery writer Diane Mott Davidson writes in Chopping Spree, "I felt better once I bought a new sweater. It was cabled pink mohair and buying and wearing it made me feel loved again." When nothing else is certain, a sweater can be a source of comfort. In Kate Jacobs's The Friday Night Knitting Club, a newly divorced character comments, "While I'm figuring out this new life of mine, I think I might need a sweater or two." In these uncertain economic and political times (U.S. government shutdown!), we could all use a sweater or two (just don't buy it on credit!)

There really are no bad sweaters. Even holiday sweaters with real bells sewn into their hems are pretty great (visit We hate sheep. We love holiday sweaters if you don't believe me.) Meryn Cadell in her fabulous teen girl angst anthem, The Sweater, declares "Now if the sweater has, like, reindeer on it/or is a funny color like yellow... I'm sorry, /you can't get away with a sweater like that./" But after seeing Colin Firth get away with a reindeer sweater for a good chunk of the Bridget Jones's Diary movie, I'd like to invite Ms. Cadell to open this up for discussion. (And, no, after reading the spoilers, I am not going to read the newest Bridget Jones installment! I'm far too grumpy about it all.) 

When shopping for a new sweater, we try to keep in mind architecture critic Michael Sorkin's ideal: "Not an ordinary sweater, of course, but an exceptional sweater, a thrilling sweater, cozy, useful, glamorous, and unexpected. A sweater beyond sweaters from a closet full of fabulous sweaters." A good sweater should feel like a hug and nothing beats cashmere for softness and warmth. What Not to Wear's Clinton Kelly officially stole our hearts when he declared, "If I were a super hero, I'd be cashmere man." Seriously: love. 

In her terrific book on self-care, Wear More Cashmere, Jennifer "Gin" Saunders uses cashmere as a metaphor for taking care of oneself: "Years ago I stuck a mini post it on the side of my computer that read "Wear more cashmere." It was a little reminder to myself ... that I needed to spend a little time on myself, more often than I'd been doing." Cashmere requires care (as someone who has passed on shrunken sweaters to my daughter, I know this all too well!) and it reminds me that I do too. 

In the end, it's about the comfort and, whatever our sweater snack bracket, we can surround ourselves with softness and warmth. 

Christmas Traditions: The Nutcracker Ballet

Every year, I take my daughter to see the Nutcracker. (I took my youngest son once, but he loudly complained that there was too much dancing...