Monday, October 09, 2006

Fall Beautiful Fall!

September has come and gone and October has arrived! Where did the summer go? Although I am no longer a full time student, September still feels like a time for new beginnings and the official start of the year. September and October bring the most perfect weather. The humidity of the summer is gone, the sun is lower in the sky and seems warmer, and it feels good to wear a sweater in the evening. I always feel a bit nostalgic in the fall too. I can remember the excitement of starting school each year, the fun my sister and I had jumping in a freshly raked pile of leaves, and looking forward to the Thanksgiving and Christmas holiday seasons. Every year when I see the colours of the leaves changing it feels like I'm seeing it for the first time. The beauty of nature amazes me.

This fall has been very busy so far. Brayden started Grade 5 and is also enrolled in the Kumon Learning Centre to help him with math. So far so good, and he proudly brought home a math test from school with a big 'A' on the top! He is also taking fencing lessons at the Canadian Fencing Academy here in Oakville. Perhaps it's all about the 'sword', but that's OK, he really seems to enjoy it and I think he's progressing very well!

I have enrolled in a course at the Ryerson University School of Continuing Education, and my goal is to complete a 'Certificate in Publishing' in about 2 years. I'm currently taking 'Copy Editing for Books, Journals and Reports'. So far so good, but it does take some discipline I haven't had to exercise in a while when it comes to reading and studying.

We've had a lot of social events this season too - two housewarming parties, apple picking one weekend, Jason went to a Leaf's game, I have had book club twice, and we had dinner for Jason's Mom, Linda and Alois, who both celebrated birthdays in September.

Today is Thanksgiving Day and I have a turkey in the oven. This is the first time in 10 years that I've attempted to cook a turkey. The only other time I did, it was disastrous. I cooked it for three days and it was still frozen in the middle! I'm a bit older and wiser now and I am quite confident that it will turn out this time. Smells good anyway! As I type this my mom is on a plane somewhere over the Atlantic on her way home from Ireland. That means we won't have her here for our inaugural Thanksgiving dinner in our home, but Bev and Luigi, Brayden, and my dad will be here to enjoy it with us.

Jason and I took a long scenic drive to the Niagara area yesterday. It was an absolutely gorgeous fall day and we followed the 'Waterfront Trail' all the way from Lakeshore Road in Oakville right into Niagara-on-the-Lake. This little town is probably my favourite place on earth. I spent a lot of time in this area as my grandparents lived in NOTL when I was growing up. The downtown is so quaint, the tree-lined streets with old Victorian homes are beautiful and the orchards and vineyards as far as the eye can see are breathtaking. Here are some photos from our trip.

Grapes and Vineyard at Inniskillin Winery

Niagara River view from Queenston Heights

A very festive home along the Parkway

My grandparents' former home. I can't go to NOTL without driving by :)


Thursday, August 17, 2006

Heart & Stroke Walk For Heart

On Sunday, September 24th, I am participating in the Cheerios Heart & Stroke Walk for Heart for the fifth year in a row! Our goal is to raise money in support of heart disease and stroke research and health education programs. The reason? Heart disease and stroke remains the leading cause of death in Canada. As many of you know, my family has a serious history of heart disease, in particular my dad. I have seen first hand the amazing results of research with regard to heart health, surgery and recovery.

You can help me raise funds for this important cause and help the Heart and Stroke Foundation reach their goal of $3.2 million for life-saving research. To sponsor me online, just click the link below to access my secure fundraising page. Or, you may also sponsor me by cash or cheque (payable to Heart and Stroke Foundation).

Thanks for your generous support!

copy and paste this link into your browser - or click the link over to the right ---->

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Chance made us Sisters, Hearts made us Friends

My Sister

My sister is my heart.
She opens doors to rooms
I never knew were there,
Breaks through walls
I don't recall building.
She lights my darkest corners
With the sparkle in her eyes.

My sister is my soul.
She inspires my wearied spirit
To fly on wings of angels,
But while I hold her hand
My feet never leave the ground.
She stills my deepest fears
With the wisdom of her song.

My sister is my past.
She writes my history
In her eyes I recognize myself,
Memories only we can share.
She remembers, she forgives
She accepts me as I am
With tender understanding.

My sister is my future.
She lives within my dreams
She sees my undiscovered secrets,
Believes in me as I stumble
She walks in step beside me,
Her love lighting my way.

My sister is my strength
She hears the whispered prayers
That I cannot speak
She helps me find my smile,
Freely giving hers away
She catches my tears
In her gentle hands.

My sister is like no one else
She's my most treasured friend
Filling up the empty spaces
Healing broken places
She is my rock, my inspiration.
Though impossible to define,
In a word, she sister.

Saturday, August 12, 2006

The Lazy Days of Summer

Sun, sand, no schedule, friends and family. That's what this past week has been about at Maple Brae Lakeside Cottages, just north of Huntsville on Clear Lake, where Jason, Brayden and I rented a cottage. Bev and Luigi, and the Frasers had cottages for the week too. The weather was great - sunny, not humid, perfect for sitting on the beach with a book while Brayden swam for hours - literally. Clear Lake is great for swimming and canoeing- it's not that big, but the water is always a bit cool, it's very scenic and usually quite calm. Jason and I took a canoe ride around the entire perimeter of the lake one day - it was gorgeous. The evenings were chilly, but nice for sleeping and sitting outside while the campfire burned in the background. It truly was a relaxing week away for all of us.

Cottage #6 - 'The Lakeside' - right on the beach

View of the Lake

Luigi and Brayden in the canoe

Jason relaxing

Brayden roasting marshmallows.

On Friday Jason and I drove Brayden to his grandparents' house in Nipissing where he is now staying for 2 weeks. On the drive back through the country roads, we stopped to take some photos. Well, I preferred to take photos of Jason taking photos - haha! He's a GREAT photographer and I hope to have some of his photos on our walls soon.

What he was actually taking photos of!

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Brayden is a Big Brother!

Garen William King was born on July 25, 2006 at 1:43 a.m. to Brayden's dad Jason and girlfriend Amanda. Brayden is so excited to be a big brother, and I know he will make a GREAT one! Congratulations Brayden!!

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Elmhurst Inn - July 1, 2006

On the Canada Day Weekend, Jason and I went to the Elmhurst Country Inn & Spa in Ingersoll. We needed a bit of a break from the house and all of the every day stuff that we've been doing since we moved. Wow...what a beautiful place! The Elmhurst Inn was once the mansion of the Harris family (cheese and apple pioneers of Canada). It has been expanded, but the old mansion is now used as the dining room. We really enjoyed our stay and the grounds were gorgeous. Dinner in the mansion was world class. We'd go back just for dinner! I highly recommend the Elmhurst for a quick getaway - beautiful rooms with Aveda products, gorgeous grounds, breakfast included with every stay - and it was only an hour and twenty minutes from Oakville.

The Mansion where we had dinner

Beautiful pond on the grounds

The 'Carriage House' - lounge, games, restaurant

View of the Inn from down at the pond

Friday, June 09, 2006

A Tail of Two Kitties *Meow!*

Harmony and Gary got off to a rough start when they were moved in together. Gary is sort of a happy go lucky silly cat and Harmony is much more 'mature' and reserved. Gary taunts her a lot and wants to play.... but Harmony wants no part of it. I love both our kitties though and can't resist posting some photos of them!

Harmony showing Gary who's boss!

They are so cute when they are sleeping!

Gary asleep in my (dirty) laundry basket in my closet

B and Me in the Bahamas!

Aaaahh... The Bahamas! Brayden and I went to Nassau on April 28th for four glorious days! It was Brayden's very first vacation and first time on a plane. He was quite nervous before the take-off but before we knew it we were eating little sandwiches in a box, watching a movie, and then landing - piece of cake! We stayed at the Nassau Beach Hotel where Bev and Luigi have been a few times. Very nice hotel, with use of the Wyndham Resort and Casino next door. Brayden and I were the first at the pool most days. We were actually up, showered and walking around on the first day before anything was even open! We spent most of our days by the pool that had a really cool waterslide. When the two of us went down together and laid down - OMG, it was SO fast! It was great! We took a 'jitney' into downtown Nassau on Tuesday and visited the Pirate Museum. The pirate at the door talked a lot about Johnny Depp... which of course, Brayden found funny! We shopped in the straw market, had lunch at Senor Frogs and then took a jitney back to the hotel. It was a really relaxing time and Brayden really enjoyed himself. He seemed so relaxed and commented more than once that he had 'never seen anywhere so beautiful before'. It was a really special time for my boy and I to spend together. We will definitely do it again!

I'm Really Going to Blog Now...

OK, enough nonsense... I am actually going to blog. I finally have some newsworthy things going on, so time to get down to business and BLOG! :)

Why is it 'A Penne for Your Thoughts'? My brother-in-law, Luigi, nicknames everyone and many years ago he started calling me Penne. I suppose for an Italian guy the name is natural - Jennifer - Jenny - Penne. Anyway, the name has really stuck and so many of my friends and family call me Penne now, I'm used to it and kind of like it. :)