Category Archives: compassion

Santa’s Bag is a Little Lighter This Year

Over the summer our daughter’s cat had kittens. We were able to successfully find homes for all 7 kittens. Recently one of them was returned to us because the child in the home is allergic.

I have been under a lot of pressure to allow the kitten to stay and finally relented. He is an adorable little guy. I must be honest the decision wasn’t that hard to make.

So this frugal Mama was sitting around today worried about Christmas budgets and also costs associated with having the  kitten, who will be 6 months old in January, fixed.

We can take him to the local SPCA and, at a cost of $60.00 have the procedure done. However, the wait time is 3-4 months on average and if for any reason (which you will never be aware of) they don’t receive your phone message request for appointment, you may never get a call back. At $60 this is the most cost effective way to go, but I am uncomfortable with the uncertainty of the process.

The next option is our local cat clinic. This thought strikes terror in my cheap little heart. Costs associated with veterinarian services here are through the roof or so I am told.

Finally tired of worrying about the unknown price, I made the call. Better to gather the information to help make the best decision, not only for the kitten, but the bank account as well.

Through a very polite, courteous and helpful person at the clinic I was delighted to learn the price tag was a mere $110. Here I was stressing an astronomical amount I had learned of through the rumor mill and internet for no reason at all. Can you say happy dance?

The frugal tip here, is make the calls and do your own homework.

As an aside for those interested, females are significantly more expensive to fix because the procedure is more complex. Just an FYI for those considering adopting a furry feline friend at some point.

I am one happy lady over here. Come the new year our adorable little Tigger2 will be all fixed up and good to go!

Please have your pets neutered/spayed. I have just heard too many horror stories of what happens to these unwanted little ones.


Oh, and pun in title. Totally intended on every level 🙂


Real Time Inspiration


Today while waiting for the bus I met up with a young woman I have often seen at the same shelter.

She asked, how I have been keeping, and mentioned not seeing me around much over the fall I explained the big riding adventures to her.

She was curious as to where I ride and how far it is. I shared the  details, and of course talked about all the wonderful benefits associated with bike riding.
She was hooked.

She had always wanted to ride to work and it turned out my destination was close to her work.

When I reminded myself to curb the excitement, close my mouth and let others speak, she talked about her desire to ride to work.

The bus arrived and just before we parted ways she said, “thank you for inspiring her.”

I was so happy to have taken the enjoyment of riding out of the blog and into real time life, I nearly fell down the steps as I exited the bus. It is one thing to right a blog and hope to reach out to others and quite another when it happens in real time!

Share your adventures with others, you never know what might happen. Anyone have an experience similar to this? Would love to hear from you.

Cycling Through The Winter Blues

The weather turned icy and cold here today as it normally does around this time of year in Canada. Gone are the warm summer breezes and brisk, bright autumn days, replaced by winters’ icy touch.

With the colder temps setting in it is time to store the bike. I will miss that little piece of metal on wheels. We started a new adventure together this year and I learned about possibilities. It also reminded me how to feel like a kid again.

It was a good fall season, no worries or regrets because as soon as the weather warms up and the ice melts I will be out there pedaling along the streets and down through the parks once more, offering a smile and sincere “Good day” to those I pass by.

The winter time in Canada brings with it darker and colder days and for those of us who live in this climate, exercise is crucially important. A couple of months without sun can lead to depression, aka cabin fever.

With the bike tucked away in the garage, I turn back to the treadmill. It is perfectly situated beside a window overlooking the park. As I have done for many years over the winter months I will spend hours walking miles while watching snow storms and winter winds blow.

I have used that machine to walk through many a winter blahs. Worrying, at times, that there was nothing more for me. Thinking I would spend the rest of my life on a treadmill leading to no where.

But there is more, and the cycling adventures are proving it to me. Life is a journey. There are steps to be taken in order to grasp more of it.

Walking the treadmill built strength in my legs. This strength allowed me to hop back on the bike and continue the journey. A journey 4 years ago didn’t cross my mind.

Life has ups and downs, and sometimes we want to give up. Maybe it is true what they say, “we just have to keep going.” And when an opportunity to do something new presents itself, go ahead and give it a try.

“Step out, risk, live, love and laugh.” These are more than words, or pretty cliches. They are real time events to be experienced each day.

What new thing can you try today?

Debtless & Cheap – A Pause In Cheapville

I’m off my usual subject today, hopefully by the end of reading this post you will understand why.

I was working on the wool mitties this morning. For more on the mitten story see blog post here:  When an unexpected knock at the door caused me to loose count on the pattern. I knew the person standing there, we’ll call him M, because he was the same man who had adopted a
kitten from us back in early fall.

Ya, I’ll have to write a post explaining why we had kittens in the first place. Another blogging idea. 🙂

Anyway back too M. standing on my front porch. He wasn’t doing very good and explained that for personal reasons he was no longer able to care for and house the kitten, who we nicknamed Tigger2.

SAM_0273He said, he didn’t want to send the kitten to the pound, which I was happy to hear. Conditions in that place are not fit for anything living. I didn’t bother to mention he would have been asked if he wanted to euthanize the cat because they have no room for more animals.

Let me mention here that when I gave M. the kitten the last thing I said to him was, “Just know you can bring him back any time no questions asked if there is a problem.” And true to my word, I took him in.

As M. left he scratched Tigger2 on the head and said, “I love him you know.” His expression of affection for the kitten made me smile and I knew that was true. This was very hard for him and I didn’t want to prolong it. He is a nice person with his priorities
straight and giving the kitten back was a very unselfish act and the right thing to do.

“Don’t worry,” I said. “We’ll find a place for him.”

Now here is the quirky twist to this story. I wasn’t really surprised to see the kitten, although his return was unexpected. Let me explain.

Throughout the week I have been getting (let’s call it intuition) that one of the kittens might be coming back. Or at least that was how I interpreted it.

First I heard from several of the kittens owners that the little ones are going crazy right now. Which is normal behavior for a cat of that age. One of the new owners really seems to be struggling and I reminded him that can be returned if necessary.

Next, I turned on a show called animal intervention that is new to me. For those unfamiliar with it. Basically two people tour homes in which there is suspected inadequate care for big cats and other wild animals. Where they find poor conditions they attempt to work with the owners to either fix up the housing or relocate them to a safer and healthier location.

Tears welled up in my eyes as I watched a big cat owner unselfishly surrender the animals he loved so dearly to a sanctuary because he was no longer able to care for them. I was very impressed with this unselfish act, much the same way M impressed me this morning.

De ja vous or what?

Anyway as impressed as I am the work begins. We need to find a new home for Tigger2 where he can be happy and healthy and thrive with unselfish people. People very much like M. who
are willing to share their home with this adorable little guy. If you know of anyone who might be interested in adopting Tigger please get in touch with me.

Thank you

Bikes, Writing, Fans & Congratulations

“Celebrate any progress. Don’t wait to get perfect.” – Ann McGee Cooper

After taking the summer off I recently returned to my part time job 3-4 days per week. Last year throughout fall/winter/spring I took the bus and it was… fine. I have nothing against public transit only a preference for outdoor spaces (except when extremely hot/cold). Someone suggested riding a bike to work. I laughed at the idea. My bike had been tucked away in the garage collecting dust for years. The more I thought on it, however the more it became an option.

On a warm day about a month ago I decided to take the first bike ride I had been on in years. I pulled it from the garage and literally had to dust it off, no joke. Hopping on I went for a short spin in the park. The old saying is true, “one never forgets how to ride a bike”. I may have kept my balance, but the muscles are a little slower to remember these days. Later that evening aching muscles had me limping around the house and screaming for aspirins.

The next morning I could barely move without wincing in pain. This is not for me, I thought, I can’t do it. There is no way I can ride 10K round trip 3-4 times per week. However, I did that small tour of the park and congratulated myself for the effort.

When it came time to head off to work I pulled the bus pass from my wallet on the way out the door. I stopped in front of the garage. My butt muscles were still sore and it is too hot to ride I argued. Tucking the pass back in the wallet I opened the garage door and pulled out the bike.

I jumped up on with more exuberance than I felt, cursing as my sore butt hit the hard leather seat. There was nothing graceful about this ride. I chugged along the streets and through the park toward work. According to the GPS ETA was 15 minutes by bike. After getting off several times to walk up steep hills, and stop at traffic lights, I arrived in 30 minutes. I parked the bike at the side of the house and became aware of only one thing. My aching leg muscles. It’s just too hard! My mind screamed

The end of the work day arrived and I stood facing the bike. I can call for a drive or take the bus home, I reminded myself. Instead of taking my phone out I swung my leg over the side of the bike and hopped on. The trip took another 30 minutes to get home. I parked the bike in the garage and swore never to ride the thing again. I am too old for this!

That was 3 weeks ago and after a few more nights of sore muscles and a bit of bike tweaking to make it more comfortable I now ride back and forth to work every day. This means I am riding 30-40 K per week. I look forward to the trips now. It is an enjoyable part of my day. My energy level has increased and I feel good about myself for sticking with it.

I find writing much like riding a bike. We learn it, write a few stories, put it away for awhile, maybe then come back to it again. All the time wondering, can I do this? Sometimes we quit out of fear of failure. This might happen many times over. The reality is: it is only in the continued action of writing that small successes can lead to bigger and bigger ones.

I congratulate myself for hopping on that bike and for writing this latest blog post.

You are your own biggest fan. What successes should you be congratulated for today?

Hello, hello… testing 1,2,3

Is this mic on? Yes it is thanks to WordPress.

Writing thought for today. I have always been a bit confused over the fine line between confidence and arrogance. Thanks to a movie I recently watched with my granddaughter the confusion is cleared up.

From Sharpay’s Fabulous Adventure “Confidence is when you know you’re good. Arrogance is when you expect everybody else to know you’re good.” Ya I know kinda lame I had to quote this from a kids movie. Anyway it works for me!

Writer’s, artists skilled individuals of all kinds, let’s put away the insecurity role up the sleeves and get to work.

Leave the insecurities at the door and know that it is enough to know you’re good and keep going!

Story Telling – A Gift To The Writer

Writing is a gift to the writer first.

Let me explain.

When I was a kid and before I had developed enough skill to write stories on paper I loved to tell them orally. I made them up in my head as I went along. I shared the stories with anyone close enough to hear them. Many times the realistic tale freaked people out, because they thought it was true. I got myself a reputation then, and not a very nice one as you might imagine.

I remember from childhood one particular story telling episode. It happened over 30 years ago and is still discussed at family Christmas parties.

I was at my cousin’s house playing in the basement. She had a really cool chalk board. It was great for role playing teacher and drawing pictures. One day I picked up a piece of chalk, told my cousin to take a seat and started drawing out a map of her house. I then drew the road that led from her house to mine, a couple blocks away. I wrote the title above the map “our escape plan”. The map finished, the plans made we sat down to watch our favorite kids shows. A while later my mother picked me up and we went home. I showered and snuggled into bed at the usual time.

Around midnight my Aunt called my Mother.. My cousin was packed and sitting on the edge of her bed waiting for me to come and get her. Mother woke me and \I picked up the phone. I told her it was just a game and I wasn’t really coming to get her. The next day, I got in big trouble for that little tale.

Anyway my cousin and I grew up and I went away to begin my life as an adult. I snagged a decent office job, met and married my husband and we had two lovely daughters. The writing was not forgotten only buried under a heap of responsibilities.

Like most there were a few rough patches to deal with along the way. In quick succession I was hit with two major life altering situations. First I was made redundant at work and second my mother passed away. This sent me into a dark period of life.

Depression took over and I could do little other than sit on the couch and stare at nothing in particular while unable to grasp a clear thought. Sometime within that year I decided to try writing again. I knew from past experience it is a great form of therapy and what did I have left to lose? Maybe if nothing else, I thought, it can help me find a little footing again.

I sat at the keyboard day after day looking at the blank page writing crazy stuff and feeling like yet another failure was upon me. Then I picked up a random self help book in my office. One I hadn’t looked at for years. I knew that if I hoped to be a decent writer I had to get myself to a place where I was clear mind and effective in my life.

With the support of my family alongside the passion for writing I was able to keep going. Not just keep going but to actually use the desire and passion to write to help pull myself from the darkness and develop further as a responsible and effective human being.

The gift of a love for writing made all the difference. My family was great but they didn’t understand me during that dark phase. Who can blame them, I was incomprehensible. Getting myself centered again and back on target because I really wanted to learn the writing craft along with the stubborn persistence I had to carry on is the thing that pulled me out of my self induced prison.

So you see when you focus on something good, positive, something you love it is a gift. For me it is writing that is the gift that saved me. How did it help save me? It drove me to continue with self development and renewed my love of reading and writing. I am so thankful for the desire to be a writer and even happier to be writing these words today.

How has your passion and desire for writing improved your life?