10 Fun Facts about Robins

Parents tell their children not to handle eggs in a nest or pick up the fledgling bird who has fallen from the nest (most likely in its first attempt to fly) because the parent bird will know that a human has touched them and will then abandon the nest … which is not the case for the most part.
Why should you not immediately bear young birds away to a safer place? Primarily because the last thing you want to do is separate baby birds from their parents. Don’t consider picking up such finds and bringing them into your home to be cared for, because their parents will do a much better job than you ever could. Chances are very good that mom and dad are close at hand, even if you don’t see them.
  1.  Robins are found on every continent and are one of the most common songbirds.  Often they are the first bird you will see in the Spring
  2.   Besides earthworms, robins also eat berries, fruit, nuts and seeds, and other insects
  3. Most robins only live about six years
  4. They have up to 3 broods (or hatchings) each year and can reach up to 5
  5. Robins are territorial and will fight with other robins if challenged
  6. Robins are not born with their red breast but acquire it after their first moult (shedding)
  7. Though they don’t usually breed until March, if weather is mild it can be as early as January
  8. Robins are members of the thrush family so related to nightingales and blackbirds
  9. The robin is the official state bird of Connecticut, Michigan and Wisconsin
  10. Not related to Robin Hood, Batman’s sidekick or Robin Williams but featured on the 1986 Canadian $2.00 bill.

Break Room

maxine     I read in the paper today an article on this fad that is presently the rage – quite literally in Buenos Aires and spreading everywhere, where people can pay to go into a ‘rage room’ and throw champagne glasses against the wall and break old computer monitors, etc to release pent-up anger they may have for an ex or the boss at work or some be-atch that stole their man, etc.  They are primarily used by women as an expression of emotions they don’t often get to express for fear of being a drama queen or unstable emotionally, etc.

And I immediately thought – they stole my idea!!  Years ago I thought this would be a great idea and was based on the Monty Python sketch where you could pay money and have an argument with someone for a certain amount of time.  I watched that and thought wouldn’t it be great if you could go into a warehouse somewhere, pay a fee and scream to your heart’s content or break dishes on the floor and get out any pent-up here-to-for unreleased rage at what ever was bothering you at the time.  I even thought it would be good if you had someone there that would just agree with everything you said – who wouldn’t like to have their very own yes-man!

Oh well, timing is everything, I suppose!





The Red Pepper Jelly Caper

red-pepper_33  Almost every year a friend of mine and I get together to catch up on what is happening in our lives and to make red pepper jelly (recipe provided by local Mennonites) so that we have hostess gifts when we go out socializing at Christmas.

Now she likes to make her jelly with a lot of heat so she uses a lot of Frank’s hot sauce in hers whereas I only use a few drops but neither of us was prepared for the heat in the kitchen this year.

We had the pots on the stove, one for the jars bubbling nicely and the other two with our batch of peppers and sugar (she normally doubles the recipe, I don’t have that many friends).  Unfortunately, we got into a discussion about something and looked away from the stove when I noticed her pot was boiling over and I took the cover off while she was thinking about how to move the pot off the element without either of us getting third degree burns and then the element started flaming due to the sugar and I took a tea towel and smothered it and we managed to get everything under control but our heart rate was fairly high at the time.

It took us a good twenty minutes to clean up the damage, scraping the mess off the stove and using a hot, soaked cloth to scrub all the sticky bits off the floor, cupboards and everywhere else.  She made us a couple of good rum eggnog to calm our nerves and we continued on.  It was a wonder one of the neighbours didn’t call the fire department as we had to open the windows and door to dispel all the smoke.

I think she will be getting a fire extinguisher from Santa this Christmas!  Just in case








Such a dirty word with its implied connotation of weakness, something you should be able to talk yourself out of, but I find that I am addicted.

It was insidious, just a few to pass the time till dinner or before I went to bed but nothing serious and then I found myself sneaking a few at work when I was stressed and wanted to just relax and not think for a while.

I should have seen the signs then since they frown upon that kind of activity at work but it was just innocent after all.  Now it has become a habit and I think about it constantly though I am certain I have a handle on it because it isn’t affecting my work or my health – it’s harmless, right?

I even have my husband hooked and I know a few good friends who have confessed they are addicted as well.  I can’t believe that we don’t have the discipline to stop as we are so conservative and normal in every other aspect of our life.

I am embarrassed about seeing an addiction counselor afraid they will laugh at us and tell us to grow up and become responsible adults which we are – have no debt other than our mortgage and would have had that paid off had we not done some travelling but you have to have some fun in life after all; besides travelling is very educational and such a great adventure – memories that will last a lifetime or Alzheimer’s erases them all.  Besides the mortgage would be quite manageable even if only one of us was working.

Henry Birk and Sons Clock

I do find that I am now turning to it more and more when I’m not watching TV or absorbed in a good book, both of which take my attention away from it but sooner or later I will lift the lid of my computer and click on the icon and up it comes and I am relaxed and ready for beating the clock.  That’s what it boils down to – not solving the game of  FREE CELL but trying to get it down to under a minute to make all your moves and without having to backtrack so the game doesn’t count against you.  What hurts, deeply, is that my husband is far better at it than I since his best score is 1.05 seconds ( he has informed me that it is 42 seconds now) and I can’t manage to get finished in under 2 minutes.  Makes me sorry I showed him how to play in the first place.

Radiant Heating

Last sumlife-savermer we moved into our new home and the people selling had put in an ensuite in the master bedroom to help sell as most people want at least 1 and 1/2 baths.  The real estate agent had pointed out that they had installed heated flooring and I remember thinking that just seems the trendy thing to do and no big deal.

Then winter hit and I thought I’d turn on the thermostat (hadn’t needed it till then).  OMG, I can’t believe how lovely it feels to go in there in the middle of the night and step onto a warm floor.  Who would have thought such utter bliss could be had by walking on a heated tile.  I’m still not sure what would happen if it stopped working as I believe it would involve tearing up all the tile and who would go to that trouble and expense so I still think it’s an extravagance but believe me I will enjoy it till it does go kaputsky!

The same thing applies to the heated seats in our car – toasty!


Music is required medicine for the soul

I frequently get into shall we say, heated discussions with my friends regarding the wonder of music and the multitude of genres out there and why so many of them seem to categorize their likes and dislikes within a limited framework such as punk, hip-hop, rap, metal, rock and country.

They don’t seem to want to branch out to classical, jazz, blues, world, opera, etc and there are good pieces out there in all categories though to be truthful I am not a big fan of rap.  I never said I was perfect!  Lately though I have been getting into just the music and not the lyrics and certain instruments – piano, cello, saxophone and violin.  My mother’s side of the family is very talented and play many instruments, our family though could be described as musically challenged as we don’t play any instruments and unless you want to empty a room, you wouldn’t want to hear us sing either but I do just that in the privacy of my own home as I am sure do many of you.

phil-barone-curved-soprano-saxophoneOne of my favourite sax players was Clarence Clemons from the E Street band and the horns from The Tower of Power.  The haunting Sax riff by Raphael Ravenscroft (what a great handle) in Gerry Rafferty’s song Baker Street still gives me chills.  My personal favourite and there are many great saxophone players was Junior Walker (and the AllStars)

The Public washroom

After having travelled a fair bit, I have come to appreciate the prevalance (or not) of the public washroom which seems to be required more and more as I advance in years.  The picture below is of a lovely scene from the town of Napier, New Zealand and if you look close enough you will see the door handle to the washroom on the tree and the word Toilet at the top of the tree.  I thought that this was fantastic!  What a delightful way to dress up the humdrum but quite necessary public facility.  Why is that we lack this imagination in North America?

Public washroom in Napier, NZ

In another photo that I can’t seem to find, they had painted whales on the outside of the washroom and it was in a park somewhere in New Zealand.

     I do have a photo here of a trashcan though so you can see how artsy these receptacles can be with a little thought.                                                

This was from Lake Taupo region


My new water bottle

While out recently I was talking to a woman about plastic bottles and the landfill, etc when she told me about this new water bottle she had bought which cost $60.00.  At first, I thought I had misheard her but she went on at great length about how it kept her coffee hot for over eight hours and when she had it filled with water and ice, the water was ice cold with bits of ice still in it the next day.  I didn’t think anything more about it because, hell, I’m not shelling out $60 for a thermal water bottle ever.

Then while out with hubby in the hardware store, they had these fantastic water thermoses on for half-price – $30.  so I picked one up as I didn’t want to buy packs of plastic bottles anymore and now I am a believer – and we’re not talking Justin Bieber!

This thing is awesome; I am the type of person who has to have a glass of water on the nightstand because I wake up around 3 am, have to go to the bathroom and then have a drink of water before going back to sleep…..and I like my water cold.  I put ice in this thing when I go to bed at night and there is still ice in it when I get up the next morning.  I take it out in the car with me when I go shopping and it stays cold all day.  I’m in bloody heaven.  Who knew that something so simple would make me so happy!  Keep your diamonds and furs ladies, give me a cold glass of water any time.



Since this is the first post on the blog you might think it would be about something of immense importance and it is – what other day of the year can you dress up as whatever you want and go from door to door for CANDY!  When we were kids we would all head to this one particular place first because they gave out caramel apples and while we didn’t particularly care about the health benefits of the apple we sure knew how tasty that caramel shell was and she only made so many so you had to get there before they were gone.