Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Wimpy's - A Diner Experience

Nostalgic moments come when least expected, often by way of surprise packages. They turn out to be either instantly heartwarming, or sometimes only so-so. 

When one grew up watching Popeye cartoons in the sixties, it isn't difficult to know, even today, that the character "Wimpy" was a heavy set man who adored eating hamburgers - the more the better. 

One can also (with ease so many years later) his famous request to all his friends, and when his work payday was...

"I'll gladly pay you Tuesday for a hamburger today."
~ Wimpy 

When actively pursuing an activity for our usual "family day" recently, we wanted to surprise our children by trying something new, something fun, and something very obviously different to all - if only just once. 

"Wimpy's Diner"

"Wimpy's Diner" is apparently a type of food chain equal to something like "White Spot" in the west, only Wimpy's walls are filled with a sensorial spin of decades old memorabilia from the 50's and 60's.

The food fare naturally encompasses the famous "Wimpy" hamburgers, though they do serve breakfast, other luncheon items, and dinner. Apparently they are also famous for their homemade pies.

Prompted by our waitress to stick to a smaller meal due to incredible size portions, we all ordered a junior burger, and were so happy that was all!

It had a HUGE meat patty, and all so very filling!

We really had no idea what fun awaited us there. Forget the children (though they loved it there), it became such a roll back experience for my hubby and I. 

Who had more fun? 

The adults or the children? 

I'm not entirely sure...

Mom, what is THIS THING on the wall? 
(grin, grin)

For a few moments it felt as if an embedded memory wave suddenly hit me hard on my head, when I too noticed the metal device on the wall after taking a seat on my booth. There was a good old jukebox!

My hubby and I slowly began browsing some of the titles from the metal pages of musical entries. Giving us a fun and great pleasure was watching our children do the same, not able to recognize one single song title themselves. But there we were my hubby and I, able to fondly recall almost every single one of them! (Yes, we're that old I suppose!)

For a quarter per play, I quickly chose one of my favorite super oldies, "All I have to do is Dream" by the Everly Brothers

Ahhhh, yes, it was a solid music hit for many years, one which played over the speakers every Sunday when our family went for our ice skating sessions, and a song that became wildly popular once again when I was an adult. 

Sharing song play air time with other patrons in the restaurant, it took a few moments for "our song" to come on, and then our children were perplexed over our selection of choice, especially after I had to hit the buttons A-8 to to sync it for play. 

Nostalgia definitely does come in waves. 

What a blast, especially when my hubby and I began singing quietly together, instantly remembering all of the lyrics, and our children over in the next booth just stared back towards us with quizzical looks, and stunned expressions on their faces.

We could tell what they might be thinking;

"What are they doing?"

"Shhhh, you're going to embarrass us!" 


Our children were very obviously quite taken aback by this unknown, timeless, "decades-old technology", not really sure just what to conclude from the scene before them, that of their crazy parents singing a "vintage" song by memory so many years later.

(Pretty good if you ask me)

For another quarter, I chose P-2 which made me smile BIG, flooding me with memories of a few childhood (lifelong!) friends, the ones I would upon occasion accompany to a local diner where one of these exact same jukeboxes were installed in every restaurant booth. 

Though I wasn't exactly a country music lover, I was introduced by one of them to "Tammy Wynette's - Rose Garden song", and for a nickel we could play it while we splurged and nibbled on our shared plate of fries. 

For us, this was NOT just some simple ordinary song you know, for one had to sing along with a southern twang in our voices, and "twang-along" we did as we attempted to perform for one another over and over again.

Those are such warm and wonderful memories, 
... jukeboxes in a small restaurant diner. 

More visual nostalgia located on the walls offered quizzical looks by younger children.

Those vinyl records we adults all know about, though our children have no clue. Seeing the 45rpm smaller records really made me smile. 

Ever remember the Top 40 lists in record stores where one could buy just two songs on one of these?

Never mind the full 33 1/3 rpm albums, we had 45's with special storage boxes, metals racks and centerpieces to transform our record players for using these. 

Fun memories....

Oh, and REAL milkshakes! 

Remember the real way to have a milkshake, made from using those stainless steel hand devices to create one shake at a time? 

Oh yes, we insisted part of the experience was having our gang order their own shake, a real shake that didn't come from a pouring dispenser on a metal piece of machinery like today at fast food restaurants. 


One word of warning;

Forget the single portions of food, the shakes came first and they were almost full bellied already once they downed them! (A box came home for big brother to have as a snack when he was finished his work shift for the day.)

It was just way too fun here, an adult (or child) dining experience to be sure. 

We all agreed it's not the type of place to travel and go to often, but it is one for offering nostalgic appreciations that have proportional abilities to send grown and middle aged adults back in time, even if only during a lunchtime meal all together with family.

Thank you "Wimpy"!

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Think Tropical in Winter


"What we need, really, is a change from a near frigid to a tropical attitude of mind."

~ Marjory Stoneman Douglas

Winter is most definitely a "state of mind". 

When the snow falls, get out and absorb your Vitamin D in the faux tropical sun.

Last Friday, we experienced the windiest blizzard EVER!. 

Perhaps the wind increased at its peak to mimic a similar status as a hurricane? 

No one here slept a wink, not even our daughter who was attempting to recover from that day's wisdom tooth extraction surgery. 

Yes, as the attic hatches banged up and down, and we could hear trees snap and fall, by 4am. we wondered and thought maybe it was a miracle the back doors never blew in. It was that strong!  And lightning brightened up the skies.

The next morning one knew how ferocious it was simply by hearing the news on the radio. The OPP (Ontario Police) were asking people to stay off the roads, dangerous for downed trees, power lines and traffic lights damaged, building signage strewn about, road and highway closures, accidents everywhere! 


Today, we can see a bare patch on our roof. As the snow has melted a bit yet again up there, indeed we can see a clear spot, actually the spot is exposed plywood from shingles being thrust from our roof during the blizzard. 

Last year our builder had difficulty finding more shingles to perform leak repair on the roof, and now we know how rare they are to acquire, but hopeful we can attain a few to perform the roofing repairs....that is, if we can get someone out this time of year to do it!

Off in a bit, with very tall boots on to hunt for the roofing tiles amongst the snow on the property.... :(  

But.... it's super sunny on this -18C morning, vitamin D waiting outdoors to benefit everyone.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

some family loving...

"You don't choose your family.
They are God's gift to you, as you are to them."
-- Desmond Tutu

Saturday, February 19, 2011

horse riding smiles

"No hour of life is wasted that is spent in the saddle." 
~Winston Churchill

"There is something about the outside of a horse that is good for the inside of a man."  
~Winston Churchill

"The essential joy of being with horses is that it brings us in contact with the rare elements of grace, beauty, spirit, and fire." 
~Sharon Ralls Lemon


Even though it was still daylight during her horse riding lesson, and even though the sun was glowing through the windows of the barn, it was cold - FREEZING COLD! 

The riders were working out and eventually taking off their jackets, but the mothers were wanting to stand up and dance to get the blood flowing back to our toes, so COLD! Brrrrrrr.......

There was something in the sunny highlights bouncing across the arena off the walls that caused me to snap way more photos than any human should, but I am enthralled with the beauty of the forefront and shadow duplicate of our daughter while walking and warming up her horse before getting into the saddle.

And then she smiled, and I was able to capture that moment, and the warm glow of wordless nonessentials and undeniable proof for her love of all things horse. 

She'll be missing her next lesson due to her wisdom teeth extraction, and grumbling quite a bit because of it, nevertheless she knows her new coach has invited her to ride anytime she's available. 


"And when I see her face, there's not a thing that I would change, cause you're amazing just the way you are. And when you smile, the whole world stops and stares for a while, cause you're amazing just the way you are."

~ Just the way you are lyrics, by Bruno Mars 

Friday, February 18, 2011

7/52 weeks

52 weeks of daily life in pictures: trials and celebrations,
the extraordinary and mundane -- 

whatever is unique to the week. 

Join me if you like.

It's certainly been a week of;

  paperwork, filing, writing, reading and doing.

  • It's income tax time, and we have two teens who are required to file, thus the mentor learning sessions are currently underway.

  • The good ole kitchen recipe box is in dire need of having beloved recipes rewritten for being so worn, food splashed and wrinkled to bits. 

This will be a week to polish up and use those penmanship skills, all hands will be on deck to complete the once-in-a-many years type of task this has proven to be in our home. 

The worst part though, is knowing I recall a recipe by it's colored paper, shaped paper, or the writing of ages old copywork. No one told me when I became a bride that much of the ink used so long ago would fade and become unrecognizable (like my famous Caesar salad recipe above, twice rewritten already on this teddy paper), thus also needing to begin to save so many beloved recipes. 

  • Also included in this task will be; copying recipes from torn pages of magazines heading to our recycling bins, or those hastily written while waiting at the dentist or doctor's offices.  We'll just be taking our time with this way overdue project, having allocated moments here and there over a cup of tea. The dining room table can remain loaded, and we'll pluck away little by little through the week until all is complete.

  • For my birthday my clever husband gifted me with a new red purse, NOT my usual black color in winter.

With so many additions to the interior the past few days, it was high time to get this baby all organized once again. No more receipts, pamphlets, gum papers (from children who robbed my stash the day before yesterday :), a pair of gloves and light scarf (it warmed up the past two days here), and best of all no more cell phones awaiting delivery to another cause in there.

  • ... collectively we had three former cell phones we never knew exactly what to do with until we found out about "Cell phones for Soldiers", a nonprofit organization which began by two siblings, ages 12 and13 years whose only goal was to lend a hand to assist those fighting for our freedoms overseas. It's such a great way to donate and recycle used cell phones.
Here's how this service works:
Cell Phones For Soldiers collects the used cell phones you send in and they in turn sell them to a company called ReCellular. ReCellular pays enough for each cell phone so that Cell Phones For Soldiers can provide an hour of talk time for soldiers abroad in the form of a prepaid calling card. Soldiers can't directly use your donated old phone, but they can benefit indirectly by being able to use these calling cards to call home for free! This is a tremendous blessing you are providing for them and it comes from something that most people just throw away!
When we found out there was also a Canadian version of the same with a drop off in our own city nearby, it was high time to dispose of these cell phones to pay it forward for another purpose. Happy to report these websites to you in case you are also running around like a mad woman purging the dickens from your home's possessions like I am. (LOL)

  • Anyway, back to the purse...

It came with his choice of separate (sort of, but quite canny) matching red wallet, a wallet that also had an accompanying card sorter to make my life even more organized when having to carry around extra medical cards, emergency medical portfolios, library cards, and additional
items our children require while away from home. 

With two separate organizers, it's so easy to use, and my actual wallet feels so slim, I forget it's even in my purse as it no longer weighs five pounds! I can tuck the card holder into the side pocket as it isn't a frequently used item, and maintain some semblance of a good "simplicity type of order" in the center zipper section with only the following; wallet, keys, sunglasses, cell phone, camera (not seen here, hiding on you...). 

I love my new (out of my comfort zone colored) red purse, so vibrant and wonderful! P.S. He asked me to pick it out for him, so it's a fairly joint decision because he likes it too. 

"It's so me", he says.

  • All four of our children's/teen's passports are about to expire. 

Has it already been five years? Whoosh! Now instead of acquiring four children's passport applications, we are down to two children and two adults here. :)

Yes, we want to renew them, allowing for travel over the border, or even across Canada on Transcontinental flights on their way through to another country after a stop in Vancouver. Whenever I've traveled within our own country alone with a child or two, and depending on which security guard I've encountered, there have been times when I've been hassled less for having passports instead of only the minimum requirement of a photo I.D. and birth certificate.

Always with me too during such trips is a signed letter and business card of my husband's, one giving consent for me to have the children without him for the trip. Such an important detail! 

One also never knows when or where we'll truly end up someday should there become an emergent issue and we end up in the USA for my husband's medical care instead. I want everyone available and not having a current and valid passport available is just not an option here.

  • History comes in four year cycles in our home, learning timelines and events along the way. Finally our son is currently involved in his last cycle towards the commencement of high school, mostly as he has now walked through most of Ancient Egypt (well almost) and has been able this past week to cross over the threshold into the early beginnings of Ancient Greece. 

Loving his history and poetry reads

Using plenty of "living historical reads", and being well beyond the free-time reading of the  "Magic Treehouse" series books. These shown above he's reading have captured his full attention and absolute focused interest. It's been a real pleasure to see how he reacts when narrating back to me what he's read, especially the details while I am able to observe his facial expressions or body language on exciting parts of the stories. And all assigned map work has been complete without any nudges along the way so far.

THIS is how history should be!

Exciting and terrific! 

  • And for all those hoping for a weather report, here it is;

While I sat in the viewing area of the barn on Monday watching our daughter's riding lesson, I darned near froze half to death in an average of -20C plus an additional wind chill factor. My toes never seemed to want to thaw, all, night, long! 

By Tuesday afternoon the sun was shining brightly (as usual here) and this was the scene I was able to take photos of around our larger back deck.

Yesterday, this was the scene in our driveway at approximately 3:30pm. camera time, along with a warmer climate of 7C throughout the day. 

We could see the snow begin to melt, and when awaking this morning after a rainy night, the thermometer picked up to 11C and the remains of the driveway were pure mush, plus a factor for getting stuck in one's own driveway. Snow has melted from our roof, thank goodness as it was getting to all time high measurements last week of three feet deep! 

  • Today our son was able to get out and play in the snowy white remains, in the balmy and sunny moments this afternoon. 

He created a lovely snowman, which is just perfect with the cooler weather returning at the time of this posting, with gusty 50mph winds and more snow falling with expected lows of -12C through the night!  Is that a snow squall out there?

Shhhhh, I'm thrilled for more snow, as we have a few skiing sessions and snowshoeing one to get to, and you know, it's true having an abundance of snow really helps to make the activities all more wonderful you know...

  • Finally, as our son frolicked about while creating his snowman, our older daughter lay recovering from having three of her wisdom teeth removed this morning. 

Behind the nurse's back, this was how she really felt!

But just moments before she was all sedated, here's what she gave to all in the room...

Yes, she was deeply terrified of having anything dental to her mouth, a child who thus far has had zero cavities and no fillings to date, thereby not knowing what could be entailed in anything surgery wise. 
The idea of having a needle in her arm gave her additional alarm, plus the idea of the doctor's silly explanation for the drugs left a this young adult perplexed and seriously wondering about it all;   a "rum, tequila and vodka mix" is what he told her she would think she had just been given, which in turn had her worried about saying something really dumb for a time afterward.

And - she did. 

Tonight we are giggling over the whole thing videotaped by her younger sister with camera in hand who tagged along just for that express purpose.

She knows of this surgery herself you know, as she too had a baby (stuck between two other teeth) tooth chopped into four pieces just before Christmas for a complicated extraction process. 

Happy to say, all is well now. 

Nighty night to all...

Head on over to Barbara's to check out the invitation to join the 52 week photography link-up party.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Two days before the party...

...was her actual birthday, quietly celebrated with her family present for the special occasion.

One request, only one, was that her daddy made his homemade hamburgers for dinner, complete with plenty of garlic, cilantro and Italian sausage in the burger mixture. 

Daddy was happy and quick to oblige, and together, the two of them took over the kitchen, working in sync on the family dinner, creating a lovely, fresh, and yet simple food fare for all.

A few gifts were presented after dinner, and the big surprise was the new camera, a good thing to keep her snapping away on her own rather than wear out mom's camera battery just when I grab it to take more photos myself. :) 

We all got our first reality check on having someone else with a camera this day, as we all waited, and waited, and waited for her to snap just the right photo of her own birthday cake before blowing out the candles.

So very cute.

  • Older siblings sent birthday greetings via email, text to mom's cell, singing telephone calls, and happy hellos. 
  • Older brother at home surprised her the next day by taking her for a spin in his truck, and treating her to Dairy Queen while out on a date with him. 
  • Older sister surprised her with a new hoodie. 
  • Her other older brother performed a few of her chores for the day, birthday favors, leaving her free to enjoy her day. 
  • Grandparents sent gifts and cards her way, showing they too were thinking of this lovely gal on her birthday. 

The traditional birthday breakfast with mom and dad was on Saturday morning. Naturally, she chose "Cora's Restaurant" and knew just what she was going to order. The birthday child is allowed to order whatever they want, so getting something from the adult menu suited her just fine. Was she ever full too! 


Sunshine crepe panini and fresh cut fruit.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Far away there in the sunshine...

"Far away there in the sunshine 
are my highest aspirations.

 I may not reach them, 

but I can look up and see their beauty, 

believe in them, 


and try to follow where they lead." 

 ~  Louisa May Alcott


Tuesday, February 15, 2011

The first meeting of the "Pony Pals Club"

(Today, I was thinking about the fact I'd not yet shared this detail, and I'd better hurry up and do so considering I'm about to publish the second meeting very shortly.)

And the very first ever meeting of "The Pony Pals Club" was in session last month (already?).

Three girls joined our daughter, all eager to form this sweet club for discussing all things horse, horse riding, and more during the club's all girl once-a-month fun to come! 

One could feel the excitement in the air, mostly for this NEW and unknown club idea our daughter had dreamed and brought forth this meeting day. She worked hard to prepare; gathering, organizing, and baking beforehand over the week prior to the club meeting.

Four young girls brought their business part of the meeting to order. 

As the meeting rolled on, I haven't a real clue what they all formally discussed, but I do know anything about "horses, or horse riding" is very serious to these gals. 

Occasionally I did hear squeals of delight and a bit of excited laughter. So many ideas were being voiced at one time, great ideas at that, all necessitating someone to act as secretary for jotting them all down on paper.

And then the crafting began...

Small unfinished treasure boxes were to be decorated, using plenty of crafty supplies before them, including many paint color selections and brushes, and all went to work displaying their personal artistry.

These treasure boxes will serve to hold the small goodies the girls will pool together for gifting one another over the course of the months to come; horse stickers, small horse plastic replicas, horse hair things, and so forth.

What's a meeting without a snack? 

During the week our daughter baked a batch of sugar cookies, and wouldn't you know it, the horse cookie cutters were very popular this day! 

A simple dinner enhanced their time together because all had not been able to gather until later in the day with their prior committments to their own horse riding schedules, plus one gal wasn't able to join the fun because she had to be somewhere else. 

And just to keep the topic flowing well, a round of the board game; "Horseopoly", along with a few short films about horses ended the evening. We found these videos at the library which were quite rare and almost unheard of to all of the girls (BONUS!), making it a surprise and very fun ending to the first "Pony Pals Club" meeting.

The remains of the day included fine artistry, with a small plastic horse gifted to the girls for their treasure box's first goodie.

Didn't they all do a great job?