Tag Archives: Life

What’s on your bucket list?

At some point in your life you will come across someone who has written a “bucket list”, that checklist to complete before you turn 30, 50 or before you “kick the bucket”. Normally, this list is created at the same time mortality starts playing on the brain. Everyone always starts out feeling the same way, invincible teens, “plenty of time” 20’s, then like a fly swatter to the face it hits you.  Whack.  You wake up one morning look in the mirror and say to your reflection “who the eff is that staring at me?”. You may have discovered a few more grey hairs (100 or so in my case), a new wrinkle or two or perhaps experienced back pain when you sneezed. Little annoyances like these somehow crept in overnight and caught you by surprise. This morning discovery happened to me in my 35th year. I was a mother to two beautiful children, a wife to a workaholic and a woman whose life was once occupied with a career, sports and a very active social life that had evolved into a stagnant routine of cleaning, cooking and chauffeuring. It wasn’t until when life changing events started happening at rocket speed that I put my heels down and said “enough is enough”.  After 5 household moves (3 of them International) since 2008, a cancer scare (thankfully benign) and starting a new career after 8 years of full-time motherhood, life was accelerating way beyond my comfort zone and I’ve done my best to slow things down!  Live in the moment.

Enter my bucket list or shall I call it a “basket” list.

It will be less than 6 months till I hit my 40th year on this planet (shocker I know, considering that I’ve brainwashed my kids into telling everyone that I am 31) and since I am the type who is always ready to plan the next adventure, I decided that in order to successfully map out my future bucket list I first need to look back and acknowledge my achievements so far. The basket list below show my significant moments, accomplishments, and experiences that have happened in my life so far. I won’t highlight the obvious (college, career, marriage, kids… ok may be kids) rather the little blips on my life’s radar that have left permanent impressions in my soul, conscious awakenings that have reminded me just how precious life really is; moments to which has helped me develop into the person who I am today.

  • Born with an instant play mate – my twin
  • At age six caught a catfish. I was so proud!
  • Candy apples at the Bolton Fall Fair every September
  • Ran the 100m dash in 14 seconds flat at age 10. Placed 1st in Peel Region.
  • Partied at Speirsfest
  • Made the perfect dipped cone when I worked at DQ
  • Lost clumps of hair after too much perming
  • Sold a $25,000 Instant Win scratch ticket when I worked as a cashier at I.D.A Pharmacy
  • Jumped off the roof of a two-story house into the backyard pool (now that I’m a mom… stupid idea!!)
  • The Lavender Booth at the Royal Winter Fair every November
  • Left home at 23 to sail around the world
  • Was in London the day Princess Diana was killed (very sad moment)
  • Got to celebrate the Millennium New Year twice by sailing over the international date line
  • Danced on stage with Sha Na Na
  • Scuba Dived the Great Barrier Reef
  • Crawled in the Cu Chi Tunnels
  • Had two quick and easy (thank you epidural) births
  • Made a fool of myself in front of a famous person
  • Held a tarantula
  • Stood on Maho Beach under a 747 landing in St. Maarten
  • 2008: house burglarized, dog was poisoned, hurricane Omar
  • Searched for nesting Hawksbill sea turtles on a Caribbean beach in the middle of the night
  • Broke my wrist from a simple fall
  • Ate unpasteurized soft cheese rolled in fresh lavender and LOVED it
  • Horseback rode in many countries
  • Visited a concentration camp
  • Waltzed in the Hofburg Palace at the Officer’s Ball
  • Started a blog
  • Was chosen as a finalist in a Russell James photography competition
  • Congratulated my daughter on a perfect school report card
  • Climbed Austrian Mountain Schröcken… ok so it wasn’t Everest but it was bloody high!
  • Nearly saw my husband get hit by a car
  • Met a dear friend in Rome for 24 hours
  • Went on a blind “friend date”

When was the last time you took time to review your life achievements or reflect on great memories? So often people focus on setting future goals without first taking a look back and acknowledge what they have done in the past. Although I may not physically have a “bucket list” written as of yet, I do make an effort every day to work on meeting my next goal, whether it is to learn a new language (helps living in Austria) or to taste a new ice cream flavour. AND most importantly, I try to approach each new experience with a sense of humour.

“A day without laughter is a day wasted”. Charlie Chaplin

Stay tuned… my bucket list just may appear in the near future 🙂

Photo credits: 1 2


“Mommy.. Where did Grandma go?”

There comes a time in every child’s life where he/she will question death.  “Mommy, where did Grandma go?”  How would you respond?

  1. “Ah sweetie, <kneeling beside the child> Grandma’s in a beautiful place called heaven.”
  2. <With a hug>“She’s no longer with us but will always be in our hearts.”
  3. “Your father forgot to renew the plot tax so they dug her up to make room for Frau Schmitt.”

Answer #3 can be a true if you live in Vienna.  You see, when a loved one passes away, your options for a final resting place can be limited.  Since 78% of Austrians are Roman Catholic they still believe in a burial rather than a cremation and living in a highly populated European city = a lot of bodies to bury.  The question remains, when real estate is at such a premium, can cemeteries accommodate everyone?  Not exactly.  Here families do not buy plots to lay their loved ones to rest, rather, they rent them out for 10-20 years instead.  If they wish not or forget to renew the plot agreement and do not pay the tax the likelihood that the plot will be rented to a new family will be inevitable.

Where do they put the remains of an exhumed grave?  Dunno?

Zentralfriedhof (German for Central Cemetery), which is located on the outskirts of Vienna has a total of 2.5 square kilometres and contains about 330 000 graves today.  Over 3 million people have been buried here, which is almost double the population of the city of Vienna.  Popular on the tourist attraction list, people from around the world visit  Zentralfriedhof which is packed full of famous people.

Just check out just some of the famous people who are buried here:

One thing I can vouch for is that Austrians do take pride in their cemeteries.  It is the family’s responsibility for the upkeep and most plots are immaculately maintained, however you will see the odd overgrown “forgotten” plot.

Strolling through most cemeteries usually eases my spirit.  I don’t know what it is but I always feel a sense of peace and love and  I enjoy looking at the tomb stones and wonder what the lives of these people were like.

Whether you are a religious person or not I highly recommend a visit to Zentralfriedhof.


Be careful what you say to a pregnant woman.

While cleaning up my computer the other day I came upon this.  A statement that I wrote in a heat of a “mommy meltdown moment” after my husband gave me the “disapproved” look when I couldn’t tell him off the top of my head when the last car service date was.  I do have to admit that my husband and I are both “organize freaks” and I’m pretty darn good at keeping things in order.  However, it was one of those days (Mom’s you understand) where the 16 tasks I normally simultaneously perform weren’t working.  And that’s when it happened.  KABOOM!  Arms waved, fingers pointed, trucker mouth exploded… it wasn’t pretty.  Needless to say he handled the situation well by silently leaving a box of chocolates that he found in the kitchen cupboard at the door to the office while I finished writing the following.

I am Thomas’s wife…

I have advanced degrees in early childhood education, accounting, public relations, automobile mechanics, landscape design, interior design, culinary arts, photography, psychology, computer maintenance, chemical engineering, Jewish History and Swahili.  I also read minds.

 I am Thomas’s wife.  Of course I am responsible that you have worked for 12 hours, that your meetings ran late and that your coffee got cold. Also that you were under the impression that when you would finally arrive home late at night, that you would be presented with a 3 course meal accompanied by the finest selection of imported beer and wines, have your mail waiting for you in the office, be welcomed with freshly laundered towels, have a fully fed, squeaky clean, little sleepy but happy to see her Daddy 17 month old daughter waiting at the door and a sexy wife ready to report her daily task accomplishments.

 It wouldn’t be a problem for me to create a diverse weekly menu, shop a many grocery stores to get the best deals, dust, vacuum and mop the house, restock toiletries, linens, diapers, baby wipes, and beer, finish all laundry, weed, feed and water the garden & hanging baskets, not to mention water the indoor plants, scrub the bathroom showers and sinks, change bed linens all while entertaining, feeding, nurturing, bathing, and bonding with our high maintenance yet loving daughter during my 9th month of pregnancy.  I do this with joy even when I’m carrying around your soon to be 8lb son who likes to substitute my uterus as a punching bag.


I am Thomas’s wife.  I am expected to know dates….. expiry dates on all perishable items in the house, due dates of all bill payments, birthdays, anniversaries, Dr. and Dentist appointments, our last car service date oh and yes to have full detailed knowledge of all car, house and appliance warranties and policies.  Give me a second and I will tell you our car’s VIN numbers, passport issue dates, instructions on recording home video to DVD, dates and times of our daughter’s past medical vaccinations, oh and what the final score was the night Manchester Untied won the European cup in 1999.

 I am Thomas’s wife.  I understand that your responsibility as the Hotel Manager requires you to work all day at the office, catch up on e-mails at home every evening and make numerous phone calls on the weekends leaving less than desired time to spend with your family.  So when I am saying that I do not have time to get everything completed on my own I am lying.   It is not a problem to juggle my careers of cooking, cleaning, parenting, cheerleading, car fixing, gardening, decorating and baby making.  I can set aside all the time that I spend coupon clipping and washing my hair to become more productive.

I am Thomas’s wife, a personal secretary, gofer, chef, housekeeper, gardener, mother, computer technician, postman, painter, life coach, weather expert, human jukebox, TV repairman, and bloody Santa Claus (where’s my milk and cookies).  AND I do know when the builder will be planting the tree in our front yard I’m just not telling you.

2 weeks before my son was born

 I am Thomas’s wife.  I always know where to find the cheapest deals, who to negotiate with, when to visit during slow times and how many rolls of toilet paper we have left in the house.  I take personal blame for lack of talent in Canadian TV sitcoms, traffic jams, grass which needs cutting again and Timmy’s Ice Cap machine breakdowns.

 I am Thomas’s wife.  I am expected to smile, inspire, perform, create, organize, and complete any task that I am given – all while maintaining beautifully manicured nails and toes, up-to-date hair rinse colouring and smoothly shaved legs and waxed bikini  line. 

I do all these things and love it.

It’s been 6 years since I wrote down my frustrations and looking back today I can see that I’ve learned a few things.

1.  What the hell was I thinking?  No wonder my nickname is Marthamel.  No I am not Martha Stewart.

2.  Got my cleaning schedule all wrong.    I changed my approach to what’s called “let him clean too”.  Amazing how effective it is.

3.  Hydration.  Must stay hydrated.  Vodka soda works best for me.

credits:  1


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