Summer in the City 2019 & Being 75

‘I am going to share my experiences and stratagems of being 70 and embracing these years because even if you are 50 and reading this, I can guarantee that if you have good health, you too will reach your 70’s. Perhaps I can help you get there and enjoy being there.’

That is what I wrote on my first blog, which was an intro to and then I said,

‘I plan to discuss all the fun things that happen to women on the way to this milestone. Things like wrinkles, bat wing arms, thicker waists, scrawny necks, knees, muffin tops, teeth, feet; the body parts in general and in particular. I will discuss exercise, diet, vitamins, sunblock, reading glasses, physical health and sickness, mental health and dementia, widowhood, divorce, romance, food, fun, loneliness, self-improvement, and learning. Fashion and hair will be considered, and I will share my 5 keys to happiness. I will talk about opera and theatre, restaurants, travel, pets, friends, hobbies, entertaining, and bucket lists. Oh, and I almost forgot the big M – memory.

All the details of my life as an opera singer, a foster daughter, a Yukon housewife, a survivor of a mother’s suicide, and two divorces, is recorded in my book, Aria: Song of a Life, available on Amazon. You can check all that out on my website’ This was a neat little advertisement wasn’t it?

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Okay, so I was on my morning walk with Oscar, my dog and I thought I always muse about things when I am in Toronto in the summer, and when I returned home I re-read my first blog, and thought it was time for an update on older age, notice I don’t say old age, and include it in my latest chapter on Summer in the City 2019. See the earlier ones if you like at

I have written about skin, exercise, and some health matters in earlier blogs, but now I am 75, I am changing some of my beauty routines. For example I am now using Vaseline for my eye care instead of expensive eye creams, and it works, and is definitely cheaper. I am also wearing less eye makeup. My hair is still blonde and I intend to keep it that way. My sister, who is also of an age, has blonde hair as well. Good genes we say, with a wink. I exercise and try to keep as fit as I can, and stay in shape even if my shape is not quite what it once was thirty years ago. I will not give up and let my age dictate my attitudes and appearance, and I will not dress like a teenager either.


getting ready for Pilates and very serious

I have told you a great deal about my wonderful travels, and as I look back at all the stories I realize how important it is to travel and see the world, although it is sometimes not comfortable leaving our safe environments and exploring, it is well worth it. I also promised to tell you my five keys to happiness, which I have not done in any of my previous blogs and will do so now.

I am a happy person, one who could be described as a glass half full woman rather than a glass half empty one. I am sure you have heard that expression before, but it does sum up people’s basic personality. At any rate, after my book was published, and I spoke at many book parties and events, I was asked to give a motivational speech with my book as the centrepiece because it is about coming face to face with adversity, and finding happiness no matter what life throws at you. So I did a good deal of research comparing what made me happy with studies by others such as Norman Vincent Peale, Shawn Anchor, a Harvard professor, and Carl Jung. I read many speeches of Ted Talk types as well, and came to the conclusion that I had known all along.

There is a strong connection between an individual’s attitude, social support system and well being. The following are my five keys to happiness.

1. Do something nice for someone else – a visit to a sick friend, an email that is affirming or praiseworthy, help others and you will help yourself. Pretty old-fashioned, but still magical in making you feel better about yourself.

2.Smile. Smiling Is Contagious. When I walk the dog I smile at strangers and say Good morning, or even if I am alone I do the same thing – It was found that smiling, making eye contact and simply saying hello within 10 feet of another person is a positive action, a feel good action.

3.I always give thanks when I say my prayers at night. Give thanks – Think of at least three things you are grateful for before you go to sleep, even if you don’t say prayers. Focus on the positive rather than on the negative. An added effect: Increasing your optimism can improve your productive energy.

4.Enjoy your good experiences and relate them to someone else or write them down. – Be excited about that experience and share it.

5.Have Fun/ Exercise – Add 15 minutes or more of a fun activity to your day, like gardening, going on a walk, working out, playing with your dog, dancing, or participating in a sport, your brain learns to believe that behavior matters — the core of optimism.

So simply put: be kind to someone else, smile, have fun, relate a happy experience, give thanks.

You may be faced with a chronic disease, or your husband’s forgetfulness turns out to be a form of dementia, someone close to you is going through cancer treatment, or has gone through treatment, you or your sister has breast cancer, your husband dies suddenly of a heart attack, or your daughter has succumbed to an illness. The list goes on. We have only to look around us for tragedies.

It is important to mourn and feel sad about what has happened and to shed tears, but it will help to get through each moment of every day life with a positive attitude.

And now back to summer in the city. Although this year, 2019, in Toronto, we still seem to be waiting for summer’s arrival. The weather has been changeable to say the least; lots of rain, occasional sunny day which is delightful, and of course the benefits of all this rain are beautiful gardens, flowers, trees, but not so nice, earlier mosquitoes, and the nasty gypsy moth that wants to destroy our oak trees.



wrapped oak and birch trees to keep off gypsy moths

When Charles and I return to Toronto from Florida I try to schedule as many cultural events as I can without exhausting us, and I also always plan a visit with our children and grandchildren which means travel. We went to Montreal and Vancouver in one trip this past May. Actually our kids in Quebec live west of Montreal and we always stay at Chateau Vaudreuil for two nights, and have our grand daughters join us there the second one. I bring dinner for the first evening at our son James’ apartment, and this proved a challenge travelling by plane, as we usually drive. Nevertheless, I packed ribs and potato salad and broccoli, and after convincing security that potato salad was not spreadable or a liquid, we managed to keep our goodies. Glad they didn’t check the ribs, as the sauce definitely was becoming runny.

We had heard about the major flooding in Quebec and even seeing pictures of floods on television does not prepare you for the reality. Beautiful statues and outdoor lights were submerged partially in water. The hotel is on The Lake of Two Mountains.. The road in was rebuilt to a single lane, the children’s playground was now part of the lake, and the magnificent view was gone. It was all quite startling. We spent Saturday swimming in the indoor pool and visiting with our granddaughter, Rose, as June got sick over night, and wanted to be with her momma. James is divorced. So at 1:30 am he drove June home to her mother’s, a good half hour away. It is wonderful that James and his ex, Lara get along and are more than civil.


Chateau Vaudreuil before the floods


and after


We visited James’ newly purchased quaint Quebec house in Saint – Polycarpe, a tiny Quebec town near Rose’s new high school. He hadn’t taken possession yet, but the outside was charming and it sat high above a river with a very imposing climbable tree. James also had acquired a rescue dog, a greyhound called Scooter, who was very loveable. I had never seen James this happy. And the fact that he is so handy will help him as he renovates this little house. In fact, he couldn’t wait to get to the local Home hardware store and get started.


James’ new/old house



joy in the tree and dear Scooter

We had a great dinner in the hotel dining room, that included a ‘made at the table’ delicious Caesar salad, and the next morning headed to Vancouver. Our flight had been changed because of the grounding of the Max 737, so the departure time was moved up, but this would give us more visiting time with our Vancouver family I rationalized in the early hours of departure.


the salad

I try to rent cars with points and used my BMO rewards points for the first time rather than Aeroplan ones. What an awkward system where you use your points, have to pay, and then get the money back in your account. This would be problematic if done in the USA with dollar changes etc. Aeroplan makes it so much easier. The points business is another story. The BMO elite points work for airlines and shopping, but not easily with car rentals. Go figure.


reflections Terrace at the Rosewood-yummy lunch



gorgeous views of Vancouver

We always stay at our favorite hotel in Vancouver, The Rosewood. This beautifully appointed hotel is just a pleasure. The rooms are extremely comfortable with large bath areas. The Hawksworth restaurant, where we eat breakfast, and the Lobby Lounge for lunch are both delightful. The food and service is first class everywhere, and there is a wonderful swimming pool and work out area.

We couldn’t wait to visit our kids who had just rented a large house and had moved from their basement apartment. Vancouver is the kind of city where buying a home is unaffordable, unless you are living off shore and laundering money, but that is definitely another story. They had moved to a lovely neighborhood, very family oriented, with a nice park area filled with shared toys, just a few steps up the street. Their large garden was already getting lots of use, as the weather in Vancouver has been splendid. They have a terrific porch with a table outside, and we had dinner there the first night, a yummy barbecued chicken. Mason their dog, seemed in his glory with his new digs. Mason is primarily an outdoor animal.

It was delightful to see our grand daughter, Sway, who is now over two years old, and full of energy, wonderment, and is simply a little love, but perhaps all grandparents feel this way about their little ones. Nice dinner with wine and we were already looking forward to the next day, and to sleep as we were still on Eastern Time. Kate and Sway would be coming for a swim in the hotel pool. Corby, drives a whale watching boat, and was working. We always invite the kids out to dinner somewhere special and they get a sitter for Sway. We chose Forage, not too far from the hotel, and had a splendid meal there. The highlight was the spot prawns that were in season, done just perfectly, sautéed in butter. Then we each had various offerings, all delicious. The BC wines were excellent and we just had a perfect time as the four of us chatted and laughed. It was like a double date.

The following day’s meal I cooked at their home. I went to Granville Island and bought more spot prawns, and discovered how very expensive they are. I also got fresh BC salmon, an assortment of cheeses, new potatoes and asparagus. Our son, Niels, was joining us with his dog, Mia, and we had a jolly meal outside. Lots of conversation, some sad farewells and we were off the next morning.

When I write again I will tell you about all the fun things we have done this summer in Toronto, and for some reason I don’t feel my new age, except of course, when I booked my appointment for cataract removal, when I saw the knee doctor and he told me to take a cart on the golf course, when I saw the skin doc and he told me I have more basal cells on my ‘used to be’ gorgeous legs. No, I still feel young and frankly I feel very lucky that all these vagaries of my body can be fixed and I am still sexy, or so my Pilates teacher tells me.

Next time details of the wonderful arts events we attended, my interview on philanthropy for Finance is Personal, the Raptors fever and an upcoming wedding.

Till then,








One thought on “Summer in the City 2019 & Being 75

  1. I enjoyed reading this posting. Enjoy your summer and remember that age is just a number. Attitude is everything and yours is great! Bev

    Sent from my iPhone



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