Wednesday, 13 December 2017

Workshops at Spoiled Rotten B&B - mine or you renting space

Workshops at the B&B -  yes it's that time again. They start when the people stop coming and Lordy I'm pooped.  This was the longest season in three years and it was maniacally busy.  Being the control freak I am, I did 99% of it myself and that does takes it's toll.

Now I know post about summer stuff seems like I'm a little behind in my musing and you would be wrong.  I am a millions miles from being caught up on writing.  Now is the time to do it...even if I just shoveled my driveway.

It was a great season and except for the scammers and police business, subsequent death threat and the homeless, penniless final guest, it was a good year. Of course it ended with all the B&Bs meeting each other and rallying around City Halls decision to include us with the big hotels and Ottawa tourism.  They are voting now.  Fingers crossed.  If not, I will have infinitely less time on my hands.

I did get organized enough to winterize the homestead and backyard.

This is what I was doing on November 3rd...picking raspberries and they were soooo good.  I was able to gather up many of the apples from the five-in-one apple tree and the apple crisps should be starting soon.  When apples are left in a bucket in the back yard, the animals devour them.  When I move them to the garage, the mice send me thank you cards and shred them.  My apples are safe nowhere.  After my most recent trip, I returned home to find they'd all frozen and turned to mush. Heartbreaking waste.  The tomatoes in the garage were looking pretty grim too and all had to be tossed. 

With all the rain we had, the tomatoes still were thriving even up to the bitter end.  This particular tomato plant was hidden away in a corner.  When I went to investigate, I found it was about 10' long.  So bizarre.    The three tiny basil plants grew into forests.  I actually gave away entire 2 foot plants to anyone who would ask.

I have a huge Canada flag outside but one day I found a huge amount of damage to it. I was worried it was the disgruntled scammer as I didn't know they had been deported. Right after I sent the photo to my daughter, I mean exactly one second later, this rat bastard crawled out on the limb and continued to destroy a national treasure. I shouldn't tell you this but he was delicious.

I decorated up the aged fence in the back yard this year with multicoloured vases with flowers.  It was all very whimsical until today.  Minus 10, the rain that fell into the bottles froze and they all shattered in my garden.  Man, what a mess. 
At least the fruit bat/flies have almost all died off but it was a bitter battle. Having four composters is challenging but having four operational ones year round is darn near insanity, even if I have the best vegetable garden around.   Every time I looked out the window, I'd go to war slapping them to their death but as you can see, they won!  They must have read The Art of War because they certainly know how to corral the troops.
And so now the grounds are done, or as done as I'm going to do, it's time for workshops.  I have hosted a few Paint Nights already and working on the Energy Share and Meditation.  I love painting and am always open to Paint Nights.  I will also host the Meetup, "Not Your Momma's Book Club" or what I affectionately call the Dirty Book Club, two Spiritualist church group sessions, A Spanish Club meeting, a Christmas party and in the new year, Caring for the Caregiver.  I love to use my place of business for other groups because while it's not a get rich scheme, I can participate and enjoy lots of new topics and of course people get to see my place.  This is important because every day in the high season, I hear, "there's a Bed and Breakfast in Orleans?" Yes, I'm here.  Just call me. 

I really want to manifest retreats so if you know anyone wanting to have a meeting here or better yet, a small retreat locally where some participants actually sleep over, well give me a call.  Who wouldn't want to stay at Ottawa's only holistic B&B and I do have the best prices in town for the spoiling you will receive.    

Sunday, 5 November 2017

Tourism for this Ottawa B&B 2017

Tourism was at it’s best this summer 2017 at this Ottawa B&B.
There are some days when this innkeeper wonders why she gets up at 0DarkHundred every day to make the same old tried and true recipes and have the same conversations like the movie Groundhog Day.  
And then there are days like today that energize my spirit.  I had a wonderful family staying with me who were traveling the world to support their precocious 17 year old golfing daughter who was tearing up the greens while they experienced all North America has to offer.  They have put their lives on hold to be cheerleaders and that has begun to make me question my own parenting skills and our lack of family sports photos.  They were here for a week and had seen most of the must see sights that,  I, of course, have seen first and highly recommended to my guests.  Having been there first, I can recommend the best routes, modes of transportation and finer points like don’t drive downtown as they have closed most of the streets. Take a bus and get a family pass; it’ll be much cheaper. 

I encouraged everyone to see what I affectionately called the Giant Chia park altho the proper name would be MosaiCanada.  Imagine the city fathers putting together this gorgeous display featuring all the provinces and wowing the world.  There were over 100 volunteers who lovingly created masterpieces like nothing we have seen in the past.  I’ve not heard one negative comment about the park; 5 star all the way.

My guests were fixed for time and were only to be able to do a drive past for La Machine, the greater than life-size monsters roaming the streets of Ottawa, waiting to do battle.  Again, this is a first for Canada and Ottawa and I was privileged enough to be able to witness this one-time event, well, me and my closest 500,000 dearest acquaintances.  I had the sense to bus but it was a madhouse.  No one on the street knew anything, not even the police security. When the monsters started to wake up, it was happy pandemonium.  Cell phones and tablets could be seen as far as the eye could see.  One young girl climbed a tree to get a better look.  If I weren’t so leery of heights, I would have joined her too.  As it was, I crowded the streets like everyone else and got some spectacular footage. 

I got to try out the free Kontinuum experience near Sparks street and it was an interesting sound and light show in the abandoned metro and it was my favourite cost- free! Everyone enjoyed having their picture appear then suddenly evaporate.

Inspiration Village in the market was ok.  I did get to attend an Ottawa Tourism pre-show of the Canadian Race and even won a Grey Cup concert series prize which I promptly lost when I went to claim the prize.  I bent down to find someone's lost surgical request and I think it fell out them.  If the lucky guy went to look for his paperwork, he was probably rewarded with free concert tickets, bloody hell.  

I thoroughly enjoyed watching the Fireworks competitions we saw throughout the summer exploding off an island on the Ottawa river and the subsequent walk to parliament with the masses to watch the light show and story of Canada.

All in all it was a great summer; a bit of solo camping, camper camping in Bon Echo 
A magical place to park a houseboat on Lake Temagami

houseboating in Temagami,

Innukshuks on Parkdale, a Zombie Walk in Almonte, a haunted walk of the Defenbunker and roadtrips.   

I finished off the season with the Fall Rhapsody in Gatineau park and even used the free shuttle from downtown.  Learn from me, check the last shuttle or you will be like me on my first date, stranded in another province, wondering how the hell you are getting home.

Saw Petrie Island perhaps for the last warm day of the season cause Halloween came and now it's November so the snow has fallen.  It was a good tourism year.  Can't wait to see what 2018 will bring.  

Friday, 15 September 2017

The Concierge Service of B&B Accommodations Over a Hotel in Ottawa

All the really good hotels in Ottawa have excellent concierge service and a great Bed and Breakfast accommodation is no different. An exceptional concierge can make the difference between a 2 star hotel rating and an intimate 5 star home experience; taking a ho-hum experience and turning it into lasting memories. That's what I'm going for here at Spoiled Rotten Bed and Breakfast.  

Since March, when I joked I made the top 10 Trip Advisor list, I have actually surpassed 13 and made number 9 in Ottawa out of 54, AND in only three years of opening! I've had 29- 5 star reviews on Trip Advisor, 79 on Airbnb and 17 on Google+.  What an honour.  

I used to think running a B&B would be so much fun but striving for #1 is hard work.  If you are doing "it" right as a B&B host, you will not only be a the chief, cook and bottle washer, but a housekeeper, translator, shopper, educator, social director, adventure sharer, organic gardener, travel agent, maintenance person, chauffeur, masseuse, and life coach.  Doing it solo makes it even that much more challenging.

In the last two weeks I have learned basic Mandarin, practiced my French, and spoken to guests in a variety of languages that quite honestly, no one understands. I coordinated a first doctor's visit for a man with a pinched nerve, planned for the doctor to speak the same language, and chauffeured him and his translating daughter to explain the issues to the doctor. It turns out, Vietnamese doctors don't necessarily understand Mandarin. Who knew? 

I am all about healing and health. I run bubble baths to ease guests' aches and pains (or for photographers who rent my space to photograph their models). 
I have voluntarily rubbed more shoulders and given more Indian head massages to more headache ridden people than I can count. Most everyone walked away happier, feeling better; human touch can heal so much.  I offer full massage (sorry, no happy endings) with my 40 years of giving massages.

I've educated people about medicinal marijuana, patiently hung people from the inversion table, and talked up the benefits of the bed of nails (see photo) which they all must try and most do purchase from me afterwards, even if they have grumbled the whole time about the pain. It does work.

I've even helped a young lady dye her hair.  I do virtual reality for all my guests.  Give me a challenge and I am up for it.

I am quite good at fielding troubled situations with Airbnb. I know better than the average Joe how the system works and if someone comes to me from another place who "dun them wrong", I will intercede, especially if their English is rough.  I will do my best to get them their refunds and make the changes. It's what any Superhost would                                                                    do. :) That's me! 

I always whisk the younger children away to the basement for a surprise photo shoot (with the parents' approval). We go to the upsidedown room and I have them lie on the floor, strategically below the palm tree and raise their arms and legs. When the picture is taken, I invert it and it looks like they are hanging from the ceiling. Cheesy but cute and they love it

The parents and families also get another photo shoot by the VIP/ Mugshot wall, complete with their name and number and stipulation that they cannot smile on the second shot. All these pictures get sent to the guests when they arrive home. Only two people have refused to pose and it was only because they were in the Corrections department and thought I would use it on the web. Nope, so one relented and he and his wife enjoyed posing. 
(Thanks Brent for posing here.)

I have taken guests needing maps to my local CAA for some free ones on me and then to the only open car shop to get their brakes fixed before it closes. We've taken random buses home and they were given detailed information about what's to see and do in Ottawa and where they should have supper within walking distance as their car's tied up. Afterwards, I draw up a map where they should go with my business card so they can get a small discount.

I have even gone so far as to lend out my underwear to needy guests. Let me explain. She was an elderly woman going to see a wedding and forgot her dress slip which flustered her immensely so I lent her one of mine that I haven't worn in 40 years. Thank gawd I'm a hoarding pack rat. Later on she was heard to tell a group of family 'how wonderful an experience it was at this bed and breakfast where the lady even goes so far as to give you her underwear'. Good Lord, the old time rock singers are going to be lining up for miles to get my underwear. Maybe now would be a good time to buy some new non maternity stuff that doesn't look like granny came to visit.(sorry no picture with this one.)

I'm hyper-alert to the cues around me to make every experience special. While my guests are out smoking I will hear one of them say, “its cold out here” and before they can get the word "here" out I'm already outside with the blanket to wrap around them. They are torn between thinking, wow, that was nice, to is that weird lady never going to stop skulking around and listening to our conversations? (I was working in the kitchen with the patio door open). Often, guests will arrive after a longer trip or camping/biking journey and want their clothes washed. I offer to do it and mix them with mine. I don't charge but occasionally they will make a monetary donation which is nice.  

My house is full of maps of downtown, the key hotspots of Ottawa and I have lists for everything from what to do this weekend to what to do in general and what are some free must see events.  I will mail these to you after you book.

Now the stuff you don't know...
Make no mistake, being a concierge is great but what's tough about running a B&B is you are always "On". You give up your freedom to a personal life if you're doing it solo and you find it's a solitary existence because you can never attend the parties and the outings with your friends.  Spring, summer and fall no longer exist in your world unless you find a balance. It sounds sad but once you accept you're not entirely in charge of your own life, you enjoy the guests and the laughter and the impact you have on their lives. The hugs and the promises to see them again and stay at their places always make the visits memorable. Maybe one day I will even make a cross country “Where Are they Now” trip to see all my wonderful past guests.

Running a B&B is part therapist, part life coach and a huge part concierge; definitely not the life of service for most people. You have to be a special breed of life-form or a little insane, but a darned good mix of both works best.

Thursday, 13 July 2017

Gardening in Ottawa, Oldtimers Moments, Pool parties and Psychics

Spring in Ottawa is so nice and at Spoiled Rotten BnB, in the garden, even better but now it's in a moping stage...full of weeds that might evolve into pretty weeds, and all kinds of green that no one wants to look at yet we're "enjoying" the wettest summer in history..or what we Ottawaians (yes, I know it's not a word) claim as summer.
 All the millions I have spent up front to attract and feed butterflies has been for naught.  They do not come.  The milkweeds are spreading and taking over but still they do not eat or lay eggs.  At least my organic veggie garden in the back is flourishing, or it was!!!  Until HE came along.

I just discovered the world's biggest and most well fed groundhog coming daily to my smorgasbord of a garden.  When I so much as take a silent picture, it's like he feels like he's being dogged by paparazzi and he high tails it out of there like a bat outta hell.  His feet don't even touch the ground. Oh the stews I am planning.  I have an over abundance of basil but nope, he won't touch that.  Loves my tomatoes, ate my only purple cabbage, and as many of my yellow squash as he could stuff in his fat little self entitled belly.  It's like he has been told he has only two minutes to shop til he drops and he is good.  He has analyzed the garden and knows the money food and the best aisles to shop in.  Oh, I detest this little monster.  Yes, I'm off to buy the epsom salts but where oh where can I buy black market landmines and hand grenades?  Is there something that spontaneously bursts into flames?  Heeeeellllp me.  The Roadrunner Acme company is fictional, it turns out.  I'm at my wits end, becoming obsessed.

After son in law ripped out the interlocking full of weeds patio stones and replaced it with the worlds biggest deck in a postage stamp yard, I realized how fabulous it was.  My yard now looks elegant and huge.  Oh the parties I could have but alas the weeds still appear thru the slats- that is to be my eternal curse.

 I couldn't believe just how many stones made up a patio.  Billions piled everywhere for so long in my back yard.  I asked 5 contractors advice and to do it and nary a one would step up to the challenge. One said he would take all my stones away to the landfill and resell me $4000 more worth of better stones.  Screw testosterone!  I'd do it myself but gawd I'm awful at traditionally "blue" jobs, esp if I don't read and follow directions, which I never do.  I even googled the best way and then promptly forgot everything.

 After a few failed attempts and too much rain, then the crumbling walls, I finally created my raised beds and retaining walls, complete with a walk thru, (sure, if you have tiny bound little Asian feet, which I do), used almost every brick for show, and it looks just shy of gorgeous.   I do think my neighbours will all be following suit shortly and the contracts will be pouring in for me to plan their gardens.

I refused to fertilize until I did all the dirty work and last night, I felt like a farmer, spreading poop, (yes, store bought- what kind of weirdo do you think I am?), everywhere.  Next comes the calcium, bat guano and seaweed.  I love Jurrassic park.  Realized my magical fertilizer stock was low so imagine my shock when my fav specialty gardening store informed me I can't get my Bat poop anymore because of the pesky Ebola.  Whatever- stoopid bats!    I hope you weren't downwind last night or after bat poop day, although I'm sure you've smelled more interesting smells coming from here, from my crazy workshops on alternative medicine for healing, and smudging drumming howling at the moon ceremony to burning toast smells followed by much cursing from my breakfast kitchen.

Just had some more much deserved time off to go to some odd events like a clothing optional pool party and strange camper Poly festival. Sorry no pics of either! I truly believe you should do something everyday that terrifies you and these two events certainly qualified.  The 3 meter walk from the table where I left my towel and my dignity to the pool stairs was the longest mile, and don't forget the friends in attendance dressed in their parkas, watching and judging.  Oh I'm so glad it's over with.

My favourite time off found me lounging at the lake of a friend,  Claire, who insists I decompress, meditate and relax and she pampers me; well she did, for the first day.  After that, I have to drag home trees and cook and pamper her.  It took me two whole days to decompress enough to relax and read.   After 4 years, I finally finished reading my travel blog that my daughter turned into a one-off copy book.  I refused to read it unless I was in relaxation mode and yes, that is rare.  I only read it while on time off, at the lake, on a train, at the beach, in the back yard, and camping.  Truly, it's my favourite book and I wish everyone had their own life book.  I want to start reading it all over again.  

I'm still attending some Meetup events and having some workshops but there is a drawback in my world.  I still have no face recognition which was one of my many downfalls in Travel.  I herd hundreds thru here but remember so few, I'm ashamed to say.  One of the most embarrassing was the lady at my workshop who I smiled and asked if this was her first time here.  The long silence that followed and the head shaking look of disbelief told me I had created another social faux pas.  She told me she had been to my place on 3 other occasions.  Oops.  It wouldn't be so bad if that were an isolated incident but sadly, it's not.  Now it's almost the running joke.  One new friend was raving to a small table full of people about how we met and how I helped her.  I just looked at her and shook my head, saying "I have no idea what you are talking about".  It took an entire conversation of you said this and I said that and remember doing this....Ohhhh, yes, I finally remember. I met her a mere week earlier.  The last was a lady who has painted at my place but was so not amused that I have not remembered the last 3-4 times she has come by for massages and a workshop.  This is my life.

I have actually embraced it.  When I wake up and sit at my computer, I will suddenly remember I have to get the blue envelope upstairs for my budget.  Once upstairs, I realize in the office, I have a ton of clothes to hang up so I start and then I see that I have run out of my special multi-hangers so it's off to the master closet storage where it too is a disaster, thank God for locked doors, so I start picking up the abandoned jewelry there to bring it to the office where I find that book I wanted to put in the basement when I see that I'm missing mints on the pillows so its upstairs for me to the office where I notice some stray laundry which I bring downstairs and remember I'm doing laundry.  Whew, I'm tired so I sit down to relax at my computer and realize I'm in the middle of budgeting and need a blue envelope.  EVERY DAY OF MY LIFE IS LIKE THIS!!! Menopause? Old age? ADD? Probably all of the above but a very trusted source has told me I emphatically do not have Alzheimers and psychics  do NOT lie.
All I know is that something needs to desperately be done in every room of my house but preferably more than one minute at a time.  Well, it's time to beat the hell out of the groundhog...or try my best to catch him.  GTG.

Tuesday, 4 July 2017

How Spoiled Rotten B&B Celebrates Holidays in the Capital

Another holiday and if it was to be like all the others over the past 16 years in Ottawa, I would be staying home, like the Tulip festival, which came and went, I have yet to attend even one.  My front yard was overflowing with tulips so I consoled myself with them.  I had families walk by and the kids would stop to smell all the spring flowers then they would all huddle together for a selfie.  My guess is they too blew off the festival and felt guilty but now they could email off a somewhat lamer photo version and no one would know.  I was pleased I wasn't the only one who missed out on life.  Love all the festivals but never attended one yet.  Would this year be any different?

Fast forward to Canada Day weekend.  I'd just turned away my 31st request for a room.  She actually told me I should turn off my phone if I don't have any availability.  "But I still have friends to talk to."  Turning off my phone;  that doesn't sound like me.  I suggested she try Airbnb but she had difficulty with it so I taught yet another person how to access it a different way and now she could, and that's a huge could, find something in an outlying area.  Imagine me letting a phone just ring thru to the answering machine when this Abuela has so much to teach.  :)

Over the past weeks, I mused about whether this Canada Day
would mimic all the others when I host rooms and never leave the house as I look wistfully outside at the weekend of rain and thunder and people socializing.  Bed and Breakfast owners rarely get away when fun stuff is happening.  Petrie Island would be a hot spot and so close but alas perhaps another year of hermitdom and servitude.  Sigh.

Well folks, this year was different, I have to tell you and it doesn't get any weirder than this year.  I actually participated in life.  My full house booking arrived to leave shortly after to see family and there I was wandering the empty house... all dressed up with nowhere to go and no one to talk to.  My friends know better than to suggest I join their plans because the answer for the last three years has always been, "I can't,  Have to work."  This year I committed, come hell or high water, to seeing the fireworks at Petrie Island even if I had to go alone.  Thank gawd for and the group that was meeting up there.  I also, was invited to dinner  on Canada Day.  Ya, I know it was a pity invite but it was fun.  When I told them I had to rush out right after dessert had been eaten, my punishment was to watch the black thunderboomer clouds circle over my car and open up the torrential rains.  Nevertheless, I was going no matter whether I had to come in on an arc with Noah steering.

Caught one of the last buses there and navigated around in one of the swampiest mud parties I have ever seen and had a blast.  I was in mud splash up to my knees and my feet were submerged.  I get why so many people just went bare foot.  My friend even got a VIP tent for the few foolhardy adventurers who braved the yucky weather.  The fireworks actually went off even tho the thunder and lightening started 5 minutes before takeoff.  Bloody awful timing and by 11:30, I was heading home.

A month earlier, another neighbour asked me if I would allow his wife to come to my place as a pre-planning party before he would surprise her in the park with a Renewal of their vows.  Ladies, listen up and if you can cuff your partners upside the head for not being as considerate as this hubbie, all the better.  She had her hair done and she came to have her makeup done by makeup artists and then receive a massage, try on her new ensemble for the festivities and head off, blindfolded, to her destination.

  It was all a surprise and I got to meet those neighbours and now we're going to have a block party.  Woohoo, I'm back in the Neighbourhood Watch business.

A month earlier, another neighbour wrote to tell me, "You don't know me but my kids were pretty bummed when they found out the Easter Bunny did not exist.  They are old teenagers now."  Hmmm, where was this freak show going?  No, I am not dressing up as an Easter bunny!  She continued.  Every year, since then, she continues the scavenger hunt and would I be open to having a clue left outside at Spoiled Rotten B&B?  Absolutely!!!  She was barking up the right tree for sure since I used to do it for my girls too.  What I didn't know was how high tech it had become.  Apps to send your response in to the clue, have it approved and automatically the next clue would appear.  Points lost for poor sportsmanship, leaving litter at clue sites...  this was waaaaaay beyond my scavenger hunt which bordered on, "the next clue is by the TV".  I was also invited to the pre-teenager chaos and warm up games and after celebratory BBQ party with all the teams.  This lady is one cool chick and certainly put my efforts to shame.  If I ever wanted to do another scavenger hunt, she's the lady I'm calling and she's already started on next year.  I hope that she will be managing a scavenger hunt on a huge scale for the city one day.

Ironically, after the afternoon of zen and massages for the renewal lady, she put on her high heels, and hobbled out the front door blindfolded just as a band of crazy teenagers were stomping on my flowers.  Initially, I didn't even remember what was going on but they buzzed in and out like well mannered holy terrors and were off.  All this was happening while the lady was being escorted into a car by a man she did not recognize because he spoke not a word.  What a great adventure and super hero he turned out to be.

Wait I lied to all of you.  I had 32 requests for my place.  The last was from a desperate couple biking to Quebec and the Airbnb they booked was hair hair on EVERYTHING.  Did I have anything available?  Man, that broke my heart.  I had two couples check out that day but because the whole house was rented, and one couple was still there, I didn't feel right double dipping, especially since they had been so gracious to allow me to have the wedding lady get ready all afternoon on their time.

So folks, unlike every other working holiday, I went to supper with Yagu, to the fireworks solo to meet my new friend Tina, participated in an Easter Bunny scavenger hunt with my new friend Kim, actively participated in a wedding preparation with my new friends Doretta and Dina, Mendjaly and makeup artisit, Medjine of and and I shared my place with a wonderful family.
What a weird and wonderful Canada Day.  Hope July is just as eventful and exciting.

Don't forget to check out: and book your rooms or gather your friends and book the whole house soon for a fraction of the cost of a hotel room...and great breakfasts too.

1.  Kontinuum from July 15-Sep.  You can book your free tickets online now for the sound and light show underground at the metro station.

2.  La Machine- the giant mechanical monsters walking downtown July 27-30th.  You'll see the fire breathing dragon and the massive spider.

3.  Northern Lites starts on Parliament hill to see the newest show starting July 11th at 10pm.  It's amazing to see.

4.  MosaiCanada 150 is now open in Jacques Cartier Park from June to Oct 15th.  Think a giant Chia pet park.  It's awesome.    

Saturday, 27 May 2017

OTTAWA'S FIRST & ONLY HOLISTIC BED & BREAKFAST, and new babies and no breakfasts and other random topics

What a crazy week I'm having.  Just had two French ladies stay for 4 days and didn't really eat breakfast so they had toast.  Now what am I supposed to do with the trough of food I have bought for their breakfast?  Another gentleman stayed for 5 days the same week and has never eaten breakfast. My trough is overflowing.  Finally I just checked in a family of runners for Race Weekend a mere few days later.  Now they will appreciate a home cooked meal.  Nope!  They brought all their own specialty food and nothing I serve will work.  The dairy will make them puke. The fruit and vegetables will make them go to the bathroom and I am beside myself with inactivity for pampering.

I suppose it's best.  I just started a new chapter in my life...becoming a grandma for the first time. Whew, it's quite the ride so far but my grand-maternal instincts have gone into overdrive.  The first time I held the preemie identical twin girls, my Grinch like heart melted.  It was so much better than petting a kitten because altho kittens purr and let your defenses relax, eventually, they always scratch, draw blood and fiercely bite to show their undying thanks.  Not these little angels; they just might have re-started my biological clock again, yes, at the age of almost 60.  It could happen.

Just discovering my new passion is photographing babies in amusing photos. I'm thinking of marketing this in my neck of the woods to new moms who will appreciate this style of photography.  

Because they were sharing a membrane, their healthy arrival was sketchy at best so it's hard to believe they were born two months early and out of the hospital in 2 weeks. They have almost tripled their body weight in 8 weeks of constant feeding round the clock.  If that is possible, what other miracles could be waiting to transpire?

I'm finding miracles are happening everywhere, including my business.  As some of you know, I have branded myself as the Workshop Lady in the past.  I host other people's workshops when they can't entertain at their own places, and I have my own events and evening soirees, like Paint and Wine nights for people to enjoy but most of what I am all about is the spiritual aspect.  The first thing everyone seems to say is it's so peaceful here.  Women tell me they like the energy.

One of my favourite Intuitive mediums from Montreal, Nicole, told me I should re-brand my B&B and it's almost like she was reading my mind.  Is she psychic?  People need to hear about the mission of this place and I'm certain there are many travelers out there, especially middle aged women, usually finding themselves recently single, and finding their way who would love the pampering offered here.  I am now marketing my place as Ottawa's only Holistic Bed and Breakfast.  Can you imagine being the first one to start with that? ' Course the longer this writing stays in my draft box, the less chance I will have for that claim to fame.  My challenge is to provide enough draw to call my place holistic.

For the Body, I offer my Bed of Nails that are instrumental in my good sleep, circulation and being 100% healthy for 3 years.  I offer a specialty hands-on Energy Relaxation Massage and give away shoulder rubs and the occasional foot massage.
 I have homeopathic and home remedies to sooth the worst compromised system.  My Inversion Table and mini home gym keep me healthier than most youths I know and I do share these tools of the trade.  My food is good and in the summer, I use the organic fruits and vegetable that grow plentiful in my gardens.  

For the Mind, I  offer listening and some gentle suggestions that are usually well received.  I have books on most topics and some to shock you.  Someone once told me my mission on earth was to minor in spirituality and major in sexuality.  Now, before you get all excited and try to book a massage that is sure to disappoint you in the happy endings department, let me explain.  People hear of my events and come privately to discuss their new awareness of their place in the universe.  It's all new and exciting and I walk them thru the many venues and some of my favourite connections, all things I wish I knew about when I "came out" to the New Age movement.  Before long, we are talking about sexuality and topics that they have never ever discussed before because again, who do you turn to to listen to your curious questions who won't judge you?  That's me!  I have introduced a half a century virgin male to discovering what it all means in the birds and the bees department, another told me about his group adventures and a woman thought she might switch sides and how to best find a mate.
How is this possible when I have neither a mate nor, and I say this sadly, any action?  Life experience, a wealth of classes, lots of  great books and I'm finally a good listener.  Why, I've been on so many first dates where all I do is listen and nod for 3 hours while they ramble on and on about themselves til I can have them take a breath and then I run for the hills.  What's not to love about being with a good listener?

Finally, for the Spirit, my workshops bring people in to be introduced, sometimes for the first time, to New Age stuff.  Some tell me for the first time ever that they once saw a ghost or hear voices and I reassure them that many people, including yours truly, have and they are in good company.  Some wonder if they are psychic and I tell them that everyone can be if they pay attention to the cues and work at it.  I find woman over 40 are really coming into this topic and it reassures them.  I have all my favourite "haunts" to send them and I say that with tongue in cheek.  I direct them to other people who have devoted their lives to spirituality.  I tell them to start a journal and they will be surprised at how often they have miracles happen in their lives.
We've done meditations here,  musical healing, journaling,  psychic exercises, full moon drumming circles, Energy Shares, Paint nights.
 It's such an honour to see someone start their path in your own home and then go on to greatness.  Sure if I worked at it,  I could excel, anyone can, but I'm too lazy.  It's easy sending someone else on their path and seeing the wonder and amazement in their eyes.

I recently read an article about all the quirky Airbnbs out there that the hosts have advertised their places in very unique ways.  The author was quite unforgiving but I know this concept of a Holistic B&B is gold and if she wants to write about me too, all the better.  Even bad press is good press.  I've tried to make my B&B the most unique and quirky in Ontario from the decor to the atmosphere.  I have upside down rooms, falling shelves, bed of nails, virtual reality experiences, workshops, painting anytime, pendulums that mesmerize, backward clocks, the Dreams room, and so many other crazy things. Everyone loves the decor.  I may have some people scared to stay here but I have regular folk all the time who have no idea about my beliefs.  Often I only find out as they are walking out the door and the woman will say something like, "ya, My mother came to me in my bedroom after she died and you must think I'm crazy".  OMG, why did she hold out on me until that moment?!!!

I now have many more who are drawn to this place of energy like moths to a light and since Like Attracts Like, this Holistic B&B is going to be big.  You mark my words!   Now if you want an autograph before I go on Oprah and become famous, you better get in line soon.  They are queuing up... or they will be soon, once we get the word out.  Until then, send me your visiting families and traveling salesmen.      

Friday, 28 April 2017

MILLENIALS, FOOD & FITNESS and how this near senior keeps in shape while running Spoiled Rotten B&B

Running a business and trying to stay in shape is a constant challenge.  My best motivation to keep fit is right after I’ve showered and weighed myself; you know the time, when you are most disgusted with the worst friend in the world who you keep in your bathroom on the floor?  That’s the time I should get on my bike to go work out.  It’s also at that time that I realize, I need to be downstairs creating a food masterpiece for breakfast for my guests and I can’t go anywhere, so I don’t.  By the time the guests have checked out, so has my motivation. 

I was recently at the gym working out near my daughter, who just achieved top provincial salesperson as assistant fitness manager in her national gym, and observed her enthusiasm and humour as she dealt with her latest customer.  I’m so proud of her work and accomplishments she has achieved.  They love her at the gym; she cute, she’s funny, bubbly, tiny, beautiful, like a miniature Thai princess.  No one should look that good in spandex or work golf shirts.  My only consolation is that I used to look that tiny once and one day she will turn into me and she thinks it will never happen if she doesn't want it to.  Mwahahahaha, that makes me smile, wickedly.
After the short exercise set, she told the woman ‘good job’ and raised her hand to high five.  I discreetly shook my head and said, you don’t high five older (50+) women;   men maybe, because they are just so happy to have a nubile young girl touching them and it’s part of the sport culture they grew up with…young people sure, but never older women. We think it’s dumb.  We would much prefer a verbal “great job” confirmation than the silly high five.  She hotly disagreed and said some jump to do it even if she’s not initiating.  

I thought about that and I think it’s because we are of a different era.  We don’t want to have this tiny person in authority over our fitness and weight to think we’re not cool.  We are so relieved to understand that when the young adult raises their hand, they are not getting ready to hit us.  The hand raise is not to fist bump, chest bump, clap or do a clever hand welcome maneuver or whatever else inappropriate our options are.  We know that not only is the high five the only alternative to not looking stupid but also that the instructor seems pleased with us but make no mistake, we hate doing it.  Pay attention kids.  We hate doing it, whether it’s at meeting, or fitness clubs or most places you can come up with.  You play a football game or baseball outside  with us and the play goes well, then yes, that is the exception to high five an older lady.  May you find out your adult child has just told you they are moving out- definitely a loophole to the rule! High five away.  I have an older female friend who hotly disagrees, but she is wrong. Case closed! 

Daughter shook her head in disgust and said “what would I know about fitness” and that got me thinking.  The audacity of her to think she invented exercise and how to do things properly.  I have been exercising for 32 years, since when I joined the military, and then always belonged to private national gyms long before we dragged the ankle biters in diapers to daycares at the gym.  We parents modelled fitness, healthy living and sports long, long before the children ever jumped on the band wagon.  Truth be told, they were young adults before they finally embraced the gym.  We had been eating healthy for years before they suddenly told us that we should have chicken and veggies, “which are good for us”, don’t cha know.  Lordy, they are the epitome of righteous and know-it-allness.  I think some think they should set up shop on the mountain top so peons like you and I will go to them for their precious advice. 

To add to my wisdom from age, over the last 32 years, I had been to more doctors, chiropractors, massage therapists from hell, Osteopaths and physiotherapists for fitness injuries than she could ever dream.  I have learned massage and healing from the best of the best because I always shopped around when I had insurance.  I have entire binders of exercises they have me doing if I throw out my back, my tennis elbow, my rotator cuff, my bum knee, bad wrist, cricked neck, and sciatica... I know what to do for most ailments, pulls, strains, and muscle booboos.  You tell me some symptoms and I bet I can hazard a guess at what you have or should do and then I see her teaching one of the stretches I learned years ago for shoulders.  Maybe I should be teaching cause we all know those who don't, teach.  

When she told me her elbow and forearm really hurt, and she was setting up an appointment for surgery, I suggested that it might be tennis elbow or carpal tunnel and to give me her arm so I could massage it near the elbow and adjust her hand for a good stretch.  She was in heaven and every time I went to the gym, like Pavlov’s dogs salivating, her arm would rise as I neared her, no not to hug me but rather to receive her free treatment.  I’m not just an old, wrinkly pretty face.  I know stuff too.
I have followed more fitness crazes and regimes from Stop the Insanity, Sweating with the Oldies, The Thigh Master, Atkins Diet, Cabbage Soup, and of course everyone knows the Lemon, cayenne, honey drink (that they think they created)…well the list is long, longer than she could ever imagine but now I’m obsolete, I know.  One time, (ok, 100 times) I get caught saying, “if you asked me if I went to the gym today, the answer would be yes.  I did.  I spent some of it in the massage chairs, the sauna, visiting with said daughter and once, so tired, falling asleep on all the machines.”  As if she knows everything. 

You’ll never find me on the treadmill without a good book or my preferred Kindle.  There’s always a workbook or novel nearby if I get bored, and works well in the sauna since I can’t bring my electronics.  I discovered that I need a special bag when I work out to carry all my stuff.  Yes, I’m the queen of Bag ladies.  

Recently I took an inventory of what was in it.   My kindle goes everywhere with me but if it’s running low on juice, I need my remote juice charger.  I have my cell attached to me at all times since I run the business and have to be on high alert in case the phone rings and a drop-in is moments away from arriving.  I also have my old I-phone with all the music on it since no one, and I mean no one can figure out how to transfer my playlist to the new Android.  Most annoying! And finally I have my huge Blue Tooth headphones which I won at a work networking event.  I only use these for about 15 minutes when I warm up on the rowers.  When I start a machine, I line up the Kindle, the I-phone and the Samsung cell.  I almost need a backpack cuz I have my hand towel, a handful of old ladies Kleenexes, a soft cover Readers Digest, just in case all technology fails, a workbook and pen if I’m on a stationary bike and having an inspiration, mini headphones if I’m on the big stepper, lipsol, and reading glasses.   I need to lift weights just to be able to lift my bag to go lift weights.  And she thinks I don’t know what I’m doing.

 Now I know my workouts are very basic.  I don’t want to be there but I’m nearing 60; cut me some slack.  I’ve done my time as a gym rat; now it’s maintenance.  If I didn’t ever go, I’d blow up from late night eating, leftover from the B&B dessert binge eating.   I tell myself I’m doing myself a favour by just eating all the junk food in the house so that I can get get rid of it.  There are flaws to my system, I know but I did go to the gym today and if you go midday, it can be so quiet, you’ll catch some of the best zzz’s  of your day getting some shiatzu while in “the happy chair”. The nerve of her thinking I don’t know what I’m doing in the gym.  The audacity of youth!!!

Sunday, 19 March 2017

Spring IS Coming, despite all the snow but the PC Cooking School Makes it all Better

Spring is coming

And this I am certain, or at least I was until I saw this view of my Spoiled Rotten Bed and Breakfast.  This is how mother nature greats my guests. How rude! I'm also a little horrified to realize that my shoveling skills might need some work for this "blue job".  

I know, it’s horrible to look at.  Not so long ago, there was a 5’+ snow tunnel for my driveway. This particular photo below is of my five foot tree that is completely obliterated.

I was almost ready to lose my sign if the snow didn't stop soon. When I saw this mess, a part of me cringed and said it looked so much nicer with all the snow.  I think it was at that point that the snow decided to return, because of meMy recycle box  is no more, hidden beneath the sign.          

Do you see the five foot evergreen hidden under here?                                                                            

I feel really bad about being responsible for bring back the fury of mother nature.  I should have been happy with the messy melt.                                                                                                                      
And then I took a PC Cooking class at the Innes Road Superstore in Orleans.
I met Chef Keith and realized it was not my fault at all, in any way.  He’s a wonderful instructor that all the dames love to heckle but he’s to blame.
He won my eternal adoration when he slipped only three of us newbies an extra slice of onion cheese tart that I would commit murder for.  Now, here is where the finger of guilt might point.  He admitted to us that the snowstorm is most likely his fault. [Total admission of guilt].  He put away his snowblower for the season.  I am not sure who is more culpable (him) but we both have to share some of the blame. 
It saddens me because he is such an amazing entertainer and cook, even with his beard that he asked our opinion about and promised us to shave then completely ignored his promise.  Are you seeing a trend here?  

Another thing, and I’m just guessing here but maybe he feels his class is getting slack in presentation.  Last week, he told us a video crew was coming in to film us for a PC commercial and interview some to be talking on the commercial.  Well, we got all dolled up and the beard stayed and the crew never showed up.  Do you think he just wants us to care about our appearances more and to get rid of all the track suits or is he really telling us the truth but I digress.

So what is worse, the clean lines of a driveway totaled by snow or the previous mess?  
On the plus side, the snow is going fast and now I can see most of my poor tree.  Repeat after me… SPRING IS COMING! 
 So make your booking to Spoiled Rotten B&B to watch the snow melt and take the cooking class.  

Classes are every Tuesday and they are a steal but filling up fast.  You pay $10 then get to eat what he cooks, and each person gets a $10 store voucher.  Win/win, you would think but really, that $10 voucher is an automatic $80 minimum grocery bill to me every single week.  Do you think they know this might happen?  Someone should tell them.  

Enjoy your balmy springlike 4+ degree weather Monday and Happy Spring.