Cleaning Chemical-Free

Full disclosure – my Enjo representative is also one of my very best friends.  She is honest and Enjo is her first foray into the world of business.  Next full disclosure – I am frugal (some may say cheap), committed to taking care of the environment, super sensitive to yucky chemicals and known in many circles as a clean freak.

Yolanda Tomaszewski
Yolanda T.

 

 

 

 

 

The Enjo products are not cheap but they really work and they have value for your buck. They last …and last…..and last. They are good to our planet.

This week Yolanda left me a small portion of the Enjo Marble Paste to try around my house.  It was really just a few crumbs in a tiny container.  She also left the Enjo Kitchen Scrub.

Kitchen Scrub

 

 

 

 

 

I decided to try it on my silver collection. Yowza!  It really worked and it worked quickly.  My silver was really tarnished and I had been ignoring it for several months.  I decided I wanted it back on display and looking fine!  It took me less than a half hour to polish everything with no scrubbing or hard rubbing and no smelly chemicals.

Before
After

I wanted to experiment so I tried the paste with a kitchen sponge and also with a micofibre cloth.  It still removed tarnish with the Enjo Marble Paste but not with the ease and success of the Enjo Kitchen Scrub and Enjo Marble Paste.  I don’t understand those Enjo fibres but they work!!  They work on tarnished silver, on cleaning your dirty oven, your  greasy pots, your floors, your windows and more.

I’m hooked.  I am a believer.

2 thumbs up.  For more information check out Yolanda Tomaszewski’s FaceBook page or email her at ytomaszewski@enjo.ca

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What I love about Love

Being a wedding officiant is just about the most perfect vocation anyone could ask for.  I absolutely love spending time with people who are so positive about the future, so full of hope and love.  Joy, happiness and excitement surrounds them in a cloud of deliciousness!!!

Kenana and Dave

One of my daughters says there is nothing that she loves more than a love story and encourages her friends to share their stories.  My first favourite book ( I read it over and over) was Erich Segal’s “Love Story”.  ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhh

Love_Story_(Erich_Segal_novel)_cover

 

The first thing I want to hear from a couple is their story.  I want to know how they met and how long they have been together.  It is that connection that is the foundation of the new life they are building.

It’s wonderful to hear about their plans for the future and the many things they have in common.  I often wonder what is the most important element of a relationship? Is it sharing hobbies, professions, physical attraction, values, culture, religion, politics, family values?  Somehow it is a little bit of everything.   A couple may seem like total opposites until there is a bit more excavating and you find that at the core they are so similar.

What do you think?  Will you share your love story with me?

I’ve been in my element these past few weeks.  I created a bedroom in my closet.  The closet is about 6 feet by 7 feet and I have loved having all that storage space!  I had an abundance of items organized in that closet – my clothes and everything else.  The apartment is only 400 square feet in total.  It’s small but more than enough space for me to live very happily. I often have friends and family over and can comfortably entertain a dozen or more guests.  I frequently have overnight guests too.

A few weeks ago I was scrolling Pinterest when I found this photo.  I was so inspired.  I went to my closet, took a look went back to the sofa, got up and looked again.  I repeated that scenario at least 3 times until I just couldn’t help myself. I started hauling everything out of my closet – clothing, suitcases, shoes, boots, boxes, jewellery, coats and so on and so on and so on.  A lot of stuff.

Pinterest

After washing the floors and the shelving, I moved the single bed into the room.  Now what to do with all the “stuff”.  Of course,  a quick trip to Ikea would have quickly solved all my problems but I didn’t have that amount of extra cash and I also prefer to use recycled products whenever possible.  Ol, I admit, I am very frugal and I hate waste more than anything.

That same week I found a dresser in the parking lot of my daughter’s condo. I am so lucky when it comes to finding things that I need.  Looking around my place right now there are many great finds.

the dresser
The dresser (free)

Then I started scouring Marketplace on Facebook.  I was hoping to find something cheap, in my neighbourhood  and that someone might deliver. No small wish list.  Here’s what I found this week.

 

 

The storage box
The storage box $15 picked up
The wardrobe
The wardrobe $40 delivered

 

The clothes are in the dresser, the wardrobe and the storage box.  I emptied a few shelves in my linen closet moving all the towels into the bathroom and all the bedding into the storage box of my Ikea Beddinge sofa.  Before the move, I had the beautiful quilts that my Grandmother made there but now I am showing them off in my new bedroom. I moved the shoe shelf into the entrance way and gave it a beachy look.

Beachy shoe rack
Shoes and boots

I love my new room.  I love the bold red accents.  I am surrounded by my favourite things.  I now have more living and dining room space and having a private bedroom is fabulous.  My rent is the same but now I have a one bedroom apartment.  This is the best of tiny space living!

Bedroom
My new bedroom

 

 

My Mother’s Day Rant – Wishing you Joy and Happiness

It’s Mother’s Day and my birthday.  I am such a lucky woman.  Totally blessed with loving daughters, a lovely little apartment, a small pension, a great little job that I can do from home (teaching English to children in China online) and more than enough.  My cupboards are generally filled and I am able to have a few of those luxuries that make me smile and add to my contentment.

 

Some people don’t think I have a lot but I have everything that I want and need. To others I have a heaping helping of abundance.  I have so many friends that have been devastated from the military occupation of Palestine – homes destroyed, children murdered……that is what the opposite of my life can look like.

But my joy and sense of abundance is not in comparison to others, it’s just what I feel.  Nothing works more successfully for my sense of joy than writing out my Gratitudes.  This is a habit I acquired more than 20 years ago.  I was inspired by Sarah Ban Breathnach in her Simple Abundance book, by Oprah, and by the Secret (book and film).  I write out 5 things that I am grateful for from the previous day.  If I get off this path and I start to feel lousy, I reboot with this practice and quickly am restored to my grateful and abundant self. I always urge others to just give it a 14 day trial and just see how it feels.

simple-abundance

I love a little self indulgence – cosmetics, having my hair coloured and styled (yup, folks, I am not a real blonde!!), acquiring new clothing (at least, new to me), dressing up my living space, flowers, plants…………..I love surrounding myself with “pretty things” and I love delicious, fresh and healthy food!  I also totally adore my daughters and my grandson!

 

 

I know there are so many people that just can’t acknowledge Joy – they feel so deeply the hurting in our world.  I understand it but if I don’t indulge myself, if I don’t create balance for myself, I won’t have the energy to help others and to be a dissident voice on this planet. I am all about balance.

Now on my Priestess path – my ordination as a Kohenet is just a year away – I believe that we are created in the image of the Divine.  I am so blessed to feel that Love and Inspiration. I encourage those of you who can find that Presence to embrace it – to Love yourself.  I encourage you to acknowledge your Gratitudes, to indulge in what you love, to smile even when it hurts.  “Fake it til you make it, Baby.” The People are rising – let’s change this world.  Let’s make a difference!  Let’s spread love and respect.  This is your day!

Passover Liberation Sedars

This was undoubtedly my busiest Passover EVER!!!  My colleagues and I at the Jewish Liberation Theology Institute held 3 sedars in 3 different cities – Toronto, Hamilton and London.

Setting up in London, Ontario

Our founding Rabbi Lucia Pizarro led the sedars in both Toronto and London, Ontario. Lucia was born in Mexico City, where she became qualified to practice law. She completed an M.A. and a Ph.D. in Philosophy at the University of Essex in the UK. She followed her academic passion for Jewish thought with four years working for social justice in Palestine. She recently became a mother and a Rabbi.  Our guest was Rabbi David Mivisair officiating in Hamilton. Rabbi David Mivasair is motivated by the commandments “justice, justice you shall pursue” and “seek peace and pursue it”.  For over 25 years, David served as the spiritual leader of synagogues in the US and in Vancouver, where he lives.  David is active in the leadership of Independent Jewish Voices in Canada and Jewish Voice for Peace in the US.  He lived in Israel for four years and in May went with 130 other Jews to support Palestinian activists defending their communities from destruction.

 

 

I was very excited to be the song and prayer leader in both Hamilton and London this year.

 

In London our guest speaker was Tarek Loubani. Tarek is a Palestinian physician and humanitarian. He is an Associate professor at the University of Western Ontario where he works as an emergency physician. He runs the Glia Project, which provides low-cost open-source medical equipment to impoverished locations, and EmPower Gaza, which puts solar panels for electricity on hospitals in Gaza. He will talk about his work at Al-Shifa Hospital in Gaza, in the context of the 70th anniversary of the Nakba.

tarik loubani

In Hamilton, our guest speaker was Robert Massoud. Robert is a Palestinian-Canadian. In 2004, he founded Zatoun to build bridges between Palestine and North America through the sale of cultural and symbolic products from Palestine. The main offering is fair trade extra virgin olive oil to serve as a symbol of light, hope and peace.  Zatoun is available through the fair trade network, activist and faith communities. He believes that appreciating the enormity and wide-ranging impacts of the Israel-Palestine situation creates interest for people to self-educate which is the best path to commitment and effective civil society.

Robert Massoud

In Toronto we had a speaker from the Palestinian community who asks people to support the Indigenous Land Defence Across Borders (ILDAB) project.

Recipient of the Absolutely Fabulous Women over 40 Award

What an honour to be nominated and then chosen to receive the Absolutely Fabulous Women over 40 award.  The corporate sponsor was Mary Kay.  It was an amazing night with over 400 guests and 40 fabulous women receiving the award.

This is the 5th annual extravaganza and it is organized by a dynamic group of women.  Rosanna Penilla-Bharucha is the founder of the event. Rosanna is an entrepreneur and believes in giving back to the community. She is the Executive Director of The Boomerpreneur and Boomerpreneurs Network, Regional Director for Asia-Pacific at Ed2All and Managing Director of the Host Students Network.

Reach-out-logoReach Out, an organization that helps to break the silence on sexual abuse benefited from the event.

The gala was held at the Grand Victorian Convention Centre in Mississauga.  Magnificent venue and the buffet meal was delicious.

Be Mine Valentine (committed to me)

 

I am no relationship expert.  Although, I have had many – I have had more failures than successes.  Well, I suppose many would sum it in that way.  I, however, look at back them as experiences, learning opportunities and mostly, a lot of fun.

Just days away from Valentine’s Day and I am getting excited.  My beloved and I have been making plans for weeks.  We’ve been married since the summer of 2012.  We?  Me and me.  I and I. Self-love.  I married myself and I highly recommend it.

I planned a lovely, simple wedding on the beach (my favourite place) in the evening.  The whole day was leading up to my ceremony was fun with a bit of shopping and a delicious meal.

July 2012 I promised to love myself.  I promised to honour and protect me.  Now as Valentine’s day approaches I see it as a day to recommit.  I want to have a day to honour Love, in general , and to honour a commitment to the one person who  will be with me until I die.  The one person who I want to love and take the best possi ble care of.   I am proud to say I love me. My commitment to my health, my safety, my well being and contentment is all part of my “marriage”.

I am also blessed to have wonderful people in life that I love,  my grandson, my daughters, their partners and my amazing friends.  However, my life changed the day I married myself.  Something flipped in me and a new contentment washed over me.  It has stayed with me over the years.  There was a moment when I realized I really wasn’t alone.

Whether you are in relationship or not, I invite you to explore making this personal commitment – to love, honour and respect YOU.

Time to Kick Ass (or at least reduce mine)

Well, it has been quite a while since I had the motivation to share the thoughts constantly streaming in my very active brain.  You know the ongoing dialogue that interrupts all the attempts at meditation and the “what I think are brilliant ideas” that come to me while I am out walking.  Yes, the ones that I never remember when I get home.

I am back on track with my healthy life style plan and the best plan of action for me is to share and to have my family and friends (and readers) keep me real.  I have read that this works for some and not for others but it is always a great idea for me.  I was being very strict with myself in the weeks prior to my doctor’s appointment mid January.  I then was a little more lenient in the past 2 weeks – no weight gain but no weight loss either.

I like to use the old weight watchers plan –pre 2010.  It is the best one for me – only some vegetables are free points and everything else needs to be weighed and calculated.  It has worked every time for me and I have been so blessed to not gain anything back since 2004 when I first put it into use.  I managed to drop another 15 pounds since last August and then plateaued.  I think it is time to put more exercise in the mix at least 3 days a week and walk for nothing less than a half hour on the other days.  I have lost 80 pounds in total so far – 20 more to go.

For me the best diet secret is just not to have the bad stuff in the house.  I am watching my sugar intake so I have pretty much eliminated packaged foods (maybe a package of Ryvita crackers once in a while), removed the maple syrup, divide my meat in portions before I put it in the freezer as well as removing fat and skin ( too tempting when you are cooking at 5pm and already hungry), and stocking the freezer with frozen vegetables that are easy to cook in a hurry or when I need to snack.  My favourite go-to splurge is all you can eat sushi every few weeks.

If you want to try the very old weight watcher’s plan without the expense you can try this resource and you can calculate your point value here.  You can also find the value of thousands of food right here.  On the old system you can calculate your point allotment here.

I am inspired to keep this up because my last Doctor’s appointment was successful.  All my numbers were on the decline!  Yup, cholesterol, blood sugar – everything – the doctor was very pleased and won’t see me again for 6 months.  I want to reach my goal weight of 150 pounds by then.  It’s important for me to talk numbers and I wish more of us did.  I am certain that if I knew that so many women weighed in the same range as me, I wouldn’t have felt like the biggest one around.  I wish that I had that measuring stick instead of the chart that said I was supposed to weigh 130 when my starting point was 160.   I had no idea that a size 14 was average.

I started losing weight in 2004 – dropped 35 pounds – felt fabulous and svelt and didn’t try to lose again until my diagnosis with Type 2 Diabetes.  I then dropped another 20 and was able to go without medications for another 2 years.  Last year my numbers were escalating and I am now on a few medications that are working well.  For those of you familiar with Diabetic medication – Metformin does not work for me – the side effects leave my joints sore and stiff and cause a lot of digestive problems.  I recommend not relying on your family physician but getting an Endocrinologist as soon as you are diagnosed.  I am taking 2 new medications – Trajenta and Jardiance.  They are working for now but my goal is once again to be medication free.  That is why I am working so hard! I continue to have a monthly acupuncture treatment and to take my Chinese Herbs daily.

It’s all about health and healing.  I am committed to this journey. Help keep me honest.  I love sharing recipes and food ideas, exercise plans and anything that has been successful.  I wish I knew all this when I was younger and I wish that I put a stop to the slow weight gain of 5 pounds every year but there is no sense in crying over that spilled milk.  I am sure there are a lot of important lessons in it all.  At least I know that being overweight did not stop me from doing anything – EVER!

Time to kick ass!  Or at least reduce mine.

Travelling and Earning Money

I am so intrigued by all the opportunities to work online and to work away.  I have been exploring these possibilities for quite a while now.  I am so inspired by friends who have chosen to work abroad teaching  and others who are house sitting,  pet sitting, renting out their own places, doing home exchanges and more.  I was fortunate to live in the Middle East for 2 years teaching English and writing grants for a few non-governmental organizations.  I also had a chance to work on a project in Greece for 6 months.  These opportunities were private ones that I found but if are considering house or pet sitting you might want to check out TrustedHousesitters.

Did you ever watch the film “The Holiday” with Cameron Diaz and Kate WInslett ?  The lead characters advertise online for a house swap.  Watch the trailer here.  Maybe it will inspire the adventurer inside you?  Check out HomeExchange.

My plan for retirement is to put these many ideas into practice. The list of possibilities is endless.  I am hoping that we will continue to add to the list and share our successes and failures.

I have been teaching English as a second language online for a few years now.  I really enjoy it and find it is quite simple and very satisfying.  Many companies like the one I work for provide the entire lesson plan so that there is minimal preparation.  I have been working as a supply teacher up to now and just this week began with ongoing classes.  Previously (before retirement) my income from teaching was just a supplement to a regular salary but now I am more dependent on it.  Here is a link to many online teaching jobs.

Need to rent out your home?  There are countless ideas from AirBnB to countless Facebook groups and also  SabbaticalHomes .  You will probably find more on Craigslist and Kijiji as well. However, it is important to do your homework, that means research and asking questions.  This is as complicated or even more complicated than online dating.  Be careful, be smart, be diligent.  I suggest asking friends for recommendations and using sites that offer ratings on both the traveller and the advertiser.

It is a good idea to join groups of travellers which you will find on Facebook and other social media platforms.

The ideas are only limited to your imagination.  Dare to dream.  Where would go?  What have you done?

editor’s note:  We are not endorsing any of the mentioned websites.  These are simply ideas to get you started.

Getting Real About Retirement

 

Ok, time to fess up.  I am not really old enough to retire.  There is no trust fund, no inheritance, no alimony, no lucrative work pension, no brilliantly planned retirement savings account.  Really there is nothing, nada, zero, empty, kaput!  It simply was time to live that life I have been talking about for years….working at what you love so that you never work another day in your life.  How do I plan to do this.

 

I don’t want to go to an office every day.  I don’t want a boss.  I want to be able to travel.  I want time to work at things that just simply bring me joy.  I love writing and that is where this blog comes in.  I get an idea (actually about a million of them swimming around in my head) and then I write and then I am almost euphoric.  When my writing resonates with a reader I am totally euphoric, over the moon, filled with joy!!!  I absolutely love creating ritual and officiating at ceremonies – Weddings, Bar/Bat Mitzvah, Baby Namings, even sad occasions like Funerals and UnbindingCeremonies.  This is my happy place…true fulfillment.

_DSC4429_170717.jpg

 

About 20 years ago, I created  a series of workshops to help women explore who they are and who they want to be.  I absolutely loved this work and I dreamed of a time that these workshops and talks would be the centre of life.  Time flies by and dreams sometimes get lost or put on hold.  Now is the time and tomorrow is too late.

Dream pillow workshop 1

So here I am at 61 years old and starting a whole new life plan!  How freaking amazing is that?  I have a busy schedule set up for myself.  Early in the morning I start by teaching English to children in China for a couple of hours.  Then, breakfast and catching up on emails, social media and my website to see what needs to be done.   I work until noon, then lunch and then a healthy activity.  While I am house sitting near the ocean that means walking, swimming and biking everyday for at least an hour.  When I am in Toronto, I am committing to the same schedule.  We have wonderful community centres with swimming pools and gyms that cost very little and there are discounts for seniors, students, unwaged, low income and more.

Does this appeal to you?  You must start with lists – lists of things you cannot live without.  What is the absolute minimum that you could live with satisfactorily?  What is a list with all your wishes and dreams?  Take time to prepare these lists and edit and edit and edit until you know what you want and what you need.  Next, a list of what type of work would make you feel fulfilled and contented.  It might be what you are doing now or something so far away from that it might surprise even you.  What do you know how to do?  What are your skills?  What do you do that fills you with joy? Meditate and dream on your lists.

The first step for me was starting the plan.  I gave my notice to my employer last January (8 months).  I started planning what the next steps would look like.  I read that if you want to be in a new place next year, you must do 365 things toward that goal and so I started.  Step by step, slowly, slowly and you can get there.  The next big move was becoming a client of Women on the Move (WOM) and working closely with Heather Gamble to develop a plan for success. WOM incubates women entrepreneurs.  It is a sisterhood of women who are motivated for change.

 

planning

I invite everyone to evaluate your life – are you doing what makes you happy?  Are you creating a lifestyle that suits you?  Are chasing your dream or are you actually chasing someone else’s?  Are you working to live or living to work?  There are many seasons to our lives….in our 20’s, in our 30’s, 40’s, 50’s….different goals and different needs.  What is it you want to change and what will you do every day to get there?