Tuesday, October 30, 2012


With Halloween being tomorrow, I figured I should post a little something about me and Halloween.

I like Halloween, I really do.  As a kid I loved dressing up and getting candy.  The part I hated was going up to strangers' houses and saying "trick or treat".  Why?...I don't know.  I was a very shy child and the oldest of the family.  I was supposed to show my sisters how it was done, but I would HATE doing it.

I love going with my nieces and nephew trick or treating now.  It's so cute to watch the 6yo take care of her younger sister (4).  Last year, she would go up to the houses and tell the people that her sister was allergic to peanuts and couldn't have any peanut candy.  No one told her to say this as my sister goes through the candy at night to ensure that nothing with peanuts gets through.  She did it on her own.  Soooo cute.  

There is one thing associated to Halloween that I truly can not stand.  I HATE being scared.  You know all those haunted houses and haunted hay rides in the Ottawa area...well, I stay away from those as much as I possibly can.

To me, there is no "good" adrenaline rush from being scared.  I don't care what anyone says, I will not come out of a haunted anything saying "That was awesome!!".  Nope...never going to happen.

The ONE exception is the haunted mansion at Disney World.  Now that's awesome!!

You see, I was well into my late teens, early twenties before I would watch the video Thriller while alone in the house at night.  Yes...I know....makes no sense whatsoever.

I'm just a wimp.  I big wimp.  I don't watch horror movies either.  I saw 6th Sense when it came out and couldn't even sleep in my room in the basement that night.  I slept on the couch upstairs.  Sure it only lasted a day, but I was freaked out!!

To all of you who think it's funny to scare Julie...I do NOT enjoy it.  I'm not one of those people who will laugh about it just don't do it!!!  ;)

That said, my 6yo niece doesn't seem to be suffering from the same affliction as her aunt.  That's a good thing I suppose.  At least she might actually enjoy Saunders Farm at night.

Happy Halloween to all.

Be safe and watch out for all the little ghouls and goblins out trick or treating!!

Julie /@Flip_4

Friday, October 26, 2012

Money - Joys of being consumer debt free

About 8 years ago, I was in trouble.  BIG trouble financially.  I had a good job that paid well, but I was spending way above my means.   I also had pre-existing debt that had been following me since College.  Of course, I kept this hidden from everyone around me. (or so I thought)

One of my dreams was to buy a house.  Yes, I could rent an apartment, but I really wanted to buy a house.  I had absolutely no idea how to get there from the mountain of debt I currently lived on.

Well, in August 2011, I moved into my very own house.  Sure, the bank owns more of it than I do, but it's still my very own place. I am also consumer debt free and have been for a 2 years.

How was I able to get here from the sizable mess I'd gotten myself into?  Gail Vaz-Oxlade.  Who you ask?  Gail Vaz-Oxlade.  She was able to help me get out of debt.  No, I have NEVER met her, but hope to one day, nor have I ever had a conversation with her by any means.

About 4 years ago, my father told me about this show he was watching that was really good at helping people in debt.   Now, I know my parents aren't in debt so I guess I really wasn't hiding my problems very well. 

Gail is currently the host of a few shows on tv that are aimed at helping people out of their debt.  The first one is 'Til Debt do us part and the other one I watch is Princess.  She also has a very helpful website here

If you have never watched either of these, you really should.  She goes through everyone's finances and tells them exactly how they can get out of the debt they're in and still feel like they're living.

My big problem was thinking I had to give up everything and live like a hermit in order to get myself out of debt and into my house.  I was wrong.

With nothing other than the will to do it and the tools that Gail provides both on the shows and her website, I was able to finally get myself out of the mess I was in.  There was no more roller coaster rides of paying off part of the debt only to spend it again on things I thought I "needed".  Thankfully I have some wonderful friends and family who have helped me stay the course especially since my road trips with my friend were now probably cancelled for a while.

Granted, it really is NOT easy to stay on the correct path.  I've had many relapses as recently as last month, but I'm able to get myself straightened back out quickly enough.   I haven't carried a balance on my credit cards in over two years.  I do what I have to to make sure everything gets paid. 

As a bonus, I was also able to keep my season tickets to the Ottawa Senators. (hence the reason there are no more road trips). 

Things are tight now and probably will be for the foreseeable future, but it is so freeing to know that other than your house, you have no other debt.

I'm an open book so if anyone else out there is struggling, I'm willing to share what I've gone through and how Gail Vaz-Oxlade really can help.

Til we meet again

Julie / @Flip_4

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

NHL Hockey...or not

I am a HUGE hockey fan...the Sens to be precise.  LOVE them.  I've had season tickets in one form or another for the past 12+ years.  Before that I attended as many games as I could.

Prior to the Sens, I was a Habs fan and will never forget the first NHL game I attended when I was about 15 at the old forum.  It was amazing.

I can't remember my life without hockey in it.  It's always been a part of it whether I liked it or not (which I honestly did not for a while). 

Now what this lockout has succeeded in doing, is make me question why I spend so much money on NHL season tickets. 

I've been keeping busy with other things for the past month waiting for hockey to start.  I thought I would be bored, but as much as I do miss it, I've easily found other things that interest me to replace the hockey.

It's really hard for me to say this, but should I really keep my season tickets?  A year ago, that wouldn't have even been a question, but I've found so many other things I could be spending that money on and not having the hockey to occupy my time, it's making it harder for me to justify anymore.

Of course, knowing myself, I likely would not cancel my season tickets and will come back full time once the season starts, whenever that may be.  This lockout has just got me thinking of some of the fun I'm missing outside hockey due to all that money tied up in hockey tickets.

The NHL and NHLPA should really find a solution soon because if a HUGE hockey fan like myself is getting distracted from hockey, the casual fan just might not be back.  That's a lot of money teams will be losing.

Now that I've rambled enough...I hope hockey comes back and soon...otherwise, I might just go on the NKOTB cruise ;).

Good night
Julie / @Flip_4

Monday, October 15, 2012

Christmas prep in full swing

Yes, I know.  It's really early to start all the Christmas preparations / cooking.  In our case, we really don't have much of a choice this year.

My father's prostate cancer surgery is on November 6th (it was moved up from November 20th) and that means we are fast forwarding through all the preparations.  We have 3 weeks to do everything.  Actually, for most of the stuff, my parents have 3 weeks to get it all done, but I am determined to help them out with as much as I possibly can.

Today, I went to their house and helped them make some "tourtières".  We made 15 of them.  It was long and tedious, but they are now done.

As a bonus, we made my dad some "pêtes de soeurs".  If you've never had these, you are MISSING out!!  So good!!

On Saturday, it's my Dad and I's annual tradition of making donuts..  In all the years I've been making these with my dad, we have never done them in October.  Most of the time, it's well into December.  Since we don't know what condition my dad will be in after his surgery, we're not taking any chances.

I certainly hope there will be some left by Christmas. I have to remember to keep them away from my brother in law.  I'm also giving out a lot of them so I hope we can make enough for that or else some people might be disappointed.

Somewhere in the next 3 weeks, we also have to find the time for butter tarts.

I'm not a baker, but I will do it for my dad. :)

It's a little odd for me to start on the Christmas spirit so early, but life happened and made the decision for us.  The only thing that probably won't happen on Saturday is that we won't be listening to Christmas music while making the donuts.  It just seems way too early for that, then again, I'll leave it to my Dad to decide that.

With any luck, everything will be done on time and my parents will be able to relax after his surgery and enjoy some quiet time before the holiday season truly begins.


Sunday, October 7, 2012

Results - Birthday Wishes for Prostate Cancer

My Birthday has now passed so I thought I would share to you the results from my  "Birthday Wishes for Prostate Cancer" post :)

The amount will be given to  Prostate Cancer Canada.

The total birthday wishes on twitter/facebook were:

Facebook:  53
Total:: 72

This means $69.  As promised in my blog, if I got to meet Jordan Knight, I would add to this donation.  I met him and have a picture with him to prove it.  It was such a wonderful night that I decided to double the donation.  That means $144.  I'm not keen on numbers that aren't rounded, so I'll round that up to $150.00

I will be making the donation this week!!

Thank you to everyone who has made this happen.  I spent a fantastic birthday with friends and family.  I am truly blessed.

Thank you also to Majic 100's Stuntman Stu, Angie Poirier and Trisha Owens for giving me the opportunity to meet Jordan Knight.  It was a fantastic night!! :)

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Mixed emotions!!

My birthday is today and something that has happened for so many year on my birthday will not happen today.

I will not get a phone call from my Grand-maman.  I always knew that when I got home after my family celebration, there would either be a phone call coming up or a message on my phone wishing me a Happy Birthday. It's something that I've come to look forward to but this year, that won't happen.

In February, she passed away quite suddenly after a heart attack and it has hit me pretty hard.  I had never lost someone before and I didn't realize how hard it would be.  I think of her every day and miss her a lot.  I wish she was still here.

I've been told that it's the first year that is the hardest.  The "first" time not having her with us for all special occasions or other little events that mark our lives.  For example, if and when my dad and I make our Christmas Donuts this year, using her recipe, it's the first time we won't be getting her opinion on how well we succeeded.  I remember last year, she told us they were better than even hers were. Something as silly as that really made me happy.

Today, on my birthday, I will fondly remember all the times as a child that she made me special birthday cakes with her "Special Icing".  My whole family calls it "Le glaçage de Grand-maman".   Then in later years, it was the phone calls. She was a fantastic Grandmother and I will remember that always.

Je t'aimes Grand-maman!!!!

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Much needed good news

I got a call from my Mom earlier today and she had some good news to share with me.

Apparently, my Dad's doctor decided not to wait until Thursday to give him the results. 

The Cancer is localized to the prostate only.  It has not spread any further.  *breathing a huge sigh of relief*

I was so worried about we know.

I'm still worried because he does need surgery, but at least now we know that once the prostate is out, there is a good chance the cancer will be completely gone.

It's like a weight lifted off my shoulders and I think I'll be able to sleep better tonight.

Thank you to everyone for your thoughts and prayers, it has really helped.

Now we need a surgery date!!  Should get that on Thursday.


Fear of the unknown

These past weeks since September 12th have been long, long, long.

The reason is that we're waiting for results for my Dad to tell us just how bad this cancer is.  The worst part of it all is the fear.

Fear of the unknown.

At least if we knew, we could deal with it.  Currently, all we know is that he has prostate cancer.  We don't know the severity nor the treatment that will be taken.  All we can do is wait until October 4th.

I have to tell you that for me, the waiting is the worse.  It helps to have friends, work and for me, the Jordan Knight concert tomorrow (Oct 3rd)...a blessing in disguise since it will keep me from sitting at home alone the night before the results, just worrying myself silly.

I have felt the fear almost every day when I have just too much time to think.  Today, it was while driving in to work.  The fear was just overwhelming.  I KNOW all the stats, I KNOW that it's the most treatable cancer, but I just can't stop the fear.

As bad as I feel, I can't even imagine how my Mom and Dad are feeling right now.  I've caught some glimpses of it a few times in the past 3 weeks, but I don't think my Dad is really letting us (his daughters) see just how scared he is.  It breaks my heart.

Of course, I try not to show my fear to my parents either, they need to see that I am strong and can handle things if they need to turn to me for support.  I will be there for them no matter what.

I really just want October 4th to get here as quickly as possible.  I want to know what my Dad is facing and how we will deal with it as a family.

I want the fear to go away!!!