A model who embraced her age

LogoIt was with sadness that I learned yesterday of the death of 67 year old Cindy Joseph on July 12.

Ms. Joseph, began her career in the late 1970s working as a make-up artist for fashion and beauty photographers. In 1999, at the age of 49, on the very day that she cut off the last remaining bit of her coloured hair and fully embraced her gray, she was approached on the street by a casting agent and asked to model for a Dolce and Gabbana ad campaign. That ignited her modeling career with Ford Models Inc. In her 50s and 60s she modeled for companies like Olay, Elizabeth Arden, Anthropologie and Ann Taylor.

“I certainly didn’t fit the status quo of the modeling world,” Ms. Joseph told Yahoo Beauty in an interview last year. “I was 49 years old — I was under 5-foot-8, my hair was gray. Hello! I had crow’s feet!”

What she didn’t mention was the fact that she was stunning!

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Cindy Joseph on the front cover of Viv magazine – July 2007

Ms. Joseph encouraged women to embrace their age instead of trying to conceal it. She believed that fixating on youth was unhealthy and an ineffective beauty strategy contending that many cosmetic companies failed their wearers by trying to mask the signs of aging. In 2010, she launched BOOM! by Cindy Joseph, her own “pro-age” skin and cosmetics line consisting of natural moisturizers and easy to use multitasking “Boomsticks” that act as lipstick, blush, and eyeshadow.

Cindy Joseph died after a valiant battle with soft tissue sarcoma, a cancer that attacks the soft tissues of the body.

Cindy Joseph


The notion of “home”

When and where are you truly at home?

Except for short stints of five months to a year spent living in Asia, I’ve lived in the same small Alberta town for more than four decades, but there’s always been deep within me a yearning to be somewhere else, to be traveling, to see new places. The dictionary calls it wanderlust.

When I did live overseas for a time, it sometimes felt almost surreal. I remember walking the streets of Funabashi, Japan shortly after our arrival there and marvelling that this place, so foreign, so different, and yet so fascinating was actually my home. I lived there!




The view from our apartment

A friend who has been an expat for almost six years, living in China, Cambodia, Vietnam, and now Mexico, recently said this: “I am very comfortable here, but every once in a while, say, once in six months, I will be out walking in my lovely colonial town, which looks nothing like what I grew up with, and all the sounds I hear are in a language which I did not grow up hearing, and it is like I am in some kind of strange dream place, and I wonder what is going on.” That got me thinking about the notion of “home.” What makes a place home and why is it that I always have that yearning to go somewhere else, to see someplace new?

I have a theory about why I feel this way. In the New King James Version of the Bible, 1 Peter 2:11 calls us “sojourners and pilgrims.” The New International Version translates it “foreigners and exiles.” The writer of Hebrews says that “we are looking for the city that is to come” (13:14), “longing for a better country—a heavenly one. (11:16) At best, we are temporary residents here. We are pilgrims on a journey. While there is much to be experienced and enjoyed along the way, I believe that there is deep within me a longing for that eternal home. That, I believe, is the source of my wanderlust, the reason that I could probably settle almost anyplace and yet not truly feel at home anywhere.

Interestingly, I was in the middle of sorting through my thoughts and had already started writing this post when I attended the funeral of a long time resident of our small community. Though she was only 71 years old, the lady who passed away had suffered debilitating illness and endured a great deal of pain in the final years of her life. In his message, entitled “Home Sweet Home”, the pastor told us of her readiness to go “home.” He referred to 1 Corinthians 5:1. “For we know that if the earthly tent we live in is destroyed, we have a building from God, an eternal house in heaven, not built by human hands.” Our bodies are but tents, temporary dwellings! Like refugees, we live in them until the time comes when we can go to a more permanent home.

Don’t get me wrong; I’m not in any hurry to vacate my tent! In fact, with the help of medical professionals, I’m doing everything I can to keep it intact. Though life is often far from easy, it’s a wonderful thing to be able to enjoy all that we’ve been blessed with during our sojourn here on earth and I’m in no hurry to see that come to an end! I’ll have all of eternity to enjoy my heavenly home. In the meantime, I will continue to wander this globe, perhaps never feeling quite at home, but marvelling at all the good things that this life has to offer.  There is, after all, a lot of world that I haven’t yet seen!

Summer sales!

LogoIt seems like summer has hardly arrived in our part of the world and already retailers are selling off their summer stock and preparing for the next season. It’s a great time to perk up your summer wardrobe at discount prices.

Those of you who have been reading my Fashion Friday posts for the past couple of years are aware of the fact that I’m a cabi girl. Cabi clothes, sold through direct sales, are fun, fashionable, and good quality, but they’re a bit pricey for this frugal fashionista. That’s why I love it when my cabi consultant holds her end of season sales!

On my recent visit to her beautiful in-home boutique, I came away with a couple of delightful buys. Today I’m wearing the Poet Blouse. I love the uneven hemline and the feminine flair of this ruffled bohemian top. The lightweight sheer poly drapes beautifully and gives the blouse an airy feel on hot summer days. Its muted colour palette of beige, soft pink, green, yellow and black adds versatility allowing it to be worn with many different bottoms.

Perhaps the most surprising and delightful aspect of the Poet Blouse is that it’s really two garments in one. Snap the tank top liner off at the shoulders and it can be worn on its own or mixed and matched with other garments. The overtop could also be worn over a different tank or camisole to add a solid colour at the neckline. The versatility is endless!

The tank isn’t limited only to summer. Under a cardigan or jacket, it will move right into fall with me.

Have you checked out any summer sales? Did you find any bargains?

Devon to Edmonton by kayak

On July 16, 2008 we climbed Mt Fuji, Japan’s most famous peak. Yesterday, exactly ten years later to the day, we kayaked the North Saskatchewan River from Devon, Alberta to Edmonton, which turned out to be a much easier challenge. Much easier, in fact, than we had expected it to be.

According to the Edmonton Canoe website which offers all day excursions, the 33.6 km paddle would take “five to six leisurely hours.” Maybe in canoe. Maybe if you just floated and didn’t paddle. Maybe, but not in our kayak!


At exactly 10:00 AM, with the help of our daughter-in-law who dropped us off and delivered the vehicle to our end point, we launched the kayak at Devon’s Voyageur Park and headed down river. We usually paddle quite vigorously, but expecting this to be a longer trip than any we’d done before, we reminded ourselves to set a leisurely pace. After all, the river would do some of the work for us. In fact, even if we stopped paddling altogether, we’d eventually reach our destination!


The day was perfect, hot and sunny with a gentle breeze to keep us comfortable. We aren’t white water kayakers. This stretch of the North Saskatchewan flows steadily, but there are no rapids to contend with. Though there was the occasional small eddy, for the most part the water was very calm. With few other boaters on the river, it was very peaceful and we spotted a couple of deer as well as a bald eagle, though not close enough to get pictures.


An hour after setting off, we broke for a snack and drifted by the Blackhawk Golf Club on our left. Forty minutes later, we passed the Windermere Golf and Country Club on our right and one of the golfers hailed us with a hearty “Ahoy!” We’d been told that this course was located at approximately our half way point. Already? How could that be?

Sure enough, we’d been paddling less than two hours when the Anthony Henday bridge came into view and it was exactly noon when we passed under it! We hadn’t even stopped for lunch yet and we were already entering Edmonton!


We found a spot along the riverbank of Terwillegar Park where we could pull ashore for lunch and a rest before finishing our journey.


When we spotted two replica York boats at anchor we knew that we were passing Fort Edmonton. Imagine taking one of those all the way to Hudson Bay with a heavy load of furs!



Around the next bend we saw the Whitemud bridge and knew that our destination, the Sir Wilfred Laurier Park boat launch, was just beyond it. We pulled the kayak out of the water at 2:00 PM. The anticipated 5 or 6 hour trip took us only 4. Considering the fact that we spent 45 minutes on shore over lunch, it wasn’t any longer and was actually an easier paddle than last week’s jaunt on the Battle River!

I’m sure that we’ll never climb Mt Fuji again, but I definitely want to do another trip on the North Saskatchewan! I’d like the next one to be longer though.

#13 Haunted Lakes

Sometimes we travel long distances to see new sights when there are hidden gems right on our own doorsteps. Though they’re only about an hour and a half from home, I’d never heard of Haunted Lakes until I started looking for new places to golf and kayak.

According to legend, the natives of the plains had been in the habit of pitching their teepees on the eastern shore of the larger of the two small lakes. Once, in midwinter, seven braves camped there overnight and when they woke the next morning, they spotted the head and antlers of a magnificent buck that was caught in the ice on the other side of the lake. They hastened across the ice to claim their prize, but as soon as they started to chop the ice around the antlers, the mighty beast, still very much alive, broke free and smashing a passageway before him, swam straight to shore and disappeared into the woods. All seven braves were drowned and it is claimed that their spirits still haunt the lake. Supposedly, every winter when the lake is frozen over, a huge fissure appears along the exact path that the deer traveled to shore.

Not being even slightly superstitious, I thought it was pretty funny when I phoned ahead to reserve a camp spot and was told that we would be in site #13! It was actually the perfect spot for us as we were able to launch the kayak directly from our campsite.

I absolutely loved the picturesque Haunted Lakes golf course!


Never before have I had to tee off with a freight train thundering overhead!


After playing 18 holes our first day there, we kayaked the perimeter of the lake in the evening. Though it was bigger than it appeared from the campsite, it took just a little over an hour. Later, as we sat outside the trailer doing our devotions and enjoying the evening air, Richard glanced up and noticed what looked to him like the hand of God hovering over the water!


Our first day at Haunted Lakes was so perfect that we  hoped to repeat it the next day, but after 16 holes of golf, we were driven off the course by thunder rumbling overhead and rain beginning to fall. We spent the remainder of the day hunkered down in the trailer listening to the rain on the roof and watching the wind churn up the lake. Considering how dry it’s been here in central Alberta, we weren’t terribly disappointed, but I look forward to returning again some day and hopefully enjoying more sunshine!

IMG_20180712_133842499_HDRSince this is supposed to be Fashion Friday, here’s a picture of me golfing on another course on our little trip. This is a typical golfing outfit for me. As long as the weather allows, I’ll be found on the course wearing shorts or a skort, a sleeveless golf shirt, a ball cap, and golf sandals. And yes, that’s a knee brace. According to one of my doctors, my knees are older than the rest of me! That’s a nice way of saying that they’re arthritic. I bought the brace mainly for hiking, but since 18 holes of golf (even with a cart) was beginning to cause discomfort, I decided to try it for golfing too and found it very comfortable.


Strong arms at the ready?

I lift weights every winter to keep in shape, but this past winter I had a more specific goal to spur me on. I wanted to be able to paddle our kayak longer than I could last summer without feeling like my arms were going to fall off! In particular, I wanted to be able to do a five or six hour trip on the North Saskatchewan River this summer. I started lifting earlier in the fall than I usually do and I continued later into the spring. By the time I quit, just before my May 23 cancer treatment, I was lifting more than I had for several years!

No, we haven’t done that kayak trip yet, but over the past three days, I’ve tested out those arms and shoulders and I think I can do it! On Wednesday we played 18 holes of golf in our local seniors tournament. That’s not a big deal, but then on Thursday we paddled the kayak for more than three hours. Last year that would have been more than I could handle and I must admit that by the time we finished, my arms were sore. I went to bed that night wondering if I really could handle the long river trip, but when I woke up the soreness was gone and I golfed another 18 holes!

Thursday’s excursion took us back to the Battle River, a tributary of the North Saskatchewan  that meanders through central Alberta and western Saskatchewan. Starting at Big Knife Provincial Park, we paddled upstream for an hour an a half. The river moves slowly, so paddling against the flow isn’t as challenging as it might sound.

Battle River

Other than waterfowl, we didn’t see any wildlife, but we were both reminded of Psalm 50:10 when we saw the cows grazing on the grassy hills overlooking parts of the river. “Every animal of the forest is mine, and the cattle on a thousand hills.”

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Can you see the curious bovine faces peeking at us in this one?


Holding the camera still enough in a moving kayak to get crisp photos with the zoom lens is virtually impossible, but I did manage to get this one of a very protective Mama duck and her offspring.


We really weren’t very close, but she squawked and flapped about in quite a frenzy trying to warn us away from her lone duckling. I’m sure her poor heart was beating faster than any duck’s is meant to and I wished I could reassure her that we were no threat. As if scaring her once wasn’t enough, we met her again in exactly the same spot on our trip back down the river. This time Junior was hidden somewhere in the reeds, but once again she did her best to scare us away.

In spite of the fact that the Battle moves slowly, the trip downstream should have been a bit quicker, but we were bucking a stiff wind much of the way and it took a little longer than we expected. We were glad when the bright yellow buoy marking the location of the Big Knife boat launch came into view!


There will be more kayaking and more golf before we tackle the North Saskatchewan, but campgrounds with decent wifi are few and far between, so it might be a little while before I can post again. Even this one took hours to put together!


Trailer packing

LogoIn a previous packing post, I mentioned that there are some items that I can take with me in the trailer that don’t pack well in a suitcase. Since we’re out and about with the trailer this week, I thought I’d share my trailer packing techniques today.

As RVs go, our travel trailer is small; just 24 feet from hitch to bumper with no slide-outs. Though we’ve managed to squeeze in an extra adult and two kids on a couple of occasions, it’s really perfect for just the two of us.

One of the things that attracted me to this particular unit when we bought it was the amount of storage space. Last summer, we spent a full six weeks on the road and if I remember correctly, other than washing my bras by hand, we did laundry three times. This year, we’re planning shorter jaunts, but even on a long trip like that one, I had no problem fitting in enough clothes.

On our current trip, we plan to play several rounds of golf and do quite a bit of kayaking, but we’ll also be spending time in urban settings and we plan to attend church on Sunday. When I was packing the weather forecast looked very favourable, but we all know how quickly that can change, so I packed for a variety of activities and conditions. In fact, I probably packed way more than I’ll actually need!


The trailer bathroom has a roomy closet where we hang most of our clothes. I’m showing you only my half. As you can see, I packed mostly neutral colours, so that it’s easy to mix things up and create many looks with just a few garments. I do like brightly coloured golf shirts though, so you can see some of those in there and I added my bright red jeans for an additional pop of colour. Although the closet isn’t full length, I did manage to take a dress all the way to Dawson City, Yukon for our nephew’s wedding last summer. I hung it at the end of the closet against the wall and laid the bottom portion of the skirt flat being careful not to pile anything on it.

A second smaller closet near the entrance to the trailer is used for jackets and there’s room beneath them for hats.


The trailer does have a couple of drawers that we could use for clothing, but we have chosen other uses for them. The one in the bathroom holds toiletries, medications, a travel blow dryer and a handy little travel iron as well as a a few other odds and ends. The reason that we don’t need to use the drawers for clothing is that as soon as I spotted the storage space under the foot of our queen bed, I had a brainwave. I bought each of us a plastic bin to fit into that space. Mine holds socks, underwear, camisoles, pyjamas, shorts and skorts… everything that would usually be folded in drawers. They make packing very simple as we can carry our bins into the house, load them up, and return them to the trailer. Easy peasy!


Just inside the trailer door there’s a cubby where we pack our shoes. There are usually more shoes crammed in there than you can see here, but Richard hadn’t packed his in yet. What you see is my trusty Merrells used mostly for hiking; some old shoes, sandals and flip flops that I use only around the campground, and the slippers that we keep in the trailer for chilly evenings and mornings. The cupboard is much bigger than it looks from the outside, so there are other things hidden in behind including shoe boxes that hold my dressier shoes and sandals.

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I don’t anticipate having access to wifi very often on this trip, but I look forward to sharing our travels with you as I’m able. If there isn’t a Fashion Friday post next week, be sure to look for one again the week after.