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Tilly McTillers

Someone asked for a Tilly update a little while ago and I have been meaning to write one for a while so I am happy to oblige! I originally had this scheduled to post last Tuesday but it was not the best day for a Tilly update.

If I could sum Tilly up in one short sentence – girl is cray. She is wonderful, and definitely the biggest character I’ve ever had in a cat, but she is definitely crazy. She’s about nine months old now, so maybe it’s still the kitten in her and she’ll simmer down eventually. Time will tell. Right now we’re enjoying it because she is absolutely hilarious and makes us laugh all day long.

I like that the white under her armpits and on her crotch make it look like she’s wearing a bikini

Tilly is a lovely kitty but she is not a snuggler, and it’s hard not to compare her to Winnie since that’s mostly all I know. I had Winnie for 22 years and a good majority of the time she was on my lap or in my arms. She lived to snuggle. Winnie also really reminded me of my Nana though, and Tilly reminds me of my brother when he was a crazy toddler. Tilly certainly does not live to snuggle. The only time she will snuggle with me is when I get home from somewhere. I usually have about a 1o minute window where she’s all “OH HELLO MY WONDERFUL HUMAN” and she’ll let me hold her and she’ll nuzzle her little face into my neck which is so cute.

She has her muffin moments. When we got home from Florida (Tilly went to her catsitter’s house for the week), she let me snuggle her for a good half an hour. But other than that, no. There is no snuggling.

This was a very rare occurrence

All Winnie wanted in life was a good pair of legs to nap on, but Tilly would prefer to nap juuuuust out of reach of us. I try to entice her with a heated blanket but she rarely falls for it.

I like it over here, thanks

That being said, she does love to be pet and she loves being around us. She will follow us around from room to room and hang out wherever we are stationed. She sleeps with us every night (by my feet, let’s not get too excited, she won’t sleep in my arms like Winnie did). Originally she would sleep above my head on my pillow but I’m so glad she doesn’t do that anymore because it was really annoying. She would push me off and spread her little body across my entire pillow. Now it’s just feet.

Her latest thing is also sleeping inside the box spring for our mattress. She tore the fabric away from the bottom so she could climb into it, and now she hangs out in it like a hammock. Cats, I tell ya.

She is OBSESSED with water. Just can’t get enough. If we leave a glass of water somewhere she is all over it, sticking her face in. If we go into the bathroom, no matter where she is in the condo if she hears the door close she will come running and start banging on it to be let in. She is so obsessed with the toilet that we have to leave the lid down or she’ll get all up in there.

She also routinely just hangs out in the bathtub.

And tears up my loofah.

When we shower she again bangs on the door until we let her in, and then lies on the side of the bathtub between the two shower curtains while we’re showering. She loves water so much that for Christmas we got her this drinking fountain from Amazon (Canadians, you can find it here, currently for $49 but we got it for $29 so you might want to wait for a sale.)

It is seriously awesome and I highly recommend it. She’s drinking so much more water now! (before she would mostly just play with it)

If anything new happens in the house, she has to investigate. If we bring out a box, or open a drawer, a door or a cabinet, she is immediately running to investigate. When I was wrapping Christmas presents, she was rolling all over the wrapping paper, pawing at the edges and biting the boxes.


She initially left the Christmas tree alone, but after a few weeks she had a phase of being totally obsessed with it and she would spend the evenings trying to drink the water and stretching up and smacking the branches. I still don’t know why the sudden obsession.

She is the first cat I’ve had who actually plays with her toys, although they all end up under the couch within 10 minutes. She cannot keep her toys away from the couch and I am constantly down on my stomach trying to retrieve them. We need to shove some pool noodles under there or something to block it off.

The only “toys” that don’t seem to end up under the couch are her two favourites, which are the ones she acquired herself. I told you about the wing on our owl door stopper that she ripped off and now carries around in her mouth.

She likes to leave it in front of us so we’ll throw it for her so she can fetch it and return it. She loooooves playing fetch.

Her most recent favourite toy is a stick she ripped off our Christmas tree.

Throw the stick, please.

And again she’ll carry it around in her mouth and drop it in front of us so we’ll throw it for her. She’s so good at bringing it back!

She is quite a resourceful little minx.

Despite being a terror a lot of the time, she is a very nice kitty. When our little nephew Landon comes over he makes a beeline to Tilly and starts harassing her, she is not only super gentle with him, she makes no effort to get away. I think she actually likes it.

So that’s a Tilly update. She is different from what we’re used to, for sure, but she really is the best little kitty. We love her so much and are so happy we rescued her!


Beautiful. Wonderful. Fantastic.

Thank you so much for your lovely messages about my Nana. They mean a lot to me and I loved reading them. I especially loved hearing that some of your favourite posts to read of mine were about Nana. They were some of my favourite to write! I did my first tribute to her soon after I started my blog. Several people referred to her as the “famous” Nana, and she would have loved that! I’m so glad I could share her with all of you and you could get to know her and love her, too. If only she knew how many people she touched.

I’m not done talking about her just yet, I have learned many lessons (and recipes!) from her and I don’t want to forget, but I need to collect my thoughts on that first. Right now it’s one day at a time.

I have my moments, as expected, but I am okay. I was on my way to dinner with friends and then a Kings of Leon concert on Monday when my dad called to tell me the news. I missed his call and was going to call him back but then got busy at the restaurant with the girls and figured I’d just do it later. I’m so, so glad I didn’t call him back. Finding out in public would have been awful and I’m not sure how I would have reacted. I don’t know how to be upset in front of people. Obviously I wouldn’t have been able to enjoy the concert, so I would have left and gone home. But there was nothing I could have done at that point so I’m happy I was blissfully unaware for a little while. Kings of Leon was a really good time.

I’m not sure the guy in front of us enjoyed it quite as much as we did. He was not a fan of the couple directly in front of him.

It was Evan who broke the news to me when I got home that night, which I’m sure was super fun for him as I was clearly still on a concert high and came in the door singing “Yeahhhhhhh, your sex is on fire!” (Kings of Leon song). I’m so glad he was the one who told me though, at home, where I could just process by myself.

I knew this moment had to come at some point so I’m surprised at how shocked I was. I just saw her, and she was same sweet, happy Nana. But I know she’s been in a lot of pain for a while, even though she put on a brave face. Nothing specifically wrong really, just being old and her body breaking down. I’m so glad she’s not in pain anymore.

I also know that she has been ready to go for a couple years now. When she was 100 she somehow lost her dentures – she put them in a tissue and left them beside her bed, and we think the nurses accidentally threw them out thinking they were garbage. It really sucked for her because eating was her favourite and without her teeth for the last couple of years she hasn’t been able to enjoy her favourite foods. She could only eat soft things and liquids. No more Turtles and cookies! She didn’t get new teeth because they’re expensive and at 100 what’s the point of spending money on teeth you can’t possibly have the time to use? Her plan was to just ride it out. But on her 102nd birthday I remember her saying “If I had known I was going to live this long I would have gotten new teeth!!!” Which makes me laugh. Fair enough. I hope she is surrounded by all her favourite foods now and is just going to town on them.

I’m glad it was sudden and peaceful. It seems so fitting for her, too. Quietly without a big fuss or dramatics. And I cannot help but think of her timing. My aunt (Nana’s daughter) left for Florida last Friday morning, arrived on Sunday, and is there until mid-April. We had a plan in place if anything happened while my aunt was away, we’re not having a memorial for her until the spring, and all the arrangements are already made. I honestly think my Nana knew that this would be the hardest and most stressful on her daughter and so she waited until she was safely in Florida. Which is again, typical Nana. Considerate of others until the end.

I’m sad that she won’t be able to make it to our small family wedding in Toronto (although I don’t know if she would have been able to make it anyway). But I’m so happy she got to know Evan and she knew that we were getting married.

One of my favourite memories was when she asked me what Evan’s last name was and I wrote down “Evanoff” (mine/her last name). That really made her laugh. Actually, my favourite recent story of her is when I told her Evan and I were engaged.

I went to visit her when we got home from Cuba, and I wanted to tell her the news in a visual way since by this point she was nearly completely deaf. I took off my ring and showed her pictures from our trip that I printed for her, in sequence. One of us on the beach…

The one of us in the water just after Evan proposed…

During this she just kept saying “Oh beautiful! Beautiful couple!”

In case she missed the ring on my finger in that last one, I then showed her a picture of just the ring.

I think she got it then.

But just in case, I pulled out my actual ring and put it on so she could see.

Her reaction was priceless. Her eyes welled up and she gave me her genuine “Beautiful! Wonderful! Oh fantastic! Ohhh I love this!”

And then she checked out the goods.

She approved. More beautifuls, wonderfuls and fantastics.

It was a beautiful, wonderful, and fantastic moment that I will forever cherish, however, this took place in the main room with the other residents and the entire time this was happening there was a lady in the background yelling (to herself) “JENNIFER! You get in the car right now! Don’t you make me get your father! I’ve got a JOB, and you DON’T, THAT’S THE DIFFERENCE! Hurry up and get in or I’m going to call the policeman!”

Super awkward at the time because I was trying not to laugh, but now I think it makes the story better.

Another recent moment that I will forever cherish was the last time I saw her, when we showed Nana a picture of her young husband that my aunt found in an old album.

And notice she is still wearing her wedding ring

I’ll never forget how her face lit up. She just repeated how handsome he was. She sounded so happy, and so lucky that she had such a handsome husband. And seriously though.

Papa (who I never got to meet) was handsome. It makes me happy that my Nana is finally reunited with her love.

We are all so lucky to have had such a wonderful lady in our lives.

Who was THE MOST beautiful, wonderful, and fantastic.


Sweet Nana

Yesterday afternoon my sweetest and most wonderful Nana went to take a nap and did not wake up again. Being 102 (and a half, let’s not forget), we have all been bracing ourselves for this moment for the past few years but somehow it still came as a shock. She has always been the most constant positive influence in my life, she was always the same, and she was always so full of life that I think I just assumed she would live forever.

I feel so incredibly lucky to be her granddaughter and to have had her in my life for as long as I did. She touched every person she met – literally and figuratively, she always had to be touching us! Her happiness, positivity and resiliency has been such an inspiration to our family and I know that we will all be telling stories about her for many years to come. I’m thankful that I documented so many of my memories of her on my blog, some of my favourites are here.

I’m thankful that we told her every chance we got, in person and in letters, how much we loved her, how amazing we thought she was, and how important she was to our family. I’m thankful that after 35 years she’s reunited with her husband, whose picture we showed her the last time I saw her and she just kept saying “Oh, he’s so handsome! Isn’t he so handsome?? Look at how handsome he is!!” He was. He really was so handsome.

And I’m thankful that in the end, she went peacefully while she was napping. I can’t think of a better way. Love you so much, Nana xoxo

Thanks so much to you guys for reading about my Nana over the years and loving her right along with me.


Merry Christmas!

Have the best holiday! Evan says that he would like you to print this out and put it on your fridge or with the rest of your Christmas cards 🙂


Anna Maria Islanders

On our last day in Florida we were excited for a good beach day on Anna Maria Island. So, we picked up bagels from Paradise Bagels (those bagels really are paradise) and drove over to the secluded beach, Bean Point, on the northern part of the island behind all the beautiful mansions that I enjoyed fantasizing about one day living in. Mona had told us it was a must and all the locals went there to watch the sunset. We read about it and people raved on and on about how beautiful it was and how you could see all the way to Tampa Bay and sometimes you could see dolphins and manatees frolicking about. We were excited. Unfortunately it was not the best day to be beaching.


Uhh, where’s the beach? Holy fog, Batman. The sand and ocean are just beyond the path but you couldn’t see anything!


We walked for a good while and this was our view the whole time.


Which was actually strangely beautiful. We didn’t see a lot of ocean, but we did find some cool shells and whole lot of sea critters. Like horseshoe crabs.


Dead ones, I think.

And Jellyfish!


Live ones, they were moving! And these weird little blobs that looked like slugs that came up with the tide and then stayed in the sand, blobbing around.

We also saw about a million broken sand dollars.


I really, really wanted to find an intact one but no such luck.

The sand was so white and fine. My toes enjoyed.


I imagined it would be a beautiful view on a good day!


And the good news was no one else was there.

We had planned on going to Coquina Beach next, still on Anna Maria Island, but we decided to have an early lunch while we waited for the fog to lift. Evan found this awesome-looking Mexican restaurant across from Bradenton Beach with a great patio by the water, Wicked Cantina, so we checked that out. I got the soft fajitas and a margarita. DELICIOUS.


I know we would have had a beautiful view of the ocean, but that damn fog!


Oh well. We went to the beach afterwards anyway, and we frolicked around in the waves a bit, but the fog made us pack it in early.


We headed back to Bradenton where MIRACULOUSLY there was no fog and it was hot and sunny. We hung around by the pool again until it was time to get ready for dinner. We were headed back to Bean Point, it’s only about a 15 minute drive so no biggie…and this time, NO FOG!!


That cute little place is the Rod and Riel Pier restaurant, where we were headed for dinner. I was really looking forward to that.


But first, we were going on a sunset hunt! We walked along Bean Point back to the area we were this morning.


We went right to the point and without the fog the view was spectacular.


Okay, I see the hype now.


We didn’t see any frolicking manatees or dolphins, but we did see the most amazing sunset.


Ah, the golden hour.





Sorry for all the pics but I couldn’t get enough. We were so glad that fog finally GTFO.

We played around in the water with all the coquina clams – we discovered if you dug your feet into the sand a bit when the tide came up, all the little coquinas would come up to the top and then slowly dig their way back into the sand. I’ve never seen that before, so that was cool. We did that and watched the sunset for a while until we were ready to walk back for dinner.




I love the herons.

The Rod and Riel had pretty fantastic reviews so I was excited to eat there.


We sat on the patio, and it’s cool because it’s actually a fishing pier so there were people fishing right below us. It’s also weird because there are no rails around the pier and the ocean is RIGHT THERE. People said in reviews when they were there for breakfast they saw manatees swimming right beside them! We saw no such thing, of course, but that’s alright, we loved our dinner.

We started with the fried clam strips. SOOO ridiculously good.


Ugh, so good.

Then we got the seafood bisque and the clam chowder, which honestly we could have skipped but we just wanted to try them. We had the most amazing server, this older man who I don’t even know how to describe but he reminded me of my charming jokester great uncle, and he convinced us on the soup. As soon as I said I was thinking about soup he nodded and said “I’ll get it on,” and headed back to the kitchen. Alright then.


It was probably the best clam chowder I’ve ever had. It was our last meal so I’m glad we did it up.

I ordered the coconut almond crusted mahi mahi special and it. was. to die for.


It came with a mango salad and I could not get over how delicious it all was. Also maybe the best fish I’ve ever had!

Evan ordered the tuna with a baked potato and also really enjoyed his meal.


Best meal we had in Florida, hands down. We loved this place and would highly recommend. It wasn’t busy on this night but I think it is typically – it’s not the height of tourist season right now and I suspect the crazy fog earlier in the day drove everyone away. Our server actually sat down and chatted with us for a while, and we talked about hockey of course, once he found out we were from Canada. He was all about the Tampa Rays. And then he convinced us to get the key lime pie for dessert, which was even better than Pop’s Sunset Grill. We loved everything about this place. It was the perfect last night in Florida! The next morning we packed up all our stuff and headed back home. To the snow. Yeehaw.

Have a great weekend!


The Manateesers

Stillll going on about our Florida trip. One more post (after this) and then I’m done I promise. On Wednesday after our beach day we decided to check out the Mote Marine Laboratory and Aquarium in Sarasota. It’s a small non-profit aquarium that is also a working marine lab as well so they do a ton of research and programs there and it’s all very science-y and educational. They have staff at every exhibit who you can talk to and ask questions.


I feel like this eel is saying “heyyyy girllllll”

I loved the sea turtle conservation area. This guy was GINORMOUS and kept popping his head out of the water to say hi.


All the sea turtles living there are being treated for illnesses or injuries and will be released once they are rehabilitated. Except for the one above, I believe he is blind from an injury and would no longer be able to survive in the wild. Another smaller sea turtle, Squirt, had been brought to the aquarium with injuries because he had been hit by a boat propeller, poor guy.

There is also a sea turtle hatching hospital there – hatching sea turtles on the Gulf of Mexico beaches may need some medical care before they’re able to survive, so they’re treated in the hospital and then returned to the wild when they’re healthy. No baby turtles this time of year unfortunately. It would have taken me back to my youth when I used to catch baby snapping turtles in the swamp near my house and make turtle homes for them until they got too big and attempted to bite off my finger. Ah the good old days.

The sea turtles were definitely a highlight but he manatees were THE highlight.


I’ve never seen one up close before! There were two, Hugh and Buffett. I loved this guy, but he definitely had his eye on Evan.

I better watch out, I'm pretty sure this manatee is after Evan #facesmoosh

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I am still laughing at that video. I don’t know if he forgot there was glass there or what was going on. Just a manateeser. Apparently Hugh and Buffett are the only manatees in the world trained to participate in special research projects to understand how manatees perceive their natural environment.


They’re pretty awesome.


They look like big snugglers.

There’s also a shark exhibit, jellyfish, reefs, stingrays (that you can touch!) and otters (although they weren’t there when we were, which was disappointing). And some rare Pokemon there as well, I caught my first Tangela! Florida really rejuvenated the Poke hunting for me, I think ’cause Paula and Fabian are big players. They got me right back into it. Anyway, it was a really cute small aquarium and a good way to spend a couple hours.

After the aquarium we picked up Checkers burgers (don’t judge) and then went to the condo’s pool area. It’s quite nice!


And totally empty during the day. We leisured around there for a while before it was time to get ready for dinner. We were going to the Anna Maria Oyster Bar! Another spot we hit last time we were in Bradenton and I really liked it the last time, but I have to say that this time I was a bit less than enthused… I have discovered since then that I really love oysters so we started with the baked garlic parmesan ones.


And I loved them. They were delicious. I wish I stopped there though. My main wasn’t great.


I got the cucumber dill salmon and it was just alright, but the rice tasted like the Uncle Ben’s instant rice that you just add a spoonful of water to and heat up in the microwave still in the package. I wasn’t a fan. Evan got the crab cakes and didn’t love them either. Ah well. Maybe it was an off night or we just ordered the wrong thing. I remember just DYING for their pasta last time. My wine was good though, so that and the oysters were my saviour.

After dinner we didn’t want the night to end so we went to Smugglers Cove for some mini-golfing action.


It’s more exciting than your regular mini golfing place ’cause it has live gators!


Just chillin’. I wonder if they like their life there, or if they’d rather live in Black Hammock the ultimate gator sanctuary (Black Hammock would be my choice personally).

Annnnd once again we came here last time, and I won! I was not so lucky this time. Evan was on fire.


But it was a good time.


Highly recommend both Smugglers Cove and the Mote Marine Aquarium if you’re ever in the area!