Wednesday, 31 May 2023

"Fun Facts" List

 I know, this is a stretch, using a fun facts list as a blog post, but it's hot, so here you go...

The best advice I was ever given... was by my friend's mother, a no nonsense type of woman, who said, "Put the baby down awake" or in other words, allow your baby to learn how to fall asleep themselves. Otherwise you will be tasked with walking that baby up and down the hall, or rocking him or her in your arms until the baby falls asleep. Some people love to do this, but both of ours were excellent sleepers, sleeping through the night fairly early on. 

The hobby I could never give up is... gardening. Winter is LONG here, and when true Spring and Summer arrive, I cannot help but go out and putter around or even full-on dig, create, relocate, weed... Even though it just about puts me in traction sometimes, I just have to garden.

My biggest role model is... nobody. I'm one of those people who never had a particular celebrity or famous person or elder family member who I was somewhat "obsessed" (an over used word) with. I see certain traits and qualities in people that impress me or inspire me, but I do not have a role model.

One of my favourite books is... probably something from my childhood. I adored "The Magic Faraway Tree" and  "The Children of Willow Farm" by Enid Blyton, reading them over and over. I also loved "My Side of the Mountain" and read it to many of my grade three or four classes over the years. 

I would love to learn how to... sing well. My father sang, in many choirs, entering competitions when he was a younger man, even sang at my wedding. I can absolutely tell when someone is sharp or flat. I can "carry a tune" but I'm not great. I don't have a decent range. I wished that I had a wonderful voice. However, I am not going to sign up for lessons or anything. It's just something I would love to be able to do.

If I won the lottery, I would instantly... pay off my debts. I despise debt, but it is a fact of life for us. I know many people out there do not hold a mortgage anymore, but we do. Canada is a country of taxation and high heating bills, we helped our kids through post secondary education, and even though we live what I would deem frugally, we still carry a mortgage and a couple of other small debts. Now that we are "pensioners" is it even more important that we live frugally. Money is a touchy subject for me.

If I could have any superpower it would be... teleportation. Just let me do that Star Trek thing with the shimmery lights and electronic sounds and beam me somewhere. Or better yet, cross my arms and blink my eyes ala I Dream of Jeanie and let me go somewhere instantly. I DESPISE the travel part of getting to a destination. I cannot sleep on a plane or in a car (oh how I envy those who do). So yes, teleportation please. 

I first traveled solo when I was... Twenty-three?? I think that's how old I was when I loaded up my tiny little three cylinder Chevy Sprint and drove from Ontario across Quebec and New Brunswick to get to Nova Scotia to attend teacher's college at a wonderful university there called St. Francis Xavier. I am certain my mother thought I was going to be killed by a maniac on the way (she thought I should dress up a "dummy" and put it in the seat beside me so it didn't look like I was travelling alone). Before I left, it was one of the few times my father ever said, "I love you", thereby leading me to believe that he also thought he'd never see me again. This was in 1990, way before GPS and cell phones. I had written down the directions and the highways I was going to take and taped the paper to my dashboard. I also had a map. I made collect calls from the motels I stayed at on the way there back home to let my parents know I was indeed still alive. (I had already been living away from home for the most part since I was nineteen, so this wasn't like the first time the baby bird had flown the nest). I've always been pretty proud of myself for doing that, as I'm not a particularly adventurous or brave person. If you aren't familiar with the geography of Canada, it was a LONG way! (Southern Ontario, tucked in amongst the Great Lakes to slightly north-east Nova Scotia).

I have two kids. My proudest moment as a parent was... still is, happening. We are blessed with two really great young adult kids. They have never truly disappointed us, consistently make us proud, and are just really decent human beings!!

I hope you enjoyed this and please feel free to chime in on some of your answers, or use some of these questions for your own blog if you wish.

Monday, 29 May 2023

Pool Opening and a Different School

 Yesterday, we had both "kids" and the longtime boyfriend here helping with the opening of the pool. This is less glamorous than it may sound. It involved shop vacuuming all the refuse (spruce needles, cedar bits, other plant matter) that blew in and around the water bags that hold down the winter cover, removing the giant cover (it's a big tarp), spreading it out, sweeping, sweeping, sweeping, scooping more yuck from the bottom of the pool, cleaning up the outdoor furniture and retrieving cushions from their up-high winter storage place... The help was tremendous and a yummy supper of homemade burgers and macaroni salad ensued. 

Son had a soccer practise after supper (he's on the Over-18 team and as a 23 year old, he's probably the oldest one, but he enjoys it). Daughter and her boyfriend went for a nice long walk with me after supper. We spotted four rabbits. 

Today I am supply teaching at a school I have not taught at (other than one day of virtual teaching during the pandemic, so I don't even count that). It's a nice little "country" school and I'm hoping the day goes well. It is a grade 1/2 class. 

It's 6:49 a.m. and I'm typing this in the kitchen, as I just heard son leave the house to go to his construction job. They start early. He makes his lunch the night before and stashes it in the other fridge, grabbing it and heading out at this time every morning. He works hard and has applied for his ideal job, for which he trained at college. He will hopefully find out soon if he has been accepted. But in the meantime, he does construction work. 

Yesterday morning, before everyone arrived, I made stewed rhubarb to have as part of dessert. I remember an awful lot of stewed rhubarb as a kid. I did not particularly like it then. I've discovered that I don't particularly love it now. I served it with plain cake (no icing) and or vanilla ice cream. I think it will sit in the fridge for a while. I just feel obligated to do something with all that rhubarb. (And I still have bags of it frozen in the freezer...)

That's it for today. Have a nice day, everyone. 

Tuesday, 23 May 2023


 I filled my two hummingbird feeders- one for the back porch and one that I can see from the front porch. There have already been territorial battles. I adore watching hummingbirds. It is such a simple pleasure. 

I had spent a lot of time over the past couple of weeks weeding my vegetable garden. I then cleaned out the chicken coop ( it’s the size of a small shed one might have in the backyard for your lawn mower and such). I do the “ deep litter” method for the hens ( there are only three) over the fall and winter months and then give it a thorough clean out when things finally warm up. All the old shavings and manure then gets spread on my vegetable garden. 

Today I used my trusty rototiller to work up my garden, going in one direction and then the other. Then I rake it smooth. So much promise lies in that garden.

I then weeded around the outside of my compost bin at the corner of my garden. I sat on my garden seat. Inevitably, the inspector arrived. I do wish he wouldn’t sit under the seat. I am careful not to tip forward and I have to chase him out of there when I want to move a little to the side or forward or back.

Do you have or did you have a “ supervisor “?

Wednesday, 17 May 2023

A Mother’s Day to Remember

 This is a somewhat late post, as Mother’s Day was three days ago, but it still needs to be written. As you know, this past year has been a physical and emotional challenge for me. I told my husband that I wanted our two kids to be in charge of Mothers Day this year, as I’m not HIS mother, I’m their mother. I also let him know that he was on his own to figure out his mother ( who is in a nursing home and has had dementia for a while). 

I let the “ kids” know that I just wanted to have time with them and it didn’t have to be fancy or expensive. On Saturday night, my daughter called to say that I should be ready on Sunday morning around 9:45 and I should be dressed casually and comfortably- not in my favourite blouse- is how she described it. I thought, ok, maybe we are going for a nice hike. I would like that. 

Sunday morning came, we got into son’s freshly cleaned truck and off we went. We drove for quite some time and I kept making ridiculous guesses like “ we are going paint balling” or “ we are camping just for the afternoon “ or “ you’re dropping me off in the middle of nowhere and I get to make my way back home”. Each time they said, “ yes.”

Well, this is where we ended up:

Oh my lord, yes!!! If you know me at all, you know I like animals. This was a goat farm set up so you could go in with the kids ( that all had names from Harry Potter) and you could feed hay to the goats. 

I also made friends with the resident feline. It was so much fun. I thought it was a great place to go, but the day wasn’t over.

We then went to a wonderful little restaurant which is a breakfast/ lunch / bakery place. It was beyond delicious! They bake on site and it smelled like heaven! I thought it was a great place to go, but the day wasn’t done yet.

After that, we went to a garden centre where we wandered for a while and sat on the beautiful patio chairs and sofas. The kids bought me some luscious coloured petunias to plant in my pots.

I thought it was a great place to go, but the day wasn’t over yet. We came back home and son and daughter made a meal of fish tacos and chicken fajita fixings. They bought/ brought all the food for it and I got to sit and watch! Husband was done with his mom by this time, so we all gathered for supper ( daughter’s boyfriend was with his mom).

Daughter also had already purchased a lovely owl “statue “ for me earlier and some treats. The entire day just made me happy and thankful and I told them they had outdone themselves and all I needed in future Mothers Days was just their presence, not presents. I am one lucky mother!

Thursday, 27 April 2023

Got a Lot Done - Apr. 27

 Today the weather shifted a bit and I was happy to be out, cleaning up some more perennial beds. I had a coat on for the first half, then was coatless for the second half. I managed to clean up the rest of the "front" rail fence bed, and then moved on to the two perennial beds leading to the chicken coop in the back yard. 

Here is what is saving my back so far this spring. This is the kneeler / sitter that husband made me for Christmas. I wanted one from Lee Valley (a garden supply store that sells quality, but somewhat expensive items). They were on back order, so he took all of the measurements and set out to build one himself.

Here it is in sitting mode which is the way I use it so far. 

Flip it over, and it is in kneeling mode. You can then push yourself up using the rails at the side. He painted it green because that is the colour the Lee Valley one comes in. He covered it in naugahyde and there is foam underneath. 

Prior to this, I used little plastic stools in my vegetable garden, but the height of this is better for me. (For the uninformed, I have weeded and gardened myself into complete back pain and s.i. joint jamming and then have had to go to physio and take pain pills and be mad at the world for a couple of months more than once, so I'm trying to avoid that).

I've been trying to walk almost every day. It helps with the achiness I get from a prescription I am now on, and it helps me in so many other ways. I have my route through the village, avoiding scary dogs and a scary resident who I suspect suffers with paranoid schizophrenia. His property has many "no trespassing" signs, and he has rigged up mirrors and other reflective surfaces close to his home and doorway. Other aspects of his property and the items scattered about are indicative of a troubled mind. If I was walking with someone else, I would probably walk past his place, but as I'm usually alone, I just avoid it altogether. I do wonder how he manages and if he has someone who actually owns the property and allows him to stay there.

When I went out to take some pictures after supper, Scooter came out with me. He isn't featured in pictures as frequently as Murphy, so here he is, flopped over after scurrying away from me. He does enjoy a belly rub, but only for so long.

These are the two beds that I cleaned up today. Then I burned everything in the burn barrel. You can see Scooter hurrying away, his usual modus operandi.

My forsythia was particularly nice this year. After I manage to clean up all the beds and cut back the shrubs by the pool, it will be edging time and vegetable garden tilling. There's always something.

What about you? Are you busy with Spring chores? Do you have forsythia where you live? 

Monday, 17 April 2023

Summer then Winter

 We had about four beautiful warm days. Both husband and I got outside doing various seasonal chores. I was slowly and carefully cleaning up perennial beds by cutting down dried plants, trimming shrubs and dumping the material in the burn barrel. I used the sitting / kneeling seat that husband made me for Christmas and took frequent breaks and managed to avoid any back problems. 

I’ve done some half days of occasional teaching and have a couple of full days coming up this week. I’m enjoying these days. 

I have been dealing with wrapping my brain around the follow up medication I am to be on following my breast cancer. You think you’re done, but you’re not really done. The list of side effects is extensive. Many of them I’m not experiencing thank goodness, but a couple of them I am. Today I tried to call the oncologist’s office and realized that their automated phone system does not work and you are just on a loop of the same recording. Remember the days when you called a number and a person answered? Long gone. Anyway I chose a different option and left a message with someone that I really wasn’t intending to speak to and I let them know that their system wasn’t working. Who knows if I’ll even get a call back. 

On a different note, we are now revisiting winter with cold temperatures, rain and possibly snow but it likely won’t last long. I’m going to go out to pick up a few groceries and am planning on making Italian chop sub sandwiches tonight for supper which I’m sure husband and son will like. You chop together iceberg lettuce, red onion, salami, mortadella, provolone cheese, etc and load it up on a thick submarine bun ( some may call it a hoagie). Something different than my usual rotation of suppers. 

I’m not in a reading mode these days, don’t know why not, but I have two books beside my bed that I’ve renewed from the library because I won’t accept defeat and still think I may end up reading them! On the “ watching “ front, I’m so happy that new episodes of Call the Midwife are on now. And last night, despite our best wishes, they did NOT find the treasure on Oak Island! Ha ha!

Sunday, 9 April 2023

The Gathering

 Yesterday, Saturday, I hosted the extended family Easter gathering. It was almost all adults ranging from 69 to 23, with one youngster of 12 years. 

I spent days cleaning, decluttering, and pre- making food so that it wouldn’t be as hectic on the actual day, or that was the theory. 

I roasted a turkey the day before and carved it, arranging light and dark meat on a shallow pan, then drizzled it with some drippings and turkey broth. I wrapped the whole thing in plastic and then foil and kept it in the fridge. I also pre- made a big casserole dish of baked beans because I was also serving a ham and they go well together. As well one guest was vegetarian so the beans qualified for a dish for her. I baked a carrot cake and froze it ahead of time. I also made oven baked stuffing the day before to reheat later. Of all the food, the stuffing was the disappointing one. I think it needed much more flavour and it just wasn’t right, texture wise. 

I reheated the turkey by adding a bit more broth to keep it moist and covering it with foil. I made the ham in a crockpot and it turned out really well. Did you know that if your ham sits above the top level of your crockpot because of the bone, you can just cover it with foil and crimp it down around the edges and it works just fine! I set the lid on top just to weigh it down. I also had mashed potatoes, carrots, green beans, and rolls. 

Family brought appetizers and desserts, with a very nice variety, as well as bottles of wine. We played a fun trivia game, drawing names to put people in teams, for about an hour. It was good for laughs and was something different from what we usually do. 

In total, there were 17 of us. Here’s the thing that I need to remember if I do this again. I spent time dusting and vacuuming and mopping floors in our den and our living room but the only place people gathered was the kitchen! The whole day, into the evening it was all in the kitchen even when the two extensions were put on our harvest table, and the fold out table was brought in and set up and extra chairs were set in the kitchen and some of us were cutting up carrots or finding little bowls for cranberry sauce or mustard, everyone was still crammed into the kitchen! 

Note to self: don’t worry about the other rooms ( apart from the bathrooms) . 

I was happy to be able to do it, considering at different times in this past year I was wondering if I would ever have “normal “ holidays again, or if we would have celebrations with my sister ever again ( she’s great by the way). 

Today I was bone tired. I actually fell asleep on the couch with the tv on this afternoon. 

I hope all of you enjoyed your Easter weekend in whatever form that took for you and yours!