Sunday, 18 November 2018

Sunday, November 18 /18 (Gripping Title, isn't it?)

Tonight for supper I am making Diana's pork chop recipe from her most recent post. I bought pork chops yesterday when I was doing my regular Saturday grocery shopping, but then we decided to have two more people for supper, so off I went to Walmart this morning to grab an extra package of pork chops and the apple juice I forgot to buy(!), and a little miniature Christmas tree for MIL's room at "the home". She isn't big on change and her usual answer is a tilt to the head, lips pressed together and a "no", but we figure if daughter (granddaughter to her) just brings it along when we pick her up, she won't say no to her.

I have some chicken chores to do, a kitchen to sweep, some bird seed to put out, and the rest of the supper to make, then back to work again tomorrow. Sometimes when I think to myself that I have been working for 36 years since I've been 16 years old in some capacity or another and only had one part of the year when I did not work (first year university) and then two six months stints when I was home with my babies, I just feel tired. Anyone else??

On a more positive note, to round out your weekend, here is Scooter asleep, with his cat toys on his head, because that is what our son does.

Saturday, 17 November 2018

Northward Ho! - A College Visit

A couple of days ago, we embarked on a trip northward. Husband and I both booked a day off work and set up an appointment to take a campus visit at a possible college with our son. It was kind of a gamble, as I watched weather forecasts. We've been experiencing a hideously bleak, early winter type of November and the day I chose was the only "clear" one amidst snowy ones.

We started out bright and early (but in retrospect we should have been even earlier).  We knew we had a few hours ahead of us to get to our destination: Sudbury, Ontario. Quick history lesson - nickel / copper ore was discovered in the Sudbury basin when the transcontinental railway was being put in, in the late 1800's. Nickel mining dominated this remote, almost bi-lingual community for many years with boom and bust times corresponding to war requirements, and lumbering came in a close second as a main source of employment. Unfortunately, the sulfuric acid that resulted from smelting decimated the landscape and Sudbury was long known as a "wasteland". Later, efforts were made to reclaim the natural environment with some success. Thus endeth the lesson.

Our drive north was clear and uneventful, which is a good thing. As we got farther north, the landscape began to change dramatically. Where we live is a region known as the St. Lawrence, Great Lakes Lowlands - lots of topsoil, farmland, big lakes, populated... We were entering the region of Canada known as The Canadian Shield - igneous rock, water, trees, repeat.

Here are some images from our drive:

There was quite a bit of construction going on, as some parts of the highway are being transformed from one lane each way, to a double lane highway.

This shot reminded me of a Group of Seven painting. (A group of seven, plus two, Canadian artists who, among other things,  painted the wilderness of the Canadian north).

Here are a couple of examples of some famous paintings:

The top painting is by Frederick Varley and the bottom one, J.E.H. MacDonald. 

We saw a very interesting bridge on the way there. 

This is not a bridge for vehicles or people. I do apologize for the blurriness of the photo. We were driving. This is a wildlife overpass!! Due to the large number of deer, moose, and other animals in the area, and an area where collisions between such animals and vehicles is a serious danger, a multi-million dollar wildlife overpass has been built. You can't see from the photo, but tall fencing directs the animals toward the overpass. The overpass itself is planted with vegetation, so it is like the natural surroundings that the animals would already be used to. I checked out the web and there are photos and videos of animals (moose, bear, deer...) using it. I just love this idea! There are apparently culverts as well, in other areas, built for this purpose. 

We eventually got to Sudbury, found the college, and did our tour. Our two tour guides, young women who are currently enrolled in health sciences, did a fantastic job of showing us around, and answering questions. We don't know if this is where our son will end up. There is another college in Ontario that offers the programme he is interested in, so we will also tour that one (totally opposite direction, not quite as far). He will apply before Christmas and we will see how things go. 

I managed to get a little choked up thinking of him being so far away. Why is it a little harder when it is your second / last one leaving home? Of course I was teary when our daughter left, but I guess I knew she was only barely two hours from home, and I still had another child living at home. He would be about five hours away, in an area that feels so foreign and different. Perhaps. Oh well, suck it up mama, you wanted your children to be independent, self-confident individuals!!

What is the last part of the story? Well that would be the weather (of course). What was a clear day with even about five minutes of partial sunshine ("Ahhhhhh" - angels singing), became a snowy mess on the drive home. It was almost laughable as we proceeded down the highway watching snowplows/ salters/sanders travelling in the opposite direction. Over and over we saw snow removal equipment going northward as we were travelling southward. Then we had to find a gas station, the first one being closed!!! What should have taken about 4.5 hours ended up taking over 6 hours. We were exhausted upon our arrival home, but glad to be there. 

Sunday, 11 November 2018

Remembrance Day

It is quintessentially Canadian to hear or say this poem on November 11. All school children learn it. Not all say it properly. It's not meant to be read in a sing-song fashion, taking a break at the end of each line, but instead you should read it according to the punctuation. It's a tiny pet peeve of mine - the English major coming out, but I still find it to be very moving.

There is a cenotaph in almost every town. Even small towns have war memorials. Here are images to show you what they may look like.

Community members, members of local Legions, representatives from schools, kids who belong to Cadets, and a variety of others gather for Remembrance Day services. The Last Post is played on a trumpet, followed by a minute of silence, and then Reveille is played to end the silence. Wreaths are laid. Often the names of community members who served in war are read. A solemn parade brings those who officiate the service to the cenotaph. Sometimes bagpipes are involved. Bagpipes inevitably make me cry.

My memories of watching Remembrance Day services on tv are always of people like these.
The remaining veterans, and there are fewer and fewer, would be out there, proudly wearing the clothes that defined their regiment, in all kinds of weather. There would be a few poor old souls in wheel chairs with plaid wool blankets draped over their legs. I cannot imagine the memories that go through their minds at these services, and for that I am thankful.

Saturday, 10 November 2018

What's Goin' On, Tell me What's Goin' On...

Just channelling a little Marvin Gaye there in the title.  The power went out last night. The clock on the stove and microwave were flashing at me this morning. Coincidentally, the battery in the bathroom clock must have died as well, as it was stuck at 4:00 ( I assume it stopped at 4:00 a.m.).

This is what I woke to:

Samson is not impressed with the weather outside. When snow sticks to the screens, that means it's coming in pretty much horizontally. Not good. Sigh. It was bound to happen.

Son slept in for his 8:00 start at his part time job this morning. I banged on his door at 7:55, told him what time it was and his reply was, "Seriously??"   He sets his alarm on his phone and turns it off and falls back asleep. Honestly, up until now, he's been successfully getting up to get to his highschool co-op that starts at 7:00 a.m.  (meaning he leaves here at 6:10 in the morning). However, the last three mornings have been close calls (one considered a "late" in my books). I blame it on new sheets. I saw these sheet sets at, get this, the Home Hardware in town. They were red and black plaid (goes with his comforter) and they were fleece! He's had cotton sheets on his bed prior up to this and I thought cozy sheets would be nice. I think I've created a monster. I think they are too cozy. I think they are keeping him in bed longer! Who else has changed to winter bedding?

I put a winter coat on over my pajamas and pink fuzzy bathrobe this morning and stuck my feet into husbands big rubber boots with winter insoles in them and went out to open up the little chicken coop door. I have no idea if they will go out in this weather, but the option is there. Husband had installed a little heater in the coop last weekend. It seriously looks like a small flat screen tv! Maybe late at night they can get Netflix or something.

All I know is it kept their water from freezing in the coop last night, so I didn't have to lug a bucket of fresh water out there this morning (in my pajamas and fuzzy pink bathrobe).

Oh my lord, I just looked out the window and it's snowing even harder now. Husband and I were thinking of going 'to the pictures' tonight to see Bohemian Rhapsody but it is showing in a town 45 minutes from here and it really depends on the weather. We know enough to avoid being out in the first snow storm. People, even Canadians who live in the Snow Belt, forget their winter driving skills every year.

I'm glad husband has put all the winter tires on all of the vehicles. Son took the Highlander (four wheel drive SUV) this morning instead of his Mustang, even though it has snows on it and it is weighted in the trunk.  Wise decision on his part. (Even though he slept in - to be read with the predictable motherly scorn in voice).

Last night, son's girlfriend came over. She came back from her first year university for the weekend. As she was going through the den into the mudroom, our cat was coming in. She was not familiar with the "I have  a special gift for you in my mouth" meow that he makes and let him in the den, carrying a small but very live mouse. Before I could say, "Grab the cat!", he had dropped the mouse and it ran.

You may or may not recall our dead mouse under the dishwasher episode, but I certainly do and I was not looking forward to another game of 'guess where the mouse died'.  Luckily, after some strategic door closing and flashlight shining and blocking off of pathways, I was able to watch the mouse run from behind the couch out the open door from the den onto the back porch. We let Samson back in and he sniffed around for a while, totally cheesed off that we let his mouse out.

I've nothing exciting planned for the weekend (when do I ever?) apart from the usual grocery shopping, which quite frankly can wait until the snow dies down. I'll do some tidying, some reading, some food making. The usual. But that's o.k. Maybe a fire in the woodstove (more for ambiance than heat, we heat our home in other ways) and a glass of red and discover a new mystery series on Netflix. Oh, speaking of Netflix, we just found out that streaming Netflix using a Wii gaming system will be discontinued in January. That's how we've been getting it. Don't know what we will do once that stops. We don't have a 'smart tv' and have no intention of going out and buying a new tv. We get regular tv through cable. We have until January to figure things out. We will.

And that's what's goin' on.

Wednesday, 31 October 2018

Happy Hallowe'en

Yes, I'm a banana again this year. Why mess with a good thing?

I talked husband into getting a costume.

Do you see a resemblance?

Everybody likes bacon.

Hope you have a great evening. We've had three children come to our door so far. We haven't had many these last couple of years, but it isn't snowing or raining, so maybe we will have more. I just finished my Hallowe'en meatloaf. I plan on eating candy once the kids are done doing their trick or treating.

Thursday, 25 October 2018

Real Men Eat Quiche, or he did tonight, anyway, and so did I

I'm going to show you the end result first. Holy man, it was good!!

I've been feeling like I've been making the same old thing fairly often for supper. I was thinking I was going to make potato and leek soup tonight, which I've featured before, but I got home from supper later than usual and knew I wouldn't have enough time for it to be really good, so I took mental stock of what I had in the fridge and thought... quiche!

Remember those pie crusts I made a while ago? Apart from the pumpkin pie, the others were in the freezer. I took one out.

I had mushrooms in the fridge and started to fry some in a little butter.

I added a half a chopped onion to the mushrooms and fried them all until the onions were soft and the mushrooms were a bit browned.

Mmmmm, bacon.

I still had some of this shredded cheese left from a previous recipe.

Eggs aren't a problem anymore, always have some on hand. I used four. They got beaten up with a can of evaporated milk (I didn't have any cream). Salt, pepper, and a dash of nutmeg, and then I poured the mixture over the cut up bacon, onions, cheese, and mushrooms.

The quiche went into a 350 degree oven for about 40 minutes (it didn't seem quite set in the middle after 30), then it sat on the counter for a few minutes. It was SOOO good and it was easy because I had everything on hand. Dinner is served.

Wednesday, 24 October 2018

What's Your Sign?

I was reading Rachel's blog and got to thinking about how she mentioned her sign (Aries, if I recall). I've always played around a little bit with looking up what my "star sign" is known for and much of it is fairly close to accurate (see how I danced around that?) We went out for a quick Chinese food night and sat at the tables with the paper Chinese zodiac signs on it (I'm year of the horse if you are interested) and we all read what they were and who we were best suited to enjoy, or be in conflict with. I guess I'm not good with my daughter (Horse and rat), according to a paper place mat anyway.

I'm not so sure that the descriptors for Horse are really me, certainly not heroic, no comment on hypocritical!

However my zodiac sign is Cancer. Here are some things that are used to describe Cancers. I would say they are quite true of me.

I think my favourite, however, is this one:

Yes that one really made me laugh. Do NOT expect me to offer up some of my Smarties Blizzard to you. Sorry.

The whole concept of astrology and zodiac signs is one I do struggle with. As you may know, I'm not a religious person, I generally feel that you make your decisions and choices in life and I'm not big on pre-destination and the phrase, "it was meant to be" just about sends me into apoplexy, but at the same time, I find it fun to find out about my 'sign'. I don't read daily horoscopes because that's just silly to think each day could be predicted (and they are all so vague and easily applied).

Chime in with your own opinions. Hogwash, or are you a "typical" example of your star sign?