Tuesday 9 April 2024

April 9, 2024

 Today was lovely and mild and warm. I baked cookies, something I haven’t done since Christmas preparations. I did my walk through the village ( made myself a promise to get back into daily walking). I cut back my limelight hydrangeas by the pool fence. 

Then later the rain came and it started to hail. It wasn’t significantly large hail, but hail nonetheless. It has cleared now after supper. I made pork chops in the air fryer and they turned out great. Have you tried smoked paprika? It’s fabulous on chops or chicken pieces ( with garlic and onion powder).

Yesterday was eclipse day. I was stuck in the city where I have to go for follow up oncology appointments. I made it home in time to see husband and son on the back porch with welding face shields, watching the last of it. It did not become dark here, but certainly dimmer. I might be one of few people who didn’t get particularly excited about the eclipse. It was overcast earlier in the day, but cleared up in time to witness most of it.

Right now I’m sitting composing this on my phone and husband is on the other couch watching a YouTube video about the making of The Great Escape. It might be his favourite movie, or one of them. ( If you aren’t familiar, the movie is based on the real experiences of prisoners of war who dug tunnels and devised other ways of escaping. Later, the tv show Hogan’s Heros was based on it as well).

Do you have a person in your life who is a movie buff? What are their favourite movies? Did you watch the eclipse? Did you care? That’s all for now - thanks for reading my little blog!

Saturday 30 March 2024


 When I was out for my walk this afternoon, after baking the lemon cake that we are having tomorrow, I ran into a lovely woman, the daughter of a widowed woman in the village. We had a nice chat, she also does supply teaching, but not at any of the schools I go to. 

After I continued on my walk, I wracked my brain trying to remember her name. I went letter by letter through the alphabet, and never did come up with it. 

It drives me nuts when I can’t remember a name and trust me when I tell you that I have thousands of names stored in my head and it is often that I have to spend a bit of time recalling them. I’m now in my thirty- third ( fourth?) year of teaching ( albeit not full time any more) and with a class of approximately 25 students, that’s 825 names at the very least . Of course I would know students from other classes, or their siblings, let alone their parents’ names or grandparents. Let’s add in various staff members, some you know for years, others who come and go quickly. 

Of course, I’ve had occasions where someone says hi to me while I’m out shopping and I realize he or she is a previous student ( from twenty odd years ago) and they change of course. Sometimes I know their name right away, and other times I ask for a little reminder.

But getting back to my walk and the thoughts that run through my head, I got thinking how names can be popular for a while and then you won’t hear of anyone with that name at all. Being around small children for all these years, I’ve really noticed the name trends.

I’m 57 years old and some girl names when I was young were Jeannie, Linda, Heather, Tracey, Sharon, Wanda, Kristine, Colleen, Carolyn, Lisa, Sherry, or Angie. None of those names are popular now, at least where I’m from. 

Boy names go through trends. Husband and I used to joke about cowboy names beings a thing a while back : Cody, Dylan, Maverick, Wyatt…

Lately there has been an onslaught of what I refer to as the “on” names for boys: Bryson, Carson, Tyson, Jaydon, Jordan, Jackson, Brandon, Kaden, Landon, Trenton…

For a while there were also boys named after hockey players, both first and last names being inspirational. 

Creative spelling of names has also become a thing. I always feel a little sorry for the child, knowing they will forever be spelling their name out loud to people when filling out forms or signing up for things.

There are the traditional names that still stand the test of time but you don’t hear them a lot. I knew one William, a couple of Johns, quite a few Emmas ( that was my grandmother’s name). 

Have you known any youngsters with your name? Is your name quite unique or one of many? Any “creative “ names popping up in your families? Do you also have a little difficulty recalling someone’s name after not seeing them for a while? Share in the comments if you wish.

Sunday 24 March 2024

Joys of Home "Ownership"

 We finally have hot water (and the heat ensuing with our portions of in-floor heat as well), but it was a rocky road to get there. Husband decided to call in the experts, a local heating and plumbing company. This involved a visit, a diagnosis, an ordering of a part, waiting for the part, another visit, a rediagnosis involving an additional part, waiting two more days for that part, a third visit, then.... a strong smell of propane in the house - on a Friday - yes, after closing, after hours. We all know what that means. 

Husband phoned the company back, found out they close early on a Friday, called their emergency after hours number and a different guy came back, discovered that first guy had not done a proper job (MASSIVE EYE ROLL AND SWEARING ON MY PART, BUT NOT DIRECTLY AT THE GUY) and the job was fixed properly. We were assured by second guy that we would not be charged the $350 after hours fee (I'll believe that when I see it). 

This all, of course, has occurred during our third winter or false spring or whatever you want to call the latest drop in temperature and snowfall. Coincidentally, we have been having issues with the downstairs bathroom toilet, at the same time. Husband, fearless as ever, has literally dismantled the toilet and snaked it and checked all kinds of things and treated it for "organic iron" build up which we do have with our water... alas the problems, despite his efforts, have continued, to the point where we were up until well past 1:00 a.m. with son trying to figure out this problem, taking apart things in the basement and well, you don't need all the details. 

I think this was a "the leg bone's connected to the hip bone" situation. It's too much of a coincidence that we should have both of these problems at the same time and for them not to be related. So today, fearless husband is trying to determine if there is an ice damn somewhere in the system. This even involves checking into the septic system. The man saves us hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars by tackling things himself. However I wouldn't mind if we were independently wealthy and could just hire someone to do it for us (however, that didn't work out so well with the propane fired hot water heater, did it?)

Thank goodness for the addition that we built onto this old house years ago, so we can still use the bathroom over there, but we are currently not using ANY water on the "old" side of the house for specific reasons. Oh well, at least I got a couple of loads of laundry in yesterday and had a shower. 

I am weary. I am despising the issues that have caused so many inconveniences and days (weeks) of waiting. And I'm not even the one getting down and dirty trying to work it all out. 

On the upside, it will be 13 degrees C tomorrow, so that's something to look forward to!!

Sunday 17 March 2024

Back Again

 It's been a while since I've posted. We were away again for a couple of weeks. Since I am such a homebody, I am very happy to be back in my own home, in my own bed, with my own stuff around me. I'd make a poor world traveler. 

We had some Spring. Now we have some Winter. This too shall pass. 

We have a defunct water heater (propane) and husband is waiting on a part which could only be obtained through american amazon. It will have taken six days to arrive. I have been boiling water on the stove to wash dishes. We do cold water laundry (no big deal). We do have a small electric hot water heater to provide hot water to a third bathroom in an addition of our house, so we can take short showers. 

The ironic thing about this is, the place we were staying in on part of our trip didn't have hot water either and I was boiling water on a stove to do dishes. While I was there, I felt very "third worldish" and now that I'm home doing the same thing, I feel very "pioneerish". I'll be very happy to have things fixed. 

I do not have much to contribute. I'm watching the new episodes of Somebody Feed Phil on Netfix and the season 13 episodes of Vera on Britbox, via Prime video. I just picked up some books at the library - a Janet Evanovich (#28) and some James Patterson (the most recent Alex Cross ones). I haven't been teaching due to being away and this past week has been March Break, so no school. 

I'm patiently awaiting real Spring. Happy St. Patrick's Day. I am having corned beef and cabbage tonight. 

Sunday 18 February 2024

Sunday, February 18, 2024

 "Fool's Spring" is definitely over and winter has returned. We have had a tremendous amount of snow over the past couple of days with more coming today. The drive way was shoveled twice yesterday and will need shoveling again today. (We have a big double driveway that normally is cleared by a man with a tractor and snowblower and we pay him for it, but I think he is on holidays right now.) 

Yesterday I spent a lot of time cleaning the house - really cleaning. Tub scrubbing, taking everything off dressers and night tables and thoroughly dusting. I bought the Method brand wood cleaner a while ago and like it. It has an almond extract scent, one I can tolerate. Many cleansers are too scented for me, sending me into a post nasal coughing fit. 

Scooter sheds in clumps (long haired cat) and I am forever picking up after him. I call our upstairs hallway the path of fur. I also baked an apple cake. 

Today, we are all getting together (us, the "kids", and Nana) for a little visit and early supper (Nana gets antsy, thinking she should return back "home", which is her nursing home, so we try to eat earlier). It will be cabbage roll casserole and garlic toast tonight. Apple cake is for dessert.  I'll make the casserole today, ahead of time. 

Thanks to everyone who commented about the air fryer. So far, I think I have realized that I am using it for too long each time. However long it says on a package to put something in the oven is definitely too long in the air fryer. I have made frozen pre-cooked chicken wings (I don't really like wings, but son does) which were o.k., frozen french fries which were stupendously better than done on a cookie sheet in the oven, Marc Angelo pork souvlaki which I over cooked the first time and was better with less time the next, and pieces of fish which I breaded myself which were pretty good. 

I am glad I did not go out and purchase a new one. I see the air fryer as something like my bread maker and instant pot. Used a lot at the beginning until the novelty wears off and then I get tired of how much space it takes up on the counter and re-arrange something in the pantry and store it away, then rediscover it again months later...

Tomorrow is Family Day, a made-up holiday in February. I have no idea why we have it, but we do. I decided to have the get together today, so the working kids could feel like they truly had a day off to do absolutely nothing tomorrow. 

I purchased some root touch up for my hair. I've dyed my own hair now for quite a few years. It usually looks fine. I go for a "dark blonde" which is actually more like light brown. I decided to break things up a bit and bought a highlighting kit. It even has the cap with the little holes to pull the strands through. We shall see how that goes. I might, perhaps, give you a before and after (but only if it turns out o.k.) I've highlighted my hair before, years ago. It turned out all right. I just won't go crazy and pull the hair through every little hole in the cap, that might be a bit too much. Any other brave souls out there who colour their own hair, or have even dabbled in highlights?

I have been substitute teaching a bit here and there. For the last couple of years, the government allowed retired teachers to sub. a bigger amount of days before it affected their pensions. This year, however, they kept the number of days at the minimum amount, so I have to be careful and spread my days out over the course of the school year. It is silly that they haven't increased the amount again because schools are still having to bring in "emergency" people. That means it could be anybody from a university student without a teaching degree or to someone's grandma. She could be the nicest lady, but regardless she has had no training and doesn't know the ins and outs of the rules we must abide by in teaching. 

I've spent enough time at the computer (yes, I'm using an old desk top right now), and must carry out fresh water for the chickens' heated water bucket, making my way through my path in the snow. I hope you all have a good rest of your weekend and happy Family Day to any Canadians out there!

Sunday 4 February 2024

"Treating Myself" Feb. 4, 2024

 I am now the proud owner of an air fryer. But, if you know me, I didn't go out and buy a $199.00 Ninja special edition or whatever is out there. I bought one from somebody in a neighbouring town for $40.00 through Facebook marketplace. It has barely been used from what I can tell and came to me very clean, along with the manual. 

I've been curious about air fryers and this is the perfect way to decide if I would really use it all that often without making a huge commitment. 

So here's my question: for those of you who have already taken the plunge into air fryer world, what do you make that's really great, convenient, surprising, yummy, etc.? Also, do you line the tray with anything?

Thanks ahead of time for any and all suggestions. 

Meanwhile, it is a beautiful morning, in my opinion. There is a thick layer of frost on all branches and it looks magical. It likely won't translate well into pictures, but here are a couple:

As you can see, we don't have much snow. I'm not complaining. Have a lovely Sunday!