Reading List 2021

Wednesday, 5 May 2021

May 5, 2021


This is the second lockdown birthday for my daughter. She turned twenty-five. Covid birthdays are sucky. 

Still, there were balloons and happy birthday signs, and a banner, because in this house, that's what happens, regardless of how old you are. There was the standard baked-by-mom chocolate layer cake. I always ask if they want something different, and they don't.

I think I would be less annoyed with the world if the weather would stop being less March / April and become a bit more May / June. It is so wet and icky and cold that I can't even spend time weeding and edging (because that could occupy my time every single day for weeks). 

Heaven help me, I started another jigsaw puzzle. Puzzles were what I did when lockdowns first happened A YEAR AGO. I feel like I'm reverting rather than moving forward because of this puzzle. Well actually, it is a puzzle that I had started last year but it was so hard and my heart wasn't in it, so I packed it up (but I did keep all the outside pieces together in chunks and put them in a ziplock bag, and another chunk that I had put together as well). Now it's back out and I reassembled the outside pieces, and the chunk, and now I'm trying to put together about a million pieces that are green and yellow and form a bunch of flowers. I kind of hate it, but I'm committed to the task.

Supper. Everyday I think about what to make for supper. I had a frozen pie crust (not my own, a "cheater" one).

Quiche was in order. I fried up some onions and boiled a little bit of broccoli. 

Voila! Eggs, milk, cheese, broccoli, onions, salt and pepper. (Do you notice the little folded up piece of tin foil under the front of the pie tin? When you have an old house and your kitchen floor is not quite level, and you can't exactly level your stove because it will fit weird in the cut out space on your counter top, you have to rig up your pies so they don't flow more to one side).

At the moment, you can go to grocery stores, pharmacies, and some garden centres. Will the excitement never end? I went to the grocery store to buy milk and picked up a plant to be dropped off at M.I.L.'s nursing home for her mother's day present. She'll get it two days after we drop it off.

Some good news, however, husband and I both have booked times at the "hockey hub" in the nearby town later this month to receive our first vaccines - either Moderna or Pfizer. 

As well, I am now in the system to be available for supply teaching. Unfortunately, it will only be online supply teaching which actually makes me more nervous than face to face, in the classroom supply teaching. I know what I used when I was teaching online, but I'm a bit concerned that I might have to take over for someone super tech savy who is using much different programmes in their online classroom and I won't have a clue what to do. For comfort sake, I want my first experience to be in my "home school", the one I recently retired from.

So there you have it. I'm going a bit stir crazy and want to get out and do things. I am eagerly awaiting 
an end to our provincial lockdown. I have watched with daughter on Netflix, a trivia gameshow called "The Chase". I enjoy it and feel like a star when I'm able to answer one of the questions before the contestant (it doesn't happen often, as they go very fast!). I'm not reading anything right now, just not in the mood. And I now admit that I ate the rest of the "hint of jalapeno" tostitos while watching "The Masked Singer". I don't even know half of the people they guess on that show, but I get a kick out of the costumes and the reveal (again, sometimes I don't even know who they are without their masks!). We are down to one more episode of "The Curse of Oak Island" before they pack it in for the winter. I figure somebody's going to find the Templar treasure on that flipping island before heard immunity is reached! We are also watching the new season of "Island of Bryan". I do enjoy that show and think he's a hoot! They couldn't have picked a worse time to open a resort. But they just got chickens, so that's good! If you don't get any of those shows, just ignore this paragraph.

Keeping my fingers crossed for sunshine sometime this week. 

Monday, 26 April 2021

Mundane Monday, April 26, 2021- Lists

As I am sitting here, typing up this post on a chilly April morning, there are no less than four lists in close proximity. One of those lists is so long, it spans from one side of a folded 8 1/2 x 11 sheet of paper to the other, and then there is a separate list on the inside. One heading says, "To Do Tomorrow". Of course, I wrote that probably three weeks ago, so it's not really a tomorrow list. I have crossed those items off regardless. 

I make a list for grocery shopping - always. I start it a couple of days ahead, and leave it out so that other family members can add to it, if they have a request or if they've realized we are out of something. I categorize my grocery list with little headings: produce, bakery, deli, meat, can/box, dairy/frozen. 

I have always been a list maker, especially in my profession. If something didn't get written down, it likely got forgotten and with my work taking me in many different directions (subjects), I needed to be organized. I had class lists, parent e-mail lists, deadline lists, and lists of things I wanted to accomplish. 

Husband has lists. He has headings such as "Indoor", "Outdoor", "Personal" for his various tasks and things he needs to finish. 

Mother-in-law always kept a calendar sitting beside her chair in the livingroom on which she wrote EVERYTHING. It was her version of a list, but now I realize it was probably also a coping mechanism for her progressing dementia. 

I feel great satisfaction being able to cross items off lists. Sometimes I will write something down that I've already done, just so I can cross it off and feel that I've accomplished something.

Lists at home always go on scrap paper. I have a large (but nice looking) container on top of the computer desk filled with old hand-outs that didn't get used at school. So I might have a grocery list that has animals of the rainforest on the other side of the paper. My mother used old envelopes for some of her lists. 

What do "the young people" do now? Do they make lists, or do they keep all of their thoughts on a file in the cloud somewhere? 

Since it's been a while since I've posted a Mundane Monday, I'm looking forward to reading your comments and contributions to the mundane topic of list making! 

Friday, 16 April 2021

Didn't Quite Catch That

 I finally dragged my body to the treadmill, armed with my knee support and my NEW (!!) phone, and started walking. Yes, we have a treadmill. No, I don't use it much. When I do, however, I have to have music to listen to. I was introduced to Spotify by my children and I pay nine dollars and change a month so I can make up playlists and listen to them without ads interrupting me every third song. 

I have one playlist called "Workout". It consists mostly of music of my high school and university days. So if you were born in the 1960's, perhaps you can relate to this. A song came on that took me right back to an old boyfriend and a tape we listened to a lot. It was "Burning Down the House" by Talking Heads. As the song proceeded and I imagined myself getting fitter and healthier with each step, I realized that I had no idea what half of the lyrics were saying. I never did. 


In fact, there are so many songs that I listened to over and over and didn't know what they were saying! I used to buy used albums at a used record place when I was in university. I was going through a Beatles phase. I loved it when some albums had the lyrics, so you could actually sing along correctly. Yes, some tape cassettes also had the little fold out insert with lyrics as well. But most of the time, we just sang the parts we knew and didn't sing when it came to the parts we didn't. Or we sang the wrong words.

Another song I never knew the words to was Bruce Springsteen's "Blinded by the Light" (yes, yes, I know, for the purists out there, it was Manford Mann originally). I think that one confused a lot of people.

I would tell you which contemporary songs I don't know the lyrics to, but I don't listen to any contemporary songs ha ha! 

What about you? Did you have a song that you never could figure out the words to, or did you realize years later you were singing the wrong words? 

Thursday, 15 April 2021

Chilly morning - Snippets of Life

 It was hot and sunny five days ago. This morning when I rose, it was 1 degree (celsius). Since then we have had a couple little snow showers. This is not unheard of in April. I was looking back at posts from this time last year, and it snowed on May 9th (adding insult to injury).

Locally, our cases of Covid have gone up a lot (for us, we've always had very low numbers and few worries). The medical officer of health (who has been in the news recently concerning his higher-than-any-other salary) chastised those who have gathered recently (with a particular shout out to highschool students) and aren't being truthful about how many contacts they have had. In order to take care of contact tracing, he has decided to take personnel from the vaccine clinics and have them call people about possible contact instead. Because of that, the vaccine clinic is cancelled. Other vaccine clinics in various parts of Ontario are also being cancelled, but that is due to lack of vaccine supplies. Hmmm. We (Ontario) are already so far behind in our vaccination roll out that this has caused quite a hullaballoo.

 Blogger is as "social media" as I get, but daughter (whose job involves local communications) informs me that the comments are extensive. Sigh. If there is one thing I've learned from the t.v. series, "House", (and from my own experiences), it's that most people lie. Of course many teenagers are going to lie about being at a party with a bunch of other people. I am not excusing it, I'm just not surprised in the least. However, to blame teenagers when there is a "local" company that employs more than 4000 people that never seems to be presented in a bad light, doesn't seem particularly fair.  I am also not surprised that our numbers have gone up. People are just plain tired of it all. Again, not excusing, just not surprised. As well, when a huge number of people still have not had access to vaccines, and variants are spreading, it's not suprising. Our Prime Minister may be known for his good looks and soft voice, but he hasn't impressed his citizens by being on the forefront of vaccine acquisition. So, locally we are being told to stay in our homes. 

One year and one month. Enough said.

On a different note, I planted some seeds.

They're coming along. I don't know if I'm too early, or too late, but that's what I have so far. I have a little "map" I made so I know what's what.

On a chilly, dreary day, here's where you can find Scooter-the-cat-with-no-tail.

This is the only chair he likes. It's son's chair.

And to round things off, here is a harbinger of good things to come, my bright yellow forsythia.

Monday, 12 April 2021

Catching Up - April 12th

 Let's just get to the point. When you stand a little too close to the burn barrel as you are feeding it dried shrub cuttings and other old bits of fauna, sometimes you get a little singed. As in, now when I put on mascara, there is a definite difference in the eyelash length of my left eye compared to the right eye. But since we are now in lockdown / shut down / stay at home, but still go to the grocery store / here we go again time, it doesn't much matter that my eyes don't match, but it still bugs the hell out of me!

So... this whole retirement thing is pretty odd. At first it just felt like a long weekend, or March Break (ha ha, which is now actually April Break). Then I had to fight the compulsion that every day had to count. I had to be busy every single day with something that gave me pride in accomplishing. I have spent a lot of time cutting back shrubs and old dried up perennials (and then burning the refuse). I have made decent suppers almost every night. I have organized and checked things off lists, and made more lists. I have read books and have a stack of three more to tackle. I have tracked calories and dealt with banking things (which I have a great fear of) and I have said a heart-felt goodbye to our old cell phone company and narrowed us down to just husband and I on our new plan (bye bye young adult son, you are on your own now!) and I have changed from flannel sheets to cotton. 

But this has to stop. Nobody is checking to make sure I have been gainfully accomplishing things of importance. You must understand, though, that when we were both teaching, we would hit the ground running at the very end of June, beginning of July, trying to make progress on house projects, or outdoor jobs, or automotive issues. "Time off" for us has always been filled with things we couldn't do when we were dead dog tired after long work days.

I even looked up some retirement things and discovered there are stages of retirement (kind of like stages of grief). Interesting stuff. I need to be patient with myself as I go through this mental rollercoaster of emotions. I truly think it wouldn't be nearly as odd, or tough if we weren't still slogging our way through this pandemic. I could be going more places, seeing more people, just enjoying more choices.

I heard today that Mr. Tightpants minister of education put forth a letter to parents yesterday that it was his wish to be sure that students stayed in school (this week is the delayed "March Break") after this week. Now today, a mere 24 hours later, Mr. Good Ol' Boy Premier of Ontario has announced that ALL Ontario schools (not just those in the hot spots) will be closed after this week indefinitely. I can only imagine how my colleagues are feeling right now. Trying to carry on a normal programme online is a nightmare. Speaking only for myself, I always wanted to stay in the classroom. I always wanted to have the kids there. 

Here's a bit of real time fun. I'm upstairs in our bedroom, my laptop on my lap. I came up here after supper. Husband just poked his head in the room wondering what I was doing, saying it was surprising that I didn't want to watch Coronation Street after supper. I told him I was fine, I was just doing some blogging. He replied, "Some mundane Monday." I said, "No, and actually I'd forgotten all about mundane Monday until you just mentioned it!" 

Anyway, there you have it. Now I think I will head back downstairs and watch Coronation Street (it is set to record daily), although truth be told, I am not enjoying ANY of the storylines right now. Maybe the writers are getting experiencing Covid fatigue, too! 

Tuesday, 30 March 2021

Regular Tuesday - March 30

 This is the second last day of March. Now that I am not teaching anymore, here is what my day consisted of:

-drove to town to pick up a bag of layer crumble for the hens and also two seed starter kits (really should have started some by now...)

-tracked my calories for breakfast and lunch as I am on (yet another) quest to lose the 15 pounds I packed on during the last year

-fiddled around with a set of bluetooth wireless earbuds that my daughter gave me that I didn't really utilize, but now I think I would quite like to as I am walking or outside in the yard

-raked some more outside and also cut back three shrubs (holy man is it windy!!)

-managed to get a piece of shrub in my eye and literally removed it with my tweezers (tried a damp Q-tip but all that did was push it around on my eyeball - ewwww!)

-made the spice blend for a new recipe I'm trying that uses smoked paprika, black pepper, onion powder, garlic powder, cayenne, and brown sugar (I'm using it on chicken legs this time)

-helped husband cover up a car that is bought, but not yet picked up (did I mention it's windy??)

-checked out my school email because old habits die hard

-ordered more library books online (still have one to start, maybe tonight)

-watched most recent episode of American Idol that had been previously recorded

I am now going to go coat the chicken and get it ready in a baking pan. I have asparagus to steam and I'm going to try a recipe for a salad that is supposed to be just like Olive Garden restaurant. We don't have an Olive Garden within hours and hours of us. Actually, are there any in Ontario anymore?? I don't even know, but I know I love their salads from what I had so many years ago. I'd kill for one of their bread sticks, too. Funny how when you are trying to improve your eating habits, all you think about are all the foods you want, but shouldn't.

Thursday, 25 March 2021

Describing Distance

 I was reading somebody's blog, or maybe someone's comment, the other day and that person was describing where they lived. They said they were a certain number of km from a well-known place. It took me a moment to realize that we never describe distance that way. We always describe it in terms of driving time, not actual kilometres. 

Husband sells car parts for particular kinds of cars and he gets people asking where he is. He will tell them how many hours we are from Toronto, for example. I have always said that I like teaching eight minutes from home. To get to my siblings' houses in a city, I think of it as 2 and 3/4 hours away.

Is this a Canadian thing? We rural Canadians think nothing of driving an hour to get somewhere. Apparently Westerners think nothing of driving three hours to get somewhere! Perhaps it's just a rural thing, but not limited to people from any particular country. How do you describe distance?

On a different note, it felt very spring-like last evening as we had thunder and lightning and plenty of rain. Everything needed a good washing down. I had an othodontist appointment, in the middle of the day! I'm on my last twenty weeks of my invisaligns. It feels like it has been forever having these things on my teeth, but there is quite a difference in how straight they are now. Yesterday, the orthodontist filed my front teeth! I was nervous about it, but it didn't hurt at all, however the smell of metal on hot tooth was a bit disconcerting! 

I've been raking the yard and gathering up many wheelbarrow loads of spruce branches and cones, and some plant materials from perennial beds. Then I burned it in the burn barrel in batches. I have much to do with the flower beds, as I didn't clean them up as carefully as I would have liked in the fall. How are you coming with your spring yard work?