Monday, 27 March 2023

Upcoming Easter and my week

 I am hosting Easter this year and am happy to do so. I already have some food ideas for the fourteen or so people. When I was getting groceries the other day I thought I’d pick up a nice ham. I think it would be cheaper to buy an actual pig!

Yes, that does say $71.67! 

I had gone into my “Independent “ store which is a Loblaws store for something that I can’t get at my usual Food Basics. I have pretty much stopped shopping there since the prices have gone through the roof. Needless to say I did not buy the ham.

Before you ask, yes my family will be bringing some items like appetizers or drinks or dessert per my request.

Little by little, Spring is trying to emerge. The snowdrops are up, the robins are back, the sun was out for a couple of hours today. 

We are having my mother- in- law over for lunch tomorrow. I’m getting my hair cut on Wednesday ( still not completely sure what I want done), I’m teaching all day Thursday, have a teeth cleaning appointment Friday morning and I’m teaching Friday afternoon. I LOVE a busy week! 

Friday, 17 March 2023

You Snooze, You Lose

 I wasn’t snoozing but I was preoccupied back in January which is when I should have called in an order for these gorgeous beauties.

Oh be still my silly chicken heart. The name alone!!! Lavender Orpington!! Alas they are now sold out. I only want ready-to-lay birds, not chicks. I don’t have the facilities to keep chicks separate from the older birds. The lady I was speaking to said I could be put on a waiting list. Apparently people do sometimes back out on their order or they order a bigger amount and decide they don’t want that many.

I am also on a waiting list for some of these luscious hens. Dark brown eggs!!

A good, heavy breed that would do well in our climate. 

So will I be chicken- less? No, I did order four of these sweet silvery girls for pick up on June 19th.

Currently I have three geriatric hens, one of whom provides me an egg every three or four days. Yes, every chicken is safe here to live out her years, as unproductive as they may be until their natural demise. Yes, I’m buying chicken feed for no good reason. Ah well, there are worse things in life.

Wednesday, 15 March 2023

Wed., Mar. 15, 2023

 Hello my fellow bloggers. Today is sunny with plenty of snow on the ground. I have been out of the game for a while because we took advantage of an excellent price for a sunny get away. It was a "husband has to get away because he deals with seasonal affective disorder every year and he hit a wall" and "wife agrees to it because she thinks she deserves it after the somewhat hellish last several months she has endured and emerged victorious from" situation. We went to a place in Punta Cana, Dominican Republic that has just very recently changed ownership. Because of that, they offered an excellent price and we did a ten day trip (the longest we've ever done). 

We flew out of Toronto (a situation which we would have avoided if we could) using Swoop airlines. Swoop is one of those bare bones, we offer you nothing so you can have a slightly better price, airlines. We had to pay extra so we could sit together on the plane, and we paid extra to bring one checked piece of luggage. We got to have one carry-on each for no extra cost. Do you remember the days when you would receive food (not great food, but food nonetheless) on your flight and a free beverage? Do you remember having little screens on which to watch a movie or some episodes of a fun television show to help you pass the time? Well, those days are long gone. Oh sure, you can get something to eat if you use your credit card, and a surprising amount of people did. Good lord, I am frugal. (Yes, I get the irony in what I'm writing about).

Anyway, the resort is an older one, so established beautiful tropical grounds are enjoyed everywhere. There is one long meandering pool (like a river - we called it our river walk that we would do a few times a day) that runs the length of the resort. The service was beyond excellent and the food was actually very good. Here are a few pictures. I won't bore you with too many.

So, this delighted me to no end. Yes, this is a flamingo walking amongst the lounge chairs beside the pool. 

This is the whole family (I presumed it was a family). Almost daily, the three would leave their little habitat area that they share with some koi and a few cool statues and do a wander up and down the pool area. Nobody bothers them and they are always just out of arm's reach. They were free to come and go as they pleased. I joked with husband that they must have a contract whereby they are must show themselves to some guests five out of seven days.

Here is just a little piece of the pool. Have a look at all the people in the lounge chairs. (?!?) This was the incredible thing about this trip. Because it was a re-opening of the resort, it was only at about 20% capacity. If you love to get away, but you don't especially love to be around people, this was the place for you! (It also meant I could take photos and post them without invading someone's privacy).

The rooms were dated and small by anyone's standards, but they were spotlessly clean and we had decent water pressure and hot water whenever needed and a king sized bed (which we don't even have at home), so we were happy. This is what we saw from our second storey balcony. We could see the water. It was windy and wavy down at the beach and we did not spend much time there, but I had a couple of nice walks along the beach and it was lovely.

At night, when we would walk to whatever restaurant we were eating at, the lights and the pool were so beautiful. This resort just had such a positive ambiance to it. All inclusive resorts may not be everyone's cup of tea, but we had only good things to say about this one and because there were so few people, we got to know people and had nice conversations while on our "river walks" or at the lobby bar in the evening. 

And so I am back home, getting back (slowly) into the swing of things. It is March Break in Ontario, so no occasional teaching for me at the moment. Husband has vertigo and I tweaked my back putting my luggage into the overhead compartment on the plane, so we are each dealing with our own thing (punishment for the hedonistic time away?). I am hoping that Spring arrives sooner rather than later, but as always, we deal with the weather we are given. Have a good rest of your week, all.

Thursday, 23 February 2023

New Louise Penny

 I just finished reading the new Louise Penny book entitled A World of Curiosities . I whipped through it in a couple of days ( it’s on a limited borrowing time because it’s new and there is a wait list ). 

I enjoyed it very much, set in Three Pines, rather than some country elsewhere. I honestly thought I had it figured out in chapter twelve, which made me feel both smug and a bit disappointed that Penny should give up a clue that early and that easily. However, I was wrong, thankfully. 

I liked how Penny went back into the history between Armond Gamache and his right hand man, Jean- Guy Beauvoir. 

The only thing that made me a bit hesitant to give this book top marks was how closely Penny comes to writing about the topics du jour. I hope and pray she doesn’t sacrifice her integrity by deliberately creating her works around pre decided hooks in order to score points.  And that’s all I’ll say about that lest I ruffle some feathers.

On a different note entirely, our  weather took a rather wintry turn last night with quite a lot of snow and some freezing rain. Other areas received more freezing rain than we did but buses were canceled regardless.

Those buns that I made were excellent and I froze the leftovers. I have no clue what to make tonight for supper. I have a bag of frozen shrimp that could be sautéed with some garlic. There’s always rice, maybe some of my green beans frozen from the summer? Sometimes I just hate having to come up with supper ideas. I think it’s because I don’t want to eat the same thing over and over. Husband wouldn’t mind but I would tire of it. 

I went to a hospital ( not too far away this time) to receive my first infusion of Zometa ( zolendronic acid) which helps your bones lest all your calcium leaches out giving you Swiss cheese bones ( a side effect of anti- hormone therapy ). It’s also good for those with osteoporosis, which I do have. Of course this is not without its own side effects but I did my reading and asked around. I feel fine today, so that’s a good thing.

Let me know if any of you have also read the new Penny mystery. I would recommend it to any fans out there. 

Sunday, 19 February 2023

Sun., Feb. 19, 2023

 This cat has no issues with water. I caught him sitting on the faux cement “ pillar” on the porch, drinking the melted snow water from the divot on the top. 

Had I not seen this I may have wondered why he came in so wet!

Why do puddles always taste better than the fresh water we provide for our animals? 

Look what I kind of made!

These are rolls / buns for tomorrow’s pulled pork. I got help from my very old, but still functioning bread maker. 

When I’m done this blog post, I’m going to eat the smallest one to make sure they’re ok.  Which reminds me, I always ate the broken, misshaped, slightly burnt cookies, etc. so the family could have the nice ones. Did any other moms used to do that? Do any of you use a bread maker for other edibles besides bread? Do some of you actually bake bread or rolls “ from scratch”??? You have my admiration!

Saturday, 11 February 2023

Saturday, the sun is shining

 This is going to be a "nothing" post. Which is a good thing! Today is finally sunny and I will take a walk around the little village in a bit. 

I took Scooter-the-cat-with-no-tail to the vet the other week. He has had an issue with his chin, looking "dusty, dirty" first, and then scabby and then loss of hair. We looked it up and thought 'feline acne' and tried some home treatment but it didn't seem to work so off to the vet he went. The vet's office is STILL saying we can't come into the building and you literally have to speak to someone through a crank out window on the sidewalk. Personally, I find this overkill, but I'm sure there are others who are still fine with it. A hundred and something dollars later I left with a cat in a cage and a small bottle of Prednisone (nasty-ass medication for humans, but hopefully not too bad for him in these small doses), a bottle of anti-bacterial soap (not likely to happen) and a bottom end injected with a long-dose antibiotic. (his bottom end, not mine). 

We've been putting his pill into a little softened up chunk of cheese so he will take it. I'm not a good pill popper of cats and Scooter is not a good patient. He is incredibly squirmy and strong when he wants to be. He's not a violent cat, in that he won't hiss at us, or try to deliberately hurt us, but he's impossible to deal with. With no tail, he's the shape of a furry football and he squirms like a larva. So cheese pills it has been. He seems fine now with the pills all done, he's eating and acting normally but his chin still looks like a bald, pink, lumpy mess with a few billy goat-like hairs coming through. 

Over Christmas, we had a decorative bunch of bells hanging from the doorknob to the porch on a fake leather strap. I suppose it's to make a jaunty sound when someone enters your home. Husband thought it would be fun to teach Murphy (the other cat, now fat, and stripey) to ring the bell to be let out. It worked, remarkably well and quickly. So much so, that like a fool, I bought another set of bells (dollar store) to hang on the doorknob to the other porch. Well, let me say I deeply regret all of it. We are slaves to the bells and he is abusing his bell power. Yes, I've removed the bells when it just is too much, but it's also such a cool thing that his cat has learned to ring the bell, that we always end up putting them back on the doorknobs. 

Abuse of power lies in the fact that he rings the bells to the back porch and when I get up to let him out, he veers instead toward the kitchen to show me his food bowl. I've been removing his bowl through the day, as his girth is now such that I refer to him as "Wide Load". Or even if there is food there, he needs me to jiggle the bowl to even out the 'dent' in the middle. Smart and manipulative.

I've been trying to cut back greatly on grocery buying, working my way through things in the pantry and deep freeze. We've had shepherd's pie, chili, a pseudo sweet and sour chicken stir fry with rice, canned soup and toast... Now that lettuce doesn't require a second mortgage to purchase, I'm including some salads with our meals, too. 

I had brought out my bread maker which I had not used in ages, thinking I should make my own bread (well, have the machine make my own bread) in order to save a bit on the ridiculous cost of bread. It was working well, but now a bit too well, as bread is something husband can't resist, so I think I may tuck it away again for a bit. 

Have you ever had issues with tiny little moths in your kitchen? I discovered in horror about a year ago, that the bird seed I had been storing in the mudroom was hatching out these little beasties and then they were flying around in the house. They eat wheat products. I then discovered that they'd gotten into the kitchen drawer where I keep my flour, sugar, and other baking supplies. I did a drastic clean out and put things into jars and sealed bags after that. I thought I had nipped the problem in the bud, but I've seen the little buggers again lately. I run after them like a manic, trying to clap my hands on them mid-flight. But I have yet to find the source. It makes me feel like an icky house keeper. I'm paranoid about sealing up things. I fold over the inner cereal bag and clamp it shut whenever I use cereal. I even cleaned out the toaster, thinking maybe the crumbs from the many pieces of toast were a food source. Ughhhh!! I do not, by the way, store bird seed in the house anymore. (and for those mystery solvers out there, I've cleaned the bread maker and always wipe the counters of crumbs).

Two days ago I did my first supply teaching day in a VERY long time. It was in a kindergarten class that I used to supply in last year, so I knew some of the kids, as they were in junior kindergarten last year, and are now in senior kindergarten (It was a JK / SK class). I also knew the ECE (early childhood education) person in that class. It was so nice to be back at it! It was a bus cancellation day due to fog, freezing rain that never quite transpired, so it wasn't the full class of 28 students, but instead only 15, which made it nice as well. I have booked myself 2 and a half supply days this coming week as well and I'm very pleased. It feels great to do what's comfortable and familiar and normal.

That's all I have. Hope everyone has a productive /restful / enjoyable / healthy weekend - whatever you require. 

Monday, 30 January 2023

Mundane Monday - Red, White, or Neither ?

 Recently, our government came out with its latest guidelines for alcohol consumption: Canadians should consume no more than two drinks per week of alcohol. The previous Health Canada guidelines said men should have no more than three drinks per day and women, no more than two per day. For many of us, the new guidelines are laughable and we scratch our heads to think, why? How is it that our government wishes to also control us in this aspect of our lives? But I'll just tuck my tinfoil hat away for the time being.

My drink of choice would be red wine and I imagine quite a few women would also choose wine as their choice of alcohol. Depending on the class that I taught that year or the administration I was working under, I might enjoy/require a glass of wine while making supper or not. In fact, I don't know that I knew many teachers who did not partake in an alcoholic beverage from time to time, and that says something about the profession. An afternoon at the pool in the summer might entail a very cold Budlight Lime (beer). A rare supper out at a restaurant would usually include a wine or a beer (whilst I shuddered at the cost). But it was always enjoyable, social, fun... I wonder how a Mediterranean audience would react to the two drinks per week suggestion?

So today's Mundane Monday question is this: do you prefer red wine, white wine, or no wine? You can also chime in on which specific kind you prefer, if you wish. You can say if you would adhere to the new Health Canada guidelines or not. You can even theorize why a beer loving, six months out of the year crappy weather enduring nation is being told to cut back! All hail Mundane Monday.