Thursday 31 October 2019

Do you Smell Bacon?

"Do you smell bacon?"  That's what my principal said when she stuck her head in my class this morning to say hello to my kids.

I'm really not a huge Hallowe'en person, but the kids like it when their teachers dress up, so yes, I was bacon. Who doesn't love bacon?? Very Canadian of me.

Here is my driving to work picture:

It was that dark when I started off this morning.   This is not to be confused with a previous year's driving to work picture:

I've changed food groups.

Just so you know, it rained ALL DAY LONG.   Yes, Hallowe'en combined with two indoor recesses, and no scheduled gym time. It was delightful.

Sunday 27 October 2019

Observation of the Day...

Yesterday I did my usual Saturday shopping. I was at the grocery store when I made an observation. Do with it what you will:

An Amish (Mennonite?) family was at another till beside me and I noticed some of the food they were buying: pizza pops, potato chips, other pre-packaged convenience foods. It made me mentally go, "huh".

Side note: we have many, many Amish and Mennonite people living in our area. Seeing these people was not the unusual observation for me, it was the food they were buying. One has the preconceived notion that Amish families bake their own treats, can their fruits and vegetables, make things from scratch... No judgement about potato chips - I can take on a bag of Doritos with the best of them!

It's been blustery and rainy today. Our cat Samson seems to be not doing well. He is quite thin and just not himself. Hopefully we can get him in to see the vet in the next couple of days. I have been working my way through a big bin of marking. Ughhhhhh - sometimes it's like pulling teeth. I need to complete a bit more so I am ready for our first round of report cards, which are due to admin. in less than two weeks. Just part of the profession.

Tonight is another new episode of the Durrells in Corfu. I love this series. Do any of you watch it?

Sunday 20 October 2019

A Woman's Purse

There is something about a woman's purse. It is a place of mystery, a treasure trove, a cherished item, a coveted possession, a thing from which one cannot be parted, or nowadays - nothing at all.

My husband has shared that his mother told him as a child, that you never go in your lady's purse! On the rare occasion that he needs something, like a set of keys for example, that might be in my purse, he asks first and then asks for directions, and even then often has a hard time retrieving the item. I'm not sure why it is so difficult to find something in my purse. It's not that complicated, although there is an outside pocket and an inside pocket and two sections...

I don't think I have a lot of "stuff" in my purse. My mother, long before Wet Wipes, used to carry a damp washcloth in a plastic bag in her purse. You never knew when someone's sticky hands might need a wipe. Currently in my purse is my wallet, a grocery list, a lipstick (or two), two pens, a set of keys, my reading glasses, an assortment of mints from restaurants provided with the bill, a sample of dental floss from my last dentist visit, a variety of pills (most of them travel headache related), a couple of business cards (must remember to book a time with the massage therapist), and a Tim Horton's card. There might be other items - I'm not peering into my purse at the moment.

But you go ahead - there it is, leopard print and all. I do like my orange pen which is easy to find in the depths of my purse.

Do you have a full purse? My mother-in-law, who in her defense is suffering from dementia, keeps her whole life in her purse and it must weigh ten pounds. It is falling apart. It's an old black Joan Rivers purse that she ordered from the home shopping network on tv many years ago. She loves that thing and husband even used black duct tape to secure the inside of it for her. She will not part with it. She recently flew to see her daughter (with husband's help) and she almost wouldn't let them take her purse and put in on the little conveyer belt to go through the scanner at the airport.

My bag is not expensive or designer or anything fancy at all. I don't really have any friends for whom a designer bag is important. None of us have that much disposable income to put towards a purse. But it's comfortable over my shoulder and tosses easily on the seat beside me and has lasted a few years now.

This past summer, my daughter accidentally left her purse, which is more like a wallet with straps, in a McDonald's restaurant in Montreal. When she got home and realized what had happened she went into action cancelling credit cards and arranging for other i.d. to be replaced. She did a great job. She contacted the McDonalds, just in case the purse had turned up, but no luck. A while later, a person contacted her through social media. They had found her purse and wanted to know if she wanted it returned. Daughter said yes and provided an address and did an email transfer of a bit of money to cover the cost of postage, and the individual very kindly mailed it to her. Everything was intact! However, at this point all the i.d. had been replaced, but she still got her purse back and had some faith in humans!

Girls my daughter's age, or younger, don't really seem to carry purses anymore. They carry their phone. They slip their debit / credit card inside the phone case. That's it. They travel light. When I was that age, I was an eighties girl and my purse contained not only a wallet, but a full arsenal of hair products - brush, hairspray, teasing comb... My friend even carried her own cordless curling iron with its own cannister of butane! I probably had a wide variety of makeup, a couple of pairs of earrings, maybe an extra pair of nylons in a ziplock bag... but not a cellphone. There were no cellphones then (shock, horror). I likely had perfume, like Cinnabar from Estee Lauder or L'Air du Temps . I might have had a camera in there too, with it's 110 film. Yes, young women these days travel much lighter.

A woman's purse. Is yours a treasured item, a mystery, or nothing at all?

Monday 14 October 2019

Definitely Autumn

First, happy Thanksgiving to all of my Canadian friends. It felt the most like autumn this Saturday, when I was driving into town and the leaves were blowing through the air and finally, the maples were turning colour. They are a little late this year.

The temperature is cold, it has been raining, and I am very thankful that we didn't get the snow that northern Ontario did, where my daughter is right now. She texted a picture of the snow covered scene she woke up to! Way too early for that. Sometimes we get snow around Hallowe'en, but snow at Thanksgiving is asking too much, even for Canadians.

I decided to put together a little fall display. Husband had purchased this two-tier unit, thinking I would like it as a fruit 'bowl', but honestly, the wires bruised the fruit and they would start to rot quickly. I was just going to stash it somewhere, but then Pinterest tempted me into creating this:

I found a little cheap framed word art at Walmart.

I added little Dollerama sprigs and fruit and pinecones, as well as apples.

This little fellow was another cheap Walmart find.

I added a small squash, some hydrangea from my garden, and some Chinese lantern plant that I didn't plant, but ended up in my garden anyway. 

Outside, on the porch, or by the door from the car port, I like to place a few mums and pumpkins.

Lastly, for a quintessential autumn touch, behold the wooly bear caterpillar. Is it the size of the caterpillar, or the size of the brown band in the middle, or the size of the black bands at the ends that is supposed to foretell the severity of our winter? Don't remember, but there are lots of these little fellows around.

Friday 11 October 2019

Keep an Eye Out!

Spied this as I was leaving work tonight, walking out to my car.

This is all part of my world - didn't even bat an eye. Barely glanced down. Well, no, I guess it did catch my eye, or I wouldn't have taken a picture. 😉

Monday 7 October 2019

October 7th

I'm done work, watching a recorded episode of Coronation Street, having a little glass of red. I tried to do some transferring from a savings account which is a separate institute from our regular bank. You access it online. When I was asked to answer a security question (which I had set up ages ago), I entered a slightly incorrect answer (used a plural instead of a singular for my highschool mascot) and it was rejected. When I tried it again, thinking maybe I had spelled it wrong, the online banking programme decided I was up to no good and locked me out of my account.

It is probably a good thing that the security is nice and tight, but on the other hand when I went online to try to rectify things, I couldn't talk to a person and tried (unsuccessfully) to get through the maze of entering various numbers and codes. After having a tiny freak out, I finally was able to call and talk to a human who helped me and reset things.

Anybody remember bank books?

So... our washing machine has decided to break down. I was planning on doing a load of laundry tonight. Husband knows what's wrong (because he's kind of smart like that) and he has ordered a part online. It may arrive by the 17th of this month. Or, for twice the price, you can have it in two days. I think we can save by waiting (for the price of the part, I wonder if it is made out of gold??). I said we can have a date night at the local laundromat. Can't wait!! For now, I'll be washing out my "delicates" in the sink.

I bought a big ham (on the bone) because there are lots of them available for the upcoming Thanksgiving weekend. I'd planned the whole week's menu around this ham - potato, leek and ham soup, quiche with ham in it, and well, a ham dinner with green beans from the garden, tomatoes from the garden, mashed potatoes... except I took longer to get out of work tonight, then I battled it out with the online bank, and at that point it was too late to get the ham in, so it's toasted bacon, lettuce and tomato sandwiches, or for husband there's cold chicken sandwiches (blechh, I am not a fan of cold chicken, but he likes it) for supper instead. Ham will happen tomorrow night instead.

It was a lovely weekend in that daughter was home, and then when we took her back to her city, we planned on going to Costco (for some people it's a weekly thing, but for us, we go maybe once every four months), and she arranged for our son (who was visiting his girlfriend in the same city) to surprise us at Costco. So we all went out for supper and it was great to see everyone. Unfortunately, son is realizing that living with a roommate at college isn't necessarily all roses. His roommate is somewhat 'odiferous' and son is quite fastidious with his cleanliness. So me, the woman who can't handle any fake scents at all, broke down and bought him some Fabreeze at Costco so he can hopefully make his dorm room smell a bit better. Hopefully he will take my advise and have a bit of a chat with his roommate about stinky shoes, piles of clothes, and maybe some leftover food.

However, I do think that going through little tough times makes you really appreciate the good things in life. For example, I think every teenager should have to drive a bit of a clunker of a vehicle so that they work hard in life so they can drive a better vehicle later. I'm sure he'll be very happy to be back for the Thanksgiving weekend with pumpkin pie and turkey and a fresh room. (They can't even open their windows in their dorm rooms!).

Right, so there's my stream of consciousness for the day. Carry on, all, and we'll talk again soon.

Thursday 3 October 2019

Aunt Gwen and fall fair

A few weekends ago, husband and I drove down to the community where I grew up. My cousin decided to hold an art "show" featuring her mom's work from years gone by. My Aunt Gwen was my mother's only sister. She enjoyed painting and produced quite a lot of work when she was younger. She died about a year ago, and so in honour of her, my cousin created a display of her work at a local fall fair (where Aunt Gwen grew up). My siblings and some other cousins gathered there, so this was a nice chance to catch up (as one of my cousins mentioned, it seems like it's only funerals or maybe weddings where we see each other, so this was a welcome change!).

I truly don't have a judgement whether my Auntie Gwen was a fabulous artist or not. I'm certainly no artist, and probably one of the least artistic of all of my siblings. But I do know that her paintings were a constant in my childhood. "Over at the farm", many of her paintings hung in the big craftsman style farmhouse. My parents, of course, had some of her paintings as well, and so they hung in our living room or in the kitchen. I'm now lucky enough to have two of them to keep in my home. I loved their frames, and just the feeling they invoked - homey and contented. Some of the paintings at the art show, I had never seen before because they hung in her home in Saskatchewan where she moved with her husband after living on the farm in Ontario.

These aren't all of the paintings that were there, but it gives you an example of her style.

Aunt Gwen was a very selfless, giving person. She sewed all of my grandmother's dresses to her specifications (sleeveless and polyester prints), she mailed us big cardboard boxes of clothes and special little treats - all the way from Saskatchewan - which was pretty exciting when my sister and I were kids, and she and her husband, my Uncle Al, and their two children would make the long trek across provinces to come back 'home' for a few weeks in the summer to stay at the farm house and do "spring cleaning" and various other tasks, as well as have some visits with friends and family in Ontario.

It was lovely to look at her work and remember the special person she was.

At the same time, we wandered around enjoying a typical fall fair atmosphere. Here are some pictures of the 4-H calf shows and some horses that were taken through their hunter / jumper paces.

To top it off, we enjoyed some extra greasy, salty, ketchupy fries in the open air and then had a lovely visit with friends who live in the area that we don't see nearly enough.