Wednesday 22 January 2020

January 22, 2020

I realize I haven't been posting as much. Don't know why. Just not feeling it, but I'm still reading your posts!

What's going on? The kids bought us a Nespresso coffee maker for Christmas with a whole bunch of coffee "pods" to go along with it. We never would have bought it for ourselves, but it is fun. It came with a little milk frother, but is actually creates a fairly frothy cup of coffee anyway, even without adding frothy milk. Again, fun. It's quite a step up from my usual cup of instant coffee!

Here's a picture from the interweb:

This is the coffee maker that George Clooney advertises for. Kind of wish he had brought it to me at Christmas, but that didn't happen.

I finished the latest Louise Penny novel, A Better Man. I loved it and read it in a little more than a day. If you haven't read any Louise Penny, she has written a series and it is best to start with the first one, Still Life. These are richly developed mysteries set in Quebec, mostly the Eastern Townships. She is absolutely one of my favourite authors.

We ended up having daughter and her boyfriend home this past weekend which was a nice chance to catch up. We took her back to the city where she attends university on the Sunday. There had been some big snow here earlier in the weekend. Strangely on the way there, we saw that there had been some freezing rain and the ice was still coating the trees. It was so sparkly and pretty - like diamonds hanging from the trees glinting in the sunshine. We pulled over to take some pictures. Daughter took far more artistic shots than I did, but here are some images.

Pictures after ice storms never really capture what it actually looks like, but you probably get the idea.

I have also caught up on the next season of Grace and Frankie on Netflix. I really enjoy this series. It's funny, another blogger was writing about this show and a someone wrote a comment about wanting Frankie's wardrobe. I, on the other hand, would love to have Grace's wardrobe! She is portrayed as very classy and a bit of a perfectionist. I'd even steal the hairstyle!

I was just going through programmes that I've saved on our DVR (set to record automatically) and got thinking about various tastes in viewing and even how husband and I only have a few shows that we watch together willingly. He's more of a news, historic, movie guy. I like comedies, good crime detective shows, mysteries, and some series. See if we have anything in common:

-America's Got Talent
-Back in Time for Winter (new one on CBC after last year's Back in Time for Dinner)
-Coronation Street
-Criminal Minds (but honestly, I'm tired of it and it's time for it to be done)
-The Curse of Oak Island (husband and I keep joking, "This will be the week they find something!")
-The Detectives (a Canadian show about real cold case files)
-The Durrells in Corfu (all done watching the series, but I've kept it in case I want to watch again)
-Escape to the Chateau
-Homestead Rescue
-Kim's Convenience
-Kings of Pain (have you SEEN this???)
-Modern Family (I will be so sad when this is over - I enjoy these characters so much!)
-Schitt's Creek (again, I have watched this since the beginning, and this is the last season
-Victorian Slum House
I have likely forgotten some that I've already deleted.

What's for supper tonight? Leftover split pea and ham soup. I made a big ham when daughter and her boyfriend were home, so I used my Instant Pot to make soup and I still have lots of ham. Tomorrow will be eggs, ham, beans. Breakfast for supper!

I have begun something which I never thought I would do, never even considered it: Tai Chi. A friend of mine found out a beginner class was being offered locally and asked if I would be interested in doing it with her. I'm not much of a joiner or doer, as I like to come home from work and collapse, or continue doing work stuff, or drink wine on the couch with a laptop on top of my lap, but I thought, why not? So, I'm learning to do "the sixteen" which are sixteen moves that you start with. I cannot for the life of me remember what the moves are specifically called so I refer to them as "the swan thing" or "the mare thing" or "the monkey thing". It's ok. It's something nice to do with a friend and it gets me out of my comfort zone, which I need.

I am still on my Invisalign journey. I have Week 11 trays in my mouth out of 40 weeks. I just don't get people who say they stopped noticing they even had them in. Every week I put in new trays and every week they rub against other parts of the inside of my mouth making me wince when I smile, talk, breath... I think if my job wasn't one that required talking all the time, it might not be so bad, but it's like my mouth just doesn't catch a break. Oh well, first world problem. Quit your whining, Jenn.

I think I've wrapped up my goings-on now. Thanks for everyone who pops by and reads my blog. Thanks to new people who have commented. I don't even know how you find me, but I'm glad you do! Have a good week, all.

Monday 13 January 2020

What Was Your First Job?

I read somebody's blog and it got me thinking about earning my first money and what my first job was. I was ready to work (part time, of course, I was still a high school student) as soon as possible. I now hear from multiple sources about young people today (god, I sound about a hundred and twelve when I write that) who just aren't "hungry" for work, they don't show up, they don't let anyone know that they aren't going to show up, or they quit and move on to another job, with no loyalty to an employer. Maybe they don't work at all. But we always worked. My friends all had jobs. It's what you did. You went to school and you had a job and you then had money to buy clothes or albums, or illegal drinks at the local bar where nobody asked you how old you were.

I applied for my first job when I was fifteen and had an interview in The Red Grill which was the restaurant that was part of Woolco, a department store that doesn't exist anymore. I got the job and was all excited, and then they found out how old I was and said I couldn't apply until I was sixteen. At the time, there was no spot for your age on the application. I had applied to work in the Woolco menswear department. It's not that I had a deep desire to fold men's sweaters, I just knew a couple of other girls from my high school who also worked there and it seemed like as good a job as any.

This was not my Woolco, but it could have been. 

So, when I turned sixteen, I re-applied and got the job. I also got my driver's license so I could drive my parents' giant boat of an Oldsmobile to get back and forth to work. I lived out in the country and Woolco was part of a relatively small mall on the outskirts of the closest town, about 15 to 20 minutes away. I worked on the weekends and sometimes on week nights after school. There was a lot of folding, pricing, and low key selling of clothes to young men and older men looking for inexpensive pants, dress shirts, sweaters, and the like. It was usually fun because I got to work with one other girl,  a similar age to me. We had a "manager", which was a pretty fancy title for a man who sat in the back room and occasionally came out and asked us how much we thought we had sold. There was no cash register just for our department. Like any other department store (think Walmart), all purchases, regardless of what part of the store they came from, were made at the main cash registers at the front of the store. So we really had no idea how much we sold.

Woolco had something once a month called "Dollar Forty-Four Day" where a bunch of items were specially marked at $1.44. One of my jobs was using a sticker pricing gun and pricing boxes, it felt like hundreds, of men's briefs and stacking them in a display cube sort of thing. As well, I got to use the intercom and make announcements about the amazing deals which could be found in our menswear department for $1.44, and at the base of which pillar they could be found! The beginning of my "public speaking" career!

I have a terrible memory for dates and years and numbers, but I do remember thinking it was a big stinking deal when I started to earn $4.11 an hour! That was above minimum wage and I could watch my bank account grow by leaps and bounds when I updated my little bank book at the local credit union. Yup, the latest Supertramp album was mine!

We were expected to dress nicely for our illustrious job in Woolco menswear and I remember wearing skirts or dresses or dress pants, even heels. I don't even dress up that much for my job now! But hey, that was the eighties, and dressing up and poofing your hair was the norm.

I had that job for about two years and it did me no harm. I think it builds a great deal of character to have a job that you are responsible for. I also think everyone should have a horrible job when they are young so that they can appreciate a good job when they get older. That wasn't my only job growing up, but it was my first job. I have others I could write about, which I think were probably worse than that one. Do share, what was your first job?

Friday 3 January 2020

How Presents Change

On the eve of my son's twentieth birthday, I am given to thinking about how birthdays and specifically birthday presents, have changed. Many years ago, we would walk the toy isles of our local Zellers and Walmart. looking for the perfect gifts. Zellers is now gone - long gone. Walmart is still around, of course. For a few years, when he was quite young, our son was really into super heroes. He referred to them as "his guys". He would line up "his guys" along the side of his little single bed which was pushed up against the wall for less of a chance of falling out of bed. He was particularly fond of Spiderman.

Then came Lego. Lego is wonderful. Lego is crazy expensive, especially when you buy special kits. But honestly, he still has every piece of Lego we ever bought him, or Papa and Nana bought him, or he got from other people for Christmas or birthdays. I truly didn't mind buying Lego because it was time well spent.

Video games. The advent of video games coincided with staying in his room more - to be expected as he went through those teenage years. But he was also a sporty kid, so soccer balls, basketballs, and other sports paraphernalia were part of his gifts, but when you're born in January and you're a Canadian kid, receiving sports items is anti-climactic as it's a little tough to go out and kick a ball around in thigh deep snow.

Then clothes. But clothes are hard. As a tall, slender boy it was sometimes hard to find clothes that would fit properly. When he was younger, the pants with the elastic in the waistband and the buttons and button-holes were a godsend! We could get them long enough and then he could cinch them in at his waist so they wouldn't fall down. But as he got older, out of the two kids, he cared more about what he was wearing. He liked certain brands, certain looks. Daughter just wanted volume - more clothes versus particular name brands of clothes. Son, instead, had fewer pieces, but exactly what he wanted. He just did laundry more often. He's still like that.

Now?  Well, now it's best when your young adult children lead you directly to what they desire. Show me the link, the website, sit down with me and I'll pay for it on Paypal. True, the surprise is taken out of it, but better that, than items that sit unused, unworn, unwanted. I imagine some parents give money, or gift cards. Again, that way the receiver gets exactly what they want. But it's a little sad. So what is son getting this year? Well, I highly doubt he reads my blog, but since it isn't quite his birthday yet, I won't reveal. But it's what he wants, and the other part is practical, what he needs now that he's away from home, at school.

Do you know what doesn't change, though? The tradition of it all. I still baked the same chocolate layer cake that I always bake - that never changes, even though I ask my family if they'd like something different, the answer is always no - it must be the chocolate layer cake. I will still hang up the happy birthday sign on the wall in the kitchen. We will still sing to him. But this year, he may well end up going out with the gang on the night of his birthday, and just be with mom and dad for supper. I get that, and I'm totally ok with that. I always felt a little bad that his birthday was so close to Christmas - did it make it less exciting, being as he just had an exciting holiday with presents? But I guess it's all he's ever known.

We always played a game with the presents - hiding them in various locations and then our kids would go searching in the house while we guided them with "warmer", "cooler", "hotter" "boiling!!" until they found each one. As they got older, the hiding spots became more challenging. We may still do that tomorrow!

Yes, he will be twenty years old tomorrow. I sometimes can't even believe it. When did it all happen? But for Christmas this year, he still got a tiny Lego kit, and when I stopped by his room to chat with him yesterday, he showed me the finished product. It warms my heart.

Wednesday 1 January 2020

A New Decade

A lovely Christmas was had by all. Here are some remaining pictures that I hadn't posted yet:

After baking the gingerbread and sugar cookies previously posted about, we took part in a family tradition, once I had both kids home, of decorating. I made a basic royal icing (with no meringue powder as I just can't find it anywhere in my little closest town). Then, being the basic, simple cooks that we are here, I did the old add food colouring and use little zip lock bags with a tiny corner cut off. Who needs fancy piping bags?

We ended up with tons of Christmas goodies. Some were set out on the 24th when we had MIL, us, and the kids' boyfriend / girlfriend. More were taken to "the city" when we gathered at my brother and sister-in-law's house. Some went to daughter's boyfriend's home. Some are in a bag in the freezer to go back to college with son, and still others are being consumed by yours truly as I sit on the couch, watching old episodes of Poirot and pretending that calories don't count if you make it yourself.

Speaking of... have you noticed all the commercials for weight loss programmes now? You will not be reading about any New Year's Resolutions here. Just carry on, live a good life, be a decent human being, and all that.

I am happy to say that Christmas is all packed up and put away, apart from the Christmas coffee cups (we have A LOT) and the outdoor strings of lights on the rail fence. Even the tree has been stripped and dragged behind the chicken run to be burned in the spring. In the meantime, little birds can use it for shelter.

Here is a Christmas morning picture of father and son in their new "hoodies". Son is sporting his new Champion sweatshirt (remember when Champion was just a normal brand that nobody considered anything special? Now it's a "thing" and costs twice as much!). and husband is wearing one designed by daughter with a take on the TCM logo (Turner Classic Movies), to RCM for his first initial. Husband and daughter bond over movies. He's barely taken the thing off these last few days!

I've read a couple of books over the holidays - including the latest Janet Evanovich which is always good for a laugh and an easy read.

I really do need to find another author, as I'm often all caught up with my favourites and then twiddling my thumbs for the next one, or signing out a book from the library that I just can't sink my teeth into. Ah well, not a bad pursuit to take on in the next little while.

We had pretty much a green Christmas with strange mild weather and above zero temps. It was the same thing 20 years ago, as I was ready to give birth to my son in early January, it had rained and the snow had melted. In the last day or so, we got all of our snow back and more. I was glad that son and his buddies didn't have far to go for their New Year's Eve celebrations in the blustery weather. Husband and I were VERY low key - armed with take out Chinese food (which we drove through the blustery weather to pick up because nobody delivers out here) and one glass of wine for me and a can of cider for him, we didn't even stay up to watch Rick Mercer ring in the new year!

Prior to Christmas and right around then, our old house decided to surprise us with some nasty water leakage in the basement. Husband and son were able to take advantage of the melt to dig around the foundation and determine the issue. As always, fearless husband was able to fix what he was able to fix and clean up ensued. Ughhh. Glad that's over with.

After three rounds of left over Christmas dinner, I figured nobody wanted any more of it, so the chickens had a good feed of mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes, and stuffing. They thanked me by laying well the next couple of days.

I still have a few days before I return back to work. During that time will be son's twentieth birthday, and saying goodbye to him as he returns back to college (with Christmas cookies in hand), and hopefully some well earned relaxing, even though I'm not very good at that.

Wishing everyone out there in blogland a very happy, healthy new year!