Thursday 31 December 2020

See Ya Later, 2020

 It's been said before, the wrap-ups, the contemplations, the looking on the bright sides, the hang in there's, so here's a bunch of funny things I found on Pinterest. 













Happy New Year's Eve to all the people who stop by my blog and are kind enough to comment, or not, which is o.k. too. I sincerely hope that this next year brings greater contentment, reassurance, stability, normality, and predictability to everyone and that plans can be made, and kept, and people can celebrate in groups if they wish, or stay home if they wish (not because they have to), and we can go to the movies and get our hair cut and sing out loud all in one day. Cheers!

Saturday 26 December 2020

O.K., we're good

 For those of you who were wishing for a white Christmas, you can stop now. We're good.

Friday 25 December 2020

Merry Christmas



It is now the night of Christmas and all has been good. We had our turkey dinner on Christmas Eve, so our children's long time boyfriend / girlfriend could join us. It was very nice and the "kids" played various games and their dad and I were happy to putter around and enjoy the laughter from the next room. We ended the evening with everyone playing Monopoly. Monopoly can really drag on and I, for one, was glad to be bankrupt so I could exit the game! 

This morning was lovely. It is funny that now we, the parents, have to wake the kids up on Christmas morning. We had a leisurely time of opening presents and enjoying ourselves. It turned out to be a white Christmas after all, with big feathery flakes coming down all morning, and afternoon. Now, when I look out at 9:56 p.m., there is quite a blow happening. I'm glad none of us have to be out driving in this. We did not gather with extended family. My husband's mother is in a nursing home and we were able to talk with her twice on the phone. She received presents that he had dropped off a few days earlier, so that was good. I have no idea when she will receive her vaccines, but it will no doubt be very strange for her to finally be able to leave and visit with us in our home, whenever that will be. 

As of tomorrow, Ontario will be in lockdown for 28 days, but of course there are exceptions to that. I will be teaching online for the first week after Christmas holidays, but then we are supposed to be back in schools (so the 28 lockdown does not apply to us). We will still be able to buy groceries and go to pharmacies, and I will still be able to purchase my chicken feed. I know many of you are in the same boat. 

To wrap up my post tonight, I will tell you what one of my presents was. I received a vacuum cleaner. Please don't feel sorry for me or think that my husband had quite a nerve purchasing a vacuum. I picked it out myself and even ordered it. My old one was not up to snuff and I really wanted to try this brand of vacuum - Shark. It's supposed to be as good as Dyson at half the price. Husband assembled it for me and I took it for a whirl today. Oh my lord - to see what got sucked up out of my area rug and out from between the cracks in my old hardwood floor in my kitchen - you'd think I have never cleaned the place! Yikes. It makes me ridiculously happy.

I hope all of you have had a good Christmas, in whatever way you wished to celebrate it, whether you were on your own doing things on your own terms, or you had a small gathering of those in your home, or something entirely different. Let's wind down this month, this year, and look forward to vastly more enjoyable times in the future. 🎄🎅

Saturday 19 December 2020


 You know how one thing happens and then when you go to deal with that one thing, it turns into a few more things, and before you know it, it's become a whole other thing? 

Last night, I was putting something away in a kitchen drawer. When I went to push the drawer back in, there was resistance, like something was caught at the back, so I pulled it out again and the thing that was caught descended down into another drawer. So I pulled that drawer out, but in doing so the thing then hit the floor behind that bottom drawer. Then that bottom drawer no longer pushed in all the way because of something that fell behind it. I had a look and not only was it the one thing (a plastic accordion-style folder that we stick receipts in from probably four years ago), but in fact quite a collection of things that all came from "the junk drawer" at the top. These things have been falling for a while now. There was some kind of a double ended phone cord, some Chinese food menus, two bundles of cheques, and the aforementioned folder. There was no way I could reach with my arm behind the bottom drawer to get in and get those objects, and thereby be able to push the drawer back in.

I explained my predicament to husband and asked where his "grabber tool" was that he has out in the shop (sometimes used when screws and other small parts fall where they shouldn't when he is doing whatever he does on vehicles). He had a look around, showed me where he usually keeps it, declared it wasn't there anymore and that he had no idea where it was now. Also, I should stop looking around so much in case I see a Christmas present he has stashed out there.

Night came, I left the drawer (which is my baking drawer by the way) half-way open and went to bed. 

Morning came and the drawer was driving me nuts. There had to be a way to take it out. These are soft-close drawers installed a few years ago which up until now, we have never needed to take out. Of course, this one was right up against a wall and at the bottom. I went trolling around on the internet because there is a video for everything. Well, no, there's not. I watched videos about other kinds of drawers, I watched videos from the company that made these drawers describing all their wonderful features and how to install them, I watched one video in a whole other language with subtitles, but none of these helped me and I got more and more angry. 

Husband was up at this point and said he would try to find out how to remove the drawer. After a bit of video watching, he started fiddling around with the drawer. I had emptied it already, the counter top now overflowing with containers of flour, sweetened coconut, half bags of raisins and walnuts, half bags of brown sugar,  four, yes four, boxes of semi-sweet chocolate squares, baking soda, baking powder, cocoa powder, little jars of sprinkles, partially used squeezable icing tubes in various colours... you get the idea.

Husband then decided it might be easier to try things out on a drawer that wasn't so far down so he could look underneath and see the mechanisms, so I emptied out my plastic container drawer. At this point, I used an empty laundry basket to hold all the bits and pieces of that drawer. Husband continued to roll around on the kitchen floor, making inquisitive sounds, exasperated sounds, finally positive sounds. He removed that drawer! Yay! So then he proceeded onto the original bottom drawer which he was also able to remove. Yay! Now it was my turn. I moved all of the junk drawer items that had fallen down to floor level, grabbed the vacuum, cleaned the inner recesses, saw how disgusting my floor was, cleaned that part, noticed my baseboards right beside that, wiped those down, realized the inside of my baking drawer was pretty scary, vacuumed it out and wiped it out as well, continued on to wipe out the plastic container drawer, and then told husband he could put the drawer back in now.

He did. It didn't close properly. It kept hitting the drawer above. He fiddled around some more and eventually declared that the drawer above it needed to come out and could I empty that one, please. Sure - that was the tea towel, kitchen cloth, oven mitt (and kitchen scale and huge container of double A batteries) drawer. All that now got dumped on the table, drawer came out, husband continued to fiddle around. He was successful. 

By now, I'm realizing I have WAY too many tea towels and kitchen cloths. I started purging. Get rid of the ones that are shredded. Get rid of the ones that are clean but have stains that have never washed out. Get rid of the cheap crap ones that don't actually absorb anything. Move those ridiculous bright orange Sham-Wow cloths (whatever happened to that guy?) somewhere else. Seriously contemplate if we need to keep that tea cosy that we used to use twenty years ago and haven't used since.

Then I tackled plastic containers. I take a lunch every day, and of course, there's always left overs to stash away. I put all the bottoms out on the counter and tried to match tops. If a top was found, it got to stay. If a top was cracked, it went away. Why do I have so many jar rings in that drawer?? Where do all the bottoms go? Why do I have so many extra tops, but no bottoms?

And the baking drawer... I decided to use large zip-lock bags and labelled them "raisins and other dried fruit", "nuts and coconut", and "cake decorating". This helped to at least organize and contain some things. It's still a pretty full drawer.

I also looked at the junk drawer. I had purged some items from there a while ago, but I did another small purge. I still have about twenty keys which are lacking doors to open. 

In the end.... BEHOLD...

my plastic container drawer which will never look like this again. 

Here is the tea towel (cloth, scale, oven mitt, battery, and yes, tea cosy) drawer. Not quite so immaculate, but much better.

Joanne, do you see your towel in the place of honour?

I'm not showing you the baking drawer or the junk drawer. A girl has to keep some secrets. 

I really wasn't what I was planning on doing with my morning, but there you go. 

Wednesday 16 December 2020

The Glow of the Leg Lamps

 I am not normally a movie person. Husband is. Daughter is. They can watch movies for hours. Husband will watch his favourites over and over (and over). He loves historical movies, war movies, epics (lord save me from an epic), "kung fu" movies, the list goes on. I don't have the patience for movies. I'm usually doing something else at the same time. I don't want a movie to unexpectedly scare me. I don't want to cry. There are very, very few movies I will watch a second time.

Except at Christmas. One of our family's favourites is "A Christmas Story."

We watch it every single year. We have the dvd. In the story, set in the 1940's, a little boy, Ralphie, desperately wants a Red Ryder BB gun for Christmas. Everyone tells him he'll shoot his eye out. His mother is long suffering and his father has a special relationship with the furnace. His father also likes to enter contests and is always hoping to win a prize. 

As luck would have it, the father does win a prize, a "major award" and he is so thrilled with it, that he displays it in the front window for all to see. 


Yes, its a leg lamp. Ralphie is enthralled. His mother is mortified.

Cut to our home. The village has been assembled once again on the bottom two shelves of the sideboard made by husband.

You've seen it before. It's a tradition. Sometimes new little pieces are added to it. 

But now, if you look up...

waaaaayyyy up... (Canadians get my reference?) 

there is a glowing set of lights above my crocks. 

Move in a little closer...

Yeeeessssss! Our own little leg lamps. It doesn't get better than that!

Monday 14 December 2020

Monday, December 14, 2020

 It is windy and colder now. When I got home from work and went out to the chicken coop to check for eggs, the hens were already roosted. It couldn't have been much past 4:30 or 4:45 in the afternoon. It was so dark this morning at 8:50 when we went out to the line-ups to collect our students and bring them in, one cohort at a time, that I thought there was something wrong with the universe. It was eerie. We are in for some weather, or not, depending on what weather site you look at. One sight said somewhere between 1 and 3 cm of snow tonight. Another site said 3 to 10 cm. It doesn't matter. We have very little snow at the moment so 10 more cm won't be an issue. 

We are in the home stretch before Christmas holidays. It's all still so different. Normally we would have either been part of a Christmas concert and had our time taken up with practising and dress rehearsals, or we would have been watching the dress rehearsals of other classes. There are no concerts now. We cannot gather in the gym to watch. We cannot gather together on the stage to perform. As well, we usually have carol singing in the gym for a few days before the holidays begin. No gathering. No singing.

I have books I like to introduce my grade three classes to at this time of year. However, because they can't sit together in a tight little group in front of me while I read, it takes away from being able to see the details in the beautiful illustrations. So I have found some You Tube videos of the books being read aloud, so I can project on the white board and make it large, so they can see all the wonderful details. Jan Brett is one of my favourite illustrators. I enjoy her writing as well, but it's the illustrations that are so captivating. I could live in a Jan Brett world.

On a different, but somewhat related note, husband and I went to go pick out our Christmas tree at the local grocery store which always has a very nice selection on the evening of December 8. There were NO TREES. Not a one. We went to the local F and S (formerly the Co-Op, where you purchase feed and seeds and rubber boots and plants...). Again, no trees. There were some sad small trees tied up with twine at the Food Basics. The needles fell off as we were shifting them around. I've honestly trimmed larger branches off my shrubs. And there couldn't have been more than eight of those. We drove to the next town to check out a different grocery store. None.

December 8th, and no trees. Our mouths were hanging open. We couldn't believe we were too late. We even contemplated having to (perish the thought) buy a fake tree. When we got home, I went online to find cut-your-own tree options. I noted that husband was eyeing up the odd pine tree here and there growing at the side of the road as were were driving home and I said something along the lines of "Don't you dare!" The cut-your-own options were quite far afield and one even declared they were "sold out". 

Daughter, who is living at home presently, finishing university online and working part time (online) would not hear of a fake tree, so she set to finding better options. She did end up finding a place that was offering cut-your-own trees for the first time. She and her father went the next day while I was at work. When I drove in the drive way after work that day and saw what was in the back of the truck, I was somewhat shocked. There lay a blue spruce! A rather big blue spruce.

It found its way from the back of the truck to the porch for a day or so. 

Then, prior to the annual shouting and cursing event of putting up the tree, husband re-engineered the tree stand to accommodate the giant tree.

This weekend, the tree was put up in the den. Furniture had to be moved. It is enormous. But, is it ever fresh! I really was expecting a family of squirrels to be in that tree. And yes, I know the whole thing was a bit "Christmas Vacation."


But it is a beautiful tree and we ended up not having to put some of the ornaments away because the tree looked too crowded. There was room for everything. Mind you, it is a bit tough to see the tv if you are sitting at the far end of the couch. 

The cat was a bit freaked out. The rest of the house is "decorated" now and some baking has happened, but that can wait for another post. Don't want to give away all my events in one post. Did anyone else notice that Christmas trees were sold out early this year?