Saturday, 12 October 2019

Looking forward

The snow we got on Wednesday was pretty much gone by Thursday morning though it was still cold.  In fact, the temperature when I got up at 7 a.m. was -6C (21F).  Brrr!!!  Time to book my appointment to have the tires on the car changed over to winter tires.  It used to be that my local Kal Tire did not take appointments and one had to arrive early in the morning and hope to make the list. They opened at 7 a.m. and it wasn't unusual to see a line up outside the door.  An appointment is so much more civilized!

It did get above freezing in the afternoon so I spent about a half hour outdoors removing the last of the annuals from the containers, tucking the containers out of the way, and emptying and putting away the bird bath. It was full of ice!  I had stopped and picked up bird feed in a large bag earlier in the week, so I transferred that to a container and filled the bird feeder.  I also put out the suet feeder.  I suspect they'll find the feed soon as the natural sources will be disappearing due to the frost and cold. 

Friday morning was even colder, with an early morning temperature of -9C (16F).  I hope this weather doesn't last, the forecast is for more normal temperatures in 10 days or so.  I'll miss a few of those days, thankfully.  

I'm packed and ready to go to Vegas!  Just a few last minute items to toss in (chargers for phone and Fitbit, moisturizer, etc.).  I had thought I might be able to manage with a carry-on but I've decided to take my camera which takes up half the carry-on so I'll be paying for a checked bag.  And if I decide at the last minute not to take my camera, I'll have room for my winnings (ha!) or any shopping I might do.  We will be going to the M&M shop and the outlet malls for sure.  I likely won't be able to stop myself from bringing something back.  Actually we're unlikely to do much gambling - I'll probably toss a few dollars, less than $20, into a machine and see where it takes me.  The last time I was in Vegas, I did that and walked away with $60.  At least until I spent it at the mall.  Hopefully I'll do as well on this trip.  

My friend S flew out of Inuvik on Wednesday with the plan to fly to Winnipeg on Friday to spend part of the weekend with family there at a resort.  Unfortunately those plans had to be cancelled because there was a ugly storm brewing with freezing rain, snow, and wind.  Those are the vagaries of fall in the prairie provinces. First it's autumn, then winter, back to summer, and then autumn again...or maybe straight into winter. You can bet I checked the forecast for Sunday and Monday for Edmonton.  It's looking just fine so I'm not worried about flying out.

This week, I'm putzing around with some leftover yarn from earlier projects.  This will be pillow cover and I'm pretty sure I have just enough yarn to make a second one.  For the back of the pillow, I'm going to use leftover fabric from Eli's Superman costume.  It isn't quite as red as the red in the pillow cover but should work fine.  The pillow forms cost $10 a piece, so with a little time and some leftovers I'll have new Christmas pillows for the couch.  

I'm also crocheting Christmas ornaments....because I'm need more than project at a time. :p  Years ago, I made snowflake ornaments for my tree and in my clearing up last winter I found the pattern book again.  I'm hoping I can get enough done to use them with gift tags for family and friends.  If not, they're small and I'll tuck them away for next year.  The thread I'm using this time is much finer than what I used years ago, so I'm finding them a little more difficult.  Just started the second one, a different pattern, and finding it a bit easier, but in any event, my eyesight is not what it once was so I can't work on them as long.

Friday evening, I went for dinner with my friend C.  She's just returned from her trip to California.  It wasn't easy with all the memories but I think she did enjoy some of it.  She shared a few photos from the air show, the Safari park, and the Zoo.  Looked great to me, and someday I hope I get a chance to visit.

As the week went on I had thought (and frankly had hoped) there would be no showings this week, but I got a call for a showing on Saturday afternoon. In and out in 15 minutes so I'm doubtful there will be any further communication.  Unfortunately the house down the street that was put on the market recently, I believe an estate sale, has sold for a price $35K under what I'm asking.  That does not bode well for me.  

I had talked to my agent last weekend about doing a price drop for this week, but he delayed sending me the paperwork so I left the price where it was and will be allowing the current listing to lapse next Wednesday.  Once I'm back, I'll start the process of looking for a new agent and that will determine when I will list again.  I've pretty much decided I'll wait until January or February, so that we get through Christmas and New Year's without the hassle.  

I definitely want to ensure that it's not on the market, one way or another, by early June.  I have the U.K. cruise booked and I am so looking forward to it.  My travel agent alerted me to a seat sale on WestJet this weekend, so I was able to get airfare of $1080 return!  For perspective, five years ago, on our TransAtlantic cruise, I paid $650 for airfare to return to Calgary from London, and another $150 for the return flight to Regina.  So a very good price!  

Since I'm flying out on Sunday to Edmonton to meet S, my adult children and I won't be getting together.  D and Eli are at home - she told me they're having Thanksgiving pizza tonight. :)  C and I will have grilled "mom" burgers, probably the last of the season.  It's pretty cool out there to grill. 

To all my Canadian readers,  Happy Thanksgiving!  Wishing everyone a wonderful weekend wherever you are.  


Sunday, 6 October 2019

What day is it?

This is a question I ask myself almost every day.  Thank goodness for my Fitbit as it shows the week day, date and time at the first tap.  Friday was especially bad, as I couldn't decide if it was Friday, Monday, or possibly some other day of the week.  I just knew it wasn't Saturday or Sunday because my son had left for work before I woke up!  Yes, I actually slept through his departure, and the cats didn't wake me until 7:15.  I'd like to say I woke refreshed after 8 hours of sleep but I recall I was having odd dreams before I truly came awake.

Of course, that would be the day that I had morning showing.  So it was up and at 'em.  Feed the cats, start the laundry, finish cleaning the kitchen, sweeping floors, vacuuming, spot washing floors, all before I sat to have a cup of coffee.  Then it was back to cleaning, wiping sinks and toilets, adjusting shower curtains, making the bed, spraying Febreeze on the furniture.  Saku has a habit of hiding under the bed to nap, which can make it difficult to get to him to take out of the house.  I'm sure his nose was out of joint, but I closed the bedroom door until I'd put him in his carrier.  

Let's see, what else did I get up to this week. I don't recall Monday and Tuesday at all, though I know I did catch up on paperwork, talked to a former co-worker on the phone (a lovely long chat), and worked on a couple of projects. Photos to follow.  Wednesday I had coffee with my friend C in the morning.  She's off on her trip this weekend so we didn't have dinner together on Friday.  I'm looking forward to her return and hearing about her trip.  In the afternoon, I headed off to my Stitch and Make group at the library.  I truly enjoy these ladies, they're all all interesting and we never run out of topics to discuss.  Two of them brought quilts they've sewed this summer for charity.  They both go to Arizona for the winter and the group they belong to create these projects throughout the year.  Absolutely beautiful work, and I so wish I could sew lines that straight!

I finished a couple of projects this week.  First up, is a knitted stocking for Eli for Christmas. This was quick and easy, I knit it up over two evenings - it's made in two pieces and then sewed together, so far easier than turning the heel.  It's not perfect, I'm not entirely happy with the foot, but that was the pattern and my stitching of his name is uneven.  Besides when I think back to the stockings I made for my kids (30 plus years ago) this one is much nicer.  Besides I'm sure Eli won't care!

The second project took more time. I started this for my friend C for a Christmas gift.  To finish, I'll need to stretch it for framing.  I need a piece of cardboard or something similar to stretch it over, before I can put it in the frame I purchased.  The color of the frame is similar to the color used in the wording of flip flops.  I'll be sure to take a photo of the finished project to share.
 The most exciting thing to happen this week is actually a change in plans.  I'm flying out to Edmonton to meet my friend S, a week from today.  We had made plans in June to drive from Edmonton to Fairmont Hot Springs in B.C. for four nights.  Well, the best laid plans were set aside because the weather forecast is for snow in the mountains, and relatively cold temperatures.  I wasn't keen on driving in the mountains (a first for me) in the snow.  We discussed that perhaps this is a trip better suited for a different time of year, and after some back and forth decided on Vegas!  Definitely a different direction.  We've booked ourselves into the Sahara for four nights flying out of Edmonton.  While a little more expensive than our original trip, the pricing was really good, under $700 per person for four nights including our flights and taxes.  I am so looking forward to getting away from it all for several days.  And just think, someone else will make the beds, vacuum, clean the bathroom, make the meals, and wash the dishes! 

We had another showing on Saturday morning.  No real feedback, but that's not unusual.  I'm having a chat with my agent later today to discuss a final price drop.  If someone who has been through the house, is truly interested, this might be the encouragement they need to come back.  While the listing ends mid-October, there will be no showings beyond the 12th as I'm flying out the next day.  That means this upcoming week is the end of it, at least for the time being.  I've told my agent, I'll decide while I'm away if I'm going to re-list or leave it off the market for a bit.  I do intend to list it again, at some point, but will take some time to interview agents, and to determine whether I put more money into this property to improve the chances of a sale.  

Saturday was also a football marathon.  We had three games, back-to-back.  The first game was fun to watch, as it was a defensive battle with the Montreal Alouettes beating the Calgary Stampeders.  I always appreciate when an Eastern division team beats one from the West - unless it's our Riders.  The second game featured the Riders versus Winnipeg Blue Bombers, our arch nemesis.  This was little more nerve-wracking to watch, so I kept my hands busy creating this little stuffed pumpkin.  It used up some scrap wool, and best of all, the Riders won!  We're "the best in the west", at least for this week.  The third game was a blow-out with the BC Lions leading the Toronto Argonauts 34-0 at half-time. It was at this point, I turned out the lights and went to bed.  

Yesterday, was also the anniversary of my daughter's move into her home.  I recall, it snowed that morning, but by the time the truck arrived it had melted and it was just wet.  The movers were finished fairly quickly and the only blip was not being to move the box spring up the stairs to the master bedroom.  Eli had spent the morning at the home of A, and I went over to pick him up, while D ran another errand.  The little guy was so excited when I brought him home.  He ran around the house, up and down the stairs, happy to be there.  A year later, they're both so content there.  In fact, they were here in the city on Thursday to drop J off; Eli stayed with me for an hour or so while his mom ran a couple of errands.  When she got back to the house, Eli asked to go in the car, wanting to go home.  It's been a good move, for all of us!

Today, will be a quiet day.  Maybe a little baking later on, but with no scheduled showings, an overcast and cool day outside, I'll do a few chores and simply relax the rest of the day.  Have a good week everyone!

Tuesday, 1 October 2019

September's to-do list

1.  Count my blessings – daily
2.  Send a letter or card to someone
3.  Drive out to visit D and Eli
4.  Invite guests over for a visit or dinner - I borrowed my friend K's nose.  I guess I can count that as a visit as we sat and chatted for awhile
5.  Attend stitch, make, and chat at the library 
6.  Make a gift - still a work in progress.  Just have the back stitching to complete.
7.  Sew or craft something/finish an ongoing project - I sewed the cape for Eli for Halloween.  No photos of the little guy in it....sometimes he's just not cooperative
8.  Go to the $$ or thrift store - I know I bought sandwich bags at the $$ store, but I can't recall if I went to thrift store last month.  
9.  Try a new recipe - tried a recipe for brownies that used chocolate chips instead of cocoa.  Not impressed although it tasted okay.
10. Read a book - in addition to a couple of true crime books that I picked up at the book sale in August, I finished "The First Time" by Joy Fielding.  The story of a woman diagnosed with ALS, and the affects on her life and those who love her.  
11. Watch a movie - I PVR'ed "Girl in the Bunker", "Cast Away" "Keanu", "Suffragette", "The Notebook", and the "Secret Life of Walter Mitty".  Maybe this month I'll get around to watching movies.
12. Take a walk in the park - I'm counting my hike up to the ridge and Hidden Valley with my brother for this one.
13. Repurpose/recycle something
14. Bake something and share it
15. Invest in myself – join a yoga class or Aquasize, or use my weights - this is something I have to challenge myself on.
16. Mow the lawn once, sweep the deck weekly
17. Have coffee on the back deck or front patio
18. List something to sell on Varage sale
19. Volunteer
20. Listen to my Spanish CDs in the car

It was a bit of a mixed bag this month.  I got some things done, but others just fell by the wayside.  It is what it is and I'm certainly not going to worry about it.  The list is good for those days when I can't think of what to do with myself, which are very rare. 

Since I have no photos of my progress this month, I'll share a photo my brother sent me.  He and his buddy Pete went hunting last weekend up near our home town.  Beautiful, isn't it?

Sunday, 29 September 2019

Catching up

First off, a word of thanks to all who have sent e-mails or left messages of condolences on the passing of my cousin Deb.  Your words of comfort are appreciated.  

Another busy week is nearly in the books - it just amazes me sometimes how quickly the time passes.  The last year I worked seemed to drag, in just over 2 months I'll have been off work for a full year.  

After a full day on Monday, I spent Tuesday doing the chores I normally would have done the previous day along with my regular chores in order to get the house ready for another showing.  We're had no feedback on that visit.  The following I headed out to visit D and Eli.  His father J is visiting as well, and while I was there I took some photos of the three of them.  I prefer candid versus posed shots and had ample opportunity to capture some fun photos.  

We went, first, to the indoor playground.  There is so much to do there, toys to play with equipment to play on, and that morning a music program.  Eli was less than cooperative for the music portion, but had fun none-the-less.  He's holding a piece of foam to his mother's face so she can look through it too.

I've chosen not to share photos with his parent's faces clearly shown.  I know D wouldn't mind, but I'm not sure J would agree.  
 He and J built several towers of the foam pieces, and as I would have expected, after each tower was built, Eli knocked them down.  This time it was the dinosaur who did it! 

The playground is located in an old school that was closed several years ago.  The community has done a wonderful job of converting it to commercial and non-profit space.  There is an art gallery, a thrift shop, the indoor playground, and more.  J obtained permission from the staff to play the piano in the old gym while he's there so that's where we went next.

After a bit of music, the two of them ran around the gym running off some energy.  It's clear Eli is really enjoying his time with his dad.

J flew him around like an airplane, and the laughter from Eli was a joy to hear.

After a brief stop at home for a quick bite of lunch we played some more out in the yard before Eli demanded that we go to the "pawk".  We had the whole place to ourselves, it was a bit cool and windy, but that didn't stop the little guy from having fun.  

This is one of my favorite photos from the day.  His dad was pushing him on the swing and he was giggling so happily.  

It was a fun morning, despite the fact that J is not one of my favorite people.  However, the visit is going well and most importantly Eli is truly enjoying the time with both of his parents.  J has completed a number of minor repairs in the house, and D has been able to get housework done while J entertains his son.  Fingers crossed the good times continue.

My friend K picked me up for lunch on Thursday.  We drove out to a restaurant in a small bedroom community as she had a coupon we could use.  We each had a burger, a beverage, and shared an order of fries, for $20.  Definitely a good bargain!  We had a wonderful conversation, talking about travel plans, discussed the failure of the house to sell, and many more topics.  We never run out of things to talk about and it was after 2 when she dropped me off at home.  There was a showing that morning as well, and again no feedback. 

Friday was a relatively quiet day....I was ready for one.  I did do a little more Christmas shopping.  I'll have to check my list but I believe I'm down to my nephew and I'll pick up a gift card one of these days.  I was thinking I might start wrapping next week to get it done and put away.  I went out for dinner with my friend C.  She is doing a little better but having a tough time at the moment facing some "firsts" in this new chapter of her life.  Not only is she doing all of the fall cleanup in the yard (which is very large), but she's planning to go south at the end of this week to their timeshare.  She's left her return open so if it is too much for her and she decides to return early she can.  

It was my turn to get yard work done on Saturday, but not until after an early morning showing.  The e-mails I got said they were only in the house for two minutes, but based on lights on/off and closet and bedroom doors opened/closed, I suspect they were in the house much longer than that.  However, I've resigned myself to the conclusion that the house isn't going to sell during this listing.  I've done some serious thinking and decided that I'll find another agent later in October before I consider listing again.  As nice as Curtis is, I don't believe he's given the showing agents good information about the property and its condition.  Thus, we've had a lot of people through but not the sort of folks that would truly interested.  

Saturday was a triple header football day, so it meant the yard work had to get done in between the showing and the first game.  I put away all the decorative garden items, solar lights, and the front patio furniture.  I also pulled all the tender annuals, impatience, coleus, ivy, and bacopa because the forecast was for frost and snow overnight.  Yes, you read that right....snow.  That four letter word!  I've left out some geraniums and mums because they're reasonably hardy and should provide a little colour until mid-October.  Unless, of course, this first snowfall ends up hanging around.  I cut back some of the perennials but left most because I know the rabbits will be looking for a food source and they'll do the work for me. 

This morning, I woke up to a cloudy, wet day but thus far no snow, thankfully.  I'll definitely be spending the day indoors - I have several television programs I've PVR'd to watch, a knitting project started, and I'm planning to make stew for dinner.  Fingers crossed, no one wants to see the house because I'm not in the mood for it.  

Have a great day everyone!

P.S.  The Riders won!  We've clinched a spot in the playoffs. 

Tuesday, 24 September 2019


It was a very long day yesterday, nearly nine hours of driving and a few hours spent visiting with family and wandering the roads of our childhood.  I'm so grateful for my brother R, he was the driver and the instigator in the trip down memory lane.  I drove out to his farm about 7:30 a.m. and we were in the truck and on our way a few minutes later.  It is about a four hour drive to our home town, but we took the scenic route which added another 30-45 minutes to the trip. 

Our detour took us down the Cherry Ridge Road, which was the main grid road leading to our parent's farm.  The farm was sold in 1991 when they moved to town to the son of a neighbour and he lives there still.

The house I grew up in is no longer there, as it burned down several years ago.  K has rebuilt, and his new home is heated and cooled by geothermal.  Mom's garden is still there, though somewhat than it was when I was a child.  K was in the garden picking potatoes when we drove past, so we drove into the yard and had a short visit.  

There are still two old buildings from our time left on the yard.  The old single car garage was there as long as I can remember. I'm 60 now, so it's been there a long time!  The old building to the left of it was moved onto the yard sometime after I moved from home in 1978 but it was an old building then too.  

What we both remarked on was that the yard seemed smaller than we remembered.  K has added a number of buildings and bins so perhaps that explains our perception.  Mom's flower beds no longer exist but K has done a good job of maintaining the farm yard.  Too, he's done much to make the property energy efficient and sustainable. 

We continued on the grid road, pointing out to each other the side roads that led to the homes of the various families on the bus route.  When one of us couldn't a name, the other generally could.  We reached the highway and had a choice to turn left to the take the "new" bridge (built in the 1970's) or turn right and use the old bridge into town.  We chose to turn right...which as it turned out was the best choice as the new bridge is undergoing some construction.

The old bridge was constructed from 1928 to 1930, and provided access to the town as well as the railway.  I don't remember seeing a train crossing very often though I'm certain it was used when I was a child.  Since the new bridge was opened, the old bridge was outfitted with traffic lights so that traffic could only cross in one direction at a time.  R and I laughed about that because it wasn't unusual for our school bus to meet a grain truck on the bridge.  Both vehicles would pull in the mirrors and inch past one another.  It wasn't always a speedy maneuver but it got done.  

After a drive down main street, we turned onto Center street and stopped at a mural that was painted in the 1990's.  The town has thirteen of these murals but this one is special to us.  On the left of the mural, the third man (nearest to the child peering in the window) is our Dad. This is how I remember him, striding along on his way to row, the museum to volunteer, heading home for lunch.  He either walked or rode his bicycle pretty much every where until he wasn't able to do so any more.  

As we were taking our photos a lady stopped to chat and it turned out that the little girls in the mural were her young daughters and a friend.  Before we left, R had me take a photo of him walking alongside Dad.  

We headed over to a local restaurant to meet our cousins, B and D, along with B's son M, and D's daughters, K and K.  I haven't met D's daughters before, lovely young women who are in the early 20's.  They live in Yellowknife, Northwest Territories and one has recently completed her university degree, the second is in her final year, both attending school in Edmonton, Alberta.  We had a great lunch, good food, good conversation, and as is always the case with this group lots of teasing and laughter.  

Before we headed to the funeral four of us, B and M, R and I, stopped by the house in town that Mom and Dad lived in after leaving the farm.  They purchased the house from B and later we sold it back to him, when Dad moved to the nursing home.  We laughed because the house was sold three times for the same price.  First when B originally purchased it, the sale to Mom and Dad, and the sale back to B several years later.  He subsequently did some renovations and resold it...I'm assuming at a much more significant price.  The new owners put on a porch on the front but it recently burned.  The house is currently uninhabitable and has a sign indicating there is asbestos.  We suspect it was found in the insulation in the old house.  Actually the house was once a two room school house that was renovated to a two bedroom house and moved to town many years ago.  

We still had a bit of time before the service was to start, so R and I took a drive around town, past old our old high school and out to the farm of family friends just on the outskirts of town.  Then it was downtown where we were stopped by a red light at the only light in town.  You had to be there, it was funny!  

The service was....interesting and I won't say much more about that.  I generally cry at funerals (and weddings) but not this time.  Perhaps it was just me but it didn't seem to be a touching tribute to Deb.  There were moments in the eulogy that came close but never seemed to meet the mark.  The family had done up a lovely pictorial tribute that was displayed in the front lobby, along with various framed family photos throughout the years, and the beginnings of a scrapbook.  I found these brought back more memories than anything.

After the service, as is always the case in small towns, there were sandwiches, dainties (does anyone use that term anymore?  Small desserts), and coffee and tea.  The room was far too small, so I stopped in only to chat with Deb's husband G, and other cousins.  G is doing okay, though he's had his own health challenges in the last year.  He and Deb were married young, in 1974, just out of high school.  They've been through a lot in that 45 years, various moves, and jobs, and adopting two of Deb's younger siblings when their mother passed away.  Their three adult children live nearby and I know for certain will be a good support for one another in the days to come.  

We didn't stay long as we had another long drive ahead of us and had a stop to make in a nearby town to drop off a box of items for a distant relative of R's wife.  Instead of heading west from there we took the highway south through areas where R has hunted in the past.  We saw thousands of snow geese either in the air or on the fields, a huge flock of sandhill cranes, and more flocks of Canada geese.  The swathers and combines were busy taking off the crops so there were many grain trucks on the highway as well.  Further south we cut across country back to the highway we'd taken north, and at the valley we turned onto the smaller secondary highway that leads to the farm.  That was a cautious ride the rest of the way, as there were more deer crossing than R has seen before.  He's a good driver though and avoided hitting any of them.  

I didn't stick around, as I was tired and ready to get home.  I can't imagine how tired I would have been had I driven all that way and back.  I arrived back at home about 8:30, grabbed a small bite to eat and was in bed shortly thereafter.  

Despite the reason for the trip, it was a good day.  My brother and I enjoy each other's company, never running out of topics to discuss.  Seeing the old farm yard was a treat, sharing memories and visiting with my cousins for the first time in many years was appreciated.  Even if one of them didn't recognize me.  

Have a great day everyone!  

Saturday, 21 September 2019

Off line

Just a short post to say I'll be AFK (away from keyboard) for a few days.  In addition to issues with my computer, my cousin Deb passed away on Wednesday.  My brother R and I will be travelling to our hometown for her memorial service on Monday. 

I'll be back!

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