Saturday, 13 January 2018

Winter's wacky weather

We're back into the deep freeze and will be until early next week.  I know this isn't abnormal for January but I starting to feel a bit of cabin fever.  While I went grocery shopping yesterday afternoon and to dinner with friends in the evening, the only time I spend outdoors is dashing from and to the car.  

I did chuckle a little yesterday when I realized, that due to the freezing rain earlier this week, the trunk of my car has frozen shut.  Oh yes, we certainly had freezing rain on Wednesday - a rare thing here in Saskatchewan.  In fact we had more rain, 2.8 mm, than we had for the entire month of July 2017.  Overnight we went from 1C to -17C so parking lots, sidewalks, and driveways became skating rinks.  In fact, one intrepid individual actually went skating on his residential street!

I used some ice melt on my sidewalk and driveway but to be honest, haven't been out to see whether it did any good.  Yesterday's high temp was -21C with wind chills of -37C.  Today is slightly cooler/warmer with a temp of -24C and wind chills of -34C.  I have no plans to leave the house for the rest of the weekend, unless J calls and wants Eli to overnight.

When I went to pick Eli up on Thursday evening, I managed to take a fall in J's yard.  He doesn't clear the sidewalks and with the freezing rain the walkway was treacherous, it was dark and I misjudged my step.  Luckily only my pride was bruised...I landed putting my left foot and knee down but bounced right up.  I really do prefer to pick Eli up in the daylight hours.  I noticed yesterday as I drove to dinner at 5:45 p.m. that the light is lasting longer. Hooray!

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Yesterday, I also stopped at my hairdresser's to get a wash and cut.  I've let it grow....well, as much as it can in 2 months time and it was looking a bit like a mullet...yuck!  She did an awesome job, cutting of over an inch and more in the back.  It is short but doesn't look masculine which I appreciate.  It is the first step in preparing for my upcoming cruise.  Next up is to re-dye it as the purple has faded.  

I may book a couple of tanning sessions pre-cruise as well, simply to ensure that I don't burn the first day.  Though I am spending a couple of days before the cruise in Cocoa Beach so it might not be necessary.  The best part about tanning ahead of time is I get warmed up all the way through!  I also have a pedicure and a manicure booked shortly before I leave.  

But that's a few weeks away yet (32 days until I fly out and 35 day to the cruise to be exact).  Next up is sorting through and trying on my summer/cruise clothing.  I won't need a lot of dressy items as I'll be joining the solos.  In fact the last Norwegian cruise I did, I managed with a small suitcase, one that some travellers use as a carry-on.  I have a small duffel bag I carry though, that holds my camera, my purse, a change of clothing, a nightgown, a bathing suit and a small bag of toiletries.  It is enough that should my luggage not arrive when I do, I can manage for 24-36 hours.  Things would get a bit dicey after that, especially if we are at sea.  Fortunately, since I've started this practice I've never had my luggage not appear on the carousel.  

*******
I've no new photos of Eli to share this week.  He continues to be adorable, is beginning to let go of the furniture and standing on his own.  This frightens him though, so it doesn't last long.  He wants so badly to climb and his mother caught him putting his foot in one of the holes in the baby gate.  I suspect he'll be trying to climb over it at some point.  

For our drives to and from dad's, I've been singing with him - well, he babbles, I sing.  The ABC song is a favorite, and I made up words to go with the tune "Jesus loves me".  I sing:
"Grandma loves me, this I know
For she always tells me so
Little one, I am so sweet
From the top of my head to the bottom of my feet.
Yes, Grandma loves me,
Yes, Grandma loves me,
Yes, Grandma loves me,
She always tells me so."

He was fussy today, just before he went down for a nap.  I started singing, he calmed down and gave me the sweetest smile.  I'll leave you with that mental picture.

*******
Stay warm and have a great week!

Sunday, 7 January 2018

Life continues

I would not describe myself as a religious or even spiritual person.  I was dragged to church as a child (almost literally), until that one time my siblings and I hid in the chicken coop while our mother yelled and threatened and eventually drove off in a cloud of dust.  Well, I can't really remember the cloud of dust but I'm pretty certain she would have stomped on that gas pedal.  She was pretty darn mad!  After that, my church attendance was much more sporadic.

In any event, that wasn't the point of this post.  These days, I'm not entirely certain what I believe and it wouldn't fit the pattern of formalized religion, but I sense there is more to us than the mere physical being. It seems to me there is a spirit or spark that is within us...it makes us who we are, outside of the physical.  While the physical ends, I wonder, what happens to that part of us?  Does that continue in some other time or space...or when we die, is that truly the end? This week, I had two moments that made me feel it is more likely the former.  

As all of you who have reading know, I've  been quite concerned about what the future will hold for my daughter and my grandson.  I've spent a lot of time mulling over various possibilities, tryig to envision how I might influence those outcomes, and as a result, have lost sleep many nights.  One night, this past week, I was laying awake with all my worries when suddenly, I clearly heard my mother's voice saying, "It's not your problem."  She said nothing else, and in that moment, I felt a weight lift from my shoulders.  I wish I could say I don't still have my worries and certainly my doubts but I know in my heart those words are the truth.  It is high time for D to make her way.  I cannot "make it all better" as I did when she was a child and fell on the playground.  I will not allow her troubles to overwhelm my life.  I was (and am) a single parent.  It wasn't easy, especially when the children were young, but I did it.  She can too, though I suspect her way will be different and more difficult than the path I chose.

The other moment came in a dream.  I had Eli with me and we were visiting the old farm yard where I grew up.  The house is no longer there as it burned down several years ago.  I was surprised to see an old shack on the spot where the house had been.  There was a new house being built in the ditch which I realized was odd but hey, it was a dream.  In the old shack I found my father, looking as he had for most of my life.  He was puttering around, heating some water on the stove, and seemed a little surprised to see me.  But we sat down, with Eli on my knee, and had a short visit before my sleep was interrupted.  I don't recall that he had any particular message, instead I was simply thankful that Dad and Eli had a chance to meet one another and wished that our time together might have been longer.

******
On a more earthly note, life as I know it continues.  Eli went to visit his dad Saturday night and I picked him up this afternoon.  I spent much of the last two days watching curling - the Canadian mixed doubles Olympic trials and the Saskatchewan women's provincial; in fact, the latter is currently playing as I type this.

Sheldon frequently watches with me, and is quite interested in the sweeping.  He'll stand up on his back paws and swipe at the screen.  

I often remind him, he makes a better door than a window.  Good thing I can rewind live television should I miss a particularly good shot!


The last couple of weekends I've been working on my projects.  I started a shawl last summer thinking it would be nice for my September cruise.  I was close to finishing it in time, but ended up needing more yarn ...and the desire to complete it.  

After making Eli's toque and mitts, I had enough yarn to make more mittens, then started a scarf but needed more yarn, which I did buy along with the yarn for the shawl.  I finished both projects last week but I like to keep my hands busy while I watch the curling so this weekend I started another set of mittens.  This last bit of yarn I bought last winter when I made a turtle blanket and hat for Eli (my daughter decided she didn't like the color so I simply added it to the stash.

Once I finish the mitts, I'd like to make the matching scarf but I know I'll run out of yarn so I guess I'll be buying more again.  It's time to find some projects to use up the stash!  

I'll end this post with this photo of Eli.  Since I've been watching curling in my bedroom, he's taken to crawling down the hallway to my room.  I'll hear him coming and play peek-a-boo with him.  He'd just pulled himself to a standing position and was peeking at me over the end of the bed.


He was just out of the bath, his cheeks are rosy, and it was nearly bedtime.  What a sweet boy! 

And so we carry on.  Have a great week everyone!







Saturday, 30 December 2017

To 2018 and beyond

Is anyone else feeling like 2017 was a dud of a year?  I’m certainly feeling that way and hoping that 2018 will bring more positive energy my way.  It’s certainly going out with a vengeance – we’ve been in the deep freeze since before Christmas and any relief from the bitter temperatures isn’t expected until a day or two into January.  I've said it before and I'll say it again, why did my ancestors feel the need to settle here in Saskatchewan? Never mind, I know why...it was for the land the opportunity to build a life.

One the home front, things are relatively quiet.  D and J’s no contact order has been extended at least until January 18.  Along with his mother, and a friend, I’m supposed to be the go-between.  Since his mom lives in BC this means I’m transporting Eli back and forth.  It’s a bit of a nuisance, but on the other hand it means the contact has stopped, if only temporarily so hopefully they get accustomed to not depending on one another.
Eli the elf, with Sheldon

Eli had a good Christmas, spending the morning with us and then overnight with Dad.  I picked him up on Boxing Day early in the afternoon, then dropped him off on Thursday after work and picked him up Friday afternoon as I had a short day at work.

D and I did our annual pilgrimage to the various box stores for Boxing Day.  We found Walmart was a total bust, while Superstore had some great deals.  I picked up bath wash, shampoo, and plastic wrap for less than ½ price, cauliflower for $1.44 a head, and a few other grocery items.  From there we went to Canadian Tire, where D got one of those toy bin storage units for $45 (I’ve seen them advertised for as much as $140), and I got Eli a walker/rider for $30 which was half price.  Staples was up next where I bought the Microsoft Office Home and Student edition – I’ve made due with Notepad and the calculator on my home laptop, and have maintained other docs/spreadsheets at work but it was time to get the program for use at home. 

We headed home, put away our purchases, and had breakfast before heading back to the mall.  D had Ricki’s gift cards burning a hole in her pocket – she got 2 pairs of jeans, two tank tops and three tops for $150 plus taxes. Considering the jeans were regularly priced at $65 and $75 she did well  We wandered through Shoppers Drug Mart, found nothing there, and then headed to Safeway to pick up a few needed groceries.  We were home before noon, tired but satisfied with our shopping trip.  The rest of the day was spent relaxing, playing with Eli, and watching the Junior Hockey.

******

I worked Wednesday through Friday.  The office was incredibly quiet with about a dozen people on our floor on Wednesday where there is normally 60-70.  I don’t think there were 50 people in the entire four story building and as the week progressed the number dropped.  The first day was pretty uncomfortable as the old boiler system is pretty near shut down over the weekend, and only fired up on workdays.  With wind-chills in the -30C range, it felt okay in the office at first, but by 7:30 I felt chilled so sent off a request for heat to the call centre…located conveniently in Ottawa.

One of our local managers came by shortly, checked the pipes leading into the radiator and determined there was no heat.  Of course, our building tech wasn’t in (he works for a separate department) and when he did eventually show up, it was determined there was blockage in the lines on both 2nd and 3rd floor.  However, it wasn’t cold enough in the office to be sent home, it was suggested those of us seated closest to the windows move to the interior of the building.  I declined and simply put on my boots and wore my winter coat off and on all day.  Thursday was slightly better, and by mid-morning the sun was shining in the south windows, so I found it quite toasty.  Friday was better still so hopefully by Tuesday the system will be fixed (or the outside temps will have improved).

Friday was an exciting day, because it marked my last Friday of work.  I have arranged my schedule for the remaining 11 months so that I will be working only four days a week.  I’ll use various leaves to manage it, so that it will feel as though I am working part-time for full-time wages.  This is definitely a benefit of working for the federal government.  One of the other options available, was to actually work part-time until retirement.  This is an option for up to two years before retirement to allow individuals to transition, but having crunched the numbers it was an option I wasn’t prepared to take.  The cut in pay would have reduced my wages to less than what I’ll received from my pension due to some of our deductions which remain at full-time levels.  Thanks, but no thanks!

On Tuesday, I’ll take one more marble from the jar.  January will be busy as we’ve hired some additional staff, my new training and learning coordinator will be starting, and I’m facilitating one of the training courses.  In February, my mentor and friend, K will be leaving the office on her vacation prior to retiring, and mid-February I’m off to Florida for my cruise.  I’m not sure what will keep me busy after that but I’m sure my boss(es) will think of something. 

********
 Today is our coldest day of winter, thus far, with temperatures of -36C this morning.  It's supposed to "warm" up to -28C this afternoon.  I picked some groceries yesterday before collecting Eli, and have absolutely no desire to go out for the rest of the weekend.  But, of course, tomorrow is New Year's Eve and my friends K & N are having their annual open house.  I told K, I'll probably arrive late and leave early.  Or, I might decide to just let N win the bet and stay home.  Last night I met them for dinner, and he announced he'd lost the bet so this would even it out. :)

Whatever your plans may be for the evening, stay safe and warm.  Wishing you all a very Happy New Year and all the best in 2018!  







Saturday, 23 December 2017

Peace on Earth

Goodwill to all men...these days I remind myself daily this is the season of forgiveness and reconciliation.  I'm not doing very well with that.

D and little Eli are living with me (again) after spending a week with J.  I won't say much, but it the week ended horribly resulting in a no-contact order between the two of them until things are sorted out by the courts.  In the meantime I've been appointed a third-party, responsible to transport little Eli back and forth between his parents.  I'll be honest, at the moment, I don't think either of them deserve this little boy.  But it isn't up to me.

This year, Eli will spend a half day with mom and a half day with dad.  There will be no "family" Christmas my daughter envisioned.  I suspect there never will be unless one or the other finds a real relationship that will last.  This one is definitely over...or at least at the moment it is.  I never say never with these two.  The counselor D saw this week, has promised to help her break this cycle of co-dependency.  I certainly hope so, more so for Eli's sake than anyone else.

He, thankfully, seems to take everything in stride. Though Eli has been sick with a bit of a cold and had a couple of near sleepless nights, (one here with mom, one with dad), he's had a good day today.  Despite not feeling entirely well, he's a busy little guy!

He has mastered the two steps to the kitchen, as well as the one step down to the front foyer.  Today he spent time climbing the one step up to the bay window.  There he pulls himself to a standing position and watches out the window.  He is still very wobbly on his feet so perhaps my prediction of walking by New Year's will be a little off.  It won't be long though.

******
I did have a period of peace and quiet this week.  I had a dental appointment on Monday.  Now, I'm terrified of the needles they use and have a tendency to stop breathing and pass out.  So I've found a dentist who will use an IV sedative on patients like myself.  Initially it took a bit to get the IV inserted - thankfully those needles don't bother me.  I asked the dentist if I would be out cold or if I'd simply be a bit loopy.  She said I'd likely be aware....well, that's the last thing I remember until I woke up as she was finishing the last of the filling.  My son had arrived to pick up and when I felt ready we headed home where I immediately went to bed and slept for nearly 2 hours.

I was up for a couple of hours watching television, then back in bed for the night.  The following morning, I had to ask my son if I'd actually paid for the visit...he said yes.  Then I asked if I'd made another appointment (my memory was fuzzy) and he said yes.  I asked why?  Because to be honest I couldn't recall that we'd discussed another appointment.  He didn't know why so later that morning I called the dentist's office to find out.  The receptionist laughed and said, "you seemed so with it when you left".  Well, apparently I wasn't. :)  Anyway the next appointment is for more fillings on the other side.  I'm already looking forward to my nap.   

******
I'm looking forward, too, to the end of the Christmas Sparkle tour.  One of our neighbours, and a co-worker of mine, is part of the tour.  His house is decked out in lights which change with the music.  He collects donations for the Cancer Society and hands out candy canes.  These days the traffic on our generally quiet suburban street rivals the nearby highway.  In the time I wrote that sentence I counted 10 cars going in either direction.  There goes number 11 and 12!  It isn't really the traffic that bothers me, it is those drivers who use my driveway to turn around, even though we're on a crescent.  If they'd just keep going they'd find their way back to where they started from. 

The benefit of the traffic this year though has been the recent sanding of our street.  We don't see a plow all winter and this year's snow, melt, freeze, snow, melt, freeze had left the street a virtual skating rink.  I suspect someone came by to see the lights who works with the city and made it happen.  We had a couple inches of fresh snow this morning but I haven't been out since yesterday to see if it is still helping with traction.

In fact, I don't intend to go out again until the 25th when I deliver Eli to his dad.  I picked up a few things last evening after our Friday dinner, thinking at 8 p.m. it wouldn't be as busy.  Ha!  No more maddening crowds for me...at least until Boxing Day morning.  

In the meantime I'll enjoy my time with my little family, especially the little boy who lights up my world.  

Wishing you all a very Merry Christmas!




Saturday, 16 December 2017

Stress, who me?

Can you believe Decembe
r is half over?  Nine more sleeps until Christmas, and just 15 until 2018 comes our way.  From this perspective, the entire has flown by.  Of course, it hasn't.  Every day has had 24 hours, every week seven days, and every month....well, you get the picture.  (Besides the fact that 365 doesn't divide evenly by 12, it makes for something more for children to learn.  Who remembers "30 days hath September, April, June and November.  All the rest have 31, excepting February all alone with 28 days, and 29 in each leap year."  I don't recall if we learned this at school or if it was something my dad taught us.  

I had good intentions to get a post up every week.  Yeah, that didn't happen and I'll be honest, it is unlikely to happen in 2018 either.  My daily life isn't very interesting and there is so much I cannot blog about (yet).  Where I once would have expressed my views on a number of issues, I've learned my lesson well and will keep those thoughts to myself.  At least for the next twelve months or so....  I want my last year at work to be less stressful than this one.  Unfortunately recent events would suggest otherwise; I'll have to find a way to manage those feelings without an outlet.

On the home front, my daughter and Eli have returned to his dad's home for the past week.  I assume it is temporary as their stuff is still here.  It's been very quiet (and peaceful) without the two of them here.  I've used my time wisely this weekend so that by mid-afternoon Saturday I've got all my weekend chores done, including grocery shopping.  

With D out of the house, I took the opportunity to clear off my dining table of her crafts.  It's highly she'll finish any of it by Christmas anyway, so it is now in a box in the garage waiting for...next year, perhaps.  In an event, my table is cleared off and with the exception of the cats using it as a landing strip it will stay that way.  (From the looks of it, I should have ironed the tablecloth and runner first. There's still time.)

This year, I changed up the display on the top of the china cabinet.  Each of the Santas was a gift as were the two cats.  I made a toque and scarf for the one and a scarf for the other a year or so ago.  With a couple of candles and few ornaments, I quite like the way it looks.  

Thus far, neither Sheldon nor Saku have attempted a visit.  (Sasha never would).

I also got the gifts wrapped yesterday, though I seem to have misplaced a couple.  One, for my daughter, I bought just a couple of weeks ago.  I've torn my closet apart (my regular "hiding" place) and cannot find it.  The other, is for Eli; I purchased a Fisher Price house last spring and had it tucked away in the basement.  I have no idea where it might be, unless D took it with her to J's???  Guess I'll have to wait to find out.  In any event, I won't be replacing either item.  I'm certain one or both will show up and if not, both intended recipients have received many gifts in the past year.

I intend to spend the rest of the weekend, relaxing and enjoying the peace and quiet.  I'm working on a couple of knitting and crocheting projects and have several books waiting in a pile for my reading pleasure.  No stress!

Have a great week everyone!!













Sunday, 3 December 2017

Moments of joy

It's been a generally quiet week around here.  Thank goodness, though I suspect since I've made that comment all h*ll will break loose.  That seems to be how things work out.  In the meantime I'll enjoy the daily routine.

Young Eli has been very busy this week however.  The pace at which he is learning is totally amazing to watch.  I know, I had two children of my own, but those times have faded in my memory.  (I probably was too sleep-deprived to notice in any event).

His newest accomplishment is his ability to stand, with support, on his own.  Here he is at his play table.  I've wedged it between my chair, the couch and the end table to keep it stable. The other night he made his way from the couch to the table to my chair on his own.  I suspect the little guy will be walking by New Years at this rate.

The gate you see in the background is used to block off the basement stairs.  Neither I nor my daughter can climb over it so usually it leans against the front hall closet doors.  So far, Eli has been smart enough to stay in the living room or if feeling adventurous he makes his way up the stairs to the kitchen. Those cat dishes and water fountain are very attractive. :) 

As for me, I ran my errands on Friday so I could relax at home and watch the Roar of the Rings curling this weekend.  In addition to groceries, I think I've finished my Christmas shopping.  I say "think" because when I get around to wrapping the gifts I might find I've missed something...this despite of my list. The local malls and stores are getting so busy and I dislike the crowds, so getting done early is a relief.  Though I'll need groceries between now and Christmas I'll go early in the day when it is quiet, hopefully.

Kim mentioned it on her blog, and I concur, it is hard to believe it is already December! 2017 has passed in a blur....which in many ways is a good thing.  Eli reached his 9 month mark yesterday, and on Monday I'll take another marble out of the jar.  Just 12 more to go! 

I'll keep this short, as Jacobs and Koe are putting on a show.  I'm rooting for Koe but  the way Jacobs is playing I suspect he will prevail.  Our Canadian curlers, both men and women, are some of the best in the world which makes this event so fun to watch.  I foresee lots of PVR viewing will be necessary as the week progresses.  

Have a great week everyone!





Sunday, 26 November 2017

Preparations

First, an update on last week's post.  After a couple of days of high drama, my daughter finally came to realize that fighting over Christmas wasn't in her best interests worth it and has agreed that we will Christmas on Boxing Day at my house.  In her words, "At least J will get to see Eli open his first Christmas present".  Seriously....she has no clue this kid won't be opening any gifts this year or likely next.  And whatever is in the present will play second fiddle to the paper and any boxes.

As is evident in this photo.  The child has a mound of toys to play with, but given the choice, he always heads for cat toys or something of mine.  This is a garden ornament, that lives indoors, that is a favorite of his.  When he pulls on the mushroom top it springs back...making a noise similar to those door stops. I foresee a time when he discovers those as well and gets himself shut into a room. :)

He's mastered the actual crawl this week and has even successfully climbed the two steps into the kitchen for the living room.  Once up the stairs he heads directly for.... the cat dishes and water bowl. Now he's trying to pull himself up against furniture.  I suspect he'll be walking by the New Year.  

I tend not to "baby-proof" except for the obvious danger of electricity.  Eli needs to learn not to touch certain objects, not to pat the kitties too roughly, and to listen when mom or G'ma says no!  Is it any wonder babies learn to say no so readily, besides the fact it is a two letter word, it's probably what they hear the most of for several months of their young lives.


Since Eli is off to Dad J's house this afternoon, and the Roughriders didn't make it to the Grey Cup, I decided I'd put up the tree today.  My son C was a big help, bringing it upstairs, helping to fluff out the branches and hold the lights as I tried to put them on the tree as evenly as possible.  

I've been sitting here for the last 20 minutes looking at it, getting up and moving them around a bit.  I probably will never be satisfied but there is no way I'm taking them off and re-doing it!  My friend K sent a photo yesterday; it took her 6 hours to put her 1200 lights on her tree!  It's quite a bit larger than mine, obviously, and she is very particular.  It always spectacular when she's done.  Mine...it look homely which is fine with me.

It has been a productive weekend.  I got some errands done on Friday; met with my financial adviser and updated my file, got groceries and did some more Christmas shopping, had my nails done, and met with friends for Friday night supper.  Saturday was housework, laundry, vacuuming, cleaning bathrooms, washing the living room and front hall floors, clearing away knickknacks and photos, and sorting paperwork and travel items.  Today was a bit more housework with the kitchen floor getting scrubbed, dishes done (I swear I washed everything up before I went to bed last night but got up to a sink full), and putting away the fall decor and pulling out the Christmas stuff.  I'm so proud of myself as I'm down to 2 large tubs and one small container.  I used 
to have six full tubs but I sent a lot of it off to Community Living this summer.  

Yesterday I asked D to clear the dining room table of her projects.  She did, long enough for me to put a new tablecloth (it's plastic as I don't trust young Sheldon).  

In the meantime my island looks like this:
There are numerous bids various stages of completion, baby food jars that are being painted...and I'm told will become an advent calendar.  Then there is the tray of salt dough that are being hand-painted.  Damned Pinterest!


I told her this morning that she is NOT to start any more crafts/projects until these are complete.  


Of course, I'm one to talk as the tree is barely started, I have a pair of mittens half completed, and if look back of the island to the left of the stove, I have margarine softening for a batch of cookies.  I guess I have to admit she gets some of her scatter brain from me.  But, in my defense, my projects generally get done before they are due.  Well, most of the time.

So, enough of my chatter, I'd better go grab another cup of coffee and get this tree done.  Then cookies, and back to my mittens while the football game is on. See...I have a plan. :p

Have a wonderful week everyone!