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 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 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 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


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. 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!

Sunday 19 November 2017

Christmas present

This is not a catch-up post - it's an opinion piece and most likely a bit of rant. So if you're not in the mood to listen to my whining, feel free to skip this post.

As regular readers you're aware that my adult daughter D and her son Eli are living with me again.  She's basically homeless, as J, Eli's father doesn't want her living with him, she's worn out her welcome at her friend M's, and she doesn't have the resources to live anywhere on her own.  I suspect even when she returns to work in February she'll be hard-pressed to find anyone willing to rent to her.  Yes, she's messed up her life that badly - much of it due to her off-again, on-again, off-again relationship with J.

This morning, I was cleaning the kitchen cupboards of their clutter.  She's been doing Christmas baking so I've expected her to do the dishes and put things away.  She does...but in such a haphazard manner that it is near impossible to find what you are looking for.  It's been driving me nuts so this morning, after a cup of coffee I got busy and started sorting through the pantry.  D wandered in and I asked her to clear out the lazy susan.  

As we were working, she mentioned something about Christmas.  I confirmed that she and J are no longer a couple, and then I informed her I did not want him in my home this year.  It's been three years that I've had to put with someone (or several someones as he often brings whoever is his current roommate) I don't like at my Christmas table (and Thanksgiving and Easter).  The first year, I even drove him to the local jail after dinner so he could serve a weekend.  Yes, that's how I first met him.

She was very upset, telling me she and J had already talked about it, and they decided to spend Eli's first Christmas together...and they had decided it would be here in my home.  I said she and Eli could spend part of the day at J's and part of it here, my son C doesn't generally get up before noon anyway.  But that isn't good enough, there will be no tree or lights at J's and she wants Eli to experience a "normal" family Christmas. 

After some to and fro'ing she agreed that this has nothing to do with Eli and everything to do with her feeling that her childhood was lacking because she didn't know her father.  Somehow the time she spent with her grandparents, her aunts and uncles, and her mother and little brother were not normal.  It was a real slap in the face.

I reminded D that Eli won't remember this Christmas.  If and when, she and J formalize their custody arrangement, the likelihood of him remembering a Christmas with both his parents is slim to not at all.  This is his normal, just as living in a single parent family was hers.  

She immediately stormed off to her room (Eli, thankfully napped through this) and when the baby awoke she headed off to see J.  I know she'll be back later, though she mentioned something about leaving Eli with J.  This is her way of punishing me.  When we were arguing she told me I obviously didn't care about spending Christmas with Eli - so they'd spend the day in her room.  Yes, she truly is that childish.  

Perhaps I am as well, but I'm standing my ground on this one.  Despite it is the season of goodwill towards all men, I will not invite him into my home again. I will have Christmas early or delay it a day, but in any event, I'll celebrate with those I love.  

To end this post on a less cranky note, here's Sheldon "helping" me clean out the plastics drawer in the island.  I gave him a bit of a fright when I came around the corner!

Monday 13 November 2017

Making memories

It's early Monday evening of a long weekend, and I'm exhausted.  It's been a busy weekend and to be honest, I'm ready for the short work week ahead (I have requested vacation for the upcoming Friday...three day week, hooray!).

On Friday, I had planned to meet with my financial advisor but she was storm-stayed in a small town a couple hours out of Regina.  She sent me an e-mail that morning to let me know.  D was working her part-time job and had arranged for J to take care of Eli which meant I had much of the day to myself.  So what did I do?  I went Christmas shopping of course!  It may be more than six weeks away but with between 4-6 inches of snow on the ground it seems closer than that.  

I managed to cross a number of gifts off my list; my brother and sister-in-law, my niece, my friend N, some stuff for D and C, and my staff.  I always buy small gifts for my team, nothing major but usually something fun.  This year I found challenging puzzles and some fun Christmas coasters.  I'll tuck them into a bag with a bit of chocolate and a couple of homemade cookies.  I tend to purchase gifts throughout the year and this is true this year as well. I already bought something for my nephew.  For both he and his sister, I also bought Chapter's gift cards.  They both love to read and this way, even if the rest of the gift is a bust I know they'll get something they like!

For Eli, I had bought a Fisher Price house with little people last spring. It's tucked away in the basement, ready to be wrapped.  I suspect he'll appreciate the wrapping paper more than anything.  His mom has been buying items as well - I'd say she's gone overboard - but since this is his first Christmas he won't remember anyway.  Remaining on the list are my adult children though I've picked up a few practical items; pj's, toiletries, and socks.  They'll also get gift cards - that's become a tradition too - because I don't share the same tastes in clothing.  Again, this way they get something they need or want.  

We're going to start decorating in a week or so, as D wants to make up fridge magnets with Eli in his elf pajamas with Sheldon and his reindeer collar and head gear.  We'll see whether either of them will cooperate...I'm not entirely hopeful.  That reminds me, I need to buy hooks for the ceiling and fishing line...this is one year I'm not going to trust that the tree won't be knocked over...either by a rambunctious kitten or mobile baby.

Speaking of Eli, he continues to learn something new it seems every week.  A week ago, he wasn't able to pull himself to a sitting position from his tummy or back, this week he can do both with ease.

He's also army crawling like a champ, though has managed a couple of movements forward on his hands and knees.  Sometimes his movements get him into a predicament, as it did in the photo.  He had crawled under his bouncer, then sat up.  At least there was room for him, as he often gets caught in the legs of the stool behind him and needs to be rescued.

This week also brought two more teeth - he now has both top and bottom front teeth, and we think there may be more to follow soon.  Poor baby is drooling lots, chewing on everything he can get in his mouth (even the odd cat toy...which sends mom and G'ma into spasms), and gets quite fussy at times.

He's been eating some solid foods for awhile now, mostly arrowroot cookies, or cereal puffs.  He's also had scrambled eggs and toast.  This morning's face is brought to you, courtesy of peanut butter toast.  No allergy here, thank goodness.  (He's had peanut butter in small amounts for a couple of months.)

Although some of the toast didn't make it into his tummy, he made good work on his slice of toast.  And then he had some of his cheerios, or rather, he and Sheldon had some cheerios.  I've never seen such a cat for eating cereal, bread or cookies...he loves the all!

Speaking of cats, Saku seems to be have come to terms with Eli.  Of course, Eli has yet to pull his ear or his tail so things have remained calm.  But I'll often find Saku stretched out on the play mat while Eli plays.  

This photo makes me laugh, Saku is such a big cat!  He's definitely dropped a pound or two since Sheldon came to live with us.  That kitten keeps him running and wrestling.

The rest of the weekend saw me stay close to home.  Saturday, D was away with Eli, so I pulled all the furniture away from the walls in the living room, vacuumed and scrubbed the floor.  It is pretty amazing how far cheerios can be tossed (Eli) or chased (Sheldon).  Add in the cat fur balls that collect behind and under furniture and it was much needed.  I must admit, I tend not to move the bigger pieces of furniture, the desk, the china cabinet and such as frequently as I should.  

Sunday was the Eastern and Western CFL semi-finals.  Our littlest Rider fan, Eli got his gear on, and joined G'ma in cheering on the Riders.  AND it worked, we won the Eastern semi-final.  Yes, I know Saskatchewan is in Western doesn't entirely make sense to me but we got a cross-over spot and are playing in the east.  Next weekend is the final in Toronto. If (fingers crossed) we win that, we're off to the Grey Cup in Ottawa.  One way or another!

Off topic, do you see the cords on the back of the chair?  I've had to be creative as young Eli thinks cords are the greatest thing, ever!  Bring on the Christmas wrapping paper, maybe he'll leave the cords alone?

Well, this is getting lengthy, so I'll end off with this photo from Friday. D was packing the car, so I got Eli ready to go to J's.  He's wearing his winter snowsuit that Mommy bought for him, and the cap and mitts that G'ma made for him.

I'm very pleased with they way the cap turned out.  This was my second effort - the first time I didn't trust the pattern and it just didn't work.  I think, the idiot string for his mitts is a bit too long, but he won't be losing them!  That blue just brings out the color of his eyes.

I'm taking care of him this evening as well, as D is working from 6-10.  He went down for a nap about just under an hour ago.  I thought I'd best get to this post - he sure keeps me hopping when he's awake.  Hence the exhaustion....but oh the sweet memories we're making.

Have a wonderful week everyone!  

Saturday 4 November 2017

Keeping busy

Phew, having a baby in the house is reminding me that I'm grateful I had my children when I was young.  Eli is one busy boy!  Add in a rambunctious kitten and my home is moving and shaking for a good portion of the day.

D is doing better, this time, and seems resigned to the fact that she and J are not able to live together.  J has taken Eli for a couple of overnights since she returned and she's expressed her frustration that Eli's schedule is off when he comes back here since J is a night owl.  Plus he doesn't bathe the baby or change Eli's clothing (diapers, yes) so the little guy comes back a tad bit messy and smelly.  

I try not to interfere...oh but it's hard sometime. One of the lessons I've tried sharing is to get chores done while baby sleeps, leaving enough time for a short nap.  Most of the time she plays with her I-Pad or I-phone (no wonder they're called "I") though she's started doing some crafting.  My kitchen table is currently covered with various projects including a scrapbook for Eli, flash cards that she's printed out and needs to laminate, and several bibs she's sewn.  I showed her how to set up the sewing machine yesterday and she's partially finished four bibs.  I've given up trying to get her to clear the table...some day all of these projects will be finished, right?

As I said Eli has been very busy.  He's learned to play patty cake - I've been playing it with him for a couple of weeks.  Now he'll do it on his own!

He's pretty proud of himself and will clap and clap for several minutes.  I get such a chuckle out of watching him.

Eli has been drooling and chewing on just about everything and it was pretty clear his teeth were coming in.

On Halloween day, D checked and sure enough his bottom two teeth had come through.  Now he's working on the top two.  Still no photos though.  A friend of D's who is a professional photographer told her the best way to get a shot of the teeth is to make the baby cry.  Mean!

 Speaking of Halloween, check out my little dinosaur!
I picked up the outfit at Costco. The sizing said 6-12 months, thank goodness it still fit.  This kid is getting so big!

He is moving more so I expect his weight gain will slow down.  He can army crawl and scoots around on his butt.  Eli can sit unaided for long periods, but still hasn't figured how to pull himself up into a sitting position.  Soon, I'm sure!

His mom took him to her workplaces and he had a visit with his dad as well.  Apparently J was a bit upset that he wasn't consulted about the costume.  Sheesh, he could have bought one if he was so concerned!

Eli was quite happy to get out of his costume and into his pumpkin pj's.  After a cuddle with mom, he was ready for bed...he had a busy day!

This morning we woke to at least four inches of fresh snow.  I went out and used my electric shovel to move most of it off the driveway and then cleared up the rest with my regular shovel.  The long range forecast is calling for more snow and colder temps this winter.  I'm not looking forward to it at all.

It is, however a good time to work on my own projects.  I have a shawl I started, meaning to take it on my cruise that isn't yet finished.  I also have a knitted cap on my needles for Eli.  This is attempt #2, as I didn't trust the pattern the first go around and ended up with a effort that was less than stellar.  This time, I'm using the pattern and making it up for the 2-3 year old size, as Eli apparently has a big head.  I have enough yarn to make him a pair of mitts as well.  Then there is all that sock wool I bought last year intending to make socks for my kids for Christmas...ain't gonna happen but maybe I'll get a start on those as well in the next few weeks. 

Yep, we're definitely keeping busy around's a kind of busy, where I go to bed at night feeling I've accomplished something, no matter how small it is.  

Have a wonderful weekend!

Saturday 21 October 2017

As the wind blows

It's been an up and down kind of week both weather-wise and personally.  On Tuesday evening we had a wind advisory, with winds reaching 119 km/hour.  I'm told that is level one hurricane force winds.  Thankfully, we had no real damage here at the house, just a few small branches off the trees and a chair blown over.  However, in one of the newer subdivisions a couple of properties under construction were entirely destroyed.  Seriously I wonder how well they were being built?  

The last couple of days have been absolutely lovely with temps well above normal (20-22C).  Today (Saturday) we're below normal at only 7C, but with slightly warmer temps forecast for tomorrow.  At least there is none of that four letter word yet being talked about. My cousin posted a long range forecast on FB that suggests we're in for a cold, snowy winter.  Yuck!  Hopefully that doesn't start until at least January.

I may have jinxed that though, as I took my car into the shop on Friday and changed over to winter tires.  And, of course, Halloween will be here soon and it is a rare year when we don't have snow or at least cold weather for the little trick or treaters.   I picked up a box of miniature chocolate bars last week. So far no one has gotten into I hope they'll last until the 31st.  Last year I was on my Halloween cruise to the Caribbean so I'm not sure how many kids to expect.  I'll hand it out until I run out and then shut off the lights.

On the home front, as the wind blew Tuesday night, it brought D and Eli with it.  She says she is finally finished with J.  I won't share what he did, but I have to say, I certainly hope this last escapade is not forgiven.  So I have my son, daughter and grandson in my home again.

Fingers crossed, she seems to be resolute this time and the weeping and moping that she exhibited the last time she came here has not been evident.  D has been considerate and helpful and seems much more involved with Eli.

And Eli, what can I say.  He keeps getting bigger and smarter, and more fun every time he's here.  

Last night his mom dressed him up in his Rider gear.  Whether he truly likes watching the movements or it is the noise and colors, he certainly pays close attention.

He was pretty happy too, when they scored a touch down!

He's started army crawling or creeping and can bend over and pull himself back into a sitting position.  Still can't do it from a prone position but he's getting close.  His favorite foods are sweet potato, creamed corn, arrowroot cookies and banana. His mom has this mesh thingy that the banana goes into - it looks similar to a soother, except with the mesh in place of the soother.  He gets that into his mouth and sucks like a mad man.  Far less messy than giving him the pieces of banana.  

Sheldon, it turns out enjoys cookie too.  Often, when Eli drops a piece, Sheldon is right there to gobble up the leftovers.  Earlier today, Eli was fussy at nap time and when D went in to check up on him, Sheldon jumped into the crib, curled up beside Eli and the baby settled right down.  

I don't have a photo of the two of them together, but Sheldon is very patient with the baby, he allows Eli to pat and pull at him.  I suspect that won't last forever, but for now it's so cute to see.

For now, I expect the two of them will live with me until spring but I'm not holding my breathe - J has a way of convincing her that she cannot live without him.  I'm hoping she'll realize there is no truth to this, that rather, he finds it difficult to live without her - most of all her financial support and easy access to a vehicle.

Sigh, if I just had a magic wand I could wave.  J would be somewhere far, far away with access to little Eli only through Facetime. My daughter would find the strength and resolve to know she can be a single mom and do a great job of it.  My son would have a permanent placement at work, and I'd be retired.  But I know that only one of those dreams are in my control...the rest I must let go of and simply pray for the best.

Most of all, I'll enjoy every minute I have with little Eli, watching him change and grow.  

Have a great rest of the weekend, everyone.

Sunday 15 October 2017

Weekend Wrap-up

It's been a busy weekend, with lots of fun with friends and family (Eli) and productive as well.

Friday, after I dropped Sheldon off at the vet's office, I came back home to do some housework and make some phone calls.  I've booked my tire change-over for next Friday, a dental appointment (yuck) for later in November, and followed-up with AirMiles.  If you recall, I had to pay for my hotel room in New York as they could find no reservation.  I had called a couple of weeks ago and was assured the hotel would reverse the charge but it hadn't happened yet.  I spent about 35 minutes on hold, during which time I cleaned both bathrooms, did the breakfast dishes, took out the garbage and started a load of laundry.  

When the service agent got back on the line, she advised that the third party booking agent they use had made a reservation for me....for February 16, not September 16.  As a result, the hotel wouldn't reverse the charge but the third party had now agreed to reimburse the hotel....I should think so!  I have to wait another 7-10 business days but I've been assured I will get reimbursed for the costs.  And if it hasn't been reversed, you bet I'll be calling again.

After a few more household chores, I headed out to do a few errands before I picked up my friend K for lunch.  It is her birthday in a few days, so lunch was my treat.  We went to a local Boston Pizza and I was impressed with our young waiter.  I told we hadn't seen each other for several weeks so we'd likely be some time talking and we definitely did.  He kept our water glasses full and only brought the bill when I asked for it.

She and her partner J were just back from several weeks of a road trip to the States.  They visited a number of states and met some friends in Washington, D.C for a few days.  They managed to get in lots of golfing too which they both enjoy.  She was interested in my cruise as well, as they haven't done a Canada/New England.  I brought my photos but we talked so much, she didn't actually look at them until we were in the car on the way to her house.

On the way there, we stopped at the Casino to pick up tickets for a Corb Lund show in November. We've made tentative plans to meet for dinner that evening before the show but I expect we'll get in another visit before then.  We never run out of things to talk about.

I joined my regular Friday night crew for dinner that evening.  Lots of laughs that evening and then it was home to watch the Riders snatch defeat from the jaws of victory.  :(

Saturday, I had Eli from about 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. while his mom was working her part-time job.  He is such a character, so happy and content.  

He and I shared a breakfast of scrambled eggs and toast..that is, until he dropped his bit of toast and Sheldon decided he wanted it.

Despite having no teeth yet, this child is quite capable of gumming pretty much anything.  He definitely likes his food.  He went down for a nap about 11:30 and slept until 2 p.m.  I fed him again, about a half jar of sweet potatoes and he finished his lunch with an Arrowroot cookie.  (There wasn't any sharing with Sheldon...he loves his cookies).

While Eli napped, I decided to start knitting a pair of mittens.  I finished one before he woke up, and discovered this little guy isn't so little anymore.

I've since knit another larger mitten and will finish the second today.  We're definitely getting colder weather so he needs these....and sooner rather than later.  

Eli spent the rest of the afternoon playing on the floor. Most of the time I sat with him, though managed to get supper in the crock pot while he amused himself.  His mom showed up about 4:30 to pick him up.  He was so excited to see her.  She's working again on Monday evening and his useless twit of a father has balked at caring for him has asked me to care for him again.  I enjoy our time together, though it will mean I'm up later than normal as her shift doesn't end until 10 p.m.  For Eli, I'll give up some sleep.

Today, I've been taking it easy with one or another of the cats settled on my lap.  At the moment, it's Saku.  I did get a pot of soup made with the leftover turkey from last weekend.  Very simple recipe - saute onion and garlic and chopped up turkey in olive oil.  Add a container of chicken stock, and chopped potatoes and carrots and spices.  The original recipe called for tarragon which I didn't have so I added an Italian blend and some salt and pepper.  About 20 minutes on medium heat and it smelled and tasted great.  It will make my work lunches easy.

I do need to do a bit of grocery shopping as we're out of staples. I plan on using the leftover cranberry sauce and some blueberries I had frozen to make muffins this afternoon.  I brought out some hamburger patties from the freezer I'd made earlier this summer - we'll have those bbq'd with baked potatoes and corn on the cob for supper.

On that note, my coffee is finished and its time to go do my shopping.  Have a wonderful week everyone!  Hope you all had a great weekend too.

Saturday 14 October 2017

Saturday night with the cats

Thanks for the kind words - my health seems to be restored.  Most definitely my appetite and just in time for the weekend. ;)

Friday was Sheldon's surgery day; I sort of wondered if I weren't tempting fate by scheduling it for Friday the 13th, but it all worked out just fine.

He wasn't permitted food after 10 p.m. the night prior which, of course, meant neither Saku nor Sasha were allowed food either.  I fed them all a second small supper just around 9 p.m., hoping that would stave off the hunger pangs the following morning.  Of course they were all up in my face by 6:30 a.m.  I managed to keep them entertained until it was time for Sheldon and I to leave the house at 7:15.

Of course, that was about the time that Sheldon decided to make a dash for it.  As it turned out, he's a good boy and was simply using the bathroom before we got in the car.  He's a good traveller too, he curled up in the cat carrier and only had a few words to say in the last few blocks before we arrived.  He was a little more anxious in the office while I filled out all the paperwork.  

Around 10 a.m. I had a call from the vet's office letting me know things went "purrfectly".  He'd been neutered, vaccinated, micro-chipped, and had his pedicure completed.  The vet told me he was sweet boy and didn't seemed fazed by everything that was happening.  Since he was finished so early, I could have picked him up by noon, but had plans for lunch with a friend so he stayed until mid-afternoon.

When I picked him up, the techs were gushing over how good he was.  I guess he was busy playing in his cage with the blanket, and when the tech brought him out to me she said, he'd leapt out of the cage and given her a hug.  He wasn't upset when he saw me and rode home in the carrier without a peep.

Of course they gave me the instructions that he wasn't to jump or run. Also, I was to watch to see if he drank and ate okay, and to call if I noticed if he was in any discomfort.  Well, let's see - upon release from the carrier, he went to the water fountain and had a good drink.  He then raised down the basement and back up again, leapt over a hissing Saku, and jumped onto the back of a chair in the sunroom.  I reminded him he wasn't to run or jump but he wasn't listening.  Next thing I knew he was having a snack at the kibble bowl.  Yep, he was doing fine.

Saku has had the hardest time with the return of Sheldon.  He hissed and growled, paced back and forth, and it seemed we were back to the place we were when Sheldon first arrived.  When I went to bed for the night, Sheldon startled Saku when he came into the room and I thought there was going to be a fight.  So I ended up tossing poor Saku out of the room with Sasha and Sheldon spending the night with me. There was some whining in the middle of night but I ignored it as much as possible. (Some of it came from me....kitten's can be a real pain to sleep with...every movement means playtime.) 

When we were getting the two accustomed to one another, I found the best way was to feed them together.  So this morning I put their bowls down on the mat; it worked somewhat but Saku was still "grumpy cat" whenever Sheldon looked his way.

This behaviour continued for most of today, but I think it's finally over as evidenced by this photo. I've never seen Saku allow any other cat to touch him even when he's sleeping.  As I was typing he woke up, looked at Sheldon and turned so his back is to him.  No hissing, no fuss.  Yay!

On that note, I've off to bed early.  I suspect it won't be long before there is a parade of cats joining me.  I assume Sasha is in the basement with his boy.  He usually hangs out with C until the house is quiet and then shows up just as I'm about to go to sleep.  If you read John's recent post of cat visitors in the night....well, that description fits my nightlife as well. (If you haven't, you'll want to, it's hilarious and I think every cat parent will nod in agreement).

I'll be back tomorrow with another post - I had my grandson today and have lots of photos to share.  He is so stinking cute!  But G'ma is tired - he's a busy boy.

Wednesday 11 October 2017

Enough Already!!!

This is a post with much whine (no cheese) so if you feel the desire to pass by, go right ahead.

I had a lovely Thanksgiving weekend and with a short work week ahead, all looked well in my world. That is, until yesterday morning.  I woke up with a headache which is never how I like to start a day.

But I figured I'd power through, took some meds, a shower, dressed and got ready for work.  As I went out to the garage, I thought perhaps it wasn't a good idea, but I had a meeting booked with part of my team so after a few minutes of uncertainty I headed off down the street.

I made it about half way to work before I had to pull over.  I'll leave it to your imagination, but suffice to say I'm sure a few of my fellow commuters were a little shocked by my quick exit from the vehicle.  Once I felt up to it I headed back to the house, called my boss to advise I wouldn't be in, texted one of my staff to let the others know, and headed back to bed.

I slept for a few hours, then got up - with my headache feeling worse.  I attempted some additional meds, with food and within 20 minutes all of that lost.  That pretty summed up the rest of the day....lots of sleep and occasionally try to have something to eat or drink...I even tried an anti-nausea drug...nothing stayed down.  When I wasn't sleeping I was curled in a ball on the bathroom floor or writhing in pain on the couch.  

I seriously thought about having my son take me to the doctor, but I figured once the headache dissipated I'd feel better.  It took until nearly 10 p.m. before I felt any real relief.  I was certain I wouldn't be able to sleep but by 11, I was fast asleep and slept until nearly 5:30 a.m. 

At that point, I was still feeling wobbly on my feet and definitely dehydrated.  I now have a fool proof method to lose 3 pounds in one day....just not one I'd recommend.  I decided to test my tummy with a sip of milk and it stayed down, hallelujah!!!  I called into work to say I needed another day, I felt like I'd been hit by a Mack truck, every part of body ached (except my head, thank goodness).  

I napped for another hour or so, then got up and got a little breakfast, just peanut butter toast and a glass of milk.  I've spent much of the day tucked in my bed, watching multiple episodes of Flipping Vegas, and Flip or Flop (various locations), reading and cuddling with the cats.

The older I get, the more difficult I find being ill.  When my children were young, either I never go sick or I simply powered through it.  There was no one else there to help so I had to manage.  To be honest, I don't think the cats would have been fed last night if my son hadn't been here.  I could barely move between the bed and bathroom, and I suspect the smell of the cat food pate would have been more than I could have handled.

And being sick twice in less than a month is too much.  I haven't quite kicked the mother of a cold I came down with shortly after my trip. I'm feeling beaten up, hence the whine - I just want to feel normal again.  

Okay, enough of that.  Tomorrow will be a better day.  Not least of all because I have Friday off, so I'll only be at work one day this week. I'm thankful I have paid sick leave (lots of it that I won't ever use or be paid for); I'm grateful my son was here to help, and the cats made the best napping buddies. 

If you made it this far, thanks for listening!

Monday 9 October 2017

Happy Thanksgiving!

It's a cool, sunny day here in Saskatchewan  a lovely fall day.  We had our turkey dinner yesterday and little Eli enjoyed tasting most of the meal.  The turnips weren't to his taste though.  He and his mom spent the night and I got to cuddle with him this morning.  Such a special little guy!

Happy Thanksgiving! Wishing you all a wonderful day however you choose to spend it. 

Friday 6 October 2017

Last Post

For the cruise that is..

On the final sea day (Sept 23) I woke to fog and cool temperatures.  Later in the day, the sun came out briefly and it was lovely.  By evening we were back in the fog again.

About 8 or 10 of us, met for breakfast in the buffet.  Conna, Cheryl, Valerie and I had won a bottle of champagne a few evenings before.  The contest was called, "What men really think, what women really think".  The same questions were asked with points awarded for coming with the correct (or in some cases, nearly correct answer).  It turns out that four single women may actually know what men think.  Though to be honest we barely scared over was good enough to win.  We drank (mimosas) to our wonderful trip, good health, and the budding friendships that I'm sure will continue into the future.

From there I headed off to the Princess theatre for the cooking demonstration featuring the executive chef and the maitre d'hotel. 

Hilarity ensued when as the maitre d'hotel created his own version of the pasta dish the chef had created in a just a few minutes.  Some of the more interesting ingredients included Purel hand cleanser, whole eggs, and about 30 cloves of garlic. No one was willing to taste it!

I did, however pick up a couple of practical suggestions.  First, put the cheese grater in the fridge or freezer before use - it will make the cheese easier to grate.  Also add shredded carrots to tomato sauce rather than sugar.  The carrots add sweetness without the extra calories.

After the demonstration was complete, we were escorted through the hall into one of the dining rooms, to the galley.  I know the kitchen has two levels - the one we were shown was quiet so I suspect there was much more activity elsewhere.  This group of bakers were busy preparing desserts for lunch and dinner.  

Not long after the tour was complete, I met Lyn at the Crown Grille for the pub lunch.  It's a favorite of mine, with fish and chip and mushy peas.  Karen and Loretta showed up just as we finished so we joined them for a gabfest while they ate.  

Then it was time to finish packing - I have a tendency to pack as the week so I don't have a lot to do on the last day.  I'd done a load of laundry earlier so that was in the bag already.  I decided what I needed for the rest of the day and the following day.  As an aside, it is humorous how many cruisers forget to leave out clothing for travel it isn't unusual to see someone in a dress or suit from the previous night's dinner.  

I took the book I'd brought with me (and finally finished), The Shipping News, by Anne Proulx to the library.  Princess is great as they keep a shelf or two of books for passengers to exchange.  I picked up J. D. Robb's Echo in Death to read on the way home.

Then it was time to meet Loretta at the International Cafe to see Christopher Watkins, violinist for the third time this cruise.  He's an amazing musician, charismatic and so much fun to watch.  I didn't have my camera with me, took some cell phone pics but nothing worth keeping.  The place was packed to the rafters - it was clear why he was chosen Entertainer of the Year in 2016.  Pam joined us, and I enjoyed a visit with the two ladies, a chai tea and a sweet treat.

I did another walk about the ship (by now the sun was out). This view always takes my breath away and a I feel a sense of peace and calm.  It convinces I'm meant to live by the water.  

Before I close the post, I thought I'd share the group photo we had taken on the first formal night.  Only one person was missing, David, from New York.

This group made the trip the best ever, so many wonderful, interesting (and unique) personalities.  All had cruised previously but two were relative newbies on their second cruises.  One of the Maureen's has 24 cruises booked over the next 19 months.  She wins!

Six were retired, the rest of us were envious.  The other Maureen and I were the only Canadians in the group, Matt and David were the only men.  Several of the women are widows, some have never married and for those with children there were lots of stories to share, including those of our grandchildren.  One of the group was expecting their first great-child with days of the end of the cruise.

In any event, I hope I have the chance to cruise with such a group again.  There was never a fuss when I wandered off on my own, and there was always someone to meet with for meals or other activities.  

And so ends my latest cruise.  I won't bore you with the details of the travel day.  It was long and mostly boring (thankfully).  I left the ship at 10:30 local time (8:30 Sask time) and arrived home at 11 p.m.  I'd slept all the way from Toronto so had no difficulty making it to work the next morning with visions of the sea in my head.

Time to start the countdown to the next cruise...19 weeks and one day!