Sunday 24 November 2019


Well, that didn't end well.  Our football team, the Saskatchewan Roughriders did not win the West Division final, so we're not heading to the Grey Cup this year. :(  Oh well, like many other things in this world, there's always next year.  It does leave me in a bit of a conundrum.  Who do I cheer for this weekend?  The Hamilton Ti-Cats from the east, or our nemesis, the Winnipeg Blue Bombers from the west?  Decisions, decisions.  (To be honest, I really won't care, as long as it is a well played game).

In the meantime I've been watching some of the European curling championships. TSN has been kind enough to televise the afternoon draw (early morning for me), and since my regular programming has been disrupted by the impeachment inquiry hearings, it's been a blessing.  Is anyone watching those hearings?  I'll wait for the sound-bites myself.  If I understand the process correctly, it will not matter if the Congress does decide to impeach, the Senate can decide not to hold a trial.  Since the upper Chamber (is that a Canadian/English term) is held by the Republicans, this might all be for naught.  

On the home front, this has been a week of house cleaning. (Except when I'm watching curling, of course).  I must admit I've let things slide a bit, so went hard to try to get the house back into "showing" condition.  Once exception, my side table in the living room.  Earlier this week it held the two beanies I made, a finished mitten, the pattern for the mitts, two remotes, a ball of crochet thread and a partially completed snowflake, a notebook with the list of my Christmas baking, two napkins, and my cup of coffee.  I did clear some of it, but even now it's a mess because I've added another small project, the pattern book, and my hand lotion. Do you have an area in your home that's a catch-all?

I did not go out to visit D and Eli after all.  She decided it would be best for me to wait until next week.  By then the decisions on her insurance claim should be made.  Maybe, just maybe I'll get to help her pick out the new flooring!  

So I did a bit of on-line shopping instead.  I ordered this little tree from Michaels and picked it up the following day in store.  It's not as full as I would have liked but once I play with the branches a bit more and fill in the gaps with decorations I'm sure it will look quite lovely. I had gotten rid of the large tree I've had for years last spring during my purge.  It was pretty ratty and quite heavy.  This one I can carry and put together easily. I even paid attention to how it came out of the box, so am hopeful I'll be able to fit it back in for storage. 

I resisted the urge to buy more yarn at Michaels while I was there, though did pick up some fabric stiffening spray.  When/if I ever finish crocheting these snowflakes I'll use the product to starch them.  

On Thursday I popped over to Superstore.  They had family sized packages of chicken breast ($2.98/lb) and lean ground beef ($1.98/lb) on sale.  I've got chicken for that price before but not ground beef.  I broke down the packages into smaller portions for freezing.  Remember how I was going to empty out the basement freezer?  Yeah, not so much.  Maybe after Christmas.  While I was doing my wander about th store* I came across a package of 4 Paw Patrol board books on sale 30% off.  I couldn't resist.  Eli loves to be read to and is a huge fan of the puppies.  And G'ma loves to cuddle with him so it's a win/win.

I did get his mittens finished and will find out for certain if they fit when I drive out to visit on this upcoming Tuesday.  

Another near finish, on Saturday as I watched the finals of the European championship curling, I managed to get the majority of my Christmas gifts wrapped and labelled.  Glad I did as I'm missing two Santa gifts that I'll pick up later this shopping allowed after December 1st, except for a few groceries.  I've reached my financial limit and I'll avoid the crowds too.

Today, I'm puttering about, watching a bit of PVR'd television, working on my knitting project, and waiting for the Grey Cup game to start.  That won't be until early evening though the pre-game starts at noon. (I won't be watching all of that program!)  I've been out to feed the birds - it's just around the freezing mark so for late November not a bad day at all.  I should go for a walk but I probably won't. 

Have a good week everyone!

*I like to think I wander the aisles to get my steps in.  But really I love browsing.

Sunday 17 November 2019

If at first you don't succeed

I decided to start my Christmas baking on didn't go so well. First off, I was looking for recipes that do not include egg as Eli has an allergy.  I found what I thought sounded good; butter, brown sugar, milk, graham wafer crumbs, chocolate chips and walnuts.  I mixed up the batch and baked about 4 1/2 dozen mini baking cups of these cookies.  I thought there was an odd smell in the kitchen as they baked but decided it was my imagination.  After they cooled, my son and I both tested them.  Eww, there was something off and we both agree it was the chopped walnuts.  I went to the garbage bin and pulled out the bag, checking the best before date - October 2016.  Oops!  How did I miss that when I did my last fridge clean out?  Suffice to say that batch made its way to the bin, pronto!

Thankfully the following day I had better luck with my first batch of shortbread.  While I used a new-to-me recipe, it turned out very well.  I love the buttery taste of shortbread and so does my son, so I'm know this batch will disappear in short order.  It may be the first batch but it won't be the last.

Later in the week I made a pan of a gingerbread cake.  Another oops!  Somehow or another, the oven got turned off in the middle of baking.  When I finally wized up and realized it, and finishing cooking the cake the outside was a bit well done but at least the center was cooked through. But that wasn't the end of it.  I turned the cake out onto the board, flipped it over and part of the top came off.  It sure doesn't look pretty but it tastes fantastic While I intended to gift most or all of it, this cake won't be going anywhere.  At that point, all I could think was hopefully I'd have better luck with the next one! 

By Friday afternoon, I'd baked another gingerbread cake, another batch of shortbread (using my tried and true recipe), made a pan of butterscotch taffy, and had cookie dough chilling in the fridge. AND everything looked and tasted great!  But that wasn't all the excitement that day, as I received a frantic call from D that morning.  A water pipe had burst in the house, the water was flowing throughout the main floor and the basement had several inches on the floor as well.  She was trying to mop it up but was overwhelmed by the flooding.  We didn't know where the shut-off valve was, so she called a plumber who came over and shut it off. 

He discovered a pipe in the bathroom off the kitchen had literally "popped off".  This wasn't an old pipe from when the plumbing would have put into the house, probably in the 50's or 60's but a PVC pipe from the 1990's.  D called the insurance company to make a claim while the plumber went to his shop to get some parts.  He returned and left the old pieces with D, in case the insurance company wanted to see them.  In the meanwhile the insurance got in touch with a local restoration company to get the process of cleaning up the water, checking the furnace and water heater in the basement, and for any damage upstairs.  They will prepare a quote for the insurance company but based on D's conversation with the adjuster it sounds like they will approve it all.  

After the restoration company had arrived and done their walk-through, D called me.  Oh boy, this is going to be a real process.  Both the furnace and water heater will need to be replaced even though both are functioning at the moment. 

ALL of the flooring on the mainfloor will need to be replaced as well, as there was already buckling in the dining room, and the flooring goes throughout the main floor.  In addition, they told her they want to start ripping out the flooring today because of mold concerns.  So D and Eli went for a drive to a larger center, where she did some Christmas shopping, to allow the guys to get the work done.  Luckily the temperature was hovering above freezing so the cats could hang out in the sunroom and out of the way of the workers.  When she returned a few hours later all of the flooring was up, and the fans were in place.  Amazingly they worked around her furniture and everything was back in their normal placement as well.  

I did get out of the house as well this week.  Groceries were picked up on Tuesday, I met friends for breakfast and went to stitch and chat on Wednesday.  Friday evening, C and I went out to the Regina Golf Club to the annual dinner put on by our local AirForce association.  The dinner brings together young air cadets, their cadet leaders, members of the Snowbirds including pilots and aircraft technicians, AirForce assocation members and friends.  This night, the guest of honor was our Lieutenant Governor of Saskatchewan, Russ Merasty and his wife Donna.  The meal was great and we had a good group at our table.  

I got started on a new cross stitch project at the afternoon stitch group.  I'd picked up the kit at the Salvation Army thrift store for just a few dollars.  I've finished up a few projects and simply grabbed it to give me something to do.  

In the meantime, this is one of my latest finishes.  I had lots of this orange yarn, so I crocheted myself a slouchy hat. It's bright enough I shouldn't lose it anywhere, right?

I used the same yarn to make matching beanies for my D and Eli.  I actually made the larger one first thinking it might fit Eli, but I could wear it, so I revised the pattern slightly to make the smaller version.  I've started crocheting a pair of mittens for Eli of the same yarn since I still have some left.  I've never crocheted mittens, only knitted, so these are an experiment in the making.  So far, I've unravelled the first mitt twice because I wasn't happy with the way it was looking. 

Sunday is shaping up to be a relaxing day, at least most of it.  I got a notification just before 8, that CBC was live streaming the quarter finals of curling from an event in Halifax, so I have that running on my laptop as I write this.  Later there are two football games, the East and West Division finals, and our Riders are playing the the second game.  You can bet I'll be glued to the television and the poor cats will be running from the room as I cheer from my couch. 

Enjoy your day everyone!

Sunday 10 November 2019

Some whining and a bit of gratitude

If you are hearing whining in the distance, it's just me.  We had more snow, followed by the cold, more snow, and more cold.  This is November, dammit not January or February!  Apparently Mother Nature doesn't care what I think.  Wednesday morning was the worst as I awoke to -21C (-6F) with windchills approaching -30C.  I had thought I'd shovel the driveway but it was still so cold when I went out to feed the birds, I decided to head back indoors and have a shower instead.  

We had more snow on Tuesday afternoon, and I had shovelled before my son got home from work.  There must have been 2-3 inches of the fluffy stuff at that time.  It continued to snow lightly, so there was maybe a 1/2 inch or so left on the driveway that I cleared up on Wednesday before I went to the weekly stitch and chat at the library.  

Friday was a reasonably decent weather day, but that brought snow on Saturday.  I shovelled twice that day to try to keep the driveway clear.  By evening it had stopped but there was a cold wind so we've got a couple of days of freezing to get through before things improve.  Ok, enough whining!  I grateful to have a warm and comfortable home where I can shelter from the weather.

This week, I went through the items I've purchased (or made) for Christmas gifts and finalized my list.  I was very happy to realize I'm almost done.  Just a couple of gift cards; one for my nephew K and one for L, my esthetician.  I'll pick those up later this month, K's when I fill up at the gas station and L's at the grocery store.  When I added up the total, I was even more excited to realize I've stayed within my budget and it will all be paid for in advance of Christmas.  I don't need Christmas cards or wrapping paper as I have lots of that left over from last year.  (I know it seems early but as most of you know, I dislike crowds with a passion, so shopping around Christmas time is a non-starter for me).  

I also started the list of Christmas baking ideas.  I'm sure it will change over time but there are a few things I generally make every year.  Shortbread and mini cheesecakes are definitely on that list and I was fortunate to find butter and cream cheese on sale at Costco a few weeks ago. Since I have more time to spend on these activities I'm thinking I may try my hand at more finicky type baking.  Nanaimo bars, perhaps?

C and I postponed our regular Friday night dinner to Saturday, after we went to see the movie Midway.  The movie was incredible: the special effects amazing and the story was told without a lot of gore (which is sort of suprising given the topic).  While the impact on Pearl Harbor is well-known and I visited there several years ago, I must admit I didn't know anything about Midway.  The US navy had fewer men, fewer ships, and fewer aircraft, than the Japanese.  Through the efforts of the code-breakers and the belief of their results by the man in charge, they were able to surprise the Japanese at Midway and secure the Pacific.  The sheer bravery of those young (and some old) men to fly into the face of the guns on the aircraft carriers, while being chased through the skies by the Japanese war planes.  I'm sure there were at least a few on both sides shot down by friendly fire.  The movie was a spectacle, real life must have been excruciating.  While this movie focused on the one battle in the one war, I'm grateful to all those who served to ensure our security and freedom.

It reminds me that I really have little to complain about.  Now I'm off to watch the finals of the curling, and the CFL playoff games.  Eight hours of sports isn't for everyone but I'm a happy girl.

Have a great week everyone!

Sunday 3 November 2019

Keeping on, keeping on

Snow, miserable snow.  D and Eli left earlier than planned on Monday due to the continued snow and blowing snow. After they left, I thought they might have stayed another night, but then checked the forecast and was glad they made it safely home.  We got more snow overnight, the temperature dropped to -11C (12F) and the snow continued through most of the day.  Oh, I had so hoped not to bring out the snow shovel just yet!

We got Eli into his Superman costume, most of it anyway, before he decided he'd had enough of that.  D had to "fly" him around before he decided that it wasn't so bad after all!  Excuse the dirty face.  He's had a cold and between the area under his nose that is rubbed raw and the cookie he ate, he's a mess. :) 

Due to the nasty weather, I stayed home Monday but did make a trip to the grocery store on Tuesday to grab a few items.  I'm having fun with my new Google mini - I simply ask her* to add items to a grocery list and pull it up on my phone when I get to the store.  No matter, I still bought more than was on my list.  Safeway had pasta on sale for $.99 a box so I grabbed a couple more for the pantry.  I know that comfort food will be high on my list of go-to recipes as the weather gets colder still. 

I'm getting back into my routine, with coffee on Wednesday and dinner on Friday with C.  I wish I could say she's less depressed about the separation but I suspect it will be some time yet before she's truly ready to move on, if ever.  Meanwhile we find other topics to discuss.  I went to my stitch and chat group as well; this week there were eight of us working on various projects.  One of the women, just started coming last week.  She'd picked up a crewel needlework kit from a thrift store.  None of us have done crewel stitching, so as she is learning so are we.  There was knitting, cross stitch, embroidery, a quilt in the process of being hem stitched, and someone cutting out pieces for a quilt.  I took along some table napkins to stitch - will show them off when they are finished.

I did get a few things finished this week. On the left is the framed counted cross stitch project which I will give to my friend C for Christmas.  I know she doesn't read the blog so I'm safe to show it here.  

On the right is one of the pillow covers I knit using leftover yarn.  For the backing I used the last bit of cloth from Eli's Superman cape.  To finish the cover, I sewed it on my machine on three sides, inserted the pillow form, then whip stitched the bottom closed.  I can easily open that side up, and replace the cover with something else after Christmas.  I need to pick up another pillow form ($10) to finish the second pillow.  There was still a bit of yarn leftover so I used it to make small squares for coasters.  These I hot glued to squares of cork board for backing.  

It did warm up a bit mid-week but unfortunately all that did was create wet streets and sidewalks that froze overnight and became skating rinks.  So Thursday I was hard at the house cleaning to increase my steps and activity.  I swept, vacuumed, and washed the floors upstairs before heading down to the basement to give it a good cleaning.  (Other than vacuuming, cleaning cat litter, and washing the floor in that part of the basement, it hasn't had a good scrub for a few weeks.)

The trick or treaters started showing up about 5:30, but just a trickle until an hour later when they started showing up more frequently.  I'd packaged up 45 bags of candy but only ended up handing out 27.  My son and I will likely make short work of the mini chocolate bars while the lollipops will get tucked away for next year.                                                                  This photo is of Eli out trick or treating.  No problem getting him to wear the cape when he realized he'd get candy!  D said they went around the block, which was plenty for the little guy.  One of the stops was at a senior's apartment; D told me that several of them thanked her for bringing him.  That's sweet!

Saturday was another day of football, with our Riders playing the Edmonton Eskimos in the first game.  Our starting quarterback was injured in practice this week and did not play.  No matter, we still won and have clinched first place in our West Division.  This means the team won't play until the division play off on November of all they'll be at home.  It gives the guys a couple of weeks off to rest and recuperate, practice and watch video.  Well deserved!

The later games had less significance (at least to me) but I watched portions of both before heading for bed.  In the midst of the third came I had a text from my former real estate agent.  Another agent, who had shown the house earlier, was reaching out to see if I would be amenable to an offer lower than asking.  After a brief back and forth between us, Curtis texted her back to say "maybe, and how much lower?"  She did get back to him saying she'd let her client know and they would look at the recent Solds again.  So, who knows there may be another offer despite the house is no longer listed.  Again, I'm not holding my breath.  It just seems this saga is never ending.

Sunday is a day of rest.  I'll watch some NFL football, work on a crochet project, and if I'm feeling really ambitious, I'll do a little baking.  I took some bananas out of the freezer to make loaves which will likely end up back in the freezer.  I made two batches this week, chocolate chip drop coookies and cranberry ice box cookies so we don't need any more baking to tempt us.

Have a great week ahead everyone!