Tuesday 28 January 2020

I Maebeme

I've noted I have some new readers in the past few weeks, and wanted to welcome you all here.  I believe, as bloggers, we appreciate the comments (not the spam ones), as it gives support to our writing.  I know I certainly do.  My readers at this blog and my former blog have provided ideas, support, words of wisdom, and even the occasional well deserved (and kindly worded) rebuke.  While we may never meet in person there is a connection through this magic world of the internet.

For the new readers I'd like to share a bit of the back history of my life, my world.  I previously wrote another blog that is no longer public. The first blog came about when I discovered Blogger...long after blogs were a thing.  I've always been a late adopter.  I had a good group of readers of that blog, and like this one, I tended to write every week about my daily life, my family, and my travels.  For sometime I also kept up a funny Friday when I shared a cartoon that made me laugh.

But then I did something very foolish. I didn't stick to the script but choose to write a post about my work.  In the post, I made a few comments that were offside and that mistake cost me dearly.  It never dawned on me that anyone other than my loyal core group of readers was reading the blog.  But there was at least one person who had worked with me in the past, who did read it and shared it with one of my staff.  And although our corporate policy was a conflict with someone it was to be dealt with at the lowest level this individual chose to, instead, take it to our senior manager.  Not only that, but she circulated the post among many of the other employees in our division.  Initially I was not aware this had happened but sometime later, I received a request for a meeting with my manager and her manager, along with a union representative.  At that meeting, although I asked, I was told I could not know who had brought this forward.  I only found out a few months before I retired who was responsible. 

When I learned of the situation, I did take down the post.  Because of my position as a supervisor, I was also subject to disciplinary action.  But that wasn't the end of it.  The impact of my foolishness, and the actions of my staff member caused my last year of work to be extremely stressful.  I was shunted into a position that provided no real challenges.  Until that time I enjoyed my work and often called it my dream job.  But then it became my nightmare.  I felt like I walked through the office with a scarlet letter on my chest. I'm pretty sure no one was happier than I was when that final day came and I was able to walk out of the office for the last time.  

In the meantime I made the previous blog private, and thought about simply not writing anymore.  In fact, I told my managers that I had quit.  But I couldn't give it up, no more than I could quit breathing.  So my life, my world was born, and I took on the persona of Maebeme. 

Maebeme came from two sources.  Mae was my dad's older sister.  When I was a child, she and Grandma lived a half mile from our farm in a farmyard on land rented by my dad and his brother.  I was probably 6 or 7 when I started biking down the road to visit with Aunt Mae.  (Grandma was blind and deaf at this point, she sat in a chair and rocked most of the day).  Aunt Mae was the one who taught me to knit, she pretended to drive us on trips in her car, and always had peppermints in a tin.  I have so many wonderful memories of the times we spent with her.  She passed away the year my daughter was born. 

The phrase may be me was the other source.  I wanted a spot where I could be me.  Where I could write as I pleased without the fear that my words might be held against me.  Though I made certain never to write about work again, I also ensured there was no connection between my original blog and this one.  As far as I know, my blog has not been discovered by former co-workers.  Even if it has, I've not shared anything in this post that would identify any particular person. 

Today I will share that my name is Eileen.  I'm a 60 year old woman, never married, with two adult children and the most adorable grandson. (I may be a little biased).  I do regret my momentary lapse in judgement that brought me here, but only because it hurt some individuals I worked with.  I don't regret creating this new blog, although I lost some readers, not only because some very special people followed me here, but because I've met many others through it.  

Thank you for reading, and for sharing a bit of my life, my world.  Your comments are always appreciated.

P.S.  Some of my new readers who have commented, don't seem to have blogs linked to their profiles.  If you are one of those individuals and have a blog, please leave the address in a comment or e-mail me at Maebeme59@gmail.com  Thanks!


Sunday 26 January 2020

The rest of the week

Thanks for the comments on my last post.  Losing Jeff as quickly as we did was a huge shock but I realize that time will temper my feelings. C and I met for dinner on Friday; she and N were able to visit with him just hours before he passed away.  Hearing about their visit was somewhat comforting as he knew they were there.  His family was there too, he was not alone. 

The rest of the week has been rather slow. I did a bit of sorting in the store room downstairs and found a few more items that can be given away to family or donated.  One of the items is this coffee pot for larger gatherings.  It was my mom's* and I brought it home when we cleared out the house in 2007.  Dad had moved to the nursing home after mom's death, and we sold the house a year later.  I always thought I'd use it sometime, but it's been sitting gathering dust in the basement since then.  My brother may take it and add it to his collection. :)  

I also found three glass vases which I'll donate to Value Village or the Salvation Army thrift store.  I've started a pile in the living room of these items and plan to work my way through the rest of the house looking for other items to clear out.  

Since I was away last weekend, I was behind on several television programs I regularly watch. These were PVR'ed so I spent a good amount of time planted in front of the television with my knitting.  I'm close to finishing the baby blanket for my cousin's newest grandchild (due in April).  There is curling on again this weekend, both the women's provincials and the junior curling championships.  I've had one game streaming on the laptop while the other plays on the television since the times overlap.  This is a great time of year for me to get my projects done.

Our weather has improved quite nicely, with temperatures close to the freezing mark.  In the middle of January?  I'll take it!  I went out on Wednesday to the stitch and chat, there were only three of us there that day.  Two of the regulars are in Arizona, one had an MRI scheduled and a fourth was at bridge.  It was so noisy in the room, the fan set so high that it was difficult to hear one another.  We've asked if they can turn down the fan but apparently it has something with the work that's being done on the roof.  If it is that bad next week I'm going to ask if there is another room we could use that might be quieter. 

We had a power outage on Saturday for nearly 2 1/2 hours.  I was glad the outside temperature was decent as the house was just beginning to feel chilly when the power came back on.  The outage line indicated the crews had found ice build up on the transmission lines, which needed to be removed.  I'm not surprised as my evergreen in front was covered in frost on Friday. 

I did learn something this week too.  D called to say she'd left Eli in the living room while she watched television in her bedroom.  She came downstairs to find he'd gotten into her makeup bag and drawn on the wall with her mascara!  After a bit of research we learned that baby wipes will remove makeup from painted walls.  She happens to still have some wipes (as do I).  She also learned to put the make-up bag where the kid won't find it.  I learned that lesson years ago.  

Just heard the news that Kobe Bryant was killed this morning in a helicopter crash.  I'm not a basketball fan but do know who he is.  Sad news for his family, friends and former teammates.  

On that note, I'm off to watch more curling...about 7 hours of it.

*I recall mom had this coffee pot when I was teenager so it's probably 45 years old. Crazy!

Friday 24 January 2020

Life interrupted

This week has been tough.  

A former co-worker sent out an e-mail on January 15th that he had been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer last week.  He was told it had spread to his liver and lymph nodes.  The family was told on Monday the cancer was so advanced there was nothing the medical team could do for him, and he was given a prognosis of just days or at most a couple of weeks.  Sadly, he passed away on Tuesday evening.    

Jeff had a larger than life personality, he was well-liked and respected among the entire staff, he was beyond brilliant, a creative soul, and he cared deeply about the people in his life.  He brought the best out in people, and shared his knowledge readily.  Several years ago he took a year off work, travelling first to France to immerse himself in the French language, and then to Africa where he worked with children teaching English.  

It all seems so unfair, and along with the sadness I'm feeling a lot of anger.  At 54, he was far too young, just beginning to start thinking about retirement and life beyond his work.  To be honest, I wonder why it couldn't have been someone else, someone less kind, less caring, less invested in making the world a better place.  Sadly I can think of several people like that.

Too, with all of the advances in health care I truly don't understand how a cure or treatment even in late stages hasn't been found.  Are the drug companies holding it back because they make more money from the drugs they now deliver?  Cynical of me to think that way, I know, but these days profit seems to come before everything else.

This is the second cancer related death in my circle of family and friends in less than six months.  I suspect this won't be the last.  I just hope the next one won't be happen for a very long time. 

Rest in peace Jeff.  You will be missed.

Tuesday 21 January 2020

Long weekend review

Well, that was fun! I had a great visit with my daughter and grandson, saw some great curling matches, chatted with some interesting curling fans, and managed to stay warm most of the time.

It was cold when I drove out on Thursday afternoon and stayed that way through the weekend.  Every morning, it was in the -30C (-22F) range with windchills making it feel even colder.  The weather finally improved by noon on Monday when I was starting my drive to home.

I spent lots of time with Eli. Here's he's sitting beside me on the couch watching cartoons.  That's his juice glass in between his legs.  What a character this kid is!  I'd be sitting with him, reading or talking to my daughter and he would jump up, grab me by the face and give me a kiss.  

The photo on the right is blurry but shows him on the stairs early one morning, like 5 a.m. or so, with his I-pad. What you can't see is the little turkey is butt naked!  His mom followed him shortly and got him dressed.

On Monday I joined them at the indoor park for a bit before I headed for home.  He loves it there, playing with his friends and all of the toys.  That day there were four moms (one a foster mom) there with six children though at times it sounded like many more.  

At one point, D left to run a couple of errands. Eli wasn't happy she was leaving but soon settled down with me sorting colored popsicle sticks.  He is smart (proud grandma here!), knows and can say his colors very well. 

D has completed her application for pre-kindergarten for the fall.  I'm sure he'll like it there too though he'll have to learn to deal with a little more structure.  Won't hurt him.  His teacher might want to...

I drove to the nearby community for the first curling game on Friday morning. It started at 8 a.m., and I arrived shortly after the game started.  When I got to the door, I learned that the pass I bought was good for the games starting Friday evening at 8 p.m.  However, the pass didn't indicate this and was dated for January 17-19 so the volunteers allowed me in.  Later in the day, someone in charge wrote a note on my pass that indicated I was permitted to attend the noon and 4 p.m. games that day as well.  

I didn't stay for the 8 p.m. game as I was tired, it was dark and cold and I was ready to head back to my daughters.  I did the same thing on Saturday night so ultimately I only saw one additional game. Saturday the draws were a little earlier, so I saw a bit of the sunset on my drive back to D's. 
I was able to watch the Friday's late game on television, but Saturdays was broadcast on a channel I couldn't get!  I was disappointed as it was the semi-finals.  But Eli was up early that morning so we were too, and I wouldn't have wanted to be driving back at 10:30 that night.

Sunday was the finals, the first draw at 11 a.m. and the second at 2:30 p.m.

First up were the women, Anna Hassleborg of Sweden and Kim of Korea.  The latter team had three players named Kim and one named Ha.  It was a defensive game throughout.  Anna managed to get her two points in the first end and then it was back and forth for the rest of the game when Kim tied it up in the 8th end at 5-5.  In an extra end, Sweden scored their point and won.  It wasn't an exciting game, but the strategy and shot making were terrific.

Next up were the men, Brad Jacobs' team from Northern Ontario, and John Epping's team from Ontario.  Jacobs got his two points in the first end, and then it got ugly.  At one point the score was 5-1 for Jacobs after a couple of stolen ends.  But Epping fought back and tied it up in the 7th end.  In the 8th and final end Epping did all he could and was lying first and second shot when Jacob went to throw his final rock.  You could have heard a pin drop in the audience.  His sweepers got on the rock immediately and it stopped just in time for the win.  The place erupted with cheering.  I wasn't one of them because I had hoped Epping would win.  But, this game and the one before it came down to the last rock on the last end.  Perfect for spectators, maybe not so nice for the curlers.

It was an earlier end to the day and the sun was setting as I made the 30 minute drive back to my daughter's.

I had a busy few days with more driving than I've done in a long time. The weather was cold, but my car didn't give me any trouble, and the time spent with D and Eli was priceless.  Even so, it was good to get home and sleep in my own bed last night! 

Have a great week everyone!

Thursday 16 January 2020

My winter vacation?

The week started out cold, got colder still to stupidly cold (-32C with windchills of -41C on Wednesday for most of the day) before we are finally getting a bit of a reprieve on Thursday.  Thank goodness as today is the day I am heading to my daughter's home.  Her place will be my base for this weekend's Grand Slam of Curling event.  

There are four games tomorrow and Saturday and the two finals on Sunday (men and women).  The first two days the opening match starts at 8 a.m. and the last match will end around 10 p.m.  There is usually a 75 minute break between matches.  This will make for long days so I probably will go later in the morning to catch the end of the first game, and come back to D's in the evening to watch the last game of the day on television.  I really don't want to have my car sit all day in a parking lot even if the temperatures improve as much as they are supposed to.  Plus I'd rather drive in the daylight hours.  

I'm about to start packing the car but will clean cat litter and feed the birds first.  I should be on the road by noon or so, as I'll spend this afternoon and evening with D and Eli.  He's begun to say "hi Gramma" on the phone, and he was excited this morning to hear I was coming to visit today.

Have a great weekend everyone. I'll be back with photos from the event and my visit early next week.

Stay warm wherever you are!

Sunday 12 January 2020

Weather woes

I started this post earlier in the week, but deleted it because it was just words about nothing.  The entire week has pretty much revolved around the weather.

Monday - cold
Tuesday - a little warmer, snow and blowing snow
Wednesday - getting colder, blustery with windchill near -30C. 
Thursday - colder still, by 8 p.m. it was -27C, adding in the windchill it was closer to -35C.  
Friday - freaking ridiculously cold in the morning -31C when I woke up, I don't even want to think about the windchill.  It "warmed" up through the day to -21C by evening.  
Saturday - warmer still, about -17C in the morning and -12C by mid afternoon.  More snow! 
From the indoors looking out...I really need to clear off the sills.  
Sunday - temp remains around -12C, more freaking snow!**

I did get out a few times this week, getting groceries, going for coffee once, to stitch and chat, and to dinner with C.  Shovelling snow took me outside three times (thus far), and I've fed the birds every day as well.  Other than that, it's been a lot of sheltering indoors, working on a few knitting projects.  Eli's sweater needs to be sewn together and the neck edge completed.  I've currently got another baby blanket on the needles, and started crocheting an infinity scarf.  Keeping busy and warm has been the order of the day!

I've been watching the Continental Cup of Curling event since Thursday.  Sadly, our Canadian team hasn't fared any better than we have with the weather. There are still a few matches to be decided but if I were a betting person I'd be saying Europe will win the cup this year.  It still makes for entertaining watching...at least for me.

Have a great week everyone.  We're back into the deep freeze after Monday. Hope the weather is better where you are.   

**At least we're not getting the freezing rain that others are experiencing in Ontario.  I may not like the snow and cold, but I'll take it over freezing rain any day.

Sunday 5 January 2020

Getting back to real life

While I spent much of the day on New Year's watching football and a movie (!), the rest of the week has been spent doing housework. Who would have thought in 2020, we wouldn't have a robot maid like the Jetsons that would keep the house clean and tidy?  I guess I'm my own Rosie.  

Yes, I watched a movie and it was a waste of time.  Inglorious Basterds was about an elite group of fighters in WWII, a young Jewish woman who escapes the Nazis, and a German actress who operates as an underground agent for the Allies.  Spoiler alert - I don't believe any of it is factual or if it is, Tarantino took licence with the characters and the plot.  For example, in the late stages of the movie, four senior Nazi officials supposedly die in a fire, but of course that didn't happen.  Would that they had, as it would may have ended the war much sooner.  

I did manage to get out for a walk though.  With the temperature hovering at the freezing mark and little wind it was a lovely day to be out in the fresh air.  While it's not clear in the photo, some residents of the condo unit have cleared a skating rink on the pond.  Someone had to have played hockey as there were goals on either end.  I'd be too afraid to go out on the ice but I'm sure someone had fun!  I believe my fear is the result of my Dad losing control of our station wagon when I was about 7 or 8.  We ended up on the ice on the neighbour's slough.  Dad left us (three children) in the backseat while he walked to the house several hundred meters away.  I don't recall much but I do know I was afraid the car would break through the ice before he got back.  It didn't and Victor pulled us out with his tractor, but I've never entirely gotten over my fear. 

While it's been just a few days since New Year's Day but I feel like it's been much longer.  Not that I haven't been busy because I certainly have been.  More so, because I'm back to a more regular routine.  The cats ensure I'm awake no later than 7 a.m. and most days earlier.  Their internal alarm clocks are amazing, especially since, once they've eaten, they spend the rest of the day napping.  I'd be happy if they'd give me an extra half hour in the morning, but that's not happening.

Back to the housework.  In addition to the regular chores, I've started my de-cluttering; thus far the kitchen, the linen closet, and my bedroom dresser have been gone through, sorted, with some things ending up in the trash, others in the donation pile, and the rest tidied up and put away.  I just went through this exercise last February and March, and yet I'm still finding things to get rid of, though not nearly as much as last years round.  There are two small bags of clothing to be donated, as well as a few kitchen items.  Some ratty towels have been relegated to the rag pile.  My goal is to finish the entire house by the end of January.  

C wasn't feeling well Friday evening, so our dinner was postponed.  We got together instead on Saturday evening. It's always a pleasant visit as we never run out of things to talk about.

Today I'm watching junior hockey.  Our Canadian team has made it into the gold medal game, hooray!  They'll be playing Russia, a team that  beat us earlier in the tournament 6-0.  Yikes!  But since a change in goaltender Canada has won every game.  So perhaps they've found the winning formula.  Currently, the Sweden and Finland are playing in the bronze medal game. Both are very good teams and a interesting game to watch.  I have to say, watching the juniors is more exciting than the NHL.  These kids play hard!
Finally, before I forget, I thought I'd share my experience using the Instant Pot as a slow cooker.  Jackie mentioned in the comments that it doesn't work well, and she was definitely right.  While the chili did cook, after 6 hours it wasn't very hot so I switched to a pressure cooker and gave it 4 minutes.  Much better!  What I did like was how quickly it cleaned up.  With the slow cooker I almost always end up with the chili cooked onto the sides of the pot, it just poured right out of the inner pot of the Instant Pot.  

Have a great week everyone!

Wednesday 1 January 2020

2020 Vision

2020 is here, and for the first time in a long time I'm not certain what this year will bring.  I realize no one ever knows ahead of time, but I usually have formulated some sort of plan....it didn't work so well for 2019.  I must admit the uncertainty is a bit unsettling as I like to be in control.  Perhaps this is the year that I learn to let go and simply experience every moment.  We'll see.    

The only for certain is a cruise I booked on my January 2019 cruise for June 2020.  I've got airfare booked (and almost paid for), the pre-cruise hotel booked, and started a short list of sights to see in London.  There is still a flight to Amsterdam, a return train back to London, plus post-cruise hotel to be arranged but I won't look to complete those until the end of January or early February.  My travelling companion for this trip, L is in Mexico for a few weeks so I'll wait for her return.

Another probable certainty is a visit to D and Eli's in January.  I've bought myself a weekend pass to the Grand Slam of Curling event - it's being held in a community about 20 minutes from their home.  The uncertainty is due to what the weather might bring. There are four draws on Friday, three on Saturday, and two on Sunday. If it's 40 below zero then I'll choose the games I might attend and spend the rest of the time at D's. If there is a blizzard I'll have to determine whether I go at all.  Currently the Farmer's Almanac is calling for snowy periods and mild weather for the weekend...but we all know that can be off.  
Gracie and Cola on a run in the valley with my brother
That's it - the rest of the year is a blank slate.  I'll continue to craft, to spend time with friends and family, and do a bit of work on the house.  

I don't make (or keep) resolutions but a goal for this year will be to get healthier, both physically and emotionally.  Perhaps that is enough of a plan.  

Wishing all of my readers (and lurkers) a very Happy New Year and all the best in 2020!