Saturday, 16 October 2021

Puttering, plays, and solving problems

Before I forget, Kathy asked last week how I was planning to overwinter the geraniums.  This is the first time I've attempted it, so am relying on information I found in a FB gardening group.  When I lifted the plants I removed most of the soil, and laid them out in the garage to dry.  After a couple of days (or in my case a week because I forgot), I've removed the dead foliage and placed them in a plastic bags.  They need to be stored in a cool, dry place, and for me that's my garage.  I'll have to let you know how it all works out in 7 months or so. :)

This week flew by in a flash!  Of course, I posted on Monday so the week was shorter than normal, but even so, it seemed it was nearly the weekend again before I turned around.

The curling kept me busy on Sunday, and started up again on Thursday. I suspect this will continue at least until the end of November when the Olympic curling trials take place.  I've also been watching the major league baseball playoffs - I got hooked at the end of the season when the Toronto Blue Jays made a bit of a run though they came up short, and have been watching the games since.  It amazes me how one game a team will be able to get hits and runs, seemingly at will, and the next game be unable to score. I guess the pitching has a lot to do with it.  Add in Canadian football and I've been in sports heaven this week.  Hockey also started up on Wednesday but other than a few minutes of a couple of games I haven't watched a lot.

I haven't always been a baseball fan.  When I was at school as a youngster, when teams were picked for a game, my team always sent me to the outfield....way, way, way outfield. In fact, there was more than once that the teacher sent someone out to find me after recess.  I'd get fascinated by an ant hill or wander over into the bush next to the ball diamonds, or simply sit and day dream.  However, a few years ago, while on a cruise, I met a couple from New Jersey.  Their names escape me now - I remember he sold ice cream and she was a huge baseball fan.  She and their son had visited numerous stadiums across the United States.  The world series was on that week and she and I would make our way to the lounge where the games were being shown from the satellite.  I don't recall who won the series but I got a new appreciation for the game.    

I did get most of the housework caught up this week, much of it on Tuesday morning before the baseball started.  I had to run out too, to pick up a doctor's note for my daughter, so made a couple of extra stops at the dollar store, Value Village, and Walmart.  Nothing exciting at the dollar store, and though it was senior's day I found one item at VV.  It is a small lantern meant to hold a small candle.  I've already started re-doing it - it was metal with glass panels - the metal has been painted white and I intend to fill it with some Christmas decor and a set of battery operated lights. 

My daughter had asked if I would get pillows for her for Christmas, but "could she get them before Christmas, please?".  I found Serta pillows on sale at Walmart so we all got new pillows.  I also picked up a new laundry basket as my old one had fallen apart.  I loaded them all into the back seat of the car, and it was full.  If I'd had an accident on the way home, I would be well cushioned. :)

On the project side, I'm getting lots done while I'm watching the various sporting events.  I had done dishes a number of times at D's last weekend and the dishcloth she was using was falling apart.  I pulled out my cotton yarn and knit up three dishcloths for her.  Since I had it out, I found a pattern for a crocheted kitchen hand towel and started that as well.  I also did some puttering in my craft room and have a couple of other things on the go.  

I did switch out the display on the top of my china cabinet.  Most of the items are ones I made or revamped. This is the initial display - I'd meant to make a sign using thankful or grateful but never got around to doing so, thus it's pretty barren.  The next photo is my display for Halloween. I'm sure my son thinks I'm nuts, but I'm having fun with it. I sent a photo to D and Eli said it was spooky. 

Thursday morning started out cold and wet.  It was below zero when I woke up, and it never made it to more than 3C (37F) that afternoon.  There was even a skiff of snow on the top of the garbage and recycling bins when I went to move the garbage bin to the street for pick-up.  I'm so not ready for this type of weather, but thankfully we've got better weather for the near future.  The containers of flowers are still out!

I did have to run out as I had a flu shot booked for that morning.  I got the shot at the Safeway pharmacy so did a some grocery shopping before I left the store.  I may or may not have left before the 15-20 minutes I was supposed to stay was up.  In fact, I think I arrived home about 20 minutes after the shot.  I've yet to have any kind of reaction to the flu shots.  This year is no different.  My arm was a wee bit sore on Friday morning, but I did some arm circles and the pain dissipated quickly.

This morning was cold too, -2C (28F), but is expected to warm up to 16 (61F) this afternoon.  There are four curling games and two football games being streamed or televised, and sometime between or before all that I've got to get outside to start pulling the plants from the containers.  Sunday is supposed to be quite warm too, so I'll finish then.

Oh, the other momentous occasion this week was finally getting on of the fence gates repaired.  I've been sending e-mails to the company for four weeks about problems with the gate.  The post attached to the house was loose and the locking mechanism wasn't working properly.  The owner kept promising to send someone out and then either forgot or got too busy (whatever!), and finally I'd had enough.  I informed him, if someone wasn't there within the week I would be hiring someone else to make the repairs and sending him the invoice.  It still took an extra day (the worker had a funeral to attend - maybe?) but he did show up this week and the necessary repairs made.  I don't expect they'll ever ask me for a reference.  

You may note that the layout of the blog is slightly different.  I messed up when I went to change the photo, (I need to remember to scroll down!), and ended up deleting the header gadget.  So then, I had to change the theme in order to get one back.  When the photo I originally posted was too large I clicked the button to shrink it and I ended with what's there now.  I give up...blogger is certainly not an intuitive application and the help section is pretty much a mire of closed questions.  I couldn't even figure out how to submit a question of my own.  

Enough of my ramblings, time to make another cup of tea and settle in with my crocheting to watch the first curling game of the day.  Take care everyone, stay well and have a good week.

Monday, 11 October 2021

A week that was and a Thanksgiving visit

 Who knows what happened the first few days of the now past week?  I can't recall and I don't have anything much written down on my calendar beyond cleaning cat litter and a few chores.  I note I did get out to Costco on Tuesday - there were a few items on sale that I wanted.  I follow a blog that posts photos and pricing of sale items (or other items that catch the writer's fancy).  One of the items I wanted was a CO detector for the basement.  It's a plug-in version with a lithium battery back-up.  I did the test and it is loud!  I hope I never hear it in real-life.

I also picked up a couple of gifts for my son and daughter for Christmas.  I'm very close to finishing my shopping.  I know it's early but with concerns about the supply chain I'm happy to get it over and done with.  My favorite Pinty's buffalo chicken "flings" (basically a chicken nugget) were also on sale. The regular price has gone up by a dollar, so the sale price isn't as good as it once was but for now I'll buy them every so often.  

Wednesday was an absolutely beautiful day weather wise.  I spent some time outdoors, cleaning up the front containers as the plants were looking pretty straggly.  A neighbour stopped as I was working and we chatted for a bit.  They had planted some lilies this summer in containers and were hoping they'd make it over the winter.  I suspect they won't and mentioned they might want to put them in the ground...he thought the dirt in the containers was the ground.  They are new to gardening so just a rookie mistake.  I pulled my geraniums and a piece of ivy from each container.  The ivies are potted up and sitting in my kitchen window, while the geraniums are drying out in the garage.  I'll put them in a bag and store them in the garage (it doesn't ever freeze since it is well insulated) and hopefully I'll be able to use them again next year.

Thursday was grocery day.  Nothing exciting to report there.  Prices just keep increasing but I really didn't need much and bought some sale items to put into the pantry.  Friday the curling started so I was lazy and spent the day watching several games and knitting.  I've finished four scarves and over the weekend used some of the remaining yarn to make up two headbands.

On Saturday I drove out to D's for an overnight visit.  She made a lovely meal that evening of ham, roasted veg and homemade buns.  I got to see the finished bathroom - it is lovely! and spend time with my favorite guy.  Stanley (the black cat on my lap had come to cuddle, so Eli piled on too.)

While I was there I cleared out D's flowers from the containers, while she scrubbed the downstairs bathroom and Eli ran around the yard.  She was taking care of a friend's dog while they were away from the weekend, so Eli and I hung out when she went over to their house.  She took advantage of the opportunity to run to the store without her little helper while she was out.  

Before I left on Sunday, Eli and I spent some time outdoors.  It was cool in the early morning but warmed up nicely.  He is getting so tall! 

I left about 3 p.m. and was home by 4:30, just in time to feed the cats. :)  C went out for dinner with friends so I had the house to myself for a bit.  I had one curling match up on You-tube on my smart television, while the other match was playing on FB.  Both of the teams I was pulling for won, and are into the playoffs.  Today is playoff day with three draws.  I've currently got the same setup as last night, but one of my teams is not shooting well today.  

Our weather has cooled off significantly, with frost forecast for tonight.  Between draws I've got to get out and clean out some containers.  But first, I have to head to the local Walmart to see if they have a charging cable for my Samsung phone.  I forgot mine at D's and she won't be able to mail it until tomorrow morning - the earliest I'll have it with our mail delivery is Wednesday afternoon.  For now, the phone is shut off and if I can't find a charging cable it will stay that way except if I need to use it briefly.

Take care everyone, stay well. Happy Thanksgiving to my Canadian readers!

Saturday, 2 October 2021

Ending the week on a high note

I started this post Friday evening, managed one paragraph before I gave in to the need to go to sleep. It was only 7 p.m., but I'd got under 5 hours of sleep the night before, and with just a couple of brief moments of wakefulness through the night I slept until 7 a.m.  I was definitely tired. I scrubbed my original paragraph as it didn't make a whole lot of sense. 

So back to regularly scheduled programming.  This week was pretty quiet as I remained under my self-imposed, just to be cautious, isolation until Thursday. I spent most of my time doing housework, knitting/crocheting while watching television, along with a bit of reading out on the front patio, and listening to podcasts while doing my walks indoors. 

Since the weather is still lovely, I haven't yet cleared out the containers.  One morning I went out and took some photos of the various flowers.

The impatiens is my bellwether - when we have a frost that causes it to die back, I'll do my yard clean-up.

In the backyard, my trees have shed most of their leaves.  The hanging basket of petunias is looking straggly, even after it's recent haircut.

The dahlia, that I rescued half-dead from the garden center, started blooming about two weeks ago.  I'm hopeful, I'll be able to over-winter it this year and enjoy it again next year.

The marigolds are showing their sunny faces, now that the tomato plants have been pulled from the containers. 

Lastly, these petunias are interesting to me.  The splashes of white differ so much and the only bloom doesn't have any.  I wonder if that has something to do with the weather or simply a natural progression as the plant ages.

On the creative side of things, I've finished knitting the market bag I started last week, though it still needs to be sewn up. I also finished knitting my first scarf - I'm using up remnants or balls of yarn I got on deep discount. I've started crocheting a second, but based on the amount of yarn, it will likely be a cowl rather than a scarf.  From last week, I made a little troll to sit on my tiered tray.  Again, I used a small dollar store wood block sign as the base.  The little hat is a piece of a felt scarf, the beard are pieces from a mop head, with a wooden bead for the nose.  

The little gift packages are made from dollar store tumbling blocks and small wooden blocks. I glued the blocks together, painted, and tied and glued on the ribbons.  They'll be added to the wheelbarrow that currently holds fall flowers and mini-pumpkins.  

Set free on Thursday, I did my grocery shopping and made a stop at Value Village.  I found more yarn for scarves (I think enough to make two), a set of knitting needles, a pair of photo mats, and a bag of Jenga blocks, all for less than $11 including the taxes.  At this rate, I'll never use up all the yarn in my stash but the color and amount of yarn was too good to pass up.  

Friday, despite the lack of sleep, was a very good day.  I did some housework, caught up on some television programs, and then spent the afternoon with my friend K.  It's been a very long time since we've spent time together, though we've talked on the phone occasionally, so there was lots to catch up on and lots to discuss.  She returned the container I filled with goodies last Christmas, and a book I'd lent her, and she left with a box of books.  There were several she hasn't yet read, and they'll all be added to the two boxes of her own for the book sale she and J volunteer at each year (the last sale was in 2019). We solved many of the world's problems, though I suspect no one is listening to us, and enjoyed the sun and warmth on the back deck. 

Today is another busy sports day.  I had the replay of the football game from last night (not our home team) this morning, and there two more games later today including the Riders.  There are also several curling events going on, and I may be able to fit in a live stream or two. :)

I'm going to head out for a walk shortly, the temperature is sitting around 9C (48F) so it will be fresh and lovely out there. There are several fires north of us, and the smoke seems to be headed this way.  I was chatting with Eli this morning on video chat and D took us outdoors to show the haze.  She says it smells like a campfire. I hope it passes us by.

Take care everyone, stay well.  And thank you again for the expressions of concern for D and Eli.  

Thursday, 30 September 2021

Great news!

 I probably don't need to post anything further, but will confirm that D and Eli are both negative for Covid.  The text came in late on Tuesday evening for the little guy, while D got her results this morning.

I'm happy and relieved. 

*comments off

Monday, 27 September 2021

Quick update

Thank you to all who have expressed concern for D and Eli.  I just wanted to let you know that they had their tests this morning.  Apparently, the few testing sites nearby, and certainly the one in their small town, is not available over the weekend.  The nurse indicated that the results will not be available until Saturday or Sunday of these week.  I'll let you know more then.  

In the meantime both are feeling somewhat better, though Eli still has a definite phlegmy cough that seems to be worse at night.  Regardless, D will be keeping him home this week, since he cannot return to school without a negative test result.  (He doesn't mind at all.)

Take care and stay well everyone! *comments off

Saturday, 25 September 2021

Much ado, hopefully about nothing

 Another week is nearly in the books.  AND I actually finished reading another book this week. 

My reading has really decreased in the last year and when I do pick one up, I remember how much I enjoy reading. Of course, then I finish one and don't immediately start another. 

This was a James Patterson book I picked up at the thrift store, titled "Mistress".  I'm not certain I've read many of his books before, but I do know that his books are quite popular.

I must admit, I almost didn't read it because it started out rather oddly.  The description of the protagonist, Ben "isn't like most people. Unable to control his racing thoughts" was an understatement.  It took me a couple of chapters to get into the story because his thoughts take him down some strange paths.  After a bit of reading, that quirk didn't seem quite so strange.  My daughter often talks about her thoughts spinning out in different directions, and I suspect I was given some insight into how her brain works too.

The story of a death of a woman Ben loves/loved in the heart of Washington, D.C. takes the reader on a race with him to identify the killer(s) before he suffers the same fate. As you might imagine, by the title, there is far more to this book than a simple murder.  There are scenes in the book that seem almost improbable, but also possible, based on what we see playing out on television.  I won't give away more of the plot, but will say I did enjoy the book and would definitely read another novel by this author again.

Back to my daughter, she called today (as she does every morning) to let me know she and Eli will be tested for Covid today.  He woke up ill yesterday, she isn't feeling well herself today, so she called the Healthline this morning first thing.  Both are coughing, Eli is a bit lethargic, but neither have a temperature so I have my fingers crossed the tests will be negative.  I haven't had any symptoms but will stay home until their results come in.  Our province is backed up due to the significant number of tests being performed so I suspect that won't be for three to five days.  Our province is second only to Alberta in the cases per 100,000 people, our hospitalization rates are higher than ever before and we've lost sixty two people to Covid in the month of September alone. That's almost 10% of the total deaths to Covid since this all started and the month isn't over yet. (Since I've posted, she hasn't yet heard back so is expecting they may have to wait until Monday to get their tests.)

Back at home, and I truly mean that - I'm not venturing far these days - I had a quiet week.  I stocked up on groceries on Thursday and shouldn't need anything until late this upcoming week or hopefully into the next.  The weather has been up and down all week, hot one day, cool the next, and in fact we had frost on Friday morning, though everything is still looking fine today.  I went out to water since we're not expecting any really cool weather until next week sometime now.  I must admit I'm a bit tired of it, and was thinking I'd pull the plants this weekend but everything is looking so good I hate to do it.  At least, I'm only having to water every three days or so as they're not quite as thirsty as they once were. 

Besides housework, I've been spending a lot of time watching curling. There have been at four draws a day, starting early in the morning, though I've missed most of those draws.  The number of teams eligible for entry to the curling trials for determining our Canadian representative for the Olympics is quite large this year with over 60 teams (both men and women) in contention.  Normally they would have earned their way into the trials by winning points at various events over the past year and a few did so winning the Brier and the Scotties.  But since many of the qualifying events were not held because of the pandemic, Curling Canada are now holding several pre-trial events.  This week the are two events being held at the the same time, the Pre-Trial Direct Entry and the Direct Entry.  I believe the Direct Entry winners will go onto the trials (that seems to make most sense to me), the losers of the Direct Entry event and the winners of the Pre-trial Direct Entry will participate in October for the last of the spots available - I think there will be two men's and two women's out of that spiel.  In total nine men's and nine women's team will vie for the Olympic berth.  The Roar (the curling trials) are being held in Saskatoon at the end of November.  I'd love to attend because this event brings the best teams to the event, but I suspect I'll be parked on my couch watching every draw. In the meantime the Curling Zone has been live streaming the events on You-tube.  So I can keep track of the baseball and football on television, while watching the curling on my laptop.  Can you tell I'm a happy girl?    

In between draws I've been getting my housework done, and playing in my craft room.  I haven't any finishes just yet...lots of things are nearing completion so I'll share them next week.  While I'm sitting I'm continuing to work on the crocheted flower hexagons and have started knitting another market bag.  I ran out of one the colors of yarn I need for the flowers, and when I stopped at Michaels this week, they are out of that particular color but expecting a new order this week or next.  I'll keep an eye out on-line and will order for pick-up.  I am using up a lot of leftover skeins of yarn so a couple more will ensure those bits and bobs get used up.

Today, my friend S is on my mind.  Her mother passed away a week ago in a for-profit long term care home in Alberta. The funeral will be held today in her hometown in Saskatchewan.  S lives about 90 minutes from her mom's care home, and she would often call as she was making the drive and we would chat for part of her drive.  I'll miss those calls, though I'm sure we'll find other times and reasons to chat.  I won't get into the details of her mom's death, but S and I have come to the conclusion we wouldn't want to live out our days in a for-profit LTC...suffice to say that the lack of care was evident.  

Well, I hate to end this post on such a negative point.  So, I'll share a silly story from earlier this week.  I wash the supper dishes in the evening, and as mom would have said, I let God dry them overnight.  While I chat with D, I put them away in the cupboard and clean the sinks.  One morning, as I was cleaning the drain I noticed a dead spider in the sink.  First off, I hate spiders worse than any other bug.  They totally scare the daylights out of me, dead or alive.  So after a minor melt down I gathered up the spider in a paper towel and put in the garbage.  Then, because I didn't know whether it had touched anything in the sink I re-washed everything I'd washed the night before.  Serves me right for not using the drain board, but there weren't that many items since I'd done them earlier in the day.  I do have a dishwasher, but it would take a couple of weekdays to fill it, so only use it about once every two weeks to keep the seals from drying out and to eliminate any smell from the drain. I may have to re-think that decision should any more critters come crawling into the sink.  Ewwwww!

It's an absolutely beautiful fall day here, the sun is shining, with a light breeze.  I have an hour or so before the next draw, so I think I'll head outdoors and read on the patio.  Enjoy your weekend everyone!

Monday, 20 September 2021

Wasp trap recipe

 I had forgotten I had a question about the recipe for the wasp trap to answer.  Sorry!

I should mention I purchased a wasp trap, which is basically a plastic container that has small openings that the wasps can find their way into, but cannot get out.  There are DIY options that can be found on-line as well.

The base of the trap is filled with a mixture of something sweet (which attracts the wasps) and red wine vinegar (which supposedly keeps bees away), and a piece of meat, or wet cat or dog food.  I used a mixture of water, red wine vinegar and sugar.  No specific ratios seem to be needed.  I'm sure one could use fruit juice and plain vinegar too with some sugar.  

My brother tells me that what kills the wasps is not the mixture but the heat that builds up in the trap.  It doesn't sound very humane but I suspect the insecticide I use isn't any more so.  

If you can find the nest, my research suggests two tablespoons of dish soap in a spray bottle of water can be used to spray on the nest.  This mixture clogs the wasp's pores and kills them instantly. I have to wonder if I were to add the dish soap to the mixture in the trap would be a good idea.  

And of course, one can wait until freeze-up as the majority of the colony will die while the queen hibernates.  

Sunday, 19 September 2021

Freak it out, breathe it out

 I'm a day later than normal posting because I spent Friday and Saturday with D and Eli.  It was a wonderful visit, with lots of hugs, laughter, and cuddles.  Nothing fills my emotional tank more than when that little boy climbs onto my lap and snuggles in.  More on the visit later in the post.

My son was back to work this week after a week of vacation.  That meant, of course, I was busy with housekeeping that was ignored the week prior. If he has a week off, I have one too, right?  I shopped for groceries and ran errands for D to pick up her meds to deliver to her this weekend.  The weather was cool most of the week, but no rain so I needed to water my containers a couple of times.  We did get a light frost on Friday morning, but there was no damage done to any of my plants.  It will have to drop to -4C (25F) before things will start dying off.  The ivies and impatiens as always the first to go, but the petunias will take the first few frosts without much harm done.  Still, I'll pull everything by the end of the month and get the yard cleaned up for the winter months.

I did get out walking this week too, on a lovely seasonal morning.  No photos as I did not take my camera with me.  There were fewer ducks and more geese on the pond. I suspect they're starting to gather for their migration south but some actually stay here over winter on the man-made lake by the power station.  The water stays open there, but I have no idea what they feed on.

I left the city about mid-morning on Friday for my visit to D and Eli.  She is having her upstairs bathroom renovated, so we'd plans to get out of the house, driving to the nearest large community to do some shopping and allow Eli to play at a local park.  CT has been working at the house since Tuesday and run into a few issues that have taken a little more time - it is a 110 year old house - but I suspect he'll finish by the end of this upcoming week.  Eli is quite interested in what is going on, but has been good about staying out of the way when he's at home.  He does like to visit sometimes though, so I'm sure the contractor, CT appreciated our being out of the house for several hours.

A friend had recommended the park to D, and we were really happy with the choice.  It had a large piece of playground equipment with slides and climbing apparatus on it.  Eli ran, climbed, and jumped while D and I ate lunch at a nearby picnic table.  Only after he'd checked everything out did he come and eat.

This little car was a hit; he climbed in and on it.  It was on springs so bounced when he did so.  I think you can tell he enjoyed it very much.
In this photo, he is awaiting his turn to go on the big slide. At first he was a bit tentative as it's quite a bit higher than the one at his local park, but soon he was happily zipping down the slide.  There was a large hill in the park, where I suspect the children sled in the winter.  He had to climb the hill too, and roll down it.  It's an Eli thing. :)

After our visit at the park, we wandered the local Value Village, where we found a few books for D and Eli, a toy microphone for Eli, and a bag of crochet cotton for me.  D was soon wishing he hadn't gotten the microphone as it echoes but she's the one that pointed it out to him.  We also wandered through Winners, then headed to Canadian Tire so Eli could show me the Lego pirate ship he wants for Christmas. I promised him I'd check out my local CT when I got home. Little does he know, but the present is already in the closet here as I ordered it last week.  Good thing, as D checked and it's currently out of stock on-line.  It's meant for an older child, but D has assured me she'll put it together.  I used a couple of gift cards I'd earned from completing on-line surveys to reduce the cost, and she and I shared the reduced cost.

After a quick stop at Walmart for a couple of items, we headed back to their home.  CT had finished for the day, so of course, we headed upstairs to check out his progress.  He's got the tub in and has put in new concrete backer board around the tub, replaced, mudded and taped drywall that was damaged and replaced subflooring where the vanity was previously.  I had been worried about the flooring under the linoleum, as it was very uneven and I thought it might be due to water damage.  However, it turns out during the previous renovation, someone had used some filler to try to level the floor but had done such a poor job of it, it was even more uneven.  He'll be doing something similar but has assured us, the floor will be even and level.  He'll be back this week and I expect the bathroom will be complete (fingers crossed) by Friday.  She'll have a brand new tub, toilet, and vanity with subway tile around the tub.  I had a mirror that he'll hang for her rather than purchasing something new.

CT ran new lines to the basement because the old lines were in rough shape.  He installed shut off valves for both the cold and hot water so she can shut the water off in that bathroom without losing water service to the rest of the house, if need be.  While in the basement he realized that one of the runs from the furnace to the second floor (installed less than two years ago), had not been hooked up so he did that too.  There was some additional taping he felt needed to be done as well.  As a result it's taking longer than he originally estimated, but on the other hand, he's noticed things neither she nor I had or would have so even if this costs a bit more it will be worth it.  He mentioned that her basement was probably pretty warm last winter...this year the work he's done should ensure the upstairs gets the heat instead.

On Saturday, we did a bit of housework before heading to the local park.  Eli had fun on his own for a bit before another child he knows arrived.  The two had a blast together, chasing one another, using the big slide, and even wrestling in the sand.  Later on, at home he played in his sand box, in which he'd dumped a bucket of water.  He went directly into the bathtub (she has a second full bath on the main floor) before dinner! This photo was pre-tumbling in the sand.

On Saturday evening, Eli and I were hanging out on the couch and we noticed a fly buzzing around.  I started singing, "There was an old lady, who swallowed a fly...".  While I struggled to remember the words, Eli found the story on his tablet and brought it to me to read.  Now, D has never read this story to him, and how he knew where the story was located in his app is beyond both of us.  He snuggled in and I read/sang the story to him.  

At one point D was struggling to get the television connected to her I-Pad so we could watch football and was expressing her frustration. Eli went to her and said, "freak it out and breath it out, mama."  She started to laugh and things went much better after that.  She said to Eli, "where did you learn that?" He again grabbed his tablet and pulled up a cartoon where the phrase was used.  We tried using it with him the next didn't work nearly as well. But he clearly understands and is learning lessons from the shows he watches and retains that information.

All in all, it was a wonderful two days. It was an unremarkable week until then; spending time with this little boy and observing how he is growing and developing into a (mostly) sweet and helpful child is truly a joy and a blessing.  I'm so fortunate they live within a reasonable distance and are in a place where they are safe and content.

Even so, I'm grateful to be home where it is quiet.  The cats are happily napping in the sun room, though it is cloudy today.  I'm going out to check my containers as it heated up yesterday to 32C (90F) so I expect they'll be wanting water.  Then I'll relax on the couch with my crocheting to watch the rest of the baseball game.  I just checked and there is curling to be viewed as well.  I'm in my happy place!

Have a great week ahead everyone!

Saturday, 11 September 2021

Fast forward

Okay, who moved the hands of the clock forward?  I've no idea how it can possibly be the weekend already.  Darned if I know where the time went either.  My son had the week off, with Monday being the stat holiday.  Since he likes to sleep in, and I'm a doting mother (or I just spoil him), my mornings were generally quiet.  I puttered around the house, caught up on paperwork, played on the computer, crocheted or read. 

My pain in the back has eased considerably, to the point where I only feel it when I sneeze (OMG does that hurt), or if I twist to pick something up.  I've been doing my walking in the house, but decided one day this week to venture out on the walking paths for a change.  There are photos as proof.

I did make it over to the creek and the pond. I have no photos from the creek, as there really wasn't a lot of activity there.  Just a couple of ducks.  Over at the pond, there were lots of geese and a few ducks remaining.  

This was the only cormorant I saw, an immature bird from the size of it.  My goodness it is fast as it dives under the water and swims quite a distance before re-emerging. 

The wildflowers are still blooming near the water.  I love these sunny yellow flowers, their pretty faces always bring a smile to mine.  The fireweed is also pretty. 

The buildings mirrored in the water make an interesting backdrop for the duck.  It almost blends right in.

Sadly, I spotted a dead duck in the water. The fact it was there didn't seem to bother the other ducks as they continued to feed around it.

I'm always trying to capture the ducks or geese in flight, and I think is probably one of the best shots I've gotten.  It's calling out to other geese as it takes off from the water. 

The pond water is getting so dirty and full of scum.  But the markings on this duck are so pretty.  It sat so still while I took it's photo - almost as if it was posing for me.

This week's grocery run was short and sweet, just one store, as my list was short.  I did get chicken breast for $3.99 a pound at the Co-op, though was limited to one value package at that price.  On Friday, I made a quick run to the thrift stores - found another bag of cotton yarn for $3.99 (because one can never have enough yarn) and couple of t-shirts for a total of $5.98.  I badly stained a t-shirt a week or so ago, and could not get the stains out so it went into a rag bag. 

While I was out running around on Friday, I had a call from my back yard neighbour.  His Dad has spotted wasps going in and out of a hole in my shed.  Both of their children (5 and 2) had been stung as well.  I tried various stores with no luck finding any spray, so I gave a local pest extermination company a call.  They sold me some powder to use in the hole and I made a trap with cat food and juice.  By early Friday evening I had more than two dozen wasps in the trap. Just after dark, I went out and squeezed a load of powder into the hole they were coming in and out of.  I've checked twice this morning, and there is no activity.  I don't know if that means they've died off or moved, or because it is cool this morning, they aren't mobile just yet.  I'll keep an eye out throughout the day but hopefully the problem has been dealt with.

It's a busy sports day here today.  Yesterday, I was able to watch three curling matches on You-tube, and there are three more on tap today, along with three football games!  You'll find me planted on my couch, with my crocheting in hand.  The vacuuming can wait until tomorrow. :)

Have a great weekend everyone!

Tuesday, 7 September 2021

That darned pain in my back

After a week of it, I am tired of this constant pain, so I called my doctor's office to discuss the issue. I explained that I had fallen, landing face down, bruising my knee and my chest.  The pain radiates around my back to my chest and is worst when I am trying to turn over in bed or twist to bend, or if I cough.  It feels like a stabbing pain at times, sometimes burning, and often like it's tearing along the rib cage when I have to move.  After this description, my doctor (via telephone) diagnosed the pain as intercostal neuralgia.  The nerves between the ribs have likely become inflamed because of my fall.  

He doesn't believe I broke a rib, because the pain is not severe and breathing is not painful all the time.  It's still bad enough, about 8-9 when I make those movements that exacerbate it and between a 1-3 the rest of the time.  

The only treatment is time and anti-inflammatory drugs, ibuprophen (Advil/Motrin) or naproxen (Aleve).  I read a bit more on the condition on the 'net because I wondered how much time, and was not happy to read it could take 2-3 weeks or more to resolve.  Arggh, I am an impatient patient.  It annoys me that I'm limited in my movements.  So far, though, I'm able to sleep well at night, once I've gotten into a position that doesn't hurt much.  I'm also wearing a tensor wrap to bind the area - it helps to hold things in place when I move.  Fingers crossed, I heal quickly.

Thanks for your kind comments on the previous post.  I'm going to suspend comments for this, just wanted to update.  I'd never heard of intercostal neuralgia before and had no idea that a simple fall might cause something like this.  Consider it your personal service announcement.  Be careful out there. 

Saturday, 4 September 2021

Outside my comfort zone

As most of you know, I'm pretty much a homebody. I'm generally quite content to be at home puttering around, doing housework, crafting, reading, watching television, etc.  This week has taken me out of my comfort zone for a good portion of the time.

I did have a lovely visit with C on Saturday.  I had forgotten (I'm a bad friend) that C isn't able to walk long distances.  She had a serious accident when she was a teenager and broke her back.  We did walk for about 15 minutes in the park, then sat on a bench for a good half hour or better before walking back to the car.  It was overcast and threatening rain but cleared while we were visiting.
This was our view from the bench.

I was quite fascinated by the sheer wall of the bank on the other side of the river.  
On the way back to the car, we spotted this mama deer with three fawns.  The third was trailing behind the others.  The mother appears to be quite thin, as her ribs are showing.
Still showing some spots but they're fading rapidly.

After the park we headed for a Tim Horton's coffee shop where we sat out on the patio and enjoyed a coffee for her, tea for me, and muffins for both.  We caught on all the happenings from over the past couple of years and have agreed we need to get together again soon.

On Sunday morning, I headed to the campaign office of a local candidate for the federal election.  I'd volunteered to deliver pamphlets for drop off in household mailboxes.  It took me eight hours over three days to deliver the handouts.  While I was in the office, I was asked if I would go door knocking with the candidate on Friday evening.  I agreed, on the basis, that I wouldn't be asked to say anything.  I was there for moral support and to hold the pamphlets only.  While I was out delivering, I only had three people give me a hard time (or at least try to), but I didn't actually have to talk to too many people. 

Tuesday evening, we had several storms move through the city with lots of thunder and lightning and hail too.  The north end of the city was hit hard and I've seen photos and video of gardens that were decimated.  Sad, because our growing season is so short and we're so close to harvest.
I went out as the storm was approaching and took a few photos.  As it got closer, it started to sound like a train because it was raining so hard.

The sky got so dark so quickly, and after this shot I headed indoors.  Just in time, too, as the rain and hail started immediately.

I headed out to the back yard early Wednesday morning to check on the plants.  It was a relief to see that there was very little damage.  One of my nicotiana plants had broken off at the stem, but the tomatoes and peppers appeared fine.  I could hear thunder in the distance and a few minutes later, this happened:
Thankfully this storm didn't do any real damage either. I had planned to spend the day outside doing yardwork.  A lot of the perennials are done flowering and dying back so need to be trimmed.  The annual containers need trimming too especially the petunias as they are getting too leggy. 

Since I couldn't be outdoors I gave myself permission to have a lazy day.  I'd walked just over 63,000 steps from Sunday through Tuesday.  I'd fallen once on my travels, banging my knee which bruised but it didn't swell so I kept going. What I didn't immediately realize, and only learned the following morning, was I had pulled a muscle in my back as well.  The knee is fine now, but my back is still giving me some grief.  It's the weirdest things that bother me. Turning over in bed, turning to get out of the car, pulling up my jeans, using a knife to cut through something,  and even a tight hug from my son all have me yelping in pain. Thankfully, it hasn't been bad enough that I've needed any pain meds. 

I had planned to get out in the yard on Thursday after a grocery run, but by the time I was home and had things put away, I was ready to rest.  So instead I finished a book, Catherine Coulter's Blind Side.  It was just an okay book, though I'll admit I enjoyed the beginning more than the end.  The only other thing I'll say is it is apparently hard to kill some people.  When that was finished, I started a to-do list of assorted items to complete around the house.  One of those items was to go through the pantry and choose some things for a Foodbank Drive.  Every fall the Scouts and Girl Guides do a drive and though I'm not certain when it will be, I figured I'd tidy the pantry and pull things we probably won't use.  Do you ever find yourself buying something new and then never use it?  Mea culpa.  I found several cans of soup, a few cans of tomato sauce, two extra bottles of ketchup (who needs 4 bottles of ketchup?), and two boxes of the powdered mashed potatoes.  I do use the scalloped potatoes, but have never tried the mashed - and it isn't something I think I'd like.  With the scalloped I always add a couple more real if that makes it more homemade.  Well, it certainly makes it less wet.  Those two bags are in the garage and will stay there until someone picks it up or until I get tired of it and deliver it to the foodbank myself.

Yesterday, I kept busy in the morning in the kitchen.  I used the first batch of tomatoes to make tomato paste (I have enough cans of tomato sauce in my pantry).  It's a slow process since the tomatoes have to be cooked at a very low temperature but, oh my, does it taste good.  While that was cooking, I cut up strawberries and green pepper and bagged these for the freezer.  I also had a container of spinach to deal with - I froze some for spinach dip, and used the rest to make a cream of spinach and cauliflower soup. The cauliflower was from the freezer, that I had blanched and frozen earlier this spring.  Then I went out and picked the remaining tomatoes and peppers.  While we have no frost forecast in the immediate future, the plants are dying back and I'm ready to quit watering them.

We spent almost three hours on Friday evening, door-knocking.  It all went well, though being a Friday before a long weekend, we missed a lot of people.  Those that were home were receptive for the most part, and only one advised us to move along.  Politely, but firmly.  I don't know that I would do it again, but have agreed to do another info drop in a week or so.  It did allow me to get to know my candidate, to hear him respond to questions and concerns, and get his perspective on the issues.

Today, I'm taking it easy again.  I'm still experiencing some pain from my back.  It should be lovely and warm this afternoon, so I'll head outdoors at some point to read. And if, I'm feeling up to it I'll get some deadheading and pruning done, and pull the remaining pepper and tomato plants.  

Have a good weekend everyone! 

Friday, 27 August 2021

A hodgepodge of a week

 We've had several days of light rain this week, adding up to about 2 inches overall.  It's been needed and I haven't had to water my containers for several days.  It's been cool though too, with temperatures struggling to reach 20C (68F).  I was ready to see the heat break but not so thrilled with these cooler days.  I'm not nearly ready for summer to end.  Sadly, the forecast shows two nice days (Sunday and Monday) and then we're back into the cooler weather for the next ten days or so.  

I did get out one day, in between rain showers to harvest a few of my veggies. It may not look like much (and it isn't) but for the few plants that I have I'm happy.  I started the tomatoes and larger green peppers from seed in late April, while the jalapeno and small red pepper plants were picked up in July when the garden centre was selling off the last of their plants.  I picked another green pepper and several more tomatoes this morning.  I'm hoping to let the rest continue to ripen on the plants but the nights have been getting cool.  5C (41F) has been the lowest thus far. 

Oh well, with the cooler weather, it certainly has given me time (and perhaps a push) to get some deep cleaning done around here.  I'm almost finished the main floor but am starting to lose momentum. Hence starting this blog post on Friday rather than tackling the spare room.  I'm working on doing some decluttering at the same time and have started another box for donations and a bag for clothing.  Neither have much in them yet.  

When I haven't been cleaning, I've been watching the IHHF women's hockey. Our Canadian team started out slowly but have been gelling as a team as the week has progressed. I'm disappointed that the networks are showing so little of the ParaOlympics.  There are two hours scheduled this afternoon on one of our major networks so I'll catch up on the news before the football this evening.  I've been working on a crochet project at the same time.  It's a hexagon African daisy and I'm using up a few partial balls of various colored yarn along with a huge ball of white yarn I'd picked up at Value Village. When I run out of purple, I have two balls of pink but will need a third. If that runs out before I have enough pieces, I'll use some yellow yarn for the flowers, though again, I only have two shades.  Oh darn, I will have to buy more yarn. :p  

I did go shopping again this week, for groceries, cat food and litter, with stops at the local thrift and dollar stores as well.  For less than $25 at the thrift stores, this is my haul.  Three t-shirts for Eli, a blue cake pan for D, the basket to hold my pumpkins, more fabric for pumpkins or napkins, two good sized balls of cotton yarn, a crochet craft kit and a Morris Design candy jar.  The crochet craft had an original price of $25 - which I never would have paid - so I think I did well.  There is enough cotton yarn to make two more shopping bags, and I couldn't resist the candy jar.  It appears it was a promotional item as the company sells candies.  I did find a cookie jar listed at $33C, so I expect is has some value.  I've no intention of selling it, instead it will have a place in my kitchen.

I've been reorganizing a bit in my craft room, taking stock of what I have, with a plan to use as much as possible in the next few months.  I've started on a few Christmas crafts, as well as Halloween.  Here are some finishes:

The larger "Boo sign" will be hung on my front door in place of the wreath. I have a set of battery operated miniature lights that I'll add to the sign to make it more visible.

The smaller Boo sign is for my tier tray. I  want to add some fake cobwebs to the Happy Halloween frame and will display it on the china cabinet.  (Any real cobwebs have been dispensed of this week). 

The last is a wooden pumpkin which I sanded, painted and covered with paper napkins.  This side I like the best because it almost looks like a face.  

The winter/Christmas item is this board that will be leaned against the wall on top of the china cabinet.  I used a sheet of scrap book paper for the base but I wanted it to have more of a 3D effect so added the trees and stars. 

In other news, D is getting Eli ready for school.  They had their last meeting with the occupational therapist on Wednesday.  K will be writing a report with several recommendations for the school and plans to visit the classroom in a month or so.  D has had a call with the principal too, to go over a few things that came up last spring.  One of them, which I just learned of, was he was called Elias at school even though D and Eli both requested he be called Eli.  The only time any of us call him Elias is when he is being naughty.  I wonder if the use of that name had some negative effect on him in the classroom.  The new preschool teacher started work this week and is planning to meet with a small groups of parents and children over the next few weeks.  Eli and two other children are the only ones returning from last year,  everyone else has moved on to kindergarten. I'm hoping they'll be able to make him a "helper" for the younger children as a way to keep him engaged.

On a pessimistic note, we're seeing an increase of Covid-19 cases here, especially among children and young adults.  The small town that D lives in had six children attending the ER just this week. (She has a friend who is a nurse). So she's quite concerned about the risk to Eli.  Most of the city school boards are mandating masks for elementary school children and recommending masks in high school.  But the smaller towns have yet to make announcements even though school starts on September 1.  D is planning to send Eli to school in a mask regardless, but knows that it will be difficult for him to wear it if others are not.  

Our provincial government has basically given up.  There will be no more health orders, they're leaving it up to the personal responsibility of individuals.  I guess they're unaware of how that's gone in other jurisdictions.  Of course, they were re-elected last fall so they've got three years or so before the electorate can hold them accountable if/when things go badly.  I'm tired, so very tired, of personal freedom (a term used by our health minister) overriding the welfare of the collective.  If that's the case, let's do away with seat belts and bike helmets, bring back lawn darts, smoking in vehicles, and permit drunk driving.  On the latter aspect at least two of our current provincial politicians have some experience - one resulting in the death of a woman.  

Too, we're in the midst of the federal election campaign.  The leaders are promising anything and everything to secure the votes - even when the promises appear to be contrary to the values held by the party.  To be honest, I don't think anything they are saying will swing votes.  Many people are so entrenched in partisanship that listening with an open mind is damned near impossible.  (I'll admit even though I try I get easily frustrated.) Thankfully it's a short campaign, just 36 days, with the election to be held on September 20. 

On a far happier note, I'm off to visit a friend tomorrow in a nearby city.  I've been feeling a bit claustrophobic, only getting out to shop and am starting to crave contact with others that aren't family.  We're planning to visit the Farmer's market and take a walk in the park, with a stop for coffee or tea at a patio.  It's been nearly two years since I've seen C in person - it will be wonderful to see her again.

Since I've covered the week's happenings, I'll wrap this up and publish it today.  I may be back with a post on Sunday as I'm planning to take my camera with me.  I haven't been outdoors for a walk for some time, getting my steps and activity indoors instead.

Take care everyone and have a good weekend!

Saturday, 21 August 2021

Here comes the rain

I recall, when I was still working, it seemed every summer weekend would bring the rain.  The weather we're getting today seems more normal than the heat.  It is Friday morning as I start writing up this post and I'm looking out a rain streaked window.  It's quite cool, just 12C (54F), so it's a good day to be indoors while the much needed moisture falls.

Since the house has cooled off, I've been baking this morning, using up some frozen fruit from the freezer,  with a blueberry crumble and some banana bread.  The latter was almost a failure, as I realized once I had the batter in the tins and licked the spoon that I'd forgotten to add the sugar!  I put the batter back in the bowl, added the sugar, and re-filled the tins. Not sure what I was thinking. I also made up a small jar of refrigerator pickles, with cucumber, red pepper, and red onion.  I had thought I'd use Jackie's recipe, but realized I didn't have the necessary spices. is a handy site because the search function provides for both inclusions and exclusions.

I've been doing a bit of decluttering around the house this week, and took two bags of clothing and two boxes of kitchen and other items to Value Village on Tuesday.  The store provides a coupon for 20% off purchases for donating, but it was also senior's day, and there was another sale - if you purchased a certain dollar amount there was a 30%.  The discounts couldn't be combined.  I found some real deals: for less than $15, I purchased a long-sleeved blouse, a t-shirt, and a hoodie jacket.  In addition, I found two pieces of material, one I plan to use for the backing for pillows, and another is enough to make another top for me.  I did find a pattern - unfortunately the pieces I needed were missing.  I also found several picture frames in various sizes, plus a large ball of yarn, and I paid less than $30 total for everything I bought (including the clothing).  

But I can't say I did as well with grocery shopping.  Everything has gone up in price, especially meat.  I bought a large package of ground beef to make up a meat loaf and some type of casserole, at $5.49 a pound. Shredded cheese was on sale, buy two packages, get one free so I took advantage of that offer.  I use the shredded cheese on pizzas, omelettes, chili bowls, and soup so it never goes to waste.

After my visit to VV, I made a quick stop at a couple of dollar stores to pick up some seasonal items.  I've been spending some time every evening in my craft room. The items I make are simple and don't a lot of time (or creativity - thank you to FB videos) but I enjoy making them.

This little gnome is one of the items.  It is made from a small wooden block, a pair of children's Halloween socks, a piece of black fabric, black yarn, and a small bead for the nose.

The creator in the video had used fun fur, but I had none and really didn't think I'd want more than one gnome.  So I used up some old yarn from a UFO.  I'd started to crochet a reindeer a few years ago, but when I went to finish it this year I discovered I'd lost the pattern.  The black yarn was used for the reindeer's hoof - I simply unravelled it, cut the strands and glued them to the black fabric for the beard.  I think it worked well, and I love the curls.

The second piece is a small 10 inch wreath form, a few flowers leftover from my cart project, some fabric leaves, a roll of wired ribbon in green for the wreath, and another piece of wired ribbon for hanging it.  I'll hang it on the back of the front door - the wreath I made last year from items purchased at Michael's is on the front.  Quite a difference in price, it was nearly $40 for the Michael's materials and only $5 or $6 for the dollar store version.  

I often listen to podcasts while I putter in the craft room.  I've just finished the series, "Finding Cleo", the story of a young First Nations girl who was taken from her mother, along with her siblings, in the Sixties Scoop.  The practice of taking children from their parent or parents and placing them up for adoption happened until the early 1980's here in Saskatchewan.  My daughter's friend and her brother are two of those children.  In Cleo's case, she was taken from a reserve near North Battleford, and adopted in the United States.  The reporter who wrote about and told Cleo's story, is also First Nations and she provides a lot of history and background information.  The series is a number of episodes, and I found it hard not to go onto the next episode as one ended.  If you have any interest in hearing the stories of our First Nations people, this is a good series to listen to.

Earlier this week I finished my latest knitting project. I used up four small balls (50 g) of cotton yarn to make it up.  The way I have it pictured, it doesn't show there are actually two handles, so it's much like the plastic grocery bags we get at the store.  The pattern was a simple four row repeat so I found it easy to knit while I watched football or other television programs.  

I've pulled some more yarn, this time for a crocheting project.  I've found a pattern for granny squares that I want to try.  I started on this project on Friday evening, and it is one I can work on while I watch television.  Good thing, as there are two football games, including our Riders, to be played today. (It's now Saturday).

The sun has come out today and it has warmed up to a respectable 19C (66F). My neighbours to the back are having a birthday party for their two year old in their yard. I'm sure they are happy to have the nicer weather as there are a number of folks visiting. I did go out to check on the tomatoes and peppers but didn't stay out as I'm sure they'll appreciate their privacy.

We've got more rain in the forecast for next week. It is sorely needed so I won't complain.  I'm sure I'll find something to keep me occupied.  :) On that note, it's time for me to finish this for the week and get a bit of housework done before the first football game starts.  Have a great week ahead everyone!

Saturday, 14 August 2021

Back into the heat, a visit, and finishes

What a difference a few days can make! We had a few days of cooler weather, and then the heat found its way back to us.  We desperately needed the rain so even though my day trip was cut short on Tuesday, I was quite happy for the rain.  It rained again Wednesday morning too.  By Friday though, the heat was on and this weekend's forecast is for 35C (95F) on both Saturday and Sunday.  But this heat wave will be short-lived (at least that's the current forecast) and we'll have cooler weather arriving by mid-week.  

A follow-up from my last post; the mechanic at my local garage determined the rattling I was hearing was from a loose bracket on the skid plate that covers the transmission and gas tank under my car.  He added a couple of screws to repair it, at least temporarily, and the cost was a mere $30.  I will need to replace the bracket at some point, but this garage doesn't carry such parts so I will likely have to take it into the dealership garage for a replacement.  

D and Eli spent some time with us, arriving Thursday and heading home on Friday after a couple of doctor's appointments for the little guy.  First up was an optometrist appointment - no significant issues as yet, though Eli does have astigmatism.  Not a surprise as it is a family trait.  The next appointment was with their family doctor.  Eli has some tendencies that may be signs of autism or attention deficit disorders: tip-toe walking, occasionally flapping his hands when stressed, and covering his ears because of noise levels.  Dr. J. has made a referral for Eli to be assessed though that won't likely happen for several months.

I saw evidence of this behaviour when we visited the museum on Thursday morning.  Eli was quite excited to meet Scotty, the tyrannosaurus rex whose bones were found near Eastend, Saskatchewan.  But when someone pushed the button to make the dinosaur roar, he covered his ears and wanted to get out of there as quickly as possible. We did manage to make the tour of the displays but it was a rush in an out of the museum in just a half hour.  Throughout our visit, his stress increased as he couldn't tolerate the sounds of birds and other animals in several displays and the number of other people in the space seemed to be overwhelming to him.  Once in the car, he settled down and was the loveable little boy I know so well. I think I understand why pre-K was difficult for him this past year with the chaos that occurs when a number of small people are in the same room.

An occupational therapist, K, has been visiting Eli and D on a weekly basis.  She's been working with Eli to help him transition from various tasks (desirable to less desirable) and helping D determine and set appropriate goals.  He can now put on his shoes without assistance, though they are often on the wrong foot.  (Doesn't seem to bother him in the least.)

K will work with the school too, to make Eli's time in school easier. Last year, when things got to be too much, he was sent to sit (alone) on a bench outside the classroom door.  He knew he was being punished and it certainly didn't help him integrate or learn.  This fall, we are anticipating he will have an assigned educational assistant to help direct his focus and divert his attention when needed, and K will be making recommendations for other options for dealing with his behaviour.  I'm hopeful he'll have a better experience this year too, because the teacher who basically gave up on him, has moved to another school. 

I share all this because I think it that mental health disorders are often stigmatized.  Children, like Eli, are branded as difficult, bratty, and their parents lazy or unable to control their children.  In reality, these children are often undiagnosed and without supports.  And I know personally, as a parent of a child who wasn't diagnosed until she was an adult, that finding help can be frustrating.  When D was young, I visited the school psychologist on an annual basis during her elementary years, seeking assistance.  On every occasion, I was informed I wasn't consistent enough as a parent, and all of her issues would be resolved if my parenting skills were improved.  Sadly, I assumed they were right and didn't fight further for my girl. Eli is fortunate because his mother is an incredible advocate for him.

One on one you couldn't meet a sweeter child.  Eli is incredibly smart, inquisitive and loving.  D has worked with him so that he can identify his own feelings and he demonstrates empathy for the feelings of others.  When I asked him not to do something, he asked me if it would make me angry or sad if I did it.  That he understands the nuances of those feelings at the age of four amazes me.  Unfortunately, when he is in a group setting, especially one that is busy or noisy, he is easily distracted and overwhelmed, and has a difficult time regulating his behaviour.  He needs, and deserves, the assistance of all the adults in his life to help him learn coping skills.  D has ordered noise cancelling headphones for him as well as a weighted stuffed animal.  The latter is meant to help him feel calm - as though he is being hugged or held.  

On a happier note, we visited the nearby park both days. The city put in new retaining walls last year and Eli has decided they are castles. Here he is sitting on the wall of his castle, fishing.  He found sticks for both of us so we could fish together.  Later he and his Princess mom "shot cannons" at each other across the walls.  He has such an imagination!

Before we leave the park, summer or winter, one of his favorite things to do is roll down the hill. With his stick of course!

Back to the regular scheduled programming - with the cooler and rainy weather early in the week, I spent some time playing in my craft room.  And I finally finished Eli's sweater.  I know I made it a bit large, but we couldn't convince him to try it on for G'ma so I'm not certain just how big it truly is.  He wasn't particularly excited about it.

He did however, like his new Christmas stocking.

I won't call it my best work, because I made the mistake of gluing the first tier of green felt down before ensuring where the other pieces would end the tree is off balance, and a little too low on the stocking.  I'm thinking I may add a few small snowflakes at the top above the star.  On the reverse is my very rustic rendition of Santa's photo, I'll let you use your own imagination.  

This little cart was a purchase from the dollar store.  I stained it, added some floral foam, a bit of moss, several small pumpkins and a few floral stems.  Everything can be removed and I can switch it out for the seasons. I'm already envisioning a pile of small wrapped presents and ribbons for Christmas.  

The last finish are these painted pumpkins (not the orange one).  The dollar store sells foam pumpkins.  I simply painted them with white chalk paint, dipped the stems in brown paint, used gold paint for the stripes, added a few leaves and popped the stem back in.  

I've been eyeing up the sheer volume of yarn in my stash.  It's time to start working my way through some of it.  I've started knitting a new market bag with some cotton yarn.  But that's just the first of many projects - I just have to decide what's next. There are several small bits of yarn for making scarves again this year, and I also have a couple of small wreath forms to make up.  The list never truly ends!

Sigh, just like housework.  Time for me to close off this post and get some vacuuming done.  In the 90 minutes or so I took to write this post, the temperature went from 15C (59F) to 31C (88F), so I won't be spending much time outdoors.  Good thing there are two footballs games being broadcast this evening. I'll plant my butt on the couch and knit.  Go Riders!

Have a great week ahead everyone!