Saturday 30 January 2021

Two years in

 The week started out cold, so very, very cold.  Mornings were around the -30C (-22F) range and warming only a couple of degrees during the day.  And it was windy too, which made it feel much colder! I bundled up each morning to feed the birds but avoided the outdoors as much as possible the rest of the day.

I ordered groceries for pick-up at Walmart on Wednesday for a just a few items, including more birdseed, and stopped at Safeway where I found packages of chicken breast on sale, buy one get one free.  Since I no longer use the large freezer I only bought the two packages, with four chicken breast for a total of $8.28. I'd gone in for lean ground beef - I cringe at the price $4.99/lb. but it costs what it costs these days.  With a stop at the drug store post office to mail a package to D, I finished my pick-up at Walmart and was home in less than an hour.  It was a balmy -23C (-9F) at that point.  

I've been doing a bit of decluttering this week, I've tried to pinpoint an area to focus on each day with some success.  Two years ago, when I retired, I spent a good 6-8 weeks going through the entire house.  This time I'm focusing on those items I kept that I haven't used in that time period.  In the front closet I found three coats, one of which I've never worn, that will be donated, along with a pair of sneakers, also not worn. 

In the living room I went through various drawers and the desk. There wasn't as much items that weren't used, but there were items that weren't where they ought to be.  What I thought would take 15-20 minutes actually took an hour and half.  No wonder I can't locate things when I'm looking for them. From the spare room closet I let go of a couple of blankets that haven't been used.  However, the linen closet defeated me and I've decided to leave it until next week.

We've been getting a bit of snow over the last couple of days, but so little it's hardly worth shovelling.  But I need the exercise and the fresh air so have been going out and pushing it off the driveway.  We even had a plow go down the street on Wednesday; it just scraped the top inch or so off the street and deposited it on our sidewalk.  Grrr!  

I did get a the baby blanket finished this week and started on another. This was a bulky yarn so didn't take a lot of time to put together.  I still almost a full ball left, so I'll have to find a small project to use it up.

Speaking of small projects, I made this little gnome from a pair of dollar tree socks. I've been watching more FB videos and saw people making first thought was nah, but they grew on me.  I should have turned the sock on top the other direction as the hearts are upside down.  It's a nod to Valentine's day but I suspect a certain little boy will want to play with it.  

A lot of my idle time has been spent on Ancestry.  In my research I discovered that a woman I worked for several years is a relative.  Her mother and my grandmother were first cousins, although her mom was closer in age to my mother.  I made the connection when I was reading her mom's obituary and saw my co-worker's married name.  We have a mutual friend, and I was able to confirm her maiden name with L. Someday when things are back to normal, I'll reach out to my previous co-worker to share the information.

I've been working on my dad's history over the past couple of days.  His mother's family is almost a complete mystery once I reach her paternal grandparents. I had found baptismal records for the three children but little else.  After a bit of guesswork on birth years, I found her grandmother's death certificate indicating she'd passed away at the age of 42 in childbirth with their fourth child. This led me to the discovery of the grandfather's second marriage two years later.  So I have something to build on and perhaps unlocking that information will be the key to figuring out when they arrived in Canada and identifying other family members.

Tomorrow marks two full years since I officially retired.  It hasn't been exactly as I anticipated, and in many ways, it's been better than I would have thought, despite the current pandemic.  I've discovered new interests, spent more time on those I enjoyed, and have been able to see my grandson both in person and virtually.  While I miss going out with friends and family and especially travelling, I've definitely saved money.  Those funds I can put into the house or just save for the future.  

Take care everyone, stay well and have a wonderful week ahead.

Saturday 23 January 2021

A visit, routine, snow and more snow

 I had a lovely drive out and back on Sunday, the sun was shining and the winds didn't pick up again until I was nearly back in the city.  

The trees were covered in hoar frost for the first half hour or so of the drive, but with the sun that disappeared quickly.

The visit with D and Eli went well.  She's been doing well keeping the house tidy so I didn't feel the need to tackle any areas while I was there.  Eli and I played monster, where we hid in his room and his mother pretended to be the scary monster who came to tickle him.  Later, we read a Valentine's book I'd brought for him and cuddled on the couch.  D and I watched a gymnastics event from the States while Eli played games on his I-pad.  That kid is more tech savvy than I will ever be!

Monday was a busy day as I got caught up on some housework.  I'd made arrangements for a local window company to come to the house to provide a quote for replacing the large bay window in the living room and two windows in my master bedroom.  He was scheduled for 11:30 so I hustled to get everything done before he arrived.  He did quick work at the measurements and recommended I not replace the bay window in the kitchen.  The woodwork around it is extremely oversized and we both have concerns that it could be removed without damaging the cabinets.  Since that window is no longer open to the elements as it looks out into the sunroom, it makes sense to leave it it saves me a couple thousand dollars.

On Wednesday I did my weekly grocery pick-up at Walmart, stopped in at Safeway for meat that was on sale, picked up cat food at Pet Smart, and ran an errand for D.  I was impressed, as I was only out of the house for a little over an hour.  In the afternoon, I had another company rep come by to provide another quote for the windows.  I felt he did a better job than the first of ensuring he knew what I wanted, made some recommendations, and explained things to me as we went along.  The quote came in on Friday and I'm going ahead with this company for those reasons and the cost was lower than the first.  We've tentatively scheduled the replacement for late April, early May, weather dependent.  

That evening, my son made dinner, that is he ordered in pizza.  I was quite happy to not have to make a meal, and what I had planned could wait until the next evening. After dinner, our doorbell rang and when I went to answer the door I found a neighbour from a street over.  He had mail that had been delivered to his community mail box for me.  He explained they've been receiving items for me since we got a new postal delivery person.  He's has been putting them back in the mail slot for delivery.  A week or so ago I complained to Canada Post because a parcel had been marked as delivered, but I had not received it.  When I mentioned that to James, he said they had received it, and the next day the CP employee arrived at their house to retrieve it.  So that answers that mystery of where it went initially.  He's had several issues including an order of auto parts that ought to have been delivered that day but the worker said she tried and they weren't home.  He said he, his wife, and two children were home all day!  We suspect she tried to deliver it here and I was out on my shopping run.  The house numbers are the same and both street names start with the letter P.  But beyond that our last names are very different. Hopefully she'll be more careful in making the deliveries in the future.  Otherwise we'll both be contacting Canada Post to complain.

Thursday I had to run out to drop off some paperwork for my daughter. The stop was near the Value Village, so I had to stop in...of course I did.  I picked up a couple of skeins of yarn and a picture frame.  I just missed out on a couple of bags of basic Lego.  As I was just starting to look at the toys I saw a man picking up both of them.  Darn!  Eli has started playing with Lego, and it's great for his fine motor skills.  There was a Dollarama next door, so I stopped in there as well and picked up some spring flowers (plastic) It's still several weeks away in real life but I'll have some color to enjoy indoors.

We had more snow on Friday, just a 1/2 inch or so but it had melted some the day before so I spent some time chipping ice and clearing the snow in the afternoon.  Of course, it started snowing again almost as soon as I came indoors. :p  By this morning we'd had another couple of inches so I started my day going out to feed the birds and clear the driveway and sidewalks.  The temperature was about -8C (18F) but is expected to drop throughout the day with a low of -26C (-15F) overnight.  We've got a few days of cold weather ahead of us.  It's those days I'm most happy to be retired.

I'll keep busy with crocheting and working on the Ancestry research.  I finished a little dress this week, the pink one that matches the purple one I made earlier last year. I need to add the ribbons through the loops and those will be completed.  I also started another baby blanket. 

The research has taken me down some interesting paths.  It's clear that sometimes others have added in information that is likely not correct.  I've deleted some potential ancestors (going back to the 1500's) because the literature available does not support the assertion that a rather notable individual was the father of a known direct ancestor.  So I'll end that branch of the tree with the later individual as the documentation provides support.

Time to get some steps in and have a bit of breakfast.  Take care everyone, stay well!

Friday 15 January 2021

Wacky January weather

 It's been quite the week weather wise!  The warm weather (for us) continued through the week but Mother Nature sent us a wallop of nasty precipitation and wind on Wednesday and overnight into Thursday.  On Weds. morning we had rain which is absolutely bizarre for January, followed by freezing rain before the temperature rose to 6C (43F) late in the afternoon.

I'd gone out to get the mail from the community mailbox and took a skated half way down the driveway before I was able to stop myself.  I turned around and crept my way back to the house to put on my ice grippers.  Then I spent an hour chipping and scrapping the 1/4 inch thick ice off the driveway.  I'm glad I did because although the driveway was still wet it dried off mostly with the wind that picked up with the higher temperature.  

Then on Thursday morning, I woke to find my front window almost entirely covered in snow and ice. It didn't appear we received as much snow as was predicted, but I went out to shovel anyway.  With the wind, the snow always blows into the door of my garage.  It had, in fact there was probably a foot of snow packed in there.  It only took about a half an hour to clear the entire driveway as the rest of the driveway had a mere dusting.

My front door got blown in too, though not as heavily.  Keep in mind there is a house to the right, and a large spruce tree in front. This area is fairly sheltered.  

When the sun was up I went out back to feed the birds and discovered that the older section of my back fence has blown over into the neighbour's yard.  We'd been talking about replacing it just this past summer.  Later I saw him out in the yard, and so I went out back - he had someone there to brace the fence.  We lost two posts, they just snapped off, and this will be a temporary fix until spring or early summer when the posts and panels can be replaced.  The fellow doing the work said the winds reached 122 kph (75mph) the night before. 

I did get out on Wednesday before the storm hit, got my groceries, ran a couple of errands for my daughter, and made a stop at the Salvation Army thrift store.  I hadn't planned but was driving by on my way elsewhere and I decided to stop in.  Glad I did, as children's clothing was on sale 50% off.  I got a few craft items, as well as a spring/fall puffer jacket and a pair of OshKosh shorts for Eli...all for the grand total of $9.98.  

The rest of the week has been spent doing what I always do.  Housework, some crocheting, watching television, walking (in the house), and a little crafting. Here are a couple of the finishes from this week. 

I made two of the gift tags, this with Let it Snow and the other with a tag that reads, There is Snow Place like Home.

I've got three of the circles, this one, another with a Sleigh rides napkin background and a third with blue background with snow flakes.  

Yesterday I finished this heart. I bought the frame from the Dollar tree and used material from two old t-shirts (purple and white), along with two patterned pillow cases I bought at the Salvation Army this week. I think the messy bow at the bottom needs an embellishment so I'll probably try to find a large button for it.  

On Saturday I'm off to have a short visit with D and Eli.  I have a trunk load of stuff to deliver to her!  She bought a new high back booster seat for Eli that was delivered to my house as the company won't deliver to small towns. There's a ride-on suitcase she ordered from a local second hand children's store, and a bag of cat food I picked up at Costco.  I have pillows, her small crock pot, a calendar and the clothing that I picked up for Eli.  For those readers who are de-cluttering, this is my efforts for this week! :)

I've checked the forecast, it is supposed to be a decent day with a high of -1C (30F), mostly sunny and no snow.  I won't stay long, not only are our provincial health orders requiring limiting contacts to our own household, there is a possibility of more snow on Monday.  I should note there is an exemption for some households, including single parents, as long as they limit their contact to one other household.  Since we've both kept our bubbles small the risk is low. Sadly, that isn't the case for much of our province. We've now the highest contagion rate in the country despite that we have quite a low population density. I sure hope this trend is turned around soon.

Since I'll be away tomorrow, I'll post this early. Take care everyone, stay well and have a good weekend.

Sunday 10 January 2021

Herstory - Annie May A.

 I've been spending a lot of time Ancestry. I've written up a summary my grandmother's life, scanned some photos I found in a couple of albums and posted these for my cousins and one sibling on FB.  She had an interesting life, but as I'm continuing to do the same research with each of her parents, grandparents and onward, it is her mother's/my great grandmother's story that has touched me the most.  

Annie May A. was born in 1878 in what was then Canada West.  When Annie May was just two years old, her sibling George passed away at the age of 5 weeks; when she was four her mother died.  Harriet Louisa was just 25; her death occurred just 10 weeks after the birth of her youngest child (also) Harriet Louisa. It seems Annie May and her sister were separated as census data indicates she stayed with her maternal grandmother, Emma Susannah in Ontario, while her sister went to live with a paternal aunt in Manitoba.  Their father passed away not long after the move to Manitoba at the age of 31.  Annie May would have been nearly 8 when her father passed away. It's quite probable that she and her sister never saw one another again.

At 22 Annie May married and in the next twelve years she gave birth to eight children, the last one likely stillborn. Just six days later, she passed away too at the young age of 34. 

Around 1902, while her children were young, the family moved from Ontario to southeast Saskatchewan, and then after 1906, they moved further west to the southwest corner of Saskatchewan.  I can only imagine the hardships she endured travelling cross country with two small children, then three more as they moved to the homestead. I do believe she had some help, as her in-laws also moved around the same time, but it must have been a herculean task. 

I wish I had a photo to share with you, but sadly there are none.  My grandmother's photo album has a space where a photo once was inserted with a notation Dad and Mom #1, but it has long since been removed. I've sent a request to another direct descendant of Emma Susannah, with the hopes that she may have a photo of Annie May in her collection of photos of Emma.  

I do have a photo of her mother, Harriet Louisa with her sisters, Mary Anne, and Emma. I assume they are lined up in order of their birth.  Harriet was born in 1857 and passed away in 1882. I would guess this photo was taken shortly before her death based on my guess on the age of her youngest sister.  

Saturday 9 January 2021

Puttering along

 The first full week of January 2021 is in the books.  It's been a good week here with decent weather. I'll take it as my FB memories keep reminding me of the years that we had temperatures into the -30's (-22F). The forecast thus far, doesn't indicate temperatures dropping below the high teens (-18C/0F) for the next two weeks.  If I can't be somewhere warm, I'll take it!

I cleaned up Christmas on Sunday, leaving out a few snowman ornaments so the rooms don't look quite so barren.  The last of the scarves was finished and I spent some time weaving in the ends, then they all got tossed in the wash to reduce the amount of cat hair that I'm sure was on them.  The photo was taken pre-wash, because once they were out of the dryer I put hem into a bag to keep them clean. I managed to use up a lot of leftover yarn, some I'd bought on clearance but in insufficient quantities to make anything more, and the rest from completed projects.

Monday was a busy day, if not a little scattered. It started with me cleaning the bathrooms, and when I went to get some cleaning products from the hall closet I decided it was a mess.  Somehow or another that led me to the kitchen where I decided the area under the sink also needed a clear out and a scrub.  Safe to say, by the time everything was pulled out, the shelves, interior of the cupboards scrubbed, things rearranged and put away the toilet cleaner had done its job too. :)  Oh, and since I had the window cleaner out to clean mirrors I carried on and cleaned the windows in the kitchen...and that meant I cleaned the bay window space as well.  I started a box of items to donate of various items that were cluttering up these areas.  Sometimes I wonder whether I have attention deficit disorder like my daughter but I generally manage to finish my least eventually.

Tuesday I tackled the basement, washing floors in the laundry room, furnace room, and bathroom. The bathroom needed a good scrub too, although my son keeps it reasonably decent, his idea of clean and mine are slightly different.  All the while the laundry was doing it's thing.  That took most of the morning, so in between loads I worked on my jigsaw puzzle and read blogs.

It was grocery day on Wednesday, and I delivered the scarves to Awasis: A Place of Hope, a newly opened warming center here in the city. I had planned to donate to another charitable organization but one of their staff was diagnosed with Covid-19 recently so they've temporarily stopped donations. (Update: they re-opened on Friday).  I was surprised when I walked into the warming center to have my temperature taken, but I can imagine they need to take every precaution.

More housework was accomplished on Thursday. Sigh, it just never ends. But I did get into my craft room and start working on a few more pieces.  I've decided to use up the supplies I purchased for Christmas projects (or most of them at least), and tuck those away for a craft sale next fall. In addition I've got a couple of spring themed items that are for me.  I;ll admit I made a stop at the Dollar store on Wednesday and bought a few more items home. I'm really enjoying this creative outlet as it gives my hands a break from knitting and crocheting.

These are my finishes this week, or as finished as they are right now.  I'm thinking I might add some raindrops to the umbrella and hanger needs to be added to the Christmas picture. 

I've started another crochet project as well, though it got off to a rough start when I had to start over not once, not twice, but three times.  Perhaps taking the time off to craft messed with my muscle memory...or something. 

I had a very quiet day on Friday, the housework was pretty much caught up so except for daily chores I relaxed, watched PVR'ed television and worked on Ancestry for much of the morning. Saturday was similar, and I can't tell you exactly what I did but it's early evening, I'm watching the Rams play Seattle (go Seahawks).  It was a colder day today, and while I did get out to feed the birds, I didn't stay out there very long.  

Have a good week everyone! 

Saturday 2 January 2021

Warming up to January

I started the week off with more shovelling, as we'd had snow over the day on Sunday (after I'd been out to shovel).  There wasn't a lot of snow out there but with the vehicle traffic pulling into my driveway to turn around there was some snow pack that I wanted to chip away at.  It was chilly out there -14C (7F) but I was well bundled and warmed up even more as I worked. 

Tuesday we had more snow...sigh I'm so over winter already and it will be months yet before this white turning gray stuff disappears.  I didn't bother to shovel in the morning because we'd had less than a centimeter.  I had errands to run, a parcel to mail off to D, groceries to pick-up at Safeway and Walmart, cat litter at Pet Valu and an order for a new microwave bulb at Canadian Tire.  I'd also ordered new Rubbermaid tubs at CT but they cancelled that part of my order, so I ended up having to turn around and go back to Walmart to get them. It meant going into the store, and though they are supposed to be limited to 25% capacity the parking lot and store were very busy.  I kept my visit short!

Back at home, I was putting away groceries when I looked out to the back yard.  I had a visitor to the bird feeder, and thought I went into the sun room and tapped on the window, it wasn't paying me any mind.  I'm pretty sure the birds got their fair share before it arrived.

I fill the feeder every morning, both inside where the squirrel is feeding from, and I put a pile on top of the feeder. The birds clean the stuff off the top very quickly!

I was kept busy, sort of, with housework.  But I did head outdoors just after lunch to shovel the driveway...again.  The snow that feel on Tuesday blew around and had drifted across the driveway, and the path out to the back yard also needed clearing.  

Once my chores were complete (or at least postponed until Thursday), I settled in on the couch to knit and to watch a few episodes of Animal Cops and North Woods Law, on a channel I'm getting in free preview. I worked on my 9th scarf with just one more ball of yarn to wrap up this project.  I need to weave in the ends and wash the scarves; once those tasks are completed, I'll deliver them downtown. 

Whoohoo, no shovelling was necessary on Thursday.  I was out early to take the garbage bin out to the street and feed the birds, and although it was cold -17C (1F), there was absolutely no wind.  I briefly considered going for a walk, but the sun wasn't yet up and it was cloudy so I wimped out and went back indoors.

More housework was completed, I tackled the fridge and got it cleaned out, scrubbed and reorganized.  I make a drive over to the local Michael's store to pick up an on-line order.  Glancing over at the Walmart I could see the parking lot was packed...glad I didn't need anything!

The rest of the day involved knitting, a bit of crocheting, lots of junior hockey (Go Canada go!), and simply relaxing.  AND wonder of all wonders, I managed to stay awake until midnight.  2020 is well and gone.  I don't think any of us will miss it. While only the date has changed I know I feel a sense of relief.

New Year's Day, Sasha had me up early to get breakfast for the cats, and I stayed awake long enough to chat with D at 7:30. Then I rolled over in the bed and slept until after 10, when Eli called to video chat. The rest of the day was quiet, with football, crocheting and knitting. 

Saturday was anything but quiet, I had hauled the bins and boxes into the living room the night before, and it was time to undecorate Christmas.  I did leave out a few items, the snowmen and clear snow flake ornaments have been allowed to hang out.  Otherwise the living room looks barren. 

Once that chore was complete, I decided to test out my ice grippers and go out for a walk. I probably didn't need the grippers except when walking across the street of our crescent, it's sheer ice under the snow.

Although I've been walking indoors most days, I definitely noticed the difference walking in boots in the snow and I sure felt it too!  There a few people out walking, a couple cross country skiing, and evidence of many dogs.  I'll leave that to your imagination.

I did find a few rabbits too.

I laughed at the bunnies in the raised garden bed.  I wonder if there are some plants to nibble on? 

They blend in pretty well in the snow but their ears give them away. 

Over at the pond, the ice has been cleared for a hockey and skating rink.  No one was out this morning, but the temperatures were above freezing this afternoon so I suspect it was in use then.  

Back at home, I set a batch of dough to rise, before sitting down to watch hockey.  Four games today! There was an upset in the first game but the next too have gone as expected.  Our Canadian team is on the ice now and leading 2-0.  I'm certain they'll be in the semi-finals on Monday.

Later, when the buns were in the oven, I started a batch of chili for dinner. I worked on a jigsaw puzzle between periods, and worked on my final scarf when the games were on.  My Fitbit tells me I walked over 8 kms (5 miles) today. I'm pretty sure I'll sleep well tonight.

We're forecast for another warm day tomorrow with a high of 5C (41F). There was melting today, so tomorrow I'll head out with the ice chipper to make sure the driveway and front walks are clear since it's below freezing tonight. Most of my neighbours were doing that today...I was busy.

Take care everyone, stay well, and have a good week.

Friday 1 January 2021

Happy New Year!


We made it!  To all my readers, I wish you health and happiness in this year ahead.

*Comments off