Saturday 27 March 2021

A whole lot of nothing

As I was starting this post, I was thinking, I've got nothing, and truth be told there isn't much going on around here.  So I'll start where almost all conversations in this province starts, the weather.  (You might think I'm kidding, but seriously it's often the opening topic of conversation.)

The photo was taken on Thursday afternoon.  It was raining, since the temperature was above freezing, hooray!  The forecast for overnight was heavy snow until midnight.  Well, they sure got that wrong, there was a light dusting on the grass out back but nothing more.  It was cool Friday but still got above freezing, and by Sunday we're expecting a high of 15C (59F).  I posted this to FB, saying I think Mother Nature is a little confused.  

Or perhaps I was because I woke to snow this morning! Not a lot and it will gone by this afternoon.  I went out to feed the birds this morning and the sun felt lovely and warm.

I didn't get out walking since the curling was on, though managed to get at least 30 minutes of walking in the house.  Nor did I finish any items.  Eli's sweater is progressing nicely, I have one more sleeve to finish before I can sew the raglan and sleeve seams, before finishing the neck and button bands.  I'm sure it will be done sometime next week so will share a photo then.

The mixed doubles curling finished on Thursday evening, with the duo of Gushue and Einarson winning.  Brad Gushue, from Newfoundland, and his team were Team Canada at the men's Brier (which means they won the event last year), and Kerri Einarson and her team won the most recent women's Scotties  and will represent Canada at the Women's Worlds at the end of April.  Now the two will be heading off to Aberdeen, Scotland in the middle of May for the mixed doubles Worlds. I doubt that event will be televised so I'll have to keep track on the results on the internet.

One piece of news, my brother (59) was able to get his vaccine on Sunday.  He had quite the reaction, started getting chilled that afternoon, his temperature rose to 40.4C (104.7F), had a headache, body aches, and felt absolutely awful.  If his temperature had reached 41C, he would have gone to the hospital.  But it only lasted overnight and by morning his temperature was just slightly elevated, and though he felt like he'd been hit by a Mack truck, he was feeling so much better.  He said he'd never felt that sick before and if that's what Covid is like he's grateful it only lasted a few hours.  

His wife had the shot a few days later and had absolutely no reaction.  Now, she's certain he's a wuss. Which, if you knew my brother, you'd know he's not in the least.  I talked to a friend yesterday and her partner also had a similar reaction to the vaccine. I'm grateful I did not.

Our province, and the city where I live in particular, has been hit hard by the B 1.1.7 Covid variant.  As of Friday, there were 800 cases of the variant in the city alone. Restaurants and bars will be closed as of tomorrow, though gyms were able to remain open until the City stepped in and required them to be closed.  Churches remain open, but can have no more than 30 people in attendance.  The scary part is the number of patients in the ICU are high and almost half of the patients are in the age of 20-39. Just on Friday, the province announced 7 more deaths in our area, yet the number of ICU patients increased by 2.  Doing the math, that means another 9 patients were admitted to the ICU in a single day.  

Travel into and out of the city is not recommended, unless it is considered essential.  D and Eli were planning to come to the city this week but she decided as the numbers were climbing to rearrange Eli's doctor's appointment to the end of April.  I had thought I might drive out during Easter break, but will put that off for another week or so beyond then.  Hopefully we'll see the numbers start coming down soon.  I would hate to be the one to inadvertently bring the variant to her home.  Not only is she in the age group that seems to be impacted the most, she has underlying health issues that would make it worse.  Even their small town has been affected as one of the elementary schools was also closed last week due to a grade 3 student who was diagnosed with the variant.  Eli attends the other school and they remain open for now.  For now, we'll play it safe and remain within our small bubbles.  

There isn't much on my plate for today, I'll probably do some knitting, I'm working on a couple of craft items, the kitchen floor needs washing and I'd like to get outdoors for a walk this afternoon.  I saw on the news that someone spotted a Mallard drake this week - perhaps the ducks will be back at the pond.  No robins yet though.

Here's a photo from this morning that made me smile. That's one fat, happy squirrel.  Take care everyone and have a great week ahead!

Saturday 20 March 2021

It was a good week - welcome to spring!

Back to regular programming. It has been an incredibly busy week and it seemed that Friday arrived before I even blinked. Before I get into the rest of the happenings, I'll mention that our Saskatchewan team came up one rock short and finished the Brier with a bronze medal, as they did last year.  They did us proud, and I know they'll be back to Brier again as they're still a young team.  The winner of the event was the Alberta team, skipped by Brendan Bottcher.  They've been the final four years in a row, and finally won the big game.  They'll be great ambassadors for Canada at the World's in a few weeks.

I finally Since there was no curling to watch, I got a bit of spring cleaning done.  It started with cabinets in the bathrooms.  Although I clean the rest of the bathrooms regularly the drawers and under the sink don't get cleared out very often.  My daughter called as I was doing the main bathroom - since some of the items were hers I was able to sort through and toss some old stuff.  I'm going to look for some peel and stick tiles as the linoleum that was put down 30 odd years ago when the house was built is beginning to pull up.  Note to self: Add to the to-do list.

In the kitchen I pulled out the fridge and stove to clean the sides and behind them.  Generally I do this job around November 1 and April 1, but I didn't think it got done in the fall, so was pleasantly surprised to see it wasn't as bad as I thought it might be.  Still picked up a small kitten of cat hair behind the fridge but none behind the stove.  The spills down the side of the stove were bad enough!  I'm not sure how that happens as the stove is a tight fit between the cupboards; I have to hold my mouth just right in order to put it back in place.  

On Tuesday morning, I'd cleared out the pantry shelves and two lazy Susans of the contents, cleaned the shelves and replaced everything back in order.  I did an inventory of the lazy Susans because things tend to get lost in there.  Only two items had fallen off.  To reach these I have to lay on the floor, put my head and upper body in the cupboard, and stretch out my arm in order to reach the back of the cupboard.  I hate cleaning those cupboards.

As you already know, Tuesday afternoon was spent in line-up waiting for my vaccine.  Other than a little tenderness on Wednesday I had no reaction at all.  I feel for those (thinking of you Connie) who have bad reactions.  I wonder if one vaccine is more likely to cause a reaction than another? 

I did get out walking twice this week, once on Monday and again on Wednesday.  I heard the geese fly over the house in the morning so had to check out the pond.  They're back!  We do have some geese that stay over winter as there is a bit of open water on the man made lake but I'm pretty certain these are returning from the south.

We had such beautiful weather much of the week.  The nights were cool, below freezing but the daytime temperatures were well above it most days.  Best of all we had lots of sunshine, which meant I could open up the sun room for the cats.  The rabbit seemed to be enjoying it too, as it gave itself a bath in the sun.

The creek, and of course the pond, are still frozen over but the snow is melting quickly.

I chuckled at these two napping on the ice.  Close to mirror images of each other.

The mixed doubles curling started on Thursday and will run through to next Thursday.  It's a much different game than the regular four person team curling.  For starters, there are rocks set up at the beginning of the end (not thrown) and each duo throws a total of five rocks.  The first and fifth rock are thrown by the woman, the rest by the man on the team.  Rocks cannot be taken out of play before the third rock of the ten is played, until that point, the rocks that are thrown will be a freeze or a draw.  It means a LOT of rocks are in play so there can be big scores.  Also, there are only 8 ends versus 10 in the men's and women's games.  I quite enjoy watching because the strategy is quite different and I appreciate the fast pace of the game.  This is also an Olympic sport (now) and Canada has to win their place in another event even though we won the gold medal in the last winter Olympics.

While I'm watching curling I worked on a couple of projects; a vest for myself and a cardigan for Eli. The vest I completed late on Friday.  It's made of a chunky yarn so far too warm to wear at the moment. I wanted something I could wear in the house when I feel a little chilled plus it helps use up some of the yarn stash I've built up over the last couple of years.  I still have some left that I can use to make a scarf.  The cardigan for Eli isn't moving as quickly, I should have the back finished today.  

Spring/summer came early on Friday when it reached a high of 19C (66F).  There were records broken all over the province.  It won't last but, boy oh boy, it was fantastic even for a single day. Unfortunately my backyard seems to be flooding again this year likely because the ground beneath is still frozen solid.  

This morning I had several visitors to the front yard. They all seemed happy to pose for a photo or two.  There were four in total - but I couldn't get a shot of all of them together.  

Note how much brown in showing on this one.  

This one is still pretty white, and also smaller than the other one.  It's nibbling on my spruce tree. I can't imagine it tastes that great.

More curling today and I need to run out to pick up some fresh vegetables and a few other items.  That sums up the day ahead for me.  

Take care everyone, have a great week ahead. Happy Spring!!

Wednesday 17 March 2021

Oh happy day!

First off, Happy St. Patrick's Day!  May the blessings of each day be the blessings you need the most. - Irish blessing.

You're being treated/bombarded with a mid-week post because I'm too excited to wait until the weekend to share this news.  I got my Covid-19 AstraZeneca vaccine yesterday!!!!  It was unexpected, I truly thought I'd have to wait for the opportunity until April sometime.  But with the vaccine not recommended for over 65's*, our province opened it up for 60-64. Here in the city, the health authority opened a drive-in clinic, on a first come first serve basis. On Monday, it was only for 64 years old, but as time went on, they lowered it until the entire age group could attend.  I got a news alert around 11:30 a.m., quickly got ready to go and headed across the city. 

I was in fairly lengthy line-up by 11:50 and received my dose about 3 p.m.  After the shot there was a 15 minute wait in the parking lot to ensure I didn't have an adverse reaction - I didn't.  I never had to park in the line-up, as the vehicles kept moving but the loop took us through and around the parking lot, past various buildings and then a couple of switchbacks before we reached the building where the vaccines were being administered.  I'm pretty sure I've seen every square inch of the property.

There was sign here that said 90 minute wait from this point in the picture on the left. Note the porta-potties! But it only took 10 minutes to make it to the next sign that read 60 minute wait.  It did take close to an hour between the first sign and when I reached the building.  Inside there were six lanes set up, with three stations in each row for the vehicles.  When it was my turn, I pulled up in the lane, gave the nurse my health card, answered a few questions, and waited for the jab.  It was over in mere minutes and I was on my way to the parking lot for the brief stop before heading home. 

I waited to post this until morning, in case I had any kind of reaction.  There was no immediate reaction, in fact that evening I couldn't tell you where exactly in my arm I got the shot.  It wasn't the least bit sore. This morning, if I push on my arm I can find a little tenderness but that's it.  I'm one of the lucky ones as I know there have been others who haven't had it as easy.

I was excited when I got my vaccine yesterday, and as I told the nurse, I think it's because there seems to finally be an end in sight to this pandemic.  While things won't change immediately or even in a few months, and I certainly won't be giving on masking, social distancing, and washing my hands a lot, the potential for a shift back to more "normal" times is there.  It all adds up to a real sense of relief.

What a blessing!  For those who haven't yet had the chance to be vaccinated, I hope it's available to you soon. 

*An announcement by the NACI - National Advisory Committee on Immunization yesterday that the vaccine is now approved for those over 65 here in Canada.

Saturday 13 March 2021

Quiet week

 Another boring week for my readers, since I've done little except watch curling, crochet while watching curling, and fit in chores between games.  If you give this post a pass, I won't blame you. :)

The Brier has not disappointed, there have been some incredible shot making as well as some spectacular misses. If you have a minute to spare, check out the round the horn shot by the young Newfoundland skip.  They haven't had the best of weeks and were down 7-1 when he made this shot for his deuce.  They didn't win the game, but this shot made the sports news. Our Saskatchewan team had a couple of tough games, but made it into the second round robin, finishing second in their pool.  They placed third in last year's event, but will need to work hard to get there this year.  They split their two games yesterday and have two more today.

Meanwhile, when I was at D's last week she gave me a container of yarn she's gathered over the years.  She has tried to knit something but gives up readily as she hasn't the patience for it.  I get that, as there are lots of things I haven't the patience for either.  Among the yarn were three skeins of a variegated yarn.  I knew there wasn't enough to make a baby blanket, but after checking my stash, I added some additional yarn in three different colors similar to those in the variegated balls.  I'm calling it my Easter blanket.  I ended up with just a little bit of yarn leftover, which I rolled into a ball for Saku to enjoy. Once the threads are sewn in, I'll wash it and plan to put it on Facebook for sale.  
I've had no success on Varage sale - though there is someone who is "watching" my items. I suspect they think the blankets are over-priced...though in comparison to the others available I would say they are not.  I'll the FB Marketplace with the Easter blanket and depending on the success (or failure) I'll decided whether the others will get posted to FB as well.

Since there was no curling on Monday morning, I decided to make a run to Value Village as I'd received an e-mail with a coupon for 20% off.  I went looking for specific pieces to make a tiered tray.  I thought I'd use a pie plate, a pizza pan and some sort of candlestick.  I didn't find a pizza pan, but was even happier to find a tray. The candlestick appears to be real silver or at least plated so I decided I wouldn't be painting that!  

On the left (if blogger will co-operate are
the three pieces before and it will not...grrr!) and the after on the right below. I chose the blue because I think it will work throughout the year, with different decorations.  In addition, I have a good amount of blue in the house already so it fits in well.   You can see it also has a practical side - the salt and pepper are readily available.  Our meals are served up off the island - neither of us eat at the kitchen table except when D and Eli are visiting.  We got out of the habit when the kids were teenagers as the kitchen in the old house had no room for a table, and the living room was too small to add one either.  We've grown accustomed to eating our meals in front of the television or computer.  

Friday morning, there was no tie-breaker games so I had an opportunity to run out to pick up groceries, cat food and cat litter.  I did get a wee start on the spring cleaning. A month or so ago, I had pulled out the jackets, mitts, gloves, toques, etc. from the front closet and done a bit of a purge.  But, I hadn't pulled the shoe rack and the other items off the floor. When I did this, the other day, I found enough cat hair to make a small kitten.  Oops, I guess it's been awhile.  After cleaning that up, I washed the closet floor and put everything back where it belongs.  Note to self: clean the closet more frequently, I don't need another cat!

I'm off to spend a couple of hours on Ancestry.  I'm continuing to follow the branches from my grandfather's great-grandparents. The first two branches didn't a lot of time, as there isn't a lot of information available on either individual.  One, because his GGF changed his last name and cut ties with his family in Scotland, and his GGM may also have changed her name, as finding any family members has pretty much come to a standstill.  My relative who started this, has hired a professional to do some more research and hopefully he'll come up with something we have not been able to find.

Anyway, enough of that. We're having a lovely spring day here today, with sunshine so I'll be opening the sun room for the cats in the next hour or so.  To end off this post, I've got a couple of photos from the backyard this week. The squirrel would not turn and look at me, even when I tapped on the window.  Definitely into it's meal!

I believe this is a grosbeak but readily admit I'm not good at identifying birds.

Have a great week everyone, take care and stay well!

Saturday 6 March 2021

Celebrating the good times

 Guess who turned four this week?  It sure wasn't me! Yes, my darling grandson Eli celebrated his big boy birthday.

I drove out the day of his birthday and surprised him when his mom and I went to the school to pick him up.  He had a really big food day: French toast for breakfast, lunch from Dairy Queen, and later pasta and vegetables for supper followed by his birthday cake.

The cake is special, not only because he helped mix it up, but because it is a recipe of my mother's.  She called it a 1-2-3-4 cake, thus very fitting for this birthday.  Of course, I halved it because the recipe was too much...but he doesn't know that!

I spent the night and had company, as both cats Sheldon and Stanley decided the single bed was the place to be.  I didn't sleep particularly well, it wasn't the cats though, it was the sound of the trains from the nearby train yard.  Even so, neither Eli nor I were awake until nearly 6 a.m. After a few more cuddles and reading the book I gave him one more time, I headed home as I had an appointment later in the morning.

It was time for annual mammogram...and that's all I'll say about that. After my visit to the clinic I treated myself to a trip to the nearby dollar store.  I did come home with a couple of items, nothing exciting.  

I did finish a couple of crafts this past weekend.  First up this little bird house.  It was from a run to a dollar store a few weeks ago, and meant for a child to paint...since my abilities in this realm are child-like I figured it would work for me.  Rather than paint it, I used acrylic paint as a stain.  The roof is corrugated cardboard that I painted using three colors to try to make it look a bit like a metal roof.  (Though it's difficult to see in this photo I even found a wee bird that fits on the little roost.)

The other finish is the knitted blanket that I worked on during the Scotties last week.  I finished sewing in the ends and got it washed up. I like the look of it as it almost looks like corduroy.

I now have four baby blankets listed on our local Buy and Sell Varage sale.  I'm hopeful that someone will take an interest and noted this morning I have a watcher on each of them.  If they don't see in a couple of weeks, I'll probably try Facebook Marketplace.  At least for now, craft sales won't be happening for a while longer yet.  We did get good news this week, with the AstraZeneca vaccine now approved in Canada, but not for those 65 and over, our province is planning to provide them to those age 60-64 beginning March 22.  Fingers crossed that I'll get an appointment in April.

On Friday, I did my grocery shopping, going early in the morning to avoid crowds.  The Co-op had a good sale on meat - I got a small beef roast, stewing beef, ground pork and two packages of sausages.  Prices have really creeped up here over the last year!  I guess it is simple economics, more people are staying home and cooking meals so demand is likely increasing more quickly than the supply pushing prices higher.

On Friday evening, the men's Brier curling even started.  Like the women's, there are 18 teams in the event, including three wild cards.  Unlike the women's the three wild card teams are from three different provinces. I have absolutely no prediction as to who might win the event, the caliber of the teams is that good.  Well, most of them anyway - for the northern teams their winning percentage is generally lower as there are fewer teams and fewer events to play in.  Of course, I'll be cheering for our Saskatchewan team, who placed third last year.  I do know it will be a good week of curling!

Finally, a recent visitor to the birdfeeder.  The birds are still showing up each day but with warmer weather they aren't eating as much.  I don't know if you can see in this photo but the trees have wee buds on them. Spring is only a few weeks least on the calendar. :)

Take care everyone and stay well!