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!