Friday, 20 May 2022

Sailing the Majestic

As I start this post, I'm in my cabin Aloha 724, taking a brief time out before heading back out on the deck of the ship. We're in Ketchikan today, one more sea day and then we disembark in Vancouver.  Fingers crossed, I'll make it through security in time for my flight.  

This morning (Thursday) I took a walk through the ship and snapped a few photos of areas on the ship I particularly like. I'm on the Majestic Princess, a ship built originally for the Asian market. All around the ship the signage is in English and Chinese characters.

In the center of the ship on decks 5, 6, and 7 is the Piazza. Most of the ships are built in Italy so despite the Asian influences the Piazza is a necessity. 

On each of the floors off the Piazza are various services, restaurants,  bars, shops, the internet Cafe, guest services,  just to name a few.

In the Piazza on deck 5 each afternoon there is live music. It's a pleasant spot for a beverage and a sit.  Assuming, of course you can find a seat.

On this cruise that doesn't seem to be an issue. The ship generally averages 3400 passengers,  however on the way north we had a little over 1800, and southbound, a few over 2000. Thus the ship doesn't feel crowded at all.

To be honest I haven't spent much time inside. Even with fewer passengers I'm avoiding close contact as much as possible. More on that in another post. 


One of my favorite spots on the ship is the seating area on the aft deck 16, outside the Marketplace (a fancy name for the buffet area). It was a busy place in the late afternoon but I often had it to myself, with a couple of waiters, for lunch and those days it was warm enough to enjoy breakfast. 

Another favorite area, for watching the glaciers, or looking for wildlife, or simply relaxing with a book was an area forward on deck 7.

Again it seemed to be an area that few others found...or maybe they were staying indoors.  Not me! The fresh air and the views kept me outdoors most days. It helped that with the exception of Juneau as we traveled north, and Glacier Bay going south  we had very little rain. Mornings were often overcast but the skies cleared by noon.

If you wondered if there are old fashioned deck chairs, they have those too. Sadly most are in the smoking area but I found these ones on the port side of deck 7.  I got some time out there today (Friday) early in the morning in the sunshine. A little bird joined me, I wonder if it knows how far it is from home.



When it was cool, I did spend some time in the Hollywood Conservatory. No idea why it is called that.  It was a nice quiet space,  deck 17 forward, where one could watch the sea for whale spouts.  This was an adults only area, though this cruise there were only a few children on board.

The one flaw I found was the food. For the first week I ate in one of the main dining rooms with sit-down service. The food was presented nicely, tasted fine, but hot and cold foots were often tepid. In one instance I sent dinner back as the fish was cold and oily. There was one superb meal, the evening I dined at Bistro Sur le Mar. This is one of the specialty restaurants,  with a surcharge. My lovely travel agent, L treated me!

The second week I ate mostly at the buffet. There wasn't a while lot of variety day to day, but enough items on the menu that I always found something to enjoy.  This experience is unlike my previous cruises and I suspect has much to do with supply chain issues and fewer staff than normal.

And since I didn't cruise for the food but rather the scenery and the ports this did not hamper my enthusiasm and enjoyment at all. 

It's now late afternoon Friday. I'm back on the aft.of deck 16 enjoying the sunshine and watching the ship's wake. My suitcase is packed, I've checked in for my flight, there are just a few items left for my carry-on. 

Time to hit post, find some dinner, and settle in for what will likely be a restless night. No matter how often I travel I have difficulty sleeping the night prior. Excitement and worry that I'll sleep through the alarm, miss my ride to the airport, etc. Hasn't happened yet. 

And just like that someone hollered whale, and I turned and saw the spout. Saying so long dor now.





Wednesday, 18 May 2022

Friday, 6 May 2022

North to Alaska

I've started this post mid-week, thinking that I'd likely hit post when I got to the airport. I'd never tried to post from my phone so we'll see how that goes!

I've managed to keep relatively busy the first few days of the week. There were groceries to buy, more to ensure there is food in the house when I get back, but also to stock some items I know my son will enjoy while I'm away. I ran an errand for my daughter and mailed off a parcel of items for her. For my Canadian readers, if you are looking for a deal on postage for parcels, the flat rate boxes are a good buy. I paid less to mail the largest flat rate box (interior 15 X 11.5 inches) for less than I have paid to send a much smaller box. The postal clerk told me I could stuff as much as I liked in the box to a maximum of 11 pounds. In this case there wasn't anything really heavy but I certainly managed to mostly fill the box. Back at home, I left the car on the driveway and gave it a good wash. 

The carpenter finished up the work framing and installing the drywall on Tuesday. The electrician stopped by as well to get a sense of the scope of the work - he'll be installing pot lights, adding an electrical outlet and removing one that I no longer need. Later on Tuesday, the guy who does the mudding and taping of the drywall was here as well (and returned again every day since). While the last fellow was here I decided it was time to tackle the garage. I swept up the debris that tracks in throughout the year, dirt, leaves, and grime. I broke some boxes that were thrown out there that I won't use and reorganized the ones I'm keeping. There were a couple of boxes of items meant for the thrift store that were forgotten so I put those in the trunk of the car for my next trip to the store.

I had forgotten to go to the bank to get cash for my trip, for tips and small purchases, so did that on Wednesday. A stop was made at Walmart to pick up a couple of needed items as well. Back at home, I chatted with my most wonderful travel agent. She has been spending a lot of time ensuring this trip goes smoothly for me. Canada has a app that individuals entering the country must complete - ArriveCan. To enter Canada, one must complete the documentation which includes passport and proof of vaccination, and for non-Canadians proof of a negative Covid test. I had assumed, wrongly, that I would not need to complete this step until we returned to Vancouver at the end of the cruise. I had already downloaded the app, uploaded my proof of vax, and passport info. But as L discovered, cruises are treated differently and the ArriveCan process must be completed before embarkation. She also learned that it must be done no more than 72 hours prior, though it will allow one to do so. I had to delete my first receipt and reenter the info.

I had earlier scheduled my Covid test, a requirement for the cruise, for Friday at noon. After discussing it with l  I decided to reschedule for earlier in the day. This was easy, just a couple of mouse clicks. The fact it was that easy suggested the clinic isn't busy...making me hopeful I'd get my results quickly. 

The rest of the day was spent vaccuming the main floor of the house, packing a few more items, and reading in the sun room. Our weather has changed for the better though there is rain in the forecast beginning Friday.

Then Thursday happened. First off I'm writing this on my phone. My laptop power insert broke and I didn't notice the battery draining and suddenly it shut down. I can do most things on my phone but when I checked in for my flight the download receipt for my checked luggage disappeared.  I was worried I'd be asked to pay again at the airport but that didn't  happen. 

Meanwhile I got a bunch of housework done, finished crocheting the edging on three dishcloths, and checked and double checked my packing.  

Friday morning went by quickly. I got my walk in, the construction crew came by with supplies for next week, and I remembered a few more items to pack. The taxi showed up on time and I arrived at the airport just prior to my appointment.  The RAT was completed in short order, I tested negative,  and then it was a quick process to drop off luggage and through security.

Then it was a whole lot of waiting. I had 2.5 hours before boarding my first flight, an hour and a bit before my second, and about a 20 minute wait for the hotel shuttle. We had a fair amount of turbulence between Regina and Calgary,  but a smooth flight between Calgary and Vancouver. I did get a 20 minute nap on the first flight, but had an excitable youngster (about 3) in the seat ahead of mine in the second flight so read for most of the trip.


The hotel, a Holiday Inn, is lovely. I had done the online check-in so it was a matter of getting my key card and arranging a shuttle for the
 morning to get to the train. I'm at the end of the hallway  and though there is some traffic noise I suspect I'll sleep well tonight.

On that note I'll say goodnight and wish everyone a good weekend.



Friday Funny


 

Saturday, 30 April 2022

Time marches on

Other than bouncing off the walls, counting off the days, what have I been up to this week? On Monday, I had hoped that Jason and his crew would be here to start the basement renovation. But that was not to be. I called him that morning to see what was up and he told me that one of his crew had gotten Covid the week before so they were delayed once again. (It would have been nice if he had called to tell me). On Tuesday I received a text saying they would be here on Wednesday afternoon. While here, he and his one helper Carter walked through with me, and confirmed the work to be done, did some measurements for the supplies they'll need.

After talking to Jason, I was a little annoyed on Monday so went out to do some retail therapy. Nothing exciting, cat food and bird seed, some peanut butter, and knitting needles. I had the right size of circular knitting needles to start Eli's new sweater but they weren't long enough for the finishing as I need to add the body and sleeves to the same set of needles. My original needles were 16", I needed at least 24". From there I went to Home Depot to try to get burner element for my range. Last week I had a pot lose a chunk of enamel on the burner - the burnt on enamel would not come off so I needed to replace the burner. Home Depot doesn't carry such things, and I was referred to a local business. I called there and determined they had the part I needed. I headed over and picked it up, and OUCH...it was $85 just for the element. Next up was the Salvation Army thrift store where I found a book to take with me next week...if I don't finish it before I leave. I'll take my Kobo too but I do like a real book. The book I picked up is Sandra Browns, "The Alibi".  At that point I decided I'd had enough retail therapy.

Tuesday was a cool day, but I did get out for a walk. It was just above freezing and the wind was blowing making it feel much cooler. Most of the wildlife was hunkered down - I saw a pair of ducks at the creek, three hares in the grass near the condos, a pair of robins in the grass, and a lot of geese and few ducks at the pond. While I took some photos, there was only one I think is worth sharing.


I've also been watching curling. :) The World's mixed doubles are underway in Geneva, Switzerland. Our Canadian team played well all week, losing only one game to Scotland through the regulation draw. Sadly, they lost to Norway in the qualification round and are out of the running.

While I'm watched curling I've worked on Eli's sweater and finishing a couple of other projects. 

This is the scarf I started while the Grand Slam was underway. It's made from the extra yarn I bought for the little dress in the next photo. It isn't a long scarf, but will be nice for under a jacket. It will likely be in my suitcase for the trip.




The other project is this little dress. I've no idea what I'll do with it, but loved the pattern, had the yarn and had to make it. The ruffle needs to be tacked down, and the little flower attached. I looked through my sewing items and I don't have a hook and eye for back closure. I'll have to purchase a zipper for Eli's sweater at some point so I'll pick the fastener at that time. 

Eli's sweater is coming along nice too but I don't expect I'll finish it until I return as I've set it aside for now.

Thursday was the day our weather changed for the better. And that means I want to be outdoors or at least in the sun room. Carter arrived about 8:45 that morning, along with the rubbish bin drop off. While he toiled in the basement removing the carpet, underlay, and tack strips, I spent the morning puttering and then headed out the door to clean up the front patio of winter debris. I swept up the leaves, pine needles, and pine cones on the patio and driveway and almost filled a large garbage bags. Then I checked with Carter as there have been some pieces of wood, which were left behind by the former owner, that I've been wanting to toss. He told me to go ahead as they won't fill the bin (and I'm paying for it). I was happy to get that cleaned up as well. 

Something funny about the basement demo. We discovered under the carpet at one end of the room, that someone had drawn out on the concrete plans for a large wet bar. Imagine if you will, a u-shaped bar, with a front and back counter, a sink and bar fridge, and glass shelving above. It obviously was never built but someone had grand ideas. :)

By Friday afternoon, a good part of the new wall and bulkhead was up, the upper level of what was a pony wall had it's framing as well, and I was now the proud owner of a small pump for the furnace run off. The furnace runs the a/c unit as well, and had a run off hose for the excess water. The hoset ran across the furnace room floor and out to the sump hole in the unfinished part of the basement. Carter mentioned it was going to cause issues with the new wall, so I agreed to have their plumber come and put in the pump. The hose from the pump is run up and through the drop ceiling, into the laundry room, across the ceiling and down into the same drain as the washing machine. It looks so much better as it is totally inconspicuous unless you know where to look. This turned out to be a very spendy week.  On the other hand Jason is giving me oak baseboards they took out of the last two jobs. He said they aren't quite the same as my originals (that will be going back in the main room) but my feeling is, since the baseboards will be a separate room, the difference won't be noticeable. 

Today, I've got the bronze and gold medal mixed doubles curling games to watch. Both games were played overnight (for me) so I PVR'd them to watch this morning. At the moment Germany is beating up on Norway, leading 3-1 after three ends. Lots of time left for Norway to make a come-back with five ends to go. Both are great teams and I have no favorite. The gold medal game will feature Scotland and Switzerland. In this game I'll likely cheer for Scotland.

Later I want to get out for a walk.  Our temperatures have really improved - yesterday we had a high of 15C (59F), and today's forecast is for 14C (57F). It does look like it might rain but that's okay as I don't melt, I just wish I would. :) There is laundry and vacuuming as well, and definitely some time on the patio or in the sunroom to continue reading.

Have a wonderful weekend everyone and a great week ahead!

P.S. There likely won't be any post next Saturday unless I can access the internet at the hotel before I leave to for the cruise ship. I've not bought the internet package on the ship either so until I'm in a port where I can pick-up free WIFI I'll be off-line. 











Thursday, 28 April 2022

Thankful Thursday

I was going to wait until Saturday to fill you in on the news but decided I just can't wait any longer to share. And I am very thankful for the trip I'll be taking in just over a week's time. 

Yes, the suitcase on Wednesday was the biggest hint, as were the past few Wordless Wednesday photos (binoculars, boots, and a photo of a certain location). Back in 2012, my friend K and I did a short four day cruise from Vancouver to Ketchikan and back to Seattle. The photo I shared last week is one looking away from the town of Ketchikan across the passage. At that time I had just a small point and shoot so the photo isn't particularly clear as the zoom didn't work that well. 

We had lovely day in Ketchikan, it was late May and the weather was warm and sunny, even though Ketchikan is known for it's rainfall. I even got a sunburned nose! We wandered around the town, visiting Creek Street - where the ladies of the evening plied their trade, through a few shops, and then further down the water line to an air charter service where we watched the float planes come and go.

I've wanted to do a cruise to Alaska for a long time but other itineraries and pricing were more attractive. Fast forward to last November (I think - it may have been October) when I came across the "Voyage of the Glaciers", a fourteen day cruise both northbound and southbound out of Vancouver. I called my travel agent and booked it...because surely by May this pandemic would be over, right?

Well it isn't entirely but I'm still cruising. Since booking I was able to score a price drop of almost $800, and my flights to and from Vancouver, used up part of the credit I had with WestJet from the flights that were cancelled in June 2020 (for my British Isles cruise - still on my bucket list - I will get there one day Janet!). 

Our ports and scenic cruising include: Ketchikan, Juneau, Skagway, Glacier Bay, College Fjord and Whittier (northbound), and Hubbard Glacier, Glacier Bay, Skagway, Juneau, Ketchikan and Vancouver (southbound). I've booked two excursions, a whale watching tour in Juneau on the way north, and the White Pass railway in Skagway on the way south. I'd love to do more but excursions are pretty pricey. I've downloaded a map of Whittier as that is turn around day - many passengers booked only the 7 day cruises so some will be disembarking, while others will be embarking. There is a restaurant right on the water that I'm planning on walking to with stops at whatever interests me along the way. Beyond that I'm still doing a bit of research to determine what I might do in the other ports. 

I fly to Vancouver on Friday May 6 and board the ship on Saturday morning. While I don't need a Covid test for the flight, I do for the cruise so have booked an appointment at the airport here before the flight is scheduled to leave. That way, heaven forbid, should I be positive, I'll be able to head home for isolation. In the meantime I'm doing everything in my power to avoid getting sick and will continue to do so while on board the airplane and the ship. I've a box of N95 masks, as well as the medical and cloth masks I normally wear. Fingers crossed!

You can be certain that when I return there will be a number of posts, likely photo heavy, of the ports and the glaciers. I plan to spend as much time during the day time as possible out on deck - I'm expecting incredible scenery as we sail the inside passage.  The weather may not entirely cooperate, though the long range for our day in Ketchikan would suggest it will be another lovely day. 

So today I'm starting the packing process. I'm planning to take lots of layers, along with my rain jacket and waterproof boots, a couple pairs of mini gloves, a fleece jacket (with windbreaker), and a scarf. I've been told it can be quite chilly when we're viewing the glaciers. Of course, my idea of chilly and those from warmer climates might be different.

I am so excited - this is my first cruise since March 2019. I started cruising in 2011 and with the exception of 2013, I did at least one cruise a year.  I'm so looking forward to getting out on the ocean again. 



Saturday, 23 April 2022

Staying warm while winter lingers

 Monday was a vacation for my son, so it was a quiet day. I puttered around the house, finishing painting in C's bedroom in the basement and got a few chores done in the afternoon. It warmed up enough in the sunroom that I was able to get out and sit with my tea and read. This latest book was "the last time i saw Paris", by Lynn Sheene. "May 1940. Fleeing a glamorous Manhattan life built on lies, Claire Harris arrives in Paris with a romantic vision of starting anew." Of course, this was the start of German invasion on France and things don't go as she had hoped. The story tells the tale of survival despite the odds. I very much enjoyed it.

I was able to finish the cotton bag I started last week while watching curling. It's about the size of a beach bag. There is enough yarn left over to make a few dishcloths as well -3 are complete with one more on the hook.

Tuesday was a very busy day. I started with my grocery shopping, and once home with those put away, I gathered up my laptop and headed for my niece and nephew's home across the city. Both needed to file their income tax returns and I offered to assist. After some false starts we had the program loaded and the returns completed. Both did very well, entering the information into the program with a few hints and suggestions (even I learned a couple of things) and then our visit turned to travel.  My niece L is heading to Europe in May with several friends. One of her classmates lives in Prague - which will their first stop. Then it is onto Berlin, Rome, Paris, and finally London. They'll only be there for two weeks so it is going to be a full and busy trip.

Since I had my laptop with me, I was able to pull up the photos I took in Paris on our TransAtlantic cruise in the spring of 2014. We only had a few hours in Paris; our ship had docked at Le Havre, and the bus ride was three hours each way, so I didn't see much but shared with her some of the highlights. It certainly brought back a lot of happy memories. 

From there I headed over to the salon to get a haircut. I haven't been since June 2020 so was due! The hairdresser took off about 2 inches and cleaned up the bangs that I've been trimming myself. She didn't even give me a hard time about how uneven the bangs were...though I would not have blamed her if she had. 

It started snowing about 4 p.m., but it didn't last long and melted on the pavement pretty quickly. When I drove past the pond where the geese and ducks congregate, I noticed it was frozen over again. Those poor birds. Speaking of birds, I had some unusual visitors to the back yard in the last week or so.

I was surprised to see the crow at the feeder. It was certainly enjoying the suet.

The second visitor(s) were a pair of magpies (second one was on a higher branch). I've seen them in the park before but never this close to the house.



When I went out to feed the birds on Wednesday morning, I startled a pair of Prairie chickens on the deck. They crowded themselves into a corner before they turned and flew up to the roof of the house. When I came in, I happened out the front window and spotted them again. This one was heading for the back yard again. I always put a bit of feed on the ground for them and I suspect they were heading for breakfast.

Later that morning I headed out to get some bird seed that I'd forgotten the day before. Then I headed over to Value Village to look for a sheet for my son's bed. I noticed the bottom sheet he had was looking worse for wear when he moved upstairs. I found a flat sheet, not fitted, that would work for just $6. At home I washed and dried it and remade the bed for him. It was a pretty quiet afternoon; I caught up on some PVR'd television while knitting, but roused myself enough to make a batch of banana bread. 

We had more snow, interspersed with rain on Thursday and Friday. I stuck close to home, did some knitting and caught up on PVR'd television programs with a few household chores thrown in for good measure. A fellow from the local utility company showed up both days to do some marking in the back yard. He informed me that Sask Power will be doing some trenching in the neighbourhood for new lines sometime next week. I hope they do a better job of filling in than the other utility companies did two years ago. I know I still have some work to do in the backyard after removing the shed but I don't want to have to do more work because of theirs. 

I did run out on Friday morning to Michaels. On FB, I belong to a crocheting group and someone posted yarn was on sale. Eli has basically grown out of the last heavier weight sweater that I made him. He was just two when I knit this one, and it was a size four. The newest one will be a size eight and hopefully will fit for a few years. It's a hoodie with a zipper and I've never put a zipper in a sweater so this will be a learning opportunity (and challenge) for me. This time I'm using a solid green - the last sweater I ought to have done a better job of matching the pattern in the yard. I realized that when I got to the sleeves.

Today I'm continuing the pattern of watching PVR'd television and knitting. It's a dreary day, overcast, cool, with light rain falling. It should hopefully melt the snow, at least until the snow starts falling again tonight. :( The forecast suggests warmer weather isn't in the forecast for another week.  I had planned to spend my days in the sunroom with Saku while the construction crew is here but I suspect we'll in my bedroom for the mornings. I haven't heard from Jason so assume they'll be here Monday morning. If there is enough sun in the morning, we should be able to move out to the sunroom later in the day.  

Have a good week ahead everyone! Stay warm and dry. 



Saturday, 16 April 2022

Wait a minute!

The photo of the robin from Wednesday was taken on Sunday, when the weather was lovely and warm. It didn't last. By Monday the temperature dropped and it got even cooler on Tuesday. AND then came the snow.


The rabbits sitting on the neighbour's lawn that morning, seem to be at odds with one another as to whether spring is here or not. 

It worked out well for me, as I had things to accomplish in the house. C moved upstairs to one of the spare bedrooms, which necessitated moving some items into the other spare bedroom, my craft room. Monday I moved some things around and then tackled the basement. It desperately needed a vacuum, where his desk had sat for nearly 12 years, and in his bedroom where the bed was set up. (I don't touch his desk and the bedroom wasn't big enough to move the bed very far). 

I washed down the walls in his bedroom in preparation for painting, and patched a small scrape where his bed frame had dented the wall. I must say, I'm getting far better at mixing up the compound, and using the trowel to smooth it on the wall. No home renovation show would ever hire me though, I'm not that good. :) Tuesday morning, I taped around the door and closet frames but left most of the baseboards as is. I believe that is part of the quote to replace the baseboards...if not, I'll paint them later (as I did the upstairs). I figure if they're staying, they'll likely get dinged in the process of replacing the flooring so I don't need the work twice. 

I had paint remaining from 2020 when I repainted the rest of the house. I was really surprised when I opened the partial can, that it had not separated and only needed a bit of stirring. Home Depot Behr Natural gray paint for the win. My first task was to cut in around the door frames, base boards and ceilings. When that was complete, I took a break until after lunch. The walls was repainted in short order. It's really amazing how a fresh coat of paint brightens up a room. I did discover in my cleaning and painting that the room had once been a robin's egg blue. It was gray when we moved in and is now a slightly lighter color.

I had texted the contractor on Monday, but didn't hear back so assumed, rightly, that the crew wouldn't be here on Wednesday. That morning, I woke to snow on the ground (just a skiff at that point), and figured it was probably just as well. Early in the afternoon he called to say that two of his crew, his electrician and tiler were all out due to Covid, and they have a couple of jobs to finish yet. So the start of the job is now scheduled to start April 25th. I'm just as happy not to have them in the house with Covid. Here in Saskatchewan, as long as you asymptomatic you can come and go as you please. I think those with symptoms are supposed to stay home for 5 days or until one doesn't test positive though I suspect many don't.

I had some questions for him; while painting the bedroom, it dawned on me that when the rug is pulled and the laminate flooring is laid, the original baseboards will reveal a part of the wall that hasn't been repainted. We talked about changing out the baseboards throughout the basement but that would add an additional $1,000 to the bill so I'm sticking with the originals. At first I told him I'd repaint after they were done, but after our call finished I realized it would make more sense to pull the baseboards now and paint. I spent an hour or so removing baseboards and pulling nails. I learned a couple of things - at one point there must have been some water in the basement as the nails in the south wall baseboard were so rusty they disintegrated in my hands. Another thing I learned is some idjit added a touch of glue to the end of the baseboards on the interior walls at the corners. Removing the baseboards caused damage to the drywall underneath that had to be repaired.

My list of things to do just got longer! Thursday I need to patch the drywall, vacuum the edges of the carpet along the walls to clean up debris, and wash the portion of exposed walls and paint. I started with the patching, then moved on to vacuuming and washing walls. I knew the patches wouldn't be dry for 24 hours but I went ahead and painted the rest of the walls. 

The snow continued overnight and throughout the day. We weren't getting a lot of accumulation but it was blowing around. School buses in the city were cancelled because of road conditions. It was far worse to the east of Regina, and Highway #1 was closed at the Manitoba border as much of the southern part of the province was hammered. In total, we had about four inches of snow, other areas got as much as 15 inches! It definitely was a blessing to be able to stay at home while this (hopefully) last blast of winter was happening. 

I got as much done as early in the day on Thursday as I could because....there was more curling to watch. There is a Grand Slam of curling event being held in Toronto. Three games on each of Thursday and Friday, then one (that I could watch) on Saturday and two more on Sunday. This is the second to last event for the season, the last will be held May 3-8 in Alberta. I won't be home for most of it.  And that's all I'll say about that for now. :)

Hence I spent Friday and then Saturday morning, watching curling and working on some crocheting. I just have the finishing for the little knit dress I worked on while the Men's worlds wa on - weave in the ends of the yard before I wash and block the dress. Two new dishcloths are done and I'm nearing completion of another tote bag. These projects are using up some of my accumulated stash though there is much more to go.

This afternoon I sanded and vacuumed before painting the rest of the areas where the baseboards have been removed. I was thinking I might start pulling up the carpet but have decided to leave that for the construction crew. Many years ago, my first house in the city was a 1 1/2 story house built in 1925, about 800 square on 3 levels...it was a dollhouse but the kids were small and it did have three bedrooms. The living had carpet and when I figured out there was hardwood underneath I just had to remove the carpet. I pulled it and the tack strips along the edge with no issues until I reached the doorway between the living room and kitchen. There I discovered that the tacking strip had been nailed down with three 3 inch spikes. The first one came out with some difficulty and the second was even more stubburn. I had it almost out when the hammer slipped, flew backwards and smacked me in the mouth with one of it's claws. There was much blood and it didn't want to stop, but I wanted to finish so I stuck a bunch of bandaids on my lip and kept going. I did have to stop and replace the bandaids once more before I got the last spike out and cleaned up the mess. Then I phoned a friend to drive me to the nearby hospital where I had five stitches put in my lip. The doctor who stitched me up did such a good job, even I can't find the scar except in the very best light. I did walk around for about a week with what looked like a beetle on my lip. :p

I've got the Blue Jays baseball on the television and one more load of laundry in the dryer. The sun is shining, though it isn't quite warm enough for much melting to happen just yet.  It's just C and I here for Easter, no chocolate in the house though we've eaten our fair share of jelly beans, and I've no special dinner planned as it is just the two of us. D and Eli are going to the Saturday matinee in their town for the new Sonic movie; that was my gift to him for Easter. 

Hope you're all having a wonderful weekend and wishing you a great week ahead.  Happy Easter to those who celebrate!











Saturday, 9 April 2022

The things people do

Every day has been bringing more signs of spring, though I sincerely doubt winter is quite over yet. My front flower bed is clear of snow, but it will be a few weeks before there is anything growing yet as the ground is frozen. Monday was absolutely beautiful at a very balmy 14C (57F). I wish I could say I spent some time outdoors but I didn't. The living room window was open, as was the sun room. I had a few errands to run in the morning, and then the Canadian men were curling in the afternoon. 

I did get out for a walk on Tuesday, and while it was a bit cooler at 7C (45F), it felt great to be outdoors. It turns out we were fortunate in the city as other areas not far away were getting some miserable weather. At my daughter's there was snow and rain for much of the day. Worse still was the southwest corner of the province that got snow and high winds. Power lines were downed and road conditions and visibility were bad enough that people were warned to stay home. One of larger communities even declared a civic emergency. Meanwhile it was sunny and warm here until the evening when we got a bit of rain.

There weren't very many birds on the creek, just one pair each of ducks and geese. But I did see this wild creature. :) 

I've seen this cat before on the bank of the creek watching the ducks and geese. It seems to be in good shape, but has obviously been chased or frightened by people or animals. While it did come close to me, it shied away and headed, hopefully, to home.


On my way over to the pond, I managed to capture this shot of two geese on their way there too. So nice to see the blue sky again after a gloomy winter.


Over at the pond, the ice is rapidly disappearing and the water is flowing. There were definitely more geese that day, but only a few ducks yet.
I'm not sure how comfortable it is laying out on the ice but these geese didn't seem to be bothered by the cold. I wonder if their body warmth ever melts the ice enough that the fall into the water?

This female mallard seemed to be on her own, as I didn't see her partner anywhere. I'm sure she won't be alone for long though.




A couple of geese got into a bit of an argument. It didn't last very long but there were some (apparent) bad words exchanged.

The usually noisy gulls were pretty quiet. This was only one I saw on the water.

I did take a chance and walked through the park closest to home. I had to skirt the area where the water is quite deep - it was snow and ice last week. I'll have to change my route up to avoid it for a little while yet. That means walking through the residential area instead of the park, not nearly as pretty but definitely safer.

Wednesday was partially cloudy, sometimes sunny, so I was able to open up the sunroom around lunchtime. The curling was over by around 1 p.m. so I grabbed a sandwich, my book, and headed out for a good ninety minutes of so. Since there was another draw that evening, I had to spend some time in the house doing some housework. That darned house fairy keeps missing my house. 

It was grocery day on Thursday - didn't make the ten days this time but I had run out of some of the basics, milk, eggs, margarine and some veg so it was time. Again, I needed to make the circuit because I'll be damned if I'll pay $3.99 for a head of lettuce! Eggs were on sale at Co-op, as was margarine and tomatos. Safeway had salad dressings at a lower price than Walmart, plus I got 10 airmiles for purchasing two. It's the time of year I start eating more salads and I use it for marinades as well so they'll get used up. I bypassed almost all of the meat counters because the sales were not great and I have enough in the fridge freezer to keep us going for a couple of weeks. I did pick up a couple of chubs of pepperoni, also on sale at Safeway. One went in the freezer and the other will be used by my son for sandwiches, and I'll make a pizza later this week with it as well. Bonus, I got 10 more airmiles for purchasing them. 

I hadn't planned to go out again this week, but my daughter needed me to run a couple of errands for her and I totally forgot about them on Thursday, so Friday I headed out to Costco. This time I would say, there may have been 25% of the people masked. And of those, there were many who were wearing it under their nose...so not much in doing so. From there I popped over to Walmart to pick up a small three drawer container for my son. More on that later. When I left the store, I put my items in the trunk and walked the cart back to the shelter. Picture if you will, two rows of cars, noses in, facing one another. There is an SUV in the parking spot across and one spot to the right of me. The woman from that vehicle is moving a cart that someone had left in the spot next to me. While I am buckling up and starting my car, I'm surprised to see that instead of walking it the short distance to the cart shelter, she placed it between my vehicle and the one I'm facing. The she gets in her vehicle and pulls the SUV forward so it is now parked partially in both spots. I shook my head, got out of the car, grabbed the cart and put it away. She opened her door of the SUV and shouted something at me, but I ignored her. As I left she was still parked partially in the two parking spots - I can only assume she was trying to ensure no one touched her precious vehicle.

Our Canadian men clinched a spot in the playoffs at the World's curling by Thursday - all that was to be decided was their position in the top six. They beat Scotland in the morning and Denmark in the evening to take top spot in the standings. They'll play the winner of this afternoon's USA/Scotland game this evening in the semi final. Win and they are into the final tomorrow for gold. Go Canada go!

This morning I woke up to rain and a balmy 6C (43F). The front patio still has some ice on it, but if it continues to rain throughout the day as it is forecast, that should be gone. While we're expecting cooler temperatures and more snow this upcoming week, it will disappear quickly I'm sure. I'm looking forward to getting outside to clean up the deck and patio but that will have to wait another week or so.

At some point over the weekend, my son will be moving upstairs as the contractor may start work as early as Wednesday in the basement. He has a couple of jobs to finish off so fingers crossed there will be a crew here mid-week. C doesn't have a lot of furniture to move, but hasn't gone through his clothing in several years so this should be an interesting exercise. He mentioned last night he came across a t-shirt I gave him when he was in highschool.  He's 34...you can do the math. :) His bedroom is the only room I didn't paint a couple of years ago, so with it empty I'll probably get that done early in the week. 

In response to the comments on my great-great grandfather's obituary, it seems that anyone whose family came from Scotland has an ancestor named Stuart or Stewart. Not surprising due to the Stuart royalty, but it sure makes finding connections more difficult. The first census was done in 1841, and as my GG2 was born in 1816, he was an adult and tying him to his parent's near impossible. According to census data there were at least five or six Hugh Stewart's in the area at the time, and while I can narrow it down slightly by the fact he wasn't married, I can't be sure I've located the correct person. And then there is the added complication being unable to locate a baptismal certificate. Can you tell I get tied up in knots thinking about it?

On that note, I'm off to play around in Ancestry again this morning. For now I'm working on Dad's side of the family and tracing family members at the great-grandparents level. Most of the family settled orginally in Quebec in the 1850's but a number moved into the States - primarily in Wisconsin with several later moving to Washington state. One very distant cousin, a musician by trade, along with his wife, was found guilty of forgery in the early 1900's and served a sentence in San Quentin of just over 3 years. She was sentenced to 6 months for her role in the scheme. Fun stuff!

Have a wonderful week ahead everyone!


Friday, 8 April 2022

Flashback Friday (sort of)

 I couldn't find a Friday funny cartoon that tickled my fancy so thought I'd change it up a bit today and share some family history.

As I've shared before my cousin K was the spark that got me interested in Ancestry and finding more about my mother and father's families.  This week I received a package of information from K including copies of land registration information, mortgages, and the obituary of our great-great grandfather Hugh Stewart. It is the latter I'll share with you today.

From The Brussels Post dated May 10, 1893:

"Friday afternoon at 2 o'clock the spirit of Hugh Stewart, an old and highly respected resident of the 15th con(cession), took its flight. The deceased was born in the Parish of Carleton, Ayrshire, Scotland, on May 6th, 1816, and had attained the royal age of 77 years and 6 days at the time of his death. He came to Canada in 1851, living at Ancaster for a time where he followed his trade as millwrighter. Mr. Stewart was united in marriage to Miss Catherine Milligan, his now bereft partner, whose home was in Chingnacousy township, in 1855.

They moved to Guelph where they lived until the Spring of 1856 when they located on lot 6, con. 15, Grey. Five children were born, three of whom survive, one died in infancy and the eldest, John, paid Nature's debt 13 years ago. 

The subject of this notice was a stout, able-bodied man who weighed 230 pounds in his prime and measured 6 feet 3 inches in height.  He took ill on the Tuesday previous to his death while assisting in some chores at the barn and although he rallied soon after and was able to get to the house he lapsed into unconsciousness and passed away as stated above.

The only relative Mr. Stewart had in this country is a niece, Mrs. John McCartney, 3rd con. Grey. Mr. Stewart's funeral took place on Sunday afternoon and was largely attended. The deceased was very highly respected by all who knew him. He was a member of the Presbyterian church."

The genealogist who is working with K on locating the records in Ontario suggested that the reference to his niece related to extended family members as his wife and three children survived him. Land title information indicates that the land was transferred to the surviving adult children (and one daughter's husband) on June 1, 1893. The property remained in the family until about the mid-1930's when the youngest daughter sold the land. Her siblings names were no longer on title but she appears to have taken mortgages out on the property - I assume to have paid out her siblings for their share. Jane passed away in 1936 a few years after the sale.

I have informed my daughter that, if she dares to report my height and weight in my obituary, I will return to haunt her for the rest of her life.  I do admit, I now have a picture in my mind of what GG2 Hugh might have looked like. 

He still remains an enigma as we cannot locate a baptismal certificate for him in Scotland. We believe he have changed his first name and possibly even his birthdate when he immigrated to Canada. However the mortgage documents provide a hint to someone who may be his brother, and included in the newspaper was a note about this person travelling to Dakota. I assume that references what is now South and North Dakota. If I can trace Alex, perhaps I can find the Scottish connections for Hugh.  In the meantime it's a interesting and often challenging hobby.


Saturday, 2 April 2022

A very good week

It was a very good start to the week. While our Canadian women lost the semifinal, they did play for the bronze and won. They were playing Sweden, a very strong team and the game went back and forth but our women prevailed. We haven't won a medal since 2018 in women's world curling so it was a huge success for our team.  

On Monday, I went for my first outdoor walk of the season. While I walk daily indoors, I sure the feel the difference when I get outside. I suspect it's the speed at which I walk and the changes from sidewalk to grass, etc. Of course I took my camera!


I've heard the merlin, but hadn't seen it before. It flew across the street just as I was walking down the sidewalk, so I crossed to get a few photos. My brother R says it doesn't generally prey on small birds, usually bugs and mosquitos, but since neither of those are prevalent at this time of year, I suspect my poor wee bird friends are in danger. The first time I saw the merlin it was in my front evergreen feasting on a sparrow. :(


I walked through the park nearest to my house and won't do that again for a week or so. The paths aren't entirely clear and in many spots there is a build up of ice. This hare was staying out of the wind. Not much brown on this one.


Lots of water in the large park near the creek. Most of it covered in ice. But I spotted a duck flying in that appeared to be landing on the creek so I walked through the grass to check it out.

Open water! You can see the ice along the edge so I can only imagine how cold the water would be. There were several pairs of geese and a few ducks on the water and a few more on the banks of the creek. (I didn't get one of the ducks because they were further along the creek and it was a bit muddy)

From there I headed over to the pond. No open water there! FB memories tell me that on March 29 last year the pond was swarming with geese and ducks. Much quieter this year!

It was so nice to get out for a walk, even with a cool wind. It was -1C (30F) when I left the house and two degrees warmer when I arrived home 45 minutes later. I made a cup of tea and settled in to relax and watch some home improvement television. Have you seen Backyard Builds? I do enjoy the work they complete but the amount of money that gets spent doing it, not so much. I know I have work to do in my back yard and I'm not looking forward to it.

The rest of the week was generally quiet. I did get out for walks on both Wednesday and Thursday. The new header photo was taken at the pond on Wednesday. I had waited until the afternoon for my walk when the temperature was above freezing. The goose was standing in the water on top of the ice. I thought the color of the sky reflected on the ice was pretty. 

Thursday was also grocery day. I'm shopping sales for the most part and am lucky to have three grocery stores within a five minute drive of my home. I did a circuit of the three stores, with a stop at the drug store to pick up a prescription for my daughter. It seems prices at the grocery store are going up every week. I keep my grocery list electronically (use my Google mini) and check the Flipp app for the flyers before I head out to the store. That morning, I asked Google to add "my bread" to the list and when I pulled up the list in the store I laughed because it read, "Mike red". Apparently I have a speech impediment or something. :) Just to give you an idea of the crazy prices, I bought my whole grain bread at Walmart, 2 loaves for $6.  The same loaf of bread at the Co-op store was $4.99. It wasn't much less at Safeway either.  Perhaps I need to start baking my own bread.

At some point, I wandered into the craft room and did some sorting. There is a box of items that can go to the thrift store as I know I won't use them. There are few things that have been sitting around too, mostly mending, and my sunflower wreath. It isn't perfect, and I'll never consider myself an artist, but I like the way it turned out. I used a wreath ring, a couple packages of clothespins, a piece of black felt, paint, and some hot glue. It's meant not only to welcome summer but as a homage to the people of the Ukraine.

Regular cleaning was completed in between walks, shopping, and catching up on television programs. The men's world curling starts later today. You all know where I'll be. :)  I had picked up a set of sheets at the thrift store last week - those were laundered and put on my bed on Friday. I had been using a cheap set of 300 count sheets and these are 500 count. What difference that makes...and all for $15. I also got a couple of new to me books that I hope to get to sometime in the next week. In the meantime, I had bought a bag of lightweight yarn at the thrift store and have started a little dress for a 2 year old. There isn't enough to make anything for Eli but I know D has friends with small children and this will make a gift for someone in the future.

I'll end this post with a photo my brother sent me from his camping trip last week. He had a wonderful time with his friend C. They had to trek into the lake, about two miles, so loaded their supplies on two sleds. It's a bit hilly there so he told me they would ride the sleds down the hills on top of their items! On the way in they passed a couple of park outhouses so they shovelled their way into those. At the camp site, they had to dig an area out for the tent. Their first choice was thigh deep on my brother (he's 6'3" tall), so they moved to a different spot where the snow wasn't as heavy. They did some exploring and visited three different lakes in the area. Ice fishing provided their dinner one night, and C took a few fish home with him. R said that the wood stove kept them warm most of the night and he's looking forward to his next opportunity to winter camp.


Have a great week ahead everyone!