Saturday 27 August 2022

From fun to humdrum

The week started off with a short visit from my favorite little guy and his mom. They were here for doctor's appointments for both and an optometrist's appointment for Eli. Our not so little stinker is at the top of the scale for height but is a skinny little guy. I'm not surprised as he is in perpetual motion. He's generally a good eater, but has his faves like most kids. 

Before their first appointment, we went over to a cellphone outlet in a strip mall near my house. D's Iphone is ancient (meaning more than 3 years old) and has been acting up a lot lately, so it was time for a replacement. I had received an e-mail from my carrier with a really good deal on a new phone and a reduction in cost for the contract. So we both ended up with new phones. She got the Iphone 13, and I picked up a Samsung 22. My phone is just the basic model but the camera on it is far better than my old phone. The photo of the bumblebee on Wednesday was taken at 3X zoom and the color is as close to true as I've ever seen. Credit for my purchase goes to Furry Gnome who posted about the camera on his Samsung 22 Ultra and shared some amazing photos. Since I was ready for a new phone, I appreciated that the research was done for me. :)

D got away for a bit on Monday afternoon to meet a friend, while Eli and I headed to the park. While he does play on the equipment, he prefers an imagination game, where the retaining walls at the park become our "castles" and we take turns sending bombs at each other's walls. I think the child plays too many video games. Back at the house, Uncle C arrived home from work and much hilarity ensued while I made dinner for us. More fun was had with Uncle C, then it was bath and bedtime. D said he was asleep in less than five minutes. :)

The following morning, D had one more doctor's appointment so Eli and I headed out for a walk to the pond. It was very quiet there with just a few ducks, one sole grebe, and a hare. On the way home he convinced me to stop at the park for a few more rounds of bombing. 

Back at the house, Eli wanted something more to eat; he opened the bottom freezer on the fridge and discovered a peanut butter cup bar that Uncle C had stashed there. I let him have a piece as a treat after telling him it was Uncle C's. Eli asked me not to tell C that he had eaten it, but instead to say that a robber had broken into the house and stolen it, but the police had caught him and he was in jail! C and I had a good chuckle over that later in the day. On a video chat that evening C teased Eli about "stealing" his chocolate - Eli stuck to his robber story but he knows we know the truth.

I made a trip out on Thursday to pick up cat litter at the pet store. It was senior's day and I like to get that small discount. As well, I wandered over to Value Village, where I found five books to add to the pile for reading. Two are Catherine Coulter books, two are Jeffery Archer and the fifth by James Patterson. I haven't read a lot of books by the latter, though I know he's a prolific author. V.V. has an offer of buy four, get the fifth free so I figured why not. Of course now I have a large pile of books to get through. I'm currently reading another Fannie Flagg book, "Welcome to the World, Baby Girl!" I'm just a few chapters in and the characters are beginning to take shape in my mind. 

I can't say I did a whole heck of a lot around here this week. I've been reading, knitting, watching baseball, and doing only the necessary housework to keep the place from looking like a disaster. I really need to find some momentum and get downstairs to finish the sanding on the door frames and baseboards. Sigh, this was supposed to be done in the heat of the summer but I keep putting it off. I'm hoping this lack of motivation/energy is overcome soon...I feel like such a slacker. 

Outside I've been picking tomatoes every day, and dug up a container of potatoes to send home with D. The veg containers are starting to die back, with leaves turning yellow and brown. I pulled one of the pepper plants as it was done producing. The other is still doing well, though the peppers aren't yet turning red. I picked a couple peppers (not a peck) to see if they will ripen in the house. When I pick up groceries I'll grab some necessary ingredients and make up a small batch of salsa. 

I got the lawn mowed on Monday evening, just ahead of a heavy rain. We got about a 1/2 inch in less than an hour. The weather has been up and down, nearing 30C (87F) some days and only 20C (68F) midweek. We had another 1/4 inch of rain last night during a thunderstorm - thankfully no hail with this one. The next week looks much the same, a couple of cool days, followed more heat. No risk of frost in August this year. 

Today I'm doing much the same as I have the rest of the week. There's baseball, football, reading, knitting and a bit of puttering in the house between games. Yep, I'm going to ignore the basement for another day.  Have a great week ahead everyone! 

Saturday 20 August 2022

Cleaning things up

Wednesday's photos were the result of a thunderstorm that rolled through overnight into Monday, bringing wind and hail. I was woken about 12:30 a.m. by the sound of thunder and worse yet, hail hitting the bedroom window. I got up immediately to close it as well the windows in the front room and sun room. I normally enjoy a good thunderstorm, but the hail that came with this one was downright frightening. I can't recall ever listening to what sounded almost like gunshots as the hail hit the windows. I kept running between the front of the house and the sunroom as I was worried a window would get broken. Thankfully, that didn't happen but my veg and flowers got beaten pretty badly. Several peppers and tomatoes were literally torn in pieces. My flower containers looked a mess. 

The hail fell for nearly 20 minutes, and the rain continued for some time afterward. (I went back to bed when the worst of it seemed to be over). When I got up in the morning, I went out to survey the damage. I didn't lose any plants, but the tomatoes lost a lot of their fruit, at a least a couple dozen that were pitted, and I picked up another couple dozen that had dropped from the plants onto the deck or the lawn. The evergreens lost bits of the branches and lots of immature pine cones. I spent about an hour outside cleaning up the debris and had nearly a half a large garbage bag full. 

I'm grateful that the storm didn't cause more damage than it did. I'm also grateful that our vehicles were safely in the garage. Many of my neighbours park on their driveways or on the street and I can't help but wonder if they didn't see some damage, even if it was minor. 

Though I hadn't planned to go out early this week, I received an e-mail with a couple of sale items at Costco so I made a trip to the store. Furnace filters (3 in package) were on sale for $33.99 - the same filter is over $20 each at Walmart. I also picked up a bag of Whiskas cat food for D. I did wander the store but I didn't need any large volume items so the stop was short. From there I headed to Walmart to pick up some fresh veg and bread. I stopped at home to put away the groceries and then headed back out to the thrift stores. I picked a few items, including a new bathing suit and a pair of pants for Eli. He's such a skinny kid, and he's stretching out. Both articles have draw string waists and the pants have elastic at the ankle. I'm hoping they'll fit and will find out when he and his mom come for a visit next week. If not, I'll return them for store credit. 

Mid-week I finally got off my butt and ventured downstairs to finish the caulking and start the sanding process. The closet in the new room, the door frames, and the other bedroom were caulked, and the sanding was completed in the main room, hallway and laundry room the first day. I had been working for about an hour when my brother called, and I decided I was done for the day at that point. When the call finished I went out to deck to read. It was raining but I have top area under the overhang of the sunroom. Oh it was so nice to sit and enjoy the fresh air. 

I finished the book, Back Fire by Catherine Coulter. It is billed as an FBI thriller, and a thriller it was. There were quite a few twists and turns and by the last few chapters I didn't want to put it down. Of course, I knew the story would end well, but it still had me  I'll definitely look for more books by her in the future.

Beyond that I've been doing more knitting on my tank top and I started a cowl with some yarn I picked up on sale some time ago. I have enough I should be able to make two cowls. They may end up being gifts - I probably won't donate these.  The baseball and junior hockey has kept me entertained most evenings (and some afternoons) so I can sit and knit and look up at the television when something important happens.

I harvested my first container of potatoes and was very pleasantly surprised to find I had over fourteen pounds of potatoes from one container. We don't normally eat a lot of potatoes and a five pound bag usually lasts us a couple of weeks. I doubt I can keep these for more than two weeks in back of the cupboard so I told my son we'll be eating more potatoes for the next while. There is no storage in this house cool enough for them to keep. I recall when I was a child, we had bags and bags of potatoes in the cellar that fed us all winter. Even thinking about it, I can smell that aroma of dirt and potatoes and remember the feel of the burlap bag they were kept in. And yes, we did have potatoes for dinner that evening. 

It was a little cooler on Thursday morning, so I headed out for a walk. There were a few ducks at the creek, but the water level is pretty low. I was hoping to see the grebes and the pelicans at the pond and I got lucky. There was only the one pelican, but the family of grebes was on the water. I was a bit worried as the water level had been raised and their original nest appeared to have been flooded. So seeing them was a real treat.

The grebes were a distance away from the shore so it's not the best photo. There were actually three small ones, the other was way ahead of the rest of the group.

I've no idea what is in the pond to feed on, but it is obviously enough even for this large bird.

It's childish of me, but I always get a kick out of the upside down ducks. I snapped off a number of shots but didn't all three underwater...does one look out for the others?

Most of the wildflowers have dried up or gone to seed, but this purple loosestrife on the edge of the pond seems to be at its peak. Considered a noxious weed, it tends to overtake native plants and isn't critter friendly. Such a shame because it is so pretty. 

Today, I've had a lovely chat with a friend, while getting in my walk. We got caught up on the happenings of each other's lives, our children's lives, and of course, how wonderful our grandchild/ren are. The baseball is on the television so my knitting needles will be kept busy. It's a lovely sunny day, with the temperature climbing - it's 26C (79F) at noon. I'll need to get out and water the containers and pick more tomatoes at some point. But for now I'm going to relax, have a bite to eat, and cheer on the Jays.

Have a great week ahead everyone!

Saturday 13 August 2022

Back to my normal

It certainly has been a much more relaxed (and less emotional) week than the last. I did get a call late in the week for my next mammogram appointment in February 2023. It amazes they are booking so far out already. I've put it in my calendar and won't think about it again until closer to the date.

Some shopping did happen this week. Groceries on Monday, and I made a trip to Dollarama and the thrift stores on Tuesday. The best deal at the grocery store was 2 lbs. of blueberries for $4.88. I froze most in two cup bags for later, the rest will be used in my breakfast smoothies. Other than that, there was nothing exceptional - the old regular prices seem to be the new "sale" prices. 

I did do well at the thrift stores. I found a book for Eli, he loves to be read to, as well as a counted cross stitch kit and more yarn (because, of course, I don't already have enough crafts to work on). It was senior's day so I had a 30% off discount. But it was at the Salvation Army that I found my favorite item - a leather purse for around $5 (after everyday senior's discount). I checked it all over and there were no rips or tears in the fabric and the bottom of the purse wasn't dirty or scuffed. I do like purses - it doesn't matter how fat I get, they still fit!

Out in the yard, the tomatoes are starting to ripen on the vine. I've been picking everyday and having them with my lunch or dinner. Two larger peppers were also picked. I'm looking forward to next week when I will pull a hill of potatoes. The one plant is starting to die back so I'm thinking they're just about ready for harvesting. 

We had a very nice rain on Thursday with cool temperatures. My new rain gauge indicated about a 1/4 inch. I'm always happy to have Mother Nature do the watering. My containers have gotten huge this year. The variegated coleus is blooming. I'm hoping to keep at least one or two of the plants going over the winter. I'll take slips rather than transplanting the entire plants as I haven't the room for them otherwise.

My one container of petunias on the deck had gotten very leggy and was looking terrible. I gave it a haircut a week or ten days ago and lost most of the blooms. Today it's looking fantastic. You wouldn't know it but there is a geranium in there too. I won't do that again as the petunia has hogged the space.

Back indoors, I spent some time knitting; I finished the first of the scarves I'll donate this year and continued working on my tank top. The scarf used up four balls of leftover yarn with just enough left over that I don't feel awful tossing the remainder out. I weaved the ends in yesterday on it as well as the crocheted baby blanket I finished last week. I'll pull a few more balls from my stash and start on another scarf in a day or so.

This morning started out lovely, with a temp of 17C (63F) when I sat out on the deck with my first cup of tea. The forecast is for 28C (82F) later today and those temps are expected to last for the rest of the week. There is a good possibility we'll have thunderstorms - I've had a notification of lightning with 100 kms already this morning. For the moment the windows are open for the fresh air but that won't last much longer. 

I've got baseball and football to watch today, so I'll be happy to stay indoors when it heats up. In the meantime, I'll head outdoors to check on the containers and enjoy some more deck time. I've started reading a novel, Catherine Coulter's Back Fire and I'm really enjoying the story.

I'll leave you with this little sign I found at the dollar store. I'm planning to give it to my daughter but to be honest, it applies to me too. :)  Have a great week ahead everyone.

Saturday 6 August 2022

A rollercoaster of a week

I'll start by saying that all's well that ends well. Mostly.

A few weeks ago I had a call from the Breast Cancer screening center that the radiologist had noted something irregular in my mammogram results so I needed to have more detailed testing completed. The appointment was originally set for the beginning of September, but a cancellation meant I was able to get into the imaging center this past Tuesday. I've had to do this once before, in that case it was another mammogram and I was done. This time, however, I was subjected to another mammogram on my left side and an ultrasound. To be honest, I wasn't too concerned initially but the ultrasound tech took, what I felt, was a lot of time taking pictures and swirling her wand around. (I did tell her if she saw anything kicking or found a heart beat I was out of there.)

Of course the results aren't immediate, so I went home not knowing if there was anything to be worried about, so I worried just in case. I had made an appointment with my doctor for Friday morning to get the results. This is when my level of anxiety ramped up. When he did eventually arrive in the examination room, his first words, "what brings you in today?" Really, it was your office that made the appointment with the imaging center... I explained I was there for the results of the mammogram and ultrasound. He played around on his computer, reading the report and said (and I kid you not), "Well, it's most likely nothing. They want to follow up in six months. You'll have to call our office so we can make the referral." I think I asked him a question but I was just shocked...most likely....what the heck does that mean? He provided no additional information so I got up and walked out. What a waste of time that appointment was.

Later in the day, I signed into my health records online. This is what the report said:


Cone compression views of the breast demonstrate dispersal of fibroglandular tissue.  Ultrasound reveals no solid or cystic lesions.


No mammographic nor sonographic evidence malignancy.  Presumably the findings were on the basis of normal fibroglandular tissue.  Suggest left breast mammogram and 6 months time.
After reading this for myself, my anxiety level went to zero. I don't understand why the doctor didn't just read the information to me, and instead gave me the impression that there was still some possibility of an issue. I should note, the document I found in my records wouldn't have been released until my doctor had seen me. If only finding a new family doctor wasn't so difficult...sigh.
Meanwhile I had been preoccupied for much of the week, so I haven't accomplished a whole lot. Even some regular housework was not completed. I did spend a fair amount of time on the couch catching up on PVR'ed television or baseball and football. I finished the back portion of my tank top, and started the front. A crocheted baby blanket is done, except for sewing in the threads, and a scarf using up small ball of yarn is on the needles. 
We had wacky weather too, we reached a high of 32C (90F) one day, but this morning it was a mere 8C (46F). There were a few storms and we got a wee bit of rain, but worse was the winds that blew through yesterday. I had propped my poor tomatoes up against the shed, and they were again beaten up by the wind. At least two of the larger stems are laying flat on the deck!  One of my bird ornaments was knocked off it's perch on the shed wall and landed on another ornament that normally sits on the deck and both were broken. In the front yard the welcome sign took a tumble too. Clearly, I must find a stake for it. Thankfully, there was no damage to the trees, no branches down, just a few more pine cones to pick up.
On Thursday morning, I got out for a walk so I have some photos to share. (With the weather being so variable I've been walking indoors instead).
On the way through the park I spotted this hare sunning itself. A little further along, there was a grackle in the grass that just sat and watched me pass by. I don't know if it was injured or simply resting. Quite the stink eye I got!

Over at the creek, I spotted this family of ducks. I suspect they are the same family I saw a few weeks ago - at that time there were 10 ducklings. The creek is very low, and there weren't many ducks (and no geese). The city has finally mowed the area on the west side of the creek, and the grasshoppers were thick.
At the pond, I was hoping to see the pelicans but they weren't around. The wildflowers are starting to go to seed and the pond itself has a lot of scum. Its really quite stinky!

The water level must be low too as the nest of the red-necked Grebes has moved (or been moved) from the spot it was earlier int he year. I assume she is still nesting because I didn't see any young birds. 
Today, is another day of baseball, football, knitting, and some neglected housework. Those bathrooms don't clean themselves, do they?  It's a good day to stay indoors, since it is cloudy and overcast. Now I just need to get moving.
Have a great week ahead everyone!

Wednesday 3 August 2022

Wordy Wednesday


:( We had strong winds blow through on Tuesday, and I found this container of tomatoes tossed off the deck onto the lawn. Fingers crossed, the damage isn't too severe - these are three of the plants I grew from seed saved from last year's plants.