Saturday 29 October 2022

A weather rollercoaster, a birthday, and a short visit

The storm blew in on Sunday afternoon bringing heavy wet snow and windy conditions. It must have warmed up slightly, as we had ice pellets most of the evening. By morning, there was a crust of snow and ice on the driveway. Neither the son nor I had any reason to go out so I left it, hoping it would melt. It didn't. 

We had a bit more snow overnight into Tuesday, and it remained cloudy and cold. I went out to feed the birds that morning and then went in to the dishes and watch the feeder. It doesn't take long for the word to spread - these photos were taken about a half hour after I was out. Not much later, a squirrel showed up for a feed as well. 

I like how the snow settles on the branches of the trees - though I didn't want it stay, just yet. And it didn't.  

My son didn't work on Tuesday either, he'd taken the two days off as he celebrated his 35th birthday on the 25th. His idea of celebration is sleeping late. Not so different from the weekends. :) I generally don't give gifts or cards for birthdays any longer, but do order in dinner of their choice. C chose pizza; I ordered from Dominos where I could get brownies for dessert. When the delivery I told him, "you even got cake!". If you can't tell birthdays aren't a real big deal. 

Wednesday I went for groceries and managed to stick to my list, except for a bag of seedless grapes, and the budget didn't take too big of a hit. At stitch and chat that afternoon there were just two of us. S had a call from one of the other ladies the night before and their household has been infected with Covid. S's neighbour didn't come either and she hadn't had her lunch yet. We chatted and got to know one another for a couple of hours. She was working on a knitted scarf while I working on knitting a Christmas tree. I'll share a photo next week.

Thursday was a catch up day on housework. While I was running a load of laundry, I even got some sanding done in the basement on the door casings. About time! My thought is to finish off the main room and laundry room next week, and then I'll turn my attention to the new room and my son's old bedroom.

On Friday morning I was out the door by 7:45 for my drive to D's. She dropped Eli off at school, and I arrived shortly after to pick her up. We drove into the next (larger) community for a bit.of shopping. Our first stop was Value Village where D found several t-shirts, a few pairs of sweat pants, and a Halloween silicone mold. She's using the latter to melt broken crayons into Halloween shapes. These will go into treat bags for Eli's class. 

Of course I had to look for yarn. And of course, I found several bags. I walked out with $20 of yarn to add to the stash. There was one skein I particularly wanted for a specific project. 

We made stops at Dollarama and Walmart before heading to her home for lunch. A bit of housework was accomplished before we sat down to watch some television and I did some knitting.  We picked up Eli from school about 3:30. He had no idea I was coming. He was happy, but not overly excited to see me. But by bedtime he was ready for some bedtime story reading. AND he slept in the twin bed with me all a result I was awake many times during the night and by morning, he had pushed me nearly off the edge of bed. Time to get up anyway.

I helped D with a couple of things, watched the Home Alone movie with Eli, and did some knitting before driving home this morning. I didn't stop anywhere along the way to take photos but I can assure you that all the snow was gone. Only the shaded spot on my driveway (where I'd piled the snow earlier this week) still had snow on it. We're going to have a warm Halloween. I only have candy for 45 kids so I suspect I'll be turning the lights off early.

Speaking of which, there is football on the television, so I think I'll curl up on the couch and take a nap. Have a great week ahead everyone!

Saturday 22 October 2022

Running around and catching up

It's been a busy week, with lots of time spent away from the house. The week started on Monday when I met a friend for breakfast. She had driven her daughter back to Regina and spent Sunday night, so we met before she hit the highway for home. We didn't have a long visit but had time to share photos of the grandkids (she has three), catch up on family news, and the social activities we've been involved in. She has a much busier social life than I have, being involved with seniors community in her small town, she's currently part of the committee that runs the building and sets up the various activities.

On Tuesday, I made a run to Value Village and Salvation Army thrift stores to look for a winter coat for my daughter. I scored at S.A. with a Columbia jacket, for just $22.50 after my senior's discount. It should keep her cozy and warm this winter. Her several years old one just wasn't going to cut it another winter and the weather is about to turn.

Wednesday was vaccination day. I had booked a flu shot for 10 a.m. at the pharmacy and arrived to find a number of walk-in patients in line. However, since I'd booked on line I was first to be called. The nurse asked if I'd had my bivalent booster dose - I said no, because I was waiting for the Pfizer to be released. She suggested I go ahead and get the Moderna as she wasn't certain when the other would be received at the pharmacy. So, after getting my first shot, I got back in line as a walk-in and waited about 20 minutes for the next vaccine. 

I went home with two bandages, one on each arm. After a bit of lunch and a great chat with my friend K (whose birthday was that day), I headed over to the stitch and chat group. By the time I got home shortly after 3 p.m. I was starting to feel very tired. When C arrived from work, I told him he was on his own for dinner. I had some soup and was in bed by 7:30 p.m. and asleep not long thereafter. According to my Fitbit I slept for 9 hours and 14 minutes!

Thursday morning I felt alright, though my left arm (Moderna vax) felt as though someone had punched me very hard. There was a wee bit of tenderness in the other arm too. I had errands to run for D, and I was out of the house again by 9:30. I did some banking, stopped at the doctor's office for some paperwork and made a trip to Costco for some household items she needs. While I was there I found a few pieces of clothing for Christmas gifts for D and C. 

I had ordered items from Amazon last week, and the book for my brother and Eli's gift have arrived this week. Looking at my list of gifts still to be purchased, I'm more than 50% complete. The tough one is my SIL; there is nothing she really needs and anything she wants she can purchase for herself. I'll try to find a book she might be interested in, and the niece and nephew both get gift cards. That just leaves small gifts from Santa, and whatever I decide my son is giving his sister and nephew. :) Those will wait until next month as my budget for gifts has reached it's limit this month.

Friday was a much quieter day, spent at home catching up on housework, knitting, and watching curling, baseball, and football. The sports didn't start until noon, so I had lots of time to get things done in the morning. It was a cool'ish day with the temperature reaching a 12C.

Today we're expecting rain to start later in the day, with snow to follow. Yuck! I noticed the birds were hovering around the bird bath and feeder; with the expected weather, I felt they needed both. I'm pretty sure in the 1/2 hour since I filled the feeder they have pretty much emptied it. 

No photos from this week, except this oldie that I received this morning from my high school best friend. I'm on the left, my dad in the centre and A on the right. We're standing in front of her parents' garage in the small town we grew up in. I've no idea why her mom took the photo and I'm pretty certain I've never seen it before. I'm guessing we were between 16-18 in the photo as those were the years we were the closest. We've since drifted apart - I'm not even certain where she is living these days, but I'm sure her family, children and grandchildren keep her very busy.

Time for some lunch and an afternoon and evening of sports watching, and finish up the sleeves for a baby dress I started a week or so ago. Maybe I'll continue on Eli's sweater too as I got back to it earlier this week. 

Have a great week ahead everyone!

Saturday 15 October 2022

Ups and downs, and fair to middling

If you've been around this blog for awhile, you know that I love to travel. My first foray into international travel happened in 2007, when a friend I did an all-inclusive vacation to a resort in the Dominican Republic. While there, we went on a tour of a local village including a tour of a house and a nearby cocoa plantation. By the way, we knew it was a typical Dominican house because it had a sign that read, "typical Dominican house". :) Despite the fact that this home obviously was better outfitted than many it was eye-opening moment for me. I haven't found the photos, otherwise I'd share a picture of the sign.

Trips to Cuba and Mexico followed in the next few years, and then another friend introduced me to cruising in 2011. We did a fourteen day Southern Caribbean cruise, which took us to a variety of countries. One island that stands out for me is Grenada. We walked up the street from the pier to a local Anglican church and the caretaker gave us a tour. The church itself had been damaged by hurricane Ivan in 2004, and restoration was on-going. On the nearby island of St. Vincent, we hopped into a van and were treated to a 'round the island tour by a local. He stopped at various points to allow us to take photos and shared a lot of information about his home island. We live such different lives here in Canada and those experiences provided insight and perspective. 

I was hooked: cruising means unpacking once and waking up somewhere different every morning (sometimes a day at sea). Cruising has taken me to seventeen Caribbean countries/islands, the Bahamas, a couple of Central American countries, a few New England and Canadian ports, several European countries, and most lately, Alaska. There are several locations still on the bucket list. 

When I was still working, I realized that travel may not be an option when I retired due to the associated costs. So, I started saving money and put it in a separate investment account. While the investments have taken a beating in the last couple of years, I still believe I can manage a trip a year until I'm 80...which was the goal when I started the fund. When I'm searching for travel opportunities, I generally look at the itinerary first and price second. Places I haven't been yet are definitely more desirable, but I'm also happy to return to ports that I enjoy visiting. Some people have said that I don't get to actually see these places. I disagree, as I often find excursions that allow me to see some aspect of the island life. There are places that I don't venture out but stay on the ship or near the pier - usually for safety reasons. 

Changing topics, here's a weird but true story for you. In an earlier post, I whined told you that I had misplaced my mom's mitten pattern. I spent a few days looking for it, in containers and shelves, and any bag I might have tucked a project into and could not locate it. On Thursday, I did a quick run to Value Village to find pj's for the grandson. While there I checked the yarn supply...and found some absolutely good stuff and came with three more bags of yarn (about 12 skeins) for just over $12. Definitely a bargain! I wandered around the store and did one more circle before heading to the check-out. As I did so, I found a plastic bag containing several knitting pattern books - the top one was a pretty sweater, and I could see there were at least three or four more in the bag. At $2.50 for all, I picked it up. Imagine my surprise, when I got home and opened the bag, to find a book of mitt, hat and socks patterns identical to the one my mother had owned. The only thing missing are her notes. It was all a bit surreal but oh, so welcome.

One other item of note from this week, was an issue with my credit card. (No I wasn't hacked, thankfully). I always review my statement in detail - it's the bean counter in me - though that wasn't entirely necessary this time. I was shocked at the balance when opened up the account as I had already paid off the cruise portion. I realized the cruise amount had been charged to the card, twice! I called my travel agent, L and she made contact with Princess. They checked their records and could confirm they had received only one payment. So I made a call to the credit card company....the wait time on hold was 2 hours and 57 minutes. I explained the issue to the young man who answered and he assured me that Princess had gotten two payments. I asked him how he could be sure, did he have access to Princess' account? No, but he could see the two charges to my card. Sheesh, that's only one side of the situation. In any event, a dispute has been filed, and within 72 hours the charge had been reversed so I suspect someone somewhere figured it out.

Now, I don't believe the rep from the credit card company that there is an issue with Princess. I suspect, based on the hours long wait time (it would have been four hours or more later in the week - I checked), that there was a glitch in the system and transactions on or around that date were duplicated and the company is dealing with many, many upset customers. I've been a customer of this credit card company for over 40 years. I'm seriously considering switching cards as a result of this situation. As I told the chat rep - if this is due an internal issue, the fact they are not being transparent with the customers is a bad look. Of course, neither the telephone or chat rep addressed that with me. I suppose I'll never know for sure. 

In other more mundane matters, I'm continuing to knit, watch baseball, football, and now hockey. My review of family history is also on the go. The weather has turned down right cool here, and windy. The other day we had gusts up to 90 km. an hour. Almost all the neighbourhood trees have lost their leaves, though my cross the street neighbour's tree is just changing color.

Oh, and before I sign off for the week, the photo on Wednesday is misleading. The silver vehicle wedged in between the two vehicles belongs to my brother. He spotted the car with the wisdom plate - the driver had parked into the next space over, so the brat maneuvered his way into the spot and took the photo. Yes, he's skinny enough to be able to get out of his car door. 

Have a great week ahead everyone!

Thursday 13 October 2022

Thoughtful Thursday

 I missed Wordless Wednesday because I couldn't find anything of note to share. But my brother sent me this photo yesterday afternoon. 

Check out the license plate on the car on the left. I think this fits the definition of irony. (It reads WISDOM).

Saturday 8 October 2022

The future, the present and a look at the past

Thank you all for your kind words regarding my back pain. I've had a follow-up with my chiropractor and we both agree I'm back to 80% or more. Every day I'm seeing improvement. Moving from a sitting or lying position is still somewhat painful but I'm getting there and once I'm up and mobile I'm good to go. I'm also continuing to take an anti-inflammatory every morning and use the RubA535 ointment for pain relief. I didn't do a whole of lot of anything this week, but did continue to stay active by walking frequently during the day. 

On Monday I went out to Walmart to pick up a few needed grocery items, milk and fruit. While I was there I also got the goodies for the Halloween trick or treaters. The box of mini chocolate bars and box of chips are tucked away in the garage for now. I couldn't find one of the items I wanted so stopped at the Co-op on the way home where I picked up a few more items. We should be good for the next ten days or so.

Tuesday was an exciting day, not for anything I actively did but because it was time to make final payment on my next cruise. The photo from Wednesday was taken from the cruise company website of the Island Princess navigating through the Panama Canal. I booked this cruise in April 2021, hoping against hope that the pandemic would be over and life be back to semi-normal. I guess I was almost right.

The cruise I'll be on is a 14 day cruise sailing from Fort Lauderdale to Los Angeles with a full transit through the canal. We also have stops in Columbia, Costa Rica, Nicaragua, Huatulco, and Puerto Vallarta. It is the first leg of the world cruise (111 days) leaving from Fort Lauderdale. I can't imagine a cruise of that length, and reading about passengers dealing with Visa's and the like in various countries makes me content to be on the shorter cruise. Just about 90 days to sail-away!

When we reach Los Angeles, I expect there won't be a whole of passengers disembarking. It should make for an easy transfer to the airport for my flight home. The other thing that will be quite different for me is the size of the ship. The Island Princess has capacity for just around 2200 passengers and 900 crew. In comparison, the smallest ship I've been on previously had over 3000 passengers and 1200 crew. (Basically the size of the town when I was growing up). The larger ships are too big to go through the old locks. 

Back to the mundane, on Wednesday I managed to get some floors mopped before I settled in to watch the first of a Jays baseball double header. When I left for my stitch and chat group the Jays were leading but the Orioles rallied and one for the first game. Stitch and chat was good, with six of us there working on various projects. D was back this week and we had a great chat about the Panama cruise. She's done the route twice before so had a few ideas for me. 

Thursday morning dawned cold with a temperature of -5C (23F). It never got warmer than 8C (46F) and while I should have gone out to pull the remaining annuals I left them for one more night. It was chilly out there and I was procrastinating. Most the plants looked fine on Thursday morning but after an even colder night into Friday morning, the geraniums and ivy that I meant to bring indoors are done, and my impatience is finished too. The marigolds and petunias were still looking decent, but I had to pull them before the soil in the pots froze solid.

The other activity that has been keeping me busy is a return to Ancestry website. I had paused my membership and re-started it late last week. I signed on and found over 600 hints waiting for me. This doesn't include the 400-500 hints I had identified through while I was able to view Ancestry but not update. It's going to take some time to complete the revisions and add new information. 

One of the new individuals, was the great niece of my 3X great grandfather. Alice May was born in Quebec in 1885. She married sometime between 1901 and 1905 when her oldest child was born. Five more children were born between 1907 and 1914 including a set of twins; sadly none of her children lived to see their first birthday. At some point, her husband remarried and had two surviving children and he passed away in 1949. No 1921 census records are available for Alice May or her husband, though I did find a voter's list for 1940 and discovered she was living with her mother and sister in Montreal.  The last document I've accessed was a border crossing from 1945, when at the age of 60, Alice May went to visit a male friend in Detroit, Michigan. I've had no luck in finding this friend, as his name is very common, and she seems to have disappeared after this point in time. 

One can't happen but wonder what happened to Alice May. She suffered many losses, her children and her husband when she was a young adult. She clearly supported herself as she is listed as a servant in 1940, and a cook in 1945 on the border crossing declaration. Whether she returned to Canada or remained in the U.S. is a mystery with no conclusion. Perhaps as more records are made available, the end of her story will be revealed. 

I won't end this post on that solemn note, so will drop in a couple of photos from this week.

I've finished two scarves in the past ten days or so, both crocheted, and a pair of knitted mitts. I have a toque/beanie started in the same color of brown, and a baby dress from skein of yarn that's been in my stash for a long time. There aren't too many more bits and pieces of yarn left in the tub.

This is photo of the trees in my back yard on Friday morning. As I mentioned we had frost overnight in Thursday and Friday. I was doing dishes on Thursday afternoon, and noticed the trees were dropping their leaves, even without a wind. It seems they just changed colour over the weekend and they've both lost most of the leaves in just a 24 hour period. 

I did get the containers cleared out on Friday afternoon, after the curling and baseball game, and before the football started. The patio furniture was put away, and all the containers stored in various places in the yard or small shed for the winter, along with the garden hoses. It all looks so bare now with the exception of the perennials in the front flower bed. I'll cut those back in the spring. 

Today is going to be quiet day. A little baseball, a little football, and some knitting. To my Canadian readers, Happy Thanksgiving!

Saturday 1 October 2022

Visits and autumn colours

This week has flown by in a flash, and I'm reminded we're a mere three months away from 2023. Autumn is definitely here with cool nights, though the heat has been turned up during the days. Thursday, we broke a record of 135 years, with a high of 31C (88F). It's cooled off since and I will spend some time this weekend pulling annuals from the containers. There is definite frost in the forecast this upcoming week and I'd rather pull while they bloom than clean up a sodden mess.

As I mentioned last week I spent a couple of days visiting my daughter and grandson. Lots was accomplished inside the house on that first day so we took a break at the park on Saturday afternoon. As soon as Eli arrives at the park, he removes his shoes and socks - hence the foot photo from wordless Wednesday. I swear if he ever grows into those feet, he's going to be a very big boy. D tells me he is six inches taller than most of his classmates, and at least 3 inches taller than the next tallest. This surprises me as neither his mom nor dad are tall, however my son and my brothers are all over 6" so he does come by it honestly.

One of his favorite pieces of equipment is this swing. He sat on the swing, asked us to give him a push, and then climbed to his feet. Evidence of great core strength and no fear! 

I drove back Sunday morning, planning to stop in the valley if the autumn colors were evident. But it was still pretty green so I kept on driving. I did make it home in time to watch the final curling game of the weekend. (I didn't miss out on the women's final as I'd PVR'd it and watched it later - priorities, right?)

Tuesday I headed to pick up a few grocery items that were on sale. Since it was senior's day at Value Village I headed there too. I wasn't looking for anything in particular, and was mostly browsing. Then I spotted these lamps (the photo makes the one shade look smaller but it actually isn't). I got the pair for less than $20. When I got home I discovered they are tri light lamps - perfect for my need for better lighting for stitching. Even though the bulbs were $20 a piece these were still a decent bargain. They replace an old set I've had for 15 years or so that will be passed on to my daughter. 

Wednesday was stitch and chat with six of us in attendance. One of the regulars, D wasn't able to make it; S said D had Covid a few months ago and hasn't completely recovered yet. All the more reason to try to avoid it, knock wood. One of the ladies is working on a knitted kitchen towel; it is working up so nicely that I'll have to ask if I can photocopy the pattern. S had been to the optometrist that morning and had her eyes dilated so she sat and kept us entertained. 

On Thursday I took a drive out to my brother's place in the valley north west of Regina. Neither he nor I know why but in that part of the valley the leaves have changed color and the wind we've had this week has taken a lot down already. I did get a few photos to share. As I was driving above the valley I spotted a hawk on the bale in the field and came to a screeching halt to take a photo. It flew off, but then I noticed there was another hawk just a couple of bales further along. This time I was a little more cautious and was able to get the shot before it flew off. R thinks it is likely a red-tailed hawk. 

This next photo is my favorite of the day and was taken as I drove down the hill to the valley. I pulled off to the side of the road, and for the first time in my memory of making that drive, I had two vehicles pass by. Almost a traffic jam, lol!
It is unusual to still see the green on the valley floor at this time of the year. The red roofed Anglican church is rarely used, mostly for weddings and a few funerals. There is a cemetery on the property too.

After checking R's newest project, a rocker for the front porch, the two of us took a walk over to a nature reserve next door. I should mention my back was giving me grief so our walk was mostly limited to the lower elevations though there were a couple of places where we had to climb. Thank goodness for the small saplings along the path. At the end of the trail, we reached the parking lot and turned around there to return to the house. We had Kola with us (the dog) and dogs are not permitted in this area. 
R's property runs up against the preserve and he maintains many of the trails that lead in and out. Since he's done started doing this work, they have started marking the trails for their members. It works for R as he likes to run the trails and they appreciate the widening of the deer paths. 

We headed back to the house and sat out on the verandah chatting for a half hour or so before I headed back to the city. By the time I arrived home, my back felt even worse, so I called the chiropractor and made an appointment for Friday morning. Good thing, as I woke up in the morning in the shape of an S. My left hip appeared to be an inch or so higher than the right and any movement that required me to bend was extremely painful. 

My appointment went well, starting with a ten minute electronic massage - a first for me. I felt absolutely no pain while that was happening. She did an adjustment in my lower and upper back and I can't say that wasn't somewhat painful. Before I left she explained that my muscles are tight and my sciatic nerve is inflamed causing the spasms that shifted me into the S position. I'm to take an anti-inflammatory, and keep active as sitting or laying down will merely cause things to seize up.

So I came home, took a couple of Aleve and headed outdoors to start the fall clean-up. No heavy lifting was done, I merely cleaned up a couple of containers, cut back the ferns, and swept the front patio and back deck. Indoors I did sit briefly for my lunch, and later to do a bit of crocheting. But I timed my breaks based on the television, and got up to move during the commercials. As the day went on, the pain did lessen quite a bit and I got in over 14,000 steps. 

I might have overdone it a bit, as I woke this morning feeling quite stiff and sore.  I'm continuing to move though as sitting definitely is not good for me. The laundry is done for the week, and I'm heading outdoors to pull a couple more containers. Then there is baseball and football to keep me amused until bedtime.

Just one last photo before I end this post.  It was taken with my cellphone early one morning as the morning light was shining on the tree. Since then, the wind has come up and the tree is almost bare.

The rest of the trees on the street have yet to change colour, but I suspect it won't be very many days before they too are losing leaves. 

Have a great week ahead everyone!