Saturday 26 November 2022

Preparing for Christmas

D and I took Eli downtown for the street fair last Saturday evening. Our first stop was City Hall where the mayor said a few words, the wreath was lit up, and Santa made a quick visit to hand out candy canes. 

The was a choir too, singing Christmas carols and a small but appreciative crowd. We wandered down the street towards the street hockey. The local Junior A hockey team were out in their jerseys playing a pick-up game against some young kids. Everyone was having a lot of fun.

But before we reached the hockey, we came across a Nativity scene one of the local churches had set up. Two of Eli's friends were dressed up, one as an angel, the other as a shepherd. He was happy to see them, but was even more excited to see the young sheep. He tried to entice them to eat the straw he held out, but they were more intent on the stuff on the ground. No matter, they still got close enough that he was able to give them a pat or two.

We stopped too, at a fire pit that was set up by the firefighters in the street to warm our hands. Then we went to watch the street hockey, and the ball they were using as a puck bounced right near us. I gave the ball to Eli and told him to toss it back on the rink. He seemed to enjoy that, and chased the next couple of balls that came our way.

Although the stores were open, neither D nor I felt like shopping. Instead we headed for the bakery to pick up some treats to have at home. Eli had his regular chocolate dip donut, while D and I chose the gingerbread donuts. I ate half of it when we got back to the house, and oh my, was it good! 

After another restless night, I headed for home just after breakfast. Traffic was light, as I had hoped, and the roads were clear. After I had things put away, I lay down on the couch for a rest and watched a bit of NFL football before the Grey Cup. The championship game was a good one, neither team dominated, and the final outcome wasn't sure until the last 45 seconds of game. The team I was cheering for won...that's always makes a game more enjoyable too.

The rest of my week has been relatively busy (notice I did not say quiet). I got the Christmas decorations up from the basement and set up the tree. I also spent some time in my craft room, sorting and reorganizing. I sent a photo to my daughter saying, "I'm not allowed to buy any more yarn." I have a variety of yarns, with multiple skeins of each, as well as a container that has odds and ends of one or less skeins. It's going to take some time to use it all up.  

I did get a bag of scarves and mitts dropped off at a local charity. There are a half dozen or so scarves and a few toques and mitts ready to go but I'll take those over when I finish a few more. There was a quick trip to Value Village too where I found a jigsaw puzzle with a winter scene on it. AND I didn't buy any more yarn. :)

At stitch and chat I worked on the angels, finishing the third and starting the fourth. There were just two of us again this week. I'm guessing the one lady won't attend again until her friend returns from Arizona. I would like to see more people there but I know it isn't well attended. I'm thinking I might check out a couple other groups that meet on other days and maybe some of those participants would like to join us as well. I do enjoy the chats and it really helps me focus on my project - no distractions from the television or housework that I know needs doing at home.

When I left the stitch and chat, I stopped at the Superstore to pick up some items for Christmas baking. It's time to get going on some of the friend and family favorites.  First up is a Dundee cake and shortbread. The cake is for a friend K, with shortbread for her partner J. I know they're leaving mid-December on a trip so I want to get this to them to enjoy before they get away. The rest of the shortbread won't last until Christmas here as it is one of my son's favorites. 

I was able to watch some curling too, though I'd forgotten until later in the week. It isn't being televised, rather I have to remember to pull it up on the laptop. While watching a draw, I was able to finish the last of the angels, and continue working on a pair of mittens I'd started a week or so ago. The angels need halos - which weren't part of the pattern, the ends need to be weaved in, and hangers attached. I'll get those done this weekend and send them off to D in the mail soon.

Our weather turned on Friday, with temperatures above freezing. Sadly, the wind was a-blowing so it didn't seem all that nice outside. There was a fair amount of melting, which I appreciate. More snow is forecast for Sunday and Monday so I expect I'll be shovelling again in a couple of days. Sigh...

Time to post this and head for the kitchen. I think I'll bake sugar cookies today for decorating later, and maybe an almond biscotti. I know the kitchen floor needs scrubbing so I may as well make more of a mess now before I pull out the mop and pail. The semi-finals of the curling start at 11 a.m. so I'd best get busy.  Have a great week ahead everyone!

P.S. The photo from Wednesday was taken by my son when I was out of town. He heard them out his bedroom window and managed to sneak into the sunroom to get the photo. 

Saturday 19 November 2022

Did I say quiet?

Thank you to all who sent good wishes to my brother R. I'm happy to report he finally tested negative on Wednesday of this week - that's 9 days from his first positive test. He started feeling better on Monday and continued to improve throughout the week. Remember when I said a 1/4 mile walk was a short one for him. On Tuesday, he and Cola (the dog) went walking for an hour.

The cold stuck with us until Wednesday as well, and as it warmed up we had more snow. Not a lot, but enough to cover the driveway and add to the accumulation on the ground. It's a good thing it is warming up slightly as the Grey Cup is being held here this weekend. (It's the Canadian football league's Super Bowl, but less glitzy). Our team is out contention this year - and were since about July! -  and as a result there are a whole lot of folks attempting to offload their tickets to the game. I suspect it will be a poorly attended game, without local support. The Winnipeg Blue Bombers did win their division and it's about a 8 hour drive so that may help with attendance...time will tell. The other team in the game are the Toronto Argonauts which doesn't attract a large amount of fans because they have two other professional sports teams to cheer for.

This first half of the week was pretty quiet, some housework and more crocheting. I finished off this little gnome on Monday. D reminded me she wanted angels for gifts for Eli's teacher and aides, as well as the principal. That meant a trip to the store on Tuesday to pick up some white yarn as I had used the last of it on my reindeer. (I didn't have a lot). So now I have a large ball of it, to make the angels and maybe a snowman or two.

Then on Wednesday I had a call from D. I managed to get her through that day's crisis, however it spilled over into Thursday. By mid-morning I had packed up a few days clothing and other sundry items and was on the highway on the way to her home. I won't get into details, but she hadn't slept for over 36 hours and exhaustion was clouding her thoughts. I spent much of the day cleaning and tidying, while Eli played and she tried to rest. She wasn't able to sleep much - just too overtired - so when dinner was finished she headed up to bed while Eli and I settled in on the couch to watch Home Alone 2. This series is his favorite and this is the second or is the third time we've watched together.

She did get a reasonable amount of sleep over night, thankfully, while I slept with the wiggle worm. There were more stories with spooky endings. I'd start them off and he would finish them. This child and his imagination. On Friday we headed into the next town to deal with the situation that had caused her such grief. It took awhile but I'm pleased to say it ended well and I'm proud of her because she's taken a step forward that seemed so far away not so long ago.

We did a bit of shopping too, stopping at the Dollar store and Walmart. Eli wasn't in a mood for it, so we stopped for lunch between stores and let him play at the McDonalds. I don't blame him, he'd had to sit and wait for quite awhile during D's meeting. While at Walmart we checked for children's Buckley's cough syrup - there was none on the shelf. The clerk told me she'd gotten 18 bottles that morning, and they were already gone by noon.

I tackled a few more household chores when we arrived home, while D headed out to pick up the groceries and check for the mail. She's awaiting her "Moe bucks" check as I've received mine. These are the bribes prosperity pay-outs that our provincial government is providing just ahead of Christmas, instead of reducing or eliminating the increases of 16.8% and 4% to our natural gas and electricity rates respectively. Can you tell I'm not impressed? Over the long run, the rate hikes will cost households more than the benefit of a $500 one-time payment. 

It was a restless night Friday night, as Eli is coming down with another cold. He and I were in the same bed, but at some point Sheldon (the cat) joined us, and the two of them pushed me out of bed. I went downstairs and slept on the couch but was wakened by the sound of coughing. I could hear D talking to Eli, so I grabbed the cough medicine and a spoon. He settled down soon after that, and was in his mother's bed, so I climbed back into his and slept well until early in the morning. Sheldon kept me company.

Today I've sent D upstairs to get a bit more sleep, while Eli and I are snuggled up on the couch to watch some cartoons (him) and work on Ancestry (me). I've got a couple more household chores I want to do today and I'll work on the angels too. One more was finished yesterday. I do plan to head home tomorrow and will leave shortly after breakfast. I suspect the traffic will be heavier as the day goes on as people head to the city for the Grey Cup.

Remind me to never suggest that things in my life are quiet...

Saturday 12 November 2022

Winter plans to stay

My guess is winter is here to stay. The storm that blew in on Sunday left about 8 cms (3 inches) on the ground, and another storm dumped another 7 cms. (2.75 inches) on Monday afternoon. I shovelled both Monday and Tuesday; the photo from wordless Wednesday is the aftermath of my efforts. AND then it got cold! By Thursday morning, I awoke to a temperature of -21C (-6F).  That's more like late January or February temperatures. It didn't warm up much by noon when this screen shot was taken. 

According to the weather forecast we're stuck in this weather for at least two weeks. You know I'll be whining and complaining about it too.

I've bundled up every morning to feed the birds, and the squirrels. One morning I had three squirrels at the feeder and another six Hungarian partridges. The squirrels aren't as afraid of me as I wish they were, and the partridges made me laugh. When I came out of the house, they scooted around the sunroom out of sight. When I'd filled the feeder and back in the sunroom, I looked out to the partridges had raced back to the feeder. Since I know they are around I spread some of the seed on the ground. They do fly, but the feeder isn't set up for that size of a bird.

As a result of the weather I spent most of my time indoors. I didn't go to stitch and chat on Wednesday, but I did get some crocheting done. I'd finished the scarf I was working on earlier in the week, so decided to play with some of the yarn I'd used for the Rudolph. I've finished two of these "cups of hot chocolate", one I plan to keep and the others will be a gift for my brother and his wife. I just need to add the hanger for the tree. I've got another pattern to use a bit more yarn that I'll work on this weekend.

Even though it was cold, I needed groceries so headed on Thursday morning. In addition to regular items, I was picking up supplies for Christmas baking, and the ever needed cat food and bird seed. While it was more than my usual spend, it wasn't as bad as I thought it might be. There were some decent sales out there and the fridge, freezer, and pantry are again stocked up. Saku (the cat) and the birds should be happy too.

In other news, my younger brother has Covid. His son K tested positive last week, so I'm pretty certain he passed it on to R. While his wife and daughter have had it previously, R has avoided it until now. We've been texting back and worth this week and he's definitely not feeling well. He told me Thursday that the day prior was a 2 and that day was a 2.5 but at least he wasn't in hospital or at work. They live on an acreage, with horses, a dog (or dogs depending on whether K's dogs are there) and two cats. R has continued to haul hay to feed the horses and take the dogs for walks. Normally he runs, but on Thursday he only managed a 1/4 mile with them. That's how I know for certain he was feeling poorly. He has seen a bit of improvement each day, but it's a slow recovery.

When I haven't been crocheting, I've been working more on Ancestry and I've been in touch with a couple of distant cousins. One of these cousins lives in Quebec, where my paternal grandparents were born and raised. She is the great-great granddaughter of my great-grandfather's brother. It's a community I've always wanted to visit, perhaps one day she and I will meet.

On Friday, I started to watch the Remembrance Day ceremonies being held in Ottawa but made it only 10 minutes in before the host of the show annoyed me. She kept asking what people were thinking about. I'm pretty sure I could have answered for all of them - they were thinking about those who sacrificed their lives or health to fight in the two World wars or other conflicts so that we can enjoy the rights and freedoms they fought so hard to protect. Instead I did some laundry and thought about my uncles, Wilfred and Robinson who went overseas in the WWII. Uncle Wilfred was gassed, broke his legs while Uncle Bob contracted tuberculosis. I knew the story of the two of them ending up in back in Saskatchewan at the same hospital. 

What I didn't know until I found a newspaper article is they were both on the same ship and then hospital train that brought them home from overseas. Wilf had written a couple of letters to Bob, addressing the letter to his last post in Holland, and when they were returned to the hospital, the brothers learned the other was there as well. Uncle Wilf was quoted as saying about his injuries, "All I know is that I was hit by something while on patrol New Year's Eve. I've been told that it was a jeep that got me." He never spoke of the war, so I had no idea how his injuries ocurred.

Today I awoke to another cold day, -20C (-4F). The birds were waiting in the neighbour's tree for me when I went out to feed them, and made short work of the seeds. I don't think the squirrels got any this day. Though the sun is shining, it's another day to stay indoors and stay warm. I've got DVR'ed television to watch, I'm playing on Ancestry, and when I get bored with that I'll start another crochet project or work on Eli's sweater.

Have a great week ahead everyone!

Sunday 6 November 2022

Wild weather

I went out to feed the birds this morning and found the snow had blown and drifted on the deck. I tromped through the snow to the shed, and the snow was over the top of my boots in places.

I hadn't even made it back in the door of the sunroom by the time the birds were at the feeder. I may go out later to give them a second feed.
I took this video through the front window (it's short). Not sure how much snow we got though the local weather website suggests about 3 inches so far. It's blowing so much that the accumulation from last night is drifting in, and it is still snowing. Tonight's forecast is for -17C (1F) so I'm hopeful the snow will stop falling then.

Did you know I can forecast the future? At least I can certainly forecast mine - there's a snow shovel in it!

Saturday 5 November 2022

When life gets exciting - or not

While Halloween was a bit anti-climatic here, someone had a lot of fun! D sent this photo of Eli. The kids were able to wear costumes to school. She sent the little bags she'd made up as gifts for his classmates. Later that evening she and Eli made the rounds of four or five blocks close to their home. Of course, he made out like a bandit. At home they sorted the candy, and about half of it was donated. In years past, she's taken it to the Food Bank, but this year a family she knows had sick kids who weren't able to go out, so she dropped off the bag of candy with them. In exchange for the candy he gave up, he finds a new toy in his bucket the next morning. I'd never heard of this idea until she started doing it with Eli - it's called the Switch Witch. This year it was a pair of Mickey and Minnie Mouse characters dressed in Halloween garb, that she'd picked up last year on sale and stashed until now.

Tuesday was November 1st which meant it was time to pull the fridge and stove out to clean behind them. I try to do them at least twice a year, November and April - I can't say I do them more frequently than that. The area behind the fridge was pretty good, a bit of dried up cat kibble and some cat hair; standard in this house. The stove was a little worse for wear with more cat hair and a dead French fry or two, and of course spills down the side. I scrubbed the appliances and washed the floors before pushing them back in place for another 6 months or more. The kitchen floor was swept and scrubbed too. Since these tasks took less time than expected, I did some extra deep cleaning in the master bathroom. My ensuite has what my kids and I affectionally call the coffin shower. It's narrow and tiled floor to ceiling and while I clean it regularly, I find the floor tiles tend to get cloudy. So down on my hands and knees with a scrub brush and a Mr. Clean eraser I went, looking so much better when I finished.

On Wednesday morning, I watched Canada smash Japan in the first curling draw of the day before heading out to Staples to pick up a new ink cartridge for my printer. Backing up for a second, I'd forgotten my phone charger at D's and was using an older cable. It doesn't charge as quickly so I left the phone at home in the charger. When I drove to where the store used to be it wasn't there. It's obviously been awhile....I had to drive back home to check to see where they had moved. I ran that errand and came home, checked my phone and discovered a Public service alert, a text from my brother, and two missed calls from D.

Apparently, there had been a shooting in her small town; one man was dead and the two suspects were on the run. I tried calling D back and the calls were immediately dropped - so I sent her a message. She called me immediately and informed me it happened at a motel across town from her, the community had been asked to stay home and keep an eye out for anyone or anything suspicious. She had moved her car from the parking pad into the garage in case the suspects were looking for a car to steal. Eli was at school and they were basically on lockdown. By end of the school day, the suspects hadn't yet been located, but danger to the public was considered low as the police believed the shooting was targeted and not random. 

It seems that no place is immune from people who have no or little conscience. I doubt we'll ever know the motive (drug deal gone bad is the thought my brother and I share), but a family lost a member and another family will learn the pain of knowing one of their own took the life of another. Another no win situation.

I did get to stitch and chat that afternoon. There were three of us this week, S, D and I. S is leaving Monday for Arizona, and D wasn't certain she'd attend next week. S gave me the phone number of one of the other ladies who wasn't available this week - she had Covid last week and still isn't feeling well. If she isn't able to make it, neither D nor I will attend. I did tell D if she wants to meet, I can pick her up as she lives close by and I know she normally walks to the library unless it is cold.

Speaking of, we've got rain and snow to start this weekend. According to the forecast we could have as much as 30 cm. (almost 12 inches) of snow over the next week. Temperatures have been dropping and on Thursday we didn't even make it above freezing.  Winter is definitely here and likely to stay, though we can expect a few days of better weather before the end of the month. I've been feeding the birds regularly, and earlier this week I looked out to see them enjoying the bird bath. It had filled up with the snow, and it melted. Don't they look like they're having fun?

Those of you who remarked on the wordless Wednesday, it is indeed a Christmas critter. A Rudolph the Red-nosed Reindeer to be exact. 

I had time the play with the yarn while I watched the Pan Continental curling championships. Two Canadian teams, one men, one women, are in the event to secure our spot for the World events in 2023. The men didn't have to work too hard because their World curling event will be held in Canada so we have a guaranteed spot. No matter, they lost their first game to the U.S. team and then went on to win the remainder of their games. The women secured their berth early in the event is well with five wins in a row before losing to the U.S. team.

Both teams are in the play-offs this weekend, and I'll watch when I can. I've made plans to meet a friend on this afternoon to check out a craft sale, and catch up. It's been over a year since I met her for coffee so we're long overdue! After that, I plan to hunker down at home and avoid the bad weather as much as I can. There is a scarf on the knitting needles, and a mitten started too. Eli's sweater is still in the basket awaiting attention - in other words, between curling, football, and baseball, I have lots to keep me amused.

Have a great week ahead everyone!

Tuesday 1 November 2022

Halloween hangover?


The neighbour on the corner went all out this year with their decorations. I was in the car on my way to run an errand and had to stop and take a photo. Good thing I live in a quiet neighbourhood - no traffic.

It was a quiet night, I only had 19 kids to the house though it seemed like there were more running up and down the street. I've got nearly half of the candy and chips I bought leftover. All the Smarties will get put away for doling out to my grandson. I suspect C and I will make our way through the rest over the next month or so.