Saturday 25 March 2023

Ups and downs

 A mostly routine week was had, with the exception of additional driving. My friend C (whose mom passed away in December) had her car break down on her last week on the highway. She waited nearly two hours for a tow truck, before she had it towed to a local garage for service. Sadly the work that needed to be done would have cost more than the (used) car had cost her on purchase. She called me on Saturday to ask if I could take her for groceries and to check out another vehicle. 

I found out she had taken an Uber to work both Thursday and Friday, and suggested I could help out by driving her to and from work for a week or so until she got another vehicle straightened out. She happily agreed and gave me money to fill the gas tank. We did look at the vehicle and while it was a cute little car, we agreed it needed to be checked out by her mechanic before she decided. That happened Tuesday, and to be honest, I wasn't entirely surprised to learn that it too, required a lot of work. So that was a no go.

By Friday, she had found another vehicle through a good friend, and she's hopeful this will pan out. In the meantime I'm prepared to drive her to and from work for a few days next week. However, this weekend she'll have to find another means of transportation as I have come down with a miserable cold. Testing indicates negative for Covid. 

I didn't start feeling poorly until Thursday afternoon, so did get to Stitch and Chat on Wednesday. We had the three current regulars, as well as a lovely young woman who is teaching herself to crochet. I'm not sure we were much help to her as we all hold our hooks and yarn differently but we did offer some suggestions. A is currently on maternity leave for the next couple of months, and as well as being a new mom, is taking university classes in Education. one of her courses challenges her to learn something new that she's always wanted to learn. She chose crochet. I don't think we frightened her away as she mentioned she would be back next week. 

Other than that it was a pretty quiet week, lots of curling to watch, the regular housework, and I continued the declutter of the craft room. The photo on Wednesday is the result of purchasing new see-through storage containers for some of the yarn. I do need to pick up three more, I think. I sorted the yarn by color, and it will make it much easier to find what I'm looking for with the clear containers. 

The weather has been quite cold in the morning and warming sufficiently through the afternoon to allow for some melting. As a result my street is full of ruts, none of which are down to the pavement just yet. Driving down the street at any speed is like riding a mechanical bull. Even at the slowest speed one is tossed back and forth. Of course at the end of the crescent is a lovely small lake in the afternoon, which freezes into a true mess by morning. I suspect there is a drain that needs to be opened, but I'm not going looking for it.  I'm glad to see the melting, as I did have a fall earlier in the week when I walked to the mailbox. I was almost back on the sidewalk when my feet went out from under me, I landed on my back and my head hit the sidewalk. Luckily I didn't land hard and except for a pulled muscle in my neck, I was fine. 

Our Canadian women won their game overnight - I had PVR'ed it and watched it this morning, and will be on the ice again in about 15 minutes. So I'll be settled on the couch watching and hoping they make it to the final. If not, I believethey'll be in the bronze medal game. Other than that I've no plans for the rest of the weekend. 

I'll leave you with two very different photos. The one on the left was taken on this date two years ago. My post on FB tells me, it was raining with snow on the forecast overnight, but a high of 14C (57F) the following day.

The next photo was taken today, no snow in the forecast but temperatures not expected to reach above the freezing mark for a week or ten days. 

I bet you can guess which view I'd prefer!  

Have a great week ahead everyone. 

Saturday 18 March 2023

Running around

The photo on Wednesday was taken early one morning from my bedroom window. The rabbit was trying to get under the gate and out of the yard, and not having much luck. It wasn't trapped though, as there is a larger gap at the back of the yard where it can get under the fence and into the neighbour's yard. I was happy to see it is turning color, but winter is still hanging in here. We were supposed to be above freezing one day this week and it didn't happen. In fact, we had cold temperatures later in the week, with lows of -22C and -25C (-8 to -13F). 

Unlike the past couple of weeks, this week was a busy one. In fact, I was away from the house for periods of time on four days this week!  The driving started on Tuesday with grocery shopping. Like last week, I didn't need a lot, and shopped for the basics and a few sale items. 

I'd also managed to get some decluttering done on Monday, going through my closet and my dresser drawers and filled a bag with clothing I haven't worn in a long time, and items that don't fit well. I took the bag as well as several boxes of items I'd filled from the kitchen, and dropped them off at the thrift stores. The Salvation Army has been requesting donations of clothing so I went there first. Of course, I had to go shopping too - I picked up a cat food bowl for Saku and a book to read. Then it was off to Value Village to drop off the rest of the items. There I found yarn to make scrubbies, and a container of several birthday stamps. My daughter likes making cards, so I picked those up for her.  

I've also started my de-cluttering and tidying of the craft room, but I know it will take some time to get through it all. The two tables have been mostly cleared, and I've moved all of my UFO's into a single tub. It's clear I don't mind starting things, I'm not so good at finishing them! Perhaps to help hold myself accountable, I'm putting it out there that my plan is this: when I start a new project, I MUST finish a UFO as well. 

Wednesday was stitch and chat - there were just two of us there; R and I, the lady who had come a few weeks ago for the first time. The other regular texted she had something come up and couldn't make it. R mentioned she had thought a friend of hers might have attended but did not show, so we spent the two hours happily chatting.

On Thursday afternoon, I had my appointment with the bank to close the trust account and open the new one. Sheesh, what a process! It took nearly 45 minutes to get things dealt with. There were questions I wasn't expecting which didn't appear to relate to the opening of an account and, of course, an attempt was made to sell me other products. No thanks, I'm good. I've been banking with this institution since 1982 when I was hired at the branch in my hometown. My daughter was a baby, and we moved onto my parent's farm yard in a house trailer. During my tenure at that branch, there was a large construction project in the area and we had hundreds of new accounts opened as the employees came to deposit and cash their pay cheques. My memory suggests we opened accounts in no more than 20 minutes and that was pre-computer so everything was handwritten. (We did have "green-screen" computers but there was paper-work for everything we did.) I understand this appointment gave the bank an opportunity to update their information but seriously it took a ridiculous amount of time.

Friday morning, I took a drive out to visit my brother at the farm. I haven't seen him in person since before Christmas. He had a day off work and I decided a drive was in order before the spring thaw when the roads get quite messy. He texted me in the morning to wear my boots and bring my camera.

In summer he mows the hiking trails and in the winter he pulls a tire to pack down the snow. We left the yard and went for a short loop, and quickly learned I'm not very good at staying on the packed snow. I fell a few times when my foot sunk into the deeper snow beside the trail. I was grateful he was there to help me get up. (Do you remember the commercials, "I've fallen and can't get up?" That would be me.)

It was cold out (-18C or 0F), but I was bundled up and the sun actually felt warm. No wind to speak of, so it was nice to be out in the fresh air.

It's not easy to see in this photo but just ahead and to the right is a deer trail that climbs the hill. R says the view from the top is really nice...I'll take his word for it.

Another deer trail through the bush. 

Heading back into the farm yard, I saw the picnic table and said to R, "worldest largest bird feeder?" He said no, this is feed he's put out for the deer. They were cleaning out the bird feeder, so he set this out further from the house.

On the drive to his place, I stopped on the hill for a photo of the red-roofed church. The gravel roads were in good shape, but the ditches are definitely full of snow. Despite the cold, it was good to get outdoors and spend some time with my brother.

The Women's World Curling starts today,  and is being held in Sweden. The first draw is at noon (my time), and only the Canada games will be televised until the playoffs. I've looked at the schedule and some draws will be aired in the middle of the night. I'll have to PVR those games and watch them at a more reasonable hour. Even I'm not that big of fan that I'd get up at 2 a.m. to watch the live game. 

Have a wonderful week ahead everyone. I hope spring is well on its way, wherever you may be. I'd just ask you send some of my way, when you get a chance!

Friday 17 March 2023

Saturday 11 March 2023


Yes, it's extremely icy here on my street and will be until the melting truly gets underway. A funny, not so funny thing happened; the city sent a grader down the street on Wednesday at 10:30 p.m.! It scraped a bit of ice off the street piling it along the sidewalks and in front of driveways. I was not happy at the time of day they chose to do the work, nor the mess they left behind. Someone on the street must have some connection to City Hall, as another grader was out clearing the area in front of driveways on Thursday. Once the melting happens we'll have a bit of a lake though I don't think it will be as bad as the first year we lived in the house. That year, the water in the ruts was about 5 inches deep. I sent a photo to the city of my boots as I stood in the ruts to complain about the problem the ruts caused smaller vehicles. Eventually, enough of us must have complained because the street was cleared. 

It hasn't been a terribly busy week, just the usual housework, a bit of grocery shopping, an errand for D, and lots and lots and lots of curling. The weather hasn't been particularly good, quite cold for this time of year, along with wind to make it worse. Snow was forecast for overnight Friday and will continue until sometime this evening. It's hard to tell how much snow we got last night as the wind continues to blow and cause drifting. Neither C nor I have anywhere we need to be this weekend, so the clearing up from the storm can wait until tomorrow. The photo is the view from my bedroom window this morning. Out the front door is even worse.

My UFO project is coming along and I've made a decision as to what to do with them. Originally it was going to be a baby blanket, but I like the colors so I think I'm going to try to make a full sized blanket. Since I'm using thrift store yarn, it may take some time to actually finish it. 

It clashes with the rug, but you get the idea. The hope is to create these flowers, and then use green yarn to create the background and connect the flowers. One thought is to create squares from these hexagons....some thought will be needed to do that. I do notice as I'm looking at the photo I like the bottom and side row, not so happy with the inners.  That's primarily the way I've laid them out, and I suspect it will be easier once the flowers are put together. I'm also adding another series with yellow as the centers. I know I'm running low of pink, and I'll be down to a couple of skeins of variegated purple after this batch of petals are complete. 

The curling has been good, but not great this week. There have been flashes of brilliance and just plain flashes. (A flash is when a rock passes by it's intended target and rolls out of the rings.) For the most part, the teams expected to be on top are, and history was made when the Nunavut team won their very first game in Brier history. Since their skip actually lives in the vicinity of this year's Brier contest (he's an import to the team), the arena went nuts with the victory. Fun to see! I'm hopeful now that we're into the playoffs the level of curling will improve.

I'll have almost an entire week off (curling) between the Brier and the beginning of the Women's World Curling. The goal is to continue to work on de-cluttering with three areas to focus on; the linen closet, my clothes closet and dresser, and the craft room. I'm realistic enough to know it's unlikely more than one or two of these areas will get done. The craft room is going to take some time. I did manage this week to get the boxes of items from the kitchen and Christmas into the trunk of the car. These will be dropped off at the thrift store next week sometime. 

The other thing on the to-do list this week was to plant some seeds for my containers. I saved marigold, petunia, tomato, and pepper seeds last fall. The seeds haven't yet germinated, but I'm hopeful I'll have some luck with a few of them. I've ordered a grow light that I'm hoping will improve the results. If you recall, I did have a bit of luck with my marigolds last year, with one plant growing to a height of over 3 feet tall. I made sure I saved some of those seeds.

A few more photos from the backyard this week including a grackle,a redbreasted nuthatch, and a blue jay. My brother R says he's had the latter at the farm over winter but I hadn't seen any since last fall.

There were three jays visiting, but I wasn't able to capture more than one. They quickly flew off when I stepped into the sunroom.

Today I'll be watching first two games of the Brier playoffs, and crocheting. The first draw starts at noon, so I'm catching up on blogs, e-mail, and PVR'ed television. That, and watching the snow swirl around out the front window!

Have a great week ahead everyone! 

Saturday 4 March 2023

Black beans, a birthday, and birds

It was a relatively quiet week, if one doesn't consider the time I spent with my daughter and grandson. It is anything but quiet in their home. More on that later, but first a tale of a slightly different kind.

My younger brother found a recipe for black bean burgers a few weeks ago. He made up the full amount (which included two cans of black beans). He enjoyed them so much that he ate three burgers in one sitting. Apparently the following day was rather noisy. I decided they sounded good and knowing the potential outcome chose to make a half batch (three burgers in total). I've been wanting to have one meatless meal a week though my son is not vegetable friendly.

So Monday I made up the burgers and baked them for dinner that evening. While they looked, in my son's words, like something a dog had heaved up, they smelled very good. However, neither of us cared for them and neither of us ate the leftover burger. They were very dry and despite the spices tasted like dusty beans. Not good. What I will say, is the beans did their job, and I didn't leave the house until late morning on Tuesday. I've tossed the last burger the freezer, in case I'm feeling backed up in the future - though I think I'll only eat half of it at a time.

I did a few errands on Tuesday - one to the bank that turned out to be rather frustrating. When Eli was born, I set up an account for him and I've been putting away a little money every couple of months into the account for his future education or some other important purpose in his life. The bank has decided that these children's accounts are no longer profitable (my words, not theirs), so I've been advised that I must open another account by April 3, or the funds will be refunded to me.

Sounds pretty simple, right? Open a new account, transfer the funds and close the old one. Ha! First off, I could not open the account at the counter - I would need to speak to another representative. Back to the front reception, where I learned that in order to keep the account registered as Eli's account, I would need to bring him into the branch. I explained he is only 6 years old and lives out of the city. Didn't matter...okay, so can I close the account and set up one in my name only. Yes, I can do that - which means I can close the account when he isn't there but not open one unless he is. Of course, opening the new account means fees, unlike the old one. Then the conversation took an even more frustrating turn - could I open the account that day - no I had to make an appointment to meet with someone in the branch. Earliest appointment - 2 p.m. on March 16th!!! I accepted the appointment as I had no other choice, but I must admit there have been thoughts of finding another, more customer service driven institution. Is there such a thing anymore? I would note, I worked at this bank back in the 1980's and as a teller/customer service rep, I would have handled all of these tasks at my wicket in a short amount of time. 

Thankfully, I had made plans to meet with my friend C for a coffee that afternoon. She is continuing to struggle with her grief and needs the company. We did a dollar store run for fun, and then went for coffee and a donut. She's considering seeing a grief counsellor - which I think is a great idea, and will be starting a new full-time job on Monday. If nothing else, the work will keep her mind off things for a bit and make life seem a bit more normal. 

Travel day was Wednesday, but first up was stitch and chat. However, no one else showed up, so I headed out earlier than I had originally planned. I was there in time, for his mom and I to pick up Eli at school. There was some very exciting news: His birthday was announced over the intercom that morning. Although his birthday was Thursday, he didn't have school that day.

School days are tiring for him, so the evening was rather tame, dinner and some cartoons on the television. He, as always, chose to sleep with me and didn't even want any bed time stories. Instead he showed me some photos he had taken on his camera and then we tucked and went to sleep. When he woke the following morning, I asked him what day it was, and immediately he said,"my birthday!". 

His mom had been up much earlier and put his gifts on the couch for him. He opened one, a set of Nerf gun "sniper" rifles and was done for a bit. Later he opened the last couple gifts - including new swim trunks, Mario socks, and a couple of books from G'ma and Uncle C. He had a wonderful day, stayed in his pj's all day, watched cartoons and played his video games (recall my comment about the noise), enjoyed a dinner of his choice, and ended it all with a sparkler on a cupcake his mother baked. 

While he was doing his thing, his mom and I did some organizing and cleaning in the house. We also got her tax return completed and submitted. That made her very happy. Since I had my laptop, I was able to putter on it too, putting in some time on Ancestry and reading blogs. Bedtime came early that night, and I read Eli the books he'd received and again, he was out like a light. 

I got away shortly after lunch the following day, and spent the afternoon relaxing on my couch. I don't particularly sleep well with a wriggling child in the same bed. My daughter doesn't sleep well either, and if often up in the middle of the night and/or early in the morning, so my sleep is often disturbed. I watched the first draw of Brier curling in bed that evening, and was asleep soon after it was completed. 

Today, I've cleaned cat litter, fed the birds and started the laundry. The next curling draw starts at 1 p.m. so I think I'll settle in on the couch with some crocheting and watch a couple of PVR'ed television programs. I've pulled out a UFO (unfinished object) from a year or so ago, and will use some additional yarn I've bought from the thrift store to (perhaps) complete it. Eli's sweater needs a bit more finishing, but I've set that aside for now. I still need to buy a zipper to complete it, but I'm happy to say it is big on him so as long as it is ready by fall, all is good.

I'll leave you with a photo taken from out the front window this morning of two Hungarian partridges settled in by the everygreen. I'm seeing them in pairs now, not the gaggle of six or eight I'm accustomed to. Do I dare hope this is a sign of spring?

Wednesday 1 March 2023

Almost Wordless Wednesday


Working on the last of the backstitching

Completed, washed and ironed, ready for a frame.