Old Friends

I have some girlfriends that I’ve known for 55 years!

There were 8 of us. We all lived within a block of each other. Back in those days, even being 5 or 6 years old, we were allowed to go that block or two, on our own! We all had bikes so rode those all over the place. We lived two blocks from the school that we went to and spent many afternoons riding our bikes around the school grounds, playing soccer or baseball on the fields, sliding down the hill on pieces of cardboard. Of course we all had roller skates too….the kind that you needed a key for that you slipped on over your shoes. We also lived near a golf course and would build forts in the bushes….who could do that today??? We had sleepovers and pajama parties. My parents had a station wagon and it was nothing for everyone to pile into it on a Saturday night so they could take us to the “Drive-in Movies”…..in our pajamas!

We went through elementary school together, some of us went to one high school and some to another, but we still all “hung around” together. As we got to our teen years we did all the stuff that teenagers do……first boyfriends, first parties, first drinks. None of us got into any trouble…..we did come close. We’d go shopping almost every weekend with our babysitting money….most of which got spent on makeup. We’d spend hours in department stores trying on clothes we couldn’t afford to by. We all sewed, so shopping for material was also something we did a lot of. We shared patterns, we shared clothes! We all loved The Monkees and Paul Revere and the Raiders….would sit and listen for hours…our closet doors were covered with pictures from magazines. I can’t think how many hours we’d spend in movie theatres…once you paid to get in, back then, you could stay and watch the same movie over and over again…usually because there was “cute guy” in it.

Over the years we kind of drifted in different directions……but still kept in touch. I was the first one married and the first to have kids. It was hard back then for me to take off on “girls weekends” to celebrate birthdays….with the kids and especially financially, I just couldn’t do it. Weddings was about the only time I seen everyone. I’m really sorry now that I couldn’t do all the things with them. I had a good time when I did, but I wasn’t as free as everyone else and their lives were just so different. Then once everyone, or just about everyone, got married and started having their own kids, the same thing happened to them. Everyone bought houses wherever they could afford to….which means some of us moved out of the city, into the burbs. Those get togethers became less and less. One of them worked for the same company I do, so she was always my “life line” to what was happening with everyone else. She retired a couple of years ago, so getting in touch, making those phone calls every now and again became even more important.

The last time we all got together was at a funeral….for our friend Bev. She was my maid of honor. She died a year ago March…….heart attack at 60! Funny how it used to be weddings, now as we get older I can only hope the next time isn’t another funeral!

So now there are only 7 of us.

One friend L, is the organizer. She is the one that keeps in touch with everyone…..and I’m so glad she does. These friends, even though I don’t see them all the time, they are the ones that I can feel pretty comfortable with no matter what.

The Christmas do last year was on the same night as our CDS get together, so we couldn’t go…..Ken wasn’t really well enough anyway, a retirement party was the same weekend as the wedding I went away for in the summer, so I couldn’t go to that. I really wish I could have. A girls weekend that was the same weekend as another wedding. I can go to these now and I should….I’ll make sure that I do.

L called last night and we got caught up on how everyone is doing. Who had trips planned, what trips others had been on….and a little bit of gossip. All are retirees except for me and J, who is a teacher and still working! L retired last year and started playing in a ladies softball league…..she is going off to the Seniors World championship games in Utah in a week of two! How exciting is that.

Staying in touch with friends seems so much more important now than it did before. It was always good to hear from everyone or make that phone call to catch up but we were all busy with our lives doing whatever we were doing. Besides these girls there are other friends that I need to get in touch with…..those phone calls are on my “to do” list. I keep thinking I don’t have time to make the calls…..all my project jobs….they are probably thinking the same thing….just too busy. The worst part of it is that the longer you put off making those calls, the harder they seem to be to make…..it gets easier to put them off and then you think “oh well…whatever” and never make them.

If I could, I would turn back the clock and do some things differently….especially keeping in touch on a regular basis and staying closer to all these girls. There’s other friends that I haven’t heard from since Ken died….I don’t know why……I WILL call them….maybe tonight!

Now is the time in my life when I need all these friends…..it’s not that I didn’t need them before, but life was different then….different a year ago. I had other priorties…we had different priorities. Friends have always been important to us but we also had each other. It’s very different when you are on your own……

L.

A Nice Surprise….

…..or maybe not! After our day of painting Bev and I went for Chinese buffet. While I was getting ready, I thought I’d better get some laundry thrown in if I was going to have clean clothes to wear to work today…….and then I remembered that I had today off!

So that was a nice surprise…..how on earth could I have forgotten that? A bit scary, no? What else have I forgotten? Oh well, the main thing is I remembered BEFORE I got at up at 5:30 this morning.

Painting railings is a gruelling, tedious job. There are so many places to paint….all the spindles, the bit under the railing, the bits on bases….turn this way, turn that way, sit on the floor for this part, stand up for that and lean over at the end that can’t be reached from the stairs……everything is aching this morning…..and I still have one more coat to go! But it is so worth it……they look so much brighter already.

Thank you Bev for all your help!

I can’t remember when those railings were last painted…..probably 10 or 15 years ago, just before we had the hardwood floors put in. They had yellowed so much, but it wasn’t until I painted the new riser WHITE, that I really noticed.

First coat on, one more to go!

First coat on, one more to go!

We put that railing up 25+ years ago when we did our first major house reno. Took down the old wrought iron ones……which would now be back in style….and put up the wooden railing. All the spindles and newel posts were just unfinished wood, so everything had to be painted. Ken rigged up a thing in our carport to spray them all. He drove a nail into the end of each spindle, and with string, hung them from a board….that made it really easy to spray each one with the primer and then the first coat of paint. The second coat was put on after it was all together. What a lot of work those railing were……we half assembled them, or as much as we could assemble them, and then got them up and into place to put the top railing on. Each spindle had to be checked to make sure they were perfectly straight, then the final screws into the top and bottom pieces. It was all worth it in the end. He did most of the work or course, but he did a great job…..they still look really good.

As for this morning, before I get back to painting, I’m going to get my hair cut….maybe I’ll get that grey out too….if she has time. That will be my something for ME today. If I was finished all this painting I would have had a manicure too! I haven’t had my hair cut since before Ken went into the hospital back in February! I’m starting to look like a hippy. It’s gotten so long I can actually put it up. Long, thin, grey hair just doesn’t work for me though…..especially hair that gets frizzie as soon as there is a drop of rain.

I’m also going to get the deck cleaned off…..chair cushions put away, table moved under cover etc. Since everything is aching already I might as well get that done and over with…..I think we’ve seen the last of our summer now….ah sigh. Definitely not looking forward to dark mornings and dull, rainy days. I hope the weather at least stays sunny….it just makes me feel so much better.

L.

RIP Oreo

A visit to a vet, a hospital emergency ward, and an all night pharmacy doesn’t make for a fun night!

Had a great dinner and part of an evening at my brother and SILs last night, but their little cat was sick. Fine on Friday, not good Saturday. She’d been to the vet earlier in the day, but things just didn’t get any better. Oreo, their fur baby, died last night 

She was 17 years old. They’d had her since she was a little kitten.

After dinner, we were going to take her to the emergency vet but she passed before we could even get out of the house.

Before that though, she had managed to bite my brother while he was picking her up. Many, many puncture wounds. D (SIL) and I dropped S off at the emergency ward and carried on to the emergency vet with Oreo. Cat bites can be very painful AND very dangerous if not treated quickly.

Oreo will be cremated on his own and they’ll have another urn of ashes to add to their other two old fur babies that died this year…..

S was lucky it was still early enough in the evening for the emergency ward to not be too busy. He was done in emerg by the time we’d finished at the vet. We picked him, and his prescription, up on the way back from dropping off Oreo. I was quite surprised they didn’t start him on IV antibiotics.

Years ago, one of our old cats, when very sick and nearing the end, bit me on the thumb. The next morning my thumb and wrist was so sore, I too got a prescription from the Dr but then ended up in emergency in the middle of the next night in pain beyond belief. Luckily the ER folks were very familiar with cat bites. They started the IV antib’s right away after marking a line on my wrist, at the point where they could see by a vein where the infection (septicaemia or other staph types) had travelled too, which was up past my wrist. I had to go back twice a day for 5 days for those IV’s! After the first day, they checked the mark on my wrist and had to up the dose because they could see that the infection was still traveling up my arm. Scary stuff!

Cat bite information http://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/739023_5

We’ve lost cats before over the years, but I think I would be so devastated now if anything happened to my fur babies…..they are all I have around here. As much as I complain about having to clean the litter box and my morning routine of cleaning up hairballs, I’d miss them terribly. They’re old too….one is 18, but still races around like a kitten. Pets become such a part of your life. They are there for you….they give you companionship. I’m not sure that cats are loyal like dogs, but for the meer price of a can of food and a filled dry kibble dish, I get a lot of hugs and cuddles. My kitties got a can of their favourite food this morning…..

Today is going to be varathane day….yeah! I’m also going to freshen up the white railings on my stairs with a coat of paint…..since I have a whole gallon of the stuff, I might as well get this done now before I get the stairs finished and could make a big mess on them.

Bev is coming over to help…..so we’ll have fun!

L.

Sunny Saturday

I’m glad the week is ending much better than it started…..

Out for dinner last night with BIL and SIL and then to Home Depot. I needed more foam paint brushes….which so far I have found them the best thing for putting on the stain. I had bought two! But soon realized, after trying to clean them, why they are only .98 each! They both made it through two cleanings before the foam part fell off! I bought six this time…..hopefully that will be enough.

I also talked to them about my nailing dilemma. First the tool man, then the flooring lady……who explained how to do the nailing on the stairs. I have to nail through the top of the boards……which I was not wanting to do as that means I’ll have a little hole to fill. But that seems to be the only way to do it on the stairs. The good thing is that I can just do this with a hammer and finishing nails and one of those pokey things for insetting the nail….I don’t need to get the compressor going. She suggested pre-drilling the holes though as it is possible that the nailing could crack the board. I have a bazillion drill bits…..ones from the size of a doorknob hole down to the size of a sewing needle.

I’m not at that stage yet though…..one more coat of stain on the last 7 noses and then the finishing varathane coats…..so at the rate I’m going, it’ll be next weekend by the time I’m ready to get everything on the stairs for the official dry fitting before I start any gluing or nailing.

I know, how boring eh! TMI DYI info…… unless of course, you are thinking about taking on a project like this…..

The weather is better this morning…..much nicer than it was through the week. The sun is shining and it’s warming up, so this really helps me to feel better and gets me motivated to do the things I need to do.

I’m also going to have to start thinking about getting the deck cleaned off for the winter….ah sigh. The hanging basket is done…..that’s usually a sign that summer is truly over. I’ve got to get the wicker settee inside and move the table and chairs under the covered part….and my new BBQ too. Nothing is terribly heavy but jobs like this just go much quicker when there is two people.

This was such a simple task before…..and it still is really….but it’s just one more thing that I have to do by myself now! I have to tell myself to “get over it……..just do it”!

L.

T G I F !!

It’s been a week from HELL.

Work has been awful…..so much to do and not enough time to get it all done. Lots of drama too, which doesn’t help. I will be glad to see the end of all of it.

I have been a slug around home too…..so much I had planned on doing this week but found excuse after excuse to not do it. I get mad at myself and that makes me feel even worse!!

It’s just been one of those weeks and I don’t know why.

I hope I’m not heading into some kind of a winter funk…..the weather is changing, it’s dark in the mornings when I get up and it gets dark so much earlier in the evening. I’ve been sort of worried about this time of year because it’s never been my fav….

My trip is causing some stress too….holidays shouldn’t do that!!

Maybe it’s just that there is just me here at night…..I really thought I’d gotten used to it, but maybe not. There was just so much to bitch about all week and I have no one to bitch too!! Maybe that’s it!

About the only thing I have done is eat right….so I will give myself a pat on the back for that.

Another fajita with my stash of frozen ingredients

Another fajita with my stash of frozen ingredients

Having all those ingredients handy made this quick and easy.

Tuscan roast chicken ready to go in the oven.

Tuscan roast chicken ready to go in the oven.

This, plus a salad made two meals.

It was so good!

It was so good!

Chicken enchilada corn chowder

Chicken enchilada corn chowder

All quick and easy dinners so I could get to work earlier on my staining……hah!

I did manage to get some staining done last night. One more coat on the noses and another coat of the varathane on my sample piece….3 coats of that and it definitely needs the 4th…. Over the weekend I’m going to give the BILs brad nailer another shot (lol)….I have some longer nails that I’ll try to see if they work any better. Otherwise I may be buying another tool of some sort to get this done….my daughter is pretty sure we have a nail thing somewhere so I’ll check out the shed first, just in case.

Tomorrow should be a better day…….I’m heading to my brother and SILs for dinner……he’s a great cook and I can’t wait to see what we’re having….he mentioned steak but I know there will be ton of other stuff too. I’ll have a good time, I know that. They just came back from a Hawaiian cruise, so lots of pics to look at and stories to tell! I’ll have to go early though so I can have a glass or two of wine….and then coffee for the rest of the evening…..not having my driver anymore puts a damper how much you can consume!!

I hope the week ends on better note!

L.

Throwback Thursday

Ken, second from left......the boys (and one of their girlfriends) on a typical weekend afternoon in the early 70's....

Ken, second from left……the boys (and one of their girlfriends) on a typical weekend afternoon in the early 70’s….

The “sporty” car days…….so much fun back then. It didn’t matter if it was hot and sunny, or cold, rainy or snowy…..the top was always down. If it was raining, as long as you drove fast enough and didn’t have to stop you wouldn’t get wet!

We had many different ones over the years…..there was an MGA, an MGB or two, a TR4 and the last one was the TR6. Back in the 70’s I think just about everyone we knew had a sports car or a van…..those were the cars to have then. We had one that you could have either the radio going OR the windshield wipers but not both at the same time…..the radio was a must so Ken had rigged up some wire and string to operate the wipers if it started to rain…..that was my job, pulling on that wire every now and again so we could see! Our honeymoon was spent driving down the Oregon and California coast….we got so sunburned, it was terrible. We had to buy hats that covered our necks and wore sweaters….but heaven forbid we put that top up!!

There were lots of road back trips then. We’d think nothing of taking off on a Friday after work and driving a few hundred miles to wherever and back on Sunday. The best though were the long weekends when we’d all take off to a resort lakeside town a four hour drive away. Everyone would leave around the same time after work on the Friday….and somewhere along the way we’d all start running into each other and end up forming a caravan as we headed off. Tops down of course!

We’d pretty much take over one of the campsites in the town, or those with more money would rent motel rooms. There was always lots of food, lots to drink and a lot of fun! People would come from everywhere on those long weekends…..thousands of them. I guess it was like a northern Fort Lauderdale on a spring break. That poor town…..every restaurant, hotel bar and beach was packed. I’m sure the locals just hid away. Everybody in their sports cars, motorcycles or whatever, driving up and down the one main street day and night.

Lots of fun on the beaches too…always footballs and frizbees and of course someone always had a great stereo system rigged up for all the enjoy. There was a canal that fed into the lake….we had those huge inner tube things that you could float down right into the lake. Someone would have to bring it back…..in or on one of the cars.

I honestly wonder sometimes how we survived those weekends. There was a lot of partying, that’s for sure……..yes, those were the days!

L.

Argh…..Late Again

But only because I have to be at work by 8! Not sure why these are always the mornings that I just can’t get up…..and then I rush around like crazy, which makes me cranky…..argh. And it’s raining too, so traffic is going to be terrible…argh, argh!!

I had a lazy night last night again….no staining again. Now I really have to get moving tonight.

I’m just not motivated at the moment and can find any excuse not to do the staining, or anything else for that matter….I need to work on this! Time for one of my “me to me” chats before I let myself get too far into this funk.

Mornings like this don’t help in getting my day off to a good start….lets hope the day progresses a little better than it started!

L.

A Night Off

From my stair project….at least.

I worked later yesterday and I was still so tired last night from my busy weekend that I decided I’d have a night off.

My back also needed a bit of rest too. So much more lifting and bending over than I’m used these days…..another reason to get myself into better shape sooner than later.

Bed came pretty early and I was hoping to read at least a couple pages of my book, but instead I read through the itinerary again for my upcoming trip. I am a little worried about it, which is not a good feeling to have.

Do I go or do I not? I don’t have to decide right now, but definitely something to be thinking about over the next week or two. Such a dilemma!

I don’t mind a little bit of adventure and excitement, but with all the radical extremists threats the last little while, this might just be a bit more than what I want or need right now. We’re not going to be in Syria or Iraq, but close enough that who knows what can happen anywhere in the world now, let alone in the Middle East….the whole situation is just a little too volatile for me.

I hate to miss the opportunity to visit some of the places, especially Petra, but I also don’t want to be worried the entire time I’m gone. News can be so sensationalized, it’s hard to know just what is what. We found the same thing a few years ago when traveling to Greece….we seen absolutely nothing going on, but it would have been easy enough there to just hop on a ferry and head off to one of the islands if things did heat up, but not so easy to do that on this trip. I just don’t need to have stress on a vacation!! What to do, what to do??

If it were Ken and I going we’d weigh all the pros and cons, which I am still doing but there is no one elses in put so I’m the only one involved in this discussion….no other side to the arguments for going or not going. It just seems easier to make decisions like this when there is more than just you having to make them! I talk myself into cancelling one minute, then out of it the next. My traveling companions are in much the same boat as me….we do have each other, but I think we’re really just waiting for one of us to say yes or no, be the first to make a decision, or better still have the tour company just cancel the bloody thing….which would take that decision making responsibility away from us.

Tonight I have to get cracking on the staining….I need to get this project finished. I have so many other things I want to do but am sticking with my rule of finishing one thing before starting another, so it’s giving me incentive to get the stairs done and finished.

Then I have to decide what to do next…..finishing the kitchen should be my priority but then that TV/family room really needs to get done….I need that space for the kids when they come over. But then I look around my bathroom and think it can use a bit of modernizing too….that 1998 reno is looking a little tired now. I really have to stop looking at this website http://www.houzz.com/ just too many ideas!!

I need help making these decisions…..I’m always second guessing myself now and the cats are absolutely no help!

I’m sure I wasn’t this scatterbrained or indecisive before….or maybe I was and Ken was keeping me grounded or at least keeping me focused. I don’t know…..

L.

I Need More Energy!

with the binoculars....taking over Grandpa's bird watching duties.

with the binoculars….taking over Grandpa’s bird watching duties.

Especially when the kiddies spend the day!

I was just totally exhausted when the left last night. Yesterday was an extremely hot day too (30C+ in the shade!)…..too hot to play in the backyard where there is no shade for a good part of the afternoon. We were going to head over to the park at the end of our street but there is absolutely no shade their either, at least where the kids would play. So we played under the deck! It’s a good thing I got the mess under there cleaned up last week.

I managed to get the hammock chair up and that’s where my older granddaughter spent the better part of her day with her books. The other two are still pretty “busy” but we managed to keep occupied with cars and trucks, watering plants and watching the little birdies in the feeder and sidewalk chalk (hate the stuff!!). I really appreciated nap time in the afternoon when I could sit down with my book!

the little one just before nap time.....

the little one just before nap time…..

How did we manage when our kids were young? I guess that was it…..we were young! I think I should have kept some of Ken’s Ritalin and popped one on days like this. I’m sure watching 3 young grandchildren is also a little easier when there are both grandparents too. Ken would have really enjoyed yesterday and more than likely would have been napping along with them in the afternoon.

No staining got done at all yesterday, so now I will have to get busy tonight for sure if I’m ever going to get this done.

I love weekends like this….busy with projects, busy with the kids….but thank heaven for Advil!

L.

Sunny Sunday!

Another beautiful day……I love them :)

I feel so much better on days like this. They motivate me to get things done around here…..especially the windows!!

My staining continues…..but I’m happier with the colour now. Maybe one more coat and then I’ll be ready to start putting on the first, of the four, varathane finishing coats. I’ve relocated all my staining stuff from the laundry room to the TV/family room downstairs. I really hate that room…..that’s where we spent so much of our time the last few years….it’s a mess now and needs a good cleaning and redecorating so if I make a bigger mess with my staining it won’t hurt. That room is on my project list too….one day.

I don’t think the brad nailer isn’t going to work…..can’t get the right angle to get the nail in the groove (of the tongue and groove part) properly. Maybe I need longer nails….I’ll have a couple of days to get that sorted out while all the stain and varathane is drying.

My friend G, that lost her husband a few weeks after Ken, phoned yesterday. She was having a really bad day and all I could do was listen, which isn’t a bad thing, I guess. Today is her husband’s birthday, so that’s a tough first to get through…..I haven’t got there yet but it’s fast approaching. And it’s also a grandsons birthday party today…..she didn’t want to go…..too hard to be with everyone, too hard because it was his birthday too….very difficult.

Everyone is so different and what worked for me, might not be the thing that does for her. So, the only advice I could offer her was to go……it was the first time that everyone would be together since the CofL….just too many reminders. Fathers Day, Mothers Day, birthdays or whatever……always seems to be a day that sets you back a step or two. I know the first “social” outing after Ken passed away was very hard. I didn’t want to go either…..I was a little afraid that seeing everyone and him not being there was going to be too hard to deal with, too hard to accept. But I knew that if I didn’t go…..it would be even harder to force myself to go the next time. You can’t avoid it…or I guess you could, but in reality you would have to avoid just about everything then. It would kind of be like hiding from it. You can’t, you just can’t. If emotions get the best of you, oh well….you can’t change your family or friends just because….my theory was none of them were going anywhere, nor did I want them too, so I had to get used it….

For me, taking a deep breath and just diving in was the best thing to do…….you do what works for you!

I’m glad I went that first time……all the anxiety that had built up was for nothing really. There were a couple of times that I teared up, but there was enough going on that I could get past the tears. There are still reminders every time I get together with friends or family….there always will be but they are easier to deal with or get through each time.

I hope she goes…..it will be hard but she’ll have a good time…..and she’ll have put that “first” behind her. Grandkids always make things better. Hers are old enough that they’ll remember their grandpa, which is a good thing.

My grandkids will be arriving soon to spend the day……it will be fun. It’s so nice out I think I’ll put them to work out in the yard! They like to “help”. I found a weed puller tool that works kind of like a pogo stick….I’m sure one of them will be kept busy with that. The leaves are starting to fall, so they can do some raking too. I know I’ll be pooped by the end of the day, but this is a good “tired” to feel.

L.