Great Day!

A busy one but definitely a great one!

Bike ride went really well.  I was a little wibbley at first but it came back pretty quick and I had a great “teacher”.  D is a very patient guy!  Once we had the seat at the right height, AND I knew where the brakes were AND had tried them a couple of times, we were off.  Rode for over and hour which I thought pretty good for my first time out in years.  I did have one tumble when I had to stop on an bit of an incline but got right back on….after I got the bike off of me!…..and kept going.   Not sure when I’ll get out again but will try my daughters bike next time just to see the difference.

Came home to find the kids here with their bouncy/blow up castle having a great time in the backyard.  That’s always a nice little surprise when they’re here when I get home.  Lunch, watering plants and lots of running around.

Dinner was great and the company wasn’t bad either!  Lots of fun, lots of chatting and a little too much wine!  We started talking about planning a trip for next year…still more talking required before we make any plans…..but researching is always fun.  I like, and appreciate, that nothing has changed when it comes to potential holiday plans…….it just started out like they usually do……”so, what do you think about going to XXX next year?”  And then we’re off yakking about it……just like we used to……..just like nothing had changed!

My hanging basket update:

It's coming along nicely!  Filing out and just waiting for the "Wave Petunias" to tumble over the side.

It’s coming along nicely! Filing out and just waiting for the “Wave Petunias” to tumble over the side.

This morning some friends and I headed out to the wildlife/marsh trails.   Absolutely beautiful and the number of birds we seen was amazing!  Next time I’ll take binoculars.  These trails would be great to bike on too!

The weather is changing…..how sad is that!  Rain predicted for tomorrow and just about right through the week.  I don’t like those rainy, grey days but it will give me a chance to get back at some of the things on my indoor “to do” list.

L.

First Bike Ride……

……..in YEARS!!

I’m sure I’ll be a bit sore tomorrow but, if I like it, I’ll perservere!

Yesterday was a busy day.  A 4km (just about 2 miles) walk on the dyke, lunch with a friend, dinner with my daughter and puttering around here.

It’s really easy to do nothing…..even though I don’t feel good about doing nothing.  After I’ve done nothing, I kind of get mad at myself for doing that!

Dinner at a friends tonight….Indian which she is does very well.  I’ll be taking along one of the nice bottles of wine I bought on our wine trip.  I’m really looking forward tonight.   It’s kind of a couples thing but that doesn’t bother me anymore…..I’ve adjusted to that and of course, being the good friends that they are, it’s never mattered that there is JUST ME.

Wish me luck on my ride today…..it’s going to be a short one, but it’s a start 🙂

L.

Relaxing

This is something I find very hard to do.  And I don’t know why!!

It’s what I looked so forward to once retired.  I guess there are a number of things really…..there is lots to do around here and I want it all done NOW…..and I THINK too much!

That said, it can’t all be done NOW and I know that but I get very antsy knowing some of the things need to be done.

I’m waiting for a landscaper to give me an estimate for putting in a patio under the deck…..hopefully he’ll come by and measure etc. today.

I have to do some mock up drawings to take to city hall to meet with the planning department to find out whether I’ll need to apply for a variance and whatever else is needed to add a second carport and then enclose the whole thing to make a double garage……this was in OUR retirement plan.  It was going to be someplace for Ken to keep the old Mustang and to putter around in.  AND it was going to replace the shed that is about to fall down and give us the extra storage space.  This was going to be my number 1 reno project but in reality there are other things that I think are of more bang for my buck right now like getting the family room redone.

For that I also have to get an estimate for getting drywall put over the crappy wood paneling……my BIL said he’d help me but I’ll get the estimate first hoping it’s within my reno budget.

There are things that I enjoy doing that I haven’t done yet, like golfing!  Not once…..I haven’t even talked to anyone about going.

I do go on my first mini bike ride tomorrow…..on a borrowed bike.  I’ll see if this is something I really do want to do before I go out and invest money in a bike that could end up sitting.   There are so many good trails to ride on near here and my friend’s bike club head out once or twice a week on their rides…..very social bunch and certainly good exercise.

Yesterday I didn’t know what to do with myself.  I went out and reorganized my stacking stones because it drove me crazy that they weren’t straight.  They’re still not perfect by any means, but better than they were.   I’ll just leave it all for a month or two and see how they settle…..hopefully straightening out.

After I’d done that I had some paper stuff to do, which I started, then decided I didn’t want to do it.  Then I sat outside and read for a while….didn’t want to do that either.  Played a bit of solitaire…..then I was done with that.  Back to reading for a bit, back to the paper for a bit….tidied up a bit here and there….back to reading for a bit…and that was pretty much my entire day.

I see couples out and about….I know they’re retired.  That is what I miss more than anything…….when in one of these “I don’t know what to do next” moods…I think about Ken and I just taking off in the car and going somewhere…..anywhere.  Maybe a drive, maybe out for lunch or off to visit someone.   That is just something one person doesn’t do on their own…..why would I?   I could go for a drive but it’s not the same thing….you can’t really drive and look and there’s no one with you to say “oh…look at that” too!  I don’t like going for lunch by myself.

I shouldn’t be bored because I have a lot of things I could be doing.  When I’m not doing those things, whatever they may be, I can’t just seem to sit and relax.  Even reading a book isn’t working…..I can’t get into it.   Maybe it’s just sinking in that I AM RETIRED!  I don’t even think about work so I’m not missing that at all.  I must be in some transition stage/phase.  It’s not just getting used to being retired, it’s getting used to being retired on my own!

I was looking so forward to relaxing and enjoying doing nothing.  And I guess I am really but I find it hard to just sit sometimes.  The only time is first thing in the morning out on the deck…I love it….then I start to think, which is not a good thing.

I think about how retired life should have been, I think about all the things I want to do…fun things and reno project things,  I think about things I could do for ME….a manicure, pedicure etc.

It’s definitely an adjustment and not a bad one!  I know retired life would have been very different if Ken were here, but he’s not so I will get this sorted out eventually.  I will learn to relax and just enjoy that relaxing time for what it is. 

It’s another beautiful day and I’m going to take my second cup of coffee out on the deck and sit…….and RELAX.

L.

Job Done!

definitely NOT perfect!

definitely NOT perfect!

Not terribly good, but done.  Although that “hump” is really bugging me.  I’m hoping it will settle a bit, if not I think I might have to get out there and deal with it.   I think it was the “help” that created my problem.  I’ll let him know if he makes any comments about the hump…….

Today is an “in” day, other than maybe a walk later if the weather brightens up a bit.

I have a ton of papers to still go through…..where does it all come from???  It just seems endless.  I get one pile cleaned up and another is lurking under something else.  Most of it is old and just needs to be shredded but I know…..I’m positive….that in those piles will be something I need to keep.  Staying focused on just dealing with the papers is my challenge for the day.

Some of the papers are receipts for work that was done or parts that were bought for the cars.  I don’t know whether some of it is worth keeping or not.  Receipts for hoses?  What kind and for which car?  I think that is just garbage…..kind of like those old pictures of people that I have no idea who they are…….and there is no one that can tell me!

I know there are papers in those piles with Ken’s signature on them.  I really hate seeing those.  Some are just little notes or names and phone numbers which mean nothing to me……I have no idea who those people are or when those notes were written.  I hate throwing them away……..BUT really, what do I need to keep them for…..no reason whatsoever other than the fact that Ken wrote them.  I have lots of other things that I need to keep but probably not these bits of paper.

There is always something, somewhere………..

L.

Slow Progess

My stacking stone edging is coming along……very slowly.

very slowly....but I'm getting there!

very slowly….but I’m getting there!

I measure, look, level, move a stone, tap a stone (with my HEAVY rubber mallet) and then do it all over again and again.  When I’m out and about I’ve been looking at other stone edges and walls……they are not perfect and over time they settle, somewhat.  So in reality I don’t need to be quite so obsessive about my edging.  But I am, at least I still am.  I’m getting to a point where I just need to get this done.  Hopefully today!  I know at some point Ken would have just taken over and got it done…done, done, done!

The weather hasn’t been terribly cooperative either.  It’s been kind of cool, which is good for doing a job like this, but there’s also been some rain, which I won’t work in…..just too mucky.

AND….my neighbor has tried to help me and give me advice, which I do appreciate, but that has resulted in having to reorganize and measure and level some of the stones…..I think I’ll wait until he goes out today to get back at it….lol!  If it was Ken giving me advice I’m sure I’d have a lot to say……but sometimes you just have to zip your lip when it isn’t your husband!!

AND, AND….my little Ginger cat is sick 😦  I had to take her back to the vet yesterday.  She stayed overnight to get IV fluids, some antibiotics and something to get her appetite back.  I’m very worried about her……I have to call them just after 10 this morning and it’s not coming fast enough!

L.

It’s Raining, It’s Pouring……

Normally I’d be quite choked about this but my back needs a bit of rest and I’ve got lots of things INSIDE that I could be doing.

My stacking stone project is about half done, which is what I figured.  There was no possible way that I could have gotten this done in one day……not a hope in hell!  Measure once, twice or even ten times, move this block up, that one down or in a bit and then that one out a bit.  Very tedious but it all needs to done so that it looks good.  Crooked lawns and crooked houses don’t help matters.  I also ran out of the rock dust, which I’ll pick up more of today once the rain stops.  If it clears up I am hoping to get most of it done this afternoon.  The finishing edges that abut against the house are a bit of challenge because some the blocks will need cutting to fit properly.  I’m presuming I need to make some sort of a score mark and then use a chisel type thing and mallet to get the cut I need.

http://www.expocrete.com/pdf/installation-guides/StackStone_install.pdf   If anyone else, like me…a novice renovator/landscaper plans on doing something like this, that website is really quite helpful, especially for the corners, but it doesn’t go into any details on how to actually cut the blocks to the size I need.   I’ll google that later as I’m sure there are instructions online somewhere!   Ken would just know what to do……ah sigh.

I went grocery shopping yesterday….real grocery shopping!  It’s been ages since I’ve done that.  I find that I’m just running in and picking up bits and pieces that I need for that day or at that moment.  It’s not been a good thing.

Now that I’m retired, I’m finding lunch the hardest meal to actually have!  At work it was no problem……lunch time was lunch time.   I’ve got the dinner thing working pretty good but I find more often than not, I don’t even bother with lunch.  I might grab a granola bar (if I have them in the house!), chips, a handful of nuts, a piece of cheese or whatever I have lurking.   It’s not that I couldn’t miss a lunch or two here and there but I also don’t want to just fill my face with a bunch of junk either.

So now I’ve got bread, cold meat, lettuce and other things in the fridge to make myself a proper lunch.   I’d actually rather have a better, later lunch than a big dinner, unless I’m going out.  We’ll see how this works!

L.

A Pain In The Back!

But it will hopefully look really nice once I’m finished!

Before.....the old ties pulled out.

Before…..the old ties pulled out.

The guys at the landscape place said it was really easy……and it probably is for THEM!  It’s not that it’s hard to do, it just really takes time with all the measuring and fiddling and moving and re-moving the stacking stones around to make sure they’re straight….and it’s a little rough on the old back.  I have to devise a better plan of attack today to keep the bending/lifting to the minimum.

the first level of the stacking stones started.

the first level of the stacking stones started.

I had lots of help yesterday though……my son and the kiddies arrived bright an early.   I had dug the 3 inch trench thing, quite straight I THOUGHT, the day before.  They all helped fill the trench with the rock dust, which turns into almost cement once it’s wetted down and dries.

While I was busy working away with the stones, my son got rid of the old ties, some of which had to be sawed in half to fit in the truck.

So far it looks pretty good and I’ll be back at it first thing this morning.  I think I’ll be able to finish it today barring any “help”!

Yesterday on top of doing this, I had to take my little Ginger cat to the vet.  She’s on thyroid meds now but just isn’t putting on any weight…..she’s just skin and bones, the poor little thing.   Have tried sticking to wet food to make sure she’s hydrated but that just isn’t enough.  The vet hydrated her and upped her dose of meds…..she goes back on Tuesday for another IV.

My son sold the Mustang.  That was yesterday too…..so while he was off doing that, it was me and the kiddies working on my stones.  I can’t say that they were terribly helpful but they certainly had a good time playing with the garden tools, level and rubber mallet…..and the rock dust!!   So progress was a bit slow but it will get done!

Selling the car was really hard for my son.  But that is why I gave it to him.    They need a better mini van AND a better second car…..one that is more reliable.  The Mustang was just not a practical car for them.  Could not fit all the kids in it for one thing and the cost for insurance and gas in a car like that is just too much.   The car was in great shape and had really low mileage on it for a 2006 (27,000km or 14,000 miles).  Ken’s office was only a five minute drive from home and he usually didn’t drive that car in the winter.  I know he would have wanted me to do what I did.  It’s a practical way to help them out now when they really can use the help.  They can use the money to either upgrade to a better van or get a newer, more practical second car.  Unfortunately they need two cars because of work.

I must say I was a little sad too about the car. Ken had spent a long time looking for the just the right one…the colour was the main thing and it had to be a GT for the power….AND the noise (the house would vibrate when it was started!!).   I don’t know too much about it, or either of the Mustangs for that matter, but 2006 was the year they put out some of the retro colours, so he had “matching” stangs…….a 1966 and a 2006.  Forty years of car history!  Both those cars were something he’d only dreamt of getting back in our younger days.  But with a little effort, sometimes dreams can come true!

L.

Basket Progress And A Project!

The baskets are coming along nicely.

deck basket.....a few of the petunias are starting to bloom.....

deck basket…..a few of the petunias are starting to bloom…..

And, since the weather has been great and will hopefully continue through the weekend…..at least no rain….I’m trying to do stuff outside, so replacing the old landscape ties, that have seen better days, is my project.

front basket.....looking good too!

front basket…..looking good too!

I spent just about ALL day yesterday washing the truck and getting is ready to use.  What a mess it was.  Not just dirty from sitting all winter but full of sap, moss, leaves and whatever else had fallen off the tree it was under.  Anyway, it now looks lovely and I’ll get it insured today.

I’ll need it to get the old ties loaded up and to pick up the crushed limestone that I’ll need as a base for the stones that I’m putting down.   I did want a brick planter but that would have cost a fortune and not something I could do myself so Roman Rustica stones were the closest match I could find.

tired old landscape ties and my pathetic garden!

tired old landscape ties and my pathetic garden!

I’ve got to figure out the order in which to do this……I’m thinking that I’ll go get the limestone stuff first, which they’ll just dump into the back of the truck.   I’m going to put an old tarp down and can then just use to dump it when I get home……we’ll see how that works!!   Then I can start pulling up and loading the old ties.  They will go to the dump tomorrow along with some of my sons junk from his garage……that will be the price for borrowing my truck….he gets my junk too!!

I then have to dig a 3 inch deep trench to fill with the limestone as a base for the stones that I’m using.  I measured, quite meticulously…..I think, to make sure I’d bought enough stone so we’ll see just how well I did with that.

86 blocks/stones and 4 corner ones.

86 blocks/stones and 4 corner ones.

If there were the two of us, this would be a one day project but…….I’m sure I’ll be busy at this the entire weekend and more than likely into next week.   I always seem to run into some glitch along the way.  This seems pretty simple and it’s not like I’ve got 50 feet to do.   Before actually buying the blocks I made sure that I could lift them!   They’re not too heavy but just a lot of lifting up and down.   The guys at the landscape place gave me some good tips for getting started….sort of doing a test of laying the bottom row out and where to start…….I DO NOT want to have to attempt to cut any of these blocks so the garden bed may be a little bigger or smaller than what I have now.

Wish me luck!

L.

Throwback Thursday

15+ years ago.....Ken, his brother and our friend, T.

15+ years ago…..Ken, his brother and our friend, T.

Hard to believe only a month ago we were in Hawaii!  I’ve been back 3 weeks but seems like much longer ago than that!  I guess I’ve done a lot and of course, my life has changed to that of a “retiree”.

We had a lot of good trips to Hawaii with friends and family over the years.  Our friend T loves to cook, and he’s very good at it too!  Whenever we went with them, he would do the menu planning and shopping for all the dinners.  At one time, he used to pack his own knives because inevitably the condo would have dull or crappy ones!  Dinner was in their condo and drinks later in ours…..we had a pretty good routine.  We’d all throw a few bucks into a pot to go towards the dinners.  Once depleted, we add some more.  These were some of the best holidays.  The girls would get the salads and appies ready and the guys would man the bbq.

a few years older and one missing :(

a few years older and one missing 😦

This year though there was only one dinner with T and S.  There were just too many of us to do the “usual” thing.  But him and Ken’s brother did the bbq thing…..definitely not the same…..definitely NOT!

Lots of great memories from those trips.  Great memories are a good thing to have.

L.

Are We….or Were We Like This?

Interesting article!

http://www.thefederalistpapers.org/us/woman-realizes-that-shes-been-accidentally-abusing-her-husband-this-whole-time

I must admit that I can see some of myself in this article.  I don’t think I was like this ALL the time….or at least I sure hope I wasn’t!

The shoe can also be on the other foot…..I know women whose husbands are like this too.   Do we just get so complacent in our relationships that we don’t realize what we sound like?  I do think that happens…..some men/women just tune it out so maybe no harm or damage is done.  Can we make someone, that was once happy and outgoing, become quiet, almost depressed and worst of all…..hide things to save some nasty comments?

It’s been 13 months since I lost Ken.  Of course, over the last year, I’ve reflected back a lot on our life.  I hadn’t thought about me being “abusive” like in this article.  But was I?  Ken wasn’t the type of guy to become complacent……so I don’t think so.  If I’d crossed that line I’m pretty sure he would have let me know.    I know I wouldn’t have complained about him doing laundry…..except that time he washed my angora sweater AND put it in the dryer.  Even that never stopped him from doing laundry.   I also know I never complained about any housework he did……whatever it might have been would have very likely been done much better than I would have done it……if I’d done it all!  I did complain about the crooked floor tile in the bathroom downstairs…….he never did fix that!

Years and years ago, when we used to have a real Christmas tree, I remember going to the tree farm and finding the perfect one.  He said it was too big!  Never can you have a tree too big!  It had to touch the ceiling…..that was always a must.  Well, we got it home and of course it was way too tall.  He had to cut another foot and half off, not all at once but probably in at least 2 or 3 trips up and down the stairs with that damn tree to make sure it was going to hit the ceiling.  He truly had the patience of a saint!

Some nagging is pretty normal…..I think it’s a natural built-in trait that a lot of women have.  Especially if we are stronger women, type A personalities, OCD or the worst…..control freaks!    I guess this all comes down to “don’t sweat the small stuff”.  Figure out what that “small stuff” is and put it into perspective!

L.