On My Way!

Heading out the door in about 5 minutes!

Terrible windstorm here yesterday.  A couple of trees down, including the one across the street that the woodpeckers lived in……maybe a few too many holes.  The tree didn’t actually fall down, it snapped in half and got hung up on the other big tree next too it…..both these trees are at least 100 ft tall!  It was pretty scary there for a while until someone was able to come and get it un-hung up…..which entailed blocking off the cul de sac.  It was dark by then so probably complicated things a little more.

The tarp blew off the roof but luckily the roofer was able to come by and do some patching.  He’ll retarp today if it’s not windy.  New roof maybe on the weekend.

So lots of activity yesterday.

I’m off and running!  Hopefully my next post will be from somewhere in China!



Half Packed!

Which is pretty good, I think.

I am excited, but I’m not!  Does that make any sense?  I used to get so excited about vacations…..almost to a point sometimes I could make myself sick!  I’m just not sure what has happened.

Last year for my trip to Middle East I put it down to apprehension….going without Ken, going to a part of the world which was rather unstable.  Lots of things could have affected how I felt about that trip.  But then there was Hawaii in the spring…..kind of the same thing which I put down to the reason we were all going.  Even going on my culinary trip….I was bouncing off the walls over the one I went on a few years ago!

On each of those trips, I had a great time……once I got wherever it was I was going, so that is good and I know this trip will be like that too.  But I  miss all that anticipation type excitement that I used to have….

Vacations aren’t the only thing……I find that my emotions are sort of “muted” now.   I don’t tend to get overly excited about anything these days…..certainly not like I used to.  And I don’t tend to get mad or angry like I used too either…..which is a good thing because Ken was always there to get me settled down.

Maybe grief does that to you.  Once you’ve experience it, nothing can even compare to the feelings and emotions that go with it….it’s like it’s drained me.

That sounds awful doesn’t it?  But it’s not a bad thing in a way.  I think it’s your mind and body building up a suit of armour to shield you.  Maybe as time goes by that will break down a bit.  I do miss getting really excited like I used to but maybe it’s one of my new normal……I don’t know.

It’s not a very nice day here…..wind, rain and cool.  That certainly doesn’t help how I feel.  But, I have a lot of things still to do, so I’ll keep myself nice and busy!

I’m not sure when I’ll be able to blog.  They say all hotels have wifi and even on the boat BUT….it can be intermittent.  I’m picking up Donna bright (probably still dark!!) and early tomorrow so we can get to the airport to make our seat selections…..fingers are crossed that I can get a window….or at least an aisle.   I know as the day goes on, and certainly by the morning I WILL BE EXCITED and I can’t wait!



Last Minute Running Around

As usual!  Is there anyone that is actually organized before a trip?  I have, or should have, lots of time to get ready but there is always those few things that get left to the last minute…..

I have stuff ready to pack, but not packed.  These cold weather vacations are not for me!  It’s cold here and colder still there!  I’m taking my bigger suitcase because I have to have room for sweaters.  There is still the feet issue…..I don’t want cold feet but I also don’t want to take boots, which I would probably only need for the 3 days in Beijing….such a dilemma, trivial I know but still…….

Is all this because there is just me?  I really don’t think it is…..I think I’ve just gotten into a bit of lazy, undisciplined routine around here the last few weeks.  I did think I was doing OK but I’m not so sure.  Ken wasn’t always a lot of help when it came to trip preparation.  More often than not, I did all the packing, including his.  He was the one in charge of the cameras, binoculars and that kind of stuff but he really didn’t care too much whatever else got packed for him…..I like to think it’s because he knew I had good taste and wouldn’t pack anything “tacky touristy” for him….and didn’t, except for that matching bathing suit, once.

This will be my 3rd trip without him.  You would think I’d have gotten this sorted out in my head by now but I’m not too sure.  Is my disorganization part of that?  I never used to be like this…….

I am getting excited about this trip now and will be more so after I’ve finished doing the last minute stuff.  I do have today and tomorrow so really I have the time to do what needs to be done…..I just have to do it!



Definitely must get to this today!  Or at least later tonight.  I’m running out of time to get everything done.  That said, there are some things that I HAVE to do and others that I just want to do.  So prioritizing my list is a priority!

Unfortunately yesterday wasn’t very productive.  I did get things done, but I could have done a lot more…..I spent a lot of time on the internet reading about the terrible events in Paris, which was very depressing.  There were other attacks in Beirut, Baghdad and Syria as well……just what is this world coming too?  It did make me appreciate where I live and my life so much more.  It’s sad that something like this has to happen to remind us how lucky we are!

Friday was such a busy day for me.  I left the house at 10:30 and, other than a quick stop to drop off my car, I wasn’t back home until after midnight.

Had a great lunch with a girlfriend from work, which lasted a little longer than planned so I got stuck in rush hour traffic coming home.  What did we talk about?  Work!  Most of the time anyway……I heard this and that and she’d heard this and that……

I was supposed to be home by 4 but didn’t make it until after 5.  The weather was terrible so lots of accidents…..it was Friday the 13th after all!  Just had time to drop off the car, grab a bottle of wine and get picked up by my friends for the dinner and R & G’s.  D & B had been to Shanghai a few years ago on a business trip so had lots of great information and tips….and of course some stories to tell.  It was a fun evening with great food, wine and wonderful friends.

Today I’m kind of busy again.  The builder is here getting the soffits on and then starting on the siding, the kids are coming over this afternoon and this morning I’m going to meeting my SIL for brunch and to be interviewed for a magazine article!!  How exciting is that?!!

She’s a part-time freelance writer/journalist.  I’m not 100% sure exactly what we’ll be chatting about but the article will be for a senior living magazine.  It’s about retiring…….NOT as we’d planned.  How did losing my spouse change my plans and all that.  Maybe sharing my experiences will help someone else……either going through it or at least planning for the unexpected!  She wants to take some pictures…..argh.  I am the least photogenic person in the whole world so I hope she’d good with photoshopping pics…..and a little bit of airbrushing probably wouldn’t hurt either!

On the way home from there I’ll have to make my weekly stop at Home Depot to pick up the security lights and outdoor electrical plug covers……I’m sure there is something else too but I can’t think of it now…..


Way Too Much Rain!

Thankfully the tarp has prevented anymore drips!  The roofers need two DRY days to get the new roof on……based on our weather forecasts it may be a while before we see any of those!   It would be a nice surprise to come home from my trip and see it all done.

Dinner last night was fun.  Doug came over earlier to help so I put him to work making the “potato pancakes”, which aren’t really pancakes as I normally think of them…..they’re more like crab cakes, except these had shrimp in them.  Tried out the comal, which worked pretty good….except that I cut the poblanos in half and shouldn’t have done that but oh well.   The food was only OK though…..a bit disappointing.  I’m sure it wasn’t the cooks!  The quality of the produce we get here at this time of year probably had something to do with it.  The poblano chilis looked nothing like the ones we used in Mexico….I wasn’t even sure if the ones I got were really poblanos!  Donna made a really good salad when she got here….with dill dressing.  And of course we had margaritas and a glass on wine or two…..or three!  I should have taken pictures but I forgot.  At least it all looked really good!

poor little thing sitting in the rain!

poor little thing sitting in the rain!

My little hummingbirds are still hanging around.  If it doesn’t get too cold they actually stay here all winter.  I wonder where they go at night?  This one little guy (it’s really a girl!), rain or shine, spends most of the day flitting back and forth between her branch on the neighbours tree and the feeder.

a close up!  She flits back to the exact same spot on that branch.

a close up! She flits back to the exact same spot on that branch.

Often in the afternoon, I’ll see the male and sometimes another female, which makes for a bit of a commotion around the feeder.  She also makes her presence known on the tree when the other little birds think they’d like to sit on one of the branches.   There are so many birdies around right now that I have to fill the feeder every second or third day.  I just wish it was nice enough to sit out there and watch them!  I get to enjoy them now from the kitchen window….not quite the same thing.

Today I’m off to pick up all our trip documents from the travel agent.  I had no luck with the seat selection so will check with the TA to see if there’s anything she can do…..I just so do not want a middle seat on long flights like these.  The ones in China are only an hour or two, so I can handle that but 11 or 13 hours, no way.

Then I’m meeting my co-worker that retired on the same day as me for lunch.  It will be fun to catch up with her.  We did meet back in the summer but there were a few others so you don’t get a chance to really talk to any one person about anything.

And then……I’m off to dinner at R & G’s.  Going with another couple so I don’t have to drive, which is really nice.  We’ll yak about our Argentina trip I’m sure.

I’m supposed to meet a girlfriend for lunch and another for coffee “one day before I leave” …..well, there are just not enough of those days left now, so probably won’t have time to get together with either of them.  I have all this time now, being retired and all, and still manage to leave stuff until the very end….argh.  That said, I’ve got all my clothes ready to pack but still a few things to pick up.  I go for my Twinrix booster shot tomorrow and I’ve taken all the dukoral, which tastes absolutely horrid!

I’m off and running!


Bricks Look Great!

It was a busy day around here yesterday!

The bricklayer was done and gone by 2:30.  It looks great…..I should have taken a picture yesterday afternoon but forgot…..and it’s pouring rain now, so it will have to wait until later….or when the rain stops!

My landscaper also showed up bright and early to do the grass….one more time….and rake up all the leaves.  He also took pity on me and cleaned up the rest of the construction mess that was hanging around.  He also got rid of the piles of dirt that had been dug up when the foundation was going in…..it’s now very nicely spread around filling in a lot of holes and lumps and bumps that were in my side yard.

I think he also felt a little guilty about being missing in action…..I’ll take all the help I can get.  He didn’t do it for free of course, but saved me 10 trips to the dump as opposed to his 2.  It still saved me money even with the drop off charges.  It was well worth it to get that mess cleaned up and it’s one less thing that I have to think about.  I was working my way slowly…..very slowly….through it all but since I’m a fair weather only outside person, it would have taken me until next summer to get it all done.

While they were busy outside, I was busy inside.  So all in all, a great day with lots of work and lots to show for it!

And I did find that little piece of wood for the blanket cabinet….hooray.  It was right at the bottom of the bag of course, but luckily didn’t have to dump out too much to find it.  I also make sure I didn’t look at any of the stuff that was in that bag…..I’m sure whatever my son chucked, should have been chucked!  Except that little piece of wood.  I don’t what to know what’s in those bags…..whatever it is now, I’ve not needed for years….or ever for that matter, so I’m pretty sure I’m not going to miss any of it.

I finally got through to the airline for the seat selection only to be told that we can’t do it!!  Because it’s a big group charter, they won’t do it…..not sure exactly why though.  That just means that we have to be at the airport as soon as possible next week and make sure we’re close first in line at the check in where they’ll assign our seats.  I just hope I’m not stuck in a middle seat…..yuck, yuck yuck!

Friends, D & D are coming for dinner.  Doug is coming over a bit earlier to help with some of the prep…..and he’s bringing the Margaritas!  He likes cooking and helping with prep stuff, so we’ll have a great time and I can finally try out my new comal !


Eensy, Weensy Spider…….

with a tennis ball to compare the size of this guy!

with a tennis ball to compare the size of this guy!


This is precisely why one should clean out closets more than once every umpteen years!  Mega spiders lurk in there.  This guy had been busy…….lots of moth wings and other bits (notice the other DEAD spider!!  the husband??)  and, besides the spiders leftovers, just some gunk…..probably off of boots that had been in there or who really knows what it was…..yuck!

I captured the spider in the tennis ball container and took him outside onto the road.  As much as I don’t like spiders, I couldn’t just stomp on the poor guy.  I released him into the wild only for him to start running back towards my house!!  I tried to redirect him with the container but oops……he got a little squished.  He had stopped moving so I hoped he’d just done that curl up and protect yourself thing that spiders do but when I went to check on him later, he was still there…..I did feel a little bad about that.

Anyway, that closet is nice and clean now and one of the two shoe racks has found a new home in there……hopefully it will get used!

It rained SO HARD last night (my fault for killing the spider??) it was really pretty incredible……sounded like hail….and the wind picked up which was a little scary.  Thankfully the tarp on the roof held up nicely.

The bricklayer is here….was here bright and early even before I was up and had had my coffee!!  I’m quite excited about getting this work done.  It’s going to look really nice and from the looks of it, he’s managed to match up the new and old brick pretty good.

Siding, soffits and all the rest of the trim will go on over the weekend and into next week, so with any luck I’ll get to see the finished product before I leave on Wednesday.   This has been such a long haul project…..I won’t be doing anything like this ever again.

This morning the sun is shining, not a cloud in the sky, so hard to believe, other than everything still being really wet, that we had that storm last night, and it’s warmed up quite nicely, which motivates me to get even more cleaning done around here…..mostly because I can see all the dust and grime…..and I’m having company for dinner tomorrow so it would be great if I could get everything done today and not have to rush around like crazy in the afternoon!  We’ll see!!


A Stupid Little Piece of Wood!

By 8:30 I’d already made 2 of the 3 calls I have to make today!  This is really good for me……roofer, alarm company done.  I have been up since 5:30 though……..now it’s the airlines to do seat selection…..again.  I’ve tried for 3 days to get through to them….argh.

Yesterday was a busy day for everyone.  We got a lot accomplished and it was fun!

The kids toys and books are now down to two baskets, which fit very nicely in one of the bookcases.  The rest was either chucked (broken, bits missing etc.) or put into a box to go to the thrift store.

I’ve cleaned out the cabinet in the laundry room and now have a great place to store all my vases and the duvets (in shrink-type bags) and I’ve still got two shelves left!  I’ll have to figure out what to use them for……I’m sure I have something somewhere that would be good to store there.

My son went through the big tool chest, sorted everything out and got rid of all the garbage in it.  Only two of the six drawers have things in them now……screwdrivers and wrenches and the other odd things or two.  In the top drawer was a little piece of wood, which I know he would have chucked, because it looked like a useless little chunk/sliver so why would he think otherwise?  BUT that was the bit that broke off the old….really old….blanket chest that was made by my grandfather, or maybe even his father.  We very likely ruined the chest when we stripped it and restained it years ago but I do know some of those old chests can be worth a fortune.  That little piece came off one of the legs when we were trying to haul the thing up the stairs……it was going to get glued back on….one day.

So now it’s probably in the bottom of that big black garbage bag sitting in the middle of the garage.  Do I go through it looking for this bit of wood or just kiss it goodbye?

I woke up at 5:30 this morning thinking about that little piece of wood!  I should have thought about it yesterday, or the day before, or the day before that……I was quite excited a few weeks ago when I found that little piece.  I did think about taking it upstairs and putting it IN the chest…..I obviously SHOULD have done it!  I had completely forgotten about it until I woke up this morning.  Why that immediately popped into my head, I have no idea, but I was done trying to fall back to sleep after that….and I’m still obsessed about it and know that I can’t just “kiss it goodbye” so will shortly head down and start rooting through that garbage bag.  I know it’s dumb but I can’t help it!

That chest was at my parents house for eons.  I’m not sure exactly how they ended up with it since my grandparents lived back east.  My grandpa did move out west many, many years ago when he was going to marry a lady from around here, which didn’t work out so he didn’t stay too long.  He didn’t move out here lock, stock and barrel but I know he did bring some things…..maybe that chest was one of them.

My Mom had Alzheimers, but functioned at home reasonably well, with the help of my Dad, for many years.  She did do some very strange things though…..like watering the artificial plants some of which sat on top of this chest.  It wasn’t until a few years later, when we were selling their townhouse and getting rid of the furniture, that we discovered this.  Unfortunately the top of the chest, which is oak, took a bit of a beating.  The finish, whatever it might have been, was pretty well gone and what was left was all water stained really badly.  It had also caused the two pieces on the top to warp a little and separate.  I won’t even go into what happened to the stuff that had been stored in it!!  Except a beautiful, or once beautiful, old quilt that had mostly gone moldy and what wasn’t moldy literally fell apart in your hands….what a shame.

the chest.....missing bit is on the very bottom on the righthand leg.

the chest…..missing bit is on the very bottom on the righthand leg.

the missing bit......approximately 2.5 inches tall by 3/4 of an inch wide.....a needle in a haystack!!!

the missing bit……approximately 2.5 inches tall by 3/4 of an inch wide…..a needle in a haystack!!!

I really liked that chest though and could see the potential in it……perfect to hide all the stereo equipment that lived on some very old, sad stereo shelving in our living room.  WE stripped it and re-stained it to match the hardwood floors.  I started doing the stripping but there were so many intricate bits and pieces it was taking forever……Ken couldn’t stand it so as usual he took over.  I can’t say I minded too much because that stripping stuff was terrible to work with…..turned the layers of old stains/paint into an incredibly mucky mess that had to be scrapped.  I got to do the new staining.  Ken put hinges on the two top pieces that had separated so we had access to inside from the top of the chest as well as through the two doors in the front.  It’s pretty spiffy if I do say so myself!

I have a thousand other things I could be doing but won’t rest, or SLEEP, again until I find that stupid little piece of wood, which I’m hoping wasn’t broken up even more…..argh.  It’s not like I’m OCD or anything…..and I’m not really….but every now and again something like this gets stuck in my head and the whole world might just as well come to a halt UNTIL I deal with whatever it is…..

Maybe I’ve been drinking too much coffee!


The Good, The Bad and The Ugly!!

The Good:

  • the roof isn’t leaking anymore…..thanks to a big tarp.
  • I made good progress yesterday cleaning out the tool/paint/crappy stuff cabinet in my laundry room.
  • my living/dining room sheers will get their semi-annual washing earlier than usual (one less thing that I’ll have to do right before Christmas)……they’ll look really nice and the whole room will smell lovely for a while at least.
top two shelves cleaned and ready for something other than tools, tubes, and bottles of oil, cleaners etc.

top two shelves cleaned and ready for something other than tools, tubes, and bottles of oil, cleaners etc.

The Bad:

  • the roof has to be replaced……$$$$$$ (I guess this isn’t really bad, except for the money part!)
  • this likely means one less trip next year
  • having to put the living/dining room sheers back up after washing them…..I hate doing that!

The Ugly:

  • the tarp on the roof!  Yuck…..it’s only temporary so I can live with that for now.
the tarp.....at least it's not bright blue!!

the tarp…..at least it’s not bright blue!!

I was busy puttering all day and really did get a lot accomplished.  It’s all going so slow though it does drive me a bit crazy.  There are things that I can’t do until other things get done, which are things that other people have to do for me……so I wait, as patiently as is possible for me.  I’ve boxed up the bottles, cans and other various containers of stuff that was in the cupboard in the laundry room.  One box is stuff I’ll keep (cleaners, ONE can of turpentine, ONE tube of unopened caulking etc.) and put in the cabinet in the garage…..when the cabinet is put where it’s supposed to be AFTER the window sills and frames are done next week, the other box is to take to the recycle depot, who will hopefully be able to take all of it.   There is a bottle of oil for tiki torches….we’ve never HAD tiki torches!!  I have a bottle of kerosene….why? I have no idea but I’m pretty sure I’m not going to need either of them for anything….ever!  Spackle….is that what it’s called?  There are at least 4 containers of that in varying sizes…all opened at some point and used for something…..

Today I’ll get those sheers down, washed and put back up.  Taking the hooks out is quick and easy but putting them back in and then hooking them all back on those little hangie white things literally gives me a pain in the neck.

Dealing with the roof has been another new learning experience for me!  I guess this is good but hopefully I’ll never had to deal with it again.  Ken would be on the phone setting up estimates etc. NOT ME!  I still find that things like this can get me down a bit…..they annoy me!  But not much I can do about it so I get over it…….and just deal with it!

The kids are coming over this afternoon and I have a job for them too!  They each have a basket of toys here.  There are lots of bits and pieces in the baskets and lots of things that they’re too old for now.  It’s time to purge and a good time to get some of those baby toys sent off to the thrift store.  There are a lot of books too that can go……those “babies first books”.  The colouring book basket needs going through too…..lots of broken crayons that can go and dried up felts and stamp things.

I’ll put my son to work too……in the garage going through all the lasts bits and pieces in the old toolboxes.  I’m sure he’s just going to chuck most of it…..more nuts, bolts, wrenches and mystery things.

They’re all going to earn their dinner tonight!