Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Brrrrrrrrrr!!

Wow, what just happened? Sweated like a little piggy yesterday and woke up this morning frozen solid... just about! Thank you Luna for snuggling with me in bed. Why do the season changes have to be so abrupt? Keeping my frozen fingers crossed that there are still a few warm/hot days left!

Because even though I don't like crowds I would gladly put up with them for a few more weeks of beach weather. I'm not ready to put summer behind me yet!

Day at the Pinery 

Another day, another soggy Dorito.
Last Sunday - Jazzfest in Wortley Village along with 150 craft vendors - including my brother!
Love the image on this guy's T-shirt!

There's my bro below...he makes and sells birdhouses so that he can buy a new T-shirt. I think it's Day 12 for the Pink Floyd shirt!


                      Here he is wearing it on our visit to see our sister in Bracebridge!!

The rest of the photos were taken at Pt. Bruce on Monday during the eclipse. While we didn't see a total eclipse in SW Ontario we certainly felt the effects. The sparkling lake became less sparkly, the air became much cooler temporarily and it got quite a bit darker.








It got so cool that I came out from under the beach umbrella and sat on a blanket instead. Eventually the sun came back and I had to retreat to the umbrella once again. It was a very interesting experience.

August Transportation Update:

  • two car rentals of $19 each for a total of $38
  • gave my brother $40 for gas on the way to Bracebridge
  • $134 for last car insurance payment (now cancelled - I am on Kazi's insurance policy to ensure continuity in my car insurance history)
That's it. The total for August so far is $212, most of that being the last insurance payment. If we have more nice weather I might squeeze in one more trip to the beach before leaving for Scotland on Sept. 3rd.  I've used my feet and bicycle to get around the city. I cancelled one bicycle outing due to stormy weather.  When I rented a car I took the opportunity to purchase the heavy things I needed, specifically cat litter. 

The total for September will be zero! I'll be using my feet, shuttle buses, airplanes and trains to get around Scotland. All transportation has been paid for as part of my trip. Starting in October I will sign up for Car Share and see how that works for me.  There is a Prius parked a couple of blocks from me which I can rent by the hour. For longer trips I'll continue to rent a car from Kazi at Enterprise and use my feet/bicycle as much as possible. I am considering this an experiment. It may work out and then again it may not but I'm not ready to give up yet!


Saturday, August 19, 2017

Wow, What a Week....

......in American history!! And that's all I've got to say about THAT!!
Because my life is much more interesting...NOT!! But it has been a busy and productive week here in little old London, Ontario. 

Transportation Update:  after walking with me around my neighbourhood in my last post (thanks for tagging along :) I realized I had forgotten a few things...important things...other places I get to by walking or cycling. 

Such as... our dentist is a block west of the library - very handy - but my doctor is a 20-30 minute bike ride away which is ok in the summer but not so much in the winter. I only go a couple times a year so it shouldn't be too onerous - that trip will be a CAR SHARE trip. (There are two medical walk-in clinics near by that I could use in a pinch but regular appointments will remain with my family doctor.)

My best friend is a 30 minute bike ride away but we have other ways of getting together, like meeting halfway, sharing a car rental or Car Share. I'll be seeing her tomorrow at a craft sale which I will bike to. 

Thursday (the day before yesterday) was my weekly get together with my brother, Kim. However, it rained all day and there was a Severe Storm Watch in effect so I had to cancel. That was disappointing and I'm not sure how I can get around in bad weather when it's "at the last minute" type of thing. 

I am waiting til after my trip in September to sign up with Car Share. I can use that when the weather is bad. Or use Uber, whichever would work out to be the cheapest. I haven't mentioned taking the city bus - I'm not fond of taking the bus and am not really familiar with the routes near me. I'd rather not go down that road (haha) if I can help it. 

I also forgot to mention that I'm only 1km from London's system of bike trails. I certainly cannot go without forest bathing at least a couple times per week. It takes me about 5 minutes to get to scenes like below, which calm my nerves and make me feel whole once again!


Okay, this is a bit random but I am thrilled that a vegan restaurant - Globally Local - has opened up near me. It is only a block and a half away and I rode my bike there last night for vegan tacos and fries. Soooooooo good!!

Also random - on Tuesday I rode my bike to the final protest and laying to rest of our Hydro One action that I've been involved in for almost two years. Here we are all gathered one last time at our local MP's office after the gov't sold a company that belonged to the people of Ontario to raise a little short term cash. BOO!!!


 Then on Wed. I rented a car to take Julie and I to the beach - it was a perfect weather day! Booking the car through Kazi I paid only $20 for a 24 hour period!!! Less than the cost of gas if we had gone in Dougie the Dodge!


 And, in other news, Luna kept a close eye on me while I made up 10 bags of trail mix and other energizing snacks for my upcoming trip to Scotland. Isn't she helpful?

Overall I am happy with how "transportation" is going but there are definitely some kinks to work out. I don't know if I can do this forever; time will tell. It's difficult to be spontaneous and hard to work around bad weather.

On the other hand it's wonderful to not have to worry about costly repair bills, insurance and the price of gas :)

Monday, August 14, 2017

It's a Beautiful Day in the Neighbourhood...

Two weeks ago today I sold dear old Dougie the Dodge. How has it been going? So far, so good.  As I may have mentioned before my neighbourhood has almost everything I need within
 a block or two radius.
Come and walk with me. 
There's my condo with the crabapple tree out front - hence "Crabapple Landing". 

 As we leave the condo complex we are walking east towards Northland Mall - I can see it from the end of the condo road. If you squint really hard you might be able to see a yellow shopping cart that someone has abandoned in the mall parking lot - it's just beyond the No Parking sign and sitting between two cars. We'll see it again later. For now we're going to turn left.

 About 150 steps from my front door, but invisible due to many trees, is a plaza called Huron Market Place. There used to be a movie theatre where the World Gym is now. I took Kazi there many times - her first movie theatre experience there was "Lion King" when she was four. She found out that life isn't always fair and sobbed her little heart out.
 I do my own taxes so I don't use Liberty Tax Service but further down is Dollarama which is very handy - I was just there yesterday buying trail mix and nuts to pack for my hike in Scotland.
Across the street from Dollarama is my local library. Most of my library interactions take place on my iPad as I download books to read but lots goes on there - bookclubs, lectures, movies, a knitting group, English Second Language classes, crafts and so on.


There's the Huron Market Place sign - another
store I go to frequently is Giant Tiger. I get good bargains on produce and it carries
pretty decent brands of clothing and household products.

Here's one spot I won't be going to for awhile! My local gas station! 
That price is per litre, not gallon.
 A bit further down from the library is another plaza which I use once in a while. It has a pet valu store along with an LA Fitness, several restaurants, a bank, a used sports equipment store (it's where I purchased cleats for slo-pitch). 

Across the other street from the gas station is yet another plaza with my favourite thrift store -
 Talize  :)

There are three coffee shops nearby - Williams, Tim Hortons and Starbucks. I don't
often go to Williams though I do like their food better than the other places.

Further down from Talize is my pharmacy - Shoppers Drugmart
We're not heading in that direction today. Just past Shoppers is the
Bank of Nova Scotia which is where I go.

Right now we're on the other side of Northland Mall - we haven't crossed 
any roads or walked on any streets - we've just walked through parking lots.
Ummmm....I guess one Dollarama store isn't enough!!

My favourite restaurant is in this mall. It used to be several blocks to the east but when
the mall was refurbished it changed location which makes
it even closer to me. Sweet!

Further down the front of the mall is my favourite grocery
store - No Frills. It has really improved over the past couple of years - also being
refurbished. The best thing is the increasing variety of foods due to serving a large ethnic community.

Here we are inside the mall - you can see the Wine Rack :) and the Health Food store, both used frequently! There is a nice area for socializing.

Here is that shopping cart again, we are seeing it from the other direction.

We are now heading back to my condo complex, the entrance of which is past those
apartment buildings. We are still walking through parking lots.

The apartments are kept up nicely - they have access to a swimming pool which is
just beyond that atrocity of public art. I read an article yesterday about so-called
"public art". It stated that public art should be ART first and PUBLIC second. I have
to say that in this hideous example PUBLIC came first and ART second!!

 Here is the entrance back into my condo complex. The mall and apartments are 
behind us now. All of the trees in the complex
have grown very tall in the 23 years we've lived here.

These condo owners used to be able to see their neighbours on the other side
of the cedars, not any more. The street light is being
swallowed up by the trees!

 There's my place below. To the left of the crabapple tree you can see some branches
 from a maple tree. It was just a sapling when we moved in and now is 40+ feet tall. 
There is another one shading
the back side of the house. I had to change all of my perennials from sun-loving to shade-loving 
over the years but I don't mind. When it's 30c outside it's 24c inside. I rarely have to turn on the A/C.  
 Home sweet home.
I didn't even show you all of the many many restaurants/fast food places. Within a couple of blocks there is: a Macdonalds, A&W, Kentucky Fried Chicken, Harvey's, Fireside Subs, two pizza, no three pizza places, Dairy Queen, a place that sells greek food (can't remember the name), Fast Eddies etc.
Most I haven't been to as I cook 99% of our meals at home. 
BUT - I am excited to say that a "Globally Local" restaurant has just opened in the old Harvey's location and is open 24/7!! 
VEGAN FAST FOOD!
 Kazi and I have already eaten there and it is fantastic! And affordable!! 

So there you have it - what the heck do I need a car for? 

I rode my bike to my optometrist app't in less time than it takes to drive there.
Yesterday I went grocery shopping with my cart. The last time I used
my cart for groceries I was a student at university without a car. I'm glad
I never got rid of it! (the cart, not the car!)

On Wed. I'm renting a car for 24 hours to go to the beach. It will cost less than putting gas into Dougie for the same trip.
I went to Bracebridge in my brother's car and I gave him $$ for gas.
I know that once we start getting cold weather and snow travel will be more difficult. 
Hopefully I can figure out ways to make life easier. 






Sunday, August 13, 2017

Bracebridge Vaycay

Okay, remind me not to take photos like this in future! No one wants to look up my nose!
My sister, Dale, who is turning 70 this year is in the purple T-shirt and my sister-in-law, Pat, is photo-bombing on the other side of her.


Sitting patiently is my brother, Gord, and this time I'm photobombing in the background. Dale's living room has a whole wall of mirrors.

We are no longer the younger generation!

 We stayed at an Airbnb rental about 10 minutes outside of Bracebridge, where my sister lives, in a tiny village called Utterson. Because my brother loves statistics I can tell you it worked out to approx. $40.00 per person per night. As I mentioned in my last post he also likes a good deal and this time it was a very good deal. The house was lovely and we made good use of the front porch for 
"happy hour(s)" each day!
We had the main floor at the front of the house - if there was anyone else there we didn't hear them.
Across the street there was a Corner Store and take out restaurant which made the
very best greek salads and french fries. How very cosmopolitan!!

I kept to my schedule of walking 5km daily on beautiful country roads - much nicer than walking in the city.

A banded kingfisher - hadn't seen one of these before.



The front door of the bnb.

My room - I slept like the dead!

One of several gorgeous iron floor grates.

Our electric fire - the plaque says "On this site in 1897 nothing happened!" :) 

 It's that special time of day - Happy Hour!

The cute kitchen - huge windows as it used to be a General Store. A table and bench seats are 
straight out of a 50's diner!

 The living room - you can see the pink of my yoga mat - I managed two short yoga
sessions each day.


Local Muskoka scenery...

The weather was perfect - we had a few sprinkles on our two travel days; otherwise sunny and warm.

Gord working on sudoku puzzles while enjoying morning coffee.

We travelled to the small town of Gravenhurst, just a few minutes down the highway from Bracebridge. While Dale and Pat looked around at some stores Gord and I went to sample some amazing brews at the Sawdust Brewery. So MUCH to choose from!!

Dale and Pat had ice cream instead :)

The clouds driving back to Bracebridge.

I'm so glad we made this trip north. My sister, Dale, can't travel due to a back injury she experienced 30 years ago. She was volunteering at a Senior's home and helped an elderly woman who
had fallen injuring her own back in the process. It's been 30 years of weekly chiropractic appointments and physio exercises without a lot of improvement.
We had a great time getting together and now that we have a sweet and comfortable place to stay I'm sure we'll do it again. 

Next stop - Scotland!!