Thursday, July 23, 2015

Easy Come Easy Go

I used to talk/post about money quite a bit but since I've retired and living on a set amount each month there's not as much to talk about. I have a monthly budget and usually I can stick to it. I've made adjustments from time to time when utilities decrease (summer months) or the price of gas goes up etc.

But I caused myself great anxiety back in March when I purchased a trailer. Even as I completed the transaction my inner voice was telling me it wasn't the right time. I should have listened to that little voice. I started losing sleep worrying about looking after two places - the trailer and my condo - afraid of large repair bills and finding out there were more expenses related to the trailer than I had realized. Things have changed a bit since I last owned a trailer.  For example I had to fork out a large amount of money in sales tax which I didn't have to do with my first trailer. The lot fees were HUGE compared to my previous location.

So I put up with the anxiety for awhile but then woke up one morning KNOWING I needed to sell it. Just making that decision helped to put my mind at rest. Within a few weeks of listing it the trailer IS SOLD  to a very nice family who were very grateful of the clean up job I had done and of the improvements I had made. Even though it was my loss I was happy that they were happy.


I knew I would have two lean years of retirement before I start receiving my Canada Pension Plan at age 60 (next May) and I should have waited - the costs involved just felt too onerous at this point in time. Especially with taking a trip abroad last year and this. I think I'd rather use the money saved from selling the trailer towards travel rather than sitting in one place. Perhaps I will change my mind sometime in the future but for now I am no longer TRAILER TRASH!!

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Big Sigh of Relief

Life has been pretty hectic lately and I don't do "hectic" very well.  However, I've made it through intact and life is looking up.

Before I get into details I want to post a pic:

Val asked a while ago if I was being affected at all by the raging forest fires in Canada and I can reassure you all at this point that NO I am nowhere near the problem areas. This year there have been upwards of 800+ separate fires happening at once. Firefighters have come from as far as Australia and soldiers are also being trained to help in the fight.

I live in the small blue triangle that is surrounded by the Great Lakes though I see on this recent map that there are moderate to high risks to the north of us. Drought conditions in British Columbia have made the situation very difficult this summer with cities in B.C., the western provinces and some northern states being subjected to heavy smoke. Around 13,000 people have been evacuated from their homes so far just in northern Saskatchewan alone.

Fortunately I read today that storms are predicted which will help put out some fires but the lightning may cause more fires to occur. I read one report that suggested some fires could be burning until it SNOWS!! 

Following are some pics from my Class of '75 high school reunion which occurred over the past weekend here in London:


Some of us met for dinner Friday night at a pub called The Morrissey House where we reminisced about all of our old high school teachers and every party we ever attended during our high school years (too many to count!)

Then the next day more classmates & spouses met up in Victoria Park to enjoy Sunfest - a 4 day event with musicians from around the world and lots of ethnic foods to enjoy. In the first photo I'm standing between my cousin Murray and his wife Debra who drove up from North Carolina! Here we got caught up on each other's kids and what they were up to (or NOT up to as the case may be!)

Once everyone had arrived we moved the party over the the beer garden! Here we shared information on classmates who didn't/couldn't attend the reunion; a sort of "where are they now?

In between good friends Martha and Josie.

We paused for a bit to shower and change and then gathered once again to have a fabulous dinner at The Keg. More rehashing of past adventures and funny moments at school, various camping trips etc.
My cousin Murray and I.

Here we are deciding what to eat and drink-such a nice happy bunch!

This weekend was all about eating, drinking and catching up. These are the people in my life that years can pass in between meeting up but we just pick up where we left off. We're looking ahead at possibly having a HUGE 60th birthday next year!

These last two pictures were taken at the Delta Arms Hotel where we had an amazing brunch...

...complete with a chocolate fountain....

which went REALLY well with my DEEP FRIED CHEESECAKE!! Oh my!!

It was a great weekend, very busy. The weather cooperated, thankfully, as I didn't have a Plan B if we got rained out. But all went very well and I can't wait to do it again but with SOMEONE ELSE planning the next one!



Friday, July 10, 2015

When the health care system works...

...it works really well.

I just read in the paper today about cuts to RNs (registered nurses) BUT I do have some good news about our health care system as well.

It helps to live in a city (London, ON) where several top-notch hospitals with world-wide reputations are located but I digress.

My doctor told me I'd be lucky to get an MRI done before my trip in September. But earlier this week (Tuesday) I received a call about a cancellation the next day - did I want it? Of course!

The MRI itself was quite an experience - I wondered if I would be able to go in feet first instead of head first and was elated to discover that yes I could. The technician was wonderful and very reassuring. She gave me a squeeze ball that sounds an alarm when squeezed so if I was feeling claustrophobic I could be let out of there PDQ!  She also place a cloth over my eyes which was very calming and ear plugs for the noise.



Holding still for 20 minutes seemed like a very long time but I just focussed on my breathing. Whenever I felt like twitching or I would get a "bad thought" like - "what if everyone goes home and forgets I'm in here??" I would concentrate on breathing slowly and deeply. (The technician said afterwards that they almost never forget that someone's in the machine!!) What a card!!

She said it would take 4-5 days for the results to reach my doctor but lo and behold I had a call not 24 hours later from my doctor's office that they had the results and could I come in the next day (today) to go over the results! So I've been and come home again.

There's a lot going on with my spine and lumbar region. I have mild to moderate disc compression, disc bulging and disc uncovering (?) and mild stenosis (abnormal narrowing) in the lumbar region and lower spine.

At today's appointment I was told that I can request a referral to a spine doctor to confer about surgery and it's a one year wait! Because the problems I have are relatively minor in the grand scheme of things (for a 59 year old woman with a previous history of back pain since I fell off a trampoline when I was 14) a spine surgeon wouldn't likely operate and having my back operated on really doesn't appeal to me right now.  The other option is to continue what I'm doing - meds and lots of exercise.

The meds are helping with the pain as well as anxiety/depression and I'm becoming more active again - 90 minutes of yoga last night, riding my bike again, hiking and walking again so I feel pretty darn grateful for the relief I am getting.  And grateful for our health care system that doesn't charge me for the MRI and got it done in record time.

There are two sides to every coin.


Wednesday, July 8, 2015

MRI

Great news! Someone cancelled their MRI appointment so I guess I was next on the list - I go today at 5:15pm.

The bad news is that sparkly nail polish I used yesterday on my toes? It's gotta go.

In other news.....when Kazi was at a music festival in Michigan 2 weeks ago "she met a boy". He's from New Jersey and just happens to be visiting in London and Toronto starting tomorrow. So of course they've made plans to spend time together.

The timing isn't the best as my 40th, yes you read that right, 40th high school class reunion is this weekend, of which I'm the hostess! That involved making restaurant reservations for Friday, Saturday and Sunday and organizing the event around a popular festival - SUN FEST - which is taking place in London this weekend.  So I won't see much of THE BOY as they are heading to Toronto on Friday, which is sort of a relief as my time will be mostly spent with my fellow 1975 grads.

So the next few days will be very busy and full of distractions, which is good and bad for the anxiety levels, but I'm feeling pretty positive about the whole thing.  The weather looks good and one of my fellow grads is my cousin (and his wife) who are coming up from North Carolina. Hotel rooms have been booked and the food will be divine though I'll likely put on 5lbs over the 3 days!

That's it for now - I've got to UNpolish my toes!

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Beach Day Saturday

Due to our rather wet and cool weather there haven't been a lot of days that would qualify as a "beach day." But last Saturday (July 4th!) looked pretty good so I went to Port Bruce with 2 friends. Being near water and listening to the waves crash onto the shore (it was really windy) was very calming I found.  



The water was still pretty cold so I stayed in my beach chair and read a Sue Grafton detective novel in between eating BACON-flavoured chips and egg salad sandwiches! One of my friends NEVER goes to the beach without egg salad sandwiches - a practice developed during her childhood so we always eat well at the beach.

Both the sky and the lake were busy...

Well, not in this particular photo...

But here...
 And here...
etc
 etc

It was a hazy kind of day and the wind was cool but people were still getting sunburned so after enjoying the sun for a bit I sat under my umbrella. I'm no longer interested in roasting my skin. WHITE is in! Well, not really, but it is for me:) Actually I have bicycle tan hands - tanned down to the first knuckle then ghostly white fingers!

Health update: I think the medications that I'm back on are having a positive effect though it's still early days. The feelings of anxiety are gradually lessening and for that I am very thankful. The back pain has also decreased so I am back riding my hike and I hiked twice last week. So overall things are looking up. When I finally write a sarcastic post you'll know I'm back to being myself!

Friday, July 3, 2015

Canada Day Eh?

Some friends from the group I joined, Council of Canadians, invited me to join them at Harris Park for the Canada Day festivities. It was a cloudy and gloomy day but by about 5pm the sun started to peek out and we had NO rain for a change! We are so water-logged around here!

While looking for my friends who did I see? My brother, Gord, on his way to watch a ballgame at Labatt's Park.  I could here cheering from the ball diamond quite frequently so assumed London won the game. (They did!)

This youngster was having a blast playing under the bridge but was making me a wee bit nervous about his safety! I'm sure he came away unscathed.

The river that flows through London is called the Thames of course! It's pretty shallow most of the time but all the rain we've had has created perfect conditions for these kayakers.

People really dress up around here for Canada Day. This must be some sort of First Nations garb. He never came over to me but he had something in a bag that he was sharing with people...not sure what it was.


The lights over at Labatt Park where the baseball game was going on. There is a huge osprey nest on top of the lights on the left. We watched as the parents brought the babies food - we could see "supper" dangling from the osprey's talons. We had to wait for the ballgame to be over and the lights turned off before the fireworks could start.

Hard to tell from this angle but this fellow was dressed as a Star Wars storm trooper!

There was live music from 5pm til close to 10pm. in the bandshell which I thoroughly enjoyed.

You can't really tell from this picture but these fellows' hats had flashing lights on them...

One of my all-time favourite singers - Cheryl Lescom. She sounds a bit like Janis Joplin and Melissa Etheridge - throaty, deep and man can she sing the blues!

Finally it was time for the fireworks - the Canada flag was first:

It was hard to take photos of the fireworks so I gave up and just enjoyed them without a camera in between me and the great show. It was very impressive and worth the long wait.

It alway's mayhem on the streets after Canada Day is over - thousands of people walking all over the place and cars trying to navigate their way through the crowds without killing anybody! I parked quite a few blocks away hoping the avoid the traffic jams. The strategy worked and I was home by 11pm which for some strange reason seems really late!! I'm usually in bed by 10!! It's an exciting life I lead :)