Wednesday, February 13, 2019

Rain, Freezing Rain, Ice Pellets, Snow, High Winds

I suppose I shouldn't complain about getting "winter weather" at this time of year but I don't think it's fair that we are on the receiving end of a "Colorado" low, a polar vortex from the "Arctic", an "Alberta Clipper" bringing high winds and snow squalls all day today...well you get the picture!  Keep your own gol' darn weather to yourselves and stop sending it this way!

Sigh...no doubt y'all are getting your own fair share of crappy weather...but do we have to get it all at once? Spread it around Mother Nature - we don't need rain, freezing rain, snow, ice pellets, whiteouts and crazy winds all in one day! And now I think I need a cup of tea!

There, that's better... a cuppa fixes most things. On the one hand I don't mind a couple of guilt-free days when I stay inside, read a novel, work on genealogy, watch a couple extra episodes of "Shetland", cuddle with the cats and do some baking...BUT I do miss getting out to play volleyball or power walk on the indoor track at the BMO Centre. I tried to get to volleyball on Tuesday but first I had to clear the car of several inches of snow pellets. That wasn't so bad. But after going inside for 10 minutes I came back to the car to find the doors frozen shut due to freezing rain. There was so much freezing rain buildup that by suppertime I couldn't get the front door open! Help!!

Fortunately, on Sunday, I was able to get out for a walk in Kilally Meadows. It was hard walking due to last week's freezing rain but I had a walking stick which helped me out several times. So I was able to check on the beaver-ravaged tree and found out that the BEAVER WON! I was rooting for the tree but the ending was inevitable :( 

It looks as though the tree is bending over in pain - no doubt it is!!






Can you see the alien face below? 

How about now?

Or now?

Sorry  I couldn't resist!

                                                      So how's the winter where you are? 
                                           I know that B.C., (British Columbia, Canada), is 
                                            getting  record-breaking snowstorms...as they 
                                   are usually the TROPICS of Canada, even in the winter, 
                                                  I'm not really feeling that bad :)  

Sunday, February 3, 2019

Be Careful out There!

And by "out there" I mean the Cyber World; especially social media. I just went through a ten step program to make sure my laptop doesn't have a virus...so far so good. But I did change a bunch of passwords just in case anyone is trying to hack me - something I don't do nearly often enough.



The reason for this began at 5:30 this morning when my phone started sending me messages from Facebook Messenger ostensibly from my brother. A little hand waving in the air at me and messages saying (very briefly) "hello". Both of these are not behaviours that are usual for my brother, especially at 5:30am so I opened nothing and instead sent him an email letting him know what was going on and asking him why he was up so darned early as that isn't like him hee hee...and also I've never known him to limit himself to a one-word message LOL.... So far I haven't heard back from him (he probably really is still sleeping!)

Then I heard from my sister that they had received a message from my brother this morning asking for money from them to purchase I-tunes music for his niece!! My smart brother-in-law said what is your niece's name? Ummmm Clara? - nope, guess again :) Then "my brother" told my brother-in-law that he was on his way to Manila! That's news to me! Have a safe trip!!

So let this be a wee warning this Sunday morning....I've also had a couple other things happen online recently such as disgusting stuff in my spam folder! "SEND TO TRASH PEOPLE AND THEN EMPTY YOUR TRASH!" 

I also encountered a charity that I became suspicious of...always go with your gut - if something seems hinky it probably is! I researched the charity, made sure it was Canadian as I was planning to donate $25.00Cdn per month.  I do this with a couple of other charities and have had no issues. After taking the initial $25.00 they took an additional payment of $67.41. This was just a couple of days after taking the $25.00! I called them...you can imagine how that went. Right, not well. So I called Mastercard who is disputing it on my behalf. Fortunately I have a letter they sent through snail mail that referred to my monthly payment of $25.00 so will send that to Mastercard.

The final online problem I've encountered (yesterday) was when I was working on my Income Tax. I was informed on the Canadian federal government website that for the next few weeks certain parts of Cdn tax info (specifically "MY ACCOUNT" )won't be available online!! Come back in a couple of weeks everyone - like that won't bog down the system at all...groan..... I thought doing things online was supposed to be faster - I thought wrong! Sigh....

At least I haven't been hacked....yet!!

Monday, January 28, 2019

All is Well

My brochure said if I didn't hear back in seven to ten days I was to call my primary caregiver, so I did. I was told the results of my tests were good but I would have to have a yearly mammogram instead of every two years.

One of my sisters said I might want to look into thermograms instead of mammograms to reduce my exposure to radiation. Both procedures have their own substantial list of pros and cons so I find it all pretty confusing.

Do you have any knowledge about thermograms? I would appreciate any and all input.

Next up is Kazi's test on Feb 11. Hoping for good results for her as well.

We are finally having some wild and wooly winter weather - extreme cold thanks to the polar vortex and intense bands of snow due to an Alberta Clipper. Weather always comes from somewhere else! I don't really mind - the hard-working furnace is going to affect my heating bill but so far we haven't had a heat bill MORE THAN $57.00 so we're overdue And we've had maybe 8" of snow in total this year so I can't complain. I have a warm purring kitty on my lap and  at least two dozen books to read - I don't think the snow will last THAT long though :) I've also made a breakthrough in my genealogy research so that will keep me busy while the snow flies this afternoon.

I bought some groceries yesterday knowing the snow was coming and have no need to leave the house. Usually when I'm all prepared like this the storm will pass to the north or south of us...time will tell....
Last time I was at Kilally it was -7c which was crispy but beautiful!
Who is that little guy - the Pillsbury Doughboy? 

This tree may have toppled over since I was last there!

Geese huddling for warmth on a tiny wee island.

A perfect day!


Monday, January 21, 2019

I meant to put these photos up for awhile but I keep forgetting because apparently once you turn 60ish a huge cache dump takes place and you can't remember stuff anymore. Anyhoo the photos below are the ones that made the final cut for my Scotland 2019 calendar. This is out of about 5,000 photos taken overall so you know they gotta be good! They are not in perfect order but I didn't think that mattered unless you were actually going to use the calendar. Just to be clear - the real calendars are in the right order though don't you just wish it was June now instead of January?

I wish I had the power to do something about that and maybe there's a way but I just can't remember! In case you notice yes there are 13 photos below; that's because the printer uses one for the front of the calendar - it's not that I've forgotten how to count...not yet anyways...!

Enjoy...and if you remember let me know which one you like the best! :)

Dollar Glen
The Quiraing - Isle of Skye

Isle of Iona - Inner Hebrides

Isle of Kerrera - Inner Hebrides

Glen Lyon
Fortingall, Glen Lyon

Loch an Eilein, Rothiemurchus

Black Cuillins - Isle of Skye

Fairy Glen near Uig, Isle of Skye 

Black Cuillins - Loch Coruisk



Eilean Donan Castle - Kyle of Lochalsh

Song Sparrow

Isle of Staffa, Inner Hebrides







Sunday, January 13, 2019

Well That Never Happens...

Well that never happens...almost never that is...!

Guess what?!  I had a surplus in my budget at the end of December! In previous years I've usually been in the hole by a whole bunch! I'm not  exactly sure why or how it happened but I'm certainly not complaining!

Below is my budget for December - not pretty is it?! I am a very messy budgeter but it works for me.
I don't feel motivated to go through it now item by item to figure how I ended up with a substantial surplus but I can make a few guesses.


  • I had an extra $150 in my December budget due to paying my property taxes over 10 months instead of 12 - I really appreciate that around Christmas. I end up with an extra $300 in total to put towards Christmas expenses. 
  • Food expenses were lower mostly due to getting a half price turkey in November which I stored away along with some of the fixings. Usually I wait til the last minute to go food shopping for Christmas so getting some things in November really helped the December budget. As it was I still ended up over spending on food by $30 which was covered by my misc budget line
  • As far as decorating goes I didn't buy anything new. My only purchase was a $6 poinsettia for my neighbour and one for myself. I use an artificial tree.
  • I think the main reason for decreased spending in December was due to buying gifts while I was in Scotland: beautiful wool scarves were a big hit as were woollen toques and mittens and fingerless gloves, handmade soaps, books, bookmarks, jewellery, and of course - scotch! So in December I got Juno tickets for Kazi and I (Canadian Grammys), a few more books and that was about it. I also helped Kazi by paying off her phone bill and I created a 2019 calendar with some of my photos through a printing company called Vista. I also made a couple more charitable donations than I usually do. 
So to all of you smug folks out there who shop and plan for Christmas beginning in January I now understand why!!! and I plan to do this from now on! On January 1st I was able to put $1500 into savings instead of the usual $1000. Only $500 more to go and I will have recouped all the money I spent (from savings accounts) last year on paying off my car and travel. 

Oh the sun is shining so I'll soon be heading out to Kilally Meadows :) but one more thing...
FOOD!!
I recently tried a frittata recipe and we loved it. Besides being delicious I like that I can hide leftovers in it :) scraps of chicken or turkey, limp vegetables - pretty much anything goes. And it lasts us three meals so is very economical as well as yummy! Just top with shredded cheese and a dash or two of Frank's hot sauce (any dish that Kazi can top with Frank's is a good meal in her humble opinion 😋




Monday, January 7, 2019

Where Does the Time Go?

HAPPY NEW YEAR!!
I hope everyone had a lovely Christmas and New Year. Here are a few highlights from my own holiday season...but first, a message from our sponsor - Kilally Meadows!
Winter Solstice - Dec. 21. The day of the
year that our shadow it at its longest! I will miss those
long legs as we reach the Summer Solstice! 


  • had a Christmas week breakfast with a former colleague. Donated some "free coffees" to the homeless (the place we always go to for breakfast is a restaurant which hires only folks with disabilities) and has set up this program of buying coffees for those in need. And the food is fantastic!
  • went out to dinner at The Winebar with two girlfriends (they also serve food :)
  • spent hours and hours perfecting my Scotland calendar - will post the photos next time
  • finished reading several books - my favourite was "Scotland: The Genetic Journey." NOT as dry as it sounds! It was so good that I've also purchased "England: The Genetic Journey."
  • Went for several walks in Kilally Meadows - almost NO snow to be seen! (You know there is something wrong with the climate when you're surprised to see snow in January in CANADA!) Yup, a green Christmas and New Year again this year!
  • had two long visits with my brother and fellow traveller - Kim :) (One of the traditions we started when in Scotland was to have a wee dram of scotch and a couple of Hobnobs with a good cuppa after. So we've now added that tradition to our bi-monthly visits here at home! :)
  • Went to see two movies, with a third coming up this coming weekend.  The first was "Will you ever Forgive Me?" with Melissa McCarthy in her first dramatic role. I loved it, my friend was luke-warm. Then on New Year's Eve we started a new tradition by going to a movie - when we went into the theatre it was 2018 and when we left it was 2019! That movie was "Bohemian Rhapsody" with Rami Malek playing Freddie Mercury. If he doesn't win an Oscar for that role it will be a disgrace! I give it five stars!! No, six!! The other movie we want to see is "The Green Book" with Ali Mahershala and Viggo Mortensen. The "Green Book" was a book created for African Americans to use when on holiday in the U.S. back in the 1960's. Only certain motels/hotels/restaurants etc would serve them and were listed in the book.  Mahershala plays jazz musician Don Shirley and Mortensen plays his driver and bodyguard while on tour. It's getting RAVE reviews! 
  • Spent Christmas Eve watching Christmas movies with Kazi and Christmas Day with Kazi and my brothers, sister-in-law, nephew, his wife and child. GOOD times. I also went for my 2nd annual Christmas walk in Kilally Meadows after Kazi and I opened gifts and had our traditional breakfast of peach pancakes. (I made them with whole wheat flour this year and I thought that improved the taste!)
  • Interspersed were a few games of volleyball and ball hockey, some baking and batch cooking and more reading and a bit of genealogical success tracking down my 4th great grandmother and father! Yay! 
  • My only resolution is to READ more which should be easy as I've picked up about 20+ books the past few weeks from friends, brother, library, Amazon etc. (I also donated some thrift shop clothes when I was in Scotland to make room in my suitcase for the books I bought while there! )When I was planning my retirement I imagined myself lounging around all day with stacks of books around the house and nothing but time to read them all. (No bonbons please!) But it hasn't quite turned out that way as every time I pick up a book I feel guilty and think there is something more important I should be doing. BAH HUMBUG!! 
Now I want to hear about YOUR holidays :) 
But first...a message from our sponsor, Lilypad...
Such a big chair for a wee little kitty!

Monday, December 17, 2018

Not Kazi TOO!!

Not fair. One in my wee family (me) needing more testing re lumps in the you know what's.
Now Kazi has had an abnormal result too with a recent pap test. She's nervous, who wouldn't be? She doesn't have a date yet for whatever they do next so she's anxiously glued to her phone. Hope she doesn't have to wait too long. My next lineup of tests is mid-January.

As if she didn't have enough to worry about entering into her 4th week of new job training. She's doing well though, she texted me a photo this morning of her most recent test and she got 62/62 correct!

Of course for stress I head out to the forest. Experts say that even looking at photos of nature can ease stress so here goes - if you have any stressors these days (with Christmas around the corner who doesn't?!) then have a look-see...                                 
Textures


Look at that sky!!


Madonna

The Nightmare before Christmas!

Spring is upon us - my maple trees are in bud too! :(

So relieved to know that Satan loves me hahaha! 
And yous too!
 10 9 8 7 6 5.....
 ....4 3 2 1 blast-off!

This one didn't get away...

you're welcome...