Thursday, May 11, 2017

Busy Times

On Tuesday our parking lot was getting cleaned...yes, the parking lot is now cleaner than my house! I had to keep my truck out of the lot for several hours so I saved up a bunch of errands to do to keep me busy and away from home.

First I played slo-pitch and managed without my toque and mittens...just barely. That took me to about 11am. Since my birthday is this month I decided to renew Dougie the Dodge's license sticker. But first Dougie needed an emission's test. We have to do that every couple of years. Off we went to Jiffy Lube where I told the attendant that the generous provincial gov't had promised me a "free" test this year. Indeed it ended up being free as Dougie has no emission problem. BUT, you just knew there was a but didn't you?...when I went to the Service Ontario office to get my license plate sticker the cost had gone up from $90 for one year to $120! An increase of $30 - so much for freebies!

Oh well, glad to get that checked off my list.

Kazi had bought a new rain jacket recently on sale at a new store called Atmosphere so I thought I would see if there was a rain jacket there for MOI! And there was, lots of them. I found one in blue that in addition to having lots of bells and whistles also had ARMPIT ventilation!! As Annie can attest I tend to sweat big time when wearing my "monsoon" rain coat. I might as well NOT be wearing rain protection at all. Last year I bought rain pants with zippers down the sides of the legs and with that ventilation I got along just fine. No sweat. So really hoping the added jacket ventilation will keep my upper body dryer.

Perhaps you can see in the photo below, that although I am all smiles my torso is soaked though my sleeves are fairly dry. I guess my arms don't sweat.  But that is why I am in need of ventilation!! That photo is from when Annie and I hiked Hadrian's Wall in 2015. It had rained  for several hours by the time of the photo and we were in need of tea and cake!

All of that explanation to justify spending over $100 on a rain jacket! I really really need it! I'll keep you updated, Annie, on my sweat condition hee hee... I'm taking it to Vancouver Island for a test run!

Since I wasn't too far from Kilally Meadows I went for a jaunt through the forest. There was nobody on the osprey nest!! Either the mister AND missus were fishing in the river or the ballgame in progress upset their routine. As I walked the path near the river I saw them both fly over me several times circling around and around - did I look like a tasty fish? A giant one that's for sure. If they could haul me up to their big nest in centre field they wouldn't have to fish again for weeks!! Ohhhhh...that's why they BOTH were flying - I'm a two osprey carry!



My estimate was for the babies to be born around May 10th, so perhaps they have arrived - but would both osprey parents be hunting at the same time? Enquiring minds need to know...

Before I could head for home to the newly swept parking lot I headed for the grocery store. I took my time, worked from my list and after making it through the checkout went to see if I could safely park dear old Dougie in his spot once again. Yes, it was all done and so was I. It was way way way past my lunch time so you know what I did next!



Sunday, May 7, 2017

Topics

I seem to be a one-topic gal these days. It's all about wildflowers, trails, hiking, animals and birds. Life seems to be going pretty well and I have no complaints....not any major ones anyway. You could say I'm in a "good place." And isn't that what the previous 40 years were all about? Getting to a "good place?"  I think so.


First I worked on farms, then at a couple of restaurants (4), then I worked at The Royal Bank for 9 years full-time and 5 years part-time while I went full-time to university. I put in my time doing work I didn't enjoy, as do we all. From university I went to Teacher's College, often with my one-year old on my hip. I only had one professor ever complain about bringing Kazi to class and his problem was that she got more attention than he did!


At the ripe old age of 36 I got my first teaching position (l992) and worked at an adult education centre for the next 7 years. Just an hourly wage, no benefits, though it was more money than I'd ever made before.  The hourly wage and top-up benefits we received, which included a daycare subsidy, were enough for me to qualify for a small mortgage and in l994 I bought this condo. I withdrew from my RSPs, cashed in two small life insurance policies, and borrowed from my dad to come up with a down payment of a whopping $7,000.00 and money to cover moving expenses.


Eventually, permanent jobs started to reappear in l999 and I was finally hired on full-time with benefits! Woo hoo, that was a happy day! For 3 years I worked between 2 schools, one of which was in another city so daily driving involved.  My boss asked me to commit to 2 years of driving between schools and I gave him 3. As a result I was rewarded with a full-time job at a nearby high school in a special education classroom and where I was, finally, my own boss.


Twelve years later I was able to retire early - I really needed to as it was such a high stress position. I achieved my Five Year Plan, thoroughly documented in this blog, of paying off all debt, saving a good chunk of cash and retiring at age 58 instead of 65. (Now it's 67!!)

You really can live on less if you keep your eye on your longterm goals. I became a master budgeter and through online friendships with fellow bloggers learned a hundred and one ways of squeezing more value out of my money.  I am so very grateful to you, to my parents, family and friends who have all helped in various ways.

So, here I am, smelling the roses :) at long last!

Thursday, May 4, 2017

Weather or Not


The weather is the big news around here this week and continuing throughout the weekend. A big rain "event" is beginning today with London in the middle of it. And even worse the threat of snow on Sunday as we endure the most significant cold "event" in May in recent history.

Sounds like a ton of fun! (Unread books on hand? Yup!) (Endless episodes of Shameless ready to watch on Netflix? Yup! And I'm NOT ashamed :)

Let me check my weather network (what I can see through my patio doors).....and yes....the rain has begun!

The only day we haven't had rain was yesterday so I took myself to Kilally Meadows...of course :) and what a glorious day it was. Though the river has overflowed its banks in several places from the last large rain "event". That's the term they're using these days on the Weather Network - it almost sounds like entertainment, and I suppose in a way it is. It's got me talking!

In the midst of the minor flooding photos I thought I'd include my favourite shot from yesterday - Mr. Osprey just dropped off a fish to Mrs. Osprey - it was a lucky shot - I had just focussed on the nest when he flew up into the air and off to search for more fish. Jeez, his wife sure eats a lot!


The river is off to the right below with some flooding submerging the trail here and there.

 This pond, caused by previous flooding, is about to become much bigger, perhaps a nice place for kayak practise?

 Some enterprising hiker gathered a few logs to use to get from one side of a new tributary to the other - thank you kind sir! or madam!

I enjoyed my day outside very much and am now prepared to spend the next couple of days inside. Spring weather has been rather whacko with shorts weather in February and snow predicted in May. At least there's always a topic to talk about with total strangers!

Oh, and here's why slo-pitch is a bit SLO to start!!




Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Well, looky here...

Spring has sprung and the grass is riz...and I have photos once again!! Hurrah! I've been exploring Kilally Meadows as often as I can and my rambles should increase now that daytime volleyball has ended. I still have Friday nights at volleyball til the end of June.

Then I signed up for "Huff n' Puff" slo-pitch which was to start today. But the fields were closed to use today as it has been raining BUCKETS for several days. Yesterday I suffered with a migraine due to the intense low stalled over the city. There is still a bit of residual throbbing in my head today.
Pellride  - you asked about the uses of skunk cabbage so I did a little search and found this:

Skunk cabbage was used extensively as a medicinal plant, seasoning, and magical talisman by various tribes of Native Americans. While not considered edible raw, because the roots are toxic and the leaves can burn the mouth, the leaves may be dried and used in soups and stews.


Close to the skunk cabbage which likes a wet, marshy environment are the under-rated marsh marigolds. I think they are gorgeous and are one of the first spring flowers to pop open.
 Violets are everywhere, forming a lush carpet under trees and along the paths. I imagine I'll have to wait for a couple of dry days before I can venture into Kilally Meadows again. It's been flooded a lot this year due to so much rain. A friend told me a few days ago that he was about to plant his corn; however I'm sure he has delayed planting once again in the muddy fields.
Gorgeous blue scilla are everywhere - they are a feast for the eyes!

 While walking one day, close to the river, I heard a sound like a chainsaw starting up. I thought someone was clearing up dead branches. Then I saw a large shadow and looked up to see a heron fly right over my head bleating loudly. I think that may have been the first time I've heard that sound!

 I'm hoping to see the may apple flower this year - hope I don't miss it. They must not last long because last year I only caught sight of the little apples, no flowers.

Bloodroot is everywhere but beware! Bloodroot extracts have been listed as one of "187 Fake Cancer Cures people should avoid!"

 This is an area carpeted with violets. Just beautiful!

I will keep trying to capture Mr. Osprey. He was sitting on that metal thingy and I crept up trying to get his picture. Of course he saw me and took off (I thought I was well hidden behind some branches). So this is my effort at capturing the osprey in flight with a branch between me and him. It looks like he's coming right for me - good luck lifting me off the ground!!
Sorry I haven't been around much. I had some computer issues to sort out (my own) and still trying to sort out my mother's files, plus play a LOT of volleyball, get out hiking and so on and so on! At least my blog is back in action :)