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...
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?

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...                                 

Look at that sky!!


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...

Sunday, December 9, 2018

Cats and Kilally

I just uploaded my latest set of photos from my camera to my laptop and I noticed that there are some very definite themes! Scenes of nature or scenes of Lily and Luna snuggling together like the very cozy and cute creatures that they are....sorta...guess I'll concentrate on the kitties for this post.

Here's Lily on her own...soaking up what heat is left once I turn the heating pad off...

 Here's Lunaburger on her own..."hey, I want some of that heat too!"

Looks like a romantic moment... except they're sisters...
and Luna is twice as big as Lily...

 Luna tries to smooth Lily's ruffled feathers with a good lickin'...

That's kinda nice... for a second or two...

Lily's really not sure about this... "I'm getting squeezed out!"

 Lily's eyes are narrowing..."get offa my heating pad!"
"Ohhhhh c'mon" says Luna - "I did lick you afterall..."

 "Well...let me think about it..."

 "I'll give you a couple of licks but then you gotta go..."

Whap! The claws are coming out! Lily gets
bapped on the nose...

A few more baps and Luna it taken care of - "see ya sucker!"

Shortly thereafter Lily follows me to the dining room and
Luna absorbs the rest of the heat. 
Learning to share is hard and makes even sisters grumpy! 

Wednesday, November 28, 2018

Thongs....oops...THINGS... going on around here...

 Although my favourite season is spring there is still beauty to be found in the colder seasons.
Especially if the sun is shining as it was last Friday - I don't think I've seen the sun since then - 
I wasn't through with you yet!

Hungry baby birds?

A reindeer?

Had my mammogram followup meeting on Monday and learned I have a tiny mass
in each breast. Chance of it being cancerous
 is 1-2%. I can handle that. 

Looking at things logically (which is what I try do) my mother and one of my older sisters both had a number of benign cysts removed so I feel it's safe to assume I'll be the same.
It's hard to tell but things were really mucky in
Kilally Meadows on Friday and I need to whack all the dried mud
off of my boots after this post.

The next two are my favourites - the camera focussed 
on the twigs and not on the sparkly river.
 Pretty cool!

 There's the river!

The nearby pond had a thin crust of ice - 
- I love the way it looks! 
Something alien about it...


Another creature in the woods.

So I will wait somewhat patiently for my next set of x-rays and
ultra sound which happen in mid-January. 
I had my splinted finger x-rayed on Monday - better safe
than sorry. No news yet,
Too bad there's nothing exciting going on in the next six weeks 
to take my mind off of thongs! 
Typing while wearing this splint is a challenge - I have so many typos. 

Wednesday, November 21, 2018

My Pocket Health

For those of you who live in Canada the website for accessing x-rays etc is Yes, this is a new service and I just found out about it when I went for my mammogram. The technician gave me a piece of paper with the info on it but I didn't sign up til I found out that the mammogram was abnormal. Then I thought I want to see what an abnormal result looks like and signed up on the website.

You need to create a login - user name and password and pay a ONE TIME $5.00 fee. Within about two minutes I was looking at my x-rays and reading the results and recommendations. I have a doctor's appointment on Nov. 26 and they have set up an app't for more tests and an ultrasound at a nearby hospital in mid-January.

I am concentrating on this bit of info:
"Most women will not need further testing beyond a special mammogram or ultrasound to find out their breast change is benign or a harmless variation of normal breast tissue."

I don't find I am dwelling on this "abnormal result" in fact, whenever it does come to mind it makes me think of "Young Frankenstein"!

Yuck yuck yuck!!

Tuesday, November 20, 2018

If it wasn't for bad luck...

.......I'd have no luck at all!

This is what happens when you try to play volleyball like an 18 year old! The ball was being drilled over the net and I thought I could jump up and tip the ball right back to the other side!

Ummmm...NO! NO to the jumping and NO to the tipping. YES to excruciating pain like I've only felt once before...two years ago when I did the same bloody thing!

Most of the swelling is gone, and the colour is sort of getting back to normal. 

As long as it is in the splint there's no pain. But it is stiff as a board right now and I don't look forward to discarding the splint and starting physio exercises. Right now it doesn't all.

 On the bright side Kazi gets to do the dishes and take out the garbage.  I did some batch cooking last week and also had several kinds of frozen leftovers so the food situation is OK for now. 
Wow, it's like a rainbow of colours!

I really miss playing v-ball and ball hockey! I've had to replace my sports with riding my stationary bike and walking at Kilally Meadows, which is great as I haven't been to Kilally since September.

 It's still there :) The sun came out for awhile and it was +4c so I ended up good and sweaty.

It was very enjoyable and I'll go back soon. I forgot how being out in the forest can help with depression.
Wish I could get Kazi to come with me - she would benefit from some forest bathing!

Still some green leaves to be found!

And the ducks were enjoying Meander Creek.

And finally...I haven't posted any photos of Luna and Lily for a long time so here they are...

Winter naps are the best, especially when the heating pad is still warm!

Luna is just yawning but she looks ferocious!

They both love this cozy spot and there have been a few tousles! 
That's the news for now. I have a few errands to do in the neighbourhood so I'll walk and get some fresh air and exercise.