Thursday, May 28, 2015

Good Riddance May Budget

Well THAT was a spendy month!! I was never so happy to get to the end of a budget month!

Let me scrounge for the GOOD:

  • Union Gas dropped to $43 in May - I had budgeted $65; however I now pay Union Gas at the trailer with an activation fee of $40
  • London Hydro came in at $63 - I had budgeted $70 - woo hoo! I'm hoping for a further drop (yeah, right - Hydro just goes up and up and up!!) since we aren't using the electric heater in the basement now
That's it for the good.

Now for the BAD:
  • I had to pay HST on the trailer - SURPRISE!! That was an unexpected $1,314.00.  Colour me BLUE!!!
  • License stickers had to be renewed this month - what a lovely birthday gift! $98.00 Plus this was my year to get an E-Test and I needed an oil change. KA-CHING!!
  • Lots of invites to go out for lunch/brunch etc; that's nice but really makes an impact on the ol' budget. Eating out twice in one week is equal to the amount I spend on groceries in a week!
  • $45.00 for 40 days of yoga
  • I spent $356 on stuff for the trailer: this was "needed" stuff as the previous owners left nothing except a big fat mess. I purchased a small BBQ, side tables, 4 tubs of grasses to plant, cutlery, utensils, bedding, pillows and much more.
  • I spent $300 on stuff I needed for hiking and my upcoming trip at MEC (Mountain Equipment Company): a good backpack (the one I have is from Roots and used to be Kazi's high school backpack - it is NOT suitable for hiking long distances and really hurts my shoulders; a day pack for short hikes - it goes around your waist, holds 2 water bottles and has a zippered compartment for snacks and another for keys, ID etc; socks, sock liners, headband for HOT yoga, and a buffy for hiking - it can be used in many ways; and 3 tops (all on sale)
That spree was my birthday gift to myself. 

Needless to say I had to dip into my savings several times during the month which gives me anxiety. Oh yes, I also loaned Kazi $700 as her car needed repairs and was unsafe to drive. She was upset about having to borrow from me but has already repaid $200.  And now I need a new fridge. Arghhh!

Oh well, I will adjust the budget like we all have to do from time to time. Touch wood I won't have any more big unexpected expenses in the near future. I have $2500 set aside for my trip and hope that will be enough. I have an automatic tsf of $300 monthly into savings which helps to rebuild and in a year (when I turn 60) that will go up to $800 or $900 monthly. 

I knew when I retired early at 58 I'd have two lean years but I wasn't expecting so many visits from Murphy!! But that's the way it goes right? The best laid plans...  But I know I will come through it ok and look forward to the future when I can redo the bathroom etc. We can plan for the future but we have to live one day at a time.

June's budget looks good so far!! 

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

HOT Yoga

It wasn't that hot. I decided to start with Beginner's Hot Yoga and they don't make the room TOO hot for us newbies. It was pleasantly warm but not like a sauna. The poses were mostly ones I knew which was nice though I struggled with the ones requiring balance. I loved how reaffirming it was - full of "love yourself the way you are" and "love your body the way it is now" etc. The instructor was a young, very gentle and soft spoken woman, overall a good experience.

So today I got in my truck to go again but made a mistake - there are TWO locations in London and I went to the wrong one. Must read the schedule more carefully. Tomorrow I have a hike in the morning so will go to a class in the afternoon or early evening. I followed Thursday's class with a hot bath with Epsom Salts. I felt pretty good physically Friday but today am back to the usual level of pain.

Had to leave my post for awhile - Kazi got banged in the head last night - whacked heads with another bartender reaching down for stuff. I was a little worried about a concussion so skipped hot yoga (Saturday) and kept a close eye on her. She felt a bit dizzy, weak and nauseous and her vision was a little blurred. Doctor said for her to rest.  Never a dull moment.

Still no call back from the counsellor so I will call again tomorrow - the squeaky wheel and all that.

Whoa...I started this post several days's time to publish!


  • Kazi is doing much better now - back to normal. I'm glad I was here to look after her for a couple of days. Thankfully she didn't work Sunday and only did a half-day on Monday. By Tuesday she was feeling AOK once again. 
  • I have an app't with a counsellor this coming Monday.
  • Went to Hot Yoga again at a different location and man was it HOT!! Sweat dripping off the end of my nose the whole time. I felt so refreshed though when it was done. 
  • Enjoyable birthday celebrations yesterday - I'm 59!!
  • I need a new fridge :( :( :(
Furry Cuteness:
Lily is so hard up she has to nap in a box full of old newspapers - poor baby!

Luna, on the other hand, loves to stretch out on the most comfortable chair in the house!

Wednesday, May 20, 2015


You're right 444 - it's time for an update!

On the physical side of things I'm not getting any worse.  I've had the occasional day when I thought the pain was a bit less, but not often. I've tried topical gels and creams with some temporary relief of symptoms. Pain pills, even those with an added muscle relaxant, haven't really helped. And, very sadly, acupuncture isn't having its usual magical effect.

So, what did the doctors recommend? Well, the acupuncturist said to walk 8-10km per day and to also do something different like swimming. I don't swim but I will consider an aquafit class if I can find one.  And my GP gave me an "exercise prescription" as well - HOT YOGA!!

She sees a LOT of people like me (walkers, runners, hikers) with very tight muscles and hot yoga can help relax those muscles. So, starting tomorrow, I'm off to a beginner's hot yoga class. I've also started doing some yoga at home thanks to the recommendation on Carla's "blog of the "Yoga Studio" app.

**You know what would be a cool idea? A blog called "Bloggers helping Bloggers"! A forum for people to post their "problem" and other bloggers could post suggestions and ideas that worked for them.

Anyhoo - on to the depression. Through my own reading I've discovered that I'm going through the stages of grief due to a number of losses over the past year and a half: loss of relationship, loss of 20 year old pet, loss of meaningful work (retired), loss of PEI home and future life with partner, and loss of pain free movement. (loss of ability to pursue my hobbies - all of which require sitting)

The stages of grief are: denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance. I'm stuck - I'm done with denial and bargaining....still feel some anger and definitely some depression. So my doctor gave me a referral to a counsellor and I've made the initial phone call, now just waiting for a call back so I can set up an appointment. I have NO idea how long I'll have to wait. In the meantime I'll continue doing what I'm doing: getting out into nature for long walks/hikes, visiting with family and friends, going to the trailer, doing the fix ups I can manage in the condo and at the trailer, yoga etc.

Today I have a couple of not very physically demanding jobs to do - put new little bumper pads on all of my kitchen cupboards and start prepping the walls in my bathroom for painting. And tonight I have a 2 hour hike. Every hour on the hour I'll stop whatever I'm doing and get down on my yoga mat for some stretches.  Sounds like a fun Hey, it makes me feel a wee bit better to be productive in some small way.

In other news....

Kazi bought one of these earlier this week:

It's a terracotta money pot! She's saving for "trips and MOVING"!! Of course when she says "moving" she means somewhere like Texas or I'm not going to worry about that yet - it could take quite a while to fill her money pot! With this type of pot there is NO way of getting the money out except to smash it when it's full reducing the temptation of taking out what you've already put in (like I do with my piggy bank!!)

My accomplishment for yesterday was to write a reference letter for a student who helped out with my Best Buddies program at school.  I was dreading it but once I got started it was surprisingly easy. It also brought back a lot of good memories and I had a few tears. Part of me is glad I'm retired from THAT job but a big part of me misses the students and the fun times we had connecting through Best Buddies.

That's it for now...time for some stretches and blog reading!

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Suggestions and Comments

Thank you everyone for your support, suggestions and comments. Putting it "out there" isn't easy but I know my blogging friends and readers don't judge. There is still such a stigma attached to depression/anxiety/mental illness in general which makes it hard for those who suffer to speak up. There is a genetic link with my dad suffering terrible anxiety and long term depression. I was a witness to his pain and it wasn't pleasant. My mom helped as much as she could plus he had drug therapy, talk therapy and shock treatment. (Glad no one suggested THAT!!)

Many of you were in favour of medication as a temporary stopgap. That's a tough one for me as last year I weaned myself off of two drugs - one for anxiety related to menopause and one for back pain. If at all possible I'd rather not use any other drugs but I'm not totally closing the door.

Also appreciated are all of the hugs - even the puppy and 14 cat hugs:) Those of you who are pet lovers know how therapeutic it is to have a fur baby to stroke, snuggle and kiss. I think I'd be in much worse shape without Lily and Luna sprawling themselves all over me every chance they get.

As I type this Luna is cuddled up on my feet. Maybe it's my Icelandic socks she's enjoying - it's a chilly 12c today.

I saw the acupuncturist yesterday. Unlike when he treated the pinched nerve in my shoulder I am NOT getting instant relief for my back. He encouraged me to walk 8-10km everyday as it's good for the spine and discs so I've hiked Kilally Meadows yesterday and today. It's also a known fact that being out in "nature" is good for one's mental health so maybe I can kill two birds with one stone. He also encouraged me to keep stretching and to get back into yoga. So I don't forget I've set my phone's timer to go off every hour and then I get down on my yoga mat for some fun.

Speaking of fun I liked  the suggestion of watching/reading things that are funny. Thanks for your list 444 - I won't take it lightly!!

Finally thanks to those of you who've shared their experiences with depression and Sluggy you never know when I might turn up at your door...nah...I'd give you fair warning. And Kim, you DO make me laugh :)

Saturday, May 9, 2015


Just letting you know that I am struggling with some things - pain, anxiety and depression. So I just don't have the blogging mojo right now. I always try to put a good face on things and most of the time it looks like I'm having great adventures and enjoying myself. The reality is something different. I have a couple of appointments this week - acupuncture and family doctor - I hope to be sent for an MRI as my back pain could stem from a variety of problems and is preventing me from following a "normal" schedule of activities which is contributing to feeling anxious and depressed.

So, carry on, I'm here in the background and will report on any progress made.

Monday, May 4, 2015

Plover Mills

Where have I been?  I have been so excited about the wonderful weather we've been experiencing (sorry East Coasters...) that I haven't been spending much time indoors. But today we've had some rain on and here I am!!

Last Friday I spent some time on my bike and ended up downtown to snag a few photos of Kazi's latest gig - full-time day bartender at a brand new micro-brewery/bar/restaurant/retail store!! It's called Toboggan and I can't wait til a hot and sweaty bike ride ends with me sitting at my daughter's bar drinking a craft beer served by her loving hand! Hoping for too much??

She's worked a couple of shifts though they aren't officially open yet. They've had a few corporate events over the past week just for practice and to spread the word. Well...I just made that up but it sounds pretty good doesn't it? I do know they had some corporate events - I don't know when the grand opening is.

I was hoping Kazi might see me out the window and offer me a beverage but no...but your eagle eye might espy the top of a toboggan by the open window.

Saturday I hiked the Plover Mills Trail....again. We moved so fast that I couldn't really get any good photos so like the trooper I am I went back by myself in the afternoon to just stroll and take photos. Because you KNOW how I LOVE photos!!


And this is why it's called Bloodroot!

Hundreds of Trilliums (our provincial flower) throughout the woods...there's a closeup further down...

Most of the year large parts of the Thames River are too shallow for canoes, kayaks etc but right now it's still full from the spring run-off.

Did you know their were red Trilliums too?

 I love looking straight down into skunk cabbage - very pretty.

Do any of my plant experts know the name of this purplish plant?

Sunday I went to the trailer and I have WATER!! Hurrah! Only cold water for now as I have to call the natural gas company to get hooked up - natural gas will also power my stove and I'm thinking of getting a natural gas BBQ too!! No more propane tanks!  I was too busy to take any photos...oh darn! The birds seemed to enjoy my grass seed :(  I spent most of the day inside cleaning which was too bad as it was  quite mild and sunny but soon all the work will be done and I can just go and enjoy myself.

I spent lots of moolah today at Dollarama buying stuff for the trailer - cutlery, dishes, utensils, etc etc. And now you're caught up on the life of Jane. Oh, except for this evening - my brother is having a "shed night" to meet some people from the Netherlands who are staying with a neighbour and to listen to the tunes of Bob Dylan. Yes, it's a Dylan night. I'm not overly fond of him so I may leave early. I saw him once in concert and he kept his back to us the whole night, never even acknowledged our know, the presence who paid $100 for a friggin' ticket!!