Monday, August 31, 2015

By the Numbers

I'm pretty satisfied with the numbers this month. August ended (can you believe it???!) with a surplus of $284 (in addition to putting $350 into savings). YEAH BABY!! Riding my bike everywhere is really saving me money. Other savings included utilities: natural gas was a low $32 and electricity was $42!! We've run the A/C a little bit but mostly our house stays pretty cool as it is protected by two huge maple trees and a locust tree. The patio only gets about an hour of direct sun per day and a couple hours of filtered sunlight. I can't complain. It was sweltering and humid today but the A/C only kicked in a couple of times.  I keep it set at 25c.

I went over a little bit in the food budget because it was cherry season and I gorged myself. Not even kidding! Cherries are my favourite fruit and no time to be frugal!! I bought quite a few bags at an average cost of about $13+/bag. But I more than made up that overage by NOT having to put much gas in the truck. And recently our gas prices have dropped making the gas budget even smaller.

So what did I waste spend my money on this month?

  • went to the movies twice (The Minions and Shaun the Sheep Movie :)
  • two albums downloaded from iTunes
  • bought several books; a couple new but the rest were second hand
  • beer
  • yoga x 4
  • Yogathon - $25 donation
  • played progressive euchre twice plus dinner
  • $20 UPS delivery fee for the maps/guide for upcoming trip
  • renewed my hiking membership $25.00
  • paid for travel insurance
  • paid for train x 2 while away
  • extra google storage - $2.71
  • Hallmark membership
  • hiking: food/entrance fee into provincial park
  • dinner/beer at the Jazz Fest yesterday
  • food/icecream at Rib Fest
  • Dairy Queen x 2, 3, 4 times?? But who's counting right?
Some freebies: 
  • loaned my truck to my brother and he treated me to dinner at The Waltzing Weasel
  • Kazi worked the Beer Festival downtown and treated me to several samples and gave me a T-shirt from her workplace - Toboggan; (there was a long line up to get into the Beer Fest so she threw me a T-shirt over the fence and I put it on and walked right in as if I was working there lol!) Then I benefited from her "beer" expertise (beertise?) and tried a number of yummy samples (I wasn't driving!!)
This was my favourite! Scotch Ale.....

  • also free - weekly meditation, weekly visits with my brother, pot luck dinner & MORE!!
All in all a pretty awesome month!! And not just the numbers...!

Friday, August 28, 2015

Foto Friday

One year ago today....

...I put together 2 bookcases and a desk with a hutch...

...because I had so much crap treasure that needed to find a home!! Bins and bins and boxes and boxes full of crap priceless possessions that I brought from school and from my former PEI home. 


It took a while but it all came together...sorta...

 I say sorta because...
 I probably should have...

...reattached the baseboards after the new carpet was laid before filling all of the shelves with endless piles of crap important stuff. Sigh...guess that'll be one of many projects to get done during the fall/winter season. GROAN!!

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Lily has a problem...

...what's that smell???

I knew it.....ICE CREAM!!  Wait a minute....what flavour is it??  Is it? Can it be? Sniff sniff!

YES!! Heavenly Hash - my favourite!!


And ahhhhhhh!! Ice cream induced coma.......

PS - please don't think that I give Lily ice cream often - I'm too stingy to share most of the time!!

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Since my last post....

...a place for Dougie and Dougie in his place! Parking lot is finished and looks much better now- I swear the paint lines glow in the dark!

Ok, this one needs a little explanation: I saw this on Pinterest. Take a man's shirt - cut off the sleeves and collar to make a lady's tank top. Well...I think I cut the scoop neckline a wee bit too low - I don't usually flaunt my cleavage like this! Not that I'm admitting to on my blog anyways!! I also found the straps a bit too wide for my narrow shoulders. If I did this again (not bloody likely) I would use a boy's shirt instead of a man's.
My second sewing project - FAIL
Here we are early on Saturday morning getting ready to do 108 Sun Saluations for the annual Art of Living Yogathon. In London alone we raised $5,000 to provide education for children in India. We were just one of 55 cities world-wide doing the yogathon. My photo doesn't show the full crowd - I arrived pretty early.

It was bloody hot as we were in full sun for 3 hours - but we made it!! Then we did a group meditation - again in full sun! (I'm not complaining - today it's cold and cloudy and I would love for that hot sun to poke it's head out!)
These are the 12 poses we did for each of 108 sun salutations. My seester wasn't sure what a sun salutation is so this is for you seester.

Sunday was pretty hot and sunny too so I thought hiking almost 20km would be fun! Hahahahaha! It was pretty grueling in places - lots of ups and downs - but we were rewarded by making it to 2 waterfalls. This was outside of Dundas, Ontario. 

We hiked from 10am until 3:30pm. I lost 80 lbs just through sweating alone!

Ask me how my legs are doing today!  Oweeeeeee!

And my shoulder muscles from all those downward dogs, cobras and planks! I just keep thinking about how my muscles are going to pop - just like Popeye!!
A truly beautiful place - I had never been there before and appreciated all that Mother Nature had to offer. Well, not the humidity but everything else.

Then last night I helped set up for a meeting of indigenous people and our local politicians. Very few of our native populations vote in federal elections and we have a biggie coming up in October. We were hoping we could encourage folks to get out and vote. I helped out with tea, coffee and the food tables - the egg salad sandwiches were fantastic!! 

Today is a quieter day - I biked downtown to go to meditation and then did a little sewing - just some mending, no other projects on the go yet...but soon!

I wonder what's for supper??

Friday, August 21, 2015

Foto Friday

I take lot of photos. Yeah, you didn't know that right? One feature of iPhotos on my laptop is it shows one year's worth of photos with the first ones being from one year ago. So I thought it might be cool to show a foto or two from a year back. Sort of like Throwback Thursday on facebook but I'll call it Foto Friday. 

 So here goes...what was happening in my wee world one year ago??

Apparently I went on a hike - here's a little shelter built out of branches and I do mean "little"! The roof needs a little work I think. Oh, and the walls...and a door...a door would be good.

I haven't been on a group hike for awhile. I have come to realize I don't like to be LED.  I am definitely not a follower. I prefer to find my own path. Even if I get lost. Deep. Very deep.

I call this "Shrooms on a Log."

And I call this "Blurry Tranquility".  Another reason I don't like big group hikes - I can't stop and take a proper photo!!

And I call this "The End"! See you next week for Foto Friday!

Summer Relaxation

Have you heard about adult colouring books yet?  They're supposed to be great at reducing stress! I read about them (somewhere?) and thought "what a great idea...why the hell didn't I think of it first?!"  The one pictured below is based on one of my favourite childhood books "The Secret Garden" and stores are having a hard time keeping it in stock! It was reprinted 5 times in 2013 and 6 times in each of 2014 and 2015 (so far)!! Wowzers - that's a load of cash!!

Well unfortunately I didn't think of the idea but I do have good memories about colouring with a best friend when we were in highschool and beyond. We enjoyed "playing" together as teenagers and young adults, sharing secrets, having a good laugh (and no doubt a few drinkies) while colouring took away any stresses we might have had. 

This gorgeous colouring book (for adults) comes with amazingly detailed pictures to colour and will no doubt keep me out of trouble and stress-free for years to come. I can't imagine (oh yes I can!) enjoying a few drinkies while trying to colour inside the lines!!

And now..... Luna and Lily would like to share what they're reading this summer...Luna has finished reading Alice Peterson's latest book "By My Side" which wonderfully illustrates the relationship between a disabled young woman and her "therapy dog"....did you enjoy it Luna? 

Yes, indeedy - it was a very tasty little book!

Over to you Lily - how did you enjoy "The Orphan Master"?.....Lily?... LILY?? I guess it was a bit of a snooze!!

To be fair I have to tell you that Lily hasn't read "The Orphan Master" yet so we'll check in with her later.  We're still working on Ken Follett's "The Century Trilogy" and we're almost finished the second 1,000 page tome called "The Winter of the World"!! Worth reading? Oh YES!! but you need to have lots of time on your me!!

I have quite the stack of books still to read this summer (and beyond). Fortunately (unfortunately?) I have a used bookstore close by and they have huge dollar bins!!

Four weeks til Annie and I the dusty trail (I'm hoping for dust as opposed to MUD) as we traverse Hadrian's Wall in England!! Woot woot!! Or should I say...pip pip!!

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Retirement Update

I noticed a blog post the other day ( entitled "Retirement Update" which motivated me to provide one too.

Yup, still retired!!

When I was approaching retirement I thought I would give myself a year to figure out what I wanted to do with the rest of my life. It turns out a year wasn't long enough.  Bear in mind that a lot of life-changing events occurred over the past year and a half in addition to retirement: relationship ending, loss of future plans, 20 year old pet passed away, had to sell house in PEI, living on half the income I was used to, and a back injury.... which all contributed to low level depression and anxiety. Adjusting to retirement isn't as easy as it would seem!

So...where do things stand now?

  • health: medication is helping both with both back pain and mood enabling me to get physical once again; riding my back  bike (thanks for catching that typo sis!) and going to yoga and meditation has also helped me both physically and mentally. I still see a counsellor and am on a wait list for "group therapy"
  • social contact: staying in touch with people is so important but not easy for me being the introvert than I am: every day I try to connect with a few people through texting, emailing, Facebook, blog, phone calls, going to social events, getting together with family, becoming more of an activist and so on. I still have days when I'd rather not see anyone 
  • reviving old hobbies: my brother said to think back to childhood when we naturally gravitated to the hobbies and activities that we loved: for me that included biking, sewing and reading as well as sports, board games and playing cards. I also loved to draw, play piano and be creative. So far I have done one sewing project with another in the works, I have purchased a book about drawing as well as an "adult colouring book". I am working (slowly) on carving a piece of soapstone and indulge my love of reading every day. As a child one of my favourite things to do was to put a book and a bagged lunch in my bike's basket and ride out into the countryside, then climbed a tree to read and eat my lunch :) These days I try to get out on my bike every day but so far haven't gone out into the countryside with a book and a lunch. I'll add that to my to do list! I go to a "sports night" once a month in addition to a monthly "games night" and last week I started going to a weekly "euchre night" which has been fun. Usually I get out to see one movie a week with a friend
  • new hobbies/activities: what would I like to do that I haven't tried yet? Painting, particularly water colours, learn a new instrument or purchase a keyboard, go back to school (tuition at my alma mater is free at age 60) so I'm considering attending part-time next year - perhaps a degree in film or getting back into the visual arts
  • volunteering: haven't made my mind up about that one yet - I want to volunteer but not sure about where or how often. I sort of dread being on a schedule
  • part-time work: at this point in time I don't feel inclined to get a part-time job
  • travel: planning a trip or two each year is fun and exciting yet expensive. Once my Canada Pension Plan kicks in next May I'll be able to travel more frequently.
  • redecorating: still working away at this though things have slowed down now as the weather is too nice to be inside as much. Hopefully I'll feel more motivated in the fall...
So things are moving along. I would say the biggest barrier is lack of "motivation".  I get things done but at a much slower pace than in the past and have to push myself to move some days. I feel that I'm on the right path and need to be more patient with myself. It's been a HUGE adjustment and it's not over yet. 

I'll be OK.

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Tar Wars Episode Two

So I had my plans all ready to vacate the premises yesterday while the paving crew got busy (not that kind of getting busy!!) in front of my condo...but all for naught! They never showed up! I assume it was because two large Aluminum Associates trucks were parked out front of our fourplex because our condo corp. is also installing new sliding patio doors in every unit.

I moped around all day because they were installing patio doors near my unit and I really really hoped they'd get to my condo yesterday...again, no such luck! Not a good day to buy a lottery ticket.

Anyhoo I woke up nice and early to an earthquake this morning...oh no... that was just the asphalt truck - every time it dropped a bunch of asphalt I could feel the house shake and things going "tinkle tinkle" in the cupboards.
Hard at work!
What a feast for the senses! Tinkling, nasty odour, clanging and banging of the trucks - at least I didn't have to touch it! So I headed out for some shopping and meditation (great combo no?) - by the time I got back they were finished. Tomorrow the lines and numbers will be painted and all will go back to semi-normal. I imagine tomorrow or Thursday I'll be getting the patio doors installed as they are one unit away from me. I think that's it for improvements for this year.
Not hard at work! Coffee break! 
All done except for lines and numbers!

In other news...I've been hoping and praying for a good thunderstorm to clear the air around here - I'm sitting in my condo with the central air on and my skin is still "dewy". That's not as pleasant as it sounds.  Driving around today I thought my prayers had been answered as the sky grew darker and darker!

Yes, I'm driving around the city taking photos through the windshield! Talk about a great hobby! By the time I got to Shoppers Drugmart their parking lot was dampish. YES, I thought - the rain is on its way!!! Better be quick so I don't get caught in the storm!! A few minutes later I leave Shoppers and the parking lot was dry!! CRAP!! We received about 15 seconds worth of rain!!

My skin is still dewy. Not from the rain.

Friday, August 14, 2015

Tar Wars

No, that's not a typo. My condo complex parking lot is getting repaved - the first time in 21 years (that's how long I've lived here). They've done touch ups over the years, filled in pot holes, repainted the lines and numbers of the parking spaces and so on but this year they're repaving the whole shebang.


But at the same stinks!! Hot tarry gooey paving stuff to my mind nose REEKS! And noisy!!  - it was an assault on the ears all day except when I got away from here to do errands. Luckily (luckily??) it was a hot and muggy day so I eventually closed all the doors and windows and put the A/C on. Then I forced myself to read a desperately good book to make myself feel better! (And I ate cookies!!)

And they haven't even got to MY street yet!! I guess I'll find somewhere else to shop hang out on Monday which is when they're supposed to start my street. Either that or I'll need more cookies.

Who knew there were paving jokes out there?!!

In other news...Sluggy and I might be related! Get working on that Harrison line Sluggy!

Monday, August 10, 2015

A Day for.....

Lily is soooooo tired from playing with her blue mousey....

...and it's raining and thundering outside so we can't enjoy the patio....nor can I ride my bike or go to the beach... Luna curled up with a quilt and a pillow and I'm so tempted to join her!

If only I didn't have to go to the store to buy Heavenly Hash ice cream!! I told Sluggy I could wait one more day for ice cream as I didn't want to go out in the rain and the thunder but I lied - I can't do it! But before I go....I finally set up my sewing machine and figured out (yet again) how to put the stupid bobbin in. So much time passes in between sewing projects that I have to relearn about the silly bobbin again and again.

I checked out patterns online and found several that I liked (Simplicity ones are my faves). And I did a wee project today involving taking ugly cap sleeves off a white eyelet blouse I bought at a thrift store a couple months ago.
Much better!
Okay - off to buy ice cream!! Oh...and of course it's raining harder now!!!

Saturday, August 8, 2015

Bicycle Blues

I love my truck (Dougie the Dodge) but in the interest of "living green" I use my feet and my bicycle to go most places during the warmer months. Like the girl above (who looks remarkably like me when I was about 8 years old - minus the sunglasses and helmet of course!) I experience such a sense of FREEDOM when I'm whizzing along on my bike.

Unlike my former child self I tend to engage the brakes when I get zooming too quickly down a hill and NOWADAYS I wear a helmet! Touch wood (my head!) I haven't had any falls so far this year but if I do I'm more likely to break something than when I was 8.

Back when I was a kid riding freely around the village I grew up in it was no problem to leave one's bike propped up against a tree while you went into a friend's house or a store or got involved in a game of softball. Every kid had a bike and had no reason to steal someone else's. The only problem I encountered was the time a bully threw my bike into the sandbox at the nearby park and for the rest of my years using that bike the chain made a loud grinding noise from the sand. Phooey!

This past week I've encountered some vandalism that made me feel like that 8 year old kid again. After riding my bike to my brother's house, then to yoga, then back home again I discovered someone had snapped my front light right off. Not to use mind you but just as an act of vandalism because there were a few little broken pieces on the ground. The rest of it they must have thrown in the bushes or somewhere.

As if that wasn't bad enough I then noticed the rear view mirror from my helmet was missing!
That little mirror pops into the arm and swivels for a good view behind me - it pops out from the arm rather easily I'm afraid. I do lock my helmet to my bike for safekeeping but never thought someone would pull the mirror off...until someone did. Again they didn't take the whole thing so they could use it, just the mirror! Sigh.....

I now have a nice new rechargeable light which I can easily detach and keep in my backpack when not in use and I have a "parts kit" coming with a new mirror. Until it arrives I'll just have to crank my head around and look over my shoulder to check for traffic behind me. I can do that. And lesson learned - I keep my bike locked with TWO locks when it's not in use but it's still open season on accessories so keep 'em safe! Darn bullies!

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

PRIDE Parade

I had so much fun interactively watching the annual PRIDE parade here in London last weekend. First of all it was really LOOOOOONG!, well attended and COLOURFUL! There were so many floats, so many people participating and thousands of folks lined up along the parade route. How times have changed...FOR THE BETTER!!

I can remember a time when it was considered dangerous/risky to attend a PRIDE parade or to even be supportive of and friends of LGBTQ people. I can remember riots occurring, people getting into fights and getting injured, even killed. I am so glad this wasn't the case at this year's parade. I saw only one anti-Pride demonstrator and he was dealt with in a kind and humorous way.

London's Chief of Police was the Grand Marshall - a huge step forward from a not so long ago time when police turned a blind eye except when things turned vicious. Now the police force and dozens and dozens of organizations and businesses turn out in force to support and celebrate everyone's uniqueness.

I took almost 200 photos - YIKES - but will share just a few:

While I watched the parade and saw all the children with their parents and grandparents I thought to myself:
"PRIDE has become all about families - isn't that wonderful?"