Sunday, March 26, 2017

March Money

So many of you, my fellow blogging friends, live quite happily on a strict budget and make "living on less" a game or a challenge. It's comforting to know that there are so many people, besides me, who are whackos live this challenge daily in order to reach important goals. For many of us that goal is TRAVEL. 

Sometimes I am questioned by people for walking to places that they drive to. I explain that I have a budget line for gas and to make it work then I have to walk to a lot of places. "But you have the money" is a response I sometimes get and yes, I do have the money but I'd rather walk and put more of my money into my travel account. This isn't about being "poor" and making do. It's about making choices and prioritizing those choices. The day will come when my priorities will change (hopefully not soon) and I will save for something else.

I have learned many "savings hacks" from all of you, along with some great recipes, and I appreciate that we freely share our frugal ways.
U da bess!

My monthly budget has a "misc." budget line which is quite generous and covers lots of things: clothing, books, music on iTunes, going out for dinner, playing volleyball ($2.00 a week!), going to movies, things for the home, art supplies, gifts, charitable givings, general mad money and so on. Some months there are more of those things than my misc budget can handle so I'll move something to the next month, (like renewing my passport). This month I had to pay out $220 for truck maintenance and instead of moving money from savings I decided to try covering it from my misc. budget.

So things are a wee bit tight right now as I'm trying to leave my savings alone. Thankfully both pension amounts will be in my account by Friday - I just need to make it to Friday on the $165 I have left in my chequing account. Shouldn't be too difficult. I only need to buy a few groceries. All the bills are paid. I should even have money left to purchase a few more British pounds :)

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Happy Birthday to ME!

No, it's not my birthday. My birthday is May 26. But I just planned what I'm going to do for my birthday - it takes time to plan a TRIP so I couldn't wait for May. And, by the way, Canada is having a BIG birthday this year - our country is turning 150 - wow - that'll be a LOT of candles.

I have been toying with the idea of having more than one trip per year (I'm not getting any younger) so thought going somewhere in Canada that I've never been to would be a great way to celebrate my birthday and Canada's!

So...where am I going?  I'll give you a few clues...

I'll be visiting the capital city for three days...

...then I'll be hanging around in the trees for three days...

...I'll also be visiting some pretty big trees...HOW BIG?


...another spot I'll be visiting...

...and finally I'll be spending a few days on another island...

I'll be hiking, biking, exploring all of the  natural beauty this part of Canada has to offer!

Any guesses?

Saturday, March 18, 2017

Mucky Mess or Sloppy Soup?

Well I was right (was there ever any doubt hahaha) - A year ago yesterday I found life in the forest and yesterday I did as well. Some is new growth, some is old (which doesn't really count except that I found a few interesting remnants from last year!)

The ground and the trails were a soupy mess of mud - I'm glad I always take my walking stick with me - I would definitely have fallen into the muck and onto the water-covered trails without it. 

New Shoots!

Below is a cute little fluffy "thing" from last year. Don't know what plant it is from but it is soft and sweet.

Another little cutie - a seed pod of some sort.

Lots of green shoots popping up everywhere - it's so exciting!

No sign of the ospreys yet - just checked my stats from last year and I didn't spot them until April 23rd.
Nobody home.

A few flies and bugs on the slice of tree below... I was surprised to see them but I suppose the surface of the tree trunk was warm in the sun.

Nothing much alive on this gnarled old limb but you can see my mucky boot at the bottom of the picture.

Some buds are appearing on trees...

Aren't these luscious? Not sure what these buds are from - they are forming on a branch that was lying on the ground. I'll keep my eye on them and see what develops, literally!

It was around 3c yesterday and the sun was shining - just perfect for a ramble - except for the slippery mucky mud. And I stayed away from the worst areas that were flooded. The last thing I want to do is fall in the mud!

BUT, I love this time of year when I can start spotting signs of life. I'll be recording when I see what in my notebook and compare to last year. Because that's the kind of exciting life I have, you know! :)

Friday, March 17, 2017

Foto Friday

 One year ago today I was in Kilally Meadows and found some signs of new life. In a few minutes I'll be there once again, welcoming in spring under a gloriously blue sky! Off I go!

Monday, March 13, 2017

Happy Days are Here Again

 The splint has come off!!  What to do? What to do? I have no physical restrictions other than to do 4 sets of 10 reps of making a fist, and a couple other exercises I can't name, every day. Woo hoo - it's like being freed from prison - a finger jail!

I've cleaned up the workshop so it's all set to go. I could go back to volleyball tomorrow but I'm going to give myself a week to do the daily strengthening exercises and will start back next Tuesday. It's so exciting!

And my eye is great so all is well....knock wood.... and my head! Must. not. over. do. it! Knock knock knock! My knee isn't too bad - no pain up and down stairs, no pain walking or riding my stationary bike. Going down on one knee or squatting is painful so I try not to do that too often, if at all. I have my own way of getting down onto the floor, if need be, and while it sure isn't graceful it does spare my knee somewhat.

Getting older is a pain in my (fill in the blanks) __________________, _________________ and ________________________.   😢

Sunday, March 12, 2017

Foto Fri....Sat....Sunday!

I just had breakfast for lunch. Why? Forgot about turning the clocks ahead til just a few moments ago! So today I'll be dining elegantly at 7pm! 

Below is a photo I took one day last week and it was like 6:15pm! Tonight if I get to see a sunset it will be 7:15pm!! We're getting closer and closer to spring! Not with the weather however. A winter storm is coming our way...again...

The next two photos are from my 5km walk that I try to do everyday but there's been a lot of flooding lately even on city street as many of the drains are clogged up with leaves and debris.

This was one of my favourite signs at the International Womens' Day that I attended last Wed. It was so windy that we didn't march after listening to the speakers - we could barely hold on to our signs and banners.

This photo below is from my 5km walk the day after the big wind - a large spruce was brought down. I have several tall spruce trees behind my condo and I was keeping my eye on them due to the 90km/hr winds - they seemed to be bending over at almost a 90 degree angle to the ground but thankfully none of them were uprooted.

The next few photos are from Friday's fun activities. After my weekly sit-in I had lunch at The Trini Man Kitchen with my two best buds - I could eat blackened chicken everyday of my entire life!!!

Then my friend Jules needed to go to a nearby art store to purchase supplies for a week long kids' art camp held at our city gallery. It's now March Break. I looked around and found a box of soapstone pieces!! So I bought 2 small chunks because I work small and the cost for the 2 pieces was a mere $3.43! I'll be going back soon to get more!

While I was at the sit-in in the morning I was able to purchase some farm fresh organic eggs from my friend Celeste. She has a small illegal farm in the city but hasn't been caught yet! I also purchase organic honey from her!

The campaign I'm involved in is to try to keep Ontario Hydro a public utility - our government is trying to sell it off for short-term gain. I was given a Hydro mug as thanks for being a part of this protest movement.

This was my small grocery shop that I did on Friday. I'm currently eating mostly vegetables, a smaller amount of fruit, and protein in the form of chicken and fish. For snacks I'll grab a few peanuts and will make my detox drink from lemon juice, apple cider vinegar, honey, cinnamon and boiling water. I've lost 5 pounds in combination with moving my body 25km per day. (walking, hiking and biking). I hope that by lightening up my weight my knee won't hurt so much. Worth a try.

I buy unsalted peanuts in the shell and pistachios too.  I will complain just once about all of the empty shells in the bag! I did try buying from the bulk store but an equally high or higher amount of empty shells :(

I received in the mail this week - a guide for The South West Coast Path which is over 600km in length.  What an adventure that would be!!! I also received the guide for the West Highland Way in Scotland that I'm doing this year.

The last photo is the worst of the bunch!! A couple of years ago the cost to renew our annual license plate sticker was $75. Then the next year they raised it to $90 (and I know I complained about that on my blog!) and this year!!!!! $120.00!!!!!!! An increase of $30 - holy crap! Once more reason to go car-free!
And that about wraps things up. Last week was a busy week of going out to lunch, going to a Council of Canadians dinner, sit-ins, going for walks and to movies (saw Fences and Manchester by the Sea). I missed seeing "Moonlight" but it's out on DVD so I'll rent it.

Now, with a shorter day, I must get the laundry going and get onto my bike. It doesn't look very inviting outside so I think I'll skip my walk. It's -10c and we have another snow squall warning in effect.

Did you remember to turn your clocks ahead?

Thursday, March 9, 2017

Time Wasters

I would post the photos I took for International Women's Day yesterday but I can't because as I just told Kim, who has been battling her "inner brat", I can't get up to do things when there is a cat or two sitting in my lap! Just can't disturb them! This works really well when I have various housecleaning tasks on my "to do" list. Sometimes I spend a good 20 minutes looking for the cats and making them sit on my lap but I do what has to be done!

Who could disturb this little face? Not me!
My inner brat also makes me watch numerous videos about the chaotic affairs in Washington, D.C. especially from Late Night TV shows hosted by Seth Myers, Stephen Colbert, John Oliver, and Jimmy Fallon. Talk about wasting my time! Yet it helps to laugh!

Those are my two main time wasters - cats and humour - it could be worse! What are your time wasters?

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

International Women's Day!

Imagine going through one day without a woman - a mother, sister, friend, colleague, wife, aunt, niece, grandmother...

Hard to imagine isn't it? But then, you're all women I think! (There may be the odd male lurker/creeper out there who doesn't make himself known :)

Last night I spent a wonderful evening with friends and fellow members of the Council of Canadians, as we gathered to celebrate International Women's Day; there were a few supportive male friends and husbands as well. We ate an amazing dinner of Afghan food prepared by a former refugee, now a Canadian citizen.

In the front row is revered author and WATER activist, Maude Barlow, if you click her name you will be linked to her Wikipedia page. We were so fortunate that she could attend our gathering.

My friend, Julie, made the banner which will go with us today to Victoria Park, as we all gather in sisterhood and solidarity to support women's rights and to give thanks to the women in our life! (Can you see my tiny head?)

Now I must go get ready. We've been blessed with a very windy but warm and sunny day - it should be an exciting time!

Thursday, March 2, 2017

Tidy is as Tidy Does...

My house was neater when I worked. Obviously because I wasn't home enough to mess it up, not because I cleaned more.

Now I have become so fascinating that there are piles of books and binders and maps and travel guides and flash drives and electronic devices and sweaters (I never know which chair/couch I'm going to get cold on so every chair needs at least one!) and journals and pen holders and cords and....that's just my living room!

I think I need to put a sign on my front door - "A Fascinating Woman Lives Here" - so no one will mind the mess.  Well, they might mind but hopefully they'll shut up about it!