Aug 13, 2018

Mycosis Monday

mycosis ~ disease due to the growth of a fungus

I read on the weather network website that conditions during the spring were very favourable for the breeding of mice, insects, and other such pests. I didn’t think much of it at the time, but I’m paying attention now. That and the coyotes moving on to new hunting grounds probably accounts for our current situation.



Yup, that’s right. We’ve got mice. That one was waiting for me in the dining room one morning when I got up to feed the cats (they may kill them, but they won’t stoop so low as to eat them).

We had mice a couple of years ago but the hubby put mouse bait down in the basement where the cats don’t go and that appeared to take care of the problem. The first sign we had that they were back was mouse dropping under the toaster oven. I admit I don’t think to clean under there often, but in this case we got a new one and when we moved the old one…

Even so, I was willing to believe they were old droppings, missed from our earlier mouse invasion that had been mainly confined to the junk drawer in the kitchen. But alas, such was not the case as I discovered when I opened the spice cupboard to find they’d gotten into some sunflower seeds – sunflower seed skins all over the place (as well mouse droppings).

To date, three mice have been killed in traps, two by cat, one was released back into the wild after it was caught dragging a “guaranteed to kill” trap around the kitchen, and two of those same traps have gone missing. Hubby also put more mouse bait in the basement.

The really weird thing is that there’s no sign of them in the cupboard where I keep the crackers and cereal, a much easier cupboard to get into than the spice cupboard. Most of the food in there is in its original cardboard boxes, unlike the spice cupboard where almost everything is kept in sealed containers. There hasn’t been any sign of them since I disinfected that cupboard, but I keep checking.

It’s enough to make me miss the coyotes!

Aug 6, 2018

Muscicide Monday

muscicide ~ substance for killing flies

I did something last night that I haven’t done in…I can’t remember how long. I closed my bedroom window.

You have to understand what a big deal this is. I’m kind of a fresh air junkie. Even in the dead of winter I have the bedroom window cracked open, even if it’s just an inch or so. And of course in the summer time it’s not just about the fresh air, it’s also about the summer melodies – the wind shushing through the trees, crickets chirping, the odd sleepy bird calling… And let’s not forget the smells of summer – fresh cut grass, flowers blooming…

Of course you can’t hear any of the sounds of summer over the noise from the air conditioner, and I’ve developed allergies so the smells of summer have been making me stuff up more often than not. *sigh*

We got a new air conditioner for the upstairs (and spent way more for it than we were counting on). This one, however, does not fit neatly into the window. It sits on the floor, and it’s rather large, which meant the hanging basket chair on its stand had to move out of its corner at the top of the stairs.

So. I was upstairs in the guest room, rearranging chairs to try and fit the basket chair (and I cleaned out the closet and went through some of the stuff on the bookcase while I was at it) and I couldn’t help but notice the hot breeze coming in the window. So I closed it. And almost immediately I could start feeling the cool air from the new air conditioner wafting in. And then I had to take some clothes into the master bedroom and couldn’t help but notice the difference in temperature. So that window got closed too and we slept in relative comfort the rest of the night.

Now, if I could just bring myself to close the windows down the hall on the main floor maybe we could get the rest of the house to cool down a degree or two. :-)

And for those of you who are keeping track, we’re currently under a heat warning. The humidex is pushing the temperature up over 40C (105F). I’ve gone outside in the winter where the cold takes your breath away but I think this is the first time I’ve ever had the heat take it away.

But you know who likes the heat? The tomatoes. The cherry tomatoes the hubby and granddaughter planted are just covered in little green tomatoes that are just starting to turn ripe.



And look at the tomatoes in my neighbor’s garden – I think these are plum tomatoes and the picture just shows the tip of the iceberg where her garden is concerned:



A bumper crop for sure. Salsa anyone?

Jul 30, 2018

Molendinar Monday

molendinar ~ of, like or pertaining to a mill or miller



So…hot enough for you? Have you ever noticed that even when the temperature is sort of reasonable outside the house still manages to heat up like a furnace?

Of course you people blessed with central air conditioning have no idea what I’m talking about, do you? While the rest of us struggle to find ways to stay cool, you’re going about your daily business, safe in the knowledge that the temperature in your house will remain constant no matter what it’s doing outside.

But heat is one thing, humidity is something else altogether, something else you people with central air don’t have to worry about. You can look at the temperature and think “Oh, this isn’t so bad” but you’d be wrong. You've forgotten about the humidex.

This is what happens when you live right on a large body of water, like Lake Ontario. Just like the wind chill in the winter makes it colder than it’s supposed to be, the humidex makes it hotter. So on a day that the temperature is only 24 Celsius, which is a reasonable 75 Fahrenheit, the humidity makes it feel like 36 C, which is an unholy 97 F.

And let’s not forget the creeping dampness, caused by the humidity. This is where everything around you feels damp – you, your clothes, your furniture, your pets – there’s no escaping it. Bread goes mouldy in the blink of an eye.

We do not have central air. We have two window air conditioners – one in the dining room and one in the upstairs hallway. There’s an oscillating fan on the dining room table that blows the cold air into both the kitchen and living room, and we have a couple of fans upstairs – but we only use those if it’s really bad.

For a fan to work well enough to cool you down for sleeping, it pretty much has to be blowing directly on you. Even in high humidity this tends to dry you out a little too much and you wake up with a sore throat. And let’s not forget the noise. Fans tend to be just a tad on the noisy side. Not as loud as an air conditioner (which is why it’s not in the bedroom), but enough to bother your ears if you have to listen to it all night.

Last night the air conditioner in the upstairs window died. The hubby managed to resuscitate it for a short time, but around 1:30 a.m. it began making a grinding, clanking noise, which even if it had still been blowing cold air (which it wasn’t) we wouldn’t have been able to sleep through. It was just fortunate that it had cooled down enough outside that what little cold air came out of the unit’s last gasp was enough to keep us going through the night.

I really have to wonder though, how did we ever survive the heat before air conditioners?


Jul 23, 2018

Micaceous Monday

micaceous consisting of or made of mica

You have no idea how tempting it was to title this post “Melting Monday” as a reflection of the heat and humidity we’ve been undergoing lately. Traditionally though, August is hotter than July, so I may have cause to use that title in the future.

Last week the daughter had another conference she needed to attend, which meant I was babysitting full time for several days. Thank goodness for Disney movies! As well as watching movies, we had fun playing and despite the heat we even baked some cookies.

On Wednesday we took her Jungle Cat World . Her favorite attraction was ….



Yes, that’s right, in a wildlife refuge devoted to big cats, her favorite thing was the small playground in the middle of the park. She especially loved the slide and playing in the sand. *sigh*

Her second favorite thing was ….



The rocks scattered throughout the grounds that were large enough to climb on. “This rock is my friend!” A future geologist perhaps? Or maybe she’ll be into rock climbing. If really pressed, you might get her to admit that her actual favorite animal was any of the bunnies in the bunny enclosure.



And a close second would be these guys:



At first she was calling them camels, but then insisted they were llamas when I tried to tell her they were alpacas. I guess they do look pretty similar, although llamas are much bigger and their wool isn’t as soft. But she had a good time, and that’s what counts in the end.

On the weekend we all drove up to Stoney Creek to wish my aunt a happy 90th birthday. Traffic was brutal on the way up, but it was worth it to see her and share in the celebration. The grandbaby did amazingly well considering how long she had to sit in the car and the fact that she missed her nap. Of course she was able to burn off a lot of energy running around with her cousins before we had to head home again.

Her mom did manage to catch her long enough for our traditional four generations picture with the birthday girl:



I hope I look that good when I turn 90!

Jul 16, 2018

Meedless Monday

Oops! My bad. Apparently in my rush to get this posted last night so that it was still Monday, I somehow managed to forget to save the actual post. One of those technical glitches that I usually catch but....Sorry about that!


meedless ~ undeserving; unrewarded

Yowsa! I almost forgot about this post. But I have, what I think, is an excellent excuse. The heat has turned my brain to mush.

You know all you people who were whining about how cold it was in the winter, and how you wished it was summer? Well I hope you’re happy. We’ve got summer all right – in spades. The heat is bad enough, but the humidity is killer!

What’s the point of summer if it’s too hot and sticky to enjoy yourself outside? The weekend we spent in Toronto was insanely hot, but being outside was tolerable because it wasn’t particularly humid. Plus there was a decent wind most of the time.

But the last few days here have been hot, hazy, and humid. How’s that for alliteration? And what little breeze we’ve had has been hot, hot, hot.

I don’t handle heat particularly well, humidity even less so. Sunday night after dinner I went outside to the front garden (which was in full shade by the way) to dead head my petunias and within minutes I was dripping in sweat.

Have I mentioned we don’t have a central air conditioning system? What we have is an a/c unit in the dining room window and one in the upstairs window. There’s a fan on the dining room table to help distribute the cold air into the living room, and there’s a fan in the bedroom upstairs that I try not to use because it gives me a stuffed nose and a dry throat.

There have been threats of thunderstorms, but no rain. The hubby has had to water the plants just about every day. He was a little concerned about his tomato plants because they’re starting to look a little rough, but I reminded him that last year his single tomato plant looked the same way before starting to bear fruit. And sure enough, the plants are covered in little tomatoes. He’s even got one fully ripe one and three that are almost there.

But the lawns, however, have gone from lush and green to dry and crispy. And summer’s really just getting started.

Global warming indeed.

Jul 9, 2018

Magisterium Monday

magisterium ~ teaching function of the Catholic church

I don’t know about you, but I kind of like stumbling over new words, or discovering the meaning behind old phrases. Like…wet your whistle.

I always figured “wet your whistle” meant “have something to drink.” But last year I bought this plastic whistle in the shape of a bird from the dollar store and gave it to the grandbaby so she could annoy her parents. Her mother, of course, caused it to vanish almost immediately (it was really annoying).



But a couple of weeks ago the daughter was looking for something in her front hall closet and found the whistle. Her husband told her it was to make bird sounds, and you were supposed to put water in it.

Say what?

So she put water in it and I think they all had a turn with it, and it went from being a major annoyance to something really cool. It really does sound like a bird whistling, and birds will respond it it! Is that neat, or what?

It got me to thinking about the phrase, “wet your whistle” and I figured maybe that’s what it really meant. To wet your whistle was to put water in a whistle to make it sound like a bird. And being the curious sort of person I am, I ended up doing a little research.

So, it turns out my first supposition (having something to drink) was closer to the truth.

One version of its origin comes from the middle ages where it was believed that pubs would have whistles baked into their ceramic mugs so that patrons could signal a barmaid when they wanted a refill. However, there is no evidence to support this – no such mugs have survived as proof.

The more likely is the theory, and the one that’s universally accepted, is that it’s hard to whistle with a dry mouth, so “wet your whistle” simply meant to “have a drink.”

I think I kind of like my version better. :-D

Jul 3, 2018

Tatterdemalion Tuesday

tatterdemalion ~ tattered; ragged; scarecrow-like

Seeing as the hubby’s unexpected brush with death put the kybosh on the cruise we were going to take for our 40th anniversary, we decided to treat ourselves to a holiday weekend in good old Toronto. And yes, I know this post is a day late, but I have an excellent excuse. I wasn’t home to write it (and it never occurred to me to write it ahead of time).

To start this off right, I’d like to share a few observations and tips I made on our time away:

1. Make a list of stuff to take, including incidentals like hair brushes and deodorant. Check off each item as it’s packed and do not trust your husband to pack such things for you even though he is in charge of packing stuff from the bathroom.
2. Summer is hot. Summer in the city is stupidly hot.
3. Shoes/sandals that are fine for walking around the house or when you’re shopping are not necessarily good for walking miles and miles in unrelenting heat.
4. If you’re going on a site-seeing boat tour with the idea of taking lots of pictures, check out the boat before you pay for your ticket to make sure it doesn’t have windows that will cause reflections to muck up your pictures.
5. VIP Cineplexes are twice the price of a regular one and really not worth it.
6. Summer is not the most ideal time to visit a series of greenhouses in the center of the city. In fact, it’s a really, really stupid idea. Don’t do it.

All that being said, we still had a pretty good time. Our hotel was right on the waterfront so we just parked and walked to pretty much everywhere we wanted to go, like the Eaton’s Centre:



We actually went there a few times and got lost in there twice. I swear it’s built on a magical vortex of some kind that gives it the power to move stores and floors and exits.

For such a large city, Toronto is surprisingly clean. And just to pretty it up even more, there are murals in many unexpected places. Street art put to good use. This particular one was in the alley beside Massey Hall.



We saw it as we were leaving Fran’s after dinner our first night there. Fran’s is a somewhat famous diner that’s open 24/7. Its claim to fame is the invention of the original banquet burger by owner Fran Deck. Another famous place we ate was The Old Spaghetti Factory, which is housed in a building that at one time was a Blacksmith shop. It’s full of atmosphere and antiques and the food is fabulous.



As well as a lot of shopping and walking, we managed to squeeze in time to see the newest Jurassic World movie. It took four escalators to get up to the Cineplex where it was playing, and then another two to get up to the actual theatre where the movie was showing.

We also took a one hour boat tour of the Toronto Islands, and visited the Allan Gardens Conservatory. Allan Gardens is over 100 years old and covers over 16,000 square feet. The greenhouses contain tropical plants from all over the world and one of the greenhouses is nothing but cacti. And it is NOT a place to be visited on one of the hottest days of the summer. I now know how it feels to be sweating so much it drips into your eyes.

I do have a great many pictures from both the islands and the greenhouses, but they’re all on my camera and it’s going to be a while before I get those pictures downloaded. I did, however, manage a phone picture of our final excursion, the Royal Ontario Museum.



There was a lot to see, but we managed to see pretty much all of it – three floors of permanent exhibits as well as the special spider exhibit in the basement. I probably took close to a thousand pictures, but again, they’re mostly all on the camera not my phone. I did, however, get this picture of Yanluo, the King of Hell (Ming Dynasty):



Weighing the fun we had against the heat, the sore feet, and the leg cramps, I’d say all in all it was a great way to spend our anniversary weekend.

Happy Anniversary to us!