Feb 11, 2019

Microseismometer Monday

microseismometer ~ instrument for measuring small or distant earthquakes

Last Tuesday (February 5) was the changing of the Chinese year. We said goodbye to the Dog and hello to the Pig.

It’s funny, any time I think of pigs I think of my Aunt Florence – and I don’t mean that in a bad way either. She had a thing for pigs (not real ones) – we made pigs for Easter out of Styrofoam egg cartons, and she had a set of ceramic pigs for St. Patrick’s Day – but this wasn’t something we really took note of until her later years. I think she wanted it that way so she wouldn’t be inundated with pigs on gift giving occasions as kids like to do.

Once a kid knows you like something, that’s their fallback gift for every gift giving occasion. Which is nice for them because they’re never stuck for long for an idea, but not so nice for the recipient of yet another mug with a hummingbird or dog or boat on it. So I can kind of see why Aunt Florence kept her love of pigs to herself for so long – it saved her from receiving a giant stuffed pig for her birthday or Christmas (which I’m sure I would have done).

Anyway… I’ve always had a thing for the Zodiac – both the western and eastern ones. I’m pretty sure I did a series of posts on the Zodiac, but I started getting way too distracted looking for them so you’ll just have to take my word for it.

At any rate, for many years I thought I was born during the Year of the Pig, but that’s because I was following the western calendar, which goes from January 1 to December 31. However, the Chinese New Year begins on the second new moon following the winter solstice; that’s why it’s on a different day every year. And that’s also how I was actually born in the Year of the Dog.

Now this might not seem to be a big deal to you non-zodiac believers out there, but consider this: The Pig tends to be considerate, responsible, generous, and optimistic. They’re also lazy, short-tempered, clumsy, and enjoy sleeping and eating. The Dog is loyal, responsible, clever, and independent. But they also tend to be sensitive, conservative, stubborn, and emotional.

I have traits from both animals – and no, I’m not going to tell you which ones. Those that know me can figure it out for themselves. :-) But it makes me wonder … Those born on the cusp (the day before or after) of one of the western zodiac signs often share the traits of the two signs. Could someone born before the second new moon after the winter solstice but technically in the new year also be considered to be born on the cusp, thereby sharing traits from both years?

Makes sense to me.

Feb 4, 2019

Muliebrile Monday

muliebrile ~ womanly; feminine

There is a lot of stuff in my house. And I mean a LOT of stuff. This is what happens when you’re a pack rat with many different interests.

I keep trying to pare it down, but it’s not easy. This item is part of a collection, or that item has sentimental value. And when I do manage to get rid of some stuff, more magically appears to take its place.

Have you ever watched Tiny House Nation? Basically, it’s a show where people decide (for whatever reason) to downsize from their normal, large sized home to one that’s only a couple of square feet. Okay, maybe I exaggerate a little. It’s more like a couple of hundred square feet, but it just seems like a lot smaller.

To qualify as a tiny home, it must be less than 500 square feet. Considering the average size of a home is between 1500 and 2500 square feet, that’s a big change. And that’s a lot of square footage of “stuff” to get rid of. I think the episode that really drove home the whole down-sizing concept was the one where the wife was presented with a medium sized plastic bin and told that whatever she could fit in there was her clothing allowance. Her shoes alone overflowed the bin.

I’m of two minds about the tiny houses.

On the one hand, they’re cute and compact and make amazing use of what space they have. They’re relatively low-cost to build (around 50,000 U.S.) so all you really need is the land to put them on.

On the other hand, I’ve seen cottages with more space. I could fill one up with my books alone – don’t even suggest I downsize my book collection. And while I could see using one as a writing shed, I couldn’t possibly imagine having to live in one and share the space with someone. Even the cats would go stir crazy after a while – I’d have to have a catio added on.

And that’s the thing. Many of these tiny homes make good use of outdoor space as well, which is fine if you live in a warmer climate, not so great if you live on, say, the west coast where it’s rainy.

And many of these homes are on wheels, which begs the question, why wouldn’t you just buy an RV instead?

Jan 28, 2019

Melliferous Monday

melliferous ~ producing or forming honey

So . . . Happy New Year, eh?

*Looks around sheepishly*

Once again I got caught up in the whole mythos that a new year means a new beginning and this year will be different. It’s not really. It’s the same old, same old, only further along in the calendar.

So . . . I guess since January is almost over I should start posting again, starting with a recap of how I rang in the new year.

We spent the holiday weekend here:

It was cold and wet and unless you’re into wax museums, fun houses, or casinos (which the hubby isn’t) there isn’t a whole lot to do there. If it had just been cold we would have done a lot more walking around, but it rained most of the time we were there.

The TV in our room got maybe 5 channels, and 3 of those were sports networks. And while I did bring a book with me, I finished it by the second day. That’s when I made a horrifying discovery. THERE ARE NO BOOKSTORES IN NIAGARA FALLS!

I asked at the front desk and they just stared at me blankly. I could almost see the wheels turning – “book? What is book?” Not only are there no book stores, there are no books, not even in the convenience stores. There were no books, there were no magazines, there weren’t even any newspapers. Do the people in Niagara Falls not read???

Mental note: Do not go on vacation anywhere without an e-reader.

New Year’s Eve we were going to have dinner at one of the restaurants on Clifton Hill (where all the action is) and made it as far as the hotel lobby. It was pouring rain so we quickly changed our plan to dining in the hotel’s restaurant.

To our surprise, despite the rain the nine o’clock fireworks went off. Later on the rain had let up so we ventured down to the bottom of the hill with about a million other people to watch the midnight fireworks (it started to rain again before we got there so we bought an umbrella from one of the souvenir shops).

The only other thing of note during my absence was the grandbaby’s birthday. My little sweetie is now four! Can you believe it?

Guess I’ll have to stop calling her “the grandbaby, eh?

Dec 31, 2018

Morganise Monday

morganise ~ to secretly do away with

Another Christmas under our belts and the year is almost over. And if you want to know the truth, I’m not sorry in the least to see the end of 2018. It’s been a crappy, crappy year and I was done with its shenanigans months ago.

And it STILL hasn’t been snowy or cold enough to wear my new boots!

There’s usually at least some good to go along with the bad, but looking back all I can see is the bad stuff that’s happened – the disappointments, the setbacks, the unexpected illnesses… And then whilst perusing Facebook one day I saw a picture of something called a blessing jar.

The idea is that in January you start with an empty jar. Each week you write down a good thing that’s happened and add it to the jar. On New Year’s Eve you empty the jar and read about the amazing year you had.

Sounds like a neat idea, doesn’t it? I liked it so much that I not only bought myself a jar, I got one for a couple of friends who’ve had a bad year as well. Maybe we can compare notes at the end and see who came out on top. The challenge will be to have a good year.

There’s good news and bad news about my poor, sick kitty. The good news is that he’s feeling better, good enough to fight getting his medication in fact. And he’s back to walking normally and howling the house down. The bad news is that this is just a temporary reprieve. He has kidney disease as well as a compressed disk in his back, so this is most likely his last Christmas. But as I said, he’s doing better right now and hopefully he has several good months to enjoy yet.

If you’re a regular reader of this blog, then you know another unexpectedly bad thing that happened was the hubby’s brush with cancer. After an operation that removed 70 % of his intestines and six months of chemotherapy his prognosis is good, but for a long while things didn’t seem so optimistic.

The daughter decided to offset this bad happening of 2018 by making a donation to the cancer unit of our local hospital, and the grandbaby got in on the action by donating her hair to be made into a wig for a cancer patient.

While it’s sad to see that beautiful hair gone, I’m so proud of her. And look at that face, she was excited to be able to do it.

This kid seriously has a handle on the season of giving. I have a feeling my blessing jar will have a lot of her in it.

Dec 24, 2018

Merry Monday, Christmas Eve

In keeping with my personal holiday tradition, today I’m posting Christmas videos from the Trans-Siberian Orchestra. If you’ve never seen them before then you’re in for a treat.

And just to save you the trouble of checking out my other blog, I’m posting this to both of them so no one misses out. :-D

Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good night!

Wizards of Winter

Christmas Canon

Christmas Eve in Sarajevo

Dec 17, 2018

Molinary Monday

molinary ~ of, like or pertaining to mills or grinding

You know, it’s a little hard to get into the spirit of Christmas when it’s so freaking warm outside! Forget the gloomy grey skies – I could deal with the gloom if we were getting snow instead of rain. But we’re not. It’s been raining off and on for the last several days.

I got new snow boots delivered last Monday and I wore them once, just because I could. But it’s really been too warm for boots. It’s too warm for the flannel shirt I’m wearing too so after I finish this post I think I’ll go change into a tee-shirt . . . like I wore all last week.

Speaking of deliveries…I thought we were supposed to be in the middle of a postal strike? You sure couldn’t tell from the amount of mail we’ve been getting. The post office is even delivering on weekends to catch up to the back log. I’m still waiting on a few deliveries, but I think that has more to do with the companies who’re sending the stuff than our postal service.

And remember that beautiful dragonfly blanket I ordered at the end of August? I’ve pretty much given up on it. Not because of our postal service, but because the company no longer exists. Buyer beware when it comes to the internet. Chose your products (and the companies they come from) wisely.

Just to round out my Christmas angst…I have a sick cat on my hands too. Taz is 18 years old and at first we thought he was just feeling his age, but he started having problems moving his hind quarters so off to the vet we went. He has a compressed disk near the base of his spine so he’s on painkillers for now and we’ll probably start him on steroids this week.

Is it any wonder I’m not feeling the Christmas spirit?

So just to cheer everyone up, here are a couple of Christmas videos:

I'm Climbing Up the Christmas Tree

Animals of YouTube Sing Deck the Halls

Dec 10, 2018

Minimism Monday

minimism ~ inclination to reduce a dogma to the least possible

You know, the problem with having a busy weekend followed by a day off from babysitting is that Monday tends to feel like Sunday. And you’d think despite spending the day shopping, followed by making the usual big dinner for the daughter and her family Sunday would have felt like Sunday, but nevertheless, this is why today’s post is late.

Not only does today feel like Sunday, I actually slept in this morning. Okay, not so much slept in as lounged in bed for an extra 45 minutes because it’s another grey, miserable day outside today. Plus I’m feeling pretty grey and miserable myself with a sinus infection. Good thing I get to see my doctor this week.

The Christmas shopping, and most of the wrapping, is done. The hubby and I went up to Peterborough (about an hour’s drive north) yesterday and as we were headed from one mall to another I suddenly realized we were supposed to go to Oshawa (about an hour’s drive west) because Peterborough doesn’t have a Toys ‘R Us and we needed to exchange one of the grandbaby’s gifts.

Notice how all our shopping seems to be about an hour’s drive away from here, no matter what direction you take?

The decorating, such as it is, is pretty much done as well. The hubby put lights outside around the windows, and a row of candy canes in the garden. We also have two of those light projectors – one with just green and red lights, the other with green and red candy canes that kind of dance around on the side of the house. I also sprung for a real wreath for the front door – I’ve been wanting one for years.

Inside the house is not quite as festive. One of the pitfalls of the hubby being retired is that he no longer brings home a poinsettia from the office, so I went out and bought my own. And then, on Saturday morning, after much plotting and planning and rearranging of things in the dining room (mostly just getting rid of crap that didn’t need to be in there), I went out and bought a real, live Christmas tree.

I can’t remember the last time I had a real Christmas tree, but I found one that’s small enough to fit on the drop leaf table that divides the living and dining rooms, and as I proved last night we can still all eat at the dining room table. So far I only have the lights on it, but I’ll dig out the rest of the decorations today and post a picture of it next week.

Meanwhile, the other goal today is to get all of the out of town presents in the mail. Well, all except for the ones for my sisters. I ordered theirs online and I haven’t got them yet.

Sorry, sisters! You gifts might be a little late this year.