Oct 15, 2018

Melisma Monday

melisma ~ tune; melodic embellishment; ornamentation

I have a bad case of the dreary wearies.

What are the dreary wearies, you ask? It’s from one of the grandbaby’s books called The Pout Pout Fish. The Pout Pout Fish swims around looking sad and his various fish friends all try and get him to cheer up, but every time he answers with:
“I’m a pout pout fish
With a pout pout face
And I spread the dreary wearies
All over the place.
Glub, glub, glub.”
Finally, at the end of the book he’s drifted to the bottom of the sea where he’s lying upside down on a rock and this beautiful silver fish swims over and gives him a kiss. Pout Pout Fish suddenly realizes he’s not a pout pout fish, but a smooch smooch fish and now he spreads smooches all over the place.

Don’t judge! It’s a cute book. LOL

Anyway, now whenever the grandbaby is in a grumpy mood I tell her she’s being a pout pout fish.

I’m kind of like the weather – in between things these days. I have six books stacked up beside my chair in the living room, all partially read, and I don’t feel like reading any of them. I have two novels on the go and don’t feel like writing. I have a bag of yarn a friend gave me as well as a bag of yarn I put together to do a sweater for the grandbaby and don’t feel like knitting or crocheting.

So what do I want to do? That’s the problem. I don’t know.

This tends to happen to me about this time every year. It’s the season of transition where I don’t know what I want to do so I end up doing nothing and then I get a big case of the guilts for not getting anything accomplished.

All I know is, this too shall pass. Hopefully sooner than later. I wouldn’t want to be a pout pout fish forever.


Oct 8, 2018

Maturescent Monday

maturescent ~ becoming mature

Happy Thanksgiving to all my Canadian friends!



As I write this post I am suffering from a turkey coma, which is entirely my own fault. What can I say? The grocery store seduced me with its sale on turkeys and somehow this 23 pound turkey just jumped into my grocery cart.

There were five of us for Thanksgiving dinner. That’s 4 ½ pounds of turkey per person, along with all the other stuff: potatoes, peas, carrots, dressing, rolls, sweet potatoes… and pie. Let’s not forget the pie.

The daughter made a beautiful pumpkin pie.



And I knew she was bringing it, but that still didn’t stop me from buying one at Costco the day before dinner. Again, I was seduced by the sale price. I mean seriously, did you see the size of those Costco pumpkin pies? They were huge! And really cheap.

But I digress…

What I’d like to do today is share a few of the things I’m grateful for.

I’m grateful that I live in Canada where we can enjoy free basic health care, a calmer political landscape, and the changing seasons.

I’m grateful that we have a roof over our head and food on our table.

I’m grateful that I have good health (relatively speaking).

I’m grateful that the hubby is just about finished his chemotherapy after his cancer scare.

I’m grateful for my beautiful daughter and her hubby.

I’m grateful for my amazing granddaughter who grows bigger and brighter each day. She really is my sunshine.

I’m grateful for all my friends and family, both near and far.

And most of all, right now I’m grateful for stretchy pants. :-D

Happy Thanksgiving.

Oct 1, 2018

Mitogenic Monday

mitogenic ~ causing cell division

Once upon a time we had a pretty little pond garden that looked like this:



Then the big old poplar tree in it developed some kind of rot and had to be taken down before it fell down on the new neighbour’s brand new, custom built garden shed. Not only was it expensive to have done, it pretty much toasted the garden.



We kind of liked our little garden back there, and the hubby had put a patio in for us to sit on and enjoy the serenity. We even bought chairs specifically for sitting back there, but there didn’t seem to be much point when this was going to be our view:



So the hubby decided to rebuild the pond garden. He would make it bigger, stronger, better…And that is what he spent his summer doing.

First he built a proper retaining wall out of brick instead of wood. And as you can see, he also decided to repair the fence between us and the neighbour. The fence has been here since before we moved here, and we’ve been here for a very long time, so it was in desperate need of some TLC.



Once the wall was done it was time for a new pond. Our old one was pretty much just a piece of flexible liner sheet that fit over the hole the hubby had dug originally. It wasn’t all that deep, as ponds go, mainly because it was too hard to dig through the roots from the poplar tree. This is why we didn’t keep fish in it. Okay, we did have fish one year—friends gave us a bag of feeder fish, but we took them in for the winter. Then the following year the raccoons discovered them and had a sushi party.

The new pond is not only a proper hard plastic liner, it’s also a little bigger than the old one – both deeper and wider. I’m not sure if it’s quite deep enough for more fish, but it’s something to consider.



After that the pond was in place (ask him about chopping through the still present root system from the tree to make the hole bigger) he had a truckload of dirt dropped off and spent a couple of days back-filling the garden and setting up the pond. This is where you have to use your imagination to picture the garden filled with flowers.



Going forward, the stone patio is going to be expanded, and we’re going to have the firepit (that’s actually on a cement pad off to the right) in the center with the chairs around it.

Nice job, hubby! I’m actually looking forward to next summer. And here’s your reward:


Sep 24, 2018

Monoptote Monday

monoptote ~ word with one form for all cases; indeclinable noun

Yesterday a friend and I made a pilgrimage to Toronto to the 29th annual Word On the Street. This is a festival that celebrates the written word, from publishers to authors and everything in between.



This wasn’t the first time I’ve been to this event. In fact, the first time I went it was with the same friend. We drove up to Toronto and parked at the Yorkdale Mall and took the subway to Queens Park where the event was held.

It was a good thing my friend knew her way around Toronto because of the two subway stops closest to it, one was just a bit too soon, and one was just a bit too late. A couple of years later I went again with a different friend and forgot which stop was better, so we just ended up following the crowd. LOL

I don’t know when they switched the venue from Queens Park to Queens Quay, but that’s where we had to go this year. I will say one thing about the move, it’s easier to get to. We drove to Oshawa (about halfway between our town and Toronto) and took the GO train to Union Station. From Union it was just a few blocks worth of a walk to the waterfront – actually, very close to where the hotel the hubby and I stayed at when we had our holiday at the beginning of the summer.

Although we agreed that it wasn’t as nicely laid out as when it was in Queen’s Park, we still had a good time. And I managed to come home with a pile of loot:



You can click on the picture to see a bigger version of it, but basically, the stack of books on the left are ones I paid for (at greatly discounted prices), while the rest of the stuff was freebies.

Several things have changed over the years. One was a greater presence of poetry. There were whole booths devoted to poetry, not just the occasional book, and I received several free poems – one was a tiny little scrap of paper in a tiny envelope, it was really cute (the presentation, not the poem).

Another thing that changed was a greater self publishing presence. It was so long ago when we last went that there was still a stigma attached to self-publishing. This time around there were a lot of micro presses and self publishers, as well as booths advocating self-publishing and offering all kinds of information.

One of the things I liked seeing best was the number of writing groups with booths. Some of these offered classes (with draws to win a spot), some of them had information about meetings, and most of them had writing prompts to give away. There really was something for everyone.

We came away footsore but happy, although we didn’t think it was as big as when it was at Queens Park. After I got home and was looking at my map (which was a freebie that I just stuck in my bag) I discovered the reason why. There was a long building that went from the road to the waterfront – we never went past the building but apparently there was a whole other section of booths on the other side of it. And a lot of stuff inside the building as well.

D’oh!

Oh well, guess that just means we’ll be better prepared next year.

Sep 17, 2018

Mensuration Monday

mensuration ~ measuring to find the dimensions of things

It’s the most wonderful time of the year.

No, I’m not talking about back to school, although for any parent with school age children I’m sure this is true. I’m talking about apple season.



We live in apple country. Drive along a country road in any direction and you’re going to find yourself surrounded by apple orchards. And where there’s an orchard, there are road side stands selling apples by the bag or by the bushel.

Apple pie… is there anything that smells better than an apple pie baking in the oven? The sweetness of the apples, the spiciness of the cinnamon… Do you like your pie with a dab of ice cream or a wedge of cheddar?

And let’s not forget all the other uses for apples – apple cider, apple tarts, apple betty, apple crisp, apple bread, apple muffins, baked apples – the list is endless.

My neighbor gave me a bucket (that’s right, a bucket!) of apples at the end of last week and I didn’t get a chance to do anything with them on the weekend, so they’ll be an ongoing project for the week ahead. I’m going to start with apple tarts, then a pie, and figure out what else when I see how many I have left.

The daughter also has a small apple tree and you would not believe the apples she has on it this year. Well, maybe you would. That’s her tree in my picture. ;-)

In honor of apple season I’m going to share one of my favourite apple dishes – fried apples. It goes great as a side with pork chops or over ice cream. Oh, and the reason it’s for one is because the hubby doesn’t like apples. LOL

Fried Apple (for one)
1 tablespoon butter or margarine
1 tablespoon brown sugar*
1 large, tart apple – granny smith or mackintosh – cored and sliced
Cinnamon & nutmeg to taste
*because I’m diabetic, I use less sugar or sometimes substitute maple syrup
Instructions:
In a non-stick skillet, melt butter. Add brown sugar and apple slices. Sprinkle with cinnamon and nutmeg. Cook over medium heat, stirring frequently, for about 20 minutes or until apples are tender.

Enjoy!

Sep 10, 2018

Meconology Monday

meconology ~ study of or treatise concerning opium

You know, this being Canada and all, you’d think we’d be used to the extremes in temperature, wouldn’t you? Well, I don’t know about anyone else, but this weekend sure took me by surprise. We went, literally overnight, from stupidly hot and humid to really cold and dreary.

To give you an idea of how much the temperature changed…Friday the hubby went swimming in the pool and the temperature of the water was 78F (roughly 25.5C). Sunday morning I checked the water and it was 65F (about 18.3C). Friday we were wondering why the air conditioner wasn't working better, Saturday we used no a/c, not even the fan, and were forced to shut the deck door because of the cold.

However, if I’m going to complain about anything to do with the weather it’ll be that despite the cooler temperatures we’re still not getting any sun. Saturday it tried, and as I was feeding the cats shortly after 6 a.m. I couldn’t help notice how pretty the dawning light in the sky was. So I picked up my camera and headed down to this point in our neighbourhood that juts out into the lake to take pictures of the sunrise.



So apparently, we live in some weird curvature of the earth where you can’t get a good picture of either the sunset or the sunrise. Last time I tried to get a picture of the sunset I went down to the lake but west was a little further north than was good for taking pictures. In that case, you’d think the sunrise would be a little further south, meaning over the lake, but as you can see it was not. Next time I’ll have to leave a little earlier and go down to that point you see sticking out even further than the one I was on.

I’ll get that sunrise picture yet!

Sep 3, 2018

Maliferous Monday

maliferous ~ harmful; unhealthy



I have to tell you. Being a grandmother is nothing if not an adventure. The best part is the unconditional love, along with unlimited hugs and kisses. But seeing her grow and change – man, it’s awesome!

She’s only 3 1/2, so she doesn’t start kindergarten until next fall, but she will be going to preschool three mornings a week this year. And thank goodness for that because she needs an outlet for all her energy. She sweet and kind, but also stubborn, but she’s also very polite. If you’re trying to get her to do something she doesn’t want to, it’s usually, “No thank you,” not just a resounding no.

And this is not just a doting grandma’s opinion, but the kid is smart, too. She knows how to spell her name and can recognize a lot of other letters besides. She can count past ten. And she has a memory like an elephant, so be careful what you promise her.

At the request of my neighbor (who just loves her), I brought her over for a play date with a little girl who was visiting on the weekend. This kid was older, she’s starting school in the fall, and didn’t seem keen on meeting new people. It took her a while to warm up to GB (grandbaby), and then when they were playing with some playdough she seemed a little taken aback when GB was using these blobs of colour to act out little stories. What, did the kid not have any imagination?

I was kind of worried that GB’s feelings might have been hurt with the kind of cool reception she received – she’s insanely friendly and figures everyone else in the world is too – but I needn’t have. As much as GB loves to play with other kids, she makes her own fun wherever she goes.

She loves to sing and dance (she picks up the songs from her favorite Disney movies in a heartbeat) and I’ve never met a kid with as big an imagination. Whether it’s using the coffee table as a bridge between the couch and the love seat because the carpet is water, or lining up chairs to sit her toys on for a bus, or having in-depth conversations with her invisible friends, GB is definitely never boring.

But I have to tell you, the wonders of grandmahood kind of dim in the face of the eternal question “Why?”

“Why can’t I have this (or that)?”

“Why is he doing that?” usually asked about a cartoon character.

“Why do I have to eat my lunch before I get a tiger cookie?”

And the list goes on. But it’s not just the questions, it’s the constant babble. I love my grandbaby dearly, but she never shuts up! And it’s not even just a 3-year-old’s nonsensical babble, this kid actually makes sense. She’s telling a story, or explaining something, or giving you her opinion on something. It’s exhausting!

We were watching cartoons one day and one of the characters was having a quiet time. I asked GB why she couldn’t have a quiet time and she told me, “Because the sun is up, Grammy.”

I guess that answers my question.

Aug 27, 2018

Mallophagous Monday

mallophagous ~ eating wool or fleece

Any online shoppers out there? I don’t know about anyone else, but I find online shopping pretty hit or miss.

The daughter buys a lot of her clothes on-line, mainly from Old Navy where she knows how their clothing fits. I’ve tried buying clothes a few times from a couple of different companies and it’s really a crap shoot, whether they’re too big, too small, or just right. There’s one online store I’d love to buy clothes from, but it’s a little too pricy for me to be willing to take the chance on the size being right.

The same goes for jewellery. I’ve purchased several necklaces and earrings, and for the most part I’ve been satisfied, but there were a couple of times the workmanship was not exactly stellar. Buyer beware – you get what you pay for.

Then there was my attempt to buy a lap top from Lenovo. If you missed that rant, count yourself lucky. Let’s just say it was not a happy experience and I did not end up with a lap top from them. However, the camera I purchased online from Maple Leaf Photo was awesome.

I wasted a considerable amount of time yesterday afternoon trying to decide on a blanket to order online. It’s a dragonfly blanket, a little pricy, and there were several to choose from. I finally made my selection and now I get to cross my fingers that it will turn out to be as nice as the picture.


It was a full moon last night, the Sturgeon moon, and knowing it was this weekend I chose it for the topic for the phone photo challenge I’m doing. Accordingly, the hubby and I went traipsing down to the beach after dark so I could take pictures with my phone. The moon had a red glow about it that was so arresting that we went back home so I could bring my good camera to take pictures as well.

None of the photos I took will ever make it to National Geographic, and surprisingly the ones I took with the phone turned out better. I got some really great pictures of the moonlight on the water with my camera, but the moon itself looked like a cluster of three moons. I’m thinking the best way to take those pictures would have been with a tripod.

Oh, well. There’s always next month. :-)

And if you’re curious about my photo challenge, you can find the blog HERE

Aug 20, 2018

Macrobian Monday

macrobian ~ long-lived

We live in a relatively quiet, older neighbourhood. It’s the kind with large yards and a few trees, not a lot of traffic, no curbs on the roads – there are even one or two of us who still have gravel driveways.

Anyway, partly because of this peacefulness we have a wide variety of birds. I put peanuts out for the blue jays on occasion, just often enough to encourage their visits. And if they make enough noise, I’ll bring them out some just to shut them up. The reason I don’t leave them out more often is because the nuts attract the squirrels and I don’t want a repeat of what I went through with one squirrel in particular a few years ago.

That squirrel was a scruffy individual that I felt sorry enough for that I’d leave peanuts out for him. But then he started getting greedy and impatient and he’d climb the screen on the deck door – putting holes in it I might add – because he wanted his peanuts. So I stopped feeding everyone.



When the coyotes set up house in the neighbourhood last summer, birds were about the only other creatures we saw. But they moved on so this year we’ve had many of our other friends reappear.

I already told you about the proliferation of mice last week, but the black and grey squirrels have returned as well. We also have a bunny living under our deck, and a chipmunk who seems to have a hidey hole in the hedge somewhere.

I have a soft spot for chipmunks. They’re just so darned cute! And this one doesn’t seem particularly afraid of me. He was out on the deck this morning teasing the cats by running back and forth, and didn’t shy away when I opened the sliding door to toss him a peanut. I may have tossed him a few peanuts and then a blue jay landed in the tree that overhangs the deck to demand his fair share, so I got some more peanuts and then a dish of birdseed.

Once the peanuts were gone I expected a mess all over the table I put the seed on because the jays like to root through the bowl for the sunflower seeds and they make quite the mess. But to my surprise, one of the jays stood by patiently while the chipmunk stuffed his little cheeks full of the seed first.

Well, of course such good manners deserved a reward, so I put out more peanuts for the blue jays and that’s when the squirrels showed up to chase everyone else away. *sigh*



Now, here’s the amazing thing. The chipmunk put in an appearance while we were having dinner on the patio, so I got him a couple of peanuts. The grandbaby was just thrilled with how close he came. Then after dinner she started singing “Once Upon A Dream” and we noticed the chipmunk seemed fascinated. So we told her to sing to him and she did. He crept closer and closer, to within about a foot. Then a couple of birds landed in the tree over our deck.

It’s official. The grandbaby is a Disney princess. LOL

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!

Jun 25, 2018

Mythogenesis Monday

mythogenesis ~ origin of myths

Did I say summer was here? We’re past the solstice, but it’s still been cool enough that I’m wearing socks and shoes most days. While I’m glad it’s still cool enough to sleep at night, it could stand to be a little warmer during the day.

And I do mean a little. I’ve heard rumors that we’re in for a seriously hot July and August and I don’t do well in excessive heat – especially when I’m trying to sleep. Yes, we have an air conditioner we can use upstairs, and fans, but they’re noisy, so even if I manage to get to sleep with them on it’s not a restful sleep.

But there’s no denying that summer is officially here. And with it comes the long list of things we want to get done – the roof over the front porch, re-designing and re-building the pond garden, and a hundred and one other things on our to-do list.

Once upon a time our pond garden looked like this:



That was taken about eight years ago. As you know, since then we’ve had to have the tree removed and it looks something like this now:



It’s actually not quite that bad looking. Since then the hubby has cleaned it up, dug out any of the plants that could be saved, and he got rid of that wild rose bush along the fence that suddenly appeared one day and has tried to take over that corner ever since.

The pond itself isn’t going to be much bigger, when we re-do this garden, but it will be deeper, maybe even deep enough to have fish in it. The garden itself will be bigger, with a retaining wall in the back. We’ve been tossing around ideas for the wall and right now we’re leaning towards a living wall – a vertical garden of sorts.

The other thing we have planned for the back yard is a vegetable garden, or to be more precise, a series of vegetable gardens. These will be raised beds along the fence between the garden shed (near the back of the house) and the pond garden. We’re thinking three, maybe four of them depending on how big they are. It’s the perfect spot for them, and having them raised will make them easier to take care of.

But one thing I know for sure about the vegetable garden, I’ll be letting the hubby and the grandbaby take care of the planting. They have super green thumbs. Remember the tomato seeds they planted?



Shortly after that picture was taken I transplanted them to a bigger planter box before moving them outside for the summer. And look at them now!



Not only are they blooming, they’ve already got a few tiny green tomatoes hidden in all that foliage. I can’t for the life of me remember if these are supposed to be regular sized tomatoes or cherry tomatoes, I guess we’ll see how big the ones that are started get before they’re done.

One thing for sure, we won’t be lacking for tomatoes this summer!

Jun 18, 2018

Mutagenesis Monday

mutagenesis ~ origin or induction of mutation

Well, summer is definitely here. Flowers are blooming, trees are full of leaves, the grass needs weekly cutting, and oh, did I mention the humidity is on the rise? We had a week or two of warm days and cool nights (which to me is perfect weather), but now we’ve segued into warm day and night.

We were supposed to get thunderstorms and rain today to cool things off, but it only rumbled a little and the rain didn’t amount to much, only made it more humid.

If you’re a regular reader of this blog you probably recall past summer posts where I start complaining about the noise from the pool pump around this time of year. However, the hubby was forced to buy a new pump this year and it’s amazingly quiet. Seriously, the filter in Tiddler’s tank makes more noise than the pool.

When I was sitting here last night trying to come up with something to write about for this post, the hubby suggested I should do a garden update because my garden is looking so good, but it’s only the one garden (the rest are pretty sad), although I did notice I have a beautiful purple iris blooming in it today. It’s just unfortunate that it’s kind of hidden by the basket hanging from the shepherd’s crook just over it.

Instead I figured you’d much rather see a picture of my orchids.



There are actually five orchids on that table, but only four of them are blooming right now. Yes, there are five bloomstalks, but two are coming off the same plant. They’ve actually been in bloom for a couple of weeks now, and past experience tells me that barring any accidents (knocking a bloomstalk, forgetting to water them, overwatering them) they’ll keep blooming for weeks.

You can’t really see it, but the yellow and pink orchid on the left has about three more buds that are ready to open even though the rest of the flowers have been open for a couple of weeks now. And please ignore the sansevieria listing towards the right in the background. As soon as I can figure out a way to get it standing upright I’m going to repot it. I’m thinking a tomato cage might work…

I have to confess. I actually pulled that table out to get my picture. And the yellow/pink orchid actually lives on the kitchen window sill. I have plants in most rooms of the main floor of the house, but most of them live either in the dining room, or the kitchen.



There are a lot more plants on the bookcase, but they’re kind of hidden by the orchid table. And on the opposite side of the room there’s a big spider plant on top of a tall bookcase, a…something, Swedish ivy maybe? hanging over a drop leaf table, three insanely tall spindly palms in the same pot, and this guy:



This philodendron is over … um, it’s really old. I bought this for the hubby when we were dating and it lived for at least a year in the basement apartment in his parents’ house where it got not even a speck of light. Periodically I’d trim it back and put the cuttings in water to root them and give the resulting plants away. This time I just let it grow and one of the vines was snaking its way up the corner cabinet and along the drapery rod above the deck door. I finally bought a trellis for it and it seems to be containing it…so far.

Most of my plants are easy to care for, and the ones that need more frequent watering end up in the kitchen where I don’t forget about them.



Here we have a strawberry begonia hanging down, an English ivy on a trellis rising to meet it, and two of my orchids. Not pictured is the philodendron and hearts on a string in my old office, and the wandering jew in my new office.

So, as you can see, my outdoor gardens might not be amounting to much this summer, but my indoor ones are doing just fine.

Jun 11, 2018

Medius Monday

medius ~ the middle finger

I don’t know why I always think that I have more time to do things than I actually do, but it’s a sad fact of my life and I’m just going to have to learn to deal with it. Either that or budget my time better. ;-)

Among other things I didn’t get done last week, I didn’t get my blog page done that was going to be dedicated to my trip to New Brunswick. But as I scrolled through the pictures on my phone I realized that it probably wasn’t worth the effort. While my pictures were okay, they’re not exactly cutting edge. So I downloaded just a few of them to give you the highlights of my trip.

Here’s my first view of New Brunswick, as taken from the plane window as we began our descent into Moncton:



My sister met me at the Moncton airport, which was very small compared to Pearson in Toronto. We had lunch at Tim Horton’s, made a quick trip to Costco, and then met the daughter at the Saint John airport. I wish I’d taken pictures of the two airports because if Moncton was small, then Saint John was tiny. The daughter’s plane was pretty tiny too, like Air Canada’s version of a circus clown car – all these people kept coming out of it and you wondered where they all sat.

The next day my sister took us to the Irvine Nature Park on the Bay of Funday (okay, pretty much everything in New Brunswick is on the Bay of Funday). First we have the beach we followed along the shoreline where we found many interesting rocks:



That green hump of land in the distance is where we started out. And here’s a picture of my sister and I that the daughter took for me:



This is a rare phenomena folks, as neither of us particularly care to have our pictures taken, although I think she cares less for it than me. ;-) After traipsing up and down the beach collecting rocks we went to the top of that green part in the distance, had a picnic lunch, and then hiked along one of the nature trails through the woods up there. It was a LOT of fun!

The next day we did a bunch of touristy stuff. We went to the Reversing Rapids (that I did not get a good picture of) where I bought a stupidly expensive mug in their gift shop, then walked up and down the hills of Saint John, ending up at the Market Square where the Saint John Library was, and the museum. My sister ran into a friend at the museum who got us free passes, which was really cool.

Even cooler was discovering a painting of a ship that had been donated by my Aunt Kay.



The ship’s name was The Vocalist, built in 1856 by John Fisher, who commissioned the painting. Unfortunately it floundered in 1861. After the museum we stopped for lunch in an Irish pub (that’s the daughter and her lunch):



We went to a different indoor market (there seemed to be a lot of them in Saint John), and walked through a couple of the parks in the middle of the city, one of which contained an old cemetery:



It was another fun filled day, despite the fact it was really, really windy and a little on the cool side. Unfortunately, we had to leave the next day, but on our way to the Moncton airport we stopped long enough to watch the tidal bore:



You might need to click on the picture to make it bigger, but that wave you see is the tide coming in, up the river. It was kind of fascinating to watch the water rising, not quite to the top of the banks but then we didn’t have time to stay for the whole thing.

As most vacations tend to be, it was way too short. I’d go again in a heartbeat, but not without a proper camera.

And a sweater. ;-)

Jun 4, 2018

Motile Monday

motile ~ capable of moving spontaneously as a whole

Since you’re reading this post, it’s pretty obvious that neither of the planes I was on were hijacked by terrorists. I think the planes were a little too small to make effective weapons. ;-)

It was late when I got in last night, which is why this post is late, and which is why it’s going to be a short one. My pictures are all still on my phone and I think I’m going to create a “trip” page rather than create a special post, that way I can take my time. I’ll share the link when it’s finished.

Meanwhile, here are 10 things I learned from my trip:

1. Always make a list of clothes you want to take so you can co-ordinate your outfits and cut back on the amount of unnecessary baggage.

2. Ear plane earplugs are essential for anyone with sinus problems who fly – you still need to take your sinus medication, but your hearing comes back much quicker.

3. New Brunswick is cold!

4. Four days (only two full days really) is not enough time for a visit.

5. You can pack a heck of a lot of stuff into four days.

6. Take a real camera, don’t just depend on your phone for pictures (phone batteries tend to run down quickly)

7. Tai chi rocks!

8. New Brunswick is really windy!

9. My sister Nancy is a wonderful hostess – thank you for introducing me to tai chi and that yummy quinoa salad and finding so many awesome sites for us to see!

10. Saying good bye sucks.

May 28, 2018

Maggotorium Monday

You know, for a short week last week (Monday was a holiday) it seemed pretty long to me. Fortunately, my selective memory has blocked out most of it. All I really remember is being too busy and too tired. LOL

The daughter is away for a conference in Halifax, Nova Scotia this week. This conference ends on Wednesday and she had the bright idea of us meeting in New Brunswick on Thursday for a mommy and daughter getaway plus visit to my sister who lives in Saint John.

Thanks to the miracle of Airmiles, we were able to make this happen. The daughter left late afternoon on Saturday and I’ll be leaving at *gulp* 4:30 a.m. Thursday to get to the airport the required two hours before my flight at 8:30 a.m. I sure hope there’s a MacDonald’s at the airport – I’d even settle for a Tim Horton’s for my coffee.

Anyway, needless to say the weekend was all about preparing for my trip. I made a list on Saturday morning and tried to prioritize it, but the weather was so nice I kept getting distracted. I decided against lugging my lap top all the way there – the only thing I’d really need it for is Facebook and I’m sure Facebook will survive without me for four days. :-D

My father-in-law gave me this handy little gizmo that you charge up and then you can use it to charge other electronic devices, so I dug that out and plugged it in. It seemed to take an obscenely long time to charge, so I’m guessing it really will hold enough juice for my phone, my tablet, and my Kindle. But I made sure my devices were all charged up anyway.

While the set of luggage we bought a few weeks ago came with a carryon bag, it seems a little unwieldy and since I really wasn’t going to have much in it anyway, I decided to take my new leather messenger bag instead.

However, because it’s so new it’s also rather stiff. I asked the daughter’s advice about softening it up and she told me to throw it on the floor and jump on it! That sounded just a little extreme, so I Googled it and believe it or not that was one of the suggestions. Okay, not exactly that, but it suggested whacking it with a rubber mallet. I opted for the more (to me) sensible suggestion of using leather conditioner on it.

I was actually kind of surprised, but by Sunday night I had pretty much everything on my list crossed off. All that’s left is the packing, which can wait until Wednesday night.

Did I mention I haven’t flown in something like 30 years? And I’ve never flown alone before. And I’m a little antsy about all the changes in airport security and what you can and can’t take with you on the plane – did you know you can’t even take a water bottle (unless it’s empty and then what’s the point?).

So…tune in next week to hear all about my adventures in flying.

Unless, of course, my plane gets hijacked by terrorists. :-D

May 21, 2018

Mucopurulent Monday

mucopurulent ~ of mucus and pus

It’s the 24th of May
The queen’s birthday
And if we don’t get a holiday
We’ll all run away!


Yes, I know it’s actually the 21st of May, but that’s the way the rhyme goes. :-P

It’s the first official long weekend of the summer season for us here in Canada, the weekend where cottages are opened and gardens are planted. The barbeques are being brushed off as I type. When I was a kid it was also the time for major fireworks displays, but although some people do still set them off now, the big fireworks holiday is Canada Day.

I got a jump start on the weekend by starting my planting during the week. Wednesday the grandbaby and I went shopping for plants for the small square garden at the front of the house. Of course by the time we got them home there wasn’t enough time to plant them that day, so the next day I went ahead and bought the rest of my bedding plants to have ready for Friday.

Friday was a little cooler, but we filled the square garden and the long narrow garden along the front:





But while the front is looking pretty good, the back is another story. This is the pond garden:



We were already planning to redo this garden, but we were hoping to save at least some of the plants. It needs the saw dust removed (obviously), a retaining wall built at the back, and the entire garden will be more than doubled in size. We want to get a properly formed shell for the pond itself, one deep enough that maybe we can have fish. If we can get it to the point where it’s ready for plants by the end of the summer I think it’ll be a job well done. We can worry about the actual plants next summer.

Another project for the back yard was going to be putting in a couple of raised vegetable beds. This won’t be a particularly difficult project, but it will be a little time consuming so it’s been put off until later in the summer. Once again, if we can have them ready for planting by the end of the summer, then in the spring all I’ll have to do is pick out my seeds.

Speaking of vegetables though, remember the tomato seeds the grandbaby and her grapy planted?



Aren’t they cute? Yes, well, a funny thing happens when you leave plants in the sun and keep watering them. They tend to grow. I thinned them out once, but now they need bigger pots (maybe even later today). I’m beginning to suspect they’re not going to be cherry tomatoes as I’d first hoped, but some much bigger kind.



So… How’s your garden coming?