May 24, 2019

Down on the Farm

The bad news is that I still haven't found another photography course to take. The good news is that I'm still taking pictures. :-D

This week I had the opportunity to go on a trip to the farm with the granddaughter's pre-school class. It's a small farm, but perfect for pre-schoolers to visit. There were piggies to feed, baby chicks to stroke, and eggs to carefully collect from the chickens. And many, many pictures to be taken.

I chose this particular shot because of the look on the calf's face. Could anything be cuter?


May 20, 2019

Megascopic Monday

megascopic visible to the naked eye

If you’re lucky enough to be living here in Canada, then chances are you have the day off today. All hail Queen Victoria!

Traditional, the 24th of May weekend is the long weekend set aside for planting gardens and opening cottages. Well, it sounds good in theory, but we’re still getting frost warnings and cottage country is pretty much under water.

I’m still having to wear a jacket, or at the very least a sweater, when I go outside for any length of time, and I’d better remember to check to make sure I have rubber boots to wear when I go on the trip to the farm with the granddaughter’s pre-school class on Wednesday.

The Orange Menace to the south can say whatever he likes about there being no such thing as global warming, but even he can’t deny there’s been a change in the climate. We’ve been subjected to some pretty extreme weather the last few years.

There’s been a rise in both the number and the ferocity of hurricanes, droughts resulting in wildfires, earthquakes, mudslides, sink holes, the list keeps growing. And there’s been a subtle, but relentless, shift in the seasons.

Several years ago I did a series on prophecies, and I remember while doing my research I came across an aboriginal prophecy about the earth having enough of what man was doing to it and retaliating with fire, flood, and wind. I wish I could better remember the details or at least what tribe it had been so I could try and find it again, but unfortunately I didn’t save any of that research. But it makes you think, doesn’t it?

In the meantime, the granddaughter and I got impatient waiting for spring, so we planted a tray of seeds in the house. Everything but the pumpkins sprouted in less time than I imagined, and actually they’re more than twice as high as they are in the picture. And yes, I made little toothpick flags to mark what exactly I planted.

Now all we have to do is wait for the weather to settle enough to plant them in the garden.

May 17, 2019

Fish Pond

Well, as per the way my luck goes, my photography class was cancelled. This was the second time I've tried to take this class through the local college and it will be the last. There are other people out there who can show me how to use my camera. So, until that happens you'll have to suffer along with the pictures I've already taken.

This particular picture was taken in one of the greenhouses in the Allen Gardens in Toronto last summer. There are several greenhouses joined together, each featuring an amazing variety of flowers. But the thing that stands out most in my memory was how insanely hot it was. Greenhouses tend to be a little on the warm side at the best of times. Exploring a series of greenhouses on the hottest day of the summer was killer. :-D


May 13, 2019

Madapollam Monday

madapollam ~ fine cotton cloth

One of the surest signs of spring is when the big white sign goes up on the lawn of Saint Peter’s Church announcing the annual book sale. It’s an event the daughter and I used to enjoy attending together.

Unfortunately, as is the way of things, the book sale has changed over the years. What started out as a fun local event where you could pick up a book or two for pennies has morphed into something . . . less enjoyable.

First of all, they’re no long accepting donations of magazines, which means they’re no longer offering them for sale. This is a shame because in my time I’ve picked up some really good ones – old National Geographics (yes, the same ones I had so much trouble getting rid of myself), and UNESCO Couriers, which is a magazine put out by the United Nations.

They used to group the books into categories like History, fiction, non-fiction, children’s, and sometimes you could find a real treasure amongst them. They’re still pretty good about separating them, but a few years ago they started a “Collector’s Corner” as well.

I don’t know who decides what books go onto this table, but if you like old books this is where you’d find them. With jacked up prices. What ticks me off is that all the books at the sale were donated, and while I can understand separating out books that might have some value, jacking up the prices of those books seems a little unreasonable. Especially considering many of these books end up unsold.

The buyers have changed a lot too. Instead of the friendly locals we’re getting more out of towners who are out to make a buck. There’s a lot more pushing and shoving and a lot less camaraderie. This year I was there right when the sale started and I found what I consider to be a few bargains, but I don’t think I’ll be going next year.

It’s the end of an era, folks.

St. Peter’s Booksale

I wait through winter dark
anticipating spring
I watch the ice recede,
leftover snow melting.
The days extend their length
the sun stays in the sky
the wind warms up the air
we bid the cold goodbye.
But for me the greatest sign
of spring is without fail
the lawn sign that proclaims
Saint Peter’s Book Sale.


May 10, 2019

Sunrise

Our town is nestled on the north shore of Lake Ontario. Which means it faces south. Which means getting a decent picture of the sunrise or sunset is pretty problematic.

The good news is, my photography course starts next week. In the meantime, I chose this picture of the sunrise on this rainy Friday morning to remind myself that the sun does really appear occasionally. Maybe it'll come out tomorrow. ;-)


May 6, 2019

Montane Monday

montane ~ mountainous; mountain-dwelling

One of the hardest things a pet owner has to face is having to make the decision to let your beloved pet go. This is a decision we were working up to over the last several months with our 19 year old cat Taz.

Just before Christmas we noticed Taz was having difficulty walking, so we whisked him off to the vet. One x-ray and blood test later it was determined that he had a pinched nerve in his back and advanced kidney disease. We came home with special food, painkillers, steroids, and kidney medicine for him, all of which I had to administer on a daily basis.

He did better for a while, and we hoped he’d last until the weather turned nice enough that we could take him outside one last time – his favourite thing in the world. Alas, the weather stayed cold and wet and it was not to be.

Taz started a downhill slide, and rather quickly too. We wrestled with the decision to end his suffering and last weekend we agreed it was time. He’d stopped eating and was barely able to make it out of his box to have a drink of water. There is a mobile vet in our area, but she wouldn’t be available until Monday, so we made him as comfortable as possible.

Sunday night, the daughter and the granddaughter said their goodbyes when they were here for dinner. And just as I was headed for bed, he managed to drag himself as far as the door to his room. I brought him a drink of water, and then I broke open one of his pain pills (they were capsules) and mixed the powder with some broth so I could give it to him with a syringe. Then I wrapped him in a towel and we had a nice cuddle for a while. I had the feeling in my heart that this was good bye.

When I got up last Monday morning I found that I was right – he left this world the same way he lived his life – on his own terms. I’ll never forget the fearless little kitten he started out as, and I’ll miss him terribly, but I’m glad his suffering is over.

I’m sure his beloved Panda was waiting on the other side of the Rainbow Bridge to greet him, along with Julius and Valentine. Rest In Peace, Taz.

May 24, 2000 - April 29, 2019

Apr 26, 2019

These Boots Are Made For Planting

Well, it's a done deed. I signed up for my photography class. And not a moment too soon.

I took the grandbaby down to the beach after preschool yesterday, and I brought my good camera with me in case a picture taking opportunity arose. And it did. Several opportunities arose as a matter of fact. And how many pictures ended up on my camera?

None.

Not a one.

And why is that (you ask)? Because it's been so long since I used my camera that I forgot how it works. I was pressing the wrong button and couldn't figure out why it wasn't taking pictures. Can we say d'oh?

I did finally figure out what I was doing wrong, but it was after we'd left the beach and the grandbaby was down for her nap. And boy did I feel foolish!

So once again I was forced into delving into my store of previously taken pictures for my picture of the week. This one was taken last summer at the local ecology garden down by the harbor. What a cute idea for recycling!


Apr 22, 2019

Mantelletta Monday



mantelletta ~ knee-length sleeveless garment worn by Catholic cardinals and bishops

Yeah, I know it’s pretty much over now, but Happy Easter, for those of you who observe these things.

I have a question. When did Easter become Christmas light? The stores were crazy enough on Thursday, but only a fool would take the chance of shopping on Saturday (Friday being a stores closed holiday) – and I should know being one of those fools.

The amount of merchandise going through those checkouts was kind of appalling. And I’m not just talking chocolate and candy, I’m talking clothes and books and toys and bicycles and other assorted sports equipment. It was a gluttonous feast of excess.

When I was a kid we used to make a pilgrimage to my aunt and uncle’s house for the Easter weekend. There would be a big, hollow chocolate bunny or rooster sitting in our Easter baskets on the dining room table, and chocolate eggs (sometimes jelly beans) to find. My aunt, who at one time worked as a milliner, would have made us hats to wear to church.

When my daughter was little, we still went up to Owen Sound (my aunt had the best house for Easter egg hunts!) We hid jelly beans in plastic eggs because she didn’t like chocolate. I’d get a white rabbit for her Easter basket and I made her a fancy dress for church. Many years later I still bought chocolate for Easter, and we’d get a movie instead of an outfit.

This year I figured the grandbaby would get enough chocolate at her house, but I still couldn’t resist getting her four Disney princess kinder eggs, and one giant one. I nestled them in a basket with a new outfit she can wear to school. The rest of us got a small chocolate bunny and a regular kinder egg.

And you know what? She was quite happy with what she got. There was a little more chocolate than was strictly necessary, and yes, like many other kids she got a bike, but the bike she got wasn’t an Easter present so much as a springtime present that was bought on Easter weekend (when the bikes were on sale).

But seriously, when did Easter become such an occasion for excess? Jesus died on the cross for our sins, let’s celebrate by drowning ourselves in chocolate and a bunch of other crap we don’t need. I’m not a religious person, but I kind of miss dressing up and going to church on Easter.

Maybe I’ll go next year. Wanna come?

Apr 12, 2019

Sweet Pea

Today's picture of the week is one I took last year on a visit to the local ecology garden. I picked it because the sweet pea is my favorite flower. Ironically, it's the one flower I've never had success with in my garden.

A couple of years ago I planted sweet pea seeds and nothing happened. But the next year I had plants spring up that took right over the small garden . . . and never bloomed. They did, however, start choking out the bedding plants I'd painstakingly planted. And boy howdy they were hard to get rid of. All attempts to pull the vines up failed. I think the roots went right down to the center of the earth. So I love sweet peas . . . as long as someone else grows them for me.


Apr 5, 2019

Picture This

Photography is something I was pretty serious about at one time. When I was in high school I was a member of the photo club, where I learned how to develop black and white film, I subscribed to a photography magazine, and dreamed of some day owning a Canon SLR camera. I was going to be a photo journalist and work for National Geographic.

It’s pretty obvious that neither the dream of the camera nor the dream of the career ever came to pass. I’ve owned many cameras over the years, none of which were my dream camera. I came close once with one of the early digital Canon cameras, but it wasn’t an SLR.

About a year ago when we thought we were going on an Alaskan cruise, I treated myself to a brand new camera – a Canon Rebel DSLR. I finally had my dream camera. There was only one problem though –I didn’t know how to make it work.

Laugh if you will, but my first few days with my new camera were very frustrating. The instructions that came with it might as well have been written in Chinese for all I could understand them. I got it to take one picture, but couldn’t get it to take a second one.

Fortunately, the daughter is a real photography and showed me some basics. But she already has a lot on her plate with little enough free time as it is, and I have a lot to learn. So I’m going to take a night school course in photography and hopefully have some fun while I’m learning.

I’m sure the course will include lots of practice – with a digital camera at my disposal, why not? A friend and I just finished a 52 week challenge using only pictures from our phone (if you’re curious you can find the results HERE) and I figured it might be kind of fun to share some of the photos I’ll be taking with my camera as well.

The course doesn’t start until May, so in the meantime I’ll be sharing random pictures from my camera every Friday. After the course starts I’ll post the best picture from each week’s lesson.

To start the ball rolling I have a picture of the lakeshore near where I live. It was taken in September last year. If you'd like to see a bigger version of it, just click on it.

Apr 1, 2019

Midlenting Monday

midlenting ~ custom of giving gifts to parents on mid-Lent Sunday



So . . . I was wrong about not having the opportunity to wear the winter jacket I talked about in my last post. I got to wear it when I went out for coffee Sunday morning. And why was that? Because after a week of spring-like weather I woke up to snow yesterday. SNOW!

I was not a happy camper.

However, this is Canada and the weather is nothing if not unpredictable, especially this time of year. Years ago it was pretty common to have snow right through the March Break and I can remember one year we had a record breaking storm on April second.

But take heart! I was down at the waterfront recently and as you can see by the picture I took, the ice and snow are receding. Those aren’t hunks of rock on the breakwater, that’s just really dirty ice/snow accumulation that’s melting away. At least now they have a thin coat of white on top to pretty things up.

Last week I did something I haven’t done in ages – I went to a poetry gathering. Members of the Cobourg Poetry Workshop, both old and new, got together to honour Eric Winter, Cobourg’s Poet Emeritus and the man who started the workshop many years ago. We started out taking turns reading poems written by Eric, then some members shared poems they’d written about Eric.

I had a great time and I realized how much I’d missed these once a month gatherings. This could be in part because the two more, shall we say, contentious members who tried to turn the group into something it’s not are no longer part of the group.

Anyway, it was enough to make me think about signing up again. Maybe even attend the poetry reading this month. Maybe write a poem or two of my own.

Maybe you’ll even find me upstairs at the Cat and the Fiddle for the next meeting.

Mar 25, 2019

Metasthenic Monday



metasthenic ~ having strong haunches or hindquarters

The wheel turns and the seasons change. It’s still not all that warm, and the wind is particularly bitter, but the sun has been out more often than not lately and the oppressive gloom of winter is slowly lifting.

My big accomplishment for the weekend was getting a new zipper sewn into my black winter jacket. You know, just in time for the weather to warm up enough so I won’t get a chance to wear it.

This jacket was a thrift store find and I only got to wear it a few times before the metal zipper in it kept sticking and/or separating when it wasn’t supposed to. I actually paid more for the replacement zipper than I did for the jacket itself, but I really like the jacket so I figured it was worth it.

That feeling lasted until I actually sat down to put the new zipper in. Ripping out the old zipper was no problem, but my sewing machine did not like the thread I was using (it kept breaking) nor sewing through the leather. It pretended to like it, the new zipper just slid into place and I had no problem sewing initially, but several sections of the stitching didn’t catch so there were big gaps.

I adjusted the tension and the thread started breaking. I changed to a different kind of thread and it broke too. Then the needle started hesitating – sometimes it would stick in the material and pull the whole thing upwards. The cats went into hiding.

I finally broke down and went out and bought some upholstery thread (maybe it was a little overkill but I wanted a good, strong thread) and some leather needles. It should have been easy-peasy. It was not. The thread still broke. I adjusted the tension again. The heavy duty sewing machine needle bent. I replaced it. The hubby suggested I just take the jacket to the tailor in the mall – he’s lucky to have escaped with his life.

I took a break to get my blood pressure back to normal and then gave it one more shot. One long seam without stopping like it should have done in the first place and the first half of the zipper was in place. The second side only took a couple of tries, which was kind of surprising because it was the harder of the two.

I have another thrift store jacket in the closet, a nice medium blue ski jacket, that also needs a zipper replaced. Actually, the zipper itself is fine, it’s just the little piece at the bottom that keeps the whole thing from separating that needs replacing. I may look into alternative fixes before resorting to replacing the whole zipper.

It might be better for my blood pressure.

Mar 18, 2019

Monoliteral Monday

monoliteral ~ comprising only one letter



I survived March Break! Woohoo! And kudos to adults everywhere who also survived.

My sister dropped my great-niece off on Tuesday, and I took her home on Saturday. You’ll have to ask her whether it was a good visit or not – she certainly wasn’t any trouble. She’s not messy and she hardly eats, unless she had a stash of food in her room (like I did when I went to the retreat). She lasted all the way to Tuesday evening before caving and asking for the wifi password. LOL

I felt kind of bad that we didn’t really get out to do anything, having to babysit every day kind of limits what we can do. Although we did go for a trip to the sugar bush with the family of one of the granddaughter's friends.

The sugar bush, for those not born and bred Canadian, is like a big tree farm, where the trees are all maple and at this time of year get tapped with a metal spigot so the sap can be collected and turned into maple syrup, taffy, and or maple candy. Yum!

Sandy Flats, the sugar bush we went to, is about 160 acres. We went on a hay ride through the property and saw all the trees with their taps in place, we went on a nature hike where we saw many animal tracks including, my granddaughter insisted, werewolf tracks, and we got to peek into the shed where the sap was turned into syrup.

Before we left we lunched on pancakes and sausages, with lots of syrup of course. We had a great time and I may have spent a little too much money on syrup and maple butter to bring home with me.

The processing was a little more modern than I remember from when I was a kid, but the rest was pretty much the same. A trip to the sugar bush was one of the typical school trips for elementary school and not only do I remember the trip, I remember being grossed out by one of my classmates who had a peanut butter and dill pickle sandwich for lunch. :-)

The granddaughter starts kindergarten this fall – I wonder if she’ll get to go to the sugar bush on a school trip next spring . . .

Mar 11, 2019

Mutualism Monday

mutualism ~ belief in mutual dependence of society and the individual



It’s the March Break. For kids it’s a whole week of freedom from school. For parents it’s a chilling preview of what summer vacation is going to be like. LOL

But even if you don’t have kids you can’t help but be affected by March Break. There are hoards of them everywhere. Need to drive somewhere? Watch out for the swarms of children who’ve decided that yes, they really can ride their bikes in the melting snow. Want a quiet walk in the park? Not likely. Planning a trip to Costco and looking forward to the free samples? Go early, before the March Breakers descend on the store like a plague of locusts. There are kids everywhere

When I was a kid, I used to spend the March Break up in Owen Sound with my aunt and uncle. I honestly can’t remember being driven all the way there, but I’m pretty sure my parents drove me part way and then my aunt and uncle would meet us at a pre-determined place and I’d be handed off like a football.

When I was older, early teens, I would take the bus from here to Toronto and my uncle would meet me and we’d go to the Sportsman Show before continuing on to Owen Sound. I loved looking at the boats and watching the fly fishing demonstrations and the sporting dogs being put through their paces.

There was one particular March Break that stands out in my mind . . .

I was probably 13 or 14 years old. It was raining when I boarded the bus at home and I was dressed appropriately for the weather. I met my uncle in Toronto and we spent the next 5 hours at the Sportsman Show. Now the event took place in one of the big buildings where the Canadian National Exhibition is held, which means it was a closed in space with no windows to see what was going on outside.

What was going on was the biggest snow storm of the season. We missed the express bus we were supposed to take, and ended up on the one that stopped at every little village and town along the way. Which turned out to be a good thing because we heard later that the express bus had been involved in an accident.

By the time we got to Owen Sound, the snow was so heavy that the ploughs had given up trying to keep up with it and were concentrating on keeping just the main roads open. My uncle’s car at the bus station was literally buried under a hill of snow so we ended up hitch hiking to his house, catching a ride in a TV repair van.

After all of that, the rest of the visit was pretty anti-climatic although I do remember my aunt had turned on the electric blanket on my bed so it was all nice and warm. :-)

This March Break I have a niece coming from Hamilton to visit. She’s older than I was when I went visiting, so I’m pretty sure we won’t be doing the crafts my aunt always had waiting for me. But I think it’ll be a good visit all the same.

Mar 4, 2019

Maledicent Monday

maledicent ~ cursing; addicted to speaking evil



Well, I made it home again from my retreat, but it was a near thing. There was a tiny bit of snow on the drive up; day two it rained; day three there was extreme wind (with the chance of us losing power; and day four we had snow added to the wind. One of the major highways was closed both ways due to accidents, but fortunately it was not the route I’d planned on taking. However, driving conditions were abysmal on the route I did take and I only narrowly missed getting caught up in delays by two other accidents along the way.

Obviously I made it home, but it was not without a price. The sinus cold I’d been fighting off before the retreat got its hooks in my head and chest and turned into the mother of all colds/flus. This kind of sent all my determination and good intentions packing last week and other than popping cold pills and babysitting (granddaughter also had a major cold so we were quite the pair) I didn’t do much of anything.

Did you know the only difference between a cold and the flu is that the flu comes with a fever? All this years I thought the flu was a stomach virus, but apparently a stomach virus is just that, not the flu. Someone forgot to send me a memo when that changed. Just like I never got the memo that instead of coughing/sneezing into your hand you’re supposed to sneeze into the crook of your elbow. Just suddenly one day everyone was doing it that way and I’m like, “what are you doing?”

The retreat itself was a lot of fun and I got a lot of writing done, although mostly short stuff from the workshop prompts. There were 15 of us in a big old manor house that overlooked Lake Simcoe. It was kind of interesting watching the frozen lake fill up with ice fisherman during the day, and then the lights from the snow mobiles when night started to fall.

The house is owned and administered to by a group of nuns, which accounted for its well stocked library of religious tomes and the insanely narrow, hard beds we had to sleep on. Being a house, not a hotel, we had to provide our own food and we were divided into groups to make lunches and suppers. There were a handful of food sensitivities in the group, and one vegetarian, and only one meal that had meat – a lunch that consisted of soup and sandwich fixings. You should have seen how fast that meat disappeared!

It was a good group – from a young screen writer to a research doctor writing her memoir. There were a couple of others writing life-based stories, a couple writing non-fiction, a few writing fiction, and the rest just writing.

All in all, I’d do it again. Maybe not in winter though. And next time I definitely want a room of my own. :-)

Feb 18, 2019

Morigeration Monday

morigeration ~ deferential behaviour



If you live on the North American continent, then you probably have today off. While our friends to the south (the U.S.) are celebrating President’s Day, we Canadians are celebrating family day.

And here’s a bit of trivia for you: President’s Day was first celebrated as a federal holiday in 1885, commemorating George Washington’s birthday (February 22). In 1971 it was moved to the third Monday in February – I guess to give everyone a long weekend.

Family day, however, is not a federal holiday and hasn’t been around nearly as long. It was first observed in Alberta in 1990, then Saskatchewan in 2007 and Ontario in 2008. Personally, I think we were just jealous that the U.S. got a long weekend in February and we didn’t.

I must have had a brain fart or something, because one of the things I did on the weekend was make a big pot of chili. Now this in itself might not seem like a big deal, but everyone knows chili tastes better the next day, which means it needed to be refrigerated overnight.

My fridge was already pretty full. I didn’t just have the regular stuff from my weekly grocery trip, but I also had the ingredients for a double batch of broccoli cheddar soup in there. I managed to get the chili pot in there, but just barely.

I’m not sure if I’ve mentioned it on this blog, but at the end of the week I’m off to a writing retreat up on Lake Simcoe. It should be an interesting experience – no T.V., no WiFi, and we’re taking turns cooking the meals. I’m on the Sunday lunch team – we’re having soup and sandwiches, with ice cream for dessert.

I volunteered to bring my broccoli cheddar soup (hence the ingredients in the fridge) which I made up yesterday. I figure I’ll save time by making it ahead and freezing it for transport. All I’ll have to do when our turn comes up is heat it up and add the cheese. I even invested in an iceless cooler that plugs into the car to make sure it arrives safely.

The retreat runs from Friday through Monday, so that means there won’t be a post next Monday – I’ll be busy wrapping up at the retreat and driving home. And, like I said, there’s no WiFi so I’ll have no way of accessing the internet. Well, I’ve heard of people using their cell phones to create an access point, but that’s a little beyond my skill set.

I’m actually looking forward to being unplugged for the weekend – we’ll have to wait and see if it gives my writing a boost.

See you in a couple of weeks!

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?