Friday, December 30, 2011

Love to check for messages

and see news from you both! Glad you had a successful trip Patty and also happy that you are so close to the US shops and casinos that it really is a nice break to be taken whenever you so desire (or can afford haha) Sounds as if you also had a great shopping day Cathy so good on you both. Harry suggested dinner out tonight at the restaurant here in Sundridge that we like. He went out to check the mail and came back to say it was closed. I had set my hair in curlers and was feeling good about going out so was a little disappointed. I believe Harry saw this so went to the store and bought some food and cooked it up for supper – I wasn't to enter the kitchen so did not know what he was making! It turned out to be a nice supper after all in spite of the dishes that needed to be done by me – apparently this particular cook does not clean up after himself haha We don't have plans for NYE and never really bother about it – I usually start to take the decorations down while watching TV – may chose a funny movie to watch. I spent a good part of the afternoon sorting through gaming cards for Mike. I spoke with him today and he actually now wants all the cards – apparently the boys are going "retro" with their games night and turning to these games again – Star Trek, Star Wars, and Magic. I already have two big boxes of cards to take to him next week. The plus of all of this is that I will have a bit of space once I empty the cupboard and the fact that I actually saved all of this stuff after Mike moved out and wanted none of it at the time. Also, there are a lot of memories in that cupboard – some of his early art work, pictures, etc and the shelf also contains all of my old CHS yearbooks. I went to the dump yesterday and got rid of all my old Nursing textbooks – they are so old and out dated that were of no use to me or anyone else, but I shuttered to think of the cost of texts and just throwing them away bothered me.
I send best wishes to you for a Happy New Year – don't make any resolutions you know you cannot keep, but for sure resolve to keep up with this blog as it means so much to me to keep in touch. Take care

Frying Pans

Home Hardware had all their Paderno cookwear on for 60% to 70% off. We bought a 12 inch fry pan, and 8 inch frypan and a stir fry pan. They were still expensive but we could afford them at the sale price. I really hate cheap pans. I have my eye on their stock pots, but they are $90.00 on sale. I would still like one. Maybe the sale will end before I make up my mind and I won't have to decide. As usual, I didn't get all my cleaning done while I was on holidays. I sorted through the office and have a big box of garbage to burn. I also cleaned & sorted the "pantry" downstairs. I will always wish for more cupboard space in the kitchen, but then where would I put them? I would have kitchen left. This warm weather, (sorry Beth!) has been nice, but the flies keep waking up and crawling around. My floor seems to be constantly covered in dead flies. The cat likes to play with them, but they only amuse him for so long. Once they stop moving he loses interest. I was trying to budget a bit today and figure out how much money I have for this month. The bank still hasn't fixed the screw up with my mortgage. I phoned on Dec 17 and yesterday they put some money back, but it was $200.00 less than they took out. I phoned again and they said it was really complicated so they were turning it over to the mortgage specialist & I would hear within 24 hours. Later that day I got a call from the Royal bank. It was automated and had "personal banking information for Catherine I. McGrath" I followed all their instructions and the information turned out to be them telling me I was overdrawn and must correct the situation immediately. Of course I am overdrawn..... You took $450.00 out of the account! I sure hope they fix this soon. We went through the last 2 weeks $450.00 short and I couldn't access any money because my account was overdrawn and I don't have overdraft on it. There, now I have vented. At least we both got paid this week. Rrain is supposed to go to Winnipeg & Beasejour for New Years, but she has had a bit of the flu all week. (of course she got sick... she is on holidays too.) I hope she feels better today. Jim & I are staying home tomorrow night. Steak dinner, glass of wine and in bed asleep by 10:00 pm. How exciting. The Levy is at the Legion on New Years Day. Jim's friend Stef is coming for the Levy and spending the night with us. I think the two of them are planning on drinking beer and talking. Stef was one of Jim's best friends until we met, and I always tell him he should go to Minnedosa for some "Stef" time. Instead Stef will come for some "Jim" time. today for excitement we are going to town to buy a shut off valve for the kitchen sink. Last time we had to fix it we had to shut the water off to the whole house. Hope everyones Christmas and New Years (and anniversary) brings all the joy you deserve!

Thursday, December 29, 2011

A very nice trip

We had a lot of fun Wednesday evening, after getting to Mahnomen about 5:00.  We opted for a less formal dinner, and I had a club sandwich, on a wild rice/cranberry bread that was a real treat. And as our special anniversay treat we each had a drink--Chivas Regal for David and B&B for me.  The two of them cost almost $25.00--so one each  was enough. We had a little more fun this morning, and I left Mahnomen up about $75.  This is very unusual, but has happened before--which is why we like going there--but it meant that I didn't have to restrain myself too much buying thread and beads in Fargo.  Bonus--David found not only the sweat jackets he was looking for--and at a very good price, but also some tee-shirts.  Amber got what she wanted and we were on the road home by about 3:00.  We had enough cash to pay the tax due on our purchases, but we were just waved through--another bonus!  The weather was fairly nice for traveling, and we did over 800 km in 36 hours, so we are grateful for dry roads and warm temperatures, with enough of a cold North wind to remind us to be grateful.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

In the deep freeze

Wow! almost 30 below with wind chill and I was outside shovelling snow after the storm of yesterday. The ploughs this morning really dumped it in the driveway and it was heavy snow which gave me a real good workout. I needed some exercise, and just in case that wasn't  enough, I took a long walk today to check the mail, and buy lottery tickets. And all afternoon I was sorting through game cards from boxes and boxes in Mike's cupboard. But I had time to make an apple crisp with some apples that were badly in need of some attention (there goes all that exercise haha). We will likely go to Sprucedale tomorrow to check on the mail, and other things and bring a bit of garbage back. The garage is too cold to do any work right now and we really need Harry's sister to come and pick up some of her stuff before we can do much more in the house. I was able to watch Zorro last night and had a very nice evening of it. I forgot how funny it was, and so had a few good laughs, and anything with Anthony Hopkins and for that matter also Antonio Banderas is worth the watch, right? Hope you had a good trip Patty and that the roads and weather were OK – not to mention the shopping! Take care for now.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011


Yesterday was our annual visit to David's sister, Gail, and her family.  I thought we had been told that the open house was between 11 and 2, so arranged with Loren to show up around 12:00.  Well, we got there --no cars, just a van a little way down the street.  What the H--l?  We slowly drove by and I saw a male figure inside, so David dropped me off and went down the street to park.  Well, I was standing in front of the garage doors waiting for David when Gail came running out of the house waving her arms in the "c'mon in" sign--they thought we were driving away.  I seems that the affair was from 10:00 to 2:00, and almost everyone else had left!  Anyway, Gail's daughter Lyala was there with her two children and Loren with his two--an unexpected pleasure.  We hadn't expected Loren's children to be there as they were to have been at a gathering with their step-father's family. Turned out that just about everyone in the other family were sick and gathering had been postponed. 

So it was more of a quiet Findlay afternoon than the chaotic Doucette gathering we normally attend.  And it was a pleasure.  We talked about the children, reminisced about time at the lake, and most surprising of all, Jeremy and Gail's grandson Harry appeared to hit it off.  They had a remote control helicopter that they flew around the house and basement for most of the afternoon.  Lyala's other child, Belle, has just turned 18 and received her small  inheritance from her Grandfather.  She is looking into using a portion of it to fund a trip to China, during which she would spend time volunteering at an orphanage!  I think Gail may be trying to encourage her to take a "gap year" before considering university.  Belle is somewhat dyslexic, and there is concern about her ability to cope with the university atmosphere and expectations.

Tomorrow we head down south for two days ( one night).  Amber is going with us.  I sometimes refer to this as the Findlay women's annual brassiere buying trip, but Amber tells me that isn't what she is looking for this time, and  I don't need any.  Actually, I'm hoping that David can find some new clothes while we're there.  He hasn't had much luck up here, and needs clothes more than he admits.  Amber had hoped that Darren could come, as well, but they weren't able to get anyone to care for the children, as Judy is working this week, and their usual "go-to" friend found herself a job just before Christmas.

Then home Thursday, and jump into a whole bunch of housework, as--surprise--the family is coming for supper on Sunday--including Gail.  Then my Ravenesque ladies for the afternoon and supper on Monday.
So I'm grateful for the pleasure of hearing from both of you today.

Licorice allsorts

What a shame everyone knows I like licorice allsorts as I now have enough to last for a while although I have already done justice to one box!! Two days past the big day and I am still thinking about it all with great fondness. I loved the picture you sent Patty – I always think that pictures of family sitting at the dinner table speaks volumes and this one did not disappoint me even if I had to look sideways with a magnifying glass haha And I was thinking about you Cathy at Chicken Delight again – I hear on the radio and read in the newspapers about all the "charity" dinners being served on Christmas day and have often thought this would be nice to do if my situation were different.
While at Mike's I noticed a new box of "Magic, The Gathering" playing cards – he used to play this game when he was young and I thought of all the boxes of cards I had in his closet which he abandoned when he moved out. He mentioned that his group of friends who get together weekly to play games have started to move towards some of the older favourites and one of the guys brought Magic cards to encourage the others. Mike said he went up to the gaming store and bought a box so he could play along since the others seemed to have their own still. So guess what I did – rummaged through his closet which has gained a considerable amount of other stuff in the meantime, and gathered two large cardboard boxes full of smaller game boxes full of cards. They are now at his house since we went to North Bay this morning for a bit of shopping. There are still boxes of other game cards eg Pokemon, and Star Trek, and Star Wars left to sort over but I'll give him a bit of space until I dump them on his doorstep haha
We bought some wrapping paper, and some ribbons on sale today, so I shall organize all the wrapping materials this afternoon and take them downstairs to store for another year. I also bought a VHS copy of the first Zorro movie which I hope to view tonight if all goes well. I have the second movie but not the first and have always wanted to see it again – maybe some day I can get a DVD copy but for now this will do. I was given the trilogy of Back to the Future last year by Mike and if time allows this week I plan to tackle those back to back to back. A marathon of sorts!
Flash freezing warning is in effect for this area tonight and it hasn't stopped snowing all day but the temps are still mild – calling for a drop of 14 degrees in a very short time period – hence the warning for flash freezing. But a walk to the lake this morning with the dog still indicates open water so I am afraid that the outdoor enthusiasts may not have a very good year – at least it will be a short year to be sure if it happens to freeze over soon – need at least a foot of ice to sled or fish. I'm ever so glad my ice fishing days are over – how many years did I have to pretend I was having a good time for the kids sake while all along so desperately afraid to go on the ice!  With that happy note, I shall jump into Mike's cupboard for awhile and then walk the dog. Have a good day!!

Monday, December 26, 2011

Merry Christmas to All and to all a goodnight

Yes, I know it is boxing day, but the christmas sentiment survives. Chicken Delight was once again a success. We had a slow start but things picked up. At about 4 pm about 25 Phillipinos showed up for supper. We needed to heat more vegies and Turkey but to pass the time they sang Chrismas Carols. It was great. They had gone to Church and arrived after church. They did not mind waiting while we heated more food. We had the food, but we hdn't heated in case we didn't need it. Next year we hope that they will let us know that they are coming so that we can have hot food for them.. On the other hand the carols were great. Jean had new volunteers this year and I almost felt redundant. Two other people took over dishes and there was a new person on serving. It was great to have new people but you start to become possesive of your job. Jim says that with new people trained we can maybe take a year off. It was a success as usual. I may get tired each year, but I will be back again next year

Sorry about the picture.

We took it with Darren's camera and I tried to up load it with Amber's computer.  We had a heck of a time, and it was up right until it hit the blog.  At that time bad words were spoken and we abandoned the project.  Starting at the left we have Samantha, Judy, Gillian, Jessica, Darren, David ( the blue shirt), Loren, Amber and Jeremy.  After dinner we played Ninety-nine, Thirty-one and Oh shit!, while Judy and Samantha watched the new video's the girls got.   Then we all made our way home.  It was the first time I had seen Amber's new deck and hot tub.  The hot tub is insulated and will be used all winter.
It was a busy day, and everyone was pretty tired by bedtime.

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Merry Christmas from the Findlay/Shipp family

Of course, David is hiding behind Darren --intentionally.  Every time.  'Nuff said.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Santa is coming...

he has been spotted over Manitoba. It is already Christmas Eve and I am missing my family. I am so grateful to have Rrain here this year. We will be going to Chicken Delight tomorrow. The potatoes have been peeled (they were really small this year.... lots of peeling) the jellied salad is made. Tomorrow we cook and mash the potatoes and then we are off. The dinner is only 3 to 5 this year. It has been to six before and we usually run low on food by then but there is always someone coming in at 5:45 for supper. We don't seem tohave as many potaotes as before, but I know that Jean has Potatoe flakes that she can make into mashed potatoes if she has too. We watched Elf tonight and tomorrow night will be National Lampoons Christmas Vacation. Traditions change but the spirit remains. I hape that everyone has a wonderful holiday season and that all your wishes come true

the quiet wait

We, too, are packed and ready to move over to Amber's tomorrow.  Now it's just a quiet evening, a peaceful wait.  David has brought me a glass of wine and a couple of slices of homemade fruit bread--a real treat that both of us enjoy.  I have Galaxie Spa radio on while I play with my computer.  We purposely baked the bread this morning so that we could have it tonight--and very fine bread it is!  I'm thinking of both of you, because Beth is right.  This time of year is about family-no matter how your belief system may have changed over the years.  And this year we have our families closer than ever.
Have the holiday you need, whatever form it takes.

'Tis the night before Christmas

...and all through the house, everything is ready for the next days rush!
We have boxes and boxes packed to take up to Mikes – everything from gifts to food to pots to dishes set to load up the van in the morning to spend the day at Mikes.
Here I am on the eve of Christmas sending my family my best wishes for a happy time no matter what you may be doing – it is all about Christmas and family, so with those thoughts I send my love to all. XXX

Thursday, December 22, 2011

I'm not for hire -sorry

but I did manage to put in a full day at Mike's and enjoyed the time if you can believe one gets enjoyment from housecleaning! I stopped at Walmart before going over to his place and bought a bath set for him as a surprise – you know rug, toilet seat etc . I also got a new shower curtain so that when I cleaned I could replace his others and bring them home to wash. I just got into the grunge work in the bathroom having taken down the old and was cleaning the tub when he came in from work. He had come home to shower and change into his uniform after having gone for his annual fit test first thing this morning. I guess I really surprised him! I quickly started to put up the new but by then he had filled a bag with his stuff and was headed back to the Armouries where he said he could shower. But he did comment on the nice brown colour, and the pattern of the new curtain and how much he liked it so I was happy with my little rouse. The little cat was shy at first but then came around and started to pay attention to me – I think because I was ignoring it and going about my work, and he became curious about me and why I wasn't trying to to pick him up. And of course of all days, the weather decided to produce freezing rain and snow showers which made the trip home a bit dicey but nevertheless safely ended. And I had a Tim's to drink on the way because I purposely stopped before leaving North Bay to purchase one – the line up must have taken 10 minutes, at least it felt that long and I was thinking the whole time how I didn't really mind sitting in line waiting for a coffee – I guess it is because it really is a treat for me and not an everyday occurrence. So back to home again satisfied that I did a good turn and it was appreciated by Mike. Now two days at home before we go up again for Christmas Day. Today is supposed to be the shortest day of the year  being Winter Solstice although it felt just as long to me. I guess we can be happy that starting tomorrow the days will be getting longer and bringing us closer to spring! Somehow I think we missed Winter as there is not much indication that it is here although I should watch what I say as we may be in for a big shock over the next several months. The radio announcer that has the morning show in North Bay was bragging this morning because he was flying out to Winnipeg this afternoon for Christmas – his family is in Winnipeg, and Powerview , Manitoba and for a few fleeting moments I felt a bit jealous. I remember the year I came for a short visit over New years because  Phyllis had come to Colins for Christmas – it was the last time I saw her actually so was very glad that I came. The trip was a nightmare if I remember correctly including losing my luggage on the return trip – then the carrier went out of business the next month. Anyway I seem to be reminiscing a bit too much tonight so better sign off and go to bed.  Take care

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

nanaimo bars

The same thief who took yours, appears to have taken ours.  Yes, a whole batch made for supper on Sunday and gone by mid-afternoon today.  Luckily I didn't tell anyone about the second batch that's hidden in the freezer for Sunday. Judy is taking baking, and I'm taking baking, but Amber still wants a special dessert, so we put her in charge of that.  At these family gatherings, I figure the one who supplies the house shouldn't have to do much toward the meal, but if it's that important to her.... 

The dressing recipe is
4 cups Scottish oatmeal, coarse ground, if possible ( **steel cut oats, not rolled oats**)
one onion finely chopped
1 cup ground suet
salt to taste--up to 1 tbsp
Add enough boiling water, or stock, to make a loose, paste-y (sticky) consistency

You can stuff the bird with it, or wrap in tinfoil and cook beside the bird for about two hours.  Serve hot.  The next day it can be stir-fried to re-heat.  The recipe can be cut in half, or doubled, with no problem.

Beth, it's so good to hear you more at peace with yourself.  Mike is lucky to have you.  If you were closer, I would even hire you--if the price was right.  I hope his housing works out well. 

Just enough time for a poker tournament before our tv show at 9:00.  And it's above freezing again!  While I'm grateful, I'm getting annoyed at having to repeatedly take my parka apart, so I can use just the liner.

They were here, and now they are not.....

..Nanaimo bars, that is! I made a wonderful pan of the darn things the other day – had an absolute great time fussy about, measuring and mixing, and getting it all right. They turned out fabulously and even after taste testing a third and a fourth square just to be sure, they were still very very tasty. I feel as if I have been eating myself through day after day and enjoying every moment. To be fair about the squares though, I did take a plate of dainties to Mike this morning so part of the bars went to his home and I really did not eat them all. Harry had his share as well. I even tried my hand at making Daddies shortbread and have been enjoying a few of those in between other snacks. Shameful? Not on your life – it has been refreshing to feel so much pleasure even if it is of the hand to mouth kind! I watched The Santa Clause last night on TV, and tonight they are showing Part 2 and apparently Wed night they will show Part 3. I 'm not sure I am that interested but have been trying to view some of the Christmas "classics" such as The Polar Express, Home Alone, and Miracle on 34th Street. I see that they are showing a lot of the animated shows eg Rudolph and Scrooge but these do not get my attention at all. There is no snow yet and by the sounds of the weather forecast we may likely have a greenish Christmas – it's great for the driving but I still miss the thought of snow on the ground. I am going to Mike's on Thursday to tidy up a bit – some time ago I promised him I would do this for him at any time if he so desired, and since we are going for the day on Sunday, and he is working all this week, I volunteered to go on Thursday which he accepted. Harry will go to Sprucedale to bring home another load from the garage, so I can go up on my own and spend some time at Mikes. I'll take my vacuum and cleaning supplies and make a coffee and see how much I can get done. The little cat keeps to himself as he is afraid of people in the house, but there are workmen working on the house over the last few weeks – upgrading to bring the house up to standards so the property holding company can either sell, or rent the other two units that are currently empty. Harry bought a big box of hardcover books at the auction last week, and so I have looked them over and do not recognize any authors but have started with one and will gradually try to read at them. This author is Barbara Delinsky which I have seen in the cheap stores where I browse and I think it is a romance book and probably most of the others will be as well which I really don't like but who knows, it will be books to read and something I enjoy. A good romance might just perk me up!! And the highlight of my day was to go into the Metro ( old name is A&P) in North Bay and found the Bob's Red Mill display absolutely filled with all sorts of goodies including Scottish oatmeal which I now have in my cupboard at home – thanks Patty for the lead, and thought you would like to know that I had no trouble in finding it! Now, what I'll do with it is still in doubt but I can always cook some up breakfast, right! Take care for now....

Monday, December 19, 2011

meal planning

I tend to think of any meal that has protein, starch and veggie as being a full meal.  We are now tending to only have one meal a day, with a couple of snacks.  Once in awhile I make porridge for breakfast, but usually on days when I don't expect to get anything until supper time.  Given the time of year our snacks are now mainly sugar--naughty, naughty!  The girls were over for supper yesterday--cranky, snarly, and out to get each other--constant squabbling.  Amber and Darren have an important adult only dinner on Thursday, so we'll have them again, for supper.

I remember Morris's store, but in my day it was Sam's store.  I must have been about 10 when it changed hands.  I think there is a very ugly, contemporary house there now.  Since Auntie Lorraine died, there is no excuse to go back to the old neighbourhood.  Even driving down Osborne St. is entirely different.  I see in today's paper that the old Royal Bank that used to be at Kylemore and Osborne is now a mosque!  Also in today's paper is something about emerging plans to change the corner of River and Osborne.  Some poor fellow is being offered $20,000 ( I think) to walk away from a restaurant that he's invested $100,00 in, and years of his life.

David tells me that it's bed time.  Good night all!

Saturday, December 17, 2011

How long 'til Christmas???

We don't even have our tree up yet. We keep setting a day to do it and then something happens. Personally I think that stupid dog will eat it. We are so behind here. We were supposed to send our presents to Maddie and McKenna (McKenna is Cheryl's youngest daughter... Cheryl is Tim's and we really like her!) with Judy when she went there for Christmas but we are too late now. We won our usual at Meat Draw last night. We were only there because it was Turkeys and Hams. I actually had fun because I phone Rrain and asked if she would pick us up if I drank and she said yes, so I had 4, count 'em 4 beers. Good thing she came. Of course we have to got and get our truck today. It is parked at Land Titles. Today I get to buy food, too. My list has been growing all week and if we want supper I better shop. I have hamburger so there is hope, but we have had goulash and hamburgers already. I think that I will make the meat roll that you gave me the recipe for, Pati. I have made it before and everyone really liked it. Tomorrow will be chicken. It's sort of funny that I still carry some of the habits from growing up. Saturday could be a fun meal, but Sunday was always a full meal. I remember Daddy giving me 50 cents to go to Morris's to buy Old Dutch Chips on Saturday and I got to keep the change. Change from 50 cents... times sure are different. Of course I would also get 25 cents to go to the show and buy popcorn. I didn't win the lottery last night, but maybe next week. (the eternal optimist) Jim is awake so I guess it is time for breakfast. Have a great weekend

Friday, December 16, 2011


Yes, I suddenly realized that it was the last weekend before Christmas, only this morning.  I had intended to do more baking, but had put it off to prevent it all being eaten before the Big Day.  Well, we've had a box of Brandy Beans in the house and they sure disappeared in a hurry, so I'm not sure that I should do the rest of the baking or not.  Will the world end without Nanaimo Bars for Christmas day?  Darn Tootin' it will!  My Ravenesque group have been invited over on January 2nd, and I need some dainties for then.  So maybe the rolls of cookie dough in the freezer will stay there until January 1st, and the Nanaimo Bars will get made for the family.

The ladies are planning a pot luck supper that day, so the kitchen will have ot be cleaned as well.  usualy they stay in the basement, but not this time.  I think the Chritsmas dishes will stay out until the 3rd, instead of being put away after company on the first--not that anyone has been invited over, but you never know.

Otherwise this promises to be a fairly quiet week.  We have no outings planned, lots of meals in the freezer, and I have a fair bit of studio work piling up. I've tried to put up the little pieces I've been working on, on the other blog.  A group of ladies have agreed to slowly work through an art quilt book together, doing the execises in an effort to improve our skills.  I'm finding it both relaxing and educational, and quite enjoying the challenge.  Both of the pieces I have recently put up have come out of that work.  I'm making a point of finishing them well, so that I can put them into the "boutique" at the up coming quilt show.  This may be a passive way of testing the market. there are also two major pieces on the way, both committed to exhibitions over the next 9 months.  So time to devote myself to studio work.

The other day it rained for several hours here, and then froze.  Looking for a silver lining, I'm grateful that the rain got rid of a lot of snow.  We're getting old enough to see both sides of a "white Christmas".  Now we are facing a forecast high of 5 degrees for Sunday.  More melting and icey streets.  So I'm grateful that we don't have to shop or go to work.

And so the last weekend before Christmas

...and what are we all about to be doing? I think I shall enjoy the time, sit in front of the beautifully decorated tree, perhaps have a wee nip, and maybe watch a Christmas movie. Or, perhaps I will go to Mothers and clean up some more – haha – the choices are so difficult these days! Finally the temps have dropped and we have a sprinkling of white stuff on the ground. Most of all though we do NOT have the constant downpour of rain, and the shovelling of water at our front window to contend with as we did the last few days.  I just washed my hair and put it up into curlers which I have not done for a long time. It is getting long again and I really have no time to make an appt to get it cut before Christmas so the next best thing is to curl it. Yesterday we went to the LCBO and wandered about looking for a few interesting bottles to buy Mike for Christmas. We have over the last few years tried to buy a nicely shaped bottle, or funny designed one and not necessarily cared what might be in the bottle although this year it tended to be whiskey. It is also hard to wrap a bottle in order to camouflage it because it keeps gurgling as you hold the box in different directions. I'm sure he'll guess anyway that it is a bottle of something so the surprise will be to open it and see what it is and what it looks like. I didn't realize how much I enjoyed this past summer and fall puttering around outside in the yard until now when I don't – I can see the difference it is also making in my shape, from lack of exercise and also from an increased consumption of baking. So I guess you can't win – was excited to do some baking but then I'm afraid enjoyed the spoils too much. I haven't had a chance to go public skating either, so I must promise to take better care of myself come the new year. That isn't a resolution either, but a promise to myself, so there is no chance to break it like so many other resolutions. Today I plan to tidy up here at home as best I can and once the low peak hours for hydro start to try to catch up on some laundry. Life can't get more exciting can it? Hope you all have a great weekend and I will look forward to lots of messages and news from everyone.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011


I have to wonder if we all need hobbies that don't involve chocolate.  Maybe we should take up quilting--but no-- that usually involves chocolate. ( Go figure!) My painting isn't going well, but tomorrow is the last class and I think I should show up.  I don't want to be thought of as trying to make a statement, that I don't really mean. The flaw is in me, not the teacher. I think my ambitions outrun my skill level.

Today we ran errands. Took some receipts into Blue Cross, went to the bakery for bread, dropped a small parcel off at the thrift store, and then hit Walmart ( yet again!) for giant size colouring books for little girls.  We try to keep one or two around.  It keeps them busy, and somewhat quiet, while we're cooking supper and playing cards.  Yesterday there was a whole big shelf of them and two left today.  A whole wall rack of markers but no crayons.  Well, you can get crayon off the walls with a little elbow grease, but not marker.  So we'll have to try again after Christmas.  And we bought Brandy Beans!  It must be Christmas!  The only time they're in stores.

I found  a large Damask tablecloth at the thrift store, so now I'm planning a dyeing day, but I'll have to buy a little more dye first.  I've found that I tend to go back again and again to a purple/blue/burgundy palatte, so the dyes I have left, are mostly browns and greens.

I think I sub-consciouly try to plan small outings, just to get us out of the house.  Otherwise I can see us not leaving home for days at a time--maybe even weeks.  It has happened before in our lives and I never want to see those days again.  We need social contact, even if it's very informal, or we loose the ability to participate.

Social butterfly does good.......

I really enjoyed reading about your social outings for a few good reasons – you got to go out, and you got to enjoy time with friends. I often think about this and except for my semi annual lunch with Sue, I don't get out much.. But I make up my own fun as you know only too well. Today we went to North Bay and did a bit more shopping so I think that we might finally be finished for Christmas – I have to wrap yet but that is fun. But while on the road I suddenly thought of making Edna's cookies and of course thought of all the family get togethers that involved a bag (make that "bags")of Edna's cookies, and got all warm and fuzzy. I made a batch after supper and took great pains to follow recipe exactly, and watched each cookie sheet cook so that I could take them out of the oven at exactly the right time. Think I was going too far???? No, I made the best cookies ever and I had a wonderful nostalgic time.
The weather is awful – warm and melting and raining and foggy and miserable. Hoping it may cool down again by the weekend so we can get on with winter. The one's I feel bad for are the Ski Hills desperately trying to make snow but to no avail with these temps so warm so they can't open up. It doesn't look good for the next week either and that might spoil a good Christmas season for profits. The lake is still open which means no ice fishing or snowmobiles will be able to access until likely mid or late January provided it cools down and freezes enough. Time to go..until next time take care.

Monday, December 12, 2011

And eating, and eating, and eating---

This weekend is my "busy, busy, Chritmas social time".  Yes, as we get older our celebration tolerance gets   gets shorter and shorter--mine is now down to two days.  Yesterday ( Sunday) my long time friend Carolyn was in town. There were many people she wanted to see, and little time, so one of the ladies organized a "stitch-in" at a local retirement centre, complete with a catered supper.  While most of us stitched, Carolyn spent 15 minutes with each of us in a private one-on-one.  It made so much sense to do it that way, and it gave each of us enough time to catch up.  The supper was excellent, a served meal, complete with the largest Yorkshire pudding I've ever seen.  And Bramble berry pie for dessert.  It's been a very lomg time since I've had a double crust fruit pie.

Today (Monday)my little group --"the Tuesday night stichers that used to meet on Wednesday, but now meet Tuesday afternoon"--got together for our Annual Christmas Luncheon" at the local Olive Garden.  It was a very delicious meal.  I quite enjoyed it, and mentioned to David that maybe we could go there for lunch sometime.

On the way to the Olive Garden, I stopped in WalMart for a prescription and found decent zipper-front sweat shirts in my size for $9.00 each.  I've been wearing one of them since I got home and it seems quite fine. Of course, the rant about WalMart and their profit margin from another of my lunch companions gave me the guilts--for about 3 minutes. And  on the topic of food, David treated us to some of his Christmas shortbread for supper tonight.

So today is another day when I'm just generally grateful.  And how am I doing at finding small pleasures?Right now I feel good and life is going well.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

I'm still eating so why not you?

I agree about the downfall of baking which results in the eating of same, but I also enjoy the baking and seeing the results - so be it. Especially when I use the right ingredients and everything turns out good! I just baked a sheet of refridgerator cookies I had rolled in the fridge since two days ago. They are just right fresh and hot from the oven and that is why I made small rolls – only enough for a cookie sheet and not too many that can't be eaten in one sitting haha.  I made nuts and bolts last year from your recipe but mine just didn't turn out so good and I'm hesitant to make another batch. Yesterday we went to the Scott Woods Show at the Callander Legion Branch 445 – started at 3 pm and went for a full 2 1/4 hours afterwhich we took part in a chicken dinner ($10.00 each) It was a most enjoyable time and I would say very timely as well to lift one's spirit! We sat beside three couples who were obviously best of friends and provided lots of fun and laughs which always makes an outing nice when you really go in not knowing anyone. We went to Mothers this morning and cleaned more of the garage – a must do activity but not necessarily a want to do activity. Mike went up to Timmins this weekend and since the weather has not been too good for driving, I will be anxious to hear he is back home later tonight. Anyway, I must go and eat more cookies and check the wash. Good to hear from both of you today when I checked the site, and to hear good medical reports from Patty, and housecleaning woes from Cathy as I can relate to all of it. I believe that I was in book withdrawal as I mentioned some time ago, because on Friday I went to the library and checked out another Steve Berry novel – his latest from this year, and immediately when I started to read felt a sense of relief. Funny how we get ourselves into these little rituals and seem to need them after awhile? Take care

Sometimes I really hate computers

My computer has once again been acting up, but it seems to be working again. I guess I just don't realize how old it is. We went to Killarney yesterday. I loved their old house in town, but they have really fixed up this new one. The took out a bunch of walls and opened it up so the kitchen dining room and living room are basically one L shaped room. They have a lot more plans to go. Sandi wants to keep going all winter so they can concentrate on the outside in the spring. I think it will be a work in progress for a while. Unfortunately I then come home to my house and really wish I could do something with it. Maybe when I win the lottery. We havn't done anything for Christmas yet.... still 2 weeks to go... why rush?. Maybe we should think about putting up the tree. They finally posted the job at work and interviews are supposed to be Dec 28th. We actually might have someone by February or March. You have to wonder when it takes a year to fill a position. I should be cleaning my house again. You'd think that after you dust it would be clean for a while but it just doesn't work that way. You clean one area after the other and by the time you are done you have to start over. Oh well... what else am I going to do with my spare time. Of course, I am playing on my computer and I can hear Jim vacuuming downstairs. I will let him keep going. We still don't have our kitchen cupboard doors on. Jim cannot seem to find the hinges that he needs. They are all just a little too smalll or too big. Nothing is just right. I made some nuts and bolts but that is it for my "christmas baking" so far. I will try shortbread tonight (maybe) If I make it I just eat it and I really don't need to get any bigger. Hopefully my computer will behave for a while now & I can keep in touch

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Good news

My doctor's appointment went well yesterday.  Weight down, B.P. down, no osteoporosis, but slight osteopenia, comensurate with my age.  So I'm to double up on the Caltate Plus.  David and I came home, and by the end of the day, had eaten a box of chocolates we had been given. They were so-o-o good!  And yesterday my cheque came from Selkirk.  Then a new high playing poker.  What more could I ask?

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Not much to say

but I didn't want anyone to think they were forgotten.  Loren called today to chat. He has been diagnosed with sleep apnea, and is taking steps to have someone else pay for his $2500 c-pap machine.  He had paid privately for the assessment, and is hoping to get that back too.  He was describing the asssessment, which I gather took place in his own home.  All of the tubes and wires didn't cause too much problem, but the cat playing with the wires did!  He has had an idea about this for awhile, so I'm glad he's been looking into it.  It's easy for the sufferer to pass it off, but it can be fatal.  He's having some work done on his house.  The children's bedroom windows need to be bigger to accomodate bigger bodies, for safety, as they grow up.  I think Loren is starting to find dealing with teenagers "interesting", but he had some idea of what to expect from his former job.

I've been busy in the studio, but today was a painting class.  I have one more, in this session, but have decided not to go back after Christmas.  There are just too many deadlines looming, and I never want to find myself fighting to meet a deadline again.  I see the doctor on Friday.  Over the past while, I've been trying to stay away from salt--and, boy, do I ever miss it.  But I've also found that my appetite is less now that I'm avoiding caffeine.  So, I'm fairly comfortable going in. Sometimes, I dread the process, but I believe I'm in pretty good shape, this time.

I checked the recipe, Beth, and I forgot to write in the "do not substitute".  It should have been there.  We've both had cravings for chocolate chip cookies, and bought a whole kilogram of chocolate chips, only to find that they're quite old.  Not really very good to eat by the handful, so we may have to actually use them in cookies.  I got my e-mail from Kraft today, and there is a recipe for Nanaimo Bar Cheese cake.  Now, I ask you, what could possible be better than that?!?  Even Sex in a Pan doesn't quite measure up to Nanaimo Bar cheesecake!

Well, bedtime.  For today I'm grateful for having children who still talk to me about their lives, and considering how strict I'm being about my dieting right now, I'm grateful for even the concept of Nanaimo Bar Cheesecake.

New glasses

.....are on my face and have been for most of the day. I am trying to get used to the difference in vision from trifocals to bifocals. I picked them up this morning and then headed for a shopping day in North Bay. Harry had gone to his mothers, and his brother and sister were coming again today. I wore the glasses to drive and noticed a big difference but I'm still having trouble focusing to read eg for using the computer now, I don't have that third options for distance. It is quite a change between computer work, and for reading closer. I may keep my old glasses handy for awhile. I bought some real butter and have a batch of cheese tarts ready to bake. Hopefully they will turn out better than the last batch. I can still eat the first ones, but not the same crispy pastry taste. I bought a new Tim Hortons china cup for myself and used up the last of my gift card I got last year. I think there was a little over $2.00 left and I wanted to use it towards a lasting cause ie the cup. The girl made a mistake on my order and gave me a large coffee instead of an extra large so her supervisor came over and told me I could take the both because they would only have to throw out the first cup anyway. So I felt I had been given gold  ie an extra cup of Tims for free! I had a very nice day wandering around – I was able to buy a few gifts and intend to wrap them up while watching Miracle on 34th Street tonight. Very ambitious as I can feel myself waning quickly so time will tell. You know when you plan for certain activities and come he—or highwater you're going to complete the list – well, I just may find myself heading for bed instead and leaving things for the morning as I should have a few hours to myself before Harry returns form Sprucedale. So I better get at it........

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Hanging in....

I'm still here and have just made some melting moments, and some cheese tarts. Now, I fear that my baking skills are badly in need of some improvements – I think more experience is necessary as I could not believe how rusty I am. I love to bake but just have not done any for so long. I also think that having the right ingredients is essential. For example if it says butter, don't try to substitute " I Can't Believe Its Not Butter" margarine haha Enough said...... Harry has spent a few days at his Mothers on his own while I puttered around the house doing odds and ends. There were a lot of garbage runs though when he came home with several trips a day there and back which takes its toll on energy and gas! His brother is to come tomorrow but even that is is doubt as her mother and father are both in Kirkland hospital and the mother has taken a turn for the worse. We made a trip to North Bay yesterday and got a glimpse only of Mike as he got home from Petawawa late Sunday night and was trying to sleep. I think I told you that the owner of his building went bankrupt and the Property Management Company that took over has started to upgrade the building – so Mike could not sleep well with pounding and hammering and vibration throughout.  I wonder what his future in his apartment will be with all this happening around him. Probably an increase in rent as allowed by law, or eviction, or maybe Mike will look for another place? Anyway, onward and upward. ps I logged onto the fast friday web site and thanks for the tip – I shall enjoy this viewing when I can – the comments section is most interesting.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Melting Moments

I don't know if these were a Christmas cookie or not.  They may have been something Mom made to feed to the Spinsters, but they have become a bit of a favourite at our house.  Amber will have to tell you about her experiences with them last year, when she made them for a cookie exchange.  They are really just a whipped shortbread.

Melting Moments
2/3 c. cornstarch
1 c. flour
1/3 c. powdered sugar ( icing sugar)
1 c. butter (do not substitute!)

Cream butter and sugar well, and add flour.  Drop by spoonfuls on an ungreased cookie sheet.  Bake about 15 minutes at 325 degrees F.  The recipe can be doubled. I ice them, shortly before serving, with a basic, lemon flavoured, butter icing ( be a little generous with the lemon).  If you ice them too soon, the icing becomes very hard and distasteful.  The uniced cookies can be frozen, but will also keep for a couple of weeks in a well sealed container.

I have 1 jar of Cross and Blakewell Mincemeat left. It has been in the cupboard for about 4 years, and I plan to use it a little closer to Christmas.  I haven't seen it in Safeway in years and used to sometimes find it in the Bay Basement, but I honestly haven't looked lately.  David likes the tarts, but no-one else does, so I just make a few each year as a treat for him.  The family used to enjoy the mincemeat in Matrimonial cake, and just about any mincemeat works for that.


It is the "peace" I enjoy, not piece as is written haha

Melting moments

Now that you have mentioned these again, I expect they are favourites?  I looked in my recipes and couldn't find a recipe so wondering, yet again, if you could send. I may not make them, but at least I will know what you are making. Perhaps I know them by a different name, but this name does not come to my mind. I have actually pulled out the tree and have it half assembled. There is a telethon on TV right now from 2 pm to 11 pm and Harry is watching so I may get in the way to be fussing with the tree. I lay in bed thinking where and how I could rearrange things so that it could go up in the middle of the mess and so far seems to be working regarding space that is. I always have liked to sit by the tree with only the lights on and enjoy the piece so getting it up will mean a lot to me. We got a great deal accomplished at Mothers today in the garage so things are looking up. Take care

Friday, December 2, 2011

When you have a minute.....

Beth, if you ever have a chance, you should take a look at the Fast Friday Fabric Challenge blog ( )  It is a fascinating site with many, many challenge quilts, made by people from all over the world. so good, some bad, some very bad! lol I have been a member for over 5 years (from the beginning) and, while I don't participate often, I love to look at what people do in response to the challenge.  On the blog, others are free to make comments or suggestions about the quilts, so it's also a great place to learn.

We made two batches of Mom's Butterscotch Refridgerator cookies today.  Yesterday it was the pinwheel and checkerboard cookies that we used to make at home for Christmas.  I plan to make some Melting Moments a little closer to the Big Day.  The ones we havemade so far, are tightly wrapped in rolls, frozen, and ready to be sliced and cooked, when the time comes.  Cooking them now would be bad for my waistline!

Mince meat tarts

What a nice message to read as I log on this evening. Thank you for the support. Today I created another "treasure of pleasure" and made mince meat tarts. I used Selection brand mince meat – can't find the old favourite Cross and Blackwell (?) nor the Maple Leaf so this was the next available. The pastry was also very nice made with Tenderflake. I have wanted to make some for a few years now and it seemed quite appropriate and  timely to do it today. I even had a notion to make some Cheese and Lemon Tarts but have resisted for the sake of my waist line haha. I will only eat them all and as it is, I have already had about four mince meat tarts today. Fairly good day with many little odds and ends accomplished around the house and yard. I connected the outside lights to an extension cord and so there was some colour tonight outside, and I put up an electric candle wreath on the wall by the piano so there was also some colour inside. Ho hum......Tomorrow we will be going to Mothers early to try to clean out the garage a bit more – what a lot of stuff to go through and many trips to the dump as well. Harry's brother is now planning to come next Wed so hopefully he can assist Harry a bit more?  Here's wishing you all a happy weekend. ps love your 12" X 12" challenge piece Patty that you posted on Mouse Factory.  It was bright and colourful and very cheerful!

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Listen to your body

Beth, you have just come off of an extended period of relentless stress and physical labour.  Your body needs a break.  It was several months after I first retired before I could even begin to think about moving on.  I even napped everyday, and after I retired the second time, I napped everyday for several years.  You must look after yourself.  And, yes, you will notice the lower physical energy, but this isn't being unproductive, it's a very normal and necessary reaction to what you have been through.  In terms of myself, I feel as though I have just wakened from a lengthy sleep--somewhat like Rip Van Winkel.  But even that didn't happen over night.  It has been three months now, and only within the last 2-3 weeks has my need for a daily nap lessened. You are an expert at finding small joys and  pleasures, and I'm always love to  hear how you find ways to indulge yourself with them.

 Unfortunately, I am now very much more aware  of how neglected my house has become.  This isn't necessarily a good thing, as there are other things I would much rather spend my time on.  However, I managed to give the bath tub a good scrub out this week.  This is the first time in 18 months that I have been able to kneel down.  My left knee has been very slow to recover from my fall in July of 2010, and I hurt it again when I fell last January.  I just couldn't bear weight through it to kneel. If I had to guess what the problem was, I would have to wonder about a small fistula just below the patella, that had been draining off and on until about 3 weeks ago.

Today I went for a haircut, and there was a sign advertising three specials for the month.  One of them was only a couple of dollars more than I usually spend, so I indulged.  A special shampoo and rinse. then a scalp massage, a "precision" haircut, blow dry and styling.  She talked me into getting a very young style, although the cut itself can be styled into my usual, next time it gets washed.    I could have paid an extra $2.00 and received some free product.  As I was leaving I noticed a basket of the "free" product on sale for --you guessed it--$2.00.

So for today, we should be grateful for small, (hidden?)pleaseures, and our capacity to recognize them  and indulge.

I wish....

....that I could be as wonderfully busy and productive as you sound to be Patty. I bring to mind the word "mundane" to describe things here lately. Well, we went to Mothers again after two days absence because of the severe weather we had. The power went out again today and there are still approx 4000 customers without power at all. So I guess we are lucky to have fluctuating service?? We have enough snow to last for winter – and it all fell in the last two days after we had been enjoying nice Fall like conditions up until now. I also got some badly needed housework done this afternoon after returning from Mothers with another load. It feels so good to do housework – I like the idea that I have washed floors and cleaned up but no one could ever tell except me haha. I walked with the dog tonight after supper and purposefully went around the subdivision to look into windows. I like to see the Christmas decorations and really enjoy the walk and the viewing. We don't have anything in the way of Christmas up yet – we actually have no room for the tree right now in the front room and if truth be told, I am not really in the mood to put anything up. But I'm sure that will change or I will be forced to change. I wrapped gifts for Harry's sister and family over the weekend so have that done and all the cards were mailed today. The one thing I enjoy is playing Christmas music on my CD player, and starting today ( Dec 1) the radio station is playing Christmas songs now so I quite like that. On Sat Dec 10 we are going to a show in North Bay – Scott Woods Band – remember we went in June and I told you how good it was and Cathy I mentioned they were coming to Neepawa. Well, on Dec 10 they are back to North Bay for a special Christmas show at 3 pm with a dinner to follow at the Legion In Callander. I am not sure if the tickets we purchased cover the dinner but I'm sure we will find out once we get there. I haven't been reading anything for the last week and I think perhaps I am in withdrawal?? The optometrist called Wed to say my glasses were in, but because of the bad weather they weren't coming to Sundridge until next week so I couldn't even get my new prescription. I will be getting bifocals instead of trifocals and a new set of frames so I'm anxious to get them to see if I can "see" better. Cost plenty $$$ so they better be OK.  Take care for now...