Friday, May 20, 2016

Spring Spruce Up

Due to my life-of-leisure lately (laid off, collecting EI and working casual), I am way ahead of my usual spring spruce-up game. The gardens have been weeded, fed and mulched; they are looking mighty pretty for Nova Scotia in May!
The front bed is bidding goodbye to the last of the tulips and hello to the primrose and grape hyacinth. The planter under my Newfoundland flag contains basil, thyme and Italian parsley. I don't get a lot of direct sunlight, but I'm hopeful that the herbs will continue to grow throughout the summer.


The side bed next to the brook is filling in. The sunlight only reaches the tree-garden bed for short periods during the day, but the creeping phlox is beginning to bloom and Astilbe, faux Sunflower, sedum and other plants are showing their wee faces. In that area, it's a futile fight against nature, I know; but somehow, I love its wildness.

I've also been painting the entire main floor, ceilings and trim -- something that's not been done in total in the 8 years I've lived here.   I've had some help with that; also, because I want to retain some feeling in my hands and fingers (carpal tunnel), I've made sure there were 4-5 days off in between painting sessions. I choose a lovely light, airy color called "Bluegrass White" by Dulux. (A lot of color for white, huh?) I've been gathering new cushion covers for the past year or so with the intention of changing up my color scheme a little; and I've shopped my house for other "new" do-dads. 
The 2 red cushions were thrifted. The elephant is from Wicker Emporium ($12 on sale); and the anchor was a recent purchase online from Rosegal ($5)

And I just found this beauty at Frenchies last week for $4, cushion included.
What a difference a color change makes! Besides the downstairs looking clean and fresh, I feel more energetic and positive every time I look at it. As they say:  "A change is as good as a rest"!

Next chore are the 3 decks. I'll hire someone to scrape and then I'll tackle the staining. And when I "shopped" my paint can area of the basement, I was lucky enough to come up with just enough stain and paint in all the right colors. Nice to know that won't cost me any money. (Must keep in mind the summer wine supplies, huh.)

Now to get back to sprucing myself up! Several weeks of painting and gardening have ravaged my hands and nails. I guess I need a week of soaking in the bathtub with wine spritzers. 

Not a problem at all!
Get me out before I'm pruny!

Friday, April 22, 2016

Happy Earth Day

It's another glorious day in my little part of the world. The sun is shining, birds are singing, green things are growing.

Nova Scotia was the first place on earth to make recycling and composting mandatory. It's become a way of life for me that I proudly teach each of my international children. It takes practice but there's really nothing to it; and it gives you such a sense of good stewardship to help in this small way. (Now, if we could only convince manufacturers to not use as much packaging!)

Another way I take care of the earth is by carrying my reusuable cloth bags with me whenever I shop. And I have my own water bottle which I use 99% of the time. I could do so much more, I know. But each little bit helps especially if others join in.

What will you do to celebrate Earth Day? I'm walking to meet a friend for coffee; and I'll carry a bag with me (plastic this time) to pick up any garbage I see along the way.  I love this planet and all it gives to me. This is just a wee way to give back.


Thursday, April 21, 2016

Time to Hit the Road (Path) Again

Who says old dogs can learn new tricks! I've finally successfully finished the training period for my new job. And I'm happy to report, that all things came together and I actually now understand what I'm doing. What a relief!

I'm so grateful for this job, one I'd tried for years to get into. Who knew that I'd finally do it at 61! There's another lady roughly my age, there's a 56 yr old ("Oh, to be 56 again", she sighs whistfully!). And then there's a bevy of young 25-35 yr old beauties who wizz through all the tasks and offer words of encouragement to me when I attempt a variation that I've never done before. Those young whipper-snappers have been marvelous!

This week, I've had only one shift passed on to me. And I'm so relieved. As you can imagine, my body and my brain have taken a beating this past month. I've had no problem with working and staying awake for evening or night shifts (although I've shed some tears at having to miss the ending of favorite TV shows as I leave to walk to work). But my body is complaining quite loudly. If I work an evening shift (until 11 or midnight), I miss at least half of the next day:  if I work a night shift (11 or midnight to the AM), I'm useless for another day and a half.  And having to be at work for 6:30 or 7 am, is not much fun either. But it'll probably get easier, huh? 

Either way, one must do what one must do to make ends meet. One must make the best of all situations (bad and good). And one must grab life by the whiskers and run (or waddle) with it. One must also remember to eat well and exercise, both of which have suffered during my all-consuming training period. So today, I shall get outside and soak up the sunshine and then re-focus and get back into my healthier eating regime. 

So, it's sneakers on and out the door for this gorgeous spot, 
Miller Point Peace Park, just outside town.

Ahhhhh! Thank God for small blessings!

If any of you out there has helpful tips and suggestions for me as I venture into shiftwork, I'm completely open. Thanks and enjoy your day.

Sunday, April 3, 2016

 March has said farewell and April has arrived. In spite of this being the month of showers (and today is no exception to that rule), I tend to like April. I like the gradual release of winter, the slightly warmer temperatures, the washing away of the dirty snow. It rains so much in April that I feel the earth is saying "I'm serious about this spring stuff! Let's get growing!". And down from the heavens comes the rain; and up from the ground come all the little green sprouts. 

Today is a gentle, warm rain. I long to go outside and rake all of last fall's protective leaf covering off my flower beds. All sorts of things are coming up and growing straight through the dead leaves.But as the weather forecaster is calling for this warm, gentle rain to possibly turn to snow later, I think I'll "leaf" well enough alone.

The training at my new job has so far been evenings and night shifts; very intense, busy shifts where I come home exhausted and too buzzed to sleep for a couple of hours. I find that it takes a couple of days to recouperate. Housework and chores get done, an occasional long walk; but not much else. That's okay; renewing my energy is the most important thing. I have 2 weeks of days ahead of me -- early mornings to mid afternoons. I'm looking forward to it.

I'm trying to strengthen my back and lessen the chronic pain. I walk to work but had to get rid of my backpack and opt for a small cross-body purse and lunch bag. I've been trying to get in a little yoga in each day because I sit so much. And in my recently thrifted yoga magazines, I found a number of articles on these:

Possibly the most ugly shoes in
      the universe, n'est pas?

I have hammer toes as well as bunions on both big toes. I totally blame these afflections for my lack of a passionate, caring partner because other than that, I'm like totally hot!  Both are supposed to aleviate foot pain and possibly correct these conditions. So, I began searching and researching in the hope that I can once again bare my feet in public without children running in terror and the weak collapsing in a faint.

Mine are electric blue too!
I found cheaper, generic yoga toes online at Amazon, and the squishy toe gellies arrived last week. It's difficult to walk with them on (DUH) and not recommended. So I wear them while watching TV and can keep them on for an hour plus before my feet say uncle!

"Why Toe Shoes?"
However, so far I'm unable to find the Smurf feet in any shoe store in Nova Scotia! The online shoes are too expensive for me to spend big bucks to try out; and I've heard some people say they couldn't wear them because they rubbed and irritated. I have, however, found a 2nd hand pair on Kijiji for $50.

But before I buy anything, I'm wondering if anyone in blogland has experience with toe separator shoes? Are they really worth $100-$200? Do they fix ogre feet?  (Or at least make me more socially acceptable.)

No pressure people,
but my future happiness may depend on your answer!

Thursday, March 24, 2016

A "Shift" in my Time/Space Continuum

Wow! My last post was Feb 3.16, 7 weeks ago. But a lot of changes have happened.

  • New students?  Yup, I knew that would happen. But this time is definitely a little challenging; the young girl from China debates almost everything even the simplest of requests like putting her wet, rainy coat in the downstairs closet as opposed to in her room. Scheesch! But I make the best of it, soldier on and hope it will get better as more time passes and we get to know each other more. (And I AM the boss!)
  • New car? Yup! It was inevitable given the age of my poor "Bruce". I now have a lovely little, brand new 2016 KIA Rio. It's a joy to drive plus it comes with wonderful extras that my 2005 Ford Focus didn't possess in it's last years of life --- things like a radio that gets more than 1 station and heat that actually blows where you want it.

  • Lay off from work? Never saw that coming! And it was handled in such an awful way. Very sad to feel so under-valued and taken advantage of by people who had seemed so nice. Oh well! Better out of there than in!
I went through a few weeks of turmoil and worry, but EI is now in place, and I've found a new job, even if it is only casual at present.  I've been training for Switchboard & Admitting at my local hospital -- just an 8 min walk from home. I've tried a number of times to get hired there;this time, Lady Luck was in my corner.  It's shift work; and there's ohhhhhh, so much to learn, so the shifts are exhausting. But I like it and the pay is great.

I did my first ever night shift last night - midnight to 7 am. At 11:45 pm after putting a good "breakfast" in my body, I walked to work in the dark; I love walking at night. 

Although my eyes were crossing towards early morning, I got through the night with no problem. (Let me just take a moment to say "Thank you, Coffee".) It was beautiful walking home at 7 am:  the sun was coming up and it was fairly quiet except for bird song. I didn't realize they were singing yet, so what a wonderful surprise it was! See that sky though? "Red sky in morning, sailors take warning!" We're in for it on Good Friday; ice pellets changing to rain later.

This is likely what I'll be doing tomorrow. 
Yup! This is an extremely accurate picture!

Well, except for the kitty at the feet. 
And I'm a little older than she is.
..... And chubbier.
.... And my legs are hairier.
.... And I will have a line of drool from my lips to my 61 yr old, scrunched-up decolletage.
.... And there will definitely be loud snores coming from my mouth.

But other than that, this is an exact picture of me tomorrow!

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Gifts from Afar

My new students arrived last weekend on either side of a snow storm. And as always, they bring a gift for the new host Mom.  I love getting (and giving) gifts; but the ones I get from my international children are always special because they are so unique. 

This beautiful scarf was given to me by Abby from China. Isn't it lovely! It reminds me of a Jewish prayer shawl, and that suits me just fine!

Like many Chinese students, Yuxin has decided to take the much easier English name of Abby (because we're so hopeless at pronouncing their beautiful names!). My Korean daughter did the same; and she told me it was an exciting yet serious chore when she sat down with her father and decided on her "Canadian" name.  

These are my gifts from Japan. Isn't this the most exquisite packaging! I'm always blown away by the beauty and detail. These are shortbread cookies with chocolate icing in the centre: strawberry white chocolate, white chocolate with dried fruit, etc. Absolutely delicious!

And then there is this gorgeous box of chocolates! Be still my heart! I've only eaten one so far -- the dark chocolate with candied ginger. And yes, the quality is wonderful.

The one out front is white/strawberry chocolate with dried strawberries; there are almond milk, white and dark chocolates and what looks to be a mocha white chocolate. 

I'll have lots of fun trying these out. But at the moment, I'm trying to curb my sweet tooth and take off those 5 lb that magically appeared over Xmas! (2.4 down so far.)

Aren't I fortunate to have these wonderful opportunities to share my life with young girls from other countries.

To say nothing of how fortunate I am to be the recipient of such beautiful gifts.