Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Merry Christmas from the Frozen North

Hello Friends. I've been missing in action for quite some time now
but my family and I are dealing with some serious and sad issues in my family. My Mom recently broke her hip; and although that's on the mend, with her age (86) and her poor overall health, she has NOT recovered well.  She's blind, has diabetes, kidney problems, a heart condition, high blood pressure and was diagnosed this summer with mild Parkinson's. However, with her heart condition, there was not a lot that could be given to her to control the Parkinson's. And now with the trauma of the hip injury and anesthetic, etc., she's fallen into a slow, steady decline where she doesn't really know where she is and what's happening. So far though, she does still recognize our voices most days and is aware of what health issues she has. It's been a very difficult month. And it's certainly not the "last Xmas together" that any of us envisioned when I moved home.

However, I have not given up on Christmas. My tree is up, apt is decorated, gifts are wrapped, and thanks to my darling soon-to-be 3 year old grandson, Christmas will be celebrated. I'm hoping to bake cookies with him this weekend because I'm a firm believer that children should roll out their own cookie dough and handle it until it's grey and gross at which point they eat it! It's a tradition, right?

As a Christian, I don't get into the back-and-forth debate about how to address people during the holiday season. And I certainly don't walk around malls or streets demanding that parents tell their children the "truth" about Santa and how this is a time to celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ. I believe we all need to make our own decisions on what this season is all about: it's between you and your God.

And just this morning, I came across this post The War on Christmas which sums things up very nicely, I think, and gives one cause to think.

However you celebrate, whatever you say, I hope your home is filled with good smells and good wishes and love, love, love. 

Thursday, November 24, 2016


Happy Thanksgiving to all my American friends. 
And please note that this post was created 5 days ago but I had some Blogger issues. 

A couple of weeks ago, I volunteered to drive my sister to her specialist appointment in our capital city of St John's (or as we Newfies say "Sin Jawns"). It's a 9 hour drive across the island! 

But as I was suffering badly from thrift store withdrawl, I suggested we stay a few days and do some Christmas shopping as well. We left a week after her recent marriage: "Have a nice honeymoon, you two!" said her husband as we drove away in their new lux vehicle with built-in seat warmers and GPS -- a necessity in Sin Jawns!

We booked an awesome Airbnb: a tiny little historic row house right downtown for an unbelievable price. We each had our own room and a little patio out back. And while we were there visiting the large malls and our 2 cousins, I met up with an old friend.

"Hello darling", I cooed lovingly as we arrived in the city and drove past on our way to our new digs. "See you tomorrow."  On the same street, we passed Previously Loved, another thrift store recommended to us as well as a large Salvation Army thrift store and the mall where we planned on shopping. 

(With my heart all aflutter, I thanked God for obviously placing all these shops in one convenient location!)

My sister was a total greenhorn to thrifting, but after our first stop, she was hooked. (We'll repeat our visit in the spring when she has her next specialist appointment.) 

Before I left NS to move back home into an apartment, I got rid of an awful lot! I foolishly thought I could live with only a few pairs of shoes in black, brown and tan. Well! Time told a different story. So at the top of my "To Find" treasure list was SHOES. I probably spent a total of $125 thrifting, but I bought 6 pairs of flats, a down-filled winter coat (an absolute must for our long, cold Newfoundland winters), 2 pairs of pants/jeans, 2 t-shirts, 2 sweaters, 3 scarves as well as 5 additions to family Xmas gifts, 6 items for my grandson, 2 pieces of antique glassware, and a slew of lovely other items. (I'll share later.)

Linda and I had a fantastic time together, getting to know each other again and bonding over glasses of wine and lovely food: rustic loaves of artisan bread (unavailable in rural CB) from Volcano Icelandic Bakery; thick slices of delicious, rich buttercream topped cake from Rocket Bakery; a carnivore's delight at Montana's (fuel for shopping) and skinny vanilla lattes from Starbuck's. We acted like tourists, visiting Cape Spear and just walking historic Water Street and chatting with the artists and musicians.

I love my new quiet, laid back lifestyle in Corner Brook. But this trip to the big city was a wonderful mini vacation:  soul-rejuvenating and full of fun and laughter. 

Now, back to my budget and saving for next April's trip! 

Tuesday, October 18, 2016


Newfoundland is an island:  a veritable rock in the north Atlantic where the people are known to be cheerful, generous, fiercely proud and extremely resilient. History shows the extreme hardships that we have overcome and how tough life continues to be for many in this fair isle. Winters are long and harsh: not much of fall is seen and spring is often by-passed. And then comes our short summer season, or what we like to call black fly and Nipper weather! 

I still wake every morning rapturously happy to be where I am. And I often feel a mixture of awe-struck surprise and perplexity at some of the other differences between my 41 years in Nova Scotia and my new life here. So many changes! Most are wonderful -- the proximity to family, my new job, my wee little apartment, the scenery, little chubby hands holding me saying "You okay, Nanny B, you okay?"  My new life is grand!

But one thing that makes me sad is the lack of thrift stores, especially here on the West Coast. Newfoundlanders are not "happy thrifters" like Nova Scotians. Many of the people I know would not be caught dead in "someone else's clothes"! I think it comes from years of Newfoundland being the "have-not" province and the pride that people feel at not just making do here on this literal rock in the Atlantic but at prospering. But I've got a few friends as well as my eldest daughter who love a good bargain. And although the local Salvation Army Thrift Store is not a large one, donations are large and it's well attended. I try to check it out once a week (just so I won't lose my thrifting mo-jo!).

They closed last week for 2 days to pack away summer and put out the fall/winter inventory. I visited a couple of days later and scored big time AND I only spent my allotted amount!

I bought this pretty black & yellow blouse (Northern Reflections) as well as a 3/4 sleeve teal, black and white cardigan (Ricki) and a navy blue with white polka dot cardigan (Old Navy). 

 I also bought a pair of brown dress pants and a fantastic cream and yellow Colombia jacket, perfect for fall. (Just needed an Oxy super-soak and a wash in hot water and it's looks good-as-new.) 
 (PS - The color is not true in these pictures. Sorry!)

The Sally Ann here as well as the 2 others in a 50 km radius have helped me replace things I sold before my move like my rice cooker, mason jars and jigsaws & paperbacks. My sister and I purchased most of the incidentals for her very small, informal upcoming wedding. I found a really cute, opalescent glass boudoir lamp for $2 (with just a temporary shade on it at the moment).

But the thrifted item I most love is this fantastic lamp from the early 70's with an antique brass filigree foot and an amber globe with black felted pattern. Now, I've been searching for years for a colored glass globe-style lamp base; and although this is not exactly what I had in mind, it kept calling to me until I paid the $5. I proudly marched out of the store, while the locals stood mouths-agape in shock and horror. "Wass dat daft woman totin' outta here, for da love a God? Das h'ugly as sin, my dear!"  But beauty is in the eye of the beholder; and this beauty has won a place in my heart as well as on my end table.

$30 for the shade (EGAD!), another $4 for the tri-light; not as thrifty as I'm used to but still an excellent price for this sized table lamp.

Plus, when you turn the switch, you hear the sounds of angelic voices. 

How's your thrifting been going?

Saturday, October 1, 2016

Rabbit Rabbit for my Favorite Month!

Yup! October is my favorite month. Why, you ask?

  • It's my birthday month which means a bonafide reason to celebrate and eat cake. (Not that anything else stops me from eating cake!)

  • It's Canadian Thanksgiving which means turkey and stuffing and all things pumpkin. And most importantly, it means family gathered together to give thanks

  • It means real sweater weather. Not just light pastel cardigans; but big cable knits, lovely Afghan prints, long cover-yer-bums, ponchos and pullovers and V-necks. Warm and wooly and snuggly. And in Newfoundland where it's more northern and surrounded by the Atlantic, I'm needing them earlier than ever.

  • Colors that I wouldn't normally wear in spring and summer come out of my closet. The color of Autumn leaves -- russets and golds and olive greens and browns. 

  • And yes, it's the month that I begin to think about Christmas. I know a lot of you aren't ready to hear that word, but little thoughts creep into my head: What will be on my menu? Who will be at my table? How can I talk my Mom out of one of her 2 small freezers so I can begin baking?

Rabbit rabbit y'all! 

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Autumn is Here!

Happy 1st (full) Day of Fall. 

This is my first back home in 41 years, so it will be interesting to compare Newfoundland and Nova Scotia. The colorful leaves are still to come, but there's so much more about NL that evokes autumn. 

Today the sun is shining brightly and it's a lovely 20 degrees Celsius out there. I'm still going bare-legged and sandal-footed. But the nippiness of the mornings and nights have me definitely thinking about changing out my wardrobe somewhat ...... time to put away the sleeveless tees and shorts and get out a few pants, scarves and cardigans.

Newfoundlanders LOVE the outdoors; and it seems that regardless of your finances, most people have a cabin, a shack or something set up in the woods to visit on the weekends. My sister and her fiance have an very small, ancient travel trailer that they've set up off one of the logging roads here. (NL's whole interior is forest, so setting something up on Crown land is something that everyone does with little consequences! Bonus!) I went in with them last Saturday, and it was a slice of heaven! 
He got the outdoor fire going then left us; we opened our wine, started up the I-pod and sat in front of the fire and chatted. There was the occasional really, really loud Tarzan call or "Whoohoo" from me because ............. well, we were  in the middle of the wilderness and because I could! Baked potatoes and stuffed chicken breasts and smores. Two or three cars went past to their spots and tooted the horn. It was cool enough that there were few bugs; and the heavens were full of stars. Magical!

Differences in NS and NL autumns? Well ................

  • In NL, I'll be wearing sweaters, scarves and hoodies much sooner than I would in NS. There's no "Indian Summer" like I enjoyed in NS.
  • There are fewer farm markets in NL (just one very small one in this area) given that some of the only things that will grow in abundance are root vegetables and rocks!
  • My sister's mid-October autumn wedding will probably not happen outside.
  • I won't get to do my annual apple farm visit and purchase cheap, delicious, fresh-off-the-branch apples.
But ...................

  • Hurray! I'll get to enjoy wearing my sweaters, scarves and hoodies much sooner than I normally would!
  • Fresh produce and apples will be that much more appreciated when they do come along!
  • There'll be a plethora (isn't that a wonderful word!) of outdoor fires and nights in front-of with friends and family!
  • Bonfire Night is an official holiday in NL. I shall once again get to experience eating half-cooked, blackened potatoes done over a bonfire made from sticks, old pickets & pallets, green tree boughs and the occasional discarded rubber tire. (Please! Someone bring marshmallows!)
  • And because Corner Brook is a city of hills and trees overlooking the long, protected Bay of Islands, my exposure to gorgeous autumn scenes will be intensified greatly! What amazing views!

I am loving my "new" home and my new-to-me freedom.

Now -- Before the scheduled rain comes, I'm going to get out there and enjoy this gorgeous 1st Day of Autumn. 

Enjoy your day as well.

Thursday, September 1, 2016

Rabbit, Rabbit from The Rock!

Rabbit, rabbit from my beautiful home province of Newfoundland which is now my home again!

You know what they say:  Home is where the heart is. And my heart is with my children. 

But as they flew the nest, and my own friends were getting more involved with their grandchildren, I found myself becoming more and more lonely over the past few years. I couldn't be an international Mom forever; that's hard work. And the siren call to go back home was getting harder and harder to ignore. My heart ached to be in Newfoundland.

So without going into long details, I got myself a dream job, donated, sold and/or packed up 41 years of "stuff", found myself a great apartment in the area where I grew up, and hit the long road (and ferry trip) to Corner Brook NL.  My parents, sibblings, eldest and youngest daughters, 1st grandson, and my best friend are all here. And although my house in Nova Scotia is not yet sold, I am not looking back.

I've been here a month now, and I have no regrets at the decision to move back home. Can anything compare to being able to drop in for tea with loved ones? Or take a walk on the beach with a darling little boy who calls you Nanny B and whose eyes are full of wonder at a sea shell? And the constant amazement and blessing I experience at being in this familiar yet different place. So much to explore! It's wonderful!

This rabbit, rabbit is not just luck for the month but luck for the continuation of my new life adventure.

Who says you can't teach an old dog new tricks!

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!


  Sorry! I thought I could return to a normal schedule. But my sense of 'normal' has changed. After the past 5 years of various ailm...