Wednesday, December 18, 2019

The Blessing of a Snow Day

We all know this is one of the most busy times of the year. Even when you want to keep things simple ...... even when you're organized and ready for the festivities, life is just so darned busy. I've found that with aging, it's so, so important to make ME the priority: one just doesn't have the strength, stamina, or health to ignore the signs that you need to slow down. So, I make allowances for the things that I 'wanted' to do and just stick to what 'needs' to be done. And I'm okay with that. But if a good ole Newfie blizzard causes a work closure, I take full advantage of that extra day. 

Sunday afternoon, I didn't do my usual cooking for the week but instead took myself for a walk in the mist and scattered slush and sat near the bay to soak up some nature. Ahhhhh! 

Alas, Monday morning I woke to a raging blizzard outside which meant no work. So, while I enjoyed my morning coffee, I looked through my new-to-me cookbooks (purchased for $1 each at our library book sale). I adore reading cookbooks! 

I earmarked recipes that I want to try in future; not everything was a Xmas recipe. But I did pull out my tried 'n' true Xmas recipes and made a list of pantry needs. I took out butter and cream cheese to warm to room temp. And while that was happening, I decided to do my weekly cook. 

Soon I had a pot of delicious Japanese curry bubbling on my stovetop, filling the apartment with the most delicious, comforting aromas! Japanese curry cubes are wonderful: they're really quick and convenient and wonderfully flavorful, adding just a hint of sweetness and a deep, rich color. One of my Japanese international students introduced me to them, and although I love Indian carries, there are times that I crave a good Japanese curry, especially in winter. Yum!
For dinner, I made a favorite chicken dish that I've made for years. I put a couple of chicken breasts in a baking dish, top with salsa and Jack cheese and bake. Serve with a good rice and a salad, and you have a completely balanced meal. 

I ate a simple lunch; and by that time, the butter and cream cheese were room temp. So, I made a couple of batches of cookie dough to pop in the freezer: shortbread and Rugelach, two of our favorites. Then, just like the good Lord Himself, I rested! Feet up, a large mug of hot chocolate (and perhaps a few German chocolate treats which had just arrived), and a little Netflix. 

Because this unexpected snow day, I'll be able to give more time to prepping my 89 year old Dad's house for our family Christmas dinner and my grandson's Dec 23rd birthday. And I'll be able to rest more. Fingers crossed that this Xmas will be illness and stress free!

My last day of work will be this Friday. And as I don't have a computer at home yet, you may not hear much from me until I return to work. But I'll be catching up on your posts via my phone.

Hubert, Doris and I all wish you a Happy Solstice tomorrow, a Happy Hannukah, and the very best of Christmas'. And if you don't celebrate, I wish you peace and joy and quiet amidst the hooplah.

Monday, December 2, 2019

Rabbit Rabbit December

Rabbit Rabbit everyone. Christmas month is here.

I've had 3 Xmas's here in Newfoundland, each one worse than the previous. So last year, I did the bare minimum: I didn't decorate other than my memory 'tree' laden with pictures of the people I missed the most. It served it's purpose. 

But a few months ago, I began to think on Christmas and I began to actually get excited about it. I've had a change of attitude that's happened since last year; I don't know how it happened other than through the power of prayer. And although life here is still challenging and I'm still very alone, I feel more settled and content and able to cope with the upcoming long, cold winter. 

So, I decided to decorate and celebrate Xmas for me: not with expectations of the past, but just to celebrate the lights, the music, the joy of Christ, the food, the movies -- ALL the good that the season has to offer.   

As I spent Sunday decorating, I felt happy. Each ornament has a story, a memory, a name attached to it; and it was wonderful to think on these. 

From my 1st Grandma bulb to Ugly Santa, onto Snoopy (who after 37 years is showing some wear), then thru 28 yr old Molly's snowflake, Ayaka's cupcake and finally onto Miley's wrecking ball:  the perfect spot was found for each one.

The same was true for my nativity scene, my Newfoundland mummers and all my Xmas decor. I didn't even take out all my stuff the 1st Xmas here; so it was nice to find those perfect spots and commit them to memory for years to come. One of my favorites is my kitchen window display: it holds all my small Santa and Mrs Clauses. Washing up will be more pleasant now .... 
especially in the dark December evenings when the twinkle lights above make my hanging crystal icicles glitter. So pretty! 

Yes, the month is upon us and before you know it, the big day will come. But there's lots to enjoy leading up to Dec 25th. I hope today you find something beautiful to enrich your life -- even if it's only a good cup of coffee.

Thursday, November 14, 2019

Old Man Winter

Old man winter arrived on the west coast of Newfoundland last Friday with a messy drive home. I was quite happy to nestle inside  and simply admire how pretty it looked later that night.

Saturday morning brought a little sunshine with the snow. So, I ventured outside to visit the local 'Wonderful Fine' market. (Wonderful fine is an old timey Newfoundland saying denoting good health and spirits.) The Market only runs from August to December, so it's one of the highlights of my week. Delicious locally roasted and ground coffee; the ONLY good French macaroon around and lovely crafts and treats. 

One of the vendors, Natura Soap Company, had a 50% off special on their soap-of-the-month, and I'd pre-ordered "One of each, please!" I've enough to last me most of the year (unless one or two find their way into Xmas packages.) Occasionally buying natural products is one of the ways I pamper myself.

I spent a quiet Sunday trying (unsuccessfully) to avert a head cold. I always like to go outside for my morning coffee, no matter what the weather. I was prepared to bundle up and get some much needed fresh air and sunlight .... but when I saw the 10" of snow, I decided I'd just drink it in front of the TV. I snuggled under my fleece blankie and watched Netflix. But I did make myself a really nice dinner: Ginger Orange Glazed tofu (which was really delicious), Japanese rice (my favorite) and some sauteed peppers and mushrooms in soy. One must feed one's body well especially when sick.

November 11th brought intermittent rain and cleared some of the snow. But my head cold kept me from going uptown for the ceremonies. So, I bundled up and sat outside; I closed my eyes and spent some time in silence and gratitude for those who have served and who continue to serve in our military. 

We continue to enjoy sunshine and clearing today and tomorrow. So, with any luck, I won't have to don my snow pants this Saturday for coffee time! 

I hope your weekend is a good one.

Wednesday, November 6, 2019

Happy November!

Image result for November

"November comes, and November goes,
      With the last red berries and the first white snows.
With night coming early, and dawn coming late,
      And ice in the bucket and frost by the gate.
The fires burn and the kettles sing,
      And earth sinks to rest u
ntil next spring."

-- Elizabeth Coatsworth (1893–1986)

Image result for Newfoundland long cold winterWhere does the time go! November already! And in spite of our terrible summer here in western Newfoundland, fall has been wonderful with lots of cool, crisp days and no snow. That may change tonight! So today my winter tires get installed on my car, and once again, I begin the descent into Newfoundland's long, cold 6-month-long night!  The abundance of dogberries predicts a cold, snowy winter! 

Image result for hyggeSomehow, my attitude this year is different -- more positive. Winter here always means lots of alone time for me: driving can be very treacherous and we get a lot of snow. Any time school is closed, the office is closed as well.  But I recently dug out some crafting projects and am enjoying quilting and knitting again. I have a stack of unread books and a basket of woolen socks nearby. I'm looking forward to practicing more 'hygge'. 

Image result for i love my chiropractorI've also begun to eat more plant-based foods as well as stretching and light weights (aka soup cans)! As one ages, one's health can so easily go downhill. It's so important to know and listen to your body; your inner voice/intuition is often very wise! I listened to mine recently and gave up taking an acid reflux tablet prescribed by my doctor; and after 3 months, my stomach problems and leg and foot cramping have stopped! My chiropractor cured my acid reflux with 2 adjustments! 

Image result for turning 65 AFI turned 65 last month, but retirement is not in the picture for me for a few more years. I mean, WHAT would I do at home 24/7? Also, I really love my job; I'm fortunate that I can remain here. 

The 60's are proving to be an interesting time! It's scary and frustrating to watch yourself become more wrinkly and more weak; and your body begins to object to certain foods that you've always enjoyed! Scheesch!  But I'm so thankful that my body and my mind tell me to keep moving and learning. I want to have as much life as possible in my years! 

Happy November y'all! 

Remember to dance; 
remember to breathe deeply; 
remember to be easy on yourselves.

Wednesday, September 18, 2019

Happy Fall

Hello to everyone. I've had a busy summer with lots of activity. Here are some highlights since I last posted.

My daughter's wedding in Punta Cana in late May was amazing -- hands down the best vacation I've ever had. A lot of it was the venue, the food and the water, but if I hadn't been with such wonderful people (such as my Possee above), it wouldn't have rocked quite as much. 

In July, I introduced my brother, the outdoorsman, to the joys of hiking Newfoundland when I took him to one of my favorite places, Southhead Lighthouse. It was a wonderful hike, and I really appreciate that he takes the time afterwards to 'sit in gratitude for the beauty around us', as he says.

However, these near-65 year old knees really objected to the hike back down the mountain; and I was out of commission for epic hikes until Labour Day weekend when he invited me to his cabin. 

That's when he introduced me to Serpentine Lake, one of the areas around his cabin. Although he's been to this area on snowmobile in the winter, it was the first time he'd hiked it. And it did NOT disappoint. It was a magical hike, full of clear, clean babbling brooks, meadows of NL Pitcher Plants and copious amounts of moose droppings! My knees didn't mind the more gentle slope of this climb.

This was our view at the end of that hike. Wow! I kept thinking of Lord of the Rings and how the golden hills reminded me of Rohan; I could just imagine Gandalf riding down to save the day at Helm's Deep!

The following day, we joined some friends and took the quad to the same location; but this time, we traversed brook and stream and rocks and boulders to find the hidden falls. It was another wonderful day trip.
A happy man and his quad!

Since then, the weather has decidedly taken a turn towards autumn. Although the days are mostly warm, I had to turn my furnace on the other night. 

You won't catch me with a pumpkin-spice anything, but you will find me in cardigans and sneakers and continuing my march through the wilderness in search of colorful leaves ......... any day now.

Happy unofficial Autumn, everyone!

Tuesday, May 7, 2019

Spring in my Step!

I think it's safe to say that Spring has finally come to the west coast of Newfoundland. Although temperatures are still cool, the crocus are blooming, tulips are showing their buds and the snow is gone. (It may still make an attempt to fall from our northern sky, but winter has been beaten.)
Jack and Buddah in the garden. It's not green out there yet,
but there's no snow! 

A spring has also returned to my step. I made my last visit to the surgeon last week, and my wrist is fully healed. I still have to work on gaining full flexion, but I'm back to just automatically using my left hand. AND this morning, I was able to wear my rings again. Hurrah!

Punta Cana 
Now the excitement is setting in for my upcoming trip south for my daughter's destination wedding. I've never been to a sunny clime, much preferring Europe's old churches, museums and the sort. But the idea of sitting under an umbrella at the beach reading and sipping something cold is extremely exciting, especially when in the company of my three daughters and the happy wedding guests. And, of course, I'm over the moon at my daughter's upcoming wedding to an amazing young man. 

I splurged and bought a lovely wedding outfit at a store I always window-shop at but have never purchased. I love the flowy, beachy, natural cotton dress with a little bling on the shawl. (I'm not a traditional mother-of-the-bride kinda gal.) And the sales lady picked out the perfect necklace as it mimics the circles on the dress. Add my sparkly sandals and I'm complete. 

But what shall I pack my clothes in? My suitcases are all old, tattered and so worn. 

Voila! The local online Buy 'n' Sell came to my rescue! I happily paid $25 for these 2 pieces and later found out from my daughter that they're Heys, a well respected but expensive luggage company. 

(I just liked it 'cause it was blue!)

Another thing that always puts a spring in my step is walking; and the weather and my schedule have cooperated so I was able to walk twice in the past week, breathing in the fresh salt air of The Bay, listening to bird song (and the occasional buzz of a chain saw) and being surrounded by lovely, budding trees.

Ahhhhhh! Spring! It's like a magic elixir for my soul! 

Thursday, April 25, 2019

Ow's it goin', Maid!

I had the most wonderful 45 min walk last weekend on the old railway trail behind my house: in my hiking sneakers, sun shining, up a busy thoroughfare, onto a side street and finally in the quiet of the trail. There was still snow in the middle of the trail in spots; and the melting reveals copious amounts of dog poop! But beautiful and refreshing all the same. The spring bulbs I'd planted in the fall came up in spite of the poor soil in which I'd planted them which was so exciting for me as I miss my Nova Scotia garden terribly. 

We've had a very long, cold winter. The Bay froze over ... then melted ... then refroze --- probably 3 times at least. So, an ice breaker went through a few weeks ago and crunched all the ice together and on top of each other until parts of it resembled Toblerone bars. Saturday and Easter Sunday were warm (for western NL) with 7 C (45 F); and on both days, I had a steady stream of fake icebergs that floated by my front window. It was lovely to sit outside in my lawn chair and watch them.  

Then yesterday, we had freezing rain, then rain, then snow: and today, it's -1 C (30 deg F), for Lard's sake! We don't put our winter clothing away until late May on this Island!  Oh well, it'll be spring again this weekend. 

My youngest daughter asked me to bake scones (one of my specialities) and a cake for her upcoming bridal shower. I haven't really baked for 3 years and haven't baked a plain cake for even longer. But on Good Friday past, I began. The 'crown' orange cake came out beautifully! But I discovered that I'm not very good at pound cakes; it was a bit 'dunch', another great Newfie word. However, it is very tasty! So, into the freezer with it so it can be used later for trifle. 

Dunch: n' dull, heavy: v 'to get stiff with long waiting; heavy, doughy.
   Stiff; cramped or numbed from sitting in one position; to be cramped in the legs, 
   arms, etc.   For example: " You wouldn't be able to stay keeled out on the settle 
   bench very long 'cause it would be quite 'ard and yer bum would go dunch!" 

My next two white layers looked good but were very thin because I didn't notice that my cake pans were 9" instead of 8". So, those got iced and eaten at Easter dinner. Yum!

FINALLY, I baked a simple yellow cake which worked out beautifully ..... so I made two to be cut into four. They're in the freezer waiting to be iced and decorated this Saturday. Wish me luck!

Here's hoping that your weekend is warm and your cakes rise beautifully!

Sunday, April 21, 2019

Happy Easter

Don't you love how unimpressed they are with the thoughtfulness of your gift! 

Thursday, April 18, 2019

The Crown in my Weekend

On Monday we had spring; all the snow had melted, the crocus buds were opening and I was wearing a hooded sweatshirt and sneakers. Tuesday evening, it began to snow, and Wednesday morning, so much had accumulated that there was 6" of snow on my car. Today, the snow is gone again HURRAH! And Newfoundlanders might be able to actually speak the word "spring" out loud. Doesn't the sunshine cast it's golden glow over everything -- attitudes included.

Because Monday is St George's Day, an obscure NL holiday that most people don't get, I have a wonderful 4 day weekend. Part of that time will be spent baking a bridal shower cake for my daughter's party next weekend. (I'll freeze it.)  

I have this wonderful bunt pan which I hope to put on top of a slightly larger round cake ('cause every bride deserves a crown).

The bottom will be a traditional pound cake (with just a hint of lemon). And in my bunt pan, I think I'll bake my once-was-standard family birthday cake -- a delicious orange cake from The Harrowsmith Country Life Baking Book. I've owned that book since the early 90's; and it's one that's stained and dog earred from use. So many great recipes.

I'm not a cake decorator, but I can spot easy elegant finishes that can be pulled off without too much work. A nice buttercream icing, a few fresh flowers in the centre of the crown, and some torquoise icing dots (her wedding color). Hopefully, it will somewhat resemble this one from Pinterest.

Easter weekend for me will be quiet. I can't attend church because of my scent allergy (and we all know that church is FULL of deliberately "stinky" people!). But I'll worship on my own, relax and have a meal with my Dad.

I hope your weekend is a happy one. 

Tuesday, April 9, 2019

I'm Back

I've finally healed enough to type (and it's extra physio). It's been a very difficult 10 weeks. There are so many things that are affected by a break that no one is aware of until they're in the midst of it.
Here's my neat little Frankinstein scar covering my metal plate.
Soon I'm going to see if I can single-handedly wrist-hold a magnet!

I broke my wrist on Jan 22nd; had surgery on Feb 6th and got my cast off 2 weeks ago on Mar 21st. In between the break and the cast coming off there was, understandably, considerable pain. The doctor gave me an opiate for pain, but I didn't see much difference and I was quite wary of increasing the pills as they're so addictive. So instead, I smoked an Indica strain of cannabis; it helped me relax and took away 60-70% of the pain which meant that I could rest.

And rest I did! Wow! Your body goes into healing mode and all a person does for the first 3-4 weeks is rest. Getting all the pillows into an appropriate pattern to allow me to rest and support both my arm and back needed strategic planning and design! And thank goodness once again for Netflix and Crave TV which helped to entertain me.

I only missed a total of about 3 full weeks of work. Then I went part days:  my co-worker picked me up in the morning and my landlord brought me home at about 3 pm, exhausted and in such pain! But I was glad to get out of the house and didn't cuss too much at having to type one handed. I've been back full time for 2 weeks. Friends and family have helped to feed me; and I bought a lot of frozen meals so my diet suffered along with my hand. But I was happy to not have to prepare many meals myself.

I broke my foot 10 years or so ago and wasn't able to walk, of course. But did you know that when you break an arm or wrist, not only can you not use that particular limb, but you can't do a number of fairly important things. 

  • I couldn't style/dry my hair, put backs on earrings or do up clasps on necklaces, or wear any pants that had zips or buttons.
  • I couldn't butter bread. (All my aprons have permanent grease stains on the belly portion from attempting to butter 'n' jam my toast.)
  • I couldn't chop veggies or slice bread. When I wanted to quarter an orange, for instance, I used my elbow to stabilize the orange and a bread knife to saw through. Exhausting!
  • I couldn't wear a mitten or glove and had to wear my oversize ski jacket both for fit and so that I could cover my cold little cast fingers.
  • I couldn't do up my bra; so it had to be fastened first, put on over my head (inserting my casted arm first) and then carefully, painfully pulled down into place. This took upwards of 5 min work and I always needed to rest afterwards.
  • My back was bruised and hurt for a whole month after the fall. And I had to keep my arm elevated as much as possible. So, there were no soothing, rejuvenating epsom salts baths. And drying oneself after a shower was a long, hard process.
  • AND it doesn't stop when the cast comes off as you now have to re-teach your arm/hand joints and muscles how to work. Nothing would move and the muscle pain is pretty awful. I'm doing my own 2x a day physio; and after 2 weeks I can touch my thumb to all my fingers and can curl them half way. Still not too much flexion in my wrist, but there is improvement every day. This week, I can use all my fingers to type (but I make a lot of mistakes with my left hand.)
Needless to say, breaking a wrist/arm is a tough go, but I'm on the mend. Thank you for entertaining me with your blog posts; and hope to begin blogging again soon on a more regular basis.

Here's hoping spring will come to my province soon to brighten my days and allow me to walk again. 

Ciao bellas!


  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...