Friday, 5 February 2016

The Smell of Winter

We've been eating a lot of poultry this winter - every week at least one chicken per week and then the carcass into the pot for stock. I found organic chickens on sale one week for under $10/ea and the following week a small duck for around the same price...

The broth bubbles, filling our house with the smell of winter.

The week before, I cooked a turkey that I had in my freezer from the time when my oven at Old House did not work.

There is a lot of broth in glass dishes in my basement freezer.

In my downstairs fridge [whatever did I do without it?] a broth made from the duck awaits my soupy inspiration.

Co-worker brings a can of microwave Campbell's quite often - and I wonder when was the last time I ate soup from a can? Certainly I grew up with Campbell's Cream of Mushroom and Chicken Noodle... my favourite was Vegetable Beef with a grilled cheese...

Slow cooking. Last night I made vegetarian chili with mixed beans and sweet potato, it was lovely.

Young James is doing well. He has had 2 nights out of the bathroom, and today I even left my bedroom door open because he was sleeping oh so sweetly at the end of our bed. He has been staying close to us at night on the sofa, so I hope that he can move on from his ordeal with no lapses. Luckily he likes the special food, as do the girls, and is relatively easy to pill.

Crouton needs to have some special senior food though, since the urinary food might mess with her kidneys.

My kidneys are also under scrutiny - my five year post-cancer ultrasound was this morning. My specialist ordered an abdominal ultrasound this year, I'm not sure why, but whatever. Ultrasounds always hurt - I think I am uber sensitive in my rib area now.

I'll see my doctor on the 18th - always a dicey time of year. Another year alive, another year so thankful.

Wednesday, 3 February 2016


Wee James - who is no longer a wee cat, but a 11lb adult male - had a bladder infection just over 2 weeks ago. He was passing urine the colour of tea, so we took him to the vet and after a day waiting for him to urinate, they did get a sample and he was put on meds for 2 weeks. 2 weeks to the day [last Friday] we came home from work to a very lethargic cat. Off to the emergency vet clinic across town, and our suspected urinary blockage was confirmed.

James spent his weekend in the clinic, under very good care, and came home on Monday morning... I traded my day off to watch over him, and he is slowly coming around to his usual mischief-filled self. He spends his nights and days [when we are at work] in the upstairs bathroom to lessen his stress, and to lessen my stress of him piddling unsupervised. 

Had he become ill on Monday or Tuesday, the vet bill would have probably been a good $500 - $800 less. James has a brutal sense of humour. My potential mini-vacation was quickly dissolved with his blockage.

But at least he is on the mend. And January is done with.

February is the month when I begin to think of garden plans. 

Welcome February.

Thursday, 21 January 2016

The Januarys

Yesterday was my day off, and I did a lot of walking. I sorted through my dresser, removing things I have not been wearing and packed them into a bag for thrift. It felt good to sort and let go of some clothes that I've had for many years - it made me feel lighter.

After I dropped them off, I shopped a bit at the double V, I needed a skirt or two - I like to wear long black skirts. I found a new copy of The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding - much newer than my 1980s version, long ago loaned out and not returned. This copy has been tucked away for future pondering.

Back at home I refilled my bird feeders - and made balsamic glaze for the first time. Then a second walk, this time to the library, and a long soak in the tub with new [gifted handmade] soap and a book.

Yesterday was a self-nurturing day from start to finish. I realized while I was out - just how sad I've been feeling. Not depressed, but just sad. Less sad than last week, but still tender. A good lesson for this mother of adults though : I cannot kiss it better anymore, and I cannot shelter them from sadness and bad things.

I imagine we all learn this.

All has not been sad, though. We had a good family visit on Saturday with Bella [MIL] and the boys and Eldest and Lu. We carried on.

The rest of the month I think we will pass quietly. Soon enough February will arrive, and with it Imbolc, the halfway point of winter. There is always an element of relief once we have passed that point.

I bought a new journal to write in - I just couldn't write any more words in the other one, and it was like a dark block to me. I am going to write one physical page a day, and maybe once the words loosen up a bit will add another. When I write, things are clearer. Moving house creates so much buzzy upheaval. I remember after the last move how I felt that I really lost an entire year of normal. I think that is what is happening now. When the children were young we moved frequently - Sometimes after 6 months, and usually after 3 years. I was more adaptable then. I was eager for change and new vistas.

Yesterday while walking a couple of young missionaries stopped me on the sidewalk, one was very personable - and said he could sense I had a destination - and he did not want to bother me - but he asked if I knew anyone who was in need. I said no thank you, but later and pondering I wish I had asked him to say a prayer for Lovely Lu and Eldest. Then I felt foolish, being a non-christian, but every kind thought is a prayer I feel. Every intention throws that energy out there.

Thursday, 14 January 2016

Baby Bean

Ah - Baby Bean, at 6 weeks all tucked up inside Lovely Lu was strong and teeny tiny heart was pumping away... and then was no more.

Sad times for Eldest and Lovely Lu. And a lesson for me that I cannot fix this. I cannot kiss it better, or sooth the hurt. I can only stand at the ready - ready to help however whatever that role might be.

So it was a sad day to travel to Toronto to visit my friend, but I think it was important to get away and spend time at the Turner exhibit... I was in a mood for fuzzy gentle colours and talk of old times and crafty plans.

There truly is nothing harder than watching a beloved child suffer such intense pain.

Friday, 8 January 2016

Knitting my way through January

This is the first weekend where we have had nothing planned since the end of November. I'm not used to being so actively social, and am relieved at the lull January will bring us.

My plans include knitting further my little baby sweater for future grand-baby. This little sweater has been started and re-started 3 times. Thank goodness for u-tube and excellent tutorials, I might be in the clear now...

I am knitting this sweater with beautiful yarn.

Another project in January is to make a cushion for an old chair we found in the rafters of the old building we worked in. It had been collecting dirt and filth for decades and hiding with junk and scale parts in the shadows...

Until I spied it. A trusty scale technician pulled it down for me and it is a wonderful Arts and Crafts style oak chair. I will attempt to retrieve my upholstery skills and bring it back to life with a new cushion.

Both sons are back to school - Middle son for his last semester in Animation and Youngest to continue on with 2nd year at University. He had a semester off, to ponder life and all that, and he is giving it another go. He loves school, but had too many ducks in his pond first year.

Hoping to fit some lovely walks in this weekend as well.

Monday, 4 January 2016

Not a Resolution, but a Lifestyle Change

My first day back to work after 4 days off - I must admit to trouble concentrating. My mind is still in the weekend - thinking back on the forest walk we took along Stoney Creek and the many fires we had and the hearty food we ate.

Recently I joined Weight Watchers. What fool would join WW before Christmas, on Dec 7th?

Twas Me.

I think it kept me well on track over the holidays as I questioned what I put in my mouth, while surrounded by truffles and cookies.

After my kidney cancer the one thing my urologist said to me was not to gain weight. He said it would be bad to get diabetes, since a kidney cancer survivor is a bad candidate for transplant. I figure they would say : No Kidney for You!

I have to keep my 1.5 kidneys healthy.

I've added a few pounds [20ish] to my frame over the last 2 years, I blame the desk job, and now it's time to lose it before more collect.

My intention is to use the WW program as a tool, and to honour how I eat. I will not consume zero % yogurt or non-fat crap. I will not use skim milk or diet cheese or low fat butter. We eat real food at our house and what I need to do is re-learn the balance. And walk more.

The Weight Watchers program has undergone another face lift, and now the focus is healthy choices, not simply points. Exercise does not allow you more food points, exercise is exercise - for health. Points values on 'bad' foods like donuts / chocolate / pop / fast food has gone up like crazy.

So the program has improved, and I am finding it pretty easy.

Husband and I took a lovely walk on January 2nd along a path that follows Stoney Creek between Queenston and Barton. Aside from the half dozen shopping carts abandoned in and around the creek, the walk was lovely. How do they get these shopping carts down there? A sad puzzle. Wasted energy.

Hopefully those people have a few resolutions.

It feels good to be writing again.

Tuesday, 29 December 2015

Christmas Day Walk at the Devil's Punchbowl

We live near the Niagara Escarpment still, as we did at our last home. On balmy days we can walk down our street and soon we are in the forest. Once there we can take the gentle path up the mountain to a look-out, or we can walk the creek path and end up at the basin of the Devil's Punchbowl.

On Christmas Day we walked to the forest, it was an easy walk, we just ambled along, holding hands.

Last time we were here it was autumn, and the trees still had leaves and the sun was shining. I want to experience this walk in all seasons, all weather. I am so fully grounded with a path beneath the soles of my feet. 

We see this cross from our house, it shines down on the area in all weather, in all seasons. They shut if off a few years ago, but there was such an uproar from the community they turned it back on again. I don't mind seeing this massive cross shining in the night sky.

There was a drone flying high in the sky above us being controlled from the platform in the photo above. I have decided that I don't like drones. The buzz was annoying and it was an invasion of the quiet.

Christmas was mild, and we had a barbecue that night. Our formal meal was on Christmas Eve. We watched the moon rise through the tree and enjoyed the balmy night.

My goals for the coming year are simple...

Play more.
Drink less.
Garden Larger
Cook Real Food
Spend more time with Friends and Family
Whittle away some extra Weight
Swim and 
Walk and 
Climb and 

And enjoy the simple things, like James does.