Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Glorious Fall

I have to remember to start heading out of the forest a lot earlier these days! 
The weather has been mild until the sun starts to set around 5pm...

Lily, keeping my lap warm.....much appreciated now that the 
temperature has dropped down to around 0c.

...while Luna prefers to wrap herself around my neck, keeping one paw
on my shoulder... it any wonder my crochet projects have a cat hair or two in them?

Yes Luna, I know you're there! Are my ears clean?

Luna, being exasperating!

You know you're not supposed to be on top of the cupboards!
I had to get the stepladder to reach her.

Lily keeping me warm...

Photos from my last visit to the forest...

You'd think it was summer!

It was around 12 or 13c, warm enough for short sleeves
while hiking.

The sun sets quickly though as we head towards the shortest day of the year.

The colours have faded but the beauty remains...

Time to get to the truck!

I found a plant still blooming in the forest at the end of November. It took me 
awhile to identify but finally learned that it is dead nettle.
It's called "dead" nettle because it doesn't cause a rash 
like it's UK cousin - stinging nettle. 
The first 3 photos are of the dead variety, which is a very good thing
as I was handling it with my bare hands.

The next 3 are photos I took last year when Annie and I hiked Hadrian's Wall. 
Three UK trips - 3 encounters with stinging nettle. 
Will I ever learn?
Don't touch!!!

My encounter the first year trip I took walking through the Cotswolds
was the worst experience as I fell in a clump of stinging nettle
while backing up to take a photo! 
The stinging lasted several days.

  They are so pretty!! You just want to reach out and caress them!
Or at least this bumbling naturalist does.
How is the weather where you are? Any snow yet?

Sunday, December 4, 2016

The Jeep has Arrived!

Ain't she a beaut!

Kazi may not leave it white - she might have it "wrapped" as 
she has a friend who does that for a living.

But, in the meantime...white/charcoal it is!
(My Dougie is in the background!)

I took Kaz out to breakfast yesterday to celebrate. She's so happy!
Though she cried giving up the old Cobalt I gave her years ago. 
Due to the amount of rust on the Cobalt it couldn't be
safetied without major work. So she used it as a trade-in.
And...she broke off a chunk of rust to keep forever!
Yes, she's very sentimental.
Maybe I'll mount it in a shadow-box for Christmas 😊

She's trying to come up with a name for the jeep. 
She called the Cobalt "Stella". Yes, we tend to name everything!
I suggested "Jerry".

I'm pretty proud of my girl. She did all the research, got the best deal she could. Her job with Enterprise helped out too as she was able to drive a ton of different vehicles which helped in her decision. Also, Enterprise is partnered with London Chrysler/Jeep which gave her 10% off the top!

In other news...I briefly looked at ads for a used Jeep then came to my senses! I'm trying to decrease my transportation expenses not increase them. To me, a vehicle has always been a way to get from point A to point B.  I've never cared about "heated seats" or the myriad other perks/options.

An older woman once said to me "you're no plain Jane" but really, I am. The less things that can go wrong with a car is what I'm interested in. We had 3 Cobalts over the years and that was because they were rated as being one of the most inexpensive cars to maintain. And they were.

Buying Dougie was an anomaly for me - he was perfect for PEI. People often ask me why I still drive a truck and I say: I paid cash - a small amount of cash so I owe nothing, he had less than 100,000km on him and currently sits at a low 134,000km, insurance is cheap due to less chance of personal injury in case of a crash, having a truck in the family is very handy, and he makes me walk more....oh, and I LOVE HIM!

I've been lucky (we've ALL been lucky) with the low price of gas over the last couple of years or I would likely have traded Dougie in by now. But I still think - "should I walk or should I drive" every time I go somewhere. And more often than not I walk. Or cycle.

I've been thinking about one last big road trip with Dougie, so considering all of my options of course. I still have a couple of months before my insurance renews so will take that time to make a decision about Dougie. Sell him, give him away, continue as is, insure for just 6 months a year...I don't need to decide today.

Do you have any decisions you're putting off?

Monday, November 28, 2016

Dougie the Dodge

I want to thank those folks who commented on my previous post about going "car-free" for their well-thought out remarks. It's not an easy decision and no option is perfect. You've given me a lot to think about.

London has a transit system which I used when I was in university. I had sold my orange mini in order to cut back on expenses while in school. The reasons I disliked city transit then was because of grocery shopping and doing laundry. Those are no longer issues as I can walk/bike to several grocery stores and now I have a washer and dryer. I tend to shop several times a week once I decide what to have for supper. Within 20 minutes I can make my list, walk to the store, buy a few things and walk home. I would have to plan to buy all the heavy stuff (cat litter, laundry detergent etc) when I either rented a car or used Car Share or Zipcar.

To travel further I don't mind taking a bus or the train. In fact, I prefer either of those options to driving myself. And there's Robert Q if I'm going to the airport.

I've done the math as to how much I would save over the course of a year.  My insurance is going to change a bit as Kazi is buying a car and is going to get her own policy. But not sure how much my outlay would be for renting/sharing per year.

My biggest concern is "spontaneous" outings, convenience, visiting friends/family and getting to places across the city. I would have to plan everything out and I don't really like to do that. Trying to get to volleyball on Friday nights would take at least an hour, likely more as there is no direct route. And, if I take a notion to go somewhere I don't really want to take 2 buses just to get to the rental place.

Rats. I don't think I would really like being car-free. But I am going to continue to think about it. Most rental places will pick me up and drop me off after. There is a Zipcar location just a few blocks from me. For a good portion of the year I barely use Dougie the Dodge - instead I walk or cycle and pay very little for gas. Unfortunately I don't think you can get insurance on a part-time basis. Too bad. That would suit me very well - have insurance from November to April. Bike or walk the rest of the time.

There's a business idea for somebody!!

Saturday, November 26, 2016

Can I Live Without a Car?

Good ol' Dougie - we've gone through a lot together!

Oops, was supposed to post about this and then forgot. I forget a lot of stuff these days. My head is much busier than my hands. Ideas galore - implementation not so good.

I've spent some time recently wondering if I could manage being car-free. The object of this "wondering" is to save more $$ for travel which is highly motivating for me. And then there's the environment and fossil fuels argument.

My options are:

  • selling/giving Dougie the Dodge away for a tax receipt and renting a car from my daughter when I need one (she works for Enterprise now and tells me lots of people just rent a car occasionally when they need one; or a family has just one car and rents another as needed)
  • use CarShare or Zipcar when I need a car (you can rent by the hour or longer as needed for a small monthly fee. Gas and insurance included.
  • trade Dougie in on a smaller car (no $$ savings)
  • Go completely car-free and use transit system (not thrilled with this idea)
  • keep Dougie and maintain the status quo
Have you experienced living car-free? How did it go? Is it really cheaper having to use buses, trains, and taxis?

Thursday, November 24, 2016


Woke up this morning feeling thankful. Hope you did too. It would be nice to wake up every morning feeling thankful - something to work on, I guess. Although our Canadian Thanksgiving has come and gone I feel like sharing why I'm feeling thankful/grateful. 

Part of my gratefulness stems from an amazing event I attended Saturday night - a couple hundred people gathered at the downtown N'Amerind Centre to support the Chippewa First Nations folks who are fighting the legal battle against PipeLine #9 & Enbridge. The reversal in direction of this OLD OLD pipeline between Sarnia and Montreal will allow diluted bitumen from the Alberta tar sands to be transported to east coast ports at great risk to the environment. 

The highlight of the event was being "smudged" for the first time. 

Smudging is a traditional Native American method of burning sacred herbs to produce a smoke cloud which is used in various cleansing or prayer ceremonies and purification or healing rituals.

I've been at ceremonies where the room was smudged but this time every single person had the chance to remove negative energy and be cleansed. 
It was a wonderful experience.

I also had the opportunity on Friday to meet up with a person from my past who meant a great deal to me and still does. Not all relationships end amicably and ours didn't either but over the years we've connected a few times (the last being 24 years ago!) which I
think has helped us heal and think of each other kindly. 
I'm thankful we were able to meet, laugh and share our lives.

I'm thankful for a daughter who seems wise beyond her years. She has
provided much support over the past few days and I feel
more closely connected with her than I ever have.

I'm thankful for good friends. On Saturday night we went out dancing-
something we haven't done in ages. The music was great
and it was very therapeutic to let loose a little bit.
Can you see me?

I'm thankful for two warm and furry critters who are very
affectionate and funny. I woke up this morning feeling some
heavy duty purring going on behind my legs and my back. That
has to be a major healing force!! 

I'm thankful for having options: I can choose where to live, I can choose what I want to do each day, I can choose what to eat, what to wear, who to hang out with. There are no limits to what I can read or say or do. I can protest peacefully and rarely do I ever feel that I am "in danger" or unsafe, even when travelling far from home. 

Money shows up in my account every month, more than enough for my needs and wants. I may not be in the top 1% financially but the way I calculate my life
I am in the top 1% - I have freedom, family, friends, safety, food, a warm home, the ability to help others, peace, good health.... fortunate am I? 

How fortunate are you?

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

WIFI x Two

Apparently you have to get the internet technician in the house TWICE before things are truly fixed. Luckily he was still parked outside filling in paperwork when I tried connecting my laptop and got the message about there being NO INTERNET!! The second time he came in he discovered a "bad splitter" and also rerouted directly to the modem (which has wifi capability unbeknownst to me!) so we no longer have to use our old router which also speeded things up. He also gave us a 2nd 5G wifi connection so if the first one is slow it automatically connects to the 2nd one - this is handy at peak times of the day.

Don't know what he did the first time he came in!! Played with the cats?

Anyhoo... I'm enjoying actually having High-Speed internet once again. I've been zipping all over the place :)

Happy Thanksgiving to my American friends! Kazi will be visiting her boyfriend in Detroit and enjoying a 2nd big Thanksgiving dinner (we had ours in October) and lots of football games no doubt. She is considering a new car purchase which is very exciting. I gave her my Cobalt when I bought Dougie the Dodge going on 5 years ago. Stella, the Cobalt, has done well over the years but has had her day.

The interesting part (to me) is her new car costs 10X what I paid for my first new car back in 1977! Wow. And here I am considering going without a vehicle altogether! Different generations.

This was my first new car - a 1977 Datsun F10 Hatchback in gold :) Absolutely loved it!!

*More about my car-free options in my next post.

Monday, November 21, 2016

Got the Jitters

Grrrrr! Over the past couple of months I imagined that our wifi was slowing down.  I would unplug the modem, unplug the router etc and things would get a little bit better, or not! I tried calling my provider today but my phone couldn't connect either. No Netflix, no nothing on phone, i-Pad or i-Phone. HELP!!!

I went out for lunch with a friend and when I got home I was able to connect my laptop and my phone connected to the wifi also so I made a phone call and hurrah, got through. My daughter's boyfriend won't even use the internet when he's here as he finds it too slow - he gets irritated by that.

Being older, and having had experience using a telephone party line as a youngster SLOW internet is still FAST to me. But NO wifi is impossible to live with so a technician will be here in the morning. The fellow I was talking to was speaking in tongues - jitter, latency blah blah blah. Just make it work! And make it FAST!

*Yes, I know I don't need wifi to make a phonecall but the last two months I've received a message on my phone that the data is all used up. That's because the phone has not been able to connect to wifi at home so it's roaming around or something. All I know is it's increased my cell phone bill and that is not acceptable!

I wonder if I'll be able to type faster??