Sunday, August 31, 2014

Trailer Talk

** Late Breaking News!!

I've been hemming and hawing, wondering what to do about my trip to England in light of the ongoing volcanic eruptions in Iceland which as you might remember shut down all European flights in 2010, over 100,000 flights in total!! Another eruption occured last night and continues to spew magma but there is no ash, just steam and the latest updates seem somewhat reassuring:

"Fissure eruption small and contained

Although Sunday's fissure eruption was more powerful than the one on Friday, experts said the situation is contained and is unlikely to result in the same level of aviation chaos as in 2010."

So, I'm NOT going to cancel my trip - I'm going to go on the assumption that all will work out.

On Friday I visited the trailer park where I used to own a trailer. Since I sold it to friends I decided it would be ok to park in front of the old place while I looked over a few trailers for sale. I couldn't resist taking some photos of all the perennials/bushes/trees I had planted over the years and still feel attached to - the zebra grass is suffocating the Japanese willow to its left but the black-eyed susans are holding their own! The current owners don't seem to believe in pruning so the place is looking a bit wild.

That's a shot of the lilac tree I planted - for 2 or 3 years it didn't bloom but I could see that it had bloomed this past spring :)
The spiraea bushes continue to prosper and it looks like some of the "susans" have jumped over to join them.
 The other flowering bushes I planted to add privacy are doing that job very well!! There's little lamb hydrangea and abelia and they really need some pruning - anyone sitting at the picnic table could get devoured!!
 The outside light is going to soon disappear! We transplanted a couple of these tall purple flowering plants (they were the only plant here when I bought the place and I still don't know what they're called!) and they are doing very well!
I did a lot of planting to create privacy from the road for the firepit area and it worked!! It's like The Secret Garden! Tall grasses, Virginia Creeper, more abelia and little lamb hydrangea...

My outdoor decorations are still hanging around :)
 The virginia creeper almost blocks the view from the nosy neighbour's window!

My creation using a pair of shutters etc blocks out the neighbours quite well but once again some pruning would be helpful or soon there will no space left to sit around the fire! But I still love the spot and am glad everything is healthy and growing well.

I walked by (several times) each of the trailers I'm interested in. Surprisingly the lot for the $15,000 trailer is WAY nicer and more private than the $50,000 one so I emailed the manager to make a date to see inside. The less expensive lot is larger and has fewer trailers around it and the current owners haven't planted very much so there is potential for me to do lots of gardening. I was also pleased to see lots of people had planted vegetables which is something I'd like to do also. I'll keep you posted!

This Tuesday I take all the real estate papers to my lawyer so he can notarize my signature and then I return them to the other lawyer in PEI. Almost a done deal. AND perhaps I'll have myself a trailer by the end of the week! Keep your fingers crossed! No photos though til it's all worked out.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Crabapple Landing

Welcome to my first post from my new desk at Crabapple Landing. A faithful reader, Barb, commented that "Crabapple Landing" might be a good name for the blog and I agree. There's something about "landing" back where I started that I find very appealing. It does my heart good to know that I can always come home and begin to find my way again. We all need that soft place to fall. Thanks for the suggestion Barb :)

I've been home for two weeks and I've been working like a trojan! I did end up getting the "assembly required" furniture from Tepperman's after looking on kijiji, going to 2nd hand stores etc as it best suited my needs. My sister reads my blog faithfully and she will be disappointed to learn that I received no help from my brothers. My one brother didn't exactly say no, but he didn't exactly say yes either and I hate asking for help especially when it's grudgingly given so yes, I assembled it all myself. The only help I received was from Kazi and her boyfriend who helped me get the boxes from the back of my truck and lug them up to my bedroom. It's ok Lannie, I found out that I'm amazingly strong and like our mother have the ability to follow instructions very well. Happily everything went together quite easily, it was just very time consuming. Fortunately, time is a commodity that I now have plenty of!! The parts are well made, the instructions easy to follow and TA DA, I'm finally finished!!

I'm glad I went with the selections I did, I think that my storage issues will all be resolved with the addition of these 3 pieces - I spent today unpacking about 10 boxes - books, office supplies etc and now have several empty bins. I'm not done shuffling furniture yet, in fact I'll be shuffling things around for months to come as only the main floor is finished (almost finished;) so I still have the 2nd floor and the basement to redecorate.  Boredom is NOT in the cards for me.

So....the pictures....
 Doesn't look that bad, does it??
Starting with this bookcase first, my - what a lot of hardware!! Eek!
Things are moving along fairly well.....I think....
 Yay!! I did it!! It looks swell! No mistakes were made assembling this bookcase - I was amazed at how easily it all went together. I was also surprised at how HEAVY it is. I did some shuffling around and maneuvered it into its final location.  OOF!!
So that was Monday. On Tuesday I started to put the tall bookcase together. So far so good.
Piece of cake except for the part where I lifted it from its position flat on the floor to a standing position. That's when I discovered that for a short little person I have muscles of STEEL!! 
Feeling very cocky I decided to start on the desk. That's the hutch coming together nicely.
 It was about here that I realized that I had to put the hutch and desk BOTH together on the floor as ONE piece as opposed to two separate pieces. RATS!!
 I think I should go into weight lifting. For my weight class I'd be right up there at the top! The one box said it weighed 150 lbs. So two boxes? Granted I wasn't lifting two boxes full as the drawers are not in yet but it's pretty close. I probably lifted close to twice my weight.
There, turned the desk light off so you can see better :)
 I started putting the drawers together and realized I'd done something wrong so at this point I called it a night. Not to mention a major storm was going on and the humidity level was excruciating! I finally succumbed and put the central air on. I'm such a martyr.
A fresh start this morning was just what I needed. I had to redo one drawer but was so happy when I put them into the desk and they fit nicely and smoothly! Woo hoo!!
Two and a half days of assemblage. So worth it too!
 Okay, these pictures show you what needs to be unpacked and organized on my two new bookcases plus desk/hutch. Lots of bins...
 More bins...
 Oh lookee, more bins...
and boxes...and bags...
This bookcase is OVERLOADED!!
 Wow, that looks better! (The other bookcase is now residing in the kitchen, details to follow.
 Sigh...I am breathing so much easier now... Lannie - see your painting??
 Desk area still needs a little work...
 There...that's better!! A new chair is in order though, don't you think? That chair has been in the family for YEARS!! I sat at my child desk on that chair 50 years ago!! My brother has a matching one!
More added to the tall bookcase - Kazi's grade 12 grad pictures up top - one bin left below for sorting.
A nice spot for relaxing with a book and a cup of tea. That little desk with the printer belonged to my mother. I refinished it (and also the chair!) - it had many layers of paint on it and when I stripped it I found out why it had been painted - a few burn marks, scars etc. But such gorgeous wood, oh my! I'll treasure it always!

So that's what I've been up to the past few days. Unpacking boxes, bags and bins that were packed to go to PEI was emotionally draining as well but I'm happy to have made so much progress. Tomorrow I'm going to take a wee break and go see a documentary at our local reparatory theatre - "Walking the Camino" as that is another walk I'm thinking about doing. Next year.

OK, feeling exhausted. It's 11:30pm and I've been hard at it since early this morning. I will sleep well tonight! I'm not going to show you the other half of the room (what a disaster!) yet, but soon. One of the reasons I love this condo is the size of the two bedrooms. HUGE!! I was reminiscing with Kazi today about how multi-purpose my bedroom was when she was growing up. Besides my bed I had a loveseat in here, a drop-leaf table that I used as a desk for my schoolwork, and a large TV and TVcabinet.

Good night my friends!

Sunday, August 24, 2014

My Dear Old Tisky

 My dear old (20 years old!!) Tisky isn't able to clean herself anymore. We brush her and brush her but there seems to be no end to her fur! She gains extra fur over the winter and then is unable to "shed" it over the warmer months. Even my daughter's boyfriend, Steve, gives her a good brushing every time he's here but she still has chunks of fur hanging off her skinny little body.
So I've been debating giving her a bath in the laundry tub for quite some time. I've held back because of her age - I'm worried it'll give her a heart attack! But yesterday I went for it. I put some warm soapy water in the laundry tub and in she went to her great surprise! One thing about having such an ancient cat is she can't get away from me anymore. She has arthritis in her legs and can't run. Perhaps the warm water was soothing to her limbs?? I can only hope.

 I gave her as good a scrubbing as I could then drained the tub and turned on the water to give her a "shower" and rinse out the soapiness. She handled that a lot better than I thought she would - she only howled a little :[  I wrapped her up in a towel and hugged her close. She was not impressed but didn't struggle. Then I put her on another towel on top of the washing machine and gave her a good brushing.
 After examining all possible escape routes Tisky settled down as she does truly enjoy a good brushing. Who doesn't??
 She's still pretty shaggy but I'll brush her more today. It's a challenge getting to the underneath parts - her chest and tummy especially.

 There, that wasn't so bad was it? Just a bit hard on one's dignity - I'm sure her facebook friends all had a good laugh at her expense (bad mommy!)
She went straight to her food dish when I put her on the floor so I guess she wasn't too traumatized! However she didn't visit me while I was in the TV room last night. That's usually our cuddle time. Luckily though with a brain the size of a pea I'm sure she'll have forgotten about it by tonight's TV time. I'll throw in a good long brushing and a belly rub too for good measure :)

Friday, August 22, 2014

Warbler Woods

Have you heard of It's a social website dedicated to hobbies and activities and interests and brings people together who share the same interests. I found a hiking group (among dozens of other interesting-looking groups) and went on my first hike with them last night. The hiking meetup is a spinoff of a local well-established trail hiking group called Thames Valley Trail Association. The organizers of the meetups are trained hiking leaders and 2 go on each hike - one takes the lead and the other pull up the rear so no one gets off on the wrong path and gets lost! We found a little hut made of branches but I don't think it would provide much shelter from either the rain or the coyotes.
 The upside of hiking with  a group is being able to go onto new trails without the fear of disappearing into the woods forever. (I reminded Kazi of where my will is just before I left anyways 'cause I'm such a cautious soul!) I've never hiked in Warbler Woods before and it was a beautiful spot. I walked with 3 other first time hikers (where the trail was wide enough) and I really enjoyed meeting and talking with some new to me friends!
 The down side of walking with a group is I can't just stop and take a photo whenever I want to so when the group did stop from time to time for instructions or have a water break I would snap whatever was around, and quickly. Like these orange mushrooms! There was a lot of laughter and everyone was friendly. I was a little worried as there were a lot of "older" women and I thought the pace might be too slow but it was pretty good. No complaints. My hiking boots are very comfortable and my special moisture wicking socks spectacular! I tried out my hiking poles last night too and find I prefer to walk with only only rather than the pair. That way I can carry my water bottle for quick and easy access and snap a photo when the opportunity arises.
 We hiked for about 90 minutes and I plan to go back again on my own. Following the yellow blazes will keep me on the main trail and the area isn't really so large that if I got lost I'd be lost for long. Once in a while you could hear traffice or spot a house way off through the trees. But the illusion of being out in the wilderness is fairly authentic.
Between the trail association and the meetups there are in excess of 300 hikes a year!! I'm just going to be so svelte in about 20 years!!

Well I'm off to pick up my pizza :) Tonight I am treating myself to a movie (rented) and pizza and beer. Working off the calories entitles me to eat whatever I want or so I tell myself!!

Happy weekend everyone! Any big plans??

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Assembly Required

So I went to Tepperman's today to purchase a new desk and book shelves. Told the man who was "helping" me (HAH - I had to go tap him on the arm which sorta startled him to see if he was on or off duty) that I wanted the furniture assembled. Well after a good snort he let me know in no uncertain terms that it doesn't come assembled. I either assemble it myself (no thank you) or he can give me the name of someone who will assemble the furniture at $30 per hour!! OMG!! (NO THANK YOU!)

So I left the premises with no furniture. Apparently furniture only comes assembled if it's the really super expensive "real wood" kind of stuff not the stuff made of laminate. I looked at the TWO, yes TWO real wood desks they had in their massive warehouse and said..."no thanks". They were twice as expensive, twice as small and had zero storage. What a scam!

Rats. So now I don't know what to do. I went to MEC (Mountain Equipment Company) instead and spent my money there on a "monsoon" Goretex coat (half price) because you know how bad the monsoons are in SW England, walking poles, special socks that are supposed to prevent blisters from forming from wearing hiking boots daily, gel blister bandaids because I don't trust the socks' claims, a pair of shorts, and 2 pairs of capris (one pair of capris are actual "pant length" on little ol' me") and assorted other items - oh a backpack rainproof cover, spray to make my boots waterproof and I think that's it.

That made me feel better temporarily until I got home and saw all the boxes of books and desk supplies and nowhere to put them!! Poo, now I'm bummed out again. My choices are - buy the pieces I want and hire someone to put them together, spend a day or two trying to put them together myself, or spend oodles of money on the REAL stuff which doesn't suit my needs nearly as well.  Hmmmm...I need more and better options as none of these are suiting me just now.

I'm just gonna drink wine.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014


I think I could get used to this...
Lol, you're right Carla, I never even got this section opened up :)
But reading the paper at 2 in the afternoon? Unheard of!

It's funny how we humans create routines for ourselves. It's like just wandering around through the day is weird, it's almost like life has no meaning...GASP!! So we create a kind of routine, fit ourselves into it thus providing structure for our days (unless of course you get up every day and go to work then HAH, you'll have to wait a while longer to understand what I'm talking about!)

For now my day goes sorta like this...(bear in mind I've only been home for 6 days and I've already had to create a routine!)...

  • get up, make my bed (that's something new but I kinda like getting into a made bed at night)
  • I'm not a PJ lounger so I get dressed right away in work out gear
  • make and eat oatmeal while checking email
  • on Monday, Wed. & Friday I will do my jog/walk routine as laid out in my C25K app on my iPhone (it's supposed to help get me to run 5K; I'm halfway there; I'm repeating week 4 OR I go for a hike if it's Tuesday or Thursday...I'm not sure yet about Saturday and Sunday - perhaps riding my bike/more hiking (anyhoo early exercise is supposed to help elevate my mood and so far it's working plus I'm working in my hiking boots for my walking trip to England in a month
  • after I get home I have my coffee and get the newspaper out of my mailbox - I proposed to my neighbour that we share the local paper and I'll pay her half the cost; it's working out well so far though today I didn't get to the paper til much later due to so many emails to answer plus I was online buying tickets to see a play with my brother at the Stratford Festival plus a few other things online
  • once the paper is done I usually make a juice or smoothie
  • then it's ACTION time - I've been doing a lot of chores around the house, unpacking, sorting (took 4 garbage bags of stuff to a thrift shop this morning) and deciding what needs to be done and in what order - I've decided at the top of the list is a desk, bookshelves so that I have a work station (Kim - I brought a few boxes of stuff home from school so need to assimilate that into the "desk" stuff that I already have)
  • Today's ACTION time involved cleaning the basement windows (only 2), washing, pressing and rehanging curtains, dusting, vacuuming and washing the floors down there
  • then more "computer time" - I ordered a movie for my brother as a Christmas gift on Amazon and looked at several sites for outdoor furniture (it's SALE time), a new bed for moi, a bathroom wall cabinet etc (didn't purchase yet, just doing research; plus I do my blog reading and write my post
  • then I'll make dinner - nothing much - a salad with shrimp, yummy zucchini spaghetti with cashew alfredo sauce, homemade soup (defrosting on the counter as I type)
  • yesterday and the day before I fit in an hour of reading outside on the patio (so nice!)
  • and of course there are errands and meeting up with friends: tomorrow I'm having lunch with an old friend - we fell out of touch when I stopped playing recreational volleyball so I was thrilled when she found me on facebook!; then on Thursday I am going on my first hike with a group that I joined; Friday I'm meeting my brother and sister-in-law for coffee and Sunday my other brother and I are going to see "The Beaux Stratagem" at the Stratford Festival
  • Phew! How on earth did I fit "WORK" into the schedule prior to retirement???
  • I usually spend more time on little "fix its" after supper and then by 9pm I plunk myself down in front of the TV and cuddle with my senior "catizen" (see Jane? I can do it too! Punny, no?)
  • Somewhere in there is self-care: showering, plucking, waxing, pedicuring, trimming and on and on it's a good thing we get to retire as there just seems to be so much more maintenance that needs to be done!!
  • Exhausted I drag myself off to my wee bed, try to read a bit more and fall naturally asleep. No worries on my mind, I'm sleeping well.
I'll leave you with a few photos from my hike this morning. I drove out of the city to a small village nearby where there is an old mill pond with a 4km path around it. It was a sunny gorgeous morning and I thoroughly enjoyed myself.

 and turtles...

 and turtles...

 and snakes...oh my!

and hopefully some fish!