Monday, October 31, 2016

Monday Monday

Funny that I still wakeup with a bit of Monday Monday anxiety after 2 years of retirement but on the bright side it only lasts as long as it takes me to remember I can roll over and go back to sleep if I want to. Not that I can sleep after an anxiety jolt runs through my veins but theoretically it's true.

These days Monday is about balancing the budget, making a grocery list, perhaps cleaning up a particularly messy spot in the house, walking to do my errands, going out for breakfast or lunch with a friend, reading and so on. Aren't I a lucky little old lady?

Today I closed out October's budget. I am a serious zero budgeter and I ended up the month with a surplus of $1.79! I think I've got the hang of this thing. There are a variety of budget lines that fluctuate from month to month (food, gas, misc, natural gas and electricity). Everything else usually stays exactly the same with my cell phone occasionally a bit extra due to using a bit more data. That happened last month when I had to pay an extra $8 on my cell phone bill. My electricity bill came in $11 over budget as we still needed to put the central air on a few times. That being said the natural gas bill was under budget by $6 and I only spent $62 on gas for my truck as I walked to do most errands. The surplus gas $ went to my food budget as I did a massive shop at the Bulk Barn to buy a ton of nuts and seeds, dried fruit, oatmeal, quinoa, rice and other dried goods for the winter pantry. I won't need to do that again for several months.

Misc purchases included new running shoes for volleyball. I googled "best shoes for runner's knee" and the best brand was Asics which just happened to be on sale at Sport Chek. I've been using them all month and I do believe they have helped. We have celebrated Thanksgiving so I've already shelled out for turkey and wine...and more wine :) I've been to the movies, out to lunch and breakfast, bought a book on Amazon, bought some new-to-me sports wear for volleyball at my neighbourhood thrift store, new socks, and so on. I bought a Christmas gift for my brother but have forgotten about my charitable donations. Need to get back on track. But overall a good money month.

I've been fighting a virus for almost 2 weeks so have had a few No Spend days this month - that has helped to keep costs down though not in a good way :(   I really like my nursemaid though!!

Happily I am on a ten month property tax schedule so I don't pay in November and December. I also have a GIC interest injection at the end of Nov. which just gets rolled over to increase my savings for the year. I can withdraw if I need more $$ for Christmas but don't think I'll need to.

Misc spending for November looks like this: new runners for hallways on main floor and basement, furnace filters, prescription and a doorbell. The old one only rings occasionally - and I thought nobody liked me! And I'll try to finish off Christmas shopping and update my charitable givings.

Kazi's sister came for a sleepover on Friday. Hannah is a very sweet, mature and well-behaved 12 year old considering what she's been through. Kazi bought snacks/drinks and we watched a funny movie together. Saturday morning we had breakfast together and then she and Kazi made S'mores cupcakes. I could hear them laughing and carrying on.

Hannah gave me a nice big hug when she arrived and when she left. She asked why her dad and I broke up and not knowing how much she knew I told her she should probably talk to her dad about that. Kazi showed her some pictures of their dad when he was a kid and then as a young man. She said she had no photos as her mom had thrown them all away so I gave her one of her dad, me and Kazi in a Christmas photo. I think I'll scan the others I have of her dad and grandparents and get them printed for her. Apparently her mom tosses out lots of things.

Kazi asked her what her favourite movie was and Hannah couldn't state a preference. Kazi says she can never say what her favourite "anything" is, not even a favourite colour. That got me wondering if she has learned not to have preferences so as not to be disappointed. I did find out that when she was 7 or 8 her mom was supposed to pick her up after a visit with her dad and she just disappeared for several months. That was when custody got changed in favour of her dad.

Anyhoo she is absolutely lovely and I hope we see lots of her.

That's my Monday, how is yours going?

Friday, October 28, 2016

Foto Friday: The WET Day or After the Storm Come the Rainbows!!

First came the rain, sheets and sheets of the stuff. Then the wind blowing from every direction finding its way inside my MONSOON coat (that's what it's called! LIARS!) Boots filled with water from slogging through the bog, sweating like the dickens inside my rain pants - no part of me was dry. 
No. Part. Of. Me.

I didn't get pictures of the worst of the storm for obvious reasons. Thankfully my phone and camera were still working at the end of the day. Once we finally hit the highway I put my legs into overdrive and powered through the next 2kms til we reached The Peacocke Hotel where we literally wrung water from our clothes and draped everything from the handy heaters. I had packed a change of clothes inside a plastic bag inside my backpack which was covered by a plasticky thingy. The clothes were damp. But a heck of a lot LESS damp than the ones I had on so I changed in the washroom. Then we availed ourselves of various libations :) I remember the pint and the Irish coffees but have no recall of what I ate. Well, I had my priorities straight! I mean...what do they always give to the damsel in distress? A big glass of brandy or whisky right? Am I right? Medicinal purposes only ;)

By the time we were picked up and transported to our B&B the sun was coming out. The nerve! The next day we were treated to rainbows and sunshine. The trails were flowing with water though due to all the rain. We hopped, skipped and jumped over dozens of rivulets and streams and puddles. Compared to yesterday's hurricane though jumping puddles was a cake walk.

Doesn't the picture below look like a painting?

Rainbows all over the place. We thought about heading cross country in search of a pot of gold (I figured we were due!) but likely we would have been swept downhill by a waterfall.

We had blue skies...

 clear landscapes...
 some threatening skies...I think we had a few sprinkles but nothing much...

Today we were headed to a mountain pass through the Maumturks and were getting up and personal with the gorgeous mountain range. Imagine waking up to this everyday!

Go away dark sky! I remember seeing the rain falling in the distance. The system gradually moved past us and we just got a few drops.

Well, tonight is the sleepover. Kazi is in charge :) Should be fun!

What are your weekend plans? Anything Hallowe'eny going on?

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

New Family Member

Here's a recent photo of my girl and me at The Tragically Hip concert in September. Such a good time :)

And.....Here's my daughter and her newly discovered half sister - Hannah!

I don't know if I've ever blogged about Kazi's dad. He had (has) issues. Understatement. I'm not going to get into all of that. Ancient history. Let's just say that l still have anger simmering way down deep. Not because of anything he did to me (well maybe a little!) but because when Kazi was 12 he stopped coming to see her. Hard to imagine, I know, but true nonetheless. Which explains why I get Mother's Day AND Father's Day cards from Kazi.
Matching sweaters for sisters :)

When Kazi was 16 we found out that her dad had had another daughter. At that point Hannah was a baby and Kazi wasn't ready to be a sister. When I got back from Ireland Kazi told me that Hannah had been "liking" Kazi's posts on Facebook and Instagram. She didn't know who Hannah was but checked out her FB profile and discovered that she was her sister! And she lives in London...with her dad.

Apparently her mother has severe mental health issues and no longer has custody of Hannah. They would have to be VERY severe since now her dad has custody. We will say he is trying to be a good parent this time around. I don't know for sure and have no intention of seeing him. Kazi wants a relationship with Hannah, but not so much her dad though she will have to see him to some extant as Hannah is just 12. She is coming for a sleepover this Friday as she wants to get to know me too. I am good with that.

Hannah adores Kazi. Her dad has talked to her about Kazi and gave Hannah Kazi's name as her middle name. She has had photos of Kazi and took it upon herself to find Kazi through social media. She's even in French Immersion, just like Kazi was.

I hope that they can establish a good relationship. Hannah's at that age where she needs good female role models and Kazi is very willing to be a big sister and provide guidance through those difficult teenage years. I am VERY proud of her for diving right in. She's handling herself really well and navigating through her dad's issues like a pro. This is one of those moments when you realize that your kid has turned out really well :) and doesn't it feel good!!

I never badmouthed him to her but honestly answered any questions she's had over the years. So she knows about his struggles but not all the gory details. 

So that's our excitement for this week!  Try to beat that!!

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

From Dublin to Inishmore

Today is a travelling day - leaving Dublin on the east coast to Galway on the west coast by bus and arriving on Inishmore via ferry. It started off being pretty foggy but cleared up as the day got older. I tried taking photos from the bus but they never turn out very well.

 See? But I take them anyway....

 But I like the way this one turned out even with maximum zoom going on, the mountain in the background and a trickle of rain running down the bus window...and what is that man doing??

 ...and then look what happened! The clouds started breaking up...
 ...but not for long...

Almost at the ferry...

Here I am driving the ferry...or should that be ferrying the ferry? We're gonna go south!

I'm ferrying very fast!

HAHAHA just kidding.......yes, it is windy, why do you ask?

 Scenes from a ferry.... cormorants, I think, by the curve of their neck and white breast, can't see the beak unfortunately...

...a graveyard!

Almost there! The village of Kilronan.

Out of sync a little, but Annie and I befriended this lovely little lady when she asked for help with getting her suitcase onto the bus. Turns out she was headed to Inishmore as well. She was on the ferry with us and then when we were walking along a lonely country road the next day I saw this little figure coming towards us - and it was her once more so we stopped and had a lovely chat, she was very thankful for our help. I tell ya, Ireland is the place to be old in - the bus driver and the ferrymen just waved her on board - she would ask about a ticket and they'd just wave her off and tell her never mind. I think she made it from the start to the finish of her journey without lifting a finger or paying a penny!

We travelled from the ferry to our B&B in style!! Though definitely not for free!

The ferry...

Off the ferry goes, back to the mainland...the sky is brightening up again!

 My astute conclusion - the weather changes frequently!

Monday, October 17, 2016

Last Full Day in Dublin

Greetings on this lovely wet and gloomy Monday. I've been having some Disqus issues so have taken that down temporarily. Hopefully you can comment using the Blogger commenting platform. We shall see won't we? 

These photos are from Sunday, Aug. 28 - our last full day in Dublin.  They are in no particular order as I take photos with my camera and with my phone which can get confusing when I try to organize my photos on my laptop with any precision. I'm just going to have to suck it up and buy a camera with wifi capability. Has anyone had any experience with one of those and/or knows a good brand?

Carrying on...Annie and I had another amazing breakfast at Ariel House - I had yogurt, homemade granola & fruit followed by oatmeal & coffee. That should keep me going for quite some time! (in more ways than one!) Sorry, colonoscopy still on my mind.

 First stop was to return to Trinity College and see the Long Room and the Book of Kells. I LOVED, ADORED, BONDED WITH this section of the library (called the Long Room) -I felt like I was in a Harry Potter movie!

WOW!  The medieval illustrated Book of Kells has been at the Trinity College library since the 1600's to protect it from Cromwell.

We did a bit more hopping on and off a tour bus - hopping off at the famous Dublin jail called Kilmainham Gaol - now a museum. Unfortunately the next available time for a tour was hours away so we hopped back on the next bus and got off near the National Museum. We grabbed some lunch and did some window shopping, then headed into the museum.

One of the not so nice sections of Dublin as seen from the bus...

Near (hey - I was bored!) Kilmainham Gaol Museum:

And what do you do when you are waiting for a bus?  Selfie time!

I am limiting my museum photos to three (see how nice I am)?

The swirls and spirals on this priceless bracelet are very inspiring (future tattoo?)

The next two pieces (not sure if they are buckles or were in early Christian churches as some sort of ornament, but both depict Jesus on the Cross with the added interest of Roman soldiers stabbing in the sides with their spears. Medieval clergy felt the best way to keep control of the population was by fear of what would happen to them in the afterlife if they sinned during their mortal life.

Fun times!

The Celts were masters of intricate designs of jewelry and religious icons.

Here we are at Ha'penny Bridge - selfie time :)

This bridge is suffering from the addition of many locks and graffiti: made me wonder who Lee Walker is and why he is a "gross __________"?  Actually "gross" is spelled "grass" which is quite puzzling. Perhaps that's an insult in some other country!?

Hey - you're a grass!! Do you feel insulted?

Two views of the Dublin Spire - also known as the Monument of Light. The spire was built as part of a project to spruce up O'Connell St.

Look up.....look WAY up.....!

And of course the requisite bridge photos :) 

We had a tough time finding a place to eat - every place was stacked full of people but eventually we landed at the noisy Slattery pub where I had some nachos (I've had better). But that's ok; after eating we went on a ghost tour!! It was great but I didn't get too many photos as it was getting dark. Then we cabbed it back to Ariel House and prepared to leave the next morning for the Aran Island of Inis Mor!  *Also spelled Inishmore, Arainn Mhor

Friday, October 14, 2016

Scoped out!

I meant to write a post yesterday but I was in lala land all day. All I got done was the title! Last thing I can remember about my colonoscopy was the feeling of fading away into a lovely dream land. The next thing I was aware of was the nurse asking me if I wanted gingerale or apple juice. Gingerale please :)

All is well and I don't have to go through that again for another 10 years. The worst part was ingesting the horrible purging medication 3 times prior to the procedure. Enough said about that! Total cost for the procedure - $0.00 :)

I had a nice afternoon of laying on the couch reading and dozing with Lily stretched across me. Awwww...

Last night I had a dream that I had a yard sale and made $83,000.00.

Good drugs eh?!!

Today my head still feels a little fuzzy but definitely better. I'll get out into the nice brisk yet sunny day and do some errands which should help my head clear. Not sure about the weekly sit-in that I participate in at our local MP's office every Friday or playing volleyball tonight. Gonna play it by ear. Or, in this case, by brain.

Here's the lovely Luna hiding under my yoga mat. She has a few "hiding" spots around the house and when I walk by she jumps out and attacks my feet. I'm usually ready for it as she forgets to tuck in her tail :)
Ready to pounce!
Happy Friday everyone - do you have weekend plans? If you are from the States do you have to pay to have a colonoscopy done?

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

More of Dublin

Saturday, Aug. 27 was a mild and mostly sunny day. Over all we had pretty good weather considering it kind of rains a lot in this very green country! There is a canal to cross in Dublin as well as a river - the picture below shows a scenic part of the canal.

A little further down the street was Merrion Square, where the Oscar Wilde memorial is. And, strangely, this throne :)  Annie's feet reach to the ground (almost?) whereas mine.....


I have no explanation for the next photo - should be one of those "caption this" photos.....what can you come up with?

This cute guy gave us an interesting and humorous tour of Trinity College. While listening to his posh accent and even posher buildings I was really wishing I'd studied harder in highschool :) We'll be back again tomorrow to see the Book of Kells!

The campanile at Trinity College. I could have sworn I straightened this photo; it's really not leaning to the right :) but I guess I was.

The little architectural gem really caught my eye - the Olympia Theatre - very art nouveau.

We also had a tour of the castle and royal chapel - very beautiful.

This person seems to be throwing their hands up in the air in disgust - NOT MORE TOURISTS OMG!

Lots and lots of tourists...oh, there's me!

and me again!

Some parts of the castle were how you'd imagine a castle to be, while other sections were built much more recently in the Georgian style of many of the larger homes in Dublin.

Spirals everywhere!

Some of the city streets were closed off to cars and filled with buskers.

This angel caught my eye :)

So did these guys - door handles! Don't they look like they are inviting you in? After bowing..."please to come in!"

You could have a lot of fun with this one right?  It did become a favourite of mine.....

I like taking food photos - they beat anything I could make at home. Plus they help me to tell when one day has ended amongst my thousands of photos....yummy chicken wings (I need the protein you know)...

Lunch was a frittata at a cafe called The Queen of Tarts.  I wonder if she knows the Galway Hooker?

Another mirror selfie! Really, I'm trying to figure out what priceless object would fit in my purse! Hah!

That's enough for today - I don't want to wear out your eyes too soon! In the real world I'm going to see The Beatles movie/documentary called  Eight Days a Week tonight. And I played volleyball for a couple of hours this afternoon though I was on a really sucky team and barely broke a sweat. Then I bought a bunch of clear liquids to drink all day tomorrow and then I have the lovely scope on Thursday :) I'm hoping for lots of drugs and a nice afternoon nap! And hopefully a weight loss of a few pounds! HAH!