I'm so glad you could stop by. This is my personal blog of daily life and my journey through life. You will find a strong emphasis on family and friends as well as finding my ancestors through genealogy. Unlike my other blogs this blog is more of a catch-all so any topic is fair game.

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Monday, December 26, 2011

A House Full

Today most of our kids and grandkids were home for Christmas.  It was a house full to say the least but oh my gosh a house full in the very best of ways.  Our kids are amazing and I really do mean that in every sense of the word but our grandkids take it to a new level.  I love feeling the baby hugs around my neck and taking a chip dive for Grandma when Papa teases them.  It was a wonderful day all around spent with amazing kids and the most adorable grandkids ever!

Garden Gnome
©2006-2011


Saturday, December 24, 2011

Treading on the Thin Ice of Political Correctness

My husband and I just returned home from a wonderful two and a half week vacation stay at our vacation home in the sunny south.  Well actually the first two days were spent visiting family in Wisconsin then we flew from there to Florida.   During our stay my frequent comment was Happy Holidays while my husband's was Merry Christmas.  I gritted my teeth but said nothing.  Surely the diabolical looks to give a hint that he was not being politically correct should have been enough AND those looks were not coming from me!  He'd say a cheery Merry Christmas and some looked at him disdainfully as if he had just picked his nose while scratching his butt. 

We were shopping yesterday after a rather eventful flight the night before.  We stayed over night specifically to do a bit of shopping.  Here we are two and a half weeks later and my husband asked me why I said Happy Holidays rather than Merry Christmas.  Talk about a woosh!  So I explained to him that saying Merry Christmas was no longer politically correct as it could damage someone's physic or something.  Then I told him that not everyone believes in the Christmas spirit or spreading good cheer or simply extending good will to their fellow mankind and Christmas AND they don't want to be reminded of that by someone saying Merry Christmas.  His response was BAH HUMBUG!

Bah humbug indeed!  We as a society take offense to wishing someone a Merry Christmas.  We take offense at using the word gay in a Christmas carol - true story as a teacher changed the word because the students laughed when the word was sung.  We can no longer enjoy children's Christmas concerts in the schools or allow our kids to enjoy anything Christmas in the schools become some kids do not celebrate Christmas.  I don't even decorate my blogs for Christmas any more lease someone takes offense.  Bah humbug!

AND for those not offended

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays

Garden Gnome
©2006-2011


Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Wordless Wednesday - On Maneuvers

on maneuvers Tampa Bay, Florida
On Maneuvers
(Tampa Bay, Flordia)
September 27, 2011

Garden Gnome
©2006-2011


Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Old Fashioned Work Ethic

The old fashioned work ethic is putting in your everything, going the extra mile, giving anything you do 110%. Folks cared about the job they did because it was a reflection on them as a person and their personal values.  Sadly this philosophy is going by the wayside in our modern society.  Folks tend to work simply for the paycheque not caring whether they do a half-ass job or not.  They simply don't care how it reflects on them and quite frankly in some respects it is almost a competition to see who can do the worse job.  It's rush through the job putting in the bare minimum of effort then act insulted if asked to do a little extra.

It is so refreshing to encounter someone with an old fashioned work ethic.  Our vacation home is in sunny Florida.  We rent it out if possible when we aren't there.  Since we don't live there on a permanent basis we are have no choice but to hire out yard care.  The lawns are taken care of by the park but gardens surrounding the house are our responsibility.  During our visit in September we hired a gentleman to do the gardens.  He arrived at quarter to eight in the morning but assured us he didn't start charging until 8 AM.  He worked very hard working through until 1 PM.  He repeated this for several days.  When he was finished he had a full accounting of his hours and even docked any breaks he had taken.  It was amazing.  After all this work his total came to $120 and he felt bad that it was that high.  My husband gave him $200 because quite frankly the work he did was well worth the higher price.  He was very excited with the tip as he could take his wife out for dinner for their anniversary.  Sadly this wonderful gentleman who was in his 70's could not continue looking after our gardens on a monthly basis.

We made friends with the bartender at the club house.  He lives two doors down from us and recently won the Yard of the Month.  I put out a request for garden help in the community forums and he was highly recommended.  We had a few others saying they would be interested but we decided to ask our neighbour first.  My husband talked to him about looking after our gardens and he agreed.  He too has the old fashioned work ethic.  He is very meticulous, tending the gardens with as much care as we would if we were here doing it ourselves.  He is also very careful about being accountable for every expenditure.  Talk about finding a gem with a true, old fashioned work ethic!

Garden Gnome
©2006-2011


Sunday, December 18, 2011

Blog Your Blessings Sunday - Lazy Days

Blog Your Blessings Sunday

My husband and I have been enjoying some well deserved time off.  It has been a very hectic year!  Quite frankly we have been through a lot, not as much as some but definitely more than others.  Lazy days help heal the spirit, rest the body and revitalize the mind.  Everyone needs a few lazy days just to refresh themselves.  We are very blessed to be able to take a bit of time off to rejuvenate ourselves during the hectic holiday season!

Garden Gnome
©2006-2011


Saturday, December 17, 2011

Boating on Tampa Bay in Florida

rental boat on Tampa Bay, Florida

Rental Boat Wake
September 27, 2011 

We have a boat so do a lot of boating on the Great Lakes waterway including Lake Huron, St. Clair River, Lake St. Clair and support tributaries.  When we bought our vacation home in sunny Florida in March of 2010 talk quickly turned to boating there even though we did not see our new acquisition until May of the same year.  Trips there during 2010 were a combination of work and getting to know the area.  We bought the house specifically to rent out when we aren't there so there was a fair amount to do.  The spring trip in 2011 was fraught with complications from my husband being sick before, during and after the trip.  Our fall trip is a combination personal vacation with part of the time a golf trip where a few of my husband's friends come down to do more golfing in a day, every day than any wife could ever understand.  While they were down in September we rented a boat to spend a day exploring the Tampa Bay area by boat.

It was a wonderful way to do a bit of sightseeing.  We putzed around then stopped at Cha Cha Coconuts at the St. Petersburg Pier to wait out a couple of nasty storms going through.  We took a lot of great pictures of waterfowl and dolphins off the pier.  The dolphins followed the boat to which was rather neat even though we did't get clear pictures of them closer to the boat.  The manatee were in the area but we didn't get a good picture of them either.  All in all it was a great day, well worth repeating during a future trip to our vacation home.

Garden Gnome
©2006-2011


Friday, December 16, 2011

A Bit of Sightseeing

My husband and I decided to do a bit of sightseeing to enjoy the delightful, cheery sights of Christmas.  It was daylight but we still enjoyed it.  Years ago we bundled up our first born, then only a couple of months old, and went Christmas sightseeing.  That was the start of many years of taking one or more Christmas sightseeing trips.  We usually do one during the day where we will stop at a Christmas open house or take part in a Christmas home tour then another to take pictures of all the fabulous light displays.  We did a historical home tour today.  It was amazing so I will talk more about that later complete with pictures.

Garden Gnome
©2006-2011


Thursday, December 15, 2011

Dance Like No One is Watching

new shoes
New Dancing Shoes
December 13, 2011

I like to dance not that I'm any good at it and have two left feet without being blessed with rhythm. Obviously my Mom wasted money on those ineffective tap dance lessons I took briefly as a child!  Still I like to dance. Dancing is a great way to get a bit of exercise, loosen up stiff muscles and ease back pain.  I even have a decorative wall art quote on the header of the staircase that says "Dance Like No One is Watching".  We went out a couple of nights ago, just the perfect excuse to buy a new pair of shoes.  Being a shoeaholic, you would think I would know better than to go dancing in a brand new pair of shoes.  I seldom wear high heeled shoes, preferring a lower profile shoe.  This pair is low wedge heel, rounded toe softies by Faded Glory.  They fit nicely and felt comfortable immediately so I wasn't too concerned.  At the end of a wonderful night, I only had one tiny rub spot on the back of my right heel where the top of the shoe hits.  Not bad for an evening of fun spent in cute new shoes :)

Garden Gnome
©2006-2011


Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Wordless Wednesday - Beached!

beached boat

Beached!
September 27, 2011

Garden Gnome
©2006-2011


Monday, December 12, 2011

Basil

Ok, so you have heard of chili heads but I am a true basil head.  I love basil and good gosh one variety of basil is not good enough for me.  I grow the common sweet basil as well as five to six other varieties both indoors and outdoors.  Basil seriously rules as an herb!  When we bought our vacation home in Florida, the first plant I bought was basil.  I knew there was no way I could keep it alive when we weren't there but I knew we would enjoy fresh basil while we were there.  Then we got to know our neighbours.  Our basil plant goes to their house to be looked after while we are gone.  The plant comes back to stay with us when we are here.  They are great friends and basil brought us together.  Basil rules...

Garden Gnome
©2006-2011


Sunday, December 11, 2011

Blog Your Blessings Sunday - Dodging the Bullet

Blog Your Blessings Sunday

Last week I was sick, not deathly sick but definitely sick and not the best when trying to do a couple of road trips.  The thing is it wasn't a definite cold and I still think it was more allergies but at any rate, high doses of Vitamin C with extra rest helped a lot.  This week my husband was fine one minute, went out for the morning and came home sick.  His was more of an obvious cold but still not a cold given the presentation.  It was fast onset, no temperature but major chest congestion.  We went to the pharmacy where I stocked up on three cold & flu remedies including my husband's old stand by, Nyquil.  I made a nice hot cup of tea for him, tucked him in on the couch and started a batch of homemade beef noodle soup for the next day.  It will be a couple of days of him taking it easy.  All in all, while we aren't out of the water yet, both of us are on the mend and that is a blessing :)

Garden Gnome
©2006-2011


Saturday, December 10, 2011

Aquariums

aquariums at Cabela's

Aquarium at Cabela's
December 5, 2011

Over the years we have had a series of fish aquariums ranging from small fish bowls to huge 5' x 2' x 2.5' aquarium to hold some of the pond fish over the winter.  We have not had aquariums at our last two houses but I am seriously considering setting up one in our new house.  I love aquariums!  There is just something calming and mesmerizing watching fish gracefully flit around the water.  Aquariums bring life to a room!  The aquariums at Cabela's are huge, not as big as some of the humongous tanks at some of the casinos in Las Vegas but these are still huge tanks.  I could stand there gazing at the fish all day!  Yes, an aquarium is definitely in the plans for our new house.

Garden Gnome
©2006-2011


Friday, December 09, 2011

Cabela's

moose at Cabela's

The Moose at Cabela's
December 5, 2011

Some stores are considerably more interesting to shop in than others.  I love Cabela's!  This is a huge store that specializes in equipment and gear needed for the outdoor's man or woman.  It is divided into sections like boating, fishing, camping and hunting.  Accenting the sections are areas of stuffed wild game set in very realistic settings, large aquariums with a wide variety of game fish, and other areas of interest just perfect for picture taking.  I am particularly fond of going through the cooking section that has a vast array of smokers, dryers and fryers; rows and rows of rubs, seasonings and sauces; cast iron pots and pans and so much more. I just love browsing there!  I have a list of must haves including a dehydrator now that I no longer have the JennAir and I really, really need a smoker.  I will be spending a few dollars and then some at Cabela's, that's for sure!

Garden Gnome
©2006-2011


Wednesday, December 07, 2011

Wordless Wednesday - Christmas Sparkles

decorated outdoor Christmas tree on Lakeshore Drive in Oakville, Ontario

Christmas Sparkles
November 26, 2011


Garden Gnome
©2006-2011


Tuesday, December 06, 2011

Christmas Shopping

We did a little Christmas shopping yesterday.  My husband and I have two very different Christmas shopping styles.  I like to spread the shopping out over the year, effectively avoiding the Christmas shopping hubba-ballo.  He loves to do the main shopping somewhere between December 23rd and 24th, right in the midst of the Christmas chaos.  The stores were not as busy as I thought they would be.  We managed to find a couple of great deals.  I was surprised to see gift bags, wrapping paper and bows already at 50% off!  We stopped for lunch at a great little pub and grill where we enjoyed garlic butter jumbo chicken wings.  They were quite tasty.  Then we finished up the shopping and headed back to get dinner on.  The house sure smelled delicious with the pot roast cooking for the rest of the afternoon.

Garden Gnome
©2006-2011


Sunday, December 04, 2011

Blog Your Blessings Sunday - Movember

Blog Your Blessings Sunday

November is dedicated to bringing awareness to prostrate cancer.  One fund raiser is affectionately known as Movember, were men of all ages can participate in a charity event by growing a mustache.  I'm proud to say  few of the men in our family participated in this worthy cause.  It was quite interesting to see the results.  Kudos to all of them!

Garden Gnome
©2006-2011


Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Wordless Wednesday - Doodles

Wordless Wednesday Doodles

Doodles
November 26, 2011


Garden Gnome
©2006-2011


Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Rain, Rain, Go Away...

Rain, rain go away,
Come again another day...

We have experienced torrential downpours with high winds causing driving rain since the wee hours of this morning.  Normally this wouldn't bother me much but it is a new house and this was the first really nasty storm.  I decided to take advantage of the high winds to do a bit of sealing, not that the house needs much.  There is an unattached pipe of some sort in my office closet so I decided to seal it up with aluminum foil tape only to discover that the driving rain was getting in.  So I sealed it good as a temporary measure, popped a couple of the copious cables coming through the walls into the holes and sealed with caulk.  The ominous, eerie whistling coming though the office window immediately stopped.  It appears the semi-opened pipe (we had stuffed a towel up it) was creating enough suction to draw air the window somehow or perhaps through the soffit and attic.  At any rate the noise is gone even though the winds have remained quite strong.  Then I noticed a distinct wind coming down the range hood.  We have to replace the range hood anyway so I did a quick and very temporary fix just to stop the wind from coming in. 

I've been listening to the sump pump being triggered every five to ten minutes.  It's not a loud sound just a different and in some ways a comforting sound.  Unlike some I do like these kind of days for air infiltration detection and troubleshooting.  It's the type of day great for catching up on laundry, doing a bit of baking, and doing a bit of housework.  I was supposed to go for wings with the group tonight but didn't feel like going out in the horrid weather.    I hate getting soaked through then having to stay damp for any period of time.  I did too much of that through my academic career so tend to avoid rainy days when possible.  All in all it was a wonderful day spent being a homebody, loving my new house and just enjoying the day.

Garden Gnome
©2006-2011


Monday, November 28, 2011

The Faith of a Child

[From my email files, a bit of inspiration to brighten your day!]

-----
A little girl went to her bedroom and pulled a glass jelly jar from its hiding place in the closet. She poured the change out on the floor and counted it carefully. Three times, even.. The total had to be exactly perfect.. No chance here for mistakes. Carefully placing the coins back in the jar and twisting on the cap, she slipped out the back door and made her way 6 blocks to Rexall's Drug Store with the big red Indian Chief sign above the door.

She waited patiently for the pharmacist to give her some attention, but he was too busy at this moment. Tess twisted her feet to make a scuffing noise. Nothing. She cleared her throat with the most disgusting sound she could muster. No good. Finally she took a quarter from her jar and banged it on the glass counter. That did it!

'And what do you want?' the pharmacist asked in an annoyed tone of voice.. I'm talking to my brother from Chicago whom I haven't seen in ages,' he said without waiting for a reply to his question.

'Well, I want to talk to you about my brother,' Tess answered back in the same annoyed tone. 'He's really, really sick....and I want to buy a miracle.'

'I beg your pardon?' said the pharmacist.

'His name is Andrew and he has something bad growing inside his head and my Daddy says only a miracle can save him now. So how much does a miracle cost?'

'We don't sell miracles here, little girl. I'm sorry but I can't help you,' the pharmacist said, softening a little.

'Listen, I have the money to pay for it. If it isn't enough, I will get the rest. Just tell me how much it costs.'

The pharmacist's brother was a well dressed man. He stooped down and asked the little girl, 'What kind of a miracle does your brother need?'

'I don't know,' Tess replied with her eyes welling up. I just know he's really sick and Mommy says he needs an operation. But my Daddy can't pay for it, so I want to use my money..'

'How much do you have?' asked the man from Chicago .

'One dollar and eleven cents,' Tess answered barely audible.

'And it's all the money I have, but I can get some more if I need to.'

'Well, what a coincidence,' smiled the man. 'A dollar and eleven cents---the exact price of a miracle for little brothers..'

He took her money in one hand and with he other hand he grasped her mitten and said 'Take me to where you live. I want to see your brother and meet your parents. Let's see if I have the miracle you need.'

That well-dressed man was Dr. Carlton Armstrong, a surgeon, specializing in neuro-surgery. The operation was completed free of charge and it wasn't long until Andrew was home again and doing well.

Mom and Dad were happily talking about the chain of events that had led them to this place.

'That surgery,' her Mom whispered. 'was a real miracle. I wonder how much it would have cost?'

Tess smiled. She knew exactly how much a miracle cost....one dollar and eleven cents...plus the faith of a little child.

-----

Garden Gnome
©2006-2011


Sunday, November 27, 2011

Blog Your Blessing Sunday - My Mom

Blog Your Blessings Sunday

This is the time of year, nearing Christmas day that I get very sentimental.  My Mom passed on to a better place on Christmas Day 1989.  She was 59 when I came to live with her.  She was not my biological mom but she was my Mom in every sense.  My Mom was awesome with her amazing stories and sense of humour.  She gave and demanded respect but it was always earned.  She taught me the value of education and oh my good gosh I would never have dreamt of going home with less than an A on my report card!  That just simply would not have been tolerated.

My Mom lived a very hard life.  As a child of farmers she had daily chores and she quit school before she finished grade 3.  She helped her parents on the farm and worked as a cleaning lady occasionally in town.  When she married the love of her life they settled down into a small house on the water in town, the very same one I grew up in.  Sadly she never had any children of her own but she had an abundance of love for children so worked as an emergency intake worker for the local Children's Aid Society.  Some of this was to get over the pain of losing her husband when I was an infant but I really think she would have done it anyway.  They had adopted two children before he died and she tried to adopt me but my natural grandparents put a stop to that idea.  She likely babysat every kid in our small town at one time or the other.  Everyone knew her!

Christmas was a festive time for us.  She would get that bowl of oranges and the special nut bowl out.  Aunt C and her family lived in New Brunswick so she would wait by the phone for a call Christmas day.  Uncle L and his family usually just called as well but I can remember a couple of times when they visited over Christmas.  Over the Christmas holidays she would put on her finest apron to help out at the legion.

I am so very blessed to have had a Mom like her.  I so wish my kids could have got to know what a wonderful person she was but sadly Alzheimer's robbed us of that.  I also wish the two she adopted had appreciated her as a mother.  It was so sad seeing her wait for even a tidbit of affection from either of them.  I just miss her so much!  I am the person I am today because of her.  Today I'm sending hugs and kisses to heaven to someone I love so much...

Garden Gnome
©2006-2011


Saturday, November 26, 2011

A Bad Year

Every once in a while there is a bad year where nothing goes right. That year was 1989 for us. I returned to university as a mature student, while raising young children and a rather long daily commute. On December 15 of that year my husband who was a classed engineer and his crew hit and killed a guy. It was a case of being in the wrong place at the wrong time. On December 18 that year his mother passed away. It had been a long struggle but finally she was at peace. I think she held on just long enough not to pass away on one of our kid's birthdays. On Christmas day, my Mom passed away to a well deserved journey into peace. Later that week my sister-in-law's husband's grandfather died which wouldn't have hit home except I've known the family my entire life, went to school with his grandkids and his wife was my Mom's egg lady. Every week like clockwork she delivered three dozen eggs. It was a bad year!

The pool had been pissy, and we dealt with an algae bloom from out of this world. We were trying to adjust to life with Mommy as a student and I was just trying to adjust period. I was constantly tired while trying to cope living on four hours of sleep a night. Looking back I don't know how I did it but somehow I did get through that first year of university. I was understandably numb after spending the end of the year in funeral homes. Our kids were blissfully too young to remember much especially being in the funeral homes. My husband knew it was not his fault over the death of that guy who selfishly took his life at the expense of the railway crew but he never did return to the rail full time and a few years later he permanently retired from the rail. It's a pity because he loved his job there.

It was a bad year, 1989. It started bad then steadily got worse ending with an explosion of deaths. And yet in the end, we are stronger as a couple because of it. We are stronger as a family because of it. Even a bad year has a silver lining although it is sometimes hard to see at the time.

Garden Gnome
©2006-2011


Friday, November 25, 2011

The Magical Blue Lights

My Mom had a way of making Christmas magical.  It wasn't about the gifts, it was about the bonding and memories formed.  I loved hearing her talk about Christmas oranges and hitching up the buggy to go into town to visit family and friends.  I loved watching her smile as she filled the nut bowl

When she was young they heated with coal.  Her job was to stoke the fire every morning.  One day she cut her thumb on the cast iron stove and it got badly infected resulting in an abscess.  To save her life, the doctor removed part of her first metacarpal and drained the abscess.  She was a very, very sick gal for quite some time resulting in her missing a year of school.  When she went back to school they put her back with what she called the baby class so she quit.  My Mom never did get more than a third grade education but honestly she was one of the smartest women I have ever known.  She instilled the value of an education and always striving to succeed. 

My Mom insisted on blue Christmas lights.  I think it was in memory of her husband, somewhat playing tribute to I'll Have a Blue Christmas Without You.  I'm not sure and even at a young age despite the wonderful stories she shared, there was something about the blue lights she would not share.  A neighbour came over every year to string the blue lights around the outside of the house, all the way around.  These were the old fashioned paint bulbs that had to be eons old, left from the last time her husband hung the bulbs.  The wires were old, cloth covered and fraying in spots yet she still insisted on using them.  There's no doubt they were a fire hazard but she still hung them every year until I married and she moved into an apartment building.  She kept those strings of blue lights though as we found out after she passed on. 

I fell asleep every Christmas Eve seeing the glow of those blue bulbs.  We lived on the water when I was growing up.  The basement had a dirt floor and that's where my Mom kept root vegetables, apples and home canned foods.  My job was to bring any need food from the basement to the kitchen and oh how I hated that job.  I can't tell you how many times mice ran over my hands and feet!  One day I turned on the basement light and it was one of my Mom's blue bulbs that came on.  Nothing had been said it just appeared.  A few days later a night light with a blue bulb appeared in my bedroom.  I had been laying awake all night listening to mice in the attic beside my bedroom.  Again nothing was said but the magic of those two precious blue bulb sure helped though the rest of the year I got to see the house lit up in the magical blue lights of Christmas. 

To this day, I have a couple of blue night lights in our home.  They are energy efficient LED night lights but they still remind me of the love of a mother and the magical blue lights.

Garden Gnome
©2006-2011


Thursday, November 24, 2011

Christmas Nuts

My Mom was 59 years old when I came to live in her home.  She had weathered two world wars and the Great Depression.  Her parents were farmers who immigrated from England for a better life and she was actually born on the ship between England and Canada.  My Mom told the most amazing stories!  I would sit spell-bound listening to her great adventures.

It was always tradition in our home to have bowls of oranges and nuts in the shell at Christmas time.  I told the story of why the Christmas orange was so important to my Mom last year.  You see she grew up without a lot of the commercialism that surrounds Christmas.  Oranges were extremely expensive so for a poor farming family with many mouths to feed, an orange in the Christmas stocking was a sacrifice her parents made to give their kids a special treat at Christmas.  It would be the only orange they would enjoy all year so just imagine how treasured that treat was! 

Somewhere along the line my Mom added Christmas nuts to our traditions.  It was the year after her husband died but I would have been too small to remember.  We had a fancy nut bowl.  The nut cracker and two pics stood in special holes in the centre then the nuts over flowed around them.  The bowl was very much treasured, a gift from her Mom shortly before she passed on.  Oh how I wish I had that nut bowl now or even just a picture of it.  My Mom was so very proud of it!  Her face would light up as she filled the bowl with nuts.  I never did figure out how she could hum a tune while grinning ear to ear walking the nut bowl from the kitchen into it's place of honour in the livingroom.

Off to buy Christmas nuts... 

Garden Gnome
©2006-2011


Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Typical November Day

It's a typical cold, dreary, dull and grey November day here in beautiful Ontario, Canada.  This is the type of day I don't like because of it's effect on my mood.  The problem with November is there are more of these types of days than there are sunny ones.  Our last house enhanced the effect of the grey days because it was a dark house with very little natural light, small windows and the main living area mostly below grade.  In many ways, despite being a gorgeous house on beautiful waterfront property, it was very much like a dungeon. 

Our new house is also a bi-level but it differs from our old house in that there is an abundance of natural light reducing the need for artificial lighting during the day, most days.  The only rooms without natural lighting are both bathrooms and the utility room.  We are installing a solar tube in the upper bathroom to bring in natural lighting but the other two rooms don't get enough use to worry about finding a solution for natural lighting. 

While the constant greyness of November slowly drags by, I'm in countdown mode for our winter vacation in the sunny south.  In the meantime, I'm busying myself with anything I can to keep my mind off the grey.  There's still a lot of household organizing to do, paint colours to pick out and painting to do so that should keep me rather busy enough to not notice the grey so much.

Garden Gnome
©2006-2011


Monday, November 21, 2011

Allergic Reaction Troubleshooting

We had a very busy weekend filled with a bit of shopping, bake and craft sale, entertaining for a large group which translates into me doing a lot of extra cooking and basically just enjoying the weekend.  I woke up with that feels-like-a-cold is coming on ick feeling.  My throat was scratchy, I was feverish and my ears itched horribly all day Saturday.  I didn't feel much better on Sunday, just considerably more tired from the night before.  Mid-afternoon I had a lovely asthma flare-up, the first one in a few years.  I forgot how much fun those can be <sarcasm>.  Today has just been a blah, asthma threatening, ears itching, scratchy throat, one eye constantly leaking, itching/burning mucosal membrans, feeling to cruddy to swear, deer in the headlight perma look - in short a horrid mess of a day.  However, this is not a cold.  It is an allergic reaction and like all allergic reactions with each exposure they get worse to the point of becoming life-threatening.  The problem with any allergic reaction is troubleshooting for the cause.  The huge problem we are up against is we bought a home with all hard flooring meaning allergens have no place to hide and be slowly released.  Instead they immediately become airborn causing faster, stronger and more severe allergic reactions.

Thursday night I ran a load of laundry using the new Era HE laundry detergent my husband bought because they were out of All Free and Clear and I used what I thought was Fleecy fabric softener as the store was out of Purex.  You know I should know better!  Laundry detergent and fabric softener are two things we seldom experiment with because sure shooting one or the other will trigger an allergic reaction or asthma flare-up.  In fact, according to my allergist the worst triggers is the Tide/Downey combination and he said if you can still smell the product on your clothes, not to use it.  Today I started reacting rather strongly in the laundry room and realized the fabric softener wasn't Fleecy, it was Snuggle!  The only thing I can think happened is in our haste to get the shopping out of the way we accidently grabbed Snuggle.  I've always reacted horribly to Snuggle including an itchy rash and asthma.  One of our kids breaks out in a very nasty rash using Snuggle so we are usually very careful but I could have sworn I grabbed Fleecy.  Now I have to go back and rewash everything that I washed using Snuggle or anything that has the smell of Snuggle on it so now I have extra laundry to do :(

Compounding the problem is I know I'm reacting to the remaining pet dander in the house.  We are lucky that there is no carpeting and we have been rather ruthless at vacuuming to get as much of the pet dander as we can.  I'm vacuuming daily not only the floors but anywhere that pet dander can hide.  We don't have pets and won't have them in our home still it will take a good six months to rid our home of pet dander from the previous owners.  We have arranged to get our HVAC ductwork cleaned after our winter vacation and we have special filters on the furnace and vents that should help filter out the dander until the ductwork is cleaned.  Good gosh, can you tell I'm having a lot of fun with this one?

Garden Gnome
©2006-2011


Sunday, November 20, 2011

Blog Your Blessings Sunday - An Incredible Journey

Blog Your Blessings Sunday

We were teenagers when we became newlyweds with the odds stacked against us but we had faith that with enough love everything would fall into place.  Our love for each other has never waivered, growing stronger every day.  We've been blessed with amazing children who have gone onto higher education and then start their own families, blessing us with the most adorable grandchildren you have ever seen.  We have been blessed in establishing a business that supports our lifestyle nicely while affording the opportunity for us to enjoy the freedom from working for others creating the flexibility we want to be able to take the time off to enjoy our family and friends as we see fit.  I have been particularly blessed to have enjoyed the opportunity for higher education, having earned three pot-graduate degrees and one diploma in honours standing while having the extreme priveledge of meeting some of the world's top notch scientists.  We have absolutely wonderful family and friends that never let us down, always there through the good and bad times, never waivering in their support.  We have never gone hungry, always had a roof over our heads as well as the skills and knowledge to provide for ourselves. 


Yes, life has dealt us some rather nasty blows, likely more than many will ever have to deal with but at the same time not as bad as some have to deal with either.  Though it all we have the blessing of each other, knowing we can depend on each other and we have the blessing of our family and friends.  That makes us the richest people on earth!


Garden Gnome
©2006-2011


Monday, November 14, 2011

Liquids Create A Comedy of Errors

We have had a bit of a comedy of errors resulting from spills and Mother Nature over the past couple of days.  My husband arrived home from hunt camp on Saturday after a week away.  The weather had been cooler and a bit damper there than at home so a hot bath with epsom salts was in order to sooth his aching body. I was happily chatting away with him when I realized my feet were wet.  I was standing in a puddle of water that had escaped the bathtub!  I peeled off my socks, cleaned up the mess while reminding myself how much I had missed him being gone.  The next day, I was at the computer doing a bit of blogging when my drink was accidently tipped over my keyboard and desk.  As luck would have it the desk was of course piled high so the mess was a bit more than it should have been.  I cleaned that mess up but apparently my keyboard did not appreciate it's bath.  Last night I briefly looked for the wireless keyboard but gave up telling myself the wired keyboard would be just fine once it dried out.  In the middle of the night, I reached for my water bottle.  It fell over, knocking the cap just enough to send water over the bedroom floor.  I cleaned that mess up and crawled back into bed after refilling my water bottle. 

This morning the keyboard made a feeble attempt to do something but managed to only put out stings of 888888.  I unplugged it then tinkered online using mouse only so essential didn't accomplish much.  A couple of hours later I tried the keyboard again.  A few more keys worked but nowhere enough to do any blogging so I finally found my wireless keyboard but could not find one single charged AA battery!  I found four dead rechargeble batteries and put them in the charger hoping they would hold a charge but they are getting old.  So I decided to walk to the hardware store for batteries.  The sky looked a bit threatening so I took the small folding umbrella.  In hindsight I should have driven.  It started spitting a little after the first block into my walk but by the time I reached the hardware store it was up to a nice rain escalating to a hard down pour on my way home.  I was soaked through!  The good news is aside of getting a bit of exercise along with a free show and more laundry to do, the wireless keyboard is working.  The other keyboard is still in pieces waiting to fully dry out.

Garden Gnome
©2006-2011


Sunday, November 13, 2011

Blog Your Blessings Sunday - Hubby is on the Home Side

Blog Your Blessings Sunday

My husband has been away for a week at hunt camp meaning I had a whole week to myself in our new home.  We hadn't had a lot of time together in our new home before he left so there was a bit of apprehension but the week went well on both ends.  I was so very happy to see him yesterday and him to see me!  I made a special meal then after a hot bath for his aching muscles, we went to bed at 8:30 PM.  He was totally exhausted!  I let him sleep this morning and in total he slept a little over 15 hours.  It was a quiet day spent bonding, sipping coffee and spending time with a good friend.  I am so very happy to have him safe and sound on the home side!

Garden Gnome
©2006-2011


Friday, November 11, 2011

And A Soldier Cries, Oh Canada...

[Note: This is a repost from my personal blog, My Journey. It was originally posted on November 11, 2008.  I modify the note each year but have kept the original video intact.  This will be the forth year that I've used this wonderful video tribute to the fine men and women that serve our country.  Not only do they keep us safe they act as amazing Canadian ambassadors helping to maintain peace home and abroad as well as serving in a humanitarian capacity.  Please take a moment to watch the video and ponder the price so many have paid and continue to pay to make Canada the great nation that it is.]

Today I will attend the Remembrance Day ceremony in my hometown.  Yes I have to drive there and it will more than likely be unpleasant weather but I will be there!  I may even stop by the Legion afterwards to share a drink with a couple of family members who served.  I'll  gaze (actually photograph) some of the portraits of those who served in the Legion and Ladies Auxilary, my Mom and uncles for certain.  It doesn't matter how yukky the weather is, I will sit by the river and ponder those who paid the price then wander over to the cemetery to pay my respects.  Every single freedom that I enjoy as a Canadian is a result of the ultimate price paid by those who have served and continue to serve our country.  Let us never forget that!


On the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month we honour our fallen with 2 minutes silence from shore to shore of our great nation, Canada. Please join our nation in showing our respect and how thankful we are for enjoying the freedom they fought so hard for.





Remembrance Day Tribute
courtesy of
Global TV Edmonton


Garden Gnome
©2008-2010

Garden Gnome
©2006-2011


Thursday, November 10, 2011

Aggressively Dealing with a Skuzzball Telemarketer

The phone rang today with an important call from 1-403-255-8807 telling me they could lower my credit card interest.  Now first off, this is a huge scam so I'm writing this post as a warning to others.  Do not give them any information!  Report them to the CRTC and to Phonebusters.  What they do is charge your credit card a substantial fee then phone (although there have been reports of this being false) your credit card company requesting a lower interest rate.  When the credit card company says no, they report back to you after enough time has lapsed so as to not be able to reverse the charge on your credit card that they cannot get your rate lowered.  They have your money and you have just been scammed big time to the tune if reports are correct of $600 to $800! 


Here's how the conversation went:

representative: We have great news!  We can lower your current credit card interest rate to 6%
me:  How did you get this phone number? (It's a new phone number as we just moved.)

representative: My supervisor gave it to me.
me: Well your supervisor should not have given you our phone number.  Please remove it.

representative: No, no, no!
me: By law under the CRTC you are required to remove our phone number from your call list.

representative: No, no, no!  We are giving you a great deal like a sale.  (By now I am rolling my eyes!)
me: I don't need a deal.

representative: Yes you do because our records show you have a good credit history and pay your bills on time.
me: How did you get my credit history?  I did not give authorization for you to get any credit history!

representative: My supervisor gave it to me.
me:  Well your supervisor does not have the authorization to get my credit history.

representative:  Yes, yes, yes.  Credit history is public for anyone to get. (Bullsh*t!)
me: What is my name? (like I expected him to come back with one)

representative: Umm... (I cut him off.)
me: Here's a clue.  F-off and don't call here again! (I'm sure they will try calling again)

I seldom curse but this guy ticked me off and the knowledge that they will lure someone into their trap today made me madder!  I reported them to the CRTC and the appropriate fraud investigation units.  If they ever call this house again I will report them again but since I now have them on call block, I doubt they will get through without changing where they are calling from.  There is a good possibility of that because fraudulent scumbags do that just so they can rip others off there hard earned dollars.

Garden Gnome
©2006-2011


Wednesday, November 09, 2011

Wordless Wednesday - It's All in the Detail

lovely detail on a house in Lexington, Michigan
It's All in the Detail
August 29, 2011


Garden Gnome
©2006-2011


Tuesday, November 08, 2011

Settling In

We started moving into our new home on September 1 with the official closing date of September 15 but left on September 19 to stay at our vacation home for two weeks.  Prior to the closing date we were living between two houses so essentially the settling in period for our new house has been since returning from our fall vaction until now.  The house has come along nicely.  There has been  a bit of work but nothing we didn't expect.  Aside of one room, all of the other rooms and it is a rather large house (5 bedroom) are organized so there's really little hint of us just moving in.  We had the house power washed yesterday and I did my first canning session (mandarin oranges, pineapple, hot pepper slices) today. 

We have a bit of a routine going with getting up at 8 AM (I'm usually up earlier.), making coffee and my husband's lunch, and having breakfast.  He heads to the office.  I putter in the morning cleaning, tidying, organizing and doing online tasks.  If the weather is nice I walk to the grocery store if I need anything but that really is just an excuse to go for a walk.  We eat dinner around 6 PM at which time I have been powering down the computer as part of the bonding more with my husband and spending less time in front of the computer.  We eat out twice a week on specific days but not always.  I'm back to doing a load of laundry sometimes two on Saturdays.  It really didn't take long to establish a rountine here.  All in all we are settling into our new home just fine!

Garden Gnome
©2006-2011


Monday, November 07, 2011

Dr. Conrad Murray Convicted of Involuntary Manslaughter in the Michael Jackson Murder Trial

My apologies for the late posting but I have been following the final outcome of the Dr. Conrad Murray trial who has just been convicted of involuntary manslaughter in the death of Michael Jackson.  Oh my gosh has the sh*t ever hit the proverbial fan!  I'm not a huge Michael Jackson fan but I have watched him since he was a member of the Jackson Family and there are some of his songs I absolutely love.  Make no never mind, Michael Jackson was a very, very talented entertainer but he was a man of many demons.  He was extremely eccentric to the point of creating a make-believe world and collect exotic animals.  No one would normally choose to use anesthesia even if they have a sleeping disorder and there are several accounts of Michael Jackson using this method on a fairly regular basis.  He even had a special sleep champer designed to be put to sleep then awakened.  That is just not normal!  He was doing this well before Dr. Murray came on the scene.  The bottom line is Dr. Conrad Murray is guilty of giving Michael Jackson propofol but my gut feeling is he was coherced by the money and glitter of Michael Jackson.  Something tells me that Michael Jackson was not a person used to hearing the word no.  If he had, perhaps he would still be alive today.  At any rate when all the wash is done, I thing Dr. Conrad Murray will be seen to be very much a victim of circumstances.  Oh and there are already rumours circulating that a thrid party was involved.  Hopefully, law enforcement will follow up on that aspect as well.

Garden Gnome
©2006-2011


Sunday, November 06, 2011

Blog Your Blessings Sunday - An Abundance of Food

Blog Your Blessings Sunday

The newest issue of What's Cooking arrived a couple of days ago so I wanted to test a few of the recipes.  The problem is we live in a small urban community with three grocery stores ranging from the basics to a limited selection of gourmet foods.  We also have two specialty food stores and a butcher shop so for the most part I have a decent selection of ingredients.  We are about 40 minutes to two cities, close to fisheries/orchards/farm stands/mushroom farms/wineries and to the USA.  The mail service is good as is delivery services so can order online with perishables delivered next day service.   I have absolutely no reason to complain about the selection of food or ingredients available to me.   Yet there are times I get frustrated a the lack of an ingredient in town.  For example it is hit or miss whether any of the grocery stores have ground chicken, ground turkey or ground pork but I simply grind my own so it isn't a problem for me but it is a problem for those who don't grind their own.  Yesterday I wanted Sriracha sauce and Kraft Extra Virgin Olive OilTuscan Italian Dressing.  I finally found the Sriracha sauce but no luck on the Tuscan dressing. 

In all honesty though we are very blessed to live in a region of Canada where there is an abundant food supply year round.  The selection and quality of locally grown foods is quite amazing!  The conditions are ideal for growing your own as well.  Yet in this midst of this food cornucopia there are many who go hungry.  There is no doubt the cost of food is rising meaning many can no longer afford even the basics.  We are very, very blessed to be able to afford what food we want so we make it a point to support the local food banks and food drives.

Garden Gnome
©2006-2011


Saturday, November 05, 2011

Daylight Savings Time Ends (2011)


It's that time of year again.  Daylight Savings Time ends early tomorrow morning so don't forget to change your clocks and check the batteries in your smoke detectors before going to bed tonight.

Garden Gnome
©2006-2011


Friday, November 04, 2011

'Tis Turning Chilly

Last week we woke to frost three mornings but at least is was nice enough for the kids to enjoy trick-or-treating.  It's been getting progressively cooler here so we have had the furnace on but the sun has been warming the house nice during the day when it's out.  My husband replaced the cover on the pool and the farmer harvested the field behind us.  So far so good as there are no signs of rodents.  They like coming in when the fields are harvested.  I brought in all the geraniums and the hibiscus.  Both seem to like their sunny locations indoors, rewarding me with a lot of blooms.  And all is well in our new home...

Garden Gnome
©2006-2011


Thursday, November 03, 2011

Why Do People Have to be so Mean?

We had to have a bit of work hired out for our new house because it was just beyond our abilities.  Imagine an eleven year old house with no plumbing access for both tub/shower units.  The young chap came in and somewhere in the process got a phone call from his wife.  Oh my gosh, if she actually heard the way he talked, she would be fuming if not worse.  It was down right nasty involving name calling and other put downs.  I was utterly flabbergasted!  If he can say such nasty things behind her back to someone he barely knows, what does he say to her behind closed doors?

My husband and I will be celebrating 35 years of marital bliss.  There is absolutely nothing I would say about him to anyone else that I would not say to his face and I know he is the same way.  Oh sure, we get ticked off at each other but the bottom line is we have respect for each other.  I'm not sure if that is the secret to a long journey together but respect goes a long, long way.  We are not perfect, we have our differences but we are happily married and intend to remain that way until death do us part.  Bad mouthing each other has no place in our relationship!

Garden Gnome
©2006-2011


Wednesday, November 02, 2011

Wordless Wednesday - Red Doors

red doors on an old stone church

Red Doors
September 27. 2011

Garden Gnome
©2006-2011


Sunday, October 30, 2011

Blog Your Blessings Sunday - Well It Could Have Been Worse

Blog Your Blessings Sunday

We have had a rather peaceful yet productive week.  We took one day off to renew our Nexus and passports that aside from a bit of rain went well.  Saturday we did a bit of electrical work, well actually a fair amount then Sunday while I was working in the kitchen my husband put the new pool winter cover on.  I'm getting things ready for my husband's upcoming hunt trip so decided to make the sauce for lasagna and moose meat chili.  Both freeze nicely and making them ahead of time means no rushing closer to his trip.  I use mainly fresh cooked or home canned foods but because of the move and fall vacation I missed the busiest of the tomato season meaning I am getting low on a few home canned tomato products.  I bought a few cans of tomatoes.  As I was opening one of the cans, the can slipped a little causing the lid to slam up into my thumb.  The resulting cut spans the width of my thumb less than a quarter of an inch below the nail on the underside.  It likely needs stitches but the reality is that close to the nail they won't stitch unless absolutely necessary.  I cleaned the cut, applied pressure to stop the bleeding then tightly bandaged.  Doning on a pair of latex gloves, I continued working. 

After both sauces were finished and into the cooling stage, I sat down to do a bit of blogging.  Dang my thumb hurt for typing and it was throbbing but it reminded me of how lucky I was.  The cut could easily have taken off the top of my thumb!  In that case the treatment would be pretty much the same as what I already started for the cut.  So for the next few days I will keep it tightly bandaged, clean and dry while watching for any signs of infection.  In the meantime, I'm thanking my blessings!

Garden Gnome
©2006-2011


Saturday, October 29, 2011

Bonding Time With Hubby and Bell

My husband and I spent most of today bonding aka replacing electrical switches and outlets on the main level.  As DIYers we tend to work reasonably well together and I do know when to not say anything sometimes unless offering a suggestion when my husband gets frustrated if some repair is not going the way it should.  The power was off on most of the main level meaning no sneaking in computer time without firing up the laptop so I took charge of the prep (eg. opening those stupid over packaged cover plates), organizing the necessary pieces needed in front of each outlet and doing the clean-up.  This was a rather smooth, only run to the hardware store twice, tongue twisting once DIY repair until trying to turn on the PVR because the power had been out.  After several attempts with the PVR giving an error code that the PVR had to be 40ºF to work, my husband finally called Emily, the lovely Bell assistant.

Emily was a real doll, finally directed him to a real humanoid.  Humanoid told my husband to reset the PVR because apparently trying a good twenty times wasn't enough.  When that didn't work, humanoid said to turn off the PVR, wait 15 minutes then try again and if that didn't work wait for an hour and if that didn't work to call back.  My husband called back to get humanoid II who had him go through all the reset stuff then proceeded to tell him that we must have a faulty PVR.  At that point my temper clicked in so I got on one of the other handsets.  You see, I have dealt with Bell ad nauseum over the issue of our PVR.  We 'bought' our PVR from Bell who decided to install a refurbished rental even though we paid for a new one.  When that PVR started acting up, I called Bell who gave us a $10 monthly discount for the inconvenience.  When that PVR continued to act up they sent us out a $500 replacement PVR of which we had to pay for.  So here we are fourteen months later and that PVR is acting up and we haven't even run out of the monthly discount yet!  Yet according to humanoid II, it is a computerized piece of electronics that can fail at any time.  Her attitude bit the big one and I'm not kidding so I demanded to speak to a supervisor.  After a good 10 minutes waiting for the supervisor to come on the line I hung up.  Bell should be downright ashamed of themselves for selling used equipment as new as well as forcing users into high priced JUNK that fails prematurely!  I will definitely be filing a complaint with the CRTC.  We are looking into changing our internet, phone service and television service to cable.  If Bell wants to be this shoddy it is time for us to say adios!

Garden Gnome
©2006-2011


Friday, October 28, 2011

Good Gosh, Let's All Burn the Bra!

Ok, this might fall under the category of too much information but it certainly would not hurt my feelings if bras were banned, burned or even made illegal.  I'm not kidding and guaranteed many women feel exactly the way I do.  For men who may not understand the bra issue, try walking around in a sports cup for twelve or more hours in a day, every day of the year.  At the end of the day there is:  chafing, burning itching, and in warm weather a pool of sweat made worse by the wicking action of the bra causing a lovely heat rash.  Bras have enough metal in them to poke holes in a waterbed and set off security alarms but the good news is they can be used as short range missiles should the need arise.  I'm just saying...

Garden Gnome
©2006-2011


Thursday, October 27, 2011

Sunset at Our New House

sunset at our new house
Sunset at Our New House
October 16, 2011

I'm a skywatcher, always have been.  Over the past decade we have enjoyed some of the most beautiful sunsets while boating and living on the water.  While we can still enjoy the gorgeous sunsets on the water while boating, we are no longer living on the water so I was concerned that we would be missing out on sunsets.  Pictured is the sunset I took a picture of through our bedroom window.  It was quite pretty.  I will have to get used to the fact that the windows have screens on both the outside that gives a grid when I have become used to taking pictures through a clear pane of glass.  Surprisingly my digital camera does that quite nicely.

We have a fair amount of open space around our new home giving a minimal of obstructions for skywatching.  I was surprised to be able to get a nice shot of that sunset.  I will be able to get even better pictures from the pool deck and not bad pictures from the main deck.  What is really nice is even though we have a glow from our new urban setting I can still use the telescope for a bit of star gazing!

Garden Gnome
©2006-2011


Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Wordless Wednesday - The Promise

beautiful rainbow in Florida during our vacation

The Promise
September 29, 2011

Garden Gnome
©2006-2011


Tuesday, October 25, 2011

The Number Three

the number three
The number three has a lot importance, coming up over and over again in conversation, superstition and simple daily life.  One belief is bad things always happen in threes and quite often that is the case.  In decorating, the three rule is used for displays usually organized as a short piece, a medium piece and a tall piece.  Photos on display look better grouped as three as do candles or any other like grouping.  On the ominous note, the sign of the devil is 666 a multiple of three containing three numerals.  The number three appears in nursery rhymes (eg. three little pigs, three billy goats gruff) and children's stories (eg. The Three Musketeers).  Then there are three strikes you're out in baseball, chances to stay in someone's good graces or stay out of legal hot water in the judicial system.  Even certain gambling is based on threes!  Older slot machines were based on three, using three coins and three wheels.  There are six sides on a die (a multiple of three) and the highest score you can get on a pair of dice is twelve, another multip of three.  Some genetic disorders are caused by an extra chromosome.  These are the trisomies (eg. Trisomy 21 aka Down's Syndrome).  Have you ever noticed plant leaves ordered in threes?  That can be a good thing or a bad thing.  Clover, a benign and beneficial plant for bees has three leaves yet the saying is leaves three leave them be when refering to poison ivy, poison oak and poison sumac. 

The number three has a bit of a personal meaning to me.  Unless I am exhausted, I wake at three each morning just like clockwork and my normal sleep pattern is a three hour stretch on any given night.  There is a physiological reason for this.  During the body's normal circadium rhythm, the corticosteriod level is lowest between 3 - 4 AM which is why those using corticosteriods for asthma control are told to take their corticosteriod inhaler/tubohaler around 4 PM.  An asthma flare-up is more likely when corticosteriod levels are lowest and for most asthmatics it is when the are more apt to be exposed to dust mites that can trigger an asthma flare-up.  I haven't used my turbohaler in almost four years which is a good thing but it does mean I never sleep through the night.  At some point I may have to go back to using corticorsteriods but for the meantime my body is enjoying the rest from the side effects.  I'm sure my bones will thank me at some point!

Garden Gnome
©2006-2011


Sunday, October 23, 2011

Blog Your Blessings Sunday - DIY Skills

Blog Your Blessings Sunday

My husband and I have been very fortunate to learn a lot of DIY skills over our journey together.   Our new house doesn't need a lot of work, mainly a bit of updating and decorating.  The updating consists of replacing electrical switches and outlets as well as ceiling and outdoor light fixtures.  Even though we like the colour tones of the rooms, each room does need to be freshened up with a new coat of paint.  We will be able to do the majority of this work ourselves.  We are also very blessed to have family and friends who are qualified to help us with some tasks (eg. hooking up natural gas appliances) that we are not qualified to do.  They are always willing to lend a helping hand.  We learn from them and in return we share out knowledge of how to do tasks that we know how to do.  As a result, we are able to save a considerable amount of money on needed improvements and decorating that would otherwise be spent on labour.  This has allowed us to build equity in our homes much more rapidly than possible if having to hire out all home repairs and maintenance.  

Garden Gnome
©2006-2011


Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Wordless Wednesday - The Magic of Micky

Micky mural at Orlando airport

The Magic of Micky
September 19, 2011 

Garden Gnome
©2006-2011


Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Fairwell Xplornet

When we moved into our last house we had the choice between dial-up or satellite internet.  After a long and arduous relationship with Xplornet, our [sic] beloved satellite internet provider I was in seventh heaven giving them their final marching orders.  Xplornet has piss poor customer service and the internet connection is beyond piss poor.  If a mosquito flies through that beam the signal is lost.  You would think paying almost $70 per month would get you ... oh I don't know ... customer service with a smile or good gosh even working internet.  Nope it doesn't.  Toodles Xplornet, I would not wish you on my worst enemy!  Good riddence to very bad rubbish ... I'm just saying and I do believe in calling a spade a spade. 

Oh and Xpornet, I would like the refund you owe me like yesterday or I might just have to give you back of your pissy service.  Cheers!

Garden Gnome
©2006-2011


Monday, October 17, 2011

Moonscape

moonscape October9, 2011

Moonscape
October 9. 2011


My gosh it was a beyond busy September and start to October what with moving and going on our fall vacation to our vacation home.  We have been home only a week and a half of which we entertained twenty-five for Thanksgiving in our new home then entertained another twenty on Saturday (October 15). 

Our new home is looking good!  I have washed and shined more floors than I ever thought I could in a one week period.  The marble floor in our kitchen has been restored and does it ever look absolutely gorgeous!  All in all unless you peek into two rooms or the garage you would think we have been living here for ever.  The garage is less than a day away of getting our one car in and given it is a one and a half (what's with that?) garage that shows you how much work we have been doing.  My pantry would be completely organized had the movers not dismantled my industrial shelving resulting in the clips going missing but as soon as we find them that room will take less than a day to organize.  My husband bought two new televisions for his games room and wall mounted them yesterday just in time for the guys last night.  My husband and I are beyond exhausted!

So we declared yesterday a SOMA day.  It was wonderful!  I put a roast in the oven for dinner then he watched football while I blogged.  After dinner we caught up on The Mentalist.  You just have to love PVR, don't you?  It was not as early of a night as it should have been but the day was just lovely.  We need a few more SOMA days!
Garden Gnome
©2006-2011


Sunday, October 16, 2011

Blog Your Blessings Sunday - Getting Into a Routine

Blog Your Blessings Sunday

Moving is always disruptive but in our case even more so because we went on our fall vacation just days after the move.  That meant we knew we were coming home to having to get the house settled.  It was nice going to our vacation home because we basically have a routine.  The first couple of days are spent doing the necessities but we have a fairly well established laid back routine we follow.  

Last week was our first full week in our new home without having to go between two house.  We quickly formed a routine to help us organize our new home.  Eliminating my husband's daily drive gives us a lot more time together which is really nice.  We have always sat down as a family for dinner ever since we were newlyweds but now we are enjoying more meals together.  One of the biggest changes I made was where the computer is.  In our last three homes, the computer was located in the family room.  Quite often one of us would be on the computer while the other was watching television.  The computer is located in a bedroom turned office in our new home.  We now have a routine of eating dinner together then spending time together which is really nice.  Another thing we changed was to remove the television from our bedroom.  It wasn't meant to be that way it just happened.  We don't have a television in our bedroom at our vacation home and here we didn't get it connected up but then we aren't missing it either.  We've decided to forego the television in our bedroom for awhile.

Within a week we have established a nice, rather laid back routine.  Routines are a good thing.  They help keep daily life manageable and that's a blessing!


Garden Gnome
©2006-2011


Friday, October 14, 2011

Oh Good Flipping Gosh!

I have always marched to my own drummer.  So we are down at our vacation home and your's truly won $50 in a hoola hoop contest.  My husband has the $50 and my arm is bruised to the point I'm getting it checked tomorrow.  Anyway, years ago when I was a somewhat wee little one we had clackers that where basically two large, hard balls on attached strings that you had to get going then keep the momentum somewhat like hoola hoops.  Then there was that ankle thing that swung a huge ball for the other foot to jump over.  In hind sight the clackers and ankle thingie weren't available so this old lady did the hoola hoop.  And I did do it nicely if I don't say so myself.  I'm actually kind of proud because I've never been much of a physical person to the point of ever winning anything but I could always out perform in terms of academia.  This was just a hoot!  I had a lot of fun too.  It was definitely our of character, surprising our guest but I had a good time.

Garden Gnome
©2006-2011


Thursday, October 13, 2011

I'm Not Ignoring You, I'm Just Not Into Small Talk

I am by nature quite a shy person.  I talk if I have something to say but it takes me a considerable time to warm up to people enough to talk to them.  Academia taught me how to perform nicely in front of large groups of people but other than that, I tend to listen.  Academia also taught me I have a voice.  Most of my voice these days comes through my writing although a few debates gets going amongst family and friends.  I really don't like small talk, period and never have.  I don't even do much in the way of small talk with my husband.  My husband and I have been married long enough we know what the other is thinking without wasting time on small talk.  Rather we enjoy each other's presence without the small talk.  So I'm not ignoring you I just don't do small talk...

Garden Gnome
©2006-2011


Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Wordless Wednesday - Threatening Weather

threatening storm clouds at our vacation resort on September 22, 2011

Threatening Weather
September 22, 2011

Garden Gnome
©2006-2011


Tuesday, October 11, 2011

A Bit of Telemarketer Fun

We spent a bit of time at our vacation home from September 19 to October 6.  Considering we spent the first two weeks of September moving into our new home I was beyond exhausted so believe me was in no mood to deal with telemarketers, let alone American telemarketers who are considerably more forceful, abrasive and down right rude in comparison to Canadian telemarketers.  Anyway, a roofing telemarketer called and unfortunately I answered.  This person insisted the roof inspection was a mandatory one so I went back and forth a couple of times but was just too tired.  They insisted we be at our home on at 4 PM a week ago Monday.  Hey, no problem because we come all the way from Canada to get a sales pitch.  They told me to be sure I called the guard house to let them in.  That gave me a brilliant idea.  Since they didn't want to take no for an answer I called the guard house and told them what happened.  G who is a real sweetheart said don't worry, if you don't want them in, they aren't getting in.  He also told me this particular company was well known in our resort for the heavy handed sales tactics and shoddy workmanship.  So, they didn't get in which is one nice feature of a gated community.  Hopefully now they comprehend the meaning of the word no!

Garden Gnome
©2006-2011


Monday, October 10, 2011

I Fixed His Golf Cart

It turned rather cold while we were at our vacation home.  Now, I tend to be rather observant so our neighbours put the covers down on their golf carts.  I hauled out our golf cart, unzipped all the covers, snapped them into place then pleased with my work waited for my husband to call for a ride.  He was down playing cards with his entourage.  When he called I tossed a couple of jackets in the golf cart, zipped it up then headed out to pick him up.  I don't walk anywhere here after dark as there are gators and reports of a cougar.  Being small, old and not prone to running without them there adult diapers means I like using the golf cart!  Anyway, you should have heard my husband when he saw the buttoned down golf cart.  He was in serious fits of laughter before I even got the cart stopped then was doing that laughing through his teeth thing that only he can do while tears streamed down his face.  He wasn't buying the fact the neighbours did that to their golf cart so I did it to ours.  Oh no, he just laughed harder. I tried to redeem myself by pointing out that unrolling the covering and using it occasionally would prevent molding issues.  Ok, at that point he seriously lost it!  He could not stop laughing!  Hmm, and I was only being helpful...so I thought!

Garden Gnome
©2006-2011


Sunday, October 09, 2011

Blog Your Blessings Sunday - Discovering Home

Blog Your Blessings Sunday

We spent our last night at our old house on August 31st then spent September 1st and 14th living between two houses.  Our new house was officially in our name on the 15th and we flew out to our vacation home on the 19th  where we stayed until October 6th.  We are both exhausted even though the fall vacation was quite pleasant.  We had gorgeous sunshine and heat mixed with good company and a lot of fun.  As we packed on the Wednesday before flying out to 'home' I couldn't help but think we really weren't going home.  It's still a house not a home to us because we haven't been turned it into our home yet.  Yet in many ways it is going home.  It's where our friends and loved ones are so it is home.  We feel comfortable there.  It's our community, where we belong.  It is our home in the big picture now we are discovering our new house that will become our new home :)

Garden Gnome
©2006-2011


Saturday, October 08, 2011

A Very Busy Early Fall

Oh my gosh!  September was a very eventful month for us.  We started moving into our new home on September 1 but it was officially ours September 15.  Now my husband and I are getting on the downside of the hill so to speak so a two week moving period was very much appreciated.  We never spent another night in our old house after August 31 but essentially we were living between two houses.  The main services were on at both houses.  The internet and tv went on at the new house on the sixth, the same day the movers brought out the main part of our possessions.  My new gas stove and dryer weren't connected until the fourteenth.  We did the final clearout of the old house on the fourteenth as well and quite frankly while it was a gorgeous home in a wonderful location neither of us are going to miss it.  Our lawyer was quite good so with no indication of any problems we were able to sign the final papers on the thirteenth then pick up the cheque on the fifthteenth.  Our old house was officially sold and we were the proud new owners of a very nice [if I don't say so myself] five bedroom home with two decks and a pool.  We held our first large scale entertaining on the seventeenth then flew out to our vacation home on the nineteenth.

I would love to say the vacation home was nice and relaxing but eighteen months of trying to sell a house, moving and sheer disruption caught up with me.  I was a bear, not able to relax or sleep, couldn't eat and just downright miserable.  There was a lot to do at the vacation home [most of it hired out] - powerwash the siding, pest control, and landscaping.  We had a great time with house guests for a week in the middle of our stay then headed home on October 6.  We are hosting Thanksgiving for 30 at our new home on October 10th so there won't be a lot of relaxing until that bit of entertaining is out of the way.   I am beyond exhausted!

Our next visit to our vacation home will be considerably more pleasant as by then we will have adjusted to the move for the most part and be back into a bit of a routine without a lot to do at our vacation home.  We are already planning our next trip to our vacation home but this time I am insisting on being home between Christmas and New Year.  Then I plan on doing some serious hibernation for the winter getting close and personal with paint chips!

Garden Gnome
©2006-2011


Friday, October 07, 2011

one of many creeks at our vacation resort

The Creek
September 19, 2011

Our vacation home is located in a beautiful resort with many, many gorgeous bodies of water.  This small creek is a short walk from our house so I visit quite often during my walks.  I love how the sky and trees are mirrored in the still waters.  The water is quite clear revealing fish lazily swimming by.  I haven't seen any gators at the creek but the nearby larger pond is known as a popular gator breeding area.  Part of the pond is shown at the top of the picture but it expands quite some distance to the right (not shown).  It's quite common to see gators sunning themselves along the shore of the pond.  There is also an abundance of waterfowl at the pond.  I always take my camera with me when going for a walk as there is just so many wonderful photo opportunities.

Garden Gnome
©2006-2011


Thursday, October 06, 2011

Steven Jobs

I am a die hard Mac fan so it is with great sadness to hear of the news of the passing of Steven Jobs (co-founder of Apple Inc.) on October 5, 2005.  RIP Steven and thanks for all you have given us.  You will be sorely missed!  God speed....

Garden Gnome
©2006-2011


Wednesday, October 05, 2011

Wordless Wednesday - Sneaking a Kiss

kissing kids statue

Sneaking a Kiss
October 3, 2011


Garden Gnome
©2006-2011


Tuesday, October 04, 2011

Out With the Old, In With the New

old verses new purse

Without going into a long a drawn out explanation my husband usually carries the purse. The purse really is a community purse that I seldom carry but it does hold a lot of both of our critical 'stuff'. The purse has held all important documents, make-up, scoffed menus, cell phones, Pictured on the left.  Now, my husband is a large man and large men carrying purses is not the norm but it is even more abnormal when a large man wearing a Hawaiian shirt and checked shorts sporting a straw hat carries a flowered purse.  You cannot believe the number of comments he gets and oh good gosh one of the funniest moments was him carrying the purse with casino security running after him!  Now that was priceless!  Anyway we bought a new purse (pictured on right).  It is not flowered but it is so us!  The new purse will  go nicely with his Redwing attire as well as his Jimmy Buffet wear.  Surprisingly the new purse holds more than the old purse.  Time will tell how others adjust to to the new purse.  I will let you know...


Garden Gnome
©2006-2011


Monday, October 03, 2011

New Clothes

I am not a shopper by any stretch of the imagination.  Unless it is a farm stand, orchard, antique shop or food related I have no interest in shopping unless I have to.  Despite being a foodie, I shop very little in traditional grocery stores.  So we decided to stock our vacation home with clothes so we don't have to bring clothes back and forth.  I saves money by not having to have a checked bag when flying and no suitcase when driving.

My favourite colours for clothing much to my husband's dismay is black, grey and white.  This colour combination doesn't work well for Florida but I managed to find the cutest two piece swim suit  with black skirted bottoms and a black polk-a-dot top.  It is trés chic and I am so tempted to bring it home for lounging around our new pool.  I bought a really nice cowl necked grey knitted dress that will work nicely at home.  It is really cute!  I'm also supporting clothes with part of the price going towards breast cancer.  I like pink and we have had relatives strickened with breast cancer that did not make it.  We have one battling breast cancer right now and another battling cancer so any support is better than no support.  At any rate I actually shopped for clothes.  Will wonders ever cease?

Garden Gnome
©2006-2011


Sunday, October 02, 2011

Blog Your Blessings Sunday - Wireless Connedtion

Blog Your Blessings Sunday

We first went wireless at our previous house.  It was such a delight to take our laptop out onto the dock, sit by the water and still be able to go online.  We now have wireless at our vacation home and our new home.  The kids can connect when they are home and I can use the laptop at home anywhere in the house.  Oh I should mention that my husband bought a new laptop with the old one to be left at the vacation home.  Now I wanted to bring my old iMac down to leave at the vacation home but he really needed a new laptop.  Anyway, we have an iPhone, iPod, iPod touch, laptops and iMac all on wireless and oh my gosh what a delight it is.  Basically wireless takes your office to you wherever you are.  I've blogged from air ports, restaurants, marinas and wireless home connections.  The neat thing is when traveling through heavily populated areas like Chicago we can pick up wireless connections along the way.  My doctor's office even provides free Wi-Fi, something much appreciated as I while away the mandatory one hour wait time.  You would think with all this technology they could get the scheduling a bit tighter but I seriously love my doctor so don't mind the wait especially with free Wi-Fi.  Being able to connect using wireless is such a blessing!  We can stay in touch with our family and friends while traveling.  Oh and the neatest thing about wireless is we can now do video conferencing so get to see out kids and grandkids on a very regular basis.  This is way beyond cute!

Garden Gnome
©2006-2011


Friday, September 30, 2011

Winding Down From the Move

We are gradually winding down from the move.  I'm still rather high strung and getting my bearings but we have the house pretty much livable.  I'm taking advantage of the upheaval to do a bit of decluttering even though we did a lot of decluttering preparing for the move.  The reality is what works at one house doesn't always work at the next house so there's no point hanging onto these items.  I started experimenting in cooking with natural gas but found my childhood and camping days are somewhat like riding a bicycle so using natural gas for cooking has not been much of an adjustment.  Surprisingly, this house is quite a bit quieter than our old house so I'm sleeping better as well as getting up earlier in the day.  The house is lighter and brighter so it's really helping me with SAD.  I think this winter will be a lot nicer in terms of mood with all the beautiful sunlight in our new home as well as the few weeks we get away to our vacation home.  I've changed all the email and addresses over.  I kept our old email account until the end of the month just to catch those who haven'tor need to be updated with out new contact information.  All in all, things are winding down with the move.  Now off to ceramics to create a couple of new gnomes :)

Garden Gnome
©2006-2011