Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Tuesday, April 17th - Good morning from beautiful Martha's Vineyard

Good Tuesday morning everyone. Hope all is well with everyone. I didn't bring my laptop with me so  it's more difficult to do this with the iPad. I had a great first day on the road. Clear skies and dry roads. Can't ask for more than that. Day two was a little more challenging. I woke up in Freeport to an ice covered car thanks to freezing rain overnight. Fortunately the temperature had risen to 1' so the roads were fine. Trouble was it rained the entire way so not such pleasant driving conditions.

I'm ever so grateful for Bernies advise to take the 495 around Boston. I hadn't realized that the Boston marathon was taking place yesterday so there were lots of police along the highway monitoring the exits into the city. Good place to be avoiding. Anyway long story short, I'm here and weather is supposed to improve somewhat today. Had a great first day. Met an older lady who invited me to join her and a friend at the movies. We saw "Chappaquiddick". It was opening here first before being shown across the country. How great was that to actually be here to see it. More on that at a later date.

I'm going to sign off for now and hopefully find a real computer I can use at some point later. Stay tuned.....

Monday, April 9, 2018

Tuesday, April 10th - and it's still winter...

Another busy week both here and abroad! Lloyd has been video chatting with me most days. Now he's staying with a family somewhere near the Chinese border so he expected internet access to be sketchy at best.  He tells me via email, that he walked 14 miles yesterday and he was very tired to say the least. Not many goats there, just one old goat who survived his trek!

Tuesday I was meant to help out our friends bottling wine but due to some slight technical difficulties they had to postpone to Wednesday. Unfortunately that didn't work for me as I was meeting with my card boss that day. Fortunately they found someone else to fill in for me.

Wednesday was an interesting day for Lloyd. Not only did he go to a cooking school and had what amounted to a private lesson, he met a fellow traveler while at his morning coffee/breakfast place. They got chatting about where they were from. Turns out this fellow was from Cape Breton. Interestingly enough, we know exactly one person in Cape Breton, and of course, this fellow knew our friend Seward. It truly is a small world.

 I was fortunate to be invited to the VanGaals for supper that night so I took my Ipad with me. Lloyd called while I was there and he had a chance to have a chat with Bernie. We both were able to catch up with them on their recent trip to Arizona.

Thursday he was going to Hualong Bay (not sure of the spelling of that one!). Patti and Greg had been there last year so now they'll have something to compare notes on when he gets back.

Our friends Jens and Linda came over on Friday for coffee and to see how Lloyd was doing so far. When they arrived, I was in the middle of painting a small shelf. I had picked it up at Value Village so I could display the T-towel that Brenda bought for me.( Not sure what made her think of me when she saw it!) The shelf was burgundy when I bought it and not so pretty, but not something a coat of paint wouldn't fix, and I just happened to have some on hand.

I had committed to driving our friends Charles and Laura to the airport for their early Saturday morning flight to Montreal, and then on to Toronto. We were discussing what time I should arrive and in order to get there in time I was going to have to leave pretty darned early. There was also a threat of snow overnight so in the end I went out to their place at 9:30 Friday night so I could be there. Good thing I did. We went to bed at 11:30 and got up at 2:45 in the morning.  It had indeed snowed and it was still coming down pretty heavily. Driving was quite slow due to the poor visibility so I was ever so glad I'd come out the night before. After dropping them at the airport, I headed home. The snow wasn't quite as bad out our way so the second leg of the trip went a little smoother. When I picked them up, I also picked up their dog, Abby, who will be staying with us for a month. She's really a sweet dog, and no trouble at all, and Cooper loves a run through the back fields with her.

Saturday was a fairly quiet day. Some cleaning, laundry, etc so I called Brenda and Sharyn and they came over for tea mid morning. It certainly was a nice little break.

Patti had been chatting with me off and on during the week concerning an event she was helping with. The air cadets were hosting a fund raising spaghetti supper that was initially expected to be about 60 people but by Saturday the numbers had swelled to 175.  That alone was a challenge but throw into that mix the fact that the venue it was being held in  has zero kitchen facilities.   She's very creative and came up with a plan that for all intents and purposes worked beautifully. She says it was a success because they had a great group of volunteers but the fact that they've asked her to return next year to help out, even though James won't be there anymore, speaks volumes. Only she could have pulled that off. In reality, SHE'S the one who should be running a catering company!  She's much more organized than I am.

 ...and of course there was piping!

When I was painting last weekend, I had taken the spice rack down off the wall to paint behind it and it was still standing in a corner. That was this Sunday's job. Wrestle the rack back onto the wall, and clean up the spices. The jars needed washing and some things didn't have labels, etc so it took most of the day to chip away at that job. But it's really nice to get those things done. No one sees your efforts but you know it's completed. Another thing to cross off the to-do list!

Sunday evening it started snowing - again - and  I was the only one out to craft night at Sharyns. I left a bit earlier than usual and good thing, as the roads were a tad slippy on the way home. 2nd snowstorm in 3 days. Dear Mother Nature - please check your calendar.

Monday I just couldn't seem to get warm. The temperature was below freezing and the wind was just howling, I spent the first half of the day cleaning out cupboards upstairs and the rest watching TV in front of the fire. I guess I can do that, I'm semi-retired!

One more week till Lloyd returns and I head off on my own adventure!

Tuesday, April 3, 2018

Tuesday, April 3rd - hope you all had a lovely Easter Weekend

Wow, what a week. I spent last Tuesday bottling wine out in Wheatley River, then out for some supper with Lloyd, before he departed on Wednesday.

Despite a risk of freezing rain overnight Tuesday, it didn't amount to much of anything so no impact on flights. I drove Lloyd to the airport for his lunchtime flight. Once I knew he had a seat, I departed and did some errands in town before heading out to a friends  for tea. Maryleah had invited a group of us ladies to her house to see some of her quilts. She was part of our needle felting class. To say I was overwhelmed would be a serious understatement. She has this collection of absolutely gorgeous quilts that she has made through the years. Aside from the fact that the tops are beyond beautiful, they are also completely hand quilted. The stitching in them is unbelievable. The backs of the quilts are just as beautiful as the front. I was absolutely awestruck. I'm so glad to have been invited but at the same time so very intimidated. I'd be really embarrassed to show her anything I've made. But during the course of our afternoon I was asked about our new business. Long story short, I said I would have all of them over for a luncheon when I get back from holidays, and they were all quite enthusiastic about visiting both my kitchen and my craft space. Lots of reorganizing needed there!

On my way home, I received a call from Lloyd. It seems he'd been rear-ended on the 401 on his way to Guelph. No one was hurt except his rental car. It happened between Guelph and Milton and he had to return to Milton to do a report. In the end James came to his rescue and picked him up so he was just in time for his get together with his friends. By all accounts a good time was had by all, and James transported him safely back to the airport the next day for his flight to Korea.

Thursday was a catered lunch for the Canadian Mental Health Association in town. I elicited some help from my friend Sharyn. Both Lloyd and Brenda were away so I had to go a little further afield. Sharyn was a huge help and I'm very grateful for her help. Lunch went well and they seemed really pleased.

Friday morning I was awakened at 5:00 a.m. by an incoming text message telling me that Lloyd had arrived in Korea. It was 5:00 p.m. there.  He video called me at 12:30 (just after midnight there) to tell me about his first day. He had quite a lovely time and met some really nice people. Needless to say,  there was food and drink involved!

He couldn't find a Tim's - says he should have followed the police car!

I had decided to take the opportunity of 4 full days off to paint my kitchen. I spent all day Friday taking stuff down, washing the walls down with TSP and getting ready to start painting on Saturday.  I had a lovely end to my day by going out for a bite to eat with Meghan (1). She came out to Fort Augustus to the church service and had some time to kill before meeting up with her brothers for the evening. We had a nice meal at the local restaurant in Mount Stewart, which she hadn't been to yet. I got to hear all about her mom and dad's trip so far and was pleased to hear all was going well. I'll get the full story when they get back.

Saturday was full on painting. The weather really wasn't the greatest over the weekend (still isn't) so it was a great way to pass the time. It took pretty much all day but by the end of it I was done. I had in my mind what I wanted to do and I'm pleasantly surprised that it turned out even better than I had imagined. The old kitchen had a light green on the to of the walls and white wainscotting. Now the wainscotting is a medium gray and the upper walls are a lighter shade of gray. The whole look is more subdued than what was there and I absolutely love it.

I also chatted with Patti who called to let me know they were back from Florida. A good time was apparently had by all. 

Easter Sunday arrived with yet another dreary weather day.  Now that the kitchen was completely dry, I set about putting things back in place. I've moved a couple of things into the living room and will leave them there till after Lloyd gets home. He'll need them moved to do the floor anyway. 

After putting most things away, it was time to get cleaned up to go out. I was invited out for Easter dinner at my friend Sharyn's mother in laws. I was thrilled to be invited and had a lovely time. I'd not been to Anna's house before and I absolutely love the layout.  We enjoyed a delicious turkey dinner with all the trimmings. A perfect way to end the long weekend.

Lloyd called while I was away so he called me back again in the evening around 8:00 which was 6:00 a.m. in Viet Nam. We chatted for quite a while and he told me all about his  adventure in getting from Korea to Hanoi, but in the end he made it. He also emailed some photos of his first day in Hanoi.

Monday was yet again cold and windy. Some people, who shall remain nameless, sent an email about it being "a stinking hot  28'.  "  I told him I had two words for him - and they weren't Happy Birthday! He replied that I was kind of rude. I advised him that it was -2 and windy here, so you do the math!

Tuesday, March 27, 2018

Tuesday, March 27th - and I thought last week was busy!

It's been a bit of a whirlwind around here and it's not going to stop for a few days.

Last week I worked on cards on Tuesday and Wednesday, in anticipation of a big snow storm on Thursday. Good thing I did. While the storm wasn't as bad as some in the past, it was still enough to cancel most things on the island. Lloyd didn't get to work that night as our road was blocked and he wouldn't have gotten into town. First real snow day of the season and we had to wait till the middle of March to get it!
But looking back, this isn't snow...

... this is snow - remember back to March 2015???   We really have nothing to complain about ☺

Unfortunately we did have a storm related casualty. The cap on the back of Lloyd's truck was blown off and smashed on the ground. While we did have insurance coverage that might have replaced it, because of the age and such, by the time it was depreciated and then the deductible applied, it wasn't worth putting in a claim. Too bad. Now we'll have to try to find a used one to replace the used one...
One bright spot in the 'storm' was the tulips that Brenda had brought last weekend. They were still quite lovely and a constant reminder that Spring is coming...

While it was messy for a while, it wasn't long lived and by the next day things were moving well again.  The weekend was busy with Lloyd getting some of his projects finished up before he leaves. He's been working on bird houses and bat houses and wanted to have them up before he left. There are 6 (I think)  bird houses around the yard and two bat houses - one on the house and one on the garage. Hopefully we might see some bats this year. Apparently after several years of decline, they are slowly making a comeback. That would be awesome in keeping the mosquito population at bay somewhat, hopefully.

He's all packed and ready to go, only one more sleep. I had been asked to work out at our friends winery on Tuesday and Wednesday, bottling wine. These are usually fairly long days. Unfortunately I'd  forgotten that he was leaving on Wednesday so I wouldn't be able to drive him to the airport. Our neighbour kindly agreed to drop him off. Luckily the winery had a slight change in plans and called me on Monday night to advise we would only be bottling on Tuesday this week! Great news. Now I could drive him, shop for a catering job on Thursday, and visit a friends house for tea and to see her collection of quilts.  Everything happens for a reason. There was a reason Charles had some delays in his filtering. Made all my plans nicely fall into place.

Another friend of ours has a commercial client in town that he wanted to bring lunch in to. He was going to order pizza's but then he thought of us. So we I am taking lunch into town for 15 people on Thursday.  Lloyd is just dodging that bullet!

He'll be in Guelph on Wednesday afternoon and going out with the guys on Wednesday night. By lunch time on Thursday he'll be getting ready for his flight to Korea. He's starting to get pretty excited about his adventure.  Each day closer makes it harder to focus on the task at hand. Fortunately he has most things under control so it's all good. I had a small list of things I needed him to do for me before he left but those are all completed.

It's going to be pretty quiet around here. Brenda and Bernie are in Arizona at the present time and Patti and her gang are in Florida, although James will be home by Wednesday. He's coming home early as he has a piping competition in Toronto on the weekend. The good news is he can be the designated driver when Lloyd and him go out with the guys on Wednesday night.  Thank you James!

Cooper and I will have some nice quiet time together, just like in the old days. I'll have lots of card work to do next week with the changeover from Easter to Mother's Day, etc, so I'll have much to keep me busy. I'm also working on a quilting project so that will also fill in some of the time quite nicely. Then it will be time for me to prepare for my trip, which has since been extended. I'm now returning from Massachusetts via Guelph. I know it's not exactly on the way but very doable. I'm staying overnight with a friend from way back who now lives in Albany, New York. That will nicely break up the trip and allow me to catch up with some old friends. Then I have some visiting I'd like to do in Guelph and area. This time Patti will be working most days but I'll have my own car so I'll be able to get out to see lots more old friends.

Hopefully by the end of April we'll have seen the last of the snow????

Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Tuesday, March 20th - very busy week for a change

Remember the days when things around here were crazy busy sometimes? This week felt a little like that.

Wednesday, I enjoyed attending a luncheon at the Confed Centre. The featured guest was our neighbour Margie. Her book of stories has been made into a play that will be part of the summer line up this year. Can't wait to see it. I heard about this event a week or so ago and thought it was only appropriate that I attend to support my friend.  It was a lovely time chatting with other ladies at my table and hearing about the upcoming production, not to mention a delicious lunch.

Thursday was another busy day. I worked in town in the morning and then got back in time for a make up class of our felting course - last day before our open house.

Friday was finally our big day. We all carted our projects over to the Shamrock Club and set them up for friends and family to admire. I was really impressed with what we had all accomplished in a short eight weeks.

My works of  "art"

 I was happy with my work but I guess I have to up my game a little 😄.  Another member of the class did a picture of a tree that Lloyd fell in love with. So much so, that he convinced her to sell it to him.  We all gave her the gears later about the fact that she was now a paid artist!

Friday evening we had the pleasure of the VanGaals company for supper.  We thought we should get together before everyone heads off in different directions for vacations - Lloyd to the far east, me to Martha's Vineyard and the VanGaals to Arizona.  I'm sure there will be lots of stories to share once we all get back!

Saturday was a day in town. We've been looking at flooring for the kitchen. We visited a few places and brought home some samples to see how they look in the kitchen. After some discussion I think we may have found what we're looking for.

 After we got home I headed out again. I picked Brenda up and we met Meghan in town. We put some wine on to brew at the wine store and then headed out for a beer at a local Irish pub. It was a very cold day and we had to wait outside in line to get in but we did eventually reach our destination.

"Happy St Paddy's Day"

A couple of celebs from our local radio station

We got our drinks and stood around for a bit enjoying the music and chatting with people, but eventually we wanted something to eat. There was very little hope of getting a table there, so we headed down the street to our next destination.

Outside the Hopyard - (this one is for James!)

We had to wait a few minutes for a table but at least we could enjoy a drink at the bar while we waited.

You gotta love a restaurant with some of my favorite pictures on the walls!

After a great meal, we all headed off  home.

Sunday was another busy day. We had invited our friends Jens and Linda over for supper. We hadn't had them over since Christmas so we were overdue for a visit.

All in all a really great weekend.

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Tuesday, March 13th - winter finally arrived - well sort of

Last week it was predicted we were getting a huge storm. We did get a bit of a storm on Friday night but nothing near what was predicted. Now this morning they are warning us of yet another one on the way for tonight. Not getting so excited about this one. So far this winter the predictions have just not lived up to expectations. Although Brenda was able to get out and do a little cross country skiing in the woods by her place.

 This morning's sky is looking pretty ominous. The old saying about "Red sky at night, sailors delight, red sky in the morning, sailor take warning". We'll see just how accurate that is later today.

Another pretty quiet week.  I only had to work at cards one day last week. That's always my day to do whatever other errands I have in town. The rest of the week was spent mostly in my craft room. I've always said I'd never make a whole queen sized quilt with pieced blocks because I have trouble matching up seams no matter how carefully I measure, cut and sew. Secondly, I think I'd just get too bored before it was finished. Well last week I was looking at my 'stash' of pieces. Quilting is somewhat like scrapbooking, at least for me it is. If you cut off a small piece of fabric (or paper) you throw it in a box. You just never know when you might need a small piece of some colour. My very large box of paper scraps should tell me that they rarely get used, but what the heck. So instead I've made some blocks that I believe are called crazy quilt. You just randomly sew together any mixture of colours and fabrics and the result is actually quite pleasing. I'm doing it so each block has the batting and backing on it so it's all sewn together at once. Then at the end I just have to sew them all together. I have enough backing material to make  52 blocks. I have 15 finished. 37 more to go. Next week I'll include a photo of a couple of the blocks.

We're both making plans for our upcoming trips. Lloyd is pretty much all set. He's going to Ontario a day early so he can spend some time visiting friends before he heads out. Patti and Greg and the kids will be away while he's there, so he won't see them but he is able to stay at their house so that works out.

I know it's not going to be very great weather on Martha's Vineyard while I'm there. In fact yesterday they had a blizzard warning for that area. But another month could make a world of difference. The down side is the weather not being ideal and lots of things won't be open yet, but the upside is it will be very quiet. From what I understand it gets extremely busy in the summer with tourists. I'm looking forward to touring around and seeing the sights without crowds of people. It was like that when I went to Nantucket Island a couple of years ago. Ideal for a relaxing vacation.

I'm hoping planning to do some bicycling while I'm there. My bike is in the basement and has been there for several years. Needless to say it's not in the best of shape. So I went to Canadian Tire on Saturday and bought a new one to take with me. I'm planning to do much more riding this summer.

My quilt project has quite a bit of hand sewing when it comes to joining the blocks so I may take a few of those for something to do on a rainy day. If it doesn't rain and I don't get to it, even better!

Lloyd and I went out to the home show on Saturday. We're planning to replace the ceramic tile in the kitchen. We've never been a big fan of it and after nine years, it's finally time to replace it. Lloyd thinks he may do that while I'm away, but that's a huge undertaking right after getting back and I expect he'll be jet lagged for a few days. We'll need to move everything out of the kitchen but fortunately we have another kitchen to cook in, and we can eat out there as well, or in the living room. While at the home show we were also looking at windows, siding, etc. All we need to do now is win that lottery and we could do it all at once!

It was a busy weekend for James. His cadet squadron traveled to Ottawa and did a fair bit of touring around by the looks of all the pictures on their facebook page.

 Looks like a great time was had by all.

Patti was in Japan and Meg was working, prompting Tristen to call just to chat.  He must have been pretty bored!

I did finally receive the photos we took out at Island Hill while he was here.

Speaking of Island Hill, we had the owners over for supper on Sunday evening. (It was supposed to be Friday but our brief storm postponed things). We had bought our goat(s) from them and had talked about having them out for supper but it just never happened. While Tristen was here and we went out   to visit I took my calendar with me and we set a date. I find it you don't do that, it never happens. So I brushed up my cooking skills and made a really nice dinner and we had a very lovely evening. I suspect we may do it again sometime, as we all really enjoyed ourselves.

Tuesday, March 6, 2018

Tuesday, March 6 - things are still pretty quiet

Our weather continues to be up and down with still no real winter in sight. They are predicting a possible 15 cms of snow on Thursday but we've been told that before and it's just not happened. As we head well into March we're all beginning to think that this was the winter that wasn't! But anything can happen in March so who knows. A memory Brenda shared on Facebook was the year we were till cross country skiing in May - both on Mother's Day and the 24th of May weekend. Albeit we were in short sleeved shirts and Bernie was following us around the field in the tractor as he got ready for spring planting, but we were still able to get out there. Unlike this year, when the skis have been used once, and the same for the snowshoes.

Lately, it almost seems like Christmas here. Almost everyday something seems to be arriving from our friends at Amazon or other online vendors. Lloyd has been receiving items he's ordered for his trip and I've been getting stuff I've ordered as well.It just seems the arrivals are all spread out so that something arrives almost every day! First it was new packaging for this years cookies, then it was my walking poles.

We attended a local event recently that was a hike of a local trail. Because the trail was too icy we hiked instead across country. Walking poles were supplied and I was anxious to give them a try. I was impressed at how well they worked and after doing some research on the benefits of using them, I decided to order my own pair. We've been trying to get out and do more walking. With both of us heading out on holidays soon,  we know we'll be doing lots of walking.  I always tend to over do it and end up with painful shins which kind of messes up your holiday. So we're hoping that getting in some extra walking ahead of time will be beneficial. Lloyd has even purchased one of those gadgets that tracks your steps!

Lloyd's diet is still going very well. He's lost weight to the point that the smaller pants he bought a while ago are now too big. I know it's not easy to be giving up the foods you really, really enjoy such as fresh baked bread, etc, but he's done extremely well.

Our needle felting class is also going well. We have our last class this Friday but unfortunately I'm going to miss it. Next week is our Open House when representatives from the Government branch that funds the LEAP program will visit to see just how their money was spent! I think they'll be impressed.  There are some pretty talented ladies in our group.  Watch for pictures in an upcoming post.

Meghan and her band of merry dancers were very busy last week. They had their first competition of the year and did very well. Here's the list of numbers her studio performed (Meg is in Comp A)

and here are their results. Very well done!  Congratulations to all the dancers. Looking forward to seeing those numbers performed at the next recital, although I know some of them were performed in last years event. I understand how they were prize winners!

Here's a note from the dance studio:  Thank you to @bedazzleddanceofficial for such a fun and amazing first Comp of the season! We had a blast and it was great to see you again! With 18  1st places, a 2nd and a 3rd up against talented competition from other studios. 5 judges awards, an MC Mark award, two 3rd overalls and three 1st overalls we can’t be more proud of all our dancers hard work and dedication