Getting Use to Seniorship

For as much as I love having a lot of calm days since the last posting, it’s been a bit of a reversal of fortune for others in my family.

Our days have been filled with checking in on Instagram every morning, looking for any posted videos by our granddaughter and boyfriend while travelling in New Zealand and Australia since December, 2019. We’ve enjoyed their fabulous photos of the country and all of its beauty and attractions. The videos have also been cute, interesting, exciting and enlightening. The pair have been bungie jumping, surfing, scuba diving, sky diving, held Koala Bears, hiked at great lengths, and have been certified for diving. There’s so much more they’ve experienced that my memory fails them all. We’re so proud of Felicia and Kyle and what they’ve accomplished and can’t wait for them to come home and recant all of their adventures.

While we’ve been enjoying our quiet days, it suddenly became time for Hubby to paint the living room, hallway and bathroom, as he had promised in late Fall. He’s pretty much been responsible for picking out the new colours – with a little agreement from me, and he’s been working diligently for the past several weeks to get it done. Taking his time, he would do the edging around the living room one day with primer, apply a second coat the 2nd day, then apply the main colour coat the 3rd or 4th day, depending how things went. While working away at his project, I tried to help by clearing away any wall decorations, pictures, etc. and store in a safe place to keep for later. I would then spend my personal days either working in the office, baking or just goofing off (with a little “Ruby Guilt”).

Once the living room was finished, I spent several days trying to re-arrange some of the decor just to freshen things up. Some items have been replaced and some just re-arranged, and we’re both pleased with the final result. We now have a bit of a new fresh outlook and bit of a boost while enjoying the room.

The hallway was a bit of a different matter. It became difficult for Hubby to paint down the stairs and he had to come up with some creative ways of placing his ladder along the stairway wall in order to complete the painting job. At one of his final stages, he happened to stand the ladder on some of the drop cloth, and as the ladder slipped, down he went on his backside at the top of the stairs. While sitting in the office I heard the kaboom and thud, went running out and looked upon his painful face, with hand placed behind his back, as I tried to help him sit up at the top of the landing. I was so grateful he didn’t do a one-eighty down the stairs and crash land on the cement floor.

As he sat at the top of the landing to get his breath and start to feel the back pain come on, we hobbled him to his recliner and there he sat until he was at ease. It went without saying, that his job was done for the day and he would go to bed that night waiting for the aches and pains when he arose the next morning. Luckily he wasn’t too bad and despite my apprehension, he continued on with the task at hand. “I’ve got to get it done” was his constant lament. He’s as stubborn as I am, and I, at least, understand.

Once the hallway was done, again, a huge difference could be seen. The dull, dim hallway was now light and bright and seemed even bigger than it was. Now it was my turn to redo or replace any decor we had hanging on the walls. As we took down a grouping of grandchildren photos a large piece of wall was now available for a dramatic or imposing piece of artwork or graphic piece. “Hmmmm”, let me think. We rehung the small mirror given to us as a wedding present from an aunt, that was made by a man who just happened to have the same last name as my maiden name. It’s near and dear to my heart. The ideas then began to flow for the stairway wall and we both came up with one or two good ones, but would cost more than we wanted to spend. In the end, I came up with a plan to cover a piece of artist canvas with burlap and then create a green floral arrangement on it. I managed to get it crafted with some suggestions from Hubby. The hanging of the canvas was a bit tricky, but hubby was able to position the ladder in a supportive way and again and we’re pleased with the results. Now the hallway at least has some character. A “Before” and “After” of colour:

After a few days, Hubby decided to tackle the bathroom. A lot smaller than the other two rooms but a bit cumbersome for working a ladder in and around the nooks and crannies. The final coat is being applied the first of the week, and again, a big difference is going to be seen. We decided to use the same colour of paint we had covered over in the Living Room and Hallway as he had a full can of that available. Saving money where we can! It’s a bit of a shocker, as the colour is a bit darker than the pale grey/blue that’s being covered over, but I, for one, am very pleased. It was a real challenge to match the pale grey/blue with accessories and towels. At least now I’ll be able to create a bathroom more colour co-ordinated.

Loving Hubby has done a fabulous job at the age of 81. He grew up in a disciplined, loving and strong family. He has a work ethic to be admired and he makes no apologies for what he’s achieved. This “aging” thing, however, is starting to wear on him and sometimes he’s had to admit to certain things he can no longer do physically. He’s not one to ask for help unless it’s evident. During our 26 years of marriage I’ve learned to step back, support him whenever I can and let it be.

In the middle of our redecorating, we’ve enjoyed my birthday celebration at The Keg (St. Catharines) along with a complimentary piece of Billy Miner Pie for making it to 71. If I had the will, I would eat a massive slice of that mocha-flavoured ice cream sitting atop a dark chocolate cookie crumb base, sprinkled with chocolate and caramel and sliced almonds around the edges. Along with their Teriyaki Steakit’s a slice of heaven.

We also made our quarterly trip to Costco for our usual goodies as we were really running low and needed to stock-up. Nothing like a big grocery bill when the bank account is starting to quiver???

Along my family lines, we also received an upsetting email from one sister advising that another was being asked to vacate her apartment of 30 years. The new Landlord wants to renovate and as it will take several months, she’s being asked to find another place to live in the meantime. Not exactly the news our family needs at this time of life. With six girls and one boy all born in the 1940’s, ’50’s and ’60’s, we’ve become a bit long in the tooth for moving loved ones or anyone else for that matter. Naturally, we’ve chattered amongst ourselves as to how we can help this sister in any way possible for us, but the ideas are very slim. With a majority of siblings now in their Senior Years (including moi), we struggle to do our own chores and errands, let alone help someone move. We’ve all got our individual medical problems and some struggle on a daily basis, including the sibling that needs to be moved. Somehow we’ll get through this.

I attended at the apartment to help this sister pack, but it was slow going, as the apartment is only a one bedroom, in an old building and the size of rooms reflect the design for that period in history. One afternoon I got two boxes of china packed up using bubble wrap which was time consuming and then attended a week later with the same results. My mind tells me I can still leap over tall buildings in a single bound, but the aged body is saying “Whoa there old lady, those days are gone!!!!” I’ve now also joined the Sore Back Pain club that has befallen several of us.  With time, luck and help from her Landlord, we hope this sibling will get through without too much struggle.

It’s only the second month in 2020, but I count my blessings every day that I’m at least healthy (despite the back pain) and have been stress free and happy. For a majority of my life it was always me in and out of hospitals or at home with something else ailing me, I was always jealous of other family members that appeared to be relatively healthy and happy, raising children of their own and living what appeared to be a normal life. Now with all my siblings either already a Senior or soon to become one, I’m wierdly grateful that I’ve joined the group and now am “one of them”.

New Year, New Outlook

A quiet New Year, as usual. Try as I might to stay up until twelve was a struggle and I gave up close to 11:00 PM. Nat continued on but came to bed shortly after the stroke of midnight. We woke up on January 1st with a new outlook for 2020.

We celebrated Nat’s 81st birthday with an early visit from Laura and dining out at The Queen Charlotte Tea Room in Niagara Falls later that evening. An old house located in a nondescript area of the City, decorated in the Victorian style and serving authentic English fare – Fish ‘n Chips, Bangers & Mash, Shepherd’s Pie, Roast Beef with Mash & Yorkshire Pudding, Steak & Kidney Pie, Battered Sausage w/ Chips & Beans, Afternoon Tea, High Tea, Assorted Sandwiches and desserts. The beauty about this whole menu is that you have to be patient, as each and every meal is cooked as soon as you ask for it, freshly baked, freshly made and absolutely yummy. You won’t find one frozen item used in the kitchen, even the french fries are homemade, chunky size and could be eaten alone as a snack!! Reservations should be made as this little home fills up fast and with limited seating it can get a little crowded when waiting at the door.

As the month is still fairly new, Nat has decided to start fresh with painting the living room, wanting to make it lighter and brighter. A great idea in the head, but the body tells you differently once the work gets started. He’s had this idea for quite some time and has decided the winter months would be perfect. With snow on the ground (what little we’ve had) and golfing days on hold until Spring, he felt this would at least keep him busy and fill the quiet days we’ve been having of late.

We’re still in limbo about the colour. Even tried a web site where you can upload a picture of your room and test different colours out. The ones we chose were not as expected, so we’re going to the paint shop for more research. In the meantime, Nat and I have cleared away furniture, wall decoration, pictures and other tripping hazards into the dining room so he can begin with any repairs and start the edging with the primer. He’s had his struggles with the two high walls – over the transom window and around the little alcove. Once he’s done that he wants to at least get the primer on so he can begin with the final colour. As I sit here in the office I can hear the moans, groans and ladder adjustments coming from the living room as he works his way around what appears to be a small living room, but somehow has grown into a banquet hall now that he’s started.

This month has also allowed me to get back to my regular baking. I’ve now refilled Nat’s cookie jar with his usual Chocolate Chip and Oatmeal Coconut Cookies, a Coconut Loaf, British Scones and even a Raisin Loaf for good measure. My next baking day will be some bread. I’ve not had a chance to get some Dinner Rolls in the freezer for quite some time and I also want to try making an Egg Bread. Hopefully, once I get back into the bread making my “mojo” will return, which went the way of the Dodo Bird several months back and I’ve been looking for it ever since.

As I posted prior to Christmas, Nat and I decided to upgrade our computer and get the latest iMac. As it happened I also lost my “mojo” for even opening the box. It sat in the office for several days until we opened it after the New Year.  This was not like me. I love all electronics. Where did I go??  Watching my nieces, nephews and grandchildren working their iPhones posting things on Instagram, FaceBook, Twitter  and whatever other Apps they have, is mind-boggling. They’re fast, quick thinking and clever about what they do to the point I get very jealous. My mind can’t compete as the little grey cells are deteriorating even as I’m writing this post. I’m hoping when the Summer months come along and Nat is back to golfing, I’ll be able to start some new projects and try out some of the new doodads that came with the new iMac. Hey, we can hope!!!

We were pleased that Apple will recycle your old computer so we saved the box from the new one in order to pack away the old one to deliver to the Apple Store in Burlington. Worked out really well, as we packed up the old Mac, said our goodbyes and drove to the store this past Monday for its final resting place. Deleting the old Mac was also very simple – just a few key strokes while turning it on and within a few hours it was back to its original self.

Setting up the new iMac was a different story. A lot of our Apps and programs were just a tad outdated and the new Mac was kept busy trying to install what it could from Time Machine. The procedure took a few hours of hunting and pecking what it would accept and what would no longer run on the new Catalina Operating System. It was soon sorted out, but then I had to delete whatever Apps and programs contained in the LaunchPad were marked with the “No Entry” icon and get acquainted with the new operating system. This was definitely a learning curve for me and kept my brain busy with research and investigations from Apple and Chat Rooms. After all is said and done, having a faster running iMac is a real treat, but I’ll be kept out of trouble in Summer trying to learn a couple of new programs.

Our happy wanderers continue to check in on Instagram & FaceBook. Their postings have been fabulous and certainly do  justice to such a beautiful country with lush greenery, mountains, rivers and general excitement. So far, aside from their previous adventures on the North Island (New Zealand), they have gone Sky Diving, Bungie Jumping and Hiked along Mountainous regions of the South Island, taking gorgeous videos. The Sky Diving experience wasn’t as high as they originally booked because of extreme high winds on that particular day, so they had to settle for 13,000 feet instead of 20,000. They were able to buy one of the videos of their experience and as Nat and I watched on Instagram we were both grinning from ear to ear at the excitement on Kyle’s face. We’re both so happy for these two as they are making the most of their trip and experiencing so much more of life than either one of us had to chance to do. Good on them.

For the most part the first month of the new year has been extremely quiet, relaxing and uneventful. We can only hope the rest of the year is a repeat of the first. We’re both now at that stage in life where too many events on our agenda can make us a bit anxious and our bodies get tired quicker than we’d like. I like to take one day at a time and one event at a time getting as much rest as possible in between.

Adios, Adieu, Farewell & So Long

This may be my last posting for 2019. At least this past year was more uneventful than 2018 and for that I’m very grateful. Both of our lives have settled into some sort of senior reality – a few doctor’s appointments, regular everyday chores, shopping and a few family get togethers scattered throughout.

My semi-annual appointments with my Nephrologists were extremely positive. Now I just have to keep the old body up to snuff to maintain my lower weight, my blood sugars and staying as fit as I can for as long as I can. I can do that. No Problem. I’m a survivor. I managed to make it to 70 years of age and damn that’s good. My only regret is my parents never had a chance to see how well I’ve done. Gone way too soon.

After a great Bon Voyage dinner for our granddaughter, Felicia, and her partner, Kyle, they were on their way to New Zealand & Australia by early December. From their postings on Facebook and Instagram they’ve been having a fabulous time and experiencing the outdoors and life in general to the Nth degree. The pictures they’re sending back are fabulous, their adventures are awesome and daring and their stories are ones that should be written down for a lifetime of memories. They’ve sand-surfed, water surfed, bungie jumped, trekked across a Mountain in fog and cold, and eaten food items they wouldn’t get in Canada. (And it’s only their first month there.) I admire their tenacity, adventuresome spirit and daringness. Awe, to be young and free again!! Nat and I can’t wait for their arrival home in February 2020. We both miss them very much everytime we look at their postings on Instagram. Felicia has had an unbelievable chance to experience so much more in life than her parents ever had due to an exhausting work schedule to save the necessary money for her education and her extensive travels to Europe, Rio de Janiero, USA, England, and now New Zealand. So jealous.

As for the old folks in Ridgeway, I’m extremely grateful for the extremely quiet year we’ve had. If I ever have to relive 2018, you can take me out to the old shed and just shoot me. It would be more merciful. I mean that in all sincerity. So with great abandon I’m enjoying those quiet days of sitting with Nat in our recliners, doing crosswords and playing games on the iPadI’ve also had the chance to bake goodies for Nat and more goodies once the first goodies are gone. I’ve tried some new recipes with pretty good success, and am anxious to try some more once the holidays are over. I put together a package for Nat’s hair stylist and mine. I’ve got a batch of some for the family Christmas Eve get together which we’re looking forward to. Not seen my side of the family in more than a month and we always look forward to the comaraderie, laughter, and food.

Christmas Eve day is going to be busy. Hair appointment early in the morn, back home to make Pasta Salad for Laura’s get together and then on to the Irwin’s for their funfest with goodies in hand. Christmas morn will see us up early to go to Susan’s place for Bacon on a Bun and fill the void with Felicia and Kyle still in New Zealand. Knowing Susan, she’ll be worried every day, as any mother would be, but her youngest daughter, Bridget, will be there along with their big dog, which should make for a fun morning. We’ll then return home, relax a little and then make our little Christmas Dinner with the last of the turkey breast we bought at CostcoThere will even be enough leftovers for sandwiches the next morning. Yum!!!!

2019 has felt like a long year and I can barely remember what we even did in the first several months, which is fine by me. I’m still experiencing some wibbly, wobblies from all those head bangers I had with the Thrush. I’m at least holding my own and am able to get along with life as best as my body will allow. I’m happy with that. With 70 years of life behind me – in and out of hospitals – some travels and new life experiences – ups and downs no one saw coming – and even a marriage I really didn’t see coming – I think I’ve managed to do okay and truly feel it’s now my turn to enjoy what I have left of my years. I’ve been a positive thinker every one of those 70 years and will never quit. A positive outlook on life, a lot of laughter and support go a long way. And a long way to go is how I’m living my life.

Nat and I are naturally looking forward to a happy and prosperous (God, yes, a prosperous) year in 2020. The old calendar on the wall is empty of entries, except for birthdays, etc. and a couple of medical appointments, but knowing us it will get filled up with something at one time or another. We can just keep that positive attitude and hope it’s everything good.

Merry Christmas to All and A Very Happy New Year.

The Mac Gods Answered My Prayer

We’ll be heading into the year 2020 in 37 days. Before that happens our iMac will turn 11 years old. In computer years, that’s a very long time. Naturally, within the past couple of years, I’ve bitched and complained whenever dear hubby was within ear shot of how slow our iMac has become in loading pages, uploading or downloading pictures, Apps and other programs. I knew in my heart of hearts that the processor was old and tired trying to handle all of the ups and downs I was throwing at it. Falling on deaf ears, my hints were going unnoticed, or so I thought.

Much to my surprise, after discussing our Christmas plans or lack thereof, Nat very quietly suggested that we should look to buying each other a new iMac as a joint Christmas present. Hallelujah Hallelujah Hallelujah Hallelujah !!!!!!!

Suddenly, the chorus of angels singing in my head came to an abrupt pause. We were now talking finances. Bummer. Trying to work out our future expenses (new tires for the car, brake job, golf club membership, regular household expenses) it became crystal clear the new Christmas present was going to be a bit tricky to work out. Trying our best, and being optimistic, we drove up to the Apple Store at Mapleview Mall, in Burlington, to have an actual look at the new iMacs on the market and get re-educated on the latest operating system, screen sizes, processors, etc. My God, they were gorgeous, but I had to face reality and tell myself the new bells and whistles were no longer necessary in our lives. I no longer create our own Christmas Cards, work with Photoshop, or other wondrous programs I could find. My days were now dwindled down to keeping our finances in order, working on this Web Site, a little gamingand whatever else I can find to keep me occupied.

We had a great time consulting with one of the Apple staff and having her show us the bells and whistles we’ll get no matter what, the bells and whistles we’ll need and even the virtues of Apple CareThat’s one extra cost I’m convinced we will not need and will save us just over $200.00, which is an enormous savings when you’re talking all things Apple. I want the quality, but not the extra service which we’ve never needed in the past and I’m convinced won’t need in the future.

With all the information we could gather, Nat and I wandered around the Mall for a wee bit and then headed back home while stopping off in Grimsby for lunch. We’d have things to discuss further down the road when the time comes to make the actual purchase – with the Good Lord willing and the creek don’t rise (as the saying goes!)

The time had also arrived for my monthly lunch with loving sister, Michele. We’d not been out for a couple of months due to other family matters, so we arranged a date at our usual haunt and had a great time. She caught me up on other family matters and get-togethers that I had missed, rehashed our 25th Wedding Anniversary dinner and I caught her up on our granddaughter and boyfriend on their upcoming trip to Australia in November for 3 months. Another great time and some time alone with someone other that my loving hubby.

On another little happening, and as I was in a deep sleep, I heard some bells ringing at 1:27 AM this past Friday. I kept listening and soon realized the bloody phone in the office was ringing off the hook and hubby was dead to the world beside me. I jumped up, making my noggin a little woozy, wobbly walked to the office as quick as I could, picked up the phone and whoever they were decided to hang  up. God Damn!! Swearing under my breath I turned out the office light, attempted to wobbly walk back to bed but in such deep darkness, I had to hold my hand alongside the walls in order to avoid the stairs and return to bed. Still a little pissed, I let the bedroom door slam a little – oops!!!! Still, not a peep out of Nat. Lying there in such a deep sleep, pissed me off even more!! When I confronted him in the morning, he did mention he heard the door slam a bit – oops, sorry!!

This past Saturday evening Nat and I joined Susan and her family for a meal at Johnny Rocco’s in St. Catharines. As her oldest daughter, Felicia, and boyfriend, Kyle, were leaving for New Zealand & Australia for 3 months on the 27th we wanted to give them a send-off dinner to say our Farewells, Safe Trip, Bon Voyages and all that. We had a fabulous time and as I was sitting beside the two travellers, Nat and I had a chance to really talk privately to the two of them. We’re so impressed how Felicia has grown up to become a well-rounded, somewhat fearless, cautious and adventuresome traveller and Kyle has turned into a very intelligent, head-on-straight, sensible young man with deep affection for Felicia. The two of them made us laugh and we’re sorry they’re leaving as we’ll miss them very much. At the same time, we wish them the very best of times, a safe trip, a very Merry Christmas and New YearCan’t wait for their safe return in 2020 to hear of their adventures, see their photos, videos, etc. and give them huge hugs. All the best you two.

The Party’s Over

To finish off our 25th Anniversary celebrations, my side of the family arranged for a meal at Peter Piper’s Pub in Fonthill several days after our return from Stratford. Nat’s side of the family (at least some of them) also joined the festivities and it was really great fun. The food was terrific and I had a chance to sit with a few of my sisters and have a personal chin wag which I’ve not had a chance to do in a long while. I so miss those sister get togethers.

Before the meal began I stood up and announced that Nat had come into possession of a bag load of Empire Apples fresh off the tree from Vineland Agriculture Centre and we were hoping to give away the whole lot, if any one or more wanted. We had already set aside quite a few for ourselves. Nat had a desire for Apple Pie and we were going to give it a try the following Sunday.

I had been thinking prior to going for our dinner, that I would give a small speech to thank everyone for coming and to thank Nat for 25 years of marriage. I chickened out at the last minute, not wanting to upset any apple carts, and became worried how things would be taken by my loving hubbie. As I had composed this little speech in my head over several days, I’ve decided to add it to this post, firstly, because it kind of sums up our life together so far, and secondly, because I truly wanted Nat to know how much he means to me after 25 years of putting up with such an independent women and with all of my crap. So here goes:

  • In my early 40’s I fell in love with this man as he walked his daughter down the aisle. As I shook his hand in the reception line, I gazed into deep blue eyes that melted my heart. It was instant.
  • It’s been 25 years of ups and downs that the love of my life never saw coming. He’s had an instant education in Kidney Disease, with 3 long years on Dialysis, the work-up, the Transplant, the Rejections, the recovery and extensive medications and all of their varying side effects. He’s endured my withdrawal of 30 years of smoking, with the anger, depression and tears brought on by the withdrawal.
  • Then came the Polyp, the long undiagnosed Thrush that almost broke the two of us in 2018.
  • We’ve had our spats, arguments and drag out fights, with one on the back balcony so loud I’m sure all of Ridgeway heard us. Even the birds didn’t return to their feeder for 2 days afterward.
  • We learned that honesty with each other was imperative, talking things out was a necessity, but most of all love and understanding dominate.
  • We’ve travelled (even while on Dialysis), have explored places neither one would have done alone. Together we’ve grown in mind and spirit.
  • It was not easy for me to be an outsider while getting to know his family, their customs and their habits. Nat has helped and supported me in every way he knew how.
  • We’ve had 25 years of wonderful family memories that will endure a lifetime.
  • Nat, I’ve loved you all of my yesterdays, love you today and will love you for all of my tomorrows. Here’s to the next 25.

With all of my heart I hope and dream that the rest of our years together will be health free, carefree and loving. A little extra money along the way wouldn’t go amiss!!

P.S. The Apple Pie – first time for both of us – may have a sunken top, but was delicious according to Nat:

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Our 25th Wedding Anniversary (For What It’s Worth)

Having suffered the slings and arrows of 25 years of marriage, Nat and I decided to celebrate by taking four days off with a mini-trip to Stratford. Having been there several years ago, we had a pretty nice time despite my choice of plays to see – Shakespeare’s Romeo & Juliet. Being the first Shakespearean play Nat has ever seen he was at a loss. Having booked the play myself, at the time I felt it was one of Shakespeare’s easier plays to understand. I was wrong.

This trip I booked a Noel Coward play, Private Lives which I knew was a good comedy. So we packed our bag and decided to leave Monday morning for that 4 hour drive via the back roads and farmland, which Nat loves.

Monday morning arrived. Nat packed the car, along with my Walker for safety and convenience, as I finished off with that “last minute” stuff. The tone for our little trip was soon to be set as I lost a bottom tooth. One of two teeth that my bottom dentures attach to. My tongue was now being scratched by steal hooks and could get caught in the gaping hole where that little tooth once sat. There was nothing I could do. I would have to endure the next four days trying to eat meals I was so looking forward to.

Once on the road, we took our first stop in Caledonia at Tim Horton’s for a quick bite to eat. We were back on the road and endured numerous road works as we arrived in Shakespeare (just east of Stratford) early afternoon. The Shakespeare Inn has seen better days, but was clean, friendly and in a convenient and less expensive area than Stratford. Our room was smaller than we were use to and apparently stuck in the past. At first we were unable to connect to the internet with my iPad, had no bedside clock, no set-up for coffee or tea and wondered about the Satellite.

After unpacking we took a small drive into Stratford to refamiliarize ourselves with this quaint and theatrical city. We stopped and walked around the downtown core, stepped into one of our favourite stores, The Scottish Shop, where I had to buy a Scottish Thistle pendant and a Highland Cow pillow. As usual, it was difficult to restrain myself from buying more, as I knew I wanted to save what I had for my other favourite store.

As we needed a small cheap clock for the room, we took a quick look at the WalMart store on our way home. Not exactly the same set-up as our store in Ridgeway, we were taken aback when we were told they don’t sell clocks!!! I explained I could find all kinds of them at our store at home, but the clerk explained the store was down-sizing or re-organizing. We left disappointed.

After great research we were dumb-struck where to have our evening meal. As it happens, the owner of the Inn told us about an extremely popular restaurant in Millbank and showed us on the map exactly where it was. We decided this may be our best bet for the evening and plugged the info into the GPS. While on the road, we began to wonder if we were headed to No Man’s Land” It was further north than anticipated. We soon arrived at Anna Maes, a restaurant and bakery where home cooked meals and homemade breads and goodies were prepared by the Amish and the aroma was wonderful. We were escorted to a table and ordered a couple of sandwiches that came with French fries and enjoyed a small but tasty meal. It was obvious this place was well known for miles around by its size. We were tempted to buy something from the bakery, but knew it would be hard to enjoy during our trip or even save for home. We paid our bill and headed back to our little room. The joke was on us, however, as Nat took a piece of homemade pie back to the Inn to have for his evening snack, but arrived home and discovered we had no fork!!

Arriving back at the Inn, we approached the Owner again having told him of our dilemma. He soon went to fetch us a fork, and also informed us that we did have the internet for free and where Nat could get a cup of tea or coffee when wanted. A little nook hidden around a corner in the lobby! With that, we soon settled in and began to watch the Federal Election results.

Tuesday arrived after a half decent sleep. With a little more research, we drove down to a restaurant in Stratford, Demetre’s, a family restaurant with lovely atmosphere, for what turned out to be a great breakfast/brunch. Two eggs, bacon/sausage, etc., home fries and homemade toasted bread. Delicious, especially the toast!! Nat and I were impressed and would return for our evening meal before the play later that night.

Not having found a clock, we drove across the street to see if the Dollarama in the Festival Mall had one. We had wandered through this nice Mall previously and checked out a couple of stores. Winners was a much cleaner store than the WalMart, so we walked around while Nat, this time, found something he could use. Dollarama also had the perfect little bedside clock which we purchased and then headed over to the Avon Theatre in the downtown area where we could case the joint to find available parking, so Nat could get his bearings without any surprises. We then took a walk along the Avon River, but the wind had picked up and the weather was starting to turn, with rain in the forecast for later, we drove back to the Inn for some thinking time.

Once we arrived back at the Inn and while unpacking our clock, I realized we didn’t buy any batteries. The old brain was playing its tricks again. Nat decided he could pop back into Dollarama on our way to the theatre later and all would be right with the world.

We were dressed and ready for our evening at the theatre. Dressy casual, we felt good as we left for our night out. We drove back to Demetre’s where we both ordered a simple Chicken dinner. Simple but home cooked – Chicken, Baked Potato, Carrots. It was delicious and not over whelming like so many restaurants now – too much on the plate that Nat and I can’t finish. We enjoyed this meal with great abandon. Again, homemade bread for a starter. Bonus!!

We finished our meal exactly at the right time, as we drove across the street where Nat picked up a package of batteries, and then downtown to find a parking spot. Luck was on our side as we were able to park right around the corner from the Theatre and were only steps away. Our seats were in the balcony and as this old broad is still struggling with her balance, we took the elevator up, but had to finish by walking up some stairs to our front row seats. The view was perfect. The play was enjoyable and Nat had a great time watching the Set Decorators do their thing during intermission. He had done that exact job earlier in his life at Brock University Theatre. He was fascinated at the extra features the Decorators were able to make use of nowadays. Aww, memories!!

We arrived back at the Inn by 11:00 PM, and went straight to bed. Our 25th Anniversary evening had, at least, been enjoyable. Despite the extremely crappy mood I was in during that day, the play had seemed to lighten my spirits. I made so many screw-ups during the day with my memory, I knew I was driving Nat crazy, but he endured, as always, trying his damndest to help out as much as he could.

It was a “no brainer” that we would return to Demetre’s for our breakfast/brunch on Wednesday morning. Our plan would be to have our morning meal and return to the downtown core in the afternoon for some walking about. It was a given that I wanted to visit my other favourite Stratford store Indigena, with its Native art, sculptures, jewellery, clothing and blankets.

Maxine Noel is a former workmate of mine while living in Edmonton. It was apparent from our first meeting of her desire to return to her Native routes. This woman opened my world. She taught me to downhill ski, and we both loved our adventures while skiing in Jasper and Banff. She has a great sense of humanity, humour and love. She (and her first husband) returned to Cochrane, Ontario. She then headed south and within time soon began to draw attention to her beautiful paintings while living in Stratford. She has become such a success she’s been awarded the Order of Canada in recognition of her paintings and her support of the missing and murdered indigenous women in Canada. I purchased a painting of her’s while in Stratford the last time, and I had to see what else she has done. She’s now expanded to doing T-shirts, wallets and small prints, so I purchased a T-shirt “Not Forgotten” in memory of those missing and murdered indigenous women. I’ll cherish it forever and I’ll carry my memories of Maxine with me whenever I wear the shirt.

The rest of our afternoon was spent quietly walking around the shops while rehashing our mini-getaway and discussing the trip home tomorrow.

With the balance of Wednesday ahead of us, we returned to the Inn, packed away the purchases I made, and decided to go for supper. Where else, might you ask??? Well, Demetre’s would be my reply. Another nice meal – Nat the Perch and me the 6 oz. steak. Not my best choice with one bottom tooth missing, but I endured. Guess what I have to do when we get home??

Thursday morning arrived. We had mainly packed the evening prior, so we drove back down to Demetre’s for breakfast, returned to the Inn, finished the last minute packing and started our journey home.

As with all trips Nat and I take, we had our little foibles regarding the GPS and managed to take a couple of wrong turns, but were soon put back on track and arrived home by early afternoon and to a dire message we did not expect.

The message was from our friend, Floris. Her husband, Cecil, had taken a fall before we went on our trip, and after going through some rough times, medically, had passed away while we were gone. We could hardly understand her words through the tears that were swelling up, but managed to understand her words he’s gone”. I called her back as soon as I could and it was obvious she was still too upset to talk. Having been married for 67 years, this couple were devoted to each other, and had only been apart for one night during that entire time. After calming down for a second, I told her to email me when she was ready and let me know if there was going to be any memorial.

Nat and I attended Cecil’s memorial service this morning. Standing with her son, Floris was still struggling to go through the gestures of greeting their friends and family and it broke my heart to watch. This was a time when you still want to be alone and suffer in silence with your memories. A necessary evil to go through the motions of thanking friends for their thoughts and prayers, Floris stayed as strong as she could and when everyone gathered together in the Church’s dining room, we gave Floris a big hug and sadly had to say our goodbyes. Other life events had reared their heads that we had to attend to. I asked Floris to give me a call whenever she felt she could talk. We haven’t seen each other in quite some time and both wanted to get caught up with the news.

With such a loving 67 years of life together, it will take Floris a long time to recover from her loss. Nat and I think about her all of the time and am at least thankful that she lives with her youngest daughter who will give her the support and help she may want and need. Our friendship will always be there for Floris along with any support we can give, too.

The Good, The Bad and The Ugly

The bad days are beginning to be more frequent in my senior years. On the other hand the good days that come along are very good, so I’ll keep plugging along hoping for more good than bad.

Starting off on what I thought was a good day, I decided to make pasta salad, which hubby and I haven’t had for quite some time. I only made a small batch for our supper and I was trotting along so well until the pasta had cooled enough to dress. That night we decided to finish off the last chicken legs in the freezer. We had been to Costco the previous day and stocked up on chicken thighs for a change. Not wanting a large meal we voted for the pasta salad as a nice side dish with the legs.

All was going well, as I said, until it came time to dress the salad. As I was stirring in the mayo, I also added the salt and pepper. Once done, I gave it a taste for seasoning and OMG my tongue felt like it had swallowed half the box of salt!! It was awful and I started to get upset. Not always thinking straight, I grabbed Nat to take a taste to confirm my suspicions. His face suddenly cringed, his eyes closed and his tongue was spitting out whatever it could. The following discussions:

“What were you thinking”?, he asked.

“No bloody idea. I took a pinch from the salt box and must of miscalculated”, was my reply.

“No kidding”, was his sarcastic retort.

I’m not starting over, so how do I fix it?”, I asked.

“The only answer is to boil some more macaroni, add it to your mix and see if it absorbs that extra salt”, Hubby’s response .

So away I went. It worked. We did, however, now have enough pasta salad to invite the neighbours over. In the end we decided to put away enough for lunch the next day and toss the rest. Ce la vie!!!! My fault and lesson learned, even though I won’t remember a thing.

As the week continued, and most days were just boring, I went for my hair appointment feeling somewhat optimistic and upbeat. I decided to get a perm this time, now that my hair has grown back from the Thrush scenario. The shampoo I bought for hair loss worked better than expected and I was pleased as I sat in my hairdresser’s chair. Even she had noticed my hair looked better and we proceeded with a discussion on what kind of perm I wanted. On a whim “Let’s go really curly”, was my smart ass reply. Without hesitation the process began.

This time there was some excitement at the salon regarding a possible abandoned car with Texas license plates. One of the customers went out to check the car and discovered it had also been left unlocked. Naturally, she opened the door, had a good look around at a small mess in the front seat and smelling what she felt was more than a dead animal lingering. She returned to the shop and the theories soon began. My hairdresser reported the customer’s finding to the owner of the Avondale Store who put a note on the car window that it will be towed if not removed by end of day. We all had a good laugh at the various scenarios being discussed and, trust me, they began to get a little weird only because they were Texas plates!! None of us have ever heard of anything good coming from the State of Texas, especially from watching TV.

With all things now settled, it was time to remove the small pink curlers and reveal the masterpiece. EGAD!!!! I was taken aback as I have never in my entire life had so many curls on top of my head. I looked like Mohammed Ali, with a mass of Afro curls only on a much smaller head!! I started to laugh as my hairdresser could see the huge disappointment in my eyes. She reassured me it could be fixed with a curling iron and smoothed out. But the whole idea of getting a perm was not having to use a curling iron. I wanted to finger and fluff my hair in the morning. Another smart ass idea of mine gone wrong. In the end my hairdresser fixed Mr. Ali’s curly top and I was at least able to face the public again.

For the last month, my mind has also been on the crappy eating habits I’ve returned to. Chocolate has been the bane of my existence. Eating more than I should. Buying more than I should and stashing whatever I can in the fridge. Whenever Nat is out of the house at his golf games (3 x a week) I’ll sit in front of our computer and stream my favourite British cooking or comedy shows while munching on as much chocolate as it takes to complete the show – each one usually an hour long. Seriously, I’m addicted and sick. I’m now anticipating really bad blood sugar levels at my next blood work which will probably confirm the high results I’m getting at home. Telling myself every morning to behave and lay off, I’m only good on the days that Nat is not out of the house. The true signs of a Chocoholic.

I finally came to terms once my blood work was done. After checking the results online today, my numbers weren’t good, but weren’t has high as I had anticipated. I’ve now disposed of any stashes in the fridge, started keeping record of my exercise, blood pressure and blood sugar results everyday to remind myself that if I don’t make better gains, I’m going to have two really pissed off Nephrologists. The discipline is extremely hard and it’s been getting me depressed at times. Hubby tries to support me as best he can but being an already disciplined person, it’s hard for him to connect with me. These are the times I miss living closer to my sisters. I know I can get through this, despite going it alone.

Back to normalcy, and in order to get out of the house to clear away the dust bunnies that had gathered on our shoulders, Nat and I headed to the Balls Falls Craft Show this Thanksgiving weekend. We had walked around the Marshville Heritage Festival the week before, which was a bit of a bust.

When we arrived at Balls Falls. we were surprised at the reorganization of the event. They had now extended the parking area to a larger lot, had 6-seater golf carts running back and forth every minute to pick up people who were unable to walk up and down the large hill that takes you down to the Artisans and Big Barn. The Artisans, too, had been re-organized. The large tent at one end was now split in two with new Artisan tents in between. All Artisans in the Big Barn were laid out in a more conducive manner, and the Food Artisans were located in another large tent set up behind the Big Barn. The only disappointment was the Food Tents and eating area, which seemed to have been downsized. It was probably just my mind playing tricks, but the seating area was moved behind all of the Food Vendors and the Band Stage was now abandoned with Artisans scattered around where picnic benches use to be. Really not conducive to enjoying lunch and watching the world go by.

As Nat and I walked around we really enjoyed a lot of the Vendors and their wares. Some of the Vendors seemed to have changed while other new ones had arrived. The one Artist I love was there and has expanded her village houses using recycled boards. They were gorgeous and it pained me to keep my credit card in my wallet. Damn!!! In the end I found a few more items I would loved to have bought, but I had to be good and save my pennies for our 25th Wedding Anniversary trip to Stratford for 4 days.

Continuing on the bad day vein, the Mail app on my iPad has decided to act up. Apparently I’m not alone in this, as I have a sister having the same problem. Mail will send or receive messages, but if you try to answer a received email, it won’t go. I get a message back regarding a problem with the setup on the Server or that the address is not recognized. Another one of those things where I’ll end up on the phone talking to someone at Cogeco to see what the problem is. I’m sure it’s something I’ve done wrong at this end – it usually always is!!

After visiting Balls Falls we returned home for a quiet afternoon. As it was such a perfect day, Nat went for a walk while I did a little research on cooking our little turkey breast for Monday. Wanting to save a lot of hassle and mini-arguments, I happened upon a recipe for the Slow CookerDespite not having all of the ingredients, I knew we could improvise as we have in the past and it would all work out.

With the arrival of Monday, we proceeded to get the Slow Cooker out and the veggies all prepped and ready. We cut up some potatoes, and onions, laid them in the base of the cooker and placed the turkey breast on top (after seasoning the breast). Switched on the cooker for 6 hours and we were done. Voila, our meal was complete except for the gravy and one other side which could be completed closer to eating time.

During the rest of the afternoon we could smell the turkey cooking away and as luck would have it, the turkey was done earlier than expected. It had reached its temperature so we decided to eat early. What the hell, it was only us!! With the drippings in the bottom of the slow cooker, Nat was able to make his gravy in the same pot, while I heated up another side dish. The turkey breast was sliced, the potatoes laid along side and the extra side was ready to go. We enjoyed a very quiet, yummy Thanksgiving dinner on our own. (Honestly, still not the same without a whole wack of family sitting around a big table and all talking above one another.) We retired to our recliners for the rest of the evening.

Regarding the Turkey Breast, I have to give cudos to Costco. While getting our semi-annual groceries this past month, we came across a small bin full of turkey breasts with bone in for only $9.99. A deal we could not resist, we grabbed a package and when we were unpacking it at home, we discovered it was the whole top of a turkey. Both sides were huge and we divided the pair and froze one for another time. Such a deal!!

With Thanksgiving over, we have Halloween to look forward to. Oh goody!! I’ve lost my zest for this event and would love to just turn out the lights. Nat, on the other hand, feels that since the neighbourhood has increased with Little Ones, that we should do something. This year, my love, it’s all yours.