My Minor Misadventures

Thankfully, life at home has been pretty sweet, except for the Robin banging our window. We’ve both settled into a boring routine of waking up, sitting in our recliners in the morning. I always print off the LA Times Crossword Puzzle for Nat as he’s making me toast for breakfast. I’ll take my pills at the requisite time – 9:00 AM – and then join Nat as I check for emails, Instagram & Twitter Feed. I then kill an hour by playing some puzzles, before jumping up and making lunch. Yes, we eat early!

In the afternoon we’ll both get on with whatever errands we have to do, or I’ll do a little baking or office work while Nat works outside or is golfing. As evening falls and after dinner we’ll retreat once more to our recliners to watch the news (Canadian, then American) and whatever else we can find to watch on TV until bedtime. Exciting, No – Boring, Yes!! But hey, we’re 80 and 70 years old, so bite me!!!!

With our lives just too much to handle, I had another fall one day in late April. Getting out of bed I felt a little tipsy. Managed to get to the bathroom to get ready for the exciting day ahead, I went to put my pants on – one leg at a time – but I didn’t lean against the wall (as I usually do) and went down with great aplomb. As my left leg decided to do a one-sixty I fell back and went down on my ass with my head doing a bang-up job against the edge of the toilet seat. I soon began my day with a goose egg on the side of my neck and the sorest ass in a long time. Needless to say, it was a quiet day but I knew the worse was yet to come the next day once the brain waves kicked in to tell the rest of my body to sock it to me in pain.

On the better side of things, hubby and I were finally able to take down the tarp that was now covering the south facing windows and killing any light flooding into our kitchen. We kept the tarp up for almost a week to make sure that pesky robin had decided to give up and get on with the rest of his summer. (Postscript May 13th – that pesky little bugger is back. As of this morning he’s head banging again on side and front windows!!!! We’re going to try and ignore him *&#%$!!!!)

I had also decided to tackle a problem that was put off because of what was perceived as difficult. For quite some time I had been unable to access Parallels which had been installed on our Mac computer. One of those things you don’t really think about until it’s time you need to use it.

As I’m still using an old version of Quicken for Mac, and no updates are available, hubby and I thought it was about time to get the latest version in order to take advantage of the new features we would like. That being said, Parallels was not accessible and I had to figure out how to get Windows and Parallels up and working together. The latest version of Quicken for Mac was a bit confusing to my aging brain, I decided to install Windows in Parallels. To be sure of what I was doing more research was required and I had to do this on a day when hubby was playing golf. Out of curiosity of what I was doing he would stand along side the desk and watch what I was doing. I’m a loner and let me do this alone, on my own, no questions or interruptions. It only confuses me more and gets me off track of what I’m trying to achieve.

On a nice quiet and alone day, I was successful in managing to get Parallels up and running by checking my account and downloading the latest version and successfully getting Windows up and running with Parallels. For the first time in months I was finally able to be successful in my efforts. However, I had now changed my mind about the new Quicken for Mac.

Being on a roll, I was successful in downloading the latest version of Quicken on the Mac and couldn’t believe how well it is now working and very pleased with my success.

With a good morning now under my belt, I decided to pick up the mail from our mail box that sits across the ditch running along a major road in our little village. I slipped on my shoes, walked across the front lawn and with just a wee bit of hesitation jumped the ditch at the lowest point. I’m usually pretty good despite my tipsy balance, and this time it certainly caught up with me. As my right foot tried to land across the ditch, I began to falter, doing another one-sixty, turning my body around in a complete turn and looking like a drunken sailor my body gave way, down I went and landed on my left side. Traffic is flying by, ignoring the old broad in the ditch, saying to themselves, “It’s only 11:00 am!!”.

Trying extremely hard to get onto my feet, and constantly slipping on the wet grass along side the ditch, a kind lady finally saw me, circled back and helped me to my feet. Asking “Where can I take you?”, “The mailbox.” (2 steps away), I replied. For all the effort, naturally the box contained junk mail, but this kind lady, whose use to helping her elderly Mom get around, was kind enough to walk me to my front door via the driveway, which I should have took in the first place. Another lesson learned!

On the sadder side of my life, I received the news that a cousin’s wife had passed away from Cancer. She had fought Cancer for 16 years of her life and the last bought had come to the point where there was nothing more that could be done for her. Some of my family had gone for visitations the night before the funeral and I went with older sister, Gail and her hubby, to the actual funeral in Etobicoke. As Janice had some time before she passed, she was able to arrange her own funeral service. Knowing she had a captive audience of friends and family, the service was 1-1/2 hours, and the eulogies were beautiful. Sadly a lousy time to really get to know the deceased, who had certain traits like me – a neat and organizing freak with a bit of a temper. Gail, hubby and myself sat having a small lunch with other cousins attending the service and had a great opportunity getting up-do-date news with everyone. Not having seen every cousin and their families in several years, a lot naturally, had changed but we all had a great visit and hoping to not make it so long next time and hopefully under better circumstances.

Getting back to our morning routine has now become normal. Despite our boredom, at times, we’re happily living our lives. Cannot and will not even begin to wonder when the next hiccup will fall upon us.

Our Head-Banger Won’t Stop

We moved to this quaint little village for peace and quiet. Living out our retirement lives the way we want. Alas, Mother Nature is punishing us for some bizarre reason.

Yes, the Head-Banging Robin is back. Despite hubby’s valiant efforts of covering the patio doors and living room corner window with streamers, netting and then blue tarp our Robin returned but was now head-banging against the other corner living room window, and the main front living room window. At least the blue tarp was working but his insistance on head-banging is now causing high blood pressure, killing instincts and total, utter frustration for hubby. Each and every morning, while I’m still in bed, our bloody little friend turns up to welcome Nat to a new day by banging on his new found windows. Getting tired of banging several times, he’ll fly around the corner and try and bang his way into the house by hitting the front transom window.

I will confess to getting totally frustrated myself, I began to do further research online. Trying every different combination of search words, I soon discovered a little video from the Texas Conservation Authority that a lady had discovered as she was having the exact same problem as us, only with Bluebirds.

I’m begging you not to laugh, but it involved Windex, a Cloth and a Highlighter (the ones you use to highlight writings on a page, etc.) Believe it or not the instructions were to use the Windex and Cloth to thoroughly clean the window(s), take the Highlighter and make a grid pattern on the inside of the window. You make stripes up and down the complete surface of the window, vertically, and then horizontally, about 2 inches apart. Apparently one of the ingredients in the Highlighter emits or shows something only birds can see and will deter them from hitting windows. It was too easy, but the video showed the evidence. This woman’s bluebirds were almost instantly deterred as she demonstrated with one window being “highlighted” and the next window had nothing. The proof was there – the buebirds were now hitting the untreated window. I kind of laughed, it was too simple, too easy and surely would mark up our window.

The next day while Nat was at his golf game, I naturally grabbed a Highlighter, some Windex, a cloth and step stool (I’m short, ok!!!). After washing the window, I began to draw stripes up, down and across the window. I was surprised as suddenly the Highlighter seemed to be fading, but I persevered. I then sat back, grabbed my iPad to relax and wait for the peace and quiet to befall our little home.

Hubby returned home after a half-decent game. I sat him down, so when he falls to the floor laughing he wouldn’t have far to go, and explained what I did. Thinking he was now going to have me committed, I really was taken aback when he did nothing. He just stared at the window and asked “So, where’s this grid you made?”.  My reply, “See, it’s that good you can’t tell.”  He just stood there staring. I then sat back and said it was done out of desperation, and nothing ventured, everything to be gained.

DAMN, within an hour Crazy Bird was back hitting the window again. He started by banging up against the top left-hand side for quite some time, as if I had missed a spot. So I reinforced that corner with a bit more Highlighter, but to no avail. He continued for a bit and when he got tired he flew around to the front window and was hitting at the lower right-hand side of the transom window. We sat there in complete wonderment, confusion, frustration and total curiosity, as to what this wacky bird was doing and why doesn’t he get any kind of hint??? I’m now thinking I was totally taken in by the video using Highlighter. At least I didn’t lose money.

The next day was endured by going to WalMart to walk around for peace and quiet and pick up a few needed items. After lunch we tried our damnedest to endure the shenanigans of our Head-Banger and somehow made it through the day, but that killer look was written all over hubby’s face.

When I awoke this morning, no “good morning”, no “how’d you sleep?”, just “Well, was he back?” Nat’s look on his face answered my question. “With a vengeance”, he answered. He remarked he would have to cover this window too, and maybe the hang-over portion of the tarp from the other window would cover a portion of this window. He put the ladder up and left it standing in front of the window while he gathered his supplies. For a few minutes the ladder seemed to deter the bloody little red-breasted harrasser. Hoping maybe this would work we then waited for an hour or so to see what would happen.

It didn’t take the little bugger long, but he was now sitting atop the ladder. You could see it in his eyes, that this big deterrent was a little too close to the window, but what the hell he’d give it a try. Damned if he didn’t find a corner he could still make an attempt at. Even though the ladder had slowed him down, Hubby and I decided to go along witih his plans to deter this bird permanently. The other tarp-covered window was working perfectly.

The extra tarp was going to cover only half way, so I went downstairs and grabbed a couple of strips of Bubble Wrap to cover the other half. With some tape to hold the tarp and bubble wrap together and onto the siding, the window was now covered in its entirety. So far, as of 1:00 pm today, we have our peace and quiet back. Our home-wrecker has tried the front transom window once, but has suddenly disappeared. Hubby has been out gathering brush, etc. to take to the dump …. HMMMM!!!!

A Bird In The Hand

Started around the end of March. At first thought it would go away as we’ve had this happen in other years but the culprits soon got the hint and took off.

I’m talking about a Robin. A big red breasted Robin without a brain in its head. When he began he would perch atop the fence between our house and our neighbours. He would sit there for a minute looking at a corner living room window, then all of a sudden he would take flight right towards the window and BANG. With that, he flies back to his perch on the fence. Within minutes, he would repeat this whole process not giving much thought to what in hell was happening. BANG (a couple minutes pass) BANG (a few more minutes pass) BANG. You get the drift. Believe it or not, this would go on for almost 10 minutes. Finally he gets the hint and flies off, but to another window. The patio doors onto the patio hitting the lower portion. Not as long, however, as he would return to the fence, as if something had magically changed the window so he could try it again.

Once in awhile he would return later in the evening. I guess he took a lunch and supper break before resuming his routine. What in hell was he up to? What was his stupid little brain thinking and wasn’t his head bloody sore by now??

Hubby and I endured this little game for a day or two, thinking he has to give up sooner or later. BUT NO, the little bugger has to continue day in and day out for close to a week. Now starting to go mad ourselves, we did a little research and discovered he could see the trees reflecting in that corner window and assumed he had found another flight path or he would think he was looking at another bird or rival during the mating season. Idiot! Couldn’t get the drift after 4 or 5 BANGS that hindered his way?? Yes, there were other reasons this robin had to do this, so in order to deter him, we took the advice found online.

On some chores, I picked up a package of colourful streamers to hang up. A little tricky to get to this corner window, but hubby managed to get the streamers hung up. Whew!! We thought, this would soon be over. Naturally, we thought wrong. Within a couple of hours, the “head banger” was back, only this time flying in between and around the streamers. SERIOUSLY??? I could see hubby’s blood pressure rising. We would have to continue to find other ways of determent.

When I awoke the next day I could see the killer instinct in hubby’s eyes. Apparently this Robin was up early with the rest of the birds, only back at the window banging constantly for a couple of hours. I was about to watch my husband’s head blow up in spades. Red faced, crinkled brow and smoke coming from his ears!!! I’m now thinking if he had a gun ……!!

Thinking for a minute or two, he soon left the house, went to the shed and brought out the netting for our patio cover.  He was convinced this would do it, as the reflection in the window would be blocked but still allow some light into the room. Grabbing the ladder and a couple of small nails, he got the netting hung to cover the entire window, but soon realized you could still see enough reflection of the trees behind. We decided to at least give the netting enough time to see if it would deter our head-banger. Not even half a day went by when the Robin discovered we were the idiots.

Another day dawns and hubby realizes he has to get serious. He now grabs for a blue plastic sheet from the shed and hangs it over the entire window with tape for a good fit. For good measure he covered the patio doors with another sheet of this blue plastic sheeting and parked the deck snow blower in front for good measure. Waiting patiently we sat in our beloved recliners doing our puzzles and could not believe it. At last, peace and quiet.

For the time being, at least, the blue sheeting seems to be working, but today we could have sworn our mad Robin was back and tried once or twice just to let us know he was still around.

We will also admit that this nut case has also tried the main living room window that has no reflection whatsoever, except perhaps for the house across the street. He’s flown unto the transom part of the window just below the roof, and has also taken flight from the little garden just below to bang into the bottom right corner, the bottom left corner and even dead centre. Is he that pissed or just that stupid???

We truly are beside ourselves as to how long this will last. For all his Banging he doesn’t even look to have a dented beak or swollen head. Talk about a hard-headed bird. What if he never goes away, what if he returns next Spring??? We’re doomed. God forbid!!! We’ll then HAVE to call the SPCA to see if they can do anything. We will promise you this, however, if this Robin is bound, set and determined to carry on his high-jinx all year, the SPCA won’t have to be called. We’ll settle this entire matter on our terms!!!!!!!!

Will keep this updated – GOD FORBID!!!!

There’s A Spring In My Step

Starting to get a little lazy these past several weeks. No postings in that time either, as we’ve been so boring there really is nothing popping into the old brain, including intelligent thoughts!!!

But I digress. Nat and I have had a few things to take care of, including my mammogram in March, which was clear. Now that I’ve turned 70 I’ve read that this should be my last mammogram, but I’m sure my Doctor will beg to differ, as there has been cancer in my family. With how I’ve been feeling of late, I’m sure I can discuss this matter with the powers that be!!

Nat has finally had his first golf game in seven months. The sun was shining and his buddies called to see if he could come out and play. He jumped at the chance after his excruciating, tense and worrisome last half of 2018. You could see in his eyes when he arrived home, he felt pretty good about the whole afternoon despite his gruesome score. He’s signed up for some pointers from Eagle Valley Golf Club to have the Pro look at his swing. He realizes his age is now starting to take its toll on his body, so any extra tips or tricks he can get will hopefully help lower his score. I’m just so glad he’s at least getting out with the boys.

The hair loss is slowly, oh so very slowly, starting to slow down. With research, I found a hair loss shampoo that appears to be working, along with constant combing at night and in the mornings releasing those little buggers that are going to fall out no matter what I do. Clearing hairs from the bathroom sink are getting a little tedious. Looks like, however, that it’s going to be a long summer.

Hubby and I also took a trip to Ikea Burlington this past Sunday, to look for a small make-up table that will fit in a small corner of our bedroom. I still get the wobbles with balance and the bathroom mirror just far enough away that I have difficulty seeing my face up close. I felt a small table that would fit in the bedroom along with a small stool would make my life easier in the mornings. With measurements of the area, we were off. I was excited to get out and have a good walk about. However, Nat’s not exactly a shopping look-abouter, so we meandered through the store in a quicker pace than I would have liked. He did, however, find the perfect table. The right size with half of the table opening up to reveal a mirror attached to the lid and small compartments to hold make-up items. The other half contained a drawer for even more items. The price was also right. We then continued on to find a stool to fit under the table, and again, we got lucky, including a nice anti-slip cushion to fit. Now the fun was going to begin – building up our purchases. If you’ve followed along on our adventures, you’ll remember that building up anything Ikea turns into a nightmare event for both of us and this small innocent table was not going to be an exception.

Saturday arrived and I explained to Nat that I wanted to wait for any Ikea assemblies as I was knee deep into Spring cleaning. I had cleaned out the Linen Closet, disposing of a few unused cleaning items, towels, and bedding. The Office Closet was next. I was waiting for a cart I ordered from Canadian Tire and had put certain cleaning areas on hold. The Office was now a mess with bits and bobs strewn around and sitting atop the two cabinets. It began orderly enough but soon turned into one of those days where you start to put one item in a “different place”, then begin to organize that “different place” in order to fit that item. Long story short, you walk around the house from one room to another and by the end of the day what did you really accomplish?? Not sure how I did it, but things did get cleared out – some garbage and some will get donated or given to family, if they want. The dining room table is now covered!!

In between the adventures with our closets, I managed to squeeze in a manicure and pedicure. The nails were getting pretty grim looking and had to be done. My usual manicurist was off for the month of March, but the new one worked away quietly and quickly. It felt good, so I trotted off to McDonald’s for my “cheat” – Big Mac, Fries and Drink. So, so, so good after not having been there in over seven months and it was pure delight.

The cart I ordered finally arrived and I returned to the office to clean up the mess I made. Found more items for the garbage and give-away pile. We now have a leaner, cleaner office to work with. I await for the day when Nat goes in looking for something and not being able to find it, will call out my name. One of those times when I feel needed, but still get the “why did you move it” question. My reply – “Just because I could”.

I was right when the day came for assembling the make-up table. Not bragging, but I am very good with Ikea assembly. The instructions, to me, are very precise and easy, but you Have To Remember to literally go one drawing at a time. Loving hubby has a tendency to ask questions that are 3 or 4 steps ahead. I try to explain that his question will eventually get answered but his impatience gets in the way and frustration sets in. We’ll get so far into assembly and he begins to think things don’t look right. “Something is wrong”, he queries. After a small (albeit loud) argument, he tries it my way. What are the odds? And so it goes, with every turn of the instruction manual. Question – answer – discussion – more discussion – look at drawings – at least try it!!! The table at last was assembled. I advised Nat I will tackle the stool when he’s out of the house the next day. On the whole I’m really pleased with the set-up.

Finally got our Income Taxes done. We are really pleased with the results and will be able to reduce a little of our debt. 2018 was a very, very expensive year but the dental bills helped recoup some of that debt. Always nice to get money back from any medical profession, especially Dentists!! The new dentures, by the way, are exactly what I wanted in the first place. Working just beautifully, thank-you very much. Another typical male that won’t believe or trust what his female patients are telling him. When will they ever learn??

Pulling Your Hair Out, Literally

When is 2018’s horrid ordeal going to end? Just when I thought things were getting better and my confidence was gaining traction, one more thing had to rear it’s ugly head. And by head, I do mean head.

From the beginning of the year, I’ve noticed a few thin spots throughout my already thin head of hair. I had a perm right after Christmas and at first thought that could be the culprit. With the chemicals in hair dye products, I thought any of my medications I was on, could be wreaking havoc with them. I was getting scared, as I was born with extremely thin hair and I cannot afford to have it thinner as I get older.

I talked things over with hubby and he agreed, he had noticed one or two spots that were thinner from before. Of course, he also noticed years ago that I inherited my father’s habit of playing with my hair. A little tradition that a couple of his daughters have inherited. Thanks, Dad!! Keeping my hair cut short has partially stopped me from doing this, and I’ve just been playing with the curls from the perm, and even then I noticed some hairs were falling out.

Of late, however, I’ve noticed quite a few hairs falling from my hair brush and I know this has never happened in the past except when trying to comb out layers of hairspray, Most of my life I’ve tried to be careful with how I treat my hair knowing that there might not be that much left to work with as I do grow older.

Back to Google and research! I discovered from the Mayo Clinic site that your hair can start to fall out after you’ve experienced a very traumatic event in your life. And we all know what that was!!!! Apparently it begins a couple of months after the event and should stop eventually. How reassuring, but will it grow back in? Probably not, if the hair takes the follicles with it.

Damned if I do and damned if I don’t, I truly have no idea where to go with this problem and how to deal with it. Vanity flows through my blood and to any woman your head of hair is your crown of glory. We have fun combing, curling and shaping our hairdos on a daily basis, and, at times, having our hairdresser help us along the way by keeping it groomed as well.

For the time being I’ll wait and see what happens. If the hairs do eventually stop falling I’ll reassess things when the time comes. If, however, this continues I’ll really have to think about a possible remedy – one or two options being available.

As far as other events go, my new dentures (a second pair) are almost complete. I literally told the Dentist what I wanted and after warning me of things to be aware of, he gave me no argument and proceeded. I will admit, the procedure for getting these dentures was quite a bit different from my first pair. I’m starting to wonder why, but will have to wait and see what the outcome is, which will be by the end of this week.

My 70th birthday is coming up – Nat had his 80th in January – and the two of us are wondering how we’ll celebrate. We normally go to a fancy restaurant for a good meal. However, with 2018 now behind us and with my new (working??) dentures in the works, we feel we have to do something just a bit more – well, I do, at least! Our two brains have been totally depleted since 2018 and we can’t decide at all where to go and knowing us it will turn out to be the same old, same old. Both being creatures of habit, wherever we do end up will be just right, as long as we’re both still together. Trust me, 2018 came eerily close to ending our togetherness for a couple of reasons.

With the month of January almost behind us, we were at least able to enjoy this month in a quiet unassuming way and we both enjoyed it immensely. Only a few appointments here and there we were able to get through the month without any surprises, which is just how we like to live our lives. May the rest of the year be the same.

More Bang For Your Buck

The new year was rung in quietly at our house. I managed to stay up past midnight for the first time in years. Really wanted to keep Nat company and give him a big kiss. The least I could do for what he’s gone through with me in 2018. I then toddled off to bed with my brain going every which way but loose wondering how 2019 is really going to turn out.

Nat celebrated his birthday over several days. Why not spread out the frolicking, frivolousness and debauchery over time?? As usual, we had a great meal at Canyon Creek Restaurant at Fallsview CasinoOur steaks were delicious despite my minor chewing problems (explanation below). The wait staff were reallly nice and friendly which always makes the evening more enjoyable. A nice night all around.

Susan, Tom, Felicia and Bridget then invited us to lunch the following Saturday. She asked us to pick out the restaurant which is always a mistake as neither one of us can decide on anything these days, despite our best efforts. We ended up choosing Lina Linguini’s in St. Catharines. An Italian place with just a touch of American food. Another nice lunch and getting caught up on the family’s news. On a disappointing note, I had a craving for a hamburger, which was a bad choice. The burger was overcooked and contained some other food items which made the burger a bit chewier than I’ve had in the past. Warning: Don’t order American food at an Italian Restaurant!!!!  I still had a great time and Nat and I were so pleased Susan had taken the time out to do this for us.

With the celebrations over, it was now back to reality with errands to run, laundry, cleaning and baking chores on the horizon. It was now that Nat decided to call the Company we rent our water heater from. We’ve been experiencing banging pipes at varying degrees of noise for a couple of years now. We’ve spent money on regular plumbers each of whom had no idea where the noise was coming from, what was creating the banging or even solve the problem. Each one of them had us bleed the pipes (run every tap in the house for several minutes to hopefully push the air out of the pipes) but each time the noise returned after the plumbers were long gone. All that bloody money for nothing. By this time, and with a damn good guess from the last plumber, Nat kept wondering if the noise was coming from the hot water tank. By coincidence that’s where I always heard the banging sound, but like stated before No one ever listens to me!!!!!

Nat’s frustration was now at a high level, and as he procrastinated over calling the water heater company, my frustration was also getting higher by the day. He has a habit of thinking of every scenario that could happen, afraid to make a wrong call, and really wants to make sure the right thing is being done. Well, he should trust his instincts, as he finally called Enercare and what do you know, he was right. This plumber came in, checked the water heater, told Nat what the problem was and asked if he wanted him to remove the valve that seemed to be the culprit. Naturally, Nat said yes, and with that the plumber was gone. A couple years worth of aggrevation, research and high plumbing bills was fixed all within 5 minutes and was the size of my pinky fingernail!!!!! Finally we had peace and quiet everytime we use the hot water. God, when will we ever learn??

With life in our household getting back to our usual routine, I decided to finally get new dentures made. With loosing close to 40 pounds during that Thrush episode, my dentures were now too big for my gums!!! Go figure?? They are again giving me trouble but in a new way and frustrating way. I surmised if I paid all of that money to get a new set of teeth, I should at least get the perfect fitting pair. So I got up the nerve to book another appointment with my Dentist to tell him what I want. I’m willing to go through this whole rigmarole once more in order to finalize this whole matter and let me get back to enjoying meals again and not talking with a new found lisp!! This is where I’m going to do what my gut is telling me, so stay tuned.

Another update I also have to take care of is my eyes. My prescription glasses seem to be a little out-dated as I’m having a hard time using them and have to go back to using the cheaters I purchased.

I’m in an upbeat mood now and loving it. Despite the fact that the St. Catharines General Hospital cancelled the one medication that keeps me upbeat and helps me sleep, replaced it with another one without my knowledge, I’ve managed to keep my mood and thoughts in good places and believe it or not, am not even holding a grudge against my dentist who could have prevented my adventures from 2018 had he caught the Thrush in time. Trust me, I’m not bitter!!!

A Postscipt for 2018

Hubby and I had a fun Christmas Eve. Laura’s house was full of Hubby’s side – daughters, grandkids, a mother-in-law and the dog. Tender and delicious Beef-on-a-bun was served with a pasta salad as we sat around Laura’s apartment talking over one another and the dog barking at everyones’ feet to grab just a bite of something – anything, please, people! We enjoyed seeing Laura’s two kids who now have jobs and stories of their own lives to tell. Her daughter has experienced a bitter life experience (breaking up with her beau of several years). They had settled into a small home together and it has been heartbreaking for her and just as heartbreaking for her Mom to watch and leave her daughter to try and solve a situation as best she knows how. Laura’s daughter has a good head on her shoulders, and despite the stubbornness she and her ex both have, I’m sure this affair will work itself out.

We then left Niagara Falls and headed to St. Catharines to finish out the evening at a sister’s home for fabulous deserts and gift exchanges. With more conversations and a lot of laughs, and again, everyone talked over each other, but with our large family we somehow understand what everyone else is saying. With my appetite increasing, and my sister serving a Yule Log cake, I couldn’t help myself but to go back for seconds. I’m trying my best to maintain the weight I have at present, but it has been a tough road. Too many things that pass by my eyes and nose smelling ever so good, my hands just seem to rise up from nowhere and grab whatever it is. For the first time in months I’m finally back to enjoying food.

Waking up Christmas morning, seemed like any other regular day. I struggled to shake the covers off by 8:30 am, but I had to take my routine pills by 9:00, get dressed, eat the toast and jam that dear Hubby fixes each morning, and be on the road to arrive at his other daughter’s home by 10:00 am.

Again, a household of family. Susan, hubby Tom and her two daughters were up and had already opened their gifts by the time we arrived. The gifts given to each and everyone of the family were well thought-out, clever, neat and fun. We listened to some of Bridget’s stories of her months living in Leeds, England, her side trips to Amsterdam, Italy, Germany and Spain, along with a couple of trips to places in England, such as Bristol and Inverness, Scotland. Her face lit up as she was telling us of the good times she had, the people she met and how well she did on the course she was taking. Hubby and I are so pleased she’s had this experience.

When we arrived home we grabbed a bit of lunch, sat in our comfy recliners and settled right back into our usual routine of doing the LA Times Crossword and gaming on the iPad. Within a couple of hours we began to start preparations for our little turkey breast, roast potatoes and a veg. Naturally not as yummy as a regular turkey dinner with all the trimmings, but it was ours’ and we enjoyed it.

Just because it’s still 2018, my life was still throwing me a couple of curve balls. Several days before Christmas I decided to make some Focaccia Bread. A simple enough recipe using the Bread Machine. I love the bread machine and use it a lot to make homemade rolls and other breads, so being very familiar with the workings, I put all of the ingredients into the machine in order they were suppose to go. I turned the machine on the Dough setting, as usual, and was expecting a nice round sticky dough in 1-1/2 hours. The dough would then be placed and flattened out onto a cookie sheet, dimpled with my fingers and popped in the oven for some yummy goodness in 20 minutes.

This, however, was not to be. The bread machine timer dinged when the time was up and as I went to open up the lid, what to my surprise but all of the ingredients were still sitting in the pan as if I had just put them in. Nothing had moved, nothing had even turned into a dough. I called for Nat and after we dug our fingers into the pan we soon discovered that the dough hook was not on its spindle to turn the ingredients around. We struggled a bit to get the dough hook back into place, and by now all of the ingredients had mixed together, including the yeast, which I was worried about. It was not to touch the salt, but I couldn’t tell by looking at the somewhat mess now created. I told Nat I just wanted to throw it out, that I was certain it was not going to work and I would redo everything.  Despite my objections, Nat convinced me to turn the machine on and see what happens. As predicted, I was right, the results were a big globby mess that felt like and looked like a beige heavy rock.

We threw the dough mess out and as we were fixing to unplug the bread machine for a few minutes, Nat discovered it had been leaking. The placemat it sits on to keep it from jumping around, was soaked. Decision made – throw the machine out and I’ll get a new one. I suppose it was about time. This bread machine had been well used and loved. A new up-dated machine would be warranted.

I struggled for a couple of days without a bread machine, but I had found and ordered a new one that would arrive just before Christmas. So I  had to wait until Boxing Day to maybe try again with the Focaccia Bread.

The new bread machine had all kinds of settings I knew I would never use, but at least it had what I needed and had a shiny chrome exterior that looked very professional. So I tried again, putting the ingredients into the pan as instructed. This machine would only take 23 minutes, however to make the dough. A bit surprised, but that’s what it said. So once the dough was complete – and looked pretty good at this point – I spread the same around the cookie sheet, dimpled with my fingers and spread the Olive Oil and Rosemary all around the top. Again, everything was looking pretty good and like the pictures you see on TV. Well, another curve ball was heading towards me again. The bread looked fabulous coming out of the oven, but once cut to try a piece with our supper that night, the bread was extremely hard to slice and was just as tough when we both tried to bite into it. Looking at each other, we both queried “What the hell happened”?  “Don’t know” answered the wife. “I followed the recipe exactly as written, as I do when trying something I’ve never baked before”, I further added.

After Christmas and with the rock hard Focaccia Bread still on my mind, I did a little research. According to what I found, the recipe I followed never asked for the dough to be rested so it could rise. The recipe also never stated that the dough should be kneaded once or twice and then given a chance to rise once the bread was spread out on the cookie sheet. So, I did further reseach and now have a recipe from my most favourite baker in the world – Paul Hollywood. In a few days I’ll give this whole affair a second chance and see what Mr. Hollywood can do. Despite the hiccups, I’m having fun again working with the bread machine.

It has also come to my attention today, after I called in two prescription renewals that the powers that be who were attending to me at the hospital in October, had cancelled a prescription that I had been taking up until that time. Apparentlly they felt that one drug I was taking wasn’t worth it’s salt, so they ordered a similar one but with an appetite stimulant in it. I was just a bit upset as I was never told about this and I felt a bit cheated and tricked. I told the Dieticians that I had an appetite, I just couldn’t fulfill it. The Thrush was now growing down my throat and I could NOT swallow a thing, thus the gagging. They never heard a word I said, and if I had renewed the new drug they swapped out, I’d be eating more and more than I wanted. As I’m trying to maintain the weight I am now I don’t need any help from chemicals to make me even bigger than I want to be. Somehow, I have this problem a lot – no one listening to me or even hearing what I’m saying.

2019 is going to be a year of new positives, new temperment and hopefully a lot of laughs. If not – just shoot me now.