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.

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.

In The Mood – Slowly, But Surely

It’s very apparent that Spring has arrived. The days have been nice; some warm, some cool and some rainy. Having said that, Nat and I have somehow lost our ooomph. Both of us have struggled to get into the mood of doing those things that need to be done, either indoors or out. Nat’s list of things to do in and around the yard and garden have gotten longer, despite the fact we’ve hired Team Green to do the maintenance. He wants to get going on his plans to put a border between the stream area and our actual lawn. Some foliage from around the stream has slowly been creeping into the lawn and it’s going to be major work to remove, so a border would hopefully slow things down. Nat is also anxious to get his back garden started where he plans to lay a bed of decorative pebbles or stones and then place huge planters intermittently around the same. His vision sounds lovely and I, too, am anxious to see it completed, but it’s going to be one of those jobs that can only be completed on a month-to-month basis as money becomes available. It’s that age old adage – so much to do, so little time – but in our case you can add so little money. Too many things on our lists that we have to now pick and choose our priorities.

Nat’s excuse for whittling away at his to do list is financial while mine is mental. I’m having a hard time tearing myself away from this new iMac. I’ve now managed to get the address book, the Delicious Library and other programs up to speed but I continue to find things to play with. The external hard drive is working like a charm with Time Machine and I’m still determined to get Airport Express working. I’ve also discovered new doodads and features in iTunes and  iPhoto that are thrilling me to bits. Along with getting reacquainted with those two programs, buying a few new apps for Safari, downloading a movie and playing around with the video camera in Delicious Library, I’ve managed to while away the hours on a daily basis. I’m sorry to say it’s now getting close to where I have no more excuses and I have to get back to the house.

We have managed to head into St. Catharines to Costco for our summer BBQ stock pile, and Bonnie and I slipped into Niagara Square for a bit of shopping this past Friday. Nat’s also had a couple of more golf games with Bill and the boys on Saturday, and Sunday saw the two of us relaxing ever so sweetly on the back patio. We popped a bag of popcorn, grabbed a couple of cold ones and completed the Sunday Crosswords while watching the birds come and go. We were both anxious for such a day and enjoyed it immensely. I’m thinking we were both hoping for that bolt of lightning to strike us and put us in the mood for the chores ahead!!

With some intrepidness, we both found a bit of ooomph today and managed to get a couple of chores done. Nat’s in the garden digging around that stream to complete his border or edging and I mustered up enough ambition to pop some oatmeal raisin cookies in the oven. It’s a start, albeit a slow one, but it’s a start.