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.

How Much Slower Can One Go?

Believe it or not, it’s now the end of February 2018 and I’m only now going to see the dental surgeon on the 28th. I started this whole bloody process in November of 2017 hoping to have my teeth done by Christmas. That was wishful thinking.  I’m totally frustrated, anxious and stressed out and if this whole process is not done before the end of March I’m going to scream and write to the CDA to let them know that I can get major surgery done faster than dental surgery. That’s saying a lot with the huge lack of good medical doctors in this province.

While waiting for my dental surgery, I’ve actually had to give up on my sister’s web site. Totally frustrated with my lapse of knowledge and along with new design structures for WordPress I became stressed again. Trying really hard to keep my blood pressure down for health reasons, I had to admit my technical skills have gone and my brain is devoid of any creative thinking. Damn. My brain only allows me the skills of a now official senior citizen. My crossword days are waning, my patience for needlework is waning and even keeping up my blog with wild and crazy schemes hubby and I have gotten up to are gone. I can barely think of anything exciting to post. How sad am I?

On a somewhat more mundane, but upbeat note, I managed to find the perfect cargo pants for women. With a few exceptions, I hate using a purse. I find them cumbersome, clumsy and constantly in the way of using my hands.  I wanted what the men have – cargo pants that have enough pockets for your necessities – wallet, cell phone, glasses and any smaller items you absolutely need. After searching for years, buying ones that I thought were right and experimenting with similar styles, I hit upon the Land’s End web site and couldn’t believe my eyes. The first pair I bought were so perfect, I ordered another pair in beige and am now in cargo heaven. My search is now on for cargo shorts.

I came upon Land’s End while looking to replace an Oxford Shirt I wore and loved for over 20 years. Having to toss it out was heartbreaking. I soon came across the Landsend.com web site, a well-known, reputeable clothing establishment. I felt secure in knowing I could trust them and their inventory of women’s Oxford Shirts was more than I could have hoped for. At first I ordered a couple of cable-knit sweaters with 3/4 sleeve I find myself wearing all the time. Then I ordered an Oxford Shirt to give it a try and I was so pleased I ordered one in every colour. I wear them daily and love them. It now appears I may be a regular customer.

The day before my birthday, my older sister with breast cancer received her results. All good, she was told. Everything went well, they managed to remove the tumour cleanly and she would only have to see the radiologist for her next step in the process. She sees the Radiologist this Monday – the day before I see the dental surgeon. It seems we’re going along together in this waiting period of the medical and dental professions. Trust me, and dear sister will agree – the waiting time is extremely frustrating and stressful. No wonder the population has high blood pressure – created by the very professions that highly recommend you keep it in check!!! Talk about irony!!!

My birthday was quiet – turning 69 should never be shouted out too loud. We had lunch at the Mandarin St. Catharines – still leary about the Niagara Fall’s restaurant from our last crummy visit. We had a nice time and spent the rest of the afternoon quietly at home. (Damn, that “quietly at home” part sounds like I passed away!!).

Shortly after my birthday, that scammy Valentine’s Day was upon us. In my teenage years it meant something, but age and cynicism took over. Loving hubby, however, still bought me some Nigh’s Chocolates. Who am I to deny such a thoughtful gift. He knows exactly how to hit me right in the heart!! We also took the excuse to have a meal at the Queen Charlotte Tea Room – an authentic and proper English restaurant – the usual fish ‘n chips, Shepherd’s Pie, Roast Beef w/ Yorkshire Pudding, Meat Pies, Afternoon Tea, High Tea, scones, a huge variety of teas and so much more. Set in an old house in Niagara Falls, it’s warm, cozy, friendly and the homemade fries are to die for!!!!!

My hubby is off today, helping his youngest daughter to move. She’s come to the realization that her townhouse condo is too much for her to handle financially and has found a very nice apartment which will give her freedom from expenses she found too burdensome. Nat rented a U-Haul truck and along with her daughter’s boyfriend, a neighbour and son, she’ll get moved in today and will have the balance of February and March to relax until her deal closes mid-March. She was lucky to take possession of the apartment early and will have lots of time to move, clean the townhouse condo and then get settled in her new digs. For me, it’s been a quiet day to get some small things done in the office, do laundry and maybe later watch a few old sitcoms I’ve taped for such an event.

On a final note, as I tried once again to grow my hair out, it became a disaster. I became frustrated again at any hair touching my forehead resulting in itching at night that drives me to drink. A side note – itching apparently is a side-effect from the Prednisone I’m on as an anti-rejection drug. My hairdresser completely understood and we decided to take my hair style back to it’s old no-nonsense ways. As much as I try to change my appearance or improve in some small way, reality brings me back to earth.

 

2016 – And So It Begins …

The new year arrived quietly and without any excitement. Neither Nat nor myself get excited about the celebration. We leave that to the younger ones now. We’ve had our days in the past of celebrating with friends and family, especially Nat, but it’s come full circle now and our bodies can only endure the “midnight kiss” if we can stay awake that long!

Once 2016 was upon us, we continued on with our same old routine. I’m trying desperately to get back to my usual exercising routine before I took a few days off for the holidays. A few days obviously turned into more than a week and with that, the old body was starting to become stagnant and lazy. I had to find some discipline somewhere. I’m now hopefully back on track.

Nat’s birthday celebration was spread over a couple of days. The kids all came over on New Year’s Day for brunch – roast chicken, cold cuts, kaisers, pasta and green salad, with cookies and tea afterward. It was really nice to have everyone in the same room at one time, which does not happen often anymore. The grandkids all have jobs now and working out schedules have become nightmarish. Lucas was the only grandchild that couldn’t make it to Papa Nat’s birthday because he had to work. At least Nat enjoyed the day which was my No. 1 priority. As for his usual birthday dinner, we made reservations at a new place we discovered, Queen Charlottes’ Tea Room, on Main Street in Niagara Falls. A small two-storey home with a few tables spread throughout the main floor. They serve High Tea, lunches and suppers and everything is homemade on the premises. The menu was authentic British food – Bangers & Mash, Shepherd’s Pie, Steak Pie, Blood Pudding, Chips (hand-cut and humongous wedges) along with fresh Scones and a variety of sandwiches served up with an assortment of teas from around the world and a few British “sweets” imported directly from the Mother Land. We both agreed we would return. It was a lovely, quiet evening.

Our next adventure was Nat’s appointment – after a 9 month wait – to see a Back Specialist at The Trillium Centre in Mississauga. With our dumb luck the appointment was for 8:15 AM – an ungodly hour at least for me. We both had to be up, dressed and on the road by 6:30 AM in order to make the drive along with every other “commuter” in the area.  We relied on GPS to get us there and  once we arrived and saw the Doc (which only took about 10 minutes) we were back on the road by 8:30 AM. So much activity for such an ungodly time of day!! We were home around 10:00 AM and couldn’t believe we still had the rest of the day to fulfill. Hell, what were we going to do with all that time!!!! I know! Let’s just sit and relax after such a tense ordeal driving the Queen Elizabeth Highway with it’s erratic truck drivers, speeding youngsters in their up-scale fast cars, commercial vans, regular commuters and older folks trying to maneauver around all that turmoil. Nat’s hands never moved once from the steering wheel until we drove into our garage!

A few days later, it would be my turn. The cyst under my arm decided to flare up again. It had been sitting in wait since May of 2014 and I guess it got pissed off about something as the same God awful purply lump flared up and I knew I’d have to have it drained. Thinking I would go through the same thing as 2014 (having my Doc drain and bandage it) I made the appointment but was surprised when she felt the lump wasn’t as big this time as last. She advised I should go home, apply hot compresses and antibiotic cream four times a day until this “alien” (as I call it) deflates and clears up. I would then return for another assessment and discuss the possibility of actually having the cyst surgically removed for all time. Sounded good to me!

As I write this posting, my little alien friend has deflated to the point where it’s flat but still a bit bloody and sore. The skin broke from the hot compresses and my loving, reliable hubby has been tending to my arm for the past couple of days. We’re nearing the end, thank God. For the hot compress, I filled a tube sock full of kidney beans so Nat could soak it in Epson Salts and water, heat it up and apply to the lump. However, that bloody sock (no pun intended) is starting to get a little stinky from those beans being heated up so often. With each application I can smell the beans (which I abhor). So, naturally, having Nat just apply the antibiotic cream and a dressing is a refreshing change. At least I’m in the home stretch now. As usual, I’m anxious to get back to a normal routine. I’m thinking if the cyst is surgically removed my arm I will be “laid up” for a day or two.

For the most part 2016 has been coming in with just a small gust of wind,  instead of 2015 where a storm brewed for six months. Let’s hope this small gust of wind will keep any storm clouds from moving in the rest of the year.