The White Cottage

MY DAYS IN RETIREMENT


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Feeling Great, Then The Bottom Falls Out

The days following our Stratford Trip were good. My body was co-operating and not acting up in any mind-blowing way. The legs were steady. The mind was clear and calm. I continued feeling the love for a few weeks and it was wonderful. Could not believe my luck.

We were invited to Claudia’s for Thanksgiving dinner. No one in the family could rattle my chains, I was feeling that great. The entire afternoon was filled with catching up on family affairs, a lot of laughter and joking around. My nephew, Zach, has a very quick-witted, clever sense of humour and he was in top shape, as usual. The dinner was fabulous, albeit a tad late, but enjoyed by everyone. There’s always a game or two between courses and this time was no exception. A crossword puzzle that had everyone stumped, including myself (a half-decent crossword player). One of the desserts was Claudia’s usual chocolate cake and I confess to sneaking a couple of pieces to take home for my enjoyment over the rest of the holiday weekend.

The following weekend Nat’s golf group, The Rangers Golf Club, had its’ annual banquet and dance. This year they were having a live band (a trio – 2 guitarists and a drummer) which we were looking forward to. Over the last several years a DJ was hired and the banquet became a little quieter than usual. The meal was great – the usual salad course, pasta course, chicken course and dessert. The band was really rockin’ and the ladies confirmed it by their constant dancing with or without a male partner. I was envious I couldn’t join them (a bit about that later). Nat and I did manage to get in one slow dance, as we do every year. Nat, however, didn’t wear his best shoes and opted for comfort. His feet didn’t exactly glide around the floor as the soles of his loafers were the non-skid kind. We managed at least to “step” through our one soiree. All-in-all we really had a great time and the turn out of golfers was exceptional this year.

My dancing days were limited as I somehow woke up one morning after Thanksgiving and couldn’t straighten up. Tremendous pain was emanating from my right hip. I couldn’t stand straight, was hunched over almost touching my toes. I hobbled around as best I could during the day but the more I walked around the more painful my hip became.

Nat and I soon surmised I had a pinched nerve. I have had this before but not to this severity. Research indicated that rest would ease the pain and, it began to ease up enough during the week that I was at least able to attend the Rangers’ Banquet. Sunday morning after the Banquet was spent quietly with Nat enjoying the peace and quiet. That was soon followed by another painful twitch Monday afternoon. As I went to take a wee, I arose from the throne to more agonizing pain in the same area. For some ungodly reason, I pinched that bloody nerve again. I only took a wee!!!! So today (Tuesday) I’m back to where I was after Thanksgiving. I have a couple of appointments this week and I’ll have to really take care not to do anything stupid between then and now or I’ll be hobbling around places looking like an old lady walking around looking for loose change on the ground. God forbid!!!!

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Have Your Cake And Eat It Two!

With a somewhat busy September behind us, Nat and I quickly returned to our daily routines – exercise (me), relax, discuss lunch, discuss supper, make lunch, eat lunch, errands (if any) and possibly household tasks or chores, make supper, eat supper, watch news, finding something to watch on TV and then bed. It’s a boring and perhaps tedious lifestyle, but it’s ours’.

In amongst our tedious lifestyle, I managed to do something to the back of my right leg while on the treadmill. Naturally, I went to the Doc’s and she concluded I had damaged a ligament – probably by not doing any “warm downs”. It’s taken several weeks for the ligament to loosen up, but I’m at least able to hop back on the treadmill and not just the recumbent bike. I was lucky in that no weight was gained during the healing of that my leg!! I’ve taken the weight off once and I’ll be damned if I have to do it twice!! I even had to miss the Balls Falls Craft Show on Thanksgiving weekend, but I had it on good authority (Claudia) that it was the “same-old-same-old”. So, no misgivings on my part.

Thanksgiving dinner at Claudia’s was wonderful, naturally. The juicy turkey, moist stuffing, crunchy veggies and rolls were delicious and naturally, the desserts even better – Apple Pie, Chocolate Cake, White Cake and Ice Cream were choices everyone had difficulty in choosing just one. I used my “cheat” day to have a slice of white cake and even snuck in a second small slice. I was going to go home happy!!

As my diet is going very well, and I’m managing to maintain my blood sugars for such a long time, I became a bit worried when one day the level had slipped up to 7.2, with the next 5 days thereafter going even higher, as much as 8.1. This soon became extremely worrisome as my Docs had strongly stated to keep my levels in the 6. range. Nat and I soon began to go over what I had been eating on previous days to make the blood sugar rise. We came up with nothing, as our meals have been healthy – a lot of fish, salads, chicken and veggies. I then soon realized, after looking at my prescriptions, that I had mixed up the 2 Diabetes pills. In refilling my weekly container, I switched one to the afternoon and one to the morning – wherein one should have been in the early evening and one at bedtime. I just happen to have 2 different pink pills and if I don’t mark on the containers at what time to take them, I always get them mixed up. When I renewed a couple of prescriptions I forgot to label them “AM or PM” and mixed one up with a Diabetes pill. My hand to brain co-ordination is beginning to fail me!!

I managed to get my blood sugar levels back to the 6’s in time for the annual Rangers’ Golf Banquet. Each year I struggle with what to wear, as a lot of the wives get all gussied up in their finery and I’m always in pants and (somewhat) fancy blouse. This year I swore to myself to at least get something “sparkly” but for some reason I left shopping to the very last minute. I did a lot of thinking, but never had the ambition to actually go out and look for something. With a sudden spurt of energy on the morning of the Banquet, I drove to my usual store, TanJay-Alia, in Niagara Square and within 20 minutes found a sparkly top which was just the ticket. At least I would match the other ladies in their dressy clothes from the top up at the dinner table. Nat and I had a great time and as usual the food was delicious. The evening was even better when Nat discovered he had won a draw prize – a year’s membership to Queenston Golf Club – which was about to be renewed by us, and were now relieved we were going to save the $300.00. The rest of the evening was left to the younger crowd as they danced their hearts out to the DJ playing everything from pop, rock and soul. Nat and I left by 10:30 PM somewhat tired and deaf from talking to our friends over the music.

Nat was hoarse Sunday morning, and after a Saturday night of fun and frivolity, we decided to stay put and do nothing. The entire day was spent in our recliners doing crosswords or iPad games, only jumping out of them for lunch, supper and bedtime.

When Monday morning arrived, Nat was off to a golf game, trying to get in as many games as possible before the snow flies. I decided to clear out summer clothes and bring up my winter duds from downstairs. I managed to vet quite a few items that I felt were going to look a bit “dowdy” on me, now that I’m feeling better about my weight. I’ve been doing so well, that I’ve picked up a few new, up-to-date pieces of clothing from the Van Heusen Outlet Store at the Outlet Collection of NiagaraWith a bit more confidence in my step I’ve purchased a few pairs of slimmer-style pants and tops without a lot of fancy patterns seen on the “more mature” blouses for women. My closet is starting to look a bit fresher and is making me feel even better about myself.

Having said all of this, even Nat has gotten bit by the “new up-to-date” look and has found quite a few new sweaters at the Van Heusen Outlet Store for himself. I must admit he’s found a couple of really great looks and I’m especially pleased to see him finally toss out some of his older style sweaters and shirts, which is very difficult for him to do, trust me! He’s even bough a fabulous sweater that I would love to see for women – but to date, I’ve seen none. They’re a sweater worn by the Canadian Armed Forces (Navy) and have patch strips on the shoulders with a ribbing pattern. I’ll keep looking or else I’m going to have to buy a mans one. We had decided to hit the Outlet Mall again as Nat wanted to buy some new shoes. We drove in yesterday and it goes without saying came home with more than we went for. Nat found his shoes and I managed to find a new pair of winter boots – knee length, squashed look with chain detailing around the boot. With my “new attitude” I was looking for something to wear with the new leggings and these fit the bill perfectly. We wandered back into the Van Heusen store before leaving and came away with that (Navy-style) sweater for Nat and a good white blouse for me. Like I said, it doesn’t take much for either of us any more. I’m now beginning to think I’m a bad influence on Nat as he’s now getting the shopping bug, which has really never left me!! What the hell, it’s our time!!


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Rainy Days and Delays

The weather these days isn’t exactly helping our cause. We’re both still waiting on our landscaper to show up to lay out the new front walkway. It’s so disheartening that the rain falls almost every other day and nothing can get done. Being an optimist, I’ll continue to keep my hopes up until the end of the month, which isn’t that far off!!

In order to fill the hours in the days, Nat and I have managed to keep somewhat busy. Now that he’s joined Queenston Golf Club he’s golfing more despite his feelings of guilt leaving me home alone. I don’t suppose he’ll ever get over it, and at least I know he’s still thinking about me. His guilt also works to my advantage – he doesn’t hesitate when I tell him I’m off to the shops!! Nat and I also drove out to the Balls Falls Heritage Festival which I love attending. It was an absolute perfect fall day and my latest favourite crafter was there. She’s from Quebec and her craft is making little village homes (individually or in groups) from scraps of wood and metal.  I now own three of her little homes, along with a tree, that hang in our kitchen. They help to add that “cottage kitchen” feel. After my purchase, we walked in and out all of the exhibit tents and barns before buying my usual two candy apples, having a bite to eat at the food tents and then wandering home the back roads. All in all a lovely day.

My Little French Village

My Little French Village

A week or so ago, Laura called and asked if we could pick up our granddaughter from college in Orillia. Her car was still needing attention and she thought it safer if we went and her ex-hubby would take Karly back in a weeks time. Of course we said yes, and when Friday arrived I packed a cooler bag full of cookies, drinks and sandwiches. As we had to leave by 3:00 pm to pick Karly up for 6:00, we decided to eat at one of the food and gas stations just north of Barrie. To save a few bucks, we decided a couple of sandwiches would do us and we’d share some french fries once we arrived at the food station. It all worked out pretty good and we were soon back on the road. It was a nice break, too, as the trip from Ridgeway to Orillia is one of the most tiresome. I had also packed a few things to keep the boredom at a minimum – magazine, iPad, needlepoint – but alas I’m not comfy with any of that while on the road. My mind keeps wandering and I’m always looking up to see where we are,  how Nat is doing and watching the world go by. Driving home in the dark is also another bug of mine as I get older, but Karly and her dog, Murphy, seemed to be doing okay – they both slept the entire way! Her dad met us at Tim Horton’s in Vineland to take Karly the rest of the way back to Fonthill, so we had a chance to see Shawn and Linda for a few minutes, something we don’t get to do much anymore since Laura and Shawn separated. Shawn was such a nice son-in-law and I like to think that we got along pretty good, so sometimes I miss the old family gatherings, but life goes on in its own illogical way and I have to make adjustments accordingly. At least he’s now in a happy relationship (or so it appearsand no nasty separation problems have occurred, so Nat and I count our blessings in that department.

After that very boring trip to Orillia, Nat and I decided to not even get in the van on Saturday. We had to go to Costco but told ourselves that Sunday would do. So, when Sunday arrived, we drove into St. Catharines with our little list of things to get – the baker (kaiser rolls), the golf shop (exchange a golf bag Nat won at the Golf Banquet) and Costco for fish and other items.

Speaking of the Golf Banquet, Nat and I didn’t really get too dressed up this year. As it was being held on Thanksgiving we were told there wouldn’t be as many attending as in other years. Once we arrived, it was quite apparent as the dinner tables laid out were far fewer than years before. We still had a great time, but never did get a dance in. The DJ wasn’t exactly playing our style of music and just the younger couples were boogying away. With fewer people, the whole ceremony was kept short, the gifts were given out fairly quickly (Nat won a nice golf bag) and the meal was served a little sooner. Everyone had a great time but most of the older members and their partners left early, including John and Ann (Nat’s brother-in-law and wife), Jim and Cathy (friends) and us. One of our two nights out a year had come to an end.


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The Food, The Fairs, The Weather – Can’t Get Much Better!

Fall has officially arrived and I’m ecstatic! The time of year I look forward to. The weather turns down a few notches, the fall fairs and crafts shows begin and it’s time for great food and family get-togethers. Can’t get much better!

And so it was that I hosted Thanksgiving this year for my side of the family. Each year it’s getting harder and harder for any one of us girls to host a huge meal. We each try to take a turn for either Thanksgiving, Christmas and sometimes Easter, but we all have our excuses or reasons for not really making a large meal for 14 or so people. One sister has a growing family but tries to take her turn, one sister is struggling with fibromyalgia but tries to take her turn, one sister with two adult children takes her turn, one sister is unable as she lives in a small apartment, one sister isn’t really into cooking huge meals, and I’ve been taking my turn but am now starting to struggle as I’ve developed bursitis and hope it doesn’t flare up when it’s my turn to host. All things considered, each and every family get-together has been pretty damn good and lots of fun. We all try to bring a dish whenever someone else is hosting and we’ve yet to have a bad meal – with only once exception (see below!).

So it went that Nat and I hosted Thanksgiving yesterday (Sunday). We prepared as much as we could ahead of time – drove to Balls’ Falls for the Heritage & Craft Festival, bought groceries before the shops got too busy, ordered a marble cake, and brined the turkey on Friday –  picked up the cake, cooked the Turkey, made the Yorkshire Pudding mix, prepared the stuffing, made chocolate-covered Marshmallows, made the gravy and set the table on Saturday – sliced and warmed up the turkey and ham; baked the Yorkshire Puddings, mashed potatoes, cooked the vegetables, sliced the bread, heated the gravy and dressing and welcomed our guests by 4:00 pm. Whew!!

The Balls Falls Heritage & Craft Show was pretty much the same as other years, but the morning was perfect – a great Fall day and I really wanted to have a look around. Looking for a couple of specific items for the house I came across a craft woman from Quebec who made little village houses out of recycle materials – wood, tin and little doodads found around a home or workshop. They were perfect for the look I was going for in our kitchen and I picked up two of them. The other item I was looking for is starting to become an enigma – a set of yellow canisters. Having looked everywhere on earth and the internet, I’ve yet to find the ones I want so the hunt continues. So, after a walk-about for just over an hour, Nat and I climbed that bejesus hill up to the parking lot and headed home for lunch and to get on with the preparations for Thanksgiving

As things worked out, Nat and I were glad so much was done ahead of time. As tired as we were when we hit the hay, it was all worth it, as we had time to enjoy our guests throughout the evening without hiding in the kitchen trying to get things done. The only disappointment for me was the Yorkshire Pudding. Normally I bake them in the proper Yorkshire Pudding pans, but as the batch only makes 6, I decided to bake them in cupcake tins and they didn’t rise like the huge mushrooms I expected. When you broke them open they weren’t hollow to allow all that good gravy to ooze in. To me, they looked and tasted like a bland, flat, sunken muffin. So much for whimsy!! Nat had his disappointment too, the gravy wouldn’t thicken up and was a little too runny for our liking. No complaints from the family and I’m assuming their criticism was left for the car ride home. But that’s okay, I was just to glad to see everyone that nothing else mattered.

Bonnie made a valiant attempt and for her convenience I sat her close to the dining room hallway so she could make a break for it if she wanted to lay back in the recliner and rest her weary bones. Naturally she’s lost a lot of weight after her surgery, but she’s looking so much better from when I saw last in the hospital. As she’s still not up to grocery shopping and Gail’s been doing as much as she can, I gave Bonnie a care package of left-over turkey, gravy and mashed potatoes. She’ll only need to warm them up and she’s good to go.

We missed Claudia, Darby and Tyler. As Tyler was home from Chicago for a few days (he’s in training for work at one of the new Target stores coming to Canada), we completely understood that Claudia wanted to spend some time alone with her family alone. It’s that time in her life where they’re flying the coup and who can blame her for making as many memories as she can.

Zach and Zoe, I’m afraid were really bored. They were missing their two comrades-in-arms – Darby and Tyler – but made the best of it with their Aunt Michele. I gave them the balance of the chocolate-covered Marshmallows to take home for a treat, along with a small goodie bag for their Dad, Daryl, who was home with a migraine.

Keeping in mind that we all love our oldest sister, Gail, there’s only been one dish that we all agree was a major disaster at one of her meals. We could tell she had worked so hard with everything but as luck would have it – and to this day we’re not quite sure what happened – but the mashed potatoes ran onto your plate like cauliflower soup. They looked pretty decent sitting in that huge serving dish, but once you tried to ladle some onto your plate it wasn’t pretty. Not paying particular attention at the time and as the meal was “family-style”, Daryl gave me a poke at the table and whispered as he passed me the potatoes “I wouldn’t if I were you” with a silly grin on his face and trying hard not to catch Gail’s attention. I’m sure Gail had to have noticed how her potatoes had turned out but saved as much grace as she could by mentioning “I think the potatoes may have been a little over-mashed”. So let’s all be honest, as we’ve all done it, on the car ride home the little snickers began to flow. To this day it’s a tradition that any one of us will offer to bring the mashed potatoes to one of Gail’s meals. Every family has a little “inside” joke, and I think this is ours’. Love you, Gail, and you really are a good cook – this was just one of your bad days!

This is the year I think we should all start thinking about eating out on special occasions. I truly believe we’ve all earned the rest, we’ve all had our turns and we’re all getting older by the year, along with those “little” medical problems creeping up. Plus it’s not fair that any of the younger sisters that are much healthier have that burden and expense forced upon them. Certainly getting closer to the time where we should at least be discussing the same.

After a great time and (I’m bragging here) a pretty good meal, Nat and I cleaned up what was the most important, put on our jammies and sat in front of the TV for the rest of the night. It goes without saying that Nat’s head was deep within his chest, snoozing, by 9:30 pm. I have to admit, I wasn’t close behind. My feet and hip were throbbing and I ended up hitting the hay earlier than usual. I was out like a light!

Monday morning arrived and after sleeping in by only 15 minutes (whoop!) I dragged myself out of bed, tried to work out the kinks by walking into the living room, kissed hubby good morning, took my pills and sat down in the recliner  hoping that what was left in the dining room would be cleaned up by the little fairies in the Disney Movies.  No such luck, but what the hell, the exercise would work out the rest of the kinks left-over from the day before. We decided not to do anything or go anywhere today, so we cleaned-up and removed the extra leaves from the dining table and promptly returned to our recliners where we worked on crosswords and a golf game on the iPad, and discussed how yesterday went now and again for the rest of the day. What a life, eh??

Tuesday we’ve decided to drive into Niagara Falls to get a birthday gift for Laura whose birthday is the end of the week, find a sparkly top for me for the Rangers’ Golf Banquet this Saturday and then decide to see what day we can have the kids over to celebrate Laura’s 48th. That’s a whole other dilemma that I won’t even begin to get into!!