Monday, August 28, 2006

I expect that I've used this picture of Phoebe in my blog somewhere before, but I'm running out of pictures to post so I'm using it again.

Where do the weekends go? On Friday I met DH at the grocery store after work and we did the shopping and headed home to pack it away. The plan was to put away the groceries and then go back out to the antique car night in olde Georgetown. There was to be a live rock n roll band, the stores would be open later and of course all the lovely olde cars. Unfortunately the weather gods were not inclined to co-operate for the occasion. It was heavily overcast, with periods of brief rain, and it was obvious that it would only be a matter of time before a heavy, steady and long lasting rain would start. Knowing how fussy the owners of olde cars are regarding rain and their baby's we figured that the turnout for the event would in all probability be light and once the rains moved in the cars would move out. So we opted to stay home. It began to pour rain around 8:00.

Saturday was cool and cloudy. We were invited to a barbecue at our friends house starting around 2:30, which included the opportunity to swim in their pool. My Mum was also invited to the party so we picked her up at her residence and then drove over. It was a lovely party, with good food and a mix of friends and relations of our hosts in attendance. In spite of the cool temperatures it was comfortable enough to still sit outside and visit. We had dinner around six and after that those of us who were going swimming began to change into our suits. The temperature outside was around 70 degrees, while the pool temperature was around 85 degrees. Thus it was warmer in the pool then out of it. DH was first in, which is almost traditional. I followed and then a handful of others. It was lovely. I guess that we were in for about an hour or so, perhaps longer. Then thunder and lightening drove us reluctantly from the water, although the bad weather never really amounted to anything. It was harder getting out of the warm water into the cooler then, then it had been to get in. Once dressed we spent the rest of the evening in the house talking.

Sunday was chore day. Laundry and cleaning. DH mowed the lawn. I got ambitious for dinner and decided to make Pork Tenderloin with roasted apples and onions, and buttermilk mashed potatoes. I got this recipe out of the latest issue of Everyday Food, a magazine put out by the Martha Stewart folks. I've never cooked pork tenderloin before, and I'm not a great cook by any means, but I'm learning. The food turned out great and got a thumbs up from DH.

We are collecting the mail for two sets of neighbours this week. One group are off to Myrtle Beech for the week, by car. The other neighbours are away camping and for them I am also fish-sitting. Gotta keep the bedroom door shut because Rupert is very anxious to make friends with the little guy.

I am now reading Lynn Flewelling's latest book "The Oracle's Queen" and it is quite good. It is book three in the series. Cheers all.

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Froggy came a-courting....

I spent about an hour last evening sitting out on the front stoop stitching away on my current project. It's about 3/4's done now and I can feel a finish is near.
By 8:10 the light was getting dull and so I packed up my gear for the night.

This morning I got to work at 7:30 and set out my cross stitching and sat down to finish a motif in the middle of one of the corner medallions that is in the project. I had gotten it about 3/4's done the previous evening. I looked at it as I set needle to fabric, and looked at it....And realized that I'd stitched it two squares over from where it should have been. Now why didn't I notice this goof last night?? It was as obvious as could be since it didn't aline with the rest of the pattern. So I had to pick the darn thing out and start it again. It wasn't a big deal I suppose, but so annoying.

I don't know if I'll get much done on the project for the rest of this week since tomorrow I'll be starting work at 8:00 instead of 9:00, and we're going grocery shopping after work and I prefer not to haul my cross stitch bag around the store, jammed into the shopping cart with my purse and my book/lunch bag bag. Saturday we're going to a barbecue/pool party at a friends but I may do some stitching in the morning. Sunday will be chore day, if I feel motivated. Oh, and tomorrow night is a classic cars night down in Olde Georgetown and if the rain holds off DH and I will drop off the groceries and then go down to have a bite to eat and check out the cars.

Finished reading a book by an author new to me today. Kim Harrison's "Dead Witch Walking". Quite an enjoyable read with humour and a mystery and some lovey stuff. A supernatural romance/mystery novel. Love 'em. I'll be collecting the rest of her books for sure. Cheers all.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

I thought that you would all like to meet the bosses of this household. My DH and I have worked for these harsh task masters for nigh on 3 years now. They are merciless in their demands and exacting in their standards. Our every waking moment is spent catering to their tiniest of whims. They have only to raise a paw and we leap to obey the imperial command. To do otherwise would be unthinkable. Behold the awesomeness that is Rupert (on the left) and the sublime vision that is Phoebe (on the right).

Here you go Gina. The little purr machine who spends her evenings curled on top of my desk, in the crook of my arm with her head and sometimes front paws resting on top of my arm is Phoebe. She gets very annoyed with me if I dare to spend any time outside cross stitching. And she hates when I'm typing on my blog and need both hands (and arms) to get the entry typed properly. She squeeks at me until I give up and stop typ.....

Sunday, August 20, 2006

A cockeyed view of the front of our house. That's an oak tree peeking into the picture frame on the left. Just by the front porch you can see the stone planter that is built in under the den window, next to the garage. This planter is just the right height to sit on and I often sit there in the evenings to stitch. Our house faces west so the backyard gets shadowy and cool in the evenings, while the stone work at the front of the house retains heat and the last bit of sun lingers over all. Good spot to watch the neighbourhood go by too.

I would like to send greetings and a big welcome to Gina who has stopped by my blog and left a lovely greeting all the way from Oz. So lovely to have you visit Gina and I'll be popping over to see you at your blog soon. Isn't it amazing that we can reach out over unimaginable distances to make contact with other people who share an interest in the same things as ourselves. We are encouraged and inspired by the pictures and words that we see and hopefully we develop a greater understanding of the cultures and beliefs of those others that we encounter.

Sadly, today marks the final day of my and DH's two week vacation. How depressing is that? It has been a wonderful and restful two weeks, and it went by all too quickly.

Yesterday we attended a family reunion of my DH's clan. He is a McClure whose origins go back to Ireland about 2 hundred years ago. His ancestors settled in the Brampton area of Ontario and have farmed here ever since. There must have been about 175 people at the reunion yesterday, all descendants of several branches of McClures. This amazes me. If my family held a reunion of Hatteys there would be maybe, oh say at the most 20 people. If we brought guests. On my Mum's side (Fogden) there were be less then half that. Oh well.

I'm fascinated by the old pictures and bits and pieces of paper that we have from our family's past. Panoramic pictures of past reunions, the first one taking place back in 1922, were on display and one was taken to commemorate yesterday's gathering. DH's father, a toddler, is in the picture from 1922 and presumably so are his parents. We sat at a table with a couple who'd come all the way from Sydney Australia plus people from Arkansas, and Pennsylvania in the U.S. and from Surrey, B.C.

I've been good today and spent some time doing housework. Also laundry and even some mending. I have to go make some dinner now, which means shifting Phoebe (purring kitty) off of my lap. She is not going to be happy when I'm not home tomorrow. She's gotten lots of cuddles and attention during the past two weeks. Ah well. Gotta work. Need money for books and cross stitch stuff. Cheers all.

Friday, August 18, 2006

Up until last winter the bird bath that we had in our yard was one that had originally belonged to DH's grandparents. It was at least 40 years old, and had been a fixture in their garden before he inherited it. We used it year round, summer and winter. In winter we ran an outdoor extension cord to the back of the yard and attached a heating coil which sat in the water of the bird bath. The temperature was just warm enough to keep the water from freezing solid so that the birds could drink. The water level was kept high to discourage the more fool hearty of avian visitors from trying to take a bath after quenching their thirst.

unfortunately, one day last winter DH went out to add clean water to the bird bath and discovered it to be bone dry. A hairline crack ran across the bottom of it, just big enough to allow the water to continually drain out. It was the beginning of winter and not a prime time of year to go shopping for bird baths. So we had to wait for the Spring season to roll around before we could go out in search of a new bath. But we found one eventually that we liked and put it in place in the garden. It took awhile but the birds started to return and make use of it.

Then a few nights ago, after DH had retired for the night, I was sitting here at the computer reading blogs when I heard a bit of noise outside. It was a cool evening and the windows were open. Phoebe was on her blanket next to me on the desk and she heard it too. She stood on the desk with her front paws on the window ledge and peered out into the backyard, tail swaying gently back and forth. I looked as well but without any real expectations of actually seeing anything because it was too dark. As I settled back to the computer I heard a loud clinking sound and thought perhaps something was poking around my flower pots. I got a flash light and shone it around as far as the beam would reach but everything looked normal so I had to leave it and wait for morning.

The next morning I was up early because I was catching the Go bus down to Toronto to meet my friend Linda for lunch and shopping. DH got dressed and went out side to check on things. He walked down to the end of the garden and found what we'd been dreading. The bowl of the bird bath laying in two pieces on the ground next to the pedestal. We assume that either a squirrel or a raccoon tried to perch or rest on the side of the bowl and it tipped off the pedestal and hit the paving stones that we have under the pedestal to keep the bird bath balanced.

So now it's back to the gardening centre for another bird bath. And those things ain't cheap!! Dang! (Or would that be cheep????)

The old bird bath is now planted with succulants and enjoying a new lease on life. We weren't about to get rid of it since DH had such fond memories of it in his grandparent's backyard.

Saturday, August 12, 2006

Booking through Thursday question ....

1) Do you plan ahead for your reading? Work off of a to-be-read pile? A reading list? Or do you wing it, choose whatever you're in the mood for?
2) If you do plan ahead, how far ahead? Do you have two or three books waiting in queue? Or are you backed up by dozens of volumes waiting their turn?
3) If you do not plan ahead . . . well, never? What about if you're reading a series? Or someone gives you a book for a present?

1) I rarely plan ahead when it comes to choosing a book to read. And I don't have a to-be-read pile of books stacked on my night table. I just go down to my library and wander around until something strikes my fancy. I may have a book that's number 3 in a series, usually fantasy, and I may be eager to read it, but sometimes I just like to leave a long waited for book on the shelf for awhile to savor the anticipation of reading it. As long as it's safe on my bookshelf, where I can grab it at any time.

I have a bad habit of not choosing a book to read until the last minute before leaving for work. DH is waiting at the door and I'm downstairs scanning the shelves trying to make a decision. Nothing like a little pressure to make the choosing a bit harder or urgent.

I also don't usually like to read several books by the same author in a row. I do do it, as you can see by my "books read" list on my other blog but often I find that if you read several books by one author you begin to notice a formula emerging in their style of writing or story telling. Then I find I get turned off by this. A really good author keeps you so involved in the story and keeps their writing fresh and original so you don't see a pattern/formula.

2) No queue. Always a back up pile. And of course then there's books that you reread even when there are new ones waiting.

3) There are exceptions to every rule. But I really don't have a system for choosing my next read. Its left a great deal to whim and mood.

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

It's been a long time since Loreena McKennitt released a new album. If memory serves me (which it usually doesn't) it must be over six years since her last studio CD came out. Way too long. Always worth the wait however. Today I received an email announcing that her next album will be out in the Autumn. I can't wait!! I love her music so much. Perhaps if a new album is out this fall then that will mean a tour within the next year? Dare we hope?
I've seen Loreena in concert twice, plus I attended the taping of a television show that she was guesting on. I met her once. I have a picture of Loreena, my friend Charmaine and I standing together. Loreena and Charmaine are smiling for the camera.....I look as if I'm about to lay an egg. I don't handle meetings with celebrates well. I usually go into shock. I babble. I get red in the face. You get the idea. But that picture is on the table in the den where I can see it often and remember what a thrill it was to meet such a wonderful, talented woman who succeeded on her own terms and without compromising her voice and her vision. Here is Loreena's website for any who might wish to find out more about the new album.

Today we were up early since I had an appointment with a specialist regarding testing for Glaucoma. My regular eye exams show indications that I might eventually develop this disease so I have to go to an eye specialist for semi-annual checkups to make sure that it doesn't become a reality and go untreated for any length of time. Today was the eye drops and flashing lights in the eye exam. In October I go for the two special tests, one of which will set me back $100.00. It isn't covered by OHIP. I'm not complaining. I'm glad that there's a test that will more accurately diagnose the condition if it does develop. I hate those drops though. It took about four hours before I could see properly again. During the drive home I had to keep my eyes shut because whenever I opened them they'd tear up and cause a flood.

Once my eyes returned to normal I spent the rest of the afternoon on the deck, cross stitching. DH mowed the lawn and puttered.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

It is one of those perfect summer days that you just live for. Warm in the sun, but with a gentle, cooling breeze to keep the temperature comfortable. Sitting on the deck cross stitching, with occasional breaks to pick up a book to read for a bit. Lunch on the deck. DH working his way around the garden, trimming and pruning and neatening things up. The birds are singing, and the cicadas are humming. All is right in our small corner of the world.

Sunday's birthday celebration for DH's great aunt Elsa went very well. The weather was perfect for an outdoor party, and the home where the festivities were held was in the country, with the property located right on the river. We got there mid-afternoon, just as the guest of honour was arriving with her son and his wife. Aunt Elsa had one son, he married twice and the children from his first marriage and his second wife's first marriage all consider Aunt Elsa their grandmother. From them she has many great grandchildren and also great-great grandchildren. DH and his sister are her brother's grandchildren. Aunt Elsa has failing eyesight but is otherwise in good health and her mind and her memory are quite sharp. She was having a wonderful time visiting with all her family and friends. A reporter from the local paper arrived to take pictures and interview her. Many family pictures were taken, which often required chasing down the younger members of the family and coaxing them to stand or sit still and SMILE!! I loved the two boards made up with pictures of Aunt Elsa and her family and the places that they'd lived over the years. Some of those pictures being over 90 years old.


1) Do your reading habits change for the summer months? 2) If so, how?

Actually no, I don't think that there is a change in my reading habits
much during the summer. I love to read, and have a lot of books that
I want to read and it's a great way to spend part of a summer day.

Not all this time has been spend in relaxing and goofing off. Yesterday DH helped me to clean the library. This requires climbing on chairs to clear off the tops of the bookcases and then vacuum. Also, emptying smaller bookcases to shift and vacuum behind. It took us about three hours to do. With DH working with me I was kept from stopping every five minutes to pick up a favourite book to browse through, and reread my favourite parts. Thus we finished the job in one day.

Saturday, August 05, 2006

For a shady, nondescript place in the garden there is nothing like a variety of Coleus plants to add colour and whimsy to the spot. This is the area between our house and the neighbours, next to the gate into our yard. These Coleus plants start out less then a foot tall when planted, and by the end of the summer are almost waist high on me. I love them.

DH and I are starting two weeks holidays. Pardon me while I dance around the room for a few minutes.......okay I'm back. The nasty hot weather with temperatures reaching 117 degrees with the humidity factored in finally left us on Wednesday night with one of those summer storms that appears out of nowhere and turns day into night. We can open the windows at night for sleeping, and sitting in the shade of our big tree doesn't cause us to break out in a sweat.

Today our friend Mary came for lunch and to celebrate her birthday. We had lunch on the deck and then sat under the tree and talked and laughed. Discussed books, movies, gardening, Sean Bean, books and history. It was a nice start to the holidays. Now DH is puttering in the garden, and guess where I am.

Tomorrow we go to Peterborough for the day. DH's great Aunt Elsa is turning 100 this week. We're picking up SIL and driving there to attend a party that one of her grandsons is throwing to celebrate the occasion. Imagine living to be 100 years old. She came to Canada when she was around 6 years old, lost her father in the first world war, and her mother I believe died not long after.
She lived on her own until around aged 96.

I've just finished reading Sebastian Junger's "A Death in Belmont" and have started reading Kathy Reich's "Cross Bones" although I wasn't planning to. It was sitting on the kitchen table and just jumped into my hands. What could I do?

Thursday, August 03, 2006

The little plaque half hidden in amoungst the lillys says "Dad's Garden". It is a tribute to DH dad, who passed away about 10 years ago. With the money he left us we had the backyard completely redone by a landscaper, who did a wonderful job. DH found the sign, which is made of metal, and bought it to put in the garden each year in memory of his dad.

The wedding story...continued.

After the wedding service it was picture taking time. One of the benefits of having the event at Balls Falls is that the church and the reception hall are all in one place and are surrounded on all sides by lovely gardens, old buildings and little bridges and so on for the picture taking. If it hadn't been for the heat it would have been an ideal day.

I felt so bad for the men in their tuxes, with long sleeved shirts, vests and coats. Even standing still, in the shade they were suffering. At least the bride and her attendants were in sleeveless gowns. All they had to worry about was sun burn.

While the pictures were being taken DH and I helped SIL and her friend to put the finishing touches on the tables in the barn where the reception was being held. When the guests began to arrive they made their way to their seats at the long tables set up on either side of the room. A series of long tables down the centre of the floor was for the buffet style dinner. The head table was at one end of the barn. Dinner was a mixture of cold and hot foods. Very delicious. The speeches were funny and mercifully short. Then came the dancing. The buffet tables were cleared away and voila, a dance floor.

The heat continued to be an oppressive presence in the barn even as it started to get a bit cooler as the evening worn on. Going outside for relief had it's own drawback however. Mosquitos!! The little #@%+"@#!!! were ferocious. I have to admit that I didn't last the evening thanks to a headache caused by the heat and the loud music. DH drove me back to our B&B around 10:00 and then returned to the party. The thing was that he and SIL and a few volunteers had to hang around once the party ended to take down and pack away all the decorations before they could leave, since the barn was being rented by someone else the next day. It was 1:00 am when they got back to the B&B.

We were all up the next morning by 8:00 am to partake of the wonderful breakfast that our host had prepared. Home made blueberry pancakes with sausage. MMMMMMM!!! We were packed up and headed for home by 10:30. We walked in the door here at 11:45. It was a relief to be back to our air conditioned home. The cats were very pleased to see us.