November 30, 2013
It was a quiet birthday day
at our cozy house today.
Both my dh and I had birthdays
this month. His was on the 19th.
Mine was today. With our recent
bouts of whooping cough and
pneumonia, we truly took it easy.
My winter tires were installed.
We shopped for baking goods.
We bought a few groceries.
We ordered yummy pizza.
We snuggled down for
a long winter's nap!
Big storm on it's way.
Content. Blessed. Warm.
How was your day?
November 28, 2013
On this snowy, but sunny Christmasy day, I spent some time writing letters. Years ago, as a teen, I had a couple of pen pals from overseas. It started as a school project and continued well into my young adult life. Then we got married, bought a house, began our family and suddenly all my time was taken up by tasks that had meaning but didn't leave me much time for writing letters. My pen pals also grew up and we all agreed mutually that our writing days were limited. We fondly said goodbye and moved on.
But I have truly missed getting letters in the mail. I love Christmas for so many reasons but one thing that I can't wait for every day is to open the mail box to see more cards and letter inside. So much fun to open each and read the notes about our family and friends lives. Last spring, I found an International Pen Pal site and registered my info to find a writing buddy or two. I've found two great women to write to, one just a bit younger than me and one older. We are sharing letters, marveling at how similar our lives are at times and embracing the differences that make us so unique. I love peeking into their lives and they seem to enjoy my return letters. This week, I'm making them both a Christmas gift to add to the letters that are ready to go.
Love opening our letter box now. Instead of bills, occasionally, there is a heartfelt letter to warm my soul!
Do you enjoy writing letters?
Do you or did you ever have a pen pal?
November 20, 2013
I've lived in this country all my life and snow, sleet, slush, rain, rocks and rumbly roads are part of the landscape. The weather can change in an instant and we're always ready, from keeping the gas tank full, as well as the other essential fluids and watching the forecast to plan for our daily driving. I'm a great driver, having taken not just the new driver's training but additional courses on defensive driving and winter strategies. With all that prep, you'd think I'd be completely ready for anything. Yet, I have a confession to make. For almost 30 years, I've driven every winter without snow tires. My "all season" tires have always been just fine. I'm able to work from home if the weather is not great and I don't need to go to work at the same time as 95% of the other drivers, so my risk is lowered for a wintery crash. I do believe that part of good winter driving is the driver, not just the type of car, the road conditions or whether one has snow tires or not.
Things are changing. We've had some really great mild winters, without mountains of snow covering our roads. We've also had a couple of brutal seasons, with snow up to our roof! As we are moving out to the country, our driving will be different, so we decided it was time to incorporate snow tires into our annual car expenses. Alberta has also toyed with the idea of making winter tires mandatory, like Quebec has done. So we're being proactive! Two year ago, we saved and saved and then bought dh a set of winter tires for his car. He can also work from home like I can but tends to at least go in to the office for the morning, so safe driving is a must for him. We got the best deal, after lots of shopping around. The day we arrived for the tires to be put on, after several delays at the dealership, they informed us that the tires were on back order and we'd have to wait for another 2 weeks. What?? This was early in the season and the snow had not yet arrived. However, in our region, waiting can be tricky. Besides, we had planned our day around the tires being put on and had gone up very early to be on time. So we stood our ground, insisted they correct their error and keep us happy. We ended up with the Michelin Latitude X-ice tires, expensive and quite a bit more than the other tires we had ordered. They were happy to give them to us for the price of the lower quality tires. That did the trick and all was well. Tires on, well before the snow arrived.
This year, it was my turn. I got a great deal on my tires but just like getting his tires done, it's been a bit of a struggle. Starting in September, we did our research, decided which tires to buy and where to buy them. Went in to buy them but ran in to an issue with supply. In the end, I was able to order them on line and they should arrive in the next few days. Today, I went in to make an appointment to have them installed. And here's where the issues came in. The store is no longer taking appointments the traditional way. Instead, what they are doing is having people line up as early as 5 a.m. to get a one of the daily "cones" when they are handed out at 8 a.m. ~ think soccer cone. Once the cones are all gone, if you didn't get one, you have to come back. Then the "winners" with the cones get to stand in line to wait for their turn to get the time their car will be worked on. For many, this is an all day affair. Considering it starts at 5 a.m., I'm out! As they were explaining this to me, they pulled up my order on the computer and noticed that my tires were not being sent to that store, but to one in the city, which then changed things. As each store may have their own process, I'd have to go to that store to find out how they will install my tires. I then said that I wasn't planning on having that store put them on, that it was the only store they would allow them to be sent to. And that's when they said "that's because we can't do any more installs. We're too swamped as it is." What?? So now I have tires arriving, without being able to get them installed in town. I then asked if I had my dealership install them, will they refund the automatic install fee that I had already paid. Yes was the right answer. Great, now I'm happy as I know my dealership had said they could install them the next day. But, here's the but, the warranty would be null and void!! Not the manufacturer's warranty, the one the store has that includes things like free rotations, free flat repairs, free this, free that. Now I'm stuck! So they sell me the tires but the process for installation makes no sense.
Calmly, I ask for the manager's contact info. They kindly take my info and promise the manager will call me in a day or two but with a warning that the situation would not change.
Don't mess with a mama who's suffering from whooping cough and pneumonia all at once!
Two hours later, the manager kindly called me, listened as I explained my frustration and ta~da, just like that, in the blink of an eye, I HAVE AN APPOINTMENT!! Now, how hard was that!! He was kind, understanding and was able to provide me with what I wanted all along ~ a decent time to bring my vehicle in for the tire install. He also confirmed that it is a crazy system and unfortunately one that will just be getting worse next winter. And he also said if we do this install, the warranty is in effect for the life of the tires and we are then free to get them installed at our dealership. So next year, I may just bypass here and get them done there. Easier if I can have an appointment. I seriously could not fathom crawling out of my warm bed at 5 a.m. just to get a cone!! Maybe that works for others, but not me.
That's my winter tire story to date. Hopefully on install day, all goes well. Wish us luck!!
November 18, 2013
I had a whole other post planned out for tonight, complete with pictures. Then I realized that this is my 300th post. Not 300 for the year, but 300 in total. It feels like I just celebrated my 100th post, so this snuck up on me without any fanfare, until tonight!!
So how will I celebrate 300 posts?
Well, here's the exciting news .... I'm going to bed!! Yup, still recovering and the snow is falling outside, the house is cozy, there is nothing really great to watch on tv, everyone in my family has drifted off to their own space and my bed is calling me. It's probably the final night I'll have the big bed all to myself, as my husband is still sleeping on the couch downstairs until his cough settles down. I'd rather he be up here but he'd rather be down there, where he feels he won't disturb my sleep. I don't sleep well on my own but am coping.
Tomorrow is my dh's birthday. He wants to celebrate on the weekend as he's too ill to participate any other way right now. I agree, for his sake, of course. My plan now is to at least have a little cake and a special dinner for tomorrow night. And then we can celebrate 300 posts at the same time.
See how sneaky I am!! Getting 2 celebrations into 1 evening, with 1 cake.
How do you celebrate a blog milestone?
Or do you?
November 17, 2013
Reading: Our annual return for the Canada Revenue Agency for our centre, which is a Canadian Charity. It's due on the 30th but I want to send it in this week. However, the program won't open on my laptop, so I may have to complete it at work. Easy, peasey form to do, but would have been even better if I could have done it while cozy in my bed!! Clearly, someone somewhere doesn't want me working from home today ....
Listening to: Cough, cough, cough in my house tonight. Yuck!
Watching: A touching program called "Letter to Jackie Kennedy" with different actors reading and beautiful photography and videos to accompany the words.
Cooking/Baking: We've been so sick, popsicles and fruit have been our staples. Tonight, our daughters brought dinner home. Heaven!
Happy I accomplished this week: I am glad I was ubber prepared to be sick. The house was tidy, the cupboards full, both cars full of gas, garbage out, recycling done, even our Christmas decorations were brought up and laid out to be put up. Less guilt when laying in bed, not able to do anything more than roll over and change the tv channel!
Looking forward to next week: Feeling better, because I will be better, right??
Thankful for today? Beautiful friends who snow blow driveways and sidewalks and daughters who bring dinner home!
Do I believe in good/bad luck and coincidences? Yes, absolutely!
Join in by visiting Carla's site. Enjoying reading and if you have a piece of cake like the one above, you're set for a lovely time!!
November 16, 2013
My guy and I are down and out today. Literally, flat on our backs, struggling to breathe without coughing. This is now day 8 and our doctor informed us, at our 3rd visit the other day, that we have a respiratory influenza, not the regular flu going around but a different, less common strain. He actually took nose and throat swabs just to confirm that his diagnosis is correct. A couple of people have asked if we got the flu shots but our answer is no. Our doctor was very clear that even if we had gotten the shot, it wouldn't have done a thing as this is not the flu that it was targeted for. He is the one reason we don't get the shot every year and until now, we've avoided the flu every season with a lot of hand washing, rest and mega doses of Vitamins C and D. Our doctor doesn't even get the flu shot, does not endorse it but will give it to his patients who fall in the more critical categories and for those who request it. I know it's a very controversial subject but for us, a decision that has been right every year. Even now, with this illness taking us right down, I have no regrets. The year that the H1N1 was so prevalent, we were the only family that didn't get the immunization when everyone else did and yet, we were the only ones who didn't get sick at our work, at school, at our centre and within our family and friends. I am prone to pneumonia but my husband has been ill maybe 3 times in our 32 years together and even then, only mildly ill for a day or two.
The hardest part of this illness is trying to take care of each other when we're both feeling so lousy. Our daughters and grandson are away this weekend and we have no responsibilities, except to get better. We've been given time off work until we're better and cancelled all important meetings and dates. So no guilt. But it's almost impossible to effectively help each other. He's downstairs in the family room, snuggled down on the couch. I'm up here in our bedroom, snuggled on our bed. Our stomachs are fine but neither one of us is hungry. We're living on juice, lemons and popsicles. Lots of offers from our friends to bring over meals and as heart whelming as those are, the thought of having to shower, get dressed, come down to greet someone at the door has made both of us thank everyone but decline those for now. As long as we're hydrated, we'll survive!
We had really warm temperatures this week with lots of rain, downpours even. Usually we have a good foot of snow by now. The south end of the province has been a winter wonderland for quite a while but we've been so lucky, to date. The bit of snow we had received was pretty much melted away. Our roof was bare and the roads clear. But yesterday afternoon, the weather changed, the temperatures dropped drastically, the snow started to fall, the winds picked up and then the warnings started. Today, they have asked people to not drive, unless they truly need to. Our eldest drove our grandson to Red Deer last night, where he gets picked up by his dad for his weekend in Calgary. Her trip down was not too bad but her ex~husband's drive was terrible. A bit worried now for the return trip tomorrow. I hope if the roads down south remain as bad as they are today, worse then ours, that he chooses to keep our little guy until it's safer to drive. He's actually the one who is not comfortable driving on slick highways so I'm going to trust him to make that call. I know our daughter would be upset as 1 day away from her little guy is excruciating but it needs to be safe for all. For now, we're warm and cozy, achy and miserable but safe and resting.
How is your weekend going so far?
November 13, 2013
Our little guy had his 3rd birthday this past week. And one of the celebrations was at our community centre with friends and family. B loves the movie Despicable Me and does the best job of imitating the "minions". We thought it would be fun for his theme to follow this passion of his!
B's cake, made by a dear friend.
And a surprise guest who made a special appearance. This was the favorite part of the day for B. He loved that a real "minion" came to his birthday. We loved it too!! It's all he talks about right now.
Can you guess who is sporting
that delightfully hot costume?
November 8, 2013
As part of my current journey, I started taking a new class this week, just for me! It is a beginner's Art Journaling Class, something I've wanted to try for a very long time. And it truly did not disappoint!
The snow started falling again just a few minutes before I left for my class, making it an even cozier experience at the home of the instructor. Our teacher is a local individual who has been art journaling for years and loves to teach the craft. Just a small group but we had a great first session. Lots of great techniques to try and ideas to share with each other as we create together for the next few weeks.
Worked on my "homework" tonight. Can't wait for our next class on Monday night!
November 6, 2013
November 5, 2013
I'm writing day and night now, determined to finish the NaNoWriMo contest and get this damn movie out of my head and into book form, so then it can be made into a movie by my filmmaker husband.
Today, he tells me he was thinking that I actually didn't need to make it a book first. I could use his script writing program and just send it right to script form.
Are you kidding me? I'm busting my butt, changing wording, reworking scenes and now you tell me it doesn't need to be a book first?
It took me just 4 minutes to decide that it has to be a book first. The effort needs to be worth the end result ~ words in my head in print!
Back to writing ....
November 4, 2013
Winter finally arrived this weekend. It rained on Saturday, then later in the evening it turned to slushy snow and by Sunday morning, we had a white world. Ironically, Saturday was snow tire day at our house. We finished up the last bit of organizing the garage just in time, then slipped inside, not to leave the house until this morning. It was lovely to watch the big flakes fall from the sky, while we puttered about, getting ready for the week, enjoying the company of our daughters and grandson, watched a few movies, made homemade chili with biscuits, fresh pumpkin pie and soup for the week. It was truly a warm and cozy weekend at our little house!
We bought this great quilt at the Antique Mall
for just $12 from my favorite vendor.
I love the soft colors and the patterns.
It had a tiny hole that was not visible to me as
we examined it in the store but thankfully, I sew.
A quick fix, a good wash and fluff in the dryer and it went on our bed on Saturday night, to keep us warm and cozy through the night. When we woke up in the morning, we watched the snow gently fall while staying under our new~to~us quilt and talked about the upcoming Christmas season, our favorite. Feeling ready now for the long winter ahead of us.
How did you stay warm and cozy this weekend?
Are you ready for the season?
November 2, 2013
Yup, I finally did it!
I signed up for NaNoWriMo.
On day 2, I'm at 4,362 words.
Just 45,638 words to go!
I don't think I'll make it to 50,000 words in 30 days but signing up to try to write a novel is giving me the incentive to write actively on a daily basis. Just the push I need to get this book out of my head and on to paper. Fun to be connected to a few writers in my community as well who signed up at the same time as well. We're supporting each other and it makes each of us accountable to the task.
Love a challenge!
Have you ever participated in NaNoWriMo?
November 1, 2013
Look what less than $20 can buy at
our local thrift store on a windy afternoon:
Snowman on a sled: $3.
Cookie tray: $1.
Small pail: .25 cents.
Teddy metal Candle: .25 cents.
Two Christmas balls: .20 cents.
Small felt Snowman: .10 cents.
Bag of small Bells: .10 cents.
Small felt Angel: .10 cents.
Brand new Snowmen sled: $4.
Vintage balls x 2: $1.
Candle globe: .50 cents.
Halloween House: $5.
Great details and lighted too!
Brand new, in the original box.
Love the price we paid!
Dollhouse picture, an original,
signed by the artist: $2.50.
We will donate the frame ~ not our style!
Total for all: $18.
Linked up at The Thrifty Groove.
Check it out!
How was your Frugal Friday?
What Halloween looked like at
our cozy house last night!
Soon we'll start our decorating inside
for our favorite season: Christmas!
Yes, for our family, a season, not a day.
Outside is done but inside is next.
Have a great weekend!