Wednesday, May 25, 2011

100th Post!!!

Wow! The big 1-0-0! This is my 100th post on MovingHolm! I think it's as good a time as any for a bit of reflection, which I seem to be doing a lot of these days (who am I kidding? I'm always doing this!)

Where have the past 100 posts seen me?

It was around the end of April, just over a year ago, that we started seriously discussing the option of moving, like the actual logistics involved. We were debating the pros and cons. I was wondering about my own motivations in wanting to move. I published my first post with these thoughts in my head. The first posts were all very much about moving, and packing, and saying goodbye. Saying goodbye to B.C., to Vancouver, and to all our friends and family. Looking back I can see quite clearly how apprehensive I was, but at the time, besides allowing myself to vent it in those posts, I tried to deny it. People kept telling me I'd hate it in Ontario. People kept telling me not to go. But it really was something I had to do, and something we had to experience for ourselves. Hindsight is always 20/20, my Mom always says.

Then there was the "big trip", the move itself. It seems too obvious to note that our lives changed remarkably on that trip. Of course they did. It was the transition from being there, to being here. I feel like I didn't notice it at the time, but somewhere along the way I lost who I used to be, and became this new person. It may not be all that profound, but I feel like a very different person now, nearly a year later. It may just be the house, the lack of work, the time spent reflecting, and being so far away from so many people I love, but I'm not the same person. I don't see myself in the same light, and it started on that trip.

Then we arrived in Niagara Falls, enjoyed the first several weeks as a sort of vacation, and then got onto the job hunt. Ian, of course, found something right away. I still haven't found what I'm looking for I guess. We also started appartment hunting, and going to open houses, "just for fun." Then someone suggested we see about a mortgage, even though I wasn't working and Ian was just starting a new job. So we did. We figured it wouldn't hurt to try, and they could maybe give us some direction about what we need to do to get a mortgage sooner rather than later. And then the unthinkable happened. We were approved!

So then began the house hunting. We were lucky, we found our house very quickly and knew it was the one right away. We won a bidding war, not with the highest bid, but with the best overall deal I guess. And we moved in at the end of October!

Since then, my blog has focused mainly on the house, settling in here, and looking for work. Sadly, there hasn't been much progress on any of this.

The house is coming along, but with the lack of work also comes a lack of money, so house projects are on the backburner while we pay for groceries, the mortgage, and utility bills much higher than what we were used to.

In the meantime, I've been keeping myself busy with a number of hobbies. I figured if I have time to do them, and enjoy them, I should. Sadly, they are affected by the money issue also, but I'm trying to work with what I've got. I've done a bit of cooking and baking, a bit of sewing, a bit of painting, a bit of drawing, a bit of scrapbooking, and a bit of writing. It's funny though, I feel a bit like the retiree who looks forward to retiring so they can pursue their interests, only to find out they're really not very good at them! But I do still enjoy it anyways, so I guess that's something.

I've also been researching my family tree recently and I've had a lot of fun doing that. I just got an email from a relative in Sweden, with some information about a branch of the tree that I was having difficulties finding information on!

So, where do we go from here?

Well, we're going to start with a haircut. It's been a long time coming. This is before. Please excuse the slightly blurry mirror selfie, and here's another half cut-off shot of a hairstyle I'd been trying lately.

And here's the brand new me! What do you think? It was an inexpensive haircut, but it sure made me miss my two favourite hair dressers of all time!

And now, to celebrate my 100th posts, I have some questions for you:

Who are you, why are you reading this blog, and what would you like to see in the future?

Leave a comment here, letting me know what you think. In addition, I'd be really interested to know what you've liked reading about, and what you'd like to see less of! And to thank you for your honest comments and your continued support, I'd like to send you a thank-you card! Like a real one, in the mail! So if you leave your email address, I'll email you to get your home address (if I don't already have it), and then I'll send you a thank you card! For real!!!

Cheers to 100 more!

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Finishing what I've started

The fact that I have no projects to post about means that I need to finish something. I've got numerous projects started, but haven't finished a darn thing. Maybe today will be the day! Or maybe today I'll start another! HA!

Instead I'll tell you about the most awesome weekend we had! It's a bit of a play-by-play! Sorry if it's incredibly boring!

Friday, when Ian got home from work, we relaxed on our porch with margaritas! Margaritas always make a good start to the weekend, and our porch is turning into a nightly routine! After dinner we went for a drive and then came home and went for a nearly 5KM walk around our neighbourhood. I love how late it stays light now! It doesn't get dark until 9PM! This is my favourite time of year I think!

Saturday morning I had dreams of going for a bike ride, but Ian cut the lawn and bundled up the huge pile of branches we had collected from all the recent wind storms. I went out and washed our bikes off, and then the car. Ian pumped up the bike tires, we loaded them up onto the car, and headed off to buy Ian a new bike helmet. We headed off down the parkway to find a good place to park, but on route Ian realized that he hadn't actually reattached his breaks to his tire, so we needed to make a detour home again and pick up an allen key. It was just one of those days that you want to do something but it seems to take forever to get to it! Finally we made it to the parkway, unloaded our bikes, and enjoyed an 11KM ride along the river, amidst dozens and dozens of other bikers! It was an excellent ride, considering we haven't been on a bike ride together for nearly two and a half years, Ian says! Our last bike ride together was at Xel-Ha in the Mayan Riviera, December of 2008! Then we pulled our picnic blanket out of the car and ate our apples in the shade, over looking the river. It was bliss!

That evening we went with Ian's friend Ben to a live drawing session at a local art gallery. Ian doesn't draw at all so he wasn't too sure about going, but I was really interested to go! Not that I draw much, but I do like to play with it from time to time. I have had absolutely no formal training and probably have no idea what I'm doing at all, but it's relaxing (when I actually feel like doing it) and I thought a live session would be really neat!! Yes, there was a model, and yes she was naked, and yes we sat there and drew her for three hours as she changed poses. No, it wasn't weird at all. Ian says that at first he was like, "Whoa! There's a naked girl!" but after a few minutes it just became about the drawing. You really get into it, and at first she changes poses quite quickly (after just a minute!) so you have to draw what you can as quickly as you can. I found it really helpful because you're not concentrating on your mistakes, you're just getting it down and getting onto the next one. The guy who was hosting the event was really great too, and offered to give Ian and I both some pointers if we were interested. Of course we took him up on his offer and both found it really helpful! I was really amazed with how well Ian did, in particular! All of the people there were very friendly too. I was afraid that everyone would be really snobby or cliquey, but they weren't at all and they were all very welcoming! Anyways, we both really enjoyed ourselves and I think I'd like to go again this weekend!

On Sunday and Monday we were forecast to have thunderstorms, but they didn't really materialize! We had a bit of rain early Sunday afternoon, but by the late afternoon it was gorgeous and clear! Ian and I watched the Canucks game on Sunday afternoon, and then went out for a 5.5KM hike before we came home to have a very late dinner (I think it was about 8:30 by the time we ate!) At about 9 o'clock, the cul de sac behind our house set off fireworks, lasting about half an hour, so it was pretty cool for us to enjoy our own free fireworks show right out our back door! And following that, I got a phone call from my Grandma's brother, with some more information for my family tree! It was lovely talking to him and his wife, I'm not sure I've ever met them, so it was really special to get to know them a little. He also got for me the email address of a relative in Sweden who will apparently be able to give me some more information for my tree, like where my Great Great Grandparents were married, and their proper names (apparently my Great Great Grandfather changed his name when he came to Canada so I've had a very difficult time tracking them back to Norway!)

On Monday morning we spent a lot of time working on the tiling project in the bathroom. Yes, it's turned from a grouting project into a tiling project. 32 of the tiles have fallen off the wall, or been loose enough that Ian has knocked them off the wall. So we had to scrape adhesive off the plasterboard, and off the tiles, as well as all the remaining grout off of the tiles that have fallen off. And since they've come off the wall, I decided to get serious about cleaning the mold off of them. The caulking around the tub was three layers thick, and the bottom layer was completely moldy. The second layer wasn't much better. So all of the tiles at the bottom of the wall had a layer of mold along their bottom edge, which was rough and jagged from being cut. So I got out the bleach and Ian's old toothbrush and scrubbed it all off. We also chipped a bit of the bottom of the plasterboard off, to get off the bit of mold that was still on it. I then used the toothbrush and bleach to clean the lip of the tub, under the plasterboard. It took us a couple of hours, but I'm pretty confident that we are now ready to re-tile and re-grout it!! So hopefully I can share this project within the next couple of days!

Then we went to Ian's parents for lunch, and lunch dessert. Ian's mom made some fantastic burgers will blue cheese, and then a peanut butter and chocolate cheese cake, using ricotta rather than cream cheese. It was delicious! When we came home, Ian cut the lawn again and got the few spots he had skipped because they were too wet, and then we finished up our work in the bathroom. I worked a bit on my family tree stuff, and Ian watched some videos on home brewing. We had another late dinner and we sat out on the porch together and enjoyed the evening!

It may sound pretty boring to you, and I apologize if you made it this far through the post and are now disappointed! But it was honestly the nicest weekend we've had in.. well I don't even know how long! It was like a staycation, except that we got some stuff done around the house too, without spending the whole weekend working on the house (which I really didn't want to do!)

Aaah. So now, I feel rested and positive, and am ready to get on with the week and back to job-hunting!

Friday, May 20, 2011

Musings of a Caffeine Addict

Forgive me for I drank two cups of a coffee this morning and have just enjoyed a mug of Chocolate Rocket tea, from David's Tea (yum!) Top that off with a great conversation with a much loved and greatly missed friend, and I'm feeling curiously elated, despite the fact that it is raining outside, yet again.

But I am sitting outside. Yes, outside, on my laptop, in the rain. On my porch. Screened in and completely sheltered. You know, a screened-in porch had never even made my "must have" list: in fact, I had never even fathomed placing it on my "would like to have" list, you know, the list with the soaker tub. I actually don't even think I had considered that such a thing existed. It's not that I didn't know it existed, I just... had never really been in one I guess! Shocking? Maybe. But we just don't have these out West! Anyways, considering I never even considered wanting one, now that I have one I don't know if I'll ever be able to go back to plain old "outside." Now, maybe I'm getting ahead of myself. Our porch has only been opened up and used in the last few weeks. But I love it!! I've eatten lunch out here. I've written blogs out here, currenly surrounded by the sounds of falling rain, cars on wet roads, cooing doves, and crackling grackles. Last Friday, Ian and I sat out here with a glass of wine after he got home from work. And we sat out here all evening. I went and got the guitar at some point, and Ian played the guitar out here until at least 9PM. It was absolutely lovely. And now, today, it's warm out, but raining. And I'm still enjoying the sounds of the outdoors and the fresh air, and the smell of lilacs! Lilacs!!! I just painted my toe nails out here. What a perfect place to do that, so that the house doesn't smell like nail polish when Ian gets home, because I know he really hates that smell. And I can't smell it either, because I can smell the beautiful, fresh, lilacs! And now I'm sitting with my feet up, my toe nails drying, and typing on my computer. Even though it rains! *sigh* This might be heaven. Aaah, and now the sun! The sun shine has finally broken through the clouds and stopped the rain in it's tracks!

Back to the part about the conversation with the good friend. Do you have friends like that, when you talk to them you just feel refreshed? It started raining again outside, towards the end of my conversation, and yet, when I got off the phone I thought "what a glorious day!" When things aren't going your way, or unfortunate events occur, having a good friend to talk to makes everything seem.. well.. alright. Especially after the tears last night, I'm not sure exactly where they came from, except that I'm feeling pretty alone these days (as I do most days I guess.) But I feel so completely blessed right now to think that I have such a person in my life, even though she's so far away.

Another thought has occured to me in my caffeine-induced state. Time spent at home. I've been "at home", ie. not working, for nearly 11 months now, although within that time we moved across the country, and I have worked three temporary jobs, but never longer than 3 weeks at a time. So I've finally figured out why weekends always seemed to pass so quickly. Its because time spent away from work must pass at a different rate than time spent at work. I am home, pretty much all day, every day these days, and it boggles my mind how I can get so little done some days! When we were painting, I feel like that's all I did. I breathed, ate and slept painting. Now I must say, I got a heck of a lot done, but I got pretty tired of working on the house all the time. It's like, that was my day job, then Ian would come home from work and we'd just keep at it. We got a lot done, yes, but it's all I've done, and on the days he didn't come home and get to work on something, it felt like I was fixing this house up all by myself. Obviously the time I've spent on it greatly outnumbers the time he's spent on it. And that's no fault of his, one of us has to work! Actually, both of us has to work, but that's another story and one that doesn't seem to be going my way. Anyways, point is, I've become pretty unmotivated with it all, and haven't done a whole lot. In the past few weeks I've done quite a bit of work on my family tree, and quite a bit of work on my wedding scrapbook. But I haven't done any sewing. I haven't done a whole lot of cleaning. In fact, it's nearly 3:30 and I haven't even done the dishes today. So what do I do with my time? I have no idea! That's the thing, I'm thinking there must be some sort of time-warp at home, where time passes at a different rate than it does at work. Previously, at work, I'd get an amazing amount accomplished in a day. Maybe it's just that there are more distractions here. But even if I count the distractions as work, it never comes close to adding up. Maybe it's the time spent writing a blog, browsing blogs, checking email, and checking facebook, that are preventing me from getting anything done. Maybe it's just that I simply don't feel like doing much of anything. I feel like finding a job. I desperately feel like finding a job. But I'm not sure where else to look. So I check job postings, send out my resume, check job postings, re-write my cover letter, send my resume, and repeat... And I pretty much do that off and on all day. Someone once told me if you want to find a full-time job, you have to work full-time to do it. Maybe that's where my head is at. But after 11 months, I certainly do feel like I must not be trying hard enough.

Soo I think those are enough ramblings for one Friday afternoon. Sorry about this!

Thursday, May 19, 2011


When we first moved into the house last fall, we were visited a few times by some goldfinches, but then we didn't see them again all winter. Now, that might be because I've heard they loose their pretty yellow colour in the winter, but I'm pretty sure, judging by their size and markings, that they just weren't around. Mostly we had our cardinals, bluejays, doves, and a ton of sparrows. Then, a couple of weeks ago, Ian's Mom mentioned that she saw them again in her backyard. She gets a ton of them and has a special feeder for them that they can hang upside down on while they eat, which I take it, is what they like to do. Then a week or so ago, Ian said he saw one in our backyard, but of course I missed it. Then, finally, last week while I was working on my scrapbook, I saw a flash of yellow out of the corner of my eye. I'm getting good at this now, so I grabbed Ian's camera on my way to the other window. And guess who I saw! Usually I see the goldfinches together, in a little group, but this guy was all on his own. I'm not sure what that means, but I hope we see some more! Maybe we'll have to get another feeder for them...

Cutting the Dead Wood Out

Hey, weird!!! This is the missing post from last week, and I just found it in my drafts!! Which is even extra funny because I'm sure I looked there to see if I forgot to actually publish a post! But now, here it is!! Did I not post it?? Was it just drifting around in cyber-space for days and days, lost, lonely, wondering how to get home?? Well no harm done, here it is!

There comes a time in your life when you realize that you need to cut the dead wood out. It doesn't make sense to trim the hedges, when they're full of dead wood on the inside. Eventually you'll just trim them down to one big, dead bush. Now I don't want that to happen.

This was the hedge in front of our house last September, when we first looked at the house. Notice the big dead spot on the left side. That big dead spot extends deep inside, and all the way across. The dead needles and branches were several inches thick in places.

So finally, last week, I got out the clippers and showed the hedge who's boss. Notice the big bald spot now on the left side, and the unruly, shaggy bits everywhere else.

Here's a close-up of the new bald spot.

Looking at the hedge from the side, you can see how little is actually left of it. I pulled out a heaping wheel barrow full of dead needles and branches. Honestly, I couldn't believe how much dead material was in there choking it up. 

This was a favourite hiding place for the swallows around our house and when you walked up to the front door you could see the whole thing shaking as they all panicked and darted through the insides before they took to the skies (or actually just flew over to the next bushes), but they haven't seemed to return to it since I destroyed their cover. I even found this old hive in there. Glad it's cleaned out now, and if the wasps, or bees, or whatever they were, try to nest in there again we'll be able to see it, and take necessary action. Previously, we never would have been able to see it, so it would have been hard to know what to do about it!

Unfortunately for me, the hedge fought back. I ended up with scratches and a rash up to my elbows on both arms, even though I was wearing a long sleeve sweatshirt and gardening gloves. Also ended up with a rash on my knees from kneeling in the dead needles, even with jeans on! Due to my white, pasty arms and freckles, I couldn't really get a clear picture of the rash on my arms, but here's a glimpse at my knee.

That was only about a week ago, so it still remains to be seen if the hedge will survive my onslaught. I tried not cut out any live branches, but I did a lot of pulling and tugging of them, trying to get in to the dead ones. If it does survive, I'll have to tuck some of the long, scrawny, and slightly pathetic branches into the dead spots and hope that they help to fill it in. I'm actually sort of hoping it will just die and I can cut the whole thing out and plant flowers there instead, and the only reason I didn't do that is that flowers for the garden are not in the current budget of bare necessities. I think it would be a lovely spot for some flowers, though!

However, I am a bit concerned that once we get rid of all the water absorbing hedges and shrubs out front, we may have problems with water in the basement or seeping through the walls. There is evidence of water coming through the block foundation at some point, but we haven't witnessed anything since we've been here. Mrs. S. says it happened 10 years or so ago, and then never again. We'll see. In the meantime, we'll leave the hedges until we can afford to plant something somewhat substantial in their places, and not tempt fate.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011


Not me. Him. Or her I guess!
I was working on my wedding scrapbook the other day when I noticed this squirrel in one of the Linden trees out back, hanging upside down from a very thin and wobbling branch, stripping the bark off of another nearby branch. She was working very, very fast, her tail twitchy like crazy, and then scrambling back up the branch. I figured she'd be back in a few minutes, but she was back almost immediately. I wondered if she had dropped the bark. She moved down another branch and stripped a small branch full of fresh leaves off, still moving super quickly. I was struggling to get a picture of her, she was moving so fast. As soon as I could see her through the leves, she'd be gone again.
Boy was I surprised to see this in the branches of the Linden tree! The branches that were completely bare only a month ago, barren of even a single bud! Used as a climbing apparatus for squirrels, and a perch for the birds, we'd never seen a nest in it! Now suddenly, BAM, a huge nest! (Bam! Hahaha I'm sure that's not quite how it went..) She must have made that very quickly.
I opened the back door to get a better picture, and that's when she spotted me. And she sat very very very still. The twitching tail had stopped, and we just stared at eachother. I think I took at least five pictures in which she didn't move a muscle. What a good subject, posing for her portrait. Or giving me a death stare. I'm not sure which.  
Yes, then I left her alone.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Sushi dinner

I made sushi for dinner, last night and tonight. It's one of those things, once you buy the nori (seaweed wraps) and the immitation crab, you gotta use it all up before it goes bad! So I've had more California rolls than I can handle in the past 2 days...

Last week Ian and I made up a big batch of gyoza, or Japanese pork and cabbage dumplings. We got the recipe from one of my very favourite chefs, Anna Olson, here. It turned out amazingly well, and I'm super impressed with how authentic it tastes, even though Ian and I always opt to use low sodium soya sauce. It made over 100 dumplings, and you just freeze them. We had them twice last week, but decided that they're not quite the same without sushi too. So we figured we'd give that a shot this week.

It's actually pretty easy to make sushi. I mean, it must be. I made it in 8th grade, that was over 15 years ago (like 18 years ago!? Holy!) and I can still remember the basics. We opted to make plain ol' California rolls, because we both really like those. They're the ones with cucumber, avacado, and crab.

First I cooked the rice. You have to use short grain white rice, and you should rinse it before you cook it. I rinsed it about three times I think, until the water is mostly clear. Then you should let the rice drain for a while. Then you cook the rise (about twice as much water to rice ration I believe) using the pretty standard rice cooking method. Boil water with salt, add rice. When all the water is absorbed, take it off the stove and let it sit for a few more minutes. Now, apparently, at this point, you should add some rice wine vinegar and sugar. So last night I did this. But tonight I didn't and there really wasn't too much different. Although I do think it was maybe a bit nicer last night.  Anyways, I think I only added about a tablespoon of rice vinegar, and a teaspoon of sugar. You don't really want to taste it, I don't think...

So then you let the rice cool. I've heard things about bacteria growing really fast on rice so I put it straight in the fridge at this point.

Then you slice up your veggies, pretty small, think "match sticks" for the cucumber, and small chunks for the avacado. I shredded the crab too, and added some Japanese mayo.

I used plain ol' plastic wrap to help roll my sushi. So I laid out a piece of plastic wrap, placed a piece of nori over it, then covered it with a thin layer of rice. Make sure to leave about a cm at the end, to seal the roll. Then I sprinkled it with some sesame seeds for fun, and laid out my "fillings", all pretty close together I guess.

Then you just roll it up! You can use the plastic wrap to help you roll it evenly, and give it a good squeeze so that it's all tight in there as you're rolling. When the plastic wrap is getting close to being tucked inside, you can just pull it up and back out of the way. You're pretty close to being finished anyways. 
Just before you reach the end (or before you started rolling even!) you can dip your fingers in some water, and rub it on the inside edge of the nori, where you left a space with no rice. That's the part you'll use to seal the roll closed. As you can tell, I overstuffed this one and my rice was oozing out!
Finally, you should use a really sharp knife to cut your roll into bite-sized rounds. Even with a pretyt sharp knife, my end pieces squished out a bit! But they still tasted good, and that way Ian and I could both taste them while we finished getting dinner on!
I still had to warm up the gyoza, after all! Which is fast! Straight from the freezer to a frying pan with just a very little bit of oil. When they're a bit brown, add some water so they're just over half-covered, and put a lid over (loosely, you want to steam them, but want the water to evaporate too!) It takes less than ten minutes! Then let them brown just a little more. Ian and I like to flip them over so they're crispy on two sides!

Mmm, sooo good.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Family Tree

Have you ever researched your family tree?

I've been talking about doing this for several years. In fact, when I was about 13 or 14 I corresponded with a gentleman in England (through my Grandmother, this isn't actually as creepy as it sounds) who was researching my Dad's branch of the family tree.

But in the last several year I've definitely been wondering more about my Mom's side of the family tree. My maternal grandparents' families came from Norway and Sweden, and I had the opportunity to travel to Denmark, Norway, Sweden, and Finland a few years ago. It was an amazing trip, and even though I did not look up my family there, or visit the places that they lived, I felt more connected just visiting the countries, and thinking about my ancestors fishing the fjords of Norway... In the last year I've been trying to scrounge some information from my Mom, but she couldn't remember much. When I asked my Grandmother, she'd quickly get confused and then say she has a book about her family's history in Wadena, Saskatchewan, somewhere and she'll find it for me. Of course that hasn't happened...

During my Mom's recent visit, we bit the bullet and paid to upgrade my free membership to the world membership. We had a bit more information, and we called my Grandmother a few times with specific questions. Then my aunts and uncles got involved and they started sending us messages with a bit more information. And then we started getting hints! You know, those little leaves that pop up and suddenly your whole family's history is right there at your fingertips? Not quite, but every little bit helps. And when my Mom returned home, she photocopied some documents my aunt had, some of them documents from her aunts, with memories of their parents and grandparents.

Anyways, the more I find, the harder it is to walk away from it! I am so thoroughly confused half the time, I think I have spent hours just trying to review what I "know for sure!" I've contacted two distant relatives living in the U.S., and found one of them traces one part of our family tree back 10 generations, if I include myself!

I've found census records in Norway that include my ancestors. I've found Church records in Sweden listing the births of ancestors (including my Great Grandfather!) I've seen my ancestors names on ship manifests, including my Great Grandfather and Great Grandmother's names on a ship that landed in New York - now I've signed up to as a "friend of Ellis Island" and can order a commemorative certificate with their names, or the ship manifest for the ship they were on - the SS Kristianiafjord which sunk less than a year later!) I've found Census records from the US and Canada listing my ancestors. I found the US Draft Registration records for both my Great Grandfather, and his brother. I've found the death record for my Great Grandfather. And I'm trying.. trying... trrryyyyiiing to trace it back a little further. But the records are a bit less detailed, and also in Norwegian and Swedish, so it's a bit tougher going. But still soooo addicting none-the-less!

It's not just a matter of plugging in names and finding leaves (although you may think that from the commercials!) In fact, I'm finding information on a number of different websites, and is really only one of them. I'm also using (which is GREAT) and the Norwegian Historical Data Center website (where I've found Norwegian census info.), through the University of Tromso in Norway.

I couldn't sleep last night from the excitement of finding my grandfather's mother in the Norwegian Census records! And this morning when I got up I went right back to my family tree. I haven't even LOOKED at my regular blogs yet today. This family tree stuff is all I can think of!

Have you done this?? Should I get some help?? Do they have "Ancestry Anonymous" support groups do you think??

Friday, May 13, 2011

What to do when Blogger is down…

This morning I got up, poured myself a cup of coffee, checked my email and Facebook, and then proceeded to make my usual blog rounds. There are numerous blogs I like to check in on daily, for a variety of reasons.

Pretty quickly though, I realized something was up. The first blog I clicked on featured a post from two days ago. "That's funny," I thought, "I'm sure there was another post after this one yesterday. Why would this person have deleted that post??" Hmm. So I left that blog and went to another. Interestingly, the same thing had occurred there, and the most recent post, from yesterday, was suspiciously missing. I checked another, and again, the most recent post was gone. At this point I was a bit worried, and checked my own blog. There it was, my own recent post, GONE! (Get it, there it was, gone? It's more like, there it wasn't, right? But there, and gone? Nooo.. Ugh, lame, sorry..)

Anyways, at this point I tried logging into Blogger only to receive the message that blogger was temporarily unavailable. When I clicked on the link for more information, I was informed that all posts from Wednesday on had been temporarily removed while they fixed whatever the problem was.

What?! You mean I can't edit my blog, check my stats, or see what my fellow bloggers are up to today?! What will I do?!

So I went for a run. After I checked the site one more time. I also checked Facebook and my email again.

Then I came home, and checked it again. Really, is it so important that I'm now going to spend my day checking on blogger in between household chores? Yes, yes it is. Maybe I need to get some other hobbies. What could I do with my time, besides checking blogger?

Well, I could write a post that I can publish when it's back up.

I could work on my wedding scrapbook.

I could clean the bathrooms.

I could sweep the floor.

I could get back to work sawing out the grout from the tiles in the bathroom.

I could read the newspaper.

I could sit on my porch and read a book.

I could weed and trim hedges.

I could smell the lilacs on the bush that I've only just realized are lilacs.

I could take some pictures.

I could do my nails.

I could do laundry.

I could do the dishes.

I could.

Or I could make my lunch and check on blogger again.

PHEW!! It's back!! Finally I can get back to the long list of things I have to do today (see above) in peace!

But wait… where is my post from yesterday? Didn't I post anything yesterday??

PS I'm sitting on the porch writing this and finally witnessed for myself, my buddy the cardinal tapping on the garage window. At first I thought it was the neighbour working on something in his driveway. Also, have just seen the biggest bee I have ever seen in my entire life bumping into the screen of my porch. TG for the screens!!! Like, the thing is so big it sounded like a bird hitting the screen!

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

The "Glider" on the Porch

When we moved into our house, underneath that pile of plastic, with the backs of chairs sticking out, was an old metal porch glider. At least, we thought it was a glider, only now we realize it doesn't move. Is it still a glider if it doesn't move? And I'm not all that mechanical I guess, I'm not even sure how it's supposed to move. Is it seized, or is it just a stationary chair? Maybe it's not a glider at all. But if it's just a chair, I'm alright with that, too. Anyways, the point is, I love it.

Last weekend we took all the plastic "storm windows" off the sun room and we finally uncovered the "glider" for the first time. This picture is after a good ol' wiping down with good ol' dish soap and vinegar, and leaving the cushions out in the sun to dry. The cushions are somewhat faded I suppose, who knows how old the chair really is. But if you flip the cushions over, they're the same colour on the other side, too, so maybe they're not really faded that much! There's hardly any rust on the frame at all, just slightly on the steel back supports. I'm hoping to clean the little bit of rust off, and then spray the whole thing with either a clear gloss Rustoleum, or similar product, to help protect it from rust in the future. I'm also consider, perhaps, maybe, changing the colour. But I kinda like the metal look! One day I'm thinking to either re-cover the cushions, or probably (more likely) make new cushions for it. Don't get me wrong, the ones that are on it are in fantastic shape, there doesn't seem to be any worn spots, or compacted cushioning, or "bum marks" as it were... But they must be pretty old, and who knows what could actually be living inside... On that note... Guess where I'm sitting right now??

That's right, on my "glider" in the sun room. Or porch. Or whatever this area should be called. The sun is shining, it must be about 23 degrees out here. I can hear the birds chirping, when they're not being drowned out by the chorus of various lawnmowers, weed wackers, and chainsaws buzzing around the neighbourhood. It smells like vinyl. Oh, never mind, that's the "glider..."

But it's lovely out here. I can't wait for Ian to get home from work, and we'll enjoy a mango smoothie out here, together. Our first drink on the porch in our new house. And it only took 6 months before we could get out here to enjoy it. Something to do with the weather I suppose. 

The view from said porch includes our so-far squirrel-proof bird feeder, and a bush or tree that actually appears to have about four different things growing in it. Also, my "wizard tree" behind it, named because I think it looks like a wizard with a big pointy hat and long, flowing robes. There are suddenly some nattering sparrows around the feeder, I'm not sure what their problem is. They all seem to be screeching over eachother. I can also see some different birds further away in the grass, but I can't quite make out what they are. Small, but not the sparrows.

Right in front of me, across from the "glider" is a fence between our yard and the neighbours. On the other side of the fence is their pool. I'm sure I will be sitting out here and deeply inhaling that smell on hot days. Also, note that there are two arms for hanging some lovely hanging baskets on one day when I have some money to either pick some up, or make some myself. I'm pretty sure I'm just going to go pick some up. I wanted to sort of see how much light it gets during the day though, and right at this very moment it is in direct sunlight, so that's a good sign for a nice hanging basket of big blooms, which I've been dreaming of. Also, I saw just the other day, little hummingbird feeders that you can put in hanging baskets, and I think I'd like to try one of those. When I get hanging baskets of course.

In the meantime, I'll sit on the smelly vinyl "glider", enjoying the warm sun on my toes, and the harmony of the lawn mowers around me.

Happy spring!

PS If you have any experience restoring old funiture, particularly of the metal porch variety, or any advice on fixing up this glider, or know someone who might be able to offer some advice, please, I'm looking for all the input I can get! Drop me a line! Send me a comment!

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Romancing of the Cardinals

I know I've said it before, whenever we see the female Cardinal, the male is not far behind. We often see him off by himself, eating under the bird feeders, checking out his competition in our windows (he thinks), or singing in the trees, and we see him every single day. But we don't see the female quite as much. When we do see her, he's often not very far away, and he always gives me the impression he's looking out for her. Maybe he's afraid another studly male will come and steal her away. There are actually quite a few Cardinals in the surrounding neighbourhood, we hear them singing when we go for walks, and can often spot them in the tops of trees, or on top of houses.

But in my mind, I'm going to imagine that Cardinal just doesn't like to be away from Mrs. Cardinal, and he's not being possessive, he's being supportive, and protective, when he doesn't let her out of his sight. Recently, she was spotted on the bird feeder, and after a few minutes of allowing her the whole feeder to herself, he made his appearance. Notice he's showing her his thin side..

"Hey baby, mind if I join you?"

"Sweetie? Are you there? Where are you?"

Man, that guy hardly gives me any peace... "Yes, I'm here, I'm on the other side."

"Oh, of course, there you are! I didn't see you there!"

"Come away with me and you'll never have to fend for yourself again, I'll take care of you, I'll give you everything you need, and everything you've ever dreamed of!"

"Oooh Cardinal, you know I'll go away with you. I know you'll look out for me."

"When times are tough, and food is scarce, we'll make it work."

"Whatever the future holds, we'll be together, baby."

"Oooh Cardinal, you know I'll never leave you! I love you!"

Too cheesey?

Monday, May 9, 2011

Life and Death of a White-Throated Sparrow

NOTICE: If you are particularly sensitive, DO NOT read on...

A white-throated sparrow, spotted frequently amongst the other sparrows at the bird feeders. Take note of the yellow markings on his head, making him very easy to pick out from the other sparrows. Also, the white-throat, giving him his name I suppose.

I think he's one of Ian's favourite birds.

I particularly like his yellow eyebrows. He reminds me of a little old man with big bushy eyebrows.

He has some pretty markings on his wings, similar to the other sparrows. He likes to sing outside our bedroom window, as do the other sparrows.

Spotted by my Mother-in-Law, on our front porch, upon leaving our house one day. Sadly, he's one of the two unfortunate souls who have met their early demise as a result of our lovely big windows. Actually, I have seen another white-throated sparrow since this occurance, so maybe there were a few of them. Or maybe just a pair. How very very sad.

I may have disrupted the sparrows preferred nesting spot in front of our house last week when I trimmed the dead wood out of our hedges, and knocked out the thick layer of dead needles that were choking the branches. This has nothing to do with the death of this little guy though, this actually happened a few weeks ago.

Friday, May 6, 2011

Easter Dinner

During my Mom's recent visit, her first to the area, I had the privilege of cooking a turkey dinner with her. My first turkey dinner. For Ian, my Mom, her partner, Bob, and Ian's parents. I've never had a reason to cook turkey dinner before. My sister did it once, I think because at the time, my Mom and Bob were living in their 5th wheel while they built a new house. So my sister had everyone over to the trailer she was living in for turkey dinner.

I know I've helped my Mom prepare turkey dinner countless times. But it has never been my responsibility. Something about cooking my own turkey dinner, even with the help of my Mom, makes me feel awfully grown up. Maybe it's something about being at a point in my life where I'm not going to my Mom's house for holidays. It's a pretty long and rather expensive trip for every holiday. I'm hoping that in the future we'll be able to go back for more holidays than we can afford this year (zero holidays this year.) Maybe it's because my Mom came to my house for a holiday, maybe that's why I feel grown up. I was hoping to have a fun and family-filled future of such events at my house. I doubt now that that will happen, although it's not because of the difficulty of preparing the dinner.

Both my Mom and my Mother-in-Law said that they hate preparing turkey dinner, or at least that they find it the most stressful and least enjoyable family meal. I didn't mind it, but being able to spend the day checking on the turkey and planning what to make next, with my Mom, was really an absolute dream. I can't imagine a better way to spend the day, then with my Mom. So really, it was wonderful. Every gravy splattered moment was a blessing.

Putting the turkey in the oven. Actually, for the second time because Ian forgot to take pictures for me! Please forgive my pajamas (GO CANUCKS!)

Dressed much more appropriately in this picture, Mom and I baste the turkey.

Sweet potatoes roasted in the oven, with the turkey. We put foil under them, but unfortunately they bubbled up and the juices spilled out onto the bottom of the oven, and then the whole house smelled like I had burned the turkey, just in time for dinner. However, no food actually burned at all!

Removing the stuffing from the turkey. I wasn't sure how much stuffing would be inside, it was only a 10lb turkey! (Yes, I actually cheated and bought a frozen, pre-stuffed turkey.) But there was a lot of stuffing.

Before I knew there was going to be a lot of stuffing inside the turkey, I decided to make my own stuffing in the slow cooker. So we actually had two enormous bowls of stuffing, which in my own family would have been a huge hit, and my sister and father would have fought over it, and it probably all would have been devoured. In this case, there was quite a bit left over.

The gravy actually turned out WAY better than I could have imagined. We didn't need to add any flavourings or colourings, it just turned out perfectly! We had a ton of gravy left over, too. When does that ever happen? Anyways, I've frozen it and will use it for a fantastic turkey burger recipe I have.

Mom, carving the turkey. Me, just lookin' pretty.

The table set, ready to go. You can see the salad on the table. We also had mashed potatoes of course, but I never did get a picture of those, they're awfully boring. And Ian made brussel sprouts, but they're the one vegetable I'm really not fond of, at all. Ian's Mom also brought little cheese croissants. It was a pretty fabulous looking dinner.

The lucky recipients of my first turkey dinner (with a lot of help from Mom, as you may have noticed). I hope you liked it!