Sunday, 18 September 2016

Vacation complete

I posted this yesterday on Facebook about mid-afternoon. "Three loads of laundry done, one more to go. Got my nails done, bought groceries, made my bed, did a few dishes, cleaned the cat litter, took out garbage. Huh, I guess the vacation is officially over."

Amazing how quickly one gets back into the routine of home....whether one wants to or not.  My son did a great job while I was away, he had kept the cat litter clean, done a load of dishes, and kept my flower containers watered.  I do need to get out there and do some dead-heading and mow the lawn and the house needs vacuuming.  He did do the basement so I only have the main floor to do.

But before I get back into the here and now I want to share a few more photos** from my trip.  The first two are for you, Kim, as I thought of you immediately when I saw it.

This is the new home my cousin B and her husband G moved into this spring.  It's a park model, just over 500 square feet of living space. It is a mobile home, but looks and feels like a house with drywall and siding.   It has a lovely front veranda, with a view of the mountains across the way.

I was so impressed with the interior as well.  You enter into the home into an open plan living room, kitchen and dining room.  The large windows on the right side are in the living room and dining room.  

The kitchen is well equipped, with a full size fridge and gas stove, a decent amount of cupboards, as well as a lower set in the dining room to act as a sideboard.  

Beyond this space is a nice sized bathroom with a large shower (the space would fit a bathtub) and it has a window as well (it is to the right of the dining room window).

Beside the bathroom is an alcove for the stackable washer and dryer.  Across from the bathroom is the side door entrance and beside back door is the furnace. Then finally, at the back of the home is the bedroom, which fits a king sized bed, a closet and built in dresser/cupboard. 

After living in an RV for 8 1/2 years, this new home is a welcome change for B and G.  They are living in a new development (you can see the owners home in the background) so there is still lots of construction going on.  There a few neighbours, all of whom are currently living in RV's. By the time all the work is done B expects there will be a dozen residents, some permanent and some who live there only in the summer.  

Shortly after they started building their shed (12 X 12 for storage) they discovered a momma bunny had made a nest and delivered a batch of bunnies.  We call them B's bunnies as she has been caring for both mom and babies.  The little ones recognize her voice and come when she calls to feed them.

Aren't they just adorable?  Unfortunately I don't expect they will all survive as there are hawks, eagles, and owls in the area, plus they live just off a busy highway. But perhaps they way they procreate, it is likely for the best.  

In fact, we suspect momma bunny recently gave birth to another litter.  This one is located a ways away from B's home in a pile of construction materials.  

I really enjoyed my visits with my cousins and uncle.  This photo was from our dinner on Thursday evening.

That's Uncle Gordon with his girl-friend Judy.  I'm to his right, with cousin B beside me, and her husband G beside Judy.  G's mom is next to B, and G's daughter S and her boyfriend are at the end of the table.  

Uncle Gordon is the last of his generation.  He's 84 years old, still golfing and bowling once a week.  He's an incredibly sweet man with a wicked sense of humour.  

Just how sweet is evident with the gift I received yesterday.  

I had been out shopping, when I arrived home I found a note on the front door from Flowers Direct informing me that a delivery had been made to my neighbour's home.

The note attached from Uncle Gordon, Judy, B and G saying they missed me already.  I shed a few tears....I miss them too!


And finally, I'll wrap up this post with one of the last photos I took on my trip.  After dinner on Thursday I headed back down to the beach to see the sunset.  What a way to end my vacation!

** For those who follow me on Facebook, you've seen most of these photos previously.  

:)

Thursday, 15 September 2016

Short in time, long in memories

As I'm writing this, the sun is shining, the birds are calling, 16C and it is another wonderful day on Vancouver Island.  I arrived here last Saturday about 11 a.m. local time.  After picking up my rental car I made the trip to Parksville with my first stop at the local beach.

The tide was out and there were some clouds in the area, but it was still a beautiful day.

The park was filled with people (even though these photos don't show it).  There was a walk just ending as I arrived, several tennis matches underway, and numerous walking the boardwalk and out onto the beach.

From that moment I felt as if I was home.


 I've spent a lot of time with my cousin B and her husband G at their new home in Whiskey Creek (more on that later).  It is about a 15-20 minute drive from Parksville.  I've gone for coffee in the morning, returning around lunch time or shortly thereafter as B likes her afternoon nap.

On my way back one day I stopped in at Englishman River Falls.  The drive to the falls is not long, only about 10 kilometres off the highway, but it is a narrow highway with lots of winds and bends.

The trees are simply massive! They tower above, providing shade and the sunshine filters through.

I stopped in the parking lot and made my way up to the top of the falls.  There are marked paths that one can follow to go down to the lower falls as well.  I chose not to take the walk for a couple of reasons.

First, I'm not nearly as fit as I was after a month of walking when I was in Parksville in January 2015.  Second, my cousin warned me to watch for bear warning signs.  That freaked me out just a teeny tiny (a LOT) and I was worried about walking alone.  There were several walkers/hikers out but there points where I felt I was alone in the woods.




I did make my way part way down the trail to spot where there was another set of falls dropping into a large pool.  The lighting wasn't particular good for photos (and I don't know how to manually change the settings) but I think you can see the steam that was coming off the falls in the back ground.

I'm certain I'll be back someday, in better shape and with company so I can attempt the rest of the trail.  If there are any bears I'll only have to outrun that person. :)

It is a very beautiful spot and I'm so glad I had a chance to visit this time.  It was definitely too far to walk from Parksville - I've really enjoyed having a vehicle so I can explore a little further.








One evening I took a drive to Qualicum Beach to another beach area. There are several restaurants and small boutique hotels on the ocean side, and several condo units on the opposite side of the highway.

I took my book with me and in the late afternoon sunshine enjoying the weather.  I took a walk along the pathway to one and then to the other before returning to my hotel for the evening.



Yesterday, I had decided I would get up early in the morning and try to catch the sunrise.  Well, that didn't work because I hit snooze (twice!) and by the time I got the beach the sun was well above the horizon.  But that's okay because the beach was lovely at that time of morning.  There were only a few people out and about and while somewhat cooler than the day time temps, it was perfect for a walk on the boardwalk.


The birds were out in full force.  To the left is a sea gull - I think the lighting was off, which seems to who him with a white head. (My cousin E insists it is an eagle, but I'm doubtful).  G and B thought I had captured a shot of a blue heron but I'm almost certain this is a Sandhill crane.  I'll check with my younger brother when I get home...he's the nature enthusiast in the family.  If you have any suggestions let me know.

Finally is another of my favorite views from the beach of Mount Arrowsmith. Is it any wonder I want do live here?  I keep saying I'm living in a postcard.

Tomorrow I leave and I'm a little (a lot) sad about having to head back.  B has convinced me to come spend a week here at the end of June, beginning of July next year to go whale watching at Telegraph Cove.  I think the timing should work out well so I'll start planning for that early in the new year.

Well, should sign off and go enjoy the sunshine.  I've got more to share so hopefully will get another post up in the next day or so.

Take care and I hope the sun is shining where you are!

Sunday, 28 August 2016

Catching up and looking forward

Time keeps flying by and I can't tell you where it has gone.  I was talking with my brother this morning and he was saying his children go back to school this week.  Summer is over, though we'll still have good weather for a couple of months yet.  At least the forecast is for a warm, dry fall.  Guess we'll have to wait to see what Mother Nature has in store.

Work has been very busy and I expect it's only going to get busier.  I've been able to schedule my work week so that I generally only work four days and have Friday's off.  (I generally work 9 hour days and 150 hours every four weeks.  To get the additional Friday off I use some form of leave).  Last week, I worked a Friday because one of my employees chose to book an appointment out of the office.  I've been trying to go out with her on an appointment for months so I decided I'd change my schedule.  I think she was a bit surprised.  In any event, I don't lose out as I moved by day off to next Thursday, ahead a planned day off on Friday and the long weekend. That means five days off in a row!

At home I've been working on my knitting and crocheting.  The blue baby blanket is complete and I started on this pink and white shell pattern.  I'm about halfway completed (this photo was taken at 4 stripes, I've got almost 10 done now).

My daughter and I went to a local used clothing sale yesterday.  She did really well, getting two pairs of maternity pants, several onsies, a couple of sleepers, a baby University of Regina sweatshirt, and two Saskatchewan Roughrider t-shirts for $28.  There are a couple other sales coming up in September that we'll check out.

I made a run by the local Salvation Army Thrist store where I found three more onsies and a sleeper for less than $8. A friend had told me they often have baby blankets in near new condition but yesterday there were none.

I did try some items for myself as well but came home empty handed.  I haven't been to that particular store previously but will definitely check it out again as most of the stuff was in decent condition.  I assume they go through the donations carefully before putting them out on the floor.  It was a busy store with lots of shoppers.

So that's the catch-up.  What I'm looking forward to most is my planned vacation to Vancouver Island.  Less than two weeks from now, I'll be back on the beach at Parksville enjoying this view once again.

I'm soooo looking forward to the trip.  I'm ready for a break and I can't think of a better place to unwind.  For certain, I'll be visiting my cousin and her husband, who recently moved to a new place, and my uncle. It will good to see them again.

The way time has been getting away from me, the trip will be here and over before I know it.  In the meantime, the laundry needs to be folded so I'd best go get to it.

Have a wonderful week everyone!







Monday, 15 August 2016

Monday Musings

A little lot less excitement was to be had this past week in my world.  Work was boring, as it has become this past year or so, and at home this weekend things were quite calm and relaxed.  

I can’t see any significant changes coming at work and that’s a good thing.  We’ve been through so much upheaval in the past three years; it is nice to think that we’re finally in somewhat of a stable routine.  Of course, as I say that, who knows what the powers that be will decide…it isn’t as though they ever consult with us in the field offices anyway.

Time keeps ticking along slowly though I know that when I look back in a few months it will seem to have passed quickly.  My friend C and I were chatting today at lunch and saying, we come into work on Monday saying “it’s only four days until the weekend, I can do that”.  Then at the end of the work week we mentally check off another week.  She plans to be out of here on February 1, 2018 while I plan to leave ten months later.  We'll both use accumulated vacation leave to allow us to "leave" before we actually retire.  The light at the end of the tunnel shines brighter every day and we’re both anxious to get to the finish line.  Sad really when you think about it.  

I don’t either of us want to wish the time away but we’re both fed up with the way the organization has changed.  While there is supposed to be an emphasis on integrity, there have been numerous examples that, in fact, it is simply a buzz word with no meaning behind it.  Further, where once my role would have been to coach and mentor my staff, I have been thrust into the position of babysitter, monitoring their comings and goings, tracking and reporting their progress on a monthly basis, as well as our conversations and my involvement in their workload.  Anyway, suffice to say, I’ve lost a lot of enthusiasm for my work and it simply makes me wish for a different time.
*******

Back at home, I’ve spent a fair amount of time watching the Olympics.  How many of you saw the 100 meter sprint last night?  OMG, those guys are fast!!!  And finally, a Canadian man has made it onto the podium during these summer Olympics.  The Canadian women have fared much better. 

I’ve watched sports I’ve never paid any attention to before, including rugby and weight lifting.  I’ve watched sports I don’t really enjoy – basketball and beach volleyball.  Is there any reason why the women must wear bikinis to play?  The guys don’t wear speedos.  I used to enjoy the diving but found it tiresome this year.  Swimming and gymnastics have been great and I’m looking forward to more track and field events.   Are you watching the Olympics, and if you are, which events are you most enjoying?

While I’ve been plunked in front of the television I’ve been knitting as well.  I have a number of UFO’s (unfinished objects) that I’ve started over the years.  I’ve finished one of these and started sewing together a second one; both are sweaters, one for 0-3 months while the other should fit a one year old.   There is a third sweater in pieces that can wait…it will fit a toddler.  


In the meantime I started a baby blanket…I only had blue yarn in my stash to work with but since my daughter is certain she is having a girl, I went out and got more yarn, this time in pink and white.  Once the blue blanket is complete I’ll start working on the second.   My son’s best friend from high school is currently expecting her second child, a boy, so if D’s second ultrasound confirms her belief I’ll pass this blanket to C’s friend.

 The photo below shows both the front and back of the blanket.  The front looks much like corduroy, while the back has a raised effect.  Even with the edging I think it could be used with either side up.
I’m finding I will have to slow down the knitting though as I’m feeling it in my right arm, as well as some eye strain.  Good thing the Olympics will be finished in a week’s time!  Though perhaps this might be a reason to use up some of the sick leave I’ve accumulated over the past 18 years…
*******
I’ve been meaning to take some photos of my front flower bed.  It is entirely planted with perennials – it took six years to get there – and I’m so pleased with the way it looks.  The purple bee balm is especially beautiful and attracting lots of bumble bees.  I have a couple of containers for added color, but really appreciate the more muted colors and variegation from the perennials.  Plus they are such easy to care for… a little weeding and sufficient watering (which all the rain has provided) and I can pretty much ignore them.


******
Off to watch the track and field hurdlers and possibly some volleyball while I work on the edging.  Have a great week everyone!

Wednesday, 10 August 2016

Wow, just wow!

First of all, I want to say thank you to everyone who has commented, leaving words of encouragement and support.  You can't possibly know how much your kind comments mean to me.  It helps so much to write down my thoughts and feelings.  Getting your feedback helps me see my current situation was other perspectives and that is so beneficial.

Today brought more support my way, when I met with my assistant director to arrange to cancel my leave for March.  I couldn't have asked for more understanding and empathy.  The form was completed and the ticket sent off to our compensation center within a half hour.  When I left her office she said I should feel free to come and chat with her anytime.

As I shared my news with my peers and my team, there were some excitement, well wishes, and a few hugs too.  While most of my staff and peers are not aware of some of the issues, I have shared some of the history with my closest peers.  They offered words of encouragement and told me I'll be an awesome grandmother.*  I'm joining a club that more and more of my peers are part of, so I'm in good company.

And then this evening, there was all this and more!
Yesterday I had an e-mail from my younger brother.  One of his co-workers (a city police officer) and wife were getting ready to have a garage sale to divest themselves of their baby gear.

They have two girls who've outgrown the items, a small house, and wanted to get rid of the clutter.  I took a look at the photos (not these ones), added up what they were asking to be about $200 and I said I'd take it all.

R called this evening to see if I was home, and he personally delivered everything to me and refused to take any payment for it.
In addition to this Baby 1st car seat (and base not pictured) there are two more car seats.  The photos I had seen were two car seats, but they threw in the third!  This means I can keep one here for the times that I may need to transport the little one.  We've checked the dates and none of the car seats have expired and will mean until the child needs a booster seat we're set.

For the uninitiated (like me) this car seat can also fit the matching stroller...which was also part of the haul.  It releases from the base in the car and can used to carry the baby.  I just realized looking the photo I have it upside down....oops better not do that when the baby is in it.



 The bumbo seat was a nice surprise though I've read some reviews that are less than positive because the child may not be strong enough to hold him/herself up.

I think it comes down to the fact, as with most baby gear, the child needs to be monitored and not left on his/her own.  I'm not sure why that is such a difficult concept for some people to understand.

Below is the playpen that also has an attachment (the plaid piece) for diaper changing.  This will definitely stay at my house as the baby can sleep in it ....no need for an extra crib....and it will keep her/him contained!

In addition, there are two strollers - the one that fits the Baby 1st seat and a jogging stroller, a diaper Genie (basically a fancy garbage can for dirty diapers), a wipe warmer (seriously?), a play mat, a couple of toys, and a diaper bag. Truly amazing!  I can't help but feel blessed by the kindness of this family and the generosity of my little brother.**

D has already found a crib, which she'll borrow from a friend, and I have a rocking chair I bought before she was born.  While she'll need bedding, clothing, and other items, she's definitely got most everything she'll need....and definitely most of the expensive items.

The other thing that happened this evening was a good chat with my daughter.  I won't get into the details but after our discussion I feel somewhat relieved of some of my concerns.  For the first time, that I can ever recall, she took responsibility for and acknowledged that for many years she blamed her actions and failures on her mental healthy issues and/or addictions.  I'm not entirely familiar with the 12 step program but I think that is one of the steps that recovering alcoholics/addicts must go through.

I'm feeling more hopeful today about this situation.  With the support of so many and the possibility this will truly be a positive change for D, I feel the weight has lessened.  Plus I still have six more months to get used to the idea!

*I think I've come up with my grandma name, Grandy.  My niece and nephew have called me Aunty since they were little, and Grandy isn't too far off from that.  Of course, when the little starts talking she/he may have other ideas.  

**I did convince him to take a garden cart I had bought 6 years ago in exchange.  It has been sitting in my garage since we moved six years ago in it's original box.  I'd bought it just before be moved and never needed it here.