Sunday, April 30, 2017

What a Year It's Been!!

A year ago today, Terry and I were enjoying a day trip to Perth for their maple festival...

Little did we know that it would be a life changing day!

A phone call came...

Before the day was over, we were grandparents!

Our youngest son had become a dad!

It's been a learning curve for our whole family!

And such a joy!

Life will never be quite the same!

Saturday, April 29, 2017

What a Month It's Been!!

I don't know if April is always such a dramatic month...

But this April we started with snow...

... had lots of melting and flooding.

Now, at the end of the month, we are enjoying green grass and flowers!

Friday, April 28, 2017

What to Eat?!

When I was first diagnosed with high blood sugar a dozen years ago, my first endocrinologist (diabetes specialist) sent me for nutritional counseling and suggested I eat more vegetables, fewer desserts, and walk 45 minutes - or 10,000 steps - a day. I also began the daily ritual of testing my fasting glucose levels before eating my first meal of the day.

In the ensuing years, I've continued to monitor my eating and test my blood. I've read books on dozens of approaches that may help control insulin resistance, which type 2 diabetes is sometimes called.

"Eat Protein!"

For a few years, I read nutritional labels to make sure every snack included 10 grams of protein and every meal contained 20 grams. I also read that every snack should be a protein snack (not a carb-heavy one, like a cinnamon bun!) but recently I read that too much protein is bad... What is now considered "too much" protein? Is it the massive amounts of powdered protein that body builders consume? I try to keep my foods "natural" and "real"!

Vegan Diet?!

A few months ago, another diabetes specialist sent to a nutritional counselor who recommended a vegan diet - no meat, eggs or dairy... Just vegetables... I tried it and consumed lots of homemade vegetable bean soup. The first time I tried it for three days, I had impressive results. My blood sugar levels dropped dramatically. The second and third times, there was little or no change in my daily fasting glucose readings...

What happened? Was I not committed enough?!

Unfortunately, because type 2 diabetes (or insulin resistance) is affected by food, I tend to blame myself a lot. All my eating experiments have taught me that that I really can't stick to an eating style that doesn't include the foods I enjoy. Also, those I eat with (usually my family) have to go along with my food choices, or the plan won't work for long.

Having read books with opposing ideas, I know that researchers aren't completely clear about what makes up a healthy diet, especially for those of us predisposed to insulin resistance. But I do think that my first doctor - now long retired - was right when he suggested more veggies and 10,000 steps a day. I'm glad that warm weather is here so that I can go out walking again!

Thursday, April 27, 2017

First Flowers

Early spring flowers are fully in bloom in various parts of the yard.

White helleborus in the front yard...

Yellow in the side. Both plants seem fuller than in previous years. They'd make more impact if I had more of them in different parts of the yard... I'm pleased that they are facing up - rather than down - this year.

My next quest is to find some in other colors. I've seen photos of pink ones,  but I'm not sure they're suitable to our cold northern climate.

I'm amazed that these are tough to thrive through the cold winter - and bloom as soon as the snow is gone!

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Sweater... Done!

I started this Mary Maxim sweater kit a while back.

I loved the picture on the sweater -  but the pattern didn't provide a clear description of the length of the sleeves (which are pushed up in the picture). Or exactly where the collar starts in the front.

I struggled with the collar, knitting it twice.

(I still don't think it looks like the one in the pattern photo.)

Then when I cast off the collar off, it didn't lie flat, so I took the last row apart and cast off again, using a larger needle to make sure I wasn't tightening the seam.

Eventually I sewed on the buttons. But when I tried it on, I found the neck too open.

I prefer the collar closed up, so I added a button and crocheted a loop to hold it shut.

Now that it's done, I like the look - though it's not really like the picture in the pattern! (Not sure what I did wrong!)

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Sure Sign of Spring

A sure sign of spring - in our neighborhood - is the deflation and removal of the plastic dome that covers the soccer field all winter long.

It's a lot of work to put it up and take it down annually, but it maximizes use of the space. In summer it's an outdoor field. In winter, it's used for indoor sports.

A few miles away is another plastic dome, this one owned by the city. It usually stays up all year long. In winter it provides the community with indoor walking space and a driving range. I'm not sure how busy it is in summer.

Recently it sprang a lead and deflated. That must have been a shock. It's tied down now - probably to prevent it from blowing in the wind until repairs make it fully functional again.

Monday, April 24, 2017

Terry Tidying

Terry hates to see garbage and debris strewn around outdoors - but it's inevitable to see some after the snow melts in spring.

A few years ago, for Christmas, I bought him a "grabber" - or whatever those tools for picking up things are called... And he uses it!

But occasionally - as he leaves our yard and begins to pick up garbage all around the neighborhood - I wonder if he isn't doing more than his share!

Sunday, April 23, 2017

Secrets of Success?!

I have a folder of draft blog posts that - for one reason or another - I never published. I'm not sure why! Here is one...

I must have come across the Abraham Lincoln quote somewhere and thought the advice worth passing on...

Slow and steady wins the race, the rabbit learned after his race with the turtle...
  • In other words, don't give up!

I walk slowly, but I never walk backward.  (Abraham Lincoln)
  • Learn from your mistakes!? Don't go back there!? Or perhaps, always look where you are going!

Saturday, April 22, 2017

Trimming Back My Lilac Bush

Our yard has had this lilac bush since before we moved here. I used to trim it back regularly, but the following year there would be few flowers...

A few years ago, I learned that one can trim at least a third of the branches in the center of the bush every year without disturbing the blooms.

I've done that for two years now. As I look at the lilac bush now before the leaves have begun to sprout, it's easy to see which thick center branches I'll be aiming to eliminate this year!

Friday, April 21, 2017

Celebrating the Season

Last week I officially ended my winter pottery "season" by heading to the studio to glaze the last items I had made. Some of the potters continue all year long but, for me, spring, summer and fall are busy enough with gardening and outdoor activities.

Heading home, I stopped in at the Dairy Queen for a mini chocolate "blizzard" - to celebrate spring...

I know - the name is a bit of a paradox! But blizzards aren't available there in winter. Our neighborhood DQ stand is closed from Thanksgiving until spring break.

When it opens, it's a sure sign of spring! So it's a fitting way to mark my moving into a new activity season!

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Hellebore in Bloom

The earliest spring flowers are such a treat!

Earliest to bloom in our yard are the white helleborus plants I bought a few years back.

This year, the one in the front garden bed isn't facing down!

Soon the tulips will be up - their leaves are pushing through the soil nearby - but this amazing little flower beats them all!

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

New Gardening Season

The first step in gardening season involves getting rid of debris that has fallen over the winter...

Limbs, branches and pine cones... Four garbage bins full my first day of raking! (And I'm not through yet!)

I marvel that where a week or two ago there were piles of snow, there are now flower buds and green leaves.

How does this change happen so quickly?!

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Accidents Happen...

Pottery is fragile - even more so before it is glazed.

I was in the process of glazing... One of my plates was drying on the counter when another potter accidentally dropped her bowl on it, shattering it in pieces.

Don't worry about it, I told her. I'll just make another...

But she insisted on giving me one of her newly completed mugs...

So nice of her!

I'll think of her every time I use it.

(The beauty of handmade pottery... Every piece has a story!)

Monday, April 17, 2017

Enjoying a Lake View

On my last trip to Toronto, I had a reservation in a downtown hotel, to be within walking distance of the CN Tower.

Checking in, I was told that all the standard rooms were taken, so I'd get a free upgrade...

What does that mean? I wondered...

Going to my room, I discovered that it meant a room on the 21st floor, overlooking the lake!

I had a hard time tearing myself away from the view!

I took pictures of planes landing and taking off at Toronto Island airport..

Early morning sunrise on the water...

It was a real treat!

Sunday, April 16, 2017

Toronto Waterfront

I love walking by the water - even when it's a little chilly, as it was last week in Toronto.

The wind by the water often makes it cool.

But there is something relaxing and refreshing about a calming expanse of blue!

When I lived in Kelowna, BC, as a teenager, the Okanogan Lake was part of our family's live. My father bought a small boat, and we'd often go out on the lake, drive to the middle - and then simply sit.

Ever since then, I crave being near the water.

Its peacefulness does something wonderful for my soul!

Saturday, April 15, 2017

Watching Grand-Children Grow

One of the momentous events of the past year - for Terry and me - was the birth of our first granddaughter.

Every time I see her, I'm aware of changes and growth.

She is now 11 months old.

When I saw her last week in Toronto, she was almost walking. I also noticed that she was trying to take her sweater off - and put it back on... by herself!

She didn't want to be helped!

After several attempts she flipped it up over her shoulder and wore it like a shawl!

She was pleased! She had done it by herself!

Friday, April 14, 2017

View from Toronto's CN Tower

While my son was participating in the CN Tower climb, I headed up to the top by elevator!

I had never been up before!

I wondered if I'd see any planes take off from Billy Bishop Airport on Toronto Island...

Would they be flying lower than us?!

The view of the city was spectacular.

I stepped out briefly to the open air balcony, but the early morning air was windy and cold.

Glad I did it! I'd definitely go up the CN tower - by elevator - again!

Thursday, April 13, 2017

Toronto CN Tower Climb

Last weekend I headed to Toronto with my older son - to cheer him on as he climbed the CN Tower for the second time...

This time, we were staying closer to the event, so we arrived a little earlier.

It was less busy, so everything moved along more quickly.

I wondered if he had prepared himself enough to do it... To me it looks like and impossible task.

But he managed to shave two minutes off last year's time. This year he climbed the 1776 stairs in less than 18 minutes!

He was happy - and so was I!