Monday, April 30, 2018

Happy Birthday!!

The youngest member of our family is two years old today!!

Hard to believe!!

This is what she looked like two years ago when we first met her...

And here she is now - always on the go!

How quickly they grow and change!

Sunday, April 29, 2018

Another Sign of Spring

Another sign of spring in our neighborhood is the removal of the plastic dome that covers the nearby Algonquin College soccer field all winter.

 Several days ago, it came down.

It takes a large force of workers to roll it up and put it away until next winter.

Our neighbor, Bill, hated it... It blocked the view from his bedroom window.

Now that it's down, the view is wide open again!

Saturday, April 28, 2018

Spring Visit to Almonte

Now that the roads are bare and ice and snow are gone, Terry suggested we resume our local day tripping habit - starting with a visit to Almonte...

So last Saturday, we took the 45-minute drive.

The day was pleasant enough for a walk along the path by the river...

The water was running high.

 It was hard to keep my camera lens dry as we walked beside the raging water falls.

We stopped in at Baker Bob's cafe and bakery for the first time...

It seemed to be a popular local "meet and eat" place...

Before my low-carb days, I'd have come home with a lot of pastries. Terry couldn't resist buying a few goodies.

Later we wandered around the historic downtown town, admiring the old buildings...

Terry paused beside the statue of a local celebrity, Dr. James Naismith - the inventor of basketball - who was born on a farm near Almonte.

Looking at this statue, I wonder: Was basketball originally played with a basket on the ground?!

It's always fun to be back - and refreshing to be walking outdoors again!

Friday, April 27, 2018

First Flowers

It's almost May...

So far, the only flowers in bloom in our yard are the hellebores...

The one in our side yard faces out...

I'm glad to see that it has a few more buds.

But the one in our front yard is facing down!

(Not sure why this happens!)

I can't see any more buds on this plant.

The leaves of a third plant, in the side yard, have been chewed on (by rabbits?!) No buds or blooms visible this year so far... but I'd like to be surprised!

Thursday, April 26, 2018

Learning From the Young...

My two-year-old granddaughter loves to eat avocado out of its "shell" - with a spoon...

I used to sometimes eat avocados mashed and spread it on toast - but I never like this.

After watching her enjoy her avocados like that, I've begun eating mine the same way!

Easy to prepare: simply cut!

A tasty, healthy snack...

And - apart from the spoon - no dishes!!

Wednesday, April 25, 2018

Dove Soap... Pin Cushion?!

I came across a sewing tip (or "hack" as they now call it...)

Apparently using a bar of Dove soap as a pin cushion makes pins slip into fabric more easily...

I went out and bought Dove soap bars and stuck some pins and needles in...

I haven't used those pins yet. I may forget to comment on my blog, if they work well. But if they don't, I'll probably remember to mention it!

Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Upsetting Nature's Balance?

One of my aunts had a bird bath in her back yard. It drew many birds - including crows, who cleaned themselves after devouring their prey.

I got sick of having to clean the blood out of the bird bath, she told me, so I hung old CDs on tree branches nearby. My kids laughed at me, but it worked! The crows disappeared... but the mice population in the neighborhood increased. My neighbors started complaining that families of mice were now living in their garages.

I thought of her story recently...

Ever since I put these bird decals on the windows - aimed at keeping small birds from flying into the glass and injuring or killing themselves - our crow population has almost disappeared...

I liked having crows around!

Maybe it's time to remove the decals and see what happens... Have I inadvertently upset nature's balance?!

Monday, April 23, 2018

What Was Making that Attic Noise?!

A few weeks ago, Terry and I - on separate occasions - heard noises in the ceiling...

Could those little red squirrels running around our house be finding a way in?!

Time to call pest control...

Terry left a message - the pest control guy called back (but we were out)...

In his message he said:
If you hear the noise in the ceiling after dark, it's mice...
If you hear a noise in the wall or between the floors in the daytime, it's a squirrel...
But sometimes you don't hear animals in the attic because insulation muffles their movement... 

We stopped hearing noises... Do we still have a problem? we wondered.

Then came a night of freezing rain - and at one point I heard a sudden rushing movement across the ceiling over my bed...

Was that a mass of ice falling off the roof? Or a frightened family of animals running in the attic over my head?!

It's never boring when you have nature outside your door...

Sunday, April 22, 2018

Enjoying Indoor Flowers

As winter lingers - I have been especially enjoying the indoor flowers currently in bloom.

The orchid, which has been in bloom for several weeks now...

A flowering plant I was given the year we lived in Toronto... which was a while ago! (Before any of my children were born!)

And one of my African violets that is starting to bloom.

I can never be surrounded by too many flowers!

Saturday, April 21, 2018

Children - and Laughter

Laughter comes naturally when young children are around!

Whenever we visit, we enjoy watching our granddaughter as she tries new things...

Like wearing my reading glasses!

Or balancing on her mother's knees!

Or imitating adults around her...

Here she is putting moisturizing cream on her feet, as she has seen adults do...

Nothing escapes her notice!

This little two-year-old always makes us smile.

We realize that the next time we see her, she will be trying new things...!

We don't want to miss any cute stage... Children grow and change so quickly, especially in these early years!

Friday, April 20, 2018

Last Winter Snow??!! (I Sure Hope So!!)

Two days ago, I woke up to find fresh snow on the ground...

How much longer is this going to last? I wondered...

My weather app indicated that there is no more snow in the forecast!! Can I actually believe it?!

If the weatherman is to believed, warm weather will begin this coming weekend!

Several weeks ago, that's what the forecast said about last weekend - a weekend of freezing rain, strong winds and downed power lines.

Meteorology is not yet an exact science!

Thursday, April 19, 2018

My Toronto Challenge

I didn't climb the CN tower, during my last trip to Toronto - but I did pass a different kind of "test"!

I should preface my account by mentioning that, many years ago, I lived in Montreal and drove the city expressways daily in my little Honda Civic, without giving it a second thought. Later we moved to Toronto for a year, and I thought nothing of driving on Toronto streets either.

But that was 40 years ago... and, since then, both cities have grown... and I've lost my confidence!

You may have to drive when we go to Toronto, Terry informed me, as we planned our last trip.

We were helping our daughter move from Toronto to Guelph - and Terry had volunteered to drive a rented moving van.

I can't... I don't want to, I had replied...

But, in the end, there was no choice... I did have to. I followed him for an hour and a half, down city streets and expressways. And the next day, I drove an hour and a half back into the city again as he returned the rental vehicle.

I'm glad I had to do it! It's important to challenge oneself from time to time! I later told my daughter. Then I added: I kept telling myself: Do the thing you fear, and the death of fear is certain...

Except, I mistakenly said: Do the thing you fear and the fear of death is certain...

(It must have been a Freudian slip!!)

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

CN Tower Climb... (Again!)

One of my sons enjoys the challenge of climbing the CN tower - via the inside staircase.

In the course of the year, a number of organizations plan fund-raising events involving a CN tower climb.

Personally, I'm not sure why anyone would want to walk (or run!) up the tower's 1,776 steps! (Maybe, if I felt I could do it, I'd feel different about the challenge.)

I've heard that the record is 7 minutes - set by a climber who bounds up several stairs at a time.

A few weekends ago, I headed to Toronto with my son, for his third climb.

He has managed to do all three climbs in under 20 minutes each, a feat that I find amazing!

The place was a hub of activity... As we approached the entrance, we were welcomed by the sound of street musicians. The early morning air was cool, but they were dressed for the weather.

The line-ups were longer than I remember from previous years. There were queues to register and later to get the T-shirts with a climber's individual time marked on them.

There seemed to be more climbers this year... There must have been thousands involved, both volunteers and climbers, in the 2018 World Wildlife Fund Climb.

As I waited for my son, watching climbers enter the stairwell and, later, leave, smiling, through the elevator on the main level, I was pleased that there were so many fit people in the city - young and old.

I chatted with an 8-year-old who had done the climb with her mother. The girl hadn't bothered to train, though her mother does regular workouts at a gym. (The things kids can do, without even trying!)

When I expressed amazement at what the two of them had accomplished, the mother replied: "You could do it too, if you tried... You can stop if you get tired."

Me?! I don't think so!

My son goes one step at a time, but the key - according to him - is not to stop until you reach the top.

(I'm pretty sure I couldn't do that! And I'd need to hold on to the rail, for balance and for  confidence. I'm not that great with heights!)

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

April Ice Storm

The first two weekends in April, we were in Toronto, helping our daughter move into a new apartment. The weather was cool but pleasant.

Lucky we didn't plan to help her this past weekend, Terry said , as the weather changed... from warm...

... to cool...

... to icy!

Yesterday morning, we woke up to find the road, driveway and car encased in ice! Hopefully it will all melt soon as "April showers" arrive.

If the weather forecast can be trusted, we won't see the sun until next weekend...

Hopefully then (or sooner!) spring will arrive - and STAY!

(It's hard to take global warming seriously when winter refuses to go away!)

Monday, April 16, 2018

A Gift

Your birthday gift is based on your blog, one of my sons told me...

I was curious! What had I written about that would inspire a gift?!

He and his wife had read the blog post where I mentioned that opening jars had become difficult for me. So they got me another kind of jar opener!

What a surprise!

(And what an interesting use of blogging!)

Sunday, April 15, 2018

A Helper's High?!

I've heard of a runner's "high" - but it appears that there is another way to feel good and boost your spirits!


By helping and being kind to someone!

According to the book It's Not the End of the World, a book about "Developing Resilience in Times of Change", a "helper's high" is "an intense feeling of joy ... that makes you grateful to be alive."

According to the author, a Harvard graduate and clinical psychologist, "learning to help others tips the balance toward good mental and physical health throughout your life span." It also helps you "let go of the past and open yourself up to the future."

I've heard anecdotal stories about people feeling more useful - that they have more purpose in living - when they help others.

But this goes beyond that. I'm totally amazed!