Tuesday, July 31, 2018

I Enjoy Shopping, But...

I enjoy shopping - if I see something we can use...

These days we don't need much. (In fact, we're trying to get rid of things we no longer need!)

But recently meandering around a Kingston, Ontario outlet mall, I came across this plastic pie storage container.

Inside were cases for storing individual pie pieces...

I could use that!

Monday, July 30, 2018

Spending Time in Guelph

Our family visits to Toronto now often include a visit to Guelph.

It's a beautiful old town...

City gardens are well cared for... Even this train-shaped bush, near an unused railroad track, is watered and neatly trimmed...

We enjoyed exploring the city...

...wandering around till sunset...

Terry discovered a local home-made ice cream shop!

And we finally met our daughter's two cats!

Sunday, July 29, 2018

Thankful for the Rain!

It's been a hot, dry summer...

(Not that I'm complaining... winters here are long and cold!)

But we've had a few rainy days this past week. My garden and I are thankful for that, too!

Saturday, July 28, 2018

Late July Flowers in Bloom

Summer is only half over, but most of my perennials have already finished blooming!

When spring arrives late - as it did this year - I always hope their blooming season will last longer...

But it never does!

Instead, the flowers rush to bloom!

These are ones I associate with late summer...

Are there any flowers still to come...?!

Some, that I planted years ago, have left the flower beds and spread to the grass - which, in our long dry heat, has become dormant.

Much of the greenery on the lawn is weed... I haven't been able to do any weeding either this year...

On the plus side, this may be why I'm noticing a few flowers that didn't bloom last year. I wondered then if I had accidentally pulled them out...

The garden isn't perfect, but I appreciate the flowers that are in bloom...

And I remind myself: They'll be back next year!

Friday, July 27, 2018

A Useful App

I got a new iPhone a few months ago. My old one was having screen issues. Fortunately I was able to get a new one, with a few new features.

I'm not one to explore all the apps found on a phone. I know the ones I use, and I quickly search them out.

So it was a few months before I happened to notice a feature called a magnifier in the settings file.

Would this enlarge the print on the phone? Or could it actually work like a magnifying glass? I wondered...

After googling "iPhone magnifier" to find out how it worked, I gave it a try...

I discovered that it works like a magnifying glass - through the camera on the phone! I can even choose how much magnification is needed.

This is great!

Now I can use it to read fine print on labels... and whenever I'm in a restaurant with dim lighting and can't make out the fine print on the menu... (something that seems to be happening more and more frequently!)

I turned on this feature by going to "settings" - then "general." (Under "accessibility.")

I then switched on both the magnifier and "auto-brightness."

Now, to access it, I simply need to triple click on the home button - and my phone turns into a magnifying glass!

Such a useful feature!

Thursday, July 26, 2018

Imitating Grandma...

When the air conditioning is running, I sometimes cover myself with a light red blanket...

This habit does not go unnoticed by my two-year-old granddaughter, who decides to give it a try, too..

As I see her, imitating me, her Grandma, I am amazed that no detail goes unnoticed by this two-year-old...

And I remind myself, somewhat sadly, that this endearing stage won't last for long!

Wednesday, July 25, 2018

Knitting Another Afghan

A few years ago, I used this Elizabeth Zimmermann pattern to make an afghan...

It was extremely popular with my husband and son, who loved to wrap themselves in it... (which is probably why it has stretched over the years)!

Why not make another in variegated yarn? I mused, a while back.

My quiet (post-surgery) summer seemed the perfect opportunity...

I've enjoyed working on it...

Hopefully, it will soon be done!

Tuesday, July 24, 2018

How Much Does This Cost?!!

I buy a lot of books on Amazon, both new and used. My reason for using Amazon is that I often look for specific books I've heard about or seen - in the library, for example - and I want my own copy. My local bookstores don't usually carry them. In any event, it would be a hassle to drive around to see if any of them do.

Which is why I recently purchased this used book, The Opinionated Knitter, a compilation of knitting patterns originally published in newsletter form between 1958 and 1968 - by famed knitter, Elizabeth Zimmermann.

I love the book and am glad I was able to purchase it.

I originally borrowed a copy from our public library a few years ago, but when I recently wanted to check it out again, it was no longer listed in the library catalogue.

So I began to look for it online.

I was able to find a used bookstore that would ship to Canada from the USA. The price I paid was Canadian $44.08. The book price was CAD $33.38. The rest was postage.

But when I received the book, inside I found a receipt for US $13.22 plus $3.99 postage, addressed to a New Jersey address.

Canadian currency is currently worth about 30% less than its American counterpart, but even taking that into consideration and doubling the postage cost, the total cost of the book should be CAD$26.

Terry read that Amazon has sliding prices geared to what people will pay. I'm not sure what that means, but I to do find it astounding that American and Canadian prices for the same item can be so different.

The only explanation that I can think of is that not all American booksellers are willing to sell books outside the country, for whatever reason, so an intermediary works with some - and, of course, takes a cut.

Monday, July 23, 2018

Creating Brand Loyalty

 When I was a child, my mother once purchased a set of dishes at the supermarket, one item at a time. Every few weeks, new pieces in the set would be available for sale - dinner plates one week, dessert bowls another. The price was right, but it was a limited time offer. If you wanted the whole set, you had to visit the store on a regular basis... Otherwise, the dishes you wanted could be gone.

I haven't seen an offer like this in years. But I have seen companies offer something free - like these reusable mugs full of mustard offered by one mustard manufacturer.

If I needed mugs or glasses, I'd probably purchase a few, whether I needed mustard or not...! The lure of getting dishes for free - or at a discount - is a family trait that hasn't disappeared!

Sunday, July 22, 2018

New Summer Hat Style

Are young people are becoming more aware of the dangers of sunburn...? I've noticed a few wearing summer hats that protect their necks.

Then, as a birthday gift, a friend gave my son a hat with a long back brim. Made by a company called Sun Protection Zone, it totally covers his neck...

Great idea! He spends a lot of time outdoors...

Are there protective hats for women too? I wondered.

I went online and purchased this slightly modified one for myself. It doesn't have a long back brim, but an attached scarf protects the neck from sunburn...

Great for gardening - picnics and barbecues, too!

Saturday, July 21, 2018

Overseas Shopping - Without Leaving Town

I asked a friend - whose been to Portugal - where the best Portuguese tarts in the city can be found.

Without hesitation, she replied: At T&T.

Really? I thought they only sold Asian food... It's a supermarket I've always meant to visit, but somehow never had.

The other day Terry and I were driving past, so we stopped and went it...

We both felt as if we had left Canada and were visiting the Far East.

So many items we had no idea about...

But I did find my Portuguese tarts!

Friday, July 20, 2018

Random Strokes

I thought of the infinite monkey theorem as I watched my two-year-old granddaughter gleefully type on my iPhone, her fingers just the right size for the little keys!

She even managed to get a spreadsheet going - I've never even tried that on the Notes app of my phone!

The "Infinite Monkey Theorem" states that an infinite number of monkeys typing an infinite number of key strokes will eventually type the complete works of Shakespeare.

(I'd be shocked if random typing managed to recreate even one of his sonnets!)

I guess the underlying idea is that enough randomness will eventually create order (and meaning)?


So if I just add to the mess on my messy desk, will it mess itself into order?!

(It would be nice... But I really don't expect that to happen!)

Thursday, July 19, 2018

Fresh Chamomile Tea

I recently tried drying chamomile flowers from my garden. It's a labor intensive way of making tea!

Then I read that fresh flowers also make good tea, so I picked a few more...

I obviously didn't pick enough, as the flavor was a weak....

This left me wondering: How many flowers are needed to make a flavorful cup of chamomile tea?!

Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Moving and Storage Solution

Neighbors were moving. Their initial move to an apartment meant that they didn't have enough room for all their things.

What to do?!

Their solution: Filling a portable storage container with things they didn't need at the moment. The container was delivered to the house...

A few weeks later, it was taken away, to be stored until they could empty it...

The truck driver worked alone, lifting the container with a crane operated by remote control.

(Just like playing a video game!!)

When he was ready to fold up the crane and drive away, he used a hockey stick to adjust the highest ropes.

New technology... with a touch of old!

Tuesday, July 17, 2018

What a Summer It's Been...!!

Three weeks ago today I had a laparoscopic hysterectomya two-hour surgical procedure done under the skin.

I won't go into details about what it entails. There is lots of information online. I just want to say that - three weeks after the event - I feel great, in fact almost normal. I do tire at times and need a nap... Is it the surgery or the hot weather we've had for the past few weeks? Maybe a combination of both.

Three weeks after the event, I live my days almost normally. When I go out, I carry a light purse... (I was told not to lift more than 20 pounds... for the first 6 weeks. Not sure if my regular purse weighs that much, but I wouldn't be surprised if it did!)

I stopped all painkillers (Tylenol and Advil) one week after the procedure. I was aware of a certain "tenderness" at first, after giving them up. But after a few days, even that was gone. Going to a grocery store during week 2 was nerve-wracking: I had a subconscious fear of being bumped into... But by week 3 that fear had disappeared.

I've been instructed not to do housework for 6 weeks - something I'm very happy to comply with! I still do dishes and laundry. I won't resume my normal gym exercise until after seeing the doctor at the 6-week mark. I'm not walking as much as I should - again I blame the heat...

In short, I'm thankful that I'm feeling great!

A few comments...

I'm glad people shared their hysterectomy experiences with me, in person and online. So thanks to you all! You prepared me for what to expect...

Even then, I had a few surprises!

I arrived at the hospital around 10 in the morning, and although I had planned to spend the night, 12 hours after arriving - at 10 pm - I was able to head home!

At the hospital, when I first arrived, I was taken to the recovery room where I'd be cared for after the surgery. Then I was wheeled to the operating room. Outside, in the hall, I met all the people involved - my surgeon and two student surgeons, my anesthesiologist and a student anesthesiologist. When the time for the surgery came, they gave me OR slippers to put on - and I got off the bed and walked into the OR and lay down on the operating table by myself! ( I've never seen that in the movies!)

I remember being told to breath deeply into a gas mask... The next thing I knew, I was back in the recovery room feeling very tired. I fell asleep again - and woke up feeling fine!

The final surprise came when I was informed about wound care. I knew had four small incisions - where a tiny camera and instruments had poked through my skin.

Are the stitches self-dissolving or will I have to come back to have them removed? I asked, referring to these tiny bandaged wounds.

No stitches - the wounds have been glued shut, I was told. The glue will dissolve over time...

Glue?! I had no idea wounds were kept shut like that!

Now at home, I try to go outdoors every day. When it's hot, I spend a lot of time knitting and reading...

But it really isn't much different from any other year. Isn't relaxation what hot summers are for?!

Monday, July 16, 2018

Four Tendencies...

I recently finished listening to a library audio-version of Gretchen Rubin's book on personality types, The Four Tendencies. It's an interesting book - but, though I was able to immediately peg Terry's personality type (rebel!), I have had a hard time finding myself!

Terry is definitely a rebel! Fulfilling other people's expectations is a real struggle for him. Maybe that's why he had a hard time with writing reports - an essential part of his social work job. But he loved the freedom of setting his own schedule. These are all rebel tendencies.

(In some ways, I'm a bit of a rebel, too... I hate the idea of being told what to do. If anything grated on me about being a teacher, it was having to live and plan my life in 10 month terms. No taking a week off here and there because I felt I needed a break! I especially hated following a curriculum I didn't believe was that great...)

Neither Terry nor I would describe ourselves as obligers, people who want to make other people happy above all - though at times, we each wish the other had more obliger tendencies. (When told I wouldn't be able to do housework for 6 weeks after my recent surgery, Terry's reply was: I'll give you two weeks... But our biggest area of disagreement tends to be which alternate route would get us home faster, if we find ourselves in a traffic jam...)

Listening to this audio-book, at first I thought that, as an older child, I was an upholder - a person who responds to rules and expectations, both inner (personal) and outer (from others). The upholder wakes up every morning asking him or herself: What's on my schedule for today? They are motivated by getting things done.

(Although I don't like to follow other people's expectations if they aren't what I want to do, in some ways, this describes me... I tend to be organized and conscious of what I want to accomplish on any given day.)

After finishing the book, I've concluded that I'm a questioner, a person who is very motivated to do the things they want to do, but who asks a lot of questions... I remember my high school history teacher (whom I really liked) commenting - on my report card - that I was "constructively argumentative." That became a family joke... They knew me as argumentative, whether or not it was constructive!

When I later looked up further information on the four tendencies online, I saw that questioners can be very motivated - but only if they see the point of what they are doing. That definitely would be me!

Why is all this important?!

Because it helps teachers, bosses, co-workers, medical professionals and family members know how to best make requests and give advice without generating unnecessary conflict. A rebel, for example, resists any advice given by someone else, even a doctor. So they need to be given the facts and then left to make their own decisions. A questioner, in the same position, will probably do a lot of research before following medical advice, and then they will do it only if they see the point of it.

Again I have to conclude: That is me! Perhaps that's also why I have so many books about type 2 diabetes... I don't want to make any changes to my life unless I think it's the right thing to do!

Sunday, July 15, 2018

Looking Back...

Going through some of my mother's things, I came across this old photo of my father and me, taken on July 15, 1960, at Sulphur Mountain, near Banff. We had just taken our first gondola ride up the mountain.

We were living in Kelowna at this time - had been living there for 2 years... Perhaps we had driven to Edmonton with my mother. She used to take "summer school" courses at the University of Alberta, a requirement of her teaching license - until she finally earned her B. Ed. the summer before I started my university studies.

It  took her 25 years to complete her degree requirements. It was a long haul!

I do have memories of that gondola ride... and every other chair lift and gondola ride ever since!

Saturday, July 14, 2018

Butterflies in the Garden

A few years ago, after reading that milkweed attracts butterflies to a garden, I decided to let this self-seeding weed grow in our yard.

I now have quite a few of these tall plants...

I've seen a few butterflies, too... And I've tried to photograph them. But they flutter off when I bring my camera near...

I thought this blob of orange in the middle of the picture might be one with its wings folded closed... But maybe it's a plant!

Between the time I spot the butterfly, and snap its picture - it moves...

(Which is why I've managed only to catch its thin black legs in the bottom right of this photo!!)

I have new respect for those butterfly photographers who are able to take wonderful pictures of them with wings outspread...

(How do they do it?!)