Monday, December 21, 2015

Walking - Day Five

Another few days and another discovery or two.

Now I said that I have a couple of options each day, which way to walk. There is no snow on the sidewalk now..........yet, so depending on my mood I will make a choice. Again on the flat route, I pass a couple of bus stops. I've never had need to take a city bus but once in my life and that was many moons ago bb (before Bill) in the dead of winter in -32C (not kidding!) temps. Don't care to do it again but I would if I had to.

It wasn't long into my new treks that I started to notice a pizza box, Tim Hortons' cups, water bottles at this one particular stop. I shouldn't worry about increasing garbage around a stop that probably has the same patrons day in and day out. If they don't care what they are walking in, why do I?

But I do. It is all I can do to NOT bring a garbage bag with me and clean up the area. Except I'd need to bring a rake along as well. Come on people!!! Today I took a picture, I'm so disgusted that it just keeps piling up, worse every day. Now food is added to the pile, gum and cigarette packets.

The stop is in front of a small strip mall with a Service Ontario depot, hair salon, aquarium store and restaurant among the businesses. Granted it isn't 'their' mess or concern but wouldn't you think a city this large OR a business owner in this space would feel inclined to help clean up the area?

At least  chaining a garbage can to this sign would seem like a good start, don't you think? How difficult would it be to replace a garbage bag on occasion?

Now I'm ranting, but all this whining/discussing/meeting about what we can do to improve bus service, city streets etc. etc. for the 'poor' riders this sure doesn't make me think we/they deserve it. This is a main thoroughfare, a 4 lane street that runs directly through the city from the east to the west, the street our hospital is on with close access to the 401 series highways. So, yes visitors come through here all the time. I'm so proud.....NOT!
The picture hardly does my rant justice but it is really gross.

Just a side note, many of these people ride the bus by choice not necessarily need but the garbage buildup isn't because they are of any particular class. (Actually they have NO class in my opinion) The ones tossing garbage can afford to eat pizza and Tim Hortons but obviously have no pride in their city.

I have a solution to this but it means that the multi-millionaire dollar conglomerate would need to take on an extra task. Since 85% of the garbage is Timmys' cast offs, how about they start to offer a .25 refund off your next cup IF you return the cup? Everybody loves a savings and perhaps there wouldn't be so many left on the streetside. Someone would gratefully gather them up and return them, not for reuse but for the environment, T.H. can recycle the cardboard, and another cuppa is sold!

I found this little tidbit article just before hitting publish:

Tim Hortons Locations Ditch     Porcelain Mugs In Favour Of Disposable Cups.

                                  Its Cups are The Most Recognizable Litter in Canada
Odds are,  if you look into a garbage can anywhere in Canada, you’ll see at least one Tim Hortons cup. 

I guess that would be better than under our feet?? Or not!

Thanks for listening and reading. Maybe when I'm retired I'll go clean up this area. LOL

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

And then when I was walking......!

My last post talked about my latest purchase, my Fitbit Charge HR. Now I know just how active I am each day, I know what my resting heart rate is, I know approximately how many calories I burn in a day and I also know the distances I am travelling in a regular week.

Does it impress me? In a word, yes!

Since I was challenged to increase my steps by a friend, I go out every day on my 30 minute lunch break and walk. I used to sit alone and read. I love to read, don't get me wrong, but I have a feeling I will have a lot of time to do that in a few short months and I know there are a ton of books out there waiting to be read by me too. But now is now and this is what I'm doing.

This is a big step for me, no pun intended or maybe it was! The push I needed, apparently. When I walk from my work locale, I only have a couple of directions to choose from. I have them down to a science now, how much time each route will take me. One takes more effort because there are a fair number of inclines which increase the heart rate, burn more calories and make me work harder.                                                        
Doesn't look like an incline but trust me, it is!
Looking where I came from
It doesn't matter what the weather is, I know I feel colder than most would, even on an 8C day so I wear my winter coat, a light scarf tight around my neck and little wool gloves. I sometimes put a hoodie on under my coat so I don't have any excuse to cut my walk short. Oh! And before I head out, a trip to the loo is definitely in order! I don't need any nature calls along the way either! Usually the scarf gets loosened and a few buttons undone and the gloves are in my pocket by the time I return.
Must Love Birds

A couple of times on the incline route, I have been espying this one ranch style house. They've just had their driveway re-ashphalted but that isn't what drew my attention. I'm always looking at houses and how they are kept up outside. These seem like real outdoorsy people, as they have some pretty unique displays on and around their home. I just had to fish out my Blackberry to snap a photo or two.
 Canada Goose ready to take flight

My walking trips give me the opportunity to think about things, to look at things, to appreciate things and to find things.

Another day on the flat route, within a short distance from work, while walking down the sidewalk near the Youth for Christ building, right in the middle of path was a knife. From a distance it looked like a plastic toy but as I got closer I realized this was no toy. The blade was fully extended and I discovered upon picking it up that it was a 7" Tak Knife. Maybe some of you know what that is, but I'd never heard of it.
Similar to the one I found

Well, here is my dilemna. Leave it? Pick it up? So, without much inner debate, I pick it up, not because I want it for myself but because it is a dangerous weapon if someone so chose it to be. The sharp jagged blade should be folded into the handle but I had no luck doing this so now where am I going to put it, discreetly and safely? I carry a small over the shoulder purse when I walk so I have id and my phone at all times. The open knife lay just across the top of my purse with the zipper closed.

I walked a short distance and then remembered that on my return trip I was planning on stopping at The London Bread Box to pick up a couple of loaves of their delicious Betty bread. This bread is amazing and with excellent prices.

Hmm, can you picture it? Me opening my purse to get my wallet from underneath and the knife being in full display. So I pulled the knife out and slipped it blade up in my inside coat pocket. LOL I could feel it in there although no one knew what I was hiding.

I reached my turn around point at 15 min, visited the bread store and made it back to work on the 29 minute mark. I showed Bill what I found, and was able to put some pressure on it to close it up. Now it is history.

As it turns out, Bill had an old flare that his dad had in their home before they sold. It was given to him by a soldier friend many years ago.

Wikipedia says: "In 1922, a "landing flare" was an aerial candle attached to a parachute and used for landing an airplane in the dark. The flare burned for less than 4 minutes and the candle power was about 40,000"

Now he just wanted to get rid of it. Short of setting it off at our summer spot in Durham and bringing the whole township/county stunned to their knees and risk being charged for mischief?

we decided to turn both items over to the police. Within an hour of my call they were here and picked up the items.

Ya just never know what you'll find when you venture out but I did my part by removing it from the eyes and hands of someone too young to realize the danger it could present.

Beside me
On a nice sunny day, I always have someone to walk with. Sometimes I follow, sometimes she walks beside me and sometimes when I turn around there she is again!
My shadow leads

My landmark turn, the church
I pass the Food Bank, not very busy today!
Since my walk only takes me around a small block one way, I am only one street over so when I look through the strip malls I can see my place of work. sometimes when I feel tired or when the rain spatters threaten me I wish there was no fence keeping me from taking a short cut! However, we are guarded like the Pentagon!!

From the street behind I can see the
compilation of recycle bins behind our warehouse
Board vehicles at the back of the lot

         951 Leathorne St. main entran           

Our little Corolla, using the parking spot
I've used for over 32 years.
    When I come back around, this is where I detour around the building's main entrance to get as many steps in as I can, and slip in the back door.        

Here is where I started.
Our man door off parking lot
and the daily mail waits for me

      Thanks for reading! I hope you enjoyed the walk as much as I did!

Monday, December 14, 2015

Space Station - Have you seen it?

The International Space Station is one of those things that amazes me each time I see it stroll across the sky. Bill and I both had minimal knowledge of the station but until our first visit to Silver Creek RV Resort we didn't know we could actually see it!!

The sun glistens off these panels making it very visible in the night sky.

Here is what I've learned.

Years ago, in the 70's space stations were used both for military and civilian purposes. 

Today's space stations are research platforms, used to study the effects of long-term space flight on the human body as well as to provide platforms for greater number and length of scientific studies than available on other space vehicles. All space stations to date have been designed with the intention of rotating multiple crews, with each crew member staying aboard the station for weeks or months, but rarely more than a year. 

The International Space Station we see today is capable of carrying a crew and stays in space for an extended period of time. The ISS allows a platform for other spacecraft to dock. This one has crew on it at all times and China has a space station, which is unmanned most of the time.

There can never be fewer than 3 crew aboard the ISS but at times there have been more than 10.

Perhaps many of you have heard of our own RCAF fighter pilot, Chris Hadfield who not only flew 2 space shuttle missions but was the 1st Canadian Commander of the International Space Station.
Chris remained aboard for 5 mths. Who else wrote songs, sang and played guitar in space? Of course we had to purchase his book!

If you wish you can check out the youtube video below of him singing one of David Bowie's songs. I think you should recognize it.   Chris Hadfield's video

The space shuttle performs scientific experiments and robotic tasks while in operation. The Canadian 17m Robotic arm which was used to assemble the ISS in space has routinely moved supplies, equipment and even astronauts.

As well as supporting the Station’s maintenance and upkeep, it is responsible for performing "cosmic catches," the capturing and docking of unpiloted spacecraft that carry everything from science payloads to necessities for the 6-person crew on board the ISS.

Today, there are 3 flight engineers aboard. Scott Kelly, an American and Mikhail Kornienko have been on board for 262 days and a Ukranian, Sergey Volkov has been on board for 103 days.

What an amazing journey for each of them, it kind of freaks me out just thinking of this type of adventure. I think I like my feet planted firmly on the ground.

If you would like to view the ISS on a regular basis or just once even, you can register to receive emails telling you when you will be able to view it. It will tell you the day, the time, the area of the sky it begins and ends as well as the length of time you can watch it. Bill and I have seen it many many times and still try to catch it on the few occasions the sky is clear enough to watch.

Here is where you register:

Then all you have to do on those days is look up.  It is the very bright light that is moving across the sky. Enjoy the sightings!

Thank you for reading!

Saturday, December 12, 2015

Fitbit Challenges

Well folks, I, too, can easily get caught up in this new modern technology. I'm not good at keeping up with many of the new media fluff, electronics, cell phones and what-have-you-isms but when our very fit friends showed us their wrist Fitbits, I wanted one. Just to note......they were fit before they bought them so I wasn't fooled there.
My Fitbit

I wanted it for a different reason than what it ended up I did. Wha??? I was basically curious how much sleep I was getting in a night and even more so how much sleep hubby-dearest was getting. Bill can drop off to sleep for an easy 20 minutes yet when he wakes up can tell me "oh, I just dozed for a couple of minutes". I know he doesn't get (nor need, obviously) the same number of hours that I get in a day but at the same time I knew he got more than he thinks he does. A Fitbit would prove or dispute that. It would be interesting to know either way.

So, I started searching Best Buys and Future Shops to see what the prices were, chatted with Kathy about what kind to get and began to save my fun money. Lo and behold, before too many wishful days had passed, a lady on our work Swap Shop was selling one at a great price. It was only a couple of months old and she had decided she didn't like it as much as she thought she would. Yay for me!

Get that little band on my wrist, sync it with my phone app and away we go! The first night I slept, as usual, like a baby and with 8 hours my goal, I have been reaching around the 96% mark every night. I let Bill wear it one night and as we expected, his goal of 6 hours wasn't too far off what we suspected. Between 5 and 6 hours sleep, hmm, how he survives on that I'll never know but his EverReady batteries just keep on ticking. It also explains how he can drop off so quickly at the end of a day.

So, the interest grew and I was enjoying my new toy. Bill naturally got interested and was curious as well about his sleep patterns, his heart beat and distance travelled in a day. Within 2 weeks he had one of his own. Our friends, upon realizing, we had one sent us a weekly step challenge. That was the first time we really started paying attention to how any steps we walked in a day. The race was on!!

Now mind you, this couple work out every day, walk and bike on the weekends so I knew I'd never have a hope in you know what to beat them but I could sure die trying! What great encouragement it was for both of us. We don't walk during the day, other than at our job and my job is 50% on my butt. I was lucky to be getting 5,000 steps in in a day with a worldwide recommendation of 10,000. Bill was surpassing me by the thousands, meeting 10,000 steps by 3 pm, 2 pm then 11 am!!! Before long we found ourselves going out after supper just to increase our steps. See what I mean? It is addicting!

Now I'm walking at noon every day, as long as the weather is holding and the sidewalks are clear for walking, I take 30 minutes and walk around various blocks on my lunch period. I can easily add 3,000 steps and feel really good about myself for doing it. I've met the quota and passed it more than a handful of times and I know when I'm retired the push will be on to challenge myself even more.

My Fitbit is also my watch, 
gives me my heart rate at a touch and calculates my calories and number of miles walked on a daily or weekly basis. I love it!

It was the encouragement I needed to get moving!

Thanks for reading.

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Arizona Dreamin' and Schemin'

I can't say that it is because of the bitter cold weather we are having here in Ontario, the reason for my dreaming, I mean. We have had one of the nicest Novembers in the history of least in my memory. Some days were so warm I could actually slip my shoes off on my lunch time and bask (literally bask) in the sun!

November, you say?
Arizona sunset
Reading the posts from other bloggers who are full-timing has moved me so much this year that I just want to be "there". No matter where "there" is, just away from all this 'stuff'. Perhaps because it is so close yet still so far away. I crave warmth, outside heat, sunshine and truly believe it makes me better for all those things. When that sun hits my face full on, even for a brief few minutes, I relax, rejuvenate and regrow. (fast track to my blog picture)

When I read about others who are approaching the same goal(s) as we are, counting down to retirement, counting down to selling their home or like Phannie and Mae counting up the purging days, I'm with them every step of the way. I absorb the tips and experience the trials they are going through.

Today I submitted my letter of retirement from the school board just 2 mths and 13 days shy of 33 years of working here, at this same desk (kind of) in the same office!!!! (applause, please!!) Funny thing is, I don't feel any different. Even after receiving mail at my home address saying my resignation due to retirement was accepted. LOL
Dear Sir or Madam........I'm outta here!

Retirement IS my path after 33 years.

I know it is early, but when the date is chosen, in my case March 31/16, why wait? There will be three of us out of five in this department going within 4 mths of each other. We can't even imagine what will go on after we leave but trust capable people will fill our shoes. We can all be replaced. I'm sure our supervisor is frantic inside although very supportive to our faces.

Bill and I have also started the long process of purging. We do and we don't have a deadline. I mean, in our minds we would like to have things done and the house sold by the end of June......but we all know that is a goal that may or may not be met. Some of you have the great experience of putting your house on the market and having it sold within days, others had to wait longer. We are lucky that our Mobile Suite sits in the driveway and we can easily move things from our sticks and bricks home right into it by taking only 8 - 10 steps. And when the time comes, we will be happy to do so at a moment's notice.

Current Home Sweet Home beside our Future Home Sweet Home

We are going through the lasts, right now. The last time I rake the leaves, the last time I plant tulips, the last time we put Christmas lights up, the last time I'll use these good dishes, the last time for this patio set, the last Christmas dinner at our house etc etc.

With the house going on the market before spring officially begins, we have done what we can to keep the landscape looking good (as good as possible in this dreary time of year) so there are no surprises when the house is being shown and the snow melts. We will have to be quick on the ball when it comes to picking up Clemson's little snow poops.........we all know what a joy they are to find in the spring! He wouldn't appreciate a winter diaper so Ma and Pa have to step up to the plate from now until then!
Our living room in 2008

Funny how the above picture of our living room was a hint to our future and we didn't even know it!! Sadly this cactus has long since a blessing in disguise because we would have to find a home for it otherwise!

Inside we have done well with purging.  I won't go into too much detail about clohtes.....yet....I'm doing really good (am too!) and have written a post about a "clothing exchange" to aid in the process.  It semi-works.  I've always managed to just swap some things in and out of the closet although more does go out the door than what I keep.  That is progress, right?

Clothes are my thing.....I will always want different things......just the total amount I can keep will be the real change for me.  I spend so little on clothes, 90% of the time buying second hand, so when I tire of something, I can easily toss it in a bag for donation and not feel that I'm throwing money away. :)

Bill has also made great strides in his model airplane room and even greater strides in his tool collection. Each month we are managing to find buyers on either our work Swap Shop or Kijiji for things we boldly decide we no longer need.
Bill's Model room - this B17scale model is long gone for someone
else to finish
Bill's Model room/Tool bunker

 There is no greater pleasure than when we come across a household item, large or small, pose the question to the other one "what do you think? will we ever use this?" After an um and an ah....."Nope"......"Great! it's gone!"  We've all experienced those little triumphs.

When we started the process we made up a hand written spreadsheet (because I am still old fashioned and like holding a pen) with columns.

ROOM            ITEM              GIVE AWAY          SELL               DONATE           GARBAGE

We did that within months of our decision to full-time waayy back in October, 2013. I don't think it was because we were afraid we'd change our minds. Instead I believe it was the excitement at the thought of being able to just sell and walk.  Not much has changed in how we are activating the list, however, we are getting wiser as to what will actually sell and what the kids actually do want.

Preparing for Christmas this year was fun. I was anxious to put up our new little 3' tree that comes with its own pot. Easy peasy to take out of the box, put together, plug in led lights and decorate. Last year we packed up our 7' tree and immediately sold it.
O Christmas Tree, O Christmas Tree,
We love your downsized version!

A photo for our Christmas cards
Many non-sentimental ornaments were donated leaving just enough to adorn the little fella and keep my emotional self intact. I have a few others to put through the process.........sell first, then donate second. With a mortgage still hanging over our heads, every penny is counting right now for us and if it seems selfish or greedy to some of you,  the bottom line is that we are number one in this process.

After the season is over, I will be just as anxious to get 'er put away for the last time in this house. Then we just need to find the appropriate snuggle away spot in the Model Suite.

My Avon room, desk sold so using tables now
There is work to be done in this place too so after our Last Supper with the offspring (his and mine) and his parents on Dec. 12 I need to find the elbow grease. We will need to get to work. They aren't huge projects, none of it, but sometimes small things amount to a big pile of HUGE no matter how you look at it. A few paint touch ups, kitchen floor tile to be laid (er stuck) carpet shampooing, window ledges cleaned and more purging. At that point we can move on to the bigger items, bit by bit and give the kids the pieces they have laid claim to.
My 'used to be full' display cabinet
with only 'keepers' left

The plan is good and the practice will follow. We appreciate all the assistance we are getting from the rest of you. Your tips and hints are invaluable, whether we follow them all or just take a tidbit here and there, it is all appreciated.

Using lawn chairs in rec room
Bookshelves used to be FULL

Furnace/Tool aka collection Room
One day will the purging be done and I'll
find myself in this predicament?

Thank you for taking the time out of your busy........or not so busy days to read my jabber today.
Please drop a line if you are so inclined so I know you are out there!