Thursday, September 29, 2016

Unexpected News - I'm not crazy about it

Monday, my sister Donna and I met at Mom’s Village apartment. We found her lying down but she was up immediately when she saw who it was. Donna had briefed her the previous day that we were coming and so is a lady from CCAC. (Community Care and Access). She didn’t remember, but that was expected.

Village life last fall
Getting familiar with the organ again

Family reunion with my children

Mom at an earlier stage loved the outdoors
She is currently living in an Assisted Living situation, where she gets cued for meals and her pills dispensed for her. Donna has taken care of her housekeeping once a week as well as her laundry. We pay for the meal cueing and med dispensing, or should I say Mom does and the Veteran’s Affairs pays for the cleaning. That was the way it was up until Mom had her upset with the tumor/surgery/recovery.                                                
3 of her geographically closest daughters
Mom and her beautiful smile
When she came home from the hospital she needed help, naturally, with more things. We have found it necessary to get some help for Mom with her everyday routines. Getting up, washed, dressed etc. as well as getting ready for bed in the evening. Because of her dementia she doesn’t always remember to do the everyday things that are normal to you and I. As sad as that is, it is a fact of her life so it is time to step in and get her the assistance she needs.
Mom gets a kick out of selfies even if she
doesn't quite understand it
The staff at The Village have been excellent and have assigned help with the morning and evening process as well as sending someone up at every meal time to take her down and bring her back to her apartment. This is wonderful, however, very costly. Mom is a Veteran so qualifies for a plethora of benefits but sometimes it is like pulling teeth. If a service is provided ‘free’ by the province (CCAC) we have to go that route first.
An Easter gathering
Back to our visit from Lisa on Monday. The three of us sat around and even though Donna and I remained quiet for the most part, many questions directed at Mom were met with flippancy, sarcasm or even frustration simply because she had the attention and it is a cover up when you don’t know the answer. At these times, we would provide the information required. We know Mom’s needs and want to get her the help on a daily basis if possible.

Where we get our sense of humour
Mom turning 90
After half an hour or so we were asked to step out into a private area so Lisa could chat with us without Mom hearing. Mom is no fool and let us go with a “I know you are going to talk so I can’t hear you”. God love her. Outside, we were given the unexpected news that according to her assessment, we needed to start looking at prospective long term care homes.

Donna and I
That hit like a rock and there were two sisters sitting there looking at each other with a dazed look in their eyes, absorbing this information. OMG, here we were thinking that Mom was generally improving for the most part, although we really didn’t know just what the staff had been dealing with over the last week. So, given this information there was naught to do but act on the recommendation.

It isn’t going to be an easy step to take, not so much for Mom, but for the rest of us. Two of four sisters who live closest to Mom go south for the winter, one is younger and a single mom with a full time job and the other, her power of attorney. Two other sisters and a brother live in farther reaches of this country, Alberta, Quebec and northern Ontario so they can only provide support from afar.

Rare occasion of all of us together
This is a move we need to act on now, at least by means of checking out the homes in the vicinity, get her on a waiting list and either hope it comes together before December or not until April or May when more of us are available. No matter when or where, Mom is the priority and we need to make this transition as painless as possible. With her dementia accelerating to the degree it is, I believe it will be an easier move than 6 years ago when we sold her possessions and moved her here.
2010 Garage sale prior to house sale

I hope I’m right.

Thank you for reading and feel free to comment.

Monday, September 26, 2016

Another Day of Gallivanting

Well, I do know one thing for sure and that is that I LOVE retirement! I just had to say that again, even though I’ve said it quite a bit already since April 30. Today, Bill and I had to wake up to the sound of an alarm. Worse still was that the alarm was set for 5:30 am. It was necessary though since we've been sleeping until at least 7:30 most mornings. Lordy oh lordy!!

A beautiful sky this morning with the sunrise
We had to be in London for a union meeting at 9:30 am. Since it takes us a minimum of 2 hours and 30 minutes and a maximum of 3 hours to get there from The Ridge, we had to leave at 6:30 am. You never know about construction and detours when you leave home.
A route we don't take with the rv but easy with the car
You might be wondering why we are going to a union meeting when neither of us are working. Let me explain. When a member of our CUPE local retires, the union will issue a cheque for $100 as a ‘thank you for your service’. The catch is that you have to attend a meeting in order to receive your money. Kind of a pain in the you know what but $100 is money in our pocket. I received my cheque at the June meeting and since Bill retired on July 31st  the first meeting after the summer for him to attend was Sat. Sept. 24th .
Fog over the fields
We knew if we took our Corolla the gas would be minimal and we would, as last Monday, plan a few things while in the area. We also knew it would be a very long day to leave Clemson home alone so he got to tag along for the ride with Mom and Dad. He is such a good little traveler now, since we got his seatbelt. You’ll see a picture below that George took of him all set to go.

So we met up at the building on Wharncliffe Rd. with a friend of ours who was a secretary with the Board for 35 or 37 years. She was receiving her ‘pay out’ as well.  The nice thing about this whole ordeal is that after the pledge and roll call is read, they announce the retirees, congratulate them with a hand shake and they could leave. We’re outta’ here!

3 retirees with their certificate and cheques
None of us had eaten yet so we found ourselves a Denny’s at the southeast corner of London at the Flying J and had a very filling delicious breakfast. My egg, bacon, shredded potato hash browns and rye toast were just what I needed to keep me filled for the day. Yummy and I didn’t have to prepare it myself!
We caught up with Debbie and Mike during the meal and said our goodbyes for the last time this year. Now that they know we have a bunky for them to sleep in, they hope to visit us at The Ridge next year.
Debbie and Mike
Next stop is Costco for milk, eggs, cream and a few other things. When in Rome………. you know. They are still ‘can’t be beat prices’ so we take advantage when we can. Before we left home, Bill put our electric cooler in the car so we could keep these things cool for the day while we scooted around. It plugs into our cigarette lighter. I stayed in the car with the pooch as no one goes through Costco as quick as my husband when he is alone!
sitting in the car with Clemson
So another stop done. From here we headed out to Arkona to visit our good friends and fellow bloggers, George and Suzie from Our Awesome Travels.
Our home park but haven't camped here this summer at all
They are camping at Rock Glen RV Resort for 3 weeks so a good opportunity for us to catch up and pick their brains before our first trip south.

George and Suzie
When we arrived around 1 pm they were waiting for us, with chairs set up in the beautiful sunshine. It was actually quite balmy; Bill wasn’t dressed for heat so had to move to the shade. There was a lot of chit chat both with them putting some ideas out there according to their experiences and us with all of our questions. How nice it is to bounce things off someone who has been full timing for 11 years!

Clemson in his seatbelt. It settles him down so much for travel
and he is safe if we have to stop quickly
By 3 pm we knew we had a 3-hour drive home so we gave them one of our newly printed Home cards (they aren’t business cards!) and said our goodbyes.

We headed towards Parkhill, through Nairn and onto Hwy 7 to 23. A couple of detours in Mitchell and Listowel but no slowdowns. Bill was pretty tired from the early wake up and driving down so I took over the drive home from Woodham. We were home just after 6 in time for supper.

It was a good day, as tiring as they are with running around so much, things got done that were on our list of things to do. We have one more trek into the city for a retirement dinner so we will be going back one more time this month. At least after each travel day, we get a day of rest and if nothing else, it is good practice for our trip to the southwest.

Now that it is fall you never know what to expect as far as weather so enjoy each one as it comes. Thanks for reading and feel free to drop a comment if you wish.

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Apple Day!

No, not for Boy Scouts. For me. It seems to hit me every once in a while, the desire to be a Suzie Homemaker, and now with this fresh country air I often find that I just need to make something out of nature that I’ve picked. Applesauce! Apple pie! Apple crisp!

I have 1 pack of frozen apples from last year in my freezer and 1 jar of applesauce that I made last October. The trees on The Ridge were not very forthcoming this year, I can only assume our draught over the summer halted the apple growth. I’m sad about that as I love the process of creating the homemade product as much as the eating!

I have decided next year that I am going to attempt to dig and till in this rock hard ground here and plant a small veggie garden. I mean small, about 8’ x 3’ tops. Tomatoes, peppers and green onions are all I wish to grow. Wish me luck in the spring! You’ll hear more about it once we return from the southwest.

So with the few apples I’ve managed to scavenge from our tree out front, about 20, I started cutting. Bill suggested I drive up North Line to the trees we’ve seen close to the road. They are public property and the apples are only going to waste. Can’t have that! So I hop in the car with my bag hoping to come home with a loot full.

Thirty minutes or so later I have a bag of about another 25 or 30 apples, about a gallon altogether. 
Approximately 1 gallon of apples

It was enough to make something with. I cut them in half, then quarters, removed any wormy or bruised pieces and threw them, stems, cores and seeds included, into my stock pot on the stove to brew in a mixture of ¾ cup of water, a bit of sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg and lemon juice.


Then I cooked our bacon and eggs on the Q around 11:30 for brunch. During this time, the apples softened, I stirred and they cooked some more. It sure didn’t take long for this small amount but smelled wonderful!

Simmering on low for about an hour
I made applesauce last year and had to use a regular strainer/colander for the mushing process. 
Last years tools for straining/mushing
It wasn’t perfect and a few Johnny apple seeds escaped! Since then I went on the prowl for a regular colander like Mom had and was successful in finding a used one for $20.
squish, mush, slush in my new to me colander
I’m not saying either of these practices are easy, but I will say it is very satisfying. I slushed and mushed, transferred from pot to colander and continued mushing until I reached the end. Just before pouring the sauce into my jars, I tasted it.

I know we don’t need sugar in applesauce so I added a tinge just so my sweetie will enjoy it as well. What can I say? We have been so used to sweetening over the years, it is easier for some of us to cut back but hard to cut it out altogether.

Not much waste
Of the 40-50 apples picked, there is only a small pile of scraps for the composter. The colander worked great although it is still hard work. Good thing I’m dedicated! 

Now finished, I have 4 large mason jars and 1 small one of fresh ‘homemade’ applesauce. Yum.

Ready to be eaten anytime
Since the day started out cloudy, then sunny for a few hours before clouds rolled in again, it was the perfect day for this adventure. Inside and out. Maybe if I feel brave, I might drive down Baptist Church Road and ask a neighbor if he is using their apples or can I pick some? The tree just inside their property is loaded! Ha ha, that might mean having a small glass of something first to get up my nerve. I would love to have more in the freezer to make something yummy for dessert one day.

Anyway, it was a great day and I feel like the apron proved its usefulness. 

Thank you for reading, may all your apples be ripe!

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Long Day in the City

I didn’t take pictures, the day was just one of those long tiring ones, at least for me. Therefore, I’ve just popped some regular other photos in so you don’t get bored.

We were on the road by 10:30 am headed to London. We took the truck because we were scheduled for an oil change and tire rotation with Hi-Tech Auto Care, our city mechanics and friends.
Great guys at Hi-Tech

Our beast, costly but  loved

We also took our pooch, Clemson, along for a much needed haircut, bath, nail clip and massage (heh heh) with Rose. 
We figure why not, when she knows all his little quirks and bumps. Since we were in town, we would rather give her the business and another chance to cuddle him than someone in Durham, at least this time.
Our baby, not so costly, and more loved

First on the list was to drive across to Can Am to pick up a couple of supplies and say ‘hey’ to our friends there. So once we got past Woodstock, we pulled off at a rest area and ate our homemade sandwiches for lunch since we knew we’d arrive right around the lunch hour.

We hung around for about an hour just catching up with a few sales people and other staff.

With the truck appointment at 3 we scooted across London to see Justin. Luckily, as usual, he had a ‘rental’ we could borrow to get Clemson to his 3:30 appointment in our old neighbourhood. We took the opportunity and drove right by our house and spotted Caroline, our neighbor out working in the yard.
our beautiful neighbour from London
This is where she spent a lot of her time, keeping their property looking great so we weren’t surprised to see her outside.

After a brief catch up with her, we stopped at RBC for a withdrawal and carried on back to the mechanics on Trafalgar St. We were well prepared for the deposit we’d be making here; it isn’t cheap to drive a big rig like that! Front tires to the back, inside back to the outside, outside to the front, something like that ……………. lol, at least Justin has it written down for the next time!

Just finishing up here with the bill and the phone rings “Clemson is ready!” so we head over to pick the little guy up. I believe that was it but by this time it is 5 pm and so another nibble and a drink finds us on the road home.
Clemson gets his supper at a school stop
Arriving at The Ridge around 7:45 pm and we couldn’t be happier to see home. You don’t have to be working hard all day in order to feel this kind of tired, my body has its own agenda and when 10 pm rolls around, I am pretty much half way in the sack. We watched the first episode together of The Voice and got a few laughs over the coaches bantering and I was gone for good.

I hope your day was even more fun!!

Thanks for reading along.

Friday, September 16, 2016

Company,, Yay!

 Our bunky is finished, so what else to do but invite someone over to try it out! Actually, our friends from London, Kathy and Derrick, were the initial reason for us remodeling the shed in the first place. We knew they wouldn’t let us down.
A picture from one of our gatherings at our old home
So Thursday they arrived just before the noon hour for an overnight visit and we couldn’t be more excited.
Our guests arrive

Clemson greets old friends
These are longtime friends of ours and when in London we went back and forth for dinner every month. We knew we’d miss that part of our friendship moving up here.

We had a nice lunch of fresh buns, turkey, ham, lettuce and cheese after a tour of The Ridge. We relayed stories of how things were when my sister and her husband bought 2 years ago and the changes Bill and I have made on our own. It is an unbelievable transformation for sure!

Once the few dishes were placed into the dishwasher, we loaded up our 2 kayaks in the back of the truck and headed over the 3 concessions to the Acreage, Donna and Gerry’s summer place.

Kathy making it work
Bill enjoyed the smooth sailing as well
They have a much nicer pond for paddling and we knew our friends would love this. The day was perfect, because I’d requested it be so, and we unloaded the floaters and ventured the pond for a couple of hours. Bill and I were in the paddle boat at the same time. Unfortunately, I don’t entirely trust all my belongings in a kayak or paddle boat with me, so didn’t have my camera or even phone to snap all the photos I would have wanted.

It was great fun and to add to the excitement when we decided to swap our ‘vehicles’ Derrick chose to take a swim. Well, not on purpose for sure but let’s just say he got his clothes washed at the same time! We all got a tremendous laugh at his expense and even though I have no snapshot of drenched drowned Derrick, the picture is etched in my mind. We were all grateful that none of us had our cell phones in our pockets at this point, especially the water boy! 

Bill took Derrick back to The Ridge for a change of clothing while Kathy and I remained paddling around the pond in the kayaks. It was so relaxing just floating and looking for ‘wildlife’ as Kathy called it. When the boys got back, our guests hopped in the paddle boat and took it for a spin around the pond.

We came across 3 small painted turtles and soaked in the sun while waiting for the guys return. Once loaded up again, we came home for a much needed glass of red wine and a coke for Bill. We were able to show off Donna and Gerry’s Acreage which they have heard so much about over the years.
By the time 6 o’clock rolled around I was inside preparing dinner. The T-bone steaks we picked up from a local butcher, Bentinck Packers, were huge so I knew a simple baked potato and mushrooms would be ample…….and it was. Bill had them done on the Q within 20 minutes and by the time we finished, there was no room for dessert. They were delicious steak and we’ll go back to stock up before we leave for the south.

I found a recipe on line in Pinch a Recipe for a trifle so decided to use up a couple of packages of frozen peaches and strawberries and whip this up. With a little bit of substitution (who has mascarpone cheese anyway?) dessert was chillin’ just like Patsy!

Bill got a fire started before dinner as there was no wind at all and Kathy took it on after dishes were loaded in the dishwasher. 

What a little firebug she is! Derrick lovingly called her “Pyro” throughout the evening. We had a great campfire that lasted in traditional ‘teepee’ style until almost 11 pm. with a brief interlude while I served a dish of trifle
Looked better before we all got into it! It was delish!
Enough left for another round
and a glass of Oceania sherry from Michigan for everyone.

Kathy and Derrick are true urbanites and didn’t get into the camping scene like we did so we made the offering of our bed to them if they wanted it.

We were so pleased when they insisted we keep our own bed inside the Suite and opted to sleep in the little cottage after all! It was a cool night and had picked up a small heater and placed flannel sheets on the bed. They said they were toasty without the heater and without any extra blankets.

Beautiful 3/4 moon beside a still turbine
They adopted the whole country living, utilizing the outhouse and sleeping in the bunky like regular campers. 

Relaxing after breakfast
Friday morning Bill made bacon and eggs for everyone on the Q and we took a drive to Welbeck Sawmill, the old mill and the new store.

A very unique saw mill - tours available

No one was around but it was open to guests to walk through

Lots of leaks in this old wood pipe tunnel

Began in 1860

Love the smell of fresh cedar

From the road
Derrick staying far away from the water
It was an interesting tour of our immediate area including Durham our little town of 2500 inhabitants. 
Great friends
Our company left by 2 after getting set up on Google Hangouts, a couple of selfies and pictures of each other.

Bunk mates

"Bye guys!"

Sad to say goobye.........'til we meet again

It was sad to see them go as we know we won’t see them until the spring. However, we all know that this was the first of many visits to our summer home. It was a wonderful visit.

I hope you enjoyed these beautiful days as much as we did. Please feel free to comment and thanks for reading.