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Monday, January 31, 2011

Look What I'm Making

I have finally got around to taking a class on quilt making. The evidence of my first session on the Wednesday just passed, are in the photos below.  I was in a class with one other person and we were together for 3 hours being instructed step-by-step though we were at different steps of the quilt making process.  The other lady was not a true beginner. In fact she has made several quilts and was half way through a similar one as mine though she was making one for her nephew.

This quilt is called a Stack and Slash Lap Quilt and is perfect for beginners like me. While the fabric shop had all kinds of wonderful fabric I chose to use 6 fat quarters that were on discount for my first quilt.  Even at that the fat quarters and the trim fabrics came to a whopping $32 (Canadian) dollars and that was after the sale price and the 20% discount.  The tally also doesn't include the quilt batting, binding and backing fabric I still need to buy. I am making the lap quilt as a "welcome home" gift for my mom who will soon be moving into a residential facility for seniors.


On Wednesday morning I made and sewed these squares together.  Here they are on the design wall at the store where I had my lesson.
This is a close up of my "crazy" lap quilt on the pressing board.
This isn't the best photo but the "yellow-beige" strip of fabric in the middle-left of the photo will be my inner border.  The burgundy floral on the far left will be my outer border. I will add a picture here later when I finish the quilt.
I probably need one or two more sessions with the instructor to finish this lap quilt. It will depend on how quickly I can pick up the rest of this project and how long it takes for the actual quilting part of it.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Move! The Coach Potato Gets Serious

Many of you know that I started my new year with a goal of doing more exercise. I have started slowly in an effort to simply get used to moving more. It doesn't matter how long I move, just as long as I am moving.  The key way I do this is through my new exercise bike.  But on those days when I have to go out, I count my walk as my cardio exercise instead of my stationary bike routine.

There are streets like this in my neighbourhood. I  love walking in a city which is full of green space.
I also try to incorporate some stretching and resistance training (weights) into my routine, but this needs  more effort on my part.  I am trying to take things slowly and not worry so much about doing it all right.  I am happy just as long as I keep up a steady effort to move.  What I'm trying to do is establish consistent routines that will be lasting.

There are days when I am simply too tired  because of my health conditions. On those days, I don't push myself to do much of anything.  So far, those days have been few and for that, I am grateful.

If you were reading here, you would perhaps remember that my diabetes group meeting members all received a nice surprise, a gift of a DVD "Move for Life!"

Front of the packaging.
Back of the packing.
I will have a chance this upcoming week to try out this DVD and I'm looking forward to it!

If you're like me (and dare I say at least 30% of the population) and are trying to exercise, you need a little encouragement from time to time. One of the  most off putting things for those of us who aren't naturally thin or athletic in any way, is being pushed by others to exercise far beyond our capabilities.  Especially when we are just starting out. I figure it is better not to bite off more than you can chew and simply take baby steps at the beginning.

I believe that it is far better to do something, rather than do nothing, even if it is only for a few minutes a day.  This way you can build up your strength and interest in doing more.  Just "move" . Once you have got the hang of things you can get more aggressive about things, adding more time and different parts to the program to incorporate cardio, flexibility/stretching and strengthening exercises.

So far in this new year, I can already feel my cardio endurance is much better than what it was in December.  Despite all my efforts though, I still haven't dropped any pounds. It is frustrating as I've been watching my diet since November and I really did not indulge over Christmas like so many people do. I've determined to make even more changes like eliminating coffee and cream or milk, stop baking sugury sweets and  do a cleanse. You can read about my whole body cleanse here.  In addition, I'm adding more antioxidant power to my diet through drinking rooibos (red bush) tea.  Those of my readers from South Africa will know all about rooibos. If you haven't heard about rooibos, you can read more here.

I'm not expecting quick results. I know my body and I know how slow it is to release toxins and weight. My first simple goals will be to feel better and I am encouraged so far. I will keep you posted from time to time on other progress on both the cleanse and the fitness/health regime.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

My Stay in Nairobi, Kenya ~ Part Two

 Welcome to my newest follower Candace.
I hope you will find many interesting things on my blog.

On my first night in Nairobi I stayed at the United Kenya Club.  It is very near the University of Nairobi and adjacent to the YWCA which is initially why I booked a room here. I thought I would be swimming and also using the fitness room at the club. The Club is a bit quaint and rustic which some might say adds character, but for me I found it just a little too far me to walk comfortably to the downtown core.   I opted to stay at the 680 Hotel which you can read about here. This hotel is downtown and across the street from nightclubs so I made sure to ask for a room on the quiet side and thankfully the room was quiet and restful. I also found the hotel management to be very friendly and welcoming, greeting me and talking to me in the lobby and in the dining room.


Before deciding where to stay I did look at several hotel properties however I found most of them over priced and too far from where I wanted to be. It is important when travelling to a place such as Nairobi not to be so far from where you wish to walk as it is not good to walk anywhere as a tourist after dark.  Always take a trusted taxi. Let the hotel book it for you rather than book it for yourself unless you have a Kenyan friend who can help you.

While in Nairobi I did many fun things which I have never done before. First up was a visit to the Sheldrick Elephant Orphanage.  The David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust is a small charity established in 1977 to honour the famous Naturalist of the same name.

I took some film footage of the baby elephants frolicking in the mud and the elephant trainers giving their presentations. Unfortunately this was one of the videos I lost when I lost a memory card (more about that in another blog).  The babies were having such fun and I never would have believed their playful antics. They were much like little children as they wallowed in the mud and pulled each other back in as one tried to get out of the slippery hole.  These were priceless and touching moments.

All the baby elephants bond with their trainers who even sleep at night with their charges to assist the psychological development of the baby elephants who will one day be reintegrated into the wild. If the elephants are not emotionally stable when they are reintegrated they will not be accepted. The trainers rotate their charges on a regular basis so that the baby elephants do not become overly dependent on one trainer. Each baby elephant is fed a special formula concocted by Dame Daphne Sheldrick, the first human in the world to hand rear milk dependent newborn African elephants.  It took her 28 years of trial and error to succeed.

The tiniest elephants wear these blankets. I didn't quite get the reason for it but I think it is to make them feel comfortable and secure or at the very least, to keep them warm.  There were many tourists there that day from Australia.  One Aussie woman told me that she considered Kenya to be her second home as she had been visiting the country for 14 years.


There is a wonderful 3D Imax movie which will be out in Spring 2011 called Born To Be Wild. It will feature the wonderful work of Dr. Birute Galdikas and Dr. Daphne Sheldrick, amongst the orangutans of Borneo and the baby elephants and rhinos in Kenya, respectively. I'mposting the official trailer for the movie here for your easy viewing.



Another interesting place I visited was the Wilson Airport. This airport is very close to downtown and is often used for domestic flights or flights to neighbouring countries. It is also the place where tourists take off for various safaris to points all over the country if they have opted to fly to their destination rather than take a road journey. It is a very busy airport.

It was a very hot day the day that I was at the airport but I sat and watched many planes full of safari passengers leaving on their exciting safari adventures.  I did get a bit of a sunburn from sitting in the open rather than in the shade. After that experience I made sure not to sit in the intense open sun again!


Planes of various sizes depart from Wilson Airport, Nairobi, Kenya.
Now one experience which many tourists absolutely must have is a dining experience at the Carnivore Restaurant on the outskirts of the city.  Here you are fed slabs of meat by the kilo and you can eat all you like. Kenyans love their meat and call it nyama choma (which means roasted meat), though this restaurant appears to be frequented mainly by tourists for the novelty of the place.  Good nayama choma can be found in many places for much cheaper so wise Kenyans know how to stretch the budget. You can see some of the skewers of meat in the background.  The restaurant is huge and there are outdoor patios as well as areas for shows and entertainment.

One of the local comedians who goes by the moniker "Churchill" (real name Daniel Ndambuki) broadcasts a live show from this restaurant venue every Thursday night. You can see one of his shows here youtube.com Churchill is wearing the black blazer and jeans at about 1 minute 15 seconds into the video. I did not take in a live show but I did watch him on television quite a lot. The crowd goes wild for him every week.

The chefs at the Carnivore are ready at the barbecue grills with all kinds of meat for your eating pleasure.  Don't you love the zebra patterned aprons?

Stay tuned for more on Nairobi and Kenya.
You can read part 1 of my journey here.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Greening My Air - My World Tuesday


I haven't had any plants now for some time so I bought a small aloe vera plant last summer. It needed repotting then but I still haven't repotted it! Something I know I need to do so it can really spread out and grow.

The aloe plant is well known as a medicinal plant. I've mostly known of this plant for its gel. When one gets a cut or scrape you can break a stem from this plant and squeeze the gel from the shoot onto your cut. It has many other uses besides applying to cuts and scrapes.  You can read more about it here.

The aloe vera plant originates in northern Africa. When I was in Kenya, East Africa,  I saw these huge aloe plants like these ones in the photos below. I was on my way to Marigat, Kenya.

You can see just how dry the climate is by looking at the plants and the ground.  These aloe plants are outside the aloe farm.
Look at how large some of these aloe plants are!
This is the company that is growing aloe plants and seedlings for sale.  I didn't have time to stop and have a closer look at the business operations.
Another plant I purchased in November (see photo below)  is not doing so well. It is of the Dracaena family. I believe it's path to illness was due to an episode of over watering.  I've cut off all the brown and dead leaves but now the plant has leaves on one side only and is looking rather bare.  I have fertilized it.  I hope it can recover and become more balanced looking over time. Perhaps I need to cut all the leaves back, I'm just not sure. I will have to do some research.


The Draecena plants make up an important group of plants used to decorate the home, keep the air clean and "green" private and public spaces.   Apparently there are approximately 40 or so assorted species of this plant and it comes in various shapes and sizes.


The plant above is one of the popular Dracaena fragrans ‘Massangeana’ is more commonly known as the Corn Plant. It is supposed to do  well in low light conditions and its wide leaves are long and arc gracefully from the stalk.

You can't tell from my little plant above, but years ago I did have a beautiful and healthy Corn Plant. I don't remember what happened to it but I believe the movers packed it up and put it in storage when we had the fire. They literally put it in a box and didn't water it. Needless to say it was not thriving when I got it back and it didn't take long before it expired completely. Though it doesn't need a lot of water, it does need some.

I love the leaves on a larger Corn Plant so I had to buy it when I saw it on the weekend.  I think it is good for cleaning the air in my small apartment. Especially during the winter when the windows are seldom kept open.

Hopefully this plant will be with me for years to come and clean the air that I breathe.
For more insight into what others around the world are doing this Tuesday, click here.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

A Pause - Blue Monday, January 24, 2011

Hi friends,

I have organized a schedule of posts for the next week or so while I'm travelling. I hope you enjoy them.  Right now though I would like to draw your attention to two worthwhile posts which you probably won't have had a chance to read.

First, there was the installation of the new Bishop for the Africa Gospel Church in Kenya. The installation of Rev. Doctor R. Langat was a huge event which included his family and many dignitaries in attendance. You can read about his installation here. There was also gospel music by the renowned singer, Emmy Kosgei and performances by traditional Kenyan dancers.


Second, there is a serious drought problem in some parts of Kenya. This has led to a build up of tensions and clashes in various communities over food and water.

My friends are doing their part to try and assist the people. Please see their efforts in a photo essay here.  I was so proud of my friends. They are of humble means but they go above and beyond the call of duty to assist and lift up their countrymen.  It is very touching to me to see this kind of love in action.

Feel free to leave a comment at either of these posts and say a prayer that the wounds would be healed and that these people would have adequate food and water. You can see by their faces and by their bodies, that the challenges are taking a huge toll on the people.



For more Blue Monday, join Smiling Sally and many others here.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Cantaloupe and Shrimp Salad

At the salon on Saturday the young beautician was talking about a mango salad she had made. I decided to try a similar salad using cantaloupe.  I figure incorporating salads like these are a great addition to my overall health regime.  Besides it just tastes so good!

 Ingredients:

-  chopped romaine or iceberg lettuce
-  red grapes
-  semi-peeled and chopped english cucumbers
-  finely sliced red onion
-  steamed prawns/shrimp
-  chunks of cantaloupe. 

Once you put all these ingredients in your platter, squeeze some lime and grind some fresh pepper on top.


There are endless variations of this salad but this is my simple approach. It was delicious and I had some on Sunday for a snack.
Enjoy!

Friday, January 21, 2011

Happy Friday

Thank you to my newest follower Colleen. Hello  my fellow Canadian.

A friend is someone who knows the song in your heart and can sing it back to you when you have forgotten the words.  (Kenyan Proverb)

In my last post I wrote about how I was waiting to pick up a table and chairs from the city. I have them home now and I am very happy!  I still have the antique dining table and chairs to offload so I haven't got a photo of new set in my home for you yet but I do have this photo of the exact table and chairs I purchased.

I'm sure I will like the set very much.  The table is round and they say that round tables are good for smaller spaces.  I was also able to gift my friends with a recliner that I wanted to sell. They have need of a recliner so it worked out great!

(Update added later:  As an afterthought I figured I should let you know that this purchase is the first furniture purchase I've made for the apartment for about 11 years, with the exception of replacing furniture ruined by the fire. Those costs were covered by the insurance company.  I'm working very hard to cut down or cut out other household purchases altogether in my quest for a simple life although my sofa and chair which are  almost two decades old may need to be replaced soon. I've been looking at reupholstery, second hand and new options for the sofa and chair.  Really I think they need to be replaced rather than reupholstered as they are a little too large for the space.)


I have now finished my 5th full day of the whole body cleanse which I told you about here. I haven't noticed any major changes though I can say the fibre and laxative are keeping me more regular and that is a key benefit for me right now. I do have a few breakouts on my face the past few days but nothing atrocious. I understand that this happens when toxins are being eliminated from the body. I think in another 9 days I will feel a little better, a little lighter somehow, and that is all good.

It snowed yesterday and overnight the night before.  This was very surprising after a warm spell but the snow didn't last long. In fact it is all gone today and there is still a gray sky with some light rain falling. I am grateful for rain and warmer weather because it means that spring will come early here and with that the lovely spring blossoms which I love so much.

A photo from Kenya. I was fascinated by all the bird's nests in each tree.

I may be taking a few days break from posting as I 
am busy with a lot of things at the moment. 
In the meantime, enjoy your weekend and your 
loved ones.  I'd love to hear what you have planned.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

My Simple Woman's Daybook ~ January 19, 2010

FOR TODAY
Outside my window...I see a cloudy sky though the sun was just out for a few hours this morning.  I was glad for the sun as I walked home from my diabetes support group.

I am thinking...how warm it has been this week. A few weeks ago it was so cold! Last night on the news they showed video of early blossoms. We often get early blossoms in early February.

I am thankful for ...my quarterly diabetes group meeting. Today we received a nice surprise of a an exercise DVD for daily exercise routines. This is just what I need at this time as I am often out of town and I can take it with me to continue my exercise.

From the kitchen..there is nothing cooking. I just had some milk and a cheese sandwich on a nice baguette.

I am wearing... my workout clothes. I had a meeting at the medical clinic this morning and we even did a few exercises.

I am creating...nothing at this time. I've been too busy! There is lots in my "to do" basket(s).

I am going...to the city to pick up a smallish table and 4 chairs to replace my largish antique table and 6 chairs.  My friends are helping me and there is a possibility this won't be done today at all but tomorrow instead. Am waiting for their call.

I am reading...a novel by Vikram Seth entitled A Suitable Boy.  I re-started it last week but only made real progress on it two days ago and then last night. I am not sure why but it doesn't seem to grab me as much as it did in my first attempt. Perhaps that will change as I get further along.   I did my devotional reading this morning. I am participating in my church's initiative called "Practising the Presence" in which we commit to reading our bibles for at least 15 minutes a day on 4 days a week.  I have switched my bible reading to first thing in the day rather than try to fit it in during the day.  That way the distractions of the day do not interfere with devotional and study time.

I am hoping...that my mom doesn't have to go through surgery. I just learned she has diverticulitis (amongst a plethora of other serious health concerns) and she is still quite weak though responding slowly, very slowly to antibiotics.  As soon as I get my table and chairs delivered I will try to go and spend some time with her.

I am hearing...the fan circulating across from where I am sitting at my desk. I have found with the warmer temperatures I like to feel a breeze.

Around the house...I see my Bible, my study aids and mail spread out on the table and my timer close by. My cleansing supplements and medication are at my desk. Everything is at the ready.

One of my favorite things...looking at things of beauty. Today I saw some beautiful things on line from some of the many talented bloggers who know how to create scenes of beauty and rest.

A few plans for the rest of the week...I am not fully sure though I will continue with my exercise regime and my devotional studies.  The rest of the week is a bit up in the air as to when I will travel.

You can follow others on this meme at this place here.
Thank you for dropping by. I hope to see you again soon!

Monday, January 17, 2011

Whole Body Cleanse

New Year- New Body!

Well that is the hope * wink.

As some of you know I battle with some health challenges though I don't often discuss them and don't plan to get into any detail here. But I do want to say that in an effort to increase energy and generally feel better, I have decided to do a whole body cleanse this month. In fact I've already started it and I am now into my third day of a 14 day cleanse.


It has been many years since I did a cleansing.  Last time I did it I wasn't a happy camper. That one involved using psyillium husk and some kind of clay and I don't wish to repeat it. This one comes in an easy to use kit which includes
- fibre
- laxative and
- liver support in the form of Milk Thistle


These three formulas are supposed to help my body cleanse, detoxify and rejuvenate without the use of hard laxatives. So far, so good though I'm not noticing a whole lot of anything. Perhaps it is too early yet to notice any difference. I will hold off on any major observations until the end of the 14 days.

In addition to the cleanse, it is recommended to do some walking, gentle stretching or yoga and avoid certain food products and beverages ~ the usual suspects like:  foods with nitrates, alcoholic beverages, coffee, dairy products, soy products, and too much meat protein.  I've gone for a short walk or two and am hopping on the stationary bike almost every day.  I haven't yet got around to the recommended stretching I know I should do except for some stretches I do at my desk.  I will add overall body stretches when I feel more up to it.  I am hoping that this regime once completed will help me feel cleaner and rejuvenated and have the effect of "jump starting" my health improvement efforts.

Overall this month has been very busy as I try to get into a regular fitness regime, ensure adequate sleep, be more regular in my devotional time and church related activities and make progress on my household projects. So far am off to a good start. Since none of my activities are "New Year's Resolutions", I am hopeful of keeping them going throughout the year.

I've also been reading a lot in the blogosphere about people identifying a word or theme to guide them over this new year. I don't usually identify a word or theme by which to guide my life but perhaps this year is different as I find a word keeps coming to me.  That word is "Trust".

It's a beautiful word and scary at the same time. I think it means I haven't been trusting God enough for the challenges I've been facing in many areas of my life. I need to work on that and learn to let go and let God, giving Him more control over my daily life, my thought life and my future.  I will try and I need His grace in doing so. I know His Word says that He has plans to give me a hope and a future (Jeremiah 29:11). How much better could it be? I pray you also find the trust you need as you deal with any challenges you may face.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Compassion's Children

There are so many ways to help children in Africa and so many non-profit agencies both at home and abroad who provide opportunities to each of us to help these children.  

I choose to help orphans mainly through the Missions of Hope  whenever I can. But recently I also took on sponsorship of several boys through Compassion International's Canadian office. My sponsorship involvement is very new so I haven't received a letter from one of my boys yet. 

 
First I sponsored little Peter. 
Peter is 6 years old and lives near Nakuru, Kenya.  I didn't get a chance to visit Peter when I travelled to Kenya.  My sponsorship was too new for the organization to prepare everything in time for my visit. I am hopeful that I can visit Peter some day.

 
Two weeks after I sponsored little Peter, I felt led to sponsor John.

Doesn't John's smile just grab you? I really felt a connection with him and especially upon learning he lives in the slums near Nairobi. I also hope to visit little John in future.

 

During the process of learning more about Compassion and its sponsors, I learned that there are also many children who have sponsors but these sponsors do not write to them for whatever reason.  For example, a company might sponsor a child or several children but not assign anyone to write to these children.

I found out that volunteers are needed to correspond with these kinds of children who don't have anyone to write to them.  Through letters a child is shown love and care and can receive the encouragement to overcome the challenges they face.   The benefit to you and me is that we can take on child sponsorship in a budget friendly manner.

After only a month or so of waiting, I received an information package in the mail.  The package sent along a photo of the little 10 year old boy I will correspond with in Ethiopia. His name is Haile.

I am only permitted to send letters, cards and flat paper items to sponsored children in the mail.

I've already sent Peter a card for Christmas and a photo and information about me and will need to send similar information to John and Haile (minus the Christmas cards). I also plan to send all three boys  a postcard "fun" map of Canada and some "Canadian stickers".


I am very excited to embark on this new addition to my support of children in Africa. I look forward to a long association with these young boys and hope to be a positive influence on them.

In closing, I want to encourage any of my readers to please check out children on the Compassion International website for your country and consider sponsoring a child.  There are so many who need sponsorship. If you really do not have the funds to sponsor a child would you please consider taking on a correspondence child? You simply write to the Compassion office in your country and let them know of your interest in writing to a "correspondent child".  Can you imagine the excitement a small child has when they get a letter from a stranger across the world? A stranger who takes an active interest in who they are and encourages them throughout their childhood years. It is a simple joy we can have in life to bring joy to others and to receive joy in their joy.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

The Wonders of Yeast Dough

Hi friends,

I'm feeling very stressed at the moment with mom in hospital.  I've talked to her a few times and she insists that I visit her despite the fact my brother and nephew are there with her to take care of her needs. I'm torn because I usually am there for her but I am exhausted and for a variety of reasons including a flu bug, I cannot visit her.

All this has me thinking of days when I was a little girl and mom was there making me feel secure. She used to make yeast bread and when I would come home from school on a snowy, wintery day, my mouth would water to smell the yeast bread wafting through the house.  She would also use part of her yeast dough to make cinnamon buns.    It is funny how we associate scents and aromas with feelings but did you know that cinnamon has a multitude of benefits? Read more about that here.

I don't have the recipe mom used to use when I was a child but I found a good one on line. I doubled this recipe to have enough dough for cinnamon buns and two small loaves of bread.

So the wonder of the yeast bread for me is not just the wonderful taste but the memories and the feelings of home, comfort, security and love. Blessings to you all this weekend.


Yeast Bread Recipe

1. Dissolve yeast in water, add honey and let stand until it bubbles, approx 5 to 10 minutes.
2. Add salt and oil to yeast mixture, then add flour a little at time until you have a stiff dough.
3.Turn dough out on a floured surface and mold into a ball shape. Place in pan and cover; let rise for about an hour.
4. Punch down the ball of dough and mold it into a loaf shape to fit you bread pan. Cover with a towel and let raise again until it doubled in size.
5. Bake in a preheated oven at 350°F for about 45 minutes. Bread is done when it is golden brown and sounds hollow when thumped.

This recipe is from http://www.food.com

Two loaves of yeast bread, and....a pan of........

Cinnamon buns with raisins and walnuts fresh out of the oven. They aren't as brown as I would like but the syrup was running over and I didn't want to start a fire.
Cinnamon buns with glaze on them.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

The Last Major Hurdles

I do realize that the kind of blog post you are about to read may not be too exciting or thrilling to a lot of people.  But writing about it helps me to stay on track and accountable for the big decluttering project I am working on.  It is a tedious job with few immediate rewards so I need all the help I can get. Thanks for reading and giving me a platform to share my goals, challenges, successes....all of which are leading me to a simpler life and more time and resources for the Missions of Hope.
 
I have had a busy start to the New Year in an effort to get started on the right foot.  This past week I decided to take a little break from the decluttering project and have been busy doing other things like: catching up with friends, going to the movie, exercising, going to Sunday services and making notes of all the upcoming activities there that I would like to participate in during January/February, listening to past sermons on line, reading, organizing my medical appointments and paperwork, scheduling my upcoming commitments (including those that help me reach my goals in 2011) and following up on a number of things I've promised to do.

Then also this past week my mom had a major fall which you can read about here.  Last night she was admitted to hospital due to cellulitis infection.  Cellulitis is the bane of many senior citizens, especially those that are less mobile. She was heavily sedated all day due to pain but her nurse says she is doing much better now. We are not yet sure how long she will be in hospital but my brother and nephew will be attending to visit her and help her with her various needs while I attend to my own medical needs.

Now I'm back to the next big step in the decluttering process, the subject of this blog post which I've called,  "The Last Major Hurdles".  The hurdles are the table top, the dresser top in the bedroom and the big boxes in the bedroom, some of which are pictured below. Once I clean these surfaces and fully unpack the boxes I will have the hardest parts of my decluttering project behind me. I still will have a lot to do but the worst of it will have been done. Yippee!!!

The dining room table in the photo below is covered with clutter and tablecloths so you can't see but it is an antique table from Spain. I love it and it is special because my mom gave me the money to buy it as a birthday present many years ago.  Though my mother paid for it she never liked my choice of table and I am now going to get rid of it.  When I told her that some months ago, she said "Oh good!"  I would probably keep it were it not for the fact that the chairs need reinforcing every year due to their age and often they are not reinforced so they pose a possible danger to someone.  Otherwise, I love the table. Partly because of it's heavy and ornately carved legs.  I also love it because the table top has leaves inserted under it and you can pull them out when you have a sewing project or you have a dinner party.  This adds about 5 more surface feet which really helps when you want to cut fabrics or set out food and dinnerware which I do for buffet style dinners when entertaining.


Clutter on the tabletop. empty coin wrappers in the bag and important papers in a  wooden box on the floor. The table area is nice and clean from time to time but I'm afraid it acts as an expensive catch all most of the time.  Once I clean the the table I will find a new home for it. In fact, I've already ordered a new, small round table for the dining table.  I think it will work much better in this space.
Don't you agree that these are beautiful and solid looking table legs?

Two big unpacked boxes remain from the move in we did just over a year ago post-fire. I've had a quick peek inside and put a lot of the items to sort on the top of the dresser which is adjacent to the boxes. Things look rather messy in the master bedroom at the moment but it is surface mess until everything is dealt with.

Update:  I stayed up late and cleared the table.  A small bag of garbage was thrown out and bills and paperwork added to other like documents which are to be sorted and dealt with later. First pass through the paper is getting rid of anything no longer needed.  It feels good to see the table again.  Next it will need to be polished before I see who might want to give it a good home.

Clutter free once again!

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Mom Had a Fall

My mom had a fall yesterday and was unable to get help for about 4 hours. Her head somehow got wedged in the basket of her walker and somehow she ended up with her blankets over her head as well. She tried to call for help in the hopes that passersby might hear her from the hallway but alas no one came to help.

I do pay for a necklace for mom to wear in case she ever has such a problem. The necklace has a button which is to be depressed if you get into a "situation" but mom didn't have it on. She always takes it off when she is getting her bath and then she often neglects to put it back on due to forgetfulness or distractedness.


It was many hours later when the wound nurse visited to change her dressings that she was discovered and the ambulance personnel prompted were called to come and check her over. Mom didn't go to the hospital as she said she didn't feel she had any broken bones but she is battered, bruised and very sore.

We are on an urgent waiting list to get mom into a nursing home. In fact I just spoke to the nursing home the day before this falling incident and they are working as fast as they can to prepare things equipment wise. The issue really is when the room will be available as it is currently occupied. They may move the gentleman to another room but I know this is asking a lot. I just leave it in the Lord's hands and pray for mom and her new home to come available as soon as it possibly can.


Update:  A few days after the fall mom ended up being admitted to hospital. She has a cellulitis infection in the legs. This is her fourth trip to hospital for a similar reason which is why she is now on a waiting list to go into a nursing home.  My brother and nephew are with her and looking after things. I imagine she will stay in the hospital until her infection gets better. In a way, it is a bit of a relief to me that she been admitted so that the doctors can treat the infection which was also setting into her bladder; another recurring health issue.

Friday, January 7, 2011

Cleaning and Decluttering Continues

Well this is about day 5, though not consecutive days, of my major decluttering and cleaning project. Today I didn't feel much like decluttering in my bedroom or living area so I tackled some much needed cleaning in the kitchen.

I gave everything on the counters a good wipe down. I also hopped on my mini-ladder and wiped down the upper kitchen cabinets which always seem to collect a lot of grease and grime despite being wiped down almost every other day. I find this aspect of kitchen cleaning quite frustrating and would love to know what others do to keep their kitchen cabinets, stove tops and appliances grime free. Normally I use a mixture of vinegar and baking soda to clean the grime but today I used Orange Lysol.

My galley kitchen is very small. Combined with very narrow kitchen cabinets, I have little room for all the basic things one needs in a kitchen. A lot of things need to be stored on the countertops and it is a constant challenge to keep it clean as well as have enough room for food preparation.

I added the multi-coloured batik cloth to the tray under my coffee pot. It was a gift from a cousin but I had no where to use it until the thought struck me today to put it under the coffee tray.  My calendar looks empty but that is because I haven't added my appointments - yet! LOL
I can now look at fresh fruit, napkins and a pitcher instead of a hodge podge of non kitchen items sitting on the pass through to the dining room.
Believe it or not, wiping down the kitchen took me 5 and half steady hours and it really wasn't that dirty. I did a little re-organizing, collected some kitchen containers for recycling and vacuumed and washed the kitchen floor. Though there is still a bit more cleaning to be done in the kitchen, such as cleaning out the main food cabinet and washing on top of and behind the refrigerator, I am satisfied with the day's work.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

FOR TODAY
Outside my window...I see the steeple of the Catholic Church against a backdrop of a very gray sky. The rain is coming down heavily and the leaves on my green bush are blowing in the wind.

I am thinking...nothing in particular. I just have a sense of contentedness that mostly everything is okay.
I am thankful for ...a phone call from the nursing home where mom will soon reside.

From the kitchen...there is banana-pear bread in the oven and dough for buns rising in the bowl.

The finished buns. I used mostly whole wheat flour.


I am wearing... my nightgown. I haven't had a shower yet but will soon do so.

I am creating...nothing yet. I will figure out whether to make something knitted or crochet but there is no rush.

I am going...to run some small errands in the neighbourhood.

I am reading...a novel by Vikram Seth entitled A Suitable Boy.  I started it some time ago and put it aside due to busyness and other priorities. I've decided to begin again as I hardly remember what I read.
I am hoping.. I will have enough energy to continue work around the house over the next few days.

I am hearing...the vacuum cleaner outside my condo. The custodian is hard at work. He does a great job of vacuuming daily.
Around the house...I see evidence of my decluttering project. Some things are organized and some are not but I am making progress.

One of my favorite things...is having something in the oven made from scratch. Later I will make some salmon chowder.
A few plans for the rest of the week I will continue to make progress on my decluttering project and try to take in a water aerobics class or a swimming lesson Friday.

For Inger - My banana-pear bread. I used mostly whole wheat flour as that is the only flour I have on hand.

Nola, a new reader of my blog has asked for the recipe for the banana-pear bread so here it is.

Ingredients

  • 3 or 4 ripe bananas, smashed
  • 1 chopped and mashed bartlett pear  (I only used 3 bananas so I added a pear but at other times I have used an apple)
  • 1/3 cup melted butter
  • 1 cup sugar (I reduced mine to 1/2 cup and it was still a bit too sweet)
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1 1/2 cups of all-purpose flour (I used 1 cup of whole wheat and 1/2 of white flour)

Method

Mash the bananas and shred the pear in a food processor (or you can cut it into smaller chunks).  Then in a large bowl add the melted butter into the mashed bananas and pear. Next add the sugar, egg, and vanilla into the bowl and mix. Sprinkle the baking soda and salt over the mixture and mix in. Add the flour last and mix. Pour mixture into a buttered 4x8 inch loaf pan. Bake for 1 hour in a 350 F oven or until done. Cool on a rack. Remove from pan and slice to serve.

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