I have been very busy the past few weeks and lately have slowed down with blogging as a result. I see that a number of you have slowed down with your blogging also. I guess this is all part of the lazy, hazy days of summer, lol.
Last weekend I had a great surprise. A cousin of mine whom I haven't seen for years was here to visit me. This was totally unexpected and she came from very far away with other relatives on a long road trip. Her other relatives were visiting close by to where I live so it was very convenient for her and I to get together and I invited her to stay for a few days. Unfortunately her ride left a day earlier than expected so we didn't get to do everything we wanted but we did get to visit a lot. In fact, we were up to the wee hours of the morning both nights and we were both very tired as result but eager to get caught up on years of living.
In one of our outings we spent a good deal of time watching the small birds and pigeons, and of course, feeding them. One thing that fascinated me is watching the little birds take a bird bath in the dust after they had eaten. Here is a little bird in the hole he/she dug to play around in. You can see the two birds better if you click on the photo to enlarge it.
Another thing we did was hang up some of my pictures and souvenirs that I hadn't had a chance to get around to since moving back into my condo. Now holding pride of place in the front room is the Maasai wedding necklace from Narok, Kenya; an African mask from Mombasa, Kenya and Kisii soapstone bowls from Kisii, Kenya.
I am sorry about the lighting and the resolution for the photos but I guess it is really too dark in my front room at this hour of the night to take good photographs. Hopefully you can see them well enough.
I also had a chance to re-hang my Aboriginal art in the front room. The small piece that is hanging under the wooden carving (on the right of the photo below) is a very unique piece created by Woodlands Cree elder (scroll down to the third biography on the page link), Angelique Merasty, who has now passed. It is called a birch bark biting and I have had it framed. It is a very special piece to me because it is an almost extinct art. You can't see the biting design but I will post a close up of it sometime. For now I simply wanted to show the grouping of pictures. Each of these pieces has it's own story which I may tell sometime. (There are actually two Angelique Merasty's and both of them do birch bark biting. I don't know for sure but I think the younger woman is related to the one who has passed on. In any case they have the same name and the younger one is quite prolific in her work towards cultural preservation.)
In addition to having company, I have enrolled in an Osteofit class for those with joint problems. The first class was a real work out but manageable. Yesterday and today however we are having a heat wave so I opted to stay home from exercise class today. I will return on Monday next week. In the meantime, I have my 3rd swimming lesson tomorrow.
In between these activities I have been super busy with the mortgage renewal process. I use a mortgage broker to shop around for the best deal for me. Due to the fact I am now retired, I have to provide numerous documents to confirm my income so gathering and sending them has been rather time consuming. With the global recession and banking problems in several countries, our banks are now more stringent in all forms of lending. So this time around, I need to get a real estate appraisal done as well. The appraisal was done today and the report should be submitted to the broker tomorrow. I expect to hear about my loan options on Tuesday of next week. This process works so nice and fast and that suits me perfectly!
Once I decide on the lender, I want to get all the legal work completed by the end of the third week of July. This is a little challenging given the classes I'm taking, personal appointments and a diabetes group I will attend that same week. But I push on as I want to get everything done before I visit mom again at the end of the month.
In reviewing the documents required by the broker and the potential lenders, I came across some issues and discrepancies in the mortgage statements provided by my current lender. I spent some time on the phone with them today and they are opening an investigation into my queries. It seems that they may have been applying less of my bi-weekly payments to the principal than I had thought. It also seems that my municipality has taken more in real property taxes than they should have as I am entitled to a homeowner grant on a portion of the taxes. I need to follow up with the City Hall in the next day or two and get this straightened out. Normally, this has never been an issue but I'm finding that it very much depends on the lender. The very first mortgage lender I engaged with was simply the best and they were on top of all their paperwork and in turn, their reporting to me and making sure I was completely in the loop.
Now you may wonder why I didn't find out about these issues earlier. In fact I did, but never had time for everything to "gel" and become clear to me, or the time and motivation to really get to the bottom of it all. It seems the time is now. I am confident it will all be sorted out before I travel again. The travel really does cut into my ability to get things done here at home but I am thankful I can still visit mom and help her with her daily needs also.
I realize my list of summer activities thus far is probably much different than yours. I tend not to lie on the beach or go camping or picnicking unless I go with a larger group, visit relatives or go on holiday. What activities are keeping you busy this summer dear reader? I would love to hear from you!