Tuesday, March 15, 2016

This n That

From my archives

Hi friends,

I hope you are all doing well and enjoying the transition to new season where ever you are in the world. I know my friends in South Africa are enjoying the warmer temperatures and green grasses after experiencing a time of drought.

In my corner of the world we've been having an amazingly wet week. I don't carry an umbrella any more because I usually have a shopping cart when I go out and do my errands. If I don't have a shopping cart with me, my hands are otherwise occupied with walking poles to help mobility. It means I don't have an extra hand for an umbrella. I compensate by wearing a rain hat.  Sometimes I just go out and get wet and take breaks when the rain is coming down too hard. Or, I wear a jacket with a hood. The temperature outside dictates what I wear.

Things have been rather hectic in my world at the moment.  I continue to read when I can. I do enjoy it so much but find I really don't sit and read for hours and hours or it happens very rarely so I must grab the moments where I can.   Right now I've got so many books on the go, including:


  •  The Valley of Amazement by Amy Tan - In progress and enjoying.
  •  Americanah by Chimanandah Ngozi Adichie - In progress and enjoying
  • Ghana Must Go by Taiye Selasi - This book started the way I like my books to start. Very dramatically.  I'm enjoying it so far. 


  • Apartment Gardening by Amy Pennington. Enjoyed this easy to read gardening book. It is inspirational for those who have never gardened. It doesn't quite meet my needs for my urban patio but I enjoyed it anyway.
  • Living with Less: How to downsize to 100 personal possessions by Mary Lambert. I enjoyed this easy to read book as well. The reality is I will never whittle down my personal possessions to the small number of 100 because it includes clothes, accessories, shoes and all personal items. But it is still motivating to read about and consider what your things mean to you and how to approach downsizing each room or area of "stuff". I've been on a quest to down size now for awhile now.  I've found that downsizing is a journey unto itself  and can take forever if you are not moving toward a  firm deadline of moving.  But I press on as some of what I'm organizing is stuff I really want to get rid of (books, papers, documents, photos, etc.). The other stuff like clothing, personal products, etc. are all much easier for me to pare down. The real problem is not buying more stuff. I know I am not the only one who has that problem. Some of us really get tempted by a deal but I'm trying to learn not to buy something just to have it but to really need it. That is the only way to downsize. Also, one must be ruthless about getting rid of 1-2 things for every new thing you bring inside. That rule doesn't quite suit me because I'm usually too buy to do that on the spot. I end up doing this way after the fact. Perhaps some of you can relate.
  • How to Get Dressed by Alison Freer. Started and enjoying. 
  • Inside the Revolution by Joel C. Rosenberg I haven't started this book yet. The description on the cover says "How the Followers of Jihad, Jefferson and Jesus are Battling to Dominate the Middle East and Transform the World" (Why so many capital letters???) I am not familiar with this author but have heard good things about his books so thought I would try one out. There is a documentary based on this book if you are interested.  Click here to view the trailer.
  • Indigo, Dye It, Make It by Nicola Gouldsmith. I skimmed through this book but intend to have a good read of it. I have a love affair with indigo and I know where to buy the supplies in my city to make some. I have no firm plans to make any soon though.  I just have too many other projects that I need to tackle first whenever I have a few spare moments.

  • Countless books (okay 6 but it seems like countless) on basic math and algebra. I've scoured the library catalogue for appropriate books and exercises to tutor an adult who has never been through formalized education. He has to begin apprenticeship training in the Fall and wants a head start in Mathematics to ensure his success.

In addition to scouring library catalogs, making trips to the library and reading, I've been busy with doctor appointments and pharmacy visits. I'm looking for a new glucometer as I've been having problems with the one I currently own. It is too sensitive I guess and keeps giving me error messages that relate to the test strips. I'm sure the real problem is me but I don't feel like fiddling with it and will find something that suits my needs a bit better.

I have an appointment on Saturday with the pharmacist to go over several options.  I'm eyeing one that will not only track blood sugar but download results to my computer (rather than a phone app) and chart my progress. I like visual tools.  I also see there is one that keeps track of patterns (highs and lows of blood sugars throughout the day) and that one is appealing also and I think it would really help me a lot.  I've been keeping exceptionally busy on the diabetes management front and have been having some concerns but nothing I want to write about here. Suffice to say I have a lot of work to do and changes to the medication regime. Just when I think I'm on the right track and might possibly get off medications altogether, I seem to regress. It's always a challenge but one must keep on trucking and stay positive.

This is one option

Earlier in this post, I mentioned that I've been looking at books to help someone with Math skills. This has been a rather time consuming exercise and taken far more time than I really wanted to devote to it.  But once I get started, I carry on and get the job done.  My friend isn't in school at the moment and hasn't had much formal education.  But he is smart and motivated and has learned a lot through practical experience in numbers.  He relies on a calculating things in his head a lot which is a great skill.  We don't have a curriculum to follow and I don't know exactly what his knowledge base is but I have some broad idea what his future course will require of him.  It has taken me awhile to try and figure out how to proceed since I don't have a firm starting point.  There are many options on where to start and some of what I need to teach I will have to relearn so it will be a good project for me too.

I've scoured the internet for free materials too and purchased a lot of aids (dry erase board, cards, etc.). We had our first session last night and it went well. Part way through he said he was having fun and admitted that he hadn't really been looking forward to it because not only was he tired but he had to rush from work to shower and eat and he was racing to beat the clock.  I could relate to that because I'd spent countless hours in preparations myself not to mention time looking for appropriate materials and time shopping near and far for helpful aids at a cost effective price.  So it was nice to hear my friend say he was having fun and had gotten over his fatigue.  I seem to have hit on the right things to cover because afterward I had a good sense of what he can already do and where he needs help. It is a good starting point.  We hope to meet twice a week though this may change along the way.

My week is already busy as I've got errands today (Tuesday), tutoring (Wednesday), Ballet (Thursday), a Farewell Dinner (Friday) and a medical appointment (Saturday).

In between I have fabric shopping (more slips for mom), household shopping, library visits and all the usual things one does to try and keep a household clean.  My local supermarket will be closing for good in one and a half weeks.  When it reopens after a month it will be an entirely new store (new name, new design, new owners, new company, new products).  I can buy fruit and vegetables at one or two other local shops but I purchase most meat from the supermarket. In a real pinch I can also get meat at the meat market about 15 blocks from my home or go to another supermarket located a bit farther.

This week I took the plunge and purchased a new kitchen cookware set of stainless steel.  For years I've had nothing but a hodge podge of kitchen cookware. In fact I still have things I purchased when I was a university student though I purged a lot of it over the years and added other pieces along the way.  I purchased 2 frying pans (by Chef Curtis Stone) about 6-8 months ago for a hefty (to me) sum.  The plan was they were to last me a lifetime. Prior to that I was contemplating getting a traditional stainless steel set of cookware or an enamel set.  These new fry pans are dream to cook in but they are not going to last anywhere near a lifetime.

I've noticed that the coating in the pans darkens if the heat if any higher than a low medium. Also the coating on one frying pan looks like it has been shredded with a knife.  It's a huge disappointment because when I purchased the pans I was excited because one didn't need to use oil in the pans and they were not Teflon coated. I listened to the sales pitch which said you don't have to worry about what kind of utensils you use because the coating will not wear (unlike Teflon). That did not prove to be true and already one pan is quite marked up on the bottom surface. I looked up the problem on line and discovered that many other customers are experiencing the same issues or worse and that they have been unable to get the company to honour the warranty.

I'm sure the new set will work out better just because it is traditional stainless steel 18/20 cookware and there is a long history with how it responds to longer term use.  It was also a great price reduced from $600 (before taxes) to $200 (before taxes). It seems to be a good quality set from Chef Wolfgang Puck.  However, I would never purchase another expensive appliance (or anything needing replacement parts) from Chef Wolfgang Puck. The reason is that  I've discovered there is no customer service when problems arise and the customer is just ignored even after repeated attempts at trying to get assistance.  But as far as traditional stainless steel cookware sets go,  I can't imagine there will be any major problems.Not one piece of the set has any kind of coating inside and I like that.  It is all stainless steel and the covers are either partially glass or all glass  so you can see inside the pans when they are covered. I'd even be happy with a smaller cookware set (this one is 13 pieces) but they usually come with far more pieces.  I've been looking at stainless steel cookware for a long time so I know the prices and configurations.  I'm pretty happy with my selection and am just waiting for it to arrive in the post.

Finally, I also purchased this cute little rice cooker. It is a small, portable ricer cooker.  Again it is from Chef Wolfgang Puck and though it is an appliance it isn't a very expensive one.  Rice cookers usually last for some time too.  I already have a small rice cooker at home.  It was used when I bought it is on it's last legs so time for a replacement. I thought this new little cooker can go with me when I travel to see mom.
You might wonder why I would take a rice cooker with me? On my last visit to see mom there was a small fridge and microwave in the standard hotel room.  If I had this little cooker with me I could have made an egg dish for breakfast and soup for dinner without getting overly complicated or needing a whole lot of groceries and tools with me.  I get so tired of eating out and eating fast food when I travel. It isn't good for my health.  This little unit is a perfect size for small portions of food.  If I made soup, mom could have some too. She misses that kind of cooking and so we would both get a benefit. At the same time it is the right size to make a small side dish at home of quinoa, brown rice or other. One can even make meat balls, pasta, rice pudding or cake and so on in the little cooker.

Well that is it for now folks. I have to get out and do an errand since I will be busy tomorrow. Enjoy the rest of your week and thank you for stopping by. I leave you with a few waterfront scenes taken in early February 2016.


It was a perfect day on the waterfront. Sunny and quite warm. It's been colder since then but the weather will soon change.

Checking in with Our World Tuesday this week.


  1. Hello, beautiful photos. Looks like a great day to be outside on the coast. Enjoy your new pots, the rice cooker looks interesting. Happy Wednesday, enjoy your day!

  2. Hi Penny, you are so innovative and adventurous. You're tutoring a friend in math; you're making garments for your mom; you're reading several books; you've bought beautiful new cookware AND you use your rice cooker when you travel! (in between you also helped me with a PayPal problem!) I loved this post and loved the image of the blossoms at top. Have a great day. Jo

  3. You really keep yourself busy. I hope the health conditions get sorted out.

  4. Hi Joyful, Nice to see you back with the kind of post I enjoy so much from you. Everything "Joyful" :-) The little rice cooker looks very interesting. I would definitely consider buying one if I did a little more traveling, but for home use I don't think I can do better than the rice from my electric pressure cooker. On Monday I made Latin Pepper Steak and rice ... honestly, I think the rice was as good, if not better than, any I've had in a restaurant. Wow, you are so busy with the reading! I will have to check out your books as we seem to enjoy a lot of the same topics. Knowing how you enjoy traveling, one book I'm currently reading and can recommend is The Vanishing of Flight MH370 by Richard Quest. Fascinating and intriguing! Lastly, sure enjoyed your photos there on the waterfront. The location there reminds me a lot of the waterfront at our Carkeek Park I posted about recently. Have a great rest of your week!

  5. Hello Penny~~ Is so nice to come for a visit! are one busy gal, and quite the amazing reader. :-) I have to stick to one book at a time, boy I would love to read like you.
    I have a rice cooker and never knew that it could be used for anything else but rice. I must look into that.
    Lovely photos of the water front, thank you for sharing the beauty with us.
    Enjoy your busy day out.
    Blessings~~ Debbie

  6. Busy, busy Penny. You have been up to all sorts and poor you having such wet weather, not what you need since having a cold x

  7. My goodness you are so busy! One take-away from you today is my need to downsize our possessions! My glucometer is a Freestyle Freedom Lite and I practically never waste a test strip even if I take too much time setting up the lancet. I think they have a software program but I keep paper records. Best wishes!

  8. Lovely shots - especially the blossoms!

  9. A fun and interesting post with many wonderful images.

  10. Very nice post!!Beautiful images and stoty you tell♥

    also love the book tips!!Thank you!!!♥♥

  11. You have had a busy and interesting time. I hope the new saucepans are just what you need and last for many years. I bought a set of stainless steel saucepans when we were first married. They are still in excellent condition over 25 years later - and have had much use. I trust you find the right glucometer for your needs too - they seem to have come a long way since I last used one eight years ago (I borrowed one for each pregnancy to monitor gestational diabetes).

  12. That looks like Stanley Park. Thanks for stopping by my blog.


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