Easter Long Weekend
















We had a mixed bag of weather over this long weekend and I found it still a bit chilly.
 This week we have a mixed forecast once again but more sunny days than not. 
I hope this means we are now heading into mostly sunny days.

Joining in with


Thank you for stopping in for a visit.
Have a lovely week ahead.

A Bit of This & That: Books, People, Paintings, Sky

I started the week tired so have been taking a bit of a break from heavy duty
 house cleaning while still trying to make a bit of progress.

I was very happy that I was able to recycle (by giving away) several household items (tablecloth,  oven mitts, scatter rug, dish rack and drying mats). It takes a lot of work to make sure items are clean, photograph them, post them on line and then respond to inquiries as well as arrange pick up times but it is so much better than throwing away items which are still in good enough condition to be used by someone else.

I also cleaned the cabinet under the Master Bathroom sink and installed a shelving unit. It makes a big difference and now I can have things nicely stored away.

I finished reading two books and am working on the 3rd one picked up recently at the local library. There is already a waiting list for the two books in the few days since I borrowed them. Whenever I see a waiting list for a book I try to hurry up and read it because I cannot renew a book for which there is a wait list.  If I finish a book quickly I also like to return them to the library quickly so that others may enjoy them.  Of course while at the library I  picked up 3 more books (2 books with tips for household cleaning and/or frugality and one novel).

It's been raining a lot here and I haven't managed to get to the planting of my gardens. However I can see the perennials coming up in my patio garden with all the rain we've been having. I still have to plant the bare spots and I'm hoping for better weather soon though Tuesday was a spectacular day.

On that day, or rather, that evening, a friend and I went to see the exhibition from French Moderns: Monet to Matisse, 1850 - 1959.  While in the line up to get into the museum I started chatting with the woman ahead of us. Instead of being a local resident, she was a visitor from Mexico City who was in Vancouver for a conference.  She was squeezing in some sightseeing whereever she could and it was her last night in the city.  I helped her out with some of her questions and then I invited her for coffee afterward which she readily accepted.  It was nice to sit and chat and be hospitable to a stranger.  Hopefully she will have a nice thought about Canada or Vancouver in years to come. This verse of scripture always comes to mind when I chat with a stranger

Do not forget to show hospitality to strangers, for by so doing some people have shown hospitality to angels without knowing it.
Hebrews 12:2 (NIV)

It isn't the reason I entertain strangers however. I just enjoy meeting people and showing them kindness or helpfulness. I think most people, including me, enjoy being on the receiving end of this kind of hospitality.

Now here are a few paintings (and one sculpture) that caught my eye at the exhibition. I did ask first if it was okay to take photos and the answer was 'yes' but no flash photography.

Carpet Merchant of Cairo, c. 1869 Artist Jean-Léon Gérôme

Madame Boursier and Her Daughter  c.1873 Artist Berthe Morisot

Young Women of Sparta, 1868-70 Artist Jean-Baptist-Camille Corot

Woman of African Descent, 1868, Artist Jean-Baptiste Carpeaux






I end this post with a photo of the night sky on my walk to the bus station after coffee.


To cap the night I grabbed a quick bite to eat and stopped at the dollar store to see if I could find a small item I need.
I didn't find what I was looking for but I was satisfied with my day.

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Spring Activities Continue

Hi friends,


It's been raining a lot here this week so I didn't get to plant my 2 gardens plot yet. I am happy about that because it gave me time to shift to doing a few other things. I'm still in Spring cleaning and spruce it up mode.  I'm making notes here for my own record and for future reference.

 I'm constantly in the process of decluttering and getting rid of things some of which has piled up for over a decade.  Things piled up when I spent years looking after my late sister's children then looking after my late mom.  I couldn't spend time to properly deal with my business while others in the family were in great need. The declutter project I'm doing will still take a lot more time.  I don't easily get rid of things and like to take time going through everything meticulously.

Sometimes I go through things 3 or 4 times before making final decisions and over the years, needs and wants change and things come into clearer focus as to what is needed or can be let go. I am no hoarder though and over the years have gotten rid of a lot of things mostly through giving to the thrift store or posting things on the local Freecycle website.  For now while I'm still in declutter mode I'm trying to spruce things up a bit.

Spring Cleaning
  • A new bathroom shower curtain. I just changed it a year ago and felt the colours (navy on white) needed toning down. My new curtain is mostly white and has small designs in navy and gray). I intend to paint the bathroom (something I never seem to get to) and install a train rack for extra towel storage.
  • Purchased some command hooks for the laundry closet on which to hang my mop and broom. I've had metal ones for many years but never got around to nailing them in the wall. So at last I have some stick on ones. I've purchased extra command strips if needed. One of the shelf units in the laundry closet came out of the wall so rather than put it back up I purchased some narrower plastic shelves from Wal-mart a year or two ago. I am happy with the new arrangement because I don't have a laundry room as such and have to make do with a very small laundry closet.
  • I emptied and cleaned the vacuum cleaner, vacuumed the living room/dining room and moved the area rug from the front room into the master bedroom. I'm looking for another one or two larger area rugs for the living room and dining area. I've been looking for a very long time. I am not in a big rush because of all the other things I have to do and because I hope to live with my purchases for many years to come.
  • I bought a new larger entry hall rug to replace the temporary one I bought last year.  I went back and forth to the store 3 times to buy and exchange the rugs. In the end I got a different colour than I wanted.  That's okay because the entry hall rug and the kitchen rug are now the same design (different colours) and can be interchanged if I want to change the colour scheme in the kitchen.
  • I bought a new tablecloth (narrow brick red and tan stripes on natural background) and natural coloured napkins.  I've got a number of tablecloths I bought many years ago but wanted something to freshen things up. I think I can get rid of at least one or two tablecloths that have seen better days.
  • New (slightly larger) kitchen rug, dish rack, draining mat and oven mitts. I've decided I'd rather have a dish tray under the Umbra dish rack but have been having problems finding just the right one. Maybe I'll change my mind as time goes on and stick with the draining mat. I will donate the well used teak dish rack and several drying mats. If no one wants them I'll be fine with putting them in the trash because all of the items have been used for quite a long time.
  • I bought an under the sink shelf. I'm not sure if I'll use it in my kitchen or in the master bathroom. If I like it I may buy another one later. Right now I use plastic containers under the kitchen and master bath sink to keep things organized. Right now though the  master bathroom stuff is out of control and needs to be reined in again (I'm working on not buying more products and using up what I have. It takes discipline).
  • I used some white wood putty to fill in some cracks on my kitchen cabinets. I'm not sure yet but I may paint out the lower cabinets some time in future or I may reface the kitchen cabinets.  It will depend on whether I can make a small repair to one of the cabinet hinges and also on overall costs. This is just one of so many projects that need to be done.  For now I am focussing on the smaller projects to try and make the household flow a bit better.  It seems to be a never ending process.
  • I purchased a can of Scott's Liquid Gold to shine up the kitchen cabinets after washing. I only buy this stuff about once every decade and mainly use it on my laundry closet shutter doors to shine them up a bit. I got this tip from an Executive Assistant to a former boss.  We would share a few decorating ideas from time to time. I was surprised to learn that this product is multi-functional and can even be used on kitchen pots to shine them up.
  • Notes: Most of my new purchases were done at HomeSense so the items were all at a discount.  Of course the stock changes daily.  If you waffle a bit and return another day you take a risk that it might not be in stock when you return.  Imagine my surprise when I returned the very next day for a red & beige rug for the entry hall (there were 3 of them less than 24 hours earlier) and they were all gone! Since I visited the store daily for 3 days in a row it was clear to me that stock turnover happens very quickly.  Overall though I've been very pleased with what I found there. I'd been wanting to stop at this store for years. I didn't realize it's location was convenient to me.


There is a lot more work to do in the coming weeks to continue spring cleaning and decluttering though I won't likely write about all of it in this space (lucky you).

Gardening

I bought some pansies to plant in the containers on the balcony. I should have time later this week to undertake this task. Pansies are one of my favourite little flowers and each year it is hard to find the starter plants here. When I saw a few earlier this week I snapped up 10 pots because the store didn't have much stock and very little of the purple colour I love so much.  I have to plant them soon and hopefully the weather will cooperate later this week.



Frugal Cooking

I've baked bread every week for the past 3 weeks. We haven't eaten it all up so I made bread pudding with some of the slices. I forgot to take a photo. It was good but I'm still looking for a good recipe. I find most of the recipes I've tried result in what I consider to be a dry pudding.

I want a pudding that is much creamier and similar to what my late mom used to make. Too bad I didn't learn her recipe but back then I really didn't enjoy cooking at all and had no interest in learning much about it.  In the version I made today I added more milk (find it here) and used less sugar. It was a decent outcome as in tasty but lacked the creamy texture I'm after.  I think the trick might be more eggs and milk though that might make a bread omelette, lol.  If you are a cook and have a creamy bread pudding recipe that you wouldn't mind sharing please let me know.

Right now I'm cooking from my food stock and only buying the barest minimum of foods, like a bit of fruit or eggs and milk to supplement what I have on hand.  I've got a lot of dried and canned goods as well as stuff in the freezer that I want to use up before I do any more grocery shopping.

So for today we had garlic mashed potatoes, fried pork chops and canned cream corn. I have salad fixings but I didn't make any salad.  Once I eat salad I tend to be too full for the main course. Dessert was bread pudding.

Yesterday we had baked chicken breasts (bone in) with canned browned mushrooms and mushroom soup "sauce" over steamed rice with steamed asparagus on the side. We had oranges for dessert.  I think Monday I'll make breakfast for dinner (bacon, eggs and hash browns or bacon with an omelette so I can put some veggies in there).  The goal is to use as much of my stock of food as possible so I can clean the freezer and the inside spaces of the cabinets.


If I run out of meat or fowl I will make vegetarian meals with chick peas, lentils and so on. In fact I hope to intersperse some of the meat and chicken dishes with vegetarian ones. I was inspired by browsing through the book by Mary McCartney (daughter to Paul and Linda McCartney). I didn't buy the book. I just sat down for awhile and thumbed through it (and a few other books) enough to be motivated once again to eat more vegetarian meals. One thing I want to make (which I saw in Mary McCartney's cookbook) is a corn meal bread with jalapeno peppers and corn niblets. I have several bags of cornmeal that a friend gave me and I need to use it up soon. In fact, I'm not sure what the expiry date is (it's in sealed plastic bags with no markings).  Perhaps I should open one bag and smell it first.

Creativity

The crochet afghan I am making is going to be large enough to comfortably cover a twin sized bed so it is much larger than the throws I've been making to cosy up while sitting on the sofa. I think I'll be gifting it to my uncle who is now in long term care but first I'll call his wife and see if this is okay with them because my idea is rather last minute.  I'll take some photos of the finished product and share them when I'm done.

Television/Movies

I started watching a new series called "Hanna" on Amazon Prime.  I'm on episode 4 and find it very interesting. Are any of you watching it? I wanted to go and see the movie Dumbo but haven't got around to it yet. Have any of you seen it and do you recommend it for adults?


Reading

I am also reading a bit here and there. I am slowly working my way through the book Beyond Expectations which  I  picked up during my recent travels to Kenya.



It is quite interesting and chock full of information about the early days of Kenya's independence and the power brokers of the day.

I also picked up 3 more books at the library.


The Piano Teacher,  set in the 40s and 50s in Hong Kong. It's a fictional story which is primarily about two separate but intertwined love stories set in the period before and after Japanese occupation.  I've just finished the book and I would probably give it a 3 or 3.5 out of 5 stars.

I'm about to start on the next two books.


On Island is a book of fictional short stories written by a former Canadian Member of Parliament. The stories revolve around island living.
We're Going to Need More Wine is a memoir by actor Gabrielle Union. Her essays are true stories about power, color, gender, feminism and fame.

Other

I was hoping to see an old friend for lunch but she's had some family issues come up as well as some health issues so our get together is temporarily on hold.  I have another friend who I hope to see early in the week. I've suggested we go and see the Monet to Matisse exhibition at the Vancouver Art Gallery. I thought we were going on "cheap night" but I now see it may still cost quite a lot so I'll have to reconfirm with her tomorrow. Next up I have to meet with a new financial advisor. I've been wanting to change up advisors for some time now but never have time to do the research. I've been called by a new to me advisor at one of the banks I deal with so am hoping to have a meet and get to know you session before any decisions are made. There have also been a number of dental and medical related appointments on the agenda this month and some family matters of my own (all is well) and the ongoing charitable work in Kenya. I didn't expect April to be so busy.

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I hope you are well and busy and that you
 have a wonderful week ahead wherever you may be in the world.

Joining

Our World Tuesday

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Update

 Hello friends, This is a quick update on my friend Ernest in Kenya. In my last post I shared that he had to be admitted to hospital due to ...