October is Already Gone!

 Hi friends, 

I hope you are all doing fine and enjoying the change of seasons. Since I last posted a few days ago the weather has warmed up considerably and I can now turn down my thermostat. Usually when it warms up at this time of year it means rain so I expect that over the coming days.

When it's raining it's a good time to cosy up with a good book and hot drink.  Here are the next few books in my reading pile.



Book number 59, reading goals 2020.


Book number 59, reading goals 2020.

Book #60, reading goals 2020

 

The red blob in the bowl is home made ice cream which I made Tuesday night in my Vitamix blender. This is a photo taken as an afterthought after the ice cream had been sitting for about 20 minutes. It is made of a frozen wild berry mix, chia seeds and cream. Yum! It's one of my favourite snacks. A variation on this is making a smoothie with a vegan protein powder, berries and water (no milk, cream or yogurt).


I went late night shopping on Wednesday night for a carpet/rug cleaner I have been eyeing. It was on sale at a local store. It is also available on Amazon for the same price but I prefer to get it in the brick and mortar store when I can.  I also bought stain remover and soap cleanser for the machine.  Now I am all set to clean the carpets. My goal is to do a thorough cleaning of all the traffic areas before I start decorating for Christmas.  I don't plan on moving the furniture unless it's chairs or plants or something small.

On the way home from shopping there was a beautiful sunset over the Fraser River. Unfortunately I could not stop to take a photograph for you.  By the time I got home and started dinner it was quite late.  By the time dinner was ready I was feeling a bit light headed and I ate too much as my blood sugar was probably a little too low.

The stuffed pork chops were just right.  Normally the pork chops on offer at the store are very lean.  But these ones were quite fat and had a lot of marbling.  This turned out well because I like roasting my meat for a long time but sometimes they get too dry if they don't have adequate fat.  We had sides of caramelized onions, mashed potatoes and a simple salad of cucumbers, tomatoes, radishes and avocado in a dressing of Balsamic vinegar and grapeseed oil.  Everything was delicious. It sounds funny for me to say that but I can appreciate my own cooking and I'm happy when whatever I've made hits the spot otherwise it would be a waste of food and cooking effort.


 
Since I haven't had time to take some good photos I am sharing some that I took in early October of 2019.



Here is another photo from my archives.

This one was taken at the Stanley Park downtown along the beginning of the seawall (south side)

This dog had so much fun running into the ocean to fetch the stick. It always amazes me how dogs never seem to tire of playing fetch with their owners. As you can see I shot this photo into the sun. I always read you shouldn't do that but personally I like to do it from time to time.


 

These little bird photos are also from my archives. I'm afraid I don't capture birds very well because they move too fast for me.  I am not one hundred percent certain but I think the first bird (first 3 photos) are of a sparrow. It looks somewhat bedraggled because I believe it was a super hot summer. I think the last two photos are of little chickadees. These are the two main types of birds that come to my patio besides the hummingbird. Update:  Thank you to Eileen over at Saturday's Critters for identifying the first bird which is a finch not a sparrow.






Given Saturday is Halloween I am posting a few photos of spider webs.  I do not celebrate on October 31st but I know many people do. I'm finding people are getting quite creative about the way to celebrate since the health officials are strongly urging people not to go out door to door.



I cannot believe how fast this month has gone. I know I say that quite often, lol but it is so true that time passes far too quickly. I don't want to waste a minute of the time I have. I don't count relaxation like reading or watching television as wasted time for the most part because we all do need to build relaxation in our daily lives so we can stay happy and enjoy life more.

Speaking of happiness, I found a graphic some months back and meant to share (I don't believe I ever did). The suggestions for being happy apply at any time but maybe this year they are more important than ever.

 Tell me dear reader, do you agree with these suggestions for happiness and do you have any additional suggestions?

 

Thank you for stopping by. Please stay safe until we meet again in this space or yours.

I will be linking up with 

Skywatch Friday

and

Saturday's Critters.

A Gentle Start to the Week

This was the view on Sunday evening as I headed out to do some late night grocery shopping and make a stop at a pharmacy a bit further afield. I was a bit tired since I have a cold so I got a late start.  I'm glad I did get out because I needed the air and the walk. It was a bit chilly and the first time I've needed to wrap a scarf around my neck.  It's been especially cold here over the past several days, especially at night.  The temperature is down to 3 or 4 degrees Celsius at night and around 7 during the day. By the end of the week it should go back up to around 12 Celsius.

 

 
When I'm tired, I certainly don't feel like making dinner so I'm always proud of myself when I manage to get dinner ready.  I usually try to keep my menu very simple.  On Sunday night I sliced up some potatoes, onions, yellow bell peppers and sirloin tip steak, seasoned with a bit of pepper and a few splashes of soy sauce,  put it all in the dutch oven and roasted it for about 45 minutes. I ate mine with a scoop of my favourite chili oil. Delicious.
 
 
 

 

On Sunday I was also able to declutter and recycle several large metal coffee cans and lots of plastic containers that fresh berries come in. I really wish they would package berries in paper containers like they used to. I guess because most of the berries are imported the juices would soak through the paper.  Sunday afternoon a woman came by to pick up a couple pair of shoes I gave away.
 
I also washed this small star quilt I gifted to my mom many years ago and which now belongs to me.  The dowel holding the quilt and the wall also needed a good cleaning from all the dust that accumulates.  All the walls need a good washing but that is a large job so I just do some cleaning here and there.  It's better to do a little at a time than to do nothing at all.  Another of the many jobs I have to do around my home is to remove the one wall sconce (I gave the other one to a friend) and put up two new ones that I purchased some time ago. The sconces I bought are black as that was the only colour available.  I'd prefer to have 2 white ones so I've been holding out until I can find them.  If I can find white ones, the black ones will be put up in my living room area and I will then get rid of the floor lamps.
 

 

When I went shopping last night I picked up some wild salmon on a really good sale. I marinated it overnight in honey garlic sauce and baked it for Monday's dinner along with roasted, caramelized cauliflower and steamed brown rice. 
 
I can see in my photos that the last two dinners look quite bland and colourless.  Usually I try to make them more colourful because one eats with the eyes first.  But they were delicious anyway and nothing was wasted. If I can get to the grocery store again before Thursday's sale ends, I will buy 2 more heads of cauliflower.  At $3.00 a head, it is a bargain.

 

In January 2019 I travelled to Paris with my nephew.  We had a great time and both of us would like to return some day, maybe during the Fall or Spring seasons.  This year I've read a number of books set in Paris.  The most recent one was written by Kate Betts, an American fashion journalist who began her career at Fairfield Publications European office in Paris.  I found the book very interesting because she met the top fashion designers of the day: Karl Lagerfeld, Yves St. Laurent, Christian Lacroix, Christian Louboutin, Thierry Mugler and others.  I am not a fashionista and I do not follow the fashion trends but I found it interesting to have a peek into the world of Parisian fashion through the eyes of an American expat.


Unfortunately, Canada's Covid numbers have been escalating since our Thanksgiving weekend a few weeks ago.  New and various restrictions are being brought in in various provinces including British Columbia where I live in an effort to contain the virus. I continue to keep as isolated as possible and wear my mask whenever I have to go out and do business.  Otherwise there is not a lot of excitement around here in day to day life. That is fine by me because it allows me to get the tedious jobs done.

If all goes well, I'm hoping to have different scenery and photos for you over the coming weeks and months. Just bare with me for a while longer. 

What about your dear reader? What is keeping you busy and occupied during these Covid times?

Until I read from you, please stay safe and take care.

This and That

 Hi friends,


It's been a busy week and I've been fighting a cold. It is something I fight every year in October when the weather transitions from warm autumn to cooler autumn. It's a bummer but it is what it is.

This October I have been busy decluttering and I've written about it in this space from time to time, not just in October but over the past long while. Some weeks and months I do much more in terms of decluttering than other weeks and months.  This  month the kitchen seems to be getting a lot of attention and so far I've gotten rid of many items from my small cupboards.  Metal bake ware, plastics and Tupperware which are long past their prime and lots and lots of glass jars, plastic and metal coffee containers, papers, cardboard and so on have been recycled.  I also got rid of lots of small items from the bathroom and many items from the closet, dresser drawers and shoes I no longer fit or need, have been given away. Several items were taken to the storage unit in the building and one standing fan had to be taken to the recycling center. I also have 2 large metal patio chairs which are past their better days. If they fit in the car they too can go to the recycling center.  Otherwise I'm not sure when I can take them.

In between decluttering jobs, I clean the cobwebs from the corners. Literally.  I did this less than 6 months ago but the cobwebs seem to accumulate very quickly as does the dust. I've been trying to keep on top of it all.  There is still a lot to recycle and to get rid of but I'm starting to see a real difference in the spaces in my home. I will keep at it and when I am all done with the tasks I will see what I can do to free up actual floor space.  I am not aiming for a minimalist home as such. But I am aiming to pare down the items I use and keep only what I actually use.  I intend to keep doing my hobbies too and hobbies tend to take up a lot of space.  I am trying to find a happy balance for daily living and for hobbies, some of which may be more sporadic.

I'm still doing Flylady routines almost every day.  It seems to help everything run more smoothly even though I haven't implemented the full Flylady system. Once I get started on doing things and cleaning things I just keep on going.  It means much more is getting done every week.

The weather here has been beautifully sunny this past week with the exception of Friday when it poured rain.  But it has also been very cold. I took some garden photos on Saturday. I'm sharing what might be the last of my garden photos for this year.




 

It has now been about 2 months since I did any work in the garden so I'm amazed at how well the plants have done though many of them are way past their prime.  This week I noticed that the pansies and the petunias are pretty much done. I think it was simply too cold for them as our temperatures went down to 4 at night. The geraniums are still producing a lot of new blooms but I'm not sure how long that will continue. 

Something was eating the leaves in  my garden this year but they didn't touch the leaves of most of the flowers. This is the first time I've had this happen and I'm not certain whether it is pests, rodents, or my neighbour's cat.


 

In any case, I am hoping that I will put the garden to rest by the end of October and wash and cover the patio chair cushions. I don't have storage for the patio things but I do try to keep the cushions out of the rain over the winter and I move the table umbrella and the table and chairs so they are no so directly impacted by the winter elements. As a side note, I read that the Farmer's Almanac forecast is for a mild November and a very cold winter.  The other day, our local meteorologist said that this year we are experiencing La Niña.  La Niña refers to the periodic cooling of ocean surface temperatures in the central and east-central equatorial Pacific and is the colder counterpart of El Niño.

The Black Eyed Susans have now lost all their yellow petals.


But the zinnias have new buds! I can't believe it. But they were very late to bloom this year and maybe they are confused.  The photo shows evidence of my neglect of the garden over the past 2 months since summer ended.

When it gets cold outside I usually start baking.  I saw this cinnamon loaf at Mari's Blog called My Little Corner of the World.  Check it out if you like cinnamon and sweets. I misread the recipe and ended up making two loaves but I only put frosting on one of them.  After trying both, I think it is better with frosting.  Overall though, the recipe is to sweet for me and I have to be careful about that due to blood sugar issues.


On Friday I went to the hospital to have a colonoscopy. I had one just under a year ago but the doctor couldn't find the one small cyst she thought she saw during that exam so I had to return in 6 months.  The follow up appointment was delayed due to Covid 19 and I also put off the appointment as long as I could.  But I had to get it over with or forfeit my spot in the GI follow up care and Friday was the day.  This time the doctor had a good look around she discovered I didn't have a cyst after all.  What she saw last time was actually a part of the colon itself. That was good news. 

She did find something, but it wasn't quite a cyst. I'm not sure what it is called but she said they are common and are often left intact. I suggested she cut it out anyway and she agreed. It will be biopsied as per the usual practice. 

The good news is I don't need to have another procedure for 5 years and I'm very happy about that.  Not only do I dislike the preparation but I get very nervous about the procedure itself. They sedate me but I am wide awake as per my preference. Due to the light sedation I didn't even need 10 minute recovery afterward.  They let me go but not before making sure my ride was there as stated.  I took a few photos but haven't posted any with people due to privacy issues.

Photo of the nursing station

Photo of the recovery room before they start bringing the patients in for recovery.


We had snow in the north and at higher elevations (none in the city) for the past two weekends. The record snowfall  created havoc on the highways and some serious accidents as well.
 
 
 
On Saturday we also had a provincial election. I voted by mail in ballot along with almost 700,000 other people.  Approximately 500,000 people returned their mail in ballots on time to be counted but the counting doesn't start until November 2nd.  Even without the mail in ballots, the election was handily won by our incumbent Premier John Horgan.  He now has a majority government by which to rule.  That was his goal when he took a gamble and called an election a year earlier than required. His win is historic in that it is the very first time that the New Democratic Party (NDP) has won 2 consecutive elections in the province.
 

In other big political news, the Opposition Party of Canada,  brought a "No Confidence" motion against the Prime Minister of Canada on October 21.  They wanted to create a special committee to probe the government's ethics and spending in response to the pandemic and a scandal related to the WE Charity.  Members of Parliament (MPs) voted 180-146 to defeat the opposition motion, with the NDP, Greens and Independent MPs voting with the Liberals.  It means we will not have a snap federal election this fall.

I hope things can settle down for awhile with all the politics here.  People want and stable governments to help steer the nation while we recover from the pandemic.

Thanks for reading my post today. Stay safe everyone and do what you can to stay happy and high in spirits. May you be blessed today and each day hereafter. May you and your loved ones have continued health or improving health. May you have the material things and the finances you need and last but not least, may you have the strength and confidence to handle whatever comes in your path. 


 

At the Half Way Mark in the Month

I had a super busy day on Monday, October 19th (approximately the half way point of the month) and it was the start of a very busy week.  While I ran my errands the rain stopped and sun came out so I snapped a few photos to share on Skywatch Friday this week.  I hope you enjoy. 








Dinner was quick:  stir fried pork cubes with Swiss chard from my garden and daikon radish (and spices) and a dish of stir fried noodles with a variety of vegetables and chili garlic oil.  I ended the day with a clean sink and all the dishes put away. I mostly wash the evening dishes, cutlery and pots and pans but I don't always finish the job. I'm trying to turn over a new leaf because everything put away makes the evening and the morning much nicer.

This month is flying by so quickly. We had two family birthdays a month apart (and celebrated them differently due to Covid).  We also celebrated Thanksgiving in Canada on October 12th and cooking a traditional dinner takes time whether it is for 2 people or 10 people .  I'm doing a major declutter of paper.  I've been going through a long, long process of fully decluttering my home and I am  now on the paper files. I've got so many that accumulated mostly while my late mom was ill. I didn't want to throw anything out. Now I've got to sort through it all and keep only what I really need of hers, my late sisters and also my own paperwork.  It feels good to finally get rid of paper that have been cluttering my space and my mind for so long. 

I have also been getting rid of larger items, not just items from the kitchen cabinet and closets. I could finally be offloading the very large power wheelchair which is taking up a lot of space near the entry way.  Friends of mine have been fund raising to replace the battery and charger and ultimately gift the chair to a paraplegic lady who can really make use of it. The fund raising efforts are very slow.  But it sounds like they have more than enough now to at least have a technician come over to evaluate everything.  I will know more in a week or two.

I've also been busy learning a new routine for running the household and though I'm not fully on board with the program it is a big help. I suppose any method one uses to keep on top of the household is helpful. I never found the household maintenance to be very difficult when I was younger.  I guess I have slowed down a lot because these days the running of the household seems to take up more time. I think the key is to find an approach you like and stick with it and consistently apply the routines.  If anyone is interested, check out FlyLady or Diane in Denmark, both of whom are on You Tube. Diane actually was a Fly Lady mentor for many years and still teaches others how to implement the system.  I enjoy her sparkly personality and motivational pep talks.  What I like about the system so far is that many things are done in 15 minute increments.  As they like to say, "you can do almost anything in 15 minute increments".

I'll be linking up with Skywatch Friday later this week. I send you my best wishes for a beautiful and safe weekend. If you missed my post about Kenya you can read it here.


On My Walk Today

 Hi friends, I've had a busy few days despite the rainy and stormy weather we've been having.  I had to run out and do errands on Fr...