Tuesday, August 16, 2022

Restaurants and Eating Out

Welcome back to Toni Taddeo's Tuesday 4 in memory of Toni Taddeo and hosted by Annie at the blog, Cottage by the Sea.

Today's theme is restaurants and eating out.

1 Do you like eating out with friends or would you rather have them over for a meal?  
I would love to host friends for a meal but I no longer have the energy to do all the cleaning, shopping, food preparation and cooking, hosting guests then cleaning up. So whenever possible I meet up with a friend for one on one casual dining or coffee dates. I save the hosting for the odd holiday meal but the past few years of course I haven't had anyone over for any meal.  When I finally complete downsizing, organizing and refreshing my small home I may enjoy hosting again.  But then again, maybe not.

Vietnamese Pho Soup

2. Let's go out to eat. You pick.  Where are we going ?
If it's possible I like going to a lunch buffet where each of us can choose the things we like, take our time and savour all the goodies. But the hotel I liked to go to for buffet lunches hasn't reopened the service since Covid and I doubt they will again. It means I'll likely choose an ethnic restaurant (Greek, Chinese, Japanese, Vietnamese, Indian, African, primarily Ethiopian or Kenyan). I also like western food but these days it's hard to find such a restaurant. Sometimes I get to Denny's for their salads and sandwiches and there is the odd restaurant that serves the mom and pop style food I like.  Yesterday I had a Clubhouse sandwich for the first time in years. I don't eat out so frequently anymore unless I'm travelling. Then I eat almost all my meals out unless I stay in an Air BnB and it is properly equipped for cooking. I occasionally eat lunch or dinner out when I stay in an Air BnB and cook the odd meal. It's nice to have a place to make simple soups and meals and to have a place to put fruits and drinks.  It's a lot easier on the budget and eating out several times a day also gets boring.

3. What are you going to order tonight?
Normally we order chicken wings, pizza or Chinese food. All of these tend to be more economical than other foods. If we dine out we often go for steak, ribs, Greek food or Vietnamese food or other ethnic foods. My DH likes beef, chicken and fish in that order, pork less so. He isn't adventurous enough yet to try the type of fish we serve on the west coast of Canada.  I  prefer chicken when eating out and I also cook a lot of chicken.

4.  Are you going to have dessert?  
It depends what we eat. I likely won't add dessert unless I'm going for lunch and taking hours to eat because eating the meal is filling enough.  The one place I used to go quite frequently to meet friends is no longer open for buffet but they used to have many different desserts on offer and they were all good. You could take a sliver of each item you liked if you didn't want to over do things or you could simply have one item of your choice. I'm always amazed at how much some people can eat and they always seem to be the skinny ones!


Sunday, August 14, 2022

Small Projects Keeping Me Busy

Hi everyone,

If you've been following along you know that I am in a decluttering mode and I'm working on a few small household projects. I've made a list of projects I've completed and that are in progress. This list is for anyone interested but is mainly a way for me to keep track of the tasks to be done and progress made as well as to look back on things later when I surf through memory lane, lol.

Anyone who's done household projects knows that all the costs add up even when you do the work yourself. I have gone back and forth between doing things myself or hiring someone. I really don't have the funds to do things the way I would like in this time of rising interest rates, increased supply prices, dramatic decline in housing sales and prices and uncertain economic times.  

I've considered various alternatives to what I'd like to do and decided to try my hand at many of the smaller things myself rather than 'go big' at this time.  I'll getting a bit of help from Jonah and my brother. They are both very busy but they can lend a hand here and there especially where more strength or stamina for a project are needed.

Without further ado, here are the things I've been working on in this month.

  * shopped for Spackle, grout, dremel tool with bits, wrenches, screwdrivers, paint for bathroom walls and bathroom cabinets - done

* filled holes, sanded & painted living room window wall and trim - done

* washed and painted walls and cabinets in 2 bathrooms - in progress

* washed and painted bathroom doors - in  progress

* decluttered bathroom products in master bathroom - ongoing

* organized one wardrobe in master bedroom - in progress

* removed and replaced grout in master bathroom - in progress

* changed bathroom seat cover in main bathroom - in progress

* installed light fixture in dining area - in progress (someone else will actually do this one because of 'special' issues

* ordered a lazy susan and tiered shelf for organizing kitchen/bathroom counters - delivered & unboxed

 * donated Kitchen Aid Food Processor (too large) and bought a smaller one that will be used more often, and Breville Juicer (I had 2 of them), water bottles, cups, mugs and various odds and ends.- done (but more downsizing will be done)

* organized under sink in main bathroom and kitchen with shelving - in progress

* vacuumed and washed carpets in front rooms and high traffic bedroom areas - done

* shredded several small tubs of papers, journals and calendars - in progress

* shopped for 5 small succulents plants and one large yucca plant to replace & beautify the front room - done

* shorten a linen tablecloth - in progress

* hem 4 pair of pants - in progress


Next projects (no timeline) will be done on a prioritized basis.

* put up shelving in master bathroom - priority

* redo the silicone seal around the toilets and tubs - priority

* replace the bathroom towel holder in 2 bathrooms - priority

* replace the flush valves in 2 bathroom toilets - priority

* replace door hinges in 2 bathrooms - priority

* replace and upgrade the bathroom shower head in main bathroom 

* replace light fixtures in 2 bathrooms 

*replace electrical switches and covers in kitchen and bathrooms

* replace door handles in 2 bathrooms and 2 bedrooms

* paint the window sills and trims in both bedrooms 

* replace 2 kitchen cabinet doors 

* replace all kitchen and bathroom cabinet knobs

* replace flooring in master bathroom, entry way, kitchen

* install wall lights in the living room and  master bathroom

* replace fireplace tile surround & hearth

* paint the fireplace mantle

Now that I've listed everything I want to do, it seems like a lot. Many of the relatively new metallic items like bathroom door hinges & toilet paper holders have rusted and need replacing.  They will likely get an upgrade in hopes they will last longer. Other things have just deteriorated with age.  

Progress is made in small steps and limited by health challenges, energy levels and day to day household and outside appointments and activities.  I may post before and after photos as time goes by but only if I remember to take photos and if there is any change that might be noticeable to someone else.

How about you dear reader?  Have you done any small house projects lately? Were you already experienced at household repairs or were you learning just like me?

Friday, August 12, 2022

Early Morning Light

Hi friends and fellow bloggers,

Happy Friday to everyone. I hope you are all doing fine and have your plans made for the weekend. 

I intend to continue with the small house tasks such as painting in the bathroom and a small area in the living room. I'm not sure if I'll actually get to the bathroom part since I need to go to the store and get the paint first. I already have the paint to use in the front room. I also need to go out to shop for a few plants and things.  Nothing major since I'm only buying 'essentials' but it all takes time nonetheless. I spent a few hours this week comparison shopping on line for the best deals for my needs. I let things sit in the 'cart' for a few days before purchasing. This helps me pause to consider the cost and whether it is something I really want or need otherwise it only adds to future clutter. Next up I'll be going through the CDs and DVDs a few odds and ends from the kitchen cabinets to see what else I can give away. I also have to go through more papers and journals which will go in the garbage after shredding.

The best news is today a lot of my giveaways will be picked up. I've got 4 bags of stuff ready to go and one lady is picking up 3 bags of kitchen stuff for a refugee family. A gent will be picking up the 5th bag which contains a juicer which hadn't been used very much an dis just collecting dust.


I haven't been getting out at the right time to get a photo to share.  So I took these 2 photos this morning around 5:40 a.m. I'm noticing the morning light is not as bright so early these days. I'm sure you've probably noticed it too if you are in summer season right now. I'm hoping to enjoy a few days here and there outdoors before summer ends.  But DH has to work the late shift this month so that puts a damper on what we can do and when.

Thanks for stopping by. Enjoy your weekend!

Linking up with Skywatch Friday.

Tuesday, August 9, 2022

What I'm Working on in August

I've slowed down in the month of August from a lot of blog postings, IG and FB posts though I'm still visiting a lot of blogs and leaving comments.

Slowing down is enabling me to survive the heat and focus on my goals for the month of August.  I also have small house repairs that I simply haven't had time to complete. Over late spring season, I was working furiously to declutter  and get organized before Jonah's arrival. While I made good progress, I ran out of time to complete what I wanted to accomplish.  Now that Jonah is working and more or less acclimated, I want to make some progress on these outstanding tasks before the summer ends and the days grow darker.  I'm also still very busy with physio and massage therapy appointments and in between we are trying to enjoy the last days of summer while getting things organized for fall season.  Before you know it summer will be gone. I don't look forward to it but it happens every year.

Some time ago I repaired and painted one wall in my living area and intended to put up curtain rods and black out curtains in the living room. In all the time I've been living in the condo I've only had blinds, no curtains.  To be honest the framing of the windows doesn't make it ideal for putting up curtain rods but I find it quite cool in winter and thought the curtains would be a good way keep out drafts. I also intended to paint the master bathroom.

Instead I made a mess in the living room and left everything undone because I ran into issues when drilling into the concrete or steel wall.  So I left it all aside while I focussed on decluttering.  Jonah has helped by pulling out some of the anchors I'd put in the partially drilled holes.  Monday night I filled all the holes in both the living room and the master bathroom walls in readiness for sanding and painting.  It feels good to finally have these tasks done.

In another project, I'm getting rid of more clothes. I managed to put together a few large bags of clothing which hopefully will be picked up on Tuesday.  I've been inspired by a few women on You Tube who create 10 piece wardrobe for each season.  There is no way I will get down to 10 pieces per season but I can whittle down the number of items I keep.  I'm going to try to keep things that I really wear often and see what I can let go. I get rid of a few bags every now and then and will keep on going with that approach.  Of course Jonah also needs space for his clothing and personal items and this is another incentive for me to reduce mine. 

One bag of summer knit tops and PJs

A few scatter rugs also went out the door today. It didn't take long for people to respond to my adverts for giveaway. I'm always pleased when someone else will make use of what I no longer want. Tuesday update: Someone came to pick up all the clothing and another person picked up the scatter rugs. I'm so happy to get them out the door. I'm now going through the kitchen trying to get rid of excess mugs and water bottles.

Two rugs, one red/cream, one blue/cream

The rest of this month I plan to get rid of the remaining papers I didn't shred in April  2022 and a few small tubs or old journals and planners.  Once this is done I will tackle the entryway closet and the bookshelves again. I've already done a big clear out of books I'd collected for decades so I won't have quite as many to sort through this time. I also think it's time to offload my music CDs and instructional DVDs.  I haven't listened or watched any of them for at least a decade.  That means they are just taking up precious space. These days I learn 'how tos' on line and listen to music on You Tube.

In case you are curious about my current reads, these are the books I've recently right.  Right now I'm reading The Soviet Sisters:  A Novel of the Cold War by Anika Scott.

Mission Possible: Go Create a Life That Counts
really liked it
A good motivational book for anyone who needs/wants a pep talk about finding your purpose in life.
Run Rose Run
really liked it
Dolly Parton is such a powerhouse with all the different activities she engages in and in her philanthropic work. She has co-authored this book with best seller author, James Patterson and writes about things she knows best, female count...
The Barbizon: The Hotel That Set Women Free
really liked it
A fascinating look at the NYC hotel that primarily housed young women headed to the big city to experience a bit of an independent life at a time when independence for women was not readily attainable. The book focuses on the stays of a ...

Thanks for visiting. Have a wonderful rest of the month!

Sunday, August 7, 2022

Books and Reading

Welcome to Toni Taddeo's Tuesday 4.   Today we are talking about books and reading. Those that don't read might  consider substituting movies and TV programs. I'm posting a little early this week. (I see there is an issue with the font size in some of my answers. I hope to correct it soon).


1.  What book brought out your emotions and why?

A book that regularly brings out my emotions is The Holy Bible, the inspired word of God. It really touches me when I learn and see the way God spoke to his people throughout the Bible, the hardships and tribulations they went through and the miracles that many experienced. I also love the teachings as to how to live as a believer and follower of Christ. Despite the different times we live in today there is still so much relevance in the scriptures for these contemporary times.

As for secular books that brought out my emotions I'm sure there have been many over the years but the ones that come to my mind are: The Kite Runner by Afghan-American author Khaled Hosseini and A Fine Balance by Rohinton Mistry. These were two masterfully told stories that really brought out my emotions as I read what all the characters went through. I've since read several books by both authors and I've enjoyed most of them.

2.  How has reading changed your life both for good or for bad? What you get out of it?  All in all, I would say that reading has changed my life for the good especially since I was introduced to Jesus and the Bible (reading) in my youth. Reading and learning from scriptures has been an amazing journey throughout my life and my hope and prayer is that more people would come to experience it for themselves. I've also really enjoyed reading books in general throughout my school years though I only really started reading more avidly once I started setting reading goals.  I like reading books of substance.  Books that are more weighty and take time to read rather than lightweight books that take only 2 hours to breeze through.  This preference obviously impacts on how many books I can read in a year and I have to remind myself of that. Sometimes I do feel like a slacker when it comes to the quantity of books I read because some people literally read hundreds of books in a year. I try to challenge myself a bit in how much I read but I'm also very mindful of the need for time to do many other things so my annual reading goals are on the modest side.  Since I've been keeping a record of the type of books I read, I've discovered that I have a preference for historical fiction but I also like to intersperse this kind of reading with reading to learn new things.  For example, I borrow cookbooks to get new recipe ideas, self-help books for the latest information on women's health issues, craft books for new patterns and so on.  I get a lot out of reading books and supplement my learning with a lot of on-line reading. I can scan through or read hundreds of articles in any given week. This kind of reading helps me keep current on a lot of things of interest.

3.   What character(s) do you love and which do you hate and why?

I'm not sure I really hate or love characters from books. My feelings don't usually go to particular characters but rather, to particular stories. I love historical fiction books best as the stories often unfold through hours of reading and give time for better development of the story line and the characters in them. Though my feelings about particular characters don't often surface, I do recall feeling great emotion about Anna Karenina in the book of the same name. I remember watching this story long before reading it.  The film was an old black and white movie with the titular role played by Greta Garbo. The film made a huge impact on my young mind because I saw that in certain countries and at certain times in history, the lives and options available to women were very limited.  So much so that dear Anna throws herself in front of an oncoming train to escape her situation. I was deeply saddened by this. There is a lot more to this story that I can recount here but the story has many issues to unpack and Leo Tolstoy is/was a masterful story teller. Of course, the lives of women in many countries continues to be limited or restrained today and I feel  very blessed to have been born in Canada where I've had the freedom to pursue my life as I've wished. I don't take it for granted.

When it comes to the Bible, I have one 'character' I love and that is the Apostle Paul. I never get tired of learning from the books he authored and I have learned so much from them.  A particular favourite passage is Galatians 9 and the listing of the works of the flesh and the fruits of the Spirit.  When I was a young child, I learned a song about the fruits of the spirit and I often love to sing it to myself  as a meditation.  It helps and guides me and makes me glad that I have access to the wonderful and loving guidance of the Holy Spirit and through the scriptures.

4.    What book or books  do you think everyone should read once in their life time?

The Bible and as many of the classics written by authors such as Jane Austen, Charles Dickinson, Fyodor Dostoevsky, Leo Tolstoy etc. There are too many wonderful writers of the classics to list.  I also think it's a good idea to read a few authors from other countries to be exposed to other ideas and cultures in the hopes of bringing broader awareness and understanding of one another.  Books are a good way to learn and become aware of new things.

Those are all my thoughts for today. Thank you for stopping by!

Friday, August 5, 2022

First Friday in August

Hello friends and fellow bloggers,

Happy August to everyone. May it be a good month for us all. 

These few photos were taken around 5:50 a.m. this morning (Friday). I had a difficult time getting decent photos today so these ones will have to do. Perhaps I am still too tired.

I noticed the sun is coming up a bit later now.  I'll miss the summer light when it's over but I won't miss the very hot temperatures we had time this year. Thankfully the heat wave didn't last as long as last summer and it wasn't quite as intense.

I'm joining in with Skywatch Friday today. 

Have a wonderful weekend.