January 19, 2015

Clarification of January 12's Post

I spoke to my Mom this morning after hearing her feelings were hurt by my post.  That, of course, was not my intention and I wanted to apologise to her for any misunderstanding.


As anyone who has read my blog regularly knows, my Mom has lived with me since I moved in here in August 2000.  She has always been very vital and I've mentioned to you her weekly bowling league and the day trips etc that we have taken.  My sister has accused me of making her sound like an invalid that I've been waiting on hand and foot.  No such thing and regular readers know better than to think that.

Regular readers are also aware of my health struggles of the last three years.  I've tried to be candid about my bipolar disorder and my arthritis without making this a whiny "I'm so sick" feel sorry for me blog.  Of course, living with someone who has a mental illness is challenging.  I wasn't trying to imply that living with Mom was horrible.  For the most part, it was wonderful but it has been harder these last three years.  Some of it was her fault, most of it was mine.  After all, I was quite sick.  I have two conditions that can't be cured and that I must cope with, day in and day out.  The discrimination you face when you have a mental illness is terrible; worse when it comes from your own family.


 Regardless, the time had come.  She is better off staying with Cheryl now that she is older and needs someone around more.  I have a busy life with my social circle and am not home all the time.  It's good for my mental health to go out for lunch, play Rummicube with the girls and go to knitting nights.  I like spending weekends with my boyfriend and working on projects at home during the week.  I am looking forward to a new and wonderful life 


I am writing this post to clarify the situation as I've been told by my sister that people are worried about me (don't worry, be happy, I'm fine) and upset by the way they think I've portrayed Mom.  So I am very sorry if you got the wrong idea and rest assured that all is fine with Mom and I.  We are planning a lunch and an Art Gallery visit in the near future.  If I'm allowed to take pictures in the gallery, I'll do a little tour for you on the blog.

Julie

January 16, 2015

Best Laid Plans of Mice and Men...

I was telling you I had big plans for my house this year and the organization bug has bitten me.  I'm not sure if it's the time of year...January and resolutions and clean slates or if it is the magazines, the blogs and Pinterest that are subliminally pushing me in this direction but I feel the need to clean and organize.

I decided the kitchen is getting it first.  While it needs a good cleaning, what it really needs is everything taken out of cupboards and drawers and reorganized.  Shelf paper needs to measured and cut.  Paint touch ups need to happen.  Everything needs to sparkle and shine.

And I started....out with old and in with the new.  I was making a lamb tagine this week (I will share the recipe when I get a minute to post it on my food blog) and wanted to make sure my spices were fresh and pungent.  So I started throwing out old spices and went to the bulk food store to replace them.  I happen to be there when they were giving out a $5 gift card with minimum purchase.  Serendipity!

Daffodil from Home Depot to add a little spring to the house.

Then yesterday I dropped into Home Depot to buy furnace filters and wandered into the flooring department.  Oh my, with three specials on, I couldn't resist and decided that I needed to pick out carpet for the bedrooms and hall upstairs. Now that my Mom has moved, I'll be fixing up the master and coming upstairs to live.

I was idly thinking about replacing the carpet anyways.  It was two shades of green and had some stains that wouldn't come out.  It was also here when I moved in fourteen years ago so I have no idea how old it is.  If I had to guess, I'd say 25 or 30 years.  It's time and then I got Luke and he proceeded to piddle all over it (my fault...not his).

My red amaryllis is going to bloom again.  The tablecloth is one of my auction finds.  Very cheap and a perfect fit!

So the kitchen has to wait and I have to shovel out the master which has become a repository for craft supplies and auction purchases.  Then I need to move onto the guest room - closet and dresser.  The next few days will be busy.  But it will be great to have new carpet and get those two rooms all finished.

Julie

January 12, 2015

Lukas and Thoughts for 2015

Lukas graduated from puppy class yesterday.  Well, I say "graduated" but that is putting it kindly.  Lukas hasn't mastered loose leash walking (he still likes to drag me around and I need to get that under control before he gets much bigger) or stay (he has the attention span of a gnat) or leave it (unless I have my foot firmly on the treat and there is no possible way of him digging it out).

He does a great shake a paw or rollover if there is a treat at the end of it!  Here's our graduation picture.


I've been pretty "blog less" in 2014.  It has been a pivotal year for me and lots of things changed.  One of the things was that I stopped taking the time to read your blogs and write mine.   These first couple of weeks of 2015 have been a period of reflection for me and one of my decisions is to spend a couple of hours a day on blogs again.  I've missed you and I've missed taking a few moments every day for reflection too.

My mantra for 2014 was "if it's fun, count me in".  I've probably had the most fun of my life this past year.  I spent a lot of time with my friends...knitting night, rummy cube, girls' lunches, road trips.  It was a blast!

I spent a lot more time with my best friend, Deb; mainly because she was off work sick and around all day.  Being out at her farm so much, reawakened my desire to live in the country.  I seriously considered it and did some house hunting.  I found my dream house but of course, I can't afford it.  In the end, I've decided to do some redecoration at my own little house and really make it mine.

Deb and her husband, Lantz have a horse farm and being brave and taking horseback riding lessons was a big highlight of 2014.  I was always a little afraid of horses but then I met "Playboy". He's a horse that Lantz rescued and he is very skittish.  It took five weeks to get close enough to groom him and I felt a great sense of accomplishment.  I hope to get back at it soon but unfortunately last autumn, I was knocked down with horrible pain in my back and hip.  I'm still struggling with it but have a MRI scheduled for Saturday so hopefully we'll find out what's wrong and be able to fix it.

The year wasn't all sunshine and roses.  You may remember that I've had my Mother living with me since I moved into my house 14 years ago.  I also suffer from bipolar disorder so living together was sometimes difficult.  I asked my sisters for some help and to spend some time with Mom so I could have a break.  Cheryl and Mom were planning on a couple of trips during the summer.  Unfortunately, it didn't quite work out and I only had one day and night all alone.  Mom is 89 now and getting a little frail.  I was feeling a little trapped and like I didn't have a normal life.  I wanted to do crafts and projects but Mom couldn't stand anything she considered a mess.  It put us at loggerheads a lot and to escape the stress, I started spending more time at the farm.  Just spending quiet time in Playboy's stall seemed to lower my heart rate and stress level.  I could literally feel myself relax as I drove out to the country.  Deb and Lantz and their friends and family are wonderful, loving and fun.  You can sit down and put your feet up.  The coffee is always on and door is always open.

Anyways, I won't get into details but in September, Mom went to live with Cheryl.  It was done by my sisters when I wasn't home and the entire process was extremely hurtful.  I can't ever remember crying so much.  It was one of the most stressful periods of my life and I'm still trying to recover from it.  Nothing will ever be the same but I hold onto the thought that the end result, me having my house to myself, is the best thing.  I guess the only thing you can count on in life is change

Really owning my little house for the first time since I bought it will mean a lot of changes around here.  My watchword this year will be domesticity.  There are big changes ahead.

Two highlights stand out in 2014.  The first is Lukas, my new baby boy and the first time I've had a dog.

The second is my adventures in Internet dating which culminated in meeting my lovely boyfriend, Joe through Match.com.  This is another thing I won't go into details about....mostly to  protect the identity of the guilty ones, lol.  You really do have to be on guard for scammers and players but all's well that ends well.  I wouldn't change a thing because they all led to a wonderful guy.

Stay tuned while I embark on a new adventure to feather a cosy nest, organize my existence, try out new recipes and find my bliss.

Julie

December 09, 2014

Snow for Christmas?

image courtesy of JJ Johnson, Peterborough, Ontario
We received a light dusting of snow last night.  This gorgeous picture was taken of the marina at Little Lake, early this morning.  Unfortunately I can already hear the drip drip of the water through the rain gutters as the day warms and the snow melts away.

Today will be laundry day around here with a nice break in the middle to have lunch with my Mom at Red Lobster and then some Christmas shopping.  I'm so far behind this year, it isn't even funny.  Nary a decoration graces my house.

Did I tell you that my Mother is no longer living with me?  She is with my sister now so there will be some big changes happening around the old homestead next year.

Julie

December 07, 2014

Puppy Preschool - Day One

Still no snow.  It sure makes getting around easier but I would like just a little snow; just a half dozen centimetres of snow would suit me.  This time of year everything looks grey and brown and drab and dull.  A little snow brightens up the world and I'm not sure why, but my arthritis seems a little bit better with some snow on the ground.  I know Luke is missing snow.  He just frolics in it!  There's not a better word.

Speaking of Luke, we went to our first day of puppy school this morning.  Oh Luke was in ecstasy.  He was a wriggly little lump of joy.  You know that saying "he could barely contain himself"?  Well Luke couldn't do it at all.


He had two classmates today - Cleo and Moose.  Cleo was a timid little Doberman who brought her parents with her.  She just had her ears clipped and they were tied up and bandaged.  You can bet that I was keeping rambunctious Mr. Luke at a distance.  Besides her haughtiness intimidated him.

Moose on the other hand was a tiny, gorgeous red-bone coon hound with a boisterous bark.  Apparently he just found his voice a short while ago and is enjoying using it.  Luke doesn't bark very often and when he heard Moose bellow, he was startled and stopped.  Then he joyously romped over and jumped on his head.  He loves Moose and wishes he could make that lovely sound.  They are the best of pals now.   By the end of  the class, Cleo deigned to let Luke sniff her lady parts which I am reliably told is a very nice how do you do? in doggyland.  I have so many things to learn as a first time dog owner.


Do you know they make dog chew sticks out of bull's balls? I kid you not.  Teacher passed them around.  Moose thought they were disgusting and Cleo gave them a haughty little sniff.  Lukas?  Well Lukas, doncha know, hunkered down and started to chew the crap outta that thing.  Yum yum!

Moose and Cleo watched him with interest for a couple of minutes and then Moose whipped over and swiped it out of Lukas mouth.  There was a bit of a scuffle and some snarls and tangled leads.  Moose's Mommy and I got them separated without any blood shed.  Moose came out of the pile up with Lukas' chew and Luke was thrilled to have a brand new one.

After this altercation, Miss Cleo decided a taste might be in order.  She had her Daddy sit on the floor and hold it for her while she daintily nibbled one end.  He said it certainly smelled like bull's balls.  Three pairs of female eyes turned in his direction, he turned bright red and said he didn't really know how bull's balls smelt.  Later I heard his wife mutter agreement with him and say that thing was not coming on her carpets.

Luckily I never had to get close enough to know how they smelled.  Lukas takes care of his own stuff, thank you very much.  

We have to crack the books this week.  Teacher gave us homework and Luke wants to impress.  He loves Teacher.  Every time Teacher so much as glanced at him; his butt would lift off the ground and that tail would wag 100 km an hour. Til next week...

Julie

PS Luke did learn something.  He can lay down on command.  Otherwise his pictures look like this...


December 01, 2014

Living Life and Blogging

I thought about quitting my blog but was very indecisive.  It felt like I had nothing to say and that I needed to get out there and live life.  I didn't say anything because I just didn't feel ready to make a final decision.  So I took a break, for the whole summer and fall.  But I missed it.  At first I  was reading blogs; just not writing one.  Then I stopped cold turkey.  At the time it felt good.  I was spending a couple of hours every day reading the blogs I was following.  So many of you had become to feel like friends.  And I missed you.

So I have to find a way to fit blogs back into my life.  Not sure how I'm going to do it yet...it'll be a little trial and error.  I'm having fun with life and that isn't going to change but maybe, I'm ready to share again.

Today I had a wonderful day...visited with my niece, walked with my puppy and took him to Doggie Disneyland (Petsmart) and took my mother to a Christmas open house at my friend Wiline's.  She has the most gorgeous house and at Christmas, it comes into its own.  Here's a picture of her lovely husband, Dan AKA Santa.



For my poor friends in the US, this is Canada on November 30th but I'm sure we'll have snow soon.

Julie

November 20, 2014

Meet Lukas, my Golden Retriever Baby.


This is Lukas on Friday November 7, 2014.

You may know that I've always been a cat person.....maybe on my way to being that crazy cat lady down the street.   While all that's been taken care of, I have fallen in love with and adopted the sweetest little Golden Retriever.


Here's Lukas with one of his sisters.  He's the big boy on left.  He was bred by a lovely Mennonite couple.  Their place was so nice - clean and homey.


Oh my...just look at that irresistible little face.  You can't help but love him and he loves anyone he meets.


I've had this little boy for almost two weeks now.  We've been working on housebreaking and we're getting there.  Some manners have been achieved and a diplomatic detente is still being negotiated with Finn and Eilish.  (Finn's voice is getting strained from hissing).


Luke's first bath.  He loved it.  And yes, honey, you can have anything you want.


We had a little scare this morning when Lukas got into some pain pills the doctor gave me for a pinched nerve.  Better safe than sorry,,,poor Lukas met the vet and they made him vomit.  Poor baby, he was awful hungry and cried all the way home.  But he's fine now.  Time for another trip outside.

Good night from...

Julie, Finn, Eilish and Lukas

November 11, 2014

We Will Never Forget...



Today is a day when my thoughts are always with my Dad.  So many remembrances...not just November 11th, but his birthday on November 2 and his death in October of 1989.  I would love to go to the Cenotaph for the ceremonies but I can't take the crowds.

This year large crowds are expected due to the recent murders of Patrice Vincent and Nathan Cirillo.  
Our hearts are heavy but Canadians are proud of our soldiers and their sacrifices for our country.

There was outrage this year when The Gap advertised a Remembrance Day sale.  They were forced to apologise for their crassness; trying to use a day dedicated to the memory of our fallen warriors in order to make money.  Totally unacceptable.  Some provinces have this day as a statutory holiday.  Ontario doesn't but I believe it should be across Canada and there is pending legislation that will hopefully pass.

So I pray that we all take a few moments to think about the ultimate sacrifice some have made for Canada and honour their memory.  I will be watching the ceremony on Parliament Hill this year on television.  It will be especially poignant due to the recent loss of Cpl. Nathan Cirillo, shot down as he was guarding the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.

Julie

July 28, 2014

Garden Glimpses

It's a rainy, overcast, grey day in Peterborough so I thought I'd share some photos of the garden that I've taken this month.









So cute!!!!  A planter made for me by my "honourary" nephew, Josh.  He's still in high school but has a blacksmithing business.  I'll do a post on him soon.


I visited the Laveanne lavender fields a couple of weeks ago.  It was lovely. I just love the scent of lavender and am growing as many kinds as I can find.  At the farm, I bought some Dutch lavender which I had never heard of before.  We'll see how it grows here.  So far, Munstead lavender is my favourite.



I hope it's sunny wherever you are!

Julie

July 22, 2014

Rummicube Mondays

Every Monday afternoon, I get together with some of my girlfriends and have lunch and play rummicube.  We alternate hosting duties so you're in charge once a month.  A couple of wine spritzers and a nice lunch.  A more refined version of guy's poker night.


Don't you love my new Ralph Lauren tablecloth?


Who am I kidding???  We are loud...we laugh and tease and gossip and curse probably more than any poker party.  We always have fun (except when Sandy wins everything...like yesterday....right, Sandy? lol)  :)

I like to try and think of something different to serve for lunch and lately I'm learning how to make pastry so everything is coming up pies around here...


The recipe is here.


I set out some little snacks with fresh snow peas from my garden.


I'm still a real novice at making pie but they have been turning out fairly well.  Yesterday I had some trouble rolling out the disks and the top had to be patched a little.  Confronted with this, I first thought of Julia Child.  Her voice ran through my head...


I just knew I couldn't help but make a comment about the less than smooth pastry so I channeled my inner Martha and got my cookie cutters out and used some leftover pastry as camouflage.  I think it looked pretty when it was done!  Disaster averted.

I hope you have close friends that you get together with regularly.  It's good for the soul.


Have a great day,

Julie