Tuesday, 13 November 2012

Fluff and stuff

We had the first real storm of the winter roll through this past weekend. While not terribly cold (the temperature at lowest was then around -7C), it was definitely snowy.

According to the weather newsperson on Monday morning, the amount of snow we got on Saturday was what would normally fall during the entire month of November.

We got walloped! Unfortunately, that meant there were quite a few car accidents and one of my friends lost his ex-inlaws in a fatal crash. For some reason, many people seem to forget that to drive in winter means slowing down majorly and leaving lots of time and distance between you and anyone else on the road.

Luckily, I had just had my snow tires put on my car a few days before the storm, so  I beat a lot of people out there. I can imagine the wait to get that done this week. I do prefer to be proactive when it comes to getting and keeping my car in decent shape, especially now that I have a commute on the highway to get to work.

I am in the second week of my "staycation" and continue to wander around the house, unpacking and organizing. A lot of the non-essential stuff was put on hold while I was concentrating on getting the bathroom completed. And now that the temperatures outside are continuing to drop (it's -14C this morning, but bright and sunny), it's time to do a little weatherproofing on some older windows and the front door.

Eventually (we're talking years here...), all the windows will be replaced with top quality ones that will keep out the drafts and not get all covered in moisture. I don't use the front door right now, and it's an older wooden one (nothing to look at but leaky as a sieve), so it will be new weatherstripping for it as well as one of those sweeps that goes on the bottom. I held my hand to the bottom and could feel the draft yesterday! I'm not fond of paying to heat the outdoors. The back door is a newer steel door that is properly sealed so that's not a worry.

And a post wouldn't be complete without some mention of at least one of the cats, so here is Pips, outside in the snow, and suitably unimpressed. She actually went back into the house when I opened the door... which is a first! Lila has no desire to venture outside... she's a big chicken.

Pips definitely likes to be warm, as can be seen by her choice of resting spots.

Wednesday, 24 October 2012

Oh look!! A loo!!!

Well, I have finally completed the repair of my tiny little bathroom in my tiny little home.

Thankfully, I had a toilet and sink in the basement to use while I was doing this, and the tub was functional throughout... but I am soooo looking forward to having a shower!!!

Which I plan on doing as soon as I have finished this post.

When I moved into this house the end of August, I knew I would have to do some repairs in the bathroom. It was obvious that the barker board that was used as a covering on the walls in the tub had not been properly adhered along the tub for a long time. With every shower, water had been wicking up into the drywall behind it.

But that was okay, because this was actually the only thing that needed addressing as soon as I moved in. Everything else is in good condition, even if the decor is dated.

Because I did most of this on my own, working around my work schedule at my paying job, it took quite a while. About 6 1/2 weeks to be exact. And there were a few days in there when I did absolutely nothing because I was tired! But whatever... it's my house and I'm the only one (besides Pips and Lila and they have their own "bathroom" in the furnace room) living here, so no one was put out by the destruction/construction zone that my house was for so long.

I wanted to do this as inexpensively as possible, because I do have a major bathroom expansion/reno planned for a few years down the road (big things like gutting the kitchen will happen first). So I kept the tub and the sink and vanity (which is only 18" wide and a hard to find size).

I have a friend who is a plumber, and he put in new tub taps and faucet for me for no charge. (Ya gotta love friends like that!) That's when we discovered that the pipes are not centered with the tub drain, but since this is not the final product, I said don't worry about it. As long as everything works and doesn't leak, I can live with it.

The old toilet did a piss poor (pun intended!) job of flushing so it got yanked. I now have a new (and smaller) dual flush much more economical toilet that works very nicely. So far, the cats have not figured out how to sit on the buttons and flush it... which I hope they never do! That would make the savings go right down the drain.

Once I got the old toilet out, I discovered that the toilet flange had been glued onto the outside of the pipe and had been slowly leaking water into the subfloor. So the flange was cut off (thank you to the MoS and his zip cut), the two layers of old vinyl tiles pulled up, only to discover that the subfloor was OSB, which is totally inappropriate for a bathroom floor. Whoever had installed it had nailed it to the floor boards with a zillion (what looked like roofing) nails. It took me a whole day to pry all that crap out of there! (See why I was tired?)

Proper plywood was glued and screwed, and the toilet flange replaced with one that goes inside the pipe and is properly glued in place and screwed to the floor (and level).

I pulled out the sink and vanity... which was an adventure too. The sink is one of those big old ceramic things that originally had the two chrome legs supporting the front, with the back screwed to the walls (into the wall studs). Someone had decided (probably in the late 70s or early 80s from the style of it) that a vanity would be nice, so they put in that little number you see in the photos. I don't know why they had to change up the plumbing, but in doing so, they ran the p-trap and drain pipe down through the heating duct, literally cutting a hole in the duct work in the basement. Needless to say, it is still that way but when I do the bathroom expansion, that will all be changed! And the p-trap was shoved into the drain pipe and a bit of ABS solvent slopped around the outside.

Which meant that when I put the sink and vanity back in place, the p-trap just fell off. This was 5:00 p.m. on a Saturday, so I went to the hardware store, got a small jar of the appropriate solvent and quit for the night... but glued it together properly the next morning and it is now a very solid connection. And the old cast iron drain pipe, which still connects to the stack and was only plugged with a wad of (very old and crumbly) newspaper, is now sporting a nice white plastic cap. I sure don't want sewer gas seeping into the bathroom!

But before putting the sink, vanity and toilet back in, I replaced all the drywall that was rotten, taped and mudded it all, and tried to remove the glue that the barker board had been put up with. Since that turned out to be impossible, I used the drywall compound to cover and smooth the walls. I then painted everything first with primer and then new paint. The old colour was kind of a mushroom colour, including the ceiling, which was waaaaayyyy too dim for such a tiny space! The ceiling is now white, and the walls a very pale blue. All the fixtures are white and all the metal bits are shiny chrome.

Once all the painting was done, I cut and glued down the vinyl flooring and let it set fort 24 hours. This past Sunday, the MoS and I spent the afternoon putting in the tub surround. I have now completed the caulking of all joints and seams on the tub surround and installed a curved curtain rod.

See the difference for yourself!! And don't peek while I hop in for a nice long, hot shower... ahhhh.

Monday, 3 September 2012

I think I'm still here...

But given all the extra work I had picked up, yesterday and today is my first two day stretch off in quite a while.

And this week, I am back to my regular work schedule, with nothing extra added in. So I will work three evening shifts and that's it. Yay!!!

I still have quite a few boxes to unpack, things to arrange and all that. But things are looking more homely now. I can watch tv, cook, I have a brand new stainless steel fridge because the old harvest gold one (yes, it was old) decided to start peeing on the floor and the BBQ has been used several times in the past week.

The cats have settled in, although Pips bolts for the door every time she hears it open. She thinks she should get to be an outside kitty now. Once we're all settled and I have the firepit in its final resting spot in the back yard, I will stick her in her harness, get out the retractable leash and take her exploring.

So while I have tried to flit about to various blogs, read here and there, and even leave the occasional comment, it's nothing of normal activity.

I am, however, here....

Monday, 27 August 2012

Hi honey! I'm home!!!

I'm still awash in a sea of boxes but at least they are all in my new home.

The move took 9 hours total. Two of us. My nephew's gout flared up and since he could barely walk, he was unable to help. Poor guy was so apologetic! A friend who had said he would help didn't show up and didn't let me know he wouldn't be coming.

I wasn't too impressed with that!

But it all went off without a hitch, there were no incidents of injury to person or damage to property and I am now free to unpack and arrange at my leisure.

The only things left to do are collect the cats and their paraphernalia today, clean the old apartment and collect my damage deposit.

It's good to be home...

Wednesday, 15 August 2012

Awash in a sea...

... of boxes!


As moving day approaches, more and more things find themselves packed away into cardboard boxes.

So far, neither cat has been packed away, although Pips has tried many times by sitting inside half filled boxes. Lila is not interested in getting into a box, but seems determined to get what I put in out by digging around through the interlocked flaps once the box has been packed and stacked.

So far, she has not succeeded in hauling anything out. I would have to kill her if she did. Not literally, of course. But she would definitely get yelled at!

I take possession of my new house on Monday. I am trading vehicles with the MoS for most of that week so that I can fill his truck up with boxes and stuff and take it to the house each day after work. He will be stuck driving my little 4 banger around. But hey, it was his idea!

We will be taking my tv, computer and phone to the house Monday morning, as I have the guy coming in the afternoon to get everything hooked up and running. My 42" LCD tv won't fit in my little car, and I can't lift it by myself so he's agreed to give me a hand.

Plus I bought a set of speakers for the tv that will  give me amazing surround sound for movies and superb sound for music. Can't wait to get everything set up once I am all moved in!

Furniture moving day is Sunday, Aug. 26th. Once that day is done, it's a clean of the apartment and I am done with renting! I hope to never be in that situation again, or at least until they stick me in a home where I can trundle down the hallway in my wheelchair, making lewd comments to any young men who happen to work there!

Tuesday, 7 August 2012

My Friday evening entertainment

Or... not.

I'm sure most of you will remember the Man of Steel, whom I dated for seven months until he decided to end that relationship in January.

Well, despite the hurt that resulted from that, we have evolved into very good friends and socialize on a fairly regular basis.

And I'm okay with that. We get along so well and have fun together so why ditch a perfectly good friendship when the romantic part fell through? And it's all very good, in actual fact.

So, his one and only daughter got married on Friday in a province far to the west of here. He was unable to go for health reasons and, despite not liking the guy she was marrying (this is her second marriage), he wanted to be there for her.

Because he wasn't able to be with her, he decided to get drunk instead. He called me up at about 7:30 Friday evening, already half in the bag, and we chatted and I listened to him lament about his daughter's situation and how much he loved her.

But then he commented on his foot being swollen, beet red and really painful to walk on.

That set off my nursey alarms bells big time! I asked him a few more questions about it, but given his state of inebriation and the fact that he's a man, he poo-poo'd the seriousness of the state of his foot.

I told him I was coming out to assess his foot myself and if it looked like what I thought it was, I was dragging him to the local hospital ER whether he liked it or not.

Of course he didn't want me to come do that but I didn't listen to him. I jumped in my car and made a bee line for his place.

And just as I suspected, he had a pretty good cellulitis brewing in his foot and the back of his lower leg. So I bundled him into his truck (easier to get into that than my weeny little car) and we took the 5 minute drive to the local hospital.

(taken in the waiting room in the ER)

Of course, we waited like everyone else, chitchatted with some of the other folks waiting, and watched as a couple of ambulances brought people in for various things. The MoS started saying we needed to order pizza and beer to liven things up! He was bored. Can you blame him?

In the end, blood was draw, and an IV inserted and antibiotics administered. We were back at his place by 3:00 a.m. Saturday. I spent the weekend at his place, keeping his foot elevated on pillows, with a large gel-filled cold pack on it for the pain and swelling, and feeding him ibuprofen for the pain.

Each day, in the early evening, it was back to the hospital for his IV antibiotics. At least for those visits, it was a minimal wait as he just had to see the nurse and was then back home in no time. By Sunday, his foot had improved significantly. The redness had diminished and the swelling was greatly reduced. He was walking better, although it still hurt to put pressure on his toes. Time for me to head home as he could get around pretty well by then.

He did thank me over and over, once he was sobered up, for coming out and looking after him. Despite his protestations (it's a sore foot! so what!?!), he did actually understand the seriousness when I explained the damage cellulitis could do if left untreated.

And I was pretty sure he didn't want to become a one-legged Man of Steel!

Saturday, 21 July 2012

My own little space

Well, life is beginning to take on a bit more of the focus that I wanted it to, before I injured my shoulder.

On Monday, I bought a house!!!

It's a teeny tiny thing at 628 sq. ft. but it has the cutest yard and great potential for renovating into a more open living space inside.

(Not my furniture or chiminea, but the gazebo and shed are.)

Despite needing some updating on the decor (the recreation room in the basement [yes, it has one - and it's fully finished!] is good ol' 70's style with dark wood paneling on the walls, gaudy patterned carpet on the floor, and a "stucco" ceiling that actually extended 1/4 the way down the walls), it is structurally very sound. The roof shingles are only 5 years old, it has a mid-efficiency furnace, central a/c, a central vacuum, two bathrooms, some newer vinyl windows and updated insulation in the roof and the basement walls.

Short term plans are to just move in and breathe a sigh of relief at not being a tenant anymore! (Did I tell you my neighbour upstairs decided to vacuum her carpets at 7:25 one morning this week? Which is not only rude and inconsiderate [I've been working evening shifts all week] but also against city noise bylaws... grrrr!!)

Long term plans will be to knock out the wall between the living room and the front bedroom to open that space up, then knock out the wall between the living room and the kitchen, replace all the cupboards (to better utilize that tiny space) and to install a breakfast bar on the counter between the living room and kitchen. That will make everything very open and much more spacious so the house won't seem so small.

It has a lovely screened in gazebo in the backyard on the patio and with the addition of my BBQ and a firepit, will become a cozy spot to hang out, grill some great food and relax. I may even (one day) get a hot tub to put out there!!

It is in a small (pop. ~13,000) city north of Winnipeg and will require a 40 - 45 minute commute, but it's straight down the highway and given the hours that I work, I should miss most of the traffic congestion completely! Definitely a worthy compromise for having a nice little house to call my own.

Now to start packing... again. (I think my family hates me... I've moved so many times.)

Wednesday, 20 June 2012

Life and all that crap...

Well, I finally got my bike out on the road the other day, after installing a new front stem to angle the handlebar more toward me, and after the anchor bolt for the rear derailleur cable decided to shear off. Considering the bike is 17 years old and that bolt failure caused the very first trip to a repair shop, I think I've done pretty well with it.

Now if the rain would just quit so I could get out on a regular basis, I would be a much happier girl, pedalling my ass all over town. *waits for the comments on that one*

My shoulder did not give me any grief with the cycling, so I think all is good in that department.

I've gotten the estimate for two dental implants and it will be about what I spent on my used car last year. But they will be permanent teeth and I will be able to chew again... and will not have to deal with dentures or a partial plate. The thought of that just freaks me out! I'll fork out the cash, thanks.

Been working overtime when I can to try and [a] get out of debt, [b] finance said teeth and [c] save a down payment for a house [again]. I have come to the conclusion that I really dislike renting. Where I live now is roomy enough [1000 sq. ft.] and the 7 minute walk to work is fantastic [no paying for gas, ↑ insurance and parking, never mind the wear and tear on the car], but my neighbours on all sides are noisy and this area seems to have a high amount of relationship discord that everyone for blocks around gets to hear about. If you're gonna yell at each other time after time about getting a divorce, why not just go out and do it? It would save my ears from the bombardment of nastiness. Plus the next door tenants have a fire pit under a big tree [only 5 feet from said tree, which is against city bylaws but so far the fire dept. hasn't enforced that, even though they've been called out] and every time they have a fire, I have to close both the kitchen and back room windows or the apartment is flooded with smoke that sets off the smoke detectors [and scares the bejeesus out of the cats].


One day, I will have my own place again.

Today is the Summer Solstice and I'm awaiting the arrival of actual Summer. It made an appearance in March but then disappeared and it's been April Showers that have lingered since. However, that may change this weekend as the forecast is for warm sunny days starting Friday. I sure hope they're right!

My lovely personal pitbull [Labour Relations Officer with the nurses' union] is back fighting for my compensation again. We thought we'd won when I received a letter saying my claim for compensation was accepted but the Comp Board will only pay me for 5 days, saying that the "aggravation to your pre-existing shoulder condition would improve in that time period". This, despite evidence from my doctor and physiotherapist, both of whom saw me weeks to months after the workplace accident and documented continuing decreased range of motion and increased pain from the torn rotator cuff. So it looks like we will have to make a court date with the Appeals Commission in the fall to have my case heard. Considering I was off work for over 14 months, I figure they owe me about $55K more than they said they will pay (based on the weekly rate they say I am entitled to).

I know some people who have learned to milk the system so well, they take every summer off work with "back injuries" but have been seen shingling the roof and tossing their kids in the air playing. Bloody insurance companies.

Right. Off to work with me now. Gotta earn some pennies for my piggy bank.

Monday, 21 May 2012

Don't Cry Alone

RIP Robin Gibb. His last work, with his son Robin-John, was a requiem to the victims of the Titanic tragedy. Even as he was dying, he was still giving his talent to the world.

Saturday, 19 May 2012

Well, it's about bloody time!!

I know I've gone on and on about how the 'system' has been screwing me over my claim for compensation for the shoulder injury, right?

Well, my file was finally sent, with lots of documentation from my healthcare providers (physiotherapist, sports medicine doc and orthopedic surgeon), a couple of statements from two of my coworkers, and a plea from my nurses' union labour relations officer (who has been handling this appeal for me, bless her tenacious little heart!) to actually follow the workers compensation act and accept my claim. Both the physiotherapist and sports med doc saw me pre and post accident, as I had been complaining of an aching shoulder that would wake me up at night (but I still has full use of my arm). The physio and the ortho surgeon both said that in 20 - 30% of MRIs, certain shoulder injuries are not at all visible, and there is medical documentation all over the internet (in respected medical journals, etc) that uphold this.

My adjudicator at the comp board was consistently denying my claim based on the MRIs (and ignoring everything else) I had done pre and post injury. Because I had seen the sports med doc, he had ordered an MRI to see what was going on before doing steroid injections in my shoulder (which would have been the appropriate treatment at that time) but I had the accident the day after the first MRI. Comp ordered a second MRI to compare to the first. They said there was no change. The two MRIs were taken at different facilities, using different machines, and different views. Can you compare apples to oranges? But then, the ortho surgeon said he doesn't even care if there is an MRI. He determines the injury and need for surgery by the symptoms the patient has. And then he determines what needs to be done when he actually has the scope in your shoulder and can see the actual damage.

Did Comp take any of that into account? Nope. The second MRI showed almost "no change", therefore what happened at work was not the cause of the loss of use of my arm. Bastards!! The adjudicators are not medically trained personnel. They are just office minions. If an injury doesn't fit their 'cookie cutter' scenario... it gets stamped "Denied".

Thank the gods the Review Office is staffed with medical personnel!!!! It took them a week to make their decision. And that includes the couple of days it took to mail the file to them and for them to type out and mail a letter of acceptance to me!!! Obviously it was a no-brainer.

So now I am awaiting word from the Rehabilitation and Compensation Services office to let me know the financial end of things. I should be getting a fair chunk of change back. Which is a damn good thing, because I had a crown break off a couple of weeks ago and will be getting two dental implants to replace the missing teeth on that side of my mouth. And those ain't cheap, let me tell you!!! Costing me about what I paid for my (used) car. But I need them. I can't chew on that side, and I absolutely refuse to have a partial plate or dentures. I will go through the discomfort of the implants (both physical and financial) to have permanent teeth again!

I'll let ya, life would be very different if those Comp bastards had approved my claim right off the hop. I'd still have my house, my dog.... *sigh*

Monday, 7 May 2012

What's that, you say?

Tell me what language this was translated from....

"Thanks be given to you very much in regard to the take forum. I highbrow a luck and got to be acquainted with the spot on with captivating people. I'll be a iterative visitor."

Makes no sense to me. It's amazing how many of the spam comments from 'Anonymous' (seems to be a whole population of these guys out there... and none of them can translate anything accurately!) obviously started out in a different language. I don't think the automatic online translators really do so great a job, do you?

Sunday, 6 May 2012

Testing. Testing.

*taps mike*

Hello? Hello?

*ahem* Just wanted to say I'm not AWOL any longer. But considering it's only been two weeks since I moved in and there's still too many boxes lying around, I can't say how much blogging or commenting I'll be doing any time soon.

One of these days, I will get back into the swing of things.

Or not.

But hopefully.

Just wanted to let everyone know I'm still pink and breathing. Don't skew that around, okay?! It's what we nurses like to say when we ascertain that someone is still actually alive.

Which I am.

Last time I checked.

Tuesday, 10 April 2012

New philosophy

Pack up what I want/need to keep. Donate/bin the rest.

Makes life so much simpler!! Spending time first sorting and then packing is silly. It'll be messy for a bit, but then it will be done!

Moving commences next week. I have the keys to the new place already but don't take possession until Sunday, the 15th. Electrical and water meter readings that day. Cable, tv and internet transfer on the 18th.

The 19th is cat moving day. Girlfriend with truck (for almost 6' tall cat tree, which really doesn't fit in my 4' long [short?] car...) to help with that and other smaller stuff.

(I don't think so.)

Big stuff moving day is the 21st. The MoS is helping (yes, we have remained friends...) and because he is wickedly allergic to cats (that's also the reason the cats will get moved earlier and will be locked in a room with all their stuff on moving day), the couch and chair will be wrapped in plastic shipping wrap. It also helps to protect from scrunches, as they are pretty big and difficult to get in the elevator here. I am going to wrap a few other things with the plastic shipping wrap to prevent drawers from sliding out of things, etc. My sister and another friend will also be helping.

I plan on (hopefully) having all the kitchen stuff, books, breakables, clothes, bathroom crap, linens and towels, etc moved so all that will be moved on that final day will be furniture. There's enough of that to fill the 6'x12' trailer, I am sure!

Then it's cleanup time at the old place and settle in to the new. I will be very glad when this is all said and done. I have moved waaaaaaaayyy too many times in my life. *sigh*

Saturday, 24 March 2012

Making like a bird...

... and migrating once more. My apartment is starting to accumulate these:

(This is the main reason I've not been blogging much at all. Lots to do.  I am sorting through everything I own yet again and getting rid of things I just haven't used. I still won't be blogging much until all the dust has settled and I am in the new place. I do get out and read things; don't always comment but do when I feel I have something to say.)

One year ago in April, I moved into this apartment. It was a necessary move, what with my shoulder being trashed and finances having swirled down the drain because of being off work and having the Workers Comp Board deny my claim. (A pox on them!, I say. But it has been sent in to the Review Panel so hopefully they will change their tune and allow my claim... which, if they do, would mean they owe me a good sized chunk of change.) The house was sold and I became an apartment dweller for the first time in about 20+ years.

(How could I resist this pic??!!??)

So in April of this year, I will once again be moving. Into another two bedroom suite. But not in a new building (I was the first, and have been the only, tenant in this suite so far). This time, it will be into a very old building (~100 years old but lots of updates like plumbing and electrical) that may or may not have been an actual gigantic house at one point in time.

This one is four blocks from the hospital, so I won't have to pay for parking at work... I can walk! That means I can reduce the wear and tear on my car, reduce my spending on gas, and change my car insurance to pleasure (no, not that kind of pleasure! just means I don't drive it to work. not sure why they have to charge a different rate for that... but who am I to question the gov't monopoly on auto insurance in this province?). Savings all around! Plus the rent is $145 a month less. I will have to pay a bit more for utilities, but that's okay.

This place is slightly larger than the current suite (~50 sq. ft.) and is on the main floor (which is great, because that means not having to lug everything up the stairs... I'm getting too old for that!). It also has 12 foot ceilings so feels a lot larger. It has two doors - the front main entrance where all the suites have a door, and then a side (private) entrance right into the kitchen. It also has a washer and dryer (like the old place) so that's a bonus too. And the landlord allows cats, so Pips and Lila are safe. (Phew!)

My youngest brother will be living with me. He'll be moving in in June, once he gets his business dealings all settled and changes from self-employed to a salaried employee (yay! for benefits!). His health isn't great and sharing a place with him will mean that if he needs help, I will be there for him. It will be nice to have some company and I know Pips will thoroughly enjoy having a second lap to ensconce herself on. He loves cats, so these two will not be an issue.

The suite is nicely laid out for the two of us as well. One bedroom is at the front, then the living room and kitchen, and the second bedroom is at the back. That allows each of us a bit more privacy than if the bedrooms were next to each other. The bathroom (with stacked washer and dryer) is off the back of the kitchen.

So paying less for rent, especially when Little Brother is in and sharing it with me, will mean that I can really start making a dent in the debt that's accumulated over the past year. Plus the savings from the car end of things. And just think of the exercise I will get with that walking! It's a really nice area of the city too, with nice little restaurants, and so close to the rivers, parks and lots of places to ride my bike.

Which reminds me... I had better take said bike in for a complete tune-up very soon. Spring has come very early to this neck of the prairie and although there is still plenty of time for a spring snow storm, I'd like it to be ready to roll!

Monday, 12 March 2012

Yeah, I'm still here...

Things are in a bit of a state of upcoming rapid change, and in keeping on top of that, I've not really been up for blogging much. I do try and get around to comment here and there, but I know even that is a bit remiss on my part.

So, apologies to anyone who thinks I've been ignoring them. I haven't. Really. I am just in a different space right now and blogging regularly just isn't in the cards.

But I'm doing fine, so no worries, k? I'll say more when (a) I have time and (b) there is more definite things to say.

Tuesday, 28 February 2012

Birth of a Bunny

On New Year's Day this year, I became a great aunt for the third time. The first two are girls... this one a boy. One of my older nieces (not a great niece... just a regular niece... although she's a great young woman!) coined a term for great aunt that shortened things up a bit. She did the same thing with great uncle too. She's silly that way!

So I am three times a "Grauntie". Great + aunt = grauntie. (In my family aunt rhymes with ant, not taunt. Just so you know.)

So as a gift for the birth of this wee little man, I took it upon myself to make something for him. I was finding time dragging a bit (mild understatement) after the demise of my relationship with the MoS, so I decided to try my hand at paper mache.

And not just any old paper mache, but the type that uses paper mache clay as found here. I've never actually made anything out of any kind of paper mache before, so this was a venture into uncharted territory.

I've put together a little slide show of the procedure, complete with Lila checking it out midway through construction. I'm actually really pleased with how it turned out! It's about 14" tall and solid as a rock. I sprayed a few coats of water-based varathane on it when it was all painted up for protection.

So? What do you think?

PS - LX? And Sausage Fingers? I can't comment on your blogs because of the embedded comments thing. I don't know why. It doesn't matter if I use the old or the new blogger interface. I've tried both. *sigh* Just so you know...

Tuesday, 21 February 2012

The Gift of Life

It's been a while... too long, in fact. But over the past few years, this has slipped by the wayside and it's time to make it a regular part of things again.

I'm talking about donating blood.

It used to be easier to do, before I got into nursing. The hospital actually has blood donor clinics on occasion, but it's very difficult to take the time away from my unit to donate. So now, I have updated my info online with Canadian Blood Services and scheduled an appointment for Friday morning at their headquarters near the biggest hospital in town.

And having had a number of surgeries over the past decade, each one has required a wait of 6 months past each surgery before being eligible again. And those delays just make it slip my mind.

You can do all that online now, which is a huge bonus, because I can look at my work schedule and make an appointment for a day off. No longer a hit and miss thing, as in 'will I remember there's a donor clinic on such and such a date at such and such a location?" (The answer to that tends to be no these days.)

It would appear I am too old (!) for their stem cell donor program (max. age is 50 per the website) but whole blood, platelets and plasma are still on the list. Whole blood can be donated every 56 days, platelets every 14 days and plasma twice in 7 days to a max of 26 time in a year. I've only ever donated whole blood but am going to look into the plasma and platelets situation and see if I am better suited to one of those.

As a nurse, I have given many blood transfusions to patients, whole blood (more often than not), as well as plasma or platelets. I am very aware of the need for blood donors to roll up their sleeves. Did you know that there is almost always a shortage of blood? And that different surgeries require different amounts of blood (on average)? And that accident victims sometimes get many times their original amount of blood in the form of transfusions?

Considering the average human body contains about 5 liters of blood, if you look at that chart, you'll see that the need for blood is huge. A liver transplant may involve 100 units of blood. A unit is, on average, between 350 and 450 ml of blood. A measuring cup is 250 ml. And that 250 ml is 1/4 of a liter.

That's a lot of the red stuff. The stuff of life. Because without it, you're just dust in the wind. If you are able, please donate.

Monday, 13 February 2012

Ah... Sweet Valentine

Wishing each of you, and your sweethearts, lots of love this Valentine's Day. Never mind the flowers and chocolates, fancy dinners and jewelry... spend time with your dear one and tell them how you truly feel. Never be afraid to love and be loved, for love can open all manner of possibilities to you and bring wondrous joy into your lives. ♥ 

Haiku Monday - Mother Nature

The view from my apartment, overlooking the field and fire hall. When we should be in the midst of a brutal deep freeze, with temperatures normally around -30C, it has been so unseasonably warm (other than a few minor glitches of cold) that the lack of snow, and even melting in mid-February, has most of us wondering when a big blizzard is going to hit. Mother Nature has a seriously warped sense of humour...

(It is only -2C outside right now... on February 13th!!)

Weird winter weather.
Global warming's given us
Balmy temps, no snow!

Thursday, 9 February 2012

Discover 100% delighted

"It is possible to unlock iPhone 4 discover 100 % delighted by the skills delivered by your entire iPhone carrier. To include now this apart, you'll don’t require being technician experience."

I think not...

The spammers have caught up with me and their comments, if you can call them that, are getting closer to current posts.

So, unfortunately, I have to institute word verification again. I hope this doesn't cause any problems... Mago? You will let me know if it does?

Can't they bloody well leave my blog alone?

Sunday, 5 February 2012

My Haiku Monday entry

Cutters slice crisp crusts
Jingle jangles on broad backs
Sleigh rides in the snow

This week's Haiku Monday is being hosted by none other than Serendipity and her theme is "metallic sounds." Head over to her blog to check out the other competitors. This, by the way, is only the second haiku I have ever written, so I'm definitely a newbie!

Saturday, 4 February 2012


I got up this morning at about 8:00 a.m. and the sun was shining. Which I thought was a lovely change from yesterday!

In about 15 minutes, it looked like this: 

About an hour later, it looked like this: 

Let another hour pass, and this is what we've got:

Hopefully, that's it for the fog. I've had enough!!!

Friday, 3 February 2012

Pea soup, anyone?

We've been sitting smack dab in the middle of a warm (for us) moist air mass for the past three days.

This means winter fog.

Today is the worst by far. I took the photo below out my fourth floor window at 4:30 p.m. You'd think we were in the middle of a blizzard! But if you look at the bottom left side of the shot you can see some exposed black dirt. We don't have much snow here. It's been a very warm (but I'm not complaining! beats -30 any day!) and dry winter so far. (The farmers will be very unhappy come spring... not enough soil moisture unless we get adequate [and not too much] rain early in the planting season.)

There is a very vague slightly darker grey smudge across the centre of the photo... that is the new fire hall that was just built. It is probably 300 yards from my place. And now, 20 minutes later, I can't see it at all!

And I am supposed to drive to my nephew's house in an hour... I think I will be white knuckling it!

Wednesday, 1 February 2012

RIP Charlie Callahan

High above, the Star
Beams brightly down upon us
Big sigh for Charlie

Monday, 30 January 2012

They're baaaaaack!

So... having resorted to the old blogger interface yesterday to turn OFF word verification to allow Mago to comment, I awake this morning to some anonymous prat going on about Canada Goose jackets. I'm familiar with the jacket. Why he (she?) felt it necessary to ramble on about them on my blog is beyond me.

That being the case, I have turned wv back on. Mago, I am keeping the old interface. Let's see if you can still comment.

*sigh* There's always someone who spoils it for everyone else, isn't there...

Sunday, 29 January 2012

Technical assistance, please!

It seems that there are issues with comments on various blogs. I have no way to comment on a blog that has the embedded comments form. And Mago cannot comment on my blog because of word verification.

I've switched to the new blogger format and have not been able to find the place to disable word verification. It is not on the comments settings page. That would be the logical place, one would think, but obviously someone at google did not think the same.

So if any of you more technically advanced bloggers out there could help me, it would be most appreciated! With both issues mentioned, if possible.


Thursday, 26 January 2012

Poked full of holes

Yesterday, after another exhausting three hour stint of nurse-y type work at the local hospital, I trundled off to the physiotherapist for my weekly appointment.

Given that everything was wound up tight, the lovely (and at times pleasantly brutal) Sarah dug her amazingly strong fingers in and around the muscles and tendons of my shoulder and upper back. She prodded and pulled, twisted and turned... me, that is. She pretty much stood her ground.

Now that I am back at the job, the tendonitis that I've had in my elbow/forearm for years (it comes and goes) has decided to rear its ugly head once again. So she worked on that as well, and showed me stretches and strengthening exercises.

I have a sheaf of papers with exercises on them sitting on my table at home, as reminders of how much work I have to do to get this shoulder (and arm) back in the swing of things. Lila likes to sit on them.

And because it works well for me, we ended the session on a pointy note.

My right elbow

There was one more farther down the back of my shoulder but considering I took this with my Blackberry, behind my head, unable to see what I was doing, I think it's good enough!

Wednesday, 18 January 2012

It's life, Jim... but not as I knew it.

I am in my second week of being back at work. That means, of course, that there are early mornings again, rising well before the dawn. (Well, at this time of year, anyway... summer is an entirely different animal.) So no longer can I just crawl back into bed after a trip to the toilet to empty that tiny bladder of mine at 5:30 a.m. That's the time the alarm goes off, so up I get. But this week, it is only three days. And the same next week. The following week will be four days. And a meeting to plan Phase B of my "graduated return to work."

It's going as expected. My shoulder gets tired and a bit achy, but given that I have the strength and endurance of a wet noodle, I'm actually doing okay. I do my exercises and stretches. I go see my physiotherapist once a week and let her poke and prod. Today, because my appointment with her was right after my three hour stint at the hospital, she decided to pop a bunch of acupuncture needles in my shoulder and neck to help with the tightness and discomfort. Seven hours later, it actually feels pretty good. Tomorrow might be another story, though. Sometimes the 'beaten up' feeling doesn't arrive until the following day. But that's what ice packs are for.

It's colder than a witch's tit here in the centre of Canada. The whole of the Prairies is under a huge icy cold air mass flowing down from the Arctic. It is -28C right now and the wind has died down to nothing so there is no wind chill value to report. Earlier it was -38C with the slight breeze that was blowing and for those who live in Fahrenheit Land, that is almost identical... -40 is the meeting point for C and F. Up in the northern part of the province, they've had wind chill values of -50C. Exposed flesh will freeze in 2 - 5 minutes at that temperature. Just so you men know, you don't pee outside in that kind of weather!

It has been one week now since the MoS decided that life as it had been was not what he wanted. I feel kinda lost. We spent every weekend together for so many months, and would talk virtually every evening during the week. All I can say is, I miss him very much.

Looking back, I guess there were signs. I think. But we talked about so many things, things we'd each experienced, fears we each had, things we were looking for, so I guess I wasn't expecting something like this. Because he'd been so open with me about so many things, being blindsided has completely floored me. I really don't know what to do other than just given him the space he seems to so desperately want.

Last January, my heart took a beating from the Long Haul Brit. This January, it's gotten trashed by the Man of Steel. I'm thinking I am going to keep it to myself from now on. I don't know if it can take any more of that.

Sunday, 15 January 2012


(Sunday, Jan. 15th just before 4:00 p.m.)

This is the view outside my window right now. A wintery whiteout.

It's rather how my heart feels right now too.

The last post depicted a woman watching a man walk away. That's pretty much what happened to me last Wednesday, as the MoS told me that he was wanting a way out.

He has issues with commitment, stemming from a devastating end to his marriage when his wife cheated on him, and left him, saying she needed to "find herself".

He is very "house poor" right now and admits to feeling guilty about being unable to afford to "show me a good time".

His allergies continue to wreck havoc with his mood and concentration and he feels he is often short tempered with me (and others) and doesn't feel it is fair to inflict that on me.

He tells me he does like me and admits we get along well. On Friday when we were exchanging the things left at each other's homes and having a bit of a talk, he told me how much he appreciates the efforts I had put into trying to find solutions for his allergies, outside of what the doctors were doing. Those things have made a lot of difference but he still struggles with significant skin problems.

So after nearly seven months (one week shy) of spending virtually every weekend together, I am now back in my apartment (to the cats' delight), alone and wondering when things started going south.

I have never really cared about the material aspects of dating, and was quite content to spend time together, watching movies and tv, having BBQs, evenings sitting around the firepit (in the summer and fall) sipping a few drinks with the music on, going for drives, visiting family and friends, and just enjoying his company. We talked a lot, laughed, danced, discussed, joked and generally had fun. No pressure... just fun.

He knows I care for him a great deal. I know he cares for me, but he told me he does not feel the same way as I do. (And that means...???) Whether it is his fear of getting involved with someone, to fall in love, only to have it fall apart at some point in the future, with the resulting heartache (as if anyone has a crystal ball that can foretell that) or if he really just isn't that "into me" anymore, I don't know. I may never know.

All I know is that I am heartbroken.

Friday, 13 January 2012

Thursday, 5 January 2012

Back to the Salt Mine

Sort of.

I had a meeting with all interested (or not) parties today to set up my "graduated return to work". That may sound a bit pretentious, as if I've finished some kind of fancy yearlong training program, but it's just being cautious.

After all, the last thing I want to do is re-injure that shoulder. Or any other body part, for that matter.

So I have the next four all weeks laid out.

Next week, I will three hours on Tuesday and three hours on Thursday. You might not think that that is a very strenuous schedule, but given that I will have been off work for 16 days shy of a full year and that I could not lift my arm above (or even close to) shoulder height for 10 of those 11 1/2 months, it's fair to say starting slowly is a good way to begin.

The two weeks following that first week will still see me only putting in three hours at a time, but I will have moved up to Monday, Wednesday and Friday. The fourth week I will do three hours on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday.

That takes us to Feb. 3rd. All interested parties will meet again on Feb. 2nd to reassess my situation and see where to head next. If all has gone well with my reintroduction to earning a living, I will see the hours bumped up. I'm not sure if they start me on fewer days again or what. Guess I will have to get that far to find out.

Physio has been progressing well. I have about 85 - 90% of normal range of motion in my shoulder. I've been working on strengthening the withered muscles, but that takes time and because it gets pretty achy after a workout with weights (all of 2 lbs!!), I have been doing the weights every other day and stretches on the rest day. That seems to be working well. It will soon be time to bump up the weight slightly to three lbs. It's amazing how much muscle mass is lost when you can't move something normally! I am sure I will eventually get back to having a(n almost) fully functional shoulder, given time, no setbacks and continuing with physio.

It's going to weird to have to get up before the crack of dawn again.... Not sure I am looking forward to that part, but it will be nice to have some semblance of a 'normal' life once more.