Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Streamlining the Clothes Horse

My friend Shelly is always passing along helpful ideas.
 As per  her suggestion, the other day I sorted through my closet, made stacks of clothing to give away, and kept the rest. I put the keepers back on the rod with the hangers reversed from my usual way. As I wear them, I'll replace them on a hanger but turn the hanger around so that a year from now, it will be clear that the clothing on a hanger still facing the "wrong" direction hasn't been worn. Not taken off the hanger for a year? Out it goes.

Next, to go through my chest of drawers. And the stack of clothing on the shelf above these hangers. Out with the old, in with the new, I say! How many items have I kept over the years because I "might" wear them someday? Too many.

Monday, July 30, 2012

Walkin with Ms Kate

Everett came with me for an evening walk last night and had the camera in his pocket. In the clouds I saw a big bad wolf doing a one-armed pushup.

The large flower bed in our front yard when I went out in my housecoat this morning:

Note the use to which I am putting two garage-sale 10-cent bargains. I can't bear to throw away a flower with a broken stem, so I used copper wire to hang these funny little vases in the oak trees:

Sunday, July 29, 2012

A Stormy Sky in July

Taken from my back step

Perhaps you would like to follow me along the aromatherapy path? As soon as I find it, that is.

CLICK HERE to see my new page about the way scents affect us.

Saturday, July 28, 2012

What I've Accomplished Today

Fertilized flowers with Miracle Gro, using a watering can. Don't ask how many trips to the rain barrell I made.
Wild blanketflower in ditch along road, photo to confirm earlier identification for Ms Shelly
Super hot out, so the slowcooker, plugged in outside, is making meatloaf stew for supper. By the way, our siding has arrived at the lumber yard. One of these days ....
Took this photo, Still Life With Tractor: where my flowerbed used to be. Now septic tank, strawberries and dirt
But out front, the flowerbed is getting pretty. Still no photos worth posting though. I put on my bathing suit a few hours ago and told Emil we should run through the sprinkler this afternoon. He was up for it!

Since I'm Embarrassing My Family Members

When Gord (my ex) came to Shelly's to pick Emil up, he gave him two tickets to the Neil Young concert in Saskatoon in Nov
Everett about to put his whole wheat bread into the oven
Last weekend we visited my sis Karen, who served us saskatoon pie. Here she is sending one home with Michelle, her daughter-in-law

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

My Bro the Big Bad Biker

Cameroni Bumboni (a.k.a. Uncle Bum) prepares to mount his trusty steed.
We met on an outdoor patio for drinks one hot afternoon while I was with Shelly. Emil and his dad joined us.

And he's off!

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Wildflower Identification for Shelly

Prairie Coneflower
Man, it is difficult to get to the computer these days.

I haven't worked all month, and don't miss it. Why— how did I ever find the time? I wonder.

Wild Sunflower

And Shelly, they're no longer blooming along my road, but it looks like the ones we were calling blanketflowers really were blanketflowers; it "literally blankets the environment when it is left to live peacefully undisturbed" (from The Standing People, by Kahlee Keane and Dave Howarth). So if yours "take...."

In other news, the magical cure for waking up with a migrainy neck is:

• Eat two bran muffins
 Go outside and deadhead your peonies, nicotiana and calendula
 Walk to the end of the driveway and see that the flowers out there aren't dry
 Begin the brewing of two cups of Kicking Horse Grizzly Claw coffee
 Water your flowerbeds with the handheld hose, even though the forecast is for rain today
 Write out a cheque for a man on the west coast who will send an ignition part for a motorbike, which you will ship to Scott's cousin in England when it arrives
 Carry your mug of coffee with you to your inlaws' who will put the cheque into the mail this morning when they go to town
 Sip it while pulling weeds and chatting with your mother-in-law in her garden

Voila!! No prescription drugs required!

The last thing one feels like doing is any of the above; I am a wuss, I just want to crawl into bed until it's over. And sometimes, the above actions don't do the trick. But this morning they did. Woo hoo! I love it when that happens.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Summer Days are Long and Hot

Ryan and his Uncle Scott tackle the basement

That was Monday and again Wednesday; me, I didn't get much done this week besides weeding the flowerbed, giving it a good soaking — we've had horridly hot and humid weather — and one night we watched funnel clouds forming just north of our yard. Quite the thing. Tornados were seen and at least one touched down just a few miles from us.

I've just returned from my first 45-minute walk in several weeks; the soles of my feet aren't happy.

Time to take Emil to town so this is me, waving ....

Thursday, July 19, 2012

The Ashes

Dale's ashes have been put inside the pillar of this sundial, which Shelly set up in a raised flowerbed near a small pond overlooking their yard. While I was there she bought some round exposed-aggregate stones to make a path and a big square one to set the pillar on; the memorial is in progress and not yet complete, but I love this way of symbolically and literally keeping him close to the family.

Their kids chose the engraving:

Wednesday, July 18, 2012


Shelly & Kate on the water
Every time someone said "floaters" I couldn't help thinking of the ones you might spot in the toilet. Sorry, it's just me.

Got home Sunday night after two weeks of togetherness, the longest we've been in each other's constant company for more than 25 years. It was a lovely time, in spite of the reason for it, and I miss her already. She went back to work on Monday.

Here, Scott kept my flowers alive through the intense heat and, though they're weedy, I'm glad he didn't tackle that part of the job because surely he'd've pulled up something he shouldn't have. He trimmed up every tree in the yard, he says, so must've been on a roll. 

I was out in my housecoat this morning, weeding with a mug of coffee in one hand, but had to come in when the mosquitoes noticed me. At the moment Scott and his nephew Ryan, here from Calgary, are in the basement tackling the plumbing; there will be no water or sewer for much of the day. Before they turned the water off I ran a bowlful for washing hands and another for washing fruit and vegetables. Hope making lunch for the fellas won't be too much of a challenge.

There is still a lot to do here to deal with the water seeping into the basement and foundation. While I was away, Scott and his crew knocked out walls and hauled up wet and mouldy material to help dry out the basement, but the house still smelled musty when I first walked through the door. Probably one doesn't notice it so much when here all the time. It can't be healthy, and fixing it is a huge and costly job. 

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

From Out Edmonton Way

It's early morning, relatively, and Shelly's run into the city to pick up one of her daughters. We are going to float on the Pembina River today for a couple hours -- a new experience for both Shelly and me, though her daughters Becky and Sarah went on the weekend and say it was FABULOUS. We've had scorching hot weather and today promises to be just as intense. We're packing up sunscreen, an umbrella, hats, water ... and of course a lifejacket for me, who will take no chances even though the water for much of the way is only waist-deep. I can barely dogpaddle and haven't done so for a hundred years.

We have been pretty much constant companions since I arrived the day before Dale's funeral on Wednesday. It was a bit of an ordeal, as they often are, especially when a Catholic priest is officiating and ignoring the family's request to keep the service short and sweet. I think I may hate Catholic priests. Who do they think they are? Oh, messengers from God. I forgot. Pfft. This one may have managed to put me off churches of all denominations, forever. Not that I wasn't put off already.

There has been pretty much constant coming and going here at the house, mixed in with a few slow and quiet times. Shelly has been going through the motions required after a death -- phone calls, paperwork, restructuring of everyday arrangements -- and her family, and Dale's, and their friends, have all been checking in regularly and doing everything they can to support her and the kids. It's been quite impressive, not to mention heartwarming. The three kids themselves, ranging in age from 20 to 24, are looking out for each other and their mom; it's tough on them all, but they are displaying incredible strength. I don't need to worry about any of them not being okay, though naturally the coming year will be hard on them.

After a week here, it still doesn't seem real that Dale has gone from us. It feels as if he is present sometimes. His ashes have been put into a pillar topped with a beautiful sundial and engraved with "Dad" and it is standing out in a flowerbed. Yesterday I bought a rose bush that will be planted next to it, in his memory.

I had best get my ass in gear and get ready, if I don't want to be left behind.

Monday, July 2, 2012

A Job in Town

Cement Work on a Hot Day
Rick pitches in to help on his day off

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Staking, Weeding, Watering, Packing, Leaving

I'm off to a funeral and Emil's off to his dad's for a two-week holiday.