A Few Words About Spring.

Sunday, March 30, 2014

This was going to be a lovely end-of-March post about how spring is finally here. 


Pretend this is a picture of springishness:


I was going to tell you how some of the birds had returned. Of course the geese have been flying over; we're very close to a feeding area on the migration route. There's been a few robins, a chickadee, some little thing with a long, tiny beak, a pair of cardinals and the doves. 

Pretend this is a picture of the lovely pair of doves that has been hanging about the yard:


I was excited the other day to see buds swelling on our Silver Maple in the front yard. It's not something I normally check for, but a friend had mentioned it a week or so ago and I thought to check for buds because surely, buds meant that we're not trapped in some science fiction thriller where the people just benignly go on with life while the planet hurtles further and further from the sun.

Pretend this is a picture of the buds I found the other day:


I heard from my friend who makes maple syrup. He spent the day in the bush yesterday collecting and boiling 480 gallons of sap. That's a muddy, wet job. 

Pretend this is a picture of the muddy yard:


And there you have my report on spring. 

I just thought of a very rude phrase for Mother Nature which I will keep to myself. 

Mrs. A.

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Perspective

Friday, March 28, 2014

It's funny how admitting to feeling drained and discouraged encourages the universe to put things into perspective for you. 


I received some bad news in the wee hours of Tuesday morning. It is news I will keep to myself for the time being and share with my extended family since that is where it originates. Time will see things sorted but I worry what the new status quo will be.

My stress and lack of patience and frustration with this move only makes it harder for my family. It's been easier to be patient the last couple of days. Next Friday we officially become homeowners. 

Mrs. A.





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Recently...

Monday, March 24, 2014

I may have mentioned that recently I've felt things have been moving along at a good clip in the A household. Today has been particularly draining. But! We are not defeated...only slightly discouraged. 


(...and also feeling twitchy since the upstairs smoke detector - wired into our house's electrical system - is chirping its high pitched squeaky chirp every so often...)

I thought I would remind myself and let you, dear reader (really, it's just you, right Cristina?!) in on stuff that has been carrying on despite everything else. No one minds poor quality iPad pictures, right?

I helped another mom organize a local homeschoolers used book sale. I sold many things and enjoyed catching up with other local moms. I realized it's been quite a while since we all gathered in one place with one focus. 

I prepared a special treat for dinner with friends. There was chocolate involved after the injections. These friends love my teenagers and I love them for it even more. The Girl spent a weekend day with said friends; made cupcakes and a banana cake, stayed for dinner and came home late. There is talk of the teens camping for a week with these friends. I am reminded that good friends are a blessing. 

Mr. A and I were killing time out of town while The Girl was at her fencing lesson one day and we came across this chart in a marine supply store. It was the only chart in chart form, the rest of the charts they sold were in book form. This only chart shows the bodies of water which surround the immediate area in which we live. It's water proof, as charts are, and it shows where to find the fish - something you don't usually see. Mr. A and I are very much looking forward to using it to within an inch of its life this summer. I will be kayaking and he will be fishing. 

Our new fridge finally did show up a day late...Did I mention that already? I am an ungrateful, shallow person. The new fridge is smaller inside and noisier than the old beast was. I'm sure if I did not have a new home and appliances looming on my horizon, I would be more grateful. And I AM grateful that the old fridge was replaced. But I am reminded of the poor, unfortunate souls who will be moving in after we leave and who will have to put up with shoddy building maintenance and irresponsible owners and bad neighbours and, and, and. 

The Girl continues to fence. Her session is winding down and we are learning the ebb and flow of the fencing season. She is a little disappointed in us (a 'little' as in it's been a 'little' colder and snowier than normal this winter) as she will be missing the end of season tournaments due to timing and finances and her own readiness. Next season, I will try to be a better fencing mom and spread out the  tournament resources over the entire season instead of using them up as quickly as we did this year. And a better fencing mom would have encouraged more regular fitness training over the winter months had she been aware that a fencing teen was looking forward to early Spring tournaments. 

The dogs are beginning to behave differently now that the house is being packed up. There's a lot of dust and cleaning and two growing stacks of boxes and a shrinking living area. Normally, they lounge quite contentedly wherever we happen to be in the house. In this photo, they were lounging while I was showering. Comfy dogs. The white dog is older and I worry that her health won't hold up over the next months.

St. Patrick's Day cupcakes were underwhelming. Although, the new icing (Lemon Cream Cheese) was a hit and will be my go-to icing from now on. I may have mentioned these already...

Newspaper delivery has much to be desired lately. After this week's interesting delivery, I emailed the person in charge of delivery to inquire if there was a reason the delivery person could not use the mailbox. I wish I could have got a good picture of the page that landed, somehow, on the garage roof. 

The syrup fairy showed up at my house, saving me much angst and gnashing of teeth! We get our annual maple syrup supply from private people who get enjoyment out of the craziness that is schlepping through mud and slush in a mostly freezing forrest tending a fire for all the daylight hours. This sugaring season is starting late and I've run out of last year's supply. My good friend J. saw my Facebook post wishing that the current season could, please, get underway. She dropped off a can of local syrup, disguised in a packing box, so I can at least have a batch of pancakes or two before this year's supply gets made. Again with the friends-blessing thing. 

There's a new book club brewing in my neighbourhood. My current book club is thinking of crashing it as it sounds really good. Current book club is reading Calculating God by someone Sawyer. Robert J.? It's not a book I normally would have been drawn to, but I am giving it a go. Sort of. I've managed about 6 pages in short bursts of 5 or 6 paragraphs at a time. How to finish it by our meeting this Wednesday? Maybe I could finish it by the 3rd? Maybe I could read a magazine or the grocery flyer and discuss that instead....

Knitting continues at about my current pace of reading. I've started a Wild Stripes baby blanket as my brother and sister-in-law have just announced their first. Long awaited by extended family; just a bit of a surprise for them. Wild Stripes is awesome and fun, a quick Google or a peek on Ravelry will show off the finished product. I've been smacked with a Strange Notion for this baby, though. I believe it needs a Shetland Shawl. Sister-In-Law comes from a Scottish family. Her dad was a footballer for the national team once upon a time. Scheduled arrival is September 2014, so realistically would I be able to finish knitting a traditional lace masterpiece by then? Probably not. A Christmas gift is a more likely target to aim for. Strange Notion was accompanied by the idea of a baby shawl made using a Scottish pattern and knit in a Canadian yarn. An initial poke around Ravelry has yielded three attractive choices of pattern: the Heirloom Lace Shawl by Mrs. Rose Designs, the Queen Susan Shawl and the Sydney Opera House Heirloom Lace Shawl also by Mrs. Rose. 

I've just downloaded the Queen Susan pattern...all 73 pages of it. Most knitting patterns are well under 10 pages. Still, I'm not put off by this Strange Notion. Curious. 

Ok, enough. You're updated. And I am on to the regular tasks of teenage management, visiting with husband and dinner. 

Mrs. A.










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17 Days and Counting!

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

On the scale of grown-up-ness, it was a fairly lazy weekend. We did manage a grocery shop and the kids' social calendars were full Friday night to Sunday afternoon. 


I think I redeemed myself yesterday. It turned out to be an understated St. Patrick's Day. 


There was a cupcake attempt. The icing was a hit, but the cupcakes themselves are dense little pucks. No one seems to be complaining, though. I've packed all my icing equipment, including the 'green' as The Boy put it. He was a little put out that there was no green pancakes or green waffles or green eggs this year. 

It was an accomplished St. Patrick's Day here in the A household. A clean house, top to bottom. School work was pulled out and science, math and Rick Mercer were all revisited. Rick counts in the categories of Canadian Government, current events or social issues. Take your pick. Actual packing of The Girl Child's belongings occurred. She's been actively avoiding it. People ate on schedule and dinner wasn't out of a box. 

Ok, so it looks a little underwhelming when I type it out like that. But really, things where happening yesterday! There was focus and direction. People felt accomplished; I checked. 

I'm going to try to pull off another accomplished day today. Wish me luck. If we can count on anything around here, it's inconsistency. And I'll be working with an abbreviated schedule as The Girl and I will be off to the big city (an hour up the road) for her weekly fencing practice. 


Aaannndd it seems I will be caffeine challenged. We're out of anything I prefer. I'm usually not very picky when it comes to coffee. But there's one kind we have on hand that Mr. A likes but it certainly is not to my liking. And I missed the memo telling me we were out of the other acceptable stuff. 

Mrs. A.

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Perhaps I Am Mistaken...

Saturday, March 15, 2014

My title earlier this week, 'As Spring Approaches...' might have been a little wrong. Or, if I had really meant it in an eye-rolling, facetious way, maybe I'm spot on.


Just after clearing all Thursday's snow, we were given a small glimmer of hope. The snow became wet and driveways and roofs were clear and wet and everything was dripping and running with meltwater. 

And now this. 

And this, too. 

I'm sure this is all my fault. I decided to move house in 3 weeks less a day. I decided to reshingle a roof and open a pool before the end of April. So of course, it becomes an issue of Be Careful What You Wish For. Or maybe If You Want To Make God Laugh, Tell Him Your Plans is better suited here. 

There is hope, though. There always is. Friends announced their intention of getting their sugaring operations set up this weekend. That can only mean that the sap will start running shortly. And soon after that comes mud! I mean Spring!

Or, it could just start to snow harder, too. 

 

Mrs. A.

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As Spring Approaches...

Thursday, March 13, 2014


There it is. 'Spring Approaching'. The 10 - 15cm (4-6in) of snow they called for turned into double that amount in my driveway. Then, instead of the nice -1C (30F) it was yesterday morning, it was -18C (really cold F) this morning while I was shoveling. I had to wear snow pants. While men wielding snowblowers worked on the driveways around me. 

Packing continues. Last night I bridged the major obstacle of Packing The Girl Child's Things. We packed up her books. I find books easy to start with as they require no fancy packing methods. The Boy and I packed up more in his room and I packed more kitchen things. 

The Girl Child finishes up the classroom component of Driver's Ed today. That means the actual driving portion of things will begin in short order. She drives with an instructor for a while. I think Mr. A is still coming around to the idea that she may be driving the family car soon. 

Today I will pack some more. I will collect The Girl and take her to her job. I will chauffeur The Boy to his music lesson. Hopefully I will not have to shovel anymore. 

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The Packing Has Begun

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

 Packing is officially under way. I will tell you about it over this morning's coffee: Chocolate Raspberry Truffle. It's instant, but perfect for morning. 

Mr. A and I started packing on the weekend while the kids were out. We started with my library of books. Reading Cristina's comment the other day, I like to think she shares my concern about packing up the books so soon. But I think it will be ok. I just recently did a cull of the library 'shelf' and I know the books I've kept are important...and clean! I dusted them. So it was easy packing. No need to consider whether I should donate or get rid of anything. Just books into the box, tape, label, stack. Done. I also have a supportive book club who is distracting me with an interesting two months of reading. Between book club selections (this month is Calculating God, a sci-fi selection) and packing, I'm sure I won't miss having my books out. In fact, maybe I should pack up the bulk of my knitting...

The school shelf will stay put for now. This week we won't be getting to much on the shelf, but there are three more weeks before we move and I'm sure that I'll have to get the kids out from underfoot at some point so they might as well do some bookwork. 

Yesterday I packed up the serving dishes, trays, extra cups and mugs, the special Christmas China (I didn't go the wedding china route) and the rest of the breakable china cabinet residents. 

The pictures from my gallery wall have been packed. It was the last thing I did to this house, create a gallery wall of family photos. 

Then I went around collecting the long, odd shaped, hang-on-the-wall type things. They're all in one box packed up with some linen shelf things for padding. 

Today will be the wine glasses and the rest of the china cabinet things. Also, The Boy Child will be doing some supervised packing of his things. He's a bit anxious so there's been some talking about the process. Today we bite the bullet and get it done. 

I've noticed that there are 'left-behinds'. As I pack an area, there's a thing here and there that doesn't quite fit in the box. Or a thing that doesn't quite match the category; I'm trying to pack like with like. So I need to solve this today because I definitely don't want small stacks of leftovers hanging around just waiting for the packing fairy...who has yet to make an appearance. For entertainment's sake, currently waiting for a boxy home are my leather bound wedding album, my pizza stone, an oversized serving tray and a salad bowl that is so deep it's practically square. 

Packing goes along just like any other activity around here. Few common areas mean much shared and multi-purposed space. You can only take out what can be put away a short time later.

 

So I expect this will be a familiar scene for the next little while. We've been lucky to have boxes dropped off for us by family members. The tape gun has been borrowed from a girlfriend who has recently moved. It came with tape! Strange, the gifts and favours I find my grown-up self appreciating. Another friend has loaned us her industrial sized roll of uncut swiffer cloth. It's great for padding breakable things. My packing paper is a newsprint doodle pad. I could buy 'proper' packing paper from a moving supply company....or I could pay much less for the same thing with a different label on it. Doodle pad it is!

So the morning waits for me. I've built my second coffee. The Girl is at her class, The Boy is 'doing March Break' (aka gaming in his pjs before anything else). I am going to do this: 


I am going to pack the knitting stash in that box. Somehow. 

Mrs. A.

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March Break

Monday, March 10, 2014

It's officially March Break in our area. 


Ironically, as other homeschoolers will understand, this week we are doing the morning grind: up and ready, packed lunch, out the door at an early hour. 

The Girl has her driver's education course this week. 

Also in the docket today: haircut, SHOVEL THE NEW 4 INCHES OF SNOW, pack some more boxes, get rid of some more stuff. 

Hoping to get back to the blog if I get to sit down with a coffee later on...

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More of a 'To Do' List, Really

Friday, March 7, 2014

This morning's coffee time is more like a starting line. There's no cream, just milk, so I feel in a rush to get to the store.

School work lately is very self-directed. Many real life things are included like resume building and driver's education and keep your room clean and your laundry caught up and PLEASE get rid of the clutter. A provincial credit course - hopefully our last - in in progress. This unit is Biology and we're having fun supplementing with the Crash Course Biology videos. The kids are keeping up with their peer run book club. We're looking at Romeo and Juliet this month. I really need to share a blog about our Shakespeare experience. I very well may have got this one thing right. Recently we switched from Saxon math to Teaching Textbooks. The Boy is working his way through Algebra 1; The Girl has recently finished it and is waiting for her neglectful parents to obtain Algebra 2. She's very patient. Both kids, having put on the writing brakes, have been cajoled onto working through an upper elementary/early high school writing program. It's bare bones, but introduces the important writing styles, gives examples and sets out a choice of assignments. And, of course, the calibre of writing emerging from their heads is super.

Today's school work is called Home Ec. Cleaning up and being on stand-by for the new fridge to be delivered. Hopefully. The cooler and bins are waiting to be loaded and set outside, but that won't be happening until there's an actual new fridge in my house. A grocery trip this morning is so overdue that The Boy has volunteered to come along and help. Poor hungry teenager. After lunch, I have a meeting and The Boy will come along as he has a volunteering gig on Friday afternoons. The Girl has a social engagement, which is not surprising.

Today is the day that packing up our house will officially commence. In 4 short weeks we will have a new house. The books are the first to be packed. I can do without them for 28 days....right??

Mrs. A.

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...Or Not A New Fridge!

Thursday, March 6, 2014

While I enjoy today's morning coffee, I will tell you of yesterday's un-adventure. 


Expecting a new fridge to be delivered, the kids and I spent an hour or so getting ready. 

I put the car out on the road and shoveled the driveway. The kids cleared off the fridge of magnets and other bits and bobs such an appliance seems to accumulate. They emptied the freezer portion and crammed those contents into my little deep freeze. It was a toss up between the rainbow sorbet and the spring rolls, though. One of them wasn't going to fit. We had spring rolls for breakfast. 

We packed up the fridge contents into the grocery bins and the picnic cooler and stashed those in the backyard. It was -16C (3F for my American friends) but I figured the produce would be ok for an hour or so. 

The kids suddenly remembered their school work and disappeared as I started cleaning the fridge. The outside, the inside, that gross spot under the fridge. It was a lovely clean fridge. 

It was a lovely clean, OLD fridge that had remained in its spot a few years ago when the new flooring and baseboards had been installed. The Boy Child was recruited and we wrestled that fridge out of the kitchen without damaging the baseboards. It was a close call. 

We watched The Rick Mercer Report. It counts as school work. 


We had lunch.


Some of us ate half a jar of olives for lunch because the olive juice was found to be a little slushy when I was searching through the bins in the backyard for the ketchup. 

I called the building manager and left a message. We went on with our afternoon. The kids headed downtown - on foot because what if the delivery truck came while I was driving them? Their idea. Considerate teens. 

About 3pm, I put the fridge back in the kitchen. The baseboards survived but I am having a hard time caring about that. I rescued my produce and bins from the backyard. Hindsight tells me the produce should have gone into the cooler with the milk and cream. I repacked the fridge. 

The fresh, new, polite, professional and excited-because-he's-going-to-fix-ALL-the-things Building Manager can't explain why the fridge wasn't delivered. So I explained to the kids that the fridge was going to stay packed up until I had another fridge in my living room waiting to be swapped out. 

4 more weeks until I get my own house where I can argue with my own self about fridges. 

Mrs. A. 





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A New Fridge...

Wednesday, March 5, 2014



Yesterday the Boy Child was found in his natural habitat. Leftovers for breakfast. It seems he can balance a canned drink on nothing but good looks and gravity. 

I'm enjoying a quiet coffee this morning. Mr. A is away from home today for work. The teenagers will stay in bed for as long as I let them. (Cue clunky sounds of feet and waking up from upstairs as soon as the words were typed...)

Today will be interesting. It seems that a new fridge will arrive around 10am. There's a long convoluted story surrounding the circumstances that can be summed up shortly: Give notice that you're moving out; receive new fridge. 

After 15 years at our townhouse, Mr. A and I have bought a home. It seems a little surreal, this waiting period between house purchase and actual house occupation, but I know that it will get very real, very quickly. The timing had to be very precise in order for us to give proper notice here at our rental. Careful planning and a quick closing date allowed us to give our notice at the end of February as we had hoped. 

To cover all our bases, we ended up contacting the elusive building owner directly to let him know we were leaving. As he is one of the most uncommunicative people on the planet, we were shocked speechless that he quickly acknowledged our notice. We were a little surprised that he asked us why we were leaving. In the end, there was an actual communication trail of emails that went on and on until I stopped responding to him. 

To answer his initial question, I immediately wrote a very direct, very descriptive email which outlined our ongoing problems with the property maintenance, the poor management by the onsite (and ever changing) building managers and  the awful new neighbours and their illegal activities which are allowed to continue. The owner replied that a new fridge was on its way and was there any way we would consider staying on as tenants?

We were treated to an account of Blame Game from this owner-guy. As we expected - and have experienced over the years - he blamed the most recent building managers for the lack of...well, everything. Those building managers, on their way out, treated us to a rendition of the Blame Game themselves, assuring us that it was a lack of willingness the part of the owner to take care of our issues. 

So today we get a new fridge. I'm sure the new tenants, whoever the poor saps are, will enjoy the working lightbulb, the matching crisper drawer that fits the fridge it's in, the tight door seals, the energy savings and the quiet operation of a new fridge. 

Today is also the day the new building managers, poor saps, will come to 'inspect' our townhouse. It seems the owner has told them this is routine. Once a tenant gives notice, a pre-move-out inspection is done so as to be able to plan for the work that will need to be done between tenants. Interesting, since there is a record of multiple maintenance requests just waiting to be filled for our unit. 

It seems odd, all this attention. Especially since we had been attempting to contact someone for the entire month of February. If giving our notice to leave is all it took for us to be listened to, I would have done it years ago!!

Mrs. A. 

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A Few Bloggish Words...

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

I thought I would take a moment to say a couple of bloggish words while I had my coffee this morning. 


I'm not feeling particularly eloquent. But I have been feeling like I'm missing blogging. Obviously, looking at the archives, I've been missing blogging for years. 

I think I may have figured out what happened. I think I felt there was too much to keep up with. At first I was just blogging. Then there was the rush in blog land to quick! get followers! And feeds and tags. Be sure to add in pretty photography! Tutorials!! Don't forget giveaways...and sponsors. Guest bloggers! Custom designed layouts! 

I think during all of that I got distracted and lost my blogging mojo. 

Then there came 'the Facebook' and 'the Twitter', as I say to the kids, annoying them greatly. Bloggers were falling off the blog lists and just not writing anymore. 

Recently, I came across an article or a blog post or headline or smoke signal while poking around the Internet. I must have skimmed it, letting the jist of the content sink in at a later time, forgetting exactly where I saw it. There's not enough coffee left in my cup to find it right now. 

The bare bones of the article was something about things getting too complicated and too fast and those who felt like they needed to change with the times were being left behind. Ok, maybe the last part was me. But still, there's something there that has made me think about blogging.

I'd lost what I like about blogging. So what if blogging has changed? So what that many are making a business out of it. So what if I'm not inspired to create a blog that is Google+ connected with a Twitter feed in the sidebar having linked-to-a-thousand-others Wordless Wednesday articles - hey look at my Pinterest! - with a giveaway the Friday after the Guest Blogger entertained you while I was away? I never go away. 

I'm still drawn to read the 'boring' writing of bloggers who blog without the flashiness. A picture here and there. A page I can scroll through. Perhaps a sidebar with an archive. Bloggers who blog about aspects of life and tell you about what's going in their experience. 

It's harder and harder to find what I'm looking for in the blogosphere. Is there even a blog-universe anymore? Is it a sign I'm getting older when I'm satisfied with the status quo? I'm not unwilling to acknowledge/use/learn the new technologies, but is it ok if I don't want to? 

Mrs. A. 

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