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Friday, September 23, 2016

Reducing and Recycling


Reducing

I mentioned in yesterday's post that I had a bit of time to get rid of some stuff through the local Freecycle.  My efforts to get rid of things paid off and now I've cleared up some of my clutter.

I love pretty, fresh cut flowers.

Yesterday and today I gave away several items of clothing (mostly vests and sweaters) that I've had for a long time but never wear.Since I've purchased newer things in the last 2 years I must get rid of other things to make room. Sometimes you just have to admit that some of your purchases weren't quite right and let them go. But there are also things one has for such a long time that can be let go to make room for something new.  The things I recycled were in good or like new condition and went to a lady who was very much appreciative.  I also recycled a lot of other items such as: books, bread machine, coffee machine, fabric remnants and DVDs (music and movies).

I've got lots more to get rid of but I prefer to take my time to sort through things.  It also takes time to give things away because one has to write up the advertisements, take pictures of the items, post and then respond to queries before someone comes by to pick things up. If there is a lot of interest in something for giveaway it can be a bit tricky to coordinate and believe or not, some people can get nasty about it if they are not the ultimate recipient. That experience put  me off of giveaways for a time but I've since resumed the activity because I prefer to give things to someone who needs them rather than give them to the thrift store for sale.

"Give, and it will be given to you. Good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over, will be put into your lap. For with the measure you use it will be measured back to you.”  
Luke 6:38

My mother was the type that held on to things to be used "some day".  I've inherited her tendencies toward sentimentality and also keep a lot of  things for a rainy day.  However I am also much better at releasing things than she was.  I don't like having too many things stuffed in bags and boxes and stored somewhere to be used "some day".  One tends to forget what is stored away in bins and boxes. I also think that one cannot receive "good gifts" if you don't have room for them.






I took the above photos at the Yellowpoint Lodge, near Ladysmith on Vancouver Island a few years ago.  It was Fall and I really enjoyed walking on the property through the mist.
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I  know many of us tend to purchase more than we need. I'm conditioning myself to purchase only the things I want or really need and let go of other things that bog me down.  For quite some time I've felt like I have far too much stuff and have been looking for ways to find new homes for it all. It takes time.

My progress sometimes seems slow because at the same time I am getting rid of things I am also adding to them.  A lot of it is clutter caused  by my ever present sewing projects. I need fabrics on hand for future projects. Once I've made things there are always remnants of fabric left. I don't tend to use fabric remnants myself so then they need to be stored.  A fabric stash and fabric remnants take up a lot of space.  Yarns for knitting and crocheting also take up a lot of space.  I've had to give away so much and so I realize it is better not to buy more until I really want to use it. Adding to things that need to be stored are things I must bring back from my mother's room and closet. I am always editing her things as she has limited space.

These are some of the ways I add to household clutter not to mention digital and paper clutter.
 Even so, I like to think I am making progress with clearing some of it up.
At least one of my brothers assures me that I am not a hoarder, lol. 
He knows how much I've given away and gotten rid of over the past several years because from time to time I need his help to take items to the goodwill  which I tend to do if I have  put together many bags/boxes of things at one time.

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Recycling

The city where I live has recently started collecting compostable materials. I have a small compost pail for the kitchen (it has been sitting outside in the garden for the year, lol). I need to bring it indoors and get used to setting aside food scraps and taking it downstairs to the compost bin that is emptied every week.  Cardboard,plastic and glass containers also get recycled and there are appropriate bins in the garbage room for all of it.  Sometimes I save the glass jars and wash them before giving them away.  They make good containers for storing buttons and other odds and ends.

I already save all the refundable containers. Once I have a great big bag of them they are taken to the recycling facility to get the small refund. A large black garbage bag of bottles and cartons usually gets me a refund of $3.- $4. Canadian.

It seems so many of us recycle but sometimes one wonders if these efforts are helping when you see garbage everywhere. Moreover the rate of climate change is happening so fast. 
I shudder to think what would happen if no one tried to do their part to help the environment.
We all need to be vigilant in doing our part but some people still don't seem to be alert to the issues.

What about you dear reader? 

Do you give things away, donate them to goodwill or just throw them out? 

What things do you have trouble getting rid of?

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Looking Ahead

Hi friends,


I've been sleeping more than usual. I feel I am fighting a cold but then again, it might be side effects from one of my newer medications. I've had 5-6 colds since the start of 2016 and that doesn't seem plausible though I do have friends who have had such a high number of colds.  It is just that I don't generally get colds.  I've also recently learned that one of my medications can cause upper respiratory tract infections. I will have to check into this in more detail with the doctor soon.

The colder weather is on the way I've been on the hunt for some stylish hats and vests that are a bit on the dressier side. I've heard that we can expect a  colder than usual winter season and I want to make sure I have the right attire that can also be worn for nights out to the symphony or concert.  I managed to find two hats and a nice cosy vest which I think will work nicely.

I got this cosy hat in gray faux fur to go with my black car coat.  I also got one in chocolate brown to go with my long faux beaver fur coat for those extra chilly days. I could not get a good photo of the faux fur vest I purchased in black but it is lovely and even better, it has pockets.

I've also purchased a comforter set, and sheets on clearance.  This will help keep me warm over the cold winter nights.  In my last frugal post, I mentioned that I'd purchased a comforter set and a set of sheets for a birthday gift.  The prices were so good that I decided to purchase some for myself.  The comforter was $43 and tax (marked down from $190 and tax).  I got the sheet set from a different designer line because I got a better prices that way.  Though the colour isn't exactly a match, it will do fine and coordinate with other comforters and blankets I already have.  The sheet set is 400 TC and  was $28.00 and tax (marked down from $120.00 and tax).

The weather has been sunny all week but the rain returned today.  Hopefully we get more sunshine in another few days. In the meantime I decided to delay my trip for laboratory tests due to the inclement weather.

View to the East

Once I made that decision, it freed me to gather together some unwanted or unused clothing, books and DVDs and a few kitchen items (coffee pot, bread machine and pots and pans). I've posted most of it for giveway and have had some good interest.  I was able to get rid of a lot of clothing and DVDs today and tomorrow others are coming for other things.  My decluttering is part of the Kon Marie process of tidying up even though I'm not exactly following her order of things. I am not following her order because at the moment, I'm trying to get rid of some of the more obvious stuff that needs to go. It will take me longer to sort through everything and that will still happen for later giveaways.

Truth be told, I haven't been very good about progressing on the Kon Marie method  since I began the effort a few months ago.  I've just been too busy with the garden, the summer guests, the task and errands and then my mother's hospitalization.. But little efforts here and there add up to larger efforts. Eventually it will all come together. I'm hoping this Fall and early Winter season I can make good progress in this area.  I certainly have enough projects to keep me busy.  I mentioned several of them in my last post but forgot to mention the "Kon Marie Project".

Since the sky is gloomy I've added a few flower photos here. These are from my archives.







Over the past few days I caught up to my reading goals and am now on the home stretch to finish the books for the year. I hope I can meet my reading goals and still manage the other projects.

Where I live the media from around the globe have descended.  The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and their two children are in beautiful British Columbia for a quick royal visit. You may see some photos in the news where you live.

Photo credit:  The Mirror (UK, September 22, 2016)

Joining with Skywatch Friday
and 

Take care and have a wonderful weekend.

Monday, September 19, 2016

My World Has Turned Cold

Hi everyone,

I hope you have all enjoyed a wonderful weekend.

After a few days of warmer weather and sunshine, the rain has returned to the coast.


It is also colder than usual for this time of year. Or at least it seems that way but I'm sure it will warm up again before the month is over.

Although the gardening season is now over, I am still enjoying some colour in the container garden. I haven't looked after the garden since about the middle of August & I am amazed it has done as well. I guess it is all the rain we've had. Once the season is well and truly over, I will be cleaning all the garden debris in preparation for Winter.



This past weekend I enjoyed completing the 3 books I posted about last time.  I can now add those to my annual tally.  I'm still 2 books behind schedule.

Right now I'll focus on reading a very cute children's book about Dr. Doolittle by Hugh Lofting.  It was written in the 1920s.   I never learned about Dr. Doolittle as a child and I never did see any of the Dr,. Doolittle movies. I'm reading it now to assess suitability for sending to the boys I sponsor in Africa through Compassion International Canada.

The earlier book  I previewed was too violent and very sad. I didn't want to send that to young boys in Africa who already lead challenging lives. I'm also limited as to what I can send because the books can't be too costly.  They have to be taken apart and shipped in sections as well as meet criteria of thickness and dimension.

I'm also reading Alexander McCall Smith's, The Saturday Big Tent  Wedding Party and making progress on the book, Sweet Dreams by Dave Stewart of the Eurythmics.  I started the latter some time back but am only just now making progress.




Have a wonderful week ahead.
Linking up with Our World Tuesday.

Thank you for stopped by!

Friday, September 16, 2016

Frugal Notes & A Short Update

This week I've been trying to get back into a normal schedule and have had a very busy week.

I've taken out my wall calendar and plotted the appointments I've made for the months of September, October, November and December. Doing this makes me feel more in control and less frazzled and enables me to pace my days and weeks so as not to get too tired. When a friend calls for a get together it is also much easier to see when I can easily get together without feeling too squeezed for time. When I get together with friends I love to have a free day  so I can easily spend time with them and afterwards have a relaxing time of shopping or making my way back home.

It's also been a good week of frugality.  The freebies and good deals are welcome indeed because expenses have been rather high with all the travel and associated expenses to visit mom and the health care and daily essential needs of people in Kenya.

Ways I've saved money this week:

  • free haircut and style (another has been booked for November). I colour my own hair as needed and purchase colour on sale. Sometimes I use henna which is much less expensive than hair colour but I don't like all the muck it entails.  Henna is a messy and time consuming process but very frugal.
  • free movie (Jason Bourne) using points I've accumulated over several months
  • free movie at the local library (Eye in the Sky)
  • used a 50% off Subway sandwich coupon today. I purchased a foot long and shared with a new-to-my-street homeless woman. I also gave her some cash and asked her a few questions as well as talked to her about the local shelters.
  • free purchase ($85 worth) of vitamins and personal care products using accumulated points at the pharmacy.
  • Flyer food shopping. I've saved oodles of money this week buying 2 sides of pork loin that I cut into slices for stir fries, roasts and pork chops. This is an enormous help to the food budget and will last me a very long time.  I had also hoped to get a side of roast beef  on sale so I could do the same.  But the store didn't have the advertised sale when we got there today.
  • large heads of cauliflower purchased for less than $2. (the lowest price we can get here and in fact $1. lower than usual). I will be making faux mashed potatoes with it.
  • 10 kg bag of flour for less than $6. This will last a long time as I don't do a lot of baking these days.
  • Okanagan peaches which cost $2.69 a pound at my local grocer were priced at $1.49 a pound at the produce store a few blocks away. I don't normally purchase peaches but I have a craving for peach cobbler now that cooler weather has arrived.
  • Lots of other great deals which will really help with the food budget this month and into next month. I will likely do some menu planning which I haven't done for some time. I want to ensure that all the fruits and vegetables I purchased will not go to waste.
  • Bedding linen - I purchased comforter duvet set and 400 TC sheets for a birthday gift. These were a  real steal at 50% off clearance  prices and I know will be used and appreciated by the recipient. 
  • Borrowed several books from the library. Inexpensive entertainment and I don't need to store them or give them away once I'm finished.
New Books on My Reading Shelf

First up is The Illegal by Lawrence Hill. I've had this one on my "to read" list but see there are a lot of people waiting for it at the library. I noticed it on the Fast Read shelf this week so picked it up and am enjoying it immensely. It is quite a powerful book and evoked several emotional responses from me already.  You can read more about it here.

Update:  I finished the book on Saturday.  This book deals with the timely issue of undocumented aliens unwanted in the countries where they have sought refuge. It is set in fictional countries. I was moved by the book and thoroughly enjoyed the telling of the story.




I picked up this next book by a new to me author. I  have no idea what it is about but liked the first page when I read it. You can read more about it here.

I started this book on Saturday. It is a book about a man newly diagnosed with dementia. He travels from England to Spain where his newly separated son is living in Lomaverde, a Spanish utopia for expats.



Last but not least is


Dr. Zentner has herself struggled with weight loss and is currently an internal medicine specialist in Vancouver where she works with obese patients. In the book, Dr. Zentner defines and offers specific tips for those who fall under various eating personalities: the emotional eater, the calorie drinker, the fast-food junkie, the all-or-nothing dieter, the portion distorter and the sitting duck. Her book is a practical guide for how to address obstacles to weight loss for each of the  eating personalities.

I'm now reading about the portion distorter and will soon be finished before reaching the recipe section. The book is quite interesting and I think can be useful to anyone who wants to better understand his/her relationship to food and weight gain or loss.

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The weather here has turned from sunshine to rain as of today. In a few days Fall will officially arrive. I'm sad to see the end of the longer days of light but there is always the Spring to look forward to again.

Besides catching up on reading goals I've got a lot to do to catch up on things around the house. I'd  like to paint the master bathroom and get it organized before the Winter arrives. I already purchased shelving and racks, etc. and have painted the shelves.  But still have to purchase paint for the walls and get the shelves and racks put up.  Now that the growing season is over I'd also like to clear the garden in readiness for Spring. Normally I don't do this and just wait for Spring to do all the work but I want to be more organized for the next growing season.  At least that is the plan.  I also have a number of sewing projects (altering clothing for mom and for me) and making progress on works-in-progress (crochet and quilting). Besides all these projects, I have a few personal goals I want to embark on.  I'm still doing research and trying to get a few things in place. We'll see how far I get.




Update on Mom:  Mom is more or less the same. She calls me most mornings and struggles valiantly to speak. I notice that when I talk to her about relatives or family she is able to respond with clearer speech. My brother who lives in far north will be visiting her this weekend so I will delay my next trip to see her for another week or two.

Update on Eunice in Kenya:  Eunice's son took her to the hospital where she was treated after her stroke for her one week follow up visit. They kept her for several days which was unexpected. But whatever they are doing seems to be helping her. She is now able to walk a bit using the aid of a cane.  Unlike my mother, Eunice is able to speak.

Please continue to keep these women in your thoughts and prayers.

Have a wonderful weekend.


Thursday, September 15, 2016

Interesting Skies Before Fall Arrives

I captured this interesting series of sky photos with my cell phone a few days ago.











I haven't been out with my camera lately so have had to rely on my smartphone.
I need to try and make some time to get out with the camera but the days seem so busy.
September is fully booked with errands, appointments and things that really need to get done.

Then it will be October and Thanksgiving which comes a bit early (it seems) but it is always on the 2nd Monday of October.
A friend will be visiting from Toronto, Ontario and has offered to make the dinner.
He is a great cook who once owned his own restaurant so it is no sweat for him to do so.

 Many people have a day off work on the second Monday of October. They often use the three-day Thanksgiving weekend to visit family or friends who live far away, or to receive them in their own homes. Many people also prepare a special meal to eat at some point during the long weekend. Traditionally, this included roast turkey and seasonal produce, such as pumpkin, corn ears and pecan nuts. Now, the meal may consist of other foods, particularly if the family is of non-European descent.

My friend will also be visiting several other of his friends in the City and staying with each of us for a night or two. Though he has offered to make the meal things might change at the last minute so I need to be ready to step in.

I always enjoy Thanksgiving as a day to give thanks for my many blessings.

What about you dear reader?
Do you celebrate Thanksgiving?
If so, how do you celebrate?

I am joining in with Skywatch Friday 
and
this week.
Thank you for dropping by and paying me a visit.
Enjoy your weekend.


Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Changes

Every year at this time I am amazed at how the weather dramatically shifts from Summer to Fall. 

 Overnight the temperature goes from warm to chilly once September arrives. It never fails though often once that happens we continue with much warmer weather into September and sometimes even October.

Soon we will be singing this song (Fall officially begins on September 22nd this year)




These dramatic sky shots were taken with my smartphone while in the car home to Vancouver from visiting my mom in the Interior of the province.



Once in Vancouver it was also cloudy and has been cloudy and a bit rainy every day since.

Before I left for a week to see my mother I put most of  my potted plants in the shade and watered them.
They held up well but the season for growing is pretty much over, especially as far as pansies (violas) go.


 I took this horizon shot yesterday.



Today is the first day back to school for all university students and anyone in grade school.
The weather forecaster predicted rain until around noon but I think it seems to have stayed dry.  At least in my neighbourhood.

After the events of the past few weeks I am still recovering my energy levels.
I am finally going to meet a friend today.
We will see the new movie
(if you click on the linked title you can read all about ir and/or see a trailer).
I haven't read the book yet but I'm sure I'll enjoy the movie.

Update on mom:  She has improved the use of her right hand/arm and continues valiantly to speak. Some days it is hard to make sense of what she is saying but I know she is working hard at it. I find if I just ask her a question she can answer 'yes' or 'no' and that way she doesn't have to get frustrated. I know she has asked for prayer to speak again and I've assured her that is what we are praying for.
Update on Eunice in Kenya: Eunice underwent surgery late last week and returned home yesterday.  Thank God.
I don't know much more than that or even whether she can speak. I hope to find out more later.

I'm linking up to Our World Tuesday and later in the week, Skywatch Friday.

Have a wonderful day everyone.

Thursday, September 1, 2016

Happy 80th Birthday!

The last time I posted here my mother had had a serious stroke and was admitted to hospital. 

 I'm happy to say she was discharged to her home last Saturday.  We spent a few extra days visiting and making sure she was settling in okay,drinking adequate fluids and eating.


She is currently on a pureed diet and on gel like water flavoured with honey and lemon.
She likes the flavoured water much better than the plain old thickened water they had at the hospital.


On August 31st we were able to celebrate her 80th birthday. It was a real joy to see her be able to mark the occasion and in her own residence.

We usually have a dinner and cake and a few family members gather with her to celebrate.  We planned to do the same this year but had to forego that idea for now because mom cannot eat a normal meal. In fact, we were not even sure she would make it to her birthday.  We are pleased with her progress and have promised we will have a proper dinner and cake when she is stronger and able to eat regular food. For now we had the very small cake with candles so we could sing "Happy Birthday" and take photos.

When I arrived at the care home I was so surprised to find mom dressed, sitting in her wheelchair and driving herself.  She had also had her hair done by the in house hair dresser.  Last Sunday evening when I left her she was lying in bed and we didn't know if she would be able to drive or feed herself. She is now doing all of the above.

Mom is not yet able to speak clearly on a regular basis.  She does put several words together into short sentences and can often do so in two different languages. She can also say some things very clearly at times.  I was surprised she could do this at all because it is her left brain that has been affected.  The left side of the brain deals with thinking and speaking (language).  She does have days when she is tired and cannot communicate very well and evenings seem more difficult in general. But she also has other days where she is almost her old self.  In fact, my very first day with her in hospital she was alert, talkative, funny and cracking jokes. I was simply amazed.

Several close family members made the  32 hour round trip to visit with her while she was in hospital.  She was very happy and I'm sure it aided in her recovery.  She really loves to see all her relatives at any time but most cannot visit very often.  The journey is so long and expensive and there is no way to fly directly from where they live to where mom lives so a road trip is the primary way to visit. 

My brother was at the hospital the entire time mom was admitted and making sure to advocate for her since she could not speak for herself.  By the time I joined him, he needed a bit of rest.  We both stayed until mom made the transition back to her residence but I took over the visiting and dealing with hospital and residence staff while he did his thing,  relaxed and updated people.  We are both very pleased with her progress so far and will be checking in on her again soon.

Your kind comments, prayers and wishes of support for my mother and I are very much appreciated.
All your words and well wishes meant a lot.

Sadly, just as my mother was getting better, the mother of a very dear friend in Kenya is going through the same thing with his mother.

His mother's name is Eunice.  She is in serious condition in hospital several hours away from her home. 
I humbly ask for prayers for Eunice and her family members all of whom have gone through an awful lot this past year.

Many blessings to all of you.

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