Saturday, 26 October 2013

Settling In

I am still unpacking a few things and certainly doing a lot of re-arranging of knick-knacks and pots of plants that I gathered from friends.  The landlord decided it was time to tear down the backyard emergency escape route and refresh it.  It is turning into a big job as the former owners just kept pouring more cement on top of the last layer.  He also has to remove an old gas tank/furnace fuel container that was buried under the cement.  So somedays it is kind of noisey around here with him using the jackhammer.  He even had to take apart the new stairs he made for us at the back of the house.  We are only using the front door right now.

But the weather has still been warm for Canada and I am getting an hour a day of walking in and 

ALLEUIA    I lost 5 pounds this week.  We are settled enough that I can work on better meal choices and getting outside to walk, even with my bum legs.

Wednesday, 23 October 2013

Settling in to life in Ashcroft until the end

Old Man was happy to get settled into our small retirement suite where he is not in charge of lawns or snow-shoveling or repairs.  
We switched doctors from one at the Coast that we used though my sister's address in Chilliwack.  It worked well when we were travelling in the RV a lot as she was his orignal doctor in Ashcroft 10 years ago and actually diagnosed his eye cancer that he thought was a bit of chaff from cutting hay.  We have come full circle.  We have 3 new doctors in the area now, all from South Africa.  So our hospital is working better these days and the emergency entrance is in full swing again.  One more doctor would help give the new young couple some precious date/partner time.  His new doctor hid behind him and didn't want her picture taken, but she is a very lovely East Indian woman of intelligence.  He could understand her accent easily even with his weak hearing, and likes women doctors better than males as he doesn't like men touching him.  He really is old school in other ways.  Poor South Africa is losing a lot of their trained medical people who are showing up all over British Columbia.  
I went with Old Man to the first appointment as we worry about whether he will process all the information.  Sure enough he had questions afterwards about what she had told him.  I walked home down the hill and over the bridge while he drove back to get all his pill bottles to take back for her, so she could analyze his dosages.  I stopped for a few minutes at this bench that is before the bridge.  On the hillside are many Grad students' signs with their year attached.  It is a yearly ritual to put up GRAD 2013 etc after hiking to a new installation spot on the hill.

I am still unpacking boxes and will keep this set of bowls I haven't seen or used for 5 years.  They have lids and were a gift from my sister's kitchen after she died in 2005.  They are cheerful and make me smile everytime I reach for them.  

  I really like these bowls.  There was no way they were going to end up in any of our garage sales.  Can you see the little bowl of yellow liquid beside the microwave in the background?  It is a fruit fly trap.  They are always prolific here at this time of the year.  So we take a little bowl and put in cider vinegar, a few drops of detergent and a bit of water then set it near the worst fly areas.  You may have to do two or three around the smelliest areas.  There are about a hundred dead flies in that wee custard bowl.  The compost heap is full of them.  I hate taking more fodder out to them, but that is one of the trade-offs for having a warm fall.  As soon as we get a few hard frosts they will be gone.  In the meantime they are very annoying.

Tuesday, 22 October 2013

What a warm, peaceful autumn

We are having such a wonderful autumn.  On my daily one hour walk I talk to others who are also marvelling at Canada being so warm so late in the year.  The air is clear but not cold, or even crisp yet.  I went back to the park to take pictures of our sister city's area. Bifuka, Japan has partnered with us. 
Below is a map advertising a biking tour in the Bifuka end of the island.

The Japanese garden is north (left) of the old railway station that is now washrooms.   An artist from there came to paint this background of a special private spot in the hills over there.  
                The owls are a symbol of Bifuka, Japan so these were installed by their area in the Railway Park.
As I wander the streets and back alleys I am delighted that there are still flowers bravely blooming, even though most folk have stopped dead-heading and weeding.  Here is a barrel in front of the Post Office and 
one in front of the museum that was built by great uncle Melville as a Customs office 

but then later was a hardware store, and now is the area's museum.  A century has gone by and then I 
spotted this old taxi in front of one of the older homes that has a huge wood pile.  What a lot of changes we have seen in our lifetimes.

Friday, 18 October 2013

walking around the village

I have made the commitment to walk for an hour a day.  It already seems to be helping the flexibility in my damaged legs that affects my hips.  But when I take my camera, the walk seems to just happen, and I am home in no time at all.  I hate it when I am looking at the clock, to see how much longer I HAVE to walk.  

Last week we went to get the last of our possessions from our house in the next village. The vine around the house was already displaying its fall glory. I planted the miniature Christmas tree in the middle for the birth of my grand-daughter, Eden.  She will grow faster than it will.   
A few friends came to lift perennials from the garden beds that the new owner does not want to care for.  He wants to turn it all into xeri-scaping.

Here are some of the things that have distracted me on my walks around our new, wee village.  I like to walk the alleys as you see a different view of homes from the back yards.  A middle- aged man lives here and is seldom home. It is actually the back of the original Opera House.   I think his back yard is a fire hazard.  It is also ugly.
 But this humble home a few doors north keeps its backyard a haven.

And I am not sure that this heritage home's new colours are better than the older ones that you can still see on the lower level around the front porch.  I like the duller lower colours from before better.  But the place is for sale and needed refreshing outside.
The weather has been so wonderful and makes walking an easy thing to go out to do.  I am enjoying the changing of the colours for autumn.  Below is a little Railway Avenue park that has a lot of history on picture plaques scattered about.  At the north end of the Railway Park is a Japanese Garden built by our sister city in Bifuka, Japan.

I just realized I need to go take pictures in that section.  The above picture is at the south end near the old caboose and outdoor music gazebo.
  But I thought you might like to see the geography around here.  
The hills are mostly sage bushes and grasses... good for cattle ranges.  But where the land gets irrigated it can be lush.

Wednesday, 16 October 2013

Yahoo and Alleluia for Malala

Wednesday's throne speech will include a special detail: the government of Canada plans to give honorary citizenship to Malala Yousafzai.

This makes me so proud.  Again I am proud to be a Canadian, while also honouring the cultures of others.
There is something so poignant about this girl.  Her strength and determination humbles us all.  We need a little more humbleness in our lives.

I am praying that her story may break down walls between our cultures and wisdom traditions....  She is as beautiful as Mother Theresa.

Monday, 14 October 2013

Thanksgiving honouring for my sister

As you know we have moved into a smaller unit permanently in Ashcroft, for our old age.   Old Grumpy Bear says he was born in Ashcroft and wants to die in Ashcroft.  He can be such a downer-guy at times. However, we are happy in our permanent digs where the landlord takes out the trash and cuts the lawn and works in the garden and shovels the snow and also built a backyard porch and stairs with railings for our safety. He is only 65 and his live-in-love is 63.
They are babies next to us.

After my sister,Dana, passed on at 70 in 2005, I accepted her big Random House Dictionary and the lecturn stand my brother-in-law had crafted so cleverly for it.  I have put the dictionary on a shelf in the book wall of the living room here.  BUT.... I couldn't find a space big enough for the big stand in this retirement suite.  We kept bumping into it in the night in the hall, and it looked dumb in the kitchen for some reason, and the bedrooms were too small for it.  I showed it to one of the church men who was very impressed with the workmanship and he said the church could use it.  Here is the church's former old stand.  There are a few churches in the smaller communities that could use it but it was getting pretty shabby and tatty looking. 
Below to the left in the basket are donations for the local food bank.   
We will pass it on to one of the small rural Indian churches or to the AA group that meets in our hall.  We are not sure yet.  It is pretty shabby but if you don't have even one, it looks good.  There was a brass book holder in storage

in a back room that is part of the Village's heritage history and could be revived.
The church worker, Ken, wanted to unite the craftsman stand and the brass book holder and adjustable stand.  This is the result.
It was used for the first time this Sunday for the Thanksgiving service.   It is adjustable so readers (or pontificators) of different heights can still adjust it.  He also attached the speaker microphone.
  The church men were excited about this unexpected gift.  The church is having a plaque made to screw into the front or base platform.  It will say..." In Memory of Dana Michael Fee-Hooper, and her dates.  I would like to add "lover of books" but maybe I should put 'lover of Robert and books" on the brass plaque. 


Inline image 2

I think Dana would be honoured.  I will probably never get a plaque in this heritage-designated church but she will have one.  The church was built during the Gold Rush in the late 1800's.  But she spent most of her adult life travelling overseas or in the States, even working for Roberta Flack in Washington, DC.  I just hope her husband approves of what I have done with his handiwork.  I will let you know what he says after he sees the pictures.

Canadian Thanksgiving is ending

We know there is power in being thankful.  We know that gratitude blesses us back in an even better quality of abundance.  I don't understand it all but all the world's wisdom traditions acknowledge that we are better beings if we are grateful for what we have, not what we might want.  So go ahead and say Thank God, or Alleluia or whatever your words are to thank your Creator for your abundance.

Canadian Thanksgiving is a month earlier than in the US.  

I don't know if Britain even celebrates this holiday.  It is a cross between bringing in the harvest thankfulness and an ode to God and family.  When family gather and enjoy fellowship and food together they are in a HOLY PLACE.  That is not to negate the need to gather in a church but sometimes we don't honour our own Holy Places that we live in and reach out to the world from. 

I decided that on Sunday after church we would just bake a small pork roast and I tried a new recipe for garlic and rosemary roasted potatoes.  Old Man loves rosemary and we had a lovely little time alone for dinner as his cousin Rita, who was supposed to visit for the weekend, had to work pouring cement for sidewalks before the cold nights begin.  We have had minus 4 C.  so I am surprised there are still so many flowers still blooming close to the house.   

  I will be doing those decadent roasted potatoes again.  Maybe it was the fresh rosemary and fresh garlic and newly harvested Yukon Gold potatoes, but they sure were good.  I usually pass up potatoes (confession from an Irish woman) but these were just too good.  Mashed potatoes in restaurants these days are starting to taste like those flakes of glue we used in primary school that you mixed up yourself, (in the olden days).  Kids couldn't resist tasting it.

The weather was lovely for walks and folk were out all over the village walking babies or working up an appetite for the feast. But the sad thing is that I just heard on CBC that 1 million folk visited food banks in Canada last year.  We only have a population of 35 million.  The startling thing is that this is not an inner city urban thing anymore, and is spreading to the suburbs where there are few support systems in place.  We certainly have noticed at Soup's On each Friday that there are more elders visiting for lunch to help them get through the month.  It is free if they can't afford to donate, but is also a good, safe place to socialize. Any profits we make are voted back to the local food banks.  It is a win/win operation.  

Now I will post about my dead sister's lecturn making its first appearance at the Thanksgiving service yesterday.

Saturday, 12 October 2013

Back in September....Tom Mader

I am settled into our new retirement suite and it is time to catch up with a bit of blogging.  So I have to go back to September actually as that is when life started to take a more settled approach for us.  I started a walking commitment for an hour a day.  I am hoping it will strengthen my legs that both have old wounding issues.  I spotted where the 'Cars' movie character, Tom Mader, lives.  He spends the winter in Canada.  Why wouldn't he stay where it is warm in his own Arizona territory?

Maybe he likes to get away from all the adoring children.

This little Bed and Breakfast is two blocks south of us.  It is for sale but the single lady owner who has a polio arm, has already decorated for Autumn.  
I decided to go to the north end of town and walk across the bridge over the Thompson River as I had never done it before.

This is not my favorite walk as I don't like heights and the sidewalk is slanted to let the rain/ice/snow water run off into the river.  But now I can say I have finally walked the bridge.  I have lived in the area 23 years, so it was about time.

Sunday, 6 October 2013

Settling in takes longer than expected...

I am finished opening/shifting boxes but am still organizing and changing my mind about which cupboard to put things in.  I had to make a peach cobbler today and that caused some moving to get all the baking stuff in reach near the area on the counter where I could work.  
I had just stuffed all my flour and baking powder in any old cupboard when we first unpacked.  It is so different having a kitchen again as apposed to a wee galley in an RV, which is like a galley in a sailboat.  I didn't bake there, but did cook the odd thing in the wee oven.  We bought most of our baking when travelling.  Maybe I should go back on the road. It would be easier for me. Old Man says he won't as he is too old at 76 and too tired to do that life anymore. Well we had a good 6 years of doing it after I retired. I have to say 'Alleluia' for those precious years. We had a frost last night and he doesn't care as the RV has been winterized, and he has a gas fireplace in the living room that keeps his toes toasty, and is watching football on cable and has Internet to play his poker and hearts and backgammon and... and... and.  We don't have to worry about cutting the lawn, although Old Man did when the landlord was on holidays.  We don't have to worry about the furnace either as that is the landlord's worry.  In fact we don't have to worry about much, not even paying the taxes or utilities or water/sewer/garbage bills.  Now if our own house in the next village north would just sell, we would be on easy street. We just like the peaceful pace in this little village.  I will probably be stir crazy and have 'cabin fever' by next February.  I have already thought wistfully about Borrego Springs, California, and boondocking out in the desert at Quartzite, Arizona, where it is warm for the winter.  But the Old Man Watching is not up to it anymore. I think this is the year we will re-aquaint ourselves with a real, long, Canadian winter.   In fact he is looking skinny after his 3 week-long kidney infection and is still a little grey.  So resting for a month or so will be good for him. I do like having a bigger bedroom, with two sets of windows to let air in each morning and a corner for a desk and my computer/printer and ghetto blaster for soft music in the far corner. 

Wednesday, 2 October 2013

Finally settling in

It has been a hectic few weeks.  We cleared out the RV and parked it with big FOR SALE signs on it, and then began getting settled in here at our retirement suite.  The owners of the Bed and Breakfast ran away the next day after giving us a fast lesson on how to work a B/B.   I now know why they needed a two week holiday.
Above is the sign I have on the backyard gate at our own home, 15 minutes north. I think I will put it on our backyard gate here too.
While we have been in charge of the B/B we have only had 8 guests so far, some for more than one day, but it was a steep learning curve for me who has never worked a credit card machine before or fed strangers large breakfasts.  I am also filling in the reservations on a google calendar that is new to me.  I had to learn how to use an answering machine.  Yikes, I don't even have call display on my little black virgin phone that is only for emergencies.  I am also working on a new computer and can't figure out how to get pictures into this blog.  Maybe I will just stop here and go read some manuals. It is enough to make me get back into the RV, charge it up and run away back to the bushes.  I think I may have been born a century too late, and Old Man was born two centuries late.

Today I hired a fellow who is trying to find a job, to climb on ladders to do the outsides of my windows in the lower suite.  He is a new Christian convert and very ferverent.  He will settle down but for now he is so happy to have found The Lord and left his sinning behind. His life is completely turned around.  I once heard a minister say that all new Christians should be locked away for 6 months.  hee hee  But somehow it is refreshing, if sometimes a little embarrassing,  to us old stodgy folk.  He also came inside the house to do some of the higher windows that I would have had to get onto a stool to do.  That was kind and considerate of him.  He knew it was not a good thing for me to do after the mess I made of my knee/legs falling last fall while doing windows back up at our house, getting ready for the new renter.  My legs will never be the same.  Oh well, I am coming up for 70, and at least I can see out of the windows now.  The summer's desert dust and grime are gone.  I will finish the insides next week.

I will have to work on transferring my pictures from my old machine, or maybe I should cut out my stress and just leave them there and start new files as of our new retirement life.  Old Man Watching is using my older computer with Windows 7 and likes having it all to himself.

Below are my Rent-A-Daughters, one is Caucasian and one is First Nations.  They adopted us.  18 years ago they just decided to adopt us and just won't go away.  I love them to pieces.  This photo was taken after they took me for a noon tea at a delightful little roadside establishment at the 150 Mile House last August.  They bring me such joy with their visits and phone calls.  They make me laugh.
I am smiling now as tomorrow I can be lazy and just read all of your blogs and catch up on your lives.  hee hee