Deja vu, all over again . . .

Note: I’ve been writing a post (Aug 2020), but just saw this draft that never got posted.

Well, my friends, if any of you are still dropping by to see what’s up at my end, I’ve been meaning to come and catch you up, but so much has been happening for me. And sometimes I’ve just been sloshing around in the doldrums, too . . .

My last post was about the motorhome I bought. I still haven’t lived in it and it’s parked at my cousins’ place for now. We put six new tires on, as some of the old ones were down to the cords (the inner ones that were hard to inspect unless you crawled under, which my cousin kindly did for me) and they were all quite tread-worn. Other work was done, too, some by professionals, some by my cousin. But then we had a series of tragedies. Not for me personally, but they affected me nonetheless. Counting a younger than me uncle, who died in January last year, we had six deaths in our family in less than a year. The first in the summer was the youngest daughter of one of my brothers, who died at the end of July. Then, about a month later, there was my cousin’s wife’s (I’ll call her S) oldest son, lost at sea for two weeks after a short after-work kayaking paddle. His body was found, fortunately, but much further up the coast. A month to the day later, S’s brother lost one of his daughters. She had a sudden heart attack at home.

So, as you might expect, even though I wasn’t close to any of these young people (all in their 40s), my life was still impacted. I felt lucky to be living at my cousins’ place. It meant I could take care of the house, garden and cat while they drove to the coast to await the search results and again later for the memorials. He lived on the Sunshine Coast, north of Vancouver, BC, so taking a ferry is necessary and adds to the time to get there.

I won’t say more about all this; it’s not really my story to share. But, in the end, I felt the cousins could use some time to themselves to adapt to the new ‘normal. Not that they would have asked for it, or indicate in any way that they wanted space, but I did feel it was necessary.

I do have a few photos, but can’t figure out how to add them from the tablet, so they will have to wait.

I did go on that cruise in October, returning in mid-November. More about that another time, as I don’t have the photos on the laptop yet. It was good, though, and I can highly recommend Viking in every way, especially when it comes to the food! While on that trip, my sister told me that I could come stay with them at any time and that her husband had told her to tell me that. So I accepted. She’s the one who lives in Edmonton, Alberta, where I spent over 17 years with my parents and then my Mum and one of her older sisters. I hadn’t planned ever to live there again, but life happens . . .

At the cousins’, we kept Thanksgiving very low-key, just having the traditional meal. And Christmas, too, was low-key. We weren’t sure about gifts, so I had decided to leave mine in my room for them for after I left in early January. In the end they decided to put up their small tree and do gifts, so it all went somewhat as usual.

I crocheted two blankets for them back in the late spring, while I was going to my crochet group every Tuesday. So they got those and a few small items as well. And I got chocolates! and a gift certificate to Fabricland (also !!!).

Even before New Year’s Eve, I got busy packing and moving items into the motorhome to free up the bedroom that I’d been using so they could store things from the addition in there while they replaced the flooring with laminate, which they already had on hand. So the motorhome has plenty in it, but I still haven’t spent a night in it. Winter was way too cold, anyway, and we had a LOT of snow, starting early. I would have spent a fortune on propane and because the tanks are built in, would have had to drive to Salmon Arm to refill them as needed. So . . .

On 09 January the cousins drove me to Kelowna and I flew to Edmonton, arriving at midnight. I hadn’t told my sister when I’d arrive, knowing she’d have lost sleep just to pick me up. So I planned to sleep at the airport and that worked out pretty well. In the morning I caught the Airporter bus to downtown Edmonton somewhere and my lovely BIL came with his truck and picked me up.

The day before I left, however, somehow I pulled a muscle in my left thigh and so suddenly was quite inconvenienced and walking like a very old person. Not my favourite thing, I assure you! This was worse after I slept on the benches in one of the waiting areas.

The day I arrived at my sister’s place, the temperature dropped to almost -40 C (oddly enough, that’s about -40 F as well). So my sister took me to walmart and I found a good winter jacket and snow pants (first snow pants I’ve owned since my early teens) as well as three sets of black long johns and some larger T-shirts to wear over the long john shirts. Since then I’ve been quite comfy, thank you! The basement is cool enough that I wear my new jacket when at the laptop for long periods of time and that works well, too. It has a large hood trimmed with faux fur, so I look a bit like an Inuit person (I think so, anyway). They offered to turn up the heat, but this is a three storey house and almost all is open-plan so the heat would just run upstairs anyway. I do have a wee portable heater which is on the floor at nights and blows warm air under the bed. It all works well. I’m so fortunate I come from hardy ancestors on both sides of my heritage and have had plenty of practical survival experience all through my life.

On the positive side, since some of the trouble with my leg and joints is undoubtedly due to my increasingly sedentary life over the past few years, I have begun an exercise program (and kept to it!) and set a daily walking goal. I had a few false starts, but now I’m being rather rigorous about it and it’s already paying off. So I’m walking better and sleeping better and rarely need a pain pill anymore. It’s been many years since I even took a single pill, so it’s good to get back to normal.

I’ve got a space in the basement here, with a futon couch (been sleeping on those since 2011, so no big deal) and a large tv that’s set up for netflix. A real boon on those nights when I wake and can’t get back to sleep.

Best of all, I have a small table for the laptop and techie stuff, plus some of my daybooks. And at one end of that I’ve set up a folding table with plastic sheeting over it, so that’s where some of the creativity will occur. I have been accumulating supplies, as most of those I already have are in the storage in BC. And I discovered ‘gelli plates’, which most of you are likely familiar with. I took a couple of printmaking courses when I was in my 40s and its been a great love of mine ever since. Finding / making a suitable space in which to work has been the challenge. But now I have one! I confess to spending three hours in a dollarama store here a couple of weeks ago and coming home with paints, wooden things on which to paint, glitter glue and more. That same day I made my way to a nearby walmart and spent two hours there. I found some great deals on pyjama bottoms, T-shirts and other things I needed, plus the paints that dollarama was out of. At home I ordered some textile medium (but forgot to include acrylic extender) and the supplies for making the ‘gelli plates’. Once it came, I set everything up in the kitchen to create the plates, only to discover that we were practically out of white sugar. So I have had to wait until a grocery run was made and the sugar purchased. That happened this week. Now for an afternoon of uninterrupted time in the kitchen . . .

Did I mention that above my worktable I have hung two calendars? One was sent to me by a sweet fellow Riggie in Germany and features Runrig photos on every page. The other was a gift from a new friend in my Enderby crochet group. It’s called ‘Secret Garden’ and the photos of some lovely Europaean gardens brighten every day for me.

I’ll keep you posted on the ‘gelli plates’ and my success (or otherwise) with using them. I’m quite excited about getting back to monoprints . . .

Also on the creative front, I have finished my gold ‘boot socks’ that I made too-large on purpose and am part-way up the feet of another pair, same yarn, that will fit and which I can wear inside the first set. Once in the motorhome, I plan to stay very toasty warm and cosy!

By lovely BIL here has a friend, W. They each bought a pair of heavy-duty boot socks years ago from a lady in Saskatchewan. W’s socks, however, have developed large holes in the soles and the heels. I was able to source some unspun wool yarn from a local (Alberta, anyway) woolen mill and have been using that to mend the holes. It’s been a bit slow, as my knuckles keep cracking from the cold in spite of regular applications of lotion. The yarn is interesting in that it’s made up of five individual strands that are then wound into a large cake-shaped skein. I bought two skeins so that I could knit myself a pair of boot socks, too.

Nothing exciting on the food front to report, but I have been watching an interesting series on netflix called ‘Ugly Delicious’. The host is a well-known restaurateur from New York and I’m loving all the information he shares about foods from many cultures. Often they travel to other countries to learn about the foods first-hand. If bad language bothers you, you may not like it. I could do without it, but the rest of the show is entertaining enough to keep me interested.

Almost forgot . . . I have what I need to make a couple of journal covers, too. And a cushion cover. I’m planning to explore ideas that might eventually lead to a small income stream . . .

4 thoughts on “Deja vu, all over again . . .

  1. Hi Linne! It’s been great reading your newsy post, but I’m sorry to hear of all the losses in your family. Are you settled now in Edmonton? It’s sounds like you are, with setting up your craft projects again. Good luck with your business plans, do you think you’ll start an Etsy shop? I look forward to hearing more of your news in the future. 🙂

    • Hi, Joanne! Thanks for visiting! I was in Edmonton for six months, then came back to BC. I isolated with a friend for three weeks, then moved into the MH at the end of July. I moved into the house again in mid-October, as it was getting too cold. I’m hoping to find an actual house, cottage, shack, what have you, before next winter.

      I was hoping to re-activate my Etsy shop or maybe just sell online. I have friends selling from Instagram and Facebook. But in the end, the basement was just too cold to work in. To be on the laptop, I was wearing my new winter jacket, which is extremely warm. And there was no way to hang prints up to dry without worrying about possible drips on the carpet or some of my sister’s belongings. So that idea has been scrapped for now.

      It was a pretty stressful summer, between the new lifestyle changes (covid-related) and trying to find a place to spend this winter. But I’m settled again, at least for now, so beginning to relax and create again. I’ll be posting about that soon. Just have to get photos onto the laptop.

      I’ve several new projects to share, too.

      Thanks for the good wishes, Joanne. I hope all is well in your world and that you are well and safe. Your family, too, of course.

      Love and blessings. Talk soon. ~ Linne

  2. What a news-filled post!
    I am very sorry to hear of all the family losses, that is hard to deal with.
    I had never heard of gelli plates but I have now, thanks to you and google. I am keen to see the results of your experiments with printing, so don’t forget to post about that sometime soon!
    I’m impressed with your new walking routine, and very pleased that you are feeling the benefits. It sometimes seems like such a mission to put the right shoes on and actually get out there – but that’s my inherent laziness. I joined a friend on an hour’s walk yesterday morning (late winter/early spring here and the sun was shining) and enjoyed every step. Pathetic that I don’t keep it up.
    Good luck getting the motorhome ready. I’m sure you will turn it into a cocoon of comfort and safety 🙂

    • Hi, again, Jill. I’m working down my list of comments, so have already answered your last comment.

      It was hard to observe everyone going through such trials, but it was different for me, as I only knew one of the young people and not that well. But my heart went out to the parents for sure.

      I’ve only used one of the gelli plates, and that one time, so not much to share yet. It takes having a dedicated space, really, with the ability to wash out brushes as needed and also to hang up prints to dry. The basement at my sister’s was way too cold to work in and the MH just doesn’t have space, although I did manage to make a few preliminary prints, just to get the feel of it.

      In the end, with the walking, I began stepping in place and using my fitpro watch to track my steps. That worked pretty well. I’m going to do the same here, as after several months of little movement, I’m seeing consequences that I’m not happy with. Things change as our bodies grow older. I was walking here and then the massive forest fires all down the west coast of the US arrived and we were to stay indoors as much as possible . . . the small particles are the most dangerous and are present even when it seems there isn’t much smoke. So much for walking . . . But I have bought a memory foam bathmat that I have begun stepping on again. I’m using the mat partly to deaden the sound of my slipper soles (the extra trainers I put into the storage for some reason, without thinking it through). I just need to do it regularly. You are not alone in not walking regularly. I, too, do much better when I have someone to walk with, but even though my cousin’s wife walks almost daily, she is so much faster than me at this point that it doesn’t do her any good if she stays with me. And now we’ve had our first snow . . . melted after a couple of days, but there’s more on the way and that will most likely stay. And then walking on our road becomes a challenge. Hence the stepping. I found my headphones, so I’m going to try listening to some Runrig as I ‘march’. At least that will keep it interesting for me. I, too, feel pathetic in all this. We aren’t, you know, just that what works best is sometimes hard to achieve.

      The MH was ok, but I didn’t want to cook in it (except eggs in the microwave two or three times a week), as I’d been warned of the dangers of too much moisture indoors. I do well on uncooked, though. Food is food, in the end. I shall have to make better plans over the winter.

      Stay safe, ok, and well. I think of you so often as I have your weather on my phone (along with the weather for many of my followers). I’ll post soon, I promise. Warm hugs (we ARE physically distant, after all LOL) and lots of love to you. Talk soon ~ Linne

Thanks for stopping by my blog! I look forward to reading your comments. ~ Linne

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