Still keeping on . . .

Hi, everyone! No photos, sorry (no time); next time I should have some.

Still not done with the packing, but getting close. The team is coming tomorrow!! and they hope to be done in one day. I sure hope so, as I’m back at my Aunty’s the following day and I need to get things ready for that. Mum will go to my sister’s for the day, but will take a small suitcase in case she has to spend the night. I’m going to hover in the neighbourhood in case I am needed. I don’t really want anyone moving the large antique table or the many loom parts without my being there to supervise.

Once they are done and gone, we start the process of bringing things back in, sorting and arranging. No comment . . .

I did take Saturday off and spent it with Mr. and Mrs. Crafty, with a few hours at their daughter and son-in-law’s ‘farm’ near Westlock, north of here, then on to see their new property. It was slightly windy and the sun was warm; we walked all the way around the ten acre plot; fairly rough as we followed the new fence line. The back is against Crown land, which to me is ideal; it’s like having a park without the taxes and maintenance . . . We saw stumps scratched by a bear and a few deer tracks; a few other markings that I couldn’t identify. No wildlife, though, and only a few small birds. It was so good to not hear any sound of humans for so long!

They won’t move out there for probably four or five years, but they have a good neighbour who keeps an eye on the place for them. With the new fencing up, the ‘quadders’ can’t drive across the land anymore, which is good, but there’s always a chance of someone coming through the fence. I hate that such thoughts must even cross my mind. When I was young, we never locked the house and my Dad left the keys in the car while he and Mum did the weekly shopping. Better than now, I think.

I didn’t want to take the large Bavarian with me to work on after we got back (the Crafties smoke and the smell gets into fabric and yarn), so I took two balls of yarn and began another Bavarian that will be one of those slated for the grandkidlets. This one’s not as fancy as the large “Violets in the Snow” one; just the standard, simple two-colour work.

My Aunty was just up again to visit with Mum, so I had enough time to write a short post. Now she’s off home and I’m back to bagging and shifting . . . Dorcas the Dutiful (my kefir) will be going into the fridge tonight, so I hope she is ready for a cool rest, too.

I’ve not kept up with comments, but will likely catch up once things settle down again. I apologize for that. I do read them on my iPhone, so don’t feel you have cast your seeds to the wind . . . I’ve dropped in on a few blogs, too, but not as much as I’d like and have not left comments. In spite of the weather about to descend on us, I’m sorta looking forward to this winter and to staying in, knitting and crocheting, who knows??

Love to you all and thanks for hanging in during this time. I appreciate every one of you so much! Hope your autumns and springs are bringing you many blessings . . .  ~ Linne

Sorrow and Gratitude

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The Happy Hibiscus this morning.

Today is the 70th anniversary of D-Day, as I’m sure you are all aware. My Dad wasn’t part of the invasion, as he was with his tank regiment on the way from Italy through France, heading toward the liberation of Holland. Still, every year this day reminds me of him and of all he and his brother (as well as one of my Mum’s brothers, and others in the family) sacrificed for me and for this country.

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A Canadian veteran returns to Juno Beach, 70 years after D-Day.

This morning my Aunty and I watched the CBC special on D-Day, which was both inspiring and moving. When I was in Ottawa, the year after the Canadian War Museum opened, the lady I was staying with took me to see it. We were so lucky, as we only had a couple of hours and there was more to see than would fit. An older man heard us talking about how to find the exhibits that meant the most to me and offered his services as a guide. He’d been a docent for some years and was full of information. I got to see a real Sherman tank, just like the one my Dad drove. He was a Trooper (same rank as private in the army) in the Governor-General’s Horse Guards, or the Gee-Gees, as they are commonly known. I also saw a mannequin wearing the same uniform and carrying the rifle and equipment that Dad would have had. I stood in the middle of a landing craft that had been used at Juno Beach on D-Day; as I stepped in, a film began to show in front of me. It was hard to watch. It seemed that young men were rushing past me, with rifles and gear, jumping into the water and trying to make it to the beach. So many were shot down as I watched. This is the only known footage taken from inside one of the LSTs, we were told. I was only glad it was in black and white; the bloody water would have been even more horrific in colour.

Peter Mansbridge, CBC’s premier broadcaster and journalist, shared his experience flying in one of the last two flight-worthy Lancaster bombers; his father flew in one during the war and to honour his Dad (who died a few years ago), Peter took one of his Dad’s medals with him on the flight).

Over the last week, I’ve been listening to this song by Runrig: The Old Boys

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Tonight, the Happy Hibiscus is nearly finished with this bloom; to me, it’s a fitting reminder of all those beautiful young, brief lives (over 350 died on Juno Beach alone)

It makes me cry every time. So many young lives sacrificed; so many wounded; so little recognition once they arrived home again.

Dad turned 21 on the day he arrived back in Canada. This July 16th, it will be 70 years since that day. He had spent three years or more overseas, and now was finally legal to drink and vote. We forget that in those days, the ‘men’ we sent to fight were legally only ‘boys’. Like so many, he didn’t talk about his experiences, feeling, no doubt, that if you hadn’t been there, you wouldn’t understand.

I know that he was wounded by an accident; one of his regiment had been out on guard duty and returned to the tent where Dad was sitting at a table, reading. The soldier emptied his knee pockets of the grenades he’d been carrying. They weren’t supposed to carry them there, but many did anyway. As he pulled them out, the safety on one of the firing pins pulled out. Dad caught sight of it from the corner of his eye; he was sitting sideways to the tent entrance. A three-second delay, there wasn’t time for the young man to do anything; the grenade went off, killing him instantly. A piece of shrapnel passed through my Dad’s torso, missing all the vital organs. He had scars on both sides from then on, though.

The Chilliwack Progress had a mention of the wounding in its January 3, 1945 issue. If you scroll most of the way down the page, you will see it:

Under:

Yarrow News From The Chilliwack Progress For 1945
The Chilliwack Progress January 3, 1945

There are four photos of H.G. Sukkau’s plumbing and electrical store. Below that is the mention of John Letkemann. Some time later, the final ‘n’ of the surname was dropped by the family.

When the war in Europe ended, the soldiers were told they could only go home soon if they re-enlisted to be sent to the theatre in the East, to help in the fight against Japan. Dad and my Uncle both agreed, but they had no plan to follow through. After years of war, they were ready to forget about it and begin living a normal life. Luckily the war in Asia was over before it became an issue.

I didn’t post anything on Anzac Day, but I spent a lot of time thinking about those young men, too. This song, sung here by The Pogues, says it all: “And the Band Played Waltzing Matilda

And when I think of the Second War, I also think of the First, one of the worst and most meaningless wars ever. This song, about that war and sung by the Corries, also makes me cry: The Green Fields of France. My brother in law who worked in radio and had his own show, played this every November 11th, but if you called any radio station and requested it, your request was refused.

I’d like to leave you on a happier note, so here is Day Three, in Aqua:

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Sorry I’m behind with comments again. I’ll catch up with you all soon.

Two last images from today’s ceremony:

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Happy New Year to all in 2014

This is likely my longest post ever, so I won’t mind if you don’t read it all (or if you don’t listen to all the music) Music is such an individual thing and not many share my tastes, so no worries . . . it’s a great joy to me and I’ve been playing my old favourintes while I’ve been typing this, so I thought I’d share a bit of my soundtrack. However, that said, you may want to listen to the first one, as it’s really a New Year’s Eve song:

One of my brothers-in-law sent me this link and I thought some of you would enjoy the song, the photos and the wishes, which I echo for you. The singer is Sissel Kyrkjebø, the well-known Norwegian soprano:

I’ve noticed how many of you have summed up your past year and shared some of your plans, wishes and hopes for the coming year; reading your posts has caused me to think about my own past year and the year to come.

I began this blog in November of 2012 and originally it was meant to complement my Etsy store (still not open). I’m planning to start another blog for publicizing the store. Like many of you, I rarely look at my stats, as I don’t have a goal of acquiring followers or whatever. My main interest, stat-wise, has been seeing where people come from.
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The view early this afternoon facing West from Mum’s place. We’ve had frequent snow over the past few days, but now too deep at any one time.

As I said, I have an Etsy store, which I began working on before I was laid off in May of 2012. But I chose to focus on family this past summer, so didn’t make any progress toward creating actual stock. That’s still on the cards, though. Seeing Pauline open her store has inspired me to get focused again, as for now I’m not staying with my Aunty (her son is home for an indefinite period). I’ve run through a lot of ideas, but it hasn’t been easy to decide on what I might create and sell successfully. Hence the name of the store and this blog. 🙂

Divine Intervention?
During the run-up to Christmas, the only Christmassy thing I did was some baking and cooking. I have to share what happened, it’s so typical of me and my ‘random’ approach to nearly everything: After I’d made the shortbread, I made two pound cakes, one with halved green and red cherries, the other with sultanas and coconut. In both cases, the fruit sank to the bottom, which isn’t quite what I’m used to. Nothing deterred, though, I pushed onward . . . to the Apricot Slice that was posted by Wendy of All the fruit chopped and ready, I opened the can of condensed milk that I found in the cupboard a while ago. The lid was half off when I realized it was not white, but brown! What I had was the new flavour, “Dulce et Leche” . . . oh, well, that’ll teach me to read before opening (you’d think . . .), so, since it wasn’t going to be a white slice, I put in half white chocolate chips and half semi-sweet chocolate chips instead of chopped chocolate. That part worked fine. I think I have a photo of the results here:
IMG_4607[1] There was more, but I sent some with Mum for the Christmas dinner and of course I had to test a few pieces to make sure it really was ok . . .

So the slice done (sort of), I moved on to Stacy Allbritton’s Christmas Divinity I had all the ingredients in my big old pot that I used to use to make popcorn, soup, stews and more for my family. I love that pot. Not as much as I love Mr. 23Thorns and his wife Tracy 😉 but quite a lot. See?
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Then I took the bowl with the egg whites and got ready to beat them . . . I found the beaters, but no power handle. I guess it’s been MIA since we packed everything up for the bug spraying a couple of years back. We have no idea which box it’s in, either. Oh, well . . . I got out the stick blender, the old one that’s quieter. It did its best, but no go. I tried the new, and noisy, one. Same result. I tried the various whisks we have, but they aren’t very big and didn’t do it, either. So I gave up . . . I planned to get a new handheld beater at the mall the next day. But I had a lot to do that day, didn’t write it on my list, got home and oh, no! I didn’t have it. That was Christmas Eve and everything was closed. So I packed up what I did have for the dinner and let it all go, sort of. On that Friday (the 27th) when I was downtown, I checked the dollar store and they didn’t have an electric beater, but they did have a decent sized whisk, which I promptly acquired. The next day, I added a couple more egg whites to the bowl, to make up for any evaporation, also a pinch of cream of tartar and a squirt of lemon juice, both of which help egg whites turn into lovely stiff peaks. Then I proceeded to whip . . . and just over ten minutes later, voila!
IMG_4623[1] See that lovely peak? Yes!!
Back to my favourite cauldron pot:
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For a while, all went well; the pot bubbled in a most satisfactory way and I stirred without stopping. Then it was time to add the syrup to the egg whites. Well, my ancient electric mixer is languishing in the storage units in Vernon (BC), but the new whisk would do nicely. I placed the bowl on a folded tea towel so it wouldn’t skitter off the counter while I was whipping the mix into some sort of submission. But I’d misjudged one thing: the bowl wasn’t quite large enough. The bigger bowls were in the fridge already, so I figured if I held my mouth just so and hoped . . . but no, not quite. A wee bit of egg white made its escape to the counter, the rest simply rose over an inch above the edge of the bowl and threatened to follow suit. I hastily dumped the remaining syrup in, put down the pot and commenced to stir as best I could. Note I said ‘stir’, not ‘whip’. It does make a difference and I do know that, since I made candy similar to this aeons ago for our family Christmas feasts.
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But I couldn’t whip; so I did the best I could, then managed to transfer the mixture into the greased baking pan I had waiting. As I still had plans for giving it away the next day, and it was pretty hot, I popped the lid on the dish and put it out on the balcony in the snow:
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Later I brought it in, to find that the mix had separated and the bottom layer was still very syrupy. Oh, well . . . I got out the old, smaller, wire whisk and mixed it up well; back outside, but this time onto the table right next to the doors. Next morning, I went to bring it in, hoping the dish held something approaching edible (I’d given up on divine Divinity by then); oh, no! the doors are frozen shut . . . so the divinity or whatever approximates it is still outside enjoying an Edmonton winter . . .

Some days I think my whole life can be summed up thus: “It seemed like a good idea at the time . . .” And sometimes you just have to laugh and move on . . .

So, my apologies to Wendy and Stacy. I’d hoped to include those treats as a way of including some of my followers in my Christmas, but it didn’t turn out exactly as I’d hoped . . . maybe next year. I do have ingredients to make one more Apricot Slice and this time I have the proper version of condensed milk. I’ll let you know how that works out . . .

I hadn’t mentioned, and might as well, that in that week before Christmas I set up the bread machine that my crafty friend gave me last summer. Of course, I couldn’t leave well enough alone then, either (this was before the candy catastrophes) . . . I forget now exactly what I changed, but it was more than one ingredient (my recipes aren’t up to my hand-made bread healthy standards, so I tend to ‘doctor’ them up a bit . . . worst of all, I didn’t measure properly. I know I’m supposed to be exact and all that, but I sort of fly by the seat of my pants when doing most things . . . you may have noticed 😉 Having gotten the machine started, off I went to Mum’s room to check my FeedReader, emails and probably post something or other. Not to mention play a couple of games of Blitz on FB, for the soothing results it produces. A couple of hours later, I went to the kitchen for water and noticed that white smoke was curling up from the vents of the bread machine. Oh, no! I flung open the lid and guess what? The dough was lovely and very, very lush . . . so lush, it had expanded upwards and outwards and then, slowly, downwards . . . onto the heating element (I knew there was a reason I preferred wood stoves), where it stuck and began to do a credible imitation of charcoal. Oh well . . . I turned it off, got the basket out and dumped the dough into a large bowl (the one that would have been perfect for the divinity later, only by then it was in the fridge holding jellied salad or something. I set the pan to soak in the sink, scooped as much of the dough as possible off the walls of the machine, added flour (quite a lot, as it turned out) and began kneading.
IMG_4526[1] The inside of the machine after I scraped it down . . .

I had the electric stove oven heating by then and a couple of bread pans greased and waiting. When the dough felt right (just like a baby’s bottom, as my Mum taught me when I first learned to make bread; I was 12 or 13 then) I divided it in two and set it in the pans to rise. A while later, I popped them in the oven and this was the result:
IMG_4542[1] YUMMY!! Lucky me!

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Last Friday (the 27th), looking from the bus stop across the street south toward downtown. Enough snow so the skyline has disappeared . . . but at the time, it was only -6C, so I was a happy camper. I had a nice afternoon; posted a Little Christmas box to my older son, his partner and their five kids (and it didn’t break the bank, either; last time I sent a box, it was much larger and had not only books, but cookies and other baking and it cost over $50 in postage. Since then, I’ve just sent cash when I could, but it isn’t the same . . . This year I stuck to books.) The bad news, though, was that even if I had paid extra, there was no guarantee that it would arrive by the 6th, so I sent it regular post and we’ll see . . . I was told maybe it wouldn’t arrive ’til the 17th or 18th . . . oh, well . . . if I’d known Christmas was coming, I would have been ready 😉

For those of you who love Scots Gaelic, here’s two links to what I’m listening to right now:
This one is “An Sabhal aig Neill (Over by Neill’s Barn)”, if you are interested.
A toe-tapping tune . . .

and this is “An Abhal ad Airde (The Highest Apple)”, live at the Barrowlands Ballroom in Glasgow.

This one is on my playlist for my funeral one day (not too soon, I hope). I really love it! My heartfelt apologies to Mr. 23Thorns, whose great post on the word ‘Love.’ (and Bacon.) is here:
http://23thorns.com/2012/08/31/love-and-bacon/ I have to say, I love his blog, too . . .

After I posted the box, I went to the library, returned three quarters of a rolly cart’s worth of books plus a few DVDs, then promptly filled up again. I’d ordered everything they have by Lian Hearn, whose work I’ve been in love with for a couple of years now. Plus a couple of Fair Isle knitting books. Plus some DVDs. So Mum’s card is full (40 limit per card) and the rest are on mine. I had planned to meet a friend, but the roads were so icy, she decided not to come out (good idea, too; I saw a police car going through the main intersection downtown and skidding quite a lot; and those guys can drive!); so I decided to treat myself and took myself off to the Second Cup coffee shop that’s attached to the downtown library for a Mocha Mint Icepresso (yep, a blended iced coffee!) and a yummy Nanaimo bar (huge, I have to say!). I sat there reading the first of the Tales of the Otori, “Heaven’s Net is Wide” and falling in love all over again. Lian Hearn is from New Zealand (think I mentioned her in a recent post, didn’t I?)
IMG_4619[1] I took this after I left the coffee shop three hours later. You can just see it on the corner towards me. By this time the temperature was nearly -30C with the windchill and the snow was blowing and biting. It was still worth it, though, just sitting, reading, thining and looking out through the big window as the snow came heavier and heavier . . . if there had been a hammock handy, I’d be there yet . . . So that was my 27th of December and a good day it was . . .

Here’s another Gaelic song, “Tillidh Mi (I will Return)” with photos that will touch your heart, all those of you who are working to create this sort of life for yourselves:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RDc1vit8roI&list=PL4150FCD007BB03D3 Makes me homesick . . . and happy.

There was a lot of good for me this year, including knitting over two thirds of a Fair Isle style cardi that is likely to be wearable once done. I’m finishing up the bottom now (sorry, no photos yet), then it’s on to the sleeves and the button bands (and maybe a hood). I did a bunch of other knitting, too, and earlier in the year quite a bit of hand-sewing. No further progress on those projects, yet.

I made new online friends, too; it’s such a delight for me to find so many kindred souls and see my ‘virtual village’ come to life. The best of the ‘net . . . I hope to go on reading about your lives, learning from you, sharing some of my own stories and much more . . . We are a diverse bunch who share similar hearts and spirits; checking your blogs is a highlight for me every day.

And for you greenies, here is “Our Earth Was Once Green”:

This song “South Australia” makes me think not only of my Aussie friends, but also the kiwis and others from the bright side of the earth . . .

And last, but certainly not least (in case anyone is still with me . . . ) my favourite Canadian group, no longer together, but I did see them in person once and it only increased my already deep regard for them: Kashtin:

Have a wonderful year, everyone! We are building the world we want to live in and that’s the best thing ever.

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standing still . . .

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. . . instead of moving boxes. 😦 I have a lot more than this lady and she’s cuter than I am, too.

Because my friend who was to drive the truck was called in to work this morning, she didn’t come to pick me up ’til after noon. We were both hungry, so we stopped for a quick lunch. When we got to the truck rental place, I was told that the truck I had reserved had been given to someone else because I was not there at 10 am. I had explained that I might have to come later if my friend had to work, but I guess no notes were put on the reservation. I was not allowed to rent a cargo van, either. I don’t use credit cards, but had bought one for $200 so that I could reserve the truck in the first place. But their reasoning is that I might remove the decals and steal the cargo van (but a moving truck is apparently harder to steal. Apparently having a ‘real’ credit card will be a good deterrent. Ha! I was thinking decidedly bolshie thoughts of renting the largest truck, loading up everything and driving home to BC; parking it in the woods somewhere and living in the back of the truck . . . but my sense of responsibility prevailed; I want to be here for my Mum and Aunty, so thoughts of childish runnings away cannot be entertained.)
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So, a few tears of frustration (lucky my friend works in the social work field and is very good at listening and then letting stuff go), then home to get centred again and call to book another truck, which I haven’t done yet. Mum’s landlady just came to give me papers to fill out. We have to turn in our keys for the outside door in exchange for ‘fobs’ (whatever those are; I think of watchfobs when I hear that). But the exchange is scheduled for the 14th and Mum and my sister will not be home until that evening. Both have outdoor keys, of course, and my sister has the garage door opener for the overhead door in the parkade. There is only the one chance, however, so my sister will now have to drive to St. Albert to do the exchange for herself and Mum. St. Albert is a neighbouring townlet where the condo management office is located.
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More tears of frustration. Apparently the condo board gets to lay down the law and command obedience at its own convenience, while tenants sometimes have to wait months (as in my case) for repairs necessary to allow residing in the unit after a major flood – this was in my old suite, which I gave up when I was let go from my last job. From flood to finished repairs it was eight months plus.
nonconformDuck A little yellow Bolshie . . .
I know my situation is not so bad in the grand scheme of things and certainly many of you are going through much worse challenges today. But I’m tired and now I have boxes in plastic bags piled everywhere; not a place to sit or to sleep . . . so more moving of stuff has to occur before supper tonight. But first I have to call the moving truck place . . . OK, that’s done. They won’t have a truck at the close location; now I have to wait to hear where one will be and arrange when to pick it up. No stopping for lunch this time!
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Since I can’t pick it up ’til Friday afternoon, I have all tomorrow in which to finish packing (ha!!); I think I’ll make some supper and clear off the couch enough to lie down.
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I was talking with one of you this last week and we agreed that we prefer full-on emergencies that require us to stay cool, calm and collected (at least until it’s over) 😉 What I’m particularly poor at handling is this slow escalating of stressors, none of them major, but taken together they wear me down.
nibbled to death  by ducks 01 “Life is like being nibbled to death by ducks”
And worst of all, for me, is this constant nit-picking to do with rules, conformity and appearance. I’ve never thought of myself as Bolshie, but a few conversations with Narfie7 and I’m beginning to think I have an alter ego that very much wants to see the light of day . . . well, that’s not entirely true, either . . . to be a bit more honest, I’ve never seen the value of pretending to be just like whatever the current fad is; I prefer people as they are and it would be nice to see more of that in the world. Oh, well . . . I may be back tomorrow on a break, but can’t promise anything; so I’ll ‘see you when I see you’ as we used to say.
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Something to share with you . . .

I bought two hibiscus plants back in the early ’90s. Can’t remenber what happened to the yellow one, but I still have the red one. Today I came upstairs to find this . . .

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Those are all of the only bloom so far; from the back, side and finally the front. Lovely, no?

Lovely Weather!

I went out on the balcony for the broom and was greeted by this:

20130520-144103.jpg My phone says it’s 20C, but there’s a slight breeze and the sky is Scottish Misting, so it’s deliciously cool. Good thing it’s so noisy, or I’d be out here for the rest of the day . . .

Thought you all deserve to hear something other than me whinging on about “Too Cold; Too Hot” 😉

I’m hoping for a nice, flashy thunderstorm . . . have a great day, everyone! and thanks to my friends downunder for the gorgeous mist and temperature 🙂

A Taxing Day . . .

Well, I did it!! All my Income Tax returns have been completed!!!

But I forgot to post the Word for Wednesday . . . I guess this one will be a Word for the Week 🙂 . . . seriously, though, I’m posting it tomorrow; it’s 1:17 am and I’m bushed!!

Other good news: Delicious Delilah continues to thrive and I’m making a smoothie a day! They don’t need maple syrup now, though.

A banana, 5 or 6 small strawberries, 1 tsp nutritional yeast, 1level scoop soya powder; add kefir, top up with apple juice and blend. SO good!!

Nice Summer, that was . . .

Yesterday, after our long visit to the garden centre, my friend A and I had a lovely lunch at The Tea Place, where I had a chicken chipotle panini and a watermelon passionfruit bubble tea (with mango stars; my favourite!); friend A had a ham and cheese panini and a mango orange bubble tea with tapiocs bubbles. We love The Tea Place and it was good to sit by the big front window and catch up on each other’s lives. I could have taken pictures, but was too busy eating, drinking and chatting to think of it. But you probably want a picture anyway, so here you are:

20130429-152210.jpg that’s two crows, two grocery bags and one seagull on a grassy back lawn, spotted after I was back downstairs at my Aunty’s. Looks so lovely, doesn’t it? Like spring might really arrive . . . and this morning I woke to this:

20130429-152812.jpg It continued all day; here’s a couple more shots:

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20130429-185423.jpg. . . snow on the Narnia lamp
. . . and more snow . . .

20130429-185558.jpg I think I’ll send any more ‘special delivery’ AND ‘overnight express’ to my friends downunder 😉

Weather today:

I was up at 7:00 this morning (not light yet, ‘thanks’ to DST) and this is what was outside: 15Mar2013 715am

It doesn’t really show, but it was snowing lightly most of yesterday and overnight. That’s a snowdrift on the edge of the balcony. You can tell it’s snowing ’cause you can’t see the lights farther than halfway to the horizon.

15Mar2013 846am 15Mar2013 845amLater, at about 8:45 am, it looked like this outside: Hard to imagine it’s a city, eh? We have more snow coming later today and into tomorrow, they say. But better now than once the gardens are in.