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 . . .