Sealed With a Kiss

One of the nice things about downsizing is finding little surprises.  We ‘ve had a few and they’ve all been nice. 

There was one that seemed like it wouldn’t turn out so well, but I’m happy to say that it was a false alarm.

My husband found a plastic bag that contained a pair of boots that I had been looking for for a couple of years.  They are a little more fashionable than my usual winter wear and I love them.  Great news.  I took them into our bedroom to try on and to admire myself in the mirror. I put my foot in and felt something.  Uh oh! I had a little peek.  I saw FUR!  I (crazily) put my hand in, all the while praying, Please don’t let it be a mouse. 

It was a child’s toy, a little cat, and I breathed as sigh of relief.  I know I had those boots in my classroom last and obviously some child dropped the cat in there, either accidentally or intentionally.  Did they want me to have a cardiac arrest???

The nicest surprise was also found by my husband – our love letters!

We got engaged at the age of 20, and were married by 21. I was already a university graduate and was teaching in Alberta, about 2,500 miles from my Nova Scotia home.  I had known him for only three months; he was a fourth year engineering student, and we were planning to get married and go to Africa to work.  When he graduated, he went to Montreal to work for a couple of months before our marriage.  We were apart for 60 days.  He wrote me 60 letters and I wrote him 120!  (A little foretaste of our marriage I always tell him.)

Every day I went to the mail box and popped in two letters (cost of the stamp – $0.05).  Hubby is rather shy, shall we say, and I really went overboard on those letters.  I put heavy lipstick on and made kiss marks all over the envelopes.  I sprayed each page with perfume and once even sprayed perfume into the mail box!  When I think of how embarrassed he must have been in front of all his room mates, I still laugh. 

He told me that the mailman used to say to the owner of the house where he was living, “Vous-avez un amoureur dans votre maison, M.” (You have a lover in your house, Monsieur.)

I have not yet reread them.  I remember our letters as tender, funny, and yearning.  We were two young people with dreams of the future.  We wanted to make a contribution to the people of Africa, we planned our family and spoke of our dreams for our future children.  I told him about the funny, sweet things my six year old students did and said.  He told me about his colleagues at work and about meeting my parents and brothers and sisters for the first time.

We poured out our hearts to each other.  We were young and in love.

I have not yet reread them.  I’m saving them for a day when I have time.  Time to revisit the past, time to remember.

It’s My Move, Part 3 -The Dump

When I was a child in Nova Scotia, our town had a Dump.  Dad sometimes took some of us kids on a trip to drop trash off and I can tell you it was an exciting experience.  Things were happening there!

When my little sister was a teenager, she had a couple of friends who went parking and necking at… yes, the DUMP!!!  How romantic can a guy get?  I mean, the smell alone… But to each his own, I guess. 

We have been downsizing, gradually, for many months.  But in the last couple of weeks, it has taken on a new urgency, because we found a house and are moving to Ottawa in December, just days before Christmas. 

In less than two weeks, we have gotten rid of about a quarter of the junk stuff in our house.  We have made eight trips to the Waste Management Facility (The Dump) and got rid of scores of computers, computer parts, and other assorted electronics (not that my husband is a hoarder or anything). 

I still love the dump!  Things are hoppin’ there!  There are bulldozers and tractors everywhere.  There are men, young men, working and flexing their .. oops, I got carried away for a second. 

And it is so organized!  You drive in, get weighed (your car, not you, thank God) . You drop off your stuff and get weighed again on the way out.  There are different “stations” for each type of trash. 

Wood goes in one area, styrofoam another, cardboard, paper, hard cover and soft cover books others.  There is a section for oil, paint, hazardous household waste, electronics, appliances, and there is an area all by itself, in a far corner, for … Toilets.  There is a mound of them about twenty feet high. If you brought your toddler there, he would want to explore and use every single one.

All of the young men who work there are amazingly cheerful.  They  greet you with a smile, wish you a good day and actually thank you for visiting and bringing your grungy toilet or whatever.  They comment on the weather which has been unseasonably warm and sunny.  

People are running around, dropping off a stack of cardboard here and then running across the road to drop off styrofoam in the little building over there.  I saw a young woman, blond, fashionably dressed, pick up a couple of heavy computers from the back of her truck and toss them in the electronic bin like a couple of  paperback books.

I saw one of the young workers today and I commented to him, “I love this place.”  He answered in a booming voice, “So do I.  I love it so much that I come here almost every day.” I left there happy.

We have also taken several loads of used books to the library and many, many things to Value Village.  We have sold a few items on Kijiji and have actually managed to pack a few things.

We hired a moving company this week, so that is a load of our minds.  We are too old to be loading  and unloading  a truck.  Our daughters will be happy to hear that since I know they worry about us.  Things are going well and we are progressing as we should.

The next challenge will be Monday’s large garbage pickup.  How are we going to get the heavy things down to the curb?  I can picture us, two 66 year olds, pushing and pulling, and grunting, and hopefully not expiring, as we manhandle the old heavy floor-model TV set or the heavy oak desk that is 5 and a half feet long, down the driveway and onto the grass near the street. 

We’ll probably be on YouTube next week!

Rolling off a Blog

Does it count when you win an award when you were nominated by your sister?  I hope so because I gratefully accept.

My sister, Helen, who is RVing Girl (http://rvinggirl.wordpress.com/) , nominated me for the Liebster Award.  This is granted to fellow bloggers who have fewer than 200 subscribers on a daily basis and it is to encourage those of us who are new to the blogging world.

The rules are:

  • Thank the person who nominated you.
  • Link back to the person.
  • Copy and Paste the Award into your blog. (Haven’t figured this out yet.)
  • Reveal your 5 blog picks with links.
  • Let them know you chose them by leaving a comment on their blog.

I began my blog in July, visited my sister at her home in Bermuda, and convinced her to begin a blog of her own. And now she’s an award winner!  Well, in my books, she’s always been a winner.  Thank you, Helen.

My five nominees are:

  1. Where’s Wormy?  http://whereswormy.wordpress.com/  This is a new blog, in the last few weeks, and it is about a family “pet” who gets himself into all sorts of trouble, while having great adventures.  Very cute and very imaginative.
  2. Fifty Four and a Half. http://fiftyfourandahalf.com  Elyse is from Connecticut and is living in the Southern US.  She is hilarious and I laugh every time I read her posts.
  3. Prairie Wisdom.  http://prairiewisdom.wordpress.com  I love this blog.  The posts are all different but her humor and stories of her family resonate with me.  She is also very creative and writes about her activities.  I check her out every day!
  4. Siobhan. http://mylivelovelaughlife.com  Siobhan writes with such ease about her efforts to get fit and healthy, something most of us want to do. 
  5. Sylvia Morice. http://sylviamorice.wordpresscom Sylvia is a fellow Canadian who is writing with gentle humor about her life.  She is cruising to Hawaii as I write but I can’t wait until she returns to daily blogging.

I think all of these blogs are worth following, and would like you to check them out.  You may like them enough to subscribe to them too.

I am currently packing to move from Toronto to Ottawa and have been too busy to post every day but I am taking a little break from the house for a couple of hours and will try to get another post in tonight.

Happy blogging!

It’s My Move – Part 2

Packing and tossing and donating!

That’s been the rhythm of the last week.  Actually, tossing comes first, then donating and then packing. 

We have recycling pickup every week and really I should have taken a photo of the MOUNTAIN of paper, cardboard, magazines, and books that we had out at our curb.  We weren’t sure they would take it all, so had planned that when the truck came around the corner, I would run out and we would offer to help throw it in the truck.  Then we said a prayer that there would be no problems.

When I talked to the guy, he just smiled and said, “Don’t worry, I’ll take care of it all.”  And he did!  One strong (nice) young man and the mountain was moved.  Thank you!!!

Yesterday afternoon my hubby put a couple of ads on Kijiji.  Have you ever heard of it?  You can place an ad for FREE and sell everything from cars to cardboard!  It like a computer “classified” section.

Last night we sold the drafting table.  I had used it for my art but there won’t be room in the new house, so out it went.  I think the most satisfying part was that it went to a young man who is a student studying sheet metal and he needed it for his homework.  He was happy and so were we!

We even got our house on Kijiji!  Can you believe it?  A house!  On Kijiji!

Next weekend I will be doing a post on THE DUMP, so don’t miss it.  Complete with photos. I’m going to try to get a picture of one particular area that you will NOT believe!  Hope to find a few minutes to post throughout the week.

 

Downsizing – Two Ways

I am once again downsizing. 

Way #1 – Since September 1, I have lost a total of 9.5 pounds.  It has been so easy.  I just gave up all junk food and stopped eating between meals.  The result is that whenever I go to eat I am reminded of my determination to eat healthy.  I have not had any cravings and hope it remains that way. 

My jeans were falling off me today!  How fun is that!  I’m going to so much enjoy shopping for a new wardrobe, probably in the spring!  In my new house!

Way #2 –  We are downsizing our household.  Today we walked about a mile or so to the car rental company and drove home in a nice Ford Focus.  We made two trips to the local recycling centre, with electronic waste.  Did I ever tell you that Hubby is a computer geek guy who owns dozens of computers, computer parts and computer go-withs?

We recycled about fifteen “486” computers, printers, hard drives, mother-boards, mice, modems, video cards, and monitors.  There were also telephones from as far back as the 70s, web cameras, short wave radios, regular radios, stereos, speakers, amplifiers, VCRs, and DVD players.  It took two car loads to get rid of it all. 

On the way home we stopped at City Hall to register ourselves as senior citizens, because now we are permitted unlimited, free, extra garbage pickups for larger items.  That will be good for our old TVs and no longer useful furniture pieces. 

Then, off to Value Village where we made two trips to bring toys, books, scrapbook magazines, art magazines, balls of knitting wool, old fans, air cleaners, jigsaw puzzles, wicker baskets, old CDs, ornaments, candles, and more books.  One of the workers there was a former student who seemed as happy to see me as I was to see him.

Then we went to the library to make a huge donation of romance and mystery books, computer books, Archie comic books, children’s books, and art books.  They were very happy to get them and they will either be on the shelves soon or they will be sold at the next library book sale.  In any case a donation to a worthy cause.

We then went to get a few groceries and made a food donation to the Salvation Army. 

We still have the car for two more days and are planning another trip to the electronic waste depot tomorrow morning, followed by more downsizing and more drop-offs.

We have been busy all week getting ready for these three days with the car but we are also going to enjoy a nice drive in the country while we can.  The days are warm and sunny and we love being outdoors.

Downsizing can really be fun!

Garters – The Undercover Investigation

Whenever my younger sister was fed up with something, she would exclaim, “Wouldn’t that rot your garters!”  I don’t know how she came up with that phrase, but it was catchy (especially coming from a twelve-year-old girl).

My own experience with garters was as a necessary but annoying piece of my wardrobe, used to hold up my stockings.  I am talking about pre panty-hose times, in the 50s and 60s.

In Nova Scotia, the winters could be severe with cold snaps and heavy snow falls.  We had to cover our legs since we never wore slacks to school.  Our winter underwear consisted of navy blue “bloomers”.  I remember them as being made out of sweat shirt fabric, and having an elasticized waist and legs.  They were not skin-tight but kind of “bloomed” out with gathers adding to our winter bulk. 

 We would also wear a winter undershirt.  Mine was usually white and if I remember correctly, it had garters pinned to it where we would fasten our stockings.  The undershirt was tucked in to the bloomers and then the stockings were pulled on.  The stockings were thick cotton sort of a beige-brown and we reached up inside the legs of the bloomers to fasten the garters to the stockings.

Really it was awful!  When I stood up, everything was taut and looked pretty good, but when I sat down the whole thing just sort of bagged around my knees.  Every girl I knew wore the same things.  I don’t know how I knew this because my little sister was still in diapers, but at least I wasn’t alone.

If I got a hole in the toe or the knee of one of the stockings, they weren’t thrown out – they were mended.  Yes, my mother would get out her sewing kit and stitch up the offending hole.  I have mended my grandchildren’s socks and they are just amazed.  They tell me I can just buy some new socks at the store but they seem proud of wearing the mended ones.

On dress-up days, usually church feast days, we girls all wore black wool dresses, with removable and washable starched white collar and cuffs and we wore white cotton stockings.  We still needed garters to hold them up.

I remember when I was a teenager, I was wearing my first pair of nylon stockings, a Christmas gift from my godparents.  I attached them to my garter belt (this was a recent addition to my wardrobe).  I was walking outside my house one day and I noticed a man looking at me and laughing.  My stockings were bagging up around my knees and the seams that looked so good on those actresses from the 40s and 50s, were crooked and spiraled around my legs.  So much for sophistication!

I got married in 1966 and spent the next two years in Africa, teaching school.  By the time I got back to Canada, garters were gone the way of the dodo, and panty-hose were all the rage.  No one was happier than I.

So I am puzzled by this return of the garter belt as a symbol of sophistication and sensuality.  All I have to do is think of the navy blue bloomers and the pinned on garters.  I shudder at the thought! 

Wouldn’t that rot your garters?

It’s My Move!

We are moving!  Yes, we got a new house in Ottawa and we are moving there on December 15th. 

It was a week of negotiations and visiting houses and phone calls and texting.  Hubby started the ball rolling and I ran with it.  He stayed in Ottawa only for the weekend and the rest of the week I was the one doing it all.

Now comes the fun part.  Continue the downsizing, donating or tossing out things no longer needed, and packing up what is.

Phone for movers, change-of-address notices, utilities to be cancelled and arranged for the new house, new phone number,doctors to find, drapes and curtains to make.

I pray the weather doesn’t interfere with the move.  But we live in Canada and it will be December and the weather is always an uncertainty. 

The last time we moved about 18 years ago, it was also on December 15.  The weather that day was sunny and +14º C (around 60º F).  Perfect.  Let’s hope for the same this move.

My daughters and their children are all very excited that we are going to be in the same city and in time for Christmas! I also have three brothers and a sister there as well as my cousin who was a childhood friend.

While I am really looking forward to this move I am very sad to be leaving my dear, dear friends who have been so important to me over the last twenty years.

Follow along with me as we get ready to move on up to Ottawa!

Another Beautiful Day

I am once again on the VIA Train, on my way home from Ottawa where I have been visiting family and looking for a house.  The sun is shining and it is warm (relatively) and pleasant. 

Most of the leaves are off the trees but there are some which are still brilliant with colour.  I love the reds, oranges, and yellows of fall.  Nature is so clever!

The car I am in is one of a new type for VIA Rail.  There are two seats on one side and a single on the other.  I have a single and it is very nice to be able to spread out my things –  netbook, cell phone, eReader.  I’ve spent the first two hours checking out the blogs I follow, commenting on them, and replying to my commenters.  VIA introduced Free WiFi a couple of years ago and it sure has made the time pass more quickly on all my back-and-forths from Oshawa to Ottawa!

We are just pulling in to Kingston and I should be home in less than two hours.  I’ll have to get some reading done somehow!

Have a good day and happy blogging!

 

A Day with the Boys

After my day with the girls, I decided to give the boys a chance.  In the morning I drove in to the city with my daughter.  She dropped me off at my brother’s where I spent the day. 

It was Remembrance Day, and there were ceremonies across Canada to honour  the soldiers from several wars, both the ones who gave their lives for our freedom and those who willingly put their lives on the line.  Bill and I watched on TV  the ceremony which was held in downtown Ottawa attended by Prime Minister, the Governor General, and the Silver Cross mother among thousands of armed forces personnel and civilians.

The Silver Cross mother is chosen  from among those mothers who have lost a son or daughter in combat situations.  This year the mother was a  woman who lost her son in Afghanistan four years ago.  It was heart breaking to hear her story of the last time she saw her son.

There was a fly past of vintage aircraft and modern jets which flew right over Bill’s house.  There were two minutes of silence while we honoured the fallen. 

Bill then drove me to the bank, where I had some business to conduct, but we found out that the banks were all closed due to Remembrance Day.  So back to Bill’s for lunch.  We checked out some blogs, especially one called “Where’s Wormy”.

http://whereswormy.wordpress.com

We both subscribed to Where’s Wormy and then talked about Bill starting a blog.  He is getting really interested.

We phoned our brother Don who came for a quick visit.  I gave them a big bag of old Perry Mason books and DVDs of the TV show.  I also phoned my brother David, and we had a good talk.  I haven’t seen him for a couple of years since he was living in Colombia for several years.

Only three of my seven brothers, but I talked to them all in one day, and saw two of them.  My day with the boys was really great.  I hope to have many more when we move to Ottawa.

A Day with the Girls

I am visiting Ottawa again.  Hubby and I drove up (in a rental car) on Saturday afternoon.  We went house hunting, saw a couple of interesting places, and he drove home Monday morning, leaving at 3:30 a.m.  He had to be back by 9:30 to avoid paying for the car for another day.

I got together yesterday with my cousin, Ninette.  We are the same age and grew up together.  She drove me to look at a house and then we went to Denny’s for lunch.  We talked all afternoon and walked together to pick up my two grandchildren at school.  I am looking forward to seeing a lot more of Ninette once we are living in Ottawa.

Yesterday evening, my daughter Monica and I met with my daughter Michelle and her daughter Amelia.  We spent some time at Scholar’s Choice, a resource store for teachers and educators.  From there, we went to Michael’s Craft Store.

Amelia, who is almost 12, bought supplies to make fabric bears.  She bought felt and embroidery thread as well as some artist’s pencils.  She and her little sister, Enid, are taking art lessons and are quite talented.

We strolled down the mall to Bulk Barn, where there are bins full of every kind of candy and chocolate imaginable.  The Christmas goodies were very evident and although I was tempted by the sight of my favourite Christmas candy, Chicken Bones, I resisted and feel good about it.  Chicken Bones are hard candies, with a strong cinnamon flavour.  They evoke memories of my childhood in Nova Scotia.  Just the thought of them!!!

It was a beautiful evening and as we walked outside, we chatted and laughed and made plans.  Hubby and I are planning to move to Ottawa very soon and we are all excited.

Today was busy, busy, busy.  Tomorrow I am going to visit my brother and spend the day with him.  I may be able to see another brother or two while I am there. 

On Monday I am going home to Oshawa on the train.  I think I could use the rest!