I killed then nearly killed myself

Mom wanted me to perform on Christmas Eve, given I keep talking about my weekly vocal lessons.  So I rehearsed two numbers, first Dream a little Dream sung by Mama Cass, and the second an Amy Grant rendition of Sleigh Ride.

I began to sing and all was going well when I looked at mom and saw she was crying.  Isn’t that adorable?  Afterward she said holy cow, that was amazing!  I think she was surprised such an old person could learn something new.

So I felt pretty good about myself, and the rest of the Christmas celebrations all went swimmingly.  I drove mom home on Boxing Day and the next morning I did my usual house maid routine.  I vacuumed, cleaned the bathrooms, changed the sheets, did the laundry and washed the floor in the kitchen.

As I was taught all floor washing is to be done on one’s knees to do a decent job, I was scrubbing away, and when done used the standard Teutonic force to stand up.  Prang!  I ran right into the corner of the counter with my head, and within seconds blood was pouring out.  You know what head wounds are like.

I held paper towels onto the wound and walked over to mom to let her know I’d injured myself.  She said “call Lynne” which I did.  Mom’s wonderful neighbour Lynne is a retired long term care aide, so has seen a cut or two in her life.

She came over and looked at the cut which she described as about two inches long, and which could use maybe one stitch.  I said there’s no way on God’s Green Earth I’m going to sit in a doctor’s office for one stitch.

Lynne’s husband Gerry is a person I’ve known my entire life, and someone who I find truly awe-inspiring.  She said one day she arrived home to all surfaces coated in blood.  Later Gerry came into the house (he’s a farmer) and said he’d cut his thigh with a bud knife, so grabbed a needle and thread and sewed the cut himself!

So around farm country, as mom used to tell her partner, also called Gerry, “unless your arm is right off you don’t go and bother the doctor. They’re busy.”  If more people would adopt this attitude I believe our health costs could be brought way down.

Just prior to banging my head, I dropped an empty measuring cup on the top of my foot which was completely blue for days.  It’s hard to believe how heavy one of those things is.

Then a few days later I was putting a bottle back onto the shelf when the little plastic clips underneath gave way from the weight, and the whole thing, covered in various bottles of liquor, collapsed.

I then had to use my wits to carefully remove some bottles, while holding the end of the shelf with my other hand, so they wouldn’t hit the ground and be smashed.  Later I told Nicky about it and he said he’d noticed the bottles were on a lower shelf, and thought I’d just gotten really smart and decided the shelf was too high to reach.

I said no, it was an accident that forced me to use common sense.  So perhaps there’s been a reason for all these mishaps, but I’m now ready to start 2019 minus them.

My Trip to Disneyland with Jan

Jan and I flew to the John Wayne Airport in Santa Ana California, which was very convenient for our visit to Disneyland.  We took a cab to the Days Inn, which was a bit of a trial to get used to, but by the end of five days I liked it a lot.  The staff was very nice and appeared as frustrated as Jan and I were by the lack of wifi.

I had my new tablet with me, and to log onto the Internet I soon learned I had to sit right in their lobby.  This was fine, as they had the free breakfast down there.  From the offerings, I had raisin bran daily, and watched Jan eat Danish pastries by the half dozen.

We inquired about public transportation, and soon figured out an easy route to Disneyland which cost $2 each way by bus.  This took us to Harbor Blvd which we hiked up for about fifteen minutes to reach the main gates.

The weather was sunny and warm on Monday and Tuesday, so there were quite a number of people at Disneyland and the new adjoining California Adventure Park. However we didn’t wait more than 25 minutes for any ride, and the people working at the park said it was actually very quiet.

Our very first ride was the Matterhorn, which was quite a bit of fun.  We then worked our way through as many rides as humanly possible, doing the Star Wars ride twice.

On Tuesday we checked out the new California Adventure Park and did the Radiator Springs Racers ride.  That’s quite a lot of fun as at the end they pretend your car is racing the car full of people beside you.  They take those funny photos of you screaming right at the scariest part.

On Wednesday the weather changed a bit, and was cloudy and not that warm.  I had to wear my jacket, but it was fine as most of the things we did were inside.  I used to have a great fear of the submarine ride at Disneyland due to claustrophobia but found it was fine.

Jan wanted to buy souvenirs so she got a set of those cute mouse ears on a head band.  She also got a t shirt and a couple of sweat shirts.  I got a tree ornament and we both bought key chains and fridge magnets.

On Thursday we awoke to driving rain, however I’d rented a car and had purchased tickets for Universal Studios, so off we went.  It took two hours to get there, but it was worth it as the place was practically empty and we walked onto every single ride without a minute’s wait.

On Friday we flew home exhausted, yet satisfied that we’d done every single ride and had seen every attraction at three theme parks in four days.

All of my Bees are Dead

If you’re a friend of Nuttier than a Fruitcake on Facebook, you already know a filthy bear came by one night last week and beat up my hive and ate every single bee.  The two hive boxes remained stuck together from propolis (the bees’ wax) and were thrown about 20 feet.  Some of the frames were out of the boxes and were scraped clean of honey, and some were broken.

At that temperature the bees wouldn’t put up any fight at all, and the cold night air likely killed them on contact.  So it was easy and convenient for the bear to sit there eating bees and honey to his or her heart’s content.  I thought that bear was the one that I’d heard had been shot but I guess not.

I’d already ordered a hive for next year, thinking it’d be a “second” hive, but now it’ll be back to the beginning with a new hive of baby bees.  No honey next year, and then hopefully they’ll make it through bear season and over winter.

There’s been no winter here to speak of, and that’s likely why that pesky bear decided not to hibernate.  Yesterday I was outside washing windows and pulling old perennials out of the garden, sweating with a winter coat on.  That doesn’t seem normal for the end of November, but I don’t mind it.

One day.  That’s how long interest in new projects lasts around here.  You’ll recall Luke was all excited to help me with the old German stamp collection.  He photographed the one set of full sheets of un-cancelled stamps, put them on Reddit, and when there was no interest, he moved on.

I said but when will you come back to help me with the much harder part, IE the individual cancelled stamps?  He said he’s far too busy building a sound proof room and did I have any old towels he could use?  I didn’t ask what this room is for, as I imagine it’s just another bit of nonsense for his computer gaming.

On Sunday Jan and I are off to Disneyland, and I believe I’ve dotted all the I’s and crossed all the T’s.  The seats are booked for both flights, the Kelowna to Seattle, and the Seattle to John Wayne Airport in Orange County.

Two single rooms at a filthy old Days Inn are booked, and I’ve packed my bathing suit as it says they have a pool.  Even though chilly there (18 degrees today) I’m damn well using the pool as long as it’s heated.

Two three-day passes to Disneyland and Disneyland Adventure Park, and two one day passes to Universal Studios have been bought.  Today I got some American money and wept a bit at the till.  $300 US cost me $408 Canadian.

Here’s some annoyance, but in my research on the theme parks I see the Jurassic Park ride at Universal is closed for renovation.  That was one scary ride.  However someone kindly filmed The Mummy ride, and it is scarier than close-ups of Trump’s head.  I wonder if Jan and I will have the nerve to ride that coaster in the dark.

Tomorrow I’m getting my Christmas tree and decorating it so will be curious to see what the cats deign to leave standing for me upon my return.  Hopefully Nicky will think to right the tree if he sees it lying sideways in the living room.

Stamp Project

When the German Mark was being devalued during and after the second world war, my grampa bought stamps, hoping they’d eventually be valuable.  These were brought over in the wooden crate they packed with their worldly goods, and were shipped along with my gramma and grampa across the ocean to Osoyoos.

As I was growing up I have memories of my grampa sitting at the kitchen table with the stamps, a pair of tweezers and his lupe.  I wasn’t allowed anywhere near them as my grampa explained any damage would ruin their potential value.

These were stored for several decades, and then I took them home and put them into the huge safe I have in the basement.  It’s actually an old vault from a bank, so will never ever leave the basement due to the weight of the thing.

But now, 68 years after my grandparents landed in Osoyoos, I’ve opened the box of stamps, and want to learn more about them.  I thought it must be kismet when I found a stamp reference book at the recent Friends of the Library book sale.

Yesterday I browsed through the book, and Luke came over so I showed him the stamps and the book.  He did some quick math and went, hey, some of these might be worth some money.  So now we’re going to digitise them and put them onto a site and sell them, if possible.

I reminded him they were left in the house in 2003 when we evacuated due to the forest fire, so I said any money made from these is found money.  Not a soul gave a whit about these stamps for almost seven decades, so whatever happens, happens.

Fortunately we’re the type of people who go Huh! when we find out the collection is worth a hundred bucks, at most.  We really don’t cry over spilled milk around here, given the gallons of it that have been splashed about over the decades.

As you know, Jan and I are off to Disneyland, and I’m quite excited about it.  Hopefully the forest fires will have died down a bit by the time we arrive, as I can’t take the stress of having to tell Jan Disneyland is cancelled due to fire.

I sent Jan a message and said now I’ll get us health insurance for the trip.  She replied so adorably, “I think we no sick we go short time, mom”.  Isn’t that cute?  I said to some friends so when she breaks an ankle at Disneyland on the first day, I’ll have to say well you’ll have to hop around until we get on the plane on Friday.

And besides that, I still need to get the three day Disneyland pass and a one day pass for Universal Studios.  The flights and rooms are booked, so now just need the passes and then get some American money, which will be a sad moment at the bank given the appalling change rate.

I’ve already got Denis lined up for December 1 because you know how strict I am about the timing of the outdoor Christmas lights.  We’ll also get the tree that day, as the next day Jan and I are off to the Happiest Place on Earth.  As I write it’s a gray, blustery November day so even the Tea Cup Ride is appealing.

Jan Got Her Visa

Early this year Jan said she wants to go to Disneyland, and as Luke refuses to take her, I said I would happily do it.  So then we discovered she’d need a visa to enter the US as she’s a landed immigrant and holds a Thai passport.  I thought how hard can it be and as it turns out, quite hard.

The worst of it was finding and then filling out the 10 page application form.  It contains many questions about whether or not the applicant is a terrorist, or has any nefarious plans for their visit.  It’s hard to believe anyone would answer yes to those questions.

Sometimes it was the technology of the form that would thwart me, so it took me about 10 days to slowly fill it in.  Then Jan had to get photos taken, which I submitted, and nope, wrong.  So back to Walmart for another set, and this time the photos passed.

After that we received an appointment date and time at the American consulate in Vancouver.  Luke and Jan drove down and back in one day, and Jan joyfully announced the civil servant at the embassy said she was getting the visa.  We were overjoyed.

And now it’s actually come in the mail, and is attached to a page inside her Thai passport.  On the site it seemed to indicate the visa would be good for 120 days, but her expiry date is October 2028, so I said to her it looks like you can travel to the US for the next ten years.

It’s going to be a heady time, as Jan thinks the gremlins in the movie of the same name, are real.  Isn’t that adorable?  So imagine Jan in the Disneyland theme park, or at Universal studios.  This woman is going to come home completely energised from non-stop excitement.

Now I’m going to hunt for cheap flights and then get us the rooms and tickets.  We plan to go sometime between now and Christmas.

And speaking of being ga ga with excitement, my vocal teacher said I’m ready for her to bring in the karaoke machine!  I said oh my God, I’ve never sang karaoke before, so this’ll be great.  I said to Charissa, that reminds me, I wonder if it’s silly for me to buy an amp and microphone?

She said no, not silly at all, and something that’d be tremendous fun.  Can you imagine the neighbours on Hall Road hearing Delta Dawn belted out tunelessly at full volume?  I never in a million years thought retirement would be this much fun.

And then if I find myself over stimulated from my life, I sit down and spend an hour colouring in my colour by number book.  You should try it as it’s surprisingly calming.

We’ve had a fat black bear sleeping at the base of one of the Ponderosa pines on the neighbouring property for the past few days.  He’s very nice and all, but as Nicky said, he really can’t live on Hall Road like that.  I’m surprised he (or she) never discovered my bee hive.

Nicky chased him off by the noise of the chain saw, so let’s hope he’s gone for good.

Paleo Madness

Because I refuse to act like a normal human being and stop eating bad foods in the evenings, I’ve decided to give into it, but try a healthier route.  Thus far I’ve made really quite acceptable ‘paleo’ brownies, fudge and chocolate pudding.  Whether cave people ate these things is debatable.

What I enjoy doing is pounding back huge volumes of those items, and then pretend it’s all good for me.  However I have to say being off sugar and flour is quite a good feeling, and I really don’t miss it given my penchant for stevia.

If you’re cursed with the kind of sweet tooth I have, then stevia’s a godsend.  It’s unfortunate though, as this just aids and abets the staggering amounts of paleo desserts I can consume in an evening.  Oh well, onward we must go in our struggle for the elusive svelte silhouette.

Something that should help are the hikes Margaret and I plan to do, given I’ve lived here for 28 years and have never done any of them so need to get going.  Yesterday was hike #1, which was Lebanon Creek Park, off Lakeshore Drive, which begins with stairs leading straight up for a very long time.

Once at the top the views of the lake and vineyards below are fantastic and well worth the calf-destroying stairs.  I want to return in spring as I could see spent balsam root flowers which would be gorgeous to see in full bloom.

I have so many little kiwis on my bushes, and last year I had the same but ignored them as I thought they should get larger and become brown and fuzzy.  I finally Googled hardy kiwis, and it turns out they remain grape-sized and are a pale tan colour and never develop the fur.

The site said once they’re soft, they’re ready.  I squeezed one and sure enough, it was soft, so I bit into it, and there was indeed the quintessential bright green interior with the telltale black seeds, and so they’re mini kiwis.  Sweet and tasty, so I was quite surprised to know I now grow kiwis.

I also still have raspberries ripening, but we’re definitely at the end of those as well as the figs, which I’ve eaten daily for the past few weeks.  I put a couple into a salad I made for Margaret and me and they were a nice addition.

Luke’s on a strict keto diet and eats nothing but butter-filled coffee, bacon, more meat and a lot of fat.  He’s lost over 20 pounds in a month so we know that kind of diet works, however if you recall I tried it in June and felt sick so had to stop it despite losing five pounds in about three days.

I’ll just slug it out with the paleo diet, and that way I get to eat things like the delicious fudge made with coconut oil, cocoa, almond butter, stevia and orange flavouring.  Once it’s cold I cut it into squares and sprinkle it with seat salt.  I then devour it quickly because it’s quite melty due to the coconut oil.

I’ve offered my paleo desserts to Luke, but one man’s meat is another man’s poison.

Lots to do in the Okanagan

Margaret and I decided to start September off right so planned a day trip to Summerland.  The weather was perfect and the traffic was light, even though it was the Labour Day weekend.

We started at the adorable Summerland Sweets store where I bought too much stuff, as usual.  Besides their usual jams and syrups they sell other products made locally.  I bought one of their jams and a raspberry wine, as well as fancy mustard and chocolate-covered dried fruit.

We continued on the road and stopped at the Dirty Laundry Winery, which is one of my favourite winery settings.  The Kettle Valley steam train’s tracks run right by it, and on our way out we were lucky to see it pass right by us on the road.  We want to take the train ride on our next Summerland visit.

I bought some cheese at the winery, and we both lamented the empty restaurant, given how cute it would be to sit there.  However we had other plans, and decided next summer we’d return to have a nice lunch on their beautiful patio.

After a brief stop at the Grasslands Nursery, we went to the Summerland Research Station’s Ornamental Gardens.  What a gorgeous place that is, and also has beautiful vistas and benches set around so you could have a nice picnic lunch there.  Again, we planned to do that on another visit.

Our final stop was Zia’s Stonehouse Restaurant where we had lunch, and were pleasantly surprised by the quality of the food and the very reasonable prices.  We had a helpful waiter and the whole experience was a positive one.

Then last week my pal Sharon asked if I wanted to join her at the Kelowna Art Gallery as they have a special show on right now of someone’s private collection.  It includes Van Gogh, Picasso, Monet and many others.  Image owning that collection!

So I said sure, and then our friend Carol said she also wanted to join us so the three of us met there and spent an hour at the gallery.  This was followed by lunch at the Cactus Club which is a mighty nice place to sit on a sunny day, especially lakeside, as we were.

Tomorrow it’s Happy Hour at the Eldorado with Petra and Sharon, and that’s another nice establishment where one can be seated right at the lake.  I don’t want anyone to try and tell me there’s nothing to do in the Okanagan.

I had my second singing lesson, and we worked on the themes from Gilligan Island and the Monkees.  Charissa’s around 30, and had heard the Gilligan Island theme, but never the other, so it was fun to do together.  By the end of the year she’ll be a 1960’s TV theme song maven.

Thrift shopping continues.  Since the children have assured me all of my stuff’s going straight into the dumpster when I die, I didn’t feel bad about buying a bronze statue of two horses with one of the tails missing, as it’s all going to be thrown out anyway.  And besides, I don’t mind as I have it positioned perfectly so no one will even notice.