Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

New Beginnings

I've always felt like the new year starts in the fall, not in January. Probably that's because I'm a teacher and in North America at least, that's when school starts. This year there are lots of new beginnings in my life.
The first new thing was flying out to Ottawa and getting Rose set up to go to university there. It was hard to leave her there, but I can trust in God that he's in control, as always, and will watch over her and keep her safe. I skype or IM with her nearly everyday, which helps.
The second new beginning was when my boarder arrived. Last year I had a 15 year old girl; this year I have a 17 year old boy. These are students from Queen City Collegiate (which is on the same campus as Western); and are from China. I think this year will work out better, as he's the same age as Bram and they get along very well. In addition, he's pretty outgoing. He came to church with Bram and I on Sunday, and is consciously making an effort to practice learning English. Leo arrived Saturday morning.
Bram arrived back for school Saturday night. I'm wanting to get him moved into Rose's old room, as it's larger and has a built-in desk, but I've been so busy working on one of my suites, trying to get it ready to be rented for the first of September, that I haven't had much of a chance to help him get settled into a different room.
School was the last new beginning. We started on Monday with registration and orientation. I'll be teaching the remedial math again, as well as helping with the French Immersion classes on Mondays and Fridays. I'm teaching Information Processing again (a fancy name for computer class). I was supposed to be teaching accounting as well, but I don't think anyone signed up for it. Oh well, I'm doing a lot more of the planning for one of the French Immersion classes, so I'll keep busy regardless.
Today was the first day of classes, which, as a librarian is a really busy day, getting textbooks signed out to students. However, the library software wasn't working, which made my life pretty challenging. The tecchie guy arrived at the end of classes and worked for over an hour on it, which meant that he was finally able to get a work-around for me so I can do my job. It's still not working entirely right, but at least I can access the program. The air conditioning isn't working in the library and it was 27 in there at the start of the day; then it started heating up. I'm glad I've at least got a fan to sit in front of.
This morning I got up before 5, as I was at the apartment by 5 am, painting walls. We finished up tonight. Bram and Leo came over and helped put the metal thinggies back in the registers. I'd taken them out to paint them. They also put the cover plates back on the switches and plug-ins, and helped clean up and take out the garbage. Loopie and Bayley also came over. Loopie scraped windows for me so I could paint them. She also loaned me her shop vac and vacuumed up things for me. I'm now done over there, except I need to have the new blinds I purchased hung (where's my brother-in-law?); and I need to steam clean the carpets tomorrow. I've been working on this apartment for two full weeks (it was incredibly filthy) and I'm ready to be finished. I've got renters for it already without advertising - they're related to the renters I have downstairs. It's 10 pm now and I think I need to go to bed.

Monday, August 22, 2011

More Travel

I drove Dad and Mom to Gravelbourg yesterday and we visited the Bells after service. They were saying that they'd never been there before, but mom especially was feeling right at home because most of the older people there were people she had grown up with. After all, it was right in the area she was from.

We also had a very nice visit with the Bells - and they have a lovely farm. Robert, Melissa and kids were also there. It was however, just over 400 km there and back. I was ready for bed when we got home. On the plus side, I didn't do any more painting.

Speaking of painting, I'm done all of the trim (not window trim), but the master bedroom trim needs a second coat. It'll have to wait until I'm back from Ottawa though. I'm off to Ottawa this morning to meet Rose there. I've been paying bills on the computer this morning, and Dad's on the computer in the other room renting a car for us for the two days I'm there. I'll arrive close to midnight this evening, and I fly out again at 7 pm on Wednesday. I start work again on Thursday (which, coincidentally, is pay day - that's also a good thing.) So I've got two days with Rose in Ottawa to find and rent her a place for her to live while she goes to university there. She's been doing some of the prep work for that, I believe she delegated getting us a place to stay (a hostel) for the two nights I'm there to Bram.

I've got Rose's suitcases packed, a carry-on for myself, and I'm ready to go. A bit of running around to do this morning and I fly out at noon.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

More Painting

I've got the trim done - two coats in all the rooms except the master bedroom. Well, actually the other bedroom just has the first coat and I'll need to do a second coat there. Got the holes in the walls patched (thanks, Dad), several coats of mudding done, and first coat of primer on. (Forgot to put primer on the spot behind the door, but the other holes are all mudded, sanded and primed.) Got the feature wall painted the same colour as the trim through out the house. Got the front and back doors painted, two coats. Linen closet door is painted one coat. The bad news is all the trim needs two coats to look good. The good news is, I think I can get away with one coat on the walls.

Still to do:
  • second coat on trim in second bedroom
  • second coat on linen closet door
  • first and second coats on trim in master bedroom
  • all the walls in all the rooms - I've just done the trim
  • the window trim - I've just done baseboards and door trim (and doors)

Friday, August 19, 2011

Painting update

I've got the baseboards and trim painted in the living room and the door frames for both bedrooms. That leaves... the baseboards in both bedrooms and the kitchen. Then, the real painting starts - the walls. I'm painting the walls the same colour as my walls, and the trim the same colour as the feature wall and pillars in my living room. That way, anytime I need to do some more painting, I should have more on hand - either for any of my suites or for my house. Works for me.

Margaret came and cleaned for me. She worked pretty much nonstop from 8:30 to 4 pm, with an hour off for lunch. I'm picking her up tomorrow to do more of the same. She's made great progress - but there's lots of cleaning still to be done. (Sort of like the painting.)

I painted pretty much all the time that Margaret was cleaning - except for the two hours when I took Rachel to the hospital. No, no baby yet - but it wasn't moving at all and she was worried. I got to babysit Emmet while she got checked out. I was wearing my really grubby painting clothes, and sitting in the waiting room with Emmet on my lap when I realized that the knee that Emmet was on was damper than it should be. So I changed Emmet - but I didn't want to get any other jeans all painty - so I wore them back to the apartment this afternoon. But I think I want to wash them before I wear them again tomorrow.

The next step

OK, I've been busy filling out forms for the Office of Residential Tenancies - trying to reclaim the damage deposit and back rent, and to dispose of abandoned property. Lots of forms. Not much fun. Then I have to drop them off. Nearly done.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Cleaning and Painting

I evicted a tenant this month. It's hard to do that, but she'd been getting more and more in arrears on her rent, and it was time to cut my losses. She's left the place pretty dirty, and the whole thing needs repainting. I'm hoping to hire someone to do the cleaning for me while I tackle the painting. I got started this morning and got the kitchen, living room and hall ceilings painted. Just two more ceilings to go. Then I'll start on the walls and baseboards. I'm hoping that if I leave it long enough, I'll be able to get hold of the woman I want to clean for me, so that the baseboards will be washed, and I can just start painting. It's noon right now and I'm feeling pretty wiped. Time for a break.

The other recipe

I mentioned that we invented two new recipes Tuesday. The other one is:

Asparagus Couscous Salad

1 cup whole wheat couscous

2 cups boiling water

1 ½ cup asparagus – chopped and steamed

½ cup diced dried apricots

½ cup chopped red pepper

3 TLB chopped chives

2 TLB chopped parsley

We used one of our standard vinaigrettes, with lemon juice and we would have used garlic, except I was out of it. This makes a very mild flavoured salad, that would be best eaten early on in the week because I don't think the gentle flavour of the asparagus would keep well.


There are many reasons why I wake up in the middle of the night. Sometimes I'm too hot or too cold - sometimes I'm both at the same time (I believe that's called menopause). Sometimes I have a strange dream or a troubling dream. Sometimes I have restless legs. Sometimes a hand or a foot has gone to sleep and I need to reposition myself. Sometimes I have something on my mind that I can't get out of my head. Sometimes I need to go to the bathroom (which usually means that I'm camping and I have to walk across the campground in the cold, in the dark).

So, what to do about it? If I'm lucky, I'll just roll over and go back to sleep. Otherwise, I'll try counting my blessings - seeing how long a list I can make. I'll practice taking deep relaxing breaths. Many times I'll turn on the radio and listen to the BBC (CBC in the middle of the night has the BBC on). I hate opening my eyes, because it's an admission that I actually am awake, but sometimes I read.

Last night was one of those nights. I woke up several times for several reasons. I had a really strange dream, a hand went to sleep (a couple of times), I was too hot - no, too cold - no, just uncomfortable, a hand asleep again....I drifted back to sleep several times but was awake pretty steadily from about 4 am on. I counted my blessings, practiced breathing and turned on the BBC. However, it's time to be up now. Maybe I'll take an afternoon nap later.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011


I have a flat tire, so can't drive my van right now. I'm hopeful it'll be fixed today some time - but right now I'm dependent on others for transportation. So yesterday I phoned Ruth and suggested we go grocery shopping together. That went well (we usually grocery shop together), and so we had supper together before we made salads together. We tried two new salads (made up the recipes ourselves) - they're both pretty good, however we were out of garlic and short on onions and I personally feel that any salad can be improved with the addition of those two ingredients. Here's one recipe:

Green Bean Salad

1 bundle Chinese green beans (just less than 2 lbs)

Chop green beans and steam until just tender

¼ cup bacon bits

1 diced onion

1 pint grape tomatoes

1 cup chopped celery


¼ cup oil

2 TLB soya sauce

1 tsp sesame sauce

2 TLB lime juice

Tuesday, August 16, 2011


While we were in Vancouver, we stopped by to see Aunt Trudy. She's 93 now, and living in a nursing home. It was very good to be able to stop by and visit. She's so with it - knows what's going on, and keeps up with everyone. However, it was also very difficult to say goodbye, knowing that we may never see her again in this life.

I've been talking on the phone to Rose, as she's getting ready to go off to university in Ottawa. Supposedly first year students are guaranteed a place in residence. In actuality - not always. So, she's phoning different places for rent off campus. Rose, like me, hates phoning people. Especially strangers. She's finding this very difficult, and I really feel for her. We'll meet in Ottawa next week and I'll have two days to help her get settled into a place before I have to fly back to Regina and start school. It will be a new kind of goodbye there. It's always hard saying goodbye.

In both cases, I have to trust in the Lord; that he will keep loved ones in his care; that he will watch over them and keep them safe. That everything will work out.

Back Home

It felt so good to sleep in my own bed last night. The cruise ended Sunday morning - it took until nearly 1 am Tuesday to get back home. But it's good to be home. My tomatoes are ripe and I picked a double handful this morning. I've put the contents of my suitcase in the laundry and started it, but am feeling pretty brain dead right now. Will write more later.

Saturday, August 6, 2011


OK, I fly out this afternoon with my parents. Going cruising. Walter and Ruth fly out at noon. Different flights. I've helped run errands for the last two days getting ready. Got everything packed and checked. Am ready now, I think, I hope. Discovered I had a flat tire this morning. I'm going to impose on my niece - see if they can arrange to get it fixed while I'm gone.

Time to go.

Friday, August 5, 2011

Friday - the day before departure

I stained the wall in the living room again this morning. It looks really good and the fumes are making me feel a little ill. My parents arrived last night as we'll all be flying out of Regina. They've already figured out at least two things they forgot to bring. I guess I need to get packing - I need to do some laundry first.

I did get the washer and dryer - a front loader set for $400. It's currently sitting in my living room; have to get the old ones detached and moved out before I can put the new ones in place.

I had to give one of my long-term tenants notice. She's not happy about it; actually I'm not happy about it either, but she's over 3 months behind and I just don't think there's any possibility of her catching up; need to cut my losses.

I went by Chapters yesterday and picked up Sharon Lee and Steve Miller's latest book, Ghost Ship. It was very disappointing. It continues on in the series, but is very obviously the next book in the series. It doesn't introduce any new concepts or ideas or really any new characters. It's obviously a bridging book to the next one in the series. I wouldn't recommend purchasing it, rather would wait until it comes out in the library.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Thursday - what to do?

I'm definitely not planning on doing a daily thing all the time, but it has been interesting to try it for a short time period. I've been busy IMing with Rose this morning; have got her flight to Ottawa in late August booked, as well as mine. We'll meet there and I'll help get her set up for school.

I ended up buying a fridge from Sears. I've found out that you can't purchase a smaller fridge without wire shelves; all smaller fridges come with wire shelving - that's the only option. Oh well, I had wanted something a little nicer, but I don't want to rip out the really nice cupboards in the apartment, just so she can have a larger fridge.

I'm giving notice to one of my tenants today - she's mega behind on her rent, and has been for months. I'm giving her until the 15th to get caught up or move out. It's a really difficult decision to make, but it has to be done. (Actually, Walter P is doing it for me. God bless my brother-in-law.)

I went into Ruth's office this morning and did a quick cleaning for her. I usually save the cleaning jobs for the Taylor side of the family, but Rachel has been doing it up until now, and she's just too pregnant lately to consider doing that. I was going to go in really early and have it done before anyone got in; however I got there and realized I forgot to bring in a vacuum cleaner and had to go home and get mine - so by the time I got there, everyone was there anyway. So I have to go back this evening to vacuum Marcy's office, but did the rest of it. (I didn't wash the tile, but it's summer, and it doesn't really need it. I'll apologize to the picky, picky people I know, but I'm doing this more as a favour than as a job.) If it looks like I will do this on a more regular basis (or that Bram will), then I'm going to insist on some real tools - like a toilet brush for each bathroom (we don't have to share some things), and a real broom, not one of those silly kitchen-sized things. Also some garbage bags the right size for the garbage cans.

My reward for doing all of that is that I get to go to the public library and waste time there. I've earned it! (My to do list is gratifyingly small.)

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Wednesday - countdown

OK, I fly out on Saturday with my parents to go on a cruise from Anchorage to Vancouver. This is very exciting. Trying to get things done before I go.

I spent a fair bit of yesterday going from place to place looking for fridges. One of my tenants has a fridge that isn't defrosting properly and is leaking water all over her floor. She's a good tenant - has lived there 25 years, and when I looked at the fridge I realized that it's more than just unclogging the little pipe thing inside. Her fridge is a harvest gold colour! So I've promised her a new fridge. The space she has for a fridge is 30" x 60" (maybe as much as 62 or 63 inches). She has beautiful oak cupboards surrounding the space that we don't want to cut into. The Brick has a very nice fridge on sale; only $400 - 29" x 65". Sorry, just a bit too tall. Most fridges are much larger now than they used to be. I still need to check out a few more places.

I checked out the Sears Warehouse store yesterday - their appliances are a terrible price - but I did get two dressy outfits for Ruth, who has out shrunk all of her clothing. She and Walter are also coming on the cruise. I also went by the Re Store - found a whirlpool tub for $375 that I'm also musing about. They also had a really nice fridge that's just a bit too big.

Someone on Kijiji or Used Regina - I don't remember which is selling a front load washer/dryer combination for 500. I'm to see it today at 3:30 with Walter P. That's a really good price for the two of them together. I hadn't really planned on replacing mine - but I would be really happy to if I can get them for that price.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Tuesday - the last recipe?

I went into work for a bit this morning and finished ordering all the books needed for this fall. Feels good to have that done and it's always more fun spending someone else's money. Then I went home and paid bills on-line. One of those chores I never like doing, but has serious consequences if I don't. Feels good to have that done too. Did laundry this morning too - I've been holding off doing that because Regina's been asking us to restrict water use because the storm last weekend damaged the transformer at the pumping station at Buffalo Pound. However, you can't wait forever and I needed to do laundry. I've now got clean sheets spread all over my family room, because why should I heat up my housing drying them? They'll be dry by nightfall, I'm sure. I've purchased a clothesline and hopefully at some time I'll get someone to put it up for me. Until then, it's very nice to have a family room to spread laundry out over.

Last night I stained the cedar wall in my living room. Looks much better now. I need to do it a second time I think, but will have to wait because it's still tacky.

OK, I haven't even tried my last recipe yet - it's a wheat berry one, but it looks like it'll be good. This is salad number 21; we have 20 in our 4 week rotation - 5 per week, plus the fake-um potato salad, which isn't in the rotation. I've tried to vary my rotation so that we've got at least two vegetable-based salads each week, and at least one of a pulse-based (beans, peas or lentils) and at least one grain-based (quinoa, millet, rice, barley, bulgar, wheat berries). In addition, I have one marinated-type salad each week, and one supremely easy salad (doesn't require a lot of chopping or prep time). Now I'm working on having the weekly grocery lists made up; then I'm done!

Wheatberry Salad
1 lb wheat
3/4 cup dried cranberries
1/3 cup minced red onion
1/3 cup finely chopped fresh herbs

¼ cup raspberry vinegar
2 LTB oil
Salt and pepper to taste
Cook wheat in 3 L water with 1 TLB salt for 1 hour, or until soft but chewy. Drain well. Add remaining ingredients. Pour vinaigrette over.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Monday, August 1

I just got back from collecting rent. Got something from everyone - and everyone's caught up, except for one person. Doing well.

Had a good visit with Rose this afternoon. Trying to ensure that she has a place to live when she goes to U of Ottawa this fall. This is her last week in Quebec, then she flies back to Yellowknife - then Lloyd, Rose and Bram are planning on driving to the Yukon on holidays. I hope they have a wonderful time.

This next recipe is one of my all-time favourites; I think because it has lots of parsley in it - parsley improves just about anything, as far as I'm concerned.


2 cups bulgar
2 cups fresh parsley, chopped fine
2 TLB chopped fresh mint
1 chopped yellow pepper
4 green onions, chopped
3 large tomatoes, chopped and seeded
½ cup oil
¼ cup lemon juice
2 tsp chopped garlic

Place bulgar in bowl and cover with boiling water. Let stand for 10 min. Drain. Combine remaining ingredients and stir into bulgar. Mix.

When Ruth and I first started making salads together - about 6 months ago or so, this was the first salad that we made up the recipe for ourselves on. It's really best if you have the broccoli cut quite small, so even if you buy a bag of broccoli florets, you'll likely need to cut them smaller anyway.

Broccoli Salad

1 head broccoli cut into small florets OR 1 bag broccoli florets (cut smaller)
2-3 TLB fake-um bacon bits
¼ cup sunflower seeds
2 cups small red seedless grapes
(if you can’t get small grapes, cut larger ones in half or quarters)
½ red onion, chopped

Toss together. You can either use a mayonnaise dressing or a vinaigrette for this; the salad with the mayonnaise dressing doesn’t keep as well and you’ll have to use it within 2 days; with a vinaigrette it will keep all week.

Mayonnaise Dressing
½ cup mayonnaise or salad dressing
2 TLB cider vinegar

Vinaigrette Dressing
½ cup oil
3/8 cup red wine vinegar
1 tsp chopped garlic
¼ tsp salt
¼ tsp pepper