Friday, December 03, 2010

I truly do need to learn the lesson of being very careful what one asks for.  I asked for more hours and I am getting them - good for the bank account - not so great for the body - but what doesn't kill me will make me stronger - I am hoping the latter will occur and not the former.

Yesterday I got a call to come in earlier than my 10:00 report time - only problem was that I was baking - so finished baking and went in.  I was told I was going to do Rover 5 - which is a step van and you deliver parcels in the downtown area - oh oh - I have never driven one of the step vans - GULP - and I do not know the downtown area at all.  Went and picked up the van at the Riedel office and then drove to the Hardin office to pick up the parcels - don't ask.  Made it okay.  Got there and the person they had asked to help had scanned all the parcels - and had not separated the parcels that require signature and those that didn't - ARGH - oh well - no biggie - then the really bad news - we were not going to have a scanner - we were going to have 18 pages of IBD sheets - with the numbers on them - in no order - and we had to find the parcels that required signature and have the person sign on the appropriate space - OMG - the day got progressively worse - I was nervous about driving the step van and my team mate made me even more nervous about it - so I was doing things that I usually do not do - like forgetting to take off the parking brake - trying to put the vehicle in gear before starting it - and it just kept getting 'better' - he had to leave by 3:15 so he could make a doctor's appointment.  Got back to the depot with about 65% of the parcels still in the van - I felt like crying - what a loser - but everyone kept telling me it would get better - RIGHT.

Today I phoned in at 6:30 and asked Fay if I could be assigned to Rover 5 with Sylvie (the regular driver) because I felt so badly leaving so many parcels behind and also so I could learn the route better.  Fay said sure - but I had to be at work by 9 - and Marian had wanted me to do something with her this morning - unfortunately work trumped getting her pictures for her passport and signing them - I am her guarantor.  Must admit the day went much better having the 'boss' around who knew what she was doing - we were finished and back to the Depot by 4:20 - and then I got to leave work - because there was no time to do RTS - have a funny feeling I will be stuck with RTS tomorrow - but that is all right - at least I have a glimmer of an idea of how to do Rover 5.

Got home earlier than usual and have started making split pea soup - have the ham bone in the water simmering - will leave it simmering overnight and then tomorrow before I head to work will put the onions and the split peas in and let it simmer for the day - Marian will be home for a part of the day.

Marian is planning on heading out to her friend's place - there is a Christmas Bazaar in Smokey Lake that they are going to participate in on Saturday - I am not sure what I am going to do - have been invited along - would like to partake of the bazaar - but would like to stay home and get some more baking ready for Christmas - must admit this business of working sure does cut into my prep time.    So I have yet to make up my mind - do I or don't I - would like to go as I have not been out of Fort McMurray since the beginning of July and the break might do me good - but .....

And on that note I bid you adieu.

Wednesday, December 01, 2010

'Tis 7:04 a.m. on a beautiful day here in Fort McMurray.  Have a pot of soup started - tomatoes, onions and celery are stewing.  Have been outside - hence the reason I know it is beautiful outside - and shovelled - we had a bit of snow last night - wanted to get it shovelled before it got packed down - wore just my fleece indoor jacket - and am sweating like a horse - shovelled Marian's walks - and two of her neighbours front walk.  Little bit of exercise - always a good thing.  Now next thing on the list is to roll and cut and bake the shortbread dough that I made a couple of days ago.  So - off to the kitchen I go. 

Supposed to be at work at 10 a.m. today - will be interesting to see what I end up doing.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow.  It is beginning to look like Christmas - and I am loving it - well most of the time - must admit when I have to go out and deliver mail in the minus 20's it is not my favourite - but such is life.  Have not had to go out to deliver mail very often - even though I spoke with the boss and she told me that I would be doing two portions - delivering mail - and then my four hours of RTS as well.  Went in on Monday to start and was relegated to working in the depot - not that I really minded - it was minus 38 with the windchill - only drawback was that I was dressed to work outside and I just about melted.  Went back on Tuesday all bundled up again and was in the depot yet again - then on Wednesday I was told not to come in early - so guess I will be heading in for 7 a.m. - as there are temps who were hired after me who do this and get work - so .... as all work is supposed to be given according to seniority - I am going to show up and see what happens.

By Thursday the weather had turned to become quite warm - well all things considered - from in the minus 30's to minus teens - much better.  Saturday Marian and I took in the bazaar that was held by the Golden Years group - great deals and some really nice handmade things.  I did not buy a lot - as I have NO room to take any more back to Egypt.  Would have been a great place to take the kids to get gifts for Mom and Dad - nice things and very reasonably priced - Marian scored some really good gifts for the grandkids.  They manage to keep the prices low by using donated goods - great place to donate excess fabric, yarn, etc.  After that we headed to Heritage Park to take in an Old Fashioned Christmas - a great thing for a family to go to - they had a small skating area, two bonfires, horse rides, hay ride, maple syrup in snow, pictures with Santa - entrance was a cash donation - most of the rides required that you purchase some coupons - coupons were $2.00 each - so the rides varied in price from $4 to $10 each.  They were renting sleds - you had to give them $5.00 and when you brought the sled back you got your money back.  Was a nice day for it - not too cold and a bit of snow coming down.  It is still snowing now - but the flakes are nice and big ones - not wet though still dry. 

Last night after we got home we curled up in Marian's bed and watched TV that she had recorded - I managed to get a fair bit done on a cross stitch project that I am working on - and of course as usually happens when I am working on my cross stitch time got away from me - it was midnight before I realized it - OMG.

Got up this morning around 7 and started baking - meant I had to clean up the kitchen first so that I could find place to work.  On Friday we had gone to WalMart - they had a Kitchen Aid mixer on sale for a good price - when I made cookies on Thursday one of the beaters on Marian's antique Sunbeam MixMaster bought it - needs to be replaced or repaired - and replacing it will be a challenge - as the machine is likely around 40 years old - used to belong to our maternal grandmother - I can remember it being used when I was a little kid - and that was a LONG time ago.  The Kitchen Aid was on for 188 instead of 288 - but we saw a Sunbeam MixMaster for $88 - and went with that - Marian is not much into baking - no time for such things - so we (I) figured the Sunbeam would suit her just fine - I will likely use it more than she will.  I have managed to cook up a double batch of kevling (almond shortbread) and have made up the dough for snowballs and regular shortbread - they are cooling in the fridge.  Now I am working on supper.  We are having ham, yam, squash and cauliflower and brocolli.  Ham is in the oven, yam has been 'par' cooked in the microwave and now I need to tend to the other veggies.  So will say TTFN  until next time.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

This past weekend I got busy and started Christmas baking.  Got two batches of nuts'n'bolts made - did not have all the 'preferred' ingredients - found out that Bugles are no longer available in Canada - I was shocked - what a lot of nerve these people have - but we made do - and of course we are unable to get Rice Chex and Corn Chex here either.  When I lived here I would always make a trip south over Thanksgiving and get them - or ask my personal shopper to keep any eye open for them if they should ever go on sale.  I will be spending Christmas in Sherwood Park with Marian, Gloria (her second eldest daughter), Elias (Goria's 2 year old son), Mom and Dad and of course me.  So I asked if there was any baking Gloria would like - and I got a list - so now I need to get off my duff and start baking - and of course wouldn't you know it - I am working more hours at the Post Office.

This has been an eventful week - so far.

Monday waited until after 8 to go for my walk - figured it was safe then - because all the routes should have been covered - got home around 8:30 or so - to two phone messages - both from the Post Office - both asking me go come into work.  Phoned Fay first - she is the head supervisor - she asked me to come in and cover two portions of LC13 - which is the first route I was trained on - said sure.  Then phoned Rick - who also offered me the same thing - told him I had called Fay already and accepted the two portions.  So, off I head to work.  Get there at 9:30 and have to wait until 11:00 for the mail to be sorted - new girl doing it and she did not have a clue what she was doing - not a good start.  So off I went at 11 - delivered the mail that I carried and then had to wait for 20 minutes for someone to deliver the bags to the relay box - day is getting better.  It is now starting to snow - making walking treacherous - glad I had the good sense to put on my long johns - skiff of snow is covering the ice on sidewalks and driveways.  And then I trip over a little 'step' - boom down I go - and of course my left knee (which is still recovering but doing nicely) takes the brunt of the fall - put out my right hand and end up with a bruise and a tiny cut on the heel of my hand.  My left knee is now very sore again - back to living on muscle relaxants and pain pills - DANG.  Even managed to scrape the knee through my pants and the long johns and to add insult to injury - put a tiny tear in the long johns.  SIGH.  Kept on snowing.  I managed to get the route done in the allotted time though - just kept on trucking.  The adage at the post office is to follow the mail and when you run out look for a relay box - I did that - and the girl who pulled it left two bundles in a relay box and did not take me back there with the mail to deliver it - and she also left me with no mail and no relay box.  So there I am standing with no mail - no relay box and the snow just coming down - so I had to 'dead walk' (when you are walking with no mail to deliver) back to the relay box to get the mail - needless to say I was not favourably impressed.  Oh well - managed to get it done and head back to the office - then I made my way to the other office to do my RTS - only to not be allowed on the computer - kept telling me 'User is not active' - ARGH.  So I sorted through two boxes of mail getting them in order - makes it faster to label them.  And of course ended up getting thoroughly chilled - was warm enough while I was walking - but once I stopped - I got chilled - not wearing heavy enough clothes - plus add to that the fact that my clothes were damp from sweat - yes hard to believe that while walking in freezing temps I sweat - gotta love it.  Anyhow - left at 5:30 - since I started at 9:30 - and figured I would catch the 5:45 bus - only problem is - it did not show up - so had to wait for the 6:15 bus - standing outside - already chilled - getting even colder.  Got home - warmed up some soup and Marian had cooked up some sauerkraut and ham sausage - so we ate that - then I had a hot shower and crawled into bed - did not have the brains to take any muscle relaxants or pain killers - so had a very restless night - woke up with a headache on Tuesday.

Tuesday I figured I would have a nice relaxing day - cook up some pork tenderloin that I had been marinating since Sunday, cook up some sweet potato and parsnip and a squash that was sitting on the counter.  Did up the dishes from Monday - and talked with my buddy Margaret - she is currently in Vancouver for a couple of months to spend some time with her daughter and grandkids who are going through a rough time right now.  Got off the phone - two messages from the Post Office - called in - could I come in and do a portion of LC13 - the portion that did not get done yesterday - the walk is divided into 3 walk portions - I had done two of them the day before and someone else was supposed to do the third - but did not have time - so I went in at 11:30 and did that - and then back over to the other Post Office to do the RTS - this time the computer worked - thank goodness.  Have now figured out that I will be doing the RTS - it is considered my 'position' - but will hopefully be getting two portions of walking routes to do as well - so I can get more hours in - had been hoping to be able to get to working days - but I think my 'fate' is to be working the 2-6 shift no matter what - not thrilled - but I will continue to take it.  Was a bit better dressed yesterday - no falling - but the same girl had pulled the mail - so I was left doing a lot of back tracking - did not walk nearly as farm as on Monday - Monday I walked 7.349 miles and Tuesday only 3.99 - my hips and glutes are letting me know they are not really thrilled with all this extra activity - but that is just tough.  I am really hoping to be working and walking a lot more between now and Christmas.  Finished the route and was back at the office by 1:30 - divested myself of the keys and the RTS mail - and then took a taxi to the other office for my 2nd portion of work - RTS.  My feet were cold - I am out walking in my runners - nice and airy for the summer - but not very good at keeping the damp out in the winter - and I am too cheap to go out and get a pair of good boots - would cost too much - because I would have to make sure they were good enough for walking in - so I took my shoes off - and put them in the storage room right beside the computer - really nice and warm in there - sat on the chair with my stocking feet - and did a box of mail - takes about 1.5 hours or so - and after I finished I went and put them back on - and they were nice and dry and warm - and my feet were warm again.  Finished work at 6 - left to get the 6:15 bus and - guess what - it did not show up until the 6:45 bus was there - and he would not take any passengers because he was late - so we had to wait another 10 minutes to leave - at least we were sitting on a relatively warm bus - but it is most frustrating - did not get home until after 7:00.  Marian was getting concerned about me.  Had a bowl of soup and some of the charred remains of the supper I had made - Marian had gone shopping after she dropped me off at work and had forgotten the food was in the oven cooking - meat is very crunchy, vegetables were all right - but the squash seeds are cinders.  Oh well - such is life. 

Tiger - one of the cats - has a growth on one of her back paws - keeps coming back - Marian took her to the vet before she went to Calgary for the birth of her latest grandchild - March sometime - because the growth was back - she asked the vet to excise the growth and biopsy it - when she got back she had a whopping $1100 bill and all they had done was two stitches and cleaned the cat's teeth and taken out a tooth - no biopsy.  When I got home last night the paw had burst - she was leaving bloody prints all over the place - so I held her while Marian 'bandaged' it.  She put the bandage on too tight and ended up making a real mess - poor Tiger was walking around shaking her paw trying to get this thing off of it - and she was by herself at the front door growling and hissing at her foot.  I went and got her and that is when we saw that the situation had been made worse - so I held her while Marian got the bandage off - I then carried her to her kennel to put her in it - and she was shaking the afflicted paw all the while - needless to say I was covered in blood and she managed to dislodge the growth on the way - so Marian picked it up once we noticed it and put it in a bag in the fridge - she is wanting to take it to the vet to get it biopsied.  Will see what transpires.

After all that excitement - still with my headache that I woke up with - I had a hot shower and crashed.    Woke up this morning at 5:45 - got up and showered and dressed.  I need to eat and do some dishes - not sure what is going to happen for the rest of the day - time will tell.

Saturday, November 06, 2010

Not much happening in my little neighbourhood.  Marian is in Edmonton to attend her ex-mother in law's funeral - she invited me to go and I could have - but the prospect of staying at the cabin - read the outhouse - did not really appeal all that much - so despite the fact that I did not have to work yesterday - a) because I was not home when they called at 7:45 a.m. for me to cover a walking route and b) because there was no RTS mail to be done - I opted to stay home.  I must admit I do enjoy running water and such creature comforts.  Although there is more comfortable furniture at the cabin - but ...

Yesterday we got up and did our flyers - be thinking this will be our last month - mainly because in December I will be heading to Calgary and then off to Egypt - and Marian does not want to do it on her own - but also because it is getting to be too cold - I know, I know - I am a namby pamby - my blood has certainly 'thinned' living in Egypt and the cold gets to me much more easily now - although as time goes on I a noticing that I am able to withstand it a little more easily - just have to make sure my hands are warm - they do get cold very easily - and that has nothing to do with living in Egypt - they have been like this since my surgery on them.  SIGH.  So was out earning money when the Post Office called - ARGH - lesson learned - need to be home between 6 to 8 a.m. every morning to take a call. 

Weather here is still gorgeous - considering it is November 6 - we still do not have any snow.  Today is a beautiful bright sunny day - has been like this most of the week - kind of hard to believe it is November - until one steps outside and there is a definite 'nip' in the air.

Had been eyeing some Keen slippers - was going to order some - on my way home from the store today I stopped in a store that carries them - tried them on - could not get my dainty little foot into it - it is too high in the instep - ARGH - they looked like a fantastic pair of slippers - awesome arch support - so could wear them and not have sore feet and legs by the end of the day - especially in Egypt where the floors are ceramic tile on top of concrete - not a lot of give - read NONE.  So if I am busy in the kitchen for the day - my feet and legs are killing my by the time I am finished.  Oh well - one of the 'perks' of having wide feet with a very high instep - but glad I figured it out before ordering them and then having the hassle of returning them.

Not much for plans for today - although I keep thinking I should get busy and make some home made split pea soup and some tomato soup - so that we have it to eat during the week - also have a hankering for garlic cheese baking powder biscuits to go along with the soup - yummy.  But that would mean I would have to clean up the kitchen - SIGH - guess I should get busy and do it - needs doing and I do feel better when it is cleaned up and I can see the countertops.   Must admit I am missing home more and more.

Sunrise - October 2010 - from Marian's front step

Sunrise - October 30, 2010 - from WalMart parking lot.

Sunrise - October 2010 - from Marian's front step
Unfortunately the camera does not capture the true colours - the sunrises were a lot redder than I could capture - but gives a good idea of the sunrises here - they are truly magnificent - love stopping and watching God's handiwork.

Monday, November 01, 2010

As the old saying goes - time stops for no one - and that includes me - hard to believe it has been over two weeks since I last posted.

Not a lot has been going on - have made several batches of spaghetti sauce and canned them, two batches of salsa and canned them, a double batch of tomato ginger chutney which was also canned as well as one batch of tomato soup that got canned - have had a canning good time.

Work is much the same - having to pace myself so that I can stretch it out.  Finished all the RTS that there was on Friday by 5:00 - so got to head home a tad early - left 30 minutes early - started at 1:37 - so should have been out the door by 5:37 - so it was not a really big deal - but still nice to get out a bit early.  Of course most of the letter carriers had gone home by the time I arrived at 1:30.  Before I went to work I had to stop at the Provincial building to buy my bus pass for November.  Went into the building and where the cashiers are it was closed off - wondered if they were closed - but you could walk through the hangings they had - and all the cashiers were dressed up as clowns and there was free popcorn and candies for the taking - so I took a bag of popcorn - might have held 1/4 cup of popped corn and one chocolate pumpkin.  HOORAY.

Saturday we got up early and headed to WalMart - we had both taken pictures at Marian's company picnic in August - and later realized that maybe we shouldn't have - we took pictures of a friend of Marian's - his name is Monsef and he is from Tunisia - he was there with his five children and we took pictures of them - then realized that as devout muslims this might not have been appropriate - so Marian finally got around to asking him about it - and he said it was no problem and that he would love to have copies of the pictures - so we went to WalMart - and I insisted we get there early - because whenever we have been there later in the day the lineup to use their self serve photo print shop is lined up - so we got there shortly after it opened at 8 - we had to scrape the car windows - has been a LONG time since I had to do that - and I was right - it was very nice in the store at that time - not many people - and we did not have to wait to use the photo printers - well not quite true - we had to wait for them to come online - so we got the pictures printed that we wanted - must go through my photos and see about making a list to get them printed.  It is well and good to have all these photos on my camera - but it is still nice to have prints to look at.  Marian wanted to get some pants for badminton - she has been wearing capri yoga pants and she figured it was getting a tad chilly for that - so she bought some longer ones - she also bought herself a jacket and I talked her into buying a shirt - looks really good on her - but she will not wear it - she is still into wearing baggy clothing - thinking it hides her - has yet to figure out that the baggy clothes just make her look bigger.  I found a pair of capri shorts in the clearance rack for $1.00 - had to buy them - also found some socks - four pairs for $3.00 - can never have enough socks.  After WalMart she headed to her Weight Watchers meeting - she has now lost a little over 50 lbs. - must admit kind of frustrates me - she just keeps dropping weight and I am struggling to lose - have to work really hard to lose any - but she just seems to drop it no matter what she eats or does or doesn't do.  Oh well - I just have to worry about myself and quit comparing myself to her - easier said than done.  My goal this week is - just because it is there does not mean I have to eat it - so am working hard on that one.

Today I got up and got dressed for church and actually went - was good to go - but as usual quite bittersweet.  The people are quite friendly - I only stayed for sacrament as I took the car and Marian needed it to go to badminton - so I could not stay for all the meetings.  But I figured one meeting was better than none.

Not much else has been going on - getting cooler and cooler - but at least no snow yet and today was quite warm - high of  +7 - so a good night for trick or treaters - we have had eight so far - and it is 8:30 at night.  No little ones though - I think they are the cutest.

Here is my best 'side' - the back of my hair.

Here I am as a 'light auburn'.
 Ta da - finally got the pictures of my new hair colour.  Worked quite quickly this time.  Now I am going to call it a day - need to do up the dishes - check on the ham in the oven and the squash seeds that are roasting in the toaster oven.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Here it is Wednesday - yes - I do love short work weeks.

Woke up at 5 this morning and instead of rolling over and going back to sleep I got up and had my shower and got dressed.  Came downstairs  - fed the cats in shifts - had some raspberries - they are not very good - should not have bought them yesterday even though they were on sale - they are on sale for a reason - and some strawberries - they were better - and then an apple.  Went through my emails, facebook and topix (a forum that I belong to).  After this I had my breakfast - I had an avocado mixed with some salsa on a couple of rice cakes - the life I lead.

Got busy and did some arm exercises and some stretching - while I was on the floor Snookums decided my hair needed grooming and Twobit decided I was a comfy place for a nap - hmmmm.  Once I got off the floor - much easier than it used to be - still not much for finesse - but hey what do I want - I put on my socks and shoes and went for a 25 minute walk - just walked around the neighbourhood.  Walked long enough to work up a sweat - and now as I sit here I am a tad on the chilly side.

Marian got home shortly after I arrived back from my walk.  I had not taken my vitamins so I did this - and then realized I needed to eat something - I find if I take the salmon oil without eating I burp it up for what seems like forever - so I had some celery sticks, some carrots and some sliced yellow pepper.  I am waiting for my Roibos Cape Doctor tea to steep - tastes like Earl Grey tea - it is so yummy.  I usually go for the Roibos Market Spice - which is absolutely delish - lots of cinnamon, cloves and other spices - so it tastes sweet without having to add any sweetener - this is what I go for now when I am craving something sweet.

I am working at only eating sugar on Saturday and Sunday - so far it is all right.  I find that if I steer clear of sugar I do not crave it - but if I have something sweet it leads to more and more.  I really need to get a grip on my eating habits.  Took a long time but I have now lost 53.6 lbs. - still have a long way to go - but I have set up some goals and rewards - and they are not food related at all - or clothes related - because it would be pointless to spend money on clothes that will not fit for very long.  Am hoping that I can keep up the change in attitude - and if I slip not to let it drag me down - but to just get back right away to eating sensibly.  Marian was a trifle chuffed that I had gone out walking on my own - she wanted to go with - but I need to do it for me, myself and I and not rely on someone else - because so often it just does not happen - and since I am not working until the afternoon - early morning is still the best time for me to get out and get some exercise.  Have come to realize - more like accept - that this eating sensibly and exercising is a very solitary process - I need to rely on only myself - because eventually I will be on my own in Egypt with no one dragging me, kicking and screaming to get some exercise - I need to 'embrace' it and learn again how to enjoy it - I have always enjoyed going to Spa Lady in Calgary - mainly for the camaraderie - but that is not an option in Egypt - so I need to motivate myself and not rely on anyone - because I know when I get back to Egypt there will be very few people around who will motivate me - I know that Ayman loves me the way I am - so he is not much of a motivator - but I need to be in better physical shape so I can be healthier - bottom line - I am responsible for my own happiness - no one else.  Has certainly taken me a LONG time to figure this one out - not really - but has taken me a long time to 'own' it and actually believe that it is true.  So I am embarking on yet another journey - this one is all about ME.

And yesterday morning I coloured my hair - light auburn - will endeavour to get before and after shots uploaded - well first I have to get a picture of the new colour on the camera - shows how much I dislike having my picture taken.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving - today is turkey day here in Canada.  I have the turkey stuffed and in the oven - smelling soooo good.

Just had a haircut - Marian cut it for me - she generally does a good job and saves me having to spend money on a haircut and having to go out - I do not think there are any cheap places to get one's hair cut here - so ..

It is another beautiful day here in Fort McMurray - we are certainly enjoying a beautiful Indian summer - I keep thinking I am going to wake up to a foot of snow - not looking forward to this - I know that it will eventually happen - later is good for me rather than sooner.

Dinner has been served - turkey was well cooked - fell off the bones in the roasting pan - messy.  Easy to carve though - not very pretty - but who cares.  The stuffing was DELISH.  The new recipe I tried for brussel sprouts turned out very nicely.  Has been a couple of years since I had turkey dinner with all the trimmings - last time was Thanksgiving 2008 - and I was sicker than a dog - did not really enjoy it much. Now I have to strip the carcass - find room in the fridge and do dishes - again.  My hands need some TLC - poor things are getting all rough and dry from doing dishes so often.  Well I best get at them - not going to get done on their own - still cannot figure out why there are no dish pixies.  Will sit down afterwards and do some more reading - not much left of the first book that I started reading - would like to finish it soon - have five more to read in less than two weeks - YIKES. 

Sunday, October 10, 2010

October 10, 2010 - need to date this one - as the one I posted earlier today was two weeks ago - time flies when you are having fun.

Last week was a busy week - was out and about every morning/early afternoon shopping.  Marian gets home between 9:30 and 10 and we headed off on Monday to Safeway and Sobey's - Tuesday we took off for Extra Foods - they had coupons in their flyer - plus we needed a lot of produce - did not really have much for fresh fruit or veggies in the house.  Wednesday she had a chiropractor's appointment - I drove her to it and then headed to Canadian Tire - they had silicone baking mats for 75% off - and I decided I wanted some to take back - easier than having to buy parchment paper - they also had all of their silicone bakeware on sale - and I succumbed and bought a four pack of mini loaf pans - decided that they would be better to have in the house than one large loaf of banana bread (what I usually end up making in loaf pans) - better to have four little ones - eat one and freeze the rest - if there is a big one I end up eating it - and I am usually on my own - so....  Marian also asked me to pick up a few other things for her - ended up purchasing 16 of the silicone mats and a few other things.  Then I headed over to WalMart to return some hair colour I had bought - decided it was too dark - am going to go with a light auburn - see how it goes - as well as some shoe protector for my shoes - just as I was driving away Marian called and she was finished - so I headed to pick her up - then we went to a second hand book store - she wanted to get a book for Hayden for his birthday - and we had been to Coles and they do not carry it - as it is an older series - so she had called the second hand book store and was told they had some of the series - there are 21 books in the series and she managed to get thirteen of them. Then after I left for work she headed to the post office near the house to mail it - she sent it expedited and it arrived on Friday by noon - less than 24 hours - so the Post Office can move - you just have to pay enough.  Thursday I had hoped to stay home - but I had to return the CD's and DVD's that I had borrowed - you can renew books but not CD's and DVD's - so had to head down to the library to return those.  Then we stopped in at Superstore as Extra did not have any brussel sprouts when we were there on Tuesday - and they also had a sale on squash and did not have a lot - so wanted to get some more - and all we got were brussel sprouts and some more squash and a few more yams - she dropped me at work on her way home.  I was one tired puppy - all this running around plays havoc with me - but such is life.

Work is work - on Monday (4th) I got a phone call around 9:30 a.m. telling me that I needed to report to work at 12:30 for a road test.  I knew I was going for VOP training - was told I would be told on the 1st what the schedule was - but no such luck.  I was a tad thunderstruck - had thought we would have the in class session prior to the road test - but you have to pass the road test before you can take the class - DUH - oh yes I work for the post office - give my head a shake.  So reported at 12:30 for my road test - took it in one of the vans.  Had six minor errors - basically did three things wrong - stopped too close to vehicles in front of me, did not turn the steering wheel properly (bad habit I have), and did not signal early enough or keep it on long enough (training from Egypt - minute you signal you are going to change lanes that is the signal for everyone to speed up) - but did manage to pass the test - will have to work on these bad habits of mine even when driving on my own.  The class session was on Friday - so got in a full day's worth of work - and did not have to do my 'job' after - got to leave at 3:00 - YES. Was very nice to get home at four o'clock instead of seven.  By 7:30 I was in bed.  Had not slept very well - had to wake up to the alarm clock and I do not do that well - I am always worried that it will not go off - GRRRR.  Now I am going to have to wait another three months to get training on the right hand drive trucks they have - would not do to get all the training done at once.  At the training on Friday there were two new temporary letter carriers - nobody that hired on with me was there - I think I am the only one that is still employed by Canada Post - everyone else gave up and found other employment - smart.   The two new employees have not even had their letter carrier training - will be interesting to see how the one does - while we were in class watching videos she was busy texting - the instructor left the class during the video presentations - having seen them innumerable times and having other things to do.

On Friday Marian dropped me at work on her way to Edmonton - she had a doctor's appointment Friday afternoon.  then she was going to spend some time visiting with her daughter - Gloria - and grandson in Edmonton.  While we were at Superstore we did buy something else - they had bags of tomatoes for 50% off - we bought two bags of them - so I have been busy making spaghetti sauce - had thought I would make a batch of spaghetti sauce and a batch of tomato soup - but decided to just go for the sauce - Marian likes it more than the soup - so.... Yesterday (Saturday) I made up one batch and got four jars done up - next batch is stewing as I type - need to finish it off and get it canned.  Going to have spaghetti squash, home made sauce, turkey sausage, and a vegetable for supper.  Marian is on her way home - so will have that when she gets home. 

Weather has been very nice - a few clouds - but for the most part sunny - quite enjoying Indian summer - because I know that soon enough I will wake up to white stuff - brrrrr.  Had really hoped to be back in Egypt before I saw snow - but the best laid plans of mice and men.  Between making sauce and cleaning up the kitchen I have been reading.  Certainly do miss my comfy chair in front of the fireplace - SIGH.  Whenever I get ready to read I end up with a cat on me - getting in the way.  Keekee is the biggest offender - he insists on getting between me and the book.  Right now the cats are laying in the sun enjoying it as well.

I think that sums up my oh so exciting life.  Will work on another post with some fall foliage pictures.  Do not feel like fighting with that right now.
WHEW!!!! What an action packed weekend - well to be more exact a very busy Saturday.  (Saturday, September 25th, 2010)

Got up early Saturday to go deliver flyers - we spend more time dragging our feet than it takes to deliver the cursed things. Took us a little over an hour to get them done. Then we came home - Marian headed to Weight Watchers - I started cooking breakfast - waffles and bacon - I cheated - we had bought Eggo waffles on Friday so I toasted them up - easier to count points and much easier to only have two of them - than to make up even 1/2 a batch from scratch. Enjoyed them immensely. Then I went up and grabbed a shower and got dressed. After I was dressed we headed out to MacIsland to take in the fall trade show - it was really interesting - was pleasantly surprised by the number and variety of vendors at the show - reminded me of walking through the show at Klondike Days - ah the memories. Marian managed to buy a couple of Christmas gifts - so it was a good day. I broke down and bought a picture - it is beautiful - will post it a picture of the picture.

Just a fantastic picture - could not resist.
 I also bought some pyrogies - had not had any for so long - so broke down and bought some - cottage cheese and sauerkraut. We were supposed to leave by 2 - but did not manage to get away until 3 - oh well. Stopped at the library on the way home and got a library card - they are free - and we are going to endeavour to pick a day and go to the library - you can get as many books as you can carry for three weeks and CDs and DVDs for a week. Got home - had something to eat and I crashed - soooo tired and we had a big night ahead of us. Up and dressed and out the door by 6:15 p.m. to take in the Johnny Reid concert. Marian is a fan of his - I had not heard of him until she mentioned him - he is a country and western singer - at least that is the genre that they have pigeonholed him in. She had heard a month or so ago that we would be in town and managed to get tickets - she insisted on buying one for me as she would not go on her own - oh well. The concert was FANTASTIC - he is a wonderful showman - the venue was small - and not laid out very well - but the sound was good - and he does a lot more than country western style music - he covers just about all the genres - except rap. By the end of the evening I was beginning to get hoarse - and my 'neighbours' were less than thrilled with this noisy white haired person sitting near them. It was a good evening. After the concert we went out for supper - at 9:30 p.m. - oh well - you only live once. Went to Boston Pizza and ordered two of their thin crust pizzas and shared them and then ordered a dessert to be shared - chocolate explosion - or something like that - was very good. But it was a late night.

Sunday started earlier than I had hoped - because Ayman called and woke us up - so I got online - to chat with him - only to wait because he did not have a good internet connection with his phone - ARGH. Oh well. Denise called and asked if we would like to go out for supper and we said sure - she then called later in the day and had to cancel - so I ended up cooking - we had fried cabbage and onions, the pyrogies and some bacon. Unfortunately the pyrogies were a sore disappointment - nothing like the pyrogies that Jackie O. makes and taught me how to make - next time I want pyrogies I will make them myself. Worst part was that they were not cheap - and they were mostly dough with minimal filling and the cottage cheese ones had no dill in them - afraid I am very spoiled - Jackie's pyrogies are 100% better than these were - oh well live and learn.

Monday it was back to normal - I was back to work for the afternoon shift - but at least there is a 'pile' of RTS mail to be dealt with - so I will just be doing it at a very leisurely pace. Need to pace myself so that I do not have any days with no work. Got up fairly early so that I could clean up the kitchen - busy weekend equals very messy kitchen - counters were very cluttered and dishes were piled up - so got that all done before Marian got home from her first shift. Then we went out and got some grocery shopping done. Stopped at Mark's Work Wearhouse for Marian to be fitted for her new uniform at work. Had lunch and then headed to work. Got home yesterday and warmed up some tomato soup and made a couple of chicken 'wraps' for supper. Went to bed early - still trying to play catch up from the weekend.

Took me forever to finish this post - had technical issues with uploading the pictures and video - spent 3 hours trying - every time I tried the computer would freeze - so I threw up my hands in despair and gave up - took me awhile to come back - this time it worked - although it is taking FOREVER to upload the video - wondering if it will be worth it - definitely not - just got a message saying there was a problem uploading it  - so will post without it.  Now I will post this before something else happens and try to catch up - my life is SO exciting - NOT.

Monday, September 27, 2010

This is a posting from the official Calgary Gators website - it is the write up of the last game they played this season - for the AFL championship - just had to share with my friends.

Gator 3 players of the Game

Offensive - Mike Wasylyniuk 10 Catches for 205 yards, 1 TD
Defensive - Miles Myers 6 Solos, 2 assists, 1 Int, 1 Forced Fumble, 1 Knockdown
Special Teams - Ian Hewitt FG 2/2 Long 46 Yards, 2/3 PAT, 5 Punts for 211 Avg 42

The Gators hopes were high heading into Lloydminster to take on the Vandals on Saturday but their hopes were quickly crushed on the first play of the game when former BC Lions, Mike McEachern was knocked out of the game when he was bent over backwards on the initial kick return. Without the services of Kyle Heier due to an unrelated football injury, the Gators returned Denny Bonnett to safety and put rookie DB Dylan Halliday to work in the secondary.

The Vandals quickly capitalized running the score up 21-3 in the first quarter, the only Gator points coming from a long 46 field goal from their reliable kicker, Ian Hewitt. The Gators started to mount a comeback, bringing the score within 16 at the half. But the football gods were not on their side, after a turnover filled first half, the trend continued into the second half. The Gators would march the ball to the redzone only to turn it over twice on interceptions by QB Dan Strikaitis who came into the game in the third quarter to relieve struggling QB Dan Craig. Striker looked great initially, completing 5 consecutive passes before throwing his first pick after which he stopped a trio of blockers from creating a wall which would have helped lead to another big-play TD from the Vandals.

There were bright spots here and there in the game but they were too few and far between. WR Mike Wasylyniuk had an incredible game, catching 10 receptions for 205 yards and 1 TD. SB Taylor Campbell led the Gators in scoring, grabbing 2 TDs, one coming on a long 33 yard pass from QB Dan Craig. The Gators collectively put up the most rushing yards in a long time against the Vandals D, led by RB Nick Berry, they ran for 124 yards on 21 carries.

On defence the Gators secondary looked scared to be beat deep after the loss of McEachern, allowing Vandals receivers a big patch of field to work with on the short pass. This led to many Vandals first downs. The front seven had some trouble keeping QB Valleau contained initially but eventually adjusted and started catching him more often resulting in a few short runs and 3 sacks from the Gators linebackers. Big Tony Verbrugge had some big plays, tossing the QB and RBs around like ragdolls with his bear-hug tackling style. MLB Donny Scott helped out everywhere he could catching Vandals for 1 solo and 7 assists and a 1/2 for loss. DB's Miles Myers, Dylan Halliday, and Neil Scotland combined for 22.5 tackles, which doesn't tend to bode well for that translates into many completed passes. Some of those completions were very rightfully earned, however, with some quite spectacular catches from the Vandals receivers. Miles also forced a fumble, something most of us has never seen him do. He attacked the ball and ball carriers with a vengeance, catching the Gators only interception as well.

The Gators would like to sincerely thank all of their fans, supporters and sponsors this year. Without all of you, there would be no Gators Football. We promise to be back next year, as hungry as ever and in the hunt once again for that Provincial and then the National Championship. With all our returning young players getting that year under their belt, coming so close to the big win, you can bet our boys won't disappoint. If you want to see the Gators before that, you can always keep an eye on our website for upcoming events and fundraisers.

This is a pic - compliments of one of his team mates - Miles is the right in the middle - facing the player with the orange helmet that is being 'sandwiched'.

I am very 'proud' that Miles' team made it to the finals - would have loved to have been able to be on the sidelines cheering him on - but the game was played in Lloydminster - too far away - and me with no wheels. I called him the day before the game and he was excited - looking forward to a good game - talked with him yesterday and he seemed 'content' with the way the game turned out - not thrilled - but pleased with the way he played and he had fun - and no injuries (that is his mom talking).

Friday, September 24, 2010

My poor little feetsies - they are soooo sore.  Got up this morning at 5:15 a.m. or thereabouts - had my shower - came downstairs - fed the cats - fired up the computer - and the phone rang - it was 5:45 a.m. - hmmm - wonder who that could be - I answered and was asked if I could be at work by 6:30 - said no - because the bus cannot get me there until 6:45 or thereabouts - said fine - Jim phoned in sick - so do I know how to do all the work he does - DUH - no - only training I have had has been on RTS - but I can turn the machine on - OK - we will find someone to help you figure it out.  Really bad when the supervisors have no clue how to do the work - I think they should all be trained on the jobs - so that if push comes to shove they can train someone else to do it in a pinch - but what do I know.  The supervisor that is there these days was waiting for Jim to call to give me help - hmmm - he phoned in sick - end result was that I was trained by a letter carrier who had done the job a few years ago - so she got pulled off her route to train me - and then she went home - got paid for the full day worked for 2 hours - maybe.  Anyhow - I can now see why Jim has little time for the RTS mail.  The time it takes to redirect all the mail that has change of addresses in is quite mind boggling.  And then on top of that he is responsible for posting the new changes of addresses.  I learned how to do all of the jobs he does.  Big supervisor - Fay - was over for a supervisors meeting - told me that I was to report in at 6:30 tomorrow morning because Jim would likely still be out sick - and if he shows up - well then he can spend the day training me - hmmmm - seems kind of like putting the cart before the horse - I already know how to do all the job - but now they will train me.  Oh well - I will get paid for a full day - so I will take it.  One of the letter carriers - as I was leaving - I stopped to talk with one that works later than the rest - and she commented that I was leaving early - said yup - started at 6:30 - so no way was I staying and working until 6 - another letter carrier commented - why not - you are not a postal employee - and I said yes I am - I am temporary - she said then you could be a letter carrier - said yes that was what I was hired to do - but have been catching up on the RTS rather than stay at home doing nothing.  People are interesting.  Guess I could have stayed - but then the union would have had a kitten fit - OT and all that - besides I was beat - did not have time to pack a lunch or anything - and my breakfast was 1/2 cup of quinoa porridge - did not last all day - tummy grumbled a bit around 10 - I ignored it - it quit.  I had 5 plums in my back pack - ate them on the way home. 

Marian and I had planned on going grocery shopping today - so she went out and got a few things - not sure what all she got - but she also bought some sushi - so I had sushi when I got him - mmmmm good.  I am determined to burn my nostril hairs - the wasabi is hot - but so good.  I think I am going to go up and put my feet up for a bit - tonight I am supposed to deliver flyers - YAY.  So looking forward to that - my feet are protesting already.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Just a really short post - just got back from the hospital with Marian.  The day she left on her holidays - Sept. 3, she missed the last two steps on the staircase and fell - when she came down she fell on the bulky end of an extension cord - which had been chewed by cats - so had some very sharp edges.  She really did a number on her right leg.  Much concern had been expressed by people.  Today she finally went to the emergency room - at the behest of her chiropractor - and after waiting around for 1.5 hours - she had a five minute exam - and the doctor declared that she did a real number - and that it will take a good six months for it to repair itself - but saw  no signs of cellulitis, breaks or cracks - so she has a very nasty looking leg for the foreseeable future.

On her way home she dropped me at the depot - asked her to wait - went in - there was all of 1.5 boxes of mail to do - so checked with the supervisor - will go in tomorrow to do the work that shows up tomorrow as well as the work that was there today - figured it was not worth having to pay for bus fare to work for an hour.  May as well pay for bus fare for a couple of hours - and the supervisor agreed that there was not much need for me to stay.  So I am at home for the afternoon - going to keep myself busy doing some cross stitch.
Has been a 'hectic' couple of days.  Marian arrived home a little after 8 p.m. on Monday - I was in the shower when she arrived - WHEW - just beat her - so at least I was in bed - phoned my girlfriend Phyllis and had a good chat with her - always do.  She is one of the best - have known her since Secretarial Sciences - circa 1978 - and no matter how long it has been between calls or contact - it is as if we just talked yesterday - she has been there through thick and thin - good to have friends like that - have only a few of them - life is good if you have a few friends like that.

Got up Tuesday to see the 'produce' Marian brought home with her.  A box of prune plums (Italian) from mom and dad - yum yum.  Had not bought a lot of fruit because I knew this was on its way - well worth the wait.  I just have a small bone to pick with Weight Watchers - according to them 2 plums equal one point - hmmm - these plums are smaller than most - and I disagree with their analysis - I mean - c'mon - 8 oz. of cherries equal one point - so .... Anyhow - Marian also got some cabbage at her friend Judy's place - five or six of them - hmmm - now what are we going to do with that much cabbage - making sauerkraut is not really an option as we do not have the 'equipment' needed.  She also brought back potatoes - have not seen them - two large zucchinis, and a 'butternut' squash - that I do not believe is a butternut squash - but I took pictures and will endeavour to upload them - getting brave in my old age - either that or just more foolish - and you can tell me what you think that orange thing is.

This is the butternut squash?????? - and in the box beside are the yummy plums.

Ah - there are six cabbages and two 'small' zucchini
Went to work as per usual Tuesday - and there was all of two boxes of RTS mail to be done - and Jim had plowed through one of them - had done about 80% of one of the boxes - so that did not leave me much to do - finished by 4:30 - and really only would have taken an hour - but I took my time. So I have worked myself out of a job - one of the drawbacks about being efficient - oh well - not sure what I am going to do now - really do not want to go in to work every day for just an hour or so - does not seem worth the effort. Will have to talk with someone about what I should be doing - I would rather just go in every other day - and at least get a full day worth of work - but I will go in every day and see what happens.

Woke up today to blue sky and sunshine - and now the clouds have moved in and they do not look at all nice - they are black - wonder what the rest of the day will bring.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Today was a 'good' day - got a few things done this morning - cleaned out the litter boxes - YUCK - one reason why I do not want to own a cat - plus the fact that I travel so much would certainly not be fair to the animal.  Did up the dishes - made a batch of quinoa porridge - was really good - will be eating it for breakfast - as I have said I am not really much of a warm cereal person - but it sure does hit the spot these days - it is a tad on the cool side.

Got to work on time - as usual - and there were five boxes of RTS to be done - and they were all done by 5:30 this afternoon - and the GM left and I followed him out the door - after I finish the RTS there is NOTHING else for me to do - so I got home 30 minutes early - nice treat.

Got home and there is a message - Marian did not leave until after four this afternoon - late as usual - oh well - she is the one who does not get enough sleep - and that is something I just do not understand - her job requires her to be alert but she keeps pushing the envelope.  She seems to 'refuse' to get enough sleep - oh well she is an adult.

So I will be heading to bed around 8 - have my nice hot shower and curl up in bed for a bit with a book I am reading - am trying to get up earlier in the morning - so that maybe I can start going for a bit of a walk in the morning.  Not any marathon - but a short walk to start out with and see how it goes.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

As promised - finally - here are some pictures.  For Margaret and Tootous - the cats.  We have Snookums, Tiger, KeeKee and TwoBit.

This is Mr. KeeKee - sleeping on the computer chair - he is the elder statesman and only male.  He regularly goes after Snookums for no good reason.

This is Ms. Two Bit - she is a real character - her tail has been broken - leaving her with a paralyzed anal sphincter and a 'dead' tail.  She is a real lovey dovey - loves to sit on you and suck on your shirt.  She likes to get her nose under my underarm and knead and suck - not bad as long as her nails have been trimmed.  She loves to sit on her pedestal in the sun and keep track of the goings on in the neighbourhood - she goes right snakey when she sees magpies or ravens (of which there are plenty).

This and the next one are of Ms. Snookums - she has a purr like a tractor - she does not willingly get picked up - but if you do manage to snare her she starts purring right away.  She loves to chase her tail - have a video of her doing it - it is hilarious.

Last but not least is Madame Tiger - she reminds me of the cheshire cat in Alice in Wonderland - she is quite standoffish unless you are reading, on the computer or watching TV - then she wants to be on you.  She is a real snorer - she loves chocolate, cheezies, cheese, bacon - if I am cooking bacon she is at the table as soon as I get it out of the fridge.
For everyone else - just random shots of Fort McMurray - and my sister with her bus.  She was driving to work - it was a Friday - and not many people actually work on Friday - there were maybe at the most six people on the bus - so I was 'allowed' to tag along - and we were looking for the wild tiger lilies in the ditch - much easier to see from the bus than from the car - being so much higher up.  Just picture this in your mind - bus driving down the highway - slamming on the brakes - pulling over to the side of the highway - and then these two women climbing down and walking in the ditch taking pictures - what  a sight to behold - was a good day.  Now that she only works Monday through Thursday - and I am working from 2-6 p.m. - no more bus trips.  SIGH.
Wild Tiger Lily found in the ditch between Fort McMurray and the oilsands.

Another tiger lily found in the ditch.

Not sure what this is - but it was also in the ditch.

Wild strawberries that we found in the ditch.

Another flower that was found 'in the ditch' - lots of ditch watching done this day.

Marian and 'her' bus - she has since started a new shift and has another 'newer' bus.
The following pictures were taken on our walks - that have since gone the way of the dodo bird - unfortunately my 'injury' keeps me from doing much walking - the after effects are not nice at all - can hardly hobble around.  But you will get the idea of why I enjoyed walking here so much.

This is my favourite shot - always made me want to take another picture - have quite a few of this spot.

Wild - hmmm - want to say columbine but that is not right - but whatever it is it grew on the path.

And of course the wild rose - the floral emblem of Alberta - lots of these.

Not the best shot - but you get the idea - I have no clue what kind of flower this is - just that it is pretty.

This is the view of the Athabasca River with the Snye entering it - on our walk.

A 'close up' of the above view.

One day we went on a tour - we stopped and took pictures of a few areas.  The first is a 'creek' that runs not far from the Shell Albian work site.

Very picturesque - and not very far away there is an oilsands project.
The next stop on our 'tour' was the Oilsands Discovery site - hard to get into pictures the size of the machines that were used when they first started 'mining' - technology has changed - do not think any of the companies continue to use these machines.

Cannot remember what this is - but it is a small piece on the large machine.

This is one of the 'small' scoops that scooped up the oilsand.

Man am I bad - I need to look at all the pictures - because I did take pics of the descriptions - suffice it to say this is a piece of machinery that was used to mine the oilsands.
Next stop on our trip was a stop at the buffalo paddock - Marian had seen that there were some on her way home - usually you cannot see them this close to the highway.

The one in the foreground was looking pretty good - had already gotten rid of his winter coat - the one to the right - you can see still had a fair bit of his winter coat - they looked quite shaggy. 

Such a majestic looking animal.
The following is a picture of me and my friend Helen in her back yard in Pinawa - taken the weekend of the big High School Reunion.  Thought about posting some pics of the reunion - but nobody knows anyone - so will post them on Facebook instead.

Helen and I in her backyard - do miss Pinawa - loved the size of the yards and just the peace.
Now this is just a candid picture of my sister - just could not resist.

Luv ya Marian
The next shot was taken at Marian's work barbecue.  One of the women brought some puppies in the hopes of selling them - the runt was by far the cutest - they are not big dogs to start with and the runt was only about 2/3 the size of it's siblings.

Hard to get a pic - puppy would not sit still.
These next pictures were taken at the fall fair - just a very small sampling of the handiwork of the local artisans.

This teddy bear was hand made out of real fur - there were three or four of them - they were adorable.

This was a beautiful bowl handcrafted out of wood - when the fellow went to put the 'oil' on it the grain just popped out.

This quilt one first prize - beautiful - there were lots of fantastic quilts.
And that is it - took me over three hours to figure out how to upload these pictures - will either have to do it more often or never again - right now I am going with never - but I am sure I will relent.