How Are My Odds?

So far my hands are steadier, and I can concentrate far better than the last few days. Hopefully, the frustration trigger is buried deeper than it has been too.

I hope I don’t jinx it by saying so, but overall I’m doing better this time than I expected.

Will I be successful? I’m still uncertain.

Quitting is easy for some people, and maybe it depends on the reason behind why they smoke in the first place. 

For me it’s not social, in fact most family and friends don’t smoke. It’s not for the physical reason of keeping my hands busy. Cigarettes are my reward. I dangle them as enticement to get a project done, or I have one while gearing up to tackle something. Some of my best problem solving takes place on the deck while I’m smoking.

Yes, it’s unhealthy, and that’s the only reason I’m trying to quit, yet it doesn’t change that I enjoy the habit.

I started in grade school although it didn’t become a regular issue until I was in my late teens.

When I became pregnant, I quit and actually went 27 years as a non-smoker. The urge troubled me almost daily during that whole time though.

I know it’s an excuse, but when we had two near death scares in the immediate family both within the same week, the stress had me smoking again.

That was almost ten years ago.

Family laughs when I say, “I’m quitting.” They’ve heard it before.

I debated whether to publish this post because if the past is an indicator my odds to succeed are low.

They say to quit, you have to be ready, and it’s hard to know if you’re ready without giving it a whirl. 

I’m going “cold turkey” no pills, patches or aids other than a pack of nicotine gum if things get hairy. So far I have only had two pieces.

My dilemma is what do I reward myself with? I don’t want to use snacks.

Is it weird that I function on a reward system? 

Have I spent too much time training four legged critters?

Do you reward yourself after say, cutting the lawn or weeding flower beds?

To others who have tried to quit and have failed, it happens, and all we can do is try again.

P.S. – To those around me, I’m trying my best not to get grumpy and snappy but cut me some slack if I do. Sometimes, I just can’t help it.

Advertisements

Where am I? What day is it?

Early this morning as I waited for the red neon clock numbers to come into focus, strange thoughts popped to mind. Not like the nightmare ones that had me flee to the couch earlier this week for a fit of restless naps.

Today my brain jolted awake, for a moment thoughts came in short spurts and jumped from one thing to another. It made it difficult for me to answer my usual two morning questions. “Where am I?”, and “What day is it?”

For those who have noticed that I only published two blog posts in over a month, plus I’ve often only left a “like” on sites I follow, instead of commenting, here’s a brief explanation.

The last 41 days have passed with us busier than I can remember in a long time. I’m not sure if its scientifically possible but in plain and simple terms, my brain got far more tired than my body.

Creative juices left me. Lately, instead of writing and reading while we’re on the road, my iPad sat unopened in my purse while I zoned out with my “things-to-do list”.

I’ve experienced the complete opposite in my normal sleep pattern. Now, I have trouble falling asleep, and I sleep past sunrise.

The daughter swears that essential oil potions can remedy certain problems, and she suggested I try lavender on my temples before bed to help me relax. All I will say regarding this is, “I’ve become a believer!”

If you want to try a natural stress reliever, lavender might work for you.

As many others, my heart aches and my prayers go out to those living and contending with Wild Fires, Raging Storms, and Devastating Floods.

I feel guilty expressing my woes with what those people are going through, but everyday life for us has had its own chaos.

Mister’s been suffering with a neck and shoulder injury, and similar to the popular saying, “A happy wife is a happy life.” To that I’ll add, “A husband in pain is a wife in pain.”

We’ve also had a family milestone birthday, family illness, kids having medical tests and the waiting for results. Mister taking treatments 3 days a week for weeks. Hauling vehicles to-and-fro and hauling hay for winter. I’m on our Condo board and, silly me, I took on the chore of rewriting By-Laws for an amendment voting package. That involved extra meetings and computer time, followed by days of knocking on doors to explain, campaign and remind owners how important it is that they vote. On top of all this, we’ve been trying to downsize our assets, making life changing decisions, and are planning a house expansion renovation.

This morning was the first in ages that I didn’t have to get up and get ready to go or do something major. Once I figured that out, a flood gate opened. Thoughts for writing projects came faster than I could type, and I’m energized to get at regular daily things.

Oh, I’m typing on a new fold up travel blue tooth keyboard for my iPad, and loving it.

I’ll keep this short, but I hope to get back on track soon with my regular weekly posts.

As for the above picture, I’m enjoying the start of fall colors as life at the lake shifts into getting ready for winter. Summer flew by this year, and the sad part is I didn’t get out kayaking once this season.

Did your summer go fast?

Not So Innocent

Swing Ball

Don’t let how innocent the ball and rope appear while they hang still on this pole fool you. Swing Ball, is a fast-paced game for players and entertaining for spectators.

It’s like the old playground, Tether-Ball, except you use a racket rather than your hand. The nylon rope easily glides on the smooth plastic corkscrew, and the tennis ball has much less wind drag than a volleyball. Making the main difference, the velocity the neon ball circles the pole with when it’s hit.

This game tests hand-eye coordination, and if you’re not standing in the right place, quick duck and swerve reflexes.

We bought Swing Ball months ago, but because of Mister’s sore shoulder, and either lack of time or uncooperative weather whenever our kids were out, it remained in its box collecting dust.

Sometimes it takes youths to motivate a person which for me was three recent surprise guests.

One of Mister’s nieces from British Columbia called us when the semi she was driving stranded her and her two daughters in a nearby city. When the three got bored with city shopping and such we picked them up to stay with us until the repairs were completed.

It didn’t take long before the energetic youngen’s, age 13 and 11, spotted the unopened game box and asked if they could try it.

Setup took only minutes, then us three adults sat on the deck ready to be entertained. These two tough country girls held nothing back when they swung at the ball. Neither whined though, if they got nailed by the rubber projectile, mostly because they were too busy laughing.

The girls refer to Mister and I as Auntie and Uncle, and soon it was, “Auntie, come play.”

That’s when the valuable lesson, “Never underestimate someone of age,” began.

Here’s a small detail before I continue. I was on a fair amount of school sport teams, Volleyball, Basketball, Badminton, Floor-Hockey, Track and Field, Soccer, Baseball, and Dodgeball.

The relationship we have with these girls and their mother is where joking, teasing and polite sass is common.

Fresh into my game with the 13-year-old, I cracked her up with a statement that became her favourite to repeat and share. To some it may sound cruel but I said it with love and sportsmanship. It followed her apology after a shot that nearly hit me when I replied, “Don’t apologize if the ball hits me because I won’t if it hits you.” I smiled, we laughed, but I think that’s when she realized Auntie has a hidden competitiveness.

During the evening activities no-one thought to snap pictures while four of us took turns playing the game.

It is a cardio workout, but I’m sure that is because we had to grasp for air between fits of laughter.

To the girl’s surprise, I beat them each in well fought rounds. As we sat to regroup, wipe sweat from our brows and gulp water they kept saying they didn’t think I had it in me.

The next day I’m not sure which ached more from the pervious exertion, my arm or laughing muscles or perhaps my knee from when I missed the ball once and whacked it with my paddle hard enough to bruise.

At least I fared better than the two young ones as to how many times the tennis ball ricochet off a body part. Instead of complaining about a sore spot though they bragged, “Remember this one, I got it when…”

Of course, there were rematches the next day before we took them to pick up their fixed truck.

Embraced in so-long hugs the girls teased and warned me, “Wait until next time, Auntie”.

The truck breaking down was unfortunate, but we all enjoyed this fun unplanned visit.

Since then I’ve talked the son and his wife into trying the game, battling against each other and myself. His wife and I even tried with our left hands and did better than we thought we would.

Look out anyone visiting us that may be up for a game, I really enjoy this one.

If you bruise easy, it might not be a game for you, although I figured out, the ball only makes contact if you are too close.

Have you played Swing Ball yet?

Sailing, Boat Names, and Seven Dwarfs

DSC02380

Last week began with our extra beds occupied and a house filled with laughter during a sibling sleepover.

Monday I had my first sailboat experience as a passenger on the 21 foot, “Huhn Wetter” captained by my big brother. He trailered her to our lake for a couple days visit.

The sailing adventure was extra special because there was five siblings onboard. To bad the other two stayed ashore.

It was also Brother’s first official day of retirement. What better way for him to start a new chapter of his life than giving many of us our first ride on his pride and joy.

Have you ever walked a dock reading boat names?

They Intrigue me, and I often wonder the reasons behind them.

Names usually represent someone special to the owner, a favorite quote or cliché, or they may reference a goal, a dream or a destiny.

DSC02377

“Huhn Wetter” is named in memory of our mother. These two German words were one of her favorite muttered curses. A habit passed down from her mother and one shared with her sisters.

Why would anyone use curse words to name their boat?

Hold on, I’ll explain.

“Huhn Wetter,” translated means, “Chicken Weather.”

Yes, our mother had a real potty mouth. (Smiley Face)

Sailing has no history amidst our immediate family, so my brother is sure when he bought this boat he heard our mother curse his new hobby. She wasn’t a water fan, and she always worried about us kids’ safety.

The gang woke on Tuesday to clouds, wind and a coat wearing chill, so the boat stayed in the marina. Three of us girls went beach combing for driftwood in the morning getting quite a haul for a sister’s lamp making project. By the afternoon the boys suffering with cabin fever went out and worked on the boat trailer.

Wednesday once the morning fog cleared, and the sun came out, Captain Brother, his wife, and I went for another sail. He had me man the rudder while he raised the sails. Once done he surprised me when I went to move for him to take over, and he said, “Nope, she’s all yours.”

He explained how to make slight shifts in the boats course to catch the breeze instead of us swinging the sails, and how to watch the dangling string on the front sail as a guide. I steered for a spell, and even managed a turn, but when we caught stronger winds and picked up speed, I chickened out and handed her back to her rightful captain.

Mister and I own a pontoon boat which we’ve enjoyed for years, and I doubt we would ever trade. Now, I can understand though what about sailing appeals to my brother. It’s the peace and quiet. Here’s to him for learning the skill.

I would consider learning the craft if the mast was maybe 6’ high making the sail’s surface small enough that the boat would stay rowing speed slow. Something about being at the weather’s mercy and being so tall when the boat lists that would take me time to get use to. No matter how many times the brother says they wouldn’t sink even if they fill with water. Laying over or flipping really doesn’t sound fun to me, either.

Since the sleepover had seven participants, I thought it would be fun to match each of us to a Disney’s Seven Dwarf character. It got complicated though. I could have assigned, Sleepy, Sneezy and Doc, but none of us are Bashful, and if I labeled someone Grumpy or Dopey, I would get in trouble. Plus, all of us qualified to be, Happy, so it wouldn’t have been fair to choose only one.

Could you match your siblings to any of Disney’s Seven Dwarfs?

Have you ever been on a sailboat?

The Power of A Photograph

DSC03797

I scrolled a photo album for a picture with the power to calm my troubled mind.

Family pictures bring me the most joy, but I choose the above holiday shot because I’m sure seeing a place is more interesting for strangers.

Shores and Coastlines are always a happy place for me to visit. This is the sun setting on the walkway at Seaside, Oregon.

Are you ever amazed how a simple picture can trigger emotions?

Do photos do this for you?

There are two other common memory triggers. I’m often shocked how quick, and out of the blue, the past will flash when you hear a certain tune or smell a certain scent.

Without going into detail, we’ve had a somewhat crappy week, and I’ve been sporting puffy eyes.

Why, the puffy eyes you ask?

I Could literally be the “Town-Cryer”.

As in, that’s my coping mechanism. I cry when I’m sad or receive unsettling news, when I’m stressed, when I’m overtired, when I’m happy or I laugh too much, and if someone else gets teary eyed, no problem, I’ll join them.

When my gene pool was filled, I must have gotten extra emotions, and a sensitive waterworks trigger. If not that, I’ll blame aging and adulthood. I’m sure others will agree that at times, those both suck.

Who here can tear-up reading something, or watching a TV commercial? (Surprise! My hand is up.)

Have faith in me, my family and friends, I’m stronger than I may appear. (Smiley Face)

I hope your days are running smoothly.

After The Sunsets

IMG_0331

Have you ever taken a drink that goes down wrong, and you end up coughing uncontrollably, eyes watering and all? Generally this occurs when you’re in a gathering or when you’re supposed to be quiet. (Smiley face)

How about the mild version when you swallow your salvia wrong and it makes you sputter? This happened the other night in my sleep.

No big deal, right? I wish.

After the initial coughing spurt, a super annoying tickle blossomed in the back of my throat, and events which ruined my night’s sleep began.

How can that be, you ask?

When I woke up coughing, I quickly peeked with one eye at the red neon numbers shining on the bedroom ceiling, 3:48a.m. less than five hours after I’d gone to bed.

I’m a heavy sleeper, but the instant my eyes open I’m awake, and it’s rare for me to fall back asleep.

Not wanting to disturb Mister, I reached toward the bedside table where a package of Halls lives. With my eyes still closed I unwrapped the heat stuck paper from the candy. Into my mouth it went. Blah, there was still paper on it. Back out it came, I felt and remove a tiny piece and tried again. Still more, after three attempts it was smooth and paper free.

With the candy wedged between my cheek and teeth I rolled onto my side and waited for it to soothe the annoying tickle which caused me to sputter every few seconds.

Even with the bedroom window open, not a hint of breeze stirred the warm, stuffy, night air. My awareness heightened, and I instantly overheated. Areas of skin on skin became hot and sticky which triggered the mosquito bites on my calves and ankles to itch.

Along with my raised body temperature came another coughing bout. In an effort to be quiet, my hands pressed against my mouth and so I didn’t choke on the lozenges I sprang into a sitting position.

When I stopped, I cracked open one eye and turned to make sure I hadn’t woken Mister. A faint glow from the living room TV reflected through the doorway enough for me to see his side of the bed was empty.

Mister often moves to a recliner during the night, for what he calls TV watching, but it usually watches him. That’s better though, because he’s getting sleep.

That last cough helped loosen the tickle in my throat so I laid back down.

Oh man, I had to pee. I don’t normally have to during the night, and remember as stupid as it sounds, my eyes need to stay closed to increase my chance of falling back to sleep.

We were not at home, but house sitting and luckily I was very familiar with the layout.

I found my way by feel, and once in the bathroom habit had me close the door and flick on the lights. My eyes popped open, (Sad face) I was in trouble now.

Even-though 4:00 am is a little early, when something like this happens I would normally just stay up, do some writing or reading, but with Mister asleep in the living room that wasn’t an option.

I made my way back to bed, determined to conquer this, to fall back asleep.

My stomach growled. My body was being guided by my mind and a ritual. You see, no matter what time I’m up, I need coffee first thing followed by two small cookies. You may have read my post, “Hiding in a Hotel Bathroom” where I explained how I often accomplish this while traveling.

I closed my eyes and ignored the hunger and craving the best I could. I couldn’t get comfortable though. My back and neck started to ache, this arm was in the way, where does that arm usually go. Gee, my knees and ankles are bony. Then my mind began to race. Oh darn, I forgot to load the dishwasher, what do I have on tomorrow’s to do list, what day is tomorrow, where does time go, I wonder what the weather will be like, how is that scene going to play out in my current writing project, tonight could be a post, on and on it went. (Sad face)

I did eventually fall back asleep for about an hour. So, yeah, I did it, I conquered the curse.

But really, all this because I swallowed a little spit wrong.

Can you fall asleep again after being woken?

Are you a light or heavy sleeper?

Family, His Side & My Side

Puppies cooling off

Grand-puppies Cooling Off

Road Trips will always be one of my favorite things to do. The distance traveled, or the destination isn’t what’s important, it’s who I will see when I get there.

I won’t bore you with details of how busy we are, other-than we rarely unpack our suitcases these days.

Two of our many trips so far were Family Reunions.

One on my side.

When my parents were alive, they would have whoever could make it of us siblings and our families together at Christmas. Since their passing though, to avoid worrying about winter road conditions, us kids plan a yearly, June reunion.

Out of five children, four of us are close and we visit each other numerous times a year. Sadly, a brother for reasons unknown has stopped communicating with the entire family. We have reached out, but he seems content replacing us with his wife’s family. Back to the topic though.

Reunion hosts change from time to time and this year it was a three-hour drive for Mister and I.

The gathering is a BBQ or potluck style meal open to, nieces, nephews, and their families. Not to brag, (smiley face) but Mister and I had four generations in attendance.

Special to this year, the four of us siblings and partners stretched it into a fun two night sleepover, under the same roof.

There was a downpour the night before the gathering but the day was clear and sunny. The turnout was good, and it’s always great to see those we don’t see often.

The next reunion was on Mister’s side.

Mister’s mother was one of fourteen children and their family tradition is a reunion every three years. Again, different families host, and so the location varies, but it’s always in British Columbia because that’s where the majority who attend are from. We hosted the previous one and this year’s which was last weekend, both at the same venue in B.C.’s Okanagan Valley.

There is a bit more to this reunion with rented facilities, a gathering Friday night, Saturday during the day is occasional activities, and a catered supper. Then Sunday morning is a catered breakfast. We left Thursday morning to pickup keys, touch base with the caterer, etc.

The son, his wife, and fur baby rode with us with the men sharing the 10 hours of driving. The oldest or her family couldn’t make it but our daughter, her husband, and their fur baby met us at the hotel Friday afternoon.

Although, this was the first reunion with none of the original aunts and uncles alive it was a great time with over 60 people in attendance. The weather was hot, hot, hot and unfortunately British Columbia’s interior is in havoc with hundreds of raging forest fires. None were in the immediate area where we were, but our thoughts and prayers are with those affected.

We said our goodbyes until next time after Sunday’s breakfast and hit the road. The last 45 minute drive home from this 4 days away had extra stress when warnings binged on phones and emergency alerts interrupted radio programs, the area where our home is located was under a tornado warning.

We have weathered two serve hail storms in the last 6 years, both which wrote off numerous of our vehicles and required new roofs, siding, windows, and damages too many to list.

No matter how much you tell yourself that there’s nothing you can do about mother nature’s fury, a part of me wanted to get home fast, yet part of me was afraid of what we would find when we got there. Thankfully, all was well at our place, but unfortunately some nearby areas weren’t as lucky receiving golf-tennis size hail stones.

I will close this post with a short list of things I think about family and gatherings.

F – Fond memories, fun times, and food.

A – Always there for each other, even and maybe more so as we age.

M – Missing those who have passed or unable to attend functions.

I – Informal.

L – Laughter. There should be a T for teasing.

Y -Yellow belly sap suckers, because I just couldn’t think of anything related to family that started with a Y.

What would you have used that starts with Y?

Oh, “yappy” would have worked for us.

Do your families do reunions?

Double Celebration

cake

Holy Moly, 12,775 days. Last Saturday we had double the celebrations, mine and Mister’s 35th Wedding anniversary, hence the day count, and Canada’s 150th birthday.

In our younger years, on the Canada Day long weekend we would revisit, Kelly’s Saloon at Fort Edmonton Park, where we were married.

Thirty-five years ago, we exchanged vows in a simple western themed ceremony inside the historic saloon with only family and a few friends in attendance.

It feels like yesterday until one thinks about all we have shared and achieved. The most precious and cherished being the wonderful kids we are blessed with and the continued growth of new generations.

We have sampled the richer and poorer, and in sickness and health, part of our vow’s.

We have laughed lots and cried some, me more so than Mister regarding the last one.

As couples do, we bicker, but our love and devotion for each other is as strong today as it was the day we said, “I do.”

Simple things that work for us.

Communication is our friend.

Saying the hard things is as important as saying, I love you.

We each learned to compromise, so neither of us makes all the sacrifices.

We didn’t lose ourselves, sometimes we do things without the other.

When one or both are stressed we lean on each other.

We ask each other their opinion and advice, it’s often helpful.

We don’t exchange material gifts anymore. The specialness of the occasion for us is relishing the fact we are still here to love one-another.

Mister says having our anniversary on a special holiday means he never forgets, and there is always tons of Canada Day activities to do.

I often forget to take blog related pictures, a perfect one for this post would have been the mass of 60 to 80 or more golf carts gathered for the annual July 1st, hot dog lunch at our resort.

Saturday evening the resort’s restaurant had an adult barn dance with a chuck-wagon buffet. We went with friends, but we learned early in the night it wasn’t what we expected. The four of us were like the tribes elders or the chaperones at a high school dance, in other words, the oldest there. Where were the other couples our age, we don’t know?

The extreme decimal they played the country tunes meant you needed to shout to communicate. Ourselves and the crowd obliged, creating an additional roar which we swear made them turn the music even louder. Aren’t I sounding like an old fuddy-duddy.

Our plan was to dance, but the youngen’s around us seemed content to drink. We should have done our own thing, but we already felt out of place.

An hour and a half later primed with liquid courage people flocked to the dance floor.

Was this our chance?

Nope.

The small floor area filled with arms flailing and bodies bopping while they all danced with each other. To our dismay there were no couples, and no two-stepping being done. So us and our old fashion ways spectated which was entertaining.

After the buffet, us four left and went to the nearest town for the annual firework show.

Not everybody can end their anniversary day with a great firework display, but we always do thanks to Canada Day celebrations.

Hope all our fellow countrymen had a wonderful Canada Day, and the same wish goes to our Southern neighbors for their 4th of July.

Did you stay home for Canada Day or July 4th, or take in some festivities?

Torturer or Green Thumb

Tigers

Tiger Lilly

I’m glad we’re home to enjoy these beauties. I wish all the buds were open for this picture, but not one of my 4 bushes listened when I told them what day this post goes out. Even telling them they were the headliners didn’t speed up the process.

Tiger Lillie’s, are high on my favorite outside flower list that I can grow with my faint green tinted thumb. Next on the list would be Daisies, Pansies and Phlox, all hardy, faithful perennials. I do love Begonias, Geraniums, Gazanias, and Portulacas, but I didn’t plant any annuals this year, they just end up being fancy rabbit food.

Lilac bushes are a must for me, wonderful for both their beauty and their fragrance.

A somewhat unique outside plant for where we live, yet we have had luck growing them in our yards for years is, Prickly Pear Cactus. Even being buried under snow for months doesn’t stop them from coming back to life each summer. Keeping them weeded is a pain, sometimes literally, but my trick is long handled needle nose pliers, or a long handle fish hook remover.

Cactus

Roses are a favorite, but I didn’t include them above because I’m ashamed to admit I’ve been torturing a bush for ten or so years. I water, prune, occasionally fertilize and sprinkle slug pellets when necessary, so it’s either a trooper or ornery. Don’t get me wrong it flowers, but is still only about a foot tall and often has less leaves than flowers. It’s planted in the sun as its tag suggested, I just don’t know how to make it happier.

Rose

Do you have a green thumb?

What flowers do you enjoy?

Which can you grow best?

Have You Ever Wondered?

98 one of Grand Hotel carriages

Mackinac Island, Michigan

Have you ever looked through your vacation pictures and taken note of the small things instead of what enticed you to take the photo in the first place?

An example of what I’m referring to is, have you ever noticed the number of strangers captured in your shots.

Wouldn’t it be interesting to know how many people have, you, in their vacation pictures?

Maybe I’m weird but I think of this often, does anyone else?

We know nobody in the holiday photo above.

Interesting points about Mackinac Island.

  • Mackinac Island is 3.8 sq. miles of land area on Lake Huron, with 8 miles of coastline.
  • It is only accessible by watercraft or small aircraft.
  • It has a Fort, built in 1780 and closed as a active post in 1895.
  • Yellowstone National Park was the first National Park established, and just three years later in 1875, Mackinac Island National Park was named the 2nd National Park. 
  • Since 1898, motorized vehicles have been and still are restricted to emergency and some construction vehicles only.
  • Peddle bikes, horses and horse drawn carts are the island’s mode of transportation.
  • Fudge is the number 1 souvenir since the 1920’s. 
  • The 2010 Census showed 492 year round residents with approximately 15,000 summer visitors per day.

It is a beautiful place to visit with amazing architecture.