Which Group Are You?

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When something goes wrong our instinct as parents and grandparents is to gather our family, stay close, protect and support each other. Right now the opposite has to be done if younger family members are unable to completely isolate because of their jobs.

This isn’t a, woe is me, post, but it does suck to be in that higher risk and more vulnerable age group. I’m certain everyone of you who is feels the same.

“Thank Goodness to today’s technology.” Who else agrees that without it this isolation would be so much more difficult?

Using devises and Internet we can not only hear our family and friends voices, we can see their faces, or easily share pictures and videos. We only have to physically isolate, so to keep our sanity any kind of call interactions are greatly appreciated.

Video chats is now how we visit Monkey (our newest grandson) who seems to grow and learn new things each day. It’s depressing not being able to share these in person, but we hope not doing it now means a better chance of doing it for years to come.

We get virtual tours of projects and changes at the son and daughter-in-law’s place and lots of video visits while we watch Monkey play.

Our daughter also keeps us up-to-date daily with life in the country for her and her husband. She sent pictures of their house renovations, which they luckily had supplies on hand for. We get to see what her fur baby is up to, and she’s keeping us posted on spring progress with her horse.

The effort each and every individual puts into social distancing will make a huge difference.

Remember, just because you can’t see social distancing results in the moment it could literally be life altering.

Mister and I are starting our 4th week physically separated from family and friends. Boredom or running out of projects isn’t an issue yet. Like many of you, I would be lying if I said at times it doesn’t sadden and frustrate us, but there really seems to be no other option.

This situation has increased our desire to move closer to the kids. We had just listed our place for sale before this virus took over. Now, I doubt the chance to sell and relocate will happen anytime soon.

My prayers go out to all during these terrible times. Especially, those whose job takes them out in the public.

Lets keep these people healthy by isolating ourselves if we have symptoms or have been around someone with symptoms.

Lets stay home unless it’s a necessity.

Lets learn what is a necessity.

Lets learn to be happy in our homes. I hear it’s a great time to move furniture around.

Stay Positive.

Be Kind and Considerate to others.

Be Diligent with hygiene, social distancing or self isolation.

I Hope You have someone or something that Can still make you Smile.

What is something you can’t wait to do once this virus subsides?

For me it’s, be in the same room as family and friends. I should clarify that, family and friends other than Mister, because he is certainly both of those.

Probably, do one of our Chinese food get togethers with the kids. I’m craving something not home cooked.

Hold and play with Monkey of course.

Pet and wrestle the grand puppy. Spend time in the barn with the daughter and her horse. Technology hasn’t been able to bring me the smell of horse, leather and hay.

Be able to clear my throat without causing public panic, and be able to touch my nose, eyes or face in a store lineup without fearing illness.

Have you learned any new ways of communicating or staying connected with family and friends while social distancing?

I hope you and yours can remain Safe and Healthy. 

Bittersweet Driftwood

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Reusing or recycling items during our craft afternoons is something this group tries for as often as we can.

Many here share my appreciation for driftwood’s natural beauty and uniqueness. Last winter the crafting group agreed it made perfect sense to use the wood for a project, but we needed to wait with the lake frozen and the shoreline under snow.

Living at a lake resort on a damned mountain fed river means driftwood floating downstream occurs every thaw season.

The resort likes to keep the marina and beach debris free so last summer a few of us would go gather pieces to stock pile so they would dry and be ready to be transformed this winter.

Doing a “driftwood” search on Pinterest brings up tons of ideas of what to make. For many of us that was the hardest part of this craft.

Candle holders, wind chimes, sun catchers, wall art, ornaments and even a serving tray were created this day.

Perhaps, I should have zoomed up on the projects for the picture, but the women’s smiles is more what these afternoons are about.

Emotions snuck up on me as I wrote this post which is why “bittersweet” is in the title.

You see, I have a sister and brother-in-law who for years use to come to their cottage here on weekends and holidays. My sister, who also loved to craft, and I would often get up early to paddle our kayak up and down the shorelines and around the island, searching and gathering driftwood. We would load the kayak with as much as it would carry and sometimes the bigger pieces for our yards we would drag behind with a rope.

These were great times, and she would have been in her glory at this craft afternoon, but they sold their cottage a few years ago.

Now, my sister, only 7 years older than me, lives in a world where we can’t visit. She has advanced Alzheimers, and I miss her dearly.

Sorry for that unexpected turn this post took.

Back to crafting. I’m showing a close-up below of a project I made because the fish are a result from a previous craft session. Each one is 33 layers of construction paper completely glued together, dried for a day, the edges beveled and sanded, then finished with a couple layers of clear nail polish. You can make beautiful pendants, fridge magnets, etc. with this simple process also found on Pinterest.

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I will share some of our other crafts in future posts.

Have you ever crafted using things from nature, or reusing or recycling?

I’m always looking for suggestions for future craft projects.

Chatting and Laughing, The Start

What better way to spend a few hours than chatting and laughing. Creating something while doing it is a bonus.

If you enjoy crafting, or want to give some simple things a try, I’ll be covering some interesting projects in my reoccurring “Chatting and Laughing” posts.

With this being the first of a series here’s a little as to what it’s about.

Some “Gleniffer Lake ladies” will again be gathering a couple afternoons a month to craft. We started this last winter, and with its popularity have decided to do it again this year.

There is a large rec. building here which one part is a lakeside restaurant during the summer. It’s where we hold group activities in the off season, including most of the crafting get togethers.

The enthusiastic group is up for trying pretty much any craft so it’s a different one each time. Although, we do prefer when a finished project can go home that same day.

I’m usually the one snooping for ideas, mainly because I’m on “Pinterest” at least once a day anyway.

Some crafts, myself or others have done before, but most of them we just wing it.

If the craft requires supplies some of us have on hand, then we do a crafting potluck. If it needs things better priced in bulk, we chip in to cover the cost. This way, we all can try something new without it being as expensive as if done individually.

Our first project was “Decoupage”.

A craft thats been around so long a person forgets all the neat ways you can decorate items. A “Pinterest” search brings up tons of fun ideas for all ages.

One of the other ladies organized this craft, but I helped out because I’ve done the process before.

In the past, I used “Modge Podge” which is a reliable product that now comes in many finishes. This day though, the organizer mixed up a discovered recipe from “Pinterest” of white glue and water. It was a great option that worked fine, and is an inexpensive alternative.

A popular item choice to decorate was glass vases and recycled bottles, but Decoupage can also be done on, plastic, wood or metal, so pretty much anything.

Decoupage Steps

#1 – Cut out a picture or shapes from a magazine, a print out, wrapping paper, tissue paper, fabric, or even paper napkins.

#2 – You can give the area you’ll be applying your cut out on a quick wipe with rubbing alcohol if it’s dirty or has lots of finger prints. It will dry in seconds.

#3 – Paint a layer of Modge Podge, or the homemade mixture of white glue and water, on your item where you will be placing the cut out.

#4 – Then paint the mixture on the back (wrong) side of cut out.

#5 – Place the cut out on your project piece, and smooth out wrinkles if any, (careful, cut out may slide out of place, and too much pressure may tear paper ones).

#6 – Top the cut out with another coat of mixture and let dry.

Tips we Learned

• Soft bristle or foam brushes work well. None of us tried a roller.

• If cutting finicky pictures or shapes out of napkins or tissue paper the fine edges make working with the paper tricky once it is wet. So a smooth edge, say around a flower or tree can be easier then cutting an intricate design out in fine detail.

• If you want a high gloss or more waterproof finish, Modge Podge is probably a better choice than the glue mixture.

• Be sure to paint mixture right to the edges on your cut out.

• Painting on the mixture needs to be done fairly quick, before it starts to dry, so don’t choose to work with too small of a brush.

• It is also a very forgiving craft because water easily cleans up any excess glue, as long as caught before it dries.

Do you like to craft?

Have you ever tried Decoupage?

Do you have a favourite craft, or a suggestion for this group to try?

 

Coatroom Caper

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Only the instigator of this caper knew details beforehand and came prepared. When she first arrived she ducked into the coatroom toting numerous bulging bags, only to reappear minutes later empty-handed.

After the potluck meal this fun-loving lady, who often has something up her sleeve, stopped by tables, pointed at friends and said, “Come with me.”

By this time, most attendees were already a few drinks into their evening of celebration and rarely questioned her motives. The unsuspecting group she gathered followed her into the coatroom.

Mister and I, live in a gated golf and lakeside resort. The population and activities increase here in the summer, but a good number of semi or retired and even working people stay full-time. We are more than just residents, though, we are a community that enjoys socializing and getting together.

Last week, close to seventy people attended the annual Christmas Potluck at our clubhouse.

Seasonal decorations and a flickering fire gave the room a warm ambiance. The guest’s happy chatter indicated high spirits and moods which matched bright smiles.

Once again, buffet tables held a delightful variety of tasty foods and desserts, with more than enough to feed everyone.

Mister and I, have gone to this function many times before, but this night was different. An after meal surprise brewed in the coatroom.

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The instigator pulled out the stuffed bags she had snuck in and stashed earlier. She handed out props and costumes and created a cast from her followers.

An equipment issue meant a slight delay for the participants who waited in the coatroom, and that’s when my entertainment began. When I saw age related boundaries blur and fade.

I can’t help smile as I’m writing. Perhaps, this will help readers picture what I witnessed. Imagine a teacher or someone trying to control a group of excited preschoolers on a concert night.

From where I sat, the laughing and shenanigans that went on in the coat area proved again, age is only a number. Adults can and will, especially in the name of fun, act like children.

The boys teased the girls, mind you this feisty bunch teased back. Jokes were told and props were played with as the group’s attentions wandered from their instructor. I even heard, “I have to pee.” But, this comment isn’t usually followed with, “Where’s my drink?”

It took 3 different boomboxes, and fifteen if not more people’s efforts, before the required music CD would play. Once it did, the real show began.

The writer/director/instigator narrated a short Christmas tale she scripted while her recruits enthusiastically danced, lip synced, or sang at certain times. They deserve credit for their quick responses to her cues, considering this was unrehearsed, and they had no idea what was coming.

One person had a few lines to recite from a poem about being wrapped in green plastic and called a tree. For this another fellow stood behind the group and taped pages with lines onto a golf ball retriever, which when called upon he positioned so the tree could read them.

From start to finish, it was great entertainment for all in attendance. Nothing beats a night out with old friends or a chance to meet and make new friends.

Another unforgettable evening of fun.

This is just one way snowbirds who stay north keep themselves entertained during the winter months.

Act our age, isn’t a motto we always live by here. Staying active and having fun is what’s important.

For our fellow-laker’s who are down south right now or those who didn’t attend this potluck, see the fun you missed.

I hope my readers enjoy, Love and Laughter, during the Holiday Season and the Coming New Year. Travellers, stay safe.

Do you have friends you can sometimes be silly with?

Do you sometimes act younger than your age?

A Week Pet Sitting

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Why Are You On The iPad?

Puppy’s are made of short naps, hours of fetch and tug a-war, and the rest of the time is pet me or at least pay attention to me.

Mister and I spent last week pet sitting at our son’s house in the City, while he and his girlfriend went on vacation.

Under our care was Dobby, a nine month Doberman Pincer pup, Chewbacca and Little two felines, and a dwarf hamster.

When looking after Ruben or now Dobby our fur Grand-puppies for longer than a night, Mister and I find it easier if we’re at their homes where they have fenced yards.

In preparation I packed writing assignments, reading, two knitting projects, and had planned to catch up downloading pictures and organizing them during the sort of vacation away from our own chores.

What was I thinking?

I always expect to get more done in a week than is practical and I hadn’t considered the coming distractions.

The first full day on our own I was out of bed before Mister which is normal because that’s when I like to write.

Who would have guessed that Dobby would bark whenever I’d stop paying attention to him and look at my iPad? With Mister still asleep, I tried to keep one hand petting him while the other maneuvered the stylist on the iPad on my lap. That might have worked if not for the unexpected boops causing all kinds of chaos on screen. The puppy won my attention that morning.

By midweek, I had more of a routine. Emails got checked when Mister could play with Dobby, and there was no more barking at my iPad if I tried short sporadic spurts of morning writing.

The kid’s 3 story home also distracted me from time to time. We only used the main floor, an upstairs spare bedroom and two of the four bathrooms, but with carpet and house pets there was vacuuming, dusting, or wiping nose and paw prints, to keep up with.

A quirt of mine is I enjoy house cleaning, I’m not obsessed about it but it can sidetrack me. Give me a sink of warm soapy water and I can spend hours spot washing doors, frames, walls or non-daily areas.

Our kids have never complained that having us house sit often comes with a cleaning bonus. It’s not meant to offend, it’s just what I do when I’m bored or unsettled.

Adjusting to a different TV provider proved frustrating for Mister. Remotes, menus and channels were not what he was familiar with, so he usually gave up searching for shows. Instead, he would find a channel with reruns and we would just watch what ever came on.

There was, On-Demand, Netflix, and the kids left written instructions how to use these but we couldn’t get interested in either. It surprised us to learn how much we watch and depend on our PVR and taped favourites when at home.

Being in the city for a week came with benefits. We got in a couple visits with our nearby daughter, although unfortunately we weren’t able to catch up with the oldest one. I enjoyed a shopping day with my BFF which ended with her husband and Mister meeting us for a enjoyable supper out.

We had a shortened but nice visit with the kid’s when they got home. They had other things to do though, so we got out of their hair and returned to our cottage.

My voice will probably crack from lack of use not saying, good puppy, bad puppy, Dobby don’t chase the cats, no, leave it, go get your toy.

I should have weighed myself prior to staying there. I’m certain I lost weight, not enough but still a positive, due to trips up the stairs and having Dobby judge me if I ate snacks. Because of his watchful eye I didn’t consume a single potato chip during the week, a record for me.

Another misconception was I thought I’d have tons of opportunity and it would take little effort to get great pet pictures for this post. By the time I would grab a device and get a camera App open they would either turn away from me, move into bad lighting, have disappeared, or Dobby would boop the camera resulting in a blurred picture. If I tried to sneak into a different room for a cat’s photo session, Dobby would find us in a flash and send the cats fleeing.

This is one of the few pictures I managed to get of Chewy, the black cat, and Little, the tabby.

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Oh a warning, cats are traders.

We swear the cat dish always had food in it which is how they are use to being feed but they made sure to lick it clean sometime between the last nightly check and the morning when the kids got home, making it look like we neglected them. This after letting them share our bed every night, a treat they don’t get to do with the kids.

When either the son or daughter ask us to look after their animals, if we can, we are glad to do the favour, but we’ll admit we enjoy stays at their places better when they’re there and we can visit them.

What do I appreciate the most about being home?

No puppy has tried to steal my morning cookies, and I can enjoy a full cup of hot coffee without the interruptions of throwing a slobbery rubber toy.

I miss the cute faces and their happiness to see us though, but not enough to make us think of having a full time pet of our own again. Been there, done that.

One more thing, I don’t remember Mister and I wearing so many cloths while away so who does all this dirty laundry we brought home belong to.

I wrote this post with a smile and a fondness of animals.

Do you ever Pet sit?

Do you prefer doing it at your own place or go to the animals home?

What is Retirement?

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Mister and I sometimes get asked, what do you do to fill the days, do we get bored?

No, we don’t get bored often. Sure, some days are quieter than others, but than there’s days like today that seem short.

Today is flying by because, even though it was a weeknight, we were up having fun while playing cards with good friends T & E until 2:30 this morning.

It’s great having the opportunity to do this, knowing we can sleep in which I did until 9:30, and knowing it won’t interfere with projects needing doing. Unlike when working and you only have those precious 2 days, a week, off.

What doesn’t get done today can get done another day.

Hence the clock picture capturing the time it was when I finished my morning coffee, doing emails, and finally went to get dressed.

I skipped lunch because a breakfast cinnamon bun worked for both. There was barely time to vacuum and stroll the yard checking flowerbeds before my 3:00 afternoon coffee break. Smiley face.

Life can be great! Savor the downtime, tomorrow might be busier.

Just thought I’d share this short unscheduled post as I reflect on how enjoyable retirement freedom is.

Retirement is different for everybody but this is a glimpse of ours.

Here is a startling, amazing, somewhat scary, call it what you may, tidbit.

The four of us card players vary in age and without revealing the exact numbers if adding our years on this earth together they approximately total 295.

Are you retired? If not are you counting the days, months or years until it happens?

DIY Game Board Craft Project

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If you enjoy playing board or card games, you might want to try “Jokers”. It’s similar to the game “Sorry” the main difference is you use cards instead of rolling dice.

It’s an easy DIY project. Cardboard, poster board, cloth, plexiglass or wood, are some options you could use to make a board depending on what medium you like to work with. Paint or mark squares or drill or punch holes for game play.

Objects used for player pegs or pieces should be paintable or come in a variety of colors, you need a different one for each player.

Player pegs can be golf tees, cribbage pegs, thinner wood doweling cut to lengths, skewers cut, toothpicks, colored straws, tree twigs, or be imaginative.

Player pieces can be made by cutting thicker doweling into discs, paint tiny rocks, checker pieces, or pennies, use buttons, marbles if you drill indents, the choices are endless.

I enjoy working with wood and drills so no surprise I used plywood to make our game. A board can be specifically for 4, 6, or 8 players, or put a combination or all three on one playing surface. I put the 4 and 6 player versions on the one pictured in this post.

Material’s I used

-2′ foot square of 1/4″ fir plywood

-30 cribbage pegs, 5 for each player

-6 different colours of paint

-clear coat

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Making a Board

As templates, I cut six strips of cardboard with the number of holes needed for each side, and spaced for my pegs. Then I centered and spaced them how I wanted them on the board and made marks. Mister cut the corners off giving the square its shape afterwards.

Sections on the board don’t have to be coloured as long as players pegs or pieces are. I outlined strips to match peg colours though. If drilling holes lines aren’t even necessary but I like to paint.

With projects like this, I paint lines, and apply clear coat before drilling holes, otherwise clear coat drips into holes and you often have to drill again to clear them.

Playing The Game

Objective is be first to get all your pegs from the start cross into your home line.

Played in teams, whether 4, 6, or 8 people.

Shuffle together 3 card decks, including jokers, and deal five cards to everyone. (If 8 players use 4 decks.)

Card Count

You need a King, Queen, Jack or Ace to come out of start spot and begin play. (Jokers work to do this, but I’ll explain their full move later)

Once pegs are on the game part (and you can have more than one in play), a ten card along with Kings, Queens, and Jacks are worth ten.

Ace counts as one.

A Eight card means you always move backwards (which if you are in your start hole moving back means you are close to your home entrance, but you can’t back into home)

Seven card can be split in any forward combination between two of your pegs, (good for moving up in home line)

A Joker can make any one move to take out another players peg, even if your peg is still in the start.

A Players turn

Pick a card from the pile of undealt cards, from your hand lay a card face-up, moving a game piece in accordance to its value. (If you can’t move, maybe you have no pieces out of start yet, a card still must be discarded.)

Basic Rules

You can jump past another players peg but not your own.

Landing on a opposing player’s peg sends them back into their start place.

Landing on your partners peg sends them to the base of their home line.

You need the exact cards to get into and move within home slot and cannot jump a peg.

Once all your pieces are in your home slot, you help your teammates get theirs home.

Rather than making a board there is also a slat style. You can Google or search Pinterest for ideas on that type. Some other names to use when searching this game are, Marbles and Jokers, Jokers and Pegs.

There are lots of internet sites with more detailed game play rules plus strategies.

I hope you enjoy this game as much as we do.

Have you made any of your games?

My Messengers

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Golden Retriever, “Ruben” and Doberman, “Dobby” are helping me wish everyone “HAPPY NEW YEAR”

Ruben, 3 and a half years old, loves poising for pictures and is always willing to send messages, to and for, Grandma.

Dobby, a 7 month old puppy says, “Look Grandma, I’m sitting nice, but I really want to lick the camera.” I guess a sign he just wanted to eat.

Here’s hoping “2017” brings Good Health and Happiness to my readers.

May Wishes Come True, and you Reach Goals you’ve set.

To my Followers and Faithful Readers I also want to say, Thank you.

Your views, likes, comments, and patience while I’m learning the blogging process means a lot. These simple gestures encourage me to keep writing, and hint to what topics are enjoyed the most.

The goal for my blog in “2017” is to continue sharing experiences in hopes to entertain, or inspire readers, and I love connecting with you via comments.

As for personal resolutions, I try not to set myself up for failure, like saying I’ll exercise and lose weight, that one never turns out as planned.

But, here are my Top five “2017” Goals.

1)  I want to visit and Enjoy Family and Friends as much as possible.

2) Appreciate what I have, and don’t dwell on what I don’t. At this point in life the main thing missing is, youth.

3) Continue to live by the Golden Rule. (Do unto others as you would have others do onto you)

4) Worry less, this is always the hardest for me to control. Sometimes, I worry about worrying. 

5) Spend more time doing hobbies that make me happy. (I have so many, I worry about which one to do. See number 4, is a problem.)

Quarter horse, “Nugget,” wanted to send his well wishes too, but he said it was too windy to have that silly paper sign around his neck.

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Do you have animals that put up with photography antics?

Do you make “News Years resolutions” or set yourself goals?