Noticeable Tan Lines

It’s pretty rare to see tan lines on me, especially ones as noticeable as right now.

I really, don’t like to be hot, so I usually hide in the shade not bask in the sun.

If you’ve noticed I haven’t posted lately it’s because for weeks now I’ve been spending hours and hours a day getting nicks, cuts, and slivers while working on my tan lines.

The feel good part is we finally got a big, to-do, checked off our list.

We removed the vertical deck boards from our under stair storage area and from around our back deck.

I actually like putting up vinyl siding, and I’ve worked with it a lot. Mister on the other hand doesn’t enjoy it, so this job was mostly mine after he got the frame work all up to parr. An arrangement that worked for both of us.

The areas aren’t very big so why did it take a few weeks to complete?

For days we could only work between severe rain storms. This meant bring the saw and equipment outside, then put it back inside, bring it out…

Then of course the daily severe heat warnings arrived. Which meant lots of water and shade breaks.

There was a ton of corners, angles, and trim work to do. Measure, cut, notch, and repeat over and over. Add my mild OCD, and this part took time.

Then of course regular life like eating, laundry, cutting lawns, cleaning house, etc. still used daylight too. It wasn’t all work every day straight either. There was some day trips for supplies and a few visits with family. We even got the boat cleaned, launched and got a few rides in.

It might have been interesting if I actually kept track of the hours I worked, but than maybe I don’t want to know that I work slower as I age.

I tried to think of a helpful hint or tip to share to make this post more interesting, but I couldn’t come up with anything.

If you don’t follow my facebook page I’ve also brought new life to our old table since my last post. The old oak look is now stained navy.

 

Do projects seem to take you longer to do than they use to?

Do you like to hang out in the sun or do you search for shade?

 

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.

How Far is Far Enough?

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Do you have a limit as to “how far away” from your home is “far enough” for a hotel or motel stay?

We don’t. Okay, maybe fifteen minutes away might be too close, and it probably matters that we live out of town.

Even with the above view out our window, Mister and I still enjoy getting-away. Long distance trips don’t happen as often for us anymore, but we take a few short jaunts every year.

This post was triggered by our recent venture which is a popular one for us. It’s roughly an hour and a half drive from our home.

Have you or would you stay in a Hotel or Motel that’s near where you live?

I can’t speak for Mister, but what I enjoy most about these little trips is they are usually in a city, and are often closer to family or friends.

It has been 38 years since I’ve lived in a city with everyday conveniences within walking distance.

I loved living in the country with horses out our back door, and here at the golf and lake resort. But, I was born and raised in a city, and I kind of miss that way of life too. Maybe it’s just that “grass is greener on the other side” thing, but living in a smaller city or town remains on my bucket list.

If a “staycation” is when you vacation at home, is there a name for when you stay in the same city as you live or somewhere super close?

In the beginning years of marriage when our kids were young and we lived in the country, a 30-60 minute drive to one of the nearby cities was sometimes our vacation. (Guess what word I first typed at the end of that sentence? Check out my “Holiday or Vacation” post for an explanation.)

When our youngest was about a year and a half old Mister started travelling more and more with his job. The kids and I would go with him as often as we could.

They were (still are) great travellers. It never bothered them to sleep in a different place every night. They never whined about time spent in a vehicle, even if the day was 8-12 hours on the road.

Most of these trips were before in vehicle DVD players, handheld tablets, or cell phones. They would pack books, travel games, and a few toys each for entertainment, or just watch the scenery. Eventually, Walkmans and a few handheld electronic games, plus Gameboy, came out. Books remained one of their favourites along with listening to their own music.

A part of what we loved about these trips with Mister working his way across provinces and states meant we visited a lot of little towns. We’ve traveled many main routes, country roads, and back highways through areas most tourists don’t visit.

If Mister expected his business stop was going to be lengthy he would drop us off to explore shopping areas, playgrounds, parks, main-streets or wherever we thought looked interesting. This part of our life started before people had cell phones. We had to wear watches and coordinate pick-up places and times.

I remember when Mister got a pager, and how when it went off we all had to watch for a phone booth while he drove.

Do you remember the days before things like, “text when you are on your way”

Feeling Guilty

After sharing the posts, “Roses Take a Back Seat, and Fresh Growth,” I feel it only fair to show my starkest flowerbed. Taking this picture made me realize even calling it a flowerbed is an exaggeration.

Out of nine planted beds, this one in our back yard is a struggle, a work in progress, an embarrassment. This is a current picture (not this spring), and I have fertilized twice this season.

Over-the years I’ve planted many different things here and just can’t find anything that will thrive or often survive the winter. It use to be mainly in the shade because of a large tree outside our yard, but that was taken down last fall. Now, the bed gets morning and early afternoon sun. Maybe, I will have to switch varieties. I prefer flowers that come back ever year (perennials), but I have also tried annuals here.

The bush seems to have thousands of surface roots, so the ground hasn’t been worked up good for years, which I’m beginning to think is the main issue.

It could also be the resident bunny who usually hides out under the bush, but didn’t show up on picture day. Many of the flowers I’ve tried seem to end up as bunny snacks.

Do you have a planted area that grows better or worse than another?

What is your favourite hardy flowering plant?

Roses Take a Back Seat

It’s not often the popular “Rose” gets out shone, and there’s not always so much red in this flowerbed.

Our Tiger-Lilies bloomed later this year than most. Usually, they are in full colour while the rose bush is still budding. A spell of wetter conditions and less sunshine has them competing this year.

These Tigers are way ahead in getting attention and comments. People even stop to take pictures.

I don’t consider myself having a green thumb, but I can grow things and rarely kill a plant. These Tigers must just love their location, because they get big and bushy like this every year. I have a couple of the exact ones in a back flowerbed which are not near the size of these two.

There is one thing about the pictured bed that keeps me scratching my head though. In the little over ten years the Rose has been planted there I can’t seem to convince it it’s a bush, and that it could be taller then a foot. This year it’s even creeping sideways.

If anyone has ideas, please let me know. I’ve tried spring pruning or not, neither made a difference. Maybe, I should search it out, maybe it’s not suppose to be a bush.

Which flower caught your attention at first glance?

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?

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?

Sailing, Boat Names, and Seven Dwarfs

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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.

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“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?

Flowerbeds and Spring

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The Goal

The snow has melted and uncovered pitiful flowerbeds. Filled with last summers dead stalks, dead annuals and fallen leaves which act as cold weather insulation for roots and bulbs. I don’t prune perennial’s in the fall, because my mother believed not doing that keeps frost from going down the steams and damaging roots. She taught me most of what I know so, of course, I honor and garden by her rules.

Here’s another tip of hers that I’m certain has no real merit, yet it makes me smile and I still follow it, “Don’t water your plants at night”. She would add, “Do you like to go to bed with wet feet?”

Last Tuesday the beautiful spring day enticed my cleanup to begin.

A lack of this type of activity during the winter decreases my stamina for being bent over picking up leaves and pruning plants so after 3 hrs my back screamed, enough for one day.

It took three heaping wheelbarrows to get 4 out of 8 flowerbeds cleaned out. One more bed than planed because why walk a half full wheelbarrow to the compost bin.

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2 Back Corner Beds Before Clean-up

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After Clean-up

I miss the days when I could complete all my yard-work in one shot. Maintenance free landscaping sounds more appealing each year. I can picture graveled beds with large placed boulders, unique driftwood and waving sea grasses, but I know I’d miss the colorful blossoms come summer.

Wednesday morning, I struggled out of bed. My back hadn’t forgiven me and using a very technical term, my bend-over-butt and leg muscles also expressed great displeasure with yesterday’s activities.

With coffee in hand I sat in my recliner regretting, again like every year, my gung-ho approach for that first-day of yard-work.

Why can’t I learn to space it out, do one flowerbed to start or at least in the weeks ahead prepare my body by stretching and maybe exercising those dormant muscles? As I blow my nose, probably from all the dust and pollen stuff I disturbed the day before, I know the answers.

  • I enjoy being active but devoting time to actually exercising has never been something I can stick with for more than a few consecutive days.
  • Weeding is a chore I dread doing. I’m not one who says, “Oh, I love to putts in flowerbeds.” For me, it can’t end fast enough. Sometimes, I wonder what I’m missing that makes me not find the so-called pleasure in gardening.

Mister’s pride shows in how he takes care of our lawns. He may grumble once in a while about how quick it grows, but that’s because he keeps fertilizing it. They are still too wet for his work to start.

The flowerbeds are mine to tend. I wouldn’t consider myself having a green thumb but plants grow and blossom. I do the necessary things, I fertilize, water, weed and prune. The problem is I’d rather do just about anything else.

If you’re a returning reader you’ve heard me mention before,

I’m a winter girl.

I have indoor plants that bloom all year and I don’t have to kill my back, sweat, get sun burned, or swat mosquitos while tending them.

Okay, I’ve whined enough.

Attitude changes everything. It’s time for me to practice what I preach. Find the positives.

I’m grateful I woke and could get out of bed, many don’t or can’t.

I’m grateful for sunny days even though the snow is gone.

I’m grateful to have a yard and yes maybe even the demanding flowerbeds.

Most of all, I’m grateful for every extra day with Mister, family and friends.

Once the season gets into full swing, every morning like other years, I’ll be checking flowerbeds anxiously watching things grow.

Do you have a least favorite outside chore?

Do you enjoy gardening and have a green-thumb?

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?