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The Three Things

7 Nov

Tonight I baked two loaves of banana chocolate chip bread, and since I know nothing is believed without proof I’ll pop a picture in here once they are done in the oven. Until then, you’ll just have to believe that my apartment smells amazing. ๐Ÿ˜‰

I really like to bake and yet I’ve hardly done any baking this past year. 2019 has most definitely not been a year of baking for me. When this baking project came up I got excited I’d be baking, which got me wondering why I was so excited, and since I have an hour long commute that gives me plenty of time to think about things…in depth.

The conclusion I came to is that I need three things to align perfectly in order for me to bake:

Time to bake.

Money to buy ingredients.

Energy to bake.

These three things may not seem all that important but this past year has been a perfect example of how with even one of these things missing, baking just isn’t happening. At least in my world.

If I have the money to buy ingredients I most likely don’t have the time to bake because I’m working all the time. If I have time to bake it is probably because I’ve not been working as many hours, which means I can’t afford ingredients. And if by magic I happen to have both time and money I am usually exhausted and don’t have the energy to care about baking.

Those three silly things all of a sudden add up to some annoying results don’t they?

Truthfully, I didn’t really have all three aligning this evening but the baking had to be done this evening because it is for something tomorrow and I gave my word I’d bring it so I had to force two of those three things to fit. Which I mean, fine, this one random time is ok, but I can’t always do that…so maybe I need to change some larger things in my world so those three things can align more often…looks like I have something to ponder on my next commute!

I do after all like to bake, and winter is perfect baking season…not only does it keep my apartment warm but people are more likely to eat what I bake, sweater weather tends to make people more forgiving with their meal plans lol

For now though, I’ll just be content that I got to bake something this evening and I’ll enjoy the warmth of the oven and the smell of the bread while they last.

(apologies for the slide show below, I couldn’t decide which angle I liked best so you’re stuck with all of them lol)

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Christmas Movie Countdown

11 Oct

Since I’m already counting down to Christmas (only 75 days away!) I thought I should buckle down and start watching some Christmas movies. Nothing like getting in the spirit early, am I right?

daddys home 2

Tonight I watched “Daddy’s Home 2” which doesn’t sound like a Christmas movie, but is. Well, it is a movie set at Christmas time, it isn’t just about Christmas.

It’s from 2017, stars Mark Wahlberg (yum), Will Ferrell, Mel Gibson, and John Lithgow. The basic gist is Mark and Will’s characters are co-parenting Mark’s kids since Mark’s ex is now married to Will. They are total opposites, which is where a lot of the comedy comes in from the first movie. Now they have a bit of a system working for them, a faux balance to things, then each of their dads shows up for Christmas and basically screws with that just by being there and being themselves.

There is a lot of macho one upping, random reveals about how people really feel, kids trying and succeeding with getting in to the eggnog and getting drunk, all those classic Christmas tropes.

It is funny, funny enough that I legit laughed out loud a couple times, well, more like snorted in a lady-like kind of way, cause ya know, I’m totally a lady. ๐Ÿ˜‰

Now that I’m watching Christmas movies I should probably start with other Christmas activities, right? I don’t decorate, and people may get a touch upset if I start bringing them Christmas baking before Halloween, so what else is there? There’s no snow so I can’t start a snow ball fight…hmm…I’m thinking I’m just going to have to continue on with my informative (though some would say annoying) Christmas countdown, and keep watching those fun Christmas movies!

So, just so you know, it is:

75 days until Christmas

11 weeks and 1 days until Christmas

1779 hours until Christmas

Don’t you feel more informed now? And not at all annoyed right? Right!

Tuck Visor Review

9 Sep

I bought a thing called a Tuck Visor to help block the sun streaming in through my driver’s side window when I am commuting to and from work. It arrived on the weekend and today was to be the first day trying it out.

Tuck Visor 2

May I present…the…Tuck Visor!

Which means it of course was pouring rain when I woke up, and when I started driving, and for most of my commute. It would appear that fall is well and truly here…it also appears I should invest in rain boots…

Since it was pouring enough rain that there were flooded streets during my morning drive I almost didn’t take them with me, it was predicted to rain all day after all, but I’m lazy and figured if I don’t take them in to my suv now and tuck them away somewhere I’ll forever forget to take them to the suv and who knows how long it will be before I try them.

And yes, that really is how my brain works. shrug.

Good thing I made that choice because by the time I was driving home it was sunny. Well, sort of sunny. That type of sunny where it goes between so sunny you think your eyes will be burned out of their sockets and cloudy with the potential to start raining again at any moment.

I decided to put the Tuck Visor in to place before I started driving, figuring even if it wasn’t sunny enough to really need it, it shouldn’t be in the way, so what was the harm with having it up.

That thing is brilliant! It used a combination of static electricity and being tucked up in to the top edge of the window to keep it in place, it didn’t shift the entire drive, it doesn’t come down any lower than the sun visor when you have it swung to the side, and it blocks sun. What more could a sun avoidant ginger want?

Oh, and it was relatively cheap. Thank you Amazon.ca!

When I first put it in to place I worried about loss of vision out of the window, it is solid black after all. But then I realized it is only blocking the upper part of the window and when I’m looking out of the window I’m not looking at the sky, I’m looking at the road, and traffic, and all that fun stuff, and the Tuck Visor doesn’t block any of that.

One review I read said a negative about it is that you can’t have your window open and use it, which is a valid point. I don’t like driving with my window open so I don’t care about that, but if you like the window open than this won’t be for you.

The pack I bought has two in there, and when not in use I am keeping both in the packaging tucked in a pocket in my suv so they are out of they way and not visible to those who may look in. The ad on Amazon made it seem like it is easy to put in place when driving but I don’t know about that, I used two hands to get it in place which, in case you didn’t do the math, leaves zero hands for the steering wheel. Not a great equation. Maybe positioning gets easier in time?

This is what mine looks like when in place, apologies for the bad picture, I wasn’t willing to climb over the middle console to get farther away from the window to get a better picture, tsk tsk bad blogger.ย  ๐Ÿ˜‰

Tuck Visor

I’ll provide a link to the ones I bought on Amazon.ca…

Click Here!

The company itself does of course have a website, http://www.tuckvisor.com if you want to check them out.

They also have a version that is not solid black, it is a bit see through. It apparently also effectively blocks the sun but I figured I’d rather the solid black one than one that still lets some sun come through. It doesn’t take a lot to burn me so why chance it?

Hopefully this random little invention will be the end to my getting sunburned on my commute to and from work, oh wouldn’t that be nice! ๐Ÿ™‚

 

Battery AND Alternator

14 Aug

So…remember yesterday when I wrote about my SUV breaking down on the side of the highway and how I had to get it towed to the mechanics then go rent a car?

Do you also remember how I was crossing fingers and pleading with the universe the problem would be the battery, a fairly easy and compared to other problems, cheap-ish thing to fix?

Well! The universe decided it was time to come for me and instead of the problem being the battery OR the alternator, it was both, with the serpentine belt thrown in for fun.

Seems the alternator was dying and as part of it’s death dance it took the battery and the serpentine belt with it. Like a double murder and suicide, inside my engine. My alternator was one mean bitch.

On the positive side (because oh boy do I have to try to find one!) the mechanic I go to is amazing and had it fixed by this afternoon so I left work early (which sucks) so I could drive in the rental to the shop, hand over my credit card and have a little cry over all that money being added to my debt (sigh), then leave my suv there so I could drive the rental back to the airport in rush hour, then take public transit back to the shop to finally get my suv.

I left work at 3:15pm and got home around 7:45pm, so ya know, just a minor chunk of my day eaten up. *rolls eyes*

At least by taking the rental car back before 8:30pm I am refunded for one of the two days I booked the car for. Only not right away. Seems they charge you right away, when you pick up the rental, but if you return early and get a refund that can take 2 to 3 days to process. Kinda annoying but I’ll keep an eye on the Visa and make sure the refund goes through.

The cost for all those repairs, in case anyone is curious, is $1485.43. Then add in the car rental which should, once the refund goes through, be somewhere in the mid $90s. Oh, and don’t forget to add in the cost of the tow at $77.

It’s been an expensive 24 hours. ๐Ÿ˜ฆ

piggybank

The mechanic confirmed the battery did last way past the normal length of time, and with all the repairs those three things should be good for, shoot, I can’t remember how many years he said, but a good chunk.

So yeah, now I am even more in debt, but my vehicle is back to working and hopefully thingsย  will calm down a bit. There has been a lot going on the past couple weeks and I could really do with life just settling down a little bit, the stress ball in my stomach would definitely appreciate it lol.

Battery or Alternator

13 Aug

This evening, while driving on Highway 91N my car died. My dashboard all of a sudden gave me zero info, all the orange arrows were down at the bottom left as if the car was off. While going around 80km or so my dash showed I was at a stop. Even though I’d just filled up my gas tank the dash said I was on empty. You get the idea.

I wasn’t sure what to do but figured if I could just match everyone elses speed and get home I’d figure it out there.

Yeah, that didn’t happen. As I rounded a bend my suv decelerated, and that is when I realized I had been keeping up speed only because of momentum (ah science!), the engine wasn’t running.

Crap.

So I pulled over on to the shoulder, turned on the hazards, and realized that I was stranded on the side of a busy highway with no clear plan of how to get out of the situation.

Double crap.

Lucky for me my parents drilled in to me when I started driving to always always always have a current BCAA Membership, if I use it even once in the year it has paid for itself, well, I was definitely going to use it today! I called, got a very nice lady who was patient with me while I tried to figure out how to explain exactly where on the highway I was, and eventually a tow truck was dispatched to me.

While waiting I texted a friend to let her know I’d be missing our Zumba class and she, being the amazing person that she is offered to help. The plan became she would meet me at my mechanic’s shop and drive me to a car rental place, all we needed was for the tow truck to show up.

A tow truck did arrive, with a very attractive driver (yum!), but he was not my tow truck, sigh. A municipal city employee saw me on the side of the road and called it in and the tow truck was dispatched to see what was going on. He offered to tow me up the road to a truck pull off but I was worried if I was moved anywhere the tow truck I was actually waiting for would never find me, so I said I’d stay where I was. We had a lovely little chat, he took a look at the engine, had me try to turn it on so he could hear what it sounded like, then suggested he try boosting the battery.

Turns out vehicle batteries have an approximate 3 to 4 year life span and mine is coming up to 10 years old. Oops? Although, gotta say, props to the battery for lasting so long!

Anyways, back to the story, he boosted the battery, and the suv started! Yay! He said to drive it to my mechanic, do not for any reason turn the engine off, and I should be able to get to my destination. He leaves and I call BCAA to cancel my request for a tow truck. Only, I’m still navigating the stupid automated system when the suv died. Again.

My inexperienced self is guessing it died because instead of driving once it got started again I sat there idling so as to avoid the ticket I would surely get if I phoned BCAA while driving.

Safety killed my shot at getting home unaided by a tow truck. Stupid safety.

I say stupid safety because my BCAA plan only covered the cost of 5km worth of towing, after that it is stupidly expensive. How stupidly expensive you ask?

$77.09 worth of stupid.

Ugh.

The tow truck driver dropped the suv and I off at my mechanics shop, it was of course closed, and I did the classic write a note and attach it to my car keys and toss them in the mail slot thing.

All this time my friend had been googling trying to find a rental car for me because my phone was nearly dead and I couldn’t search myself. The only places open to rent a vehicle were airport locations so she drove to the airport while I called Budget to confirm they really did have cars at the airport because the website kept changing car availability when we checked.

The guy I spoke to was so hard to understand, and not clear on what he was telling me, but luckily I had the basic info I needed from the website, so I pre-paid for a vehicle and we went to the Budget Rental desk at the airport.

The guy at the actual location was so nice! I told him I needed some clarification on things because the guy I spoke to on the phone was very confusing and hard to understand and he immediately agreed he most likely had been since my order had my first name spelled wrong, and it isn’t a hard to spell name! I got my questions answered, once again swiped my poor Visa card, and became in possession of a car so small I’m not convinced it isn’t a toy. I drove home in a Honda Fit.

honda fit

So. Small.

And yes I know I am being spoiled and all woe is me when I should be grateful to be able to get a rental at all. And I am grateful! I am. I’m just also tired, and drove home is something that made me feel like I could be squished on to the road. And I’m freaking out about how much all this is going to cost because the rental cost $180 and gets me the car until Thursday 8:30pm and by then I’ll either be able to return it and will be dealing with a bill from the mechanic or I’ll need to extend the rental because repairs are going to take even longer, and probably cost even more, and well yeah, stress. Money stress sucks.

The first tow truck driver thought it was the battery, which if it is, would be the cheaper fix. The second tow truck driver thought it was the alternator, which is apparently a very expensive thing to fix and if that gets worked on I should also get the battery replaced, so double whammy.

Guess which one I hope is right? ๐Ÿ˜‰

Please be the battery. Please be the battery. Pleeeeeeease be the battery!

please

Ninja Squirrel

16 Jun

The other day I encountered a Ninja Squirrel. Now, maybe what I saw is normal in the world of squirrels but it sure didn’t seem like it to me!…though, when I think about it, I suppose the only thing I know about squirrels is they are cute, so not exactly a font of squirrel knowledge over here lol

I came around the side of the house, heard a scrabbling noise, looked up, and saw a squirrel running along the side of the house. Not on an awning or ledge or anything, just on the wall, like how Spiderman climbs buildings, only noisier and with less spandex. ๐Ÿ˜‰

spiderman

Picture a squirrel doing this, only going length wise instead of up.

So there is this squirrel, running along the length of the wall and I’m worried he is going to fall and hurt himself so I stop and watch, I suppose thinking he needs a witness to his death, or maybe I can catch him when he falls…which yes, I know, bad idea!

Ninja Squirrel gets close to the end of the wall and I’m relieved thinking he will go around to the front, get to the porch, and safely go on his way. Well, apparently that is not what the squirrel was thinking because he turned around and started coming back along the length of the wall. Up high, so so high. He stopped at an upper window, didn’t go on the window ledge for a moment of respite, just snuck a peek through the window like a not so subtle spy. Guess he didn’t see anything he liked because he turned around and started retracing his path. By this point I finally got my act together and was reaching for my phone to take some video because this was definitely something to be shown to friends and what does he do?

Gives me heart palpitations is what he does! The little brat leaps, leaps like he has a death wish, free falls through the air, and actually manages to land on the top of the fence.

How? How did he do that? It was crazy to see!

When he landed he didn’t even take a moment to have a deep breath, or consider the magical feat he just accomplished, or take a bow, he just scampered off like this was all just one more day in his awesome Ninja life.

Is this what squirrels are doing when we are at work all day? Scaling walls to look in our windows then flying through the air as part of their escape plan? I wonder if he comes to the windows to annoy the cats…

ninja squirrel

I think my neighbourhood Ninja Squirrel needs a new outfit.

When I’m Old

25 Apr

How will you move when you’re old? How will you get in to bed? Or out of it? How will you maneuver around your home, your yard, your neighbourhood? What habits do you have now that you’ll have to change in order to be safe?

Do you ever think about things like that? I do.

I often joke that I’ll be that person who dies alone in their apartment from a totally preventable fall and is nibbled on by their cat before being found a week later. It sounds ghoulish and stupid, but is a thing that could happen.

I’m lazy, and used to being tall and able to reach just that little bit more so I can grab something I need. Which means, instead of walking around an obstacle to get what I want, I lean over it. Leaning to the point where I’m on tiptoes on one foot, while the other leg is kicked out behind me to balance out how far forward I am leaning and I’ve got one arm stretched out in the hopes I can reach with my fingertips what it is I’m after. If I try this when I’m old for sure I will topple over and if not die, get injured.

My thinking right now is I’m capable, so who cares? Except, what if I don’t recognize in myself the signs that signify change, that will make that maneuver unsafe? What if I don’t notice my balance isn’t as good, or my core strength, or my ability to stand on one foot? Maybe I won’t be acknowledging to myself how I am more prone to injury, or that my arm can’t stretch as far as it used to, or that the strength in my arm might not be good enough to pick up that item I want. There are a lot of things that change within our bodies as we age, some changes happen slowly and we either adjust without realizing or don’t realize the changes, don’t adjust, and then harshly get confronted with our decreasing ability when we have a fall.

It is so much easier to see the changes in others, and so incredibly easy to ignore the signs in ourselves.

It might seem obvious to you that a man in his late 80’s shouldn’t be walking a distance that leaves him shaky, weak and sweaty, to run a couple errands when he could easily have those items delivered. But to him, being able to make that walk, run those errands, is proof that he isn’t as old as the years say, he is still capable of taking care of his wife and himself, he has usefulness.

In our bullheadedness to prove we are useful, and not old, we make stupid decisions, refuse to make lifestyle changes, all to prove to ourselves and others we what? Have value? Are independent? Are capable?

Society takes away so many things from our seniors that we grow up thinking are markers of entering adulthood. Their drivers licence, living in their own home, making medical decisions, cooking, working. And sure, some of those things might not seem like a big deal to give up, I mean c’mon, who really wants to be cooking everyday? Not me! But if all of a sudden my microwave and toaster were taken away and my cook top was disconnected, so I can’t cook, even if it is for my safety, how will that affect my self-worth?

Just to be clear, I’m not saying things like licenses, and living alone, and solo medical decisions, are things that shouldn’t be changed. Eventually we all become unsafe drivers (some much sooner than others lol), we all become unsafe living without some level of care, we can become isolated and depressed from being alone so much (do you know how many seniors are isolated and depressed? A lot! Go visit your grandparents people!).

I thought, because I work with seniors, I already knew all this and I dunno, was aware? But oddly enough, I saw a series on YouTube by The Try Guys about becoming old that made me think about aging in a more specific, how will I be physically affected, kind of way.

There are four videos in the series, I recommend the first and the third. By wearing a special outfit they physically feel what it is like to be old, their range of motion is decreased, their stamina is lower, a bunch of things are affected, and they try to go through their regular day like this. It showed how grocery shopping, baking, exercising, simple walking, all these things are harder, and in ways I hadn’t really thought of.

Did you know your arm won’t reach as far up as it does now, so getting things from the top shelf at the grocery store will be difficult? Even though I have contact with seniors on a regular basis, I never put that together in my brain. Sure I know their range of motion for arms is less than mine, but in how many simple day-to-day tasks does that affect them? A whole bunch more than I ever thought of I bet.

The videos got me questioning things but it all culminated in my head when I was getting in to bed one night. I like a high bed, I climb in to my bed, one arm holding a hot water bottle, the other holding my iPad or a book or the cat, so I put one knee on the bed, and climb on to my bed with no arms keeping me balanced or providing aid. And remember, I like a tall bed, so I’m going up on to a bed, not down or level with where my knees are when I’m standing. I do this, every night, without thinking. Just sorta climb up in to bed, then scoot around, get comfy, and pull the blankets up.

One day I won’t be able to do that. Hell, one day I’ll have to acknowledge it is unsafe for me to be in a high bed and get a lower one, and the only way I’ll be able to get in to it is by sitting on the edge and slowly swinging my legs up on to the bed. The entire way I get in to bed will have to change to accommodate my aging body. It might seem a silly thing to be contemplating, how getting in to bed will change for me, but it is one small thing that will be part of a larger amount of life changes I will have to make.

I’ll probably have to change the style of living room furniture I have, I have a low chair but I’ll need to invest in higher ones, I’ll have to have less items in my little hallway so it can be clear of any hazards, I’ll have to have more lights because my vision won’t be as good, I’ll have to stop leaning over things to reach items, I’ll have to leave outlets exposed instead of hidden behind furniture, there’ll have to be fewer cat toys lying around waiting to trip me up.

All these things are silly I suppose, but they have been occupying my mind lately, the changes I will have to make to accommodate my body as it ages and becomes less physically able to do the things I want it to. I wonder, will I be the person who acknowledges the changes I have to make and adapt to them willingly, or will I be the person who insists on doing things I shouldn’t be doing anymore to try to prove I still can when in reality I’m just putting myself in unsafe situations? I think I’ll probably be a mixture, adapt well to some changes but poorly to others.

To think, all this introspection because of some YouTube videos! I should be more careful what I watch lolย  I’ve linked to the two videos I’m talking about just below this sentence, in case you want to risk watching them. ๐Ÿ™‚

 

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