Get the feed in a reader!Get updates by email!Get updates by email!


Urban Leaving to Country Living

Wednesday HodgePodge 03Jan18


 photo hodgepodge-button_zps0qi9h9lg.png

Joyce over at From This Side of the Pond hosts a weekly hodepodge of questions.

I was sick yesterday so didn’t read my email with the HodgePodge questions until noon today. So I’m w-a-y- down the list of participants again, but here goes!


1. It’s that time of year again…time for Lake Superior University to present a list of words (or phrases) they’d like to see banished (for over-use, misuse, or general uselessness) in 2018. You can read more about the decision making process and word meaning here, but this year’s top vote getters are-

unpack, dish (as in dish out the latest rumor), pre-owned, onboarding/offboarding, nothingburger, let that sink in, let me ask you this, impactful, Cofefe, drill down, fake news, hot water heater (hot water doesn’t need to be heated), and gig economy

Which of these words/phrases would you most like to see banished from everyday speech and why? Is there a word not on the list you’d like to add?

I was puzzled to see unpack on this list but it’s referring to its misuse as a verb that should be analyze, consider, assess, and so on. That I can agree with.

The word I’d most like to see gone is impactful, as the panel says: “A frivolous word groping for something ‘effective’ or ‘influential.’” It seems to me to be just bad grammar.

And, yes, while we’re talking about this, I’ll tell you my pet peeve and hope that I don’t mortally offend anyone. In the last couple of years, I’ve seen (heard) that the word “died” has died an unnatural death in the English speaking world. A decade ago, someone would have died, or passed away, or even passed over, but now people only “pass”. I’m always tempted (very irreverently & probably offensively) to ask, “Pass wind?” Please, people, death is neither pleasant nor natural nor anything but grief-inducing, but it is what it is. Using that, may I say ‘trendy’, euphemism doesn’t alter the facts.


2. What’s something you need to get rid of in the new year?

I need to get rid of this house. I feel rather ill saying that. I love this property, I love this house, I love the village 6km down the road, but we need to be able to make decisions about retirement and we can’t be anchored here by a piece of real estate.


3. Where do you feel stuck?

I feel stuck in winter, as odd as that sounds. The cold makes it impossible to do work outside that needs to be done, both in the garden and on the buildings, and it makes it difficult to work in the unheated barn to sort and dispose there.


4. January is National Soup Month. When did you last have a bowl of soup? Was it made from scratch or from a can? Your favorite canned soup? Your favorite soup to make from scratch on a cold winter’s day?

I can’t remember the last time I had a bowl of soup and it was probably canned.

I guess one thing that winter is good for is soup-making and eating.

A friend gave me a big bag of freshly harvested carrots a couple of weeks ago and I have been roasting them for suppers. I think tomorrow would be a good day to make a pot of carrot soup. Usually, I make split pea.

5. Tell us one thing you’re looking forward to in 2018.

Finding out more about what the future holds for us! Where will we end up? By the end of this year, we should have the answers to a number of variables (when will the house sell? How much will it sell for? Where will our grandchildren be? Etc.) and should be narrowing in on our path for the next few years.


 photo brule 2nd storage_zps7zjiqvlq.jpg
6. Insert your own random thought here.

We laid the ceramic tile in the upstairs bathroom last week. Note the scraps of old dark wallpaper that the previous owners had covered with a high baseboard.

I’m so eager to get with on the rest of the reno in there!


Have you an opinion about any of these? Have I any readers left after question #1?

posted under Just Me | 14 Comments »

Wednesday Hodgepodge


 photo hodgepodge-button_zps0qi9h9lg.png

Joyce over at From This Side of the Pond hosts a weekly hodepodge of questions. This week’s questions piqued my interest.


1. ‘Hurry less, worry less’…what’s your strategy for making that happen this holiday season? How’s it going so far?

This one is easy. Since we don’t celebrate any holidays, there’s no more or no less to do than at any other time of the year. It’s working well, and has for the last 30 years.


Honey-Do List photo honey do list 250_zpswg0v6qu1.jpg2. Do you have a list of to-dos that need accomplishing in order to prepare your home and/or property for the winter season? What are some of the jobs on your list? Are you a do-it-yourself or do you hire someone to accomplish these tasks?

Not to prepare for the winter season, but to prepare for selling our house next year. There’s a list a mile long: strip & paint two bathrooms; replace counter, sinks, toilet; take up the old carpet on the stairs; sand & paint the stairs & lay new runner; clean the barn; and so on and so on. Lots of these I’m doing myself but we’re hiring some help: to trim the trees and carry the brush away; to put a door on the basement stairs; to clean up Bill’s to-do list that just seems to keep growing since he works full-time – including four hours commuting 4 days each week. By weekend, when he also has other responsibilities, he’s toast. I’m so happy to have found someone to clean this up for him.


3. According to dietitians surveyed, the most popular health foods for 2018 will be -turmeric, sprouted foods (bean sprouts, breads with sprouted grains, etc), veggies in place of grains, dairy free milk, and pulses (lentils, chickpeas, etc). What’s the first thought that ran through your head when you read this list? Of the foods listed which one might you add to your regular diet? Also, can milk really be dairy free? Is it still milk?

Thoughts: I’ll have to be sure to use up that turmeric tea in the cupboard; I’ve just collected the equipment for sprouting beans and alfalfa – darn! Does this make ‘trendy’? Yuck!; we already stock almond ‘milk’ for our grandson and I much prefer it for my smoothies; and now I can serve lentil soup and hummus with a ‘clean conscience’.

‘Milk’ is just semantics.


Welch's Can photo welchs can_zpsmabku8tl.jpg4. The Pantone Color of the Year for 2018 is Ultra Violet. According to the Pantone site ‘Ultra Violet communicates originality, ingenuity, and visionary thinking pointing us to the future.’ What say you? Do you like the color purple? Did you see the movie or read the book-ha!? Is purple a color you wear often? Describe for us one purple item in your home without using the word purple. If you were in charge of such things what color would you select for 2018?

I like purple, but this ‘Ultra Violet’ is a little too purple for me. I mean, what are we supposed to do with that?

When I was a teen, I decorated my entire bedroom in shades of purple. That’s where the only purple item that I can think of in the house now is from: an old metal Welch’s grape juice can (it’s sold in cardboard now) that I use on my desk. How to describe it? Easy: grapey.

If I was in charge? I really don’t know – maybe a sage green. I think the world needs soothing right now.


The One and Only Ivan photo one and only ivan_zpsjzceje9s.jpg5. Favorite book you read this year?

I had a few 5 star books this year, but the one that is most memorable for me is The One and Only Ivan by Katherine Applegate. It’s a middle grade book, based on a true story about a gorilla that spent decades alone in a cage in a mall in the southern USA. It’s haunting.


6. Insert your own random thought here.

This is the first time I’ve participated in Wednesday Hodgepodge. I can’t promise I’ll be in every week, but maybe now and then.


posted under Just Me | 10 Comments »

Taking a Break


Life is overwhelming me.

Since my surgery (spinal fusion) in September 2015, I have been trying to regain the cleanliness and order in my life that I had been gradually losing over the ten years previous.

too much stuff 95 photo 60c7d882-c5a9-40e1-905a-68345450f8aa_zpsivyjchif.jpg

Add to life in general, the sorting of not only the things I brought back from my mother’s house in 2014, but the items we took out of Bill’s mom’s house a year ago when Ma went to a nursing home and the house she had lived in since 1955 was sold.

Add to that the fact that we are embarking on an extensive reno of our house to prepare for sale when Bill retires in three years, and that we are going to visit friends in Ecuador for a couple of weeks in the new year and I have to learn a least a little bit more Spanish than how to order two beers, and life is overwhelming me.

How, I asked myself, did I ever manage when I worked full-time? And what am I spending my time on now? The answer lies largely in the Internet. It wasn’t there before. And now I spend lots and lots of time reading book blogs and commenting, and posting to, and following up comments on, Exurbanis.

Taking a Break 300 photo acfaf7cd-3aa2-4477-a38a-aabf693a6cb4_zps2hfsnxzq.png

So I’ve decided to take a digital break. I’m not going to post to this blog except for the exceptions noted below. I’m not going to read other book blogs and I’m not going to comment. I’m not going to spend time on Facebook, Twitter, or other social media.

I am going to clean and sort and paint. I’m going to clear up backlogged projects, including my “Books Read” record, so you will see those posts as I get them done up (and I will gratefully read all your comments although I may not be able to respond). But other than that, my computer time is going to be severely limited.

 photo 4a58718d-ce92-4980-8cc8-9acbc7b15d45_zpsi66vyhtj.pngI’ll miss you all but please know that my silence isn’t because I don’t love you all. I just need to get my sane world back. I hope to be back by the time summer comes again to Nova Scotia.

posted under Just Me | 20 Comments »

The Daylilies are in Bloom Again


(Does anyone remember Katherine Hepburn’s famous line in Stage Door, 1937: “The calla lilies are in bloom again.”)?

When we moved here, there were several daylily plantings that have all thrived and grown. They really need to be divided this fall!

daylilies photo 2016-07-24 daylilies 2 400_zpss6aofcbp.jpg

A sea of colour. Unlike many parts of the country (I’m thinking of you, Ontario) we had lots of rain and cool weather in June so the garden is somewhat lush.

daylilies with bench photo 2016-07-24 daylilies w bench 400_zpsryhlv7rb.jpg

A sunny spot to sit for a minute.


ANYBODY OUT THERE? . . .there . . . there . . .


I have been absent from my blog for many, many, many months although I have been trying to keep current in the blogosphere, reading your posts and sometimes (alas, infrequently) commenting on them.

I had been keeping myself from a presence here until I could get all of my books records up to date but they are getting so far behind now that the thought is overwhelming (although I do still intend to finish them up) and I’ve decided to break radio silence and start posting again without meeting that goal first.

 photo keep calm Im back_zps57sj0bvz.png

So, this is just to notify you that I will be turning up in your readers and inboxes again, if there are any of you still out there. I won’t be posting every day, or maybe not even every week, but I’d like to at least make your acquaintance again.

SAD TIMES or Why I’ve Fallen of the Face of the (Blogging) Earth


Okay, so I was never the most regular of bloggers and I was way behind in 2013, just giving you my monthly reading summaries.
It was July when I posted “Books Read in May”.
It was October before I posted “Books Read in June”.
But I was this close to posting July’s books in November – and truly, really, catching up before the year-end.

And then my mother died. Very suddenly, very unexpectedly. If you’ve lost your mom, you know what a life-changing event this is. It’s like losing the solid ground you’re standing on. And , for good or for bad, we will all go through it.

 photo rug-pulled-out-warning_zps2b8c6dd2.jpg

To add to my unmooring, I became responsible for sorting through Mom’s things, a task that took five months half a continent away from my husband, my friends, and my home.

And while I was gone, we lost both of our dogs. One, to old age: an expected ‘put-to-rest’, but the other to an agonizing death due to a cancerous tumour on his spleen that burst at the worst possible time to obtain veterinary help.

Thus, I’ve reeled through the past seven months. And, it may seem, I’ve fallen off the face of the earth.

It’s very possible that no one out there cares, but I’ve come to rely on my blog as my personal record of books read. So for my benefit, if for NO one else’s, I’ll be posting throughout the next few weeks to at least catch up last year’s reading record.

It’s part of rebuilding the ground under my feet.

Saturday Snapshot: Baby Quilt


My new grandbaby is due to arrive this weekend and I’m having a hard time being patient.

This is the quilt I made for them: machine-quilted, but it’s the first pieced quilt I’ve ever made – and some of the first sewing in 25 years.

baby quilt photo babyquilt002450_zpsed8c8df2.jpg

I really had no idea how to properly piece a quilt, but last year I saw a quilting frame in my neighbour’s front room when I stopped to buy some fresh eggs. So I did what I never would have had the nerve to do in the city: I phoned her and asked for help.

She and her daughter invited me to their home and spent a morning teaching and helping me with this project. I will be forever grateful for country neighbours!

Saturday Snapshot is hosted by Alyce of At Home With Books.

Add to Technorati Favorites

Who Wants Mail?


The month is nearly over and I almost missed it!

snail mail photo snail_mail_zpsbcf4e964.gifThe United States Postal Service has named April to be National Card and Letter-Writing Month. The USPS’s goal is to boost written—and mailed—communications to build relationships through cards and letters. “Touch them with a letter they can feel – and keep,” they say.

Maya Angelou is widely attributed with saying, “I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”

How long has it been since you’ve received a real card or letter in the mail? Snail mail? Probably far too long. But if it’s recent enough to recall, perhaps you can remember that it did indeed ‘touch you’.
Wouldn’t you like to make someone else feel that way? Maya says they’ll never forget it.

I’ve said before: I love mail. While the USPS’s goal of increasing snail mail is admittedly self-serving, I endorse it whole-heartedly. Here’s what I want to say:

 photo TheRodgerssign225_zpse22a0b36.jpg1. Stop right now and think of someone in your life who needs to be appreciated. Send him or her a card or letter today.

Say thank-you, say I love you, say I’m thinking of you, I miss you, get well, happy anniversary, I appreciate you, I’m sorry, welcome to the neighbourhood, have a good trip, good work, it was nice to meet you . . .you get the picture. Just say something and get it in the mail!

2. No matter where you are in the world (I want to take mail-sending international), if you’d like to get some snail mail yourself, just send an email (the irony is not lost on me) to debbie at Exurbanis (dot) com and give me your name and snail mail address. I’d love to send you a note to say ‘hi’.



I have a confession to make: for the past few months, I have had a growing creature on the corner of my desk. It was my INBOX.

In the dark days of winter when I couldn’t face making decisions, everything went into my INBOX – for the “next” time I was at my desk; I would deal with it then.

It started out so innocently (4 years ago) like this:
 photo InBoxMar13emptybox450_zpsc8720905.jpg
(It was in better shape then.)

But the pile outgrew the box and reached the point where it couldn’t support itself. So I put it in this:
 photo InBoxMar13smallampmiddle450_zps111e1c99.jpg
(See how nicely it fits!)

Alas, even that didn’t last and I had to find another box:
 photo InBoxMar13bigampmiddle450_zpsd2d00627.jpg
(See all the room around the red box? That’s extra space for “stuff!”

No question about it: my INBOX was threatening to physically take over my office, as well as burdening me with lots and lots of guilt. Mind you, I have a number of other baskets to cull, but they’re project files, not current items that keep me awake at night.
 photo InBoxMar13A450_zps9b44143c.jpg
(This is “BEFORE”.)

I don’t know how she did it but my favourite organizing guru, Jen Hofmann at Inspired Home Office, threw me a life-preserver last week, in the form of her monthly newsletter, Juicy Gems. The subject line read: What to do with the baby elephant on your desk.

Jennifer wrote that newsletter especially for me; I know she did. So, I listened to her advice. It was brilliant!

I had my husband carry the box down to the dining room table, and I dumped it out upside down (one of Jen’s tactics). I spent many 5 minutes periods over the next couple of days standing (another two of Jen’s tips) at the table, sorting.

I pushed anything paper that was no longer relevant down to the edge of the table where my husband picked it up each time he walked past to go to the basement to feed the wood furnace. (Yet one more of Jennifer’s hints – not that the paper be burned, but that disposal be easy).

When I got to the bottom of my pile, I had several smaller piles that I knew exactly what to do with: file, return to shelf, put away in drawers, and so on. This was all in my INBOX – and probably half again as much paper but Bill took it away too fast to be photographed.
 photo InBoxMar13netcontents450_zps629d3738.jpg

AND I have new INBOX:
 photo InBoxMar13endresult450_zps5ea8ad0e.jpg
(This is “AFTER”.)

I know it still looks like a lot to do, but it works for me. And I’m so proud that I just had to share it.

SO – what’s the state of your inbox? As bad as mine was? Worse?

posted under Just Me | 10 Comments »
Every little bit of kindness is appreciated
Other Amount:
Your Email Address: