I think it's safe to say that Spring has finally come to the west coast of Newfoundland. Although temperatures are still cool, the crocus are blooming, tulips are showing their buds and the snow is gone. (It may still make an attempt to fall from our northern sky, but winter has been beaten.)
Jack and Buddah in the garden. It's not green out there yet, but there's no snow!
A spring has also returned to my step. I made my last visit to the surgeon last week, and my wrist is fully healed. I still have to work on gaining full flexion, but I'm back to just automatically using my left hand. AND this morning, I was able to wear my rings again. Hurrah!
Now the excitement is setting in for my upcoming trip south for my daughter's destination wedding. I've never been to a sunny clime, much preferring Europe's old churches, museums and the sort. But the idea of sitting under an umbrella at the beach reading and sipping something cold is extremely exciting, especially when in the company of my three daughters and the happy wedding guests. And, of course, I'm over the moon at my daughter's upcoming wedding to an amazing young man.
I splurged and bought a lovely wedding outfit at a store I always window-shop at but have never purchased. I love the flowy, beachy, natural cotton dress with a little bling on the shawl. (I'm not a traditional mother-of-the-bride kinda gal.) And the sales lady picked out the perfect necklace as it mimics the circles on the dress. Add my sparkly sandals and I'm complete.
But what shall I pack my clothes in? My suitcases are all old, tattered and so worn.
Voila! The local online Buy 'n' Sell came to my rescue! I happily paid $25 for these 2 pieces and later found out from my daughter that they're Heys, a well respected but expensive luggage company.
(I just liked it 'cause it was blue!)
Another thing that always puts a spring in my step is walking; and the weather and my schedule have cooperated so I was able to walk twice in the past week, breathing in the fresh salt air of The Bay, listening to bird song (and the occasional buzz of a chain saw) and being surrounded by lovely, budding trees.
Ahhhhhh! Spring! It's like a magic elixir for my soul!
I had the most wonderful 45 min walk last weekend on the old railway trail behind my house: in my hiking sneakers, sun shining, up a busy thoroughfare, onto a side street and finally in the quiet of the trail. There was still snow in the middle of the trail in spots; and the melting reveals copious amounts of dog poop! But beautiful and refreshing all the same. The spring bulbs I'd planted in the fall came up in spite of the poor soil in which I'd planted them which was so exciting for me as I miss my Nova Scotia garden terribly.
We've had a very long, cold winter. The Bay froze over ... then melted ... then refroze --- probably 3 times at least. So, an ice breaker went through a few weeks ago and crunched all the ice together and on top of each other until parts of it resembled Toblerone bars. Saturday and Easter Sunday were warm (for western NL) with 7 C (45 F); and on both days, I had a steady stream of fake icebergs that floated by my front window. It was lovely to sit outside in my lawn chair and watch them.
Then yesterday, we had freezing rain, then rain, then snow: and today, it's -1 C (30 deg F), for Lard's sake! We don't put our winter clothing away until late May on this Island! Oh well, it'll be spring again this weekend.
My youngest daughter asked me to bake scones (one of my specialities) and a cake for her upcoming bridal shower. I haven't really baked for 3 years and haven't baked a plain cake for even longer. But on Good Friday past, I began. The 'crown' orange cake came out beautifully! But I discovered that I'm not very good at pound cakes; it was a bit 'dunch', another great Newfie word. However, it is very tasty! So, into the freezer with it so it can be used later for trifle.
Dunch: n' dull, heavy: v 'to get stiff with long waiting; heavy, doughy. Stiff; cramped or numbed from sitting in one position; to be cramped in the legs, arms, etc. For example: " You wouldn't be able to stay keeled out on the settle bench very long 'cause it would be quite 'ard and yer bum would go dunch!"
My next two white layers looked good but were very thin because I didn't notice that my cake pans were 9" instead of 8". So, those got iced and eaten at Easter dinner. Yum!
FINALLY, I baked a simple yellow cake which worked out beautifully ..... so I made two to be cut into four. They're in the freezer waiting to be iced and decorated this Saturday. Wish me luck!
Here's hoping that your weekend is warm and your cakes rise beautifully!
On Monday we had spring; all the snow had melted, the crocus buds were opening and I was wearing a hooded sweatshirt and sneakers. Tuesday evening, it began to snow, and Wednesday morning, so much had accumulated that there was 6" of snow on my car. Today, the snow is gone again HURRAH! And Newfoundlanders might be able to actually speak the word "spring" out loud. Doesn't the sunshine cast it's golden glow over everything -- attitudes included.
Because Monday is St George's Day, an obscure NL holiday that most people don't get, I have a wonderful 4 day weekend. Part of that time will be spent baking a bridal shower cake for my daughter's party next weekend. (I'll freeze it.)
I have this wonderful bunt pan which I hope to put on top of a slightly larger round cake ('cause every bride deserves a crown).
The bottom will be a traditional pound cake (with just a hint of lemon). And in my bunt pan, I think I'll bake my once-was-standard family birthday cake -- a delicious orange cake from The Harrowsmith Country Life Baking Book. I've owned that book since the early 90's; and it's one that's stained and dog earred from use. So many great recipes.
I'm not a cake decorator, but I can spot easy elegant finishes that can be pulled off without too much work. A nice buttercream icing, a few fresh flowers in the centre of the crown, and some torquoise icing dots (her wedding color). Hopefully, it will somewhat resemble this one from Pinterest.
Easter weekend for me will be quiet. I can't attend church because of my scent allergy (and we all know that church is FULL of deliberately "stinky" people!). But I'll worship on my own, relax and have a meal with my Dad.
I've finally healed enough to type (and it's extra physio). It's been a very difficult 10 weeks. There are so many things that are affected by a break that no one is aware of until they're in the midst of it.
Here's my neat little Frankinstein scar covering my metal plate. Soon I'm going to see if I can single-handedly wrist-hold a magnet!
I broke my wrist on Jan 22nd; had surgery on Feb 6th and got my cast off 2 weeks ago on Mar 21st. In between the break and the cast coming off there was, understandably, considerable pain. The doctor gave me an opiate for pain, but I didn't see much difference and I was quite wary of increasing the pills as they're so addictive. So instead, I smoked an Indica strain of cannabis; it helped me relax and took away 60-70% of the pain which meant that I could rest.
And rest I did! Wow! Your body goes into healing mode and all a person does for the first 3-4 weeks is rest. Getting all the pillows into an appropriate pattern to allow me to rest and support both my arm and back needed strategic planning and design! And thank goodness once again for Netflix and Crave TV which helped to entertain me.
I only missed a total of about 3 full weeks of work. Then I went part days: my co-worker picked me up in the morning and my landlord brought me home at about 3 pm, exhausted and in such pain! But I was glad to get out of the house and didn't cuss too much at having to type one handed. I've been back full time for 2 weeks. Friends and family have helped to feed me; and I bought a lot of frozen meals so my diet suffered along with my hand. But I was happy to not have to prepare many meals myself.
I broke my foot 10 years or so ago and wasn't able to walk, of course. But did you know that when you break an arm or wrist, not only can you not use that particular limb, but you can't do a number of fairly important things.
I couldn't style/dry my hair, put backs on earrings or do up clasps on necklaces, or wear any pants that had zips or buttons.
I couldn't butter bread. (All my aprons have permanent grease stains on the belly portion from attempting to butter 'n' jam my toast.)
I couldn't chop veggies or slice bread. When I wanted to quarter an orange, for instance, I used my elbow to stabilize the orange and a bread knife to saw through. Exhausting!
I couldn't wear a mitten or glove and had to wear my oversize ski jacket both for fit and so that I could cover my cold little cast fingers.
I couldn't do up my bra; so it had to be fastened first, put on over my head (inserting my casted arm first) and then carefully, painfully pulled down into place. This took upwards of 5 min work and I always needed to rest afterwards.
My back was bruised and hurt for a whole month after the fall. And I had to keep my arm elevated as much as possible. So, there were no soothing, rejuvenating epsom salts baths. And drying oneself after a shower was a long, hard process.
AND it doesn't stop when the cast comes off as you now have to re-teach your arm/hand joints and muscles how to work. Nothing would move and the muscle pain is pretty awful. I'm doing my own 2x a day physio; and after 2 weeks I can touch my thumb to all my fingers and can curl them half way. Still not too much flexion in my wrist, but there is improvement every day. This week, I can use all my fingers to type (but I make a lot of mistakes with my left hand.)
Needless to say, breaking a wrist/arm is a tough go, but I'm on the mend. Thank you for entertaining me with your blog posts; and hope to begin blogging again soon on a more regular basis.
Here's hoping spring will come to my province soon to brighten my days and allow me to walk again.
(The rest of my arm is just a dull yellow, like I've rolled my arm in nicotine.) Pain is usually manageable with Ibuprofen (and over-the-counter rantidine for the stomach pain caused by the ibuprofen).
I'm scheduled for surgery on my wrist next Wednesday. If all goes well, I'll get a cast a week later; and 5 weeks after that, the cast will come off and I'll be able to begin converting what will be a flipper back into an arm.
I am very happy to see the end of 2018 and welcome a brand new year. I know it has all the same issues and challenges that were there a few days ago, but there's just something about a brand new year - all shiny and bright with promise!
My 'Christmas for One' was somewhat successful. Xmas Eve was quite nice: I turned off my phone, turned up my favorite Xmas music and prepped for dinner. Then I spent the remainder of Xmas Eve watching TV or Netflix in front of my faux fire. My Beef Wellington for one was not successful; while the beef was great, the puff pastry didn't cook all the way through. I guess it really needs to be made for a group and not just for one or two. But the bottle of wine and the aged cheddar with ginger were divine!
Xmas morning was equally nice. I was pleasantly surprised by one or two of my 'Santa' gifts that I'd forgotten about. And it was nice to sit in my pj's with a delicious latte and chat with my absent daughters.
My 42 years of NS christmases' did not at all prepare me for what seems to be the norm here. The various hurts, upsets and drama that seem to make up the weekly lives of my family also came to the surface a few days before the big day; and unfortunately, everyone gets caught in the crossfire! So in spite my plans and my best intentions, Xmas dinner was not really very relaxing! Nevertheless, I hummed through the difficult parts and tried to put my best foot forward : and after I put in my 4-5 hours, I quickly returned to the sanctuary and peace of my own little apartment.
The rest of the season was spent immersed in jigsaws, chocolate, cheese and snow. In spite of occasional sadness, I really enjoyed my solitude and spent my time creating hygge. I baked cookies, ate chips and dip, and organized my closet & recipe binders. It was a productive holiday season.
Still, ain't it good to get back to everyday living. Up before 7 am, sitting with a good coffee and my oatmeal at the office, chatting about the real issues of life and helping others get on their feet, dinner at home, my evening phone calls, then spending my time in relative quiet -- THAT is my life, not the chaos that can arise in others' lives.
While it is around me and can sometimes touch me, it is NOT me.
First of all let me thank so many of you for your wonderfully kind comments on my posts. And let me add that although these posts have "by Myself" in the title, I am not at all sad about spending most of my Xmas alone. The ideas that I've come up with as a sort of coping mechanism have done just what I hoped they would do! I'm really enjoying my preparations and feel pretty certain that my season will be merry and bright.
To continue with my 'Xmas Alone' ideas, let's talk food -- another one of my favorite things about Christmas! Yum yum!
I'm fortunate to be sharing a turkey dinner with my dad and brother on the 25th. (We're the solos in the family.) And a few days later, I'll enjoy another Xmas dinner with my daughter and her little family. I love Xmas baking, so I'll do some of that both before Xmas day and over the holidays themselves. But I also decided on another new tradition for myself: at noon on Xmas Eve, after I've vacuumed and primped, I'm going technology and people free, and I'm going to prepare a special meal just for me.
For the first time ever, I'm going to try my hand at Beef Wellington (for one) with a side of green salad and grilled asparagus. Dessert will probably be a small trifle made with lots of fruit and a wee bit of sponge and cream.
I'll open a bottle of wine; and for the rest Xmas Eve, I'll sip my wine and munch while I watch my 2 all-time favorite Xmas movies -- It's a Wonderful Life and the 1954 version of A Christmas Carol.
* Yep! "Fadoobadas"
I'm choosing to shut myself off from the world on Xmas Eve not because of sadness or anger, but because I want to take at least one day during the season to acknowledge my self worth and to practice self-care. We all need to do this sometimes as even the jolliest of us may encounter difficulty or trying times (or people!) over the holidays. And while necessary, decompressing all by oneself can also be very enjoyable: I mean, how many other opportunities does one have for walking around the house naked with a glass of wine and no regard for food drips or your "fadoobadas"*?
Over the holidays, I wanna take some cold crisp walks in the snow (and hopefully, sunshine) as well as lots of epsom salts baths where I emerge oily as a greased pig and relaxed as a well fed baby!
I also want to spend some time with my God in praise for His always being near and in gratitude for what His gift to me of creativity and stick-to-it-tive-ness in my determination to enjoy my new life and have a merry christmas.
Please remind yourselves of your OWN self-worth, your uniqueness and your beauty. If any of my ideas would work for you, take them! But please remember that you have value and please do whatever it takes to maintain your health and peace.
I may not get an opportunity to blog again until the new year. So, from me to you, thank you for being my blog friends. And I wish you a peaceful, joyous Christmas season. See you in 2019!