Bucket List – 2020

It’s that time of year – in the with new Bucket List, out with the old.   Let’s recap last years list (2019 link) and see how I did.

Add More Books to my Library:   I added some, but not as many as the year before.  Bookoutlet to the rescue again on Cyber Monday.   There’s nothing quite like receiving a big box of books in the mail.  

Books from Book Outlet

An Unwanted Guest calls for Grace not Perfection….

 I didn’t buy a new bookcase, just removed the glass doors from the old one which made a big difference.   (B as in Bargains, for the big Rotary Book sale is coming up in January).  

Start Writing Murder Mystery:    Well I started – but I didn’t continue.   I wrote a rough outline during two snowstorms last winter, but it was soon abandoned because my plot was too cliché and I didn’t like my protagonists enough to want to spent a lot of time with them.  Maybe a short story?  Maybe a Christmas short story?  Thus giving me 11 months to procrastinate….   (A because I started).       

Renovate Kitchen:   done and dusted, but more work than I expected.  See Once Upon a Kitchen Reno link.   (A plus because it went smoothly and I was happy with the end result).

Kitchen Reno

The After Picture

Spend Money on Experiences versus Stuff:    Tickets for everything seem to have escalated in price, so I decided to reassign the money saved from not having to pay my annual license fees to this cause.   While I did do a few more things that I wouldn’t have ordinarily (Harvestfest Supper), summer theatre, the majority of the money set aside for such fun endeavors went to the electrician, who I’m sure had fun buying a new guitar for his rock band.    PS.  I was good at staying out of the dollar store however, except for a few new things for my kitchen cupboard.      (C for effort, but needs more work/fun).

Kitchen Reno

Dollarama treasure

Walk Every Day for Thirty Minutes:   Who am I kidding?  I failed dismally at this.  It was either too hot, too cold, or too rainy.   The worst wackiest weather year ever.   This will be put back on this years list, as Santa brought me a warmer down-filled parka.    (D minus).   (edited to add: maybe I can return it -the weather has been downright balmy lately).

Host Virtual Literary Salon:   This was fun and gave me a good excuse to write about  books I have read recently and some older ones which made an impression on me.  (see The Literary Salon under Books on my homepage for a list of the books I reviewed.)   (A)   

2000 Goals:

Eat More Low-Fat:   get some new cookbooks and experiment with low-fat recipes – motivated by the gallbladder issues of a family member and the massive heart attack of a colleague younger than me.   Making a few changes in my diet (eliminating salty snack foods and cutting down on desserts) has already made a big difference, especially in my energy level.  

Exercise:   maybe try something indoors like water aerobics, but then I’d have to go from the warm water into the cold air?    I really need to think about this some more…

Home Renovations:    redo bathroom floor (I already have the ceramic tiles, an end of the roll lot, just need to find an installer) and new window treatments (shutters or blinds?) for the two big front windows currently adorned with heavy gold drapes and pull strings.   For anyone who remembers my harvest gold dishwasher, these drapes are equally ancient.  They provide privacy and are in good shape but are ugly as hell, so neither Maria VonTrapp nor Scarlett O’Hara will be recycling these relics.  

Buy a new camera:    I’m still taking pictures with my 2005 digital camera – yes, it’s a teenager at fifteen years and like most teenagers the zoom lens is temperamental.   I’ve done a fair bit of camera research, and initially wanted one which had both the LCD screen and the old-fashioned viewer lens for framing on sunny days, but it’s impossible to find one that’s not too big or too complicated, so I will probably settle for a good old Cannon point and shoot as I’m lazy when it comes to learning new technology.   There’s always the cell phone camera….

Hold A Giant Garage Sale:   (early June)  once I get all that leftover kitchen stuff sorted out from the dungeon where I dumped it last summer.  

Clean out Clothes Closets:    add to garage sale.   I don’t know if people have any luck selling clothes at garage sales, but when I took a pile of perfectly cute though itchy wool sweaters to the vintage store, the owner said they would sell better at a garage sale than anything he could offer me ($6 for three sweaters), so back home they went.  

Sign up for Netflix:    Maybe……I watch very little TV now, and am afraid I’ll be sucked into the vortex of wasting hours watching mindless shows I would otherwise never have heard of.   Maybe Brit box instead?  Any advice?

Write Shorter Blogs:    “Yea, good luck with that.”     (What’d mean, it was only 800 words?) 

Happy New Years!

bells

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2019 Bucket List

 

Red Bucket        It is a universal truth that New Years resolutions tend to get broken, sooner or later, so most years I don’t even bother making them, thus saving myself some grief.   How much more pleasant to make a Bucket list of things you want to do, versus things you think you should do.    It’s all in the attitude….plus Oprah says if you write it down, it will happen….that fairy godmother vision board thing.

Add to My Library

     This was my sole New Years resolution last year, and I kept it…but as I love to read, it was no great hardship.     I had de-cluttered my house the year before and given away a lot of books I was no longer interested in, only keeping what I truly loved and found inspiring.    After discovering the bookoutlet website last spring I ordered from them four times over the course of the year, including 15 books at their Boxing Day sale, 13 of which I gave away as Christmas gifts.     Their sales are 30% off already bargain prices.    About half of these were books I had already read but wanted copies of because I wanted to re-read them someday, the other half were new.     Nothing makes me happier than a big box of books arriving in the mail.     And of course, the big Rotary book sale with 30,000 volumes is coming up next week so I can add to my stash.    Now I am in need of a new bookcase ….

book outlet

Start Writing Murder Mystery

This is a tough one, because Santa did not bring me a plot for Christmas as I requested….or even anything remotely resembling a plot outline, only a very vague idea and two rather sketchy characters, but I hope to have a first draft done by next December.    I know that is overly ambitious, but I am looking forward to it and hope it will be fun.   If it isn’t I’ll quit.  Maybe I won’t be able to write fiction, but I won’t know if I don’t try.    Of course, I will probably have to neglect my blog, but I don’t have many followers anyway and I had already said in my one-year blogging anniversary post that I was going to cut down to two posts per month and/or try to do shorter posts.    If I’m still blogging regularly, you will know it’s not going well.   On second thought, maybe it would be easier to start with something smaller….a short story….or maybe a Haiku poem?  

Agatha Christie books

Spend Money on Fun Stuff vs Things

I haven’t worked for two years and have no plans to go back to work, but I have continued to pay my insurance and license fees in case I decide I want to go back to work.   Does that make sense – no!   So last November in a fit of courage, I faxed in my resignation letter to the college, thus saving myself $2000 annually, which I decided I would spend on fun things I might not otherwise do or buy, like the Christmas musical theater tickets I passed up because they were too expensive.  It will be my fun bucket fund – kind of like an incentive/reward plan to make a big decision a bit more palpable.  After all it was my livelihood for 40 years, so it was not an easy decision to make.    Although every time I talk to my former work colleagues it gets easier.   I don’t want to spend the money on one big thing or trip which is over in a week, so I intend to sprinkle the year with smaller delights – mostly  experiences, not things….unless they are books of course.    I shall become a millennial….in spirit only (no plastic surgery planned).    

Walk Every Day for Thirty Minutes

Inspired by Linda, my blogging sister at Walking Writing Wit and Whimsy, I started walking again a few weeks before Christmas, after an incredibly long break.   Our winter hasn’t been too bad, so I’ve only missed a few days so far.   I have noticed I have more energy and sleep better.    Of course, Linda has a lovely park with fat friendly squirrels, Harry the Blue Heron, seven swans a swimming, ducks unlimited and cardinals and birds to look at while she is walking……and I just have my neighborhood.   Currently I have a lovely curbside view of discarded Christmas trees.    But as I walk with my IPod, it will give me thirty minutes of music as well, (I miss listening to music during my daily commute).   I don’t have any specific mileage goal in mind, just to walk when able, aiming for maybe 5 days a week…when it’s not too cold or too hot or raining.    Linda’s nature pictures are so lovely that I am reminded I need to buy a new camera too, as my current zoom lens is broken.       

Renovate Kitchen

This has been on my list for awhile.   I even emptied out the bottom cupboards a few years ago down to only the bare essentials, (which was still a lot of stuff), in preparation.    I know what I want in my head but hate the thought of tackling another project.    I have PTSD from some of the past renos…but it must be done…certainly it will be worth it…….if only to get the dishwasher fixed.    I went to Lowe’s in October and looked at cupboards, just plain beige cupboards with glass windows, and maybe a bead-board pattern for the bottom, which would suit my older style home, and there were rows and rows of them…..so much choice.   The guy told me to come back when I had some measurements…time to get the tape measure out.    I hope it turns out the way I envisioned it (I’m counting on you, vision board).  

Kitchen

I also need to stop wasting money on kitchen stuff.   I went into the dollar store last week for Yardley’s English Lavender Soap ($1.25/bar) and came out with a set of red Rachel Ray plates.     At $3 a plate who could resist and they would be useful for a Christmas buffet….once that dishwasher is fixed.    I do not need any more plates.  I have 4 sets of blue dishes now.   I could open a B&B or a tea shop with the amount of china I own.   

Paris salon

Host a Virtual Literary Salon

I already started this last week, (see intro The Literary Salon link), and the first book up for discussion is An Unwanted Guest (see blog link).   I read so many good books, it’s a shame not to share them.    

What’s on your Bucket List for this year?

 

 

 

 

 

A Farewell to Summer

Please join me while we take a last peek at summer and enjoy the first signs of fall….no pumpkin spice or mums involved! 

Let’s say goodbye to the flowers first.    The petunias fared well with all that rain.Petunias

The dinner plate hibiscus are always late to the party, but they are like Beyonce, they make such a statement when they finally arrive that nobody minds.

Dinner Plate Hibiscus

The Rose of Sharon was so full of flowers it bowed down to Mother Nature.

Rose of Sharon

But the morning glories were not so glorious, lots of foliage draped over the back fence but no buds in sight.   

morning glories

They were very late last year so I still have hope, but here’s a link to last years (unpublished blog), A Glorious September Morning, plus a bee having his last drink of the summer.  

morning glory and bee

The nectar of the gods

My mother always grew glads and zinnias in the farm garden, but this year my glads were a disaster both in color and form.   My vision of them lining the back fence like little pink soldiers faded into the sporadic appearance of a spike of pale lavender or orange.   Lavender is okay, and peach I could handle, but I dislike orange, and pale orange is even worse.   Is it too much to expect the color on the box is the color you get?  

Next year I’ll just buy some at the farmer’s market. 

pink glads

I have never had any luck growing zinnias but my neighbors were prolific,

and the water lilies in their pond finally bloomed.   

pond lily

The sunflowers are drooping but are decorative enough for a vase.

Sunflowers - AMC

Sunflowers in a Vase

The lavender was late as I replanted it all in the spring, but it still bloomed if not extravagantly.  

monarch

The hot humid rainy summer produced a rain forest jungle of a vegetable garden which desperately needs sorting out.   More on the potager in another blog, after the harvest.

potager before

Where are the monkeys?

The monarchs have all flown south, except this little guy with an injured leg/wing who I rescued from a parking lot.   He was able to crawl a bit so I brought him home to lie among the lavender.   

monarch

This year I have seen more monarchs than I have in years.   After the township sprayed all the ditches, they almost became extinct, but now that gardeners are planting milkweed again, they are slowly making a comeback.  They tend to congregate in Point Pelee Park in southern Ontario on their annual migration route, before crossing Lake Erie to the US and eventually Mexico.   Tens of thousands cluster to rest and wait for the right wind conditions to cross the 40 km stretch of lake – the park posts the daily monarch counts on it’s social media pages.   One picture is of a friends backyard near the lake, and one is a weather-watcher picture of Point Pelee.   I wonder how such a small creature can make such a long journey?    For more information on monarchs, check out garden blogger Invitation to the Garden‘s wonderful post on The King of Butterflies.  She also has posts about the different kinds of milkweed you can plant to attract butterflies.

monarchs

just dropping in to say goodbye

Monarchs

Rendevous at Point Pelee Park

Our last look at the beach, and my favorite photo of this summer.

Beach umbrella

Beach Day

Our first look at fall, the maple leaves they are a changing….

fall leaves

The chestnuts are starting to fall from the trees near the library.   Chestnuts always bring back memories of gathering them on my grandmother’s farm at Thanksgiving.   Last year one of the librarians made the nicest wreath from chestnuts…..nothing I would attempt as I’m sure it involved lots of glue. 

chestnut tree

The crab-apples are ripening and getting ready to drop and annoy all the grass cutters.    

crabapples

The first of the apples are being harvested.   We stopped at an orchard last week and they had Galas and Mac’s just picked that morning, a bumper crop. 

Gala Apples

The scarecrow festival has started with a large party in the town square.

scarecrows

The crunch of dry leaves underfoot and the smell of wood smoke reminds us summer is winding down.    The days are growing shorter, it’s getting dark by 7:30, time to go inside, light the candles and welcome fall.     And if you are in the mood to feather your nest check out last years (unpublished) Autumn Decor blog for some cozy fall ideas. 

Asters - AMc

Fall Flowers

There will be a harvest moon on Sept 24, so here’s some music for a fall night.    This song is about as jazzy as I get but it has great lyrics and it always reminds me of my student days and walking home through a park after pub crawling….not sure anyone would do that now in downtown Toronto, they’d probably be mugged or shot.

Song of the Day:   Moondance by Van Morrison 

“Well, it’s a marvelous night for a moondance
With the stars up above in your eyes
A fantabulous night to make romance
‘Neath the cover of October skies
And all the leaves on the trees are falling…”

 

 

 

 

Summer Bucket List

Beach pail

            I always feel sad this time of year because summer is half over and I  haven’t done everything I planned.   Winter is brutal and long here in Canada which makes us appreciate summer even more but even if you can’t afford to rent a cottage most of these summer pleasures are free.   We still have almost a month left though….how many things have you crossed off your summer bucket list?    There is still time to:

Have breakfast outside on the deck    breakfast outside

Dry your sheets on the line….ah the smell 

sheets on line

Vintage clothes dryer

Go to the beach and watch the waves   waves on beach

Buy some colorful beach towels Beach Towels

Read a big fat beach book with your toes in the sand   

Beach Book

The Perfect Beach Book

Build a sandcastle with some little ones 

Feed the seagulls French fries   seagull

Go strawberry picking     strawberry picking

and blueberry picking…..make a pie Blueberries

Feast on summer fruit  

 Lay on the grass and gaze at the stars on a starry starry night 

Starry NIght Over The Rhone

Starry Night Over The Rhone

Visit an art gallery or museum

Watch tiny fireflies   

Watch major fireworks

Toast marshmallows around a bonfire

Nap outdoors on the swing   nap on swing

Barbecue a steak on a charcoal grill while camping    Steak on grill

Dine alfresco at a restaurant with a view of the water   

Visit a farmer’s market   

Peaches for Sale - AMc

Peaches for Sale

Make jam   

Go fishing    

Make a pitcher of punch or lemonade 

Punch

1/3 pineapple juice, 1/3 cranberry juice. 1/3 ginger ale

Listen to summer music while driving (see Summer Playlist

Watch a summer storm over the lake   summer storm over lake

Drink coffee on a park bench

Park Bench

Pack a picnic lunch   picnic basket

Have an ice cream/gelato cone   

Gelato

Simply the best Canadian gelato

Go to an outdoor art/craft show

Watch a sunset   sunset over lake

Attend an outdoor concert

Watch the sailboats race    sailboat race 

Eat corn on the cob and ribs 

Have key lime pie for desert Key Lime PIe

Gaze at your solar lights before bed   

 Watch a summer blockbuster on a hot humid day

Have an afternoon nap on a rainy day

Clean out your summer closet

Shop the summer sales (keeping in mind next years vacation)

If you’ve missed any, you still have time left – get moving, and don’t forget to wear sunscreen!

sailboat

Summer sailboat

What is your favorite summertime activity?