Friday, October 19, 2018


I picked up a bag of prepared salad yesterday.  It has broccoli, cabbage, Brussels sprouts, kale, and chicory.  For supper tonight there was a large half chicken breast thawing in the fridge.  In the freezer were four cheese biscuits (homemade) left over from Wednesday evening's dinner.  These were heated up in the microwave.
The chicken breast cut into four pieces and breaded was ready to go on the George Foreman grill.

To the salad I added the packet of dried cranberries and roasted pumpkin seeds that came with it and then also added some fresh, fat blueberries and some ripe strawberries that I cut up.  A packet of poppyseed dressing was included.  The crowning glory of the salad was some little lumps of goat cheese.     

It was a very tasty, healthy meal, very easily prepared.  Just how I like to cook and just how we like to eat!

Wednesday, October 17, 2018


No pictures this time.  The glass doors on our shower stall fell off the clamps.  Everything here is getting pretty old.  The condo was built in 1987.  It's possible that the walk-in shower was put in later, but I don't know about that.  The doors were held on by two fairly small clamps that were connected to the shower stall with rollers in the top bar.  It was a poor design.  The glass doors were very heavy and the clamps were not very big.

We had the same problem a few years ago and a handy man fixed it up for us then.  They didn't seem "fixable" anymore, so they went to the recycle.  I took the tension bar and shower curtain from the second bathroom and put them in place of the glass doors.  Tomorrow I need to go shopping for another tension bar and shower curtain.

Hope we're finished with that sort of problem now!

Thursday, October 11, 2018


Our place here was built in 1987 and sometimes it shows.  The bathroom with the main bedroom has been having toilet troubles.  Shortly after we arrived I turned the water on at the point where it comes into the condo and then flushed the toilet and heard a big bang!  It scared me.  I wondered what was wrong.  The cause was air in the water pipes.  Once I figured that out, I didn't worry about it.

But later when I went into that bathroom, I found the floor flooded with water--clean water fortunately!  I turned off the supply to the toilet and investigated.  That initial big bang of air from the water supply more or less blew the control of the float valve off, so it continued to run.  BIG PROBLEM!!!

I went into the second bathroom and examined the toilet there.  I saw that the arm of the float valve that turned off the water could be screwed back on.  So I did that and turned the water supply back on.

OOPS!  When I happened to go there again later the floor was again flooded.  What happened?  I think maybe the connection to the float arm had been stripped.  I turned off the water supply again.  Things were pretty busy just then, so we left the toilet turned off and used the second bathroom.  A few days later I got in touch with Dennis and he came over to fix the toilet.  I had bought the parts needed at Walmart and he installed them.

It was a real struggle for him to deal with the old, rusty screws and other parts in the toilet.  He sweated and grunted and persisted--and finally the job was done.  Now another problem has showed up.  The tank sits too loosely on the base and that's leaking.  He's coming back tomorrow to see if he can add some washers to those connections.  Otherwise, it looks like we need a new toilet.

On another topic, this past Sunday our pastor preached a very good sermon based on Psalm 8 and dealt with "earth keeping" -- very timely.  We try to have a small footprint.  Back home in Alberta we are able to keep our trash to the very minimum--just a few garbage cans of trash go to the dump each year.  All of the organic waste (and we create a great deal of that!) goes into the compost.  We recycle everything else possible; styrofoam is the one exception that cannot be recycled there.  So I buy eggs in cardboard cartons, and try my best not to bring home any other styrofoam.

We use reusable bags for our groceries.  I do that here, also, but this morning by the time I got to the checkout I realized I didn't have those bags with me.  I parked the cart and went to the car to get the bags.  Oh, Oh, they weren't there, and then I remembered they were still by the living room door.  So I went through the checkout with my rather small load of groceries, and they came home in these: 12 FLIMSY PLASTIC BAGS!  Several things had been double bagged.  Some items were one in a bag!  I hadn't been watching closely enough as the cashier transferred them to bags.

Have you been watching the PBS News Hour series this week on The Problem of Plastics?  I'm am just appalled to be part of that problem today!

Sunday, October 7, 2018


I had the pleasure of attending a wonderful concert this afternoon: Jonathan and Victoria Okseniuk performed on violin and piano at Lord of Life Lutheran Church in Sun City West, AZ.  Victoria, 10 years old, accompanied her 12 year old brother on just one song: a lovely hymn arrangement.  Jonathan starred in the whole of the program, on both violin and piano.

We didn't have a printed program, so this is the order of the music from my sometimes faulty memory.  Jonathan began with a Bach unaccompanied partita, I think it was #3, the Minuet and one other movement.  We listeners were awed at his facility and nuance in the performance.  He followed that up with a movement of a Mendelssohn violin concerto, accompanied by his piano teacher (whose name I don't have).  Again we were amazed that a 12 year old could perform at that level.  That was followed by three numbers: a Fritz Kreisler piece (lots of fireworks) a Chopin Mazurka, performed on piano by Jonathan, and a piano duet with his teacher, written by Mozart.

Jonathan then played a lovely hymn arrangement (forgot which hymn) and then Victoria accompanied him as he played a violin arrangement of another hymn (likewise forgotten, even though recognized and enjoyed in the hearing of it).

There was a short quiet time as a collection was taken up to help support these young musicians and their parents.

The program was concluded with a piece by Saint Saens, another brilliant display of mastery of musicianship by the very accomplished and very mature young violinist.  The concert was a "rip-roaring success" as proved by the very enthusiastic and sustained applause of all present.

There was opportunity right afterwards for photos and I was able to capture a few:
Jonathan, the piano teacher/accompanist, and Victoria:

The Okseniuk family:

I give a great deal of credit to Mr. and Mrs. Okseniuk.  No young musicians reach this level of mastery without the total and complete support of their parents.  As Mr. Okseniuk remarked to me: Most of the credit goes to their mother!  As a retired Suzuki violin teacher, I recognize the depth and extent of their support of and involvement with their children.  Congratulations all around!

Thursday, October 4, 2018


Well, we are in warm (sometimes hot) Arizona once more, and just in time!  Back home there's been snow and the thermometer struggles to get above freezing during the day.  We had a few days of rainy weather, sometimes heavy rain here.  That's always welcome in a dry area!  But it meant that we didn't take advantage of the pool here.  Jim did get there today and yesterday, but I had choir rehearsals both days--and an orchestra rehearsal on Wednesday morning.  SO NICE to be back in music activities!

So we've been busy, first packing up, then travelling, and then unpacking.  I didn't do such a good job this year.  We both have just one pair of shorts to wear, so we need to go shopping.  I also forgot to pack my "concert clothes"--a long black velvet skirt and a nice black velvet top.  Fortunately there are lots of places nearby to shop for clothing.

Not much else to report now, but I'll be posting as, hopefully, some interesting things happen.  Have a good fall season!  To my Canadian friends, have a wonderful Thanksgiving weekend!

Tuesday, September 25, 2018


This morning the moon was perfect, shining in a blue sky just before the sun came up in the opposite direction.  What a nice way to start the day.  You can even see the moonlight casting shadows of the railing on the balcony. Just click on the picture to enlarge it.

The snow is gone and we had a lovely, warm and sunny fall day.  Quilt club started at 9 and we were there until a bit after 5 p.m.  We all agreed it was a pity to spend the day indoors, but it was quilt club time so we did.

Today we had a lunch-time potluck and, as always,  the food was delicious.  Last potluck we had was a total salad meal.  But we all agreed that it had been a terrific meal.  This time it was very balanced, a crock pot of stew, a crock pot of chili, some salads, a loaf of fresh homemade bread and a few desserts.  I brought two pies: Cranberry Pecan pie.  A simple but very tasty pie, suitable for Thanksgiving dinners:

Cranberry Pecan Pie

Preheat over to 375ยบ.
Spread a single pie crust in a 9" or 10" pie plate.
Spread 1 1/2 cups cranberries (fresh or frozen) on the crust.
Mix together 1/4 cup brown sugar and 1/4 cup chopped pecans.
Sprinkle this mixture over the cranberries.
With your electric mixture beat two eggs until thick, about 5 minutes.
Gradually beat 1/2 cup sugar into the egg mixture, and then gradually beat in 1/2 cup flour, alternating with 1/2 cup melted butter.
Spoon this mixture over the cranberries.
Bake on the lower rack until the crust is brown, 40 to 45 minutes.
Cover the pie loosely with foil during the last 10 to 15 minutes if the top is becoming too dark.
Cool and slice into 8 pieces.
I use four toothpicks to hold the foil off the top of the pie.  Otherwise the foil will stick to the custard topping and rip off the nice browned surface.

I cut the pie into 8 pieces, but as the women helped themselves to a piece, most often they first cut the piece in half.  So we ended up with about 16 pieces from the one pie.  I think they did this so that they had room for more than one dessert.  Aren't we indulgent!

I was busy machine quilting the Jacob's Ladder.  Hoped to finish it today, but there's still more to do, so I will have to put it away for now and finish it when we get back from AZ.

Saturday, September 22, 2018


This all arrived overnight:

Time to do the "snowbird" thing!