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Monday, September 1, 2014

The URGE to PURGE!!!!

There is nothing like jumping in with both feet.  I will confess that I am "mostly" an organized person, however I have several areas in my house where things are a bit out of control.  For me the worst area (and the studio does NOT even come into the mix here - that is a creative space and so is mostly off limits) - anyway - the worst area is the dining room.

In the eleven years that we have lived here - I don't think we have eaten in there once!!!!   Nope - not our thing. I used to use it as an office until I moved that all down stairs. And there was one point where you could barely get into that dining room. Improvements have been made, but it still becomes a dumping ground (by me). While I was away - I kept having visions of how much nicer this room could look if all the crap were gone.

And so - here are the before pictures...............

That side board is mostly full of odds and ends

The desk  - the surface of which is completely jammed with stuff

The table - again - the surface is jammed with stuff

The bookcases - jammed with stuff and a few boxes on the floor

The supply cupboard - mostly organized but full of (OK - so there are a lot of journals in there)

The filing cabinet
A filing cabinet - that is supposed to hold nicely organized files. Well - the cabinet is mostly empty as I am a piler, not a filer and so I figured I had better start with the filing cabinet (I know - the most organized looking spot) so that when I came across stuff that needed to be filed - I would have room to put it.

Got a stool to sit on, the label maker, the shredder, the recycling bin and I was ready to go!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I shredded a lot of stuff.  I am one of those people and I get this from my mom - "Oh this paper could be useful.  Yes - but for what?????? "  I had VISA statements from 1995.  Well - there is a small stack left to shred this morning - I didn't dare keep going - I thought the shredder was going to over heat so I did it in batches.

I sorted through files, I dumped a lot of stuff, I organized, I labelled and well - there is not a lot of stuff in that filing cabinet this morning.

Let's see - I have one drawer for all my quilting business stuff, one drawer is for manuals of appliances or other stuff around the house (I even had the manual for our weed trimmer!!!!!    But it is gone now - hey - the manual did say - DO NOT THROW OUT). One drawer is for personal stuff - not much in there and one is for financial stuff - but since most stuff is on-line - I imagine that drawer is going to be very empty as well.

You definitely need to be in the mood to do that. I just pitched and shredded. I was exhausted as I didn't sleep well the night before so I needed the occasional nap to keep me going. Came across a couple of things that went in the throw away bag, came across a couple of prints that I wanted to get framed (the order has already been processed and they will be ready in two weeks).  Oh yes - I was a busy girl yesterday.

This is how it looks this morning - I have a few folders to label before I put that stuff back into the cabinet. 
Also made a TO DO list - like we need new wills and other stuff.

Of course - my eyes did wander a bit and I looked several times at the book cases.  I did move a few things around there and well - LOOK WHAT I FOUND!!!!!

An ENTIRE stack of magazines and books on defeating clutter.   I think it is hilarious that it is in this room.   But note - that everything was TOGETHER.   I just don't think I need ALL that stuff since I pretty much know what to do - just need the motivation to get it done.  I grabbed one of the magazines (from 2006) and started to go through it - some neat ideas - I am sure there will be a couple that will be useful. 
This is what was removed from the room so far. Two bags of shredded paper which will go in the green bin, some stuff to give away, stuff for the dump and the recycling. 

This is today's task.  That drawer needs to be glued back together, the chair cover needs to be recovered and all the crap on the desk needs to be dealt with. ACK!!!!!!!!!    

I need to find the motivation to keep going.  I keep imagining what it would be like to walk into the room and just plop a piece of paper into the appropriate file folder and walk out and NO MESS.   Now wouldn't that be awesome??????   And it will happen.  I have attempted this room on several occasions and each time - the amount of clutter gets less, but it would be so nice if I could actually get it completely done.   Wish me luck!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I had a fabulous surprise when I got home.  Our backyard has gotten to that stage where it desperately needs to be ripped apart and new stuff put in.  At the very least - it needs a severe pruning.  Well - look at my backyard!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Just off the deck

The pond (and where is my sumac?????)  (it got cut back, but it ain't dead!)

Beside the gazebo

The secret garden

Yep - DH hired someone to come in and they whacked EVERYTHING off.    I really should be out there while it is whacked off and actually remove some of the stuff.  But I have to say - whoever did it - did a great job and it looks so much better.  Now I feel compelled that I have to get the dining room done since I don't have to be outside whacking stuff out!!!!!    What a fabulous surprise!!!!!

HOWEVER - look at my dog.....................

Do you think they could have brushed her at least???????

Ah - all in an interesting day at my house.

On that note - I have to get to that desk because then I need to get some sewing done today or I am going to get fired (by myself!!!!)

And if you want to learn some interesting things about Free Motion quilting and spools of thread - check out QUILTSocial this morning.   OH MY GOD - I learned so much from this episode.  I am going to be so smart - I won't be able to live with myself.

Got to run - got a date with the shredder!!!!

Have an awesome day!


Sunday, August 31, 2014

Travel Day - the journey home...................

Ever had one of those days when NOTHING goes WRONG!!!!   I know - make sure you read that right - I should have bought a lottery ticket at some point!

Woke up and WAIT A MINUTE!!!!!    There is something VERY wrong with this whole picture.  Yes - the SUN - yes - THE SUN was shining.   I felt like I had been transformed into another country.  The sky was blue, there was a gentle breeze, the pavement was dry and not a hint of the blustery, miserable conditions that we had encountered over the previous two days!!!!

Had breakfast with a couple of riders that were still at the hotel and then I was off on an adventure. I had a couple of hours to kill before catching my plane.

I walked downtown and if you have never been to St. John's when I say DOWN town - I mean DOWN.
Had to walk DOWN this hill to get to the main part of town. 

Too bad my Fitbit battery was dead and I put the charger in with my luggage that I sent home. Drat!!!!  I am sure I would have done a LOT of flights in those couple of hours.

Anyway - my first stop was the bike shop. I had dropped the bike off the previous day for them to pack up.  When I had called them on the phone two weeks ago - they were very accommodating. However when some of us contacted them once we arrived, they seemed to back track on their helpfulness.  I stopped in to make sure that the bike was in fact packed and ready to go so when I stopped later in the day - I wouldn't be waiting around.

Yep - the bike was packed and ready to go!  Phew!   I was a bit worried about that.

Townie bike for sale at the bike shop!!!!!   come on - these bikes are fun and do NOT involve hills!!!!!

 Had an amazing view of Signal Hill from the Harbour - yes - can you believe that they rode up that hill in the crazy wind and rain?????   So glad I didn't feel obligated to do it this year!!!   It is quite a climb in a very short distance. But the view from there is spectacular.

Cabot Tower on top of Signal Hill

Signal Hill in the distance - one of the streets with those crazy houses!!!!
More crazy streets - very hard for you to appreciate the steepness but trust me - I was huffing the first time I walked. I attribute that to the fact that I carrying stuff!!!!  

Or if you want to walk between Water and Duckworth - you can take the stairs!!!!!    That is a LOT of stairs!!!!!

Anyway - I spent a couple of hours wandering around - I was looking for a specific piece of art that I had seen last year and wouldn't you know it - I finally found it in the last shop I checked.  But I did find a few other goodies along the way.

Someone told me that The Duke of Duckworth had the BEST fish n chips and when I mentioned that to the girls in the last shop - they said OH NO - you have to go to The Ship Pub (same owners - but supposedly better).   OK so I had nothing left to look at so I wandered over to the pub. It was just opening for the day.

I ordered the fish n chips. And an Iceberg beer which is one of the beers we had tasted the day before at the Quidi Vidi Brewery.  When the girl took my order - she asked me if I wanted dressing and gravy?  Hmmm - and that would be?????   Well I thought - when in Newfoundland - order what they would order - so I got the works.   Turns out the dressing is in fact - a dressing with bread crumbs and other goodies that goes onto the fries and gravy on top of the whole thing, but not on the fish.  Normally I would NOT eat that, but hey - why not. The fish was lightly battered and fried and I am NOT a huge fish eater, but this fish would melt in your mouth.  I have NEVER eaten fish that was that fresh or that tasty.  Who cared about the fries - the fish was to die for. Apparently - it practically comes out of the ocean and into their kitchen!


Well - lucky me as I was the ONLY person to be served in the restaurant that day - at least from the kitchen.  Apparently after the chef cooked my meal  - something happened to the stove and they had to shut the kitchen down for the day!   Since I had time to kill - I consumed a couple of those yummy Iceberg beers!

Then back to one store to pick up something that I wasn't sure I wanted, but after the beer - oh yes - I wanted it!  Just a book - nothing too exciting!

Back to the hotel and caught the shuttle to the airport.  The driver (who I remember from last year) made a detour down town so I could collect my bike and then a quick drive to the airport.

Now Air Canada does need to come up with a FIRM policy on the payment of luggage.  Last year - when I did the check-in - I said I had TWO bags to check - one was a duffel bag and one was a bike.  I paid $50 for handling for the bike and an extra $20 for the second piece of luggage.  The agent said - I should have only paid the $50, not the extra $20.  Oh well - I wasn't going to make a fuss and try to claim the money back.  So this year when I did the check-in - I only paid $50.  This time the agent said - that was wrong and I had to pay an extra $20 for the second item.  No big deal.  But make up your minds people!!!!

Anyway - off to the over sized luggage area to drop off the bike.   The people there were EXTREMELY friendly.  Last year - they were NOT.   They even helped me tape up the box (and provided the tape and scissors - which they did NOT last year).   And we had a great chat all the while we were doing that.  Last year - they wouldn't even touch the box. I had to empty it, lift it - whatever. This year - well - no comparison!!!!!   Now all the luggage is checked and I am off to the gate to wait.

Oh dear - the flight looks like it is going to be late leaving.  Well - no big deal - I've got a book, but there was a family there and one of the kids was stuck in a stroller and he did not want to be in the stroller.  There were two or three other kids in the same family.  The mom did NOTHING to console this kid in the stroller.   I was tempted to go and ask her what her problem was. It was very annoying and when we finally got on the plane - her kids dumped their toys on the first seat and took off down the plane.  I would have killed those kids if they were mine.

Anyway - as we are sitting in the lounge waiting - they are calling individuals up.  No idea why. Then my name got called.  OK - so what is this about?   Giving me a new seat. A MUCH nicer seat - yep - a seat in BUSINESS class.   Apparently the next plane out of St. John's was also going to be late and they were trying to fill this plane - which they did. But it meant that some people got bumped up.   Hey - that is just fine by me!!!!!!    However I had bought a set of head phones so I could watch the movie and had already sent my head phones home. Also bought snacks as I was prepared to sit in economy.  Didn't need to buy the  head phones or the snacks after all!!!!

Had a very comfy flight home and I plugged those headphones in and watched a VERY FUNNY movie - The Other Woman and I never once heard those kids!!!!!!     Although at one point - we are near Toronto and all of a sudden my ears are killing me.  Oh crap - forgot about the pressure thing.   I never wear head phones (ear buds on a plane - I usually read, but this time - I knit!!!!!!)   With my bamboo needles of course.

Luggage came off relatively quick and then I was home.   I must say that it is good to be home. It has been a crazy summer.  While I was away - I kept telling people how on previous trips - I got the urge to purge when I got home because I was so used to having so little with me.  Well - you guessed it - I was up half the night figuring out what to dump and on that note - I am off with a HUGE URGE TO PURGE!!!!!

Have a great day!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


Saturday, August 30, 2014

Day 72 - Pictures

Here is the group at Mile Zero - gosh - I keep picking the one with Gavin's arm in the way

Leslie dipping her wheels - awesome job Leslie!!!!!

Day 72 - St. John's

Let's just say that it was awesome to have a warm dry bed to sleep in.  I got a room by myself otherwise we would have had to share with two or three to a room and with all the wet gear and bikes - well it is just ugly so I coughed up extra cash to get a room just for me!!!!   For those who know me - I don't like to share!!!!!

Had breakfast with the others and the weather outside was FRIGHTFUL.  They had plans to dip their wheels in the ocean, go to Mile Zero and ride up Signal Hill.  Me - I had plans for NONE of it.  I did it last year and it really wasn't my trip across Canada so no need for the ceremony.  However Barb (Dave's wife) convinced me to come and so I did.  I am very glad that I did as I was the official photographer!!!   They started out at Mile Zero which is symbolic of Terry Fox's run - it was to be his end point. There is a beautiful statue of Terry near the water front and a nice little park. Let me tell you - that there were a LOT of cameras that made an appearance and Gavin and I spent a bit of time taking pictures. 

Trust me - NO ONE lingered.  The wind was blowing like mad, the rain was pelting down - it was just ugly!!!!!

Then off to the dock to dip the wheels.  I remember those docks from last year.  Let's just say that a floating dock is already a very unstable platform, but with the high winds - it was even more so.  The cyclists went down one of the docks and I went on the other so I could get a good picture of them. My camera has been acting up lately - too much dampness no doubt.   Anyway - I managed to get pictures of them all although a few times - they were a bit shaky because of the waves.

Back on their bikes and they were off to Signal Hill.   Now I really felt for them on this climb because it was into the head wind. It was an UGLY climb.  I got pictures of them coming up and that was so cool to watch them all arrive at their final destination. It was almost as exciting as if I had done the entire trip with them.  As I was taking pictures in the blowing wind - a woman came up to me and asked if I was with the cyclists. Yes I said.  She asked if a John Edwards was with us.  Hmmmmmm - John???   Oh yes - John!!!!   Turns out his cousin came up to meet him on the Hill!!!!!   How cool is that!!!!!!

Then another round of pictures and by this time everyone was frozen - except Stuart who had on his merino wool base layer and long pants!!!!!  After all the pictures were done - everyone headed back to the hotel.  They had been out for about two hours by this time and yes - everyone was wet again!!!!!!  

Our final brunch was just a short walk down the road. On the way there - we had to pass a Shopper's Drug Mart and I wanted to pick up a couple of things. AHA - there is a photo printing station here and they printed off two pictures immediately for me so I took a copy of the group photos to the brunch.  Everyone has excited to see them.

We had a great brunch - and a couple of traditional Newfoundland dishes which I have to say I did not care for.  Too much fat for me!!!!!!!   Then all the thank yous, comments and such and it was over!!!!!!   Oh dear - that is always the sad part! 

Back to the hotel and then I grabbed my bike and walked it down to the bike shop so they could box it up for transport.  I know - just being lazy!!  But I didn't have a box so I had to get one from them - another few dollars and they would pack it up - that was a no brainer!!!!   But it was raining and so it was ugly walking down the hill to the shop.  I did a little bit of shopping - I had to buy a new duffle bag to bring all my odds and ends home - I wanted to check it on the plane and my other luggage is already back in Ontario!

Then by the quirks of Facebook - I was off to meet Cheryl and her family.  Cheryl is a quilter (and her husband Larry helps out with the quilting - I want Larry to come visit me!!!!!). Their son Stephen had just crossed Canada - also on a bike.  He did it by himself and so it was great to meet all of them including Stephen's finance whose name I have forgotten!!!  Anyway - we met at Quidi Vidi Brewery where we did the tasting and had a tour of the production process.   Very interesting, but the tasting went so fast - we got to taste five beers and they were coming around to fill up my glass before I had finished the first sample.  Oh well - bottoms up!!!!!   Some very nice beer and I think some of it is available in Ontario - I must look for it.

After that we were off to Linda's.  A small eccentric little restaurant not far from the Brewery.  When I mean eccentric - I mean eccentric. And John - if you are reading this - they had license plates on the wall.  I was tempted to pinch one or two for you!!!!!   The story there is that John started collecting license plates in Alberta and we gave him three more at the final brunch.  I think he ended up with quite a collection at the end of the trip!!!!!   Anyway - back to Linda's - we had great clam chowder - so thick you almost needed a fork to eat it.  And a group who were also at the Brewery came in to be screeched into Newfoundland.  Oh boy - what fun as we listened to them go through the ceremony.   I did not participate!!!!!   But I watched and observed!

Chery and Larry drove me back to St. John's where we visited the chocolate shop.  Yum yum!!!!   And then I said good-bye as I still had a couple of things to do.  I walked back to the hotel - UP that huge hill and yes - I was huffing when I got to the top.   Then a nice quiet evening in the hotel.  And a nice - dry bed!!!!!

Thanks Cheryl and Larry - it was so awesome to meet you - I'll see you on Facebook!!!!!   (And thanks to Pauline H - who made the connection for us)

On that note - I still have a couple of hours before I have to catch my plane and I want to pick up one more thing from St. John's since it may be a LONG time before I come back!!!!

Have an awesome day!!!!!


Friday, August 29, 2014

Day 71 - Last set of pictures for today

Hans (from Berlin) and John (from Scotland but originally from Canada)

Gerald (from Austria) and look how much weight he lost on the trip!!!!!!

Day 71 - More pictures of the last day

Gerald arrives AT LAST!!!!!

Jacques - very focused on pouring that scotch. Can't waste a drop!

Day 71 - more pictures

More pictures from the last day - needless to say - I did NOT take any pictures along the way!!!!

Pizza and beer!!!!

Last hands of rummy!