Wednesday, July 11, 2018

At The Beach!


Since I am having trouble posting on my blog due to various issues - lack of time, work, the want to play outside in the sand and drink tropical drinks, kayaking, walking the dog, reading etc I am taking a short break from blogging = length yet to be determined.  I will definitely be back but in the mean time I intend to keep reading yours.  Cheers and have a great summer!

Tuesday, July 3, 2018

Stages of Life


We just found out Mom is no longer supposed to drive.  She has been waiting for cateract surgery which has gotten delayed several times as her surgeon was going through "issues".  Now she has a different surgeon and is likely to get surgery on both eyes (a few weeks apart) in September.  On the upside she won't have to wear glasses after that.  Also, thanks to our healthcare system in Canada she won't have to pay for it.  Both major wins.  On the downside she found out on Friday that she shouldn't be driving any longer as her vision has deteriorated again.  Prior to this her vision was sufficient that they asked her not to night drive but she should be fine for daytime driving.

Thursday, June 28, 2018

Raccoon DooDoo

I picked 4 more strawberries off the 10 plants I bought for $20 - total strawberries are 24 which means each strawberry only costs 83 cents.  Soon I will be at break even level!  And the rat/mouse has left them alone since I scattered bay leaf around them.  The raccoon has been back - this time eating our neighbors cherries as I found a "deposit" in my yard full of cherry pits.  I bet the little bugger had a belly ache.  Now I not only have to pick up Buddy doodoo but I have to pick up Mr Raccoon doodoo too!

Tuesday, June 19, 2018

In Pictures

I am finding it difficult to post here for a variety of reasons.  One, life is busy. Two, I find it difficult to temper my current rage at what is happening in the world, in particular the country next door.  When you commit crimes against humanity and then you or your minions quote the bible to justify your actions there is literally no hope for you or your followers.   That had to be said.  It is bloody obvious I am Anti-Trump but I still love the USA and most of the people, heck, I was born there.  I do know many Republicans who voted for him initially because he was anti-abortion are being tested right now, many wishing they had voted differently or that their party had chosen a better/different leader.

 I am also hopping on the buy Canadian bandwagon because he seems to have declared war on Canada along with a bunch of other countries and is embracing Dictators.  I am not just buying Canadian though, will buy Mexico wherever possible as well.  I am more than happy to spend my dollars in Mexico this winter versus the USA and although I have many relatives in the United States will not step foot inside until the tyrant is gone.  There - I am done - and if you read this blog and are still pro Trump then don't bother commenting.  Rant over.  I don't really want this to be a political blog but one can only contain it so long.

Now I will share my week in pictures.  Also, I tend to post more pictures on instagram.  If you do instagram you will find me at @livingrichislandgirl.
Buddy's happy beach dog look

Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Strawberry Dreams Forever


Out of last month's grocery bill $50 of it went towards buying food bearing plants and seeds for my minigarden.  I really don't want to take out a big patch of grass to have a larger garden, nor do I have the energy or time to maintain one so for now there are two long growing boxes and several pots.  I planted 10 strawberry plants and they seem to be doing well as I have already harvested 3 medium to large strawberries with many more buds and baby strawberries on the way.  Total investment in the strawberry plants was $20 so at this early point in the season each strawberry has cost me $6.66.  I am keeping track to see if it is worth it as have never grown strawberries before.  I only planted 3 tomato plants this year as they always seem to do really well and we get quite a good yield with just a couple of plants.  They are already filled with flowers.  I also planted 2 pepper plants, a pot of cilantro and one cucumber plant.  The cucumber plant is an experiment as well as I am not sure if they grow well in containers. The strawberry was very tasty by the way.

Monday, June 4, 2018

Back to Regular Life!


Although life has resumed at it's pre-vacation break neck speed we always try and walk Buddy and on our walk the other day we saw that the baby ducks had hatched while we were gone at the pond on our regular route.  So bloody cute - there were about 20 of them from various Mother ducks there zipping about like crazy on the water.  

Wednesday, May 30, 2018

Paris - Europe Trip Part 4

Italian dog we tried to make friends with

Work is out of control so it has been difficult to get the last post of our epic European adventure up - but here it is.  We decided last minute to book a cab back to the Naples airport which is a 45 minute journey from Salerno.  When researching things in advance several transfer companies had quoted stupid money - 180 Euros (270 CAD) for the four of us.  Every other day but Sunday there is a shuttle bus that is very reasonable that leaves from the train station going to the airport.  We were leaving on a Sunday which I wish I would have known about this before making all our hotel arrangements.  Anyway, I refused to pay that much so our plan was to take a short cab to the Salerno train station, local metro train to Naples, grab a SITA bus to the Naples airport all taking 2-3 hours depending on if the train was on time.  That would have still cost us about 80 Euros.  After our cancelled train episode taking the local train to Pompeii I decided we were going to take a cab to the airport instead.  I texted my AirBNB guy to see what kind of arrangement he could make.  And just like that for 120 Euros (still expensive but doable at $180 CAD) we were picked up by a local taxi.  By this time in the trip my foot was swollen and hurting, after doing 105,000 steps in one week in Italy.  I didn't think I could make it the cheaper route so we paid up and got whisked to Naples in a nice clean safe cab with a very nice taxi driver.  By the way, I strongly recommend anyone with a smart phone download the google translate app which works even offline.  Halfway to Naples one of our party needed to use a restroom and so we typed up the request and the taxi driver read it and quickly exited the freeway.  It certainly saved our bacon as he was very smiley but only spoke 3 words of English and combined with our 3 words of Italian we would have had a hard time communicating this.  Anyway, we gave him an extra tip for that.  

Thursday, May 24, 2018

Salerno, Pompeii and Amalfi - Italy Part 3

Salerno Harbour

After Rome we took the high speed train to Salerno.  It only takes 1.5 hrs versus regular train 3 hours or driving 3-5 hours depending on traffic.  It is nonstop and definitely worth it.  We had planned an early morning train departing between 8-9 am so that in case of strike it likely would be one of the few trains still going  Fortunately, there were no rail strikes while we were in Italy.  It was raining for the most of our first day there which we had scheduled for a relaxation/meandering day.  We checked into our AirBNB early as had been in communication with our host and no one had stayed the night prior so they were open to early checkin.  Again, we were very lucky with apartments.  We chose to stay in old town Salerno which has narrow alleyways that cars are not able to fit down.  Only one block over you could drive so our cab was able to let us off and although he didn't speak much English through gesturing told us where to go.  Fortunately just as we began to wander down the alley our host showed up and asked if were were his guests.  The only part about this apartment that I didn't realize is that it was almost on the 3rd floor of a winding stone very very steep staircase.  Other than getting the luggage up initially we didn't have any issues with that.  It clearly states no elevators in the listing but could be a little clearer on that staircase lol.  Either way we loved this apartment too - and so much cheaper than staying anywhere near Sorrento, Amalfi or Positano which make up the Amalfi Coast.  Salerno is a port city.  It has excellent rail service and really good ferry service to the Amalfi Coast which is primarily why we stayed there.  An added bonus was a total lack of tourists, yes we saw a couple but mostly just Italians going about their day to day business.  Port cities can be dirty, and Salerno has some areas that attract a darker element as in all cities but overall we really enjoyed our stay and felt completely safe at all times.  It is also very walkable and has lovely pedestrian only shopping and restaurant areas.  Our apartment was a 15 minute walk to the train station to get to Pompeii and also just in front of that train station were the ferries.

Thursday, May 17, 2018

The Papal Audience and Vatican Museums - Italy Part 2

Even if you aren't Catholic or religious I highly recommend seeing St Peters Square, St Peters Basilica and the Vatican Museums as although they are one of the most attended attractions in the world, they are worth it to see as each are amazing on their own.  We are baptised Catholics and the kids went to Catholic School but we are really nonpractising due to our own reasons.  The school system was chosen as was the best available to the kids at the time.   All of these sites are free to see with the exception of the Vatican museums.

Monday morning before our Colosseum tour we ventured out to St Peters Square to try and obtain Papal Audience tickets for Wednesday.  He does a Papal Audience every Wednesday that he is in the city, completely free of charge. You can see his schedule usually a couple of months out at the Prefecture of the Papal Household.   There are several ways to get tickets and this romewise post explains the best options if you live in the USA.  You can request them directly by fax from the Vatican or via email if American from US based churches.  For those of us in Canada fax was the only option unless trying through your Church.  We don't have a fax machine even though we have a business as there is zero need based on everyone scanning and emailing things these days.  Our local business center which we use for printing has one so I tried that a couple months in advance.  After 20 tries I gave up.  We and everyone else in the world who wanted to see the pope was trying the fax method.  Next up there appeared to be several tour companies that would provide tickets and a guide for the Papal audience at the price of about $50 each.  I refused to do that as everything that I read said they should be free - and with four of us I was not willing to shell out for that (money does not go to the church but the guide in that case).  Finally I asked the boys if they wanted to try and get tickets when we were in Rome and we all agreed - I didn't want anyone to be disappointed if we couldn't see him.

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

We're back! Italy Part 1


So yes, I have been back a few days now from our epic European adventure and have been just trying to get our life sorted.  Every day I thought I would try and post but life/business got in the way so today is the day.  Our trip to Europe went mostly smoothly.  We dodged a rolling Air France strike (they were on strike the two days before our flight home), rain, cancelled trains, misplaced luggage(at Vancouver on way home, it turned up the next day) and a terrorist attack in Paris by a couple of days that happened a 10 minute walk from our hotel.  We had a great but tiring trip, saw loads, and likely next time we head to Europe I will have to schedule more wandering days with nothing planned.  This time though we had two adult kids with us so I wanted them to see as much as we possibly could.