Category Archives: Winter Weather

Only Child on Christmas present

Martin and Juni by Christmas tree

I play all the Christmas songs over and over again because they  may be our only hope for good times in this world, not just during the Christmas season but in 2018. And since I promised in last week’s post that this week ‘s post would deal with what Christmas means to me today, here goes. Things have definitely changed. The only magic about Christmas is in those songs and the Christmas (new and old) movies on TV. So, I’m going to do a summary of some of the things that got messed up in my lead-up to Christmas and well, on Christmas Day too. It serves as an example, personally, but sadly some of it is the way it is elsewhere.

1. I got sick with a throat infection including a cough December 11. It lasted about a week. I had to cancel going to the Christmas dinner held by the writers networking group I belong to. Turns out three others were just getting sick and probably not going.

2. That same week I was sick, we had some rain mixed with snow and because some snow was already on the ground, some water got in the basement in the corner by the entrance from driveway to backyard. Not the usual place for water to get in and not anything to do with the contractor who messed up waterproofing on the other side. Just weather and we know who controls that and it’s not The Weather Network or Environment Canada. So I had to get the handyman in to add heating cables to the outside of the downspout. Now I go from roof heating cables to downspout cables as turning both on at the same time will cause the circuit breaker for that area to kick in and I lose power in that area of the house – inside and out.

3. I decided to take two weeks off from client work and book promo from December 19. Because of the house crap and being sick I got behind in getting the little bit of food and two more Xmas presents I still had to buy. Because I don’t have a car it was numerous trips on public transit  three afternoons in a row. I ended up returning home in rush hour which was particularly slow and miserable  the third day because some of the subway service was cut out for a few hours a someone jumped onto the tracks at a subway station. While I usually have empathy for someone so troubled they want to end it all, that doesn’t extend to jumping in front of a train because it messes it all up for thousands of commuters. Enough said here.

4. Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. We already had a white Christmas from a previous recent snowfall and didn’t need anymore. But I guess God decided otherwise. Christmas Day I got out there to shovel at least the veranda and enough of the driveway so my son could get his girlfriend’s dad’s car in. But it was too much and I was out of breath and shaking my fist at the sky. When Martin phoned I told told him about the situation and he said just to shovel a narrow path for them to get in and he would shovel the driveway, which he did with Juni’s help around the back of the house. But not before…

5. The power suddenly went out late Christmas morning. “No! No! No!” I yelled, shaking my fist at the sky and telling God to get the power back on – after all it is Christmas Day and as I found out when I called Toronto Hydro – it was widespread in East York and Scarborough parts of Toronto. For once God must have heard (must be because of many thousands of people affected) – power went back on five minutes later, so I adjusted the only two electric clocks I have in the kitchen. Then the power went off again and I did my fist-shaking at the sky scenario again. But it came back on two minutes later and stayed on. But I left the wall clock as is,  hanging crookedly, just in case.

These are just a few things. You didn’t want me to summarize them all – that would be at least a book chapter. But, if you go through them, you can see that at least four of them are representative of what is going on in the world today. Some places in Canada, and elsewhere, got worst weather and had longer power outages. And not just at Christmas. This is a year long thing and is indicative of the world going to hell (or should that be heaven?) in a very over-sized basket.

And then there are the crowds shopping before and after (Boxing Day sales – I no longer do the latter) although online buying is helping to diminish the in person shopping and crowding. Getting sick with viruses and other things is way up in winter all over. For example, the Weather Network’s graph of flu occurrences shows widespread in southern Ontario. And that’s just one area. It looks like the world is killing us. Because of all this, personal and worldwide, church attendance and religion (except for the extreme fanaticism) is down. With the weather New Year’s Eve and Christmas Day, attendance was lowered it even more.

Okay, there was one bright spot at Christmas – Martin and Juni spending Christmas Day here with me. We exchanged presents and had good conversations sitting in the living room near the tree. (See photo above for my tiny not real Christmas tree – rather appropriate but more because my tiny house has no room for big trees). Dinner which I cooked was good – we cleaned our plates and dessert dishes – despite me overcooking the brussel sprouts and the chicken – which I had placed upside down in the roasting pan. Martin had brought the fresh strawberries I had asked him to bring in case I didn’t get the apple crisp made. I did make the crisp on Christmas Eve. So we ate some strawberries with ice cream for dessert and I sent some of the apple crisp in a plastic container home with them.

Martin also did some updating/upgrading of the operating system on my Mac laptop – which took four and a half hours but he just had to check it occasionally for the downloads and then do the installation. They also got here safely and back home safely.

So all that made my Christmas. The rest is all true over the world. Unfortunately. God needs to listen to us and help us. Clearly, we aren’t doing it right and maybe can’t do it alone. I’m not holding my breath, though. I am someone who has learned from experience and what I have learned doesn’t bode too well for planet earth.

But let’s hope I’m wrong. May 2018 be better for all of us.

Next week I’ll go into New Year’s Resolutions, with a twist.

Cheers.

Sharon

Only Child Writes

Sharon and Martin Christmas Day

 

Advertisements

2 Comments

Filed under Christmas, Christmas stress, Church Attendance, Extreme Weather, Family and Friends, Only child, Problems, Snow, Winter Weather, World Environment

Only Child says snow snow – yech!

Last evening and overnight, Toronto, Ontario got blasted with the first snowfall of the year. At 14 cm it is certainly not the biggest snowstorm, but being the first one of this season, it seemed like way too much. Especially if like me you had to shovel all the white stuff. Especially when the two guys you used to hire to shovel your snow the past six to eight years seem to have disappeared.

As a senior, I shouldn’t be shovelling the results of big and/or heavy snowstorms. Especially as I am just now getting over a 48-hour virus – which was probably caused by an allergic reaction to too much dust. I don’t have time to dust my place very often and I certainly don’t have time to shovel snow – repeatedly during the winter season. Cutting the little lawn I have repeatedly in the summer is a different story. Especially using a hand mower as my late dad did.

Dad also shovelled the snow when I was growing up – until he got cancer.

But storms weren’t as bad as now back then (1950s and 1960s) – at least on a regular basis. Yes, we had some doozy winter snowstorms. I remember walking home from school at lunch time (yes, we didn’t stay at school for lunch unless we lived too far away) and the snow was up to my thighs. But I was so much shorter then and not so wise, not so knowledgeable, and well, a kid. Now, I’d just like to skip winter – not just for the snow but we get too much of this mixed precipitation and then there are the ice storms.

Actually shovelling the snow was very invigorating. Lucky my virus seems to have either disappeared or got buried for now. But I would still rather go for a walk…in the freezing cold? Temperatures nose-diving later today and will stay that way for the next couple of days. Brr!

Below my signature are a few more photos  of the snow on my property  before I dug in and shovelled.

Do you shovel your own snow or does somebody else? Or do you live in a rental apartment or a condo?

Do you consider snow shovelling a winter sport?

You can probably guess what my answer is as I don’t take part in real winter sports. But I like to watch figure skating – probably because I used o skate as a child and young adult – nothing fancy, just enough to keep from falling as I glided around the rink – outdoors or indoors.

Cheers.

Sharon

Only Child Writes

Recycling bins snowed in back of driveway

 

Backyard patio snowed in

 

Leave a comment

Filed under 1950s, 1960s, Dad, Life demands, Only child, snow shovelling, Winter Weather

Windy snowy rainy icy winter 2017

Time consuming winter job

Time consuming winter job

The last few years winter weather has been a roller-coaster ride of snow, ice, rain, wind, with temperatures fluctuating from -40 Celsius to as high as + 55 Celsius. And that’s all over. Check The Weather Network for different areas. The videos and Force of Nature TV clips give a good indication.

Those who blame our wacky weather (year round, not just in winter) on climate change are partly right. Where that goes haywire is beating ourselves (individuals and business or government entities) for causing all the climate change. Not entirely true.

I was thinking of the ice age which was billions of years before humans even existed (on earth and elsewhere, the latter as far as we know). So I did a little digging online. Yes, that part is accurate. However, I was surprised by what else causes climate changes, including now. And yes, again it is those nasty greenhouse gases  (such as CO2) which cause the climate changes. But did you know that volcanoes cause greenhouse gas? I’m not making that up.

So, when you are out there shovelling that white crap. Or sloshing through slush from rain and snow, think of the wider picture where it all comes from.

The universe unfolding?

God?

Mother Nature?

Bad luck?

Those who follow this blog probably know what I think. The point here is not to point the finger at any one thing or being. Instead we need to do something to halt what we can about climate change. And that is a topic for another post.

Meantime, here are a few links to start you reading.

Ice Age

Facts on Climate Change

Do volcanoes emit more CO2 than humans?

How Volcanoes Influence Climate

Cheers.

Sharon

Only Child Writes

 

stock-photo-long-exposure-of-tungurahua-volcano-exploding-in-the-night-of-ecuador-large-amount-of-109905245

Leave a comment

Filed under Climate Change, Extreme Weather, God, Only child, Snow, Volcanoes, Winter Weather

Only Child – that’s a wrap for 2016

My son Martin, his girlfriend Juni and me

My son Martin, his girlfriend Juni and me

2016 may go down as the year many people came to hate, or at least dislike. From friends and family, what I see and read about, and yes, my own experiences, show this to be the case. It wasn’t all bad, so 2016 can’t be completely dissed as other years have (such as 2013 with both a flooded heavy rainstorm and an ice storm in Toronto and surrounding areas. A friend of mine in Toronto had her power go out for days for both storms). But that’s the prognosis in some news reports, even this one which is on the sarcastic side.

We had the best summer this year weather-wise and otherwise. The gardens were gorgeous. And let’s not forget the winter of 2015-2016 – mostly in January to March 2016. Little snow and only a couple of days the end of March with mixed precipitation and yes, some water got in my basement one of those days. This winter it has been too much snow so far, although the rain yesterday got rid of most of it, albeit some places in Toronto were flooded and/or had sewage back up into their basement (yeck). Here, I was lucky, but then I do raise my fist up to the sky to you-know-who. We had freezing rain before that, but I’m not even sure that happened in Toronto because when I woke up it was light rain. Places like Guelph and Kitchener, Ontario did get the freezing rain (for a few hours – all melted when the temperatures rose to 10 Celsius). But kids were skating on the streets of Guelph.

Health hasn’t been good for some of us. I have the tooth problem – the extraction coming up in January. But worst is I lost a close friend, Tanya from next door, to cancer in February. Now, one of my cousins has cancer of the lungs (like Tanya) and bone cancer. And like with Tanya, the damn doctors messed up with a misdiagnos, so treatment started later rather than sooner. I’m glad I got the chance to have dinner with her (and several other cousins) in August when I visited in the area and this cousin sat beside me so we could chat. I hope it is not the last time I see her.

Besides the summer weather and gardens, there have been some good things in my life. My going blind possibility seems to have been stopped thanks to the wonderful ophthalmologist I see on a regular basis and the double-prescription drops she prescribed. I am now officially living below the poverty level, but I now qualify for 100 % coverage with the Ontario Drug Plan for Seniors. Good thing, as the drops cost $72 for a very small container. And who knows what the oral surgeon will prescribe when I get the tooth out.

And my son, Martin and his girlfriend, Juni, I am very thankful for them. We had a wonderful Christmas afternoon and evening together, exchanging presents, chatting and catching up and of course eating (not necessarily in that order), despite the two of them having colds – which Martin warned me about when we talked on the phone before they came over. They were careful when sneezing and did a lot of hand washing.

And Martin is giving me the Mac Laptop I want and need. He has ordered it, so the note with their Christmas card said. It won’t arrive until late January. I will have to pay for some of it to get it as part of my business. But we will work that one out – after the dental crap is over with.

As for 2017, I will go into more detail about that in next week’s post. With dental surgery, the guy who has been shovelling my snow going AWOL (so to speak) from it this year after eight oor nine years of service, and of course, the winter weather and finances, who knows? I will be making many changes throughout 2017 and will try to follow what Martin wrote in their Christmas card.

“Let 2017 begin with optimism and promise.”

And that’s what I wish for all of you, too.

Cheers.

Sharon

Only Child Writes

 

2 Comments

Filed under 2016 and 2017, cancer, Christmas, Gifts, God, Health, Help and Support, Only child, Winter Weather

Only Child’s Christmases past and Christmas present

tree05It is nearing midnight Christmas Eve. Mom and I are struggling to stay upright as we walk along the icy sidewalks in the dark. We hang onto each other. Maybe we should have worn our skates – the ice is thick enough, but it is bumpy. We have to make it to Holy Cross Church on time for midnight Mass.

It is something different for both of us as morning Christmas Day Mass used to be the norm for Mom Dad and  me. We would eat a small snack before, check out our stockings hanging from the mantle and then head for church. Afterwards, back home it would be a big breakfast, then the magic of digging out the presents from under the tree. Presents that Mom and I had wrapped – her at the table in the kitchen and me at the table in the dining room. When either of us needed more wrapping paper or scrotch tape, we gave the other warning so there was time to cover the presents not yet wrapped.

After the ceremony of the presents, Mom would finish preparing Christmas dinner – turkey, sometimes goose or a duck, if she was feeling adventurous. Sometimes instead of eating dinner at home, we took a bus and streetcar to my aunt and uncle’s place in mid-Toronto to celebrate Christmas with them, my grandma who lived on the third floor of this old house, and my three cousins.

But that’s when Dad was still alive. He died the month before Christmas. The year was 1965. I was 16.

Fast Forward to 2016 and Christmas is so different. Not just because both my parents are long dead, but I am now past the age where each parent died. I no longer go to church as I  no longer find it relevant or helpful in my life. Life for not only me, but most everyone is changed so much. And it’s not just because we are older; it’s what’s happened, what is happening to us and to the world. We have too many problems, too much sickness, too much poverty and don’t forget the weather. Used to be snow was snow and it was normal. Now, we get ice storms, freezing rain, even regular rain, flooded basements and communities flooded out  their homes, often forever. This is good?

Within all this bleakness I still celebrate Christmas ,but it is a secular Christmas. I don’t mean shopping till I drop, although the past week it’s been difficult to get out even for a loaf of bread, with all the snow, ice, rain, bitter cold and today the winds which are supposed to howl down on and at us. Not to mention an unexpected and unwelcome dental problem and more house problems, some related to the weather. Somehow I can’t help feeling that the Christmas baby in the manger has failed us all so miserably.

My Christmas is spending time with family and close friends – friends and I eat out and sometimes stop at their house afterwards to continue the warm visit. In my old age, I have fewer close friends. One died from cancer earlier this year, but beyond that I am just picky. I think the bottom line has to do with friends who are reliable, friends who are there for you and you for them. In family, it is my son and his girlfriend. My son has helped me so much   – now with this dental problem (the actual dental extraction is after New Year’s Day) . They will share the Christmas presents under the tree, and a Christmas dinner (chicken, not turkey as I’m now allergic to turkey – that is if I can find a chicken for a reasonable price, a chicken that isn’t so small and scrawny there is barely enough for one meal for the three of us. There seems to be a paucity of roast chickens and turkeys on sale, or not on sale, this Christmas).

There will be no church involvement here, not even on TV. Instead I have been almost binging on watching TV Christmas movies (old and new – White Christmas  with Bing Crosby and Rosemary Clooney comes up this Thursday evening) and Christmas segments of the regular series I watch. Here I can get involved in other people’s problems instead of mine and know solutions will be found in the hour or two hours of the show. I know that some of these resolutions are too pat and don’t always happen in real life, but I need to get away from real life. To tell the truth, real life can well, really suck.

But I am not stopping celebrating Christmas – with the Christmas songs, trees, decorations, presents, food, music, good friends and family. And yes, even Santa. To me, he represents Christmas for children, maybe like a mascot. Oh yeah, and let’s not forget shovelling all that white shit (snow is a four-letter word) and keeping track of the weather that is coming so I know if I might be mopping up a basement or sprinkling salt on ice outside.

May all of you have a Merry Xmas, however you celebrate it.

Cheers.

Sharon

Only Child Writes

What I like about Christmas:

My son Martin, his girlfriend Juni and I ready to celebrate Christmas Day together

My son Martin, his girlfriend Juni and I ready to celebrate Christmas Day together

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What I hate about Christmas and winter

I do like the old buildings - it's the white stuff on the ground I don't like.

I do like the old buildings – it’s the white stuff on the ground I don’t like.

 

Leave a comment

Filed under 1960s, Christmas, Christmas spirit, Mom and Dad, Only child, Winter Weather

Only Child plans to hibernate this winter

shovelling-colorThis winter I plan to do like a bear – hibernate. Not entirely, but I plan to limit my outside time. I hate winter weather – cold, snow, ice storms, blizzards, heavy winds, etc. – with a passion.. Winter sports don’t interest me either. About the only things I like about winter are Christmas and winter fashions.

And it looks like I have picked a winter to do just that. Winter started in Canada over the past weekend in all but eastern and western Canada. Snow, extreme winds and extreme cold – all the ingredients that make me want to hide away inside. That is about three weeks earlier than usual – except maybe for the odd few days of a cold-snow spell the first week of December. It is only November 22 for whomever’s sake.

And The Weather Network’s winter forecast broadcast yesterday (and parts of it online at their website) forecast a more traditional winter for the Canadian Prairies and Ontario and Quebec. That means more Colorado lows (like the one we got over the weekend in Ontario, and maybe worse), lake effect snowstorms, colder temperatures (although not as cold as the winter of 2013-2014). But still too cold for my liking. The screwball part of the forecast (and not faulting the forecasters here, but what they found) is where the warmest parts of Canada will be – the northern territories. All upside down. Climate change? Maybe in part for the northern Canadian areas. But I also factor in what the lady on the bus in May 2015 said – “God controls the weather.” I leave all that for you to ponder.

As for me, once I’ve finished all the extra winter grocery stock-up buying, I am going to try to limit my grocery shopping outings. Not easy when you don’t have a car and can’t afford cabs. After the end of November I’m also limiting social, business and business social outings to two a week – one evening during the week and one day on the weekend. I will try to get out once a day (weather permitting – I don’t want to skate on sidewalks or roads) for a short walk in the neighbourhood. However, I suspect that a lot of my so-called outings will be shovelling the damn snow and putting down salt. (Note to self: ask my son to bring more bags of salt when he and his girlfriend come here for Christmas dinner).

I am also cutting back on what I do. Something I have already started. By weather default, outdoor gardening won’t be on  the agenda. That’s the one I don’t like to eliminate. But I can peruse gardening websites and garden books and catalogues for next spring and summer and experiment on what I try to grow in pots inside (and I don’t mean Mary Jane). Also off the agenda are any reunion lunches, etc. with former classmates, community newspaper colleagues and the like. As I seem to be the one who ends up organizing these (and my attempt at one early this past summer didn’t pan out), that’s out. There will also be a few other things off my list or in the case of email time, sitting with a timer for business email and leaving personal email (unless family emergency or urgency time-wise) until after my business hours.

So, what’s left  not mentioned? Well, writing, writing, writing, client work, and getting teaching and book promo gigs for next spring and afterwards in 2017. Already I have April 2017 booked up and another possibility for either April or June to be sorted out and finalized. Also want to do more reading –  not just books – I do manage to read many books, although my Goodreads account doesn’t indicate this. Hey, that takes time to manouevre through Goodreads to do so – but also magazines and for the weekend newspaper (Saturday and Sunday Toronto Star) finish reading all the sections I do read. I also want to watch TV, try some more recipes (I love to cook and eat too), and do some simple and cheap home decorating like re-arranging, adding a few small accessories.

With some things cut back or out the window (so to speak), I hope to do three things: get back to tracing my ancestry on my late father’s side and continue sorting out shelves, cupboards and drawers in various rooms in the house. I have been doing some of that latter sporadically lately. But I really need to tackle that drawer in my office that is overflowing with old outdated business cards collected over the years. The third thing to do is finish the preparations for my funeral and the like. And just the details like type of memorial (nothing even remotely religious). After all I am not getting any younger and you have to be prepared for these things. Preparing a will and powers of attorney (done here) are not enough these days.

I also intend to get together for a few dinner or lunch or brunch outings with my son and his girlfriend and close friends. Friends include some of my old school buddies. But as part of my twice a week social outings. And no big reunions. No big conventions or shows until the big garden one in mid-March – Canada Blooms.

That’s the plan. But unfortunately the best-made plans get screwed up by outside sources – like weather.

What was it the late John Lennon once said? Something about life being what happens when you are making plans? Actually it comes from a song he wrote about his older son,  Julian – Beautiful Boy.

Cheers

Sharon

Only Child Writes

 

 

Leave a comment

Filed under Dad, Family and Friends, Home and Garden, Life Balance, Only child, Organizing and Deleting, Reading, Snow, Time management, Weather, Winter Weather, Writing

Only Child terrified of horrible winter storm coming Wednesday and Thursday

Only child worries about upcoming winter storm

Only child worries about upcoming winter storm

I was going to start writing posts of how I am trying to make my world a little more joyful. Instead I am in emergency storm watch mode which will become big storm starting  tomorrow into Thursday. Southern Ontario is going to get hit with a big storm thanks to yet another Colorado clipper. We have the warm air and cold air clashing and that could bring freezing rain or snow. I might have known that something bad would be coming.

It might be nice if I was wrong for a change. Meteorologists can’t, at this time, actually nail down what will arrive where and when- all rain, freezing rain or snow and some mixing. We will get the latter Wednesday, but it is overnight Wednesday and into Thursday – all day and into evening – that is the big concern. I hate winter weather with a passion, and hate to say this, but I preferred the extreme cold of last winter. We had no mixed precipitation, no rain, no freezing rain and there was not a lot of snow. For this unwelcome, unwanted storm coming up, I would pick regular rain only, except this time it would be a lot of rain with the winds coming from the east and some water might get into my basement. Freezing rain is the one I really don’t want. Think power outages, ice, ice and ice on trees and hydro etc. wires and on the ground. Think the big ice storm in December 2013 in southern Ontario.

After all that ice in December 2013 and a two-day power outage where I live, I do not want to experience it again. I should not have to. Neither should anybody else anywhere.

So, I’m putting emergency plans into operation but really, it won’t stop the ice storm and any power outages, downed trees, icy roads and sidewalks, etc. resulting.. Only God can prevent the freezing rain and I am hoping he will be merciful this time and listen to me (and any others asking him). Sparing us the ice storm is something that will benefit many people.

I’m also supposed to be part of a panel of crime writers presenting at a library Thursday evening but hopefully that will be cancelled and we can re-schedule for all of us for a later date – preferably in late spring, summer or early fall.

If those reading this post think I am being a fear-monger or a wuss, just think about previous ice storms around the world. Maybe you had to go through one (or two or more). They are not to be taken lightly and in fact, should be taken completely off the weather we get – anywhere at any time.

Not bloody likely.

Cheers.

Sharon

Only Child Writes

Leave a comment

Filed under Anxiety, Extreme Weather, God, Ice Storm Southern Ontario, Ice storm Toronto, Life demands, Mixed Perceptation, Power Outages, Weather, Winter Weather