September 17, 2014

Sept 17

Sunday, we reconnected with our darling grandsons Noah and Luke. Noah is walking now and chasing him was great fun, if exhausting. Luke has continued growing by leaps and bounds. We played together on his iPad. The ability of this generation to effortlessly navigate computers is astounding to me. Over the course of the summer we had children who were lost stop in to ask for directions. They were between 6 and 10 and I discovered something amazing. They all knew exactly how to navigate from a map. I gave them a map of the campground and they kept it folded in a pocket and were never lost again. I often saw them stopping at an intersection, pulling out the map and consulting with each other before charging off again. I recall having to be taught in school how to read a map somewhere in grade five. For today’s kids navigating a map is something they learned, likely at Luke’s age, to get around a computer game. Certainly Luke, at just four understands maps very well. We then got to wander Ikea with Alan and Ann and they paid for lunch. It was a whole family experience. Luke went to their play land and ran himself ragged and we ate and shopped. (Luke ate before us.) Again, the new ways of doing things surprised me. A cafeteria, a free babysitting service, reasonably priced good food and shopping. It is all designed to get you to spend money and yet it was very much a “village-like” experience.

Monday I had a food processing day. Saturday we picked up a bunch of veggies cheap at the end of the farmer’s market next to where we were volunteering. (Strange to actually find a farmer at today’s farmers markets. First time it happened this year.) I made a big pot of vegetable minestrone soup, and chocolate zucchini bread. I made sweet and sour meatballs for supper. I packed two jars of soup and a third jar of the meatballs, along with a bunch of leftover bok choy, and I cooked them in the pressure cooker so they will be available for a later time. I was still left with additional soup which I froze. Plus I have a small pot in the slow cooker for tomorrow. I also have a bunch of precut veggies, zucchini, green pepper slices, for frying up with our usual breakfasts. I also have one container of Israeli salad and one of coleslaw. We can munch those over the next few days. I have been reading about living frugally and (after eating out too much) I learned that wasting food is the single biggest waste of most families money. I am pleased that none of the food from the market will be wasted. One of the nicer things about being retired and not having small children underfoot is that it is possible to do all these frugal things in spite of the time they take.

Tuesday, we worked quietly including me making two loaves of pumpernickel bread for Dick. I do love my kitchen aide. It kneads the bread so well and these loaves were my best pumpernickel loaves to date. We took a long walk along the creek crossing the pine ridge trail and checked out the progress of construction in the upgrading and expansion of beach lake. They dug out the creek bed to start this vast project, presumably in response to the heavy flooding we experienced this spring but possible as part of the long planned expansion of the beach. In any case, in spite of how the ground has been scraped to widen the creek and clean out the channel, the walk was lovely. We saw so many birds, frogs and there were many tracks of deer and other animals. I hope they decide to make this an official trail because it is an exceptionally lovely walk. We noted once back on the Riverview trail, that the dogwoods and high bush cranberries have turned a deep crimson and brilliant red respectively. Fall colour in Manitoba is a two stage affair. First the ground story turns deep red and then brown, then the upper story turns bright yellow and then it’s gone in days. There is no comparison to the brilliance of purple reds to pale yellow with every shade of fire in between seen in the east. Fall is the time I find myself missing Quebec. Perhaps we can see some of the lovely colour this fall when we get further south depending on when winter arrives and how far east we get.

I noted with interest that the place we stayed at this past winter, Laughlin Nevada, is on the edge of warnings for heavy rainfall. The region was suffering horribly from drought with all the many reservoirs and marches formed on them to collect water suffering. The lake above the Hoover Dam was dangerously low. Two rounds of pacific hurricane rain will no doubt refresh the reservoirs even though the flash flooding will be terrible. I wish I could see those famous flash floods. They don’t happen in winter.

So my plan for the rest of the week is to work on writing. Today Dick has two friends coming for lunch. It’s his turn and they will eat at the Firefly Cafe in the park. And my daughter-in-law called to update me some mail and on my grandson Alex. He is in Navy cadets and working towards earning his uniform. And my son Justin got on to talk to me and thank me for his birthday present. We will probably go into town later today or tomorrow to go for a swim and pick up our mail.

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