Sunday, 18 November 2012

A Season of Change

ok, so the Tim Horton's job didn't work out. It seems that the manager hired too many people for the amount of work that's available. So I'm out of work. From what the shift manager told me, there will soon be others following. I'm disappointed, but not bitter. Life goes on....

The Weight Watchers program is going well. John assured me that we'd work things out so that Katie and I could stay with the program. We started in early October, and I've lost 7 pounds. I'm not sure I'll make the 20 that my surgeon wanted, but I'm seeing him this coming Friday for pre-surgery exam.

In the meantime, I'm staying busy with my sewing. I'm currently have reworked my 1860s dress into a 1890s dress by reducing the hoop, a slight hem, and adding a bustle from the fabric I removed from the skirt. John has asked for a new steampunk jacket. He wants to portray a retired Union artillery sergeant, so I'm working on that. Katie also wants a new, fancier dress. When Fabricland has their big members sale this weekend, we'll get her fabric and she'll start sewing that (with advice from me.)

The biggest news is that I've decided to start teaching sewing lessons. I have a lot of friends and acquaintances in my various groups who want garb but don't know how to sew. I check around and decided to help them learn. I know, why don't I just sew and charge them. I'm not interested in doing that. I have enough for just our family to do, and when a hobby becomes a job, it looses the fun.  I also believe that Confucius had the right idea - "Give a man a fish, and he'll eat for a day. But teach a man to fish, and he'll eat for his lifetime."

I know when I finish an outfit, I feel a sense of accomplishment and pride. I'd like to help pass that on. And sewing is becoming a lost art, so I can also teach another generation.

Last night, we walked in the St. Thomas Santa Claus Parade. We invited the Steampunk group back to our house for warm drinks and a warm place to sit. I got to know one of our members, and her daughter. They are very interested in making their own outfits, so I now have my first commission as a teacher.

If you're reading this and live in the London/St. Thomas area, I'm willing, ready and able.  For more information, you can contact me by facebook message or by email at   We'll get together and start passing some knowledge.

Thursday, 25 October 2012

A Whole New Me

Yeah, I know...two posts in one month. It happens. Last time I posted so often was the whole cancer stuff. This time, it's something completely different.

Last winter, I saw a plastic surgeon in London for breast reconstruction surgery. We talked, and decided that I would be a good candidate for the TRAM surgery. This uses tissue from my lower abdomen to replace the lost tissue where my breast was. This also gives me a tummy tuck at the same time!  He suggested at the time, that the procedure would look better in my tummy area if I could lose some weight.

I've spent the last several months trying on my own, but without a lot of luck.

Back in September, I started working at Tim Horton's. It's right behind my house, about 15 minute walk. I'm working 18-24 hours a month, so I have some money coming in (watch out Fabricland), and still have time to pursue my hobbies and be with my family.  Because I now have an income, and we have some extra money, Katie and I made the decision to join Weight Watchers.  We went to our first meeting on October 11th (2012).  I weighted in at (gulp) 236.8 pounds. As of today, I'm down to 231.4. That's 5.4 pounds in two weeks. I've also lost about 1.5 to 2 inches in each of my measurements. 

I've been on WW before, right after Robby was born, and had good luck then. I just didn't stick with it-money for meetings ran out.  The local groups were offering a free membership, and if you pre-pay a month in advance, you save a lot on the weekly prices.

I really do like the WW program. They NEVER use the word "don't", as in "don't eat this" and "don't go to BK". They teach you from the beginning how to eat sensibly and still enjoy your food.  The points are easy to count since our membership includes an online personal site that you simply enter what  you eat, and how much, and it tells you how many points you've eaten and how many you've got left.

I'll post again in a couple of weeks. My surgery is January 8, so I still have time to lose the 20 pounds that the surgeon suggested. 

Who knows, I just may make it!

Tuesday, 9 October 2012

A Late Summer Update

It seems that even with my best of intentions, I don't seem to be able to post on a regular basis. So here's the latest news from my home front.
We've had a super busy year reenacting and keeping life in order. Robby is now starting year 13 of high school. He started a co-op last fall, which he dropped, and was left 2 credits short for graduation. Not a big deal as he was planning to do an extra year anyway. He just turned 18, and is still looking for what he wants to do when he finishes school this June.  Katie finished at Fanshawe last December, and has been working at a local Subway. John is enjoying his time at St. John's, and his German is slowly improving. Many of the ladies are working with him, and there's a lot of laughing over the words. I haven't even tried, I'm doing good to speak English.  I've been lucky with health issues - so that's a good thing. I did get my first job in 20+ years. I was hired by Molly Maid (a Canadian version of Merry Maid) and stayed with them for a month. The work wasn't hard, but there were a lot of management issues with a new owner who didn't have any business experience. I did however, land a part-time job at Tim Horton's near my house. It's a 3 min drive or a 15 min walk. I love the commute!

I spent most of the winter sewing garb for the upcoming reenacting season. Since this is the 200th anniversary of the beginning of the War of 1812, we're looking forward to some busy years. Our medieval/renaissance group, the SCA, holds event year round. Many of our events are indoors, and since they are not usually open to the public, the need for true accuracy is up to the individual. It also depends on the period and part of the world that each person has chosen and the amount of information that is available. For example - take our family. John has been a late 1500s celt, but is starting to research a 450s Roman infantryman.  I've been taking the role of a 1509 Scottish lowland/border woman. I wear whatever was popular in England with some generic plaids for accent pieces (Tartan patterns didn't come in until the early 1700s) Katie is a 1550 Japanese girl who had been sold into slavery and was "bought" by Portuguese sailors and brought to the west. Robby is a Spanish sailor from about 1580. For us, research is relatively easy, as compared to some of our friends who portray early norse or saxons.
As part of activities, we try to learn about life in our chosen time period. For Katie, Robby, and I, we have been able to learn renaissance era fencing. Katie and Robby are quite good, and I'm just started the study last spring.  We also do various sewing and types of arts.
We do have occasion to go into schools and give presentations. John and I joined some of our friends last June (Katie was working and Robby was getting ready for finals).
Here's a couple of pictures:
John had a display of swords of different sizes and time periods. Here he is demonstration how to swing a two-handed bastard swords. (We have a large selection of weapons, none of which are sharpened.)

We were waiting for an introduction. My dress is a 1500 coathardie (or kirtle), a ladies working dress. It has a 300 inch hem. The things hanging from my belt show membership in different groups, or awards.

This is Robby and Katie fencing at one of our camping events.  And yes, I made everything we're wearing.
Our other major interest if the War of 1812.  We do all of these events out of doors and in a public venue. For this reason, as well as the fact that there is a lot of information available, accuracy is first and foremost. I have made all of the clothing you see in the following pictures, except for Katie's, which she made.  When we camp, it is in period tents. We cook in period styles, and try as close as possible to eat period food.  Some of our events are overnight camping trips, when we take both of our tents. The day events are usually with just our wedge tent. You'll see from the pictures. Katie and I are often the unit cooks, so we get the big tent. I've never been so thankful for all of my Girl Scout years, the learning I did of outdoor cooking means that we eat good.  FYI - during the summer, we spend 5 of every 6 weekends in 1812 garb. (all volunteer, by the way)
So here's some more pictures:
Our first event of the year was near home at Longwood Conservation area, about 20 min. from home. We day-tripped on Saturday, slept at home, and went back Sunday.
This is our day camp. The tent is a wedge with two doors, allowing us flexibility. The tables and stools are based on period furniture. The only change is the flooring. It had been raining and it kept our feet out of the water and mud.

Robby has spent the last two events as a native captive. We often hang out with these folks, and they like the way Robby plays captive. This year, Hunter and Checomick were discussing what do with their captive. Hunter wanted to turn the American over to the British, and Checomick wanted to keep him to do the heavy work for her family after her husband and son were killed.

John got to play Sargeant this year. Our friend, Mark, sargeant of the 21st U.S.Infantry, decided to stay in line and let John have some fun. We all portray Americans, since there are never enough people willing to take the American role at events. It means that we always get to go out and play!
Our next major event was in Stoney Creek, ON. Katie was invited to join the line, and was loaned a uniform by Paul and trained by Mark in the drill. It was fun to see the three of them in line. And no, I'm not interested in taking the field. I've fired John's musket a number of time just for the experience.
so pics:

From there we did our annual August run. John, Robby, and I took part in a one-day event at a historic church in St. Thomas. We set up a camp and talked to folks, especially the  kids. Robby got to shoot his musket about once an hour or so for the crowd.

We did our annual Fort Erie this next weekend. We had been given a canvas wall tent, so we have a full kitchen area. Not only were the 4 of us (and Pooka) there, but we hosted most of the rest of the American forces over the weekend.
Katie, John, Robby and our friend Paul. Paul created the "sofa" from hay bales.

Here's our camp on Friday afternoon. The guys slept in our small wedge tent, and Katie, Pooka and I had the wall tent and our equipment.

The following weekend the local town of Port Stanley invited us to spend Friday and Saturday with a small camp. We set up our kitchen space, and our friends from the Royal Scots set up camp across the small square from us and served as an enemy. Robby got to fire his new musket for the first time.

Robby and Tyler took their turn guarding the King George VI drawbridge.
They wouldn't even let Katie pass!

General Brock (a quest), Royal Scots, Americans (Robby, Andy, John) saluting the arrival of the St. Lawrence II. Saturday, the forces were doubled.
 It's time to post this, so I'll add another post about the latest chapter in my Day-to-Day!

Friday, 27 April 2012


As many of you know, Katie has pet rats.  She adopted first Red and Seito in June of 2008. Red passed in May of 2010, and Seito lived until December of 2010. This was in itself amazing because rats don't  like to live alone.
Seito (do I really want to come out?)

Red (home sweet home) and yes, he really had pink eyes.

For a while, she went ratless.  During the summer between college years, she missed her small furries, and decided to return to a family favourite - a hamster.  So Rous joined our family (Rodent of Unusual Size- The Princess Bride).  He looked like a little ball of dryer lint:

Fast forward to Christmas of 2011. Katie had planned to take Rous to college with her, but there were issues with her roomate, so Rous became sort of the house hamster. When Katie came home, she would be moving back into a new residence building - a town house - and decided it was rat time again. We returned to our favourite rat rescue, Hooded Rodent Rescue ( and Lindy had 4 siblings that she thought would be good friends for Katie.  After much family discussion of famous pairs of men, she met Max Bialystock and Leo Bloom (from the 1968 "The Producers).  Katie soon found herself finished with her time at Fanshawe and back home. Because her room gets cold in the winter, she decided that the boys would "winter" upstairs in the living room. They get lots of sunlight, warmth, and most important, attention. Leo especially has decided that he is a diurnal rat, and prefers to spent the morning awake chatting with me while I sew. Max will come and go. Mid afternoon is sleep, evening is more play time, now in the family room in the small playpen and crawling around on the four of us.  Then back to their cage, some playtime together, then they usually quiet down until we get up the next morning.  Their favourite foods are anything with grains such as bread crusts, pizza crusts, cheerios and dog cookies. They also love any vegetable, and if nothing else is around - cheese.  Pooka does well with them, however, he will often run from them.  They check out their environment with their mouths since their eyesight is poor, so the often will taste something to see if it's food. The "something" will be a fingertip or Pooka's ear flaps.  They have never bitten, just put their teeth on you, or lick you, before deciding that you taste yucky.
Yesterday, we had the boys out on the kitchen floor, and I got out my camera.  

Here, for your viewing pleasure, are the results:
Peek - a - boo (Max)

Max takes a minute to wash his face.

Leo is looking around, Max is still inside the slipper.

Leo is just coming out, Pooka's feet can be seen in the background.

Pooka saying "HI!"

Guess how many rats?  (Max's face and Leo's end)



Oooohhhh.  What's in here?  (Max in white and Leo is tan)

Max's version of peek - a - boo.

dirt??  Can I eat it?

You can't find me.