Seasonal Winterizing

The past few days, nightly temps have been falling gradually. Single digits are scattered over daytime and nighttime, over the next week. This is the sign we need to prep for Winter. On the last few nights, we have not used the air conditioner overnight.

This morning, I woke early, and began my seasonal changes. I took the AC out of the window and sealed it like the others. I had a set of blackout covers for the window itself, and I installed them as well.

On the balcony, I needed to toss some unnecessary boxes, for the roller blinds we bought a few months ago. I sorted out what we store of the balcony and backed them up against the back wall. Several storage boxes, the additional dining chairs we won’t need any more since buying the new dining room set. We now seat 5 for dinners.

I cleaned up the apartment, and sorted all of my clothes. I put all my Spring/Summer clothes into storage and paired my Winter gear, and took out my collection of toques and gloves, in prep for usage.

All the garbage went downstairs, so all of chores are done.

Yesterday I was at the mall and went into the Hallmark Card Shop, and I kid you not, these were Christmas cards, ornaments, and decorations up in the shop. It isn’t even October 1st yet. And I said the the young man working behind the counter that he had won First Prize for the earliest Christmas decorations and merchandise out in the city.

He said, “yeah, we jumped the gun on Christmas, but Christmas is a cash cow, so that’s why they put all the stuff out this early. People are going to capitalize on making the most cash early, in case, sales go down closer to the holidays.

Halloween candy has been out for weeks now. Once we hit October, all bets are off. If you aren’t buying merchandise online, whatever you are going to buy in store, is going out sooner than later. We never know how finances are gong to be three months from now, and shop owners are not taking any chances. They want to be able to pay overhead, rent and paychecks, so they really need to make as much money going forwards that they can.

We are ready for the Holidays … Bring it on !!!!

Spring has Sprung !!

Montreal hit the 15c mark today. The first stretch of double digit temps this season. The windows are open for the first time. The breeze is blowing. Me thinks that winter has been pushed out of the province.

With that said, I opened the bedroom windows for the first time today, and took down my weather plastic on the windows, and hung the air conditioner in the bedroom as well. I usually do that on the first day of the change over so that I don’t have to worry about it when temps top 20 to 25c and it is too miserable to do anything.

The climate in Montreal is particular because we sit on the St. Lawrence River. We are not that far off from the river, we can see it from out living room windows down to the south. We are about 15 minutes from the river.

When it gets above twenty (20c) it becomes a bit too warm outside. Last year we had a heat wave and many people died, because normally, Montreal homes do not have central air, or even air conditioners in the units, as we only get heat as standard.

The best thing I did a number of years ago was to invest in an AC unit. It saves a lot of aggravation when it warm up too much.

Last night, I hit the Friday meeting, and found out that several of my friends came down with the same cold/flu I did this past week, Everybody was down and in bed for the entire week. We’ve been through the winter rain, snow,freezing rain, snow, rain cycles, and our bodies just could not handle another day of swinging temperatures.

Everybody is on the mend.

More to come.

17 September … Fall is Coming

It is Miserably hot this morning with a temp of 32c. I was up early today so I went and did my shop for the next few days. While I was at the mall, I shopped for some shirts I needed and some Fall Decor for my front door.

I got my sweat workout done on my trip out and back.

Friday last, I had another dentist appointment at the Denticare Clinic and I was pleasantly surprised to see that my lady dentist actually had a plan of action she wanted to tell me about.

She did a full exam, with her assistant taking notes as she dictated in French, the full survey was done quite quickly. Here is the plan …

I need one more surgical extraction of a tooth that has disintegrated, and then she will root canal the teeth she can save, and grind and fill the cavities. She said I need six months clear of infection, since I’ve had two now in less than two months. Once I reach that point, clear, she will begin building me a bridge. Unlike an implant a bridge is removable, and also unlike an implant you can add teeth to a bridge as needed.

The route will be much cheaper on the pocketbook, than the $50,000 dollar quote I got from the implant dentists.

This week, temps are all above average for this time of year. But as of last night, I heard the weatherman say that Indeed, Fall will be coming, soon. We have not had a hard frost yet. But it IS snowing out on the Prairies. My friend Randall out in Alberta has had snow on the ground for a few days now. Half of Canada is already into Winter, (out West) and from Manitoba to the Maritimes, we are still sunk in above average, humidly, miserably hot temps.

Florence is making her way up the Eastern Seaboard, and rain will fall later in the week, but we stand to get little rain, because we are on the North side of the storm weather coming. Our geographic location, the St. Laurence river, keep us high and dry for the most part, when wet weather comes up from the south. The river is the dividing line for inclement weather.

We should hear this week, when hubby might start his new job. We are waiting for the hiring manager to get into the office and make contact.

Last week was a great week. My young people stepped up to the plate when I asked them to participate. One of my new friends spoke his first share on Thursday night, and got a swelling of praise from the crowd and several people approached me afterwards to say that my meeting was exceptional. That is high praise, when you get a speaker that totally moves a crowd to applause at the end, after his reading of a poem he wrote for the occasion.

I’m really proud of them. One of our young men is a musician and will be dropping a brand new EP next week. We are so proud of him.

That’s about it for an update. More to come, stay tuned …

Thursday – August 30, 2018

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I haven’t written in a long while. Not that I did not have content to talk about. But life, as it has happened over the last little while, has not been easy.

I’ve not been feeling myself, for the last little while. I need medical attention, that we cannot afford at the moment. And as of 2 days ago, that need became seriously magnified.

Over the past couple of months, my husbands office, has gone through serious changes, and to that effect, by Monday afternoon, all the furniture in the office had been liquidated, and sold off. All the employees have been working from home, which has turned the office into no-mans land. Several employees quit, and on Monday night, hubby came home and was sullen and depressed.

Before dinner, he turned to me and said the following …

“They’ve sold off all of the furniture and computers. The refrigerator had been emptied and turned upside down, over the tub, in the bathroom, to defrost it. All the employees have vacated the premises.

By the close of business Monday evening, hubby was the last man standing in an empty office. The only furniture left, in the place, was his desk and his computer. He then told me that Tuesday, would be his last day at a job, he has excelled in over the past four years.”

On Tuesday morning, I was up before dawn, watching cruise ships sail into Nassau harbor, via web cams on my desktop. One, I could not sleep, and two, I had to be up to make sure hubby was alright and mentally prepared for the day as it was to transpire.

Sleeping in, and leaving him alone with his thoughts was not what I wanted for him.

We knew going into Tuesday that a severance package was in the works. As the last man standing, he was offered a healthy severance package upon departure. In the end, he was retained on a part-time, freelance option.

The office has been closed. And the other employees, that were let go, will be afforded a flex space in Old Montreal, for important face to face meetings, with the company owners.

For all intents and purposes, the company has folded major operations, and only a few employees remain. Hubby will work from home, on a part-time, 20 hour work week, making good money for the hours he is billing the company to remain, partially employed.

We will lose our much-needed insurance, that pays for our medications. Which prompted an emergency call to our pharmacy, and we ordered three months of medication to be provided in one drop, because the insurance is going to lapse, and while it is still in place, hubby decided that we should fill as much medication as needed, hoping that he lands in a new position, in that three-month period of time.

Meanwhile on Stream B, hubby had applied at another media firm, that he had researched and sent his updated cv and coordinates. He is able to see, in real-time, how many people have looked at his papers, and their movement up the chain of command.

I am told that this company may take its time in responding to a job inquiry, so he is in a holding pattern, for a second job, while working part-time to keep the money flowing from stream A.

His intention, from the very beginning, was to figure out all these problems by himself and not bother me into worrying about the job, the money and the loss of insurance, hoping that he would have heard from Stream B by now, but that did not happen, as he planned it. In the end, he spilled the beans in an emotional flush of words.

What was I supposed to do now ? All I could do was listen to him talk, and to be present in that moment. Once again, as I look back over the past week, and for the last portion of our lives, Someone Much Greater than we are, is watching us.

And every so often, that Power Greater than ourselves, sends us a sign. A physical sign that we are not alone. The last sign we got, was at the end of the trip to Hamilton in May. That trip was a shit show, but when we got home, a concrete sign was sent to us.

I know that we are not alone right now, for sure.

And at dinner tonight, I spoke these words to hubby. Reminding him that he was not alone, that I was here, and that someone is keeping an eye out for us.

On Stream C, all my kids returned from summer vacations, as school begins the next week for them. We have been welcoming them back a few at a time, over the last little while. The last remaining folks return tomorrow, Friday …

We are all reconnecting. For a handful of graduates who have moved on, they are all relocated in jobs scattered all over Canada and the U.S. Everybody is still sober and that is a good sign, going into the Fall.

**** **** ****

Yesterday around 3 p.m. I was sitting at my desk, and in moments, the sun disappeared from the sky, and it got very dark, very quickly. Environment Canada sent out an emergency storm warning across the web and via text.

As it was dark outside, I stood at the windows and watched the rain move from East to West, across the sky. A rush of wind blew, and the demolition site, just up the block, where they are tearing down the former Children’s Hospital, the wind was blowing so hard that the mounds of dust and debris from the site, began to fly into the air in a flurry of motion.

The rain began to fall, earnestly. Had I not been watching the progress as it happened, I would have missed it. A few hundred yards from the building, I saw a rain cloud open and drop a burst of rain, falling so hard and so fast, that it obscured the sight-line of the buildings and land beneath it. I’d never seen so much rain fall in one concentrated spot like that before. It lasted all of twenty minutes.

Then it was over.

When all was said and done, over 100,000 Montrealer’s from on the island to off island were without power. Many trees were felled. Many roofs were knocked off their buildings, cars were destroyed by falling trees onto cars.

A man on a construction site, here in the city, was injured as he was hit in the face by a two by four, from debris flying through the sky, in his direction.

Off island, several barns were destroyed, including several houses. There was widespread destruction all over the place, from a storm that hit and only lasted mere minutes.

We know today that a type two tornado had dropped from the storm and severe destruction happened.

This was the second Micro-burst storm to hit this city. The last one to hit, had hit the city, West of downtown, in a section of town called NDG. In that storm, it dropped serious rain, and the micro burst destroyed a park full of century old trees. Snapping them into pieces like match sticks.

As it stands, the city is trying to decide what to plant in their place to repopulate the park with trees.

Right now, I am trying to remain calm, and not lose my mind, with the thought that these problems won’t go away very quickly. All we can go is just cope the best way we can, and not get stupid mental over the fact that shit happened in the last week, which we are totally powerless over.

Sometimes God needs to shake the tree because growth is needed, in one area or another. We may not like the tress shaking or the uncertainty of life, but I also know that someone, something greater than we are, has our backs.

At least I can trust God, as I understand Him.

I cannot afford to lose my cookies at the moment.

April 4, 2018 … Spring ???

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Let’s not kid ourselves … It IS April now, and we thought that Spring would be just around the corner … We were wrong !!!

Over the past few days, the weather people have been warning us of impending doom, when it comes to weather. It seems the weather people are all about DOOM weather predictions, and for the most part, they have all been seriously off their game.

Over the past few days, they have been watching a system come up from the U.S. Midwest, coming over southern Ontario, into southern Quebec, which is where Montreal falls geographically.

Montreal is situated, geographically, on the St. Lawrence River, and we are nestled in a valley, that for the most part protects us, from serious weather, that happens in the other cardinal points on the compass. Namely North, South and East of Montreal.

Last night, as day turned into night, the warnings were coming fast and furiously. Shit was coming, it was going to get ugly, Snow, Rain, Freezing Rain, and Wind. They told us that the weather was going to get very ugly overnight.

**** NEWS EDIT 11:00 P.M. EST ****

Sadly, tonight, on our National News, Ontario was hit with serious storm winds, rain, snow, into whiteout conditions. Hundreds of thousands without power, homes destroyed, trees down. The storm damage in Ontario was more severe than what was warned might happen here, overnight last night into today.

Damage in Montreal is wide, Ste Catherine’s Street is closed to traffic at this hour because of winds and falling debris, cars were destroyed by falling signs, and on the South Shore, on the South side of the river, damage is extensive with thousands without power across the South Shore and on the Island of Montreal.

Over night, I cancelled all my appointments for today. Hubby decided that if the weather was inclement, that he would work from home. Last night I went to bed, knowing that I did not have to be up at o’ dark thirty.

Hubby did indeed stay home, and when I finally got up, the freaking sun was shining, the skies were moderately clear, as far as we could see WEST. It was obvious that all that gloom and doom warnings were for naught.

I had enough rest for the day, and while the sun was still shining, I decided to go shopping and get my hair cut, if I could get a spot, which I did. I checked Environment Canada before leaving the house, and skies were clear, but a wind warning was up for the city.

If you know anything about my specific neighborhood, we are nestled in the middle of sky scraping condos, on all sides. The Chinese Consulate, The Old Forum, Alexis Nihon Mall up the street, and retail restaurants and shops up and down Ste. Catherine’s street.

I had my granny cart with me, because I cannot carry heavy bags, because of my back issues. As I left the building, I was caught up in a wind tunnel. My granny cart went flying out of my hands. I thought to myself, I needed a sky diving jump suit on to navigate the sidewalk to and from the mall.

Winds have been gusting through the buildings and at the seventeenth floor level we are at, the windows buckle in their casings.

I stopped by my stylist, and got a spot, thirty minutes later. So I went and did my shopping and returned to get my hair cut.

**** **** ****

Yesterday, I did some shopping online. I’ve been collecting items in my Ebay shopping cart for some time. If I see an item I like, I cart it. If I cannot complete an outfit, it sits in my cart, until I find the item to complete the set. Over the weekend, several new pieces were put up for sale in particular shops I shop from, internationally.

I was able to complete an outfit, so I purchased the two pieces. One from the U.S. and the other from Australia. The exchange rate internationally, between Australia and Canada is almost a penny on the dollar. The U.S. exchange still sucks.

I made my purchase yester-DAY. Because of the fourteen hour difference, between Canada and Australia, my confirmation did not come until later last NIGHT. A few hours into evening, I got a response from Australia, saying that the Australian postal system did not recognize my particular address, in their postal system. However they DO ship to Canada. The shipping department, then refunded all the money I spent with them, because they could not find me, geographically.

I wrote them back inquiring why they could not find me. It seemed the item I wanted, could not be found in stock, even though the stock showed available in the system. They offered me other items, along the same lines, and free shipping, telling me that they would go Over the Counter, for shipping, directly, instead of their shipping system, that could not seem to find me. They should have just Googled my address …

The other half of the wardrobe item I purchased earlier yesterday was shipped out last night. When you buy from an Ebay seller in the U.S. each package takes an “Over the River and Through the Woods,” kind of journey. From where ever you buy, that package ends up in Erlanger, Kentucky, at the Ebay sorting center. That is the main hub of Ebay packages coming from all points, going to all points Internationally.

The packages usually travel into Mississauga, Ontario, and then are passed on by truck North to Montreal. Door to door usually take seven to ten business days, end to end.

A couple of weeks ago, I got a deal on Aronik Fitness gear, that was half price, however the one color I wanted for my collection was out of stock. Last night, my friend Jeffrey, down in Chicago, posted new photos of his new line of colors and styles, for his fitness gear. He’s been adding some great new styles and colors to his palette.

He added Burgundy to his color choices. Today I made an order for his Burgundy Milliskin fitness series. This was the missing item from Aronik that was no longer in stock.

Jeffrey, hand sews all of his gear, one piece at a time.

Just as Odyn does the same in New Zealand.

Hand sewn goods from reputable sellers, is better than buying sweat shop items from far flung places, where workers are not compensated correctly for a days work in wages.

That little piece of personal service appeals to my purchase dollar ethics.

We need Spring to come … Soon !

Planting season for gardens and parks usually falls within the month of May, around the 24th of May. The trees have yet to start budding. Temps in the city have been above normal for the most part over the past few weeks. Winter, just does not seem to want to give up the battle just yet. It is 5c at this hour, a little chilly still. And Windy.

Temps are still all over the board, hovering just below and just above freezing. Whatever weather comes in this direction, because of where we are situated, whatever falls to the ground is hit or miss, snow or rain. Several degrees in any one direction, rules what falls from the sky.

Aronik has put up their new summer swim suit collection.

IF ONLY MONTREAL HAD A BEACH TO GO TO THAT ISN’T OVER THE RIVER AND THROUGH THE WOODS TO GET THERE, KIND OF LOCATION.

Alas, there really isn’t a beach that is like a BEACH down South or in the Islands.

UGH !!!

Not that I’ve never been to a beach in Montreal, since the day I moved here.

It’s not like South Beach or Fort Lauderdale or Cuba or the Caribbean.

Thursday: Skets and More

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As the latest Nor’Easter wreaked havoc in points South and East of Montreal, we did not escape getting a bit of snow this week. It snowed for two days, on and off, and a considerable amount of snow is on the ground. So much snow, that crews are out at this hour, clearing snow off streets and highways.

This week, a year ago, Montreal was hit by a severe snow storm, a snow storm so severe that it rendered city management, the Police, and Fire Rescue, unable to make conscious decisions about saving motorists that were stuck, “IN THE HUNDREDS” on highways inundated by snow for more than TWELVE HOURS or MORE.

It was not pretty at all. That bungle at the highest levels of city government and public service, told the citizens of this city, that we really don’t matter all that much in the grand scheme of things.

But that was last year. This is today.

Sunday is the Annual St. Patrick’s Day Parade. This year, the track of the parade was shifted to another artery, namely De Maisonneuve. A street that runs East – West, With traffic coming One Way, Westward. For the parade, the traffic will be reversed moving Eastward, with the step off, beginning one block West, On St. Mark.

St. Mark is the drainage point for the Highway off ramp in this neighborhood.

Meanwhile, the city continues highway rebuilding over the weekend, as the new Champlain Bridge is not yet complete, and the continuing demolition of the raised highway, that runs East – West (the Ville Marie Highway).

The rebuild of the arteries of the Turcot Exchange has been going on for years now, and is far from being complete. With the Parade changes, and the Step Off being moved to an artery that takes traffic OFF the highway, and the entire closures of highway ramps for access to and access from the highway, are going to paralyze the city for the entire weekend, with the parade on Sunday afternoon.

The weather will be good, however a bit cold at (-3c) the low Sunday night dropping to (-16c). On Parade Sunday, in the past, it had been much colder, with snow. At least the snow that is on the ground, will be cleaned up by Sunday. It should be alright.

Tuesday and Wednesday are my days off. And I take full advantage of not having to be anywhere or have any work that needs to be done, save chores and grocery shopping.

This afternoon my new Skets came in the mail. Ebay had been telling me that they would not be here for another week. I do know that the Ebay collection Center in Erlangar, Kentucky had been snowed in for many days, and I was sure the mail would be hung up until things cleared out.

Nothing usually stops the USPS from delivering the mail. Through rain, sleet, snow and blizzards, nothing stops the USPS from delivering the mail …

Got to see old friends tonight, and one of them spoke for us.

I have not seen this particular friend in a long time. He hangs on the West end of town, and does not usually come East, into Westmount or up on to the Plateau where I hit meetings. This friend is just a few months older than I am. But what shocked me, when he walked in tonight, was that he went totally grey. I was like Holy Shit …

Is that what 51 looks like ?

I mean, I have a shock of grey hair that hangs in the middle of my forehead.

I call it my Jamie Lee Curtis grey look. I love that she accepted her ageing process and welcomed it, unlike so many in “the business” who color their hair to death, to stave off even the littlest bit of hair going grey.

My stylist and I joke about my streak of grey, it is stylish I think.

Tomorrow is Friday. The nest day/night of the week.

More to come.

Thursday: Life is Good

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It has been a few days since my last update. It has been a busy time for everybody all around. We have a family wedding in May, it will be the first time, in many years that the entire family will be in the same location at the same time, to celebrate my niece Melissa and her husband to be, Stephan’s wedding.

We have watched our nieces and nephews grow up into fine young adults. And we spoil them whenever we get the chance. Holidays are always a big deal for our family. We will be traveling to Southern Ontario (on the train) a first for us.

In July, one of my guys, Juan is going to marry his fiancée Nadia, in a very intimate setting here in Montreal. We’ve been working very hard at keeping them “on the beam” so to speak. Juggling school, work, wedding preparations and life, is a tall order. But, like they say, “we have a program for that!”

The weather has been UNUSUALLY warm, as of late. We’ve had a long stretch of temps ranging from the lower plus side to the high negative side. Much of the snow that had fallen over the season is melting nicely, and thankfully, the sidewalks are clean of snow and ice. Which is very good news to the city population, because many older folks have suffered greatly, falling and breaking bones this season, because of the foul weather. Many of them have sued the city for damages, that is not a good thing. But necessary.

The great weatherman in the sky tells us, not to count our chickens just yet, and we are told that Winter will continue until Summer. With a clear SKIP of Spring. We are told that more drastic snow will fall, between now and May 1st.

God help us if the weather goes really South …

We will gladly take the weather we have had for the past week over more winter, and if it stays this good for the duration, all the better.

It is good that we have good plans on the horizon. This will be a first, seeing a good friend and his soon to be bride getting married. The whole focus on getting and staying sober, is to finally reap the rewards of hard work, done well.

Our young people are all doing well. Everybody is still sober, from our holiday extravaganza weekends. It is a hard slog for some, but they keep showing up, and they are talking. Which is a good sign. Many of us, have committed to being present, as often as we are able.

I am soon to start a new pass through the Big Book, with a young lady friend of my acquaintance, from the Monday meeting. I listen very carefully to what our young people say in meetings. And over the past year, have been blessed to witness one of our young woman, stand up and be counted among us.

Our Monday meeting has been talking hard topics and the discussion has been very fruitful to the extent that I am learning a great deal about sobriety, that I had never heard before, coming from the mouths of babes. Monday night, I asked my friend if she would be able to share her teaching of The Book with me. From what I am hearing from many of my friends and fellows, men and women, I’ve found that i still have a lot to learn. It may be unconventional, but any chance to walk through the book with new, fresh and younger eyes, is useful.

I’ve stuck close to my core meetings, Monday, Thursday and Friday. And I’ve placed my trust in all of my best of friends. One f them reached his Year Mark a couple of weeks ago, after a tragic crash and burn. Drugs and Alcohol will do that to you. With family, friends, and fellows present, we shared in a very special Year Celebration.

I have kept the same routine going for a long time. That being service. I heard a young man say tonight, that the first thing that he felt good about, when he got sober, and finally got connected, was doing service.

When folks in a meeting,ask you to Come Back, and to Stick and Stay, and put trust in you to do a job for any particular meeting, that is pretty special, but lost on many. But our young man tonight said that he took particular joy in knowing that people were drinking HIS COFFEE, and sitting in HIS CHAIRS.

It begins very simply.

YOU KNOW YOU HAVE ARRIVED, WHEN A CERTAIN MEMBER WALKS IN THE DOOR AND COMMENTS ON EITHER THE GOODNESS OR BADNESS OF ONES URN OF COFFEE …

It is high praise when someone says, “Hey, you make a mean pot of coffee!”

I know, the first job I ever had when I came in was setting up chairs and tables, for months and months, until the good ladies of my initial home group, trusted me enough to make my first urn of coffee.

Sixteen years later, I can make a mean Urn of Coffee with my eyes closed.

The next spiritual experience he spoke about was the first time someone asked him to share at a meeting. Someone, in asking him that, had wisdom that HE actually had something good to share, with a room full of drunks and addicts.

We all sit in rooms together, with assorted days, weeks, months, and years of sobriety. But is oddly the case, not too many people will ask for help, until they are down and out suffering. Even then, it is like pulling teeth, to get people to want to work with us.

It is hard work, going to meetings, and learning how to stay sober, because someone stepped up and took us on, when we came in and trusted us, with what they had to teach us about The Book and Sobriety. And the greatest gift we can offer, is our time, talent and treasure, when it comes to sobriety.

One of our men spoke a couple of weeks ago and told me that I should ask for numbers of new folks coming in, INSTEAD of giving them My number first. Flip the equation, he told me. Go out and get numbers.

Caveat here … We actually have to commit to calling those numbers if they come to us.

I guess I am in a place where, I am seeking something new to learn. And in hanging around with young people in sobriety, I am finding that I can still learn something new, that I am not the center of the universe, not that I think that …

The holidays were a great reckoning for many. Through hard work and perseverance we all came through the other end, mostly unscathed. And far better for the challenge the holidays presented many.

Sit in a room for a few seasons. And commit to being present for the long haul. Read: Commit to a room for a Long Period of Time, and you too will see how your friends a fellows grow up and get and stay sober.

I’ve been at this a long time, and teach-ability is not lost on me.

Everybody is well. It is March. The snow is melting.

It might not be Spring yet, but it sure feels like it.

Save for the first appearance of our Red Breasted Robin at the Friday Meeting church yard. I always see her. She has not appeared just yet, because there is still snow on the ground and in the trees at St. Viateur Church.

Stay tuned …