Thursday, 8 December 2016

'Cuz I'm Not Busy Enough

I've been reading many peoples' posts where they show their beautifully decorated homes, ready for Christmas. I love seeing how they put colours and themes together. There are some incredibly creative and artistic people out there.

This year I am hosting Christmas for my side of the family. I also work almost right up until Christmas, leaving me with little time to get things ready, including shopping, baking, and decorating. As well, we are attending an out of town wedding on the 17th of this month, negating a full day to accomplish many tasks.

So, what should I NOT be doing right now? That would be repainting the den. Which is exactly what I am doing. The cans of paint have been sitting out in the mudroom, and I pass them every day, and have passed them every day for months now. I think it was the fact that I was hosting Christmas that I thought, now is the time to get my act together and paint the den.

I am doing this the lazy girl way. I did not clear out the whole room which would mean moving two couches, one big coffee table, one matching craftsman style cupboard, and a leather recliner to different rooms. Instead, I shove everything to one side of the room, throw sheets and other covers over surfaces I want to protect, and paint one wall at a time, moving furniture as I work around the room.

The den has been this sage green colour for  a long time. I have already taken down pictures and started dismantling in this picture.

The walls were getting pretty dinged up and I was tired of the colour. I wanted something more neutral.
So, the pictures came off the walls, husband filled and sanded, and I cut in and painted every night, wall by wall.

I wrapped garbage bags around the wood stove. It was very finicky painting around behind it. I really had to contort and squat and squeeze myself into tight spaces, but that part is done. You can see the wall colour. It is called "sponge cake". The sixteen year old son said to me, "Mom, did you  mean for it to be the same colour as the kitchen?" The answer would be no, I did not try to choose the same colour as the kitchen, in fact I thought I chose something a bit more beige / tan / neutral, but apparently I chose almost the same colour as the kitchen. Oh well, I must like it.

In this picture you can see the old sage green compared to the new tan (i.e. kitchen colour). I will paint out the door the same as the wall colour.

I think I will definitely be done everything by the end of the weekend. I am really hoping the weather behaves itself this weekend so I can run around and get shopping and other things done. However, currently it is SNOWING out there!! Have a look.

I always look out to the front of the property where there is one lonely street light. You can really tell what's happening out there when you look at the snow flying either diagonally or horizontally past the street light. It is thick out there and we have what is called a "red screen" on the weather channel. That means snow squalls.

If you don't have to drive in it, it is actually quite pretty.

Sunday, 4 December 2016

A Humbling Experience

Yesterday, the husband and I were shopping. He needed new clothes to wear to an upcoming wedding and we were doing a little bit of Christmas shopping at the same time. I was in Winners (which I think would be like an American T.J. Max - discounted clothes, housewares, shoes, etc.) and noticed a rack of bathing suits. We will likely be going away somewhere warm this winter and I thought I could really use a new bathing suit (are you guessing where this is going?).

Can I just say that trying on bathing suits for all but the most beautiful of our species must be one of the most humbling, hideous experiences out there? Standing in the change room with my sock marks on my calves, bright white skin contrasting with what must be new veins, and the thought, "Remember when I thought I was fat, when I was sixteen? What I would give to be that "fat" now," going through my mind, I got the nerve up to wrestle into three different styles of bathing suits.


Here's a question. Do you still wear a two piece bathing suit? Notice I did not say bikini because the thought of skinny straps and triangles of lycra is just too much for me at this age. There is also the "tankini" where by you don respectable bottoms and a top that comes down to meet the bottoms, so two pieces, but in a covered up way. Tankinis are fine as long as the top actually does meet the bottom because the last thing you want is a rogue roll to pop up between top and bottom.

The trying on experience was a depressing one with me getting somewhat stuck with the inner underwire type bra-lette flipped up inside the top of the bathing suit, poking above the neckline and then having to reach up from underneath to flip it over and pry it down between fabric and my flesh. I had a similar moment with a yoga top in the past. The whole thing made me regret that Wendy's bacon deluxe I had just enjoyed an hour ago. As I peeled off pieces and snapped elasticised straps, I started to mentally promise myself I would start working out again, eat more salads, cut back on my wine (?).

In the end, under the interrogation lights of the change room, I decided on an excellently priced ONE PIECE, which would contain the relatively newly acquired lumps and sags of my fifty-year old body, but would do nothing to hide my thighs (not even going to go there).

I honestly wouldn't mind if this came back in style.


Friday, 2 December 2016


After work today, the husband and I bundled our little cross between a panda bear and a guinea pig with some capybara thrown in there into his cat cage and drove him to the small town where he had his tail amputation two weeks ago. He has been doing very well. We still couldn't let him outdoors until his stitches came out, and tonight was the night!

The vet said he still had some swelling and they drained some fluid to help with the swelling. His stitches were removed but there is still a little healing to be done, so they gave him some more long lasting antibiotics and said we should keep him in for another week or so. We will take him back in about a week for a final check up.  They were suggesting we take (purchase) a "cone of shame" in case he started licking and opening things up, but he honestly hasn't bothered with it so far, so no thank you, we will hold off on purchasing a cone. Besides, he is such a little idiot, he would probably cram himself into something and get stuck because of his cone, then we'd come home from work and have to deal with whatever mess he got himself into.

Here he is, eating, which was the only way I was going to get a picture of him staying still. You can see the tiny stump of a tail.

He is also sporting  a manly scar on his nose.

Of course, they shaved his fur around his bottom end, so he looks rather odd. I think it will be better once his long fur starts to grow back.

This is how he used to look: mostly tail. Oh well. That's how it goes. He has eight lives left.

While we were in the little town taking care of veterinary things, we stopped off at a local restaurant for supper. Scooter was tucked in with a towel and a blanket in his cage, so he was fine. We both had experienced long weeks at work and were happy to have a beer and some good food. I had the French Onion steak melt on a ciabatta bun. It was sooo good, served with a little bowl of French onion soup for dipping. I "upgraded" to sweet potato fries on the side. I was in serious drippy, gooey, savoury heaven.

When we left the restaurant we walked past a quaint storefront of a pharmacy that retained its history and charm. They had a Christmas scene set up in the front window.

It was a nice little scene with Santa by the chimney, but the neat thing was it was animated.

The cat rolled around in Santa's sack.

The dog wagged its tail (huh, I guess it's happy to have a tail!).

And this elf kept pointing at the pocket watch, letting Santa know he didn't have time to sleep on the job.

I hope the little ones who live in this town stand at the window and enjoy the magic of the season. I know I would have loved something like this when I was a child.

It reminded me of going with my father to a hardware store in the town where we would do our shopping (we lived out in the country). At the sales counter, there was a little contraption where you placed a coin in the slot and a little dog would come out of the dog house and take the coin and retreat back into his dog house. I loved it and would ask my father to do this whenever we would go in that store.

Tonight is basketball night. It is so fun watching these house league games now that the boys are older and much more skilled. I love it when the score is close and both teams are really fighting for their points. Son scored two three-pointers last game. His girlfriend is coming to watch tonight, so maybe we'll see a few more fancy moves and a couple more baskets!

Tuesday, 29 November 2016

Excuse me as I run into this post!

Dear Coat Manufacturers,

          I would like to draw your attention to a slight flaw in your design. Although some individuals may choose a coat purely for its aesthetic purposes, we individuals in Canada choose a coat for its ability to keep us warm and dry. This particular coat is indeed nice and warm. It is long enough to cover my bottom when out in the wind, as well as when I sit on a cold vehicular seat.

     In Canada, we put up our hoods. Hoods prevent our ears from turning black from frostbite and falling off. Hoods keep us from getting earaches when the wind drives icy blasts into our brains. Hoods are more convenient than hats because they are attached to coats and they don't get lost easily.

      The hood on my newly purchased winter coat presents a problem. Let me show you what the problem is:

When I put my hood up, I am rendered completely blind. As you can see, I cannot see. This could lead to some accident, such as running into a post, or another person, or a moose.

This would be a good coat for someone in the witness protection programme, or for a celebrity not wishing to be followed by paparazzi, or perhaps by E.T.  This is not, however, a good coat for a Canadian woman who spends some time outside and needs to be able to see. A free hat to go along with the coat to replace the useless hood might be a good idea.

                                                                    Wandering Aimlessly

Saturday, 26 November 2016

It's a texture thing...

I was doing my usual Saturday morning with coffee blog reading, luxuriating over the time that I had, not having to rush around, get dressed in something presentable, and go to work. One of my usual blogs that I enjoy was Cro Magnon's blog in which he was discussing the virtues of an egg. From how he was describing the process and the timing of the boiling, I presumed he was enjoying soft boiled eggs.

Not wanting to comment because I thought it would be rude to say, "Ewww, gross. I can't stand soft boiled eggs", it did get me thinking. About eggs. And other food. There is just something about the texture, or maybe it's even the thought, of slightly uncooked eggs that sends me. A fried egg with the chance of anything remotely runny initiates my gag reflex. A soft boiled egg in which you might dip a piece of toast also, to borrow a younger phrase, "grosses me out".

Cro did inspire me to have eggs this morning however.

They may have started out like this in the bowl,

but they quickly got scrambled.

Then they were cooked to within an inch of their lives with nothing runny or jiggly left at all.

It really is a texture thing. There are a few other foods that fall into the "gross out" category for me. Certain types of seafood are just too chewy, rubbery, or just plain slimy for my liking. We have travelled to the east coast of Canada a number of times. When in Prince Edward Island, one must eat mussels, oysters, clams, or lobster. I managed to dip mussels into garlic butter and perform an obligatory couple of chews before choking them down. I wanted to love them. I really did. But I kept trying not to feel them in my mouth the whole time. Lobster is great, but god help me if I get served up a female complete with eggs. My poor sweet young daughter at the time received this at one of the famous P.E.I lobster suppers. She was, and still is, an adventuresome eater (I have tried to be somewhat silent in my disapproval of certain textures so as not to pass on my issues to my children), but even the sight of those tiny red eggs made her think twice.

I even forced myself to put my big girl panties on and try a raw oyster on our most recent trip (husband and daughter were in there having a feast!) I'm not even going to tell you what that blob of raw oysterness felt like sliding down my throat. (It's giving me the shivers even now). I don't care how much hot sauce or lemon you are going to squeeze on that thing, that was my last oyster event.

Clams. They just stay there. You can keep chewing till the next day and they never change, or go away. They are giant rubber bands to me.

As a child going over to the farm where noon meals were essentially "supper" as was the practise of farming families who had been up and choring since well before 6:00 a.m., I was used to meals that had not one, but sometimes two choices of dessert. (Did I mention I was a fat kid?) Sometimes it was custard pie, or it was apple dumplings, "store bought" donuts sprinkled with sugar, even a piece of bread swimming in real maple syrup, and sometimes, yes, sometimes it was a bowl of tapioca pudding. Shudder...  Could you get more "eating of fish eyes" than a bowl of tapioca pudding?

Fat on meat, anything less than completely crispy chicken skin (and even then, skin... bleh), the tiny bones in canned salmon, the jellified top coating of pate, the thick cream that rose to the top of our straight-from-the-bulk-tank-non-pasteurized whole milk, the little globules in breakfast sausages, chunky bits of pulp in orange juice, wine gums, bacon that is even remotely wobbly, jello... the list goes on and on.

I know this makes me sound a bit like a princess, but I don't voice my disgust because I know it's just my own personal issues. I don't send food back in a restaurant, I don't make requests of a hostess when invited to dinner, and I don't go on about it (except for it being the topic of this post). I just quietly trim the fat off my beef and leave it in a little pile at the side of my plate.

What about you? Are there any food textures that send you packing?

Friday, 18 November 2016

an emotional afternoon ... the long haired cat saga, continues

This is really not how I pictured my day. It involved looking out at the front porch where I heard the cat meowing and for a moment I couldn't quite grasp what I was looking at. I won't go into detail but our Scooter, the long-haired, burr ridden, "free" cat is having surgery tonight to have his tail (or what is left of it) amputated.

We rushed him to the closest vet that does emergency services (which wasn't close, about 35 minutes away). The vet said it was likely a fan belt accident. She gave us a breakdown of what should be done. Of course, it was after hours, so it would have an added charge. She didn't think he had internal injuries, but x-rays would tell for sure.

When we were given the possible cost, I will admit we wondered if it was worth it. The other cat HATES him, he still doesn't use the litter box, but thankfully with good weather he just goes to the bathroom outside, somewhere. (Don't know what's going to happen during the long snow-filled winter). He was originally a "free" kitten. I know all the animal lovers out there will judge us, but we did a bit of hemming and hawing (I was crying the whole time and couldn't really even look at him for long periods of time), I even "said my goodbyes". In the end, we decided to go with the surgery and we will pick him up tomorrow.

You have to keep in mind that we rescue animals. We do not buy "designer" pets. We do not require paperwork to go along with a pet. Even as a child, our family pets were rescues. I played with barn cats as a little girl knowing that barn cats were a different category (oh, no pun intended) than a house pet. I differentiate between animals and people. I have always loved my pets, but I am also realistic. Again, do not judge me, please.

Two things I know for sure from this experience: I could never, ever, ever (did I say ever?) work in the health care industry. (I've always known that). I had to ask my husband to go in with the vet and take Scooter out of the cage. It was gruesome and it is still etched in my mind.  Secondly, I now understand pet insurance. No, we have never taken out insurance on our pets, but I seriously don't think we have ever paid the kinds of costs that we have paid recently. Even neutering this cat was a lot more expensive than I remember from a different male cat that we had. I do not begrudge the money that vets make because quite frankly, they are trained medical professionals, but I do think that our heart strings are tugged upon and we just agree to the cost because we love "Fluffy" or "Rover" so much.

Incidentally, the vet's office just phoned to let us know that he is out of surgery and a little groggy. (I was waiting for "resting comfortably"). I will leave you with this question, what is the most you have spent on a pet? (And I will share, it costs over $800.00 to have a tail amputated and the other ensuing costs. We have a daughter in university and pay for a third driver's insurance right now. We have LOTS of ways to spend $800.00). Sigh.

Additional info: We picked him up this morning. He does not have internal injuries. Because he went through the surgery so well, the "worst case scenario" quote of over $800 ended up being a bit over $500 instead. Still a hefty sum, at least it wasn't the highest amount quoted. He has a little tiny stump of a tail and because he is all shaved at the back end, he looks ridiculous, but he is purring and rolling and only occasionally gives a tiny "yelp" when he over does it and rolls in a way that it hurts his stump. Stitches come out in two weeks. Apart from the cost, the hardest thing now is keeping him indoors for two weeks. He is going to hate that because he is very much an outdoor cat.   Additional sigh.

Tuesday, 15 November 2016

The One Good Thing About Staying Home

I'm on day two of being home sick from work. It is a pain and involves extra work on my part. It is, quite frankly, easier to just go to work, but that's not what I'm about to say.

I am not really a Netflix kind of person. I don't love movies the way my husband and daughter do. They get very excited about a new movie coming out, or a sequel. They will watch new films, old films, horror Hammer films...  I get bored easily and wish for a good book, or I go off and clear away dishes or something.

But as much as I have little use for movies, I have even less use for napping. I don't nap well. Even if I am sick. Yes, I am fully aware that we heal better if we rest, but for the amount of time it takes me to actually fall asleep, and then usually a cat or a phone will disturb me, and upon waking I feel worse, sort of "out of it".

So I planted myself on the couch in pajamas and a robe, pot of tea and toast beside me, and turned to Netflix. I looked through the selections, the new additions, the ones recommended for me, comedies, dramas... and then I spotted Midsomer Murders. I love murder mysteries (prefer reading them to watching them). And I love stories set in England (countryside, not city). Well, this fit the bill! Through my coughing and blowing my nose and shifting to be more comfortable, and getting another glass of water, I have enjoyed three episodes. I may have to continue watching these even if I'm not sick. I'm sure there is someone else out there who is familiar with this series.

I love looking at the backgrounds of the scenes as much as what is actually happening in the storyline. I'd love to experience living in places like those featured in the stories (minus the murdering of course).  Anyway, it is helping to pass the time.