Wednesday 31 October 2018

Happy Hallowe'en

Yes, I'm a banana again this year. Why mess with a good thing?

I talked husband into getting a costume.

Do you see a resemblance?

Everybody likes bacon.

Hope you have a great evening. We've had three children come to our door so far. We haven't had many these last couple of years, but it isn't snowing or raining, so maybe we will have more. I just finished my Hallowe'en meatloaf. I plan on eating candy once the kids are done doing their trick or treating.

Thursday 25 October 2018

Real Men Eat Quiche, or he did tonight, anyway, and so did I

I'm going to show you the end result first. Holy man, it was good!!

I've been feeling like I've been making the same old thing fairly often for supper. I was thinking I was going to make potato and leek soup tonight, which I've featured before, but I got home from supper later than usual and knew I wouldn't have enough time for it to be really good, so I took mental stock of what I had in the fridge and thought... quiche!

Remember those pie crusts I made a while ago? Apart from the pumpkin pie, the others were in the freezer. I took one out.

I had mushrooms in the fridge and started to fry some in a little butter.

I added a half a chopped onion to the mushrooms and fried them all until the onions were soft and the mushrooms were a bit browned.

Mmmmm, bacon.

I still had some of this shredded cheese left from a previous recipe.

Eggs aren't a problem anymore, always have some on hand. I used four. They got beaten up with a can of evaporated milk (I didn't have any cream). Salt, pepper, and a dash of nutmeg, and then I poured the mixture over the cut up bacon, onions, cheese, and mushrooms.

The quiche went into a 350 degree oven for about 40 minutes (it didn't seem quite set in the middle after 30), then it sat on the counter for a few minutes. It was SOOO good and it was easy because I had everything on hand. Dinner is served.

Wednesday 24 October 2018

What's Your Sign?

I was reading Rachel's blog and got to thinking about how she mentioned her sign (Aries, if I recall). I've always played around a little bit with looking up what my "star sign" is known for and much of it is fairly close to accurate (see how I danced around that?) We went out for a quick Chinese food night and sat at the tables with the paper Chinese zodiac signs on it (I'm year of the horse if you are interested) and we all read what they were and who we were best suited to enjoy, or be in conflict with. I guess I'm not good with my daughter (Horse and rat), according to a paper place mat anyway.

I'm not so sure that the descriptors for Horse are really me, certainly not heroic, no comment on hypocritical!

However my zodiac sign is Cancer. Here are some things that are used to describe Cancers. I would say they are quite true of me.

I think my favourite, however, is this one:

Yes that one really made me laugh. Do NOT expect me to offer up some of my Smarties Blizzard to you. Sorry.

The whole concept of astrology and zodiac signs is one I do struggle with. As you may know, I'm not a religious person, I generally feel that you make your decisions and choices in life and I'm not big on pre-destination and the phrase, "it was meant to be" just about sends me into apoplexy, but at the same time, I find it fun to find out about my 'sign'. I don't read daily horoscopes because that's just silly to think each day could be predicted (and they are all so vague and easily applied).

Chime in with your own opinions. Hogwash, or are you a "typical" example of your star sign?

Sunday 21 October 2018

Is it Early?

I spent a couple of hours earlier today cutting back more perennials. I had a moment where I thought, "How many times have I cut back these peonies? " We've been at the house for nineteen years and the peonies were already here (many of them, I've divided and added as well) so I guess I've bent over those plants and cut them back nineteen times. It's such a ritual, cleaning up the flower beds. Sometimes I get it all done, sometimes I don't. I've only been out for two sessions so far this Fall, but today's weather makes me think this might be one of the years I don't get it all done.

I don't know about you, but I am shamefully bad at taking care of my gardening tools. Really, very bad in that I put shovels away with soil on them (sometimes they stay stuck in the ground in the vegetable garden!), I don't oil or sharpen things, I try to pry enormous rocks up using shovels that are too small and have snapped a couple of handles, I bend the tips of trowels, and I regularly blow the thumbs out of gardening gloves if they aren't leather. As I was cutting various plants back I was complaining in my head of how terrible my pruners were (I have two on the go and alternate between the one that I have to push open with my finger, or the one that is ridiculously dull) and when husband came out of the house saying he had to go into town, I asked him to check for a set of pruners that looked GOOD, regardless of cost. He came home with these. I don't know how much they were.

I had filled and dumped about six wheel barrow loads and my lower back was screaming at me, so I had come in to take a break and get a bite to eat. I was then all excited about going out to test drive the new model when I looked out the window.

Can you tell what I'm seeing? Yes, snow. No, it's not a blizzard, but I decided that sitting on the couch under a blanket and writing a post was a better choice.

We've already had snow, significant snow, this past week. It stayed for a day or so and required scraping and winter coats and the scrambling of making appointments to get snow tires put on rims and seeing when local garages could fit you in...

It feels early to me. I know we've had Hallowe'ens where it snowed but we've certainly had many more Hallowe'ens where there was no snow at all, the leaves were still swirling around, and it was even "mild" in an end of October sense. Sigh. I wonder what it is like to live in a climate that doesn't experience this same first wave of bracing oneself for the months to come. The nice thing is that the first snowfalls are still the ultimate excitement for young children as they stamp out little paths with their boots and try to make some sort of snowman regardless of whether it is packing snow or not. Maybe I need to build more snowmen.

Saturday 20 October 2018


Last night, after work, we gathered up my husband's mom from the old age facility / senior's home / nursing home (what is the proper terminology anymore?) because it was her 81st birthday. We presented her with a sumptuous box of fancy cookies which she can stash in her room and enjoy with her tea that is brought around in the evenings, and also with a very soft, fluffy long robe. She tends to feel cold most of the time and although she gets properly dressed every day, in the evenings she tends to change after supper into pajamas and settle down for a night of tv. Perhaps a new, cozier robe would be nice.

We took her out to dinner at a nice restaurant in a small town close by which reminded her of England, where she lived for several years and visited fairly regularly afterwards. Upon arriving, our waitress showed us the table (which they had prepared for her birthday with fun little shiny decorations on the table cloth and birthday napkins) and mother-in-law heard her English accent. Thus began the telling of her life story. Granted, my mother-in-law does have an incredible life story, one involving death, war, war camps, and emigration / immigration. However, to begin telling it from start to finish is just part of her affliction with dementia. The waitress, I must say, was kind and sweet and respectful and we did our best to wrap things up so that she could go on about her other duties.

Getting old is not for sissies, which is apparently a Bette Davis quote, is an understatement. My mother-in-law is incredibly healthy in that she doesn't take any medication, she is perfectly mobile, she has no impending medical procedures apart from getting her much needed cataract surgery, and doesn't even complain of aches and pains. Her mind, however, is a whole different ballgame. Dementia has robbed her of many memories, and when she doesn't remember, she tends to fill in gaps with fabrications. It is a coping strategy, I understand. As a coping strategy for my husband and I, we have deemed it "M.S.U." (making sh#t up) and we understand it, and accept it, and don't correct her. She also has no clue that she repeats her words over and over within the span of just a few minutes. We don't point it out. None of this is her fault, nor is it deliberate. Years ago, she stopped doing those normal every day things she always did, like making meals, cleaning house, doing laundry. I think she just forgot how, forgot the sequence of events, forgot the details. Then we realized she was worried about forgetting where she was and how to get back somewhere. When she was living in a different place, one that was more like a senior's apartment, she joined the rest of the residents for her evening meals. It involved taking an elevator and walking a couple of hallways. I created a step by step map for her. She hung onto that thing for dear life.

My own mother wrapped up her life as an immobile, pain ridden, demented individual. She required much more individual care than my mother-in-law and I believe suffered from Alzheimers which caused her to ask if Father was still alive (he wasn't), talk about being back home, on the farm (she was in the city, in a nursing home), and from time to time become an angry, belligerent monster due to frequent urinary tract infections (a bizarre phenomenon which I never knew about until it started happening to her). There were certainly times when we were able to visit with her and talk and she still knew us, her immediate family, right up until the end.

Aging. With dementia and Alzheimer's in my family, it is something I worry about. I actually don't worry about the other biggies like cancer or heart disease. We have a pretty good track record when it comes to those. It is the turning of my brain into Swiss cheese that concerns me. I still haven't figured out if there is actually anything people can do to prevent it or not. Decidedly, I could eat better, I could DEFINITELY exercise more (guilt, guilt, guilt). I do keep my mind active, a big part of my profession, so I'm not overly worried about that. How much do genetics play into this?  I probably don't even want to know the answer to that - too scary.

It is a good kick in the pants to live your life, and enjoy it, and treat it like it's your last day (within reason) because none of us knows what lies down the road. It is also a good reminder to keep your finances in order so that there will be money enough when and if you need the care later in life.

Have you been a caregiver to a parent with dementia? Is it something you think about? Is your family blessed with great genetics?

Tuesday 16 October 2018

The "Family Tradition" continues, or when you find something in your wine

Yesterday, after I put in a full day at work, went to a MUCH needed hair appointment, came home, and started thinking about supper, I went to pour myself a glass of wine. Yes, it was Monday, don't judge me.

I'm a classy gal, so I reached for my box of wine on the counter (also known as Cardboardeaux!). When the wine is almost empty, one must open the box of wine so one can extract the vacuum sealed inner plastic bag, cut a little hole in a top corner and pour the remaining dregs out into a glass. Waste not, want not. So, I pried open the top of the box and went to reach in to push the little spout back into the box so I could pull out the bag.

Here is what I saw.

I laughed and laughed. A genuine, full, hearty laugh. It was that damned head, again. If you are not familiar with this family tradition, you can read this.

Later, husband found me and said, "I see you have a glass of wine."  He could barely contain his grin. He was so proud of this one. The box wasn't even opened! He had shoved the spout back into the box, pushed the head inside, pulled the spout back out and waited patiently until he KNEW I would get to the last bit of wine and pull the bag out. I gotta admit, it WAS a good one! Ha, ha, then I had the head, and had to come up with a sneaky spot to hide it. It could either be found by husband or son.  Mwaa Ha Ha… where will it turn up next?!?!

Saturday 13 October 2018

Purging and good vibrations

There are few things I like better than clearing unnecessary items out of my life. I am not a believer in religion, I think most alternate medicine remedies are money making hogwash (apple cider vinegar - good for EVERYTHING), but I do actually believe in energy, or shall I say, I believe that you can change or feel the energy of your surroundings. I think that a place can feel oppressive, or positive, or just plain bad. I've been in homes where I've had to go outside afterwards and just shake off the "bad vibes".

Where am I going with all of this? I think that by clearing out needless clutter, by cleaning up your space, but freeing yourself of "stuff", you give yourself a lift, you feel better in your surroundings, and you change up the energy of that space. Last weekend, I convinced the husband to go through his armoire and drawers and rid himself of clothes he had been hanging on to for years. He didn't fit into them, they were NOT coming back in style (wide corduroy pants with pleats), they had lost their shape, or what have you. It wasn't just the armoire and the chest of drawers that were overflowing, but there were laundry baskets and Rubbermaid containers stacked in places that shouldn't have been there that were housing clothes as well. For anyone with a handy husband, does he keep t-shirts and pants as "work clothes"? You know, the ones that can get grease or paint on them, or it doesn't matter if the knees are gone or there are huge holes in them? One only needs so many work clothes.

I was very proud of how much he got rid of, as he is usually someone who hangs onto things, just in case. This isn't a bad practise when it comes to building materials, bits and pieces of electrical or plumbing items, or car parts. Those things can have a home out in the garage - his domain. Often, they do come in handy. But old clothes just take up room in an already crowded space.

I, too, added clothes, scarves, cheap purses bought on impulse, and shoes that were a little too clunky or a little too pointy. As well, a few paper back books, some puffy stuffed clothes hangers that people kept giving to me as gifts, but always took up too much space in my very small closet, and two pieces of luggage that were slightly damaged also got cleared out. This morning I loaded everything up into the back of my vehicle and drove to the nearest big town which is 45 minutes away.

Good riddance, clutter!!

The town to which I was driving, has a Value Village which is a chain store that accepts donations of clothes, household items, etc., and also sells used things at reasonable prices. It is also a go-to place for Hallowe'en costumes, so it was very busy today. I was thrilled to be able to get rid of all of my unwanted items. Gone are the days of trying to sell things at yard sales. Too much work for too little profit.

Being as it is mid-October, the scenery was nice. It is a cold day today, not much sun at all. There was even the odd sprinkle of rain. Typical fall weather. I fear our leaves were not as spectacular a display as other years. Plenty of orange, brown, or yellow, but very few vibrant reds. Here is a sample, regardless.

Tonight, we are going out for dinner to a place we've not been before. The owner / chef is from Nepal so we will see what is on offer. This is potentially pretty risky food for this area where most people don't stray from a meat and potatoes type menu. To say there are few ethnic food choices, is an understatement. I'll be obnoxious and take food pictures tonight if it is good and interesting.

How about you out in blog land? Are you a keeper or a clearer? Do you feel positive or negative energy, or is that too hocus pocus for you?

Sunday 7 October 2018

Thanksgiving 2018

It is Thanksgiving weekend here in Canada. Not quite the big shindig that it is in the States, and not as late in the fall, either. This year it is a very small gathering at our home. Our daughter is about 14 hours away, up north, with her boyfriend's extended family. Our son is working. So tomorrow, Thanksgiving Monday which is a holiday for Canadians, we will get my husband's mother from her retirement digs and bring her over for a subdued turkey dinner. We'll be eating leftovers for the week, which makes life easy for me in the long run.

As usual I will be making a pre-stuffed, cook-from-frozen turkey which in my opinion is the best thing out there. Far less hassle than defrosting way ahead of time, making stuffing, and stuffing it myself. I knew I was going to have pumpkin pie, a favourite. I purchased pre-made frozen pie crusts. I like to take them out of the chintzy tin foil pie plates and transfer them to a nicer, sturdier pie pan. When I tried to transfer this one, it cracked and split and generally fell apart into a big mess. There was no amount of piecing together that was going to save that pie crust, so I smushed it altogether into a ball and rolled it out again. I think it will be fine. But then I thought, you know, I should just make my own pastry. I had all the ingredients, so I did. It felt very "harvesty" and now I have extra pie crusts that I will freeze and use some other time.

I even cut little leaves out of the extra pastry and will put those on top of the pie as it bakes. How very Martha Stewart of me!
I like to use pure pumpkin to make pies, rather than pumpkin pie filling. There is something gritty and a little "bitey" tasting about pumpkin pie filling that I don't like. Does anyone else use the recipe on the back of this label?

It never fails.

As the pie was doing its thing in the oven, I thought I'd be predictable and take some autumnal shots of the birds. I am down to three laying hens and three developing roosters. Sigh.

This is Bruce, thanking the Poultry God that he's not a turkey.

This is Nugget, the youngest rooster.

This is one of the laying hens, up close and personal, wondering why I didn't bring something to eat.

In terms of Autumn colour, we aren't yet seeing the full splendour, but it is beginning. The Autumn Joy Sedum is certainly showing the season.

Another sign that the seasons are changing, is that Scooter, the cat with no tail, spends longer periods of time in the house these days. I have no idea what he does during the day when I'm at work, but on the weekends, he will curl up on a kitchen chair and have a snooze for a couple of hours. When he does go out, he comes back with a new bunch of burs and various other "sticky" vegetation in his fur, which is, of course, another sign that it is definitely Fall.

I've not been blogging as regularly. I'm worn out with work and I do not wish to get involved in any political rants, so I find I have less to contribute to the world of blogging. I'm not dropping out of it, just not as frequent as I used to be, and I am enjoying reading blogs, especially those people who took some time off over the summer and are now back!

Happy Thanksgiving to my fellow Canadians!