Monday, August 30, 2010

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Is it the end of the dust?

From Pixie Dust to just plain dust. The joy has gone, so the blog is currently comatose. A merciful death may be in its future. It's been fun.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Mirror Mirror on the Wall

I really really don't like looking in mirrors. Grant you, if I did it more often I'd have fewer incidents of clothes being on inside out. Nevertheless, it is something I go out of my way to avoid.

I don't like seeing myself, and while looking in a mirror won't make me look better that I thougt, there is, - for me - always the fear that somehow I'll look much worse.

And to prove that there is very little to be gained by mirror-checking, here's the sum total of what I learned this morning when I accidentally saw a reflection of myself in mirrored glass:

Yes, there are no other buttons on this shirt, this is as high as it goes.
Wow, that's a lot of warm wooly clothing for the tenth of June.
Born with knobby knees, live with knobby knees, die with knobby knees.

Monday, May 17, 2010

What they all mean.

Sorry about the delay, but things have been a wee bit crazy lately. But for those of you who, like me, like to find out the meanings of words they’ve never heard of before here are the definitions for the words from here:

menacing; threatening

the state of being no longer used or practiced.

Incunabula in•cu•nab•u•la

extant copies of books produced in the earliest stages (before 1501) of printing from movable type.
the earliest stages or first traces of anything

Marmoreal mar•mo•re•al

of or like marble: skin of marmoreal smoothness.

Carabosse The wicked fairy godmother, a figure rare in fairy tales, is nevertheless among best-known figures from such tales because of her appearance in one of the most widely known tales, Sleeping Beauty, and in the ballet derived from it. Anonymous in her first appearance, she was later named in some variants Carabosse, and in others Maleficent.
Phagocyte phag•o•cyte
 –nounCell Biology.
any cell, as a macrophage, that ingests and destroys foreign particles, bacteria, and cell debris.

Jilt jilt (in the context it was in, she meant the latter definition
 –verb (used with object)
to reject or cast aside (a lover or sweetheart), esp. abruptly or unfeelingly.
a woman who jilts a lover.

Swingeing swinge•ing
–adjectiveChiefly British.
enormous; thumping.
Slang. swinging

Inelecutable in•e•luc•ta•ble
incapable of being evaded; inescapable: an ineluctable destiny.

Vitever apparently this is some sort of grass: From Ananda Aromatherapy, pure essential oil of Vetiver, steam distiled from from the roots of the herb organically grown in Sri Lanka. This is a lovely soft and earthy outstanding variety both aromatically and therapeutically.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Because it's worth the research

I bake. I bake things, not myself. Although August in Saskatchewan...yes, sometimes people themselves bake but that's another story.

I bake when: I'm happy, angry, sad, tired, frustrated, excited - in fact I think the only thing that baking doesn't make better is migraines. But who knows? I've never tried baking with a migraine; perhaps I'm missing out on the most productive cure ever.

Oops - way off track. Anyway, when a friend's life had to change drastically, I threw myself into doing something about it. Lots of experiments and lots of research.

Lots of reading, too. I've learned about things that are interesting in their own right (Like Britain's 1953 flour order), and things that I am hoping will help me in my quest. Things from other countries, sometimes in English, sometimes in languages that I can read and sometimes in languages that I have to find someone to help me out with. Which in itself has made me want to learn Arabic.

Drat - off topic again. I figured if I went back in time (oh, I really wish I could mean that literally) I would have a much better understanding of what I am trying to accomplish. So I read books from the early 1900's. Not good enough. So I went back a hundred years. Still not good enough. How far back did I go? Fifteen hundreds. Very helpful, if difficult to get trhough at times. Very helpful, though, and there were occasionally words that a) I didn't understand until I looked them up and b) should come back into circulation because they're awesome.

For your reading pleasure here is a bit from Thomas Muffet's Health's Improvement. Written @ 1595, published in 1655 by Samuel Thomson at the Sign of the White Horse in St. Paul's Churchyard:

"the water must be pure, from a clear river or spring" (HA! Don't even think about trying that today), the salt must ve very white, finely beaten, not too much nor too little , but to give an indifferent seasoning. The leaven must be made of pure wheate, it must not be too old least it prove too soure, nor too new least it work to no purpose. When a just proportion is kept betwixt them both Leaven corrects the meals imperfection, making altogether a well relished mass called Bread which is justly termed the staff of life...loaves made of pure wheaten-meal require both more leaven and more labouring, and more baking , than either coarse cheate or than bread mingled of meal and grudgins".

Seriously, shouldn't we start using grudgins again? Ok, they're just the coarsest particlles of husk and bran but still - I'd like to say "grudgins" the next time someone asks me what I had for breakfast.

Friday, May 07, 2010

And this genre of dance is what, exactly?

So Tuesday night's dance class was...interesting. This is belly dancing, yes? Arabic music, fluid movement, the whole nine yards.

We had a substiture teacher (whose full time career is being a ministry of education substiture teacher) and the music was...the Beatles....reggae style. Yeah, confused me too. Not to mention that despite being a lovely dancer, she didn't seem to have a sense of rhythm. Which would almost be worth suffering with if I could shimmy like she does.

Common Sense 101

You know what should be obvious but apparently isn't? Not to everyone, that is. You can't leave a message about when you're going to be over to fix the phone that doesn't work on the phone that doesn't work.

Tuesday, May 04, 2010


At the end of the week I'll add definitions to the previous post. In the meantime here is one for today: Jilt. A woman who is a harlot, originally, then one who is a harlot AND dumps a guy. Hence the term "jilted".

The List

Remember this? Well I'm done the book. Many of her books, actually, but I'm done with the one that required reading with a dictionary to hand.

So now you can look at the list. And I'm no longer worrying about how many of you know some or all of the words on the list. Because one thing I did get through my thick skull from this read: the world is full of wonderful words. I could read a novel a day until I'm ninety and not know them all, so I'll be content with knowing a fair amount of them. And here, for your reading (and perhaps gloating) pleasure is the list:

Jilt (yes, I know the word but I’ve never seen it used as a type of person, as in “she was such a jilt)
Ineluctable (I wasn’t sure I knew this word, turns out that my guess was right but since I wasn’t absolutely sure I’ve put it on the list anyway)

Thursday, April 29, 2010

I miss the elevator

We don't have an office on the third floor anymore, so no more belly dance practicing elevator rides. And I'm kinda missing it. I do sometimes work on a Turkish shimmy when I'm walking if there isn't anyone around but it's not the same. And there is nowhere - people around or not - nowhere to practice chest popping.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Pretty as a Picture

I put winter clothes away and brought summer clothes out over Easter. And for the first time in years, instead of having to keep on box of summer things away because everything was too small, I've been able to fit the dresses as well as filling the box with winter things that are too big that I will be giving away. Woot!

So here I am, at work on Boobquake day wearing a lovely pink and black dress. I know it's pretty, that is. No one else does because I've had to bury myself in the spare sweater I keep at work. Big warm and bulky, which is good. It is FREEZING in here. I guess I put the winter clothes away a little too soon. Spring on the prairies - always a surprise.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

When sleep deserts you

There are some good things about not being able to fall asleep. Not, unfortunately, if falling asleep is a real problem but if it is a rare occurrence then some good can come of it.

First, if you run a bath at four in the morning, NO ONE bothers you. There are no requests for car borrowing, money loaning, permission granting, cheque signing, snack finding, cookie making. You can have a full hour of sheer bliss.

Also, if breakfast is your favourite meal to make (as it is for me), you can make crêpe batter at five and let it sit for a full hour before cooking them up. And then you can do things like…

Take a handful of brown sugar, and liquefy it. Carefully! Then pour in whipping cream. Being careful not to be burnt by spitting sugar, naturally. Then you whisk it to creamy smoothness, add apple chunks, some cinnamon and a pinch of sea salt. Yes, you read that correctly. Caramel + salt are a lovely combination. In time, once things have simmered for a while you can cook your crêpes, fill them with cinnamon toffee apples, fold them up, drizzle some syrup on top and maybe some whipped cream and then a few maple flakes and then – well, then you stop. Because it’s just breakfast, not some competition.

Have to say waking people up with a hot breakfast already made is more effective than a bucket of cold water. The best, though, is baking something like cinnamon buns. Then people actually walk out of their bedrooms of their own accord, like hungry zombies looking for buns, not brains.

I’m a bit worried about supper. I figure if I stay awake that long the best I’ll be able to come up with is the suggestion that perhaps we should all fast. NOT a good choice with one of the “we” is a teenage boy!

Thursday, April 15, 2010

More than Words

I’m on my second Victoria Clayton book. I’ve decided to make a list of all the words I’ve had to look up, so I can post it whenever I’ve finished with the spate of Clayton reading.

I’ll probably find that instead of reading too much I don’t’ read anywhere near enough. Every time I’ve come across a new word the head voice (the one that is always quick to remind you that you’re not pretty enough, smart enough, kind enough, rich enough, skinny enough….it’s an endless list, almost) says “Betcha Ky knows that word. Allison probably does too. You’re an idiot”.

Some of the words I’ll never be able to use (kibe), but at least I’ll know what they mean! You know what I would like though? I’d like jargon from the 20’s to make a come back. I’m dying to call some guy a cuddle cootie.

No sugar tonight in my coffee

No sugar tonight in my tea. Or tomorrow, or the day after or the day after that. I've become so used to eating a healthy balanced diet- 12 weeks as of the 12th of April! - that I need a new challenge. I went an entire year with sugarless tea. I didn't enjoy it as much as sweetened tea, but when I went back to sugar in my tea I used a lot less, so it was a good plan.

Now, however, there is a lot less sugar in my diet overall so I don't think it will be as difficult an adjustment as it was the first time. We'll see in a few weeks: today is my first day of unsweetened tea. And if you were going to suggest artificial sweetener that's ok, I've already tried them all.I can always taste the chemical aftertaste with them. Better to have nothing than a cup of bitter metal tasting ickyness.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

New music on the Box

Seems my most recent new discoveries music-wise (say for the last couple of years) have been either things that The Boy has added to my ipod (like Prodigy) or stuff from shows like Bones. The latter means a lot of weepy songs.

I'm including three. I've never looked at the video for the first, because I don't want to know what the guy looks like. His voice is so awesomely grief laden that I don't want it ruined by some cheerful chubby faced singing teenager. Because you never know what you'll find behind the voice these days. Anyway, the song (and the band, because I love their stuff in general) is She Just Wept.

I also really like I Hurt Too by Katie Herzog. And yes, I cried during this episode. Many times. I'm a baby.

One more? Why not. So, also from Bones, You by Fisher.

Say What?

I like a book that isn’t written for grade eighters. I really hate classes on writing that insist that this is the level you should write for. Surely if we always aim for a grade eight audience eventually we’ll find that there are those that find it too lofty and we’ll have to aim for grade seven? And then six? At some point people who can read will be the elite minority. I digress. Sorry.

So yes, when an author has a word that I don’t know I am quite pleased. I look it up so I have a new word and I continue on with reading. The author I am currently reading (Victoria Clayton) is turning out to be quite the wordsmith. I’ve come across three unfamiliar words so far. It is far more usual to find three words in every hundred books read, so three in the first hundred pages of a single book is amazing. I think I’ll keep a paper in the back of the book to write things down as by the time I’d found a dictionary I’d forgotten the first word I wanted to check. The second word was tumid (in the context of the story, the first definition in the OED, "swollen". Also means bombastic). The third word, the one that made me stop right then and there to search for a definition was this: deliquescent.

Now maybe you know what this means. Kudos to you, that’s pretty good. Maybe I should learn Latin, to help with etymology. Anyway, I had to look it up. Not that the dictionary gave me an answer that solved it for me. Their definition was:
the act or process of deliquescing.
the substance produced when something deliquesces.

Ah, I see. Totally clear now. Sigh. Back to OED online. So, what does deliquesce mean?

–verb (used without object),-quesced, -quesc•ing.
to become liquid by absorbing moisture from the air, as certain salts.
to melt away.
Botany. to form many small divisions or branches.

Does this count as continuing education?

Thursday, April 08, 2010

Things your mother should tell you.

You know how y'all get on my case about the...ummm... overspending on things that no one but I ever end up seeing? Well, let me tell you, I'm glad I did. Do. Whatever.

Because whilst your mother probably told you to always wear clean underwear in case you are in a car accident (apparently EMS people and trauma nurses are more uptight about clean undies than blood, gore and various bits of dismembered limbs), you know what else you should have been told?

Wear pretty underpinnings just in case, on a day when you're wearing shoes that really you shouldn't be wearing, you trip and fall landing in an ungainly heap with a torn dress. Because that would be a terrible time to be wearing ancient gray baggy underwear.

There, now you know.

Wednesday, April 07, 2010

et tu pain perdu

I haven't had a McDonald's hamburger in over ten years. Or any other fast food hamburger for that matter. Why? Because they grill their burgers on the same grill they fry bacon. It isn't enough to send me to hospital with a reaction the the nitrites, but it is enough to make me very sick indeed, so no more burgers out. Same goes for eggs. If I have eggs in a restaurant (and I love an eggy breakfast) then I choose poached eggs.

The poached egg decision really started when I DID have to go to the Hospital after having egg and toast at a local breakfast place. Turned out that at the time they fried their eggs in bacon fat. Why? Because it was there, and it was cheap. I don't know if they still do but it doesn't matter, eggs fried on the same grill as bacon may not kill me, but they will certainly make me sick.

You'd think I would have worked out the grill thing, wouldn't you? You'd be wrong. I went out for supper last night, and had French toast. That in itself is odd. I normally don't pay for something in a restaurant that I make easily and well at home. Nevertheless, that's what I did. And of course....they fry their French Toast (or pain perdu as we call it) on the same grill that they cook their bacon.

Sigh. So what lessons did I learn last night? a) anything that is grilled or fried in a restaurant is likely to have some contact with bacon, at least anything breakfast-y is, b) French toast is better going down than coming up and c) fair skinned people look terrible and blotchy when they've been sick. Really really terrible, and really really blotchy.

Tuesday, April 06, 2010

Immature mind. In the literal sense.

Through a rather convoluted route I ended up re-reading Day of the Triffids. If you’re involved in Agriculture and/or international trade this won’t seem an odd choice. To everyone else it may be. Anyway, I re-read it.

When did I first read it? Grade four. Or maybe grade five. I’m trying to remember which teacher said she thought it was inappropriate. One of those years, at any rate. And don’t worry, not all of my reading was like that. I had shelves full of Nancy Drew, The Happy Hollisters, The Hardy Boys and Cherry Ames too. I may have been a reading nut, but I was a well-balanced nut!

What I’ve come to realize with reading it this time around is that it is a completely different book than it was the first time. Oh, sure, the words are all the same. But reading it then, it was just a story. The deeper points went sailing over my wee little head. It was like reading a completely different book this time.

And now I’m wondering about the rest of the John Wyndham books. Maybe I should read them again too? And various other authors who no doubt were doing more than just telling a story, although I won’t go so far as to agree with those who see deep political importance in The Hobbit. Lord of the Rings trilogy yes, The Hobbit, no. But I could be wrong about that. I was wrong about Triffids, after all!

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

The Alter Ego

I find it vastly amusing when a movie or tv program that I am watching has a character with the same name as someone I am friends with. Not so enjoyable if the name is something like John or Mary, but when it's an unusual-ish name like Ky, then it is AWESOME.

This happened just last night, so I'm still having a good time with it. We were watching NCIS, and the bad guy - or woman, as it happened - was called Kai. Different spelling but the point is we spent an hour hearing about what an incredibly brilliant assasin Ky was. A genious. Unstopabble. And who's to say they're wrong? Maybe our Ky IS a brilliant assasin. Could happen!

How to Shop Less on Vacation

I am back from my extended BC vacation. And even though I was there longer, I spent less money. How is this possible? The trick is to be busy. The kind of busy you might be if you were helping a sister and brother-in-law with two month old twins. Yes, that kind of busy.

Not that I returned with out spending anything. Duh. A couple of things for friends and babies, some hard to find ingredients, bacon and ham (and score, Chorizo!) without nitrites/nitrates and some dark maple syrup and I was done. Oh, and a pair of sandals.

*Before I get blasted again for spending money on things no one sees, it's better than having the more common shoe weakness, isn't it? Less expensive, at any rate!

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Never never never.

You know what you should never ask someone? Not even if:

You've been searching for a particular ingredient.

You've been thinking about this ingredient to the point where you've forgotten the words have other meanings.

You're frustrated after searching more than half a dozen stores for said ingredient.

The thing you should never ask is "where do you go when you're looking for good sized breasts?"

Unless, of course, you do want to know that. All I want to know is where I can buy CHICKEN breasts of a decent size, in order to make a stuffed chicken recipe that I've been wanting to do for ages but had to wait until I had ham from BC. The breasts - sorry, chicken breasts - at the local grocery stores have so far been flat and unsuitable for stuffing.

Friday, March 05, 2010

Math 101

So here I am at my last day of work prior to a very long vacation. Very long for me, that is. Perhaps y'all take months off at a time, jaunting around the globe.

As was to be expected, despite having cleared up my list of things I wanted to get done before I left, I arrived at work to find a list of five things someone wants me to complete before I leave. The heading for the email?
"One last thing to do before you leave". Apparently five is the new one.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Zut Alors, it iz 'ere!

So, my parcel from Victoria's Secret arrived today. Dress is gorgeous. They described the colour as blackberry and I'm telling you that is exactly what it is. I've picked many a wild blackberry and I know what I'm talking about.

The two t-shirts are very...Victoria-y. Not in this sense. In this one.

No, not EXACTLY like that. It's just...well, I thought I was getting a regular person t-shirt. Nice summer wear. But the v neck of the thing. Sweet Saskatchewan Pineapple that thing dips. It's like they knew...EXACTLY...where my underpinnings ended. And the material clings like fuzz on a peach. Except over the tummy part which I didn't expect but was happy to see. It's not Empire, all loose and flowing, but it's not every-dimple-and-roll-showing tight either.

So I don't have two simple summer wear shirts, same style two colours. What I have are two very V.S. type tops with a curtained stage for the girls to be front and centre. Not that they're ever back and off side - although I've worked in nursing homes I'm sure that particular joy still aways me - it's just that there will be less looking at my face when I wear them that there might have been. Whether they'll ever get worn, outside, where other people can see...well, that may never happen. Ever.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Pretty in Pink

Most of the time having little feet is a problem. Not an unsurmountable problem but a problem nevertheless.

For instance, if I want to buy some grown-up dress shoes, I end up spending lots of money and/or time. For the most part I just have to buy them a little big and then buy inserts. ‘Course, if I ever want patent leather Mary Janes I’d have it made in the shade.

Sometimes, though, I like buying kid stuff. F’rinstance: I wanted to get some comfortable billy boots for a trip to BC. The store I went to had some really cute daisy ones in the grown up section. Cute, but waaaay too big, even with inserts. So I went to the little girls section. Found some boots that were loose at size four but perfect at size three. And they’re pink! With polka dots! And I didn’t pay tax on them. Why not? Because they didn’t ask who they were for, that’s why. If they ask, I say yes, they’re for me, and I pay the tax. They don’t ask, I don’t tell. This balances out the fact that I’ve been paying tax on footwear for The Girl since she was ten or so. Seriously, her feet are huge. Or maybe mine are just stupidly small.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

The Why of it all.

I'm not going to tell you everything I got from V.S., but I can tell you why I got one of the things. The thing is, I bought a pair of boots. The type - or height - I've been looking for for decades. Oh sure, they're easy to find, just not easy to afford. But find some I did, my size, good price. So I bought them. And really, don't you think they need an outfit of their own? Don't they?

Not that much of a secret

So, I'll be single on Valentine's day. No biggie, really. But the normal temptation to deal with any potential whinging would be reading a book and scarfing chocolate fudge. Which sounds nice - great, even - but eating sweets right now would not be good. Not good at any time, I guess, but why ruin a healthy-eating streak now?

I've decided to deal with Valentines in advance. How? Buying something lingerie-like. "No surprise there", you think to yourselves. "She does that all the time". Well, yes, but you know what I've never done? Ordered something from Victoria's Secret. I can no longer say that, because I did. Just now. Thank you online shopping!

Monday, February 08, 2010

Thin Ice, Big Puppy, Thin Ice

Remember this?

I left for work one morning last week, and was very careful making sure there wasn't anything the puppies could eat. Not easy, because that means not only no garbage left behind, but nothing that resembles food. Doesn't have to actually BE food for Big Puppy to give it a try just in case.

Went off to work secure in the mistaken belief that all would be well when I got home. Oh the wrongness of it all.

When I reached the kitchen it was to discover that the floor was a sticky mess. Why? Because Big Puppy had been into the cupboard with the three level lazy susan. It's where I keep spices and various other things.

The cupboard door was open. Jars of various sizes were all over the floor, some open and spillied some still tightly closed. The cupboard was a mess of knocked over jars as well. And why did B.P. go to all the effort of opening the door and twirling the lazy susan around? Apparently so she could eat most of the bag of dark brown sugar, and pretty much all of the balck decorative sugar. That night and the next day she was as subdued as she's ever been. Stupid dog.

Turns out The Girl was right about the black sugar being deep dark green instead of black. How do I know this? Because I'm the one that walks the puppies and consequently does the scooping when there's pooping. Be thankful I didn't take pictures because I'd be posting them if I had.

Friday, February 05, 2010

I Can Sing A Rainbow

I have an idea for a new cookie recipe. For which I needed dried strawberries. Not freeze dried, just dried, like cranberries and cherries. I also needed durum semolina flour. I can buy it in a giant bag at one place, or a more reasonable amount at the same place that has strawberries. That place would be Bulk Barn (Thanks, J.D.!). I needed the semolina for this weekend, so I went yesterday. With a shopping list of two things: berries, flour. Easy, yes?

Well. I spent just over $70.00 (curse you J.D.!). I got the berries, and lots of semolina. I also got the yummy bones the dogs like (they claim they’re yummy, I don’t have any personal experience), really really dark brown sugar, white chocolate couverture, pecan meal, pecans, natural sliced almonds, Turkish Delight for The Boy, yeast, pepitas, parchment paper which, I should tell you, they sell for more than $2.00 less per roll than anywhere else I’ve purchased it, and instant sugar.

Most of this is stuff I need for various baking orders. I only went off track a little, really. Ok, maybe I didn’t need the bright pink decorative sugar crystals. Or the black ones (which are in reality a very dark green) but seriously…pink sugar! And black decorative sugar, how awesome is that? I think I showed a great deal of restraint in not buying decorative sugar in orange, sky blue, deep purple and lemon yellow. They had other colours, too, I think. Red, maybe? I don’t remember I was overwhelmed as it was with hot pink and greeny-black.

So over all I am glad that J.D. told me about Bulk Barn. Not just because they have good prices but because they have a lot of unusual dried fruits/flours/sugars/pulses. It’s up in the north end of the city, but worth checking out if you bake. Or snack – their selection of gummi things and salty things and sugary things was extensive. They’re just verboten, so I don’t look too closely at what they have.

I’ll let you know if the cookie idea was a good one or a terrible one. I may even be looking for tasters!

Tuesday, February 02, 2010

Ups & Downs

Had to spend money on a tow truck to get the car out of a snow bank*.

Car is fine, Boy is fine, just feeling a little guilty which is not a bad thing.

Working with one arm in a sling, and icing it at work and not being able to take pain killers because I'm at work.

No break, just ligament damage. So no cast, and apparently a broken elbow is a terrible break to get, so this is a really good up.

Arm won't feel fully useful for a month.

I have a month before I go visit The Wee Girl and The Wee Boy.

Down: I totally suck at choosing clothes.

Up: My friends rock at choosing clothes, and at choosing clothes on sale.

Down: I want to eat doughnuts. Thanks, Mayb.

Up: NOT eating doughnuts and exercising is starting to show a little bit in the mirror. The mirror that I had to look in to see if I liked the clothes The Girls had me try on. Which I did. Hooray for girlfriends!

Down: There are no other downs. None!

Up: See above. Surely it is an up that there are no other downs?

* The Boy and his friend tried getting it out Sunday night, when it went in. Yesterday The Boy and various other strong teenage boys tried pushing it out with me driving. Didn't budge. Even the tow truck driver said he had to give it quite a pull to get it out. So no, I didn't cave and call for a tow truck right off the bat. We did try other alternatives.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

It's all in the timing.

I've been meaning to buy some decent shoes for walking and running. Normally I workout/jog barefoot, and if I'm working out outside (during the few months I am willing to do that)I wear cheap shoes from Wal-mart.

Now that I'm an aunt, though, and an aunt that will be visiting her niece and nephew for two whole weeks in the near future I decided I should buy some proper shoes. I remember from my own babies how much walking with a stroller I did and I intend to do the same with these new family memebers.

I went to Sportchek and bought some real people shoes. Had to buy something to make them fit (kids shoes fit, but aren't cushioned for grown-ups), which added to the expense of course. Nevertheless, I was happy to have spent the money, because everyone knows it is bad for your feet and knees to run barefoot. Right? RIGHT?

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Because it's what we do.

Everyone has been blogging about the giant storm. We had snow that started late Friday night(after freezing rain at the airport on Thursday and fog Friday morning), and ended in the wee hours on Monday. I delievered bread Saturday morning in an incredible blur of snow and ice and didn't drive anywhere again until Monday.

Monday we had to go. If it weren't for exams at school I would have kept us all home. As it was, about three blocks before school - at the point where you turn right for the school, left for the main drag - traffic stopped. Completely and totally stopped. We sat there for ten minutes before the kids started panicking about getting to school on time. So they got out of the car and joined the other kids pouring out of the other cars and started walking. I turned left and took the long way to work.

The long way that took much longer than it would have on any other winter day because of course people stop to help those that are stuck. A little bit, I'm sure, because you never know when you may be the one looking for help. But mainly because the people here are friendly and helpful. Helping is what we do. Young and old, we help out. For instance:

The Boy went to school wearing a jacket, mitts and a toque. No boots. Nevertheless by the time the day was done he had helped push 14 cars and one snow mobile out of the snow. Why would a snow mobile need help? Due to a typical teenage mix of smart and not so smart.

Someone at the school went there by snowmobile. Smart! On the trip home he tried to take it through a back alley. Not so smart! A back alley with light and fluffy six foot high snowdrifts. It went for a little bit and then sunk...and tipped over onto its side. After that rescue The Boy called to ask me to come and get him. It had taken them at least twenty minutes to drag the thing out of the alley. It sure wasn't going forward, and they don't drive backwards at all. The got it right side up, and then dragged it out. All of this in snow up to The Boy's shoulders. When I got him he was soaked and had snow everywhere. We went home- stopping once to help another stuck vehicle - and not only were his shoes snow-encrusted, there was snow down his jeans, in his shirt and in the hood of the jacket. We even had to shake snow out of his jacket pockets! As cold as he was, he got rid of all the snow and came with me to do some grocery shopping which he LOATHES, so I wouldn't be driving alone with the possibility of being stuck myself. We weren't stuck, but we stopped for two more cars that deep in snow banks. I was a little bit sore in the shoulders yesterday morning but The Boy...he was a mess of aches and pains. But he said that he didn't mind, people needed the help. This is Saskatchewan, and helping is what we do.

Pendulum Swings

Life's pendulum is returning from the dark side and one might even say swinging a bit towards the light. The bank finally fixed things, and refunded me the money that I had paid to get things done by a particular date. A date that came and went without anything happening, leaving me stranded and about as close to tears of frustration that I've been in eons. The bank staff here were very helpful. The over-the-phone Ontario people should be glad they're far far away.

One out of three issues related to the car has been dealt with. The second should get started today and be done by tomorrow, and Friday I will do what I would have done last Friday if the bank hadn't messed up. So car-wise, things are ok, or soon will be. Unless there is some further disaster. Which could happen. Far be it from me to court bad luck by saying that nothing could possibly go wrong!

Kid wise I'm getting better. Yes, I meant to say I am getting better. They're fine. I'm just progressing in the whole watching my babies mature anxiety stakes. The Boy went out on Saturday night. He was going to stay at a friends after the concert. Yes, I met the parents first to make sure they would be home. I'm not crazy! One of the other boys was driving them all home after the concert. And I agreed to that. I didn't even let him know how incredibly difficult it was for me to say yes on that front, particularly with the storm that hit on the weekend. But I said yes. And I DIDN'T spend the entire evening - or any part of the evening - picturing him dead in a ditch or buried - and dead - in a snow bank. I'm getting better!

The eating-better-food and making-healthy-snacks plan - as opposed to the forgetting-to-eat and then scarfing-fat-and-sugar plan has now become a routine that I am used to. I'm not going to make light of the first ten days, they were tough. I was hungry, cranky and tired for most of that particular nightmare. But I was determined to soldier through for at least ten days before I thought about quitting. I remembered from working overseas that ten days is about what it takes me to adjust to new foods.

Exercise seems to be going well too. I no longer look at the magic clock (runs on water and lemon juice) hoping that my time would be up. I sometimes even go over now without noticing. I need to be in serious shape, now that I am an aunt. I'm in training for miles of walking with the twins in a double stroller. Six weeks til I get to see them!

The Boy is closer to Cuba, The Girl is closer to her Quebec trip and I am closer to a really long break from work. So life is good!

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

I don't have time to kick your ass and I'd just as soon shoot you anyway.

Things in my life have been somewhat stressful as of late. I'm sure that's no surprise, given some of the recent posts.

After a Walmart-face* sort of a morning, things have calmed down. Hooray for meditation and the willingness to make things as plan as possible to irritating bank people. Does this mean I threatened a bank person? Why yes, yes it does.

*What is Walmart-face? It's this: when you are SO ANGRY that as you stride through Walmart on a Saturday the waves of shoppers part before you like the Red Sea. My co-workers kept themselves to themselves as I went from office to copier to office to fax and back, several times. I am upset so infrequently that they knew that whatever it was it would be best to leave me alone. Which was a good call. I had the energy but not the time this morning to kick ass, so I would have been obliged to shoot and move on.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Everyone has the right to be stupid, but some abuse the priveledge.

Sweet Saskatchewan Lobster. As coat rack is my witness I am not making any of this up:

The Girl lost her wallet. We think. There was one place that it might have been so I said I would call the lost and found and see what was what.

I went online and found the Lost and Found number. I called that number.

I got transferred, because apparently the lost and found number on the site is actually just a general number, despite being called the Lost and Found Contact number.

Told the person I was transferred to what I wanted. Was transferred. Again. Because the number I was transferred was still not the elusive L&F.

The phone rang on and on, and finally the man that made the last transfer was back. Very mystified and apparently asking me why they might not be answering the phone. He was a little irked with me in fact. After all, the computer he was looking at SAID they were in. Where were they?

Having convinced him – maybe – that I had no idea where they were, I asked for their direct phone number. A number that is a secret, since he couldn’t tell me what it was. I don’t know why, and I didn’t want to ask, so I left it there. He suggested I call him directly in half an hour. Maybe then there would be someone in L&F.

About twenty minutes later I called him again. And indeed it was him, the exact same guy. Who proceeded to say that he couldn’t help me, I’d have to call L&F directly. And then he gave me the number. Acting, the whole while, as though we hadn’t JUST TALKED.

I called the number. Except….it wasn’t L&F. It was a totally different area of the company, and the woman who answered the phone had no idea why I’d called her. She suggested that perhaps I should go to the web site and get the correct phone number for L&F. I said thank you and hung up. Why did I not call her several different kinds of stupid? Well, partly because she had not, after all, given me her phone number to call. And maybe she was having a bad day and didn’t know the loops I’d already been through.

I called Bozo back. Told him he’d given me the wrong number. He was...puzzled. His only comment was “hmmmm... oh…really?”. I assured him that yes, indeed, really. He said he would transfer me to L&F. Which he did. No answer. We had another discussion as to why I thought that might be. I suggested that perhaps he could leave them a message with my phone number. Or he could let me call them directly and leave my name and number and a message.

Silly me – I’d forgotten about the secrecy involved with the direct number of L&F. And he didn’t think he’d be “allowed” to give them a message. His solution was to keep trying them, over and over again - with the occasional return to me stating that they were still mysteriously absent - until someone answered.

In time - a very long time or perhaps it just seemed that way - I got someone in the L&F department. Only to find that no, there was no lime green animal print wallet anywhere. I’m counting this as a cosmic test of my patience. A test to see just what it would take to make me cry in frustration. I must have passed the test because I didn't cry. I don't think whinging in a blog counts as losing my patience.

And you thought quitting smoking was bad.

I have changed the way I eat. Not because it is the new year but because
a) the Wii has been repaired and returned and I am NOT going to exercise just so I can keep eating whatever I want. I'm going to exercise to get in shape. Also,
b) I am going to a wedding in the summer and my home town in the spring. I am NOT going to be looked at with pity at the latter and I WILL be able to dance as much as I want without collapsing. Not to mention I would like to wear something other than a caftan.

Anyway - I know from working overseas that it takes me about a week to adjust to a different diet. So for a week I've been mean and snarly and fairly tired. I just wanted to let you know that I have adjusted - plus or moin - to the new regime and you are safe to talk to me. Actually, you would have been safe whislt I was adjusting too, I was too tired to act out on the general crankiness.

That is the end of announcements, you may return to your regularly scheduled program.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

And I don't drink, either.

You know what doesnt' help in difficult situations? This. Not in any real way, that is. I tiny bit of emotional release but other than that people just look at you oddly and your friends start to worry.

What might be behind my desire to self-injure?

A car issue. I suppose you're wondering if I mean the bit about the lease ending and the bank not keeping in touch with me regarding the arrangments I'm trying to make. You'd be wrong. Not that that situation has improved. No indeedy it hasn't. It's just not the specific catalyst for the head banging.

Well then, you think to yourself (I'd say "selves" but really, do I have more than one reader?), it must have to do with the fender bender and the problems with the hitter waffling on paying. Nope, not that either. And whilst the waffling has ended, the car is still not repaired. No fault of Auto Extremem, they're still awesome. More of a timing thing.

So, a third thing, then? How can there be a third car issue. EASILY. As it happens I'm going to assume that there may be a fourth fifth or sixth thing. Prudent assumption, I'm thinking.

The problem is this: car is still a lease. For a few days. Also covered by extended warranty, for a little longer than that. I've been trying to get it in to be looked at because the engine light came on over the weekend. If there is going to be some hugely expensive repair needed I would like it to be paid for by someone else.

I called Monday morning and made an appointment for today. When I asked about a ride back I was told no problem, but there might be a wait if I came in first thing. I said I could drop it off at 10:15. "Great!" she says. "You'll be able to get a ride right back". Yeah. So in I go this morning.

Me: Hi, I'm Jane Doe, here to drop off my car.

Service Person: Oh - well - you were supposed to have dropped it off early and leave it all day with us. What would you like to do since you didn't do that?

Me: Actually, I talked to you (ALWAYS pay attention to the names of people who promise you things will be done) on Monday and made arrangements for 10:15. YOu told me that would be fine.

S.P. (looking at computer) So you did.

Me: My plan is the same - leave it here for the day, and get a ride back when you're done.

S.P. No problem. We'll call you when it's done. The scan to see what the problem is will be ----- dollars. We'll call you when we've diagnosed the problem, and you can decide if you want to go ahead.

Me: Cost? We had a fairly long conversation on Monday about the warranty on the car. There shouldn't be any charge.

S.P.: So we did. No charge then.

She gets keys, I leave. Not long after I get back to the office I get a call.

Me: Hello, blah blah blah.

S.P. This is the service department calling. We know what the problem is, would you like us to go ahead with that? The cost will be -----.

Me: Warranty. (I think that despite the terseness of the answer it was nevertheless nicer than the answer in my head).

S.P.: So it is. There is one thing we can do here that isn't covered, which might help. Or it might not. The problem is with something covered by your extended power train warranty. But we can't do that, so you'll have to get the car and take it to one of the blank dealers in town. When can you come and get it?

Me: Well...when can you come and get me? When I dropped it off you said someone could pick me up when you were done.

S.P.: So I did. The number is 555-0000. If you call him you can arrange a pick-up.

Me: Thank you. (Why thanks? Because that's how I was raised).

So - car not fixed. Not the bumper, not the engine. Appointment for engine? Not until next week. Appointment for bumper? Just waiting on a call. Appointment with bank guy? Soon. As in as soon as I calm down a bit.

If you're not thinking about banging your head on my behalf...well, why not?

Meditation. That's what I need before I call the bank. Five minutes meditation. Much better than head banging.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

For you. A bit. But Mainly for Me.

Read this.

And repeat # four to yourself four times a day.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Twas the night before Christmas

It's hard to come up with the right words to properly convey Christmas eve. So I'm going to tell the story with fewer words. Here we go!

Went to work.

Came Home.

Had one of these.

Got picked up.


Went to something like this. heading for this.

Ate some of this.

Headed out to something close to this.
Had a lot of this, and it was.

Went to another one of these.

When it was time to leave, these had broken out and needed this.

This is the type of emergency that everyone pitches in on. So I did. Wearing this, these and these. In this. Coat and mitts too, thanks heavens!

A Christmas eve to remember fondly. Forever.

Friday, January 08, 2010

Dude, Where's My Car?

My poor M.I.A. car. Well, M.I.R. really. Missing in repair. Took it in Tuesday and thought I’d never get it back. I did, though, and I am totally gob-smacked at how awesome Auto Extreme is. They do things other than body work, and I would recommend them to one and all. They're on South Railway, Regina. Totally great guy owns it too. (oh relax, you guys, he isn’t single. Figures – I meet two guys over the hols: one married and one from out of town) I went from a really bad/dreadful/awful day/week to my usual bouncing optimistic in less than an hour. They

Oh, and I learned something that ya’ll should pay attention to: in this cold prairie weather you should use your parking brake either all the time or not at all. Always or never, ok? Unless you want to end up with your car in the shop. Has to do with condensation on the cable and the effect the expansion of freezing water has on cables. Maybe everyone else knew this, maybe they didn’t, but it’s a good thing to know. I’d lived here a year before anyone explained the need for a bloc heater. I just wondered what all the plugs were for. Anyway, back to the week of badness*.

First, so ma famille doesn’t panic, let’s list the good stuff:
No one I know is dying.
I'm not dying.
No one I know has recently died.
I still have my kids and they are as fantastic as ever.
I have my car back.
The Girl will (thanks yet again to the body shop) get signatures on her Rider Jersey, and pictures!
I have a house.
I am fed.
I have a wonderful family.
Co-worker bought (and brought) me a large peppermint hot chocolate, just to make my day better.

Things are well and no worries with my overdue aunt status. Soon, guys, soon!

Got the car back spic and span…and if you’ve seen my car (I have teens, and the elder uses the car from time to time) and know the weather that fact alone should make you gasp in shock. And maybe even a bit of awe. I’m seriously going to have to bake for them as a thank you.

Ok, the week:

No car from Tuesday afternoon until this morning.

Guy who hit car is waffling on paying for it.

The kitchen has two sinks. Only one can be used.

The fridge, fixed for an unknown length of time.

I have two bathrooms. Only one toilet worked…until this morning. Neither work now.

The gap at the bottom of the door is not the only problem. The handle is wrecked. Mainly this is a laziness problem. I've bought the replacement, I just need a warm-ish day and some spare time.

The Boy needs shots prior to travel. The “two business days” that the travel clinic promises to take before they call you back with an appointment is bleeding into three. No shots=no trip.

The car lease finishes on the 18th. I'm trying to make plans for that. The bank was supposed to get back to me yesterday. Nothing so far.

Until the above is done I can’t free any $ for toilet repair. I’m seriously hoping that the problem has magically been fixed in my absence.

Hair still not cut off, and as I was thinking about this past summer – which is when I decided that I’d cut it off it I hadn’t had a date by the end of the year – I realized that I didn’t just finish a year of dateless ness, I finished a decadeof dateless ness.

Baking going well except that…I’m now doing two wedding cakes this summer. I’m not really sure if this should go in the good things column or the bad things.

I am completely and absolutely ready to win a lottery. ‘Cept I should probably buy a ticket, yes?

*Should I ever decide to have a week of bad assness, I’ll let you know in advance so people like Mayb can join in.

Wednesday, January 06, 2010

Oh sleep it is a gentle thing, beloved from pole to pole.

I like my sleep. I really really like my sleep. Don’t get me wrong, I have a life, and I get that there are other fun things to do in bed (reading, writing, snacking, folding laundry) but sleep is a big deal. Clearly people know this about me as I can recall one Christmas where every single present was somehow related to sleeping.

Anyway,I don’t usually pay to much attention to things people tell me as I’m drifting off to sleep. My chances of remembering what was said – as opposed to just incorporating it into a dream – are pretty slim anyway, so what’s the point? I guess there would be a point if the house was on fire, but that hasn’t happened. Not so far.

On Monday night, I was just falling to sleep, rejoicing in the return of my babies to the family fold, reviewing the greatness of the just-seen Holmes movie when I heard a loud THUMP. At which point things went like this:

Me (quietly, in my head): Oh, good boy. He DID let the dogs out again before going to bed, just like I asked. Hope he remembers – now that the door has thumped shut – to put the cold air blocking towel back at the base of the door.

The Boy: ummm…mom? Are you awake ?
ME: Don’t forget the towel.
T.B.: Towel? Right. Well, the fridge door is gone.
ME: Where is the fridge door?
TB: Wha…? The door. The door to the fridge is off.
Me: Off what?
TB: The DOOR of the FRIDGE came OFF. It’s OFF right NOW.
Me: Oh. Coming.

Dazed mother lurches into kitchen. “HEY! The DOOR is off the FRIDGE”.
TB: I KNOW. I was getting something to eat and it opened and then it just wasn’t on anymore.
ME: So. (this may have been followed by some confused blinking on my part).

TB: So….let’s fix it. Ok?

Me: Yeah…fixing….ok.

This was followed by some not very intelligent fixing, fixing which nevertheless sufficed for the time. The fridge was at least closed by the end of it all. The actual fixing came the next day. When I was awake, and able to think about how to repair the stupid thing. If only I’d been awake enough the night before to wash grease off my fingers prior to returning to bed. Can’t have everything, though, and at the very least the door was closed and the towel was in place at the back door. A moderately successful evening.

I don't know. What do you think it looks like?

I occastionally have too literal a mind. This morning, for instance.

The gaming console I bought last year is in Toronto, getting fixed. With the wonder of modern techonolgy I was able to track its journey from here to there, with the added bonus of being able to track its repair status once it arrived.

Watching it travel was mildly entertaining. The first entry was a note that I had given the parcel to the courier. What wasn’t mentioned was that it was the wrong one. Right company, wrong guy. The guy I gave it to happily took it, and I signed in the space that I was asked to, but then later in the day I had a very grumpy courier complain that my parcel was HIS pick-up, and that no one tells him ANYTHING, and what is THE POINT to it all? I tried to cheer him up but still spent a bit of the afternoon worrying about the possibility that he’d throw himself off a bridge before the day was over. ‘Course, given where we are, that wouldn't be so much fatal as entertaining, would it?

The next entry was that it had arrived at the local depot. Then there was the slightly mysterious entry “Stop-off at Winnepeg, MB”. No explanation given. Did the parcel want to visit someone? Was it traveling to Ontario in someone’s car? Some employee who was going that way anyway and said that take a parcel along?

The stop over turned into a couple of days, because there were no entries until today, and today is when it all happened. Arrival in Toronto. Dispatch to dispatch (I think some bored clerk was making things up. Can something really be dispatched to dispatch?), then to the actual address where it was “Received by Rob”. Very homey that. Not signed for by Shipping and Receiving, not logged as being left in reception. Maybe Rob was out for a smoke and said that yeah, he’d take it in. When he was done, of course. Never mind, the point is it had arrived!

I found the repair bill number and decided to go to the site to see how things were going. And here was the status: “Console has arrived and we’re looking at it”. That was the message, in its entirety. And now all I can picture in my head is my console sitting on a bench….surrounded by a handful of employees with serious contemplative looks on their faces. Which may explain why I was told that most repairs take two weeks.