Monday, December 31, 2012

A New Year’s Wish


A New Year's Wish
Author Unknown
At the sound of the tolling midnight bell
a brand new year will begin.
Let's raise our hopes in a confident toast,
to the promise it ushers in.
May your battles be few, your pleasures many,
your wishes and dreams fulfilled.
May your confidence stand in the face of loss
and give you the strength to rebuild.
May peace of heart fill all your days
may serenity grace your soul.
May tranquil moments bless your life
and keep your spirit whole.



Saturday, December 29, 2012

And the Snow Continues to Fall

We never did make it outside to snowshoe, but instead spent a fair amount of time shovelling this morning! The back deck was still knee deep from the storm the other day and we wanted to make sure to get it off before there was much more to remove, or worse, melted a bit and got heavy. In the summer we celebrate having a 58'x16' deck... in the winter, not so much celebrating is done. Carm is our main muscle, but I tried to help out a bit where I could.

What are the odds - Carm was looking for the key for the secondary back door lock and out of a baggie full of keys hit a home run with the first key! He should have bought a lottery ticket today!

The snow came down lightly all day, not enough to need the laneway cleared, but enough to make the roads snow covered. We were glad to not have to go anywhere farther than the village. We made the cardinal mistake of going grocery shopping while we were starving... there will be some extra yummy treats for supper on New Years Eve! And then since we were in town, and starving, and oh, we did all that shovelling, we treated ourselves to chicken shwarma sandwiches. I don't think they were outrageously bad, but they weren't in line with the fast that I had planned for the day!

Tonight we decided to do something different and turn off the tv for a game night. Out came the backgammon board and the fun began. It isn't exactly fair though as Carm has spent billions of hours in the past playing while I have played rarely. It got boring after he won x number of games in a row! But even though I was losing, I think I was starting to learn some strategy, so next time I'll do a bit better. Losing or not, it was a fun alternative to CNN!

When you love someone all your saved up wishes start coming out.
Elizabeth Bowen

Friday, December 28, 2012

Under the Frosty Moon

It was a perfect winter day today, with the sun sparkling on the newly fallen snow and not a breath of breeze. We started our day shovelling out the end of the laneway, cause of course the snowplow came by after our snowblower guy (who showed up at 1:30am). When we were about 1/2 way done Carm flagged down a passing backhoe (thinking that it was our neighbour), and it turned out to be Mike, the young man we met a few weeks ago when we were picking up the dog's meat. He made quick work of the rest of the hump and then came in for a coffee.

It would have been a perfect day for snowshoeing, but as it turns out we were going into town for Juliette's birthday party. At Eleven years old she's my second oldest niece and growing to be quite the young lady. I was talking about snowshoeing with one of the other guests and came up with the bright idea of going for a moonlit tramp tonight. It seemed like a brilliant idea - and oh so romantic. Well, by the time we got home the temp had dropped to -13C and a bit of a breeze had picked up (think windchill)... The moon was incredible... but... I'm here on the sofa with no snowshoes in sight! If I get a bit braver later I'll be sure to let you know!

My pleasures today were spending a bit of time with Juliette and Erik (8). Also, the snow created beautiful views everywhere we looked. There hadn't been much wind during the snowfall, so every branch was piled with several inches of snow. Everything was beautifully iced with thick white fondant.

And finally Winter, with its bitin', whinin' wind, and all the land will be mantled with snow.
Roy Bean

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Let it Snow

Did everyone go out shopping yesterday? We weren't going to (the last thing we need is more stuff!), but felt antsy so decided to take the scenic route into town and hit up a few stores. Although it clouded over just as we were leaving it was a lovely drive and one which we rarely if ever take. Once we got into town our first stop was Loblaws. SCORE! We got 2 folding bistro tables and 2 beach umbrellas, all for under $5 each. They will be perfect for camping, and since the tables fold they will easily fit in the closet. Next stop was Future shop. I don't know why we go there every year as we never get anything and the crowd is just outrageous. I did see a camera on sale that interested me if I were in the market for a new one. Finally Home Outfitters finished us off. We scored some Keurig coffee at a great price, and picked up something for Carm's mom for her upcoming birthday.

I should mention that one of the things on my "things to do if I'm feeling depressed" list is to go for a drive. It works every time - foolishly I don't always think to get out that list and just sink deeper... but this time I was proactive - yeah!

Overnight we got hit with another snow storm - this one dumped a heap of soft, light, fluffy snow on us. It is a good thing we don't have to go anywhere today as we are socked in again. We are second last on the snowblower guy's list so we don't usually get done until 10 or 11pm. In the meantime we went out with the dogs this afternoon, us to do some shovelling, the dogs to load up with snow so that they can soak the floors in the house. Kabira wasn't impressed so wanted in the house right away; Bella and Spike were content to play a little longer. They didn't last as long as we did though! As they've gotten older their interest in playing outside in bad weather has waned.

What pleasures have I been grateful for the last few days? hot chocolate topped off with a dollop of eggnog - the little local dairy makes the best nog ever - but next year I'm going to make my own with a vegan recipe I have - less calories and fat too ; eating a tender piece of steak - we haven't had one for a few months so treated ourselves to a steak dinner last night - yummm - in the "old" days we would have had a whole giant steak each, now we are happy with just 1/2, and instead of mashed potatoes slathered in butter we had quinoa ; talking to Kirsten on the phone and hearing about Shenna's ride on the beach! and Nissa's adventure at pony club; playing with the dogs in the deep snow - it was over Spike's back, but that barely slows him down.

Sunshine is delicious, rain is refreshing, wind braces us up, snow is exhilarating; there is really no such thing as bad weather, only different kinds of good weather.
John Ruskin

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

The Sounds of Christmas

We had a lovely day, starting at Mom & Dad's for breakfast. After gorging ourselves on Christmas Morning Wife Saver and leftover lefse and lutefisk, we took our leave and drove over to Carm's brother Joe's for lunch. There was a houseful, (but missing a few), including the newest generation. Georgio is 7 months old and cute as a button. He has the biggest, blackest eyes you can imagine. We filled ourselves up with Carm's mom's homemade cannelloni. After that it was over to Carm's sister Maria's for a quick visit and a glass of Grappa. Spike had great fun playing with his "cousin" Sonny, and even did some of his tricks.

We are now safely home ensconced on the sofa with the Sound of Music playing. Soon there will be a bottle of bubbles opened, and along with a bag of chips we'll have a quiet Christmas Night. What is shocking though is how much of the movie that I'm not actually remembering. I recall that we watch it every year at Christmas, but my memory must be wrong somewhere. Regardless, it is a great movie with so many good songs to sing along with.

Christmas waves a magic wand over this world, and behold, everything is softer and more beautiful.
Norman Vincent Peale

Monday, December 24, 2012

Christmas Eve

I started off my day with a quick trip outside into the freezing cold. We didn't even get down to the corner before Kabira was hopping on 3 feet, begging to go back inside. It was cold, but oh my the sun was blazing. There is nothing more beautiful than snow covered trees, powder blue sky, and yellow orb. Kabira didn't agree and thought it was just cold.

Grace has been making me laugh every morning when I make my smoothie. As it was wizzing around in the magic bullet I looked over at her cage but was surprised to see her still on her swing. I thought maybe she was sick of the smoothie... as soon as I turned off the blender she rushed over to the place where I feed her, talking the whole way. She doesn't actually say any words when she wants something, but instead peeps, whistles and squeaks. It was pretty clear that she wasn't sick of it at all and in fact was rather impatient that I didn't get there faster!

I wish I had gotten a picture of Spike after I decked him out in his Christmas outfit. He even remembered about carrying the little Santa basket. Three years ago when he was coming to work with me we visited everyone's office to hand out candy canes to the kids (everyone brought their kids in on Christmas Eve). He wore a hat, and had a jingle bell scarf around his neck. And to top it off he carried that bag everywhere. He was/is just too darn cute! Of course with an outfit like that he had to come along with us to Norwegian Christmas Eve.

Once we got to Mom and Dad's I put on his collar and hat, gave him the Santa basket and he ran around the house looking for Grandma or the kids. Sometimes this dog does things that just makes my heart swell.

We had a wonderful evening, FULL of excellent Norwegian food and marvelous company. Not only were Graham and Carole and the kids there, we were also blessed with Kari and Trevor. Mom as always did a fantastic job making such a wondrous meal (with enough to feed all our Norwegian relatives just in case they dropped in!). We missed having the whole family there though - with Kirsten and Olaf in New Zealand it sure is an empty house. We missed out on a few of our traditions, such as the reading of "Twas the Night before Christmas", or all joining hands and jumping around shouting Santa is coming, Santa is coming! But it is best not to dwell... but Christmas just isn't the same anymore...

On our way home we took the usual tour through the village to look at the Christmas lights. I love Christmas lights! They are the one bright spot during these long winter nights.

Merry Christmas!

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Back to Blog Beginnings

I've been realizing over the last several days that I've forgotten what my original purpose of writing my blog was. I started out wanting to remember the small pleasures in life, and writing about them everyday was going to keep them in my mind, but it seems I've strayed. Even Carm mentioned today that I don't seem to put as much of myself into my posts as I used to. He's right. Many days lately I've struggled to find anything to write, let alone something meaningful or something about my idle pleasures.

Perhaps the void is due to my mood, but maybe my mood would be improved by focusing on all the things for which to be grateful. I've read in several places that writing or saying what you are grateful about is beneficial to happiness. Last spring we started saying "Grateful" at suppertime, but it never stuck- now would be a good time to give it another go.

One of my dearest idle pleasures is music. Right now I'm watching a program with Andrea Bocelli singing - sometimes with kids and sometimes with a choir, and now with Natalie Cole - WOW. I love listening to this kind of music. Imagine being able to sing like that - a gift from the Gods for sure.

I loved the feeling of the soft lefse dough as I rolled it out. It was so silky and cool. I loved that Carm and I were working on it together.

This afternoon I had the dogs in the field where they raced around like maniacs. I laughed and laughed as they shared their joy of life.

Eating supper tonight was a pleasure. The colours of the green beans, paired with the unique flavour of the preserved lemons, rosemary and garlic was just heavenly. Simple quinoa made with chicken stock and just a dash of lemon juice was the perfect accompaniment. It truly was divine. And what made it even better was knowing how healthy it was. How could something that tastes so good be so good for you?

Am I on the right track? I feel better already!

Merry Christmas to everyone.

Lefse in the Bag

After a near melt down when it was discovered that we didn't have much white flour, I got a start on the lefse while Carm went to town for some more flour. I don't know how I overlooked this important ingredient, but since we rarely use white flour I just assumed we had lots. Wrong! Crisis was averted and we did a marathon session in the kitchen rolling and cooking. I'm the roller and Carm's the cooker. It goes pretty well with two people. We made 68, and sampled a few to make sure they were okay (they were). Norwegian Christmas Eve meal is my favorite part of Christmas :-), lutefisk and all!

We veered away from Norwegian fare for our supper. We had roasted green beans with preserved lemon and rosemary, with quinoa on the side. Oh my it was good! I don't know what nationality that would be? Maybe Moroccan. I'm thinking I can make it Italian enough to be our vegetable side dish on New Years Eve (or do you think that's stretching it a bit?)

We've been watching a series called "Two Greedy Italians" - it has 2 older Italian men as the hosts, I believe they are chefs, and they travel around Italy making food and eating it of course. They are a couple of characters. Carm loves it cause he can understands the Italian that they speak, and it reminds him of growing up. A trip to Italy MUST be in our future!

Happy Tails!

Saturday, December 22, 2012

3 Seconds More!

The shortest day of the year has now past us - 3 more seconds today, 8 more tomorrow! It starts off slowly but will quickly accelerate and before we know it, it will be June

The wind howled and more snow and ice fell over the night and throughout the day. Around 3:30 I was laying on the futon looking at my email, when the sky cleared and the sun blazed into my eyes. Lovely. I sat there blinded by the sun, enjoying every moment of the brightness.

Earlier in the afternoon I had sat in the same place watching Carm shovel the end of the laneway... not for long though as visions of him having a heart attack made me rush out with my own little shovel to help out. I'm afraid I wasn't much help, and was more of a hindrance, but perhaps the thought counted for something. And at least he got back into the house safe and healthy!

Unfortunately while I was out there I noticed our big blue spruce, in the grove by the road, bowed to the ground... I immediately trudged through the snow banks to try to release it from the snowy grips. I removed as much snow and ice as I could, but it didn't pop back upright... I wonder if it will. I hope it isn't broken as it is a 30 + foot tree with the bluest hue.

The time you enjoy wasting is not wasted time.
Bertrand Russell

Friday, December 21, 2012

The Weather Outside is Frightful

If we had a fire it would be so delightful!

We actually got off pretty lightly with this storm. The snow was combined with rain so the accumulation was not the 25 to 30 cm predicted, but instead we got heart-attack producing heavy rain drenched snow. Oh, and high winds. At times the trees were lashed so violently against the house it seemed that it might come down around our heads!

(as a side note to the weather, the city weather station mentioned that they got 27cm!)

I took the opportunity of being trapped in the house all day to do a bit of healthy cooking. First, I showed Carm how to make the "lemony lentil soup" so that he can make it while I'm away (fyi 19 days till I leave!). Then I made some vegan peanut butter oatmeal "cookies". This year for New Years Eve I'm going to go with an Italian theme, so I marinated some olives in rosemary, and some in thyme (and other stuff) - I've never made it before, and of course didn't use a recipe, and always I do these things for guests, so my fingers are crossed that they turn out tasty!

The other thing I made was "Italian Stuffed Peppers", adjusting the recipe to fit our eating guidelines. They turned out great and will be a good vegetable accompaniment for New Years supper.

It seems that we have escaped oblivion! No end of the world after all! I didn't actually see that much hype about it, although I'm sure if I surfed on over to some survivorist blogs there would have been lots to see (remember how much there was for Y2K!). I wonder how many people sold all their stuff and moved to the mountains for nothing? I laugh about it now, but do remember being upset by a similar end of world scenario when I was 10 or 11.

I know I have mentioned it, and you might be able to tell by what I write, but I haven't been feeling all that great for the last month or more. The last few days have finally seen some change, but it has been a long haul. One of the things that is recommended to help with managing my illness is to keep a mood log. Mine keeps track of weather, sleep times, awake times, weight, medications, and mood. It is very useful to keep this information on a daily basis especially when things start to go off track. I keep it on a file in my tablet, but print it, and my diary entries off into a book that I can take to my doctor to discuss how things are going. Sometimes I'm a bit slow... but the other day I went back to last years entries, and sure enough - right there in writing - I could see that from mid November until the beginning of January things were rough. So what I am going through is a normal part of my mood spectrum and nothing to really worry about. Just knowing that made me feel a little better. Anyway, I highly recommend anyone with mental illness problems keep a log like mine. If I were really smart I'd figure out if any of the triggers could be mitigated... like maybe doing all the Christmas shopping by the end of summer... hummm... I'm going to have to really give this some thought.

We build statues out of snow, and weep to see them melt.
Walter Scott

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

The Hobbit!!!!!!

We braved the snowy roads this morning to attend the matinee viewing of the Hobbit. It was fantastic! We made sure to see the 3D IMAX version and it didn't disappoint. I won't spoil it for anyone so won't say anything more... Of course we stayed through the credits till we saw Shawn, my brother-in-law's, name (I don't think Olaf worked on it long enough to get into the credits).

When we got home, the laneway was slushy and slick with soft snow. Kabira took up the game and ran up and down as fast as she could, with a sliding stop at each turn. Bella and Spike were close on her heels, not wanting to miss any of the fun! They were ecstatic with our return.

(and more good news - A Charlie Brown Christmas is taping on the pvr right now! I haven't seen it for years).

Happy Tails!

Monday, December 17, 2012

Singin' in the Rain

the freezing rain that is...

Today has been a day to bundle myself on the futon and watch movies as the freezing rain drizzled down. Lucky for me a light hearted romp was showing - Singin in the Rain. I might be simple in the head, but I like these mindless movies with all the singing and dancing. And Donald O'Conner (who I always mix up with Danny Kaye) is always a treat to watch. The only thing that would have made it a more perfect afternoon - snuggling up with my nieces to watch the movie. They would love all the singing and dancing. We would have had popcorn and hot chocolate too.

Yesterday we headed into town as the snow started to fly. I spent the afternoon at my parents where Mom made Norwegian rosettes, Carole (my sister-in-law) made shortbread, and I just helped Erik and Juliette (niece and nephew) decorate their gingerbread houses. With snow falling and Christmas music playing we had a lovely afternoon. The snow was falling pretty heavily as we headed home, but as we turned into the driveway it switched to freezing rain... home in the nick of time!

Wisdom begins in wonder.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Weep no More for I Have Fallen

It's not what you think!

We were across the creek at our neighbor's dairy farm (more about that later) and I looked across and saw... our lovely weeping willow is no more... I could see the raw gash where it had broken and split to the ground. We planted that tree the first summer we bought the land and have watched it grow ever since. I love weeping willows and envisioned a line of them along the creek. We planted this one back from the edge, and up the second bank a bit so it survived until now. I took cuttings one year and planted them closer along the banks, but alas, the creek is too wicked in the spring for any tree to survive very long. So now we have none. Weep.

It was a dreary day so the photos are dim and depressing, nor could I get a photo of the downed tree as my zoom isn't powerful enough.

We picked up this lovely bottle of bubbles to try - it is one of the prettiest looking bottles I've seen. We decided to try it tonight (in memory of the willow of course - that's a good reason isn't it?) in case it is really good. If so, since it is in the Vintages section we have a limited time to stock up. (Merikay - I can see that by avoiding alcohol you are cutting a goodly amount of calories from your diet). We did at least drink it with a healthy sweet potato, black bean, spinach, zucchini, etc. stew. One of the wonderful thing about sparkling wines is that they can pair with ANY food - even the most difficult.

The dogs lucked out with their supper tonight as Trudie had given them a few bags of pig feet (not to be eaten all at once of course). Not appealing visually (for me), but from the crunching it seems they dogs are appreciating them.

From my rotting body, flowers shall grow and I am in them and that is eternity.
Edvard Munch

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

The Wind Ripped

The wind ripped at my cheeks this morning on our daily trek, making it perfectly clear that winter is here. I had thought to put a hat on, but what I really needed was a scarf. With my head down and my hands over my cheeks I made my way along the path as quickly as possible. The dogs weren't dilly dallying either.

The sun was out in full force making for a bright day. I love our house when the sun is blazing into the windows. Dawn, Spike's breeder, came by for lunch - Spike always remembers her and gets so excited. He also impressed by bringing me my socks when I mentioned that my feet were cold ;-) He's just so darn cute.

With the sun still shining brightly we went out for a second walk around the field (this time with hat, scarf & mitts!) after we closed the gate behind Dawn. The last few days I've been having a smoothie for breakfast rather than the toast I had gotten into the habit of having - I have so much more energy with just the smoothie! Grace loves it too and puts her head back for me to spoon it into her mouth as if she were a baby - she's so cute.

May you live all the days of your life.
Jonathan Swift

Monday, December 10, 2012

Two Sizes Too Small

There are some silly things of which I will never tire. "How the Grinch Stole Christmas" is one program that I have to watch every year - the cartoon version of course. Dr. Seuss is a genius. And then of course there's Frosty the Snowman. One show that I haven't seen for years though is the Charlie Brown Christmas cartoon - I miss it!

You're a monster, Mr. Grinch.
Your heart's an empty hole.
Your brain is full of spiders,
You've got garlic in your soul.
Mr. Grinch.

We didn't get out for our walk today until quite late in the day - there was snow and freezing rain all day so we didn't much feel like venturing out. I was ever so glad to be home safe and warm and not on the roads trying to get to work...

So he paused - and the Grinch put a hand to his ear. And he *did* hear a sound rising over the snow. It started in low... then it started to grow.

Welcome, Christmas, bring your cheer. Cheer to all Whos far and near. Christmas Day is in our grasp, so long as we have hands to clasp. Christmas Day will always be just as long as we have we. Welcome Christmas while we stand, heart to heart, and hand in hand.

Sunday, December 9, 2012

A World of Song

I'll give this another try - last time the post got lost in the ether world...

I had a day of peace and quiet today as Carm went off to have lunch with his Mom and brothers. I took the opportunity to listen to Christmas music to try to get into the mood for decorating... to no avail. However it was nice to just putz around the house with the music blaring.

This is a cute video of an African Grey Parrot, the same as Grace, singing Rudolf the Red Nose Reindeer. It is cute, including the British accent!

Keeping with today's the music theme, I was watching a program about Italy - they were in the town of Lucca, the home of Puccini - so you can imagine the music they had playing. At one point he was talking to a local opera singer who burst into song in the town square. Perfect. If I were to sell my soul to the devil it would be to sing like that. Imagine having a voice that sings to the angels.

No winter lasts forever; no spring skips its turn.
Hal Borland

Saturday, December 8, 2012

It is a Small World After All

This morning we set the alarm again, this time we had to get to north Gatineau (about 65km away) in order to pick up our meat order. The lady that we used to buy from has been ill and no longer distributes so now we are buying it directly from the another distributor or even perhaps the mfr. He made a run from somewhere the other side of Montreal, along the Quebec side of the Ottawa River to who knows where. We arrived at the meeting point 15 minutes early and already there were several cars and trucks waiting. We all huddled in our vehicles, staying out of the wet snow. Finally a large transport truck backed into the little side road and people started lining up to get their order. We struck up a conversation with the young man in front of us, and wouldn't you know, he lives just a few km away from us, with his parents just a km up the road! We exchanged emails and promises to take turns making the trip. Our turn was up and we got our 160lbs of raw meat mix. The dogs will eat!

You might wonder why we go to all this trouble to get food for the dogs. Firstly, we don't think that dry kibble is the healthiest food - sure it is okay, but I liken it to us eating only processed food - a diet of Kraft dinner might keep you alive for quite a long time, but how healthy will you be? And as you grow older you might have more health problems... So we feed them (mostly) a raw diet. They get a variety of meat - chicken legs with backs attached, pork neck bones, beef bones, pork roasts, beef or pig hearts, liver, whatever we can find on sale and cheap. The main base of their diet though are these raw frozen ground blocks of food. They contain ground chicken (with bones), fish, organ meats - all at the proper ratios (80% meat, 10% bone, 10% organ). And this stuff is super cheap. We were paying $.80lb but this new arrangement is only $.32lb - what a deal! So it is not only better for them, it is also cheaper than feeding a quality kibble. And the dogs think they are getting filet du beuf au croton! Pretty spoiled pooches.

We finished our trip to Quebec by a quick trip into Costco - what a zoo on a Saturday morning! No whole wheat flour though... isn't that weird?

Even though we were only 65km away from home, being in Quebec feels very different from being in Ontario. The rise in elevation (we were getting into the Gatineau Hills) gives a different feel, but also the architecture is different. And of course there is no English on any of the signs (we aren't really in Canada anymore it seems...). I won't get into a political discussion, but the new premier is wanting to make Quebec even less a part of Canada.

Happy Tails!

Friday, December 7, 2012

Driveway Camping Averted

The dishes were packed in the tote, the bubbles were chilling in the fridge, and the camper was all warmed up, ready and waiting for us to have our picnic. I ran outside with a bucket of hot water for cleanup, only to find that it was raining :-( So I ran back inside to get Carm so we could get the slides all back in and put the camper back to bed. Another driveway camp foiled by winter precipitation...

Good news though is that Mom and Dad came by for a visit this afternoon while the slides were all out - it was fun to show them all the little features!

It was a busy day all round as this morning Trudie & Leo picked us up to make the trip for more boxes of wine, and of course breakfast out.

Whew... time to put my feet up and relax, before tomorrow's marathon meat run commences... (more about that tomorrow!).

Very few of us are what we seem.
Agatha Christie

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

My Eyes are Blind I Cannot See

I have not got my specs with me... I have... not... got... my... specs... with... me.

Actually I do have my specs with me - 4 new pairs were delivered by courier this afternoon. This is the second time I've ordered from Zenni Optical online glass place. This time I ordered 2 pairs with transitions lenses and 2 pairs of regular lenses. All but 1 pair fit well, the one that doesn't will just have to have the arms bent a tad. They are a new prescription and it is nice to see well again!

We were lucky with the weather again yesterday and today so we did a few more things out in the camper. The rest of the Ikea kitchen rails were installed - I love them! We also took the fireplace apart again and Carm took the motor to a "guy" who got it running better. The flame effect is now working perfectly. I can't wait to spend a romantic evening :-) In the meantime though we hope to have supper out there one more night, and maybe have my parents over so they can see our new shack.

I've been feeling pretty rough the last week or two, but today it seems to have lifted somewhat. I'm not sure if it is because I got on the treadmill that I feel a bit better or if I got on the treadmill because I already felt a bit better. You know, days and weeks go by where I feel just fine, and then wham... not so great again. It is hard to keep remembering that I'll be good again if I just keep at it and not give in to the desire to pull the covers over my head. Also, knowing when to increase medications temporarily can be hard as well. I tend to wait too long as I don't like giving in. But I think that just extends the misery.

The world is round so that friendship may encircle it.
Pierre Teilhard de Chardin

Monday, December 3, 2012

Sixty and Four

Carm is in the kitchen finishing up the last of the dishes, I'm in my pjs ready for bed as soon as I post my update. Tonight we had friends over to celebrate Marie's birthday. Vashek and Marie, plus Trudie and Leo, joined us for an evening of dining, wining, whining and fun. Marie brought over a bottle of bubbles for us to help toast her into her next year, she also got to "sparkle" with a sparkler as well.

Partway through the night I realized that this is MONDAY night and we are having a dinner party complete with sparklers and bubbles. MONDAY!!! Will the knowledge that I can do anything on a "work" night get old? I think not!

Happy Tails!

Sunday, December 2, 2012

How many feet of snow would it have been?

It would have been a blizzard today, but as it was the rain poured down for hours (I wonder how many inches of snow it would have translated to). Have you ever noticed that on a dark, dreary day, that even with the lights on it is still dim, but, as soon as it is dark outside those same lights create a bright, cheerful ambiance?

Have you started watching Christmas movies yet? I watched (most) of "Its a wonderful Life" last night - the rest is saved for tonight. I can't count the number of times I've seen it, but each viewing is as if it were for the first time. Delightful. I also caught 1/2 hour of the first "Vacation", which isn't exactly Christmas (okay, it isn't at all) but Chevy Chase makes me laugh to just look at him. His is so darn funny! His crazy expressions remind me of my dad when he's goofing around.

With the warmer weather we could have put out the slides on the camper and even ran the furnace for a while to do so, but the grey, wet skies kept me inside, curled up on the futon with dogs cuddled up against me. I guess there are worse ways to spend a day!

The other day I picked up a giant "vacuum" bag at the dollar store, you know, the kind where you attach the vacuum and suck out all the air. I wanted it for the comforter and various pillows that came with the new camper so that I could pack them away safely for resale. It worked like a charm leaving me with a big, flat package that will easily be packed away... except... the air seeped back in. This was a cheap dollar store bag, do the more expensive ones work better? It seems like such an ideal solution for storing so much stuff. Any recommendations?

Wherever you go, no matter what the weather, always bring your own sunshine.
Anthony J. D'Angelo

Friday, November 30, 2012

Go Ahead and Laugh (at me)

That's right, get ready to laugh at me cause what I did today was mock worthy... I'm sure you recall the other day when I mentioned how stressed out I was about suitcase weight, so, rather than just continue with the stress I did a test run. I've already pretty much laid out which clothes I'm taking (give or take a few things), so I loaded up a rolling knapsack that I dug out of the basement, and my regular suitcase. As it turns out using the knapsack leaves me with an extra 5lbs for carryon, and the suitcase had lots of leftover room also. Big sigh of relief :-)

I seem to be stressing out easily these days, I hope it is the weather :-0

Yesterday was a whirlwind day that included lunch at Carm's mom's, Ikea (for more of those kitchen rail bits), and the liquidation place. I've been wearing the same two pairs of jeans for years now as many of my other clothes just don't fit so it was time for a few new pairs of pants. The liquidation place had pants on sale for 4 pairs for $30. How could you beat that! Today I wore one of the pairs out - you know when you wear the same things all the time (pants and shoes included) how anything else feels weird and uncomfortable. That's what it was like for me today, but I'm happy to say that after a few hours the pants started feeling okay - hurrah, there is (some) hope for me :-)

Another weird thing about me is that when I like something I want to have two of them. It doesn't matter what it is... must be some sort of obsession. I'd like two more pairs of these pants... but since it is the liquidation place there is no guarantee that even if I went back tomorrow there would be any. Drat.

I ventured out into the frosty cold this morning for a short walk with the dogs. I was bundled up and had my hands in my pockets. The dogs were basically naked and barefoot in the snow. How do they do that? Why don't they get frostbite on their feet?

We indulged in Chicken Shwarma plates for lunch today. Totally garlicly delishiousness. I have lunch for tomorrow (Carm doesn't ha ha). As we paid they gave us each a giant baklava... with honey dripping off my fingers I used more paper napkins for dessert than I did for the rest of the meal. I'm sure I've told the story a million times, but when I went to Jordan with my dad (1989) we feasted on freshly made baklava at every opportunity - we even had a giant box of them in our room... we did manage to bring home a few pieces for our family!

That trip also has a funny suitcase story. You see, both Dad and I both like souveiners and there were tons of things to bring back from Jordan - camel blankets, Arabian horse bridles, other camel (stinky blankets), leather ottomans... - all these treasures had to fit into our suitcases for the return home. We laughed so hard as we were squeezing everything in. I don't know how we did it, but we did get everything to fit. Thank goodness we didn't need to worry about weight as well!

Keep your face always toward the sunshine - and shadows will fall behind you.
Walt Whitman

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Comfort Food

I've got to change my playlist... I've been feeling anxious, irritable and just generally awful the last few days - I think the ongoing grey skies have been effecting my mood - at least I hope that's it. I moped around all day today, with just a short trip out to the Dollar store, it was too grey and cold to venture on a walk. Finally I ended up in the tub with my current fav playlist playing. Starry Starry Night by Don Maclean came on and as I listened to the lyrics I couldn't help but shed a tear for Vincent (Van Gogh) or was it myself I was shedding that tear for? I was deep into a mire of self pity about not having a normal brain. It doesn't seem fair to have everything be just that much harder to get through.

Part of my stress is suitcase related. I have a 15lb limit for my carry on to NZ. My bag weighs 10lb. Empty. Well that is just stupid. Carm says they won't check, but what if they do? From what I could read online at some comment sites they do check the occasional bag - what if it is mine? Do I just dump everything? Or maybe stuff the contents into a paper bag and leave the suitcase behind. I can feel my blood pressure go crazy just thinking about it. Breathe breathe breathe.

Maybe a cup of tea will be the ticket? Or a shot of Amarone ;-) Comfort food would be the ticket too. Hummm.... maybe butternut squash risotto with roasted green beans. Comfort but healthy (since I already tried the comfort but unhealthy).

What we see depends mainly on what we look for.
John Lubbock

Monday, November 26, 2012


Predawn I opened my eyes and knew immediately that snow was on the ground. Sure enough, a peek out the window revealed a snowy mantle gracing the trees outside the window. Ugh. Back to bed.

When I finally did emerge from the depth of my covers, I ventured out into a winter wonderland. A few inches covered the grass and every tree was piled with fluffy snow. It was beautiful. The geese were flying overhead in large flocks, some glinting white in the sun. As two flocks passed by I could see that one flock were Canada Geese, while the other flock were large white birds with black wing tips. Snow Geese. I've seen these before but always thought they were just Canada Geese with the sun reflecting off their feathers, but now I know differently. Flock after flock shouted their greetings as they passed by.

If you forget the line about "the one I love forever is untrue", Snowbird by Anne Murray is a lovely song and echos my sentiments about todays snow:

Spread your tiny wings and fly away
And take the snow back with you
Where it came from on that day
The one I love forever is untrue
And if I could you know that I would
Fly away with you

I was talking with Kirsten (my sister) this afternoon and part of our conversation centred on my upcoming trip to visit them in NZ. It prompted me to put a little app on my tablet - Days to Go Widget. There are just 44 days left till I leave! If I feel this excited so far out I'll need a horse tranquilizer the night before!

To send light into the darkness of men's hearts - such is the duty of the artist.
Robert Schumann

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Poof go the Puffs

It seems that the days are melding into each other with not much to note. Friday we worked on fixing the "fireplace" on the camper. The light and heating worked, but the fan that makes the "flames" flicker wasn't working. Carm oiled it and spun it to no avail. After it was all put back together we closed up the camper... with a few trials and tribulations. We have a few big pieces, the coffee table and Grace's big outside cage, that will have to ride between the slides... but big problem... they don't fit. I guess we are going to have to do some thinking about how to work it out, but it was getting towards the end of the day and the weather was getting worse by the minute. So in the meantime we shoved a bunch of stuff against the back window and got the slides in. After all that the only thing to ease my mood was a hot bubble bath with favorite music playing - oh, and a DQ chocolatey blizzard (thank you Carm).

Saturday was the always dreaded day - poodle hair cut day. It had been 11 weeks!!! since the last one, I've never left them that long so their hair was thick and long. Luckily there wasn't any matting on their bodies, just some on Spike's tail. They look so different all sleeked up, and with such pretty faces. Spike was looking quite scruffy before the blades did their work. Then everyone got their nails clipped and a bath. They were pretty sick of us by the end of it all! But they are so good and don't really give us any grief.

Today I picked up Trudie and drove down to the Morrisburg flea market for a hair cut and some poking around. Ten bucks for the hair cut is a great deal and it is fun to find little treasures in the mountains of junk stuff. I picked up 6 beat up silver knives for $3. They cleaned up not too badly and will be nicer than that Ikea stuff I have on the camper. I also got an old (antique) bowl that I will use on the camper for serving things - it is a brown and white pattern with little birds on the rim - all for $5. It had been marked $28 (and I never would have even considered buying it at that), but Trudie noticed the crazing (which won't affect my planned use) and talked him down. She's brutal! It is going to look lovely on the Tardis's table.

The naming is not totally settled. The model of camper is a Mystique, and looking on wiki it seems that Mystique is one of the Marvel X-men characters. It isn't clear if she is a good guy (but it is clear that she was a villain). Her name is Raven Darkholme - so I figure the camper should be called Raven. We do have a bird theme going on in our decor so it really fits in. Carm's not buying in though.

First keep peace with yourself, then you can also bring peace to others.
Thomas Kempis

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Driveway Camping

You probably already guessed from the title that we spent the night last night in our new digs! I even cooked supper out there (just a simple one dish meal). The counter space worked out (mostly) fine, but I had trouble finding a place to put my pot lid down! This morning I put a tall stool in there to see if having a small island will do the trick, without getting in the way.

With some candles flickering, the fireplace gently warming and just the right lights on it was a very lovely spot to have a meal. We listened to music, watched tv and generally had a relaxing evening. It is very cosy in the evening and the thermopane windows make it easy for the furnace to keep it toasty. We even got the tv in the bedroom to work - it is built into the ceiling above the bed so we hope it never breaks down as it would be $$ to fix (if it was even possible to find a replacement). Including the sleep number bed, there are NINE remotes!!! Isn't that just totally ridiculous for a camper!!!! It's embarrassing just to think about it.

The sleep number bed is to die for... it is so much more comfortable than our stix&brix mattress, I may have to move out to the Tardis (?) permanently!

This morning I handed Grace a huge beef rib that was leftover from our outing the other day. She held onto for dear life (it was as tall as she is), but of course I didn't have my camera handy. By the time I ran out to the camper to get it she was tired and dropped it just as I walked back in the room. Try as I might she wouldn't hang onto it again (but was more than happy to chow down while I held the giant bone).

Today we worked on getting the basement stuff loaded (that's the storage that is accessed from the outside). As with the rest of the camper there is somewhat less room so there was some purging done... I will admit to losing my temper at one point. But the job did get done... but will require some fine tuning in the spring...

No spring nor summer beauty hath such grace as I have seen in one autumnal face.
John Donne