Wednesday, February 28, 2018


Yesterday I woke up in a roar. I was cranky and miserable, really not any fun to be around. It was pretty obvious my mood was shifting, or if I had been better at foreshadowing, perhaps a sign that something bad was about to happen.

Grumble, grumble. I tried to settle into some activities but couldn’t. Then I decided to download some photos off my camera so I could futz with them on my tablet. Get the cables, attach camera, flip switch. nothing. undo everything and try again. still no luck. reboot tablet and try again. dead. futz around for ages till my battery was getting low. Plugged it in at over 30% charge. check 15 minutes later. 25%... and so it went, draining and draining despite being connected to the charger. Quick backup of my database, then bite the bullet and set tablet back to factory - which basically removed EVERYTHING :-(

Now I was really miserable and had a reason for it.

Carm made some phone calls to find out where to take the tablet to be repaired and then like the wonderful husband that he is, today drove to the other side of the city to drop off the damaged goods.

In the meantime, I’ve recharged my old tablet and restored a few things. I guess I’ll survive.

Sunday, February 25, 2018

more freezing rain and dreariness

Another birthday, this time Kabira. She turns 12 today, a ripe old age for a big dog. She’s still got lots of get up and go in her and aside from some arthritis that is under control is not showing much sign of the passing of 12 years. I think she feels the cold even more than ever though so she wears a heavy fleece outfit almost all the time. Oh, and she’s become rather hard of hearing.

Mom called me yesterday to remind me that I had done a few things last week as I had mentioned in my blog that nothing much had happened. I had forgotten to mention that we celebrated a belated Norwegian Christmas Eve complete with lutefisk and tortillas standing in for the lefse. Carm and I had made a huge stack of lefse in December for our first attempt at this party, but it mysteriously disappeared in my parents house after we had to cancel. This time I got busy making a fudgy burnt sugar cake for Dad’s birthday. He seemed pleased, although I did whip away the leftovers to serve to guests we were having the next night (sorry Dad).

Friday, Trudie called to invite us over for supper so we braved the freezing rain to get over to their place which is around one kilometer away. It is nice to have friends that live so close! And to have a Subaru which handles well on the slippery roads.

Have I lamented about the ice yet today? The laneway is still a skating rink and basically impassable on foot. I haven’t gone outside for a month. This is by far the worst winter in my memory for ice. I’m sick of it.

Yesterday (Saturday), we drove into the city to shop for a top for me and to visit with Carm’s mom. After a bit of running from store to store I found the black sparkly sleeveless top that I was looking for. Just what I needed… more black clothes… my wardrobe for the cruise is predominantly black with a bit of dark blue. Wow. I really went for the Caribbean vibe (not).

After all the shopping and visiting was done we rushed home so I could get supper started. I had a recipe for black bean soup that I wanted to try, but after reading it over more carefully I thought the spices were written down wrong:  1 Tablespoon paprika, 2 Tablespoons chili powder and 2 Tablespoons cumin seemed right off the charts. I often use cumin but only 1 TEASPOON at a time. Plus the green pepper that we bought a few days ago mysteriously disappeared, so I made my adjustments and tasted. OMG! It was way too hot for Leo. I added a bunch more water in. Yuck, now it was hot and watery. Bother. Not much else I could do so I started it cooking, and got to work on a second soup. I whipped together a minestrone and set that up in the other instant pot. Whew.

Once the black bean soup was finished, I removed the lid and set it to simmer to get rid of some of the liquid. 45 minutes later it was thicker, and now we were eating really late. Oh well, the best laid plans and all of that…

Today there is ice on the windows and a heavy drizzle falling from the grey sky. A perfect day to cuddle on the couch with a movie to recover from the 3 days in a row of social activities.

Blah. I think I’ve mentioned recently about how well I’ve been doing… yesterday I felt a flutter… today I feel almost as grey as the miserable sky. I can’t settle into doing anything, yet I feel slightly restless. I’m hoping it is just a blip brought on by the endless days of gloomy skies. Nevertheless, I will do a few minutes on the treadmill and if the ice ever goes away I’ll get outside for a bit. I’ll watch my thoughts, nipping any negative self-talk in the bud.

Friday, February 23, 2018

a step out of time

We booked our summer/fall camping yesterday morning. We’ll do the same as last year: home during the summer, and away for the fall. I like to spend my birthday at the campground, and thanksgiving in the viletta has been a tradition since we got our first camper in 2007. Beautiful days in autumn are best enjoyed at the parks. Long walks in the crisp air (although sometimes it is wicked hot!) are a balm to the awareness that winter is around the corner.

My shoes arrived Tuesday and I love them… my feet? Not so much. But I think the discomfort is bearable. I’ve walked around the house to get a feel for them and even did two 1/4 mile walks on the treadmill and didn’t rip them off my feet in agony. So they are keepers (I think…).

One (and I include myself in that number), may wonder why I’d suffer so miserably in a pair of shoes. It certainly isn’t logical, but it is fun to dress up like a girl every now and then, and the cruise is the perfect time to do it. No gravel laneways to rip at the heel, and actual places to go. Walking down to supper with some people watching on the way, dressed in something other than shorts and a t-shirt (which aren’t allowed in the dining room anyway), is fun and a very different experience than being home. It’s all about a change in scenery!

I have never been one to dress up unless absolutely necessary (weddings, funerals come to mind), but I did find it fun on the ship. I think it helps that I’m not in a never ending depression that saps the will to go out, let alone put some makeup on. It used to be that getting out the door was a huge accomplishment and if I had to spruce up more than a shower and comb through my hair I might not make it out the door. I hadn’t given it much thought, but I AM feeling much better these days and rarely have more than a week or two of black dog.

Last night we visited with Jo Ellen and Don and since Don has an Irish background I tried out the Irish Cabbage and Potato Soup recipe that I’d found. Vegan and totally delish.

Life is good, even if the shoes pinch a bit ;-)

Tuesday, February 20, 2018


Despite the fact that the clouds and ground were meeting in some invisible line, and that a light drizzle fell from said sky, we ventured out in the car. Liquidation was our first stop - Carm came out with a dress shirt to wear with his suit, I came out empty handed (which is pretty darn rare).

We belted ourselves back into the car and drove 20 miles to the FreshCo (grocery store) & Bulk Barn. I picked up the ingredients for tomorrow night’s soup.

After our shopping was done we stood in the parking lot trying to talk ourselves out of a burger at the Works. I was starving - just a banana smoothie for breakfast and it was 3pm already. Carm had more will so instead of turning left out of the parking lot we turned right, towards home.

We’ll have roasted asparagus with sweet potato fries, and maybe a garlic sauce, for our supper tonight - healthy and low calorie. Actifry to the rescue again.

I took another chance with online shoe shopping - I’m checking the mailbox with crossed fingers. Luckily returns are easy… but lets hope unnecessary!

Oh, and the ice… it is back… the laneway is a sheet of ice covered with a glaze of water. There is nothing more slippery than ice & water. Blech.

The ninety-nine cent price of a fast-food hamburger simply doesn't take account of that meal's true cost--to soil, oil, public health, the public purse, etc., costs which are never charged directly to the consumer but, indirectly and invisibly, to the taxpayer (in the form of subsidies), the health care system (in the form of food-borne illnesses and obesity), and the environment (in the form of pollution), not to mention the welfare of the workers in the feedlot and the slaughterhouse and the welfare of the animals themselves.”
― Michael Pollan

Monday, February 19, 2018

candlelight dinners

I’ve never had much luck with pot roasts - I’ve always cooked them in the slow cooker and they end up dry and stringy, perhaps they were cooked for too long. Last Sunday I tried a blade roast in the instant pot. I looked up a bunch of recipes and settled for one with what looked like lots of flavour, but instead of following the suggested 45 minutes of cook time, I reduced it to 40. Well. It turned out beautifully - I could hardly wait till the next night when we got to have the leftovers.

We had Pat, Trudie & Leo for supper last Sunday and this Sunday - maybe we’ll make it a tradition of Sunday suppers - there was lots of laughter and a few arguments (all in good fun!). The line up of instant pots and crockpots on the counter was quite a sight. Last night was just an instant pot and the actifry.

Spike wore his DAP bandana to supper both nights, and I believe he did better each time. Pat gave him a good cuddle and he seemed okay with that.

Nothing much else has gone on here… just the intermindible winter that goes on and on…

… I wrote the part above a week ago, but then set it aside and forgot about it. I’ve gone back and edited it with some more recent events but the tense and what not might be off.

The weather has shifted and now we are having spring like days with sun and melting snow. I clipped the dogs nails outside this morning in just a t-shirt - no coat required. Such a lovely change from the -40C wind chill we’ve had so much of.

Carm and I are both enjoying hosting our ‘candlelight dinners’ (ever watch ‘Keeping Up Appearances’ with Hyacinth?). I think these frequent social interludes are helping the winter to pass by with no visits of the black dog yet. My fingers are crossed that the only black dog to cross my path is Bella.

I’d better end it here, but Spike wants to say a word:

“Hi. I wanted to tell you that it is my birthday and that I’m 10 now. I thought birthdays were supposed to be lots of fun, but Laura clipped my nails today and even made one of them bleed. I had to spend a long time in my crate, but Laura gave me something special to chew so I guess it wasn’t too bad.  Then Carm got out the table that I have to stand on when I get a haircut so I knew my birthday was going to be even worse. Luckily Laura just gave me a hair cut on my face and my belly. She did my tail and bum too but that’s too embarrassing to tell. The rest of my hair is really long and everyone says how cute and fluffy I am. I guess that’s okay, but I’d rather they just left me alone sometimes. I don’t like people cooing all over me.

Maybe Laura did all these things cause something special is going to happen so I better rest up just in case.

I should tell you about the bandana that Laura puts around my neck when some company comes over. It smells really nice and makes me feel less worried that Laura is going away when Pat comes over. I don’t know though, she’s got a bag on the floor of the extra bedroom full of her and Carm’s clothes. Why is she doing that? Are they both going away? Don’t tell Laura this, but I get pretty upset when she goes away and I worry that she might never come home, I miss her so much.”

Friday, February 9, 2018

a cobblers miracle

Miracles do happen and one happened here today. If you’ve followed my blog for any length of time you’ve read of my troubles with getting shoes that fit and that don’t hurt my feet. Well, a tendril of madness was present the other day when I saw this cute pair of silver shoes online… I crossed my fingers and pressed ‘order’. It was with excited trepidation that I tore open the box today - would they or wouldn’t they? They slid right onto my feet and it was instant comfort!!!! I walked around the house a bit, tried them with a light sock, got on the treadmill for ¼ mile and SMILED. Hurrah!

Snow. White. Colourless. Or is it? I strode along on the treadmill, staring out the window at the endless white. The earth seemed blank and boring. Later, outside, I crouched down to admire the perfection of the individual flakes; a cloud shifted in the sky and the sun was suddenly bright upon me, and there, locked in the flake was a rainbow. I imagined that if the sun was able to shine on each flake of snow just right, the field would be an amazing sight.

The instant pot and actifry have had a short break over the last week: supper at Trudie’s on Sunday, and then supper at Jo Ellen’s on Thursday.

Speaking of snow… we’ve had more and more… no worries about the ice anymore.

“There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle.”
~Albert Einstein

Friday, February 2, 2018

my genes

There has finally been a bit of snow to cover the ice. Oh, it is still there as evidenced by the odd slip, but it’s mostly obscured. I can actually walk outside. Hip hip hurrah!  I did try walking in the field but with the ice just thick enough to carry my weight for a split second, it was more of a crashing lurch, so I only went as far as I needed to get the naughty dogs where were suddenly deaf.

Jo Ellen and Don were guinea pigs for another new recipe last night. The curried potato soup was a clear winner. I was glad that I did a double recipe cause now I have 3 containers in the deep freeze garage. That means no cooking for a few nights, which may or may not be a good thing - I’m in the mood to cook!

I’ve been making an effort to be more active and to at least get on the treadmill most days. I stepped on today but barely made it 10 minutes before I was too exhausted to continue. Geesh. It is like a step back in time to last summer when I could barely take two steps before collapsing. I hope it is just from the late night last night…

Our days (especially mine) have been slow and uneventful except for the bright spots of supper company. I don’t mind. Carm and I were prepping supper yesterday afternoon and it felt so comfortable, content, easy. I think my Norwegian genes have set me up for long quiet winters with not much excitement and nowhere much to go.  This year I’ve stopped fighting it with other expectations of myself, and instead am taking pleasure in the somnolence. The odd bit of cooking with the associated company has also buoyed my spirits.

“Every winter,
When the great sun has turned his face away,
The earth goes down into the vale of grief,
And fasts, and weeps, and shrouds herself in sables,
Leaving her wedding-garlands to decay—
Then leaps in spring to his returning kisses…”
~Charles Kingsley, Junior