Monday, December 30, 2019

the very quiddity of each thing

While the freezing rain poured down we bustled around the kitchen, getting a head start on New Year’s Eve preparations. Occasionally I’d check the weather forecast… it’s not looking good… but we pressed on, ever optimistic.

There have been a few years that we’ve had to cancel or postpone, including last year. Pat, Trudie & Leo were here for the countdown, but other guests came the next night. We’ve had nights when people have left halfway through the evening because of freezing rain splattering ice on the roads. It really is a ‘crap shoot’ to host an event this time of year.

The first big task was cleaning and trussing the meat. I bumbled through it last year, this time we watched some Youtubes and Carm did the slicing. I prepared the cutting board with a sprinkling of baking powder, coarsely ground salt, granulated garlic, and minced rosemary & thyme. When the meat was trimmed and tied up we rolled the beast on the board for a nice, even covering. It’s now tucked into the fridge.

A river of tears followed… 6 onions for the soup, 3 for the green bean casserole! Bacon sizzled and onions caramelized, filling the air with flavour. Instant pots lined up on the counter like three rotund R2D2’s ready to cook and render. I looked at the weather forecast.

With the casserole and soup safely tucked in the garage (a steady -2 will keep them cool), I turned towards the table. I pulled out a few tablecloths and laid some stuff out on them - which one did I like? I hemmed and hawed, asked Carm his opinion, ignored it, then whoosh, the tablecloth was laid and I started laying out the scene. I love this part of the preparations.

I stepped back to admire the sparkling candle holders and polished cutlery that glittered in the light, dispersing the gloom. A glance outside revealed trees heavy with ice, and worse still, a steady outpouring of ice pellets. If it abates I may harvest a few spruce boughs for the table, or maybe not.

There’s still stuff to do tomorrow, including the most important thing of all: keeping our fingers crossed for good weather!

I learned from him that we should attempt a total surrender to whatever atmosphere was offering itself at the moment; in a squalid town to seek out those very places where its squalor rose to grimness and almost grandeur, on a dismal day to find the most dismal and dripping wood, on a windy day to seek the windiest ridge. There was no Betjemannic irony about it; only a serious, yet gleeful, determination to rub one's nose in the very quiddity of each thing, to rejoice in its being (so magnificently) what it was.”
~C. S. Lewis

Sunday, December 29, 2019

clothes horse

‘The Birds’ is on the TV and I can only keep ½ an eye on it as the tension ratchets up, twisting my stomach and squeezing my chest. They are walking out to the car right now, a ragtop, as if that would help in a bird attack. Tippy Hedren stares with blank eyes, blood running down her face. And oh, now he lets the little girl bring her lovebirds, evil little creatures... What! That’s the ending? They just drive off though a field of sitting birds and the credits roll. Hummm...

Today we did the unthinkable and actually cleaned the house. We’ve gotten a leg up on our prep for New Year’s Eve, although the mop will have to pass again on Tuesday - Adia is shedding like crazy - hope no one wears black! We’d hoped for Kari and Trevor to come for a visit, but unfortunately Kari is under-the-weather. Such a drag, especially this time of year. 

In Between flurries of cleaning I worked on my schedule for the next few days. I’ve not been able to keep enough in my brain to wing a big dinner so I plan it out minute by minute. I’ve updated the format which will make reuse easier. We are having Beef Tenderloin again this year and thankfully!!! I made notes in my blog last year about cooking times and temperatures. A bit more reading on the internet firmed my plans for a slow cooked roast. Fingers crossed that it works out!

Last night we watched a marathon of ‘Joanne Lumley's Silk Road’ which was an interesting journey starting in Venice and ending at China’s border (they didn’t get permission to film in China - short sighted on China’s part). She passed through parts of the world that I know very little about. My imagination is fired and if I were more adventurous I’d set out on my own (with Carm of course!).

I spent the night hacking and coughing, covers alternating between over my head and flung off trailing on the floor. I feel that I’m on the final wheezes of my cold - at least I hope so.

We treated ourselves to breakfast at the Country Kitchen yesterday, followed by a productive stop at liquidation. Luck (or was it bad luck) was with me and I found all sorts of things, including some tiny led lights, a cosy fleece lined flannel shirt, a couple of other treasures, and finally two awesome little dog beds. I’ll take them to Kirsten’s for the small dogs - they’ll be perfect for Spike, Tilly, and maybe even Murphy. 

I put one of the beds on the floor when we got home to see if Spike would like it. Well, he’s been in it a few times, but hilariously, so has Adia! She curls herself up into the smallest ball and crams herself into its tiny confines.

Speaking of Adia… she is a little devil… this morning while I was asleep and Carm was otherwise occupied, she emptied the dining room table of a bunch of folded laundry and dragged it all to the bedroom beside me. I don’t think she wrecked anything… but yeesh. Socks and other clothes have to be locked away or she'll sneak them. She's quite the clothes horse! Unfortunately we never seem to catch her in the act.

Don't you ever think that your mind can never harm you just because it is your mind! Your mind can really kill you. From dawn to the time you retire, your mind can be a very good friend to you and your mind can also be your worst friend. What goes into your mind each day becomes your friend so mind your mind!”
~Ernest Agyemang Yeboah

Friday, December 27, 2019

grey ice fog

Grey ice fog threatened to blot all life from the earth. We’d had freezing rain overnight and it continued to assault us on and off all day. We had a few errands to run out and about and then I cuddled up on the sofa for the rest of the day, not quite asleep but not awake either.

My cold is much better today. I’m wondering if it’s a cold or allergies… wouldn’t it be a horrible twist of fate if I was allergic to Kirsten’s house!!! I say we do another test soon ;-)

The dogs have been quiet the last few days - all the excitement with their cousins wore them out. Not long for Adia though… she started rocketing around the house before supper so we strapped on some icers and got her outside for some unimpeded running. She was a nut.

On our last night at Kirsten’s, the dogs crashed hard. Spike fell asleep on the dog bed, while Adia disappeared into her crate. No sneaking on the bed for either dog! This morning Spike surprised me by getting off the bed and cuddling in the crate with Adia - they really are becoming good friends.

Last night, with a blanket around my shoulders, I sunk into the sofa to watch ‘Rudolf the Red Nose Reindeer’. It’s one of our traditions to watch it on the days leading up to Christmas, but the days slipped by…  tonight it’s a mindless flick with Rock Hudson and Jane Wyman.

That’s the trouble with serious illness, and depression, you can’t imagine being well – like on a cold day you can’t imagine warmth – you live in the everlasting dread-filled moment.”
~Viv Albertine

Thursday, December 26, 2019

it's the most wonderful time of the year

Christmas music filled the air while we gathered around the island in Kirsten’s kitchen, a beautiful board of lefse, cheeses, meats, and sweets tempting our paletes. We were having our own little Norwegian Christmas Eve, just Kirsten’s family and Carm & I. Grace peeped in her cage by the fireplace to make sure we didn’t forget to give her a little piece of cheese. The six dogs milled about (although maybe poor Murphy was banished to his crate - he does get upset when other dogs are near the food), not quite settled or sure where to lie down. It was a comfortable chaos.

When our eyes could no longer stay open, we headed to bed - Spike was carried by Carm (oh how he hates being carried) and Adia navigating the stairs with ease. We were sleeping in the loft again, an aire room separated from the rest of the house. After I crawled into bed I could feel Spike near the bottom of the bed… “gosh, he’s big,'' I thought to myself just before Carm informed me that Adia was on the bed with us. We decided to let her stay - it was Christmas after all.

Morning came too soon. Spike and Adia needed outside way too early… there was no convincing them that their bladders could wait so I hefted myself off the mattress on the floor and stepped out into the cold morning air. There was a sliver of light to the west lighting the sky with a pink glow. 

A little rest back in bed and then the day started in earnest. Coffee accompanied by ginger cake, fruit cake, and gingerbread cookies, fueled us until Christmas Morning Wife saver later in the morning. With steaming cups of coffee in hand we traipsed into the sun room where the giant tree held forth. It seemed like a mountain of gifts were underneath it. Carm and I settled into the loveseat and found two stuffed stockings with our names on it. Santa had even come for us! One by one, everyone opened the brown paper packages. Treasures and treats piled up on the coffee table in front of us, while a pretty plaid bag was stuffed with discarded papers. So much fun!

We spent the rest of the morning eating breakfast and opening gifts. It was fun to watch Kirsten’s family rip and tear their gifts open. Since this is their first winter back in Canada there were a lot of scarfs, hats, and mittens in the packages.

We had a goodie bag filled with Italian prosecco, aperol, and tasty snacks. Our gifts, purchased in Europe, paled in comparison with the generous bounty we received.

A quick check of the schedule Nissa and I put together let us know that it was time to deal with the giant turkey. A team effort got the bird into the oven on time. Mom, Graham, Juliette, and Erik arrived right after. A flurry of activity got the van unloaded. The house was packed now!

We passed a congenial afternoon prepping food for supper, visiting around the island, and disbursing around the house.

I can’t believe that I forgot to take a photo of us at supper! Everything turned out great… well, except for the brussels sprouts! Shenna’s dry brine kept the turkey moist in the oven, the potatoes were well mashed, the gravy smooth and a bit salty, the carrots tender and zesty. We all ate too much!

By this time of the evening my throat was sore and I was starting to become congested. By the time it was bedtime I felt awful. I tossed and turned all night, nauseous from a wicked sinus headache and barely able to breathe.

We were up early again and as we sat at the island I suddenly knew I couldn’t spend anymore time - my sinuses were pressing against my eyes and I was totally wiped out by the cold. We gathered up our stuff, said a quick goodbye, and then roared down the road. I was asleep in minutes.

So, here I sit now… I’ve had a nap and then a hot bath. My eyes are still bleary and my brain is full of stodge. I’m satisfied though - we had a wonderful few days!

Sister is probably the most competitive relationship within the family, but once the sisters are grown, it becomes the strongest relationship.”
~Margaret Mead

Tuesday, December 24, 2019

The good ol' Hockey game, is the best game you can name

I haven’t seen anyone so excited to be at their own birthday party since I was a little girl, and maybe not even then… we were at a hockey game in a box provided by the birthday boy himself. It was Shawn’s 50th birthday, his first hockey game in years, and his first since moving back to Canada. All that melded into a maelstrom of wild excitement. It was delightful.

The Sens even participated by winning by 2 goals! The game was fast, every moment entertaining, the white ice, coloured lights and loud music set the perfect scene. Food kept coming in: cheese & crackers, popcorn, perogies, little pulled pork sandwiches, chicken wings, pizza, freshly baked cookies. Some of Shawn’s favorite foods. It was great.

Sixteen people crowded the box, all hopped up on the overflow of Shawn’s excitement. All my siblings were there and of course Carm (perhaps the 2nd most excited person), along with some of Shawn’s cousins, and a few friends as well.

Thanks for having such an Awesome birthday Shawn!!!! 💟🏒🤸‍♀️

Today my own excitement is ratcheting up… it’s Christmas Eve day and we are getting ready to go to Kirstens for a few nights of festive fun. There is a heap of stuff by the door with more to be added (note to self: get Grace’s food dish from the camper). I’ve got butterflies in my tummy. I don’t think the dogs suspect anything though as they are flaked out on the futon, enjoying a sunspot.

I’ve lollygagged enough this morning - time to get cracking! 

Merry Christmas everyone. May Peace, Love, and Joy bless you today and every day that follows.

The little cares that fretted me,
I lost them yesterday
Among the fields above the sea,
Among the winds at play.”
~Elizabeth Barrett Browning

Monday, December 23, 2019

logical Christmas Eve

We celebrated logical Norwegian Christmas Eve last night. Logical because it wasn’t the physical December 24th! The term harkens back to my days of manning a computer. (speaking of which, last night I had a dream that it was my last day of work and there was tons and tons of stuff that I had to bring home with me - maybe the growing pile of stuff to take to Kirsten’s tomorrow triggering it - and the pile grew again between the time I wrote this para and the 7th para...)

The whole family was there! It’s been 12 years since everyone gathered around the table at Christmas time, and it was wonderful. 

We had the usual Norwegian fare: lefse, lutefisk, gjetost, jarlsberg, prosciutto standing in for the cured reindeer. Mom always adds some meatballs and a pork roast to fill out the menu for those that don’t eat the fish. Dessert was a selection of sweets, crowned by rice pudding. A feast fit for such a great occasion.

My panic attack started Saturday afternoon… I’m not sure exactly what it was about but it perhaps had something to do with upcoming Christmas celebrations. Don’t get me wrong, I’m super excited to be spending some of the time at Kirsten’s, but my crazy brain goes into overdrive anticipating all the worst. I was having trouble modulating my thoughts. 

Despite the clench in my stomach, I managed to get presentable and walk to the neighbor’s house for their annual Christmas party. It was a great time. I love seeing everyone from the other side of the river and plan to have them all over here sometime in the new year. Writing it down is a bit like making a commitment, so I can’t procrastinate the year away...

In the morning I was still gasping for air and wondered how I’d get through the next few days… a talk with Kirsten, some help from Carm, and my emergency meds, soon had me sorted and I could breathe again. There are days that I sail through and forget that I have a mental illness, and other times when it smacks me in the face. In fact, these days I could say that I rarely remember that my brain sometimes malfunctions. It’s been a few years since my last suicidal thought and most days feel ‘normal’. Rejoice! What I’ve (mostly) learned over the years is that if I persevere things get better. My mind is my own worst enemy, but it can also be my saviour. 

As strange as it may seem, it took a long time to accept this new ‘normal’ feeling. I was used to swinging highs that were exciting and fun. Sure the low times followed, along with their morose thoughts, but that is what I was used to. Since the medications started working and I got my life arranged for wellness, I feel flat. Getting excited about something is just a blip compared to the old days. Flat was hard to get used to! Sometimes I wish for just a little bit of that hypo-mania to shake things up a bit!

I do get a lot more anxiety than I ever did though… my  theory is that the extremes of mood collapse together into one uncomfortable state - the high of excitement crushed with the low of depression equals anxiety and panic.

All that said, I feel blessed and rejoice at my good fortune every day. There is so much to be thankful for. There’s the big things like family and friends, but there are also small things like the sun setting on a hazy winter day, a sparkle of snow, Adia racing in the field, Spike running for a treat, a warm bed with a fluffy comforter, twinkling Christmas tree lights, the creamy goodness of gjetost, the tic of a clock in a silent house, anticipation for more family fun...

Chronic anxiety is a state more undesirable than any other, and we will try almost any maneuver to eliminate it. Modern man is living in anxious anticipation of destruction. Such anxiety can be easily eliminated by self-destruction. As a German saying puts it: 'Better an end with terror than a terror without end."
~Robert E. Neale, The Art of Dying

Friday, December 20, 2019

lefse disaster

The sunspot moved away from my spot on the sofa while I was peeling potatoes with the new tool from Campo di Fiori in Rome. Once I got the hang of it, the little plastic dodad worked like a dream. Halfway through I passed it over to Carm, who quickly mastered it. Lefse was underway!

This year, and possibly last year, I’m cooking the potatoes in the instant pot. One cup of water vs a whole pot full leaves the potatoes fully flavoured and tender, not mushy.

Stepping back in time… Tuesday was a hibernation day. Gifts were wrapped and other small tasks occupied my time. If memory serves me right, Carm went into the city for some shopping while I stayed home and blasted music. Adia thought I was crazy as I danced and leaped around the living room, while Spike, used to the whole tarantula performance, spun around with me. Grace bobbed her head and made little singing noises. It was a great time!

Wednesday we puttered around the house until it was time to go to Carm’s aunt’s visitation. This is the second aunt that’s passed away in a few weeks - lots of losses. On the way home on a lark, I texted Jo Ellen to see if they’d like to come over for dinner. Luckily they had no plans.

We haven’t integrated Romy into our pack yet, and after the success with Kirsten’s dogs, have stepped up the effort. It went reasonably well, although Adia wanted to play with her and she’s way too big and rough a playmate for tiny Romy. Still, with Adia on a leash we were able to spend the night without too much crate time.

Thursday was the funeral, followed by lunch. It was great to connect with Carm’s cousins from Toronto again. Jo Ellen and Don had forgotten Romy’s sweater at our place so they came to pick it up after we got home, providing a lovely supper of pizza. The dogs did well but still aren’t ready for off leash interaction. Except Spike - he’s been remarkably good.

And now we are back to lefse making! 

4pm: The kitchen is covered with a thin dusting of flour, my clothes are caked with a gluey mess, my back aches, but 115 small lefse are made. That may seem like an excellent result, but at least half of them are barely edible. 

I made the dough in two batches. First one had a bit more milk and maybe I hadn’t mashed the potatoes as vigorously - it didn’t roll out well and was basically a disaster. The second batch used less milk and I mixed in more flour to start and let the Kitchen Aid go to work. Right from the start the little balls of dough pressed out nicely in the tortilla press. The end result is that we have 51 barely presentable ones to bring to the family dinner on Sunday, leaving 60 lefse that are a mix between a cracker and a normal lefse. If we’d cooked them a bit longer they might have passed for decent crackers.

We’ve already suffered mightily by eating a few of the disaster batch ;-)  Isn’t it amazing how a bit of prosciutto and jarlsberg can make anything better!

We started rolling and cooking at 1:20 with me at the press and Carm manning the stove - the last lefse off the grill was at a few minutes before 4. Peeling, mashing, cooling, mixing, getting pans out, clearing the kitchen of anything that might catch flour, all took at least another hour, maybe two. We’ve only barely tackled cleanup.

Rejoicing is grounded in gratitude, with a keen appreciation for yourself, others, your abundance, and the beauty around you.”
~Susan C. Young

Monday, December 16, 2019

mechanically inclined

In between all the joy of decorating the house has been what seems like hours of frustration looking for things. Boxes of decorations hid themselves in the jumble of the basement, the space heater hung out beside a bookcase in the basement, hidden behind boxes, a tin of sewing needles were nestled in the box of ½ finished felt craft projects. Ahhhhh! My aching head! I felt like hiring a garbage truck.

Part of the problem is that we have every box from every single thing we’ve purchased over the last several years. There is a monsterous tower of them in one corner of the basement. We don’t need the space (far from it), and have extracted boxes to return things under warranty, but gosh, they seem to multiply like tribbles. 

It is especially frustrating when one of the boxes is hijacked for another purpose and put elsewhere. Sure it’s in a different place, but the boxes become invisible in their multitude… can’t see the tree for the forest.

Today we have a slightly less frustrating task: fixing the snowblower. The pressure thing a ma jiggy is toast and somehow we had to replace it. With the help from a great youtube we got it apart, only to find that the old part has something attached to it that has to be moved to the new part, but guess what - we didn’t have a tool to do it. So the snowblower sat in pieces in the garage while Carm went on a quest.

Returning triumphant, with a greasy disk in hand, we set to work on reassembly. As you may know, it is easy to take things apart but somewhat harder to put them back together. The worst is when there were parts left over. At the end of disassembly we were left with a washer and some other weirdly shaped part that came out of nowhere. No worries though, we strapped on our analyst hats and figured it out. Once the final bits were attached, Carm fired it up and VOILA! It worked.

It seemed that a celebration was in order so Trudie & Leo came by for a glass of wine after supper! 

There is not one blade of grass, there is no color in this world that is not intended to make us rejoice.”
~John Calvin

Sunday, December 15, 2019

deck the halls

Yesterday I put up one of my ancient garlands with the thought that I wouldn’t do any more… today (after some digging around to find the missing bin), I dressed the rest of the windows. I had forgotten how much they transform the room, and with the freshly fallen white snow outside the window it resembles an evergreen forest, one that’s been embellished with gold ribbons and tiny gold stars. They bring the outside in, but at the same time make the house seem cosy and warm. An enigma.

I got these garlands 23 years ago, in the first year or two of living in the house. For years they graced the windows from December to March, but 9 years ago we painted and for some reason I never put them up again. They are losing lots of needles, much like a fresh garland, but are otherwise holding up well. I’d say it was a good buy all those years ago.

It was impossible to get a decent photo with the sun streaming in.

Adia went crazy in the snow, running and skidding and running and skidding, tossing frozen apples in the air and leaping around. Spike was more sober in his excitement but in his elderly way, it was clear that he was enjoying the snowfall. Oh to be oblivious to the icy roads and treacherous driving.

Carm is no longer away a few times a week to visit his mother… I’d use his absences to blast music and dance around. Today I would have played the ‘Mormon Tabernacle Choir’ at top volume. Instead we listened to a car show, followed by golf, followed by CNN. I finally spoke up so Carm flicked the TV off and I played some Christmas music at a somewhat lower volume than I might have… I’m not really complaining - it’s nice to have him home, but gosh I miss the loud music!

The test we must set for ourselves is not to march alone but to march in such a way that others will wish to join us.”
~Hubert Humphrey

Saturday, December 14, 2019

Christmas unveiled

I’m trying to motivate myself to haul out some Christmas decorations to make at least a half hearted attempt at being festive. Not that I’m feeling bah humbug, quite the opposite, for the first time in several years we are looking forward to Christmas. It’s just there are 4 big bins of decorations, many of which I won’t use - my first task should be to organize everything… but that just seems overwhelming.

I also feel confounded by all the stuff sitting around already and hardly need the detrus of decorations. But it might be a nice change to swap things out.

Maybe I’ll enlist Carm’s help and at least get the boxes upstairs.

… much later in the afternoon:

I harnessed Carm as the workhorse and got him to carry a bunch of big plastic bins upstairs, while I got busy spreading good cheer. With Christmas music playing on the stereo I started, thinking I’d just get a bit done, but as so often happens, once the inertia is overcome, I didn’t stop until the candles were lit and I was walking around with an eggnog in my hand, enjoying the results.

The sky is fully socked in, not the most motivating of weather, but with candles glowing and lights twinkling it feels warm and cosy.

I played music for a bit longer while I made the batter for yorkshire pudding, and then in a rush of pity for Carm, turned it off. Lucky for me there wasn’t anything interesting on CNN so we watched ½ of ‘Blazing Saddles’ (brilliant), followed by ‘Cat Baloo’ (also good). 

Depression weighs you down like a rock in a river. You don't stand a chance. You can fight and pray and hope you have the strength to swim, but sometimes, you have to let yourself sink. Because you'll never know true happiness until someone or something pulls you back out of that river--and you'll never believe it until you realize it was you, yourself who saved you.”
~Alysha Speer

Friday, December 13, 2019

cousins get together again

I’m in a dim sunspot, resting after the 1+ hour drive from Kirsten’s. Yesterday afternoon, after our trip to the city, I struck out cross-country with the dogs, destination: Kirsten’s. I don’t drive often, maybe a few times a year to the local village, so this was a big deal for me… but I did it! And I got us home again 😁

The dogs were a bit more settled this visit with no noisy scraps, so I consider it a big success. Adia was still fine with the cats, and once she had a minute to calm down in the house she was good with tiny Twinkie. It took her ages to settle down onto a bed though, so this morning I put her on her leash and forced her to relax, or at least not pace. Kirsten’s house is a maze of rooms that she can do figure 8’s in (not at running speed thankfully!).

We had a great visit, although Shenna was jet lagged - she arrived from NZ yesterday in the earliest AM - we gathered around the island noshing on cheese & crackers (and huge amounts of Miss Vickie's salt & vinegar chips). It was so much fun! I have trouble tearing my eyes away from them as I’m sure they’ll disappear if I blink.

The Christmas tree survived unscathed!

Now for a bit of backtracking:

Tuesday we met Kirsten & Nissa for lunch in ‘middle town’. It’s ½ hour for both of us so a wonderful easy meet. I still had energy on our way home so sent a quick message to Jo Ellen and Don to invite them for supper - yay! They could come. I had a few containers of Minestrone in the freezer so was able to whip up a quick supper. 

Wednesday I was so exhausted that I had to have a short nap, but then, energized (a bit), invited Trudie & Leo for supper. I made rice with mushrooms, red peppers, fennel seed, and chicken thighs. Unfortunately the instant pot crapped out and never started counting down. It came up to pressure though. When I eventually opened it everything was cooked but there was a thick burn on the bottom. It’s the third time this has happened with this pot so I think there is something wrong with it. I’ve never had the same problem with my original pot.

And back to Thursday… dentist appointments for both of us, including fixing the tooth I chipped in Rome. This dentist is great and doesn’t make me cry like the last one did!

To keep the activity going we are having Pat over for supper tonight.

Oh what a wonderful soul so bright inside you. Got power to heal the sun’s broken heart, power to restore the moon’s vision too.”

Monday, December 9, 2019

the failing of my mind

Sunday was one of those cuddle up on the couch to read and watch movies sort of day. The sky was grey, colouring everything with a murky gloom. I was feeling okay… until sometime in the afternoon… clonk… I think it happened in the tub with Leonard Cohen singing ‘Suzanne’. Maybe it was the gloom. Maybe it was the fact that I’m back in reality and have to get in the mood for cooking. Or maybe it was the failing of my mind.

I’ve had a few conversations with myself since, pep talks if you will. A litany of ‘I can do this’ is reverberating in my head. It might be working. Cooking seems like a possibility (easy stuff anyway), and company seems like a must do.

We struck out across the township today, partially to get me out, and also for some practical reasons. Monday is seniors day at the hair salon, so we both got shorn. Pasta sauce was on sale at a far away town and we thought lunch out might be nice. Got the sauce but lunch was a partial fail as out of the corner of my eye I saw KFC, which isn’t exactly lunch out but more an extravagant fail of crispy fat.

It helped… a bit. There is no sun in the forecast until Thursday so I’ll have to hang on until then.

And Jesus was a sailor when he walked upon the water
And he spent a long time watching from his lonely wooden tower
And when he knew for certain only drowning men could see him
He said all men will be sailors then until the sea shall free them
But he himself was broken, long before the sky would open
Forsaken, almost human, he sank beneath your wisdom like a stone”
~Leonard Cohen, Suzanne

Saturday, December 7, 2019

frozen apples

We haven’t been home for a week yet and already we are back to a routine and feel like we’ve never been away. My trip into the bag of cotton ball reality seems distant and hazy. The pets have settled down and seem to have forgotten that we were gone. 

We’ve both got colds so we’ve been laying mostly low, but did go to Trudie’s for supper last night. Wait a minute! How can I say this? We got home Sunday night, went into the city to a funeral and shopping on Monday, went to Kirsten’s Tuesday, took her to town Wednesday, I stayed with her Wednesday night, came home Thursday, went for supper on Friday, and today I went out to get my nails done and to look for a blanket to put in Adia’s crate… I guess that’s hardly laying low at all!!!

After I got my nails done this morning I stuck my head into Dollarama - there was no way in he$$ that I was going in - there were a million people milling about with carts everywhere. Some of the carts were driven by little kids who had no idea that they kept trapping me in an aisle and bumping into me… I’ll pop in on Monday when the hellions are in school to do my shopping.

There are a few sunspots today - I tried to resist curling up in one on the futon, but failed. With Spike up against my back, I quickly fell asleep.

I’d have company over tonight, but a thick layer of dust would hamper their footsteps. I don’t seem to have the energy to grab a cloth to wipe more than a few surfaces, perhaps I’m hampered by the virus. 

… almost bedtime…

Adia has been outside several times this evening, vigorously ringing her bell get us to open the door. The reason - apples. Frozen apples. And then when she comes in she rockets around the house, sending furniture flying and infuriating Spike. So much for a peaceful pre-bed bit of tv watching. Oh, there she is ringing it again - this time I’m ignoring her.

The question is not how to get cured, but how to live.”
~Joseph Conrad

Thursday, December 5, 2019

furry cousins meet

We’d only been home for one full day when we packed up the dogs and a bunch of dog beds to drive to Kirsten’s house! A mix of excitement and trepidation kept me jumping in my seat for the hour long drive. We’d be mixing 2 packs of dogs together for a total of 6 canines, add to that 2 cats and my worry about Adia’s prey drive - there was bound to be chaos.

With their leashes attached I let the dogs out of the car and walked towards the back yard. Kirsten appeared with Atlas - a giant, black Great Dane. So far so good. Then Tilly, the Jack Russell, and Murphy, the cocker spaniel came out, also on leash. We walked around for a couple of minutes without any issue so decided it was time to ‘release the hounds’. 

Everyone got on well (mostly). Spike was very excited and ran around happily. I think he was happy to have some cousins that were his size (not counting Atlas of course). Thankfully he wasn’t worried about Atlas as he has gentle body language (well, mostly, more about that later).

Adia was excited but not overly crazy. 

The next hurdle was bringing them all into the house. First Kirsten made sure that Twinkie the tiniest Chi and the 2 cats were carefully secured away. Then they all charged into the house in a scramble. My pups sniffed around curiously. Time to introduce Twinkie. No problem. Adia didn’t see her as anything other than a curiously small dog. 

As we settled in with tea some of the dogs settled down (Spike was quick to find a bed out of the frey), while Adia walked and walked. There was a scuffle between Tilly and Spike over a bone (note to self, keep bones and toys away for now). Atlas was attracted to Adia and tried to hump her.

Overall I’d say that it went rather well. They’ll need a few more times together before they all settle down, especially Adia - she didn’t settle down until the next morning.

In all of this chaos, I had time to give Kirsten and Nissa a quick hug, welcoming them to Canada!

After supper we introduced the cats. Adia was curious but thankfully not in a ‘must kill’ sort of way. In fact, after a few swats by a tiny kitty paw, she was a bit scared. I kept the muzzle on her for a few minutes and then she dragged a leash for a short while. We kept an eye on her all night but she was good.

It’s so wonderful to have Kirsten’s family here! 😍 

We took Kirsten into the city to pick up their new car and then I went back with Kirsten to their place. We met Carm this morning for breakfast at the ½ way point. 

I’ve got a cold... I made it through the cruise so I guess that's good, but tonight I'll break out the brandy to mix with a hot lemon & honey drink.