Thursday, 29 December 2016

Catch Phrases

Do you have a phrase that you say all the time? Something that people connect with you.

I recognize that I have such a phrase, catch myself saying it and know I'm repetitive with it. The phrase is "AT ANY RATE". I seem to use it at the end of, or to end, a conversation or discussion. I realize I say it and have often wondered if others were aware of my repetitive use of it.

Do they know and find it annoying? Just wondered.

Apparently I have another phrase that is common for me. "IT IS WHAT IT IS". My use of this phrase was pointed out to me by my brother. He saw a canvas in the store with this phrase on it and debated about getting it for me for Christmas.

He didn't, but mentioned it when we were on the phone the other day, and I used what I guess is my second most commonly used phrase.

I didn't get the canvas, but I did get a large ceramic hand making the "OK" sign. I like it, and have it front and center on my bookcase. It reminds me that even on the worst of days, I'm OK. I like that feeling and the constant reminder, so thanks to my brother for the gift that keeps on giving.

Saturday, 24 December 2016

Christmas Traditions

Anyone who knows me, knows I love crochet. I couldn't begin to count the number of sweaters, afghans and hats/scarves I've made over the years.

A couple of years ago I started a new tradition, of making one item for each member of the family, and began with hats. We also started taking our Christmas photo with everyone wearing whatever I'd made that year.



After hats it was the boot style slippers, suggested by my daughter. Last year it was hats and mitts.

After listening to people complain about cold feet I decided socks were in order for this year. Thirteen pairs. The sizes ranged from my brother's size thirteen to my granddaughter's size 3. Some of the patterns were the same, though the yarns differed. The one pattern I made the most was one that had a lacy pattern, for the ladies, and bonus, had no heel but was done as a sort of tube sock, so easier to ensure a good fit.

I'll be hard pressed to come up with something new for next year, though I joked with the little ones that maybe I should make matching underwear, to keep everyone warm. That idea didn't go over well, they thought it might be too itchy. I'm still thinking.

I made my daughter a mermaid, and, as she loves the beach, it was fitting. I made my son a bear, as he's country thru and thru. I'm talking those afghan things that are enclosed at the foot.

I also made scarves and a number of sweaters. It was a long winter last year, so I made the most of my time indoors.

I hope there's a big yarn sale in the new year, I'm anxious to get started.

Thursday, 22 December 2016

No More Kicking

After the freezing cold weather, rain followed by snow, my car was coated in a sheet of ice and the windshield wipers buried in frozen snow. I wasn't going anywhere for a few days.

Yesterday, the sun was shining and the temperatures hovered just above freezing, so I figured I could release Velma, my car, from her frozen state.

The ice fell off the windshield with one good push and the rest was easy. Off I went to finish my last minute errands. Three stops later I struggled to get everything in the door. I had dropped the toilet paper twice from the car to the door, and frustrated let it fall inside the door and kicked it out of my way.

Ouch, Ouch, Ouch. Not the thing to do with the foot I hurt on the weekend. Lily, the dog I was sitting, continues to haunt me.

I got up early Sunday to let the dog out and smashed my foot into the table leg, right between the 4th and 5th toes. Lot's of bruising and pain. Figured I might have broken the little toe, but what would they do?

I can't wear any shoes but my crocs, and walking is still painful but the kick to the toilet paper was not the wisest thing to do.

So I'm limping, and having to persevere to stand and get a few last chores done. But I'll finish, the kids are expecting this last treat, and who am I to disappoint?

Monday, 19 December 2016

Lily...A Major Manipulator

I was taking care of my daughter's dog this weekend while the family was off to Ottawa for a hockey tournament. Lily, the dog, and I are old friends, and she has been my guest a couple of times in the last few years.

Having her in winter is not as problematic as summer, as she isn't as curious about the neighborhood, more in a mind to zip outside, do her business and rush back in the house.

I tend to treat her well, with hugs, petting and, of course, doggie treats.

But Lily, that sly bitch, would stand by the door and wait for me to let her out, anticipating her reward when she came back. This time I noticed that she sometimes makes a quick ( it is 10 below Celsius) circle and returns, making no stop to pee, doesn't even try to fake it for the gullible person, me, standing at the door. I have created a Cookie Monster.

Apparently the household at my daughter's home starts the day earlier than I do. I tend to late nights and late mornings.

I woke suddenly yesterday, early in the morning with a dog staring me in the face. Obviously she wanted out. I was slow moving, told Lil that she had to hold it as my needs took precedence. I hurried out of the bathroom and stumbled into the table, catching the large square leg between my 4th and fifth toe. Ouch, ouch, ouch.

Damn, but that hurt. I limped over to let Lily out and was glad she was quick. I needed to sit.

Although there's not much swelling, there is some bruising and I would not be surprised if I hadn't broken my little toe. I have experience with this as I had the same injury to my left foot many years ago, had it X-rayed and bandaged, and spent a week on crutches.

Today, after walking to the curb to set my garbage out, my foot aches like mad. I don't think I'll be going too far for a few days at least. And, as Lily is back home with her family, I don't have the frequent trips to the door.

No good deed goes unpunished.


Wednesday, 14 December 2016

New Treat...Chocolate Peanut Butter Fudge

Christmas is so close, and I thought I was ready. Not!

I got waylaid with some Christmas baking. Made those peanut butter marshmallow squares I posted about before, and gave a tasty preview to the kids, and was delighted to see their faces light up. Anything with peanut butter is sure to be a family favorite.

So far I've made raspberry/rhubarb squares, brownies, and some 'kind of' shortcake. I found the recipe on the back of the cornstarch box many years ago and have made it every holiday.

I was searching the recipes on Pinterest and found an easy one for Peanut Butter Chocolate Fudge. I made it yesterday and it was easy, and very tasty. My son and his family were here before my granddaughter's indoor soccer game, and the fudge definitely passed the taste test.

So, as I believe in sharing, here's the recipe.

1/4 cup butter or margarine
1/3 cup milk
1 tsp vanilla
4 1/2 cups powdered sugar
1/2 cup cocoa
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup peanut butter

Melt the butter in a medium saucepan. Remove from heat and add milk and vanilla.

Sift sugar, cocoa and salt together. Gradually add sugar mixture to milk mixture, stirring until well blended.

Stir in Peanut butter.

Press into a buttered 8 inch square pan. Cover and chill. Cut into squares.

Keep refrigerated.

You can cut it into small bite size pieces, very sweet and creamy and so good.

Enjoy.

Tuesday, 6 December 2016

Sorry, Sorry, Sorry

Friday night the cable went out, and rather than wait to see how long it would be, I switched over to my PVR and selected a movie. That is the one nice thing about the PVR, because the cable goes out, not frequently, but often.

All was back to normal when I checked Saturday, or so I thought.

My daughter sent me a chat message through Facebook, wondering if I was okay, mad, ignoring her or I suppose...LOL...dead on the floor.

That was when I realized my phone was out. I ignored it until Monday when I called the company. did all the things they recommended and still no phone.

I decided to check again, and found that the junction box for the cord, like an extension cord, was loose. so there was the problem. I may tape these connections, as the joiner is behind my sofa and not an easy reach.

I'm thinking my phone may have been out before Friday, and the glitch with the cable had nothing to do with it. There were a number of messages on my machine, and one sounding more and more irate when I had not responded.

I've called everyone back, made my apologies and will check my phone more often. I just don't use it often, so my bad.

All is good, and I'm alive and well.

Monday, 5 December 2016

Love, Love, Love Peanut Butter

My grandson had a friend over to play, and my daughter overheard him bragging...about one of my Christmas recipes.

"My Grandma makes the best peanut butter and marshmallow treats."

And, oddly enough, I have the ingredients in my cupboard. They are very simple, peanut butter, butterscotch ships and mini colored marshmallows. They are simple and sooooo good.


Melt 1 12oz bag of butterscotch chips with 1 cup peanut butter. Remove from heat, stir in 1 bag of miniature marshmallows. Pour into a 9x13 inch pan and place in refrigerator until cool. Cut into squares.

I noticed that some bags of marshmallows are smaller than others and it makes a difference, because you have too much of the sauce, not that it's not tasty, but it works better to have the right amount. I got this recipe from the Camborne Public School fundraiser cookbook, from 1982. So many of my old friends submitted recipes that I've enjoyed over the years.

I may have to make a second batch, as I know there are others in the family who love them too. It's so nice to be appreciated.

Friday, 2 December 2016

Decorating the Tree

My daughter and her husband are a blended family, two adults, four kids, a dog and a fish.

On Saturday I was at her home when they put up the Christmas tree, and this year it was a real trip down memory lane.

His parents sold their house this summer, and decided to distribute a great deal of their belongings to their three boys. This included Christmas ornaments. So, as ornaments were unpacked, there was talk of who gave him the ornaments, most often his Nana.



Grandmothers must like giving ornaments, as I have contributed a large number of the ones on my daughter's tree. About 11 years ago I decided to make the kids an ornament every year, decorations they could have for their first tree as an adult. A great number include photos, so it generated a lot of fun and laughter.

I had to go back, to start from the beginning, but it wasn't too bad as I just needed one for every year 1998 to 2000. Then in 2001 I needed two per year, then quickly, three, four, five and then six. A couple years ago the count became 7, and the families are complete, and as the kids have a number of ornaments. I decided last year...was my last. Besides, the trees are awfully full.

My son-in-law is an avid hockey fan, so, of course, he had a hockey ornament for the tree.



Instead of a star, he had a figurine of Gordie Howe, for the top of the tree. That was very apropos, as the tree is a true reflection of the family. And a beautiful one at that.

Wednesday, 30 November 2016

Christmas Traditions

Though it is still November, for a few hours at least, some people like to get their Christmas decorations up early. When I've been out at night, I can see the many windows lit up with trees or other seasonal ornaments.

Saturday I was at my daughter's home and it was tree decorating day. She did call all the kids together, but she didn't do it with the party atmosphere that I did in the past.

When I was a single parent, a working nurse, I had to work weekends and holidays. At the time, my parents were wintering in Florida and my brother lived in the city. But my ex had a big family that all came home for Christmas, aunts, uncles, cousins, grandparents and great grandparents. That had been our holiday go-to place since the kids had been born.

I volunteered to work the holiday and sent the kids off to have the holiday that was full of love and family, not to forget Grandma's post dinner bingo, complete with prizes.

Christmas is not just a day, it is a season, a month long celebration. So the kids and I did everything in party mode. I made snacks and special treats, put on a Christmas movie or music for tree decorating. Gift wrapping was something else we did together, with snacks again.

We attended the party at the library, had breakfast at Zellers with Santa, saw Santa at the mall, went to the Santa Claus parade and walked through the park to see the lights. Oh yeah, we had the Festive dinner at Swiss Chalet, and got the free pack of Lindor chocolates, an annual event.

Who needed the day, when you did all that. Though, some turkey would have been nice, do love that turkey, with dressing and all the other fixings.

Friday, 18 November 2016

Velma...Back from the Spa

So, I got the call from the spa, Velma was ready to come home. It turned out her few days away did wonders for her disposition, she has lost the whine, the squeak the whatever. And my bill for her stay was less than fifty dollars, so win/win.

A friend dropped me off, and I followed her home so she could drop her car off and go out with Velma and I. We took a little run to the neighboring town, did some Christmas shopping and had dinner out at the Chinese buffet.

I don't like driving in the dark, but must admit it wasn't too bad last night, at least it wasn't raining, or snowing.

It's good to have my girl back, to have that sense of freedom that I can go anywhere I want, when I want. I did get a few things done while I was home. Some crafts, some reading, but, alas, not the laundry.

It's mind over matter, I know. When you don't have the car there are suddenly all these things you need, places you need to go. Not really.

I like being home, with days on end to do the things I want and like to do, having the car or not having the car shouldn't matter. Like I said, mind over matter.

Tuesday, 15 November 2016

Velma...That Whiny Bitch

A few years ago, in the dead of winter, my car decided to take on a cantankerous and uncooperative nature. My way of sucking up to her was to try and get on her good side, by buying her a new battery. Seemed to work for awhile.

Trying to be friendly, I gave her a name, Velma, and hoped we could be friends, good and reliable friends, with stress on the reliable.

But she's old (like me) and it has taken more and more to keep her happy. Things like trips to the spa, which is what I call the garage where she occasionally takes a mini vacation.

For the last few weeks, Velma has been making her discontent very clear...with a loud whining noise. Not all the time, just when making sharp turns. Maybe a bit of joint pain, and if so I can sympathize.

Yesterday, I dropped her off at the spa, to the care of Uncle Brad and the boys. Even brought them a Tim's coffee, just to sweeten the pot.

Here's hoping Velma enjoys her little vacation, and doesn't add too many charges to the basic room rate.

While she's gone, and I am home, it's the perfect time to get a few projects finished.

Behave Velma.

Saturday, 12 November 2016

Cole-man

I have a grandson who lives and breathes hockey. At eight years old he can spout off names and teams like any die hard adult fan.

The house is, for the most part, Maple Leaf fan based, though his Papa cheers for the Black Hawks and his uncle the Habs. Cole is a St Louis Blues loyal supporter.

Being a hockey fan, he loves to play, and plays at the rep level, which means home games, away games and lots of practices. His Mom has become the typical Hockey Mom, cheering loud and proud.


Just noticed the logo on the hat. LOL Maybe he's all hockey, nondenominational I guess.

So, this cute little guy you might think is a normal eight year old, all about sports, but Cole is different. He's a thinker, a reader, and he notices things.

Like when I got my hair cut last week. He not only noticed, but complimented me on the new look.

But this week, I'm really touched. He read my story about his uncle that was published in Chicken Soup for the Soul: The Joy of Christmas. He was first, impressed that my story appeared in a real book, and second, liked the story.

So, thank you Cole, for those positive comments. Your grandmother appreciates it, and loves you lots.

Tuesday, 8 November 2016

The Need for Continuity

When I'm writing a novel, I keep notes on my characters and locations, as I don't want to rely on my memory to keep the facts straight. And you just know, a reader will notice any missteps and take note.

This happened to me when I gave a book I had just finished to a friend to read. "Why did you change the dog's name?" she asked when she returned the book. I remember writing after a break away from it and obviously renamed the dog. I did look up the neighbor's name in my notes when it didn't come to mind.

This is one of the reasons you have readers to read the book and give feedback before the final edit. They often pick up mistakes, in the plot, phrasing, or names etc.

I believe there is a person in the movies and television whose job it is to look for those little bits that don't fit, that break up the continuity of a scene. It can happen easily if you knew the way shows and movies are made. Scenes are not filmed in the order they appear in the finished product.

I was watching reruns of NCIS Los Angeles, and decided they need a new person for this job.

The one today has Detective Deeks gunned down in what was first thought to be a store robbery. They quickly realize he was not an innocent bystander, but was the intended victim. When they tried to figure out who had it 'in' for poor Marty, the comment was made he had no next of kin listed.

Turns out he did have a father, not the best of dads as Marty shot him when he was a kid. I didn't get what reference might have been made about his mother. But moving forward, there's a show where Deeks introduces Kensi to his mother. It would appear they had a close relationship, so where was she when he got shot? Continuity.

Same show, not a character's history this time. A woman Callin knew from his CIA days comes back seeking help. They set her up to meet a rogue CIA agent, at the beach. Being a suspicious kind of guy, he has her walk into the water, to short out any listening device.

She would have been the winner in any wet T shirt contest, as was obvious with the comments Deeks made. But only moments later, she shoots the bad guy, and lo and behold, her shirt is dry. I know it's hot in California, but I don't think clothes would dry that fast.

It's all in the details, and when noticed, whether in a book, a movie or on television, they distract the reader, the viewer from the story. Not a good thing.

Friday, 28 October 2016

More Chicken Soup for the Soul...Simply Happy...Good Deeds

Chapter 17 A Good Deed a Day

Helping others makes us feel good, and we should do it more often. It could be as simple as a smile, or more involved, like volunteering.

One of the stories I loved in this chapter was by Shannon Anderson. Her story "A Deed a Day" is from Chicken Soup for the Soul: Find Your Happiness.

Basically, Shannon found her family was getting a little too self involved. They only seemed to care about their own tasks and concerns. She started a family journal in which each member of the family was to document a good deed they had done each day.

A good deed was defined as doing something unexpected for someone else, family or outside the home. Shannon found it made a big difference, as each family member began the day wondering what they could do for someone else, rather than thinking only of themselves.

She expanded the project to include her classroom. The class, as a whole, tried to do three good deeds a day.

There were other examples in the chapter, and the Editor, Amy Newmark, ends by commenting that a good deed, once it is done, isn't really over and done...it multiplies into other heartfelt deeds as the goodness travels.

Good deeds are contagious. And I can see this in my own life. Last week my brother went to a great deal of effort to take me to an out of town doctor's appointment. We had a good day, a lot of laughs, but still, he did a massive amount of driving, in what was not the best weather.

Today I spoke to my 89 year old neighbor, and found her sick with a chest cold. I immediately decided to make her soup, (must have chicken soup on the brain) but though I had chicken, I didn't have vegetables. I settled for  tuna casserole and made muffins, from a mix to keep it simple.

I buy individual pods for my Keurig, and know she uses the refill method, so gave her a dozen pods so she didn't have to fuss and clean her refill 'thingie'. I gathered everything up, added a couple of Nora Roberts books and a couple of cans of soup and I was done.

She was very appreciative, and a bit overwhelmed. She has children, but they do not live local, and as she doesn't drive, she can often feel isolated and confined. I frequently take her to the store with me, and save her the difficulty of taking the bus, or the cost of a taxi.

Earlier in the week she took me out for lunch, as a thank you for all the times I've run her around doing errands. I felt appreciated, which is the benefit of good deeds, right?

I was not expecting, when I gave her the goodies today, that she would burst into tears. I know how upsetting it can be to feel alone and be sick. Everyone needs that bit of special attention, that caring, that tells them they are not alone.

Whatever good I did for her today rebounded...I feel pretty good myself right about now.

Thursday, 27 October 2016

Simply Happy...A Chicken Soup for the Soul Publication

A short time ago I was asked to review the new book published by 'Chicken Soup for the Soul'. The book was titled "Simply Happy" and was written by the new editor Amy Newmark.

I will admit, when I received the book I was not in the best frame of mind, for sure not feeling happy, simple or otherwise. So I set the book aside.

Before I go on, let me give you a bit of history.

Chicken Soup for the Soul was started by Jack Canfield and Mark Victor Hansen. In 2009 they were ready to move on, to hand over their baby to new owners who would continue their legacy.

The new owners were Amy Newmark and her husband Bill.

Bill took over the legal and financial end, while Amy became editor. To begin, she immersed herself in the stories previously published and she admits the process changed her. She says in the introduction that she became " more compassionate and less judgmental; more grounded and grateful for everything...; and way more knowledgeable about what makes people tick."

Basically, her crash course in Chicken Soup for the Soul was a journey. And now she wants to share that journey and all that she's learned by introducing the reader to the stories that changed her life, and the people that wrote them.

This is a self help book, different for sure, because the tips and advice come from many sources.

The chapters are short, the stories fun and easy to read. It's not the usual 101 stories based on a theme that you have come to expect from Chicken Soup for the Soul, but it has the same energy, the same positive feeling.

I almost read the book in one sitting, finally having to put it down because it was late into the night. As I read, I recognized things that mirrored my own life, or the life of a loved one. There were chapters I immediately wanted to share, as the words so clearly expressed my feelings or thoughts.

It's a good read, and aptly titled "Simply Happy'. It's  "A Crash Course in Chicken Soup for the Soul Advice and Wisdom."

Worked for me, my mood has been much better, and brighter, despite the cold and gloomy days. I only regret I let it sit on the table for so long.

Want a good read that will make you laugh, make you think, then this is it. I highly recommend it.

Wednesday, 19 October 2016

Fall Road Trips

I'm late again this week, (for posting)but for good reason. Yesterday was a long day, more so for my brother. He came down from the city and we drove further east, a road trip for sure, ending at the Hotel Dieu Hospital in Kingston where I had a doctor's appointment.

As our usual lunch spot, usually on a Tuesday, was in Wild Wings, we stopped in Belleville and had lunch...at the Wild Wings there. Must say, not up to the usual standard we were used to. Food was good, but the service with a smile was lacking, plus the personal attention we've come to expect and enjoy.

We continued on our journey, with time to spare, which was good because we had a bit of a tour of Kingston.

I had my map book, but we got confused, more accurately, I got confused as I was navigator, with one way streets. We ended up following the blue hospital signs, which led us directly to Kingston General. Oops, wrong hospital.

Deciding to go to a better source, than me and the map, we pulled into a park and pulled out the GPS. My brother got it out and ready.

"What's the address?" he asked.

"I don't know. It's Hotel Dieu, can't you plug the name in?" Apparently not.

You have to love technology. He called his wife, working downtown Toronto, and asked her to look up the address for us. She googled it and we were good to go.

She gave us the address of Brock Street, and I wisely kept my mouth shut, as for some reason, I had been directing him to Bagot Street. I was close, they both started with a 'B'.

We quickly arrived at our destination, and I saw the doctor and other health professionals I was scheduled to see.

I loved the drive home, but then I wasn't driving. Heading west we saw a beautiful sunset and a glorious sky, but there were times the sun was blinding in its brightness, and there was that furious rain storm that made vision difficult.

We arrived back at my place in time to watch the last 2 innings of the Jays game, and they won, so an even better day.

I repaid my brother's efforts on my behalf in butter tarts, from Betty's, an award winning butter tart establishment.

Road trips. Lots of beautiful fall scenery, lots of laughs and time for conversation.

Thank you to the best brother in the world, sorry the last leg of the trip was in the rain, hope you didn't get too much butter tart stickiness all over the place.

Wednesday, 12 October 2016

Book Delivery

It was so exciting to see the delivery truck pull up outside my door. I just knew it had to be the copies of "Chicken Soup for the Soul" with my Christmas story. 

Not only do I get paid for the story, but I get 10 free copies.



Here's the story that appears in this issue of the Joy of Christmas.



A Gift From the Heart

I love chocolate, and who doesn’t?

Christmas is a very chocolate kind of holiday, much like Valentine’s Day and Easter. It had been a tradition for my husband to give me a box of chocolates at Christmas, and at the time, the brand he purchased was Nutchos. A swirly mound of milk chocolate filled with ground nuts.

In one of my ‘woe is me’ moments, facing my first Christmas as a single parent after my husband and I separated, I moaned and asked who was going to buy me my Nutchos that year. The sad moment passed and I forgot about that display of my own sorrow.

One day, I took the kids to the local department store and handed them money so they could do their own Christmas shopping. They had orders to stay together, and we had a set time and place to meet up before we headed home.

A short time later I saw the kids, laden down with their purchases. It made me smile, to see their excitement with their first foray into holiday shopping. But as we walked home, I saw one of my son’s purchases hanging out of his bag.

It seemed, instead of using the money for gifts, he had spent the money on a huge bag of Doritos, or chips or some sort of junk food for himself. I was annoyed, thinking that was not the giving holiday spirit I was trying to teach him.

“Why did you buy chips?” I asked. “That money was for gifts for the family, not for you to buy yourself a snack.”
He looked at me, his sad eyes looking hurt, holding back tears. “They’re not for me,” he said. “They’re for you. You wanted to know who was going to buy you your Natchos, and I wanted to make sure you got some.”

Nutchos…made from chocolate and nuts, natchos…a chip made from corn for dipping in a salsa. I guess they could sound very much the same to an eight year old boy.

There was no escape, I had to laugh, I had to cry, and I had to give that thoughtful little boy a big Mommy-Loves-You hug, right there on the sidewalk.


Wasn’t part of that Christmas spirit I was trying to teach him that it’s the thought that counts? He got the message better than I could ever have imagined.

Wednesday? Already?

I'm trying to keep to the schedule of posting on Wednesdays, but this short week caught me off guard.

It was Thanksgiving weekend for Canadians, and we were treated to a beautiful few days, except for the rain on Saturday morning. It is cool enough for a jacket, but, boy, the sun feel good.

I already posted about my road trip, and would love to take another. If I want to go back and take pictures of things I saw along our route, I'll need my son to draw me a map. Once we passed the lake, I was basically lost. (So was he for a short time. LOL)

Thanksgiving, turkey dinners, and for the first time, I tasted pumpkin cheesecake, instead of the more traditional pumpkin pie. There are many food traditions associated with this holiday, that I hate to miss.

Turkey sandwiches for one. Nothing tastes better the day after than turkey sandwiches. I had dinner at my daughter's, and she kindly gave me enough for a sandwich yesterday. It tasted so good. Still feel like I'm owed a piece of pumpkin pie though.

It's also apple picking season. I don't make pies like I used to, or homemade apple sauce, so I buy apples one or two at a time, just for eating. I was shocked when told a bushel of apples cost about $25.

I'm going to open the windows, let that fresh and cool air blow through. Too soon it will be too cold and we'll be into November, a usually dreary month when it rains, the frost kills off the garden and the trees are bare.

Let's not even mention freezing cold and snow. I'm not ready yet to go there.

Saturday, 8 October 2016

Men Asking Direction

We spent today travelling the back roads, and I mean back roads. From the minute we headed north of Roseneath, I'll admit, I was lost.

My son said he had this fantastic place to show me, so we drove, and drove. We were going through some nice wooded country, on the usual kind of semi paved country roads. There was the odd scattered house, lots of farms, and lots of trees. Most of all there was just Mother Nature's fall show.

At one point I asked my son if he knew where he was, where we were heading, and, of course, he said yes. But then we hit a dirt road, followed by a dead end. We turned around and went back the way we'd come. I was okay with that as, this time, we stopped so I could get a picture of this old house.




But, as we were driving, he asked his wife..."Hon, have you got bars?"

She said yes. "Why?"

I laughed, and answered for him. "Because he wants to know where we are."

We'd come one side road too far for the place we were looking for, and as unique as it was, it was no longer there. That sounds confusing, but the foundation was there, the structure torn down.

I saw the quarry, some falls, lots of colored trees. It was a great day, and even though it rained heavy this morning, and the wind was cool, the sunny was shining, the sky a bright blue.





There was also a suspension bridge that crosses this river. The floor of it is mesh, and you can see through it. When someone walks on it you can feel the change, the bounce. I only went out a couple of feet, felt dizzy and nauseated, and quickly went back to solid land. No way could I go across the whole bridge.



It was a great day, ending with dinner out. A perfect fall day, thanks guys.


Wednesday, 5 October 2016

Weird Car Noises

Anyone who has read my blog knows about Velma.

A few years ago I was having trouble with my car, and figured we needed to improve our relationship, so I named the car Velma. When she goes to Uncle Brad's garage for some auto repairs, I call it a trip to the spa.

And, if you have read along, you'd know I am absolutely nerve racked when I hear strange noises in the car. I have all these fears of being stranded on the side of the road, and me without a cell phone.

The last few times I have been in the car, I've heard the strangest noises from the back, but never bothered to investigate, until today. 

I was sitting in the car, outside the lab, waiting for my friend. I'd heard the noise again and checked out the back seat, and guess what I found.




Sometimes when I have been out, and missed lunch, I grab a Happy  Meal. Just a quick meal to get me through (I know, I know, a terrible choice). This was the toy that came with the last one, which I gave to one of the grandkids when we were out a week ago.

They left it, turned on, in the cup holder of the back seat, resting on its belly, so every time it bounced, it hit the button and said "Oh Yeah!" 

There was my noise, so now all I have to worry about is the squeak that Velma makes when I back up. I still see a spa trip in her future.

Wednesday, 28 September 2016

Say it Out Loud

My neighbor was being stressed out with a repetitive dream. It was a nasty one, like some playback from a Law and Order show, about a man abusing children.

She is an older lady and doesn't like to watch a lot of crime shows, not like yours truly who is addicted to crime and mystery. Unfortunately, and maybe because she was having the same dream over and over again, she remembered it in detail.

She told me about these dreams, and I was going to do some dream research, but didn't get to it. Yesterday, she told me she hasn't had the dream since she'd told me about it. Talking about it stopped the cycle. Glad I could help by listening.

I think this is true of so many things. There have been times when I have been overwhelmed, so many worries going around and around in my head, no beginning, no end.

I always found talking about it, some of it, stopped the constant swirl of stress and gave me a chance to look at things, and get some perspective, some control.

The funny thing with dreams, at least for me, is I have a hard time remembering them once I am fully awake. I dreamed about my Mom the other night. Can't remember all the details, but I was there, going up and down in a elevator, carrying or moving something, and she was outside the elevator door with a clipboard. Keeping count? Of what?

The dream has faded and I can't remember the details, except for that look on my mother's face. You know that look, every mother has had it at one time or another. That half grin, half smirk, that tells you that you've been caught, and she, the all powerful Mother, knows it all.

Now I just have to figure out what I was doing wrong, that Mom was trying to tell me to stop. Maybe I need to do that dream research after all. Thanks Mom, I guess.

Sunday, 25 September 2016

Well Used Cookbooks

It was too hot to bake, a usual activity I shared with my granddaughter, so we made a stove top no-bake treat instead.

I was surprised when she told me she wanted my old cookbooks when I was gone, quickly assuring me she hoped that wasn't for a long time.

Today I got out one of my old favorites, It's a soft cover, coil cookbook by Red Roses Flour company. the cover is long gone, and I can find no date for when it was published, but it was the 24th Edition.

As I scanned through the pages it is easy to see what recipes were my faves, because the pages were worn and dirty.




I purchased eggs, thinking I only had a couple left, and found it was more like a half dozen. So I pulled out this old book and found the recipe for sponge cake, the one I always make when I have too many eggs and need to use them up.

I still have a number of cookbooks even though I don't cook much anymore, but I still like to scan through, looking at the photos, reading the recipes.

You never know when one will catch your eye and become a 'must try'

Dinger just went, time to take the cake out of the oven. MMMMMMMMmmmmm

Friday, 23 September 2016

Who's Knocking at my Door?

For a short time I lived with my daughter, in a sort of self-contained space in the basement. There was a door at the bottom of the inner stairway, to allow us each our privacy, and I had a beautiful set of garden doors that led to a patio and the yard.

My granddaughter, who turned twelve yesterday, was two years old when I lived with them. If the basement door was closed, the girls were to leave me alone. But that didn't suit this little one. She would leave the house and stand at my garden doors, peering in, knocking, and calling to me.



Now really, who could deny that face?

She spent a lot of time with me then, and later after I moved out. We spent a lot of time baking, so it was not a surprise that for this birthday, she requested I make her a cake. Specifically a chocolate cake with white icing.

It is oh so nice to be wanted.

Happy Birthday Kiddo, love you so much.

Wednesday, 21 September 2016

Force of Habit

I have a table just inside the door, with a large stone angel statue. There is just enough room at the base for me to place my glasses and my car keys, and keep them handy. It is very rare for me to break from that habit.

My purse goes on the hook on the bi-fold closet door, followed by my jacket in cooler weather, the keys and glasses to the table

Habits. When you change the routine, it changes everything. I must have set the keys down as usual, then hurried to put the groceries away, still wearing the glasses.

I should be wearing the glasses all the time, for distance, like for watching television. But, I never wear them at home. too much bother as I can't wear them for craft work. I have a pair of bifocals, but they stay by the bed.

When I went out today, I grabbed the keys off the table, my purse off the hook, and walked out the door, locking it behind me.

I was half way to the car, thinking how bright the sun was, and realized I wasn't wearing my glasses, with the lens which darken in the sun.

I don't think I've ever done that before, and admit I was shocked. It's such a habit, to grab them as I go out the door.

I'm sure, if the bright sun hadn't alerted me, my fuzzy view of the road would have.

Creatures of habit, aren't we?

Thursday, 15 September 2016

Finding Inspiration

My son and his wife are avid hunters and fishermen. They are all about the outdoors, and love nature.

At the same time, they are up on all the modern technology, computers and cell phones and such.

So, it was just over a year ago that they found themselves out in the woods, hunting, talking, and looking at their surroundings...where the forest meets the corn. They laughed and said it sounded like a book title, and immediately sent me a text to share.

Hunters of old would never believe this kind of thing.

Anyway, I liked the title "Where the Forest Meets the Corn" and finally came up with a story idea. The book is finally finished, and is live on Amazon, available for Kindle.

I'm not sure my son expected me to come up with a story about a serial killer, but that's what I did.

I loved the challenge, and thank the two of them for the inspiration. It was fun, writing a book from the title only. Usually I struggle for a title after the book is done.

Now back to the current book in progress, no murder in this one, time for something  a little different.

Here's the link if you're interested.


https://www.amazon.com/Where-Forest-Meets-Corn-Deborah-ebook/dp/B01LZSKM6J/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1473955131&sr=1-1&keywords=Deborah+Lean#nav-subnav

Wednesday, 14 September 2016

To Grandmother's House We Go

What are your earliest memories?

I remember long road trips to visit my grandparents in Ohio. They lived on a high ridge, the Ohio River far below, West Virginia on the other side of the wide waterway.

I remember watching the barges go up the river, often loaded with coal, at least that's what I remember.

The house was huge, in my child's eyes, and was what they called a Tourist House, which meant they rented out rooms on the upper levels.

The front door opened into a dark entryway, dark because it was paneled in dark stained oak wainscotting, but not the usual chair rail height, this almost reached the ceiling.

Funny, but if there was a living room or parlor, I don't remember it. My grandparents' bedroom was on the first floor, maybe where the original parlor had been?

The kitchen was long and narrow, running the full length of one side. The dining room was really big, with a large picture window looking out to the river. The walls were covered in that same dark wood, with a plate rail on the top.

The round table would seat the whole family, and had a lovely stained glass lamp hanging over the center.

Some of my memories of the yard and garden are from photos. There was an English style garden, the grassy area surrounded by a white picket fence, the flower beds along the perimeter.

There were only two houses on the block, each house a large three story, on, aptly named, River Avenue.What seemed strange to me, as a child, was that there was a road separating the house from the garden. It was a small, maybe private road that didn't seem to go far except to separate the house from the yard, and the river beyond.

You could see the river, but it was from a height, and you couldn't make your way to the river's edge, as it was straight downhill and very wooded. Just as well, the water looked brown and dirty, not appealing for swimming.

When we visited, I got my own bedroom, a novelty as I shared one at home with my sister.

I remember they had a canary, and it once got loose in the kitchen. I have memories of sitting in my grandmother's bedroom going through her boxes of jewelry, some of which I still have.

Because of the age I was in the photos, I figure it was here my grandfather had his photography studio, and darkroom. There are so many pictures of us during those years.

Not sure when they moved to the smaller house, my memories are not as strong of that home. I think as we got older, my grandparents came to us, rather than the family making the trip to Ohio.

In 1971, they moved to Florida, and I've never been back to that 'hometown'.

I remember my grandparents to be loving and creative. From my grandmother I got a love of needle crafts, like sewing and crochet. From my grandfather it was the arts, painting and photography.

They were truly remarkable people, and I was very fortunate to have them in my life.

Sunday, 11 September 2016

Remembering 9/11

This is the poem I wrote on the first anniversary of the events of 9/11. A day never to be forgotten 

Firefighters of Station 9/11


Amid the rubble and the dust

Men did, as such men must,

Fought back their fears,

Choked back their tears,

And went forth, to who knew what.

And from that day each found their way,

From a man; -into a hero,

And time stood still

As it ever will,

At that place

That is Ground Zero.




Friday, 9 September 2016

Riding Boots

My daughter had a 'horse crazy' phase as many young girls do. She took riding lessons, and had all the required gear, the riding hat, a crop and, of course, the boots.

In spite of all the years, and all the moves, she saved those boots, and now her daughter is wearing them for her own riding lessons.

I never rode, had a fear of big animals, but I supported my daughter's desire to ride.

Thought I'd share some photos of the newest young rider, lesson three.




Wednesday, 7 September 2016

Brothers

Brothers, in books and movies, are portrayed in different ways, depending on where they come in the birth order and the gender of their siblings.

Like an older brother, with a little sister is seen as protective, where as a younger brother is a pest.

I think my brother has a split personality, as he is some of both. He's like a big brother, and not just because he's more than 6 inches taller than me, but because he's supportive, encouraging and caring.

But, he is my 'little' brother and can be a pest. He's reminded me that I call my blog Midweek Musing, and yet I'm not posting mid week. I seem to post when I have the time, an idea, or some divine inspiration.

Somehow, Wednesday just comes too fast, and I'm often not prepared. I guess I should be post dating my blogs, so they appear as advertised.

It's Friday, September 2, and I have just written this, but to keep my bro happy, I'll post it for Wednesday.

Some people are just too fussy, comes with aging I guess.

Are you happy now, he who shall remain nameless?

Tuesday, 6 September 2016

School Days, School Days

I was lying in bed this morning, thinking about how quiet and peaceful my morning was, and how it was not the same for the parents with kids going back to school today.

Some kids get up, eager to face the day, others have to be called, and called, and nudged along. Clothes need to be selected, back packs filled with pencils and papers, lunches packed with nourishing food to feed these young minds.

I do feel sympathy for that morning chaos, really I do, but also a bit of smugness, after all, been there, done that.

I was looking for a photo of a school bus to add to my blog, found instead some interesting checklists.


Here's another.


Also found too many sites on making breakfast and lunches ahead of time, making life easier.

My Dad always said it took 3 weeks to make any change in routine a habit, or to get familiar with something new, like a new car. I figure by Thanksgiving, the Canadian one, the kids and parents will find their rhythm, and long hot summer days with the late nights, idle days and sleep in mornings will be a distant memory.

Now that I think about it, that's my routine, day in and day out, the bliss of retirement.


Monday, 5 September 2016

Cookie Dough

I remember making chocolate chip cookies with the kids, and how much they liked to eat the dough.

But, it was considered a No-No to eat the dough, because of the raw eggs. That's another of those rules that change over time. My Dad used to make an energy drink of eggs, banana, and milk with a sprinkle of wheat germ, and though he didn't live a long life, it was an active one, and the raw eggs he'd eaten years before had no part in his demise.

I found a recipe for a Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Square, and had to try it, for the kids, both of mine now grown, and their offspring. It was quite simple, and tastes just like the dough for my baked cookies.






1/2 cup butter, softened
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
1 tsp vanilla
2 cups all purpose flour
1 can sweetened condensed milk
1 cup chocolate chips
1/2 cup mini M&M's
1/2 cup peanut butter
1/2 cup milk chocolate chips

Mix butter and brown sugar until fluffy. Add vanilla.
Add flour and sweetened condensed milk alternately until combined.
Add the 1 cup of chips and mini M&Ms.
Press into a lined 8x8 pan. Refrigerate for 3 hours.

Topping

Combine peanut butter and milk chocolate chips. In microwave, heat for 30 seconds, stir, repeat at 10 second intervals until melted and smooth. Pour over dough and chill.

I changed the recipe a bit, omitted the M&Ms, and used only milk chocolate chips. If I made them again I would use mini chips, whether it was semi sweet, milk chocolate, M&Ms or the Reeses' mini chips, as it would be easier to bit into. 

They were tasty, and a good no bake recipe for hot summer days.




Sunday, 4 September 2016

New Trend in Crochet

I've noticed a new trend in knit and crochet, a change from the usual, old fashioned afghan. Just as the baby blankets changed to being baby cocoons, someone decided an adult might like to be warm and cozy too.

I think the first one I saw was done like a mermaid's tail, but lately there are all sorts of patterns showing up, showing a lot of creativity and a sense of humor.



Here are just a few.





Friday, 2 September 2016

National Hurricane Center

I have the National Hurricane Center on my list of favorites, and check it daily. I find it kind of fascinating, watching the storms start off the coast of Africa and make their way west to the US and Canada.

For most of the week there were two tropical storms, one headed toward the eastern states, the other to the Gulf of Mexico. There was another storm, strong enough to be named...Gaston...when it reached hurricane strength.

The one TS, or tropical storm, that headed to the Gulf, was upgraded to hurricane strength and given a name, Hermine. It hit land on Thursday, and according to the map, is travelling across the land.

I'm watching the Blue Jays, yes, I know, I'm such a fan, and I haven't heard them talk of the weather, and they are playing in Florida. So the storm must have passed to the north.

There's another yellow 'X' on the map, indicating a storm, not with much strength as yet.

The list of names for hurricanes is set, and follows in alphabetical order. If you ever hear the weatherman talk of hurricanes, and a letter seems to be missing, it's because there was a storm, with enough strength to be named, but then it fizzed out to be of no concern.

If a storm is bad enough, the name is retired, as is what happened after Katrina.

Commentators at the ball game just mentioned the storm that blew through yesterday in Tampa, 22 inches of rain in 72 hours.

I've included the link in case you were curious.

http://www.nhc.noaa.gov/

Sunday, 28 August 2016

Mechanical Failure

I feel like all the mechanical things in my place are staging a revolt, against me. What have I done, other than maybe run them 24/7?

First it was the dehumidifier. It was running, I could hear the continual drone of the fan, but then I realized I hadn't emptied the bucket for days. So the fan works, but no dehumididfying. I got out the booklet, tried what was suggested, but no go. Yesterday I called the company, and they are only open Monday to Friday.

With this hot weather and no air conditioning, I've had the fans going all day and all night. Well, it was one fan, until my brother gave me one he'd had in the garage. He has air conditioning.

My original fan, one with blades and on a stand, quit. I don't know why, unless it's gone on strike, up in arms against the overtime hours.

I got my file box out to find the dehumidifier booklet and decided to do my shredding. I have a cross cut shredder, and the directions say to oil the blades frequently. I only used it one time, filled a blue bag, and never oiled it once, so I figured I better oil it before I used it again.

My son gave me a small container of oil, and I read the booklet to see how it was done, and it said vegetable oil. What? Like canola oil?

I called the company and they said the company makes a special oil, vegetable based, because the other oils are petroleum products, and with a cross cut shredder, the metal on metal friction, there is a risk, of a spark, I guess. So, one trip to Staples later, I'm ready to shred.

That's three, and according to the laws of nature, everything comes in threes. I guess I'm safe for the moment, until the next thing quits, and then I'll beware, 'cause I'll know there's two more to come.



Wednesday, 24 August 2016

Ouch, Ouch, Ouch

My one fan has bit the dust, and I'm not surprised as it has run continuously for months now.

It's one of those round ones, on a stand, so I can move it anywhere. For now, I keep moving it out of my way, until my personal handyman, my son, can have a look at it.

I moved it once because it blocked my view of the television, but then it was in the way of the door. Last night it was in a place that meant I couldn't see the score of the ball game. As I was crocheting at the same time, I need to glance at those stats to see where we are in the count.

Every time I move the fan, the cord is trailing along with it, and every time I think to myself, I should wind that around the stand because someone (me) might step on it.

'Might' happened this morning. I was checking the thermometer and didn't see the end of the cord and stepped on the plug. F**K. I didn't say it out loud, just repeated it in my head, as I did a fancy two step to prevent falling.

Ouch, but that hurts.

Best I wind that cord up now, or, with my luck, I'll step on it again. And if that happened, my words would not be silent.

Tuesday, 23 August 2016

Be Gone Blue Coat

It may seem strange, after complaining of the heat, but I bought a winter coat last week.

I happened upon a rack of coats, maybe more fall than winter, but still. I liked the style, a full zipper plus snaps, four front pockets and a slit in the back for ease when sitting. I bought one in navy blue, so as to go with the jeans I am forever wearing.

For the last ten years, at least, I've worn a pale blue parka in winter. I loved it because it was bright, could be worn with various scarves, and had a front inside pocket so I could forgo carrying my purse.

A number of years ago the front zipper broke, but I wore it anyway, just made sure I had a sweatshirt or fleece top on underneath. And, it wasn't that big of a problem, even as cold as our winters have been, as I don't venture out much in winter.

The old blue coat, soiled with a permanent brown on the cuffs, zipper broken. is gone...almost. At least it's out of the closet, off the hangar. The new coat hung and ready for cooler weather.

My dilemma is what to do with the old coat. Do I throw it away, as useless and worn, or do I drop it in one of those bins, and hope that perhaps it might still prove to be of benefit to someone else?Maybe some homeless woman would appreciate it, and not mind so much if the zipper's broken, but will layer it with something warmer, as I did.

I guess I just answered my own question. I'll toss it in the bin. If the bin managers decide it's of no use, they can toss it, but I figure they have a better chance of getting it to the needy than I do.

Goodbye, old coat, you've served me well.

Sunday, 14 August 2016

Solitaire or a Jigsaw Puzzle

My daughter's in-laws recently moved from a house to a condo. A difficult time when the house held so many memories...and memorabilia.

I remembered my daughter talking about the boxes and boxes of hockey cards they'd found. The thing with all those cards, do you keep them all, save just your favorites, and what about value? There could be some valuable cards in those boxes.

It's been hot, and I needed some mindless chore to keep me occupied, so I  volunteered to go through a box and make some order out of it.

When she said boxes, I pictured shoe boxes, but when she gave me the first one...it was a banker box, filled to the brim with a mess of hockey cards, all jumbled with no sense of order.

But, I love a challenge.

It took me two days, but I sorted those cards, first into brands:Score, O Pee Chee, Pro Set, and Upper Deck. I found some baseball and basketball cards mixed in as well. Second, I sorted each brand into individual years, as there's a new design each year. I still don't know what the years were, unless it was in large print on the card, the copyright was so small, my bifocals weren't enough.

Some years there were maybe 500 cards in the series, others more like 700. I broke each year down and put cards in numerical order, looking for complete sets. Some were fairly intact, others missing large numbers of cards. I put everything back in the banker box, all neat and organized.

What I want to know, Tom, is why there were 3 or 4 copies of each card, was this so everyone had their own? It made my task more difficult, for sure.

It was still hot and humid, so I got another box, this time a big corrugated cardboard box with what looked like the cast offs of the collection. There were some really old card from when there were only ten teams (now 30, I think). They had been in a scrapbook, attached with a fold of masking tape, which ruined the back side of the card,

I found a whack of cards that were missing from the cards I'd sorted from the first box. I also found more baseball cards, and golf cards saved in plastic binder sheets. The collection is now organized and fills the banker box and a smaller box I had handy.

It kept me sane over the last week when it was too hot to move, almost too hot to breathe. But I can't sit still with nothing to do, and it seemed to hot to do anything. This was a mindless task, and I, at times, felt like I was playing cards with myself.

I don't want to spend another summer like this, with my place so hot that fans just don't make a difference. But, just watch, I'll get an air conditioner for next summer and it'll be the end of this series of over the top hot summers.

Saturday, 6 August 2016

Could I Speak to the Manager Please?


I am normally a very patient person. In store lines I let people with a small number of items go ahead, at street corners I wave drivers to go first, see, polite and considerate.

Today was not that day.

 I had been to the store,and the cushion I wanted, to match the one I bought last week was no longer available.

I went to Metro, picked up a few items as I figured that would be the fastest way to get my garbage stickers, as I got no service at the (haha) service desk. Then, by the time I got to the cashier with my items, I forgot the stickers and had to go back in the store and stand in line. I paid for my stickers, and get this, had to go to the cashier at the service desk to get them. That's some system.

I met a friend for lunch and we tried out a different place, big mistake, sort of. Limited menu with lots of eggs, and no bacon, but lots of what I assume was sausage, in sauces that I can't pronounce let alone know what they are. We ended up ordering burgers, very expensive burgers that came all alone on the plate, not even a pickle or slice of tomato. The beef was good, the cheese tasty, but the unknown sauce made the bun soggy.

I went to the fabric store, looking for buttons, a no go. Tried Walmart, another no go. Now I'm hot and tired and thirsty.

So I decide to try the drive thru at McDonald's for their dollar drink. "Pull into the shortest lane" which is exactly what I did. Service seemed slow in my aisle, but there was only one car ahead. I pull up at my turn and am totally ignored. I counted 4 cars that gave their order and moved on while I was sitting there. And once you're there, with cars behind, you're stuck.

Finally a voice asked if I had placed my order, and I said no. Silence. Another car moved ahead from the other lane. I was fed up at this point, hot, and the car is overheating, so I pull out into the line.

When I get to the window I asked the girl if she was new, or in training as I'm empathetic to trainees, but she said no. So I said, "Could I speak to your manager, please?"

I never do this, but I really wanted my drink, and they had a serious system flaw.

I explained the situation to the manager, who informed me that the camera on that order station was broken, and it's hard for the cashier to tell where the car is, or if a new car has driven in. Maybe so, but on a hot day like today, with one car after another, did they really think everyone had taken the one lane and left the other empty?

She offered to comp my order, and I declined. Said if they had a technical problem they should fix it or find a better way to work around it. It's too hot to sit in line with the car running.

I went next door and had a Frosty at Wendy's. The service was excellent.

Thursday, 4 August 2016

Play Ball

Somehow, I have become a fan of baseball, but as fans go, I'm a dismal failure, in that I'm a fan of one team only....the Toronto Blue Jays. I may be familiar enough to name the players on the Jays team, but I would be hard pressed to give the name of any player on another team.

I like sports for a background when I'm doing other things, like writing, reading or crocheting. I find it easier to watch sports than to try and follow the plot of a crime show, my usual TV choice.

I was a hockey fan last winter, and that was to stay in tune with my son-in-law and hockey crazy grandson. At least with hockey, I knew the teams and plenty of player names.

I'm learning some of the game rules, or lingo, at least.

Last bat, belongs to the home team. I didn't realize that at first, then realized when the Jays had three home games, they always had last bat. I like it better that way, last chance opportunity, and all.

I would get confused when the commentator would comment a batter was...say...0 for 3. I would be looking at balls and strikes and couldn't figure out where I'd lost count. Finally, I figured out they were talking about times up to bat. O for 3 meant no hits in three times up to bat.

Now I watch the little box on the bottom of the screen for the number of balls, strikes, how many out and the inning

I've learned a better appreciation for the skill needed to play this game. I've watched players leap to catch a ball, turn in the air and throw it for an out. Amazing, really.

I was trying to remember some of the players from other teams, and it should have been easy given that the same teams usually play at least three games before moving on. Unlike hockey where the rarely play the same team two nights in a row, unless it's playoffs.

As there is a lot of the season left, I may learn more, especially if my team continues to do well and gets into playoffs.

Go Jays!


Wednesday, 3 August 2016

Doctor Speak



Why can't doctors call a spade a spade? Why do they call it a digging tool, a shovel, a trowel, when, let's be honest, it's a damn spade.

Why can't doctors say the word cancer, instead of calling it a mass, a tumor, a growth? Say the 'C' word and let the shock settle, let the talk begin as to how to deal with it.

And when someone is approaching the end of their life, give the family some honest answers, it's not as if they want your time frame written in blood, it's an estimate, not something that can be predicted, as no one can predict the strength of the human spirit.

Writing about the day my Mom died, and reading of another's personal experience, reminded me of the day Mom and I went to see the oncologist.

Mom was in Week 2 of radiation treatment, and was seeing an oncologist for the first time. As I was in Florida, and would soon be returning to Canada, I needed to know what Mom's status was. Being a nurse, I was given some professional courtesy, some frank talk.

The doctor said, and I can quote as it's etched in my memory, "without chemo, she has about 2-3 weeks, and she's too weak for chemo".

That doctor was right on the money, within 2 weeks, Mom was in the hospital, and within days, was gone.

Too many times health care professionals talk around situations, and with an uneducated patient (and I mean medically uneducated) there can be many misunderstandings. Add in the hierarchy, of who gives the patient the information, and this time I mean doctor as opposed to nurse, there's all sorts of room for confusion in an already emotional situation.

Too much precious time can be lost because people don't understand that a trowel is just another word for a spade.

Tuesday, 2 August 2016

I Remember the Day

I'm not one that usually dwells on dates, especially for the day a loved one died. But with my parents it's a little different.

I always think of my Dad on his birthday, which is within days of Father's Day, and also is the day he died. It's always a bit of the happy, remembering a great father on his special day, and the sad, that he was taken too soon.


With my Mom, I can never think of this holiday weekend without remembering her and the day she died. Funny, how the events of August 2 still stand out so clearly in my mind. Some of that s guilt, because I never made it to Florida to say goodbye in person.

 I carry way too much guilt around, even after all these years, that my dedication to my job, my sense of responsibility to those in my care, sometimes took precedence over family.

My mother was diagnosed with a brain tumor in June, a secondary cancer, first being the lung. My brother and his wife were in Florida, helped her through the set up and scheduling of her radiation. My kids and I went in early July, and for a couple of weeks, taxied her to her treatments and to the oncologist.When we left, my sister took over for the next week.

She was very weak, and it was like that old cartoon, "I've fallen and I can't get up". She entered hospital on a Thursday. My brother and I, living in Canada, made arrangements to go back down, he on the holiday weekend, and me on the Wednesday after.

This is where the guilt comes in. I was the in-charge/on-call person for three long term care facilities. My supervisor was returning to work after her holidays on Tuesday, August 2, and I was planning to give her my report, go home, pack, and leave the next morning.

While in my office, clearing my desk, the phone rang. It was my mother, calling from the hospital. She didn't make a lot of sense, but the I love you's came across clear and strong. My brother apologized for dropping such an emotional call on me at work, but Mom had insisted she speak with me and he felt it was better to call, to calm her down.

Needless to say, I was an emotional wreck. I went to see my boss, who was also a friend, and she took over, taking care of everything. She took my plane ticket, called the airlines and changed my departure to that afternoon. She even arranged for a rental car to be available in Tampa when I landed.

My daughter, bless her heart, threw all my stuff in my suitcase, picked me up at work and drove me directly to the airport. Next thing I knew I was on a plane, flying first to Atlanta, then on to Tampa.

I held it together until we changed planes in Atlanta. When I was seated, waiting for take off, they played this video of all these lovely nature scenes, with appropriate music. I started to cry and couldn't stop. A woman sitting across from me was very kind, and expressed some concern that I would be driving, late, and in what would be the dark, inland to where my mother lived. I admit it was a worry for me too.

It was not to be a problem. As I was heading to the car rental booth, I heard my name called, and when I turned, there was my brother. I knew as soon as I saw him that I was too late.

We had an interesting conversation as to how he finally learned I was on my way early. As his wife had arranged all our tickets, he knew when I was flying down, and when he called work, couldn't understand why my boss kept saying I was already gone. I think their discussion got a little heated, understandable given the high emotions.

At any rate I didn't have to make the drive alone, and my brother and I were able to talk.

So, on this day, I'm remembering my Mom, love you and miss you always.

I'm remembering my great take charge friend Marg B.

And I remember and always appreciate the brother who has never let me down, and has always been there for me.  Love you too, baby brother.

Tuesday, 26 July 2016

Art, Learned at Home

There was always art in our house growing up. My mother was a gifted artist, mostly in oils in those younger years. Mom had a basement studio, and taught art lessons at home.

I'm not sure when I started to draw, or paint, but I remember some of those earlier times, trying out oils. I guess it was when I went away to school, where there was no convenient art studio, that I realized how important art was to me.

After nursing school (I know, how far from art could that be, long story) I married and moved to a small town.

My next venture into something creative was pottery, and then macrame. After having two kids in two years, I was pretty busy, working part time, living on a farm and taking care of family.

Skipping forward, I realize I always did something creative, always self taught, always moving on to something new. I found my way back to painting, but not oils. I tried watercolors, was a dismal failure, then went on to mixed media collage, which is still my favorite medium.

I play with other, what I guess are crafts, knitting, crocheting, and have diddled with ceramics, photography and jewelry making. I had always written poetry, and nine years ventured into more serious writing. Art and writing are my sanity, and I need them to stay steady.

So, what is strange, is that neither of my children have shown any real interest in art or craft. There was a time my son was interested in photography, but work and family intervened before he got invested in it.

The closest my daughter has come to any interest in art is decorating. Something creative.

This week she attended a Paint Party. I guess you go, and as a group, are taken through the steps to creating a painting. Everybody doing the same painting, selecting their own colors, maybe putting a bit of their own flair into it. Sounds like more of a social event than a true art thing, but from all reports, everyone has a good time.



I'm sharing my daughter's effort, which she couldn't wait to share with me. It brought a tear to my eye, my daughter, the artist. Oddly enough, she'd do it again, so maybe there is some artistic talent there, hidden all these years.

I think not, I think it's the social, and maybe the adult beverages, but whatever works.


Friday, 22 July 2016

The Long, Hot, Summer

Although this may be an apt description of our weather, I'm thinking more of the movie.


Made in 1958, the movie The Long Hot Summer starred Paul Newman and Joanne Woodward. It's set in the south, the bayous of Louisiana, where the summers are indeed long and hot.

I loved watching all these old movies, originally filmed in black and white. This was a favorite with my Dad and I, along with all the Errol Flynn swashbuckler movies.

I searched and found a number of clips. Paul Newman and Joanne Woodward were married later that year, and had one of the most successful marriages that Hollywood ever saw.

Here's a clip to remind you how good some of those old movies really were.


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=brbP9gILCOg

Wednesday, 20 July 2016

So Now What?


I wrote some weeks ago about those people who feed my addictions, I call them enablers. Every time I think I'm getting my yarn stash thinned down and organized, I get a 'gift' of more yarn.

This last donation was new, large, skeins of cotton yarn, so more than just scraps. and along with the cotton were two balls each of a green and brown, very soft, but finer than my usual worsted weight. The colors weren't what I would use for hats, so what to do, what to do.



I decided to make a few Loveys, baby blankets with a stuffed animal head. A snugglie and toy all in one. First it was a cat and a dog from the brown, then a cat in green. After that it was like I was on a quest. I dug out all my leftover yarn, mixed and matched colors, found a better pattern for making a teddy bear head, and I was on a tear.

After giving three as gifts, I still have eleven left. And again, I ask, what to do, what to do.

People say I should sell them, but that begs the question, where? If I started to make some other things I might get enough made to do the round of bazaars in the fall, but that takes such effort. Not the creating, but the packing up, setting up a display, manning a booth, and dragging the leftovers back home. And did I mention, I have no storage space to spare.

I create to create, to make things that make people happy, that they can use. If I make a few bucks at the same time,okay, but I don't want to get involved in all this bazaar stuff again. Last time it wore me out, and as much as there seemed to be positive comments, I didn't sell out.

I've decided to donate all the Loveys to the women's shelter. I think if there were small children, away from home, in a strange environment, maybe they would like a new toy, something soft and huggable, something just for them.

 So, next time I'm out, I'm taking them to the shelter.


Tuesday, 12 July 2016

Buckets Full



So, after my day at the beach, collecting driftwood, I read a number of articles on how to clean and, I suppose, disinfect the driftwood. This is a good thing, especially if whatever you're making is going to be inside.



I have a bucket full of driftwood, soaking in a bleach/water solution, weighed down with a glass pie plate and the jug of bleach. I've changed the water once already, and will do it one more time. The articles state this could take two weeks, but I'm tired of sharing my shower with a bucket of wood.

I need to find some wood, on which to build my decorative, driftwood designs. I have one piece given to me by my son, and will go through the leftovers from the fence building at my daughter's.



Right now, I just want to move forward, but even if the wood was ready I probably wouldn't be doing much. It's been real hot, the Humidex at 36, which is stifling. It cools some at night, but not always a great deal. I have the fan going.

Why was it again that I hate air conditioning?

Friday, 8 July 2016

What Was I Thinking?

It is no secret that I love art and crafts, something in which my daughter has never shown any interest. But, when I was at her place last week, she asked if I liked her craft work. Craft work, what craft work? 

She pointed to the fridge, to the 4 little containers held by magnets, all in bright patterns and colors.

"Are those the black metallic holders from the dollar store? Did you cover them?"

"No", she replied, "they came like that". 

"So, where does the craft part come in?" I wanted to know. It appears that she added the chalk board tags with the kids' names, and that was her idea of crafting. 

Another way she crafts, is to show me something she likes and to let me make it. That is how I ended up making 13 pairs of slippers one year for Christmas. This time she showed me a flower design on what she says is driftwood. The design is made of different colors of rocks, glued to a wood base, not driftwood at all.

"If you want to see driftwood", I tell her, "go to Pinterest. I have a board on Driftwood". 

"Of course you do", she smirked. I have a board on almost anything. But on seeing what I had pinned to my board, she was enthusiastic about driftwood.



We made plans to go to a certain beach near her to gather some wood. After we were done, I said I just needed a few of the longer pieces, as I'm making dream catchers with her niece and nephew. I then found out she was only collecting driftwood for me, she had no intention of making anything.

Of course she wasn't, what was I thinking?

But, I just might try that heart or anchor made out of smaller pieces, which was most likely her subtle plan to begin with. I love a challenge.