Tuesday, December 20, 2011

I'm in trouble...

I'm in trouble.

I shouldn't be.  I had big plans.  Big plans, I tell you.

Boy helped me with the plot.  Weeks and weeks ago Boy got DH talking about tools, specifically his wish list for tools he wants "sometime."  Then Boy quick circled them in the Napa/Ideal tool catalogue and I've been sitting on that catalogue waiting for this week to purchase (so I wouldn't have to hide shop implements for long.)
Good plan?  Great plan.

Great plan gone wrong.

I took my sticky-noted circled tool catalogue to the tool store.  Guess what the tool-guy told me?

Sold out.  Sold out!?!!

So now I am in trouble.  I have no Plan B.  Notta.

Once again I am going to be wandering around Canadian Tire and TSC aimlessly looking for something, anything, that might look like DH doesn't already own it.

This is hard.  Really hard, because DH owns everything he could possibly want.  And I'm not exaggerating -- the man just bought a limo, after all.

I'm in trouble.
He's in trouble -- he's going to end up opening a nose-hair trimmer and a chia-pet on Christmas morning, 'cause I got notta, and he's already got EVERYTHING.


Sunday, December 18, 2011

should I be worried?

I think I should be worried.

I arrived home on Friday to find a large box in my back porch.  It's Christmas time; it's not unusual for there to be large box delivered.

The worrisome part?

The label on the box says, "Fantasy Cat House."

Fantasy cat house?  Where is this leading?  I already have a limo parked in my garage; the interior colour of which I refer to "whore-house red."  Do you see where I am going with this?

I sense a worrisome theme at Shady Lane.

I have to talk to DH.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

can NOT believe it!

Guess what?

You'll never guess what.

I can't believe it.

Hear me.  Can NOT believe what my family has done now.

Here's a clue.  They came home with this...

Kinda looks like....

Yep.  The back end of a limosine.

My family came home from getting "car parts" with an entire stretch limo.

It's old.  It certainly did not cost a fortune, I'm told.

But that is NOT the point.

The point is what in the world are we going to do with a limo?

DH has plans.  Big plans.

I fear we'll be going to Boy's hockey game in a limo.

I'm not happy about it.  Any of it.

But I'll tell you; if we do, I am riding in the back and somebody better open the door for me when I want out!

Monday, December 5, 2011

My baby....

Tomorrow my baby turns 13.


Tomorrow morning at 6:30am his great uncle is coming to get him to go deer hunting.  He is beyond excited.

His mother is not.

In this photo he is decked out in his camo-serious-bowhunter-clothing.
In tomorrow's reality he will be wearing head-to-toe orange.  He'll also have a "mommy kiss" in his pocket along with the stern warning not be be "pissin'" around.

And me?
I'll be saying a prayer -- first for his safety (and that of his team)...
and secondly that there aren't deer guts or gore for me to clear off or up from anywhere....

Good luck,  Elmer!

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Bye Bye Stewy

We delivered Stewy to his new home today.  I made DH come along with Boy, Girl and I.  I figured he needed to see the tears and hear the sniffles....

So Stewy's new home is lovely.  I google street-mapped it last week to make sure he was going to a good neighbourhood.  Boy said that was "creepy," but he wanted to know what the place was like, so it couldn't have been that stalker-ish...

Stewy is going to be the pet of a lovely couple with an adorable little boy.  I put the little fella at about 1 1/2, which is pretty close to Stewy's age, so they should grow up to be good pals.

Girl and I took Stewy into the house and we let him out of the carrier. He sniffed around, checked out the little boy, rubbed up against his new momma, looked at me with the big ginger eyes and promptly escaped through the baby gate to check out his new house.  I took that as a good sign.

I will miss you Stew-stew.

Monday, October 17, 2011

The Squirrel Story

Don't read this if you are a squirrel lover.  It's not a happy story....

This is one of the big walnut trees in my backyard.  It is one of about 7 trees that make up a squirrel-condo neighbourhood.  There are several generations of squirrel families that call Shady Estate home.  Mostly we leave them alone, and are grateful they take all the walnuts so we don't have to rake and shovel them all up.  There is harmony between the creatures in our back yard.
Except that Stewy and Rocky keep forgetting that.

Last week as Boy and I were leaving for his hockey practice we noticed a big, fat, gray squirrel (the only reason I mention "big, fat" is because it distinguishes it from the other one) and a little wee black squirrel at the base of this tree.  Then we noticed Stewy all hunkered down in his hunting position.  I wasn't too worried at first because squirrels are fast, and they were close to the tree.

Shoulda worried.

Stewy pounced on the little squirrel. Caught him and gave him a good shake in his mouth.  I went screaming into the yard.

"No, Stewy! NO, NOOO"

Stewy dropped the little black squirrel and I chased him away.  Then I saw that the little fella was injured. He was trying to crawl back to the tree, but he was dragging his hind end.  It was pitiful.

Boy had his hockey stick in his hand still and he offered to pound it so it wouldn't suffer.

"No, no.  I can't let you club him to death."

Boy ran to the shop and returned with his pellet gun.

"I can get it in one shot, mom. It's really hurt."

By this time the little squirrel had started his slow climb up the tree.  Clinging by tiny little front claws with his back legs hanging.

"Okay, okay," I said, "put him out of his misery."

Boy lined up to take the shot.

"Stop, stop!" I yelled, "you can't."

"I can, mom.  I can do it.  Don't look. I'll tell you when it's over."

"No you can't, Boy.  His mama is calling him.  We've got to let him say good-bye to his mama."

Indeed, the big, fat momma squirrel was in the tree in the lowest branch chittering and calling to the little one.  I just couldn't let Boy kill the baby infront of her. I told him that if the little one was still there when we got home from hockey then I would put it down.  It's something only mommas understand.

Boy put down his weapon and said, "project much, mom?"


Neither squirrel was around when we got home from the arena.  So now I picture a little invalid squirrel tucked away somewhere in his nest in this tree, with momma nursing him and feeding him walnut pieces.

Sunday, October 16, 2011


There was just an explosion at my house.  Near my house.  Specifically, by the shop behind my house.
It was loud enough that my windows shook a bit, and I jumped from my chair by the computer, where I am supposed to be working on DH's books (and I was, working on DH's books that is) until the big BOOOM!

Guess what?
When you fill a pumpkin with acetelyne and then set a torch to it, it blows up.
It blows up big.  And loud.  And spreads pumpkin all over the place.

Guess how I know that?
There is pumpkin all over the driveway in front of the shop.

Guess how that happened?
DH, Boy and Girl made that happen.  That's how.

I don't know the details.  I don't really want to know the details.

When I looked out the back window to see which army was bombing my yard I saw the three of them bent double with laughter and  pointing at the pumpkin debris.

It would have made a great picture.  But I didn't take the photo because that might mean I condone that type of destruction.  And I don't.

They seem to have all their limbs but perhaps not their faculties.

Might not have had those in the first place though....

I am bracing for the next blow.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Grey hair

I have grey hair.  Grey hair is under my crazy red hair.  Only my sister, who is my hair stylist, knows how grey my hair really is.  She knows, but she would never say.  She would never say because a) it's against the hair stylist code of ethics (I assume there is one) and b) because she also hides some white stuff with hair dye.

The difference in our hair is that she inherited my mother's mutant early-grey hair gene.  Neither one of us have forgiven mom for passing that on.  My grey hair is not my mother's fault though.  It is Boy and Girl's fault.

How do I know they are responsible?
I know Boy is responsible because tonight I actually felt one grow from the top of my head, just to the left of my right eye (the one that was twitching.)  Boy was in the shop working on his tractor.  He came in the kitchen with an unidentified brown/red smear across his face.  The dirt didn't turn my locks grey, his question did.
"Mom, how up to date is my tetanus shot?"

Sunday, September 18, 2011

End of the season

The horse show season ended last Saturday for Girl and I. 

Girl and Strawberry Shortcake placed in every class they entered -- usually first or second in the games classes.

This is Keyhole.  You run your horse as fast as you can down the length of the arena between the pails.  At the end of the pails is a circle drawn out in sawdust.  You have to turn your horse within the sawdust circle then race back down the arena to stop the clock.  The circle isn't all that big, especially for a large horse, so the horse needs to pivot on his hind legs to make it around.  It's a fast game -- usually under 15 seconds, I would say.  Girl and 'Berry like it 'cause 'Berry's a bit smaller than most so she has some extra room to make the pivot.

While games are my favourite, I haven't done them for years.  I think I'm too old to start again now. 

Darryl and I did well in our Walk/Jog Pleasure Class.

But I have to say I was most proud of the last Showmanship class we did.  I don't really like Showmanship, and I suspect if you asked Darryl he would say the same.  The horse is on a halter and you walk beside the horse and complete different patterns.  Each show has a different set of patterns that you have to memorize.  I am not good at that.  I write it down, then walk it out on the grass many times and then still aren't always sure I know at which pylon to pivot or to jog etc. 
The pattern might say:  Set up at A (pylon); jog to B; do a 360 degree pivot; walk to C; back up 5 steps; do a 300 degree pivot; walk to judge; set up; jog into line. 
See lots to remember; never mind which side of the horse to be on when the judge walks by. 
I've got a ribbon every show -- but don't get excited, it's usually 6th out of 6 or 7 horses (so I was last, or nearly last.) 
My goals all year were a) not to trip and fall down  and b) not to be last. 

So guess what?  I didn't fall down (in the ring) once AND last show I got 3rd out of 6 horses!!

HUGE accomplishment. 

Darryl wasn't as excited as I was though.   I could tell. 

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Boy's project

This is how you know your kid is going to be busy all summer....

He comes home with a tractor -- a real tractor -- but most of it is in a variety of boxes.
Can you call it a tractor if it looks like a collection of parts and is not recognizable as any entity itself?

All summer Boy has worked on this tractor.  DH would give him instructions at night and the next day Boy would complete whatever job it was that his dad had left him.

This is where he was at on Saturday...

see -- you can kind of tell it's a tractor.

Boy's got the motor running, fixed the brakes and replaced the transmission.  He did the sandblasting on Saturday, so DH could paint the chassis in the afternoon while Boy did the rims.

I have teased Boy about his hunka junk but I am really proud of his hard work.  He tells me it starts and runs now, but I have yet to see it move.
DH tells me we should buy one tractor-in-a-box a summer 'til Boy moves out.  It keeps him busy, happy and out of trouble.
The difficulty is that Boy says he's not selling his tractor, and since we don't have vast acreage in need of farm machinery I am afraid we'll just end up with a yard full of shiny red tractors that we'll have to move to mow around.
And yes, they would all be RED tractors!  (that's assurance for my John Deere friends!)

Monday, September 12, 2011

How our Stewy has changed

Stewy then  (beginning of August)

...all skinny, with wiry thin hair and a sad abandoned look in his eyes.
He was a bit skittery and untrusting.

Stewy now  (beginning of September)

He's filling out.

His hair is thicker, soft and shiny.

and he's cuddly.

Only DH can resist him.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

new learning

There is a list of things I can say "I am" -- wife, mother, principal, maid, cook, chauffeur, maid, friend, blogger, tweeter and now tedster.

Ted.com is a site I've heard about a few times in the last few months.  I decided to check it out after hearing a great speaker at my last Principals' Meeting.  As I understand it Ted.com began at Harvard.  Guest speakers, the great minds of our times, are video-taped as they speak to the audience.  These tapes are then streamed through Ted.com.  The speeches are all under 20 minutes in length, most at 10-15 min. that I've seen.  I watched a video last week on the importance of compassion.  Last night I watched two -- one from the creator of the "Awesome" book and blog (which I will post about another day) and one by Ric Elias entitled "3 things I learned while my plane was crashing." 

Ted.com has now gone global, so the speakers are not limited to those who present at Harvard.  There are Ted.com conferences world-wide presenting truly great ideas and inspirations from great minds.  It's so exciting to have the opportunity to hear Sir Ken Robinson or Steve Jobs speak for example, or a buddist monk from Tibbet, or a  neurophysicist.  There are over 900 speeches now, and that number is growing.  My plan is to watch at least one a week.  How amazing that such opportunities to learn from amazing people from around the world can come right into my office.

On another note:
Boy and I were talking about my blog this morning.  The conversation went like this:
Boy:  Your blog is my second favourite blog.
Me:  Second.  SECOND? What is the first?
Boy:  The one about firearms.
Me:  silent
Boy:  Maybe you'd have more followers if you incorporated some of that into yours.
Me:  still silent.  Boy leaves.

So here's the thing -- should I be more disturbed about being second place, by the fact that boy reads "firearms blogs," or by the fact that I'm wondering how to incorporate weaponry into mine so it goes up to Boy's first favourite????

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

random list

1.  Guess who is sitting on my lap, in my office, right now?
Stewy.  Stewy is sitting on my lap. I smuggled him in and closed the office door.  I know that no one will bother us because no one wants to see me working.  'Makes them feel guilty about watching TV...
I debated taking a photo of Stewy resting so peacefully, but then there would be photographic evidence that I smuggled him further into the house.
So far Stewy has been only allowed in the back porch, or in the kitchen when it's cold.  My argument is that it has been cold all week, so he comes in around supper time and often stays the night in the back room.
My rationale is that the office is only a hop and a skip from the kitchen, and it's cold and my lap needs to be warmed up.

Rocky is not a good lap warmer.  He's too wiggly.  Stewy is still and calm and will give me a reason to sit here very quietly for at least an hour.  I will get work done, my lap will get warmed up, and so will my soul.
My dilemma is how to sneak him out of the office past DH later on.

DH has not warmed to Stewy.  He's stubborn that way.

If you know anyone who would like a near perfect cat -- Stewy is looking for a forever home where he will be appreciated for his near sainthood.  I would consider offering Rocky, though I've blogged enough about him that you will know that "saint" and "Rocky" can't be uttered in the same sentence.

2.  I have been back at school for a little over 2 weeks -- 2 days of that have been with students and I am TIRED.  I went to bed last night shortly after 9pm, and will likely do the same tonight.  Funny how having students at school changes everything.  I get so much more done at a much better pace when there are no kids there!  It's not much different than home in that respect, I guess!

3.  It's been cold this week.  I've put my Birkenstocks away and got out closed-toed flats.  Not heels, just flats -- and my feet are aching.  I miss my Birks and my runners.  I miss summer.  I miss bare feet.  I miss a cold beverage on the deck after my afternoon nap (this has nothing to do with shoes, just a random wish that popped into my head -- it happens sometimes.)

4.  Did I mention I was tired?  It's 8 o'clock and me and Stew-Stew are debating a nap before bed time.

Good night

Monday, September 5, 2011

The dream

This will be my 16th year of teaching.  Every year, every single year, I have the same dream on Labour Day Monday.  The dream will wake me in a cold sweat panic and I will lay awake the rest of the night telling myself that it is only a dream...

My dream goes like this:
I have prepared the  perfect classroom.  Everything is organized and tidy. The room looks welcoming and comforting for my students.  My bulletin boards are bright and colourful.  Name tags label desks and coat hooks.  I have tons of great books, some pillows and bright posters.  I am extremely pleased with my room and I have worked really hard.  (This part of the dream mimics reality -- that's what makes it so scary...)    Then, on the first day, as students come into my room I notice that the bulletin boards have all fallen down. Name tags are missing or misspelled.  My pillows are gone and the new books are gone, replaced with old, ripped ones.  The room smells terrible and it looks so messy and dirty that I am ashamed.  
I try to get the students' attention to explain that this is a mistake, that the room was perfect for them because I can't wait to be their teacher.  The students won't listen.  They are talking and not paying any attention to me.  Then I start screaming at them.  Screaming.  Like a crazy person.  I hate that I am yelling at my new students but I can't stop.  Some of them start to cry.
Then I wake up with a big pit in my tummy.

Now that I've become a principal I usually have a second dream or the first one morphs into this:
I am in the gym addressing students and parents to welcome them back to school.  They keep talking amongst themselves and I can't get the microphone to work.  I start screaming.  Screaming.  Like a crazy person.  I hate that I am yelling but I can't stop.  I can't figure out why they won't listen to me.  Then I look down and I see that I don't have any pants on.

Nice visual, I know.

I have resigned myself to these dreams.  It won't matter how "seasoned" I become.  I will still dream of crazy screaming and no pants -- probably I will still dream this into my retirement year in 2026.

It crossed my mind this morning that maybe I should have a couple of shots of something before I go to bed tonight; maybe I will sleep more soundly.  Then I figured I might just add "screaming drunk with no pants" to the dream and I don't want to add any more elements of crazy to it.

Sleep tight.

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

thoughts from Boy

Being a passenger in a car is a lot like waiting.

Boiled potatoes are really just do-it-yourself mashed potatoes.

Girls are weird.

Monday, August 29, 2011

a comparison

Stewy is still here.... for now.  Still working on DH to open his heart, mind and home....
This is a comparison of the two felines who tolerate the humans at Shady Lane.

  • Stewy catches mice, birds and possibly bats.
  • Rocky catches flies, tinfoil balls and his tail.
  • Rocky is hefty, with soft thick hair and gorgeous green eyes.  He is very handsome and he knows it.
  • Stewy is skinny with thin, wiry hair and gorgeous ginger-orange eyes.  He doesn't know he has potential, but he doesn't care anyway.
  • Rocky purrs loudly all the time.
  • Stewy purrs quietly, only when he is really content.
  • Rocky says "mer" when he wants something -- usually food.
  • Stewy says "meow" when he wants something -- usually to sit on your lap.
  • Rocky chases his tail, but unless he catches it he doesn't realize he has one.
  • Stewy's tail is like a flag.  It goes straight up when he's happy, especially when he is being petted.
  • Rocky prefers to be near us, flopped out full on the floor.
  • Stewy prefers to be on us, flopped across our laps.
Currently I am in the office and both felines are in the kitchen.  I hear both a mer and a meow -- so one is lonely and one is hungry....

Friday, August 19, 2011

dead skunk

There was a dead skunk on my lawn last night.

 I won't tell you how it got dead.

It was gone when I got up this morning, but I know it didn't walk away in a zombie-like state.

Girl had nightmares last night about skunks coming back to life and "getting" her.

I'm having olfactory daydreams about skunk-smell seeping into my house.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

He rides!

I am  heading off to go riding shortly.
Last week while I rode, Girl convinced Boy to ride Prince.  I think Boy has sat on a horse maybe three times in his life.  Horse don't have motors, so he isn't all that interested.
Coach was surprised that he was willing to ride, but he told her "I can't really tease Girl about horses unless I've tried myself."
Girl bridled up Strawberry Shortcake for herself, and Prince for Boy.  Prince is 37 years old.  Can you believe it?  He still competes at shows and is a school horse.  He is very well trained, and quite a gentleman so I felt okay about Boy being bareback on him.  They rode around the trail ring for awile.  Boy discovered that it wasn't as easy as he thought, and he hasn't bothered Girl about horses since.  I made my Darryl stop to watch as I didn't figure I might ever see my two on horses/ponies together again.

This is the other view I got while on Darryl's back.  He's listening to me, I know he is.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

i'm afraid

I'm afraid of a few of things:

1.  This morning I looked out my second storey window and saw Stewy with 2 black cats about the same size as he is.  I'm afraid they are Stewy's siblings and he is bringing them to my house.  I'm afraid I will be compelled to look after Stewy's whole family.  In doing so I'm afraid I will become the town's crazy cat lady.

I can't do it Stewy, I can't do it. 
I didn't sign on for this is.
I can't be the crazy lady....

2.  I'm afraid that there are bats in my house.  Yesterday DH had a late night encounter with one.  He was in the living room and it flew down the steps and went under our hall table.  The last time we had a bat was when Boy was just a baby.  Reebok, our former kitty-extraordinaire, jumped up and pulled it out of the air.  Then she stood on its wings until DH could dispose of it.  This time Rocky sat on the steps washing his paws and watching DH bash it with, of all things, the Doctor's Book of Home Remedies.

3.  I'm afraid we have bats AND I'm afraid our Rocky is a bit useless.

4.  I'm afraid the brainy-extraordinaire cat is the one outside rounding up his homies....

Friday, August 12, 2011

We own him now!

Remember Stewy?

The stray that is buds with Rocky?

That's Stewy with Rocky in the back yard yesterday.  I used PSE artistic dry brush technique to doctor the photo -- unfortunately it looks like Stewy only has one eye.  

DH and I decided that if he is going to keep hanging around then we'd better get him his shots.
This morning he was standing at the back door looking for me (or Rocky, I can't be sure which....)

So, I did it.  I fed him, took him into the back room, which he did not like one bit, and called the vet.  We got an appointment right away.  He was not at all pleased with the cat carrier or the ride in the jeep.

As we drove to Small Town I talked to Girl about the fact that this was still most likely a wild cat and just because we've fed him a bit and taken him to get some shots doesn't mean he's ours.  We're just doing this to be sure that Rocky stays healthy.  I said, "we don't own this cat."

I explained to Dr. Charlotte that this was a stray and I had no idea if he would be around tomorrow or the next day so I just wanted flea control, and his vaccinations. Translation --" I don't want to spend a ton of money on this feline."

While  Dr. Charlotte checked him over she noticed that he seemed warm (at first I thought it was stress...I was warm too) and that he had a cut on his back foot.  She took him to the back room to shave the hair from his foot.  When Dr. C and Stewy reappeared she told me that he couldn't have his shots because his foot was infected, likely from bite, and he had a fever.  What did I want to do?

What did I want to do??  What did I want to do??  Hmmm.

Here's what I did 'cause I'm a sucker.  I got him a super shot of antibiotics for his foot and fever, dewormer, ear mite and flea control, and an appointment for 2 weeks from now for a check up and his shots.  I also bought him some special food.

When we left the clinic this was the conversation in the jeep while Stewy slept in the crate:
Girl: I sure hope he gets better and he sticks around.
Me: He better. We own him now!
Girl:  But mommy, I thought you said he was wild and he didn't belong to anybody.
Me:  $182.05 and another appointment says "we own him now!!"

This is not the first time I've been chosen by a stray.  It's just the first time it has cost ME money.  When I was a teenager I found a stray cat in the barn with my horse.  He might have been the ugliest cat ever.  He had a pugged up nose, as if he were a boxer that was on the losing end of a number of fights.  He was flea-bitten, and dirty, but he was the friendliest little fella.  I just figured he needed some lovin'.  I kept him secret in the barn for a bit, then I figured it was too cold so I snuck him into my parent's laundry room.  I convinced mom that he needed us -- and she was soft-hearted enough to let me do that.  Dad took some more convincing.  In a stroke of genius I told him that the cat, now named "Newmeister," was a gift for my Gran.  He consented.  Thankfully, dad being a vet, the required remediations were readily at hand.  And Gran loved that cat, though she hated the name -- ended up calling him SweetiePie instead.

This is a photo my Gran had of SweetiePie.  I still have it in her frame in my office.

Yep.  I've done this before.
I'm counting on DH to be strong...

Thursday, August 11, 2011

a list

1.  Boy was ill this week -- stomach flu.  Today he says he feels like normal, and I know that's true because he is bugging his sister.

2.  Girl convinced DH to get her a fish.  We now have a pink (of course) Beta Fish named Bubbles who lives on my kitchen counter and stares at me when I work at the sink.

3.  I got a new camera lens yesterday.  Girl (we assume) dropped my good camera and my favourite lens 18-55 mm was damaged, so I went to my favourite camera shop yesterday and picked up an 18-200mm lens.  It was on sale.  The range is so much bigger than the last one, that I think this might be my new favourite.

4.  I will take a picture of Bubbles with my  new lens once he has eaten the fish food Girl gave him this morning.  The water is a little grody looking at the moment.

5.  I lost half a pound in 6 days on my Great Granny Eating  plan.  It really wasn't as hard as I thought except that I can't find a decent replacement for ketchup or for Campbell's mushroom soup.
Here's what I didn't eat that I had to think about:
-6 Swedish berries (I had 3...even though I shouldn't have had any)
-Fruit flavoured yogurt (I bought PC plain -- it only has milk and bacterial culture, no sugar etc)  I mixed it with my homemade fruit salsa.  I'll put the salsa recipe on the recipe page.
-chips -- I had plain popcorn instead
-casseroles -- because most of my recipes involved a soup mix or a ready-made sauce of some kind.  I will have to tweek some recipes to see what I can do about that.
-pop (of course)
-juice (of any kind -- cause I am not going to squeeze my own!)

What I did eat was lots of fruits and veggies; Mary's organic seed crackers cause they only contain seeds; nuts; seeds; butter; olive oil (again probably not popular in Northern Ireland 100 years ago, but certainly somebody's great granny had it...); roast beef, chicken, pork loin; plain yogurt.

6.  It rained this week, and I so, so badly wanted rain for my flowerbeds, but I am much happier that it is sunny today.

7.  This morning I cracked open my school books -- back to work (from home) for me this week!

8.  I am feeling panicky that my summer is nearly over.  I know there are a few weeks left, but time is suddenly ticking away quickly and I don't have everything on my list done yet!

Sunday, August 7, 2011


We have had a new visitor appear in on the porch and in the yard this week.  He has made friends with Rocky and the two laze away the afternoons together.

We're not sure it he is a stray or if he belongs to someone in the neighbourhood.  He is very friendly, clearly a male and rather skinny (but I have to remember we are comparing him to fatso Rocky.)  We've named our visitor Stewy (short for Stewart).  I don't know why that name stuck, I just know it was better than Boy's suggestion of "Stoney" ("'cause he's got big 'stones,' mom!").

Also, he likes to hide in my flower bed.
Just look at that -- another jungle kitty...

Saturday, August 6, 2011

the view from up here

I have a small second floor balcony from which I can reach my second floor clothes line.  The balcony looks over the back yard.  Yesterday I had this view of my yard. 

Just think -- only a few years ago the only equipment the Boy could use was the digger and trucks in the sandbox. :(

That is Boy in our compact tractor.  (It's not that I am taking the photo from so high up, it's just that the tractor is tiny, as tractors go.)  I call it the Barbie tractor, but my boys don't find that funny. 

I have a rock garden off the back of the shop.  Recently ants and weeds decided to take up residence and I could get rid of neither.  I gave Boy permission to see what he could do with the mess.  So he dug up all the rocks by hand and put them in the trailer behind the 4-wheeler.  Then he took several buckets of ant hill and dirt away with the loader.  Then he replaced the top soil and the rocks.  It took him much of the morning and he happily worked away humming the Smurf song "la-la-lalala-la" because I had indirectly given him permission to use the 4-wheeler/gator/tractor and loader as he needed. 

It was a good day for all.

Except the ants.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Rocky's spot

Yesterday I told you about my vacation destination in my backyard.  Turns out Rocky likes my gazebo too.

He likes this spot best because he can hide behind my "mile high geraniums" (I think that's the name of the yellow six-foot-six flowers that grow to the east and south of my gazebo hide-away) and peek out at the world.  Also, I think he thinks he is a jungle kitty if he's amongst the flora.

Doesn't he look like a fierce and ferocious tiger?

PS -- Still workin' on my Real-food-Great-Granny-style thing.  Found a great recipe I will make again.  I've posted it on the "recipe" page above.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011


My absolute favourite place in the world is my backyard.  When I need a vacation, I go to the back yard, usually to the gazebo to read.  This weekend it was so hot that I decided to move my vacation spot slightly to the south-west to read my book and dream away the day.

I camped here:

I read this book:

This series is a MUST read.  It's the Stephanie Plum series by Janet Evanovich.  The first one is called One for the Money.  I'm up to Smokin' Seventeen.  These books make me laugh, sometimes snort, outloud.  Also, I have a massive crush on Ranger, a character you meet around book #4.  Stephanie Plum is an inept, but lovable bounty hunter who gets into the most ridiculous, but somehow believable situations.  When I get an Evanovich book, I don't put it down until it's done.  I finished this one Sunday afternoon.

I refreshed myself with this:

Brisk lemonade.  Yummy.

I was occasionally distracted by the likes of this:

This is DH after a cannonball.  Sometimes I got lucky and the splash reached me.

This was a perfect holiday weekend. 

PS.  The Great-Granny-Real-Food Thing update
Tuesday's attempts:
Breakfast -- banana, oj, raw almonds
Snack -- piece of cheese, dried apricots
Lunch -- cheese on a bun, broiled (I dipped in ketchup though, so I slipped there), carrot sticks, water
Snack -- Yesterday I was famished in the afternoon.  Well, not really famished but I really, really wanted my usual granola bar.  Instead I had about 3 handfuls of cashews.  I think a single serving is about 12.  Oops.
Supper -- chicken and veggie stirfry with basmati rice.  I only used olive oil, lemon juice, garlic and ginger on it.  Girl declared it the best rice dish ever!  So I know MY great granny likely wouldn't have had rice and a stir fry in Northern Ireland, but somebody's great granny likely did.
Bed time snack -- popcorn (with butter).

Tuesday, August 2, 2011


I watched Oprah the other day.  She had a guest on who talked about the documentary "Food Inc."  If you've never seen it, you should make a point of watching it.  You will never think of food production the same way again.

The guest talked about how the "western diet" has led to obesity, diabetes, heart disease and ingrown toenails (well not the toe nail thing, that's my own hypothesis).  He talked about the Inuit of Greenland who have seal (or whale?) blubber as 75% of their diet and they have little or no heart disease, diabetes or obesity issues.  75% blubber!!!???

The solution for us "westerners" is to eat "real food."  Real food being unprocessed food.  The simple rule is that "if your great grandmother would not recognize something as food, then you should not eat it."  Picture yogurt in tubes, string cheese and KD packages.  He said that we will never have to count calories, fat or nutrients again if we follow this rule.

Easy, I figured, so I paid close attention to what I ate yesterday to see how many processed "unrecognizable" foods I ate in a regular day.  I was surprised at my observations, because I think I'm a relatively healthy eater..

banana, orange juice, small handful of raw almonds (I think this was pretty good -- except maybe the Tropicana OJ...)

hamburger with ketchup, tomato, lettuce, mustard and relish, water to drink (hamburger was the frozen patty kind, ketchup and mustard are processed too...I make my own relish so that was okay)

apple, small handful of raw cashews, small glass of gingerale (gingerale doesn't  pass)

ham and cheese impossible quiche, carrot sticks, water to drink (thought this was ok too 'til I thought about the  Bisquick in the quiche --ya, I know not gluten free, so I will get headache as well as eating processed product; and the ketchup I smothered the quiche with also wouldn't pass)
waffle with ice cream and maple syrup for dessert -- pretty sure Great Granny would never have seen a frozen waffle or Aunt Jemima syrup, but I think ice cream existed just without modified milk ingredients, glucose, mono-and diglycerides, carob bean gum, guar guam, cellulose gum, carrageenan, dextrose,and something called annatto)

DH gave me the leftover potato chips so he didn't have to put a near empty bag back in the cupboard -- that's my excuse and I'm sticking to it.  Chips don't pass the real food test either.

The processed stuff is what makes cooking convenient and easy -- and food taste good (ie, ketchup).  If I had to make my own ice cream, I likely wouldn't have had any -- also, I don't have a cow.

So here is my experiment.  I am going to try really, really hard to live by the "real-food-great-granny rule" this week.  I will let you know how it goes.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Boy and the Lawnmower

This is Boy and his lawnmower.  He got it from his great aunt for free.  He loves this lawnmower.  Has great plans about becoming a millionaire mowing lawns about town.... so far I haven't felt the benefit of the great ambition (as in he trims our lawn, and the lawn of our little house uptown and that's it.)

Recently Boy, because he has his father's genes, felt that the what the lawnmower lacked was power (again, nothing said about ambition....) This was his solution.  Be prepared to be amazed!

Boy bought a pipe (he just corrected me, a "straight pipe") to put on the mower; a straight pipe like they put on muscle cars -- only much smaller.  It took him most of Saturday afternoon to rig up this bad boy.  When I asked him what the purpose was he said "more power and it'll sound nasty."  Nasty. I'll say.

Further to this modification he added this:

See this string.  This string is attached to the governor.  "When you pull the string it overrides the governor, so you don't have a limit on your revs," says Boy with a wicked grin.  Then he adds this information for your reading  pleasure, "it was originally a 4 horse engine, but now that it's all done I have a mean machine with 11 horse power."

Does anyone else see the irony in an 11 hp PUSH mower???

So when Boy mows the lawn it sounds like Varney Speedway here.  Also, the glare from the grin on his face lights up the afternoon.

Lawnmower free.
Pipe $5.
String for governor free.
Look on Boy's face priceless.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

In my next life

In my next life I want to come back as Rocky because I think he's got it pretty good...


and naps...

Lucky boy.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

New Fella

There's a new fella in my life. Really it's a summer romance, but I'll take what I can get.
He's very tall, strong but gentle, patient, a bit stubborn, and oh so handsome.  He's got several scars, but I think they just make him look wiser.  In short, he's lovely.  He's the perfect antidote for a crazy spring and start to the summer, and he's a lovely distraction for now.  I am a lucky girl.

Let me introduce you to my new love, Darryl.

Alas, he's not mine forever.  I am borrowing him from Girl's riding coach.  She asked me to show him in a couple of classes at the local Saddle Club shows.  I am also taking lessons once a week, so I get to ride him then too.  When Girl takes her lessons, I ride Darryl in the arena to get him ready for the shows.  So, in a good week I might get to ride him three times!

He's good for my soul (and leg muscles!!!)

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

I'm ba-a-a-ck (say it like Ricky Ricardo)

Hi there.
Thought I'd given up?  Thought I'd disappeared forever and ever? Nope.  I was buried.  Buried under a deep, deep pile of  "to dos."  Ha. Funny.  If you say that fast it sounds like "do dos."  Freudian, I think...

See this...

This is my June "at home" calendar.  My "at work" one has equally as many  notations in the boxes.  July's "at home" looks pretty much the same up until July 15.  On July 15 my summer started.

Now.  See this.

See the one box that is circled in white with the big red arrow pointing to it.  It is the one day in June that there was nothing "to do," and "nowhere to go."  That's the day I got my first migraine in a very long time.  I threw up, laid on the couch and thought I might die.  But I couldn't 'cause there was something on the calendar for the next day.
I am telling you, 'cause no one here felt sorry for me.

I finished up at work-school on July 8.  Then I went crazy from July 9-14 as I had my 2 courses to finish up by the 14th.  I attended school-school on the 12-14th.  Between July 9 and 11 I wrote another big essay (well, not that big, but big to me-- 15 pages, double spaced, 11pt Times Roman font -- because anything longer than a blog post is big to me, because this is only the second essay I have written since 1994!)
I have spent July 15 until today catching up on everything that did not get done around home in June.  Also, I decided to read my most favourite Jilly Cooper novels again because I deserve to sit by the pool on really hot days and do something I actually WANT to do.  So, I am just now finding my writer's voice and I promise to regale you with wit and folly in the coming days.

I've been saving up ideas.  Here's a preview:
-I've got a new fella in my life.  He's handsome, huge and he eats out of the palm of my hand.
-too hot to cook "meal" idea
-Rocky. Rocky. Rocky
-boy's joke
-garden photos
-wonderings about the universe
-cleaning and organizing idea(s) -- depends how ambitious I am

Glad to be back.

PS.  I am determined to figure out Photoshop Elements this summer.  The top photo of the calendar is SOTC (straight out of the camera) and the second one I doctored in PSE (photoshop elements). Messed with the lighting and colour contrasts and put in the circle and arrow.  Cool huh?  I could get addicted to this program. I will share as I learn.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Another, here's how you know it's gonna be a bad day...

So, here's how you know a it's gonna be a difficult day....

Your hair gets caught in the car door.

Yes, it's entirely possible.  I can't make these things up....

Picture Big Red in the wind, arms loaded, running late, caught in jeep door.

Shoulda just gone back to bed.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

a random list

1.  I am terrified of spiders.  Terr-i-fied (say it loud, with the emphasis on TERR, like Oprah would).  Usually they make me scream.  Sometimes I hold my breath.  I overcame my fear when my babies were young and I would find an object, shoe, book, flyswatter, wooden spoon and beat them to death (usually screaming, crying or holding my breath).  I must say that one of the things I am grateful for in this world is that both my babies are old enough to kill spiders for me.  I just scream and point, and they save their momma.  This isn't the reason I had babies, but it's good I have found yet another use for them....

2.  I only like to write with fine-tip ball-point pens.  I dislike medium-point immensely.  I also far prefer blue ink to black.  It's an issue I have.  I just don't understand why medium-point was invented.

3.  I love my pillow (say L-OVE, like Oprah would).  It's memory foam and it's perfect.  Sometimes DH likes to lay on a corner, and I just have to push him off. I love my pillow, it's all mine and I don't want to share.

4.  I miss Oprah.  She gave me hope that I too might reach the stage of self-actualization.  I'm working on it, but it's hollow without her.

5.  Tonight I made a great supper.  I don't often have time nor inclination to make a great supper.  My menu was oven-fried parmesan chicken legs, campfire potatoes done on the BBQ, veggies, and mixed-berry cobbler.  In total the menu I served used 1/2 pound of butter and 1 1/4 cups of sugar (plus 2 tbsp. for sprinkling).  I should have just injected the fat and calories directly to my butt instead of forcing it to go through my digestive system; it's where it's going to end up anyway.  I will post the cobbler recipe in the next couple of days, so you too can share the joy.

6.  I haven't run in a week -- too busy and too cold today -- I'm a fair weather runner.

7.  I found $1.06 in the laundry today and felt like I'd won the jackpot.

Monday, May 23, 2011


Yesterday was a miraculous day.  It was a beautiful afternoon with no rain, despite the weatherman's promise of it.
I spent Saturday doing my flowerbeds and enjoying sunshine, and thinking I'd have a rainy Sunday to get at my paper I need to submit next week.  But no, no rain.  So I figured out a way to enjoy the outdoors and get my research done.

This was my office for the day...

While I worked I enjoyed this view to the east...

This view to the west....

And best of all, when my eyes got a wee bit tired and the wind was blowing right and the wind chimes played a lullaby I could look forward to this....

Monday, May 16, 2011

I don't understand

What's this?

This is an EMPTY laundry basket on the floor of Boy's room.

What's this?

This is the laundry on the floor of Boy's room.

You will notice that the laundry on the floor of Boy's room is precisely 1" away from the EMPTY laundry basket on the floor of Boy's room.


.............Just sayin'

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

questions from the doctor's office

I had to take Girl to the clinic today.  She's had a fever, sore throat and bad headache for 2 days.  My usual remedy of Tylenol and prayer has not cured her, so I bit the bullet and took her to the doctor's office.  I hate going to the doctor's office.  Not because I hate the doctor....because I'm a germ-o-phobe and I picture everything there crawling with other people's sicknesses.  Then I picture those sicknesses jumping on the already fevered body of my baby....I only go when I am certain that Tylenol (or Advil, I'm flexible that way) and prayer are clearly not going to work.

So while we were waiting for the swab results to come back.  Girl asked me two questions.  I thought I'd share.

Question one
Girl:  Mom, how come they have condiments at the doctor's office?
Me:  Huh?
Girl:  Condiments.  Why is there a jar of condiments.
Me:  I don't know what in the world you are talking about.
Girl: That jar right there.  It says C-O-N-D-O-M.  So, can I have some condo-mints?
Me:  No. (there is a name in psychology for the ability of the mind to fill in missing letters or lines and believe that they are there -- I don't recall the term, but I saw it in action today)

Question two
Girl:  Mom, why do they use Popsicle sticks here?
Me:  Those aren't Popsicle sticks, those are tongue depressors.
(Pause -- girl is thinking....)
Girl:  Why do they want to make your tongue sad?

She might be burning up, but she's still thinkin'...

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

still laughing -- entirely different topic

I got this sent to me today and I have watched it 3 times.  I'm sharing it, so it can bring you joy, too.

Try watching it first without the sound.  I swear these babies are having a conversation -- possibly about the ice cream in the freezer, possibly about why their parent didn't put pants on them...

Twin babies speaking.

Honestly makes more sense than the conversation I had with DH today....

Monday, May 9, 2011


Saturday night DH and I went to see Them Idiots Whirled Tour starring Bill Engvall, Jeff Foxworthy and Larry the Cable Guy.

I laughed so hard all night that my tummy muscles are still sore today.  I feel like I've done situps for an hour.  They were so funny.  I wish I could remember even half the jokes.  I told DH I am very glad that I don't have bladder control issues, 'cause I wouldn't have been able to handle it.

My favourite joke was from Larry.  You have to hear this with a southern red-neck drawl, so use your imagination.

Larry says, "I was shoppin' at Walmart when 'boom' I hit somethin' and I thought 'crap this is going to cost me tens of dollars.  Then I got lookin' to see what in tar-nation I'd hit.  Well, it was a midget.  I says "geez I'm sorry.  Y'all okay.'  And the midget says 'well, I ain't happy.  So I says 'which one are ya then?"

If you want to escape reality and feel your tummy muscles.  I recommend skipping the sit ups and yoga and go to You Tube to check out Larry, Jeff or Bill.

Two hours with those boys washed away the week before and set me in the right frame of mind for the next

Git 'er done.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Soooo cool

So you know my posts have been spotty lately.  It's 'cause I'm up to my eyeballs in School Law and Leadership courses.

But I have discovered something really cool.  Something I wish I had had in public school.  It would have made life a lot easier.

For my Law course I have a lot of projects that need to be done with a partner. The difficulty is every person in the course also has a full time job in a school that is, of course, not close to mine and they have a life beyond the job and the course.  So how do you collaborate when you can't really meet after school and have milk and cookies?
I started my first paper emailing the work back and forth.  Boy told me this was "the old fashioned" way to do things (boy, he simply does not know "old fashioned!")  Instead he has me on Google Docs.  You find it through Google, of course.  So if I type a document I can add someone else on the document to share.  That way we can both edit or add to the paper whenever we want.  There is also the opportunity to do a chat, if we happen to be on at the same time.  I have written 2 case papers on Google Docs and have not met with my partners once.  Sooo cool.
So amazing.
This internet thing -- it's here to stay, eh?

Monday, May 2, 2011

I regularly visit my favourite blog "Pioneer Woman."  Today she tempted me with a new recipe called "Knock me Naked Brownies."  Knock you naked?  Sounds yummy!

I had a conversation with my DSinLs (Dear Sister in Laws) at Easter.  The conversation was about how rye (or tequila, depending on your preference) has a tendency to make you (them, not me) take their clothes off.

I don't know that I'd streak for rye or tequila.  But I'm thinking that quite possibly these brownies might do it.... I'm a "cheap" drunk....

If you make them, let me know how it turns out.  Unless it's dirty, then I don't want to know.

Sunday, May 1, 2011


Girl and I got up on Friday morning at 5:15am to watch the Royal Wedding.  We oooed and ahhhd and smiled at the bride and groom.  It was a most perfect wedding, from my perspective sitting on my lazy boy in my pjs.  I timed my departure from home and arrival at work so I could see the balcony and the promised kiss.  Then I peeked in on the CBC broadcast periodically throughout the day (don't tell!)

And now I am depressed.

I am obsessed with Kate.  That Kate.  I think Kate might be causing my midlife crisis....

She appears to be near perfect.  I love her hair.  It doesn't frizz and fly.  It is probably its natural colour.  It never looks like a nest.  Also, she is thin and looks good in everything.  Even rubber boots.  She has the best pair of Chanel sunglasses.  She looks really good in skinny jeans -- probably the thin thing again.  Even ridiculous hats look good.  

I am not jealous because she has prince, or a castle, or vast wealth.  Well, maybe the wealth part -- then I could buy Chanel sunglasses too.  I think I am "in envy" 'cause she's young (and thin, and has great hair) and appears calm and poised and elegant; instead of frumpy with crazy hair and a harried self. 

I am obsessed with photos of her which only furthers my depression 'cause that will never be me....


Congratulations Wills and Kate.  I wish you every happiness.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Fine poetry

I wandered through a primary language class the other day.  The kids were writing poems to inanimate objects. 

I wrote this one today in the same format.  I think it's pretty good.

You make my noggin' thump.
It feels like a big lump.
My head is all foggy.
I feel groggy.
I've been hit by a truck.
Headache -- you suck.

I know, I know.  I'm an Edgar Allen Poe just waiting to be discovered. 
(In my defence, my head hurts.)

Monday, April 25, 2011

boy's acronym

Boy went to a hockey game with some friends on Friday.  It is amazing what pre-teen fellows come up with on their own....

He came home to have this conversation with me:
Boy:  Mom, you know how they have LOL and TTYL and stuff, for short forms.
Me:  Uh huh.
Boy:  You know, like "laugh out loud" and "talk to you later."
Me:  impatient because Boy is so sure I am an idiot that he often feels the need to explain the basics to me... Yes.  Yes.  I am familiar with the terms.
Boy:  I have a new one.  giggles.
Me:  uh huh.  suspicious, I know that giggle.
Boy:  PMP.  smiling.
Me:  thinking.  I don't get it.
Boy:  laughing out loud now (that's LOL, you know.)  Poop My Pants!!


Saturday, April 16, 2011

I did something

I did something. 
I started my first course for my Master's degree on April 2.  It is called EDU 635 Ontario School Law.  This is the course work for the class.

Looks a bit daunting, but I don't actually have to read the purple  Education Act, only refer to sections of it.  The red coiled book contains a series of articles, a few short quizzes and some case studies.  I only have to do some of them. 

So.... silly me.  I came home on April 2nd and said to DH "this course wasn't nearly the work I imagined.  I wonder if I should take the second one offered this term and get them both over with."

Now, you have to understand where I was coming from.  I had just finished a winter that involved a child playing hockey 3-5 nights a week (that's well over 20 hours at the arena or driving to and from the arena) plus Girl's figure skating, and riding.  On April 2nd I was a carefree, crazy chick.  I had all the time in the world on April 2nd.  I could do anything!

It's April 16.  I'm an idiot.

Today I started EDU 615 Introduction to Leadership.  This is the course work I got today.  It consists of two binders -- a 2" binder and a 1" binder.  Note that they are both full.  These are all things I have to read before May 27. (Did I mention I also have a full time job, a family and I'm taking EDU 635????)

See this....


See these top 13 pages.  These are my assignments.  My assignments!  13 pages!!
See this.

This is me. 
Freaking out. 
What in the world was I thinking when I tackled this extra class?  Let's be honest; what was I thinking when I took on the first one....
I know what I wasn't thinking.
I wasn't thinking that baseball and horse show season start in a few weeks!!!
Mercy me.