Monthly Archives: March 2012

Pictures Worth Many Thousand Words




The birthday girl gets a pedicure.  (We all did!)  (Except the guys.)  Her birthday dinner request was for turkey and stuffing and all the trimmings.  So we’re all stuffed.  And we have amazingly beautiful feet.

Birthday Weekend Begins

It’s been a long day, but I’m managing to squeeze in a post before the 30th of March is gone forever for another year!  Drove through the city during morning rush hour to my daughters, packed up the car, stopped for coffee (we do have our priorities) and headed north.  It’s a surprisingly shorter trip when she drives.  Not to mention very relaxed for me.  We’ve had a lovely meal and some excellent wine and and are all pumped for the birthday celebration tomorrow.

This is how thrilled one of my grandsons was to see me.  He looked up for long enough to make his head look blurry in the picture and then he had to get back to his game.  He also has his priorities all sorted out.

We are a family obsessed with electronic gadgets!  All of us have been sitting in the living room playing “Draw Something” on our phones and I-Pads.  Parlour games have morphed into something very far removed from checkers and monopoly.  The penny is being phased out and so is cursive writing.  (One of these days my lists on paper will be something for the museums and the archives.)  I should try harder not to misplace so many of them.

Every time I see these kids I’m amazed at how they’re growing up. Time is flying by.  Impossible to slow things down so I guess  I’ll just try to get a good grip on things and hold on for the ride.

My Tax Return is Filed!

Electronically!  Via Turbo Tax!  What a stupid name.  Nothing irritates me more or puts me in worse humor than having to complete my income taxes every spring.  Usually I put it off until the end of April (because why should the government get my money before I’m good and ready to part with it) and spend about 60 days (prior to actually sitting down and figuring it out)  dithering and stewing and brooding about it.

Today I got it done.  And yes, I think I do deserve huge rewards and medals and commendations.  Or at the very least some words of praise.  Which I will no doubt have to think up for myself because no one else really cares, except maybe the revenue people, and they only pay attention if you DON’T get it done. This year I’m finished with it a month early because I’m going away and I didn’t want all that anguish to accompany me on my holiday.  So now I have over thirty fret-free pre-tax deadline days.  Wow.  I could get a real head start on next year.  And I could work out some kind of system for all the receipts and deductions and paperwork, but I always have plans to get right on that and then never really do.  I put a label on a file folder and then wonder a year later why there’s nothing in it.

Tomorrow I’m leaving with my daughter and grandaughter to go visit the cousins and celebrate a couple of spring birthdays and maybe we’ll toss in some Easter festivities as well.  Just for the weekend, and then back home and then off to Ontario for two weeks to see my brother and sisters and other miscellaneous relatives.  The furnace should be all installed early next week, and the renovations at work in our department should be finished by the time I return.  And the grass should be green and the leaves should be out and the lawn people should be hard at work on our yard.  And W will be off to the island for the summer having officially retired.  Again.

I will be hauling my lap top with me everywhere I go, as well as my phone and my camera, so no one I meet will be safe from turning up in this blog.  I hope to gawd they’re more interesting than taxes.

Dandelions for Dinner

Somebody told me that March 28th is Spring Cleaning Day.  I’m just going to pretend I don’t know that.  A thorough cleaning of the entire house from top to bottom, letting in fresh air and sunshine and sweeping out all that winter dust – just thinking about it exhausts me.  Besides, the weather here is not co-operating, really.  Thank you weather.  It’s overcast and a bit foggy and only plus one, and not nearly windy enough to blow the cobwebs away.  So I’ll just add spring cleaning to my long list of things to put off indefinitely.  Or at least until the snow is gone and the dandelions arrive.  Although indefinitely is preferable in this case.

A few days ago I got a copy of Canadian Health and Lifestyle magazine in my mailbox.  I’m sure somewhere there was an explanation as to why, but if I saw it I don’t remember what it said.  What a depressing bunch of articles.  Now I’m sure I have early dementia, diabetes, parkinson’s disease, respiratory problems, and all kinds of lethal deficiencies from not eating enough vegetables.  And I’m almost convinced that I have been completely brainwashed when it comes to carbs.  Plus, my electronic devices are zapping the life out of me.  And as if all that’s not enough to make you suicidal, they sneak in the suggestion that we should all be eating delightful delicious dandelions. That’s where they lost me completely.

dandelion article

There’s the link, in case you think I made that up, and in case there’s a remote possibility that you might feel like whipping up some Dandelion Syrup to go with your buckwheat pancakes.  Or whatever kind of pancakes don’t give you dementia.

I’m going to get back to re-reading the Hunger Games trilogy – it’s way more cheery.

House of Money

I did not know there was a Zodiacal House of Money.  Perhaps this is why I am not rich.  Or there could be other reasons for that too.  Anyway, here’s what the stars are telling me on this 27th day of March.

Today the Moon enters your Zodiacal house of money, Taurus, and this month’s visit begins with a lot of financial activity. You’ll really have to be careful about spending, because the Moon forms an astrological pattern known as a T-Square that affects your financial axis, and the way it is situated in your Solar Chart, you’re more likely to let go of more money than you take in. Don’t get excited about any kind of speculative venture, and avoid spending on recreation or gifts for children or lovers.

HA!  You’re way too late with that financial advice my little astrological friends.  We’re comitted to the new furnace, I’m getting only holiday pay for a month, my shopaholic grandaughter is visiting, and I really really really needed that huge notepad with a picture of coffee on the cover and random coffee beans on every lined page, and the sparkly brown gel pen that came with it, so there’s really nothing I can do now about that very random purchase.  And there might have been a couple other ones in there that have conveniently slipped my mind.

There’s already Hunger Games merchandise at a few stores, and I could not resist purchasing the parody.  I read it last night, so if you’re looking for a much quicker less serious story, this one could be for you.

I’m not even kidding, I did not notice the dead mocking jay until I’d finished reading the book.  It’s a nice touch.  Again, I think you have to read the original book to appreciate this one and it’s warped humor.

The random word generator has prompted me to complete the sentence “Life is like……” using the following sets of words.

butterfly, concrete, paradise

pub, stars, dish

Rather than have my head hurt for longer than absolutely necessary, I’ll just use them all at once and get it over with.

Life is like a butterfly in paradise, flittering and fluttering high above the concrete, searching and reaching for the stars; and then somehow getting distracted by the local pub and a dish of peanuts and taking the night off from all that flitting around because seriously, the stars aren’t going anywhere, so what’s your rush.

That was deep.  I should try writing a philosophy book.  Maybe someone else could figure out the hidden meanings for me.  But I can’t start it today because I’m pretty sure that would come under the heading of ‘speculative ventures.’

And finally, as my dad always used to say, money is absolutely no good to you at all unless you spend it.  Mind you, I don’t remember him ever going on about the value of coffee note pads, but I’m sure he’d agree I’ll get more use out of that than I would from having a ten dollar bill just sitting there on my desk.  So life is good in spite of that ominous T-Square on my solar chart. Or maybe even because of it, who really knows.

We Saw the Hunger Games Movie!

And yes, we are still pumped and talking about that!  The movie opened here on Friday but we weren’t brave enough to try to get in to see it until yesterday (Sunday) afternoon.  Turned out to be perfect timing – one show was just sold out and starting and we were twenty minutes from the next one with no crowds to contend with, at the ticket counter or at the concession stand!  When we came out two and a half hours later the place was jam packed with a line up waiting to get into the theatre we were leaving.  There have been shows every twenty to thirty minutes every day since it started.

What an excellent movie!  It’s been a long time since I read the books and I know how difficult it is to develop a lot of characters in such a short time, but they did an admirable job with the main ones.  Of course there’s stuff missing, and a few changes, but all added up it’s a laudible interpretation of book one of the trilogy.

The casting for Katniss Everdeen, Peeta Mellark and Gale Hawthorne (Jennifer Lawrence, Josh Hutcherson and Liam Hemsworth) was brilliant.  There was no disappointment for me from book to screen.  And Woody Harrelson as Haymitch Abernathy – priceless.  I’m not as sold on President Snow being played by Donald Sutherland because he just doesn’t come across as evil enough  for me.  Perhaps he’ll get more diabolical as the series progresses.  Which means I’m hoping for sequels.

This is what the movie making people have to contend with as far as characters go:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_The_Hunger_Games_characters

What a daunting task.  I’m glad I read the books first, but it’s a great movie on it’s own.  We were a little concerned that there would be way too much violence (blood and guts and explosions and death scenes), but all kidding aside, the previews for the movies coming up were more horrific than the main feature.  I asked Kenzie to sum it up for me in one sentence and she said “It was awesome.”

I’m just going to agree with that.

Waffling

It’s International Waffle Day!  The name comes from Vårfrudagen (“Our Lady’s Day”), which in vernacular Swedish sounds almost like Våffeldagen (waffle day), according to Wikipedia. When you’re eating all those blueberry waffles drowned in buttery syrup today, or waffling about whether or not you want to be bothered with breakfast at all, it’s good to remember you have exactly nine months worth of shopping days left before Christmas.

I’ve never had any luck at all with waffle making, except maybe for the kind you pop in your toaster, and apparently that’s the worst kind of cheating.  No good at crepes either, but my pancakes are passable.  And by that I mean they pass the grandchildren test – perhaps not the most discerning gourmets on earth, but I’ll take praise wherever I can get it.

It’s a gloomy overcast windy day, but definitely mild, and definitely NOT snowing, so no complaints here.  Rain would be a nice touch, but not the freezing kind.  Just the snow obliterating version, please.

And now for a crazy word challenge, because I have nothing better to do, and if you’re reading this, apparently you don’t either.  These are the words the generator generated, and I’m going to use them all in one brilliant sentence because I don’t have the time or the ambition for anything more complicated right now.

  • mermaid
  • pub
  • limit
  • violin
  • metal detector
  • credit card
  • shorts
  • Texas

There’s a limit to the number of things a shorts wearing Texas Mermaid employee can dredge up with her metal detector in one afternoon, and a treasure worth as much as some priceless violin was apparently not in the cards for her today, so she resigned herself to the fact that it would be yet another credit card night at the pub, praying that the card hadn’t gone to its limit, and hoping for a more lucrative beach combing day tomorrow.

So, before you criticize the hell out of that, just be happy it wasn’t a whole STORY you had to wade through where you’re waiting for some kind of point to be made and then realize there isn’t one.

I’m off to start enjoying this last week of March, but I’m not doing it with waffles.  I find myself with a dog that needs walking (and a hamster that’s passed out after running on his little treadmill all night long) and a granddaughter who probably should be doing something other than playing games on my IPhone.  Although I do appreciate that she has improved a lot of my scores and reached some new levels for me.  Maybe today we’ll go to see “The Hunger Games” which opened here on Friday.  We’ve been waiting for the crowds to thin a bit.  Popcorn beats waffles in  my book any day.

House of Secrets

There’s a lot going on in your Solar Chart’s house of secrets and self created problems today, Taurus. There may be some kind of backroom or underhanded deal going on around you; if you have a reason to distrust someone, or even information that lets you know about their plans, don’t lash out. The Moon/Saturn opposition puts the ball in their court. Very shortly afterward, the Sun/Uranus conjunction occurs in the same house, and this is a combination that can bring out the truth or turn the tide. Hold on to your temper.

Mood: Calm Your Daily Lucky Color: Yellow

Why do these people keep saying my problems are self created?  I thought the whole point of planet and star alignment was for us to have something other than ourselves to blame for everything that goes wrong in our lives.  No worries, I can stay calm and hold on to my temper and freak out about it tomorrow.

We’ve had two days of spring snowfall.  When I left work on Thursday night I had to brush piles of snow off my car with my arms because the snow brush has gone missing.  I opened the door to turn on the windshield wipers and they dumped a bunch of snow into the door pockets and all over the lock and window controls, and then there was all that snow all over me that ended up in the front seat.  Then I practically got stuck in our driveway!  I stopped to pick up the paper recycle bag that was half burried in a snow drift (more snow for the cars interior, this time in the back seat).  The tires were spinning on the ice so I had to back up and straighten out and get up some speed, but not too much because we can’t afford a new garage door right now.

I hope this is the last dump of snow that sticks around for any length of time. It’s not so hard to take if it melts as fast as it falls.  The sun is shining like mad today so that looks promising.

We’re in the process of having our furnace replaced with a new and improved efficient one that will save us money on our heating bills, and pay for itself by the time we’re in our nineties.  We opted out of getting central air, because in this gawd forsaken part of the country it never gets that hot.  But we are getting a Humidity System and an Air Cleaning System.   Secret weapons against allergens.  I hope they help.  Next up I suppose will be new windows, which W has been going on about for several years.  Once we do all these improvements I am NEVER LEAVING.  As in selling this place.  I want to be here in my nineties all smug about the furnace having paid for itself at last.  I should write that down somewhere, because who knows what I won’t remember by that point in my life.

It’s spring break here and I’ve got not only one grandaughter but one jack russel terrier and one hamster named Henry staying with me for a few days.  We stayed up too late and slept in too long, so it’s been a good start to my little holiday.  More excitement to come I’m sure.  Maybe even pictures.  Of such fascinating things as breakfast at noon and trips to Walmart and the movie theatre.  It’s the best kind of vacation there is.

Half Blood Blues

I’m almost finished reading “Half Blood Blues” by Esi Edugyan.  Here’s what the goodreads website has to say about it:

Berlin, 1939. A young, brilliant trumpet-player, Hieronymus, is arrested in a Paris cafe. The star musician was never heard from again. He was twenty years old. He was a German citizen. And he was black.
Fifty years later, Sidney Griffiths, the only witness that day, still refuses to speak of what he saw. When Chip Jones, his friend and fellow band member, comes to visit, recounting the discovery of a strange letter, Sid begins a slow journey towards redemption.
From the smoky bars of pre-war Berlin to the salons of Paris, Sid leads the reader through a fascinating, little-known world, and into the heart of his own guilty conscience.
Half-Blood Blues is an electric, heart-breaking story about music, race, love and loyalty, and the sacrifices we ask of ourselves, and demand of others, in the name of art.

It’s no fast paced thrilling page turner, so it definitely fits the bill if you’re looking for a book to relax with while you’re actually learning something about a whole different era.

Invisible Boxes

Today is Marcel Marceau’s birthday, world’s best known mime.  (I’ve just been reminded of how much I hate playing charades.)  And that’s also made me think of a woman I talked to yesterday who said she hears better with her glasses on.  We do seem to express and understand each other better using all of our senses at once, and body language is a great communicator.  Any time you narrow communication down to just a phone call or just a text message something is bound to be lost or go missing.  Virtual hugs are just not the same as the real ones.

All my life I’ve had selective hearing and been able to tune things (or people) out;  sort of like being able to put myself in my own little invisible sound proof box.  It’s a talent that has it’s up and down sides.  Lately I’ve been blissfully ignoring things I should be paying attention to without any conscious effort on my part.  And that’s called getting progressively more deaf.  I suppose I should go and have my hearing tested again and see how many more sound wave lengths have been added to my list of the ones I am unable to detect.  I’m still happily in denial most of the time, believing that people mumble a lot, especially if I’m not looking at them.

We had a young girl with MS come in for an eye exam last night.  She walked unsteadily with a cane, and had one of us fill out her paperwork for her because she finds it difficult to write legibly.  She was cheerful and upbeat and described some of her challenges and visual problems with humor and a smile.  I got the feeling that any kind of pity from us would not be appreciated and that she wanted to be treated like anyone else.  I thnik it’s important to respect that there are a lot of people out there whose personal  invisible boxes are strong ones and that they’re not comfortable sharing what’s inside them with the rest of the world.  Then there’s the rest of the population who thrive on attention and bare their souls to anybody who will listen.  I’ve had people sit down and tell me things I have no business knowing.  Apparently I have a tuned out stare that gets mistaken for rapt attention.

I have one more shift to get through and then I can officially GOOF OFF, celebrating International Goof Off Day a day late.  Because it is actually today, not tomorrow.  Or if you’re me, it’s pretty much every day of the year, so it’s okay to put it off, especially if you’re going to be celebrating it more than once.

It’s not that I don’t get anything done – I do.  But I’ve learned to take a lot of breaks, before, during and after the fact.  It’s always good to step back and look at the big picture.  If you step back far enough you’ll lose sight of why it was so damned important, and after another step or two you might even forget why you had to do it at all.  If it’s worth doing, it will probably keep until tomorrow.  Unless it’s an unpaid bill with a due date on it, in which case goofing off should be your second choice.

Spring allergies are a really good excuse to sit inside with a box of tissues and a good book if that’s your preferred method of goofing off.  Try to save the really explosive sneezes for whenever someone else is within hearing distance.  Like your spouse, who thinks you’re just sitting around doing nothing when you’re actually SUFFERING TERRIBLY and can’t get up to do something so mundane as preparing dinner.  Or you could just pretend you didn’t hear him come home.  Mime being trapped in an invisible box.  Leave some fast food coupons on the table where dinner usually appears.  If he’s hungry enough he’ll figure it out.

And THAT reminds me, although I’m not sure why, that I need to find the list I made two days ago and have been adding to and ignoring, so that I can add a couple more things to it and actually go shopping after work tonight instead of deciding to go home and goof off and do it tomorrow.  Being a responsible adult is such a pain I don’t know why anyone aspires to become one.  But I shall fight my way out of my invisible box of procrastination.  The sooner I get things done, the sooner I can get back to seriously goofing off.