Monthly Archives: March 2016

Sharing My World 56

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Haha! Just messing with you.  I know it’s Thursday. Happy early April Fools Day. Unless the world ends before tomorrow, then the joke is on me.

SHARE YOUR WORLD – 2016 WEEK 13

Are you left or right-handed?

I am right-handed but I like to practice doing things with my left hand just in case the right one ever wears out or goes missing.  This is a sign of a great worrier, thinking up obscure and unlikely events and preparing for them.  Or worrying because I’m not prepared for them at all.

If you had only one TV, would you prefer the TV in the living room or another room?

We do have only one TV.  It is in the basement.  I like it there, away from the rest of the house where I can’t hear it.  Most commercials  (and all advertising) drive me nuts.  I am near-sighted and don’t like wearing my glasses, and I don’t hear well.  So I watch TV shows up close on my iPad, with subtitles.  If there was no television in the house I don’t think I’d miss it much.

Have you ever participated in a distance walking, swimming, running, or biking event? Tell your story.

Yes I have!  It was twenty years ago and I walked 15 kilometres for the Children’s Miracle Network, or some such similar worthy cause.  The details are fuzzy after all this time, but I definitely recall the 15 km part vividly.  The choices were to do 5, 7, or 15.  When we got to the 7 km point my coworker (who was the one who decided to do the damned walk in the first place) wanted to stop, but I said what the hell, we’ve come this far, let’s do the whole thing.  Our second mistake was sitting on the ground and taking our shoes off to eat a snack when we made it to the end.  We couldn’t get our shoes back on and we couldn’t get up.  We found it hysterically funny that we might have to crawl to the parking lot and drive home in sock feet.  Physical exhaustion does weird things to your sense of humour.

It didn’t come to that, but there’s a reason I’ve never attempted such a long trek since.  It took days for my muscles to recover.  And there’s a reason why sane people do a lot of training beforehand.  I get it now.

Complete this sentence: Love is… .

Love is hard work and rarely perfect, but worth it anyway.  I don’t think I’ve ever used a bible quote here before, but I quite like this one.

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Bonus question: What are you grateful for from last week, and what are you looking forward to in the week coming up?

I have chosen four colours for my house and not one of them is yellow!  Well, okay, one of them sort of is but it’s called coconut milk so it doesn’t count.  The back entrance is small and poorly lit and needs serious lightening up.  Coconut milk should work.  I’m grateful that we’ve made a start with white ceiling and trim paint too.  Maybe we’ll need sunglasses back there after this.  Instead of a flashlight.

My medical procedures continue (blah) but I’m grateful this last CT scan on Tuesday was at our new local hospital.  What a great place!  Even though it took three people five tries to find a vein for the contrast dye, I’m impressed with the facility.  It’s a ten minute drive from home and beats the hassle of going into the city.  Had my three-month blood work done today and had to explain my bruises but got poked only once this time.  Little things like this make me curiously happy.

As for next week, who knows?  I have lots to keep me busy, but ever fewer excuses to ignore the art room.  Back to that soon I hope.  Meanwhile, this old house continues to endure its facelift.

Yay for April!

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Sharing My World 55

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On the first day of spring I started to share my world with the normal world but I got seriously sidetracked, much like the girl on the right.  You know, doing extremely important shit.  But look at me now, having put things off but not given up on them entirely and at last, on Spring Day Four, here we go.

SHARE YOUR WORLD – 2016 WEEK 12

Wanting something to quench your thirst, what would you drink?

Like someone I knew a long time ago, you might THINK there is some magic potion other than water which quenches your thirst, but you would be deluded.  My friends choice at the time was Pepsi.  I suggested it satisfied her desire for sugar and caffeine and had very little to do with thirst, but she would not be persuaded.  This happens sometimes, me being incredibly smart and the other person refusing to have a clue. The reason I have held on to this particular memory might simply be because it’s a rare thing of course.  Me being totally right about something.

Anyway, my final answer is water with no weird things added to it.  I mean seriously, does anyone crave coffee in the desert?

What made you feel good this past week?

Being ALONE.  I would not crave aloneness in the desert either,  but I often crave it here in my house.  On Sunday morning W left for Ontario where he will visit his parents for a couple of weeks.  I don’t think he was gone an hour before I had created a colossal mess taking wallpaper off the back door entrance-way and down the basement steps.  I removed trim and nails and a bit of stucco ceiling by mistake and there was nobody looking over my shoulder being helpful or critical or freaked out by the chaos.  It made me happy to stop abruptly at any random point when the mood hit me and wander off to do something else.  Or nothing else.  I have actually been doing a lot of that these past few days with minimum guilt.

This type of little euphoric pause in being a responsible functioning adult with normal sleeping and eating patterns doesn’t last long and then I will be happy to have someone around to talk to again.  Meanwhile, alone is very okay.

When you’re alone at home, do you wear shoes, socks, slippers, or go barefoot?

Barefoot was always my choice until my feet started to wear out.  Now I wear neon pink flip-flops until my feet get cold and I am forced to change into gigantic fuzzy socks.  When I go outside, even just to empty the garbage, I try to put on some shoes that are half-assed normal. Or go with my nightgown.  Because, you know, neighbors.

Would you rather live where it is always hot or always cold?

When it’s very hot I am even more lethargic than normal and would probably wilt and die without air conditioning.  When it’s very cold at least there’s the option of gigantic fuzzy clothing to get warmed up.

Either way the “always” part would be hard to like. Variety is nice, like snowfall on the second day of spring or rain in the middle of winter.  I don’t know how else to start a conversation with a stranger unless there’s weird weather on which to comment.

Bonus question: What are you grateful for from last week, and what are you looking forward to in the week coming up?

My daughter has offered to paint our house, ceilings and all, and I have finally made a decision on where to start.  Soon our house will be paper free!  Taking the wallpaper off in the entryway has made me remember why I put it up there in the first place.  It covered a multitude of wall flaws in a hurry.  Time to repair them properly.

I know that once one area is all cleaned up with a fresh coat of paint it’s impossible to stop until the next room is done, and the next one and the next one…..  I am grateful to have help, with my most important duty being colour selection.  Truthfully, I’m willing to hand that one over to her as well since so far all I’ve been able to pick out is sixteen different shades of yellow.

The best part of all is taking ten decorative things off the walls and then putting only two back up.  I don’t know if I can do it, but I’m going to try.

The funniest thing that happened this week (I am always grateful for funny things) is the furnace maintenance guy doing his yearly check up on our heating system and wondering why we had set the furnace to half heat.  I said I didn’t know what that meant so he explained about dual versus single and completely lost me in furnace-speak.   He thinks someone must have been randomly pushing buttons on the thermostat and he had to reset everything including the clock.  Okay, that part I understand.  And I was able to blame it totally on W because he’s not here to defend himself.  Bonus.  I am never touching the thermostat again.  It will be forever 19 degrees celsius day and night in all seasons until we die.  One less decision to make.

Okay!  Back to the wallpaper!  Although what’s the point now, might as well wait until tomorrow.  Or the weekend.  It’s not going anywhere.

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What Makes Things Go

imageMy big brother was always interested in things that ran, things with wheels, mechanical and motorized and intricately put together devices and how they functioned.  He loved mechanical sets and model airplanes and taking things apart to discover how they were assembled in the first place.  My dad often said if anybody could figure out how something worked it was him.

He wasn’t always a hundred percent successful.  I had an alarm clock with a face painted in a woodsy scene with two little elves moving up and down on a teeter- totter with each tick-tock.  I begged him to leave it alone.  And then one day, there it was, in a million pieces with my brother poring over the parts, happily working away on something that wasn’t broken until he decided to fix it.  The little elves never played on that see-saw again.

Not surprisingly, with all that practice, he became an amazing mechanic.  We learned to never ask him anything about our vehicles unless we wanted to listen to an hours worth of baffling diagnostic mechanical information.  Once he warmed to his subject there was no shutting him down.  Might as well grab a coffee and try to keep up with your eyes open.

There are a few of photos of me as a child with a cat draped over my shoulder.  It’s a mystery to me why a kid thinks a cat needs to be picked up and carted about, or why a cat allows it.  We always had outside barn cats, never house cats until we were adults.  I was afraid of dogs for a long time with a recurring nightmare of a big black dog chasing me.  No idea where that came from.  Anyway, there I am, confused by how happy my brother is to be making a little wooden tricycle go when there are cats to be lugged around.

Often we had cats of unknown origin on the farm.  They may have migrated from other farms close by or been dropped off in the country as discarded city pets.  They kept the rodent population in check and more or less looked after themselves.  Once we had a litter of all white kittens which we happily named Snow, Snowflake, Snowball, Sugar, Winter…every white thing we could think of.  They all ended up being called “one of those white cats” because we couldn’t tell them apart.  Later we progressed to more sophisticated cat names such as Spooky, Pooky, Donovan and Trigere.

In his last years on the farm dad had two almost identically marked cats he called Daryl and Other Brother Daryl.  He claimed to know one from the other, but I’m skeptical about that.

Despite all the cats, or maybe because of them, I never became a cat lady.  Although I suppose there’s still time for that to happen, if I ever get to missing a big furry body purring in my face.  My brother had dogs as pets his whole life.  Could be, compared to cats, it’s just much more interesting to figure out what makes a dog tick.

Sharing My World 54

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Weekend Artwork by Littlest Granddaughter

SHARE YOUR WORLD – 2016 WEEK 11

How many siblings do you have? What’s your birth order?

My brother was born first, followed by me three years later, followed by my sister another three years later, and six years after that, baby sister, spoiled by her siblings.  So I am a middle child, one of three girls, nobody special.  Or incredibly special, I can’t decide.

In a car would you rather drive or be a passenger?

I don’t mind being a passenger, feeling free to let my mind wander or to fall asleep or to give directions or to wonder out loud why we are taking this particularly stupid route.  Well, that’s only when W is behind the wheel.  I don’t mind driving by myself, but I do not like having passengers when I’m driving.  Probably because I’m such a bad passenger/back seat driver myself and also because I like to talk to other drivers on the road without anyone hearing the dumb things I say.  Plus I take wrong turns all the time and nobody needs to know that.

When you lose electricity in a storm, do you light the candles or turn on the flashlight? How many of each do you own?

All W’s flashlights are downstairs in the dark, but I have candles and matches everywhere.  Some family member asked me once why W has so many flashlights and I didn’t know the answer to that one because, like I said, they’re all downstairs somewhere in the dark and I wouldn’t know where to look for them.  I have a little pen sized flashlight in my makeup bag for some obscure reason, and I used to have a light thing dangling from my keys but I don’t know what happened to it.  I never used it because there’s an interior light in the car and the porch light is always on at our back door and I can’t think of a single time I needed to use my keys in the dark.

I’m not sure why I have this uncanny ability to turn the answer to a simple question into a rambling essay.  I light candles.  We own many.

List at least five of your favorite types of animal (any animal to domestic to wild to marine life)

Lions, tigers, elephants, giraffes, zebras.  In a previous life I lived in Africa.  Or a zoo.  Or the circus.

Bonus question: What are you grateful for from last week, and what are you looking forward to in the week coming up?

This weekend our eldest grandson attended a special wrestling development clinic at the U of A for wrestlers who got medals at the Alberta Winter Games.  We are incredibly proud of him for doing so well in a sport he’s only just started.

Youngest grandson got to go to an Oilers hockey game, and even though his team “got destroyed” as he explained it, he had a great time.

The girls and I went to see the Zootopia movie in 3D.  Because those special glasses are to die for.  You can pop out the lenses and wear them home.  And the movie was great fun!  They were especially giggly about the sloths.

I put a border on the above artwork by Madison and I’m going to put it up somewhere more important than the fridge.  I love that she made it so colourful and happy.

Not sure what I’m looking forward to in particular this week, but in general, spring.  And summer.  And all the snow disappearing.  Just normal every day stuff.  No crazy wishes or expectations.  I’m happy to keep waking up in the morning.

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Sew Saturday

I’m not actually doing any sewing today, I just like alliteration.  And I used to sew using purchased McCalls and Simplicity patterns, and I found this hilariously funny.  I don’t know, blame it on lack of sleep.  Or how strange these outfits are.

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I’m not even kidding, we used to wear those bloomer type get ups in gym in high school.
Be thankful those went the way of the dinosaur, and have a fun weekend.

Smile

imageNo, this is not a poster for toothpaste.  Or one for striped shirts or vintage wallpaper, although it could be all of those things.  It’s a Friday flashback to the 1950’s.

In which my mothers face says….

  • OMG I have two children, both dressed and with their hair combed!
  • Did I comb my own hair?  I can’t remember. I will smile BIG and no one will notice!
  • Please hurry up and press the shutter button so I can blink my burning eyes!

Of course I don’t know if she was thinking any of those things.  But she does look like a typical slightly frazzled mom, ready to jump up and get back to the million things she’s in the middle of doing.

The room was in our house, or my grandmas, or my aunts, or some other relatives;  I’m too small to remember any of it, or what is so fascinating somewhere up there on the ceiling.

I do remember how popular wainscotting was though.  Beautiful dark wood paneling half way up the walls.  I’m sure my grandma had it in her kitchen, so maybe that’s where we were.  But it was everywhere.  Perfect for banging your kitchen chairs or other furniture against without damaging the walls or wallpaper.  Not a great drawing surface for kids.

One of my mothers favourite qualities in any household item was its ability to “not show the dirt”.  Her choices for walls and floors and upholstery were firmly based on that.  She was aghast when my sister put champagne coloured carpet in her living/dining room.  It didn’t last long after their kids came along, but it was gorgeous when it was new.

And where has the house dress gone?  All the ladies I knew when I was growing up wore nothing but dresses for every occasion, covered up with an apron if they were doing something messy, to keep them nice.  They also covered up the good furniture with slip covers.  And put their out of season clothes in zipped up garment bags with moth balls.

We are influenced by the past, although I never once felt the urge to do housework in a dress.  I have a sort of faux wainscotting in my kitchen with dark paint on the bottom, light on the top, and a wallpaper border to separate them.  The spare room in the last house my parents owned was done up in green and white ivy wallpaper.  Maybe some things just never get old.  Although maybe they should.

Little kids in striped shirts with big smiles and a doting mom – that’s timeless.

Sharing My World 53

From "Vintage Life" on Facebook
From “Vintage Life” on Facebook

Hello Thursday my old friend,

I’ve come to post on you again….

Oookay…..Now that’s out of my head and in to yours I can get on with it.

SHARE YOUR WORLD – 2016 WEEK 10

What would you ask for if a genie granted you three wishes?

Here’s  the thing with genies.  Their brains don’t function the same as ours do.  This makes wishing a dangerous thing.  Wishes backfire.

Ever hear the one about the guy who wished he were married to a much younger woman and POOF!  The genie made him a hundred years old?  That’s what I’m talking about.  Wishes should come with legal advice and three pages of terms and conditions, and still there’s no guarantee the genie will get it right.

So I would be cautious and sceptical and out of luck it there’s a time limit.  I often wish for hard things I’m going through in my life to be over with, and then hope I won’t get run over by a bus for it to come true.  I would like not to worry about stuff, but sometimes worry is a subtle warning, or a gentle push in the right direction.  And then there’s happiness.  Impossible to appreciate unless you’ve known sadness.  Good health and prosperity might be nice but I’d have to explore the loopholes, and hold back my last wish to be able to reverse the first two in case they were disappointing.

See why I never get anything done??

What experiences are most meaningful to you?

Learning experiences.  I suppose that encompasses every experience I’ve ever had, although some of them were more enlightening than others. With other people or on your own, there’s worlds to be discovered. Even our dream experiences teach us something.  Last night in my sleep I was driving a big cumbersome vehicle with a standard transmission, slowly rolling backwards into pitch black night, pumping the clutch instead of the brake.  Finally got my feet untangled and got stopped without hitting anything.  I felt relieved and quite confident that I could find first gear and climb back up.  But we will never know for sure because the stress of it all woke me up.  This week my life has felt like its rolling backwards into oblivion.  But it’s probably not.  My dream self knows this I guess.

As a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up?

Well about three bazillion grown ups asked me that question and would not accept “I don’t know” for an answer.  So I made shit up.  The fact is, I STILL DON’T KNOW.

Complete this sentence: The best day of my life was….

…..staring back at me from the future.  The best is yet to come.  If you don’t believe that, why are you still here?

Bonus question: What are you grateful for from last week, and what are you looking forward to in the week coming up?

It is really, really hard for me to be grateful for all the medical attention I’m getting these days because I hate it.  The CT scan showed the bothersome inflammation in my neck has increased in size and that means a referral to yet another specialist and more needle biopsies.  They seem determined to find something and I live in constant fear that they will.  Maybe I’ll ask the genie to make me a hypochondriac so I can get a kick out of all this messing around.

This weekend the northern relatives will be here.  Some are going to watch the Oilers play the Coyotes, and the rest of us more sane ones will maybe go to a movie.

This is the weekend we spring ahead an hour, and that means Spring is getting closer.  That reminds me, I forgot to stock up on allergy meds today while I was out.  So I will simply be grateful for having a reason to go out again in the sunshine tomorrow.

Hope you’re having a fabulous week!

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This, That, or the Other Thing

Peacock, Giraffe or Glass of something bubbly? Decisions, decisions....
Peacock, Giraffe or Glass of something bubbly? Decisions, decisions….

The game of “This or That” can be extremely frustrating with its limited choices, don’t you think?   I find myself considering the two things and thinking ‘well, it depends…’ and wishing there were a third option.  So I made up my own game with the addition of ‘other’.

  1. Pancakes/Waffles/Crêpes Suzette
  2. Truth/Dare/Don’t Even Ask
  3. Stripes/Polka Dots/The Family Tartan Plaid
  4. White Wine/Red Wine/Double Harvey Wallbanger
  5. Black Coffee/Coffee with Cream and Sugar/Triple Venti Half Sweet Non Fat Caramel Macchiato
  6. Drive/Fly/Hot Air Balloon
  7. Jogging/Hiking/Sky Diving
  8. Ferris Wheel/Roller Coaster/Drop of Doom
  9. Gift Wrap/Gift Bag/Gift Card in a Plain White Envelope
  10. Dogs/Cats/Pygmy Goats
  11. Baby Doll/Teddy Bear/Voodoo Doll
  12. Make a Plan/Be Spontaneous/Fly by the Seat of Your Pants
  13. Roller Skates/Roller Blades/Roller Derby
  14. Phone Call/Text/Hand Written Note on Expensive Stationery
  15. Marathon/Sprint/Watching it all on TV
  16. Doctor/Dentist/Holistic Naturopath
  17. Cake/Pie/Brazilian Chocolate Brigadeiro
  18. See the Future/Change the Past/Live in the Moment
  19. Singer/Dancer/Circus Acrobat
  20. Piano/Guitar/Bagpipes

The purpose of these questions is supposedly getting to know someone, so let’s take it a step further and conduct a scientific analysis, like they do in those quizzes on Facebook.

If you picked mostly first answers, you are pretty predictable and, let’s face it, rather boring.  However, you are also calm, careful and charismatic.  (It’s always best to say something nice in these conclusions so people won’t hate your quiz and call it garbage.)

If you picked mostly second answers it means you take the time to consider the options and don’t just grab on to the first thing that pops up.  You are adventurous, warm-hearted and optimistic.  Seriously, your answers did indicate all that, I didn’t just make it up.

If the majority of your answers were of the ‘other’ variety, holy moly, you are just plain weird.  And by that I mean imaginative, mysterious and bordering on brilliant.  But mostly just plain weird.

Well, this nonsense is making me want to go take some REAL Facebook quizzes and find out who I was in another life and what kind of chocolate I most resemble based on my zodiac sign.  Important stuff.

Hope your Saturday is enlightening and fun.  But mostly fun. With a little weird thrown in.

Grandmas Were Not Always Grandmas

imageThis is my maternal grandmother, born in 1887.  Isn’t she gorgeous?  I’m guessing this picture was taken in her late teens or early twenties before she was married.  In the right lower corner there is a ghost hand about which she doesn’t appear to be overly concerned.  We believe the original photo was cut in half , so whoever was sitting opposite her remains a mystery.

I love her tidy dark hair, the high collared blouse and her high-waisted skirt.  That pensive gaze rivals the Mona Lisa.

And here she is, some seventy years later.

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Still gorgeous, still smiling, but with a little less hair to pull back with pins.  She is posing with my brother, my sisters and me (on the right), four of her twelve grandchildren.  After this fleeting moment in time she had a lot more years of her life left to live.  An unforgettable lady.

“The more we love the more we lose. The more we lose the more we learn. The more we learn the more we love. It comes full circle. Life is the school, love is the lesson. We cannot lose.”
― Kate McGahan