Wolf Moon in a Snow Storm

Well that looks more like a wolf in a forest fire or hot lava. Or Mars. Oh well.

Every two or three days I get a reminder from Word Press, all cheery and motivational. ”It’s time to blog on Breathing Space!” Do something constructive while you’re sitting there on your ass, you lazy little twit! That last bit is inferred of course. I like to read a lot of bizarre extras into innocent things. It gets progressively more difficult to ignore these pesky notifications without guilt, so here I am at last. In my defence it HAS been less than a month since my last bit of blather, and it IS January after all. Both excellent excuses, right? I’m making a new rule for myself. No blogging in January until the month is more than halfway over. Also this rule is subject to revision like all my other life rules.

Tonight is the night of the Wolf Moon! I am so excited! First full moon of the New Year! We also have a snow storm warning today so the chances of seeing a moon worthy of howling at here are a bit slim I’m afraid. Like I’d be out there in ANY January weather checking it out anyway. So, not THAT excited after all I guess.

Other names for this special moon: (I looked them up in the Farmer’s Almanac) (I am ”my parents subscribed to this magazine” years old)

Center Moon (Assiniboine)

Cold Moon, Frost Exploding Moon, Great Moon (Cree)

Freeze Up Moon (Algonquin)

Severe Moon, Hard Moon (Dakota)

Canada Goose Moon (Tlingit)

Spirit Moon (Ojibwe)

January is obviously a good month for sitting around dreaming up moon names.

For us it’s been time spent more concerned than normal (whatever normal might be during a pandemic) about getting sick. Close family who spent Christmas with us are all triple vacinated, and yet a few of them have tested positive for Covid since then. Thankfully in all cases the symptoms have been relatively mild and over in a few days, but it’s still a scary situation to be in. After all this time of being vigilant and careful it’s so disheartening to have rampant cases of this new variant around and having next to no chance of preventing exposure to it unless you lock yourself in your bathroom and never come out. Never mind, if yours isn’t an air tight room, that one probably won’t work well either.

Anyway, what are your personal plans for this festive Frosty Snow Squally Frost Exploding Moon Evening? It’s the only one we’ll see in 2022 so I hope you’re acting accordingly and behaving appropriately, or ignoring it completely if that’s your cop-out choice. Just laying a little guilt on you all so I don’t feel so alone.

Did I mention the temperature is also supposed to plumet overnight? Not sure this day could get any better! At least we are still healthy and not in the middle of a raging forest fire or living on Mars! There’s always reasons to be thankful. Stay well and stay warm.

Death By Butter

Cranberry Cookies with the wrong colour chocolate chips because nobody’s perfect

Would that not be a much better name for the holidays? Merry Death by Butter Day? I don’t think I will actually die from eating my baking, but anything is possible. A week ago I had six 454 gram bricks of butter in my fridge. If you measure your butter in pounds you will get 453.592 grams in a brick, but here in Canada we rounded that up so as usual everything is bigger and better here. Don’t ask me for more examples, okay? I’m really busy.

There are three staples I make every Christmas. Fudge, short bread cookies, and butter tarts. The fudge has a much more alarming amount of sugar in it, but there’s butter in there too. Short bread is basically butter with a couple other ingredients for keeping it stuck together during baking. This year for the butter tarts I ended up with more filling than frozen tart shells, so I made a batch of butter pastry to finish. This helped me remember why I buy pre-made shells. Mine are uneven in thickness and shape, which is a polite way of saying they’re a complete mess. Except they taste good. And the pastry is lovely and rich and flakey even though the over-all end result looks like something exploded in the oven. Okay I’m done talking about that.

Butter goes in the mashed potatoes and the sweet potatoes and probably on the vegetables. W got me to make what he calls Swedish Bread this year. It’s a simple flat bread recipe made with – wait for it- butter. There is a lot of butter in my turkey stuffing. I bought a bag of dried cranberries because I like to put those in it too, and then discovered I already had lots. So I searched for a recipe to use them up and found one for cranberry cookies. Ingredients include white chocolate chips, a package of instant vanilla pudding, and a cup of BUTTER. They’re okay if you like a buttery chewy cookie but I think they might be better with nuts. And I seriously don’t understand the point of the pudding mix, but there’s a lot of recipes that baffle me so I’m not dwelling on it.

I don’t always make my moms Christmas pudding (steamed carrot pudding) every Christmas, but this year I had time so it’s ready too, except for the hot brown sugar and butter sauce you pour over it. When we were kids we preferred a bowl of sauce with a few pudding crumbs thrown in.

So my butter supply is dwindling! The reason no one gets gifts from me is because I’ve gone broke buying butter. But it’s only once a year. My dad always insisted it was better to use butter and not the cheaper substitutes if we wanted to keep the dairy farmers in business, so I’m doing my part. Ending up looking like a butter ball is just a small annoying side effect that should right itself in January.

Happy Holidays if you celebrate them! Peace, Love and buttery treats either way.

Ode to a Lamp

If you found yesterdays blurb inspiring, no worries, I’m back to normal with something the opposite of that. It’s all about this lamp.

Right now it’s sitting on top of the built on shelf of what used to be a very useful computer desk when we needed a pull-out perch for a keyboard. (The desk is now a collection spot in the bedroom for ”things that have to be put somewhere” until they finally make their way out the door headed for Value Village or the garbage bin.) The lamp is rather close to the ceiling when it sits up there. I thought it might throw more light down on me if it was up higher, but no such luck.

It’s one of those purchases I look at now and wonder “what was I thinking” and then feel the need to remember (or invent) my thought processes to justify carting it home. I liked how it looked, absolutely. I was in my ”African” obsessed stage of decorating development. I still have elephants and giraffes and decorative masks on my walls, and even some weird animal print candles hanging around, but less than half the amount of stuff I used to have. The lamp fit with the decor at the time but would also be useful as a light source I thought. Amazing how I failed to notice the shade being opaque.

Our house was built when nobody put overhead lighting in their living rooms, thus our need for a lamp or two. Unfortunately I have a history of poor lamp choices. I think it began with a cursed pole lamp wedding gift with three upside-down green tulip shades. It shed ugly lamp vibes all over me and I’ve been lamp doomed ever since. Remember swag lamps? Yep, I’d likely still have mine, creepy looking chain and all, if it hadn’t shorted out and tried to burn the house down.

For whatever obscure reason I still like this silly thing. It’s been moved all over the house in search of a spot where it might fit in and belong. It casts a dull glow in a dark corner but fails utterly otherwise. It’s too tall for a table, too short for the floor, hard to dust, and has an inconvenient switch partway down its cord. And yet, here it is, with a face only a doomed lamp lady could love.

I love it SO much, if someone snuck it out of my house and I never saw it again I might not even notice it was gone.

Your Weekly Big Fat Dose of Inspiration

From ”Wild Woman Sisterhood” on Facebook

A Traditional Náhuatl Prayer

I release my parents from the feeling that they have failed with me.
I release my children from the need to make me proud, so that they can write their own ways, according to their hearts.
I release my partner from the obligation to make me feel complete. I lack nothing in myself.
I learn with all the beings that surround me through all time.
I thank my grandparents and ancestors who met so that today I breathe life. And I release them from the faults of the past and from the wishes they did not fulfill, aware that they did the best they could to resolve their situations, within the consciousness they had at that moment.
I honor them, I love them, and I recognize their innocence.
I bare my soul before their eyes and that is why they know that I do not hide or owe anything, more than being faithful to myself and my own existence walking with the wisdom of the heart.
I am aware that I am fulfilling my life project, free of visible and invisible family loyalties that may disturb my peace and my happiness, which are my greatest responsibilities.
I renounce the role of savior, of being the one who unites or who fulfills the expectations of others. And learning through LOVE, I bless my essence and my way of expressing, although there may be someone who cannot understand me.
I understand myself, because only I lived and experienced my story; because I know myself, I know who I am, what I feel, what I do and why I do it.
I respect and approve.
I honor the Divinity in me and in you.

We are free.

There are always some significantly gag-worthy memes to be found if you mess around on social media, but this one I like. Or ”respect and approve” if that’s a better phrase. Both the prayer and the picture are from ”Wild Woman Sisterhood” which I follow on Facebook because they are less gaggy than most. Plus they have a very cool name, right?

For homework today, look up “Nahuatl” if you don’t already know what it means. And if you do know, good for you, I’m impressed.

Peace and happiness.

El Seis de Diciembre

View of dusk from my quiet desk in the bedroom on the sixth of December

Sometimes I get google to translate random phrases into another language if English is boring the hell out of me. Thus the above title appears in Spanish. It was a toss-up between that and Maori, te tuaono o Hakihea. Beautiful. You could set that to music. Don’t say I never taught you anything here. And it was a hard no to Welsh, y chweched o Ragfyr. (Probably pronounced as if it’s not spelled like that at all.)

I moved my little desk out of the living room which faces north because it is depressingly dark in there this time of year, and the Christmas tree takes up a lot of room. W has his little office area there and his ancient glider rocking chair which grinds and squeaks and grates on my nerves about a hundred times worse than a dripping faucet. He is deaf and wears headphones and is oblivious to it. And by ”it” I mean pretty much everything going on around him. He also naps and either snores loudly or appears to have stopped breathing completely or looks like he might fall out of his chair. This bedroom window faces south and gets the afternoon sun. And is on the other (quiet) (less eventful) side of the house. The view from my chair is of trees and rooftops and not the snow covered yard. So many pluses.

Man the days are short this time of year. It’s not properly light until 8:00 a.m and the darkness starts creeping in at 4:00 p.m. That’s when I start turning lights on everywhere anyway. A couple more weeks will bring us to the shortest day of the year and then it’s all uphill from there.

Maybe I should have called this one “the blog post that went nowhere” or ”le billet de blog qui n’est allé nulle part”. I got to share a cropped picture of my bedroom window so it wasn’t a complete waste of time, right? (Perdita de tempo if you’re in Italy)

Prodigiously Yours

Daily Word Prompt December 4, 2021

Well I have lost track of how may times WP has reminded me it’s time to write a blog post, so is that reminder thing really working? Does anything really work the way it’s supposed to for me? No need to answer that of course because how would you know, right? And I might not appreciate your guesses.

Admitting here that I had to look this word up – Prodigious – (I was getting it confused with the words ”precocious” and ”prodigy” which are things you call a child who is super annoyingly smart and talented. I was never either of those things, so not an annoying child at all. There’s not too many people around who can verify or deny that claim so I feel relatively safe saying it.)

I like the obsolete meaning here the best. Hints of the sinister or violent mystery. Been watching too much Prime TV probably.

  • 1: causing amazement or wonder
  • 2: extraordinary in bulk, quantity, or degree : enormous
  • 3a: resembling or befitting a prodigy : strange, unusual
  • 3b: obsolete : being an omen : portentous

The morning of my doctor appointment this week we had prodigious amounts of freezing rain and ice covered streets. W manages to find the most obscure and dangerous routes to wherever we’re going because why would you take the main roads when there are school zones you can slide around in? Also a question you don’t need to answer, since there is no sane response. He did the same thing when we went for our third (booster) covid vaccination. The main roads are bare, the residential streets are generally not. We backed out of our driveway, headed in the right direction, immediately turned left onto a snow packed street, then right, then right again. At this point I inquired whether or not he was aware that another right turn would take us back home. But he made two more left turns and the second one put us on a main street which got us to our destination because you can only drive around in circles for so long until your wife kills you.

The follow up with my doctor involved a blood pressure check, so after hearing the words ”Glare Ice” a hundred and forty times in less than 10 minutes, I took the elevator to the second floor instead of storming up the stairs. I was the first appointment of the day and the doctor was a bit late, so I had a good 10 minutes to meditate and calm myself into a state of blissful serenity. Or a reasonable facsimile because everything went well and she is pleased with my ECG and my other numbers although my synthroid dosage might be slightly high so I have a requisition for lab work for February when there probably won’t be glare ice anywhere if there actually is a God.

Sorry for my inclination to speak prodigiously about my exciting medical adventures, but if you’re lucky enough to make it in to your seventies you might find out how much amazement and wonder is generated by learning how many things can go wrong with your aging body. And your mind, depending on your relationship status and how much ice forms in December. It’s all such a crap shoot.

Okay! So this wasn’t a normal getting reminded to blog day, but I did it anyway. Yay me! Pretty sure I will be reminded again tomorrow, so there’s a heads up for you. Have a prodigiously lovely Saturday.


Game Day!

Anyone who sees this title and feels excited to read what comes next, sorry. There’s a whole whack of snow everywhere outside and therefore I’m not in the mood today to motivate and inspire. Even if I was, this is for sure not the topic that would do it. I play games on my IPad every day and have gone through some lengthy addicitions with a few of them (Candy Crush comes to mind) but most of the time I download something, try it out, and then delete it, sometimes in a week or two, sometimes all on the same day. The ones that have gone the distance are Solitaire and Words2 and (drum roll here please….) Hay Day. Yes I am a closet farmer. I like the game so much I totally believe I do not need help.

Random View of ”Lins Mad Chickens”

If you have never played this game and you happen to listen to a conversation between two avid players, you will think they are lunatics. But what you think clearly does not matter to us.

The game starts off with a cute little house, a barn and a silo, some fields for planting crops, a roadside stand, a truck that makes deliveries, a boat you can load up with crates full of your produce. And then it just kind of mushrooms from there as you expand your farm with new land, cows, sheep, chickens, pigs, goats, trees, bushes, production buildings (39 of those last count) smelters and a mine, a fishing spot including ducks and lobsters, a town (grocery store, cinema, diner, beach cafe, bed and breakfast, spa, town hall) with a train station and an animal sanctuary (elephants, giraffes, gorillas, zebras, hippos, reindeer, arctic foxes) and a beach (which is kind of useless but fun to decorate in a bizarre fashion when you’re bored).

There are also pets to collect and feed. If you don’t feed them they just sleep until you get your shit together and produce some food for them. Horses, donkeys, dogs and puppies, cats and kittens, bunnies, guinea pigs and peacocks. There are squirrels that collect peanuts and bees that collect nectar. They have added a Valley where you make product deliveries and something called Farm Pass where you complete tasks for level points and rewards. Somewhere back in the middle of all this you can start up or join a neighborhood where you can chat with (complain to) and help out other like-minded farmers who share similar goals for their Hay Day experience. I’m trying to think what those goals are besides levelling up and the accumulation of massive amounts of useless decorations. Lofty aspirations for sure.

And finally, the reason that Tuesday is my intense Hay Day day of gaming self inflicted hell. There is a derby (with imaginary race horses and everything) where my neighbourhood competes with other same size and similar level neighbourhoods for trophies and rewards and it starts here in this part of the world on Tuesdays at 2:00 a.m. There are people from all over the world playing this game, and chatting going on in many different languages in many different time zones. I’ve been in a couple of hoods so close to home I was afraid I might accidentally meet some of the people in person around town because we made up a Facebook group as well, (long story for another time but one I will likely never bother telling you due to the severe boredom factor) but that all fell apart eventually and I lucked out accepting an invitation to Barnyard 10 where I’ve been for….a couple of years? Long time anyway. Half of our members live in Australia so there’s a 16 hour time difference. I farm with people from the future! They start the derby before I do, because I may be nuts but I’m not crazy enough to get up in the middle of the night for this. We are all seriously derby obsessed and focussed on coming in first with a perfect derby score. The derby lasts all week but if you want to place first, you all have to get that perfect score by completing all your top level tasks before anyone else does. A perfect score can end up in second or third place if you don’t get it fast enough. So day one is extremely intense. Because we all chose to make it so. I can’t remember exactly why because the trophies are kind of meaningless, but that’s the way it is, so there you go. Most derbys we finish before the end of day two. So the rest of the week I can concentrate on my real life where the excitement and drama pales in comparison.

If you reach the point where the pressure is too much you can always opt out of the derby and just farm like a normal person. Or, you know, pretending you’re a normal person. I have taken breaks from this game lots of times, some short, some very long. Once I decided to quit completely But there’s always something that brings me back. The last ”break” I took was to temporarily leave my current neighbourhood to join the one some of my family members had started up, so the weirdest break ever since I was still playing, but helping them out was so laid back and the opposite of intense that I stayed for way longer than I intended. Barnyard 10 kept inviting me back like they missed me or something. Then I took over my adult grandson’s farm in the family hood because he has way more important things going on in his life, took my original farm back to my other neighbourhood, and now have the best of both farming worlds with two farms. Double the ”work” but also double the fun.

I’m assuming if you have read this far you are now shaking your head in confusion wondering what could possibly make all of this FUN. Well the big thing for me is not the competing or the levels or the rewards, it’s the organization and the rearranging of everything so it all works efficiently and smoothly and looks good. Really. If I couldn’t move everything around all the time, I would not be playing. The smaller farm I took over is perfect for this because it’s growing and every time there’s an expansion I have to change where things go. I can spend an entire morning rearranging all of it. Or little tiny parts of it. Or preparing room for what happens next. Or rethinking what I just did because it’s stupid and won’t work. I do this with my living room in real life, and other parts of the house if I can stop farming long enough to get to them.

Okay! What have I missed telling you that you could easily live without ever hearing? My second farm is called ”Margaret’s Icky Biscuits” for my mother who made the most delicious food ever and always apologized for how it turned out. All my farm pets are named for characters from Shakespeare. My reindeer on my first farm are Sherlock Holmes and Nancy Drew. See? Totally fun. Totally. Not even kidding. I swear. You should try it. Or avoid it at all costs. You’re welcome.

Cold Feet

I was going to write about my cold feet at the beginning of the week because I have it set up here to remind me to blog on random days. The blessings of a short memory and a scattered brain, I don’t recall the exact days I chose. I know for sure Tuesdays are out, because that’s my serious gaming day. Just how serious is it you might ask if you were the slightest bit interested but you know I will get to that eventually. Anyway, Friday is definitely a day for reminding me apparently, so here I am.

I’m pretty sure I’ve rambled on about this development in my life before but it’s still perplexing to me that I’ve gone from perpetually uncomfortably hot feet to frozen blocks of numbness for these extremities. I used to flip out if I wore socks and shoes for any length of time and couldn’t wait to take them off. I always slept with my feet out from under the covers and often put bare feet in my snow boots. Bare feet and flip flops forever I thought. My mom had the same hot feet syndrome and I recognized it in my baby daughter when her fussiness would end abruptly if I removed her socks and shoes.

Fast forward to the present and my feet are in big fat socks, sometimes two pairs at a time, and I often wear them to bed. My younger self would shudder. It’s probably just poor circulation developing with age, but since I have an abnormal obsession with my health and way too much time on my hands I decided to google the causes of cold feet. I am not the only one with way too much time on my hands.

The first thing that came up was this blurb – “Check out 10 common and sinister cold feet culprits and how to avoid them. Learn all about these 10 common culprits for icy feet. “ Holy cow. Sinister culprits!! I knew this was serious and I am no doubt somehow forever cursed and doomed.

Ruling out a few of them made me feel better. Frost bite, Lupus, Raynaud’s Syndrome, smoking, anemia. I decided to rule out blood clots too because I don’t like that one. So that left diabetes (check), prescription meds (especially ones affecting hormone levels), stress and sedentary lifestyle. Gah. I LIKE my sedentary lifestyle. And really, should I be runnung around in fuzzy socks risking a bad fall? Why is everything so complicated?

The “home remedies” for cold feet are less than mind blowing. Reduce your stress. Lower your cholesterol. Stretch or move your feet. PUT ON SOME SOCKS. What did we do before we had google and had to rely on our own brains for solutions to worrying things.

Here’s a view of my little footstool without my bulky socked cold feet on it. I painted that way back in the day when my feet (and me) were still hot.

Fancy a Fracas?

Today’s Word: Fracas

Fracas

[ frey-kuhs, frak–uhs; British frak-ah ]  noun

  • a noisy, disorderly disturbance or fight; riotous brawl; uproar.

OOOOHHHH I love a good fracas, don’t you? From the sidelines with my bad knee, of course. Probably not as much fun if you’re right in the middle of it. That chicken looks seriously ready to rumble though.

We are experiencing our first winter snow flurries today! My knee did not give me a heads up on this. It’s more than a skiff, but less than would cause much concern if a brisk wind came up. Our street is still bare but wet, and about the same colour as the drab November sky.

Snow tires are going on vehicles later than normal this year. We live in a place where it’s wise to have them. Unless you want to risk sliding around on the roads tempting the Fracas Gods to orchestrate a disorderly winter pile up. Cuz I’m pretty sure they do that.

It’s going to be a long winter isn’t it?

The Art of Coalescence

Daily Word Prompt for November 12, 2021

Coalesce

[ koh-uh–les ]     verb (used without object), co·a·lesced, co·a·lesc·ing.

  • to grow together or into one body: The two lakes coalesced into one.
  • to unite so as to form one mass, community, etc.: The various groups coalesced into a crowd.
  • to blend or come together: Their ideas coalesced into one theory.

verb (used with object), co·a·lesced, co·a·lesc·ing.

  • to cause to unite in one body or mass.

Way back in the olden days of yore (when we all talked funny) I used to communicate over long distances with family and friends by writing and mailing letters to them. Phone calls were expensive and stamps were cheap. It was a great way to have a long one sided conversation without pesky interruptions begging for clarification. I had nice penmanship and an appreciation for good pens. Sometimes I would take days to finish a letter, adding post scripts ad nauseam before reluctantly folding my bulky missive into an envelope and letting it go. In those days it was fun to check the mail for personal replies. Or to wonder what you said if you never heard from someone again.

I remember writing back to a newlywed friend after I had been married for a good six months (so way more experienced in the state of holy matrimony than she was) because she had asked me “How is married life?” And I of course had lots of wisdom to share on the subject. I told her it was like being two people instead of one. Every choice or decision now had to be a joint one with at least twice as many options to consider. We were two personalities trying to coalesce into a couple without losing ourselves or our respect for each other’s differences. And blah blah blah probably for pages, I don’t remember more than that.

In the letter she wrote back to me she said it was completely different for them because they had definitely become ONE person instead of two. Well that was quick. Sounded like a hostile takeover to me. The ultimate merge. Interfused forever. Wouldn’t that get a bit boring after awhile? Having arguments about the state of the toilet seat with yourself?

Oh well, we’re still married and so are they, so different outlooks to the same end I guess. Some Thesaurus synonyms for ‘coalesce’ are ‘combine, conjoin, conjugate, connect, couple, join, link (up), marry, unite’.

So coalescing isn’t a bad thing. All I’m suggesting is that you don’t coalesce so hard that you forget who you are on your own, just in case someday you are. I love to end things on a cheery note. Just be thankful there’s not a dozen P.S. gems as well.