Basket Overkill

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If you think of me at all you may have been wondering lately if I’m dead.  Nope.  Not yet!  Just been super busy doing crazy things like staring at all my ceilings.  And seeing how many baskets I can fit on a shelf.

There is method to my madness in this particular case.  The above picture shows part of our newly spruced up back entrance.  The colour is ‘coconut milk’ and in natural light it looks lovely and creamy.  Indoor light makes it look more yellow and I love it either way.  The shelf on the way downstairs has always been a catch-all for piles of junk, (mostly belonging to and placed there by W) so this is my solution to having to look at three different Armoral bottles, weed killer spray, car wax and random tools on my way to do the laundry.

So far it’s working very well.  Mostly because W is not here.  But since there is no shelf space anywhere on which to set things down, hopefully when he returns he will use the baskets, or carry his shit off to some other location so it looks like we might have storage space somewhere out of sight like normal people.

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Work in progress at the bottom of the stairs.

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Paris pictures! More baskets! Such an awkward little space to photograph!

We are painting all the baseboards and window frames and wooden doors white.  We started with one door to see how it looked and I can’t believe what a difference it makes, so now we’re committed.   The front and back doors are done, as well as the door to the kitchen, the pantry door and the linen closet door.  Inside the pantry and linen closet have also been painted white, and cupboard and closet interiors are in progress.

It’s a slow (but very satisfying) process.  I’m trying not to think about the six doors and dozen window frames and bazillion baseboards to go.  Or all the crap that still has to be hauled out to the garage for the sale that may never happen.

My daughter is doing the ceilings. I’m way out of my comfort zone with those, except for staring at them and being amazed that I’ve been able to ignore their condition for so long.  The kitchen ceiling is done.  Gone are the gray water stains around the fluorescent light, the mystery discoloured splotches above the stove, and the random little red dots above the kitchen table caused by a freak accident involving an exploding ketchup packet in the 1980’s.

The old light is replaced too, along with updated fixtures in the hallways and the most awesome one of all in the art room.  I can’t take a picture of that yet until the ceiling looks less like crap.  These are not just stipple they are some kind of popcorn design stuff, impossible to clean or remove without a huge mess.  Thus the reason the ketchup stains were studiously ignored and allowed to slowly fade on their own.

In other more interesting news, today is my birthday.  I am very old.  I love that every so often the thirteenth of May falls on a Friday again just like it did on the day I was born.  Next sister was born on a Thursday the 12th, leading me to believe our mother drove around on bumpy roads and ran up and down the stairs a lot to get that one delivered under the wire.

The Fort McMurray wildfires are far to the north of us here, but people all over the province (and the country) have pulled together with aid and support.  Puts all my messing about with my house in to perspective when you think about so many homes lost and so many people left with nothing.  But no lives lost!  That’s pretty amazing.

Okay!  It’s art room window frame and sill painting day!  I started yesterday but had to take down the blind and sand the wall and patch some holes and clean the windows inside and out and tape everything and then I was too exhausted to pry the paint can open.  Told you I was old.  Hope I live long enough to finish this.

Hair Today Gone Tomorrow

This morning I cut my hair myself, something I’ve been messing about doing half my life it seems.  And I’ve spent the other half being upset with, happy with, or puzzled by the results of professional haircuts.  At least when I do it myself I save time, learn something, and am always delighted to use the money and time I would have spent with a hairdresser on something more fun.  And less traumatizing.

When we first moved to the Arctic with our one year old daughter my hair was long and straight.  I wore it pulled back at the neck, braided, up in a pony tail and even in pig tails sometimes.   We lived in an isolated community with few amenities, accessible only by air, and I was pregnant and bored.  There’s a deadly combination.  After weeks of conversing with a toddler because my husband was always working or away, using up all my yarn and craft supplies and watching it snow,  I decided to hack off my hair.  Hey, it passed some time.  I took off only a few inches that first time, but then my mother in law sent me the first curling iron I ever owned and the real experimenting began.

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This is me with my two babies (February 1976) after six months in Cambridge Bay and who knows how many self-inflicted hair cuts.  Once my son arrived I had much less time to be bored so the frequency of hair cuts slowed down considerably.

Fast forward to Christmas that same year when we flew to Ontario.  Our son was almost eleven months old and our daughter was two and a half.  I was long overdue for a visit to a salon.  Mothers of young children generally aren’t known for their astute sense of fashion and style, which might explain why I decided to get my hair cut in a “shag”‘ made popular by people like Jane Fonda in the movie Klute.

When I returned with my newly shorn “do” my daughter stopped in her tracks and stared at me.  Not much ever made that kid slow down, so that’s why I remember it.  I picked her up and she grabbed a little fist full of what was left of the hair at my forehead and said “MOMMY ARE YOU IN THERE?”  Yes, my daughter always spoke in caps lock.

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And yes, those are bangs. The shortest bangs in history, except maybe for the ones little kids cut by accident on themselves.  I thought you also might enjoy seeing W in a pink paper party hat, and a messy gift opening Christmas Eve.  And my classy shoes?  Don’t miss those.

The great thing about hair is it keeps on growing and after a couple of months I finally made peace with this hair cut.

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Jane Fonda, eat your heart out.

A Day Without Needles

Hey, what happened to my flashback Fridays?

When I have an upcoming appointment scheduled (and the latest one was this morning at the university hospital) my whole self goes in to a semi catatonic state of mild dread. I don’t function well, unless you consider worrying to be a skill.

The funny thing is I don’t realize I’m doing it until there’s this rush of relief flooding over me when it’s all done and I’m driving home and the sun is shining and it’s Friday and the weekend and FRIDAY!  Oh yeah!  The flashback thing I started.

But first, finally I talked to a doctor who would like to try something different instead of repeating the same procedures in what has seemed to be a random fashion, always giving the same negative results.  So instead of doing yet another needle biopsy less than four months after the last double one, he did only an ultrasound this morning.  He is going to schedule me for a core biopsy instead because it removes a larger tissue sample on which they can do more tests.  And it involves a local anesthetic, and thus a needle but there were no needles today!

So until that’s arranged and the cycle of dread begins again, I feel light-hearted and anxiety free and in a mood to make fun of my hair styles over the years.

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From age six to grade six to Teachers College graduation, the Dutch boy cut morphed to a bob with a Hollywood wave and then to a sleek whatever that is. Easy to look after mostly, and in the process of growing to acceptable hippy length standards.

In between somewhere there was this.

imageThe original cone head?  I can’t even.  But look at that swanky screen door with the big M.  I remember when we got that, thinking it was pretty nice, and a good backdrop for a photo I guess.  Who knows what all was going on in my pointy little head.

Hope you’re having a no needle Friday wherever you are, and whatever the state of your hair.  Don’t worry, one day you will get to the point where it’s just hilariously funny and doesn’t really matter that much anymore.  Except maybe to the people who have to be seen with you in public.  But that’s their problem.

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.

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.

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.