Try This at Home


Despite squirting minced onion juice directly into my right eye, I am having a pretty good day.

Recipes to me are mere guidelines, and unless I’m feeling particularly sad and vulnerable and morose and unsure of myself (man, why would anyone try to create something feeling like that?) I like to wing it and see what happens.  This drives recipe following people a little nuts.  But it’s kind of exciting and God knows I don’t live dangerously in any other way whatsoever.

Anyway I have avocados which will not last forever in my fridge and decided this morning to try making avocado ranch dressing, or dip, or a combination of the two.  Does anyone actually measure avocado?  Wouldn’t a normal person just take their chances and  use a whole one?  I don’t like to measure sour cream or mayo either because they get my measuring cups all gross, so I plopped a dollop of each into the bowl with the avocado.  I left out dill because I don’t have any.  For onion salt and garlic powder I figured the real thing minced would be even better.  Except for the part where putting onion chunks through the garlic press temporarily blinded me in one eye, I think that worked out well.  Then I added apple cider vinegar instead of white.  I don’t really know why, but why not, hey?  And finally salt and pepper and dried parsley. Also not measured because things like that should be to taste.

It all got mushed up together with the immersion blender (I used to call this the Braun mixer, but apparently other companies make them too and I like this slightly more sophisticated name which makes me sound like I know what I’m doing when it comes to kitchen utensils).

Dont worry, its highly unlikely this will be turning in to a cooking blog.  It’s a stage I’m going through, that’s all.

Daughter and granddaughter are coming over for W’s famous fish and chips this afternoon.  I will be contributing a salad, OR……avocado tartar sauce maybe.  Doesn’t that sound good??

Hope neither of them reads this before they get here…

What the Monkeys are Really Saying


Judgemental little shits.

They sit on a shelf above my stove and one day just relayed these statements to me by mental telepathy, which is pretty amazing when you think about it, with me being the only one of us to have a functioning brain, as far as I know.

Meal prep was very challenging when my sister and her family were here.  They were a mix of vegan, gluten-free, no dairy, limited grains, no grain-fed meat and restricted sugar.  My sister shared all kinds of great recipes and ideas and now I’m making my own salad dressings and using honey and maple syrup instead of refined sugar.  I know it’s still sugar, but you can seriously cut the amount.

Then the next weekend when my family came for Thanksgiving it was just a breeze making stuff that everyone could safely consume.  Even though I cooked it.

Honestly, I do concoct edible things.  I don’t know why W and the monkeys are trying to mess with my culinary self-esteem. He is now very wary about what I’m up to in the kitchen and avoids as if it’s poisoned anything containing…..

1. Zucchini or other unidentifiable green things

2.  Gluten free flour or any of those expensive nut flours

3.  Nut butters which are not peanut

4. Vegetables which appear suspiciously turnip-like and often actually are turnips even though I suggest they might be parsnips, which doesn’t really help.

5.  Healthy alternatives.  He would prefer the unhealthy version, thank you very much.

Well all this is making me hungry for honey nut cheerios.  With skim milk, because that makes it perfectly okay.  Right monkeys?

I have something to say to you guys.  Please keep your opinion to yourself.  Turn around if you can’t look.  Don’t eat if it’s going to make you barf.  And leave me alone or I’m moving you all to the basement.


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Word of the day – corybantic – frenzied; agitated; unrestrained.

My littlest grandson Corey has his agitated unrestrained moments, but underneath that he’s considerate and very loving.  A funny mix.

But the Y in this word is pronounced “uh”, not “ee”, and corybantic rhymes with “romantic”.  So don’t say you didn’t learn anything today.  Or that you wouldn’t love Corey if you met him.

My corybantic days of this long redecorating summer are drawing to an end.  The main floor is done except for a couple of light fixtures and some serious dusting.  There have been times when I would flop myself down, utterly exhausted, wondering why my shoulders ached, then think well you just moved sixteen pieces of furniture, you idiot.  I’m not always polite when I talk to myself.

The wall colour in bedroom one is called Swiss coffee.  It is not yellow, even though that’s how it appears in the photo.  More of a creamy white.  Bedroom two paint colour is called plantation tan and also not as lovely in the photo as in real life.  Since we are not familiar with plantations or what the sun on one might do to ones skin colour, we decided to rename this colour maple walnut ice cream, more in keeping with my edible colour theme.  Not sure if you would want to eat a pelican, but pelican is the name of bedroom three and the ensuite bath colour.  Nothing hung on the walls yet of the bedroom three/art area space because I can’t decide what “splash of colour” goes with pelican and cream.  Maybe blueberry?  Or raspberry?  Or some other fruit?

And that’s it!  No more painting of ceilings and walls!  I even cleaned out and reorganized my junk drawer, sorting things like screws into pointy and non-pointy ends, because nails and not nails wasn’t sufficiently specific.  So now what am I supposed to do with myself??

Happily I remembered I have a blog.  And a brand new art area chock full of misplaced and mixed up supplies, and a project, to do a couple of coffee pictures for my daughter.  And I have cupboard shelves that need cleaning and maybe painting and definitely new lining.  And things that need moving downstairs from up, and upstairs from down  and speaking of stairs, the carpet on them is awful.  And then there’s the basement, but that’s a project for another day.  Or series of months.  And the main bathroom needs renovating, which should have been done first, but too late for that.

So.  It appears I am not really done.  But it does feel like a chapter has ended.  Corybantic no more.  Until the next wave of redecorating mania hits me and sweeps me away I guess.


Kids In the Hall

Yesterday I finished the hallway.  It’s a little weird how happy I am about that.  Only one picture allowed (new hall rules) so it’s my collage picture of some ancestors at various stages in their lives.
Because there is less light here the colour looks more orange and the white really stands out.


Ok, I expect that’s about all the time you would like to spend in my hallway admiring walls and doors. And a surprisingly clean floor.  Let’s go around the corner.

And turn left.  And then back up and turn right.  You know, so you don’t get lost.  New shelf rules too.  Two or less items per.  I just noticed one has three things.  Oh well.

image image
The colour behind the couch is called “tea dance”.  It’s looking a little more pink here than it does in real life.  And notice how different my “melted marshmallow” looks in bright morning light.

imageI’m not sure what this suspended slab of stone or concrete under the fireplace is called, because don’t mantles go above, not below?  Anyway, it was ugly and I always kept it completely covered in stuff.  It’s a perfect place for candles.  And other assorted junk.  And did I mention ugly?  Well now it’s covered in a grey textured paint which looks and feels like rough stone.  And I no longer feel the need to pile loads of crap on top of it.

My daughter made me take away those little elephants. She is ruthless.

And finally, my art corner.  Sadly neglected for now but not forever.

image imageBecause there has to be a mess somewhere.

I should have cut the grass today, but it was just too hot.  These days you have to get out there between thunderstorms. And despite all the rain, the heat manages to keep the grass looking half dead, especially in the front where it kind of matters.  Anyway, I had a nap instead.  Painting wears me right out and it sometimes takes days to recover from all my hard work.  Ha!  No, I don’t really believe that either.

I think we might be half way finished!  This is another picture from the kitchen because I forgot to add it last post.

imageIn case you were worried I might have chucked out the stove.

Back at it tomorrow.  Two bedroom ceilings on the agenda.  Or more naps. Hard choices to be made.

Take It Away

After the back entranceway transformation with all the baskets, the kitchen was up next for an update. The worn floor should be replaced, but frankly, I don’t care.  We replaced it once already years ago.  And the cupboards are old and kind of horrible on the inside, but here’s what I figure. Someone will buy this place and rip out the cupboards and the floor and be all pleased with themselves when it’s done.  So I won’t deprive the future owners of that pleasure and expense.  I just wanted the blue and sand and beachy theme gone and the ceiling white again with no stains and no gawd awful fluorescent light buzzing over my head.  Here’s how the cupboards looked before, going up to the ceiling.
imageAnd here’s how they look like they don’t do that anymore.
imageThat bit of white at the top really brightened things up.  There is a different mess on the counter in the second picture and the window frame is also now white.


I thought the backsplash tiles were white but here they are going from half-assed white to blinding white.

The colour we decided on for the walls is called melted marshmallow. It’s sort of peachy.  So yeah, I have gone from beachy to peachy.  This colour is now on the kitchen and living room walls and will soon be down the hallway because I just taped six doorways and all the baseboards there. I never counted how many doors there are in the hallway before but that’s a lot of doors.  They were all wood and now they are all white.  The hallway is no longer gloomy.  This is the linen closet door where I started.  Because I like to start at the end and work my way to the beginning.

imageBut back to the kitchen.


Because the walls were blue at the bottom and sandy yellow at the top they begged for this type of work in progress art by my creative daughter.  I’m kind of sorry we painted over it.  And even though the paint included primer, the line where the blue stopped was hell to get rid of.  So there are at least three coats of paint here, and this corner in particular where there is less light is a lovely warm almost orange.  Other places the colour looks much more pale.  So even though this colour is all over the place, it looks like different shades in different lights.


imageThere is a story behind the newly spray painted spoon and fork which I’m sure I have shared elsewhere.  This wall looked a little off balance to me before I added that plate on the left. Then all I could think of was hey diddle diddle the dish ran away with the spoon.  But look at that other wall with just ONE thing hanging there!  I’ve come a long way, baby.
This last one is in the living room by the front door where the colour is beautifully soft.

The best decluttering idea ever, which I’m so happy my daughter shared with me, is to remove absolutely every bit of decor that’s movable from every room in the house.  Then once a room is all fresh and clean and painted, carefully choose only things you love dearly and would be sad about if they were gone to add the finishing touches. Less is more.  And move all that weird shit you bought on impulse out to the garage.

Okay, wake up!  I’m done for now.  I will share my living room/art room journey next.

Or I might tell you about my dermatologist appointment because that’s where I’m headed this afternoon.  The excitement rarely ends around here.

My Blood Just Might Be Slightly More Interesting Than Yours


Vast knowledge makes you strong.  A little knowledge is a dangerous thing.  My dad used to say that last bit.  And it follows that if you believe something, it is very real in its consequences.  So if I believe my left foot is possessed by satan I might be inclined to cut it off.  Even though my original notion was probably wrong, I still end up hopping about on one foot.

I’m sure there’s a miraculous point in there somewhere, although it could be simply a tangent my brain took off on when I remembered my great love of medical dictionaries and encyclopedias in my youth.  Those books have been replaced by Google.  I had a mothers medical book when my kids were small and was able to diagnose them with every childhood affliction going.  Now there are millions of new conditions so I have great empathy for todays parents and their boggled minds.

I still research diseases and random symptoms and come to wild conclusions.  Then I go to a real doctor to be assured that I am not in immediate danger of dropping dead.  So far they have all been very accommodating.

The condensed version of my medical history is just as likely to lull you in to a coma as the detailed one, so I will skip over both of them and jump right to the diagnosis.  IgG4.

Yes, of course, I could not have something mundane and ordinary.  IgG4 is a rare systemic fibro-inflammatory disorder.  Here is what I know about it, even though I have googled these facts and realize you are not supposed to blindly believe everything you google.  Hasn’t stopped me yet.

Immunoglobulin G is an antibody found in blood and extracellular fluid which controls infection of body tissues.

By binding many kinds of pathogens such as viruses, bacteria, and fungi, IgG protects the body from infection, neutralizes toxins and helps maintain food tolerance by the immune system.

Inflammation is a result of infection.  

Okay.  The original specialist I saw no doubt said all this to me because he wrote it all in a report which I didn’t see until very recently.  Two years later.  All I heard was NOT CANCER blah blah blah.  He said he didn’t know the cause of the infection or the inflammation, gave me heavy-duty antibiotics and then a course of prednisone, and since neither made any difference suggested we forget about it.

The inflammation never went away so my doctor and I thought a follow-up visit in a little over a year would be a good idea.  Same clinic, different doctor, and it’s like he never read my file and started over again with all the same tests.  Eventually he didn’t know what to do with me next and referred me to a lung specialist.  I learned more in that one visit to them than I figured out from him in six months.  They are the ones who showed me the original doctors report.  They sent me for blood tests and then referred me to a hematologist.  I saw her on the 3rd of August and she was wonderful, even though she sent me to a lab to have seven more vials of blood taken so they can analyze the hell out of it.

Her diagnosis, unless she finds anything new, IgG4.  Treatment for now – none.  Steroids could cause more problems than they solve so no point in going that route yet.

The inflammation hasn’t spread much except to a lymph node behind my esophagus and a couple in my lungs.  Any organ in the body could be affected.  It seems to be a little unpredictable.  Fibrosis is a possibility.  Not a lot of studies have been done on this yet and there are differing opinions. But really, I am done losing sleep over it.  Skin rashes and thyroid problems and type 2 diabetes are all related and I remember saying once I thought whatever was going on was a systemic thing and holy crap, I was right.  Maybe everything is systemic, I don’t care, I still think I’m smart.

On Wednesday I’m going to see a dermatologist on the hematologists recommendation.  Then I would like to do what the original specialist suggested and forget about it.

How’s that for a plan.


Rabbits In the Rain


Rational me knows that the appearance in my backyard of crows and magpies and jackrabbits and squirrels and cats and ducks (yes, there have been ducks!) is completely random and entirely insignificant.  There is no sane reason for me to be counting these creatures and keeping track of their arrivals and departures.  But I do.

Weird superstitious me believes in omens and portents and prophecies of doom and assigns grave importance to…well….pretty much everything.  Because you never know, right?  If the cosmos is sending me messages I would like to be receptive, not oblivious.

Let me tell you about the crows.  It’s been a crow summer here.  These big black shiny creatures swoop down four and five at a time onto the grass and squawk at each other like mad things. Magpie conversations seem almost polite in comparison.  They are devious and mean looking.  One in particular, perched somewhere in the big pine tree in a neighbors yard,  eventually lost his voice I guess, or moved on.  For weeks he just would not shut up.  But now he has.

So What Does That Mean???  One for sorrow?

Maybe somebody shot the bastard.

Anyway.  There are no crows today.  Today is W’s birthday.  If you’ve been paying attention you will notice my last post was on MY birthday three months ago.  I am fine.  Just finally doing things worth writing about and not having time to write about them because I’m too busy doing things.  I feel like I sat on my derrière for the first year or so of my retirement and now I’m not doing that so much.

My kitchen and living room are cleaned up, painted, decluttered and tastefully decorated. Ha!  Notice there’s no pictures of that so you can’t dispute the tasteful part.  Instead I have shared jackrabbits and white spray paint on our pitted driveway through the kitchen window.  That probably means something too.  Like I should stop gazing out rain streaked windows and get on with the rest of the house.  I’ve taken a few ‘before, during and after’ shots. And then some after-after ones after I changed my mind again.  We had a garage sale the end of July and got rid of a lot of stuff.  The garage has now become home for what remains until my daughter picks it up and it gets donated to some poor unsuspecting charity.

It’s been lovely to have lots of time and no deadline getting the painting done.  The house is old and there are always new challenges and surprises.  I am now an expert at concealing gaps on wooden window and door frames and baseboards, imperfections which showed up when we painted them white, with sealant.  House glue!  Awesome stuff.  Hallway, three bedrooms and main bath to go!  All in various stages of work in progress.

The crows have been worrisome, but now I think maybe they were not trying to give me bad news.  Because after all my doctor visits and tests  and consultations, I finally have a medical diagnosis.  I will save that for another post, and don’t worry, it won’t have to wait for some random relatives birthday.

Unless the crows freak me out again simply by being their normal bird brained annoying selves.  It’s their fault this post wanders around all over the place.   At least I got it done.  Longest break ever.  But I think I’m back.