Sharing My World 70

 IMG_3062

It’s a coyote!  (Click photo for source)  This is a cousin of the one I saw running down our street on Sunday morning, all pointy eared and bushy tailed and NOT A DOG.  And still I ventured outside and walked around the neighbourhood.  What the hell, I’ve had a pretty good life.

Share Your World May 8, 2017

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

All of the above.  I wear shoes when I am getting ready to go out because I forget something in the house and have to go back in to get it and can’t be bothered to take my shoes off for what will probably be less than five minutes.  Then when I come back from wherever I’ve been I might again leave my shoes on because I forget to take them off.  Being forgetful makes life a lot less boring.  There’s always something new to deal with.

I wear socks when my feet are freezing.  I’ve noticed they are great dust and debris collectors.  When I take them off I wonder how there can continually be that much crap on my floors.  I’m sure it has nothing to do with my outside shoes because I always remove them at the door.  Don’t I?  I am not a big fan of my slippers because they make annoying clomping sounds but they are easier to slip into than gigantic thermal socks.

Barefoot has always been my preference, but the older I get the harder it is to pull that off, and even open toe footwear is getting to be an unwise choice.  Feet don’t get more beautiful with age.  They do get more interesting though.  My right foot has a bunion and both feet are developing claw toes.  My left big toe has an ugly thickening nail.  Mostly I cover them up so they won’t frighten small children.

What was your favorite food when you were a child?

Strangely enough it was a concoction my grandma used to make, consisting of cut yellow beans and small new potatoes in a buttery white sauce.  She made it for us on the rare occasion when mom wasn’t home to cook, so we considered it a real treat.  I have the best memories of how delicious it was and how fast a whole big pot full would disappear.  Tried making it myself as an adult but the results were disappointing.  Could be kids just have weird taste buds.

Are you a listener or a talker?

If we’re friends and visiting one on one I’ll probably talk your face off.  If you’re a talkative stranger in a supermarket check out apparently I have “sympathetic listener” tattooed on my forehead.  If it’s a big group I’m probably saying  very little.  Chances are I’m not listening either.

Favorite thing to (pick one): Photograph? Write? Or Cook?

Well I’ll just give you answers to all three because apparently I don’t understand what “pick one” means.  I like to photograph whatever catches my eye when I’m out walking, not because it necessarily makes for a great photo, but more to prove I was actually outside and away from my own property.

I like to write lists.  Must be my favourite thing to write based on sheer numbers of them started, scratched off, completed, lost, crumpled up, thrown away, stuffed into random pockets and bags.  They are everywhere.  They are supposed to keep me organized.  They are not very good at their job.

Soup is without a doubt my favourite thing to cook because it allows for freedom of expression.  You can toss any number of weird things in there and still have a wide margin for success.  W would not agree with that.  He suffers from chronic soup suspicion.  Yes, that is a real affliction.  He likes to know exactly what he is consuming and with my soups full knowledge is not always possible.  Or even preferable.

Optional 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 made some positive changes in her life and I’m grateful to her for inspiring me to make some too.  I haven’t been walking because of a painful knee and fear of making it worse, but on Saturday the two of us (well three of us if you count the dog) got out in the sunshine and took a long stroll.  Here’s the funny thing about that.  The longer I walked the better my knee felt.  So I guess my making-it-worse excuse is total crap.  Damn.

W just sent me a text from Ontario to say he made it to the island safe and sound.  He left early yesterday morning and I am on my own for who knows how long.  Could be a month, could be the whole summer.  So I am REALLY looking forward to the grass growing so that I can cut it.  Haha.  Threw that in there to see if you’re still paying attention.

Soup and walking.  That’s what I meant to say.  Hope I don’t die from all the excitement.  Although that would beat being eaten by a coyote I guess.

share-your-world2

Advertisements

How Do I Love Thee January?

img_2956

Let me count the ways.  A list of all the good things about this winter month from hell.

  1. There aren’t any.
  2. Just kidding, there’s got to be something.
  3. Penguin Awareness Day is coming up on the 20th (and Squirrel Appreciation Day on the 21st).  (You can find more weird days to observe and celebrate here). If you would like to ignore the U.S. presidential inauguration there are obviously many more important and worthwhile things happening this month on which to redirect your time and attention.
  4. Daylight is increasing by leaps and bounds.  Or minutes if you want to be realistic.
  5. A week and 2/7ths of this month are over already. Yay!
  6. Many people richer and smarter than I am are leaving Canada and going south to get warmed up.  This means they can feel all smug about the crappy weather they’re missing and the rest of us will be delighted to accept admiration for our perseverance and stoicism in sticking around and facing the elements. I will also happily accept sympathy and pity.
  7. There are all kinds of sales everywhere this month, and this is a good thing for me because I’m so done with shopping from the previous month I feel no temptation at all to be out there saving money on things I don’t need.
  8. There are at least three good things going on in number seven.  So maybe we can round this up at the end.
  9. The shortbread cookies are almost all gone. I think we may be down to our last dozen.  Finishing them is W’s responsibility and he continues to be up for the challenge.
  10. The list of artists who were approached to perform at the inauguration, and refused,  continues to grow.  Penguin awareness Day is looking better and better.

And now I’m going to sneak in a knee complaint just to let all you knee problem people know how much sincere empathy I have for you after my week of hobbling around swearing.  Holy crap a hurting knee is awful.  The other day I sat down awkwardly and it snapped and crunched and shot excruciating pain to all my extremities at once (I may be exaggerating, but only very slightly, really) and since then it has been getting progressively better.  Not the cure I would necessarily recommend. Sitting around with my leg elevated and straight and having W cook and do laundry for me is my favourite method so far.

Okay!  Back to enjoying this gloriously cold snowy overcast day!  There might not be too many more of them left!  I just rolled my eyes so hard I gave myself a headache.

The End, or The Beginning

img_2835

And that’s when I know it’s over. As soon as you start thinking about the beginning, it’s the end.

(Junot Díaz)

If this quote has a more profound meaning than something like a new year beginning and an old year ending, sorry, its gone right over my head.  You will just have to figure it out for yourself.

I have my own conundrums to sort.  Somewhere back in 2016 I lost my joy of writing.  I would like to find it again. Maybe I lost the joy in a lot of things and that’s the root of my problem in a rather joyless year for the world in general.

But, you know, who the hell wants to hear about all that all over again.

Today my right knee hurts for no good reason and it’s making me sad.  See, this is what I find myself doing.  Complaining to whoever will listen (even if it’s only the little voices in my head) about insignificant crap. And if I were to write down these whiny complaints, that would just magnify shit.  No one needs shit magnified, do they?  So then I don’t write anything at all for a day, or a week, or nearly a month, and that’s easy, and it becomes a habit which gets progressively harder and harder to break.

So here is my brilliant plan for 2017 to blog my merry way to happiness.  Because for me, blogging was once joyous. I’ve set my goal at mildly entertaining for now and will work my way back up.

I have created a new category called “2017 Book of Lists”.  I will make lists of good things.  There are always good things.  If I can’t immediately see the good things I will list the bad things, but only as a last resort.  And only if they are so bad they’re funny.

Here are some good things that happened today.

    1.  I used up the bag of leftover taco hamburger from the freezer.  No one is more surprised by this than me, except maybe for W who is always surprised when I spend longer than 15 minutes in the kitchen.   Normally I freeze leftovers and throw them out once I’m not really sure what they are anymore.
    2. The cheesey potato hamburger casserole I made was edible!  No, you know what? It was GOOD.  Or we were both abnormally hungry.  It could go either way.
    3. I also used up a bunch of apples that had seen better days by slicing them up and covering them with a sort of cake batter before baking them.  It was a nice change from apple crisp.  My mom used to make something like it, juicy sweet moist apple cake, maybe called Apple Brown Betty, but also maybe not.

Perhaps I should have called this a list of FOOD things that happened today.  Whatever, I am off and running, day one done like dinner.

Happy first day of January, what always seems to me to be the longest month of the entire year.  I don’t think filling it up with lists will make it any shorter, but ‘more fun’ is a possibility.  Hey, getting blown up by an asteroid is also a possibility, would you rather have that?  Yeah I didn’t think so.

What the Monkeys are Really Saying

img_2794
OH MY GOD!  I CANT LOOK!  Gah, gag, BARF!

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.

Sharing My World 57

image

SHARE YOUR WORLD – 2016 WEEK 14

If you could hire someone to help you, would it be with cleaning, cooking, or yard work?

With cleaning and yard work I wonder if there is anyone who needs help more than I do.  And that’s why I have help already with both of those things. Although this summer I’m going to attempt the lawn maintenance on my own because it’s so expensive and I could use the exercise and I have lots of time for it.  So far I’ve done nothing.  But I have contemplated raking.  Well, that’s a start isn’t it?  I’ve also sighed and rolled my eyes at the flower beds.

W often helps with the cooking (and I don’t even have to pay him for it) but he likes to cook things like potatoes and perogies and bacon.  I would like to hire a soup and salad chef.  Can you imagine how damned healthy I would be if it didn’t involve having to chop things up on my own?  Yes, I am exactly that lazy and often buy salad kits in a bag because putting one together from scratch just feels too labour intensive to be tolerated.  I admire people who can chop things small enough so that a spoonful of soup contains six different vegetables, instead of one hunk of green pepper big enough to choke you.

If this excellent chopper I’ve hired could also do interesting things with chicken and fish and the occasional steak, I would probably never enter the kitchen again.  And no doubt boast about it to my friends.  And have them over for dinner parties.

What makes you laugh the most?

My first thought was to say my daughter because she can make the most ordinary story hilariously funny, but its actually both my kids, especially when they’re together.  One is loud and a little crazy, and the other is deadpan dry humour personified, reminding me of my dad who always said droll things with a completely straight face.  I love that they find the funny in things, and that they’re drawn to people who make them laugh too. Life would be hell if you couldn’t laugh at it.

What was your favorite food when you were a child?

Strangely enough it was little triangular salmon sandwiches.  White bread, canned pink salmon mixed with salt and pepper and white vinegar, real butter on the bread, sweet mixed pickles on the side.  These were a treat for special occasions and picnics and usually meant for company. If we’d had them every day I can’t imagine they would have had the same appeal.  I still love canned salmon, with the bones mashed up in it, and  don’t care at all for fresh salmon.

Second place goes to a concoction my grandmother used to make for us, little potatoes and fresh yellow beans all soft and mushy in a white creamy buttery sauce.  Maybe she made it when we were starving and that’s why I remember it being delicious.  Or maybe it was simply delicious.  I’ve never tried making it myself, afraid to crush the memory.

List at least five favorite flowers or plants.

Sunflowers, daisies, black eyed susans, tiger lilies and anything that has red leaves.  I love the smell of tomato plants and the look of big ripe red tomatoes on the vine.  I might try planting some yellow beans in my back flower bed this year.  They’re supposed to be pretty hard to kill.  Most other plants are no challenge for me, they wither and die if I look at them sideways.  Or don’t look at them at all.  Perhaps that’s part of the problem.

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

I’m grateful for a quiet week of listening to myself breathe and wondering why I’m wheezy.  Allergy meds don’t seem to have any effect.  Maybe I need something stronger.  Like vodka.  Or weed.

I’m grateful that I’ve finally made it to the end of the last season of Weeds on Netflix.  What a binge watch, and what a bizarre show and what a dumb ending.  I like Mary Louise Parker or I would never have lasted to the final episode.

Next week I have another visit to the university hospital and then I see my family doctor and then I think I will beg them all to leave me alone. Unless of course they find something dire, and then I will rethink that plan.

And THEN I might do some art work.  Sadly, when something begins to feel like work, I stop doing it.  I am looking forward to rekindling the joy.  It’s in here somewhere.

share-your-world2

Sharing My World 42

image

SHARE YOUR WORLD – 2015 WEEK #50

Favourite thing to photograph? Write? Or Cook?

I like to photograph my art work in different lights and mess around editing the colours.  Then I can see things that need fixing.  Isn’t that weird?  You would think flaws would be easier to see in real life rather than on a screen.  I also like to take pictures of the outside from the inside, i.e. my back and front yards through the windows.   That is also weird, but I expect the novelty will wear off soon.  Well let’s hope so anyway.  Lately it’s my jungle themed Christmas.  See above for clarification.  Or consternation, your choice.

Obviously I enjoy writing about myself, I do so much of it, and that probably will never get old for any of us, because what else do we know more about?  Or less about and are still trying to write it all down to figure it out?   Poetry (even if it’s bad) is fun and challenging, but I haven’t written any for a long time.  And short stories are as ambitious as my fiction gets.  I don’t think I have the attention span to write anything longer.

There is nothing I LIKE to cook.  The only reason I do it at all is to keep myself from starving to death.

Did you like swinging as a child? Do you still get excited when you see a swing?

Yes, I loved swinging as a child!  No, I don’t get excited when I see swings these days because they’re never old tires tied to thick ropes dangling from real trees!  Now that’s exciting.  Dad made those for us as well as the kind with big fat board seats.  And here’s another weird thing.  Kids twisting themselves around and around until the swing ropes are super tight and then letting themselves go to spin back in the other direction until they’re so dizzy they could puke.  Best fun ever.  Second best fun for us was going as high as we could go until we were at the peak of the forward swing and then jumping off into nothing but blue sky.  We wanted to see who could travel the greatest distance and marked our landing spots in the dirt with a stick.  My brother always won that one, no contest.  The last time we played it he also broke his arm.

What has surprised you about blogging?

How much I like people!  Well, that came out wrong.  How connected I feel to so many different bloggers from so many different places, who have lives so very different from mine.  And yet we are alike.  It’s a beautiful thing.  So many people with so many stories to tell, so many friends I’ve never met but have come to know and love and look forward to hearing from every day.  And when they’re not around I miss them.

List at least five favorite desserts.

Well what a thing to ask of a newly diagnosed diabetic.  Three months ago if I thought about it at all, I imagined diabetics were people who ate entire cakes for breakfast and a box of donuts for lunch.  I can take or leave desserts and rarely eat them, so it all seemed terribly unfair.  I have learned so much since then.  Like how lucky I am to not crave sweet things.  My body has a hard enough time with potatoes or bananas or toast.

Anyway, yes, I remember desserts!  Chocolate ice cream, brownies, coconut cream pie, carrot cake with cream cheese frosting and chewy oatmeal raisin cookies.  I like those five, but can’t remember the last time I ate any of them.  I think it’s strange how we mess around with fruit making it in to pies and jams and cobblers and tarts.  Just eat the damn raw fruit, it’s fine the way it is.  Said the person who hates to cook.

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

I am grateful that W has not mentioned anything about Christmas music until today.  Wow, the 17th of December.  That’s gotta be a new record.  Normally by the 7th or so I am already having that swing twirling puke-type reaction to anything Jingle Bells related.  Now we have the sat radio on one of the (least offensive to me) Christmas stations.  He set the volume and I turned it down a notch.  See how we compromise and get along?  If he turns it to the country channel we are getting a divorce.

So next week is Christmas!  Wow, that snuck up on us while we weren’t looking.  There will be a turkey dinner but I don’t know yet what day, just that it will be after the 25th this year.  I like to carry on my mother’s tradition of celebrating Christmas on whatever day appears to be the one on which the highest number of people are likely to show up.  The Wing-It Family Christmas.

W’s six-week check up is next week (he will actually be seven weeks post op by then) and he should get the okay to drive, fingers crossed.  The chauffeurs life is not for me and I will gladly give it up.

Have a Happy Thursday and a great rest of the week!

share-your-world2

Last Supper Last Night

imageDo you know how many vegetables you can hide in lasagna?  Many, many…is the correct answer.  I used to make things like this all the time so that my kids wouldn’t die from malnutrition and so that I didn’t have to listen to their long litany of lists of vegetables they didn’t like.  Turnips, for instance.  My mother in law once cooked us a liver and onion and turnip meal which my daughter described as a child’s nightmare supper.  I thought it was delicious.  My kids did not inherit my taste buds.  They had to develop them, with a little help from their devious mother.  Now of course there is no need to disguise these gorgeous vegetables but I continue to do it anyway just because I can.

Come to think of it, this also works well for spouses who still think the only vegetables worth preparing are canned kernel corn and mashed potatoes.   Yes, I married one of those.  Now he eats a much wider variety than he knows or even suspects.  Spaghetti sauce and chile and cream soups are other clever places to load up with vegetables.

But yesterday it was a New Years Eve lasagna surprise that satisfied my creative vegetable hiding urges.  There’s white onion and garlic cloves in the chopper, with yellow, red, and green peppers, celery, zucchini and bok choi waiting their turn.  Sometimes I add a carrot or a parsnip.  Really, just about anything goes.

image
Because this is what it looks like simmering away in browned lean ground beef and a jar of chunky vegetable tomato sauce.  I call this death by vegetables.  I don’t really, but this picture makes it look like it a big pot of God only knows what.  At this stage I added some vegetable and roasted red pepper seasoning and salt and pepper.

Okay!  I use the oven ready noodles that don’t have to be boiled.  I can’t find them in gluten-free but I figure all that other good stuff cancels out their badness.  I am very skilled at rationalization when it suits me.  One layer of the lasagna is beaten eggs mixed with cottage (or ricotta) cheese and lots of chopped spinach.  I buy big bags of fresh spinach and freeze them.  The frozen spinach is easy to crush and crumble so it takes up less space and works great in smoothies.  Or in any kind of hidden vegetable concoction.

I think the layers went something like this.  Sauce, noodles, cottage cheese mixture, noodles, sauce, Parmesan cheese, noodles, sauce, two full bags of grated Italian mix cheese (mostly mozzarella). This of course makes a pan so close to over flowing that you have to rummage around for a big cookie sheet to place it on when you bake it (covered with foil at 350 for about an hour) because otherwise it will bubble over and then you’ll have to clean your oven, and nobody wants that.

I have a recipe for lasagna that substitutes steamed cabbage leaves for the noodles.  Doesn’t that sound amazing?  One gigantic unrolled cabbage roll!  But that’s a bit too much of an experiment if you’re having company, even for me.  I’ll save it for W, even though I know already he’ll be less than impressed.  Unless I throw in a can of corn.

I used the broiler to brown the cheese.  There’s nothing like hot bubbly browned cheese to camouflage whatever disaster lurks beneath.

image
Of course I didn’t take a picture of the uncut perfection and of course mine was the only slice that fell to pieces on the plate.  The salad came from a bag and included cranberries and pumpkin seeds and some other strange but delicious green things.

There was enough left over for our daughter to take home (and possibly feed her dog for a week).  But it was pretty good, so the dog might be out of luck.

It was a good last supper for the last day of last year.  Today I’m going to use my homemade chicken stock and make my first vegetable soup of 2015.  It may or may not contain turnips.  No one but me will ever know.