Sharing My World 78

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There were no new world sharing questions this week.  Normally this would not be a big deal for me since I am generally clueless about stuff like what day of the week it is at the best of times, and it could be construed as surprising that I even noticed.  But I did.  And consequently I’ve had some remorse about my silence.  I needed my question-answering fix for the week.

So I searched the internet for some random questions that didn’t hurt my brain.  I hope my answers won’t hurt yours too much.

Are you the person now you thought you’d be when you were little?

When I was little I never once imagined myself as anyone’s grandma, that’s for sure.

Now that the grandma thing is happening I realize that all grandmas have a finite number of stories to tell and they just keep on telling them because what the hell else do they have to do?  So if you’ve heard this one before, too bad.  I’m old and I don’t care.

When a teacher asked us to paint a picture of what we wanted to be when we grew up, I imagined myself as a brilliant and beautiful blonde singer on the Ed Sullivan Show.  Sadly in real life I had extreme stage fright, a less than stellar singing voice, and what I considered totally the wrong face for blonde hair.  “Brilliant” and  “beautiful” on their own alas turned out to be insufficient traits for this particular ambition.  Plus Ed died before I could get my shit together.

I guess none of it was meant to be.  But the childhood friends who laughed at me when I shared this dream will forever live in my memory as little jerks.  I knew myself it was not realistic, but could you not have humoured me for five minutes?

Have you ever had your heart-broken?  Have you ever broken someone else’s heart?

Heartbreak is such a subjective thing.  Little things break your heart when you’re little, like when your brother pulls the head off your doll and demands money from you for revealing its current whereabouts.  It’s all about loss, and the losses get progressively bigger and more serious as you grow up.  You lose a good friend, you break up with a boyfriend, you have to abandon an unrealistic dream.  But wait, life has way more heartbreaking stuff to throw at you. A lover moves on and leaves you grieving for what might have been, opportunities disappear, a grandparent dies.  Then you lose your parents and a sibling and you wonder what you were so upset about before those things happened.  And then you wonder how much more breaking your heart can actually take.  Or if it will eventually get so hard and calloused that it just rolls with the punches, because you know those hard knocks aren’t going to stop.

If I’ve caused a broken heart I am truly sorry.  But I believe,  because I can’t think of a specific instance off the top of my head of ever doing it deliberately to anyone,  that maybe it hasn’t happened a lot.  Huh. Well, no doubt there’s still time.

When you think of home, what comes to mind?

After W and I first got married we both thought of where we grew up as home.  As in ‘let’s go home for Christmas.’  It took a long time for us to refer to wherever the two of us currently lived together as our REAL home.  Having kids helped with that because it was their home.  Is that weird or normal?  I seem to ask myself that question a lot and rarely know the answer and probably won’t believe yours anyway, so just ignore that bit.

Now I think you just take home with you wherever you go.  It’s a feeling, more than a place. A sense of peace and love and being safe from harm.  It can be as big as a country or as small as a backyard.  And the people who have broken my heart by leaving were simply on their way home.  I need to suck it up and be thankful I got to walk beside them and share so many small parts of their journey.

Name one of your greatest strengths, and one of your greatest weaknesses.

Adaptation is a big strength.  Because everything changes.  Everything!   Might as well get used to it.

Worry is my most crippling weakness, not to mention a royal pain.  Sometimes when something I’ve been fretting about finally happens it’s a colossal relief because then I can just move on and adapt to it.  And yeah, that one is definitely weird.

What did life teach you yesterday?

It taught me that many people who want to cut sugar out of their diets still want to pretend they are eating things that contain sugar.  They post sugarless, wheatless, grain free, gluten-free, dairy free, diabetic friendly recipes for brownies and cookies and cheesecake and bread.  Why don’t you weirdos just stop eating cupcakes and chocolate mousse and bogus donut shaped things that no one in their right mind can be fooled into believing are bagels?  It won’t kill you to cut desserts out of your diet and just eat a completely un-messed with banana or something.

I’m sorry but “bread” made with sixteen eggs and almond flour is not even remotely close to being bread-like.  Do you really need toast that smells like burnt eggs?  I know I can live without it.

I can also live without eating shortbread and butter tarts although I made them both for W because it’s Christmas and I didn’t want him moping around whining about missing them.  Believe me, no one wants that.  I did not attempt to make a pastry-less, raisin and nutless,  no brown sugar, no corn syrup, butter-substitute loaded tart although I’m sure someone in the world has tried it and will be posting the godforsaken recipe on Facebook shortly.  Do not fall for it.  Some things are meant to be coma inducing sugar bombs and we should just accept that and let them be.

Deep down, who are you really?

Well if all this didn’t give you at least a couple of clues and an ill- informed opinion, I don’t know what to say.

I’m pretty ordinary as humans go.  I guess deep down I’m my mothers daughter, least likely person to ever want to break your heart.  My mother did not laugh at my goal to become a famous singer, she simply told me the picture I drew was nice.

It’s not that hard to be kind. We should probably all try it more often.  And if you’re one of those people trying to make the things we eat healthy, I’m sorry I was snarky, and good for you.  My mom tried to make pie shells once with whole wheat flour.  They were disgusting, but we all knew her heart was in the right place.

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Sharing My World 77

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Share Your World – December 4, 2017

What household chore do you absolutely hate doing?

I half-assed hate all of them.  Vacuuming (and sweeping and washing and polishing) floors is brutally hard on my back.  And even when it isn’t I will complain that it is.  Cleaning bathrooms is puke inducing.  Laundry is just an annoying pain in the ass.  I guess it’s ass day here at Breathing Space headquarters.  Sorry.

Okay, if I absolutely hate it, it’s probably something I never do, like washing walls or cleaning blinds.  It’s insane to ever do something you absolutely hate doing.  Nothing insane about me!  My daughter dusts my blinds.  It’s just one of the many reasons why I love her.

At what time in your recent past have you felt most passionate and alive?

Right after I retired and really, ever since to some degree.  Except I’ve calmed down a tad lately and no longer wake up every morning screaming in my brain OMFG I DONT HAVE TO GO TO WORK TODAY OR TOMORROW OR ANY OTHER DAY EVER UNTIL I DIE!  And not even after that, as far as I know.  I guess going to work was a chore of which I was less than fond.  Not that my job was horrible, it’s just that being the boss of my own time is infinitely better.  I certainly roll my eyes a lot less.

I have passionately pursued my art and redecorating and decluttering since retiring.  Along with sleeping in.  That is a popular one.  Now I believe I’m in a transition phase, although I have no clear vision of where I’m transitioning to.  Hopefully it’s not permanent couch potato status.

How many times have you moved in the last ten years?

Zero.  We are stuck in a house bound rut.  I just counted on my fingers sixteen different places I’ve lived, but don’t quote me on that because my math skills are less than stellar.  Our next move, should we choose to get off our asses and make one, will be to something smaller with no stairs and minimal yard work.  Preferably self-cleaning.  My mother-in-law, in her nineties, still lives in the two-story, laundry-in-the-basement home W grew up in.  I don’t know whether I should call that amazing or just down-right dangerously nuts.  Well actually I do know, but I try to be polite and mind my own business most of the time.

I hope we both are smart enough to know when it’s time to down size and simplify and give up doing things like cleaning out eaves troughs and trimming trees and driving vehicles and operating machinery and going up and down stairs and cooking eight course gourmet meals.  (Already ditched that last one, if it’s possible to ditch something you’ve never actually done before in your life).

What inspired you or what did you appreciate this past week? Feel free to use a quote, a photo, a story, or even a combination.

I love that my grandchildren are growing up and heading ever closer to adulthood and even though every one of them faces difficulties and issues and growing pains, it’s okay.  Because I’m not the one who has to deal with it.  Haha.  Yeah.  That IS a selfish bad grandma attitude despite the fact that of course I’m here if I’m ever asked for help or advice, but I’m also perfectly happy to stay out of it.  Our parents had confidence in us to deal with our kids without interference and I have the same confidence in mine.  So the inspiration for that little rant came from a weekend visit and conversations with my son and with my daughter-in-law.  Yes, kids, we talk about you when you’re not around, but you are in good hands.  Just don’t be assholes.

I’m running out of ways to incorporate the ass word in this revealing share, so I see no point in going on.  Plus I’ve taken the “sitting still” thing to its maximum limit for today.  Oh, who am I kidding.  There is no agreed upon limit for that.

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Sharing My World 70

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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.

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The End, or The Beginning

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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.

The Ripsnorter Post

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The other day when W asked me what I was doing I told him I had to go see what my space people were up to.  How’s that for a ripsnorter of an answer.

“Ripsnorter” was the word of the day last whatever day it was, I can’t remember and it doesn’t matter, but it stuck in my head because my dad used to like that word to describe something he thought was particularly great.  Or terrible.  Or bizarre.  I liked the “ripsnorter of a storm” nights when he woke everyone up and herded us all downstairs into the living room where we waited for one of our big old maple trees to be struck by lightning and crash through our roof.  Best not to be on the top floor if that happened.

I think he might have called my sister Ann a little ripsnorter when she would jump into the pig pen with the dog making him bark and move the pigs around, generally causing mayhem in an enclosed space. It’s a wonder she didn’t get trampled.  She has calmed down a lot since then.

We have had such a mild and pleasant winter until just lately when the temperatures decided to plummet.  And I mean plummet in a completely ripsnorter-y fashion.  I am wearing big socks and a hoodie and drinking hot coffee mostly to warm up my hands.  Even turned up the heat at one point.  And I’ve hauled out my winter coat.  I think old bones feel the cold more intensely.

Or perhaps physical inactivity is a contributing factor, for example, sitting under a blanket watching multiple episodes of “Dark Matter” on Netflix and having a hard time remembering what the series is called and referring to it as a space show.  With space people.  They all woke up from stasis on their space ship with their memories erased.  Sort of like I feel some mornings before getting out of bed. What day is it?  Why am I singing “The Man Who Shot Liberty Valence” in my head?  Why is this floor so damned cold??

The best character is an android. I love her. She has ridiculous hair.  It’s a ripsnorter of a hair do.

Also i am busy doing some Christmas baking even though I can’t eat any of it.  The fudge is done and also some rolled up concoction consisting mainly of chocolate and mini marshmallows and coconut which my kids once named the Christmas turds before they were unwrapped and sliced in to more appetizing cookie like shapes.

Shortbread today I think.  Then some butter tarts.  I came across a recipe for cranberry meatballs so I tried those last night.  Kind of sickeningly sweet, so maybe more of an hors d’œuvre than a main dish.  And this year I am going to make some kind of a steamed pudding and make everyone try some.  That’s the one thing I miss from my childhood Christmases.  Being absolutely stuffed but still digging into a plate of hot Christmas pudding covered in a rich butter and brown sugar sauce.

Neither my kids nor W liked it so I quit making it.  My moms version was the ripsnorter one for sure but I will make one less like a Christmas cake and tell them it’s something called sticky toffee pudding cake.  ‘Tis the season to be cunning and devious.  I love how steamed pudding makes the kitchen smell and steams up the windows, which will turn to ice which will make W freak out.

He has ripsnorter freak outs.  He will vehemently deny this, but its true.  After my baking I will be tired and grumpy so I’m looking forward to my space people having way worse lives than I do cheering me up.

In other unrelated non-holiday news, I have gone for my pulmonary breathing test from hell where I had to wear a clothes pin thing on my nose and mouth breathe into a tube for 30 minutes in various strange ways as instructed by some guy who has a very weird job for sure.  I will venture out into the cold again tomorrow to get some shopping done.  Less than two weeks to go.

Hope you’re having a ripsnorter of a December.  Stay warm.

Try This at Home

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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

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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.