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.

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.

Sharing My World 57

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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.

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