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.

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.

Sharing My World 61

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The new and improved art studio because I was not loving the first version. I like to curl up in a comfy chair to sketch and draw, and the chair was already paint spattered. Win/win.

Share Your World – 2016 Week 37

Have you ever owned a rock, pet rock, or gem that is not jewelry?

There are likely rocks on our property, below ground, because I’ve never hit one with the lawn mower.  Our neighbour has some little rocks beside his fence that spill on to our side.  Are those mine now?  I let the grass grow around them and am leaving it for W to take care of with the whipper snipper apparatus from hell when he gets home. I hate that thing.  And how far below the surface does ones property actually extend?  I should ask the property tax people.  They probably have boring days which could do with some livening up.

What is your greatest strength or weakness?

The ability to zone out in a crisis.  I don’t know if that’s a strength or a weakness.  I think it could be either one.  Usually I will go into panic mode later when it’s all over.

What makes you feel grounded?

Well that’s a hard one because I’m pretty grounded most of the time.  I feel very ungrounded away from home and familiar things.  What does grounded even mean?  I’m relatively sensible and understand what’s important in life.  I’m not a teenager or an airplane.  If this was an exam question I would have just failed it spectacularly.

Would you rather never be able to eat warm food or never be able to eat cold food?

Since I am amazingly lazy in the kitchen, cold food suits me just fine.  Eating stuff right out of the fridge saves a lot of time and energy.  I’d miss hot soup though.

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

W is on his way home today.  He did some galavanting en route, stopping off to visit friends.  “Galavanting” is a word my mother often used to express mild disdain for a person who wasn’t exactly grounded and went off in all directions doing dumb things.  Well, I kind of made that up, I’m not sure exactly what she meant when she talked about someone off galavanting around but it didn’t sound like she found it admirable.  W’s galavanting on the other hand is fine with me.

Anyway, wow, that was a ridiculous way to introduce the fact that I watched the tv show “Galavant” on Netflix.  It’s a musical.  Galavant is a knight.  The main reason I clicked on it was because of the word Galavant. I’m grateful I did because it was quite well done and funny.  You would not believe how crazy this little blurb is driving my spell check. It does not like the Galavant word one little bit.

I’m looking forward to the arrival of my sister and her family!  I have no idea what to feed them because they have various dietary issues!  Maybe they would all like to just eat out of my fridge!!

No, I will get my act together shortly. I have a week. W can help me.  But first he better ooh and ahh about this redecorated house before he starts complaining about where the hell I put all his stuff.

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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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Easy as ABC

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This post idea comes to you directly from Holly at Bloggity Ramblings, stolen from a number of sources, by the looks of things. Thanks Holly et al!

It’s a list!  It’s the ABC’s!  It’s all about MEEEEEE!!!!!!  My kind of thing for sure since I feel I’m an expert on the subject.  Feel free to copy the alphabet prompts and share yourself with your tribe.

A: Age – 66 and counting.  Next birthday is Friday the 13th in May.  My grandma started warning us at the age of 75 during every Christmas we were trying to celebrate that it could be her last.  I’m going to keep up this tradition starting soon.  She lived to be 99.

B: Biggest Fear – Deep water and being unable to breathe.  So drowning, in other words.  In a previous life I either did not survive the sinking of the Titanic, or I fell asleep in the bathtub.

C: Current Time – Well past noon.  I vow to finish this before the day ends.

D: Drink I Last Had – Coffee.  But before that I drank a big Starbucks tumbler of  Crystal Light (acai white peach papaya flavour) laced with a couple of tablespoons of apple cider vinegar, because it’s supposed to be good for many things, including lowering blood sugar.  I’m not recommending this concoction to anyone, because frankly it tastes even worse than incredibly bad wine.  Therefore it must be healthy and good for you of course, since all bad tasting things are.

E: Easiest Person to Talk to – My sister Ann.  I could tell her how happy I am to know that before we were born our souls chose to be sisters in this lifetime and she would not say I’m crazy.  Well, not out loud and to my face, anyway.

F: Favorite Song – Happy Birthday to you…..I know all the words and most of the tune.

G: Grossest Memory – It’s not all that gross, but it is funny.  My son wanted to have a collection of something and decided to save his toenail clippings.  Unlimited source and not a lot of thought or effort involved.  His passion for this hobby was thankfully short-lived.

H: Hometown – Port Elgin, Ontario, Canada, although I grew up on a nearby farm.

I: In Love With – Life.

J: Jealous Of – People who have more money than brains.  Although not so much the no brains part of that one.

K: Killed Someone?  Not yet.  Hopefully never.  Have watched a lot of murder mysteries and am not confident I could get away with it.

L: Longest Relationship –  Met W in March 1970 and married him in November 1971.  So that’s 46 years of wondering what the hell he’s going to do next.

M: Middle Name – Mae.  There’s a few of those in my family history.  It’s a good name.

N: Number of Siblings – three – one older brother, two younger sisters.

O: One Wish – Good health.  And if I can’t have that, acceptance of whatever life hands me, with grace and dignity.  Because foot stomping and howling is probably not the most attractive way to deal with shit.

P: Last Person You Called – Seriously it was probably a doctor’s office.

Q: Question You Are Always Asked – What the hell is wrong with you??  Haha…just kidding.  Is that your natural hair colour?  Because it is pretty much grey/white but with very dark hair at the back of my neck and my forehead.  Like anyone would do that on purpose.

R: Reason to Smile – I’m retired!  I could paint all day if I felt like it!

S: Song You Last Sang – Hotel California, but only in my head while trying to get to sleep.

T: Time You Woke Up – Yes, yes it is.

U: Underwear Colour – mostly black.  In fact almost everything I wear is black in my unsuccessful quest to become invisible.

V: Vacation Destination – I love to go home to Ontario to visit family.

W: Worst Habit – procrastination.

X: X-Rays You’ve Had – lower back, chest, teeth/jaw.  Then it’s on to MRI’s and CT Scans.  There are some doctors who know me inside out.

Y: Your Favorite Food – Salted peanuts.  It’s the first thing that popped in to my head.  We don’t have any in the house at the moment.  Damn.

Z: Zodiac Sign – Taurus.  Sign of the procrastinating peanut lover.

Okay, it’s your turn!

What Happened Yesterday

Random art work unrelated to subject because the alternative was a photo of an actual human colon.  You're welcome.

Random art work unrelated to subject because the alternative was a photo of an actual human colon. You’re welcome.

It’s been a long morning for me, thanks to Lacie, the amazing alarm clock dog.  The neighbours next door let her out in the early morning to do her business and she barks her fool little head off at….I don’t know….snowflakes, fence posts, air.  I wonder why she can’t just go for a quiet pee like a normal dog and let me sleep.  But this morning was better than yesterday morning, so I have forgiven her.

Today is a good day because it’s Friday, it’s snowing, and I have nowhere to go!  And no gigantic four litre jug of vile laxative to consume!  I’m going to tell you my colonoscopy story, so if you’d like to skip on to whatever you were going to do next, now’s your chance.

For the three of you who have decided to stick around because you love old people medical stories, here we go.  I have a family history of bowel cancer, and a colonoscopy is something doctors have strongly advised me to have done to detect any potential problems.  The day before the procedure is spent cleaning out the colon, eating nothing, drinking clear fluids, feeling sorry for yourself and staying close to the bathroom.  Black coffee is allowed.  Thank God for small mercies.  For the last eight hours you can have nothing by mouth, not even water.

The first colonoscopy I had was done in 2003 and I was instructed to come back for another one in ten years.  But because of my superior procrastination skills, I was able to stretch that to twelve.  If the results are fine for this one, I may set a fifteen year goal for the next one.

The procedure was scheduled for 11:45 a.m. yesterday.  I like to be insanely early for things and W likes to be a minimum of five minutes late.  The morning started off with a dead battery in my car.  This was all my fault for not driving it enough.  And we could not take the truck because W was having way too much fun making a big production of recharging the battery and slicing a finger open in the process.  This required much swearing and a bandaid.  Then we took a long convoluted route to our destination, slowing down for green lights in the hope that they would turn red before we got to them.  There is no parking at the hospital.  Well, there is, but every parking lot is always full and we know this, but drive around through all of them just to make sure.  There’s lots of parking spaces at the mall nearby, because it’s better to inconvenience sick people than to piss off shoppers.

W dropped me off at admitting 80 minutes instead of the required 90 minutes ahead of time so that I could check in and fill out a form and sit on my ass for a bit thinking about all the things that could possibly go wrong and wondering if he would make it back from wherever he finally managed to park.  I also thought a lot about food and being incredibly thirsty and how much my head was aching.  Eventually I was taken to a prep room where I signed a consent form and donned one of those beautiful back-open hospital gowns I’m so fond of.  The nurse told me to leave my socks on, because just the gown by itself isn’t funny enough.  Then they inserted the IV paraphernalia and told me to lie down and wait.  W had shown up and taken off and come back again while I studied the ceiling tiles.  He told me he went to the hospital cafeteria for soup and a sandwich.  I was going to say “I hate  you” but I didn’t because, although that is a perfectly acceptable thing to say when you’re in labour,  in this case I was faint from hunger and simply didn’t have the energy.

The procedure itself took about fifteen minutes.  The IV is for sedation.  They don’t like to give you too much because it’s a busy place and no one wants you hanging around too long afterwards waking up.  So I was sort of aware of what was going on.  Trust me when I say passing out completely would have been my preferred option.  I was then wheeled to a recovery area where I studied some different ceiling tiles until they removed the tubes and tape and let me get dressed.  Then the doctor popped by to tell me it all went well and although there were a couple of polyps discovered, he wasn’t anticipating they were anything to worry about.

Because you are not allowed to leave on your own, the nurse pointed across the room at W and asked me if that was my ride.  Normally this would not be a funny thing to say, but when you’re coming out of sedation all bets are off.  I imagined introducing him to strangers as “my ride” and thinking that was the most freaking hilarious thing I’d ever heard.  She quickly told me I was free to go.

On the way home “my ride” stopped at Swiss Chalet and watched me eat a huge plate of chicken and ribs and sweet potato fries, washed down with two cups of coffee and three glasses of water.  Then of course I felt sick, but also happy.  It’s hard to explain.

And here you thought nothing interesting or exciting ever happened in my life as a retired person who never starts her car.  I am so glad that today is another day exactly like that.  Even Lacie the yappy wonder dog can’t ruin it.