Friday, April 28, 2006

Spring is here. Brrrr!

The sun is bright and...well...sunny. It looks like bathing suit weather out there. But that wind is CHILLY. Brrr. Brrr brrr brrr! Took a walk around to bring you some sure signs of spring at Dance's house. The japanese maple leaves are coming out. It amazes me how they come out and look like dead butterflies, and slowly open like umbrellas into their cheerful red selves. It will be at least another week before these look like actual leaves. What is concerning however, is only one small branch is leafing out. The rest of the tree is bare. Buds, green under the bark, but no leaves. Perhaps the rest of the tree knows something weatherwise and hasn't told THIS branch yet. I love how the deep red works with the green from the grass and the bright white/grey of the stones and concrete of the patio. Next we have the asparagus patch. It is a little weedy yet, the gardener hasn't come to do his clean up yet. I am no longer "the gardener". I just can't do the bending or pulling anymore. I tried getting a special weeding rake, and it does work. But it's no better on the back than hand pulling in the long run. So thus, a gardener. At least he, unlike DH, does exactly as I tell him ;). Thought some of you who didn't know that asparagus actually grows from the ground might like to see it. Tee hee! I get about this much asparagus a day in the spring, which I eat all by myself and do not share. And this is Jasmine, posing pretty on a kitchen chair. In a few minutes that sunbeam will be fully on her, and she is just the type to sit and wait for it.

Now that the "show" portion of the day is overwith, let's get on with the "tell", shall we? How about I tell you that my DH is a photo critic. His idea of a good picture and mine are totally different. He normally takes our "holiday" photos. Birthdays, christmas, vacations, things like that. Now, I am not saying he takes bad pictures, because he does not. But when I take a picture it is usually for artsy fartsy purposes and not to document an event. I take close ups of things, whereas he likes to get a LOT of background in the photo. I can see some bent pieces of grass and think "wow, what a neat background for some stationary" and he asks why I am taking pictures of weeds????

The japanese maple leaf photo above is a good case in point. I know they don't look like leaves. I wasn't aiming for a perfect leaf photo. What I wanted was a composite of the various colours (red, green, white) and textures (leaf, fence, stone). He looked over my shoulder and says "That looks like crap". Thank you. Now move along. It would never occur to him to snap a pic of growing asparagus or the dog's tail. An aside here. You won't be seeing Ruby's tail photo. For some reason, it does not picture well on it's own. I wanted to post a pic of her curly piggy cinnamon bun tail, but it ends up coming across looking like a pile of feces - literally like a pile of fuzzy dog poop - or male genitals. I have decided in the spirit of keeping this a somewhat PG blog, that the picture would not be received well and deleted it from the camera card.

He will watch me drape a piece of knitting or crocheting over something else and say "if you move it over you can get that other thing right out of the picture". Um, no thanks. That 'other thing' is in the picture for interest purposes. I also like to futz with my pictures. I crop them, I play with the brightness and contrast. Sometimes I adjust the colour. I have been known to 'smudge' the background a bit or paint items out of the background. And I ALWAYS remove the red eye (unless I find it amusing). He basically shoots and prints. If I had asked him to take a picture of the maple, it would have been a tiny thing in the middle of the picture with a wide swatch of the street around it. I, on the other hand, sometimes go for the 'extreme close up' angle.

When taking pictures, and with many things in life, I like to take risks. Get creative. I am not afraid to lie on the ground or stand on a chair to get a good shot. I once took a close up of the newly cut lawn with a few leaves on it, blew it up, printed it four times on legal sized paper, and had them mounted and laminated as place mats. I LOVED those things. He thought they were a little odd. He would rather have taken a regular photo of people milling about and used that. I think maybe I am more abstract and he is more literal. He says "SMILE" when he is behind the camera. I say "Lift your eyes towards heaven and think sad thoughts" or "show me perky" or "Pretend you are a showgirl!". One of my fave pics of DD, she is wrapped in a blanket with her pooh doll and she is sad. He says too bad she isn't smiling, but it is the sadness of the photo that makes it so touching for me. Another was a spontaneous tilt of the head, hands under chin, and eyes towards heaven with a peaceful smile. He didn't like that one at first and dismissed it as silly, but it has grown on him.

I don't fancy myself a photographer or anything like that, but I like to get creative and use the camera as a means to an end rather than just take pictures of people eating and waving and smiling and call it the end. You know?

Thursday, April 27, 2006

Odd dreams

Can we discuss a dumb dream? I will take the resounding silence from the laptop speakers as a yes ;). The details don't really matter, but in a dream I had last night somebody put their arm around me. It was a strong arm. I felt warm and protected and HELD. And when I woke up this morning I wanted to cry because that arm was gone. In general I don't like to be touched. I get claustrophobic and panicky and my "stranger" alarm goes off. This happens even when DH tries to hug me. I "endure" it, stiff and uncomfortable and wanting to run away. I don't get that feeling with DD unless she has been super clingy. And when she has a day like that, after she goes to bed, I can't even stand the dog being on my lap for a while. I don't know WHY I want to run when my own husband touches my arm. I mean, I know he isn't going to hurt me or anything but I just would rather he NOT. My family knows this about me and LOVES to annoy me by hugging and kissing me - especially the older of my sisters. It is her favourite game. Especially if I look 'miserable' LOL. There are a few occasions where I have been able to spontaneously give hugs and not feel like "running like the wind" to get away from it. Like the KT get-togethers. Those people just feel like family. BETTER than family actually. Closer than family - I feel like we have been a part of each others thoughts. Most of my physical awkwardness is reserved for adult humans. Animals are immune and rarely make my "stranger alarm" go off. Usually with children I am not as defensive and don't have my walls up. It amazes me, to watch them. They can meet another child and be best friends within minutes. They laugh with abandon, cry without reserve, and speak their mind to each other without fear of reproach. Kids are so REAL. Sometimes TOO real, and you know what I mean if you read at the KT and saw the post I made not long ago about DD and her SHARING. No clues. Follow the link to the KT and check a few pages back for it. If you don't already know about the KT, you NEED to know - bwa ha ha ha! So, already feeling a little blue, it was not the best time for me to get the final estimate for fixing my car door. I was really hoping this last place was gonna be able to do some fancy miracle, and practically for free. Too bad for me, 'cause there won't be any miracle and they cost just as much as the other places. They will throw in new floor mats for free, but I'm not sure that should be a deciding factor. Plus, it will take TWO DAYS. I will be without a car for two days. DH says I can drive his car and he will use his fathers van, which is just sitting there anyway. *whine whine* I don't WANT to drive his car *whine whine*. I know, it is silly, but that is how I feel. I can't do anything until the girl who hits me calls me back with her decision anyway. Now, isn't all that enough? Don't I have enough to deal with? Cars and dreams and deadlines and family stress and work stress? Apparently the forces that guide the universe think NOT because they threw one more stick on the blaze. ANTS. The little black ones (we call them sidewalk ants) that come in every year to discover the pet food dish. It's not a big deal, really. Especially now that Ruby is eating home cooked food and I am not using her regular dish for now. When they come in (happens every year in the spring when the ground starts to warm up) I put out the ant traps and sprinkle that fossil dust. I put it where they come in and along the path they take back and forth to whatever they find interesting. Check each day to see if they have changed their doorway or path and sprinkle the dust there. The dust won't hurt the animals or the people in this house, and it always works - after a couple of days we don't see anymore ants. Sometimes after a big rain they will come in again, especially if there is food for them to find. Once I watched them walk all the way around the kitchen (along the outer edge) to find the lone cheerio under the corner cabinet. Sweeping them up just scatters them and lets them know there is more kitchen to explore, so now I let them go about their business through the dust. I don't know that the "traps" do anything. Personally I think they are too small to go in there, I have never seen any carrying that bait out again. But it's either that, or DH will insist on spraying and I don't want that. I am such a sucker. I wonder if the ants have little symbols sprayed on our house that says we are an easy mark, like the hobos used to do? I don't have a picture today, but I promise some good ones tomorrow. 'Kay?

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Do you paint your toes?

First off, a gratuitous tart picture. This is a rhubarb tart, made with the first of this year's rhubarb. Sliced rhubarb, sugar, cinnamon, and a touch of lemon juice cooked until tender then thickened with ground oats. Spooned into tart shells and topped with crumbs. Baked to bubbly goodness. There is one left. And I am not sharing ;). Alright, I am lying. I don't eat stuff like this. But I'm sure DD will scarf it up when she gets home from school. Now, on to the actual blog. I have never had an actual pedicure. Never. My sister can't stand having bare toes, and goes often. In fact, she has a large collection of open-toed shoes and capri pants invested so now feels pressured to get them done regularly. I have heard her say that she isn't feeling so great because her toenails are chipped and they need to be redone. How can the condition of nail polish on one's toes make a day go wrong? Is it such powerful magic? Ruby the pug LOVES toes in general, but dsis's painted toes make her wild. In fact, if my sister comes over the first thing Rubydoo does is check out her toes. Only once or twice they haven't been painted, and the mutt has been visibly disappointed. She loves sister, but I guess it can't really be her if the tootsies are bare. I am thinking of going, but I'm kind of afraid. Friends for years told me how great manicures were. I was finally convinced to go, even though at the time I had inch long nails that I painted myself. I don't mean mere nail polish, I mean PAINTED. Scenes. Took me four hours per week. Sometimes I had a picture on every nail, sometimes just a few accent nails done. Seasonal things were my favourite. Like a winter picture of a cat in a window that makes you feel like you are peeking into a warm and inviting home. Or Christmas trees and presents, Easter eggs and bunnies, palm trees for spring break, and so on. But I was assured I would not be disappointed and was referred to a certain place where they all went. The first thing the woman did was CLIP OFF MY REAL NAILS. Before I even knew what she was doing, CLIP CLIP CLIP! I pulled my hand away with only the thumbnail, and I was livid. "No No lady, you like you like!" she assured me as she took my hand back and finished off that final nail with a CLIP. Then the other hand. Next was a dremmel type tool that she used to completely ruin the surface of my nail beds. Two coats of something that smelled so chemical and alien I can't even describe it. Then came the nail tips. She put them on with some goop that looked like it was liquid fiberglass - I could see the strands of fiber in it. The woman disappeared for a good while so this stuff could dry. I was beginning to feel very panicky. Before I could plan an escape, she was back. The gunk had glued the tips onto my nails, but it had also stuck to my skin. So she SHOVED HER NAIL in there to free it. It hurt unbelievably bad, and I snatched my hand back. "OUCH! That hurts!". She mumbled something in a language I didn't understand and said "No no lady, you like you like!" again and took my hand back. OUCH! There goes that evil nail shove again. I pulled my hand away and refused to give it back. Manicure is DONE. I paid her ten dollars (one fourth of what it was supposed to cost) and left while several women screamed at me in a foreign language and shook their fists at me. Funny, I don't remember that many people total in that shop, where did they all come from to shout at me? My hands were burning like fire from whatever she had used on my nails and I could hardly breathe. I felt like fumes were coming from my clothes just from being in there. I drove around for a bit, and saw a place where I used to get my hair done. Seeming to remember that they had a nail stand there, I parked and stumbled in. Not sure what I was hoping for, but I was sort of in shock. The receptionist somehow figured out what I was trying to say and called somebody over to look. They didn't do nails anymore, but knew somebody who could help me. I left with an address and instructions to GO RIGHT THERE. And I did. My heart sank when I saw the place. It didn't look that different from where I started off. I was met at the door by a woman with the biggest hair I have ever seen calling my name. I wondered how she knew it was me, but seeing as I was holding my burning hands in front of me like a surgeon trying not to contaminate them before surgery I am sure it was no hard task. She led me to a chair and said "Let me just take a look". She gasped when she saw my red fingers. "Holy SHIT. Okay. We can fix this". The next three hours are kind of a blur. When it was done, my nails looked marvelous. Well, they weren't MY nails anymore, but they still looked nice. My finger tips still hurt, but she assured me they would feel better and better over the next couple of days (and they did). I went back every week for "fix ups" while my own nails grew back. And I swear they didn't grow back the same. No way could I grow them to one inch long again. It's like the nail beds were changed and weekened by the chemicals and the injury. Once my own nails grew down to the edge and I no longer needed any fixing (it took longer than a year), I thanked her gratefully then never went back. While I am sure that this won't happen to my FEET - after all, fake nails on toes hasn't really caught on here - it still makes me leary about going for a pedicure. What if they clip my nails too short? What if they hurt me? What if they DAMAGE me? I am just a scaredy cat, I'll tell you what! But being diabetic, my doctor has suggested taking good care of my feet. Maybe I can convince myself to go ONCE and see what happens. I am sure Rubella would be overjoyed. In other Rube news, this is how I found her a moment ago: It is not odd to find her sulking. In fact, sulking is her favourite method of communicating when she feels we are not doing her justice. You know, when we do such horrible things as have our own lives and not spend every minute catering to her. Pretty much what every girl wants, no? But usually I know WHY she is sulking and this time I do not. With this on my mind I went upstairs to gather some laundry, when I found this in the hallway: Toy Henge. I am sure it was due to the flash, but this picture did not capture the sunbeam hitting these arranged toys, leading to my theory that it is a dipiction of some archaic pug calendar. Which begs the question....if you arrange your toys in the forest and nobody is around to see them, is it still time to play?

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

I love Remark

There is a gourmet grocery store in our city called Remark Farms. I don't BUY a lot there, but I love to go there and look at everything. I never leave empty handed, but it's not like my whole grocery budget goes there (it wouldn't go far if it did, the stuff is lovely and priced to suit). After my therapy appointment each week I treat myself to a trip to Remark. Today was no exception, although DH went to the therapy appointment so I went after we came back, rather than on the way back. He is not a fan of looking at fruits and veggies and pretty jars of various things. Today I bought some celery sticks (I know I know, cheaper and easy enough to cut my own but for some reason they taste better when somebody else does the washing and cutting). And some pork tenderloin "tails" - that thinner part that overcooks? They cut it off and offer them for sale separate. I cut and pound them into cutlets. And a small fruit tray with dip because DD likes that. Let's see......I think that was it. Oh wait! A package of five cheese tortellini and a cabbage wedge. So dinner tonight is pork cutlets and steamed cabbage for me, pork cutlets and cheese tortellini for DD. DH is working tonight so who knows what he is eating ROFL. I'm only responsible for feeding him when he works day shift. Since it was basically lunch time, the place was crowded. They offer three hot soups, chili, a salad bar, prepared sandwiches and some hot bread items (panzerotti, pizza bread, onion bread, that sort of thing) so a lot of office workers go there to pick up lunch. It was too much effort to elbow my way to the cheese counter to look at the offerings there. Then again, maybe it was too soon to see cheese since this is where I got caught being stupid about cream cheese not long ago. Perhaps the karma gods sent those office workers to save me from myself this time - or at the very least to keep me away from the dairy products. The shop is across the street from a Wendy's, and I got a craving for taco salad. A quick call home, a drive-thru, and I was on my way home with burgers and fries (for DH), and the salad. Did you know that the taco salad from Wendy's needs to be ASSEMBLED? It came in parts, it really did. You get the bowl of lettuce/tomatoes/cheese, a packet of dressing, a container of sour cream, a packet of seasoned tortilla strips, and a container of chili. What is the world coming to when a taco salad has more parts to put together than a bicycle? What does it say about me that I put the salad together and had leftover parts? (I didn't use the dressing and saved half the chili to eat later). Besides that I won't be putting together any recreational equipment any time soon, that is. It has gotten colder again so the house is all closed up. When I got home, boy could I smell the lillies! I got two easter lillies this year. And I love them, they look so cheerful with their open blooms. But the smell! It gets quite intense - especially at night. It's overcast so they must have thought it was bedtime, 'cause they were stinking overtime. Xena, our warrier princess cat, likes to bother the lillies. She grabs leaves and tugs the plant. We make her stop, but the tell-tale smudges of yellow pollen on her forehead tattle on her. I tried to get a picture but she won't sit still. All I get is a black blur with a yellow smudge. So I took a picture of a lily instead.

Monday, April 24, 2006

Mah neck huhts

Okay, first off, I have to shout out to Latibug....yes, I see that you tagged me LOL. I startled DH with a little shriek or terror last night. He came running over (clasping his chest since I gave him a heart attack) saying "WHAT'S WRONG?". "I've been blog tagged". He stared at me for a real long time before returning to his seat. That guy is just odd, I tell you. Tee hee! I am not quite ready with the list of "weird facts" about myself, and in an unprecedented move in blog tag history - I am asking permission of a blogger before announcing she has been tagged. My life is an open book, and while most blogs are cathartic and part of public domain, I want to make sure she is ready for a slew of readers following links to her innermost thoughts. I should probably save this for the list of wierd facts, but I'll slip it now. I do accents. For no apparent reason I will speak in any of a thousand accents. You never know if it will be southern drawl, one of my various "English" accents, another that can only be described as 'vaguely european', or something else entirely. Even better if I can do a movie/TV quote while doing the accent. Somehow I think that gives me more points. I get even more points if the people around me figure out that I am doing a movie/tv quote in an accent. This morning, while making my coffee I drawled out "Mah neck huhts". DH gave me an alarmed but still blank stare. "What was that?". I cleared my throat and said it again "Mah NAYEK huhts". He turned off the vent fan and nudged the dog with his foot (to stop her snoring for a moment LOL). "What?!?!". I huffed out a breath and said "My neck hurts. What's the matter, you don't know a good southern accent when you hear it???". Then I flipped my hair (with a little 'ow' because my neck DOES hurt) and walked away in a snit. I heard him just barely whisper "well it wasn't THAT good" on my way past. He thinks he is SO funny. My lovely daughter has inherited this from me, although she tends to emulate actual accented quotes from movies for no apparent reason. She will throw out an "I want it NOW daddy" in her best Varuca Salt, umprompted. Say the words "Peter Pan" and she will repeat it in a darling accent, copied from the little girl in the movie of that name. When she is feeling playful, we get a bangladeshi "Thank you, come again" ala Apu from the Simpsons. To my chagrin (you wouldn't have wanted to be here the day DH and I fought over this) she also spouts snippets from the Austin Powers movies. I think she should never have seen them, DH felt she was too young to understand so what was the problem. Oh, maybe "Mommy, want to see what Mini Me does when he gets mad?" as she shoots the finger at me? That is a P-R-O-B-L-E-M. Dh is not appreciative of our accent play. When I watch Coronation street or some such BBC broadcast, he says he can't understand a single word. He had to view "Shawn of the Dead" four times before he realized they were actually speaking real words and not just making odd noises with their mouths. He also hates any movie that uses subtitles for extended lengths of time. We won't be watching "Passion of the Christ" anytime soon, not with all the aramaic and printing going on. It must be hard, living in a house where two of us say something unintelligible then giggle like mad, as you look on, not understanding anything. But it sure is entertaining for the rest of us ;). I am considering secretly taking Greek lessons, to seal his fate. But that would take too long, and as we know I am the instant gratification queen and I am LAZY. Does not bode well for diabolical plans at all. In a totally unrelated subject, I am going to talk about my flower bed in front. Last year, I had to make the hard decision to totally renovate this bed, which included digging up all my bulbs. Tulips, daffodils, hyacinths, jonquils - I believe I may have single handedly supported Hollands export industry. I was assuaged that the bulbs would be labelled, set aside, and replanted in the fall. This was the only way I would agree to it. Well, I guess somebody came across the bags of drying bulbs in the shed and decided they were yard waste and put them out to the road. That in itself (putting yard waste to the road) is a no-no, because all that should be going into the "compost corner" of the garden. Putting 10 years worth of expensive flower bulbs to the road is even worse. There I was, ready to plant, with nothing to put in the ground - not even the culprit because to this day I don't have a clear confession of who did it. I suspect it was FIL, and DH doesn't want to tell me. But that is neither here nor there. I was too upset to buy new bulbs last fall and figured this was going to be a very dull spring. But life perseveres. Two bulbs must have been missed, and came up. Cheered me immensely to see the colour peeking up out of the green-and-brown. Notice that the photos are carefully cropped so that you don't see the impressive bounty of picker bushes and bindweed that also came up ;). There is one more with no blooms yet, so I'm not sure what it is. It could be another of these, but the leaves look a little narrow so it might even be one of my daffs. Hey, maybe the "pink cloud" one with the pink puff in the center of a yellow cup! Sigh. Maybe. I'll let you know.