Friday, December 19, 2008

Excuse me, China? Is my cat there?

When Jasmine was a kitten, she loved to dig in her litter box.  Not recreationally - but if she was in there she would dig and dig and dig before she was happy that it was okay to do her business.  And sometimes, she would stop and dig again.
 
We should have noticed that she was having urinary problems because she stopped digging.  She no longer enjoyed the litter box, my friends.  Anyhow, that is moot because we eventually did notice and she has had surgery and is all fixed up and stuff.  Now that she is feeling better....guess what?  Dig dig dig dig dig.
 
Most mornings she chooses to visit the box right before my alarm clock goes off.  This disturbs Ruby to no end (and I have no idea why) and makes her restless.  The start of the wake-up routine begins (you know, tongues up the nose and face pawing and stuff).  This morning a snow storm started at about 5:00am, so the sky was sort of bright (What is up with the odd reddish-yellowish colour of the sky when it snows at night anyway?).  This woke the cats earlier than normal, so the entire digging and snurffling routine began earlier than ever.
 
And the whole time Ruby was trying to sniff INSIDE my nose and put her tongue in my eye while stepping on my hair, the cat was digging to china in the litter box.  The other cat was acting crazy and chasing shadows and running back and forth like a maniac and stopping to harass pretty much everything (mostly because she is Xena and this is what she does - it had nothing to do with digging or snow or wake-up routines).
 
What does a gal have to do to get some rest around here?  Sheesh.
 
You know what today is?  Snow-mageddon day.  That's what day it is today.  And do you know where I am?  At work.  That's where I am.  Not only am I at work, I am four different people because they were smarter than I was and chose to stay home.  What is worse is that getting here was a breeze, but at least a good foot more snow has fallen since I got here.  I may not be able to get HOME.  Now that I think about it, if I do get home....I don't think I'll be able to get into my driveway.  Sigh.  At least it's pretty ;).
 
Ruby generally likes the snow.  But it was blowing needle-like pellets while she was outside this morning.  The wind gusted up as the poor thing was squatted and a wall of snow hit her like a coat of paint.  You know the face humans make when the snow blows at them?  Squinched up and eyes squinted and half turned with a look of disgust?  Yeah.  Ruby made that face.  She looked like a snow man when she came in.
 
Well, back to the grindstone.

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

The trouble with skylights

There is a skylight above my cubicle.  It is the closest thing to a "window" this office has, so I am not complaining.  However.

 

Today it is cold and rainy, and the sound of the drops hitting that thing are putting me to sleep……..and making me have to pee every five minutes.  This is not a good combination, folks.  I would hate to fall asleep then wet the bed while I am at work.

 

I have been trying to keep myself awake by eating Clementine oranges and soft puffy peppermints but it doesn't seem to be working.  All I have to show for the effort is rotten teeth and an acid stomach.  (I just can't seem to pick a good box of those little citrus fruit.  I love them so much that I keep trying and hoping.  Sigh.)  Maybe I need to graduate to full size oranges and candy canes.

 

By the way.  If you ever want to be taken seriously at work, do NOT sing along with "I want a hippopotamus for Christmas" while swinging your elbows in vaudeville fashion.  Just in case it ever comes up *cough*.  Oh, and NEVER finish off with 'jazz hands' and a crazy Disney smile.  Again, not that I know for sure.  *cough cough*.

Friday, December 05, 2008

Be afraid. Be. Very. Afraid.

Yesterday when I arrived at the aftercare program to pick up my daughter, I was met by the "teacher".  She asked me to sort of sneak a peek around the corner and watch for a bit, before going in.  She was laughing, so I wasn't worried that it was terrible, but still I was a bit worried.
 
What did I see?  My daughter standing in front of a group of boys (ages from about 6 down to maybe 3 years) and giving them directions.  She was holding a ball, and they held onto her every word.  And when she said "GO!" they scattered like roaches when the kitchen light comes on.  When she told them to "STOP!" they froze in their tracks instantly.  If she walked towards one area of the room, they followed her.  If she moved again, they followed.  She was the pied piper, and they were the rats.
 
"It's like that every day".  I am just hoping that she chooses to use this power over her merry band of marauders for good, rather than evil.  But given who her parents are, it ain't bloody likely.  My leadership skills, talent for manipulation, and bossiness combined with DH's "instigator" genes and deviousness - we are lucky she hasn't already made a coup to take over the world.
 
I guess it didn't take her long to realize that it's much harder to boss girls your own age around because they have this horrible habit of protesting and resisting, silly things.  It is impossible to boss boys your own age around because "girls are yucky" so they won't come near enough to you to be bossed to begin with.  Cooties, you know.  But younger boys?  Younger boys follow like sheep and do your bidding.  They are a group ripe for the picking, just waiting for a ring-leader to come around.
 
If you ask me, those after-care instructors are crazy to be in that line of work.  You can't fool me.  One false move with those little savages, and they go all "Lord of the Flies" on your ass.  Trust me.  I am a Brownie leader, so I know what children are capable of.  We are always "this far" away from being cooked and eaten every meeting.

Friday, November 28, 2008

One can only be so cheap

And you would think there were no limits to my cheapness ;). Then again, we aren't talking about my taste in clothes nor colours of wall paint for the living room (bubble gum pink, just to remind you). I am eating vegan, and I have accepted that certain specialty items are going to be expensive. But really, since I am the only person using them and when you consider portion size, it's not all as costly as it sounds. Still, it burns my butt when I spend the money and go the extra mile to find a product and I hate it. Don't get me wrong. I will finish off a product that I don't LOVE if it was expensive, then just never buy it again. I find ways to use up products that I didn't like rather than throw them away because it feels less wasteful. Now and again though, I have come across something that is so heinous and gross that it goes right in the garbage, regardless of cost. I wish I had made that decision about the frozen veggie pattie I had for dinner. As far as I can discern, the main ingredients are undercooked basmati rice, overcooked veggie cubes, undercooked veggie cubes, and some mushy pastey substance that I have yet to identify. The box was expensive, and it contained 8 patties. They are almost 200 calories each so I would only ever eat 1 at a time, makng it seem like the package is lasting forever. Lasting forever and taunting me from the freezer. Tonight I tried yet another cooking method hoping that I would hit on the holy grail that would make these things not so disgusting. Yeah. Still looking. Why do I torture myself like this? I could have found something that I liked instead. I could have had a cup of quinoa with my sauteed veggies and enjoyed the meal immensely. Or heated some brown rice (I cook it in batches and freeze it in cup size servings). But no. I sat here, staring that veggie pattie in it's lowly undercooked carrot cube eye, doused it in salsa, and choked it down. Please. Somebody save me from myself. Sneak into my house in the middle of the night and throw those things away before I eat another one! Want to know what is the most sad about all of this? There are only three left. Seven times I have gagged down one of these babies. Pitiful.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Stuck in a Seinfeld episode

I like to wear sleeveless or short sleeve shirts. Yes, even in the winter. Because, you see, I am used to being overly warm all the time. It is much easier to put on a sweater if you are chilled than it is to strip off a long sleeved shirt when you are too warm at the office - know what I mean? I haven't quite adjusted to being colder now (it's the lower blood pressure I am sure), so I keep a sweater at the office. That way I don't have to remember to bring one and I won't be miserable all day if I forget it and turn out to be cold all day. I threw said sweater on this afternoon and was immediately overwhelmed by some strong, stinky fumes. "Somebody has been wearing my sweater", said Goldilocks, "and that person apparently bathes in cheap perfume". I took it off right away, but the scent had already transferred to my shirt. It was giving me a headache and I just couldn't get away from it. It was like the B.O. from the car, only with a sweater and perfume. I had to endure it all afternoon. Changed the second we got home. And know what? Now I can smell the perfume in my HAIR. Just to make sure I wasn't losing my mind or getting paranoid and imagining phantom smells, I made DD sniff my hair too. "Blech. It smells like the make-up department in Sears". I don't know how annoyed to be. I mean, I don't mind the borrowing so much. But leaving me with a sweater that I can't even stand to be near doesn't seem fair either. I am sure the guilty party has no idea that she smells like a hooker, and it is not MY duty to tell her either. So the sweater goes right into the washing machine (alone, I am not taking any chances that the scent will spread to other clothes while mingling in that dark place) and when I bring it back to work? Hiding it in my drawer.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Of tofu and spiders and dogs in dresses

Well. Long time no blog, eh? I am home sick today and taking advantage of a little laptop time. So much has happened since our last visit, n'est pas?
There has been thanksgiving and a fake tofu turkey. I won't go into details but rest assured this monstrocity was made out of plaster and nobody ate it. I made myself a casserole of soy slices and bread stuffing with veggies and gravy and it was very good if I don't say so myself. I wasn't as tempted by the turkey as I expected, although I have to admit the cabbage rolls almost did me in.
There has been halloween with chocolate licorice spiders and their diabolical candy eyes:
False eyelashes:
And of course dogs in dresses:
This is Ruby in her "born to bark" pink goth dress. I have no idea what is going on with those zombie looking eyes LOL. It is some odd reflection but red-eye removal does nothing to it and I am too lazy to photoshop them. Once again, she was thrilled to be in costume and insisted on sitting in my lap so she could get a good look inside each candy bag as I handed out treats.
DD was a goth fairy princess. She asked me not to post a picture of her and I am honoring that, but she looked great. She did her own make-up and we sprayed her hair with black and red hair spray. It was a beautiful night for trick-or-treating, but we didn't get as many kids as we expected. Oh well. The only problem with having candy left over was that we intentionally bought candy we wouldn't be tempted to eat. Every year I get chocolate bars, and every year I have to run out at the last minute when I discover that "somebody" has not only eaten all those itty bitty treats, but that same "somebody" has left all the wrappers in the empty box. THIS year, in order to protect ourselves (well, at least protect "somebody" from themself) we didn't get chocolate bars. If anybody would like an assortment of gummy body parts (mostly eyeballs, fingers, and noses) you just let me know.
I have been troubled with a deep cough for two weeks. The kind that feels like a tickle in your throat that causes spasmatic gasping coughs, but no matter how much you hack there is no relief. Finally it is no longer that maddening tickle, but it has settled in my chest. My whole body is sore from coughing, and now my chest burns as well. I tried to convince the doctor that I had whooping cough and needed an oxygen tent, but he didn't seem impressed at all. He told me to stay home and rest a couple of days (this is day 2), drink plenty of fluids, and go back if the cough gets worse (worse?!?) or anything changes colour. Ew, BTW. I was only there so he could sign my lab forms anyway, so I should count my blessings that he spoke to me at all LOL. Yes, it is fasting time again. And I know for sure this time I have to pee in a cup. It is so much better when I know ahead of time, and yet, I still probably won't be able to give a sample. I just cannot pee on command. Especially if I know somebody is waiting. Very interested in seeing the results since I have been vegan since, like what, august? If my numbers aren't great then I am eating cabbage rolls for sure!
DD's birthday has come and gone. She had a skating party with her friends, where we rented the entire ice pad for an hour so they could have it to themselves. I think they had fun. Then we met family at a nearby restaurant for pizza. I have to figure out a way to fit people into the house. I mean, it's great not to have to clean up before or after, and it's way less stressful to let somebody else cook. But it is very expensive and I think DD would rather have time to play with her cousins and stuff. This year we had the added problem of carpet stains.
Jasmine has been sick, and ended up having surgery to remove bladder stones. Between bloody urine just dribbling out, vomit, blood from incisions and so on our house is one big hotbed of animal DNA. I wouldn't want to shine a blacklight around here, the place would light up like a christmas tree on steroids. Ew again, BTW. Jasmine is fine now, as far as we can tell. But she still isn't eating very well and throws up every once in a while. Poor baby. Poor very expensive baby. Next time a mortgage payment is due, I am very tempted to plunk the cat on the broker's desk ;).
I think I will go grab my knitting and some herbal tea, wrap myself in a blanket, and indulge in some day time crap tv. I need some wallowing time. Hey, doctor's orders!
*Gratuitous Sparkle photo*

Monday, October 20, 2008

A weekend in the wilderness

We had a Brownie camp out over the week-end. Two nights, a group of 7-8 year olds in tents. The girls enjoyed sleeping out, even though it was quite cold out at night. It was so cold the second night we were worried, but when we checked the girls were snug as bugs in a rug. They were warmer than we were! Passed out some extra blankets just to be sure (you know, for that mom in us that insists children are cold whether they are or not). They cooked muffins in box ovens, peeled and chopped veggies for stew, washed their own dishes. For some of them, it was the first time they had ever served themselves a meal, let alone washed a dish. You could see their little minds whirling "I have to scoop the stew into my own bowl and CARRY it?". It was a great week-end. I do want to say however that it always amazes me how long it takes girls to do EVERYTHING. Don't count on dressing or bathroom trips taking a few minutes. Plan about 30 minutes and don't be impatient. Girls this age live on their own time-space continuum. The days were bright and sunny (good thing, to take the chill off) and boy does spending all that time in fresh air stimulate the appetite and make for good sleep at night. It was a bit odd sleeping without a dog on my head or a cat sprawled across me trying to smother me to death. But I managed to cope ;). I was amazed at the yellow jackets still flying around. Come on, darn things. It is practically WINTER out there. Enough already! For the "Circle of life" moment of the week-end, we were gathered around a campfire in the afternoon singing songs, when the girls found something. Not a mouse. HALF of a mouse. Specifically, the back half. That is right. Something ate the other half, in one big bite by the looks of it. And hadn't finished all that long before, either. We figure an owl or hawk got startled and dropped it. Before any of the girls could get upset, I launched into my "now that bird will be stronger so it can build a good nest next year and lay eggs that will hatch into more owls, and since mice reproduce so quickly if it wasn't for birds and things that eat them, we would be overrun" and so on. You know. Supply and demand. It was easier, granted, because it was not the half of the mouse that has those cute little ears and stuff. Then we distracted them with kool-aid jammers and granola bars and led them to another activity. I enjoyed every moment of it, and boy did I notice a difference in how I felt, now that I have been going for personal training. Sure, I was tired. And my feet hurt because we were basically standing for two days straight. But I felt nowhere near the car-wreck I felt like last time after only a single day. And we were ACTIVE. It felt good to get some sunshine and fresh air and get moving. Next time I will wear better shoes. I should have worn light hiking boots. I bought a small (2 quart?) crock pot for the week-end, and I love that little thing. I enjoy slow cooked food, but DH and DD aren't thrilled about their meat being cooked with veggies. And frankly, now I am not so into having my veggies cooked with meat. This size is perfect for me to make a smaller batch of veggie stew or soup. Last night I toasted a cup of steel cut oats and tossed them in there overnight with 4 cups of water. I don't like cooked oatmeal usually (unless it is in a baked good - just not as hot cereal) but I figured I would try it on a lark. It turned out much different than I expected. It looked creamy but the texture was fluffy, with bits from the whole oats that gave it substance. Not slimey at all. I ate mine plain, but might add some fruit next time. Or maybe even some veggie stock powder and try it that way. DD tried it, and liked the texture but not the "toasted" flavour. She said "please just make mine in the microwave like normal next time". Tee hee! So now I have oatmeal to reheat for the rest of the week. It is nice and warm and filling. My only problem with it, is that it doesn't stay with me. By 10:00am I am starving again. Have to bring some fruit or something to combat that. Anyhow. Back to work!

Friday, October 10, 2008

Wanna see some bugs?

I was transferring photos from my camera memory card to the computer and found some shots I don't even remember taking. DH is in charge of "real" picture taking. You know, stuff that is meant to be printed and placed in the photo albums. Christmas, birthdays, big events. The pictures I take? Purely selfish and artsy fartsy purposes. That's why we each have our own camera. That way I can play around with the settings without making him mental over it. He is a preset sort of guy. I am a "let's see what THIS does" kinda gal. Trust me, it is better this way.
This was taken at my brother's cottage in Michigan. There were some wild blackberry bushes growing (they are small, but very good). I was checking to see if there were any more ripe ones, when I saw that I wasn't the only fan.
See that little bug on the berry the furthest to the left? He would pierce the ripest part of the berry. Smart little guy. Of course, he would be smarter if he waited for these berries to ripen even more.
I was peeking through the garden looking for the last of the tomatoes that have a hope in ripening. And what should I find? It is *shudder* a tomato "horn" worm. Although it wasn't as big and as gross as I remember them. And it looks like something has laid eggs on it. In fact, these are parasitic wasp eggs. Anybody who is into organic gardening and integrated pest management would be thrilled to see this.
And we were even more thrilled to see THIS. Although, thrilled from a distance. There is not enough lexapro in the world at this point to get me to touch a praying mantis. At least not one THIS big! He's about hand length there, on the side of the pool. They start out as tiny exact copies of themselves, and bright green. Like a centimeter long and all eyeballs LOL. Then we catch sight of them here and there, getting bigger each time. At 1/2 an inch, they are still cute. 1 inch long? Cutish. Longer than that? Okay that is a BUG. When they reach this size, have fully developed wings - yes, they can fly - and are starting to turn brown for the fall? Amazing. Graceful. Enthralling. And most of all, scary beyond belief. I am not kidding. There is nothing like a bug the size of your hand turning it's little alien head and WATCHING you as you walk by.
So why are we thrilled? Seeing these is a sure sign that you have a healthy garden and nature is doing it's work. If we find a seed capsule in the fall or spring we are very careful to leave it be, or cut it off and place it in a nice, sheltered spot. We have been watching what we think is the same one that had taken residence near the pool for a while now. We watched as it got bigger and bigger, and would hunt along the edge of the pool overhang. Good bugs under there, we can imagine. Not having seen him in a while we can only assume this is the same one. Dh called me over with "Awwww......our baby grew up!" LOLOLOL.
And now, I leave you with a gratuitous fungus.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Where did THAT come from?

DD and I were on our way home from the gym, when all of a sudden we were under water. Well, it was raining hard enough to be anyway. From nothing to rain so hard and fast I couldn't see the road. Sheesh! Getting from the car to the house (two bounding steps when the rain is cold like that) and we were soaked to the underwear. I can't even imagine how it would have felt to be stuck out there on bikes or walking. That rain felt cold enough to chill beer, if you ask me. Last night I tested an idea for thanksgiving. I have seen many "stuffed pumpkin" conglomerations. I thought it would be nice to try a vegan-stuffed pie sized pumpkin. I wasn't sure if I wanted to go with a stewy type thing, bread stuffing, or a wild rice style dressing. After looking at a hundred or so recipes, I decided the stew was NOT the way to go. Nothing inspired me as having particularly thanksgiving-y flavours. I took a small pie pumpkin and cut it in half. Scooped out the strings and seeds, then sprinkled with cajun seasoning. I wanted to make sure the pumpkin itself tasted like something. I roasted them until they were softened but not mushy. Cubed bread, celery, onions, poultry seasoning and a handful of walnuts mixed with veggie stock was packed into one of the halves. TVP sausage crumbles, cooked brown and wild rice mixture, more onions and celery and sauteed mushrooms were packed into the other. These were baked until the pumpkin halves were completely soft and the tops were starting to brown. I have to say, what a disappointment. I liked both stuffings, but the pumpkin had NO flavour whatsoever. And the texture was not that hot either. I don't believe I have ever eaten cooked pumpkin before (other than in muffins or quick breads). Methinks maybe pumpkin might work better in a wetter application like braising or stewing, where flavourful liquids can seep inside it and infuse the flesh with flavour. It won't go to waste, I plan on eating the stuffings themselves then scooping out the cooked pumpkin to use in soup or something. And they looked very nice and festive. It would look even better if I lidded and hollowed the pumpkin, but this was a test of the fillings and I didn't want to do two whole pumpkins. I am glad of that decision! Oh, and browning rice stuffing? Not the greatest idea unless you like reversing all the work you did rehydrating those little grains and returning them back to the bullet-like texture they started with right from the package. If you like broken teeth, then go right ahead. Definitely should have been covered with foil. My workout tonight was "shoulders". Tomorrow will be spent lifting one arm with the other and trying to hoist it up on things because these exercises always kill me. Can I not have at least ONE muscle that is surprisingly strong already? I mean, come on. Sheesh.

Friday, September 26, 2008

TGIF

I have never been so happy to see a Friday.

 

I am pooped!  The Brownies pooped me out last night.  (Is it just me, or does that sentence just sound SO wrong?).  Girls are trickling in, so there are new joiners each week.  One such new joiner last night was having trouble transitioning into the group and away from mum.  So there went one leader to help with that.

 

We were doing two crafts that were time intensive and required a lot of hands on help.  Just for the record, sewing through cloth with yarn?  Not the best idea unless you like having to re-thread the needle for each girl every five minutes.  If we doubled the yarn and knotted the end it caused too many tangles, so it had to be singles with a hanging end.  The girls would pull, and out would pop the yarn from the eye of the needle.  My eyes nearly went crossed, I redid so many of them!  The other craft was a plastic-canvas craft which required – wait for it – needles and yarn!  Obviously when we planned that one we were momentarily insane.

 

The parents had been asked to come early and have a meeting with the regular owls, so I was left to entertain the troupe.  We sang a couple of songs, but I could see by their beady  little eyes the children were beginning to suspect I had no idea what I was doing.  The testing started.  Whispering girls over here, wiggling and fidgeting over there.  The circle started to degrade and was now more the shape of a half eaten donut.  I was losing control, man.  It didn’t take long for them to decide that I was in no way in charge.  Thank goodness the meeting finished and the other Owls came to my rescue before the little imps killed me and danced around my carcass.  Don’t think they wouldn’t do it, either.  They may look cute in their little kerchiefs, but what can you expect from miniature deities that worship owls and dance around toadstools?

 

Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday I worked out with my Personal Trainer.  It is supposed to be every other day, but there were scheduling conflicts.  Wednesday we did a body pump class (she is getting her certification to teach it and wanted some of her clients to try it).  Most of it was okay (I was using baby weights), but let me tell you the lunges and squats kicked my arse.  I am just recovering today and can sit and stand without wincing.  I’m still whining about having a sore bum, but I am dramatic like that ;).  Tonight is the first night that I don’t have to rush home, wolf down some food, and be somewhere else.

 

I made pizza dough last night before bed, so it is make your own pizza night.  Can I call it pizza if I don’t use cheese?  Okay, DH and DD are having pizza and I am eating focaccia with toppings.  How is that?

 

Well….break is over (and the work-day is almost over as well – busy day!).  Gotta start locking up.  Have a great week-end!

 

 

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Jiminy has to go

Crickets.  My life is wrought with crickets.  Not long ago, when I was at my height of anxiety-dome, I was so petrified of crickets I could hardly leave the house at night.  Walk across the patio?  No sirree bob, those suckers were just waiting for me to go out there so they could scrabble from their hidey holes and freak me out.  I used to be a "child of the night" to get away from bees and flying insects.  But when the crickets started climbing up the bricks and flinging themselves at me, I was done like a dinner.
 
And these crickets were BIG.  And for some reason, the ones that had turned a sort of dullish brown were even grosser than the big, fat, glossy black ones.
 
Thanks to some good therapy (and even better meds), my cricket problem was solved and I am no longer afraid to "take back the night".  I have also taken back the day, because I am no longer afraid of bees and such.  I still don't LIKE them, but I don't cower in the house waiting for a good time to run to my car and get inside before anything "bad" happens.
 
This, however, does not mean that my life is cricket-freaky free.  Nosiree.  I am not SCARED of crickets any longer, but with their long spindly legs and creepy crawly habits I still find them pretty gross.  I can appreciate the beauty of a long black wasp.  I can even wax poetic about a fuzzy bumblebee.  Them crickets?  Uh-glee.  Up until now, this disdain did not apply to their noises.  After all, what would camping or a night in the country be without the soothing 'chirp chirp chirp' in the background.  Think of how many kids spent lazy summer days counting chirps to try and guess the temperature. There is something even almost nostalgic about cricket chirps and cicada song, although I don't know why.  (Don't get me started on cicadas.  Have you ever SEEN one????  ACK!).
 
There is a cricket in the office.  He is behind some filing cabinets across from my desk.  He has been chirping since Monday.  I cannot catch him.  I cannot convince him to move on.  I can make him stop for about 30 seconds at a time if I tap on the cabinet, but that is about it.  At first, it was charming.  Kind of like camping at the office.  People would walk by and say "Oh, how nice.  You have a cricket!  It must be soothnig".  Yeah.  Soothing.
 
Well, today is THURSDAY.  And that chirping is driving me completely insane.  It gets louder as the day goes on, too.  A quick google search proved that there is not much I can do.  I can try to catch it and relocate it but those cabinets are full of heavy paperwork that would take days to empty.  And being the wuss that I am I keep rejecting offers to drop a "bug bomb" back there.  I want it to shut up, but I don't want it to sleep with the fishies or anything.  At least not without a fighting chance to relocate on it's own.
 
I have half  a mind to bring in Sparkle and let her go back there.  Hamsters eat crickets, right?  Nah.  With my luck she will get stuck in a glue trap or be lost forever back there.
 
Crickets like dark, right?  What if I buy a cheap click light or something, turn it on, and drop it back there?  Maybe the cricket would find a better, darker place to go.  Maybe I need a CASE of click lights so it doesn't decide to relocate under my desk or something.
 
Sigh.  Any ideas?  Got a cricket-eating reptile I can borrow?  A spare pare of ear plugs?  Something.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Night sweats

The last couple of nights, by bedtime I have been freezing. My feet specifically. I know it is because the weather is changing, but that makes it no less annoying to me. It keeps me awake. Socks don't help, either. Last night I warmed up the rice pad and placed it at the foot of the bed. It mostly worked, except the cats piled on top of it too so my feet would fall asleep forcing me to move my cold tootsies away from the hot zone. They'd get cold again so I would squish them into the steaming warmth of cats and heating pad, then they would fall asleep again. Lather, rinse, repeat. Not impressed at having to share with those critters. Heat whores, those cats. Also, I have been waking up completely soaked in sweat. A cold sweat. Not exactly a not-feeling-well sweat. Not a bad-dream sweat. But my hair is soaked and my chest is dripping. I have been getting this off and on for over a year now (right before PMS - bwa ha ha haaa) but never this many nights in a row. Could it be pre-menopause? After all, I am not far from forty at this point. (Did I actually just type that? Strike it from your mind. Really, I am eighteen. I swear it!). Maybe it is just the increase in soy products. I might have to look into some evening primrose oil or something. Want to hear the randomest, oddest, most insane thing I heard today? "That there is a good looking homeless man". I didn't even have any reply. What does a person say to that? I could only just stand and stare for a moment, processing. Who says things like that?!?! I work with some odd ducks. And speaking of.... Do you know what the book man is? Some people have a book lady. I suppose it should be "book person" to be P.C. about it. Anyway, it is a person that sells books and other small items. They drop off samples of their wares and order sheets. After so many days they collect the samples and fill any orders they get. It seems like every day more and more products are piled onto the lunch table, so much so that it's getting too crowded to eat there. As I sat, scrunched into a corner, eating my veggie balogna sandwich, a coworker was rummaging through the stacks of "stuff" and books. All of a sudden she grabs my lunch bag and starts rooting through it, looking a little confused. "What is this?" she exclaimed as she extracted a package. "Those are cookies that have heart healthy ingredients in them". Oh, she said, as she stuffed it roughly back into the bag. I was a little shocked, but not really offended. I am not sure I liked having my lunch manhandled in such a way, but at the moment I was intent on remaining polite. Then she pulled out another packet, and read it slowly. "V-e-g-a meal replacement. 100% daily nutrients with plant based sterols and proprietary protein mix........What kind of crap is this?" she sounded a little exhasperated as she shoved that back into the bag as well. I didn't know how to react. I mean, maybe she is just a little direct. Some people have no concept of personal space, maybe she was one of those. I stammered something about veggie lifestyles and making sure you get your nutrients, and she just glared at me. At last she tugged out my baggie of apple slices. She stared at them. She turned the bag this way, then that way. I couldn't wait to hear her assessment of my brown-tinged and sad looking slices. All of a sudden, her eyes got real wide, and she gasped. "IS THIS YOUR LUNCH BAG?!?!?" I have never seen somebody look so mortified in my life. She thought it was part of the book man samples! We were both laughing our heads off like loons. She kept gasping out, "Why didn't you SAY anything?" as we nearly rolled on the floor cackling like mad. I told her I was too shocked to say anything. I have to admit, when I worked from home nobody ever manhandled my lunch. Although Ruby would beg for things, and snotted on my sandwich once. Hit it with a huge loogie, right from the floor (pug-nose height). To her consternation I didn't let her eat the tainted item - I threw it away. She thought it was a waste of a good sandwich - and some diabolically good aim.

Important Correction!

I am posting this via remote because I have a most important correction to
make!

I took 1805 steps yesterday. Somehow I managed to misread the darn thing.
I know, I know. Small change. But I gotta take what I can get!

See ya!

Monday, September 15, 2008

More fiber than I bargained for

I just ate, like, my hundredth produce sticker today. I can remember to wash my fruit and veg, but hunting down and removing those little diabolical stickers? Not so much. Apple slices smeared with just a bit of peanut butter, sprinkled with cinnamon and topped with a few sliced almonds. I thought I found a softish-chewy almond, then I realized what it was. Blech! The almonds didn't add much to the experience either. I'll stick with wheat germ. What do you mean you have never had apple slices with peanut butter and wheat germ? Not health food tasting at all, I promise! The cinnamon is a relatively new addition introduced by DD and adopted by me. Pretty good, I must say. After a bit of a delay (my back and subsequent crookedness, my personal trainer going for more - er - training) we started my actual very first full strength training today. We focused on arms and shoulders. I now know for sure there is a reason to have a personal trainer - I would have bonked myself in the head with the barbells after each rep. I can pump them up into the air like nobody's business*. It is the downward, uncontrolled motion that is dangerous (did I mention I have like NO arm strength?). If it wasn't for her guiding hands I would have cracked my melon more than once with one side or the other. It is worth the money I pay to avoid the brain damage. Of course, we will see how appreciative I am tomorrow when I am too sore to zip my own pants or lift the coffee cup to my lips. *I am lying. I shake like a wuss.* Just for good measure, she threw in some of my FAVOURITE double crunches. Crikey, those things kill me. Then some leg stretches because my hamstrings were sore today (at the top, rather than behind the calf like normal). I think I may have overstretched a bit in yoga Sunday morning. Or it could be the rainy, damp weather. I could make a good living as a weather station. A little while back we had a wellness day at work. We received pedometers with the company logo. Today was the kickoff for a "walking tour" of Canada of sorts. Anybody who wants to join in will wear their pedometers and log how far they walk in a week (these babies have a handy converter so you can see your step count in miles/kms). The distance will be logged on a map, following a certain route. We want to see how far we get! At the end we will all do something (lunch or some such) to celebrate the trip. Plus we will all get a t-shirt. Yes, I get excited about shirts for things when I have actually DONE something towards them. I am a nerd of the highest proportions. But if you didn't know that, you must be new. Anyhoo, I walked 1506 steps today. That is pitifully low. Although I have nothing to compare it to really. Tomorrow it should be MUCH higher after an hour of cardio. If not, I can just sit and shake the thing until I see a number I like better. Bwa-ha-ha-haaa!

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Too tired to blog

Talk about your rough days. I spent most of mine crawling around under desks to find extension numbers written on network cable boxes. The rest of it was spent dangling on the edge of a metal bracket so I could reach cabling that had to be disconnected from HERE and plugged into THERE. Or chasing phone problems. And printing problems. And.....sigh. What a day to be IT back up. One piece of IT equipment craps out, and my day becomes hell. And it is still not all resolved, but I did what I could do. Now it is somebody else's turn to look like a deer caught in the headlights every time they are asked when stuff will be up and running again. I wore bad shoes to be running, crawling, and dangling. I finally just took them off, since they fell off every time I did anything besides standing flat footed anyhow. Managed to get dinner ready without too much trouble - frozen fries, veg gravy from a packet, and meatless chicken nuggets. Okay so I managed to reheat or reconstitute dinner without any trouble. DD added cheese to her fries to make poutine. I added salad to my plate because everything was too brown ;). It actually hit the spot nicely after that day of mine. DD is finished her homework and has a friend over. Dinner is cleaned up and put away. I think I might go knit for a little while. Or read. Anything that doesn't involve a phone or a computer. Or crawling under a desk.

Monday, September 08, 2008

A crooked little woman....

Except I do not live in a crooked little house. I am so angry with myself. I know I am not allowed to carry. I know computer towers are the worst. But on Friday I was stuck with one in the middle of a bad area, standing by my car and being approached by some unsavory characters. So I hurled it into the trunk in a panic - just wanting to get the heck outta there. The moment it slid from my hands I felt a very bad feeling. A very painful feeling. The gut-twisting-charley-horse-all-over-the-body, you-just-popped-a-disc-darling feeling. (Stop reading now, mom and dad). FUCK. (Okay, the bad word is over. You can start reading again). The pain is tolerable but staying upright to walk is harder than it should be. And my guts still feel like they are twisting. Did I mention I was crooked? The top half of my body has a lean to the left, and my right hip juts out. If I got stuck on a mild incline I would most likely walk in circles until some kind soul gave me a shove. Sigh. The worst part? My personal trainer is afraid to continue with the program until she is sure my back is all better. That might be NEVER. I don't want her to drop me totally. Maybe I can talk her out of doing the body pump thing and just keeping up the personalized workouts for the rest of the weeks. I really really really don't want to stop! I am seeing so many improvements. Drat. Well, off to see her tonight. Cross your fingers for me that she doesn't drop me. Vegan comfort food is just sad.

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

How do you like YOUR weenies?

I had some tofu dogs to use up and was in the mood for "beanie weenies". Basically baked beans with hot dogs cut up into them. Only I forgot to pick up meat free baked beans when we went grocery shopping. Being as I did have some barbque sauce to use as well(which tasted fine but was too mild and too thin) and a can of mixed beans, we were still in business! It's important to remember that vegetables are part of vegan eating. It is easy to get totally caught up in the meat substitutes and starchy foods like pasta and potatoes. I love veggies, so that is not a problem with me! I sauteed some onion and green pepper, and a sliced jalapeno from my garden (very mild this year, even with the seeds left in). Then I added half the can of beans - drained and rinsed of course, gotta reduce that sodium! - and about 1/4 cup of barbeque sauce. I didn't want them too sweet or overtaken by the sauce which would happen if I added 1/2 cup of it or more. But the beans still needed some simmering to bring all the flavours together. I added a bit of veggie stock to fulfill that. Cut in two tofu dogs, and let it all simmer until it was saucy and the beans were perfectly tender. Tofu dogs are too soft and their skins too tough for eating on a bun, I found. But sliced and mixed into beans (or even a thick soup or stew)? Yummy. They have that real hot dog smell, and the flavour too although it's a bit muted. A big bowl of beans and doggies, and some whole grain bread slathered with vegan margarine. Good dinner. Now if DH and DD would only stop making faces. Not at the tofu dogs, believe it or not, but rather the onions and peppers. Sheesh.

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Say it isn't so, Tootsie!

You may or may not know, but for now I am not eating meat or dairy. Just because. Anyway. I am not being fanatical about it. I'm not going out of my way to find bread and stuff that is completely dairy free, but I do use vegan margarine (for example). Still, I have been reading labels and it is interesting what ingredients lurk in places you never expected. Some boys were selling tootsie rolls for....I don't know. Charity? To raise money for their sports team? To support their crack habit? Who cares. It was right after my workout, I was starving, and it was a TOOTSIE roll. Now, I had a good idea there would be milk ingredients in there. I was going to eat it anyway. But being nosey I read the ingredients all the same. And came to a screeching halt! Yes, I saw the expected milk ingredients. But it was something completely unexpected that was the deal breaker - hydrogenated vegetable oil. DEADLY HYDROGENATED FATS IN MY TOOTSIE ROLL?!?! How could this be? I have fond memories of getting a tube shaped bank full of mini-tootsie rolls for christmas (maybe for other holidays as well). Or the oddly varied sizes and shapes of tootsie rolls at halloween (which have gladly been brought back, with the addition of those lovely flavoured ones). For me, they ranked right up there with kraft caramels and chocolate bars when divying the goody pile. Just chocolate enough, sweet but not cloying, as close to fudge as you can be without being fudge at all. Not exactly taffy but heavenly to chew. I mean, what is not to like? Killer death oil ingredients, that's what. Crap. What's next? Cyanide in the pop-rocks? Arsenic sprinkled on dill pickle potato chips? Sigh. I wouldn't let DD eat the tootsie roll either, I threw it away. DH thinks I have lost my mind (well, even more than usual) - either that or the tofu is affecting me in a very bad way. I explained that if I think hydrogenated fats are poison and won't eat them, then I wouldn't feed them to anybody I love either. I also sweetly told him to shut it lest I start lacing his lunches with bits of tootsie roll. It would be like the perfect crime, to poison him with nostalgia. No court in the land would convict me. BWA HA HA HAAA! Yeah. He said I am not funny. *Snort*

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Exercise kicks my butt

Crunches suck. Double crunches I am sure came directly from the imagination of satan. And leg lifts? Leg lifts illicit language from my angelic mouth that would make a sailor call his mama and cry. There is this thing where you lie on your side, lift your leg just a bit, point your toe, and sort of draw little circles in the air. Not BIG circles. Big roundy circles are easy. No, leeetle circles. Easy, right? Twenty little circles made me sweat through my clothes, utter two words I've never heard myself say, and wish for a calamity to befall the club I was in so that I would have a good excuse to stop. Another diabolical maneuver entails lying on your back and holding a yoga ball suspended over your lower abdomen. Then you simply (!) lift your legs one at a time to touch the ball without putting them completely down until you have done 20 on each side. Good crikey. After TWO on each side my hair was soaked, I was shaking with the effort, and considered cutting off my legs at the knee to make them lighter to lift. On the upside however, I have discovered I like boxing. Well, not REAL boxing. I like wearing pink boxing gloves and hitting the padded hands of a trainer in various patterns. Left, right, left, uppercut. Right, left, right, uppercut. Rapid jabs on the left, rapid jabs from the right. Alternating hands. The first few hits were pretty wimpy. Believe it or not, it is not in my normal nature to haul off and hit somebody. Well, at least not without a good reason. But as it continued and I realized that it was not hurting her and, after all, it was HER suggestion to do this...I got into it. It really is a workout. Holding your arms up (to protect your face I presume) and swinging the arms takes more work than it looks. Add some footwork (set number of punches, run and touch a wall, come back and do so many punches, then run and touch the wall, and so on) and you got your strength training AND cardio in one puncherific activity. Pretty cool. I wonder if I could get DH to wear some padding ;). Anyway. Enough about all that. I am sure I can find something else to whine about. Like going back-to-school shopping for DD tonight! By the time we were done the child was grounded, DH was not talking to either of us, and my eye was twitching. We managed to get all her school supplies except lined paper, glue, and a new lunch bag. We didn't fare so great on the clothing front. There were some clearance shirts that would be perfect for the warmer afternoons, then layering under a hoody or light jacket for the cool mornings or air conditioning. No good "outfits" though. She still has a lot of long sleeved shirts and a drawer full of jeans she HAD to have but refuses to wear. Well, it's either wear them or go to school in her unders. I sense she will decide the jeans are wearable after all. I wanted to get her another pair of croc style shoes but they didn't have any in her size where we were and I didn't think I would survive another store tonight. It is past my bedtime as it is. Wish me luck tomorrow. I have a date with my personal trainer (Hi Bonnie!). I suspect there are more crunches and a yoga ball with my name on it.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Mmmmm......pink soup

DD and I made borscht today. Basically, we made vegetable soup with the additions of beets and a LOT of dill. Beets and their greens, a whole bunch of fernleaf dill, carrots, potato, green beans, lentils and romano beans mixed with veggie broth and simmered until it was all magenta and tender and tastey. I always add lemon juice and a strip of peel to mine as well. At the very end, I stir in some balsamic vinegar. While eating, we like to add a dollop of sour cream to the bowl and stir it all together into a steaming bowl of heavenly pinkness. This time my beets did not come with tops so I used spinach instead. And while I generally use canned or dried beans, the market had shelling beans so we used those. They were speckled with red so I thought they would look nice, but they lost the marks as they cooked. Everything takes on a pink hue from the beets anyway LOL. Wowee, those beans are good! Very firm without being hard, and creamy with a smokey flavour. I think I will go back tomorrow morning and get a whole hamper full to cook and freeze. Finally, my beets were not as sweet as they usually are, so I added some leftover corn cut from the cob for more sweetness. Traditionally this would be made by simmering a meaty beef or pork bone. But several years ago I made a version without because I had found getting the right "parts" too hard, and wanted to try a lower fat version. And I LOVED it. There was no hardened lard floating around in the cold soup (perfect if you like a cold beet borcht although we normally eat it heated). No bone chips, or gristly meat pieces. And the broth ends up with a cleaner, brighter flavour. This soup looks beautiful, freezes well, reheats like a dream, and has the most interesting blend of flavours. Sweet from the beets, salty from the broth, sour from the vinegar (plus tang from the sour cream), and bitter from the greens or spinach. It sounds so in-your-face and brash, but that is the magic. It isn't brash at all. If anything, it has a subtleness to it that just amazes me. Anyway, who can say no to a bowl of pink soup?

Apparently DD can. She helped me make it, and to her credit she did try the broth (with and without the addition of sour cream). She was polite about it, but clearly did not like it. I was thrilled she even tried it - after all, there ARE veggies in there you know ;).

This is before the sour cream is stirred in. I think it is pretty when it's in there, but it photographs rather like vomit after having too much strawberry milk and a big salad for lunch then deciding to go on the tilt-a-whirl. The before picture is MUCH better LOL.

I also made meatless breakfast sausages. It involved making a dough of wheat gluten and spices and some mashed beans, forming them into little logs and rolling them into foil squares like tootsie rolls, then steaming. They LOOK exactly like brown and serve type sausage links. They smell a bit like pepperoni. Only problem? Too soft. I was hoping for something chewy like a well-cooked sausage link and these are very squishy. Not horrendous browned on all sides and covered in ketchup (how I would eat real sausage anyhow) but I might try baking some for a bit to see if they firm up. The flavour is good, so I am hopeful. As a last resort I will smash them flat before browning to get more dried out surface to squishy innards.

In non-food related news, Ruby went for a grooming today. Her groomer has moved to a new salon, in the basement of a house. The price was the same, and the results were good so I will follow her there. She pinned a pretty purple ribbon to the Doodle's pink harness, so maybe the theme of today is magenta after all!

Tomorrow I have a yoga class in the morning (just trying it out. Wish me luck and cross your fingers that I don't cause damage to anybody including myself. I have this fear I will try something and lose my balance, then take out a whole row of left-nostril-breathing-yogis like so many enlightened dominos). Then I have a session with a personal trainer in the afternoon. Wish me luck there too. The weight training is going fine. It's the 10 minute warmup on the bike and 15 minute cardio at the end on the cross trainer that are more likely to kill me. I am sure it is humerous to watch as I try to remember to put one foot in front of the other while moving my arms AND breathing at the same time.

The last time I managed to somehow hit the button that increases the incline and it got intolerably high before I even noticed it. But you see, in order to make the controls work you have to keep walking to power them. It was too high for me to be able to keep walking more than maybe three steps at a time before stopping. So I would sort of sprint them, desperately mashing the "down" button in a frenzied hope it would work. Not so much. My trainer (Hi Bonnie!) thank goodness checked on me and was probably most surprised to find a one-man-keystone-cops tribute going on. She rescued me and fixed it and now she is my bestest friend. Maybe I will bring her some pink soup tomorrow.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Hmmmmm.

I have always said I wanted a moat. Mostly because I thought it would be cool to have a moat around my house. And, of course, so I could have a moat monster in it. Or at the very least, so I could swim laps and not have to think about learning that turn-around-flippy-movement swimmers do when they reach the end of the pool. But mostly? The moat monster.
Our yard is not really big enough for a project like that anyway. In fact, I think it might even violate some by-laws or something. Which has always disappointed me, I'll have you know. No moat, no evil forest, no chickens. Dang city won't let me have ANYTHING good. Heck, after 12 years I am finally allowed to have a compost bin. Baby steps, people. Baby steps.
Why am I even thinking about this right now? Because I think we have a monster under our porch. On TV and in cartoons and stuff, whenever they want to express the sentiment "A monster lives here" they always show a darkened hole, or cave, or opening and just in front of it? A pile of bones.
There is a big crack between the sidewalk and the porch.
See that thing there? Let's look a little closer.
That there is a bone. The bone is next to the crack, and there is a little pile of gravel next to the bone. I have no idea where the gravel came from. There is DIRT in the crack, not gravel. Perhaps it was dragged from the depths of hell out of which the monster erupted to grab it's hapless victim, leaving nothing but a single bone in it's wake. Stripped of flesh and flung aside to serve as a warning to others that follow.
Or a stray cat got into somebody's garbage and found the edge of the porch a nice quiet place to savor it's catch.
Whatever. I prefer the monster theory. As for the city? I wonder how much it costs for a monster license.....

Monday, August 11, 2008

Too tired to go to bed

I am so exhausted, that I don't have the energy to get up and go to bed. I keep thinking about how I have to do the "routine" and I just don't feel up to it. I have to put the dog out, take my pills, prepare veggies for Sparkle and deliver said veggies to said rodent. Delivery always includes taking her out for a cuddle and kissing her good-night. Yes - I kiss the hamster. Then I have to bundle DD into bed and remake it around her because she manages to totally wreck the covers when she gets into it every single time. Give her a kiss and a hug good-nite which usually includes being called back several times for "one more kiss" and "I forgot to tell you". Then I have to let the dog in, brush my teeth, go pee (don't forget to wash the hands), set my alarms, get Ruby situated in the bed with Dingleman, turn off the light, get undressed, and climb into bed. Doesn't that just sound EXHAUSTING? Today work was even busier than normal for a Monday, and Monday's are very busy. Then right afterwords I had a bit of a drive to get DD from her Rock Camp. We had to eat dinner and go shopping for her "Rock outfit" she will wear for her finale. Since they will have photo shoots and things all week, she has to have it by tomorrow. We "shopped till we dropped" as she put it. By the time we got home I was ready to collapse. Well, I think maybe I can muster up enough energy to go to bed. Wish me luck. Tee hee!

Thursday, August 07, 2008

Not a fun shopping trip

Shopping with husbands and kids is never fun. Nor is it ever easy. Anybody who has had to get their DH a pair of dress pants or school clothes for the kids knows that only an insane person believes it will go smoothly and without complaint. If he had his way, DH would walk in, grab the first pair of grey dress pants he sees, buy them, and squeeze them or pin them onto his body any way he can. Who cares if they are too tight across the arse, or hang well below the decency line. And why always GREY? Just once I want him to surprise me by buying a nice black suit, and having it altered to fit in the sleeves and the legs. And extra points of none of those pieces are leather. He always looks for a blue double breasted jacket, and I always hide them. I mean, that look went out in the eighties. It is time for him to get past that and join us in the here and NOW. School clothes shopping with a girl child should be fun. But they never want the practical clothes (that happen to be on sale). They want the shirt made out of the itchy fabric they will refuse to wear but looks cool, and costs a car payment. If you make them try the items on, they will do anything to convince you that it fits, even when it clearly does not. Having to hold up a shirt to keep it from dropping around your ankles is a dead give away. So is fabric stretched so much that you can read the care tag THROUGH it and it ain't supposed to be sheer. They want the clothes from the summer clearance rack when you know full well winter is coming, or the black velour track suit that will be all but unbearable to wear because we are expecting steaming temps. Shoes that rub feet raw or freeze toes, little purses that are constantly forgotten places and finally lost, and what is with the hairbands? We buy them by the dozens for "Back to school" and then they are never seen again. At least not on a head, sometimes we find them twisted into collars for stuffed animals or used to anchor blankets on the side of a fort made out of couch cushions. But do you want to know what pales all of that in comparison? Shopping for life vests. That is right, life vests. One wouldn't think there would be enough choice to have to "shop", but these things come in several styles and sizes and yes, indeed, must be tried on. The fact that you have to figure out how to unclip everything, put the thing on, adjust each and every strap, and do it all back up again means this is not going to be quick. Now figure that three very different sized and shaped people need to find a vest. My eye twitches even thinking about it. Of course, that is because I have experienced it and know the hell it is in reality. Picking one out for yourself is sanity testing enough (I mean, what am I looking for? It's not like one LOOKS better than another. And how are they SUPPOSED to fit, exactly?). But having to go through the process for two other people is maddening. Two people standing there like dead flounder - if dead flounder could stand that is - staring lifelessly as you wrestle them into a vest, adjust each strap, and clip them in. Wordlessly they stand there. You have to watch for clues now as to fit adjustments. Turning blue? Too tight. Choking noises? To high. If it goes down too far they won't be able to bend to sit - something that would be terrible to discover as you are getting into a canoe. Is the fabric slick enough that it won't chafe, but tactile enough that it won't constantly ride up? Can they move their arms freely? Turn their heads? As you undo each clip and start the process over again with a new vest, they get hotter and bored-er and start asking "Are we done yet?". You mumble under your breath that I-am-not-doing-this-for-the-fun-of-it and are-your-arms-painted-on. This is your signal that the trip has started to tumble into the abyss. We reached this point. I looked up to find myself half burried in a pile of personal floatation devices, and I had long ago lost track of which ones fit and which didn't and which ones were contenders and those that were complete write offs. I finally picked ones for the best reasons. One because it was blue, and the other because it had a whistle. Those are winning atributes if I ever saw any. Especially when faced with so many choices and unwilling models. As they were being rung in, the cashier mentioned something about MOST of the life vests being on sale, but not the ones WE picked. DH has a greedy little man inside himself that would kick a grandmother to save a dime. I could see that greedy glint inside his eyes and sensed he was tempted to go back and look them over again, and find one that is on sale. I told him if we didn't pay for these right now and leave, he was a dead man. I must have looked serious, what with the flushed face and disheveled hair and sweat stains from struggling with their dead weight. He paid, and we left. Smart man.

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Doc Oc, suck my toe

I am a reasonably intelligent person. I have a university degree. Why is it that I cannot reliably count to eight? I am working on a lacy sweater to wear at work. Something just to cover my shoulders, a little longer than a bolero but not too heavy. The lace pattern is relatively simple, with a beginning and an end sequence with a repeat of eight stitches in between. Do the start, repeat the 8 until you get near the end, then do the end sequence. Easy enough, right? Well it would be, if I could manage to follow a pattern and/or count to eight in a reliable manner. I mean I know I CAN count to eight. I have done it. One two three four five six seven eight. I can even do it in more than one language. Un deux trois quatre cinq six sept huit. Ein swei drei fier funf sex sieben acht. Un dos tres cuatro cinco seis siete ocho. I am sure with the help of babelfish I could come up with even more languages to count in. But when it comes to knitting eight stitches repeatedly, or trying to count stitches on a needle I am hopeless. I keep ending up with extra leftover after my repeats are done. Or running out before I am supposed to. Yes, I double checked the pattern and did indeed find an error and corrected it. But that was not the problem with my counting, unfortunately. What. The. Hell. And to top it all off, my lip is swollen. Well, not the ENTIRE lip. Just one spot. I think I had a reaction to the yogurt I had for lunch, but according to the ingredient list there are no culprits I can point to. Sigh. I think I will take a shower and have a nice cup of tea and read cooking magazines. No counting required.

Thursday, July 31, 2008

That is NOT an olive

Doesn't that just strike fear in your heart? Did you start reading this, heart palpitating, wondering just what I found in something that I thought was an olive, and it turned out to be something totally different? Possibly totally dreadful? Well prepare to be totally and dreadfully.....disappointed ROFL! I bought what I thought was a black olive and rosemary focaccia, but somebody must have put them in the wrong pile because it was NOT black olive and rosemary. The dark bits that looked like olive pieces are carmelized onions, and I have no idea what the herb is. Thank goodness it wasn't sun-dried tomato, I might have hurled. It is okay, but drier than the olive bread and oddly enough, the onions impart no flavour to the surrounding dough. The pieces themselves are good, but there aren't many. I would have been even more disappointed if I had bought it on purpose I think. So my turkey sandwich with roasted marinated peppers and brie cheese was only just good. Normally they are AWESOME. I didn't realize until I got home that the brie I bought was chevalier - goat milk brie. Not that it matters. It is very good and creamy, not too salty, but I have to admit it tastes quite...well....goaty LOL. I bought some creamy goat cheese spread a little while ago that has a great taste and texture, but the aftertaste is goaty goaty goaty. Funny how that is fine for me in a feta, but in brie or cream type cheese? Not so much. Now, for the uninitiated. Cheese made from goats milk can be "goaty" in different ways. They tend to have a tartness or tang. That tanginess? That is good goaty. There is another variety of goatiness that is NOT sought after. This is what I am talking about. It's a sort of gamey, barn-like taste usually experienced as an afternote. It's like the barf breath one experiences after sampling several cheeses, only with eau-du-goat-barn mixed in. How is that for a description? Tee hee! I am just not batting 1000 with food lately. I made a batch of oatmeal cookies from a new (untried until now) recipe. I mixed some yogurt covered cranberries into half the batch. I have been thinking of these cookies all week. How did they turn out? Meh. Too sweet for me. They spread too much and though I like crisp cookies in general, these are more like brittle. And the cranberries seemed to have melted right in and disappeared. Next time, I will try yet another recipe, and use regular dried cranberries instead. They did smell awesome, though. I might try to convince DH to take me to Outback this week-end. I have been craving steak, and I can't find anything good enough to buy and make at home. Is it just me or has beef looked horrible lately? And for that price! Oh well. It's not like I'll starve ;).

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

So THERE.

Today at work I stepped on a "bug". That term is a euphamism, because that thar varmint was a cock-a-roach. A person in the same room freaked out on my head for stepping on said "bug". "Everybody around here knows not to kill anything around me". She said it in a very snotty way and I didn't like it at ALL. I mean come on, I am the person that has been trapping flies in the house to let them back outside for gawd's sake. But when it comes to lunch rooms and cockroaches? I don't feel like having to hermetically seal my lunch, thank you. Having seen fridges invaded by said icky things, the best policy is to kill on sight. I explained why I did it, and she snarked "That is impossible. This place is constantly being sprayed. I should know, because I sent a petition around asking them to stop the senseless killing". Okay lady, you need to up your dosage a bit. I know what a roach looks like, and I am not talking a smallish doobie. Several boxes had been delivered and were stacked in the corner, it is possible it came from one of them. What is the point of staring a squished insect in the eye and denying it's very existence? "Next time, THINK before you do something" she tossed back at me as she was leaving the room in disgust. I had to stop for a moment and wonder if maybe I was in a parallel universe or something. Later in the day I walked past her desk, and noticed a number of little items on display. Namely those little sleeping critters, kitties and kittens, curled up, about palm sized, and made of FUR. Yes, ladies and gents, she was displaying items on her desk made from the skin of dead animals. Most likely rabbit, but who knows where they came from and what they were really crafted from. Out of shock I blurted "Let me get this straight. I can't stomp a roach in the lunch room, but you have a desk full of dead animal skin? How is that right?". She argued that they were not made from real fur. I begged to differ. She continued to state "No they are not". Apparently, saying something over and over as loud as you can makes it become true in her world. But I could tell as the moments ticked on (as she was petting them and turning them over and looking at them closely) that she was beginning to realize that they WERE made from real fur. I could see it in her eyes. And I know she is the type that just may sit up all night, rocking back and forth and possibly even gagging at the thought of what she had done and feeling very very very guilty. And I am just evil enough that when I picture this, the words "My job is done" pop into my head. Tomorrow I might let her in on the fact that the "beef" listed on her frozen dinners just might be veal. Bwa-ha-ha-haaaaa!

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Xena fly trap

Not a venus fly trap. We have a Xena fly trap. There are some basic differences. When a fly touches a venus fly trap, fluids are released inside causing tension (tersion?), which makes the two sides close around the insect invador. Then it is slowly digested. When a fly buzzes a Xena fly trap, it makes her eyes dialate, her chin quiver as she makes "chitchitchit" sounds, and causes a rush of adrenaline to be released inside making her bounce off walls and knock things off tables. If the fly manages to escape the clutches of the venus fly trap, it simply flies away to fight another day. If a fly escapes the grasp of a Xena fly trap, she continues to track it all over the house. More bouncing off walls and breaking stuff. A venus fly trap digests the insides of the insect. The dry, empty exoskeleton blows away - leaving no trace of what happened. A Xena fly trap menaces the fly until it is too tired and damaged to live. Then she leaves it where it lies, since a dead fly is not fun that is funny. The leavings are often in a place directly where bare human feet will step. It is one thing to step on poop or a hairball. It is another entirely to squish a barely dead fly while walking into the bathroom half asleep. Even more disturbing is the fact that a dead fly is not interesting to investigating pugs, but a squished dead fly apparently smells much more appealing and a tasting is often in order. I do not know what is worse, if the pug enjoys the squished treat and finishs it off, or when she does not and spits it out back onto the floor. Blech. I do not believe that there is a link between venus fly traps and pugs, but in this house there is a love-hate link between the Xena fly trap and Ruby. A venus fly trap grows best in boggy areas with a lot of moisture. A Xena fly trap avoids moisture at all costs, unless it is in a glass or her water bowl. However they do both enjoy periods in the sun. Xena is black, and when she lies in a sunbeam she gets so toasty and warm, there are times when I just want to put my chilly feet under her. But that brings us to another important point. To anything larger than an insect, a venus fly trap is harmless. Xena fly traps are not so innocuous. They bite. They especially like to bite toes. I suppose it could be worse. We could be living with a Xena catch-hornets-and-bring-them-to-mommy. *Shudder*.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Just so you know

Spraying your entire body with Febreeze? Doesn't take the marijuana smell off you. It makes you smell like pot and Febreeze. Just so you know. Now, not that I have needed that info for my personal self, but a person we met recently really needs this advice. Of course, this is after my daughter had hers over several times to swim and play. DD was at their house for a short time before going for a bike ride but hasn't asked to go back because "their house smells funny and the dad sits on the couch in his underwear. And they both smoke in the house". And of course, she tells us this more than a week after she went there. My child needs to get quicker with the 411. So anyway. Sometimes there are things we want to tell people, but just can't for one reason or another. Like the other day, when a woman asked me to watch her toddler while she ran to the bathroom in a store. I didn't even have DD with me, and frankly, I looked a mess. I wanted to say "Excuse me, but I cannot watch your child because I am a STRANGER. A stranger that looks like a public health risk. A stranger that looks like she might have a mental illness (why ever else would she dress like that and leave the house with that hair and a knitted purse in 90 degree heat and 100% humidity?). This is not a good idea at all". Of course, I didn't say that because we all know I am not going to steal or hurt the child. Plus she walked away before I could even reply. Or the time I politely said it was okay when somebody bumped me with their cart in the grocery store. It was a hard hit, and really, I was pretty pissed off about it. It jarred my back, and if they had been paying more attention to where they were going instead of talking loudly on a cellphone AND rifling through stuff in the cart while moving, maybe it could have been avoided. It wasn't so much the bump that ticked me off, but the off-hand way the apology was muttered like it was annoying to have to say anything to the person they just rammed into a shelf. Wouldn't it be so freeing to walk up to that person wearing so much perfume you can taste it in the air, and say "YOU STINK. Wash off some of that perfume. You smell like a hooker". Or to the person who bypasses the line and walks right up to the counter and shouts an order that "even vultures are smart enough to wait their turn!"? When a co-worker asks if you "would mind" doing something for them that obviously is crap work or else they would do it themselves, to say that you really DO mind and don't have time to take a pee, let alone do their work for them. But we don't say these things (for the most part ROFL!). We smile politely and do what we are supposed to do as dictated by pleasant society. All the while thinking about what we WANT to say. Sometimes these thoughts are so contrary to my usual, outward self that it makes me laugh. I mean one of those startled snorting laughs when something is so outrageous laughing is about the only thing you can do. We were at the mall and a young man pushed down a senior and stole her shopping bag. There was a chase. He got tackled, and the good samaritan held him down until a secuity guard caught up to them and helped get him up. They were holding his arms tightly and he was fighting to get away, and was yelling and whining that they were holding his arms too tight and hurting him. What sprang into my mind? What brand of "serves you right" dances across my cerebral cortex at that moment? "Shut your piehole. Just be glad that guy doesn't snap your fucking neck like a twig". Of course, I didn't say it out loud. ;)

Monday, July 14, 2008

Mmmm.. Muffins!

DD just made some blueberry muffins from a packaged mix. She and DH don't like real berries in their muffins. And I have to admit that for a long time, I didn't either. They were always too sour and too goopy. Now that I have learned to appreciate a muffin that is not as sweet as cake, I have learned to appreciate real fruit in them as well. I generally don't eat these muffins they make because they are basically sugar lumps with no nutritional value. But I have to admit, they sure do smell good. Almost as sweet smelling as candy floss, but frooty. LOLOL. Like boo-berry cereal! Remember that stuff? I wonder if they still make it any more. You can't get it here, but that doesn't mean they don't make it for another market. I must have PMS. I have been snappy lately, and when sweet things smell good to me you gotta know SOMETHING is going on. I've been craving chinese food too. Not the kind that I make that is good for you, but the gloppy deep fried, sauce covered stuff you get in a restaurant catering to non-asians. Sigh. My new job is going well. I like it, and I think I am catching on. I have learned a few lessons though. Such as, even a stranger that is nice to you and trains you for your new job will sell you up the river at a moments notice rather than admit a mistake. I could have repointed the finger back at her (with concrete proof), but instead I figured what was the point. It would just make me look defensive. I looked very serious, apologized for the error, and promised it would never happen again. And that is for sure, because I will never trust that person again. Check and double check! I've already had to lock her out of one file because she was making changes in there and causing me grief. It is my job now. You can wait for me to get out of the bathroom so I can do your request, don't touch the files lady! Other than that little glitch, working outside the home has not been the disaster I was expecting LOL. Traffic is pretty good back and forth, there haven't been too many curve balls as far as duties, and I haven't run out of work clothes yet. I am being beckoned to join my DH and DD in a subarctic swim. Since I am pale and puffy and with these hairy legs I could pass for a polar bear, I guess it is appropos. See ya!

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Sleeping beauty

I will say one thing about going back to work outside the home. I really miss my afternoon naps ROFL. But because I have been having trouble falling asleep at night, I have forecfully kept myself awake and nap-free, then going to bed early (10:00pm). I was hoping that those hours of sleep (nine, I get up at 7) would be more than enough and that after about a week or so I would no longer be walking around a yawning, sleepy mess. Nope. I think I am an 11 hour a night person. Now, that doesn't mean I have ever really gotten those eleven hours (other than as a teenager when it seemed sometimes I slept for days at a time LOL). What I mean is, maybe I have so many years of sleep debt to work off that I won't ever get caught up. Or at least it will take a mite while longer before I feel "rested" when I wake up. We can all dream, can't we? (Was that a pun? Hmmmmm). Last night I went to bed at 9:30pm, for some reason I was just exhausted. Then I got up at 8. Well, Ruby got me up at that time, after wriggling around with her stomach growling since seven a.m. while I ignored her LOL. I got up, let her out, fed the animals, read the paper, and had a breakfast of a Low GI High Fiber blueberry muffin, and a coffee. Then I laid on the couch to stretch out my back for a bit, and the next thing I knew it was almost 12:30 in the afternoon, and there was a pug belly stretched across my face. It's a good thing she almost smothered me, or I might never have woken up. So much for no naps. Sigh. Yesterday my nephew had his "friends" birthday party, and had a company called Zoo2You come out. It was FABULOUS. The man that brought the animals was very friendly and good with the kids, and the animals were interesting, very tame, and extremely calm. They all amazed me, looking around at the kids and not trying to hide at all. My favourite was the baby kinkaju. So adorable! He also brought several lizards, a snake, tortoises, a sugar glider, two chinchillas, a cane toad, and a BABY KANGAROO! My sister gave the kids disposable cameras to take pictures with, and several of the adults had cameras as well. Every time he brought an animal out, the flashbulbs started. It was like they were being mobbed by the papparazzi ROFL! But the animals didn't seem fazed at all. I guess he has all sorts of things, and spiders and things too. But you get a mix at a party - he kind of sees what is in a good mood that day. Definitely a good time, and very hands on. He brings them around so you can touch them and see them up close, and some things you can even hold. I had the snake around my neck because DD wanted to but then got too scared. He was very very patient with the kids and didn't seem rushed at all. No tarantula or hissing cockroaches this time. I can't decide if I am disappointed ;). Afterwards we all ate and the kids swam, then there were sno-cones and cake and ice-cream, and the biggest platter of candy I have ever seen. Nobody can ever say my dsis doesn't know how to throw a kid's party!

Monday, July 07, 2008

It's just not fair

Last night I could NOT fall asleep for the life of me. Finally I got up and did some computer work because laying there and not able to get comfortable was not so fun. Then I drank a cup of "sleepy time" tea, which helped a little. So I finally fell asleep, although I still wasn't very comfortable. And guess what I dreamt? I dreamt that I could not fall asleep. After a night like that, it should be illegal for it to be a Monday. Just sayin'.

Friday, July 04, 2008

For sale: Dead plants

Every year I buy plants for the garden and yard. Every year MOST of them get planted, but invariably a few whither and die of neglect in their homely, thin plastic nursery pots. This year we have the assorted casualties, and a few that are hanging on - only just barely. Hopefully they will be planted this week-end. If not, the eulogy can be expected some time next week. There are four pots of the happiest clematis you have ever seen, waiting to be placed in their forever home. They are happily entwining with each other and are even blooming. How I will ever detangle them is a mystery to me. Then they will be cast into the pit of darkness - a hole dug - well, pick-axed anyway - in the heavy clay soil. Sure, we will amend it with good stuff and make sure their roots have some chance of a foothold. But right now, they seem so happy on the patio. Poor things don't know what is in store for them. Our yard is pretty tough. After all, to live here you have to be able to fend for yourself and survive cold, drought, and pug investigations. I just hope the plants we already have don't gang up on the new clematis vines and take their lunch money. I already know Ruby likes them. Every time she goes out, the return trip involves a wide circle over to the pots so she can sniff some of the open blooms. I keep trying to get a pic but I miss it every time. Dh wanted to know why I do this every year. Do I buy more plants than I need? Do I change my mind after getting them and decide I don't like them? Do I just get tired of playing that game and lose steam before I finish? Probably a little of all those things. Stuff comes up. The day goes, and mosquitoes come out. I do lose steam. Sometimes a bed proves smaller than I expected once I lay everything out. Sometimes colours don't go together like I planned. Sometimes DH's should mind their own business and pretend not to see the languishing flat of marigolds on the patio, if they know what is good for them. *cough* So. What were we talking about again? Plants? What plants?

Thursday, July 03, 2008

Ah yes, the crappy stapler and the broken chair.

There is a universal office politics rule that the new person gets the crappy stuff. That is just the way that it works. In some offices it is an establishment of the pecking order. The "Don't forget that you are the new girl and you get what we say you get" thing. In others, people who have been there longer feel they deserve the good stuff. After all, they did their time suffering with half-stapled papers and the smallest monitor - let somebody else put their time in. In other offices, it seems to be a waste to let good equipment sit unused while their own stuff isn't working properly. Workstations are stripped piece by piece until you are left with....well.....a crappy stapler and the chair that broke ten years ago and keeps being moved from one place to another while nobody is looking. Don't go on an extended vacation, because you will come back to the broken chair. Your stapler will stay put, but your chair is fair game. I have to admit, I love my workstation. It is a cubicle, but relatively open and easily twice the size of your typical office cube. I am also blessed with a skylight above, at a good angle. It does not produce a glare nor do I get sunbeams directly on my head (you know, to fry my brain) but lets in a wonderful diffuse light. I love that kind of sunlight. It makes the area bright and cheerful but does not interfere with my monitor. It doesn't seem like the workstation has been stripped, as this office has a pretty liberal supply policy. If you need it, they think you should have it. Happy workers are productive workers. I like that. Never-the-less, I did find it hilarious that my stapler does not work well, and my chair has a permanent lean to the front. I am not so worried about the stapler, I have little use for one and two steps away is the copy center (with four different staplers to choose from as well as several kinds of hole punch). But the chair is a bigger issue because of my back. Day two, and I can feel the strain. I was given permission to trade it with another spare workstation, but I have to tell you I snickered as I traded chairs. As a peace offering to whomever will be assigned there, I included the stapler, three yellow highlighters (I hate those things), and a really good staple remover. They will be needing it, what with the crappy stapler and all. Tee hee!

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Tortilla Recipe

As requested. I got this from Recipezaar, recipe 286397. The ingredients are from the recipe, the directions are mine. 2 cups all-purpose flour 1 tsp baking powder 1 teaspoon salt 1/4 cup vegetable shortening (I use butter, or even better was Earth Balance vegan margarine) 2/3 cup hot tap water, plus some additional if needed Mix flour, baking powder, and salt. Cut in the fat until it looks like fine crumbs. Stir in the hot water just until the dough comes together. Use your hands to make it into a dough ball. Knead for five minutes, adding flour if needed to keep it from being too sticky. Divide dough into 6 or 8 pieces. Form each piece into a flattened ball shape. Place back into the bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Let the dough balls rest for 10 minutes to 1 hour. The resting makes it easier to roll the dough. Heat a heavy skillet (cast iron is great if you have it, I don't so use a heavy non-stick skillet) while you roll out a dough ball to the size and thin-ness desired. Extra points if it comes out round LOL! Cook on one side until you start to see bubbles/dent things and a peek reveals some dark flecks on the underside. Flip over and cook the other side until you see the dark spots/flecks. The recipe says 30 seconds on each side. Sometimes it is that fast, other times I cook them longer. Store flat in a sealable container. I place a paper towel in there to absorb moisture until they are cool, then I take that out and toss it. As one cooks roll out the next one. It seems like a crazy pace at first, but after some practice you will find that your dough is rolled out and waiting before the one in the pan is done. I wish I knew how to do the hand pat technique I have seen, where a little dough ball turns into a large, paper thin round by slapping it back and forth. I can't say how long these keep because I use them up within two days normally. I have used half and half white and whole wheat flour and really liked them (I prefer whole wheat tortillas, DH and DD like white). I haven't tried all whole wheat with this recipe yet. Sometimes I use the whole amount of baking powder, sometimes not. If I ever make it to Mexico, I am getting a comal, a tortilla press, and one of those hot chocolate whisk thingies with the wooden rings.

Shut up and eat it

Dh called me from work today laughing. As he was eating his lunch, he mentioned that he doesn't normally like whole wheat buns and he wasn't sure that he would like this new lunchmeat (Carribean chicken - it's a seasoned chicken) that I picked out for him - but he was pleasantly surprised and he really liked it. One of them said, well, if you don't like whole wheat buns why do you buy them? And DH explained, no no, we didn't buy them. I baked the buns last night while he was in bed. The guy said "Let me get this straight. Your wife BAKED fresh bread to make the sandwich for you, after picking out a special lunchmeat to put on it, planning the whole thing a week ahead. For a bag lunch to bring to work.". DH agreed those facts were correct. Immediately he got a smack to the back of the head, and a "WHAT'S the matter with you! I made my own PB&J in the dark of dawn on the crust ends because that's all that was left. I hear you complain about your lunch again and we are trading". ROFLMAO! Yes, I guess when it comes to lunches he is a little spoiled. But really, when it comes to making bread and buns, most of the time to bake bread is in the rising and baking. With quick rise yeast and a kitchen aid mixer, from start to finish the process is like two hours max. And most of that is waiting time so you get to do other things. I have abandoned the starter. Mostly because DH and DD didn't like the REAL taste of bread LOL and I liked it a little too much. The experience was not a bust, just not the right time nor audience. So I will stick to packets of yeast for now and bake bread when needed, and not because the starter needs to be used. It might keep some of that bread out of my mouth ;). Well, tomorrow I start a new job. One where I actually have to get dressed and leave the house and stuff. I am scared to death, really. DD and I went shopping yesterday after I realized that I have no good work pants and as for shoes? Showing up on the first day in day-glo green crocs is probably not the best idea. All of my dress shoes bit the dust years ago. My last pair had become my every day shoes and are covered in paint, and generally look like they have been dragged around by a wild animal. A good polishing with a soft rag just was not going to cut it. She helped me pick out a few pairs of pants ("Well, those ones make your butt look a little less huge, but the front looks puffier. The other ones are better. Just don't turn around"), some new tops ("That fit's nice but makes your boobs look gigantic") and a dress. I need a body shaper under the dress for sure, but according to DD I am the most beautiful thing on earth in that dress. It's a long sheath thing, and it does actually look nice on me except for a few bumps and bulges to be ironed out. How she can look at that and declare it acceptible even with my hideously large breasts and gigantic bum I will never know ROFL. She also helped me look for shoes, although she was there more to be company and ogle at the newest trends(what can I say, she is my kid) while I looked for flats that don't make my feet look fat. "Are these too high?" she asks, hoisting a pair of fire engine red shoes with 6 inch metal spikes for heels. Yeah, a little too high for me. And by the way, I am not a transvestite hooker. No, I did not say that to her but I sure thunk it. She has good taste in purses though. It is going to be scary to see her closet when she starts shopping for herself with her own money. With those expensive tastes, she is going to be starving in a dark hovel of an apartment but will have killer shoes and the best purse LOL. We also got her some summer clothes because her favourite store was having a big sale. And none too soon, she has grown out of just about everything she owns in the last few weeks. Once again, arms and legs still fit but they have gotten short in the middle. I promised her we could swim at one o'clock today, and that time is upon us, so away we go. Try and enjoy Canada Day!