Jul 24, 2017

Misbeseem Monday

misbeseem ~ to be unsuited or unsuitable to

Last week was a week, I tell you what.

The daughter had a conference in Texas of all places, and since she was going to be in the neighborhood, more or less, decided to spend a few days visiting a friend in San Diego afterwards. This meant that the grandbaby and I got to spend some extra time together last week. Make that a lot of time. ;-)

I knew about this well in advance and made lots of plans ahead of time. But you know me and planning for things ... this was no different. *sigh* The original plan was, the son-in-law would drop the grandbaby off at our house on his way to work (early morning). I had crafts and other activities planned for us to do until we had to take the hubby to work (mid-morning). On Wednesday I was going to have hubby take the day off and we’d take grandbaby to Riverside Park, which is a park and free zoo in a city north of us.

However, that was not what happened.

First of all, I hadn’t planned on the brother-in-law taking last week off (hubby and BIL own their own business jointly). Not only did that put the kybosh on the zoo trip, it kind of screwed up the rest of the week too.

Instead of being at work for 10:30, hubby had to be there for 9:00. So instead of son-in-law dropping baby off, I went and picked her up and we came back here to pick up grappy and take him to work. From there it was pretty much a case of ‘now what?’

Monday the weather was kind of iffy, so we went back to the daughter’s house with a big bag of craft stuff. I had paper, and washable, non-toxic markers, and stickers, and all sorts of wonderful things in my bag of tricks. Grandbaby seemed to enjoy painting Hello Kitty pictures with water the best.

Tuesday we went to the drop-in play group we go to on a regular basis. I thought it would be even more fun to get there early for a change. It wasn’t. It was boring as all get out. Most of the kids we’re familiar with and the regular day care workers were all involved with the Day Camp. After an hour the grandbaby was bored enough that she was asking to leave. So we went shopping instead. :-)

Wednesday we slapped on the sun screen and went down to the beach. The nice thing about going to the beach that early was that we got one of the free parking places. Don’t get me started on residents having to pay for parking at our public park and beach.

Grandbaby got to try out her brand new bathing suit although she didn’t exactly get it wet. She slid down the pirate ship, got pushed on the swing until my arms were ready to fall off, and had a great time playing on the splash pad ... until someone turned on the water. LOL



We went down onto the sand where a couple of lovely ladies told us to help ourselves to the beach toys they’d brought for their grand kids - who were more interested in playing with their body boards in the water. We’ve got about three quarters of our beach back and the water for the first few hundred yards is extremely shallow. I tried to get the grandbaby to at least go wading with me, but she was having none of it.



Thursday the weather was kind of iffy, so we gave the play group another chance. This time we went a little later in the morning and we had a much better time. Friday the son-in-law had the day off, so that meant I did too. But of course Thursday afternoon I noticed my throat was a bit sore and my nose was a bit sniffly. Isn’t that always the way? I took some cold medicine when I got home, but it was too late.

My favourite moment of the week was when I went to leave Wednesday after the son-in-law came home and grandbaby threw her little arms around my legs and said: “No go Grammy! I keep you!”

Is it any wonder she has me wrapped around her little finger?

Jul 21, 2017

Bingo Blues

One of my jobs when I worked in the Municipal Office of our town (many years ago) was to record the bingo results from the weekend games. I was pretty surprised by the number of charities that ran bingos to raise funds. And even more surprising was how little they actually made from it.

But bingo was big business in our town, especially with the seniors. I can’t remember exactly when I visited one of the bingo halls one night - taking a message to someone, picking someone up, I have no idea. I know I wasn’t there long and I wasn’t there to play. The one thing I do remember is walking into the pervading cloud of smoke.

It was shortly after that that legislation was passed banning smoking in public places. It caused a pretty big stir at the time, but despite the artistic license in my poem, nothing stops a die-hard bingo player.


Bingo Blues

The room’s filled with fog
From the chain smoking grannies
Don’t mess with their luck
Or you’ll find yourself
Out on your ear

The concentration is fierce
Daubers flying furiously
Hearing aides at the max
Canes within reach
To snag a new card

It’s Saturday night
At the Bingo Hall
Truck on over
And don’t forget
Your pension cheque.

Then the hammer falls
In the form of a by-law
Banning the cancer sticks
Causing an uprising
Of the blue hair set.

Now it’s Saturday night
And they meet at Timmie’s
Walkers parked outside
While they reminisce
Over a cup of joe.

Jul 17, 2017

Muriform Monday

muriform ~ resembling a mouse or rat

Well folks, you dodged a bullet and don’t even realize it. LOL

When I started writing this post I was fresh from the news about the new doctor on the TV show Doctor Who. I’m not happy about their choice - I’m a die hard fan but they’ve changed the show so much I’m done with it. I was three rather lengthy paragraphs into a rant about it when I realized that in the grand scheme of things, who cares? It’s just a TV show.

So ... I deleted my rant and I’m ready to carry on. You’re welcome. :-)

After an unintended hiatus, my thrift store buddy and I were back shopping on Saturday. I bought things, she bought things, and we both agreed that if we didn’t stop bringing home so much “stuff” (it’s only junk when you’re getting rid of it) our hubbies might stop letting us play together. LOL

One of the things I bought on impulse was an incomplete set of dishes:



This is the Barratts Delphatic White Ironstone Blue Roses dinnerware. I got 33 pieces for $10, including enough dinner plates with cups and saucers to use for my immediate family. It also included a platter and two serving bowls, and a set of fruit nappies.

What makes it so special is pure nostalgia. Back in the sixties, my mother began collecting these dishes. I have a vague memory of her getting them as a free gift whenever she filled up her gas tank, not sure which gas station, but she also might have got them using green stamps. Anyone remember green stamps? Yeah, me neither. ;-)

Anywho, my mother collected these dishes piece by piece until she had a whole set. They weren’t her “good” dishes, but they weren’t every day dishes either. We would use them for Sunday dinner.

After mom died my oldest sister ended up with the entire set. I’m not sure how they’ve fared over the years or even if she uses them. I suspect her set is also incomplete at this point, if it still exists at all.

But I do know that going forward I’ll be using mine on Sundays, keeping the tradition alive.

Jul 14, 2017

Caffeinated Dreams

This is a fairly new poem, written just a few weeks ago. I got the idea for it while, you guessed it, sitting on the pier sipping an iced coffee with a friend. The car was facing towards the beach and I made a comment about how nice it would be to sit under one of those trees to write.

The reality is that it wouldn’t be that all that conducive to writing. It was a weekend and there were hoards of screaming kids everywhere. Plus I’d probably do more people watching and looking at the scenery than actual writing.

But I came home and wrote the following poem:


Caffeinated Dreams

I sit on the pier
sipping my iced coffee
and I have a vision:
I sit in the park
under a tree
back against the rough bark
big floppy hat on my head
doodling, scribbling, writing in
a notebook propped up on my knees
words spilling over
right off of the page
racing away
with a shout of laughter
but I am unaware
that my story is escaping
and I keep writing
until it’s too dark
to see.
Anchored in reality
I take the last sip of my coffee
and with a wistful sigh
go home.

Jul 10, 2017

Mirador Monday

mirador ~ belvedere or watchtower; architectural feature with good view

Some weeks I sit at my lap top on Sunday night, staring at the screen, trying to figure out what I could possibly talk about in my Monday blog post. And some weeks it comes easily. This should have been an easy post to write because it occurred to me last week I’d promised back at the beginning of June to post some updated pictures of my gardens at the beginning of July.

However, as I sat at my lap top last night I realized I didn’t have any current pictures of my garden. I didn’t take any last week because of all the rain, but I’m sorry now that I didn’t at least take a picture of my petunias. They weren’t happy campers with all the rain that had been pounding down on them and had stopped blooming.

So despite it being overcast this morning, I went out to take pictures. Now the race is on to see if I can get them posted before 8 a.m., which is the time I normally schedule these posts for. :-D

Starting at the front, this is what it looked like in June:



So pretty, isn’t it? And here’s the same garden as of this morning:



Not quite as pretty, but the petunias made an amazing come back. A little TLC and a lot less rain and I’m sure they’ll fill the garden the way I intended. And the begonias in the hanging planter on the right are doing great.

Next up is Kelsey Park.



Beautiful, wasn’t it? This garden fared the best of all through the rain because it was protected somewhat by the bowl of the fountain. But remember I mentioned the pleasant surprise of the sweet peas from a couple of years ago coming up? Yeah, they’re kind of trying to take over now.



My poor pansies. I love sweet peas, gathering huge bouquets of them was a favorite occupation when I visited my aunt up in Owen Sound (they grew wild near her house). but seriously, if they don’t start blooming soon I’m pulling them up so they stop choking out everything else.

Next is a reminder of what the herb garden looked like:



While I wouldn’t exactly say it thrived with all the rain, at least it held its own. And my dill is coming up like gang-busters. As you can see, I really need to thin it out some.



In my original post about my gardens I didn’t show the patio planters because there was nothing in them. However, I planted wild flower seeds in them. And while most of the planters did really well:



Some of them didn’t do quite so good:



The difference is drainage. Some of them had plugs in the bottom and some of them the hubby had to drill holes in. I’m not sure which the four planters above had, but they weren’t able to drain fast enough for the amount of water in them. I’m out of wildflower seeds, but I got some poppy seeds from one of my brothers-in-law and I’m going to give them a try.

Last, but not least, is the hubby’s tomato plant.



Poor, sad little tomato plant. It did not like all that rain, but as a reward for hanging in there we re-planted it in a bigger pot. And look, it’s got one ripe tomato and several green ones. Now it just needs a bigger cage and maybe a shot of fertilizer.

And so ends the garden update for July. So tell me. How does your garden grow?

Jul 7, 2017

Paradelle

I remembered again! I must be on some kind of roll. :-D

After much consideration, for this month’s form I chose the Paradelle. This form was invented by Billy Collins (who was the U.S. Poet Laureate at the time) as a parody of the Villanelle. He did it as a joke, claiming it was one of the more demanding French forms. The joke was on him when people took him seriously and began writing their own Paradelles.

This form has four stanzas with six lines each. The first three stanzas have the following format: lines 1 and 2 are the same; lines 3 and 4 are the same; but lines 5 and 6 must contain all the words from the previous lines, using each word only once. And just to make things interesting, the fourth stanza uses all of the words from the previous stanzas, and again uses each word only once. Got that now?

You’d think with all that repetition this would be an easy form, but it’s not. The last two lines of each stanza were bad, but nothing compared to the final stanza. Trying to fit all the words from the previous stanza without leaving any of them out is pretty tricky. If anyone out there would like a poetry challenge, I highly recommend the Paradelle.

And I unashamedly admit that I did not create a new poem as an example, this is the one from my original poetry post.


Vampire Moon

Red moon in the sky, swollen and full
Red moon in the sky, swollen and full
Bathing the world in its ghostly light
Bathing the world in its ghostly light
Swollen in red, the full ghostly world
Bathing the moon and sky in its light

The time has come to embrace the night
The time has come to embrace the night
Rise, take your place in the mortal realm
Rise, take your place in the mortal realm
Take your place in the night rise, mortal.
Embrace the realm, the time has come to.

Soft velvet night of the vampire moon
Soft velvet night of the vampire moon
Awaits you with your heart’s desire
Awaits you with your heart’s desire
Velvet vampire desire. Soft night,
Your heart’s moon awaits with you.

In your sky, has the velvet moon come?
The night awaits with your place in
the world, swollen and full of the light.
You, bathing in its soft ghostly night.
Rise, heart’s desire, take the mortal realm;
Time to embrace the red vampire moon.


If you’d like to learn more about the Paradelle, and maybe even try one for yourself, check out one of the following links:

Shadow Poetry - Paradelle
Writer's Digest - Poetic Asides
Poets Online Archive

Jul 3, 2017

Mandarism Monday

mandarism ~ government with a large bureaucracy

If last week was rather dull, cold and damp, hot and damp, and depressing and damp, the weekend more than made up for it.

First of all ... remember all that flooding we had? Well in an effort to save the beach and/or the tourist season which traditionally kicks off on the Canada Day weekend, the Town of Cobourg had truck loads of sand brought in and dumped on what was left of our beach. After the heavy equipment finished spreading all that sand, we had a partial beach, at least down to the life guard towers.

Then it rained again

This is what the “beach” looked like on June 30 (Friday):



Well, that was certainly worth it, wasn’t it?

Despite the lack of beach, the weather was actually better than predicted. Friday was wet and miserable, but Saturday, which was supposed to be filled with thunderstorms and rain, was pretty hot and humid. Frankly I’d rather have a good honest rain than high humidity, but the sky was clear enough for the fireworks to celebrate Canada Day, and the water had actually receded enough that we could sit on the beach to watch them.

But even better than the fireworks was something we stumbled across on the way home. We passed a small group of people carrying large paper lanterns and torches, headed to a more secluded area of the beach. Once on the shore they fired up the flame sources inside the lanterns and once they were buoyant set them free to drift away.



That’s not an actual picture of what we saw, that’s just to give you an idea. But as awesome as it was to watch, I have to admit we had to wonder about the wisdom of letting the lanterns loose from this narrow stretch of beach. Between the tall trees and the houses so close to the shore, I think it was just dumb luck that nothing else caught fire.

I don’t usually check out the Waterfront Festival that’s held over the holiday weekend, but I did this year. The dampness didn’t seem to discourage attendance, it was pretty crowded when we were down there. And I don’t think the vendors had too much to complain about, business must have been good - even I bought something.



It’s my new writing bag. Big enough to hold note books, pens, and even my Alphasmart Neo. It’s from Guatemala and I was told it was made from material repurposed from native dresses. The embroidery is from the top part of the dress, the rest from the skirt. I’m not sure how much of the sales pitch I believe, but I’m going to enjoy using it.

Belated Happy Canada Day to my fellow Canadians, and an early Happy Fourth of July to my American friends. I’ll have to remember to dig out my Independence Day movies to watch on Tuesday in your honour. :-D

Jun 30, 2017

Silent Sentinel

Oh, look! I actually remembered to repost my poem of the week here. :-D

Okay, so it’s a little late. But better late than never, eh? And considering it’s another uber damp (it was actually pouring rain when I went grocery shopping), headache inducing, coolish kind of day, you’re lucky you got it at all. Readers of my writing blog are still waiting for this month’s picture prompt story. (It’s coming, it’s coming!)

This week’s poem is just a random one I chose from my files. It was written in 2013 and I believe it was “poemwork” for a poetry group I was a member of. As I recall, the assignment was to write a poem from the point of view of an inanimate object. In case you can’t guess from the poem itself, the point of view is from a stone that was carved into a gargoyle.


Silent Sentinel

I remember my birth
torn from the quarry
then found to be unfit for the stone circle.

I remember the superstitions,
the Wild Hunt's ride, sacrifices to beg a boon
the dancing and the Green Man's bride.

I remember the poets,
who spent years perfecting the faultless rhyme
that would make of them heroes

I remember the old gods
no longer worshipped, not knowing why,
turning their backs on man.

I have felt the passage of time
felt the reshaping of my limestone form
awakened in my new home atop the cathedral

I have watched the world turn
the pleasure and the sorrow of man
the life and the death. Oh, so much death.

I have watched the city rise and fall
the new replacing the old until only I remain
keeping your secrets carved in stone.

Jun 26, 2017

Mulism Monday

mulism ~ obstinate quirk or habit

You know, one of these days I’m going to get my sh*t together and do amazing things. Last week had none of those days. This week doesn’t look promising either.

Once again I missed the poetry post on Friday, which is ridiculous when you think pretty much all I have to do is just re-post it from my writing blog. However, last week was a little busier than the previous week.

Tuesday, I took the grandbaby to visit her great grandparents, which meant I picked her up an hour early. Then Wednesday was our regular play group day, which also means picking her up an hour early. I had actually planned on blowing off the play group and taking her to the park instead (it’s been a while since we’ve been there) but it was cool and overcast, and it turned out I made the right decision because it started to rain.

I might mention that I woke up with a sore throat and the sniffles Wednesday morning and it was a full fledged cold by Thursday, the day I got to babysit from 8:30 a.m. until 6 p.m. The daughter had a work thing - and by work thing I mean she got waited on hand and foot at a spa, dinner included.

The trade off was that I got Friday off, which would have been great except I was so sick from my cold I didn’t get any of the things I’d planned on doing done. I pretty much read, napped, watched X-Men Apocalypse, and napped some more.

It rained off and on during the week, but Thursday night it started a steady down pour that kept up until about supper time on Friday. As you may recall, last time it rained like this we lost our beach, which is still more water than sand. This time we had more flooding inland.

This is a picture of Elgin Street, which runs east/west, early on Friday.



Now, see the traffic lights in that picture? This picture is taken at that intersection, sitting on Elgin and looking north up Division Street later in the day.



For the curious, you can find a slide show of photos HERE

And lest you think the sky gods are done with us, they’re calling for thunderstorms to start this afternoon and continue into this evening, with rain every day except Wednesday for the rest of the week.

Anybody got blue prints for an ark?

Jun 19, 2017

Malaxage Monday

malaxage ~ softening of clay by kneading it

It’s Monday. Here we are again.

*Looks around aimlessly*

So...how was your week? What about your weekend?

I have to say, last week was a pretty slow news week in my little corner of the world. So slow in fact I forgot about posting my poem on Friday. Oops!

And yet I made several rather lengthy entries in my journal - mostly mundane stuff about housework and babysitting and taking the grandbaby to play group. And of course there was the requisite whining, mostly about housework and babysitting and taking the grandbaby to play group. LOL

No matter how well or how often you do housework, there’s always more to do. It’s like getting rid of junk that collects in your closet - more junk always seems to take its place. So while I knocked off a few things, like cleaning the corner of the dining room where the cats have been misbehaving and dusting the corner cabinet, there’s always more tasks left to do.

The grandbaby was in full mischief mode last week. Not bad or bratty, just full of energy and getting into things. Like Friday. After play group we went to Walmart to get some cupcakes to take to Grappy at his office, one of her favorite things to do. And because by that time Grammy’s energy was flagging, I picked myself up an iced coffee. Which got dumped all over the floor of the kitchen when I nipped outside to look for my phone.

And there were a couple of completely unrelated journal entries, like the one I made about the daughter’s baby robins. She has a small ornamental tree outside her living room window and every year a robin builds a nest in it. The eggs always hatch, but usually the cat across the street gets the babies before they can fly off. This year, however, the daughter caught the cat in the attempt and chased him away with a broom. I would have paid good money to see a video of that! ;-)



Anyway, I checked the nest last Monday and there was only one baby left. There’d been three altogether and two of them flew away on the weekend. The last one was too scared to leave the nest, poor guy. So after the grandbaby went down for her nap, I stood at the open window and gave him a pep talk.

I guess he must have listened to me because the next time I checked he had left the nest and had made it as far as one of the branches beside it. He looked at me a little accusingly, and I think he was trying to get back into the nest but he couldn’t get turned around. At any rate, he did eventually fly away.

When I thought about it, I realized he was a braver bird than me. I went straight from my father’s house to my husband’s. So technically I never did leave my nest.

Something to think about.

Jun 12, 2017

Misosophy Monday

misosophy ~ hatred of knowledge or wisdom

Look! Up in the sky! It’s a giant light bulb. It’s the apocalypse! No, it’s ... the sun!!

We actually got a couple of days of sun last week. And the temperature rose enough that I was able to have the deck doors open during the day and we could leave the windows open at night. Yesterday we even had dinner out on the patio.

Thanks to all the rain we had earlier in the week, my garden was totally rocking the sunshine and all my seeds are starting to come up - the wildflowers in the planter boxes and even the dill in the top of the herb pot.

And of course along with the nicer weather came the “changing of the closets.” I put away some (not all) of my heavier clothing and brought out the lighter stuff. It’s always fun discovering clothes you forgot you had. Not so much fun trying to make room for them in the closet. LOL

Of course I didn’t start out with the intention of switching the closets over. I went digging through the storage closet looking for what little we kept of the daughter’s old Barbie stuff for the grandbaby. When we were at playgroup on Friday she spent the whole time playing with Barbies and I promised her I’d find her mother’s old stuff. Sadly, I gave most of it away long before the grandbaby was born - her mother didn’t want it and I didn’t want to keep storing it.

While I had the storage closet open I found my summer clothes and filled a couple of boxes with junk to donate. It’s amazing the way junk breeds, isn’t it? No matter how much you get rid of, there’s always more to take its place.

And of course along with the changing of the clothes goes the changing of the shoes. Up until Saturday I was wearing socks and shoes. I’m not sure where all my summer shoes went, I checked the shoe closet and only found one pair of sandals. Obviously I put them somewhere to get them out of the way in the fall. I just have to figure out where. LOL

The daughter and I went to see Wonder Woman on the weekend - it was pretty awesome. I’ve never been a particular fan of this super hero, so I went with no expectations and was pleasantly surprised. There are so many ways they could have ruined the movie - turning it into a jiggle-fest, having the man taking charge - but they didn’t.

The casting was perfect (Gal Gadot rocks!) and I loved the back-story of her growing up. And the Amazons were totally bad ass! I’m not going to say too much more because I don’t want to spoil it if you haven’t already seen it. And if you haven’t, why not? Go see it!

Right now!

Jun 9, 2017

Poetry Anyone?

A few years ago I used to have a separate poetry blog and I would repeat the weekly post on this blog, just to share my love of poetry. But then I got away from poetry for a while (you can read the story about why HERE.

I’ve written a few poems over the last few years but haven’t shared many until Jamie and I did our poem a day challenge in April. It brought back fond memories of poetry, and gave me the urge to do more with my poetry going forward.

I decided I’d start including a poetry post once a week on Writing Blog and then I thought, why not repeat it here like I was doing before? Therefore, the first Friday of the month (Wednesday on the writing blog) will feature a poetry form, the following Fridays will be just random poems - some new, some old, some of my old favorites.

So... without further ado, I’d like to share this month’s form, the sestina.

The sestina was one of the most challenging forms I’ve ever encountered. It has 39 lines in total, divided into six verses of six lines each, and a three line envoi at the end. Sounds easy enough, right? Especially since it doesn’t have to rhyme. But here’s the thing. You start off by coming up with six words, and each of these words is used as a end word of one line in each of the six verses and the order changes in each verse.

For my sestina, I used the words: truth, grave, life, night, death, and stone.

Night Dweller’s Truth

In every breath there is a truth
that overshadows every grave,
a truth not found within a life
that shines its beacon into night,
a knowledge brought about by death
and graven into hardest stone.

A thought that’s carved in precious stone
contains what we perceive as truth,
unsuppressed by certain death,
as cold and alien as the grave,
deep and dark as empty night
just before it bursts to life.

If I’d but know how sweet is life,
not just a pathway strewn with stone,
perhaps I’d not embraced the night
that fills me with its awful truth
and takes me far beyond the grave
out of reach of even death.

And what is that which we call death?
Perhaps another way of life,
the end is more than just the grave,
a fresh turned mound that’s capped with stone.
Perhaps we’ll never know the truth
before we pass into the night.

Come and share this sweetest night
where we can stand abreast of death,
and we will seek the perfect truth
of what is that which we call life
that gathers round us like a stone
and leads us blindly to the grave.

You look at me with visage grave -
accept my words, accept the night,
accept that fate’s not carved in stone.
Turn away from Lady Death,
her promise of the afterlife,
and know what’s in my heart is truth.

We’ll find our truth without the grave
and make our life within the night,
then vanquish death with shattered stone.



If you’d like to learn more or better yet, try your hand at your own sestina, here are a couple of sites that I’ve found helpful in the past:

Baymoon
The Poetry Foundation
Shmoop

Jun 5, 2017

Monoousian Monday

monoousian ~ having the same substance

Warning: Picture intensive post!

I’ll give you three guesses what I was doing this weekend... Gardening!

We bought our plants on Friday night and I was appalled at how much we paid - to the point where I even suggested to the hubby that we could forget plants in the front garden and just fill it in with decorative wood chips instead. I think I’ll be buying a lot of seeds next year. Maybe some bulbs this fall.

But before I get to my garden pictures, a couple of people asked me about the christening gown I made last weekend. I know it’s kind of hard to picture it from my description (you can click on it to see a bigger version), so here it is in all its glory:



Not bad considering I was working without a pattern, eh? My friend was thrilled, her daughter was thrilled, but I have no idea how the baby boy felt about it. LOL

Now, on to my gardens. First we have the front garden, always a treat because it’s so long.



As you can see, I lost both of my dogwoods and one of my sand cherries over the winter. Not sure how that happened considering the winter wasn’t all that bad and they’re right up next to the house. These are the same shrubs that made it unscathed through the ice storm a few years ago.

Anyway, here’s what the garden looks like now:



I added a pink begonia hanging from the shepherd’s crook yesterday, but didn’t take a new picture because it was raining.

The other major planting I did was in Kelsey Park. Kelsey Park, for those of you who are new, is a small round garden with a fountain in the center, under which our border collie Kelsey is buried. There are also three cats buried in various spots around it - only the hubby knows for sure where, and he also knows where the others will be going when their time comes. Our own little pet cemetery. :-)

This is what it looked like before:



The after picture kind of looks like I just planted my plants amongst the weeds, and in a way that’s exactly what I did. When I bought all those bedding plants, I did not realize that the sweet pea seeds that I planted last year and didn’t come up came up this year. So now as well as pansies, marigolds, and tufted things, I have sweet peas growing around the edge of the garden.



And last but not least, a few years ago I lucked into a terra cotta strawberry pot. That was the same year I found a variety of mint plants - spearmint, chocolate mint, lemon mint, pineapple mint... I can’t remember what store had them, but I thought it would be really cool to do an all mint indoor herb garden in the pot. And I’m sure under the care of someone else it would have been. But for me the plants died rather quickly and the pot has been empty ever since.



So this year I started thinking about what went wrong and I wondered if maybe I should have had the mint garden outside for the summer to let the plants get well established before bringing it in for the winter. This year I only found two kinds of mint, but I found some thyme, chives, and sage for it and I bought some dill seeds to plant in the top. Now it’s sitting on the deck where it will get lots of sun, if the sun every comes out for any length of time.



According to the 14-day forecast on the weather network, it’s going to be another week before we see any significant sun. While I’m sure the plants in my gardens will enjoy the good soaking, I’m not so sure about the wildflower seeds I planted in the boxes bordering the patio.

Guess I’ll have to post more pictures at the beginning of July to show you how my garden is growing. :-D

May 29, 2017

Magirics Monday

magirics ~ art of cookery

A very happy Memorial Day to my U.S. friends. Even though we had our holiday weekend last weekend, I’m still a little jealous that you guys get today off and we don’t. Am I the only one who thinks that all weekends should be three days?

I had a productive weekend, although not in the way I expected. I had planned on buying the bedding plants for the gardens on Friday and then spending a good chunk of my time gardening.

However, Friday was pretty wet, and it was supposed to rain off and on for the rest of the weekend, so I didn`t get my plants Friday evening. Wouldn`t you know that although Saturday started drizzly, by the afternoon things were drying up nicely. And Sunday was so nice I had the deck door open.

But I had no plants to plant, so instead I started working on a christening gown a friend is having me make for her grandson. No pattern, just a couple of pictures to go by. And she ripped out the sleeves from her mother`s wedding gown and could I please somehow include these in the gown? Along with dress sleeves, she gave me some lovely satin material and yards and yards of satin ribbon. Challenge accepted.

Once the sleeves were ripped apart and ironed flat, I had two medium length, oddly wedge shaped pieces of material. A snip here and a snip there gave me two more uniformly wedge shapes. Although they would have been long enough for an ordinary dress, this is a christening gown. So I sewed a 10 inch piece of satin to the bottom of each panel, then cut a piece the entire length for a center panel.

This is where I’d normally post a picture, but despite spending the bulk of my weekend on it, it’s not done yet. I still have the hand sewing - hem, basting down the bodice lining, and buttons - to go. I repurposed the row of buttons and corresponding loops from one of the sleeves for the closure at the back. In retrospect, although it was a nice idea to make further use of the sleeves, eleven buttons is a lot of buttons.

Because the gown is for a baby boy, I didn’t want to make it too froofy, and my friend requested that it be plain, so I used the satin ribbon to trim it at the top and bottom. No bows or flowers. It’s actually turning out better than I expected, I just hope it fits. :-D

Sunday the daughter invited me to go to lunch with them so I took a break from the sewing long enough to celebrate burger day with a Perseus burger from Olympus Burgers. This is from their secret menu, which can only be accessed online - fresh beef patty, crunchy onion rings, aged white cheddar cheese, Olympus bbq sauce, lettuce, tomato.

As part as an art awareness program, there was a gentleman dressed as a Canada goose lurking around and the granddaughter turned out to not be a fan.



Here’s a picture of her hiding behind her milkshake. It was actually a friend of the daughter’s in the goose suit, and it was kind of amusing the way the granddaughter avoided him. She didn’t cry or make a fuss, she just pointedly wouldn’t look at him. It was like, “If I don’t look at him then he can’t hurt me.”

The weather forecast for the week ahead is so up and down I have no idea what to expect, but the only plans I have, other than finishing the christening gown, is for writing, so in the grand scheme of things it doesn’t really matter.

That’s my story and I’m sticking to it. ;-)

May 22, 2017

Myasthenia Monday

myasthenia ~ muscular weakness or debility

It’s the 24th of May
The Queen’s birthday
And if we don’t get a holiday
We’ll all run away

Happy Victoria Day to all my fellow Canadians. I’d wish you Yanks a happy holiday too, but yours isn’t until next weekend. You’d think someone, somewhere, would sync these two holidays up.

Anyway, as per usual when we have a holiday Monday, I kind of forgot that it’s actually Monday and I should have had a blog post up already. Oops! But I’m here now, and that’s what matters, right?

I have to admit, weather-wise this was a waste of a weekend. Saturday was okay, a little on the cool side but at least the sun was mostly out. Yesterday was also cool and rainy to boot. Today looks to be more of the same. Although the weather network, and we all know how accurate they are, is saying that it’s supposed to be sunny and warm this afternoon. I’m not breaking out the sun screen until I actually see the sun.

Traditionally, this is the weekend people open up their cottages and take care of their gardens. We usually try and get our bedding plants in over the holiday, but it’s been such a cold, wet spring that our gardens aren’t ready yet. Hubby spent Saturday uncovering the roses and cleaning out the pond, but the rest of the weekend has been too wet to work outside.

As for myself... I bought three sweet potato vines to go in an indoor planter where I planted the sweet potato I’d been growing in water (the one that promptly died once was in dirt). The idea is to have them grow up a small trellis to block the cats from getting at the other plants in my dining room. And I found a perfect planter for my kitchen window sill for my two English ivies (the ones I’d bought originally to replace the sweet potato before discovering they’re toxic to cats).

And I really have to show you the fairy garden I created from all the great stuff the daughter and granddaughter gave me:



Isn't it cute? And the best part is, the cats haven’t touched the artificial moss! I had so much fun doing it, I immediately wanted to do another. And then I recalled my gnome garden. A couple of years ago, I turned a large aquarium into a terrarium.



Doesn’t it look lovely? It was so green and pretty ... for such a short time. It sits on a bookcase in the upstairs hallway and gets pretty much no light, and is real easy to overlook when it comes to watering the plants. It didn’t take long for it to end up looking like this:



It never occurred to me to use fake plants in it - you’d never know the moss in the fairy garden isn’t real, why not use some in the gnome garden? So I made a trip to the dollar store to see what they had in the way of “stuff” for my garden (which admittedly wasn’t much), then I cleaned all the dead foliage out, broke up the hard dirt, and went to town. And this is what the gnome habitat looks like now:



Admittedly it’s not quite as pretty as the original with the live plants. It could use a few more mushrooms, but the white rocks glow in the dark and are supposed to mimic a stream. It’ll do until I get to make a trip to the craft store.

Have a happy holiday!

May 15, 2017

Moniliform Monday

moniliform ~ shaped like a string of beads

Everyone have a good weekend?

My weekend was pretty action packed. It was the two-day year end bowling tournament for the hubby, which is held in Hamilton. Or, as one of the other bowling wives and I call it, the Shopping Tournament. While our husbands are bowling, we go to Lime Ridge Mall and shop till we drop.

This year, however, I spent the first day with family (I have a sister living in Hamilton). Our aunt and uncle came down from Stoney Creek to have lunch with us and afterwards we went shopping at Costco. Guess I just can’t get away from the shopping. LOL

Here’s a picture of the Sunday sunrise as seen from our hotel window:



That was taken at about 5:30 a.m. What was I doing up at that ungodly hour? Despite the insanely comfortable, king-sized bed, I kept waking up throughout the night. There’s not much to do at 5:30 a.m. There’s a huge mall under the hotel but of course it opens late on Sundays. And although they’ve put in a Starbucks downstairs, it didn’t open until 7 a.m.

While the bowling started early on Sunday, the shopping did not, so my friend and I enjoyed a leisurely coffee while waiting for the stores to open. The mall wasn’t too busy, the big rush was have been the day before for people buying last minute mother’s day presents.

This was the first time since I’ve been a grandmother that I’ve been near a Disney store, but the prices helped me show a lot of restraint. I bought the grandbaby a large, stuffed, Stitch (because he was blue and she likes blue aliens), and that was pretty much it. I just couldn’t bring myself to spend $22 on a Star Wars tee-shirt for her. And they had NO GRUMPY TEE-SHIRTS for me. They used to come out with a different one every year.

We got home in time to have mother’s day dinner with our family. And my daughter (and granddaughter) gave me an amazing mother’s day present. My daughter always manages to find the best presents ever!



So you know what I’ll be doing later today. I’m gonna make me a fairy garden!

May 8, 2017

Melichrous Monday

melichrous ~ having a honey-like colour

If April showers bring May flowers, then we should be buried in blossoms by now. Granted our rain started in April and continued on into May, but still....

There was already concern that the water level in Lake Ontario was high, and with the excessive rainfall we’ve been having over the last couple of weeks there’s been a lot of flooding along the shoreline and creeks.



That’s our local beach - one of the top ten in the province. At least it used to be. Now it’s barely a beach. I took that picture Saturday morning during a brief lull in the rain. I don’t know how much more is expected, but I’ve noticed the animals starting to line up two by two.

The last time we had flooding like this was the great flood of 1980. That flood had been caused by the ground being too frozen to absorb the amount of water from the amount of rain coming down. Added to that was the fact streams and rivers were still semi-frozen and ice jams were damming up the water. When those jams let go, it just exacerbated the problem.

I’m almost thinking the flooding we’re getting now is worse. It’s not just confined to the lakeshore, rivers, and streams. The excessive amount rain has saturated the ground and the water has nowhere else to go, it just lies there.

Thanks to improvements made both inside and out of the house, we got off luckier with this flood than we did the one in 1980. On top of the rain, a power outage knocked out our sump pump in 1980. I recall stepping off the bottom stair in the basement and splashing in the water. This year there was no power outage and although we have some water seeping in, most of it's contained to the edges of the the laundry room and workshop areas, all of which has cement flooring.

But there’s a saying that every cloud has a silver lining, and the one to all this rain flew in this morning. As I was standing at the upstairs bedroom window, Daphne flew into the back yard and made a perfect landing in the water on top of the pool cover. At least someone’s happy with all this water!

May 1, 2017

Millocracy Monday

millocracy ~ government by mill owners



“Happy, happy, first of May
Outdoor screwing starts today”

LOL One of my sisters told me that once, and it was not the sister you’d expect it to be.

Of course it’s a little too cold for that sort of outdoor activity, but I can remember when I was a kid it being at least warm enough for bathing suits in May. Thank you global warming - not.

It’s been cold and wet and grey these days, and according to the weatherman it’s likely to stay that way for a while. However there will be one creature who’ll be happy about all this rain - Daphne the duck.

She and Donald have been a little miffed at the hubby lately. About a week ago he started to take the water off the top of tarp covering the pool and took a little too much - it was almost bone dry. Poor Donald landed on the cover with a splat instead of a splash. But the rain we’ve been having is slowly but surely filling the top of the pool back up again. There was even enough for Daphne to have her daily bath the last couple of days. :-)

Anyone see the movie Sixth Sense? You know, the “I see dead people” one.

Well, the grandbaby can see dead critters. Last summer she saw our deceased dog and one of our cats, who died well before she was born. Last night she could see “Uncle Bunny”, our recently deceased cat, on the bed. And when I asked her if she saw any other kitties she admitted she saw the orange one. There's also a ghost puppy at her house that likes to sleep in her front garden. Cue the Twilight Zone theme music. :-)

It was touch and go for a while there, but I completed my poetry challenge. A poem a day for the month of April following an A to Z list of forms. The most common problem I had with the poems was the syllable counts. Many of the forms I used had very strict syllable counts and/or rhyme schemes. Often I found myself either a syllable short or with one too many.

But the month is over and the challenge is done. If you’d like to see my final week’s worth of forms, you can check them out HERE

And now if I write a poem it’ll just be for fun. :-D

Apr 24, 2017

Monopsony Monday

monopsony ~ case of only one buyer for products of several sellers

Well, would you look at that. It’s Monday already. There I was last night, congratulating myself on having made it through another week and weekend, watching the first episode of Jessica Jones on Netflix, and completely forgetting the fact that I hadn’t written my Monday post.

Of course I could barely keep my eyes open to watch TV, it’s no wonder I didn’t have enough brain power to write anything. :-D

A friend and I were having a discussion on the weekend about how much the price of technology has come down over the last few years. I’d mentioned to her about how thrilled I’d been about 10 years ago when I found a 2 Gigabyte USB stick to back my files up onto for a mere $80.00.

This weekend I was using a 16 Gigabyte USB stick to back my files up onto and it only cost me $8.00. The lap top I’m using right now cost half of what my first desktop computer cost me and there’s just no comparison as far as speed, performance, and storage capacity. Anyone remember floppy disks? :-)

All this affordable technology can be a little addictive. I’m only on my second lap top, but the desktop computer in my office is about my fifth one, each one progressively more advanced, easier to use (anyone else have fun with DOS?), more powerful, and cheaper.

There’s no escaping technology. Like tablets. At first glance tablets seem really cool - you can do so many things on a tablet and everybody has one. So I got myself one, and yeah, they’re pretty cool ... if you know how to use one, which I don’t.

I’m sure it’s not as complicated as it looks - I can check my email or surf online, and I try to stay away from the many, many games you can access because I really hate using the touch screen for games. But all those “aps” are a little intimidating.

I admit I don’t use it much. But I figure if nothing else it’ll come in handy when my Kindle inevitably dies on me and I need a new electronic reader. One of these days I’ll sit down with the on-line manual (why do these things all have to be online now?) and figure out what else I can do. One of these days ....

My glucometer for testing my blood sugar will connect wirelessly to the internet to allow me to download my results and keep track online. Yeah, sure. Most of the time I’d rather not know.

The hubby came home from a bowling tournament this weekend with an electronic prize which he passed on to me. It’s a Garmin Vivofit - a fitness tracker, same idea as a FitBit. It’s a device you wear to keep track of your fitness level - the number of steps you take, the calories you burn, your sleep patterns. It’s waterproof so you can wear it 24/7. I’m sure it will be really cool ... once I figure out how to use it.

I finally got my first cell phone last year, but I have yet to turn into one of those people. You know, the ones who might as well just have the phone surgically implanted. It amazes me how few of these phones are actually used to make calls. They’re used to text, shop, check Facebook, take pictures, do banking ... the list goes on and on. I have one friend who tells me her whole life is on her phone.

Seriously? What happens if you lose that phone?

I use my phone to take pictures, check my email, text my daughter, and to *gasp* make calls. I got it because as my granddaughter gets bigger and more active (and listens less and less) it’s kind of worrisome that there’s no land line at my daughter’s in case of emergency. I refuse to do banking on my phone, or even Facebook.

The phone is just a device, not my life.

Apr 17, 2017

Micrander Monday

micrander ~ dwarf male plant

Did everyone have a good Easter?

Weather wise, we couldn’t have asked for a better weekend. Friday was bright and sunny, Saturday was supposed to be raining all day but we only got a fraction of it, and Sunday the temperature rose all the way to 21C (70F). I guess spring is here after all. Awesome sauce!

The grandbaby kept us entertained on Sunday with her Easter egg hunt. They had one at the play group we go to and they were allowed to keep the (plastic) eggs they found, she came home with quite a haul. But yesterday was even more fun because there was “stuff” in the eggs - a couple of tee shirts, some wind-up chickens and bunnies, and a zoo full of plastic animals.

The eggs from the day care kept her amused for days, but the eggs I hid for her here were abandoned when we gave her the play set we’d got her:



We also gave her the dress she’s wearing and when I added up the cost of everything, I was a little surprised. When did Easter become so commercial?

When I was a kid, we always got a new outfit to wear to church, complete with hat. I’m not sure whether we hunted for eggs or not, but we usually got one of those hollow chocolate chickens as well.

When my daughter was little, I used Easter as an excuse to make her a new dress and we’d hide plastic eggs (so the dog wouldn’t get them) filled with jelly beans. We’d each get a solid chocolate bunny as well - hers would be a white one, which isn’t really chocolate because believe it or not, she didn’t like chocolate.

A lot of kids got bikes and toys and you’d almost think it was Christmas. I filled the grandbaby’s eggs with toys to cut back on her chocolate consumption, and gave her the traditional new dress, so was the play set really necessary? Probably not. But I knew how much she’d love it and Easter was the perfect excuse.

And in keeping with the season of rebirth (or in this case birth), April the giraffe had her calf! It was a bouncing baby boy measuring 5’9” (several inches taller than me!) and weighing 129 pounds.



Almost looks like a stuffed toy, doesn't he? 1.2 million people watched the birth via the web cam, me included although I didn’t set out to do so. I just happened to check on April at the right time. Toys R Us sponsored the web cam and had their logo on the bottom left of the screen. After the birth the logo changed from Toys R Us to Babies Are Us.

I’m not sure how long the web cam is going to stay going, but I have to wonder, what are all those people going to watch when it’s done?

Apr 10, 2017

Medullary Monday

medullary ~ consisting of or resembling marrow or pit

That stupid giraffe has still not had her calf. I guess when you’re pregnant for between thirteen and fifteen months, a due date is a little hard to pin down but still....

My sinus cold has morphed into ... something, I’m just not sure what. I’ve got most of my hearing back, and although I have no trouble breathing my sinuses are still pretty full. Right now the worst part is my throat. It’s not really sore, per se, more like it aches from the swollen glands. And it comes and goes and when it’s really bad it makes the teeth in my lower jaw hurt.

It was a sad week for us last week - we had to say goodbye to our sweet little Julius.



There he is with his mommy Panda, whom we lost several years ago to kidney disease. Just look at that face. He was a sweet boy and will be sorely missed. But I'm sure his mommy is waiting for him on the other side of the Rainbow Bridge, ready to give him a good chase and then a virgorous washing.

Have you heard about the Rainbow Bridge? Here's the original prose poem:

Just this side of Heaven is a place called Rainbow Bridge. When an animal dies that has been especially close to someone here, that pet goes to Rainbow Bridge. There are meadows and hills for all of our special friends so they can run and play together. There is plenty of food, water and sunshine and our friends are warm and comfortable.

All the animals who had been ill and old are restored to health and vigor; those who were hurt or maimed are made whole and strong again, just as we remember them in our dreams of days and times gone by. The animals are happy and content, except for one small thing: they each miss someone very special, someone who was left behind.

They all run and play together, but the day comes when one suddenly stops and looks into the distance. His bright eyes are intent; his eager body begins to quiver. Suddenly, he breaks from the group, flying over the green grass, faster and faster. You have been spotted, and when you and your special friend finally meet, you cling together in joyous reunion, never to be parted again. The happy kisses rain upon your face; your hands again caress the beloved head, and you look once more into those trusting eyes, so long gone from your life, but never absent from your heart.

Then you cross the Rainbow Bridge together...

*Author Unknown*


RIP Julius

Apr 8, 2017

Attention all Poetry Lovers

If you're on my Facebook or already read My Writing Journal then you know that my best bud Jamie challenged each other to write a poem a day for the month of April to celebrate National Poetry Month.

I chose to follow an A to Z theme of poetry forms while she is following prompts supplied by a workshop she participated in. While I can't exactly say I had fun writing all those poems, it did get me writing every day, which is a really good thing.

To keep each other honest, we emailed each other our poems on a daily basis and today we've posted our whole week's worth of poems on our respective blogs.

You can find Jamie's poems HERE and mine are HERE.

Enjoy!

Apr 3, 2017

Mainour Monday

mainour ~ stolen goods discovered on thief

I am not going to talk about the snow we got last week.

Nope. Not one word. Not a single, solitary word.

Never mind the fact that the heavy white blanket melted away the following day. It’s not worth mentioning at all.

:-D

Anybody else watching April the Giraffe on Facebook or YouTube?

April, for those of you who don’t know, is a very pregnant giraffe in an animal park in the U.S. Due to the inclement weather, she’s mostly been penned up in her stall in a barn, her significant other, Oliver, in the next stall. There’s a video camera mounted on the wall next to her feeding station that provides live coverage of the impending blessed event.

Unlike the thousands of other viewers of the web cam, I don’t really care to see the actual birth. I just want to see the baby giraffe. According to the web site, this will be April’s fourth calf and Oliver’s first.

I started watching in mid-March, excited by the promise that delivery was coming any second now. It’s still going to be any second now. I’m starting to wonder just how long a giraffe can be in labour.

So while I wait, I get a kick out of the running commentary by other viewers. Some are encouraging, some are convinced it’s all just a hoax, and a surprising number seem to have put their lives on hold so they don’t miss anything.

Seriously? Have you people nothing better to do?

Of course who am I to talk? I used to spend a lot of time watching the Volcano-cam that was trained on Mount Saint Helens, and the Afric-cam that focused on a watering hole on a game preserve in Africa where you had to have a lot of patience to actually see anything interesting.

If you’re into that kind of thing, you can find a cam for just about anything - puppies, kittens, eagles, leprechauns, ghosts.... Just be careful, they can be addictive. :-)


Mar 27, 2017

Mungo Monday

mungo ~ waste produced in a woollen-mill

Did anyone catch my little faux pas last week?

I wrote a post for my other blog later on Monday and accidentally posted it here. It was up for almost an entire day before I realized what I’d done.

Well, the first true sign of spring arrived. Just as I was taking up supper, I spied a flurry of motion out the kitchen window and watched as Daphne and Donald landed in our pool. Of course the cover is still on it, but there was just enough unfrozen water for them to land in.



That’s actually a picture from a couple of years ago, but it’s the same pool and same ducks. I just couldn’t stop what I was doing to get a current photo. Picture the same scene only with a little less ice in the pool. ;-)

But it gives me hope that we’ve seen the last of the snow for this year.

In the ongoing saga of my ear ... I managed to get an appointment with the nurse at my doctor’s office, who had the doctor look at me, who set me up with an ear/nose/throat specialist. He held a tuning fork up to my head and said that currently I’m hearing through the bone on the left side of my head, not the ear, which is apparently a good thing.

At least it was good enough that he’s not going to put a tube in my ear. There is a hole in the ear drum, but it’s already started to heal. He’s pretty sure the fluid in my ear will dry up without help and my hearing will come back on its own, but if it doesn’t I’m to call his office directly to make another appointment.

Meanwhile, I’ve finished my second round of antibiotics and I still can’t hear but at least the railroad spike pain is gone. :-)

Julius, our poor sick kitty, seems to be doing a little better. Although he doesn’t appreciate being force-fed (no more than I like having to do it to the poor guy), I think he feels better having eaten. Because he’d been starving himself, we decided to start him with the steroid that’s supposed to ease the internal inflammation, and build his strength up a bit before starting him on the cancer drugs (which can have harsher side effects). He’s been tolerating the steroid well and today I start him on his cancer fighting drug.

Wish me luck!

Mar 20, 2017

Moulinet Monday

moulinet ~ machine for bending a crossbow

Happy first day of Spring!

I woke up to a weirdly orange sky this morning, like the light was being filtered through tangerine koolaide. It was enough to make me do a double take. By 7:30 or so the light was returning to normal but still, you have to wonder what caused it.

You notice I didn’t say when the sun started coming up. That’s because it’s almost 9 a.m. as I start this and I’m still waiting for the sun. It’s kind of grey and gloomy out there, especially since it’s the first day of spring and all.

You also might have noticed that I kind of skipped last week’s post. Mostly it was because I’m feeling pretty stressed out lately. So prepare for a somewhat whiny explanation. ;-)

I’ve had enough colds and flus this year that I’m seriously considering getting the flu shot in the fall - and I don’t believe in the flu shot. I blame the day care I’ve been taking the grandbaby to on a regular basis. Or more specifically, I blame the parents of the runny nosed, sniffling little plague rug rats we encounter there. See, the day care/play group is part of the local YMCA. And if you’re a member, you can drop your child (under the age of 6) off for free while you go work out. And apparently these parents don’t give a rat’s ass who their precious little germ factories infect as long as they get their workout in.

My latest is a really, really bad sinus cold that was on top of a speck of something I got in my eye that became infected. So off to the walk-in clinic I went where the doctor gave me drops for my eye and told me my sore throat was due to swollen glands, and did not give the rest of the cold a second thought. Had he checked my ears, it might have prevented what happened later that night.

To make a long story short, my sinuses worsened, my left ear started really aching, and finally the sinus pressure blew a hole in my eardrum. Looking on the bright side, at least it helped alleviate some of the pain. Back to the walk-in clinic the next day and the Doogie Howser-esque doctor looked in my ear, recoiled, and said he’d never seen such a mess. Charming.

Yesterday I finished the antibiotics he prescribed and he said if my hearing hadn’t returned in a couple of days to see my family doctor. Trust me kid, if it was that easy I’d have gone to her in the first place. However, my hearing isn’t back so I’ve been dutifully hitting the redial on the phone since 9 a.m. only to get through and find out that my doctor had to cancel her appointments for the day and all the emergency appointments were gone. Better luck next time.

Added to this stress is the fact that one of our cats has taken ill. He’s the sweetest natured of the bunch, and after blood tests and an ultrasound (which required two separate trips to the vet for the poor guy) it was determined he has cancer. He has between 20 and 30 nodules on his liver and spleen which have caused inflammation which in turn caused him to lose his appetite.

The big thing right now is to try and get him to eat. I’ve bought a variety of foods for him, some he shows interest in and some he doesn’t. And of course the other cats are a little miffed at the preferential treatment he’s getting. It’s a stressful situation all around.

And the thing is, I don’t deal well with stress. Pressure, yes. I actually work well under pressure, like the pressure of a deadline (just don’t bug me while I’m working). But stress will shut me down every time. I don’t deal with stress - stress deals with me.

But in any case. It’s the first day of spring, even if it doesn’t look like it out there. So sunnier, happier days are sure to be ahead.

Right?

Mar 6, 2017

Meteorism Monday

meteorism ~ abdominal cramps and swelling due to flatulence

You ever have one of those brilliant ideas that turn out to be not so brilliant after all because it has a ripple effect that had you thought things through a little better might have been enough to make you think twice? Yeah, that was me yesterday.

I mentioned a couple of weeks ago about how I wasn’t happy with the orchid on my kitchen window sill and was considering moving it. Sounds simple enough, doesn’t it? Well, this particular simple thing took me half a day.

The little table I was thinking about moving it to had a very large ceramic pagoda which had to be relocated. First I thought it could go up on the bookcases in my office. So I got up on the step stool and shuffled things around and the pagoda fit - just barely. But it looked terrible up there.

So then I figured it could go on the bookcase in the upstairs hallway, which was lower and wider. I took the pagoda apart, took it upstairs, and removed the large ceramic knight on his horse and the dragon he was fighting from the shelf. The insanely dusty shelf.

Naturally I dusted the shelf off before reassembling the pagoda, which looks great up there, especially since the opposite shelf has a Chinese doll in a case and mythological beastie. However, I couldn’t just have one clean shelf, so I ended up dusting off the rest of the rather large bookcase. And the books on it.

At this point moving the orchid was simple, but the one drawback of the table is that it sits between the cat tree and the bookcase in the dining room, and the cats like to use it as a gateway to the plants on top of the bookcase. Which is why the pagoda was there in the first place, to block their passage.

So to kill two birds with one stone, I decided to plant the sweet potato vine in a small planter box and drape it over a bamboo trellis I just happened to have. This necessitated finding my planting stuff in the depths of the basement - no mean feat in itself. I found a partial bag of dirt that had just enough for the vine planter, but not for the pineapple that is also growing hydroponically.

Now, the sweet potato vine has been growing for several weeks, and it kind of grew up around the other plants on the window ledge. It even had a shoot wrapped around the stick in the orchid pot. And another that was wound around part of the window. And several tendrils were growing up and intermingling with the hanging plant above it. In retrospect, it might have been easier to just leave it there.

But all’s well that ends well. The orchid is in its new home, the sweet potato is in its new pot, and the plant hanging in the kitchen window received a much needed divesting of dead matter.



I don’t know if you can tell by the picture, but the sweet potato vine looks a little wilted. In my defense, it was already wilting before I planted it in dirt. I’m not sure if it didn’t like the sun we were getting, or if it was just tired of being hydroponic. I’m hoping it’ll be happier in dirt, and the blinds should shade it a bit from the sun.

But I guarantee you, I will think twice before deciding to move a plant again. :-D

Feb 27, 2017

Montiform Monday

montiform ~ shaped like a mountain

I was sitting here on Saturday, looking out at the rain, and I was finding it hard to believe it was February. Late April maybe, but not February. It was especially hard last week when one of the days had a record breaking high temperature.

The birch tree in the front yard has buds on it. And yet we had a smattering of snow on the weekend. Wednesday is supposed to be +10C (+50F) and Thursday is supposed to be -2C (-28F). The weather is on crack, I tell you what.

I suspect this is going to be a short post. Last week was pretty uneventful. I mean seriously, do you want to hear about how I cleaned out the pantry and got it all organized, which was pretty much the highlight of the week.

I know, just for something completely different I’ll do something I don’t think I’ve ever done before. I’ll post a recipe. This was something new I tried last week and it was absolutely delicious. It would have been even better with biscuits, but I didn’t think of it until just now.

Slow Cooker Cowboy Casserole

Ingredients
1½ pounds ground beef, browned and drained
6 medium red potatoes, cut into 1½ inch cubes
1 medium onion, chopped
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 can red kidney beans, drained and rinsed
1 (14 oz) can diced tomatoes with green chili, undrained
¼ cup water
1 ½ tablespoon salt
2 teaspoon pepper
4 oz shredded cheddar cheese

Directions
1. Brown ground beef and drain off excess fat.
2. Add potatoes to 4-quart slow cooker and season with salt and pepper.
3. Add onion and garlic.
4. Add beef, beans, and tomato. Pour over water.
5. Cover and cook on low 7-8 hours.
6. Sprinkle cheese in last 15 minutes and continue to cook covered.

Now, for the record, I used a bag of those mini red potatoes instead of the big ones, and I used herb and garlic tomatoes because I couldn’t find any with chilies in them. But other than that I pretty much stuck to the recipe. I honestly thought it would turn out to be more like a stew than a casserole, but the cheese thickens it up. It’s like a cross between a stew and chili. Yummy!

If you'd like to read something a little more interesting ... the first Friday of the month I’m posting a picture prompt on my writing blog, and the last Friday I’m posting a story, poem, or article that was inspired by it. I posted my first story last night and you can read it HERE if you like.

Have a good week!

Feb 20, 2017

Macrocosm Monday

macrocosm ~ large and complex structure considered as a whole

I’m late!

Or rather, this post is late. You’d think this being a long weekend I would have had plenty of time to get this post written, but you should know by now that’s not the way things work for me. ;-)

Saturday I spent the better part of the morning and part of the afternoon uploading my newest book to the e-publishers (more about that in a bit). I don’t know why I find it so stressful, this is the sixth time I’ve gone through the process and it’s not like I do my own formatting or covers. All I have to do is fill out the forms. Easy peasy, right?

Anyway, after that was done I had that curiously let down feeling you get when you finish a big project. So I decided to reward myself and indulge in a little shopping therapy. So I went to a couple of thrift stories, then the mall, and finally Walmart. And all I managed to come home with was replacement blender so I could start having smoothies for breakfast again. *sigh*

Next I tried on-line shopping and found a fairy tale book I’d been searching for at Abe Books. The way it works is they act as a broker - you purchase the book on their site, then they contact the seller who is supposed to contact you. I’m still waiting to be contacted. Seeing as this is the weekend I’ll try to be patient.

Day two of my long weekend, Sunday, I spent babysitting. The daughter and her hubby needed to go to IKEA to pick up new beds for them and the grandbaby. I can’t say that I’d want to be trapped in a car for an hour each way with an active toddler, nor would I want to have to wrangle said toddler in IKEA. But, by the time I got home again, it was time to start supper.

Anyway, I’d been planning to do a blog post for my writing blog on Sunday - that didn’t get done. And I usually do this post Sunday evening - I could barely keep my eyes open for Rizzoli and Isles, let alone type anything. So that didn’t get done either.

So this morning I had not one but two blog posts to get done, and I started with the one on my writing blog because today is Release Day for my newest book, An Elemental Earth, book 4 of the Ardraci Elementals series.



Help an author out, would you? Brazen Snake Books, read my interview, and enter the contest to win a free print book plus a gift basket. You don’t have to guess the correct flower, any flower will do. Just scroll down and leave a comment and you’re entered.

Thanks, and good luck!

Feb 13, 2017

Myrmidon Monday

myrmidon ~ follower; hireling; mercenary

I have a problem. I currently have four orchids. Two are tucked away on a stand next to the deck doors in the dining room, and two are on the window ledge of the kitchen. All four get pretty much the same exposure to the sun.

One of the two orchids in the kitchen is really too big for the window ledge, but I’m afraid to move it. I once had a beautiful cattleya orchid that I grew from a seedling. It took seven years for it to bloom, but the single blossom it produced was magnificent. It, too, started out on the window ledge of the kitchen, and when it became too big I moved it to a counter that was further back, but it seemed happy enough.

Unfortunately, I failed to take into account that the new space was across from the air conditioner in the dining room window and it did not like the cold air at all. I tried moving it back to the window but it was too late and I lost the orchid.

The bigger of the two orchids currently on my window ledge seems to be of sturdier stock. It’s bloomed a few times and last time it did so the bloom stalk had eleven blossoms on it. Normally once the blossoms fall off I’d trim back the stem to allow for new growth, but on the advice of my neighbour this time I left it alone.

Much to my surprise, it did get a new shoot off the original bloom stalk, which I promptly accidentally knocked off. Then it got another one, which I accidentally broke off while trying to tie it to a stick to make it a little more upright. When it got a third one, I left it alone, despite the fact that it the leaves are on one side of the plant and the bloom stalk is sticking out the other side. And then it hedged its bet by producing a second bloom stalk to stick out a third side of the pot.



Now my problem is this. There’s only so much room on my window sill and the leaves of the orchid are touching the cold glass. I don’t much like the arrangement, but it’s the only way to position it to minimize the possibility of knocking off one of the bloom stalks.



The blooms will keep going for weeks, provided nothing touches them, but both stalks stick out slightly over the sink. I could make room for the plant on the stand in the dining room - it won’t be easy but it’s do-able - but I’m afraid if I move it it’ll die, just like my cattleya orchid did. Plus it’s right beside the cat tree and I know at least one of my cats will try to snack on it.

Maybe I’ll just keep crossing my fingers. It’s worked so far. ;-)

Feb 6, 2017

Multifarious Monday

multifarious ~ having great diversity; manifold

Everyone out there catch the Superbowl yesterday?

I was dragged kicking and screaming to the get together my hubby’s buddy has every year where I ate too much pizza and actually watched the last half of the game. That was some come back by the Patriots, eh?

My big news for the week is that the bathroom is officially done. Actually it was done last week but I just didn’t have any pictures to post. These pictures don’t really do it justice - I don’t know if it’s the picture or just my computer, but the colour of the dark paint is kind of off.

Once I have a chance to get my pictures organized, and maybe take some better ones of the finished bathroom, I’ll do a separate post showing the entire renovation, but these pictures should give you an idea of what it looks like. If you'd like a bigger view, just click on the picture.

The first picture shows the sink on its stand and the mirror above it:



Next we have the rest of the bathroom. As you can see, it’s a really hard room to take pictures of because it’s so small:



And finally here’s a better picture of the window with the sconces:



And no, I haven’t had a bath yet. The tub needs a thorough cleaning first and I just haven’t had time to do it. But I can’t wait!