Monday, August 31, 2009

Dear Winter

The poodle is a pain in your ass. I know that, and I'm sorry for it.
I brought her home, so it's my fault. I accept that too.

However, when you stroll nonchalantly across the floor, giving her the evil eye until she moves out of your way; and then suddenly change directions, charge ahead and hurdle over top of her... well, I'm not going to come to your rescue, regardless of how much she slobbers on you.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

I am.... an idiot

If you've read previous blog entries, you'll know that I recently acquired a new lawn mower. This wasn't planned. I had a perfectly good lawn mower that I'd picked up at a garage sale for $30 four years ago. It worked perfectly fine, until one day that I couldn't get it started.

I tried just about everything to get it started. I waited a few hours. I plugged it into different outlets. I cleaned it. Heck, I even gave it a good, swift kick. (Don't laugh - that works sometimes!)

I called around, and looked into getting it fixed; only to learn that it would cost a minimum of $100 to have a repair man look at it. Finally, I had gave up and went about finding a replacement. I made a few half-assed attempts to find something used. I scanned the Internet for end of season sales, and then one day I went to the Mecca (aka Home Depot) and came upon the Cadillac of lawn mowers. It was on for a very good price - for this level of lawn mower - and so I bought it.

I was happy. I even mowed my neighbour's lawn because I didn't want to wait for my own lawn to grow in to try the new one out. That's when I learned that I think I like the old lawn mower better.

I'm embarrassed to say it, but the Cadillac of lawn mowers isn't so great. Sure, it's earth friendly and cord-free. But, it's really heavy. If it didn't have a self propelling feature, I don't think I could push it all around the lawn. On the flip side, though; if you're using the self propelling feature and come to a stop without stopping the self propeller first, those wheels grind into the grass and leave divots. AND, the motor over heated on me 5 minutes into cutting my neighbour's admittedly very healthy lawn, so I ended up cutting the rest of the lawn at a higher level than I'd have liked.

All this is not to say that it isn't a good lawn mower. I just liked my old one, and I'm not a big fan of change. I'm sure I'll eventually get used to the new one, but I'm a wee bit disappointed.

Plus, there's the money issue. A new lawn mower was not in my budget. Because I bought it, I'm going to have to wait until I save up the money again to buy the new dresser I had planned. I haven't had a dresser in my bedroom since I moved here 4 1/2 years ago. (I have baskets in my closet to store socks and skivvies.)

Did I mention that I gave the old lawn mower away? I posted about it on Kijiji a week ago. I openly admitted that it was broken, but that I didn't want to fill the landfill. If somebody else thought that they could fix it, they were welcome to it. I posted that ad at 11:00pm last Saturday night. I woke up on Sunday morning at 7:00am to four responses. The lawn mower was gone shortly after that.

All that to say that today I needed to change a board on the front porch today. I got out my drill and my extension cord, and tried to remove the screws from the board. Except, the drill wouldn't start.

It turns out that the extension cord is broken. Not the drill. And not the lawn mower.

Go ahead and laugh. I'm sure I'll find it funny too... in a few years.

Friday, August 28, 2009

My Crop

I tired something new this year. I used upside down tomato planters. Laurie from the Crazy Aunt Purl blog said that her containers didn't hold the water very well, so I bought ones that are self watering. They didn't have Laurie's problem of having the water pour right out the bottom, since you watered into bowls at the top of them; but I had to fill those bowls Every. Single. Day.

But, I persevered. I watered them daily, I watched for new tomatoes, I gave pep talks and I cheered whenever I found new growth.


I cheered three whole times.

Aren't they pretty?

They tasted delicious too. But, I'm going to go out on a limb and say that the overcrowded tomato plants of the past have yielded a much higher production.

Last year, for example, I stuck two tomato plants between a rose bush and a cedar tree; and then left them to the mercies of mother nature. I had so many tomatoes that I had to freeze most of them, and even had enough left in April to make a big ol' pot of tomato soup. (Which - seriously - if you haven't tried homemade tomato soup made with fresh tomatoes and herbs; you haven't lived.)

This year, I'm sad to say, I don't see any garden fresh soup in my future.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Because I'm a Geek

I caved. I was hoping that I'd find a new lawn mower at a garage sale, but I'd rather sleep on Saturday mornings I haven't had the chance to get out there and look for one yet. So, I bought myself a new lawn mower.

It's the Cadillac of lawn mowers. It's cordless, self-propelling, powerful, and rechargeable. AND it can be recharged with solar power, no less. It's a very impressive piece of equipment.

Oh, and it was on sale.

My only problem is that shortly before I happened upon the sale of awesome lawn mowers priced so low that even this cheap chick couldn't turn them down, I borrowed my dad's lawn mower. So, I brought home the new beauty to a yard with a freshly mowed lawn.

What's a girl to do?

Why, knock on her neighbour's door of course.

Tonight I'm mowing Jen and Shawn's lawn. Hey - at least I asked first.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009


He was funny looking and dirty.
I'd just lost a bird to cancer, and wasn't ready for a new pet yet.

But they told me at the shelter that he'd come in a week ago with his litter,
and was the last to find a home.
They told me that since nobody seemed to want him, he'd probably be put down the next day.

I had to work that night, but was there the next morning when those doors opened.

He's been with me ever since.

(Mr February, 2003 SPCA calendar)

(Mr November, SPCA Calendar)
Kind of amazing, considering the quality of the pictures, eh?

Being an SPCA special, I don't know Winter's real birthday.
The SPCA guessed that it was about Aug 25, so that's what I go with.

That makes Winter 10 years old today.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

The Monkshood That Could

Four years ago, I walked past a house near my work and noticed a tall, purple flower blooming. Tall, shady and blooms at the end of the summer? I decided then and there that I needed it for my own gardens.

I managed to figure out what it was (Monkshood) and track down a 6" seedling in an end of season sale. I planted it in a place of importance, beside the front steps. I watered it, I fertilized it, and then - oh - I stood on it. The plant withered, and I thought it was a gonner.

The next year, I was happy to see it growing again. Except, sometime around late June, I accidentally grabbed hold of it while weeding and yanked it out of the ground. I planted it back into place right away; but once again, it shrivelled up and disappeared.

The third year (last year), when that monkshood started to grow again, I realized that this is one seriously hardy plant.

However, last year was the year that I had a front porch built onto the house, directly over where the front garden used to be. I dug up the plants to transplant them, but it took over a month for the porch to be built and then the garden to be dug in around it. That poor monkshood sat in an old salad bowl and was ignored all that time. Finally, the new garden was ready, and I planted the much-abused monkshood in a new place of importance, beside the front gate.

Oh, and then I stood on it again.

This year, I was careful. I haven't stood on the monkshood, yanked it out of the ground, or otherwise abused it. And this is what happened:

(psst! The monkshood is the tall purple plant on the left side of the photo.)

Saturday, August 22, 2009

From the garden

I've been neglecting my gardens this year. After I finished digging in the new garden along the side of the house, I barely looked at them. Then, last night a storm blew in and blew over the sweet peas that I hadn't bothered to stake.

I went out tonight to tie them up, and promptly remembered something else that I haven't been doing this year. Most summers, I've got two or three bouquets of flowers from the garden in the kitchen all the time. This year, I hadn't thought to cut any flowers until tonight.

Granted, it's not the most artistically arranged bouquet; but it smells sooo good.

And check out the carnations. I never thought I'd be able to grow carnations around here. I only planted them because they were on the "we practically killed these plants so if you think you can revive them, they're yours" table at the Peavy Mart. I figured they might add some green to the garden, but had no expectations that they'd bloom. Turns out, I've got about 8 plants outside, chalk full of blooms that are about to burst.

I brought something else in from the gardens tonight too.

He likes to help me weed... and apparently eat dirt too.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Look Ma - no eyes!

As much fun as it is, lately I've been thinking that I need to cut off Tallulah's topknot. This dog has a lot of hair on her head. It's thick and unruly; and it all wants to flow forward to cover her eyes.

If I put her hair in a pony tail, it ends up pointing forward so that she looks like a unicorn. Big heavy barrettes flop forward and render her almost completely blind. Heck - I even tried french braiding the poor dog's hair, but it isn't quite long enough for that.

Finally, I found a clip that does a pretty good job of holding her hair back - but that was right about the time that her eyebrows finally started to grow in; and dang it, they aren't long enough to pull into the clip yet.

This is about 30 seconds after I've put the clip in her hair.
This is what it looks like after a few hours:

Tula's got a grooming appointment in a few weeks. If those eyebrows don't start growing PDQ, methinks it may be time to say goodbye to the topknot.

And, as an aside, I tried to take pictures of Tula earlier, but gave up because she wasn't feeling very cooperative. Before deleting all the bloopers, I had a look.

This one is a perfect representation of my life.

There's cat hairs everywhere. Nothing and nobody can escape them.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

The next project

Happy, Happy, Happy

I love a good DYI Project. Even better, I love doing it on the cheap.

I've got some vacation time coming up, and wasn't sure what I'd do. I've got a bunch of work that needs to be done around the house, but I wanted something fun too. Today, I found it.

My master bathroom is very builder's basic. It's also the last room in the house that I haven't yet redone to my taste. I've been eyeballing some ideas, but haven't had the budget or the time until now.

Today I found a discontinued sale on the things that I want. They're a little scratched up, but I planned to paint them to suit me anyway; so I took advantage of the further "damage" discounts. I got a tall, thin cabinet that I want to put on the wall to the side of the sink. I've seen those priced as high as $170... The one I got today was $20. Then, I got a framed mirror to replace the huge rectangular wall of mirror. The frame (and attached shelf below) are a different colour than the new cabinet, and have some more scratches; but when I paint them up they'll be great. Regularly $80... I got it for $40.

I've already got the paint I need, and found the linens (and TP basket) on sale a few weeks ago. If I manage to find a good light fixture at a reasonable price, I might be able to do the entire room for under $150.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Other things to do

My nephew is boy-genius when it comes to dinosaurs. If that kid doesn't become a paleontologist, I'll eat my shorts. He's been spouting off the five-syllable names of every dinosaur that ever walked the face of this earth since he was about 4 or 5, and he knows darned near everything that there is to know about them. Seriously, when that kid starts talking dinosaurs, everybody in the room - adults and kids - just sits back in awe to listen.

He's turning 10 this year, and my sister decided that it was time for him to try going to summer camp. Instead of a dude ranch or a sports camp, she decided to send him to the camp run at the dinosaur museum in Drumheller. (For the non-Albertans reading this, Drumheller is an area of Alberta that is chalk full of dinosaur fossils.)

His dad dropped him off a week ago. Despite some second guessing on the way down (maybe he didn't want to spend a week away from his parents and pesky brother... maybe he might get lonely) we're told that he hopped out of the van, gave a brief wave goodbye and then disappeared before his dad even finished signing him in.

A week later, my sister drove down to pick him up, and barely survived the ride home. He hadn't showered or changed clothes since they'd dropped him off.

Same pants
Same shirt
Same socks
Same underwear.

The kid hadn't even bothered to change into pajamas at night. The counsellors said that he went from camp activity to camp activity throughout the day until he crashed in his bunk each night. Somebody would cover him up with a blanket, and he'd wake up the next morning and start again.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

One week

Tomorrow will be one week since Cotton's meds were doubled. I've been hesitant to say anything because it seems to me that anytime I declare him improved, he goes back into a state of extreme terror. I'm feeling more confident, though. It's been almost a week since he has had a panic attack. It's a big improvement, but there's a pretty big side affect.

Cotton is stoned.

Like, stoned to the gills... 'somebody get me some more wacky weed'... 'who's got my bong' stoned.
(Doesn't that statement expose me as the true gangsta that I am?)

The dude ain't feelin no pain.

I'm supposed to wait 10-14 days for the meds to settle in before we'll get an idea of their impact... 2-3 months before we know for sure. For now, though, I'm enjoying the break from the constant stress; and I am sure he is too. I do need to talk to the vet about decreasing his dose, and bringing him closer to reality. Then again, maybe I don't. As a friend of mine pointed out - It's not like he's got to get up and go to work, or think through complicated equations. Given a choice between the terror he's been living with and being stoned, maybe being stoned isn't such a bad thing.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

The TP Saga

You know that quote about having the wisdom to know the difference between what you can and cannot change? Today, I finally accepted the truth.

The truth is that I have a bad dog.

OK, those are old pictures, back from the days of bad hair cuts - because we've all got them - and even worse behaviour. For the record, I'm not responsible for the orange bows. She's much better behaved and prettier than she used to be; but she ain't perfect yet.

Tallulah Belle Poodle loves nothing more than to shred toilet paper.

It's true. It's been six and a half years since I've been able to safely keep the TP on the roll, or even on the back of toilet. Toilet paper at my house has to be kept out of sight and out of reach. TP roller holder thingies at my house do nothing but collect dust. And confuse guests.

I can't tell you how many times I've had guests at my house who think they're being helpful by putting the TP back on the roller. Of course - not being present at the time - I never know about their "help" until they're long gone and I come across a mess of soggy toilet papier-mâché. Because, Tallulah doesn't eat TP; she just chews it up so that it's good and wet, and then flings it all over the house.

So, today I decided to remove the temptation... from the guests, not the poodle.

Because I'm gonna need the TP.

The truth is that it took me three days to get this job done because the guy who built my house used every screw known to man, in order to attach those holders to the vanities. Seriously. You'd think he'd use four of the same screws, or possibly two kinds of screws; but he used four - count them: 1 2 3 4 - different IRREGULAR screws to attach the toilet paper roller holder thingie to the vanity.

I went through my own tools and my computer tools from back in the day when being A+ certified was cool... not that I was ever A+ certified. I just bought the tools and the book to look the part. I went to the Mecca (AKA, Home Depot) and bought a set, and when I still couldn't get the right size I had to mooch from my dad,who actually has MORE tools than Home Depot.

Finally, after much driving around, collection of tools and then a few twists with the right screw drivers, I shed my home of all toilet paper roller holder thingies for good.

In case your curious, here's some photographic proof of all the tools that were required (or otherwise misused) for this task.

(The above photo has been heavily cropped so that you can't see how much hair is actually in my sink.)

See also, the basket that now houses my TP. There's a matching one in the other bathroom too, so that guests are unlikely to be confused.

You may be remembering that I said TP has to be out of sight and out of reach; and thinking to yourself that it's neither out of sight nor out of reach. Except that the poodle is only three feet tall. She can't see it now, and she won't reach for it until she figures it out. Which she will, eventually. She's Mensa, so it's only a matter of time.

When that happens, I'll be installing fire and water proof safes in the walls above the toilets.

And I'm only going to use one type of screw.

Monday, August 10, 2009


HolyCrapCanYouBelieveIt, this blog has actually got three followers! Three people - two of whom aren't relatives, friends or otherwise paid by me - who are willing to publicly admit to reading the drivel that I type out on a semi-regular basis. Sure, it could be that they don't intentionally follow my blog, and are followers by accident; but I'll take what I can get. In my optimistic yet socially inept world, three followers is a good thing!

Even better than that, my blog was recently a recipient of a very prestigious award. Linlah from corn-bean bestowed it upon me yesterday, and I am duly honored. (Psst- read her blog - it's excellent!)

Plus, any time that I get to let the f-bomb fly on my blog without actually dropping it myself, I'm game. And so, without further ado, I present to you the most excellent award:

It's small I know. It's not my fault... I stole it from linlah's website, and this is all she had.

It's the thought that counts, though, right? Plus, big honors come in small packages and all that.

Conditions of this award are such that I'm supposed to follow the below instructions.

Instructions: You can’t tag the blogger that tagged you. When you post about receiving this award make sure to include the person that gave you the award and link back to them. Select and post, with links, the five blogs you are awarding. Then let your winners know they won an award from you by emailing them or leaving a comment on their blog. Last but not least list five addictions. Seriously just FIVE and while I’m sure some of you have more than 5 there’s just not enough time.

My Winners:

Iambossy - Where speaking in the third person is an art form. And, heck, who doesn't want to be bossy?

Odd, Good, True - Try to muddle your way past the fact that standard poodles make her anxious... it's worth it, and she doesn't know better.

Blunt Delivery - Honesty in a way that you'll wish you said it first.

Rural Rambles - Life has had to take temporarily precedence over this blog, but I miss Sunday Suds.

Arren Williams' Blog - OK, it's different from most of the other blogs that I read; but I love this guy's work. He puts rooms together in a way that looks soooo good, without making them look staged. Even better, he does it on a budget and in an earth friendly way. WWAD (What Would Arren Do?) is a question that I ask myself often. And, yeah, I wrote about 5 paragraphs about this man's work before I realized that it would come across as some sort of crazy stalker-ish type diatribe. We wouldn't want the truth to come out so I deleted my gushings... but if I lived on the other side of the country and/or could afford (and could convince him) to fly out west, I'd so love to have him design my basement... Heck, he's so good, I'd probably let him rip up all the work I've done for the last five years and redo the main floor of the house too. Except, he's earth friendly, so he wouldn't. He'd just tweak, repaint and refinish what I already have until it looks - in his words - FAB. OK. Yes. I gushed anyway. I couldn't help it. He's that good. Read his blog!

My Five Addictions:

Home Decor - I'm an Arren Williams Wannabe.

Gardening - Lois Hole, I'm not; but it doesn't stop me from trying.

Photography - What am I going to do with 10GB of pictures of my pets?

Cooking - Butter is so good for you!

Standard Poodles - Eat your heart out, Cupcake....

FOR THE RECORD - I'm well aware that my bestowing my prize upon the above five bloggers is not unlike forwarding an email to ten friends right now, lest I get zits all over my face and bad luck for life. I'll bet that a bunch (all) of you have already received this prize from other's too. BUT, you know what? I've already got the zits. And I'm socially inept. And my very first blogging prize makes me so proud. So, take the darned prize. Brag about it in your own blog, and pass it on. Trust me - you don't want the zits.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Today's visitor

They came. They visited. They brought treats, and they let me hold the baby.

Then, they left with the baby, and took all the related responsibilities - and the dirty diapers - home with them.

It doesn't get much better than that.

She's beautiful... She's got a head full of thick black hair, big alert eyes and great taste in music. I wish you could see more than her shiny, uncalloused foot, but I didn't ask permission to post pictures. You'll have to go find a baby visitor of your own.

Friday, August 7, 2009

Da Ears

About a year ago, I had an idea to get a basket to hold my magazines. 30 seconds after I brought one home, Himself appropriated the basket for himself. I've never gotten it back.

This is the view to my left, when I sit in my favorite chair. If I want to know where the cat is, I look for the ears.

They're also a good indication of his mood.

Most of the time, when he's just chillin', the ears point forward.

If a dog walks by, the ears twitch and temporarily point towards the back.

If Himself is particularly cranky, the ears do a very good impression of jet plane wings.

When he's feeling playful, the ears will hover above the basket with little to no movement. Then, when the poodle walks by, a white paw will whip out at warp speed and swipe past the topknot before disappearing again. The ears never move, and poor Tula doesn't know what hit her.

The look on her face is the reason why I don't mind finding someplace else to store my magazines.

You know you're tired when...

I came to work today and looked down:

Dark brown pants.
Heavy cream socks
black ballet slippers.


Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Told you so...

I don’t have a particularly good body image. I’ve overweight, too curvy and too tall. But. I do have really nice feet. Believe me: for me to say this, it must be true. (As a rule, I think that feet are gross.) I’ve got relatively small and narrow feet with high arches and thin ankles. And, dangit, when I started jogging I developed some pretty nice calves too.

So, it’s no surprise that I noticed right away when my feet started to swell. Then they swelled to the point that I couldn’t wear shoes. There was no question in my mind that something wasn’t right. I know my feet, and this was not normal.

Off to the doctor I go. Since I haven’t managed to find a GP that I like since moving to town, I’ve been going to the clinic near my house. This is a new doctor that I've never seen before. He walked into the room, sat down at his computer and asked me what I needed without making eye contact. I explained the problem, he told me that feet tend to swell when the weather gets warm and that it’s common. So common in fact, that he sees women complaining about their swollen feet all day. He’s bored with swollen feet, and while he doesn’t want me to be sick, he hopes that it is something serious; because he could really use a change. He then fills out a form for me to take to the lab. He said that he was sending me for lab tests because he’s supposed to send me for lab tests, but he thought it was a waste of time. He even told me not to bother coming back for the results. He was that sure that there was nothing wrong.

Quite frankly, I didn’t buy it. I know he’s the guy with the medical degree, but this didn’t seem right. My feet don’t swell in the heat. Heck, I had stress fractures in both feet – at the same time – a few summers ago, and they didn’t swell like this.

The next day, I ran down to the lab to get my tests done. Not two hours later, my phone rang. It was the clinic; the Dr wanted me to come back to discuss the results of my blood tests.

I had my follow up appointment today. It's nothing big... I'm anemic and the protein in my blood is too low. I guess it was enough, though. He actually made eye contact, and had an honest to goodness conversation with me. (Well... as much of a conversation that's needed to say 'take these supplements and eat more leafy greens and nuts'.) He seemed excited to see something a little bit different than the usual heat induced swollen feet, and apparently this is what he was looking for.

... I can't decide if I should tell him 'I told you so', or if I should make an effort not to be so accommodating.

Monday, August 3, 2009

The lengths we go

The 8 pound beast is slowly driving me mad. Love him. Don't love what I'm becoming more and more certain is dementia. The lil dude is seriously stressed out, and apparently the very expensive happy pills aren't enough.

Somehow, I discovered that he's calmer when held really tightly. That led me to think of baby swaddling, and that led to anxiety wraps. I'm at the point where I'll try just about anything, but $60US is a lot of money on something that may or may not work for more than a day.

I was mulling this over a few nights ago when the lil dude had himself a doozy of a freak out. I couldn't settle him down, and I was desperate enough to try whatever came to mind. I pulled out a spool of self adhesive wrap/bandage that I had left over from when Tallulah had hurt her leg, and I wrapped him up in it, from head to toe. Amazingly, it calmed him down.

So, the next day I went out and bought a reusable tensor bandage, and he's been sporting it (in a slightly less mummy fashion) ever since. All's not right with his world quite yet, but it's an improvement.