Saturday, October 31, 2009

More than you ever wanted to know

Linlah over at the Cornbean Blog was given a well-deserved award for having a conversational tone. Rather than pass the award on to other people and making them feel the pressure to then forward it on themselves, she graciously offered the award to any of her readers who want it.

Me? I'd feel a little presumptuous about helping myself to an award, but I do think I'll steal the question and answer bit that came with the award. I've been on a bit of a blog block lately, and these questions will give me something to talk about.

  1. Where is your cell phone: In one of my purses somewhere. The battery died about a month ago, and I need to recharge it.
  2. Your hair: Indecisive. It can't decide if it wants to be blonde or brown, wavy or straight. And, lately it became so dry that I had no choice but to make it short(er).
  3. Your mother: Driven
  4. Your father: One of my best friends.
  5. Your favorite food: Homemade Butterscotch pie. It's so good that it makes me forget that I don't like pie.
  6. Your dream from last night: I dreamt that I actually got some sleep.
  7. Your dream/goal: Move back to the East Coast, and live in a small house with a big yard on the water.
  8. What room are you in: My den. Which, is really too lofty of a name for a room in my house. It's the room with my computer and all my stuff.
  9. What is your hobby: I don't really have hobbies. That would imply that I'm really good at one specific thing. Fun, to me, is painting or decorating a room, futzing with photography or digging in a garden. I don't claim to be good at any of that.
  10. What is your fear: Becoming the crazy neighbourhood lady who talks to herself and has all the pets. Oh, crap. That's me already.
  11. Where do you want to be in 6 years: The East Coast.
  12. Where were you last night: At home, making meatballs.
  13. Something you are not: well rested
  14. Muffins: Only good if home made, from scratch. None of that dry cake in the shape of a muffin crap.
  15. Wish list items: a maid, a grounds keeper, a chauffeur and a pool boy (Oops - I don't have a pool).
  16. Where did you grow up: Alberta, with lots of summers in Ontario.
  17. Last thing you did: walked the dogs.
  18. What are you wearing: Beige slacks and t, blue cardigan. It's all about comfort.
  19. Your TV: Overused
  20. Your pets: An equal source of happiness and angst.
  21. Your friends: Good people
  22. Your life: Not what I had planned.
  23. Your mood: Mellow and tired.
  24. Missing someone: Always, but I'm not sure who.
  25. Vehicle: Toyota Matrix. Five years later, I still love it like it's brand new.
  26. Something you’re not wearing: jewelry
  27. Your favorite store: The Mecca (AKA Home Depot)
  28. Your favorite color: Changes with my mood. I gravitate to bright colours.
  29. When’s the last time you laughed: Today at work
  30. When’s the last time you cried: It almost happened yesterday
  31. Your best friend: Not around, nearly enough.
  32. One place you go over and over: The walking trail the dogs and I use every night.
  33. One person who emails me regularly: Michele
  34. Favorite place to eat: Eating out? Chianti's. Day to day? My blue Lazy Boy.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Hesitant to finish

Late this summer, I happened upon a good book by an author I'd never heard of before. It wasn't a spectacular book or particularly deep story, but it was entertaining. So, I ordered the next three books in the series. They were pretty good. Maybe the third was less great than I'd have liked, but I had the fourth so I figured I might as well read it too.

The fourth book was great. I was yanked into the storyline by the end of the first page.

Ever since then, I've been sneaking whatever free time I can to read this series. Heck, some mornings, I've even been waking up a few minutes early and reading a few pages before getting out of bed. (This is monumental - me waking up before absolutely necessary is practically unheard of.)

I'm now on book 14 of 15. Book 15 is still in hard cover, so I'm going to wait until it comes out in paper back. Knowing that, I've been doing everything I can to slow down my reading. I'm not letting myself read it, any time other than right before I go to bed. A few times, I've set it aside temporarily while I read another book. That's right - I'm rationing my book.

This reminds me of "The Never Ending Story", which was an amazing book and a less-than-great movie. The whole idea behind it was the concept of a story that doesn't end, so that readers don't have to dread coming to the end of a great book.

This series does, however, have an end; and I'm getting closer every day. And now I'm torn: Do I continue to read slowly, and let the story drag on as long as possible? Or, should I hunker in this weekend and read from cover to cover the way I'm tempted to do?

What do you do when you find a really great book? Read it as quickly as possible, or do you take your time and savour it?

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

The third shoe drops

Poor Cotton, he can't seem to catch a break lately. First, he spent most of the spring and summer in a constant state of panic. It took a quite while, but we eventually found the right drug and dose to keep him calm and happy.

Then he developed an ear infection. We caught that fairly quickly, but ear infections are never a romp in the park.

Silly me, I thought he was finally on the mend. It's been weeks since he's had panic attack, and his ears and eyes are clearing up. Winter - the season, not the cat - is thinking about arriving, and Cotton's slowly oozing into hibernation. Cold weather dog, he's not; and he's OK with that. He's all about lounging around under the blankets and taking it easy.

Then, the other shoe dropped. That's right. I forgot that bad things happen in threes.

Today, Cotton woke up in pain. He's crying out and yipping in pain any time that he sits, lies down or switches positions.

Off to the vet we went...

Have I told you about our vet? Very nice lady. Very compassionate, good listener, and a very talented veterinarian. She's also a mother of 4; which is important to me because I, personally, will be financing three of her children's' university tuition. I suspect that if I added another dog to my home, she'd add another child to her family.

She checked Cotton out, watched him walk around and asked him where it hurt. It turns out that he has either pulled a muscle or pinched a nerve in his left shoulder. She doesn't think it's overly serious, and expects him to feel better in a day or so. In the meantime, she sent us home with some pain killers for the little dude; and instructions for the owner to - and I quote - let him be a dog. No crate rest. No lifting him up onto places he can jump himself. No carrying him around.

I know she means well. I truly do. But. When you've got an 8 pound dog who has gone through so much in a matter of months, how do you not baby the heck out of him?

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

I object

Snow in early fall in Alberta isn't unheard of, but it's temporary. Usually, we get a shock of cold in early fall, and then it warms up for a few weeks of Indian summer. Not this year. The snow has melted, but it's been cold and wet ever since. We're waking up to fog - practically unheard of around here - and the constant threat of snow or rain is around all day. My lawn is the greenest that it has been all year; but it's too darned cold to get out and enjoy it.

A pipe seems to have burst at work. Washrooms are closed today, and there is no water in the kitchens. Did I mention that I work in a hospital?

Dr Dad is trying to ground me, literally. He thinks that my hemoglobin level is too low for me to fly. Apparently, the air in planes are regulated so that they contain the same amount of oxygen as would be found at 10 000 feet. Low hemoglobin means low oxygen, and he says that I'll be too out of breath on the plane. This threatens my upcoming vacation, and is my strongest objection right now.

I have an appointment to see the new GP, and I'm hoping that he's more agreeable than my Dad about this. I'm even considering dragging an oxygen tank along for the ride; but I don't know if those are allowed on planes. In the meantime, I'm taking boatloads of iron pills (Yuck!) and eating every iron-rich food that I can think of. A friend suggested that I chew on paper clips. I considered it, but then I realized that they are made of aluminum.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Before and After

Some of my friends use their slush fund to get their nails done every 3-4 weeks. Some get their hair coloured, or buy shoes. Some go on trips to tropical locations.

Me? I get my dogs groomed.

About once a month or so, it hits me how much I spend on getting the dogs groomed, and I ask myself why I didn't adopt a black lab. Or a chihuahua.... Something that doesn't need to get their hair cut twice as often as I get my own done.

Then I remember how much I like to breath.

Oh yeah. Allergies.

That, and I like a clean house. As much as I love the cat, I'm looking forward to the day when the only hair I'm picking out of my sandwiches is my own.

Oh, and one of my dogs sleeps in my bed. I'm sorry, but their ain't nobody who gets to sleep in my bed unless they take a bath at least once a month.

All that's to say that today the dogs went to the groomer today, and it occurred to me to take some before and afters.

I'll warn you first, though, that Cotton has an ear infection. Because he hasn't had enough to deal with lately. He's on the mend, but the infection has left his eyes pretty weepy... it ain't pretty, but I'm hoping that they'll clear up soon.

Cotton Before:
Cotton After:

Every time I pick him up from the groomer, I feel like I've traded him in for a new dog. He always looks so svelte and acts so confident when he's freshly shorn... apparently, nobody ever told him that he's one of those dogs that's supposed to look like a tissue box cover.

Then there's Tula. I'm kind of torn on her. The last time she was groomed, I asked the groomer to cut off the pony tailed top knot to avoid blocking her vision. Except, she knew how much I loved it, so she only went half way. Tallulah was left looking a lot like Kramer. It was kind of appropriate, since she does a perfect imitation of him (especially skidding around corners); but I wasn't a big fan of the look. So, today I told the groomer to go short with the top knot. I said I wanted to see her eyes.

Kramer/WhatamessTheGood before:

Tula after:
Why yes! - My dog IS standing on my coffee table!
I've learned to pick my battles.

I suspect it may be my resistance to giving up the pony tail, but I'm not loving Tallulah's new look. The head floof is seeming all wrong.

The bit over her eyes is too full for my taste, so I might take the scissors to her eyebrows (or are those her bangs?!?). Either way, I've got to say it irks me to shell out as much as I do to get them groomed, only to come home and fix it myself. I might wait a week or two until I feel like I've gotten my money's worth out of the groomer before I take the scissors to her.

Or, I might fix it tonight... I'm not sure.

Stay tuned for a possible second addition of this before and after.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Call the SPCA

Himself's bowls are empty.

It's probably the first time that both the bowls were empty at the same time in five years; but you can be sure I heard about it - loud and clear - when I got home from work tonight.

Rest assured, the situation has been remedied.

Saturday, October 10, 2009


Even before I bought this house, there were two things that I knew I'd want to replace right away: the Hollywood lights in the bathrooms and the mirrored closet doors. I'm really, really not a big fan of either.

And yet, it took me four years to get them done.

I got lucky and found pine doors that perfectly match the room doors throughout the house last spring. It took months of procrastination, but I finally got them stained and ready to install. My dad came over today and helped me to put them up. I think that they are a big improvement over the mirrored closet doors.



(The room's not done yet. It still needs bedside tables and a dresser; but it'll be a while before those are in the budget.)

ps - and I dare anybody to try to take a picture in this house that doesn't include a pet.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009


I'm at a bit of a loss this week. For the first time in a really long time, I don't have any painting or home projects on the go. I'm supposed to be taking it easy - which is already driving my batty, by the way - and I've also run out of house projects to do. If I want to do more on this house, I'm going to have to finish the basement or start all over.

So, I decided to get my painting stuff out of the fridge. When you're in the middle of a painting project, it's a lot easier to wrap the brushes in a plastic bag and put them in the fridge than it is to clean the brush each time that you stop. (Freezer for oil paints) I've been doing that for years; and that has evolved to me leaving a brush for each paint colour in the fridge in case I need to do touch ups... which, believe me, happens quite often.

Anyway, I decided that since I'm not actively painting anything, it was time to take the brushes out of the fridge. With all the different colours and sheens that I've used this year; I unwrapped, cleaned and put away no less than 3 rollers and 8 brushes today. It amazed me how much space that left in the fridge; so I went a step further and organized what was left. I hardly threw anything out; but the fridge still looks empty inside.

More to the point, it looks clean; which is a momentous occasion. Such a momentous occasion that I felt compelled to take a picture.
(3/4 of the bottom shelf used to be filled with paint brushes and rollers.)

Some may say that this was a make-work project.
I call it photographic proof that I'm not a slob.

Tangent Alert!
Or, maybe this proves that I'm a little too much like my dad.

The last time that he was told to take it easy, he rewired all the switches in his house. Until then, the switch on the left turned on the room light, and the switch on the right turned on the lights in the hallway. He reversed that, and to this day - ten years later - I still have to flip every switch within sight before I find the one that turns on the right light.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

My dilemma of the day

I would like a piece of cake. I have two cakes that I've made, but both are in the freezer.

I could defrost one, but then I'd be tempted to eat the whole thing.

Shoulda cut them into individual pieces before I froze 'em...

Friday, October 2, 2009

Letting myself go

I haven't felt quite right for the last year or so. I've been really tired, and feeling out of shape. It's frustrating, because a year ago I was jogging (fairly regularly) and could go up to 8kms at a time. Then, jogging became too hard and I stopped. Then I stopped working out almost entirely and I started to gain weight.

The more weight I gained, the harder being active seemed. The harder being active seemed, the more weight I gained.

I've been very frustrated with myself, and more than a little embarrassed at my fitness level.

I did go to a doctor when all of this started. He took a blood test and found nothing wrong. I can't say that I was overly fond of him, but I didn't doubt his knowledge as a Dr. Then, things seemed to get a lot worse this spring. My feet swelled so badly that I couldn't wear shoes. Walking up a flight of stairs will have me out of breath for at least a few minutes. Jogging or riding a bike? Not even a consideration, really.

So, back to the clinic I went. I saw a different Dr this time, but still didn't get the attention I thought I deserved. (I wrote about the first few visits HERE.) The Dr didn't seem to take me seriously, and I didn't feel as though he gave me his full attention. He did tell me that my iron and protein are a little low; but he didn't delve into the reason why. He just told me to eat more meat, and called it a day.

I vented about this Dr to my dad, and complained how hard it has been for me to find a Dr that I like. (Alberta has a shortage of family doctors, so most of the good ones are so busy that they don't accept new patients any more. As a result, most people - including me - end up going to walk-in clinics for assembly-line medicine.)

What I didn't expect is for my dad to be such a gossip. He's a retired Dr, and must have run off and repeated my story to a few of his cronies. The next thing I knew, I had an email from one of my dad's friends who had taken it upon himself to get me an appointment with a new family doctor (who otherwise isn't accepting new patients).

The appointment was early this week, and I really like the new doctor. He's the kind who shows you your test results, tells you what he's looking for and talks to you like you've got a half a brain. It turns out that the results from my tests show that my iron isn't "a little low". It's less than half the minimum recommended amount. So's my protein level.

No wonder I'm always feeling so tired!

Without getting too far into details, I'm going to need surgery to fix the source of the problem. I am to see a specialist on Monday to hammer out the details.

Until this week's appointment, I'd been ragging on myself for being out of shape, and trying to push myself to do more... and better. When I walk my dogs at night (taking an hour now, to go the distance that used to take a half hour) I've been feeling guilty that I'm only walking a short distance, instead of jogging. I was embarrassed that I dropped out of the boot camp fitness class, and really embarrassed about how out of breath I become when I take the stairs.

Now, I feel like I finally have permission to be less than 100%. Yesterday, for the first time that I can remember, I did absolutely nothing after I got home from work, other than watch tv and walk the dogs. I'm taking the elevator now, and feeling no shame about it. I've been going to bed by 9:30 at night because I'm tired... all the time. (Somehow, having permission to be tired makes me almost feel more tired than I even did before.)

Do I like being overweight and out of shape? No. Nor do I plan to let this be a long-term condition. Despite the two doctors that I was seeing earlier, I have faith in the health care system. I'm going to go for my surgery, get healthy, get my energy back and then get back into better shape. Until then, I feel like I've got permission to let myself go. And dammit; right now, that feels pretty good.