Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Trouble is Relative

A few weeks ago, I emailed my friend Kat in Calgary and told her I was coming to town. I asked her to pick the best day, and to think of ways that the two of us could get into trouble.

Yesterday was the day. Neither of us had any great ideas for what to do, so we winged it. I wanted to go to Ikea to buy a dresser I've been eyeballing for a while, so we met there. I got my dresser (which I'm going to paint and change up a bit), and I helped Kat pick out some pillows and textiles to jazz up her family room and generally spend too much money. After Ikea, we hightailed it over to her house to drop off the kidletts and say hello to the husband.

Here's the thing: We always have these grandiose intentions to do something exciting and different. Sometimes we really bust out of our comfort zones and do something crazy
(like we did on my last visit, when the two of us went to a corn maze together) but we always end up finishing off the visit the same way. Dinner and a movie is our thing. We love movies, and we love food.

When we end up settling on dinner and a movie again, we usually have visions of a good, sit down dinner out. Except, because one of us is usually looking at a two hour drive after the movie, we tend to go to the early show. We almost always wait until the last minute to figure out the short time frame for this, and end up hitting a drive through on the way to the show.

This time, however, we stood strong and opted to go to a late movie so that we could have a couple of hours at a nice restaurant. Yum. I had mushroom filled tortellini. Kat had chicken parmesan with tiramisu for desert. (I skipped desert so that I could have chocolate during the movie.)

If you haven't seen Avatar yet, I recommend that you do. Even better, go see it in 3D. Even if you're not a movie person, I think this one's worth going to see at the theater. The story line's good; but to me it was more about the amazing artistry and the graphics. I Loved it.

The little adventure after the movie? I didn't love it quite as much. Because I've got a brain injury, I typically come out of any movie a little disoriented. Coming out of a three hour long 3D movie? It was pretty bad. Hopping into my car and undertaking a 2 hour drive before I managed to shake out the cobwebs was not my smartest move. To make things worse, I'm not familiar with the roads and it was dark.

We talked about the route I should take to get to the highway, but I missed one of the landmark's I was looking for. I took the wrong exit onto the freeway and ended going the wrong direction. Then I turned off to find a place to turn around and got horribly disoriented. Thankfully, Kat is very familiar with my complete lack of any sense of direction, and she followed me on my little field trip. Right about the time when I was working myself into a complete panic, she pulled up beside me, motioned for me to follow, and led me to the highway to start the long drive home.

By the time I got back to town and picked up the dogs at my parents' place, I didn't get home until 2:00.

I think that was about the time that I started to realize that trouble is a relative thing. There's no question that I had a great time; but 10, 15 years ago, getting into trouble was a good thing. Now, it's more likely to be about getting lost in a strange city, and getting home way past my bedtime.

I guess I should be careful what I wish for.

Cousin It

Ears can be handy when you want to shut out the world and have a nap.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Big Day for the Dude

I'm off work for a while, and had big plans for today. I was going to start stripping the banister over the stairs so that I can paint it, but somehow haven't found the steam. Instead, I took the dogs to the groomer and came home to hang out with the cat, who seemed to really love being the only four legged one around.

At noon, I went to pick up the littlest dude, who doesn't like extended stays away from home. The groomer and I have a routine where I always pick up Cotton at noon, and Tallulah at 4:00. Normally, I drop Cotton off at home and run back to work, but today I stuck around.

I forgot how full of beans Cotton is when he comes home.

It doesn't take long, though, before he's used up all that built up energy and he's out like a light.

He'll be like this for the rest of the day.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

The Book Experiment

I have always liked books about romance. I'm not such a fan of Harlequin romances, but throw in a good murder mystery and I'm happy to see the girl get the guy. They can be classics, contemporary or something in between... everything from Jane Austin to Stephanie Meyer, women's lit was my mainstay for a long time.

I don't really remember what set it off, but I started to get sick of the old routine: Innocent woman, bad boy... they hate each other, and then the love each other and live happily ever after. So, last summer I tried something new, a mystery. I liked it, and so I read more by the same author. I liked it too. Then I read a different genre and I loved it too. A few more books after that, and a light bulb went off: there are whole lotta great books out there that don't involve finding your one true love.

That's when I started an experiment. I didn't ask anybody to suggest a book to me, but every time somebody told me about a book they liked, I added it to a list and made a point of reading it. When I read all my friends' recommendations, I started taking strangers' advice. If I read a recommendation from an article or blog, I added it to the list. When Amazon made suggestions to me, based on my wishlist or purchasing history, I looked at them long and hard.

There was a while there when Amazon was sending me a package every week, and over time, I've read them all. Surprisingly, I only found two books that I actively disliked. Most were pretty good. There were a few books that I had to take a few attempts at, but ultimately ended up to be good reads. And there were a few books, which I normally never would have read, that I absolutely loved.

The only problem is, I'm out of books and out of suggestions. I stopped buying books in January when I decided to get my finances under control, and I no longer have a stockpile of books waiting to be read. It's making me a little crazy, so it's time to put in an order.

I'm looking for some good reads. I've tapped out my local friends and family, and even Amazon's suggestion software seems to be stuck in a rut (I think I confused it by reading such a wide variation).

All that's to say that if you've got any recommendations, I'd be happy if you'd throw them my way.

Friday, March 26, 2010

A sign from above

I've got this problem, which isn't really a problem, if you think about it.

There's too much sunlight in my house.

See? Not a real problem.

Sun is good! Except that the there's an hour a day, a few months of the year, that I can't watch tv because the sun gets in my eyes. As it turns out, we're on the month when I can't sit in my favorite chair and watch tv when I get home from work without holding my hand up in the air to block the sun.

It's the piano windows that are the problem. They're short, wide windows about 8' up the walls, and there's no good way to cover them up. I've thought of getting a curtain or stained glass window to block the sun; but I don't really want to do that. For the most part, I like the sun.

This year, my ever so classy solution has been to prop large-ish books on the piano window's sill; and while it may not be entirely attractive, it works like a hot damn.

Pardon the quality of this picture. It's not just hard to watch tv through a sun beam, it's also hard to photograph into it.

Except, that's not what this blog entry is about.
This is about something that struck me as really very funny as I was looking at the books.
... The titles:

Wuthering Heights - Emily Bronte
Mansfield Park - Jane Austin
The Historian - Elizabeth Kostova
The Fiery Cross - Diana Gabaldoon
Jane Eyre - Charlotte Bronte
Mother of Pearl - Melinda Hayes
(It almost makes me seem well read, doesn't it? Keep going.)
The Darkest Evening of the Year - Dean Koontz
Great Expectations - Charles Dickens
Bad Dogs Have More Fun - John Grogan

And if you look, that book is a little smaller than the others, and sunlight is pouring in around it.

Almost like a sign from a higher power.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Note to the evil neighbour

Dear Evil Neighbour,

Do you remember when, shortly after we both moved in and before I had a fence built, how you used to count the dog turds in my yard? Do you remember that you called the police any time that there were more than three piles of dog turds in my yard? As you're probably aware, the police came by my house quite a few times. They came by so often, in fact, that I started to bake them cookies. (And no, they never - EVER - determined that my yard was unkempt.)

Do you remember? That may have been five years ago, but you can be assured that I haven't forgotten.

With that in mind, if you decide to do construction in your house until past midnight again like you did last night, I'll be making a phone call to the the police myself.

Just so you know, they tend to prefer peanut butter chocolate chip.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Adventures of an 8 pound dog, part 3

About a week ago, Cotton decided to spend the vast majority of his time under my bed. This is generally where he goes when all isn't right in his world, and is a big red flag. So, I started looking into it right away.

I also spent more than a few hours lying on the floor, trying to cajole him out from under the bed. Except, I don't know what's wrong. He's not showing any signs of distress or fear. He's happy, he's ripping around the house and playing games a few times a day... he's just sleeping under the bed instead of on the couch or one of the dog beds.

Finally, I decided that he could come out when he ready and left him alone.

He's still going under the bed a lot when I'm not paying attention to him, but I think I'm going to leave him be. Maybe he just decided that under the bed's a good place to hang. It is poodle proof, after all.

And, in the meantime, it doesn't hurt that he's managed to flush out all the dust bunnies from down there. That bed has so many weird legs and supports underneath, it's a dust bunny haven. Getting a vacuum under there to do a good cleaning is next to impossible. Normally, I have to take the bed apart a few times a year and move it out of the way to clean underneath; but I think Cotton's done the job for me this time.

Although, I seriously doubt that was his intention.

Anyway, the Dude has spent the better part of the last week under my bed. I still don't know why, or if anything's wrong. I'm trying to leave him alone, but it has me worried.

THEN, earlier this week Tallulah decided to play a rousing game of keep away with Cotton and their shared food dish; and she did a darned fine job of it. Now the Dude's afraid to go near his bowls for food and water... so much so that he fasted for two days.

The few times that he did come out from under the bed, he stared at me until he had my attention, crept up to about 2 feet from the bowls, streeeeeetttched towards them and then skittered away like a bat out of hell before making contact. (Oh, and he usually tucked that lame leg under him for the departure as well.)

I finally gave in and put down a couple of bowls of his own in another area of the kitchen. Tallulah's banned from going anywhere near them and so far he's liking the new set up much better.

So, after all that, what this means is that: I'm either carrying my sometimes gimpy dog up and down the stairs every time that he goes outside, or going out and talking him into taking the stairs himself. He's hanging out under the bed most of the time which, although I don't know why, has been a sign of a problem for 9 years. I now have to put out (step around and clean) a second set of bowls.

I can't decide if my dog is horribly spoiled, or if he needs to go see a vet. Either way, I'm starting to think that daily happy pills might be in order... I just can't decide if he should get them or if I should keep them for myself.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Adventures of an 8 pound dog, part 2

As I said earlier, Cotton hurt is leg a few weeks ago. I'm not sure how he did it, but he managed to time it perfectly to potentially get me into a lot of trouble. Right about the time that I was starting to feel confident that I'd managed to avoid both a surprise visit from the SPCA and another trip to the vet, and we had another incident.

Cotton doesn't like to go up or down stairs. My first house didn't have any stairs in it at all, and so he never had any reason to learn how to go up and down them for the first half of his life. It wasn't until we moved to this house that he had to master 3 steps at the front, and 6 steps at the back. And - let me tell you - that was a steep learning curve. It took weeks of frustration on my part before he finally caught on.

To this day, he only goes up or down those two sets of stairs; and he doesn't even do them well.

For some reason, known only to him, Cotton jumps over the last step. Going up or down, he goes until he's two steps from the top or bottom and then LEAPS to the end.

It'd be kind of funny to watch, except that sometimes he doesn't make the leap. Lately, his been missing his mark more and more often.

Really, if you think about it, the stair risers are as high as he is; so I'm not all that surprised. It's just that his latest misfire may have been compounded by the sore leg.

Right about the time that I ruled out the necessity for a vet visit, Cotton took the stairs up to the deck, and decided to test his limits. Instead of jumping over the last step before the top, he tried to launch himself over two steps towards the top and missed.

The Dude clothes-lined himself on the edge of the top stair tread, scrambled for a few seconds and then tumbled down to the bottom before I could run to his rescue. He wasn't a very happy camper. I don't think he did any permanent damage, but I have no doubt that he gave himself some serious bruises.

He hasn't wanted to take the stairs since. He'd go down the back stairs if he was really desperate, but he waited at the bottom for me to bring him back up. Even promises of cookies weren't enough to get him to come up again on his own until a few days ago. He's still not very happy about it, but he finally started to brave the stairs again. He's reluctantly going up and down again with a lot of encouragement.

But right about the time that he started taking the stairs again, he started to hide under the bed. When all's not right in Cotton's world, he hides under the bed, so this isn't a good sign.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Adventures of an 8 pound dog, part 1

The dude's had a lot going on lately.

First, I'll start off by saying that he's OK.

A few weeks ago on a Sunday, it was a warm spring day. Cotton wanted to be outside. Except, he couldn't seem to be outside and not bark his fool head off. I kept going outside and telling him to be quiet, and then he'd wait until I was back inside and start yapping again. This went on for most of the day. I made him come inside about 10 times because he was being so loud (he doesn't bark nearly as much when inside the house) but he kept asking to go out again and I'm a sucker; so I kept letting him out again.

Finally, shortly after dinner Cotton started barking again. I'd had enough. I stomped outside, slammed the door shut, and told Cotton to shut the F up and get the H inside.

I might have said that at a fairly loud volume as well.

Cotton, sensing that I was serious, climbed the stairs up to the deck, took a few steps and then started to yelp at the top of his lungs. I ran over to him and picked him up and he continued to cry long after I'd scooped him up and carried him inside. Something was seriously wrong, but I didn't know what. I wondered if he'd gotten a sliver in his foot, if he'd pulled a muscle, pinched a nerve or cut himself somehow.

Except, at the same time as I was frantically trying to figure out what was wrong with my dog and make it better, I was also thinking that my neighbours could hear everything that was going on, but they couldn't see anything; and I'll bet they thought I was abusing my dog.

I managed to refrain from opening the door and calling out to say that I didn't do it, and checked Cotton out instead. There was no blood. He let me straighten and flex his leg, and before long, he was walking around on it again. That night, I took him for a walk and trotted around the block as happy as a clam.

Except I swear to God that he pulled that leg up and hobbled around on three legs whenever we were home and he thought I was watching.

The hobbling lasted a few days. Right about the time I was going to bring him to the vet, he started using all four legs again... most of the time.

But that's not quite enough drama in the Dude's world. There's more.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Dinner tonight...

... and many lunches there after.

I made a yummy dinner tonight that I don't often make because of the size of the recipe. Thankfully, it freezes well; because this makes a dutch oven pot full.

Lentils in Curried Tomato Peanut sauce

1 tbsp of peanut oil
1 medium chopped onion
1 1/2 tbsp minced garlic
1/4 cup peanut butter
2 tsp curry powder
1 1/2 tsp crushed red pepper
1/2 tsp black pepper
1 6oz can tomato paste
1 28oz can of diced tomatoes (I've made this with 6-8 chopped fresh Roma tomatoes too)
3 cups vegetable broth
3 cups of dried green lentils

Heat oil in dutch oven at medium heat. Brown onions and garlic
Stir in peanut butter and next 4 ingredients, then cook 1 minute.
Add tomatoes, broth and lentils.
Reduce heat, and simmer 30 minutes or until lentils are tender

You can serve this over brown rice or couscous. I tend to eat it from a bowl with a side of fresh green salad. Today, I also added a couple of slices of cracked purple wheat bread on the side as well.

Friday, March 19, 2010

More questions

If I wait until after dark, is it wrong to walk my dogs in my pj's? I'm thinking that it is, which leads me to wonder why I continually change into my pj's as soon as I get home from work... only to have to talk myself to changing back into presentable clothes so that I can go out again.

I've got a container of homemade shortbread cookies in my pantry. They're in an air tight container, but have been sitting there since early December. Should I throw them out?
(They're not yours, Moosepants - those ones are long gone.)

Would it be wrong for me to sit on my front porch and lob rotten tomatoes at the kids who cut across my yard instead of staying on the sidewalk? Does it make it less wrong if I tell you that they're trampling the naturalized crocuses that I have planted in the lawn?

Thursday, March 18, 2010

The draw

I won a prize today in a raffle at work, which is really weird. For me, winning prizes in raffles or draws just doesn't happen. You know how some people tend to win almost every raffle that they enter? I'm the opposite. I don't win. Ever.

I've only ever won a draw one other time; and I suspect that that experience soured me on draws for life.

I was a bit of a tomboy as a kid. I grew up in the country, and even as a preteen, would rather be climbing trees or getting dirty than playing with makeup or chasing boys. My mother was apparently concerned that I'd never grow up to be a lady, because she signed me up for an etiquette and presentation class.

Do I seem like somebody who would want to spend my Saturday afternoons learning to walk in heels or mastering which fork to use?

Good. It wasn't my thing back then either. (Although, for the record, all of those skills did come eventually... just maybe a little later than they did for others.)

Anyway, on this particular Saturday, the time had come to drive into town and go to this class, and I'd done what any smart girl would do: I'd taken off. I had met up with a friend of mine at a massive mud puddle near her house, and we were having a ball racing painted toothpicks down a little stream that was running down the hill to an even bigger mud puddle. If I remember correctly, I was knee deep in the muddy water (But my toothpick was ahead!) when my mom drove up.

She wasn't very happy.

Mom told me to Get In The Car. Now. I wasn't given a chance to change clothes or clean up; I was just loaded into the car, driven into town, and dropped off for class. Of course, that was the day that we were to learn about manicures. The teacher put all of our names in a hat, and the name that was drawn got a free manicure while the rest of the class watched. Guess who won that draw?

Just guess.

Come on, you can do it.

I'll give you two guesses.

And a hint.

You're reading her blog.

Yep, on the day when I was looking very similar to Pigsty from the Peanuts cartoon, I won a free manicure. I looked down at my hands, and that was the first time that I remember wishing that I'd taken a little more care with my presentation. My hands were filthy and there was mud caked under my nails. The manicurist bravely scraped some of it away and then the teacher suggested that I go down the hall and wash up before we continued.

And from that day on, having clean hands with well manicured nails has been of vital importance to me. I don't dye my hair. I don't wear make up. I tend to dress on the casual side. But dammit, my nails always look good.

All because I won that stupid draw.

And today, 25 years later, I won another draw: a gift certificate to Pier1. I checked, and my hands were clean. My hair was combed, my fly was up and my teeth were brushed too. I think I had the cleanliness and presentation factor covered.

I'm pretty excite about the prize too. I'm looking forward to going to Pier1 on Saturday, and wandering the aisles to decide what I want. Right now, I'm thinking place mats for the new table; but I'm going to keep an open mind until I see what they've got. They've got some pretty cool stuff, and I'm really looking forward to picking something out.

And then after that I'm thinking that maybe I'll give Jen a call to see if she wants to race toothpicks.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

What makes this gardener happy

The tulips are starting to push out of the ground!

And, the leaf buds are starting on the lilacs.

That ground cover around the tulips? I have no idea what it is. I got it from Peavy Mart's "We probably killed this. If you think you can revive it, it's yours" table. I was hoping it'd fill in some green in the new gardens last year, but apparently it's taking off like gangbusters.

Monday, March 15, 2010


My dad has been something of a broken record when I talk to him lately. He's always got two questions: How are you feeling? and What's your albumin level?

The first one, I can understand. The second question involves a word that I'd never heard of until a few months ago.

Albumin, as I understand it, is the protein in your blood. Way back when my health issues began, blood tests showed that my albumin was quite low; but the doctors weren't overly concerned. I was very anemic at the time, and low albumin isn't uncommon with anemia. However, as time went on and I didn't get better, my dad (a retired radiologist) zoned in on the albumin level. He always wants to know what it is.

So, the last time I was at the doctor's office, I told him my dad wanted to know my albumin level. The Dr thought that was a good idea, and sent me off to the lab to have it tested.

It turns out that my albumin is lower than my iron.

And this is the part of the blog where I over share.

As a result, I'm being sent for more lab tests. Low albumin sometimes happen when a person's kidneys leak it into their urine instead of saving it for the blood stream. The way to test for that is to look for high protein in the urine, and apparently it's normal for protein levels to vary throughout the day; so I have to collect my pee for 24 hours.

As if that wasn't fun enough, this is what they gave me to do it with:

I added a pop can to the picture so that you can see how obscenely large the jug really is.

Also, the jug is empty. That's sunlight on the outside that made the line, not anything on the inside.
Because that would be gross.

When she handed me that jug, I asked the lab tech if I could have one designed for a female. She told me with a straight face that these are unisex jugs. Something tells me that a man must have designed and designated them as such.

Obviously, that jug doesn't fit into the toilet so that a female can hold it below while she pees. The tech suggested that I hold it in place while standing and let 'er flow. Honestly, I really don't think that my shy bladder could handle that. I've been training it for at least 35 of my 37 years to wait until I'm sitting in the peeing position before letting go, and I don't plan to start standing now.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Edmontonians in Unison

Apparently most of Edmonton was holding it during the gold medal hockey game. Water consumption spiked wildly between the game’s periods, as much of the city ran to the bathroom, according to this incredible graph from Edmonton’s water utility. During the final moments of the game, and during the medal ceremony, consumption fell off equally drastically, hitting insane lows. This is what happens when 80% of your city is watching the same sporting event.

This graph, from Edmonton water utility EPCOR, shows the city's average water consumption (teal line)
contrasted with water consumption during the Olympic gold medal hockey game.

And they say that Canadians don't show their national spirit...

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Things that mess with my chi

  1. Food that drips, like ice cream cones
  2. People who take up two parking stalls when they park
  3. Food with strings, like bananas, oranges or celery
  4. Smokers who leave their cigarette butts on the ground
  5. Cat poop in my gardens
  6. People who nitpick (unless it's me doing the nitpicking)
  7. The evil next door neighbour
  8. Books that are narrated in first person by different characters for each chapter
  9. People who hock loogies
  10. Not being able to think of anything to blog about

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Small but Mighty

This little tiny pill is a diuretic.

It's about the size of lint.

Appearances can be deceiving.

Once you take it, your bladder is no longer your own. That's all I'll say on the subject... I'm sure that you can imagine the rest.

I've had a mild form of anemia for most of my life, but I never really understood its impact until recently. In the past, anemia was an inconvenience. Back then, it meant that I had to take the medical exam three times before I passed to get my pilot's licence. It meant that I was turned away occasionally when I tried to give blood. (Usually, it meant that I was 'required' to eat an oatmeal cookie before and after giving blood.) It rarely had any impact on how I felt.

Lately, anemia has become a whole different beast. Tired is an understatement and swollen feet is the name of the game.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Another Pimped Up Truck

This one I liked.

There's a saying that you hear a lot around here: Get'er Done. It's the Albertan way. If something needs doing, just get'er done. There's even a handyman around here that uses it as his company name. So, I cracked up this morning when I pulled in behind a old beat up truck with the words "Got-er Did" written across the back windows. That, I think, is the best pimped up truck that I've seen so far.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Decision on the Doors

I decided to get the pine doors. I figure that I can always paint them, but I can't turn the hollow core doors into pine. Being as indecisive as I am, I usually end up going with the choice that gives me the most options down the road, should I change my mind.

Whether I paint them or not is still undetermined; but now that I have the doors, I don't have to make up my mind right away. I just needed to pick them out before the store ran out... I'd have been mighty cranky if they were discontinued before I got what I wanted.

An outtake from the pictures of the spare room I took yesterday that makes me smile:

Those beasts of mine will do anything to get into the picture.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Closet Door Stumper

I have a decor decision that's got me stumped. I was going to ignore it for a few months and hope that the solution came to me, but the decision is being forced on me.

My spare room needs closet doors. It came with mirrored closet doors, but I took them down and gave them to charity. The spare room closet has been wide open and flashing its mess at whoever walks by ever since.

The Mecca (AKA Home Depot) has solid pine closet doors that match all of the doors in the house, and that's what I did in my main bedroom. However, I have a feeling that it'd be too much pine in such a small room to put pine doors on the spare room's closet.

There are hollow core doors of the same style (six panels) that I can buy instead of the pine doors, and then paint them the same colour as the walls.

Here's the problem. Both doors are discontinued. There are 4 pine doors left, and 3 hollow core doors. I need 2 of whichever I go with, so I have to act fast.

The facts:
  • The pine doors cost 3 times the price of the hollow core doors.
  • Either door has to have 6" cut off the bottom, leaving the hollow core doors.... well, hollow at the bottom. I'd have to rig up something to fill the bottom and smooth out the cut marks that doesn't look like a patch job. My male decor consultants (my coworkers) say this can't be done well.
  • The male decor consultants also claim that if I ever go to sell the house, the hollow core doors would stand out as a short cut and potentially lower the selling price.
  • There is a darkly stained oak armoire in the spare room, beside the closet. It clashes with the pine. There's no place else to put it. Then again, I've mixed woods in every other room of the house.
Here's what the pine closet doors look like.

The hollow core ones are the same style, only painted the colour of the walls and hollow.

A virtual tour of the room, so that you can make an informed decision:

Which doors should I buy???

Monday, March 1, 2010

Self indulgence

You'll have to pardon me for the next few minutes. I'm going to pat myself on my back and whine tonight. It might not be very attractive; but if you can't whine and brag on your on blog, where can you do it?

Little brag:
I made a yummy pizza tonight. I always make the same kind of pizza - loaded. There's a wee bit of ham, pineapple, mushrooms, sweet peppers, black olives and chunks of take-your-head-off spicy pepperoni sticks. Salty, sweet and spicy all on one place. Mmmnn. Except, I didn't plan ahead tonight. I decided to make a pizza while at the grocery store. The lady at the deli wouldn't sell me just one pepperoni stick, and I wasn't about to buy a whole bag of them. So, I picked up the fresh veggies, and figured that I had the rest at home.

I got home to discover that I had the makings for a veggie pizza. Minus the olives and pineapple. But with some artichoke hearts thrown in. It was pretty good! Probably not as great as the loaded pizza I wanted, but it did the trick.

For some reason, the anemia has flared up again. On Saturday, my feet swelled up so much that I ended up splitting one of my funky argyle rubber boots when I tried to force it on. I'm also out of breath again, which sucks the big one. I'm really frustrated, because my surgery was 3 months ago and I should be on the mend. So, more doctor's appointments for me, and no doubt more iron pills.

(Tune in next week, where I will hopefully show you the successful results of my using a dingy repair kit to fix my boot.)

Big Brag:
In mid-January, I took it upon myself to get serious about getting out of debt. Right around that time, I started reading This Blog by a lady named Gail Vaz-Oxlade. She's apparently got a popular TV show called "To Debt Do Us Part", but my basic cable programs and I have never come across her. Either way, I liked her blog so much that I started to follow her budget plan (also on her site) and then I bought her book.

Then I made a math error in my budgeting at the end of January, and I left myself with $78 spending money - total - for 2 weeks. I'm happy to say that I survived those two weeks, with cash to spare. That resulted in my competitive spirit taking over, and I've been challenging myself to live on less and less every week. Some weeks, I do really well. (Last week, I spent less than $30) other weeks I don't. Either way, I've spent a tonne less than is typical for me. So much less, in fact, that on Saturday I deposited $1000 into my pay down the debt fund.

Granted, I've been living on absolute bare bones. As my dad pointed out, in a lot of cases I'm just deferring costs and not reducing (I've been mostly eating meals I'd already prepared out of my freezer, and will eventually have to do a big grocery shop.) but I'm looking at this as practice for living on less. Already my habits are changing, and I'm much more conscious on where my money goes. I am committed to being debt free within the next three years.