Sunday, January 30, 2011

A little Irony

When my parents moved and started to get rid of most of their stuff, I called dibs on their snow blower.  I live on a corner, so there is a lot of shovelling to do.  However, when my dad explained that his (former) next door neighbour was unwell, and preparing to have ankle surgery, I agreed that the snow blower should be given to him.

Since then, my place has been stuffed to the gills with my parents' belongings.  Basement, garage and side yard are all full; there is no more room.

It has snowed a lot this year.  A lot.  Snow piles are now higher than my waist - taller in some areas.  I can't push the snow off the front porch anymore, because the piles around it are higher than the porch.  Now I have to lift the snow up, over the banisters and drop it down into the piles.

I'm not sure why, but this week the (former) neighbour decided he doesn't want the snow blower any more.  He called my dad and asked him to take it back.  My dad called me, and asked if I wanted it.  I said yes, but I have no place for it.  I can't take it until I make room.  Until then, it'll have to stay in storage.

We got another dump of snow yesterday.  The day before that, they cleared portions of the road, right onto the sidewalks.  I'm about to go out to hand-shovel for about an hour.  If I had the snow blower, it would take me 15 minutes.  But I can't have the snow blower until the snow melts and I can do a garage sale to make room for it.  How much to do you want a bet, we'll have next to no snow next year?

Thursday, January 27, 2011

This 'n that... the PG version

I've now officially been in my new job for a little over a month.  I love it, but I'm busier than I've ever been.  OT has become the norm, which is something that I've always tried to avoid, but I'm not minding too much.  I'm feeling quite useful actually, because I'm accomplishing a lot.

On the flip side, the new boss has been cautioning me not to over do it.  She doesn't want me going into the operating room already run down, and has been reminding me that I have to tell her if I reach a point that it's too much.  I decided last night that I'd tell her today I'd reached that point.  (And I did.)  She's being completely reasonable about it, and we're scaling back until after my surgery.

I think my timing was perfect, because I forgot my purse - something I never do - at home this morning.  After work, I drove home to get it, and then turned around and went to the restaurant for dinner with my parents.   We had a really nice dinner, after which I got up and drove home.   Without my purse.

Surgery is coming up, in about a month.  Here's the thing.  There are lots of ways they can do it, and my Dr gave me his recommendations, but I went home to research on Dr Internet to make my final decision.

Laparoscopically or open?  Take the cervix or leave it?  The doctor wants to do an open surgery (where he cuts an opening, pokes around to have a looksee and cuts things out.    He also wants to remove my cervix because it's part of the uterus, and since there are problems with my uterus, there could still be problems if he leaves it behind.  (Plus, he says the surgery to remove a cervix that doesn't have a uterus attached is a lot harder, and likely to have more complications.)

I don't know why, but I assumed that he'd leave it behind, so this took some research.  I spent quite a bit of time on Dr Internet to check it out.

According to Dr Internet, removing the cervix can lead to prolapse (incontinence), or damage to the bladder (incontinence).  Plus, the cervix is one of the sources for the Big Oprah.    The good kind.
Forget worries about peeing myself for the rest of my life - I'm worried about sex.  Granted, it's been a while since there's been a cowboy in my life, but when I finally do get back on the saddle, this chick wants the full YeeHaw.

So, I asked the Dr to confirm or deny what I'd found.  He didn't agree about either the prolapse or damaged bladder concerns, and he absolutely disagreed with the bit about the Big Oprah.  He said that only happens from external... encouragement, and it won't change.

I called Bullshit right then and there.  I told him that if he thinks that, I don't know if he's the guy to be chopping out my bits.  I said that external will do in a pinch, but the really good ones come from deep down inside.  And if he cut out the part that makes that happen, I was going to be some seriously pissed off.

His response to that was that the really really good ones come from the tips of our toes, and he won't be touching my feet.   He kind of had a point.

(I ended up having a couple of very frank decisions with some friends who have had the same surgery, and they helped me make up my mind.)

And thus endith the portion of the blog for which I feel I should apologize.

I left his office with a lot on my mind.  Some of which was:
  • I wish the walls in Dr's offices weren't so thin.
  • This is the first time I've ever wished I had a female doctor instead of a male.
  • I should really find a doctor that isn't my dad's golfing buddy.

Monday, January 24, 2011

To the Market, I hope

Last fall, a friend asked me to go with her to the community association annual general meeting. I went, but I told her I was NOT volunteering.  When we arrived, we were promptly met with a list of volunteer positions that they were looking to fill.  I explained that I wasn't in a position to make long term time commitments.  I'd agree to be at *that* meeting,  I agreed to join a few of the volunteers at a member drive, and I might be at the next meeting.  That was it.  I didn't want to commit myself to a volunteer position I wasn't sure I wanted to do, but I did commit (and go) to each monthly meeting as they came up.

A while back, I went on my own to a meeting at the city hall about taking a run down area of town near the river, and turning it into a hot spot.  There, I met a couple who run a local farming coop.  They grow fresh produce and sell it directly to consumers instead of wholesalers.  I asked to be put on their mailing list, and showed up the next time they came to town.  They had rented a cramped skate shack with next to no parking, and I thought to myself - we could do better at our community hall.

The idea, which started with offering the coop farmers use of our community hall, grew as it percolated.  These farmers are great, but there are more.  There are local honey producers, people who keep free range chickens for eggs, and some really impressive artisans in the area.  So, I approached the community association and asked if they'd be interested in hosting a market aimed at spotlighting local vendors.

What I thought would be a hard sell turned into a bandwagon, and everybody jumped on.  We went to the city and got their full support;  the 100 Mile Market is now in the works.  We'll start off small, and see where it goes.  Right now, we're thinking 10-15 tables, but we expect (hope!) to outgrow our little community hall soon.    There are lots of details to work out, and we'll be delayed be my surgery - this is MY baby, after all - but we hope to host our first market in May.  With any luck, it'll be a regular monthly event where people can come to find quality products that have been grown, raised or made from scratch within a 100 miles.  Don't look now, but it appears that I've made a commitment.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Multi-species stress reliever

I heard a weird noise behind me this afternoon.  I'd hear a snapping and popping for a few minutes, then there'd be silence.  A few minutes later the popping started again.  I ended up getting up to investigate, only to find Himself parked on top of a sheet of bubble wrap.  The bubbles were popping whenever he shifted position, and I could have sworn there was a smile on his face.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Shopping Angst

I went clothes shopping today.  I'm told that there will be much swelling and distention in my tummy after my surgery, and that I'll need clothes that are at least a size or two too big for a month or so.  I've already got two pairs of flannel pj bottoms that are too big, so I bought a pair of floral pj bottoms and a pair of stretchy jeans, both two sizes too big.  (I'm mostly focusing on the pj's, because I don't expect to be leaving the house for the first month that I'm home... and, nobody will care if I wear oversized pj's once this is all over.)   

I also had instructions to stock up on granny panties - again two sizes bigger than normal - but I failed on that mission.  Clothes shopping makes me cranky in general, but underwear shopping is even worse.  It was hard enough to buy pants that are significantly larger than I am, but oversized granny panties was quite simply more than I could bring myself to do.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Thoughts of the day

I received a gift from a cousin today.  It seems he's got a neighbour with more money than brains who bought two cases of the world's most expensive TP (so he says - I haven't actually confirmed this).  He had it shipped in from Italy and then gave rolls out as gifts.   My cousin, generous soul that he is, sent all his cousins each a square of his roll so that we could know how the other half lives.

Apparently, a roll of this stuff costs $20.
It's pretty soft, actually.  It feels more like felt than it does paper, and it's certainly a step up (or two) from the TP made from recycled products that I buy.

My dad also brought me a present today - my kindergarten graduation certificate.  Although I've never had any desire to display any of my diplomas or degrees, I'm half tempted to frame this one and hang it on the wall in jest.

Although, I can't help but notice that the principal didn't sign it.

Does that invalidate the education that came afterwards????

And finally, I received a cheque in the mail this week.  Last summer, I tried participating with a blogging group that posts ads on your blog and then pays you for the space.  I opted out after a few months because I found their rules and regulations to be a bit strenuous, and it took until now for my payment to arrive.

Granted, I'm perfectly aware that mine is a low traffic blog, but that's all I got for hosting their ads for almost three months.

If you think about it, that would buy me 17 1/4 squares of toilet paper.

If I hadn't opted out, it would have taken me almost a year and a half to earn enough to pay for an entire roll.

Clearly, I'm not going to be able to count on this blog to support me.  Maybe I should go back to kindergarten so that I can get a better paying job.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

A Present. For me.

From me.

My nieces like to show me things when I go to their house.  Whenever I'm there, they go through their house and pick up various treasures from different rooms.  Often times, it's animal related (we have the same genes) but they also like to show me art.

The family on their mom's side is very artistic, and they've got talented photographers, weavers, wood workers, metal smiths and painters.   They often have various pieces to show me that somebody or other made for them.  And as they age, they're showing me some pretty impressive art projects of their own.

And so, when the older niece brought a canvas to show me, I immediately thought it was an oil painting.  I asked her who had done it.  I even asked her if she'd done it (and whoo, boy would I have been impressed if she did).  Looking closer, I could see that it was a print; but I still thought it was a print of an oil painting.

It turns out, it was actually a photo that my sister-in-law's sister took of a lake in Jasper.    Just the scenery is something I started thinking I'd like on my wall.  When I figured out that the girls in the corner are my nieces, I had to have it.  They sent me a copy of the picture, and I had it printed on canvas.

It arrived today.  I hanged it on the wall as soon as I got home.  Now I can't stop staring at it, or smiling.

Here's a closer look:

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Things we do when we're not here

Tallulah watches dog sports.

She can't believe dogs are actually rewarded for jumping in the pool.

I think she's in love.

Cotton cleans his teeth.
Note - that is not merely eating a cookie.  That is bribery to force the Dude to chew.

Winter climbs.

And I can't think about anything to blog about.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Make this cake.

Our theme this month at cooking club is slow cookers.  We'll each be bringing a slow cooker dish to our meeting, and together we'll have a complete meal for 12.  My assignment is to make one of the deserts.  I made one of my favourites, which is dead easy.  Really, the hardest part of making this cake is to find a springform pan that will fit in your slow cooker.    Even better, when it's done, it'll look and taste like it came from a five star bakery.

Chocolate cake from the slow cooker.

250 grams (8 oz) of the best quality unsweetened chocolate that you can find

1 cup sugar
1/2 strong coffee
1 cup unsalted butter
2 tbsp kahlua
4 eggs

Slow cooker
6-8" springform pan
vegetable spray
tin foil
cotton string
  • place chocolate in a heat proof bowl
  • in a saucepan, bring sugar, coffee and butter to a boil at medium heat.  
  • pour over chocolate, and add kahlua.  Stir until chocolate melts and mixture is smooth
  • in a separate bowl, beat eggs until they are lemon-coloured.
  • Gradually add chocolate mixture, stirring until blended.
  • Pour into a springform pan that has been sprayed with vegetable spray.  
  • Cover tightly with tin foil, and tie string around it to hold in place.
  • cook in slow cooker on high for two hours.
  • refrigerate overnight.

I've done this in a bath (ie - wrapped the bottom with tin foil, then poured water in the slow cooker.)  That makes it even better.  If you peak under the tinfoil, you might see that it's still liquid when it comes out of the slow cooker.  Don't panic.  It'll solidify overnight.

I like to serve this drizzled with a thin (almost liquid) custard and fresh raspberries.

Don't do like my friend Kat did.  Strong coffee is the stuff you'd drink, not coffee grounds.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Walloped by winter.

Winter (not the cat) has raised it's ugly head.  It isn't too cold out, but we're being hammered with snow.

We've had about 30cm (~ a foot) and I hear it's supposed to continue all week.  Even better, the wind is blowing and it's drifting.  Just about everything I had planned this weekend was cancelled, due to the weather.  Even dog walks are seriously shortened, but I have been going out a few times a day to shovel, because I can't don't want to shovel it all at once.

This afternoon, when the snow let up for a bit, I made a quick trip to the local grocery store.  I've got an assignment for cooking club tomorrow, and I needed three ingredients.  Apparently, everybody in town had had enough of being housebound and decided to stock up on groceries.  At my local grocery store.  I'm normally in and out of there in five minutes flat, but my three ingredients?  They required a 30 minute wait to check out.  The store had every checkout open, with a wait of 10-15 people.  It was crazy, but I wasn't going to go home empty handed.

So, I did want everybody else seemed to be doing and I stocked up with enough groceries to last me the rest of the winter (if only!) and settled in to wait my turn for checking out.  I'm home now.  My awesome neighbour came around and used his snowblower on my walk, so I don't have to go out again today.  And maybe not tomorrow either... I'm giving serious thought to working from home tomorrow.

Also - I commented a few days ago about the benefits of short dumb dogs.  I take it back.  I didn't have to go out and clear paths to the dog pen for the tall smart dog three times today so that she could pee.  I'm thinking that outweighs the inconvenience of having to hide my gloves from her.

P.S.  The tall dog counter-surfed my meatloaf tonight.    Have I mentioned how much I love my cat?

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Spoiled. Tacky.

He's spoiled.  It's tacky.

In exchange for this little beauty, the cat condo is going back to the basement.  This may not be any more attractive, but it takes up less floor space.

I wonder if a new piece of material and a glue gun could make it better.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Nuthin to see here

It's snowing out.  Again.  I'm tempted to just stay inside and do nothing, but I seem to be the only one in the house who is willing to do poop patrol.  As much as I dislike going out in the snow every day to pick up dog poop, it's way better than the alternative.  There's nothing worse than facing the great poop meltdown in the spring if you haven't kept up with it and the melting snow leaves behind a slurry of slimy shit.  (My apologies for the language... I had to go with the alliteration.)

It occurred to me today that I managed to get through the holiday without eating myself sick.  Yee haw.  I hope that means that I did a better job of controlling myself, and not that my stomach has stretched to accommodate a larger volume.

I thought my dogs were quiet when I'm not home.  Friends have said that when they come over and I'm not home, the dogs don't make a peep.  However, today the delivery guy left two Milkbones wrapped inside of my bill when he dropped off the water jugs.  If the dogs don't bark, how else would he know to leave the treats?  Does he remember that one single time that I was home and he carried the bottles inside for me (and therefore met the dogs) three years ago?  Hmmmn... methinks the dogs aren't as quiet as I thought.

I ordered myself a late Christmas/early birthday present today.  I'm very excited, and if it turns out as well as I hope, will show you when it arrives.

Tallulah has taken it upon herself to empty every coat pocket in the house of its gloves.  Although I've got a couple pairs of heavy-duty mitts for the really cold days, I also tend to buy cheapo light-weight gloves to go with each of my coats and store them in their pockets for easy access.    Today, most of the coats are on the floor, having been yanked off their hangers and divested of their gloves.   Multicoloured gloves are everywhere.

There's something to be said for short, dumb dogs.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Starting the new year off right...

... with some juvenile humour.

The little guy in the middle cracks me up.