Saturday, December 31, 2011

Year End Round Up

  • In January, I officially transitioned to my new job.  I've now got the best boss ever.
  • In February, I paid to finish off a $3000 project that revolved around having the basement waterproofed.
  • In March, I had surgery.  Just like that, I was healthy again.  Before, I thought that I hadn't felt well for a couple of years.  Now that I remember what healthy feels like, I realize that I'd been sick for much longer than that.  
  • In May, I started keeping track of what I eat.  I'm not dieting, really, just aiming to eat healthier and limit the treats.  So far, I've lost 23 pounds.
  • In July, the house flooded.  (See February)
  • In August, the nephews and their parents moved to BC.  I miss them like crazy.
  • In September, my dad and I replaced the stairs on the back deck, making them easier for old dogs.   After two years of being carried up and down the stairs, Cotton can get on and off the deck on his own again.
  • In October, I bought a piece of original art.  My girl's a star.
  • In November, the insurance claim from the flood was finally processed.   I could start replacing things that were lost.
  • In December, I could look back and say that I'd had a pretty good year.  I hope you could too.  May 2012 be prosperous and happy for you, and may your blogging be abundant.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Making progress

I've spent the last week working in the basement.  Having an unfinished basement leads to the very strong temptation to store 'stuff', and I'm determined to get rid of it.  I thought that I'd done a pretty good job of cutting back when my basement flooded, but there's a long way to go.  I want to pare down until everything is put away and organized, so I've been going through a lot of boxes.  I'm being brutal and getting rid of a lot, and it hasn't been easy.

One good thing about taking the time to go through all the boxes is that I've found a whack of books.  I had (and lost in the flood) quite a few boxes that were specifically for storing books, but it seems that I had a bad habit that's now paying off.  Rather than putting books where they belonged, I often tossed them into piles and random boxes; I'm finding them now.

I also cashed in a couple of gift cards by scooping up any classics that I could find in the discount sections at book stores, and adding those to the newly 'found' books means that my Library is starting to have a fairly good selection.  I've got them sorted by gendre for now - mysteries, classics, romance, general fiction, comedy, language, gardening, art and children's books each have a section.   The library has a ways to go before it's full, but it doesn't look empty anymore.

I still need a table, console or something to go in front of the window.  I also need a file cabinet, so I'll be heading over to the Habitat for Humanity's RE store.  I'm hoping that I can find something with a little bit of history to clean up or maybe refinish and then put to good use.

Then I'm going to start saving up for a new closet door.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Do you...


I call this picture "The Tallulah Hula".

I've been looking for new, interesting ways to get exercise lately; and being a cheapskate of a homebody, I give extra credits to things that I can do without leaving the house.

I decided to give the old Hula Hoop a try.  Not having done this for the last 30 years, I'm a wee bit out of practice.  For the first twenty minutes or so, I couldn't do better than spinning the hoop around myself 3 times before it dropped.  But, I'm figuring it out.  I have to lose the hip swivel that I learned in dance class, and go for the full body fluctuation.  I worked on it for about an hour on and off, and I'm up to 28 rotations without dropping the hoop.  And holy cow, could I feel it.  I had no idea that a childhood game took so much work.

Tallulah likes the new hoop. 
 Apparently, it reminds her of early agility and obedience days, where she was trained to go to her "place" (usually delineated with hula hoops).

For obvious reasons, the dogs are not allowed in the room while I'm doing this.  I don't want anybody to get knocked in the noggin by a flying hula hoop, so I make them leave the room and close the door.

I also close the curtains, because I wouldn't want anybody to see my wild, gyrating attempts to overcome gravity.  But, after I had been at it for about 10 minutes, I happened to notice something.

I had an audience.

It was the snickering that gave him away.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011


  • I am completely addicted to advice columns.  It doesn't matter how stupid the questions are, I want to know the answer.  I have a list of them that I have bookmarked and read all the time, and I'm happy to report that I just found the archive for one that's new (to me).  It's been published for years, so there's lots to catch up on.  Even better, it's written by a straight shooting comedienne.    If I go missing next week, that's where I'll be.
  • I am happy to report that after three an a half weeks with a raging ear infection, it's finally gone.  That constant ringing in my ears was no fun at all. 
  • I have a friend who struggles financially, despite working three jobs.  I hire her to do certain jobs for me when I can, but she'll only take what she considers to be a reasonable fee.  (We 'fight' about this all the time.)  Every year, I try to give her money for Christmas, but every year she refuses.   I wish I could find a way to help her out without stomping on her pride.
  • My snow elf came around again today.  I made the mistake of looking out the window when I heard the shovelling, but they must have seen me before I saw them.  The shovelling promptly stopped.  My driveway is currently half shovelled, but apparently the elf's desire to remain anonymous is more important than my desire to know who they are.  Note to self: stop looking out the window
  • Bookless Bookshelves make great playgrounds for kitties.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Size matters

I got a new purse last fall.

It's bigger than I'm used to, but I thought I'd give it a shot.  It's got lots of pockets, so I figured I could be all organized and keep everything in a specific spot.

Let me tell you, I've been throwing things in this purse.  Spare cloth bags, in case I ended up in a store unprepared.  Hand sanitizer, for when we eat out.  Epi pens.  A toothbrush and toothpaste.  My Blackberry.  A book.  My wallet.  A half empty bottle of pop and a full sized chocolate bar.  

And the bag seemed empty.

I'm really not sure when those last two were thrown in, but I found them over the weekend.  I've concluded that if I can carry a bottle of pop and a chocolate bar around for an indeterminate amount of time without knowing it, my purse is too big.   

All I need is room to carry my wallet and an Epi pen, and anything more is temptation.  (Kind of like getting a cart when you run into the grocery store for three things.)  Methinks it's time to dig back in the closet and find something smaller.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Library Fail #2

The chaise lounge chair is 6' by 3' (and a bit).

The library room (once you consider the bookshelves and the new desk) is 7' by 8', minus a little bit at one end, where there's an angle and a bay window.

While the lounge chair technically fits, it kind of fills the room.  I had figured that I could place it across the one end of the room, but the angle and the location of the door make it awkward.  So, after a not-very-little effort to haul it into the room this morning, I hauled it back out.

The new chaise lounge chair will reside in my living room for now.  I'd be more upset, but I've laid on it for the last month anytime that I've watched tv, and I've got to admit that I kinda like it there... even if it doesn't quite match.

In summary:  Bookshelves, curtains, granite table/desk, chaise lounge chair

Library: 2
Me: 2

In other news, I've decided to take up yoga.  
It seems that I have a (mostly) vacant room that will be the perfect place.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

One Time Offer

Not everybody's got my sense of humour, and I'm OK with that.  But, when somebody has the same sense of funny as I do, it really makes my day.

Do you remember this?

I still have it.  I was going to use it as a coaster, but really it's sat on my desk all this time, making me laugh when I notice it.

Moosepants totally made my day week with the awesomest of all Christmas Presents.  It's gafa worthy.


In the spirit of Christmas, I'm prepared to share.  If you, too, would like to know how the other half lives, send me your address.  I'll ship you a couple of squares.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Reduce, Reuse, Recycle

Wanna see my new table???

I don't think that I can say I made it, but I put it together.

The base is from an old singer sewing machine table base.  I cleaned it up and spray painted it black.

You can't see this, but I raised the top a bit by making a 'spacer' between the iron base and the granite.  Basically, I screwed a couple of two by fours together to make the top higher.

Finally, the top came from a 'Bone Yard' for the local granite and tile shop.  It's a leftover piece from somebody's kitchen counter, and they considered it waste.  They didn't charge me for the granite, only to polish and smooth the edges.

So, nothing I used to put it together was new, but it's all got a whole new purpose.  Pretty cool, eh?

Saturday, December 10, 2011

I was blind, but now I see

I got my first "I'm getting old" glasses last week.

I think I liked it better when I couldn't see the dust.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Fitting In

My 9 y/o niece is the victim of bullying.  She's a sweet, funny little girl who simply dances to a slightly different tune that the popular girls in her class couldn't hear.  Because of that, they teased and taunted her so much that her parents have made the decision to home school her.

I thought of her when I saw these guys, so I bought them for her.

The card they come with says:
Who wants to be just another one of the herd?  
Look at Bartley the Black Sheep.  He's not baaaaashful at all.  
Aiden, Liam and Finn prefer to flock together, but Barley's proud to stand out.  
What about ewe?
I figure we're all black sheep, in our own way.  Some of us just manage to hide it a little better than others.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Suck it up, Buttercup

There are two very different responses to what I'm about to say.  One will come from the Canadians, and the other will come from the Americans.  You know which is which.

It's -10C outside tonight, with a -17C windchill.    I walk (carry) my dogs every night, regardless of the weather, but tonight I really don't want to go.  I want to stay home tonight.  In fact, I want to stay home until spring arrives.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

That's enough now.

The plague continues to hang around the house.  Although I'm no longer on the precipice of death, I'm still sick.

My throat is better, and the laryngitis is (mostly) gone.  I can finally sleep now too - it's been a couple of days since I've woken up in the middle of the night choking through a coughing fit that can only be stopped with a hot shower and a room full of steam.  The problem is that my ears are infected.  Still.  My ears have felt like somebody shoved tennis balls inside of them, almost since I caught this cold two weeks ago.  And I'm tired, like I could sleep for a week.

So, today I called in sick today and went back to bed.  I felt a little guilty doing it, considering how much better I feel than I did last week, but it needed to be done.  This little bug needs to move on and visit somebody else.

Monday, December 5, 2011


In my excitement, I may have let a detail or two slide.  I realized this a few weeks ago, but it took me a while to decide that the humour in this situation outweighs my embarrassment.

Ever since my house flooded last summer, I've been scheming to make a library.  You know that.  You have all had to read many posts about the various stages of my plans.   Really, though, those barely touch on my obsession.  You have no idea how many hours I've spent combing through stores and the web, planning which pieces I'd use where.

The chaise lounge is the star of the room.  I love it, and the granite table that's almost ready for its grande entrance.  I'm still looking for the perfect side table and floor lamp.  The bookshelves, even though they took 4 hours each to put together, are really quite great.  The little detail that's preventing the new library room from coming together?

I forgot that almost all of my books floated away in the flood.

That's right.  My library has almost no books.    I've got a few of the goodies that I kept upstairs, but they fill maybe three of the cubbies in the new bookshelves.  Until then, the shelves are bare.    I am an idiot.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Culinary Genius

I'm not usually a fan of peppermint because it reminds me of toothpaste, but something about the Christmas season always gives me a yen for it.

Tonight, I took a chance and tried something new.  It worked out really very well, if I do say so myself.

First, I made brownies.  I used my go-to brownie recipe that never fails, even when I try.

What I did differently tonight is to spread half the batter into the pan before I unwrapped some mini York Peppermint Patties and threw them into the pan before coving them up with the rest of the batter.  I baked this for 25 minutes at 350, then added a few drops of peppermint extract to the chocolate glaze before topping them off.

Yum, is all I can say.  I think I've figured out what I'm going to make for this year's Christmas baking exchange.

Brownie Recipe:
1/2 cup butter
1 cup white sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 cup flour
1/4 tsp baking powder

  • Preheat oven @350
  • grease/flour your 8x8 pan
  • Melt butter, and set aside to cool a little
  • In a separate bowl, mix sugar, eggs and vanilla.  
  • Add melted butter.
  • Add flour, cocoa and baking powder
  • Spread into pan - bake for 25-30 minutes
Note - Mix brownies by hand, unless you want them to have a cake-like texture.

Once the brownies come out of the oven, make a chocolate glaze with ~3 tbsp melted butter, 3 tbsp cocoa powder, a tbsp of honey, a tsp of vanilla, a cup of icing sugar and a few tbsp of milk.  Mix it all together and pour on top of still-warm brownies.  Let cool.

Another Note - I never measure for glazes, so these are estimates.

Last note for now - I skipped the vanilla entirely when I made the peppermint version of this.

Ok, last note, I promise - If you eat more than 1/16th of this recipe in a sitting, you're almost guaranteed to gain 10 pounds.    You might choose to take this risk, but if you do, please don't try to claim that I didn't warn you.

Friday, December 2, 2011

The Admin Assistant

 (Crappy quality cell phone pics)

She's not very handy with paperwork, but she does make for good company.

If only she could learn to file, I might just find a reason to keep her around.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Adult Truths

I stole this off of a friend's Facebook page.  It needed to be done.