Monday, 26 December 2011

Best Christmas Ever!

Really, it was and is. I often have overly great expectations and then get the blues a bit if reality strikes. This was my first retirement Christmas holiday. So, I wonder, how was it different?

First, the faux tree. No worries. You put it up, decorate and enjoy until July if you like. It has twinkly lights. I got all my decorating done early and DH commented on how nice it was. He doesn't help with decorating much, unless required. But it is nice to know he enjoys as well.

I made and bought lots of my fav things as presents. I refused to wrap and gave them out to family as they liked to take. Present a basket. They remove what they want. Works for me. No pressure, no fuss. They seemed fine with it and I must say it really didn't matter to me if they liked, took anything , or not. I had fun and hoped they would too, but didn't look for anything back in spirit or gift from the giftees. Nice. So nice.

My DH is not much for being gifted. He accepts gifts with thanks but there is little excitement or oohing or aaaahing. This year I started about 2 weeks out and gave him a gift whenever I felt like it. He got a gift every day or so and we both could enjoy and appreciate more that way. This new tradition is a keeper. I didn't worry if I had gotten the right things. I just gave him things I thought he might like, and no clothing made the cut. Except for the socks I am still knitting for him. He is still waiting for those but gets to help keep the yarn untangled. He seems to like his gifts more. I think the relaxed pace suits him as well.

Along with this relaxed way of giving, I had a more relaxed way of anticipating being gifted. I went with no expectations. I got several well thought out gifts from friends and family, and they were complete surprises and truly wonderful! When you spend no time trying to set up a perfect Christmas in your mind, all that comes your way is gravy! I like it.

DH and I really relaxed and spent time just counting our blessings and putting about. It's been a really nice, feel good holiday. That's a truly lovely gift, isn't it?

Tuesday, 20 December 2011

Mother is Always Right, Eventually

I ate a lovely ham dinner. I gained 2.5 lbs. Mother was right. You do retain fluid when you eat ham. 24 hours later, the fluid was (mostly) gone.

The lace making continues, and it is, without question, the most difficult thing I have done in a long time. I spent at least 15 hours on this week's homework. I ripped out (gently teased apart) every inch many times. Like 6 to 8 times each. You can only get so far before the mistake causes you a problem. There are no fudges available.  Now the good part is that I do recognize the problem, and many times can see what I did wrong. The mistakes seem to come in every department. There is just so much to think about. You are working from a dotted sheet with squiggly lines for a pattern. my instructor gives me written directions as well, but she can only say so much before it gets cluttered. I have to recognize the rest on my own. So, lacing is a thinking person's sport. As I wander into older age, this will be good for me.

The final product (to me) is beautiful. My teacher says it may not be museum quality yet, but I think she may be underplaying my brilliance. Yes, lacing can lead to delusional thinking.

See? So beautiful!

Thank heavens my thread didn't break! Can you imagine the shrieking? It hung in there, and I gave thanks to the thread gods after every row (forward and back). Now my littlest sister says I am just like my mother in this regard. Maybe. But perhaps more like my mother on crack. Each generation takes what they see and know and adapts it to fit their own life. I hope my persistance is not problem doggedness. I think perhaps it has been in the past, but I hope I am more balanced now.

Tuesday, 13 December 2011

The down side of discounts

So at my fav store today (Value Village) I was asked if I was a Senior. It was Senior Tuesday. I was all perked and piped up with "yes, I'm 55." Well, seniors there are 60. That rather put another spin on the seniors discount. Do I look 60? I don't feel 60 yet. I may never feel 60. Discounts for 55 - good. For 60 - I'm depressed. It seems 5 years can mean a lot in the proper context.

I went to the Christmas Concert at my old school this afternoon. I took my MIL as she loves to get out and do things. In fact, she's such a doer of things that she had to blow off an appointment to come. The kids were just so impressive! They sing beautifully, have a great time, put on a great show and are generally all around really good signs of good things ahead for this world. It is a rather privileged school, although I don't think they appreciate how much, or how much that means. I've taught all over the place. I loved all the communities well, but some just have it so much easier on life's journey.

I got lots of hugs and good wishes in the halls. Wow. I am blessed to have many friends under the age of 10. Nothing is more true than a friend prior to puberty.

Lace class yesterday. That poor teacher sat with me for 2 hours 1 on 1, and although I was doing fine, going out the door I seem to have left much of it behind. I worked all afternoon and got about 20% more done that I had to undo. 1 step forward, 5 steps back. However, I have graduated from the training weight thread and things do look gorgeous! Or at least there is promise of gorgeous. I only have 5 more days to get my homework done and I'm a bit panicked. If it doesn't get finished we simply cut it off the pillow and move onto the next lesson. Cut off the pillow means it dies a premature death. So sad. Never to be pillowed again. The guilt is overwhelming.

Sewing Guild tonight! I have 2 show and tells and there is promise of group snack! Can't beat that!

Sunday, 4 December 2011

Finally, to go with the creaky joints

It's happened, and it is good! I needed to renew my Fabricville membership (Vogue patterns 75% off) and I got the 'seniors' rate! $10 less! Thank you very much. I have no problem with this. I have a pension check, and it only comes half as often as I like.

Somewhat at odds to the above, I LOVed the Prince concert! He seemed to be a very generous performer, and that wasn't what I had been led to believe. I love his music. Yes, much of it is not for the young or easily shocked, but he's an emotional boy. He has things to say. And he said it well, although I think that if he had been sitting in my seat, the sound crew would have been walking home. Things were not crisp, vocals were blurred and guitar did not cut like a knife. He seemed to entertain as if he had invited us over for a party and was thrilled with the guest list. He shared the stage with his band as if thrilled to be there with them. Now the encore business was a bit messy. But I call what I see in front of me, and I haven't spent that much time on my feet ever. And no, his sister can't dance. Let's not debate that anymore.

I start sewing Christmas things this week. I want to make lots of things. Then give them all away. Fun, and I don't need to worry if it fits or looks good. I also don't have to find the perfect present for everyone this year. They can pick it themselves. I have decorated (early for me) and the house is festive. I have the faux tree all aglitter, 2 mini trees are adoilied and a mid side tree sports woven ornaments only. My fav things. I'm trying to hold off on the baking, but I did do a little fruit cake last week. It's currently getting itself rum soaked. I do like a nice rum soaked fruit cake. Mmmm...

Sunday, 27 November 2011

I bought a faux tree and put it up. It needed a lot of fluffing, but now I have Christmas weeks earlier than before. I don't know how I feel about it yet. It looks fine, but faux. Decorating to follow soon. I do have an asthmatic cat. She hasn't sniffed it at all, so I assume it will be easier on her.

Yesterday I worked on a Little Black Dress with a group of like minded women. Mine is blue and yellow. It was most pleasant. At our first meeting we went through much fitting of patterns and muslins. This time we were working with the final fabric but still fitting and fitting again. What a difference it makes! People were really looking quite spectacular! The extra time is worth it. It's also wonderful to get feedback and help as you sew. We are all pretty experienced and just hummed along. I have a ridiculous number of seams and a very flexible silky jacquard fabric, so I seem to be fitting a moving target. But it's coming along and as I rarely make anything with a defined waist, I'm interested to see how it turns out. I have fabric planned for a little shrug like jacket to go over it, so I can cover up anything that is iffy, right?

DH and I are cleaning out the garage so he can work on the new race car. It's a Volkswagen Golf and is fully outfitted for Rally. It's so pretty! It requires a co driver and I am the designated CD. So far, that is. The race seats are so low I can't see over the dash. Pillows to the rescue! I also have to be able to read directions at exactly the right pace while not throwing up in my helmet as we round corners by sliding neatly into place at speed. Sounds doable, if I can just see where I'm going. We'll work on this in the winter and try it out with some tamer style non race rallies. Just have to replace those names on the side with ours and we're set. When you have been buckled in with a 6 point harness, going back to a lap belt seems really risky. Along with the whole idea of driving without a true roll cage. Today I proved myself crew worthy by asking what's that little part hanging down there for? It seems he had been looking for that part for 2 days. I truly have the knack.

Monday, 21 November 2011

Sid's Back!

The Kid is back, and he's scored a goal already! I can't believe I have to stream this on my iMac. Why isn't this on TV? It's worth it just to see the NYI's tiptoe around him so carefully. No one wants to be THAT guy ever again. Oh, it seems that CBC has just seen the light and preempted some poor Canadian sitcom.

Lace class again today. I was the only pupil, and I accidentally arrived 30 minutes early. Way too keen, right? I learned to 'cover a pin' and unpick. You unpick in the exact manner you laced - but in reverse, just like running a film backwards. That really isn't easy to do. Gives you a headache. Thank heavens for M! She has the amazing ability to hold back for the exact right moment to step in with help. Never too soon or too late. As a former teacher (is a teacher ever 'former'?) I am in awe of her talent. As her student I am grateful.

And this is the result of 2 hours work. Well, actually more, as I wound my bobbins before class. I also made my bobbins using lollypop sticks, paper scraps and beads. I McGyvered them. So as you can see I am still on my training threads, but I am to order real thread this week. Woohoo!

D dropped in today. So good to see her! She is retired as well and has just sprouted rug hooking and felting abilities. Amazing work! It's so good to have the time to see projects through. Tomorrow we hit Mahone Bay to look at supplies. That town is well stocked with supplies. I'm on a spending moratorium currently, as I try to adjust to my pension cheque coming once a month. A month is a long time! I may have to take a moratorium on the moratorium. Sock yarn is calling to me.

Can you hear it? Seductive, isn't it?

Friday, 18 November 2011

Out with the old...

I finally got around to sorting through my closet. Out with the summer, in with the winter. Now this also meant looking at my winter clothing and realizing that my work clothes no longer have a place in my life. I had a few things that were really 'teacher' clothes only and have now been voted off the rack. What an opportunity! I need new clothes, and they can be anything I want them to be! I have a HUGE fabric stash and I have been working on it - but I have at least 20 years worth saved up. Not all of it is well suited to me. Some of it is just pretty in its own right. I need to be selective. Just because I like it doesn't mean it's meant for me. I did have my colours done. I know what looks good on short curvaceous figures. If I can just keep on track and focus on these parameters. Meanwhile I need clothes. I don't have as much to wear anymore, as there are piles not meant to be reracked. I'm working on a Little Black Dress that isn't black. My undies are looking good. I need tops, and cozy stylish ones at that.

What suits me?

Monday, 14 November 2011

Lace Making

I had my first lace making lesson today. It's fascinating! Somewhat like basket weaving with a big touch of square dancing thrown in. I'm using big thread as befits my total amateur status. Training thread. I'll practice my 3 routines this weeks and try to get more bobbins made. It seems I need about 50 million of them, and they all need beads in a loop on the end for weight and corralling when in transit. I'm using a training kit from the instructor right now, but I need my own stuff, and it is surprisingly doable if you don't mind doing it yourself. I don't. I also have all this neat thread and crochet cotton I have collected over the years. It seems like destiny, don't you think? I'll post some lace pics if it ever gets longer than an inch.

This is my new coat. I love it. Imagine a soft most pattable 100% angora coating. I found it at Value Village for about $10 and it is gorgeous! It took me forever to get the courage to cut into it. I took it to a group of sewers I meet with. We call ourselves SINners for people who Sew It Now, instead of putting it off, like we usually do. I got excellent advice and one came up with the perfect pattern. It is a bias cut with an uneven plaid. Nightmare! But the fabric is lovely to work with and after much consulting and help - here it is. It's funny. I imagine what I look like when wearing it, and this picture doesn't match my image. I'm much more glamorous in my head. Taller, slimmer and my hair is amazing! The wrinkles under my chin certainly aren't there. Oh well.
I also sewed undies this month. It was my commitment for the SINning group. I also did a pink rosebud bra, but as it is completely transparent I couldn't post a picture. As BE would say, "Think of the children!". I went with high waisted panties this time. I think they work better under a dress and now I can test the theory. I have to get my 'me' projects finished by the end of the month. Then I go to work on Christmas. I'm just going to make lots of fun things and then let my favoured few pick their poison. Thankfully I have flexible friends and family. Beats the heck out of wondering what people will like, and really I just have fun making what I like without worrying about wether it's practical or if indeed I need any of this stuff personally.

Tomorrow I go to my first retired teacher lunch. We do lunch I guess. Should be interesting. For me and for them I bet. It's hard to know what to expect, and I hope I enjoy. It's never fun to go to something all hopeful and then come away with no intention of returning because it really didn't make your cup of tea. I ordered the eggs Benedict, so I'm off to a good start.

Ah ha! I just had a thought. A nice scarf would gently disguise those neck wrinkles! Not that I have any wrinkles. I don't. Only through the camera's lens, that's the only place, and scarves are lovely. I'll need lots.

Tuesday, 1 November 2011

I'm getting more aware of how my time flies by. You have to watch and track it carefully, as it is frighteningly easy to p... away a day. Without my calendar I am lost. Then only if I remember what day it is. Thankfully it also does that for me. Yes, I am still having a great time.

I am working on a new paper basket like the tote I seem to take everywhere. It is so strong and useful. This one is slightly smaller and has an integrated handle. Currently it looks like an octopus but I think I know where everything goes. I carefully wove to the top, only ripping out 1 side when it turned out I had not cornered as well as I thought. Then I turned the border and was so pleased - until J mentioned I now had to weave each strip into the basket, down the side and across the bottom. You double everything. I had forgotten that part. Not a problem. J also reminded me that I am supposed to be babying my neck muscles until my jaw returns to a more normal vise-like condition. These people with physios in the family are annoying at times.

I have finished THE socks and may launch them tomorrow. I am off sewing lingerie with a friend. I have 2 bras to complete and matching panties to plan. We had a group sew on the weekend. Another person was sewing bras and they were so lovely! However, she could make 3 bras from the scraps I have left over. Being well endowed has its price.

I also went to lace making guild for the first time. Amazing stuff! You take thread the size of a baby hair and carefully intertwine it until it looks like amazing things. I signed up for lessons. It certainly has 'me' written all over it. Now I need lollypop sticks so I can make lace bobbins. I borrowed a kit of supplies but I want my own things, and it seems it's possible to make them from paper, sticks and beads. Im thinking handmade paper scraps to liven things up. I brought some scraps of trim I had bought in junk bags to the meeting. Turns out much of it was hand made. It's so sad to think that people don't recognize the nature of these pieces and don't value them appropriately. My DH's grandmother introduced me to doily rescue. She made what she called fancy work from an early age right into her 101th year. She really appreciated the time and skill that went into it and would scoop up pieces at the local junk stores and Value Village. I follow in her footsteps there but I try to restrict myself to great or unusual pieces. I have a weakness for coloured pansy doilies though. Can never have too many of those!

DH is off looking at a potential race car. We had sold all of our race cars and equipment, but it looks like it's back. Just like Freddie Kruger. We do enjoy racing and we need another black hole to throw money, so this just hits all the high points. The one he's looking at today is parked at a Frenchy's and I couldn't go! Now that really doesn't seem right to me. Who knows what treasures I may have found?

Wednesday, 19 October 2011

I Need to Slow Down

I found myself on the side of the highway today, plucking another dead porcupine, while a guy who had pulled over with his cell phone watched. He was obviously there for a while and there is only so long I can look inocent in the middle of nowhere in boots, rubber gloves and carrying a bucket, so I went for it.  I can't imagine it was someone I know. Right? OMG, I just realized that phone probably had a camera! Darn that social media thing!

I have almost finished my angora coat. It's cut on the bias and has an uneven plaid. I think it's turned out well, and I took it to my sewing group last night for some last finishing advice. They were most helpful. Social groups sorted by skill and interest levels are really great! We get a lot done, laugh at obscure jokes no one else gets and really care about the weird things we come together to discuss and share. I had basketry in the morning and got a double dose of pleasure as a bag of amazing doilies were there to be admired. I love fancy work. Now in this situation I have determined that basket weavers are not all that much into doilies, but they did give me a few minutes of attention before going back to their projects. I am working on finishing baskets right now. Yes, Little Urchin, I do have a lot of pictures to post soon.

J of basketry advised me to slow down a bit as I was offering to check the doily provenance, try 3 new different types of baskets and finish that coat, while promising to start underwear and a little black dress in November. She may be right. I am feeling the need to stay home and nest for a day or two. I need to keep things in check. I am off to see a friend tomorrow. That will be excellent.

On Saturday I went off to Nocturne. This event goes from 6 to midnight and see lots of art events and installations all over the place. You could roller skate with old skates, tango, take yourself through a people wash and of course build a berry box lantern with the basketry guild. The cities were packed and it was a beautiful night. It's amazing what happens out there when you pay attention. Now that I have time to notice I need to pass on the info to the family. They don't pay attention because they work, have kids, dogs and stuff happens. I'd make a good social coordinator.

So the lace guild meets at the end of the month. I think I'll find a way to fit them in. Sounds fascinating!

Monday, 10 October 2011

I hurt all over

The sisters and I went to the Breast Cancer Walk as we do each year. Our mother used to make us go, and we carry on the tradition because we are still fearful of that woman and she's watching from above with an eagle eye. This year it poured and we were soaked, even though we followed the other family tradition of arriving 2 minutes before the start and throwing a cheque at registration as we bolted for the start line. For some bizarre reason I still cannot fathom we decided to run a bit. Well it felt quite nice to run. I used to run a lot and was quite speedy at one time. Ran real races and everything! We ran/walked the course and it got me thinking. I stopped running because I kept getting nasty injuries that hung around forever. The next day I was sore, but not fatally so.

You see where this is going, don't ya. Today I strapped on the sneaks and went for a walk/run. Took my tunes and felt quite perky. It lasted about 1 km. Then my Achilles tendon reminded me that Pilates several weeks ago had been a bit stressful. I used to run through pain but I have learned that lesson well, after repeated practice. So I limped home, stretched and stretched, and now I'm going off to find someone to massage all my sore parts. The ankle seems to have friends.

Will I ever be a runner again? I really did like it once upon a time. It's easy and powerful. In my mind, in my mind only perhaps. Sneakers, I don't think we've finished with this yet. Pass the ice, please.

Thursday, 6 October 2011


I am realizing how many unfinished projects I have stashed in every drawer and corner of this house. With the sad passing of 3 of my 5 cats over the past year I no longer need to hide things away. The 2 remaining cats don't eat or shred, bless them! It seems every time I go to get out a project I find a few others forgotten and stashed a few levels down. Somewhat like an archeological dig of my life to date. Of course anything shiny or new distracts me and there I am, off on another tangent. I have to get more focussed. I like the idea of finding and finishing these oldies but goodies but I have all these new ideas as well! Balance. Crafting Fung shui?

Tell me, if the ring in the toilet bowl is barely visible, does it really need to be cleaned?

I'm making a coat with this gorgeous 100% angora coating fabric I got for $15 at Value Village. It's an uneven plaid, the coat is a swing coat on the bias with a center back seam and 2 piece sleeves and the layout has been a nightmare. When I got down to the last 2 pieces to place on the fabric for cutting I lost faith in the method I was using to get some semblance of order to matching the paid at the seams. Dh to the rescue! I called him up to confirm that I really needed to try a different pattern. Instead he gets out the tape measure and places the pieces as if they were floor tile and needed to be mitred. he nailed the bias seaming and convinced me it all would work with carpentry logic. Another opinion from a different point of view is so useful. So now I need to sew the coat, and ignore all the other projects that keep yelling out for attention. My sewing group has a sinners group and I signed up. SIN stands for Sew It Now. We meet in a church basement. The coat is my commitment for this month so that is helping to keep me focussed. I need the pressure as I have a lot of fabric calling my name.

Wednesday, 28 September 2011

They've stopped beating the staff?

I've had to deal with a lot of customer service lately. My (only a baby!) iphone sipped a bit of moisture and died. I think it may have been alcohol. My sisters were over.  My fibre optic TV is epileptic and Dh's car needed service. First Apple. What a pleasure! Not that an iperson like myself would expect anything less! The phone was under warranty so I did expect an obligation on their part to talk things over when I called. However I enjoyed the experience as they used real people words, called me by first name and really wanted to make the damn thing work for me. After a very long time and lots of effort back and forth they declared it dead and sent me a new one. It arrived 2 days later but of course I was in the shower so the UPS guy needs to come back. Even the news that I needed to fork out money for a replacement was delivered with sympathy and empathy. They also updated their info on me so that when I called the next day to see about my very old ipod on the blink, my call bypassed the endless 'press 1' crap and a nice automated voice said 'Hello Nancy, Are you calling about ...?' and I was and I got a person right away. That nice person spent a long time helping me with my issue even though there was no warranty at all. That's service! We decided not to let PC people play with my itoys because that's just poor ihygene. DH take note!

Then I had to deal with the fibre optic people and my previous experience with them has been dismal. Not so this time! The helpful person confirmed that he too could see a problem, that the promo on free channels was indeed puzzling and he wished they would listen to him, and that he too had not recorded 2 1/2 men successfully. He sent out a repair guy the next morning and he came at 8 am! I am now all fixed up - and was most entertained as he chatted with DH on the phone - holding the receiver away from his ear and mouthing "he's not listening to me!" at me. I gave him toast, tea and homemade jam for that one! I didn't mention ham, as he is getting married next week and doesn't need to know yet, I'm sure.

The car people are always excellent and I know their boss. He has never beaten his staff and it has always shown. They all seem happy and have all the time to deal with you and your issues. Love those guys! How much? I drive 100 km each way to have my car serviced.

While I was there the pay me person was telling me about her grandchild's first day at school. She was so impressed by the teachers and principal out on the grounds before the day started. They knew all of the returning students, greeted them by name and with personal interest, and seemed to love what they were doing. She felt so blessed to be leaving her little one with such people. I remember being one of those staff and how I loved first day. When you don't beat your staff and they are well placed in their job - they can do anything and do it well.

But can we sell that to the Americans? Perhaps it's best if we don't?

So the thing seems to be that service staff seem to be happier and therefore are passing on the feeling in their work. It's amazing what happens when you stop beating the staff!

Friday, 23 September 2011


The wedding went well. I got to help dress the wedding party! Haven't you always wanted to do that? We met at the bride's house where there were girls in all states of unreadiness. The flower girl was in complete control and seemed to have a handle on what needed to be done, and the lack of time available. I was impressed with that one. I ironed the bridal veil and dress. No pressure there! Natural fibres wrinkle with reckless abandon. That was the compromise I made with that gorgeous Prada linen/silk blend. Worth it just to say Prada linen/silk blend, I think. I slipped her into that baby like it was made just for her. She was gorgeous, and I think she felt it.

Meanwhile, out with the bridesmaids (I didn't make those dresses but they were lovely) the invisible zippers were giving troubles. When I mentioned the invisible zippers at sewing guild this week, there was a collective gasp. They look wonderful, but they have a tendency to be weak and unreliable. It's just the nature of the beast. One of them split. I took it apart twice before finally just ripping out one side and sewing it back in. Poor girl! She was mortified!

However, It's not often that you are put in a position of trust like this. Buying a dress off the rack is a sure thing. Having your aunt make it just sounds risky. She trusted me to work with her and get this right, or close enough. Wow. That's quite a gift I got from her. And then I got to help with the dressing. I am humbled and grateful. That's a pretty special time, and I got to be there. And I was useful! Even better! I got thanked at the wedding. Never thank people by name in public - you know you'll forget someone and then there's hurt. The thank you wasn't required. I got my reward earlier. The sharing leading up to the day and on the day was better than any other thing you might try to do for someone.

Friday, 16 September 2011

Yesterday, the niece who is getting married tomorrow, phoned me to say she needed a veil and now was the time to get this down. I think we both thought it might appear on its own, but it never did. She has been a relaxed bride but eventually the panicking crowd around you will bring anyone to a boil, and they kept asking about a veil. By the time she arrived at my house I had out all the white lace, edgings and tulle I could find. It was an impressive display, but of course! It also made me think of my own veil so I went on a hunt. Out came my veil, dress and I popped it all onto my dress form. Note the beanie hat with the veil. 

Now I was a lot smaller back in those days. I was 30 when I married but had just finished running a few marathons and playing soccer and canoeing, and I was thin. The dress will no longer button on the dress form. I had forgotten about the buttons. I had forgotten about a lot of details and it was nice to review. I love the crinoline and the train. Forgot the train completely! I do remember vacuuming bugs out of the crinoline after pictures in the back yard. I loved making that dress! It was the first time I worked with silk taffeta. I lined the niece's dress with the same silk. I also made my little sister's wedding dress once upon a time. I forgot about that too! The lovely thing about losing your memory is all these pleasant surprises!

So I sent her off with the beginnings of a veil. She needed a hair thing to attach it to, and then some trimming before I finish the edges, probably today, but the wedding isn't until 2 tomorrow, I think. Plenty of time! Her whole wedding is based on the concept of having friends and family contribute to give it meaning and a sense of community. I love it! She hasn't asked for anything much - just a little participation where you can. Different, and lovely. Hopefully I'll have dress pics for you all soon.

Tuesday, 13 September 2011

Pain in the Butt

Ever so often this site has a new interface. Slightly annoying but easy to use as well.

I hurt my back. I was taking masking tape off a doorway I had been painting. Most distressing! I was on my way out to see Squid. Squid ( is a local and Amazing drum performance group that was performing free at a local outdoor shopping place. Instead, I got into my angel dress (no waistbands or other tight fitting areas) and iced. I am no fan of ice either. But! There was frozen yogurt in the freezer! That almost never happens and I made short work of the opportunity. I'll need to post on the angel dress when it comes out of the drier and I get a pic.

Now the night before I was out with the niece for part one of her stag. This was probably the calmer, more sedate night as her mother, future MIL and various aunts etc were included. The next evening was at a rented cottage with a more adventurous guest list, I'm sure. We began at her apartment and then offed to a downtown bar. It was lovely and they served me tonic in a tall glass. Yah! When you're the DD it always seems they serve you these teeny glasses and you just have to wonder why they bother. I like to order something pretty but....

Several years ago I lost my voice. No, I didn't yell it to death. I am too sweet to even think that way. Why would you even go there? It was a virus thing they tell me. After that I am not back to full voice but soft, with no ability to project. When you're in a noisy bar you need that ability. I have exactly 1 friend who gets it right. She just talks for me, and does it well, with attitude. I feel quite comfortable with her in a crowd. She wasn't there and it wasn't the same. I used to love going out with a group, but now it gets a bit lonely at times. Now, if you just stick to pleasantries and expected exchanges, everyone hears me. That's not me. However it becomes me because that's all I get across, especially after round 2. Anyway, she wasn't there and ordering had to simplify.

There! The oven just beeped and I slid buttermilk biscuits into the oven. They should be coming out just as DH gets home and he won't have any willpower against them. It's payback for the weight I gained from the frozen yogurt in the freezer. That'll teach him to mess with me. Almost as good as ham on sale. That again would be another post.

Wednesday, 7 September 2011

My Toes

It was the first day of school yesterday - for everyone else but me. I had a bike ride, went for a pedi and had a marvellous coffee and croissant at a local shop. (Yes, I did gain a pound this morning. Damn croissant!) Decadent!   It felt slow and relaxing. I ran into a friend at the coffee shop who admired my retired status greatly. She had dropped 2 of 3 children at school that day and is at the other end of the continuum. I'm glad I'm me.

I am feeling a bit unprepared for things. The house is not tidy or organized and I am doing a major purge of my sewing room. You should see the stash of unfinished projects I am uncovering. It's either scary or exciting, I can't decide. Will I be feeling more settled and under control at the end of the month? Will it always be like this, or will I see the day when I just wake up to a tidy breakfast table, a perfect bathroom and only 1 craft project on the go at a time? Will the kittens ever learn to wear bibs and wipe their feet after leaving the litter box? (The kittens are 16.) Will the pheasants stop tipping the seed holder and pecking my potatoes?

I think a cup of tea would be nice around now, don't you agree?

Friday, 2 September 2011

Ears and Dresses

I'm painting the Hoe Hut. It is my graduation present from DH, his way of getting me out of the man cave garage. It huge and it has a loft. If I get really PO'd at him, I could move in easily. I must check the wifi tomorrow. I think it's close enough to the house.

Well, anyway I started out by spot priming the knots in the cedar shingles. I'm priming away, not unhappy as I have my itunes on, but it is one of those deadly boring tasks that have to be done. A mosquito comes by and is buzzing my ear. I swat, knock out my earbud and it nosedives for the shellac based paint. Damn! I have tiny ears and they reject the apple headsets and most other headsets as impossible to fit without surgery. I loved those earbuds. They suited my delicate and adorable ears perfectly. My ears may be one of my best features, but they can be somewhat Diva like in what they will or won't tolerate in or out.

So today I painted on in silence. Painting is the application of a full gallon of noxious sticky fluid in the thinnest layer possible. Now that is a ridiculous task. Needless to say I spare no finesse while painting and have much paint evident in various places on my person.

My lovely niece picked up her wedding dress. I miss that dress. It lived here for months while I worked on it, worried about it, sewed, basted, ripped apart, resewed - you get the drift. It is 3 metres of white Prada silk/linen, 3 metres of white silk taffeta lining, lots of spiral boning and tips (I'm getting good at that), horsehair, 25 satin buttons and button loops sourced off eBay, and lots and lots of thoughtful research into how to construct a bridal vision. Now it's done, and I miss the dress. It was like a little child, going off into the world to fulfil its destiny. I think it needs 1 more little hook on the back closing, but she sensed I wasn't wanting to give it up and ran for the getaway vehicle. I do get to see it at the wedding. Sniff.

Saturday, 27 August 2011


I have a potato! I planted potatoes for the first time and they grew! I like potato salad, and was hoping all that work in the garden by the raptors would be keeping me bug free. Yep. It does. But I also seem to have lip prints on the potatoes poking out of the ground a bit.Seems there is a price for pheasant vigilance.

I went in to work yesterday for a minute. Weird, eh? I changed the film on the laminator for old times sake and was impressed that I felt slightly out of the loop and was fine with that. Cool! However there is this awkward bit. I also went to a movie with friends and loved being out with girls again. I don't do that often, and work was the source for these sort of outings. I'm not the best at keeping up my part of friendships, and I will have to work at this. It's important to me. I ignored girl friends for much of my life and now that I have a few, I need to cherish them with the love and attention they deserve. If I could say that to all the 18 year olds I know and have them follow through, they would do fine. When I was young I was busy and always felt more comfortable with guys. I found many girls far too fluffy for me. I had a few good solid friends but these are relationships you need to maintain. Gardens seem to be easier but much shorter term and don't do as much for the soul. Girl friends and lip gloss - 2 things I need to practice.

Thursday, 25 August 2011

It's Starting

DH went back to work this week. When I retired I expected him to be working and he wasn't. Now, I did enjoy having him around. He is fairly easy going and a pleasant boy, most of the time. But it didn't have that retired feel I thought I would have. Now I'm on my own and it's different.

I have to start sorting through what this new thing is all about. I am getting up earlier now - when he gets up for work. I like that. I bike and read the paper and make tea. Good way to start the day. Then I have nesting activities. I'm feeling the urge to improve the nest. We are always in a state of flux here, with many major projects on the go in and outside. I have to say the end is in sight. I think. Yesterday I prepared windows and foundation walls for painting. Then I came in and marked the hem on a wedding dress for my neice. That has been a major project this summer and I will be glad to see it done. It's been a wonderful thing to do, but it's nerve wracking.

But I'm also feeling the need to clean and wear a cleaning smock. Like a housewife from the 50's. What's with that? I want to learn to make bread without a bread machine. I am putting up jam (although that's not new). I'm thinking of a cleaning schedule. I'm wondering about house dresses and aprons and dinner on the table. It's not an oppressive thought. It feels nice and settled and purposeful.

Perhaps there's a pill for this? I'll see how it goes. Meanwhile I'm off to the library to pick up some books on lacemaking. Another new thing that seems to be invading my fancy. And I need to cal Ginnie. She's going to teach me to knit socks.

Saturday, 20 August 2011

I Have a New Toy

Not that kind of toy - get your mind out of the bedroom! There was a sale on and I upgraded my ipod to an iphone. Woohoo!!! Now I only have one thing that goes beep in my purse. I love it. I am an Apple pie person.

It seemed to be my day to shop. Back to school has the shoppers out in full frenzied force and I was a bit apprehensive going to THE MALL. The MALL no longer holds as much charm for me. I prefer shops and quirky places to shop. But I had recently been gifted a gorgeous bracelet and had to have it sized. Well, it was still too big and I had to go back. I felt bad about that. It's hard to size a wiggly thing like that and it's a matter of preference and they did give it a good try. Well I was worried about them not wanting to see me and that bracelet again, but they couldn't have been nicer. They were most apologetic and offered to get me a whole new bracelet. It's nice to deal with someone who wants you to be only pleased with your purchase. The bracelet is off for try#2 and I'm quite hopeful things will go well.

Then I noticed that iphones were advertised for $99 with one carrier and went off to my current carrier to get a matching deal. Now there's history here and little of it is good. 6 years ago my DH wanted to surprise me with a prettier phone for Christmas. He went off and picked up a new phone for me (it was indeed prettier). However, even though the phone was in my name and the bill is in my name, they put the new phone in his name. So in effect he controls the phone but doesn't pay for it. Cute, eh? To top it off, they cancelled my service and called me to see if I liked my new phone (the surprise I hadn't had yet). So over the next 6 years I had t drag DH with me to upgrade or discuss said phone. Each time we were assured that I now also had access.

So I get to the phone store and indeed I am still persona non grata. I left one person on the phone to the phone gods trying to straighten that out while a trainee tried to help me sort through deals and options. Sounds like a recipe for a disaster, doesn't it? Well, it couldn't have been more pleasant. Another person dropped in to help and with 3 of them on the case they carefully went through all the options and we all came away happy I had what I wanted and needed. It was a most pleasant experience! I think they were as happy as I was. We all waved goodbye with big smiles!

So, humming the theme from Rocky I went directly to the local tech store to get a transparent guard for the phone screen. Unbelievably I found just what I wanted and met a fine young man who assured me he was the most qualified and gifted person available anywhere in the world to install it for me. And he was! He was as happy about my new phone as I was!

A perfect day. I'm going to do only happy shopping from now on. I will happy sales staff relentlessly in pursuit of the happy shopping experience. I have experienced it fully, and want to spread the smile. Give it a try. Make happy a verb!

Wasn't this the most saccharine blog ever? I just had it in me and it had to come out. My apologies. Next time I'll do better.

Thursday, 18 August 2011

Do Fruit Flies Poop?

It seems they do. All over my kitchen window in fact. I have the usual late August invasion and now I have all these teeny little drops on the glass where they congregate. Who knew? Who wanted to know?

On a brighter note my ever thoughtful DH bought me a lovely gift! He was off to the Home Depot (known simply as the 'Po at our house) because he needed a new shovel. He handles a shovel well and had worn both of his shovels to a frazzle. I like to watch him shovel. He's very smooth and capable with that thing. However, he has now gifted me with my own shovel (matching his and hers) so I won't be watching as much. How sweet! I'd been wanting my own shovel forever and had just about given up hope! Makes me wonder if ham is on sale. I'd like to make him a nice dinner to show my appreciation.

Someday I must explain about the ham.

Wednesday, 17 August 2011

The Raptors are at it again.

It's been raining lately (as usual) and I think that means the bugs and worms are at the surface. So now the pheasants/raptors spend the morning in the front yard snacking. Sometimes they just sit and sunbathe. Cars and trucks pass by about 30 feet away and they are not in the least disturbed. Currently the flock ranges from 8 to 11 and have been with us since spring. I wonder if we are doing the right thing to put out corn each day. They only get 4 cups for the whole crew and that isn't enough (I don't think) to sustain them. They supplement nicely with berries and bugs and whatnot from the surroundings. Are they becoming too dependent? Are they losing a healthy respect for people and traffic? After all, daddy was hit while crossing the highway behind us. Are we bringing up children who never leave home? Not that I want them to leave, but I do want happy, independent offspring who are capable of surviving whatever. Do all parents worry like this? And indeed, at 4 cups of cracked corn per day, I can afford this. DH went down to brush them back from the road a bit. They paid him token attention and crouched behind a bush for a minute. They look like 2 year olds playing hide and seek behind their own hands. 

Yes, still dieting. Still a bit hungry. Still biking. I like instant gratification as much as the next guy, and hope I can maintain interest. I want to be in better shape and have to get serious about this, or resign myself to helpless little old ladyhood in the near future. Also, I love fashion and like to make my own clothes. I think they will look so much better if the rolls of fat along my middle smooth out a bit. Just saying.

OMG the pheasants have competition! I was just interrupted by this sight at the corn dump. That will teach the little guys to take corn for granted. I haven't seen him since the spring, but I know he's been around from the complete lack of strawberries and cherries in the garden and the foot prints everywhere. Figures he would be back so boldly during the day. The apple trees are ready.

Sunday, 14 August 2011

I'm Hungry

Before I forget, here's my August face. I don't see wonderful things yet, but today I have other things on my mind.

I went to the beach yesterday with family. I took pictures (I like to take pics of family) and looked at them last night. It's time to admit I'm a Butterball. I'm a 55 year old woman on the slippery slope to round, short Aunt Edna physique. I'm sure you all know one of those. I eat well and exercise but not with any enthusiasm. I've watched DH go through heart rehab and learn all about diet and exercise. He's quite intense and yet results are still slow to come for him, and he's dedicated! It seems that once you pass 24 or 18, things go much more slowly. I used to think slim and it would happen. I'd lay off the Kentucky Fried for a week and all would be well. If I'm honest about things, that really hasn't happened since I was, let's say...30. If I were really honest, I'd have to admit that the Aunt Edna state is already here.

So I am on  diet. I don't like it much yet. No longer is it large tea, double/double, with milk. It's still large, but single/single. Oh dear. I had a nice salad for lunch and drank 3 tall glasses of water today. I don't like water much either. No more olive oil on my grilled veggies. Tonight, snack will be fruit. I confess, I rinsed the sand off a Twizzler I found in the bottom of my purse this afternoon and chewed it slowly. This gets better, right? Are there endorphins or something? 

I have to go bike. I bike indoors on the weekend. There are other people in the park on the weekend, and it loses that private preserve thing it has going on the week days. I do get to watch The Fifth Element on TV to help things go faster. JP Gaultier did the costumes and they are amazing. I saw his exhibit in Montreal and it was like walking into the most amazing closet, with clothes strewn everywhere and the lipstick stains still in place. I could have moved in for the week and just sat in front of each outfit forever, and then moved to the next. Now see? If I lose weight, I could wear that corset. 

Friday, 12 August 2011

Bicycle Shorts

My expected packages arrived today! Yah! I spent some quality time with my DVDs and books. I looked inside a Chanel jacket and organized my knitting needles in eager anticipation of knitting a beaded purse. Looks tricky. I may need supervision and wine. But one thing led to another and I stayed in my bike shorts all day. You know, those things with the padded seat? I got them cheap in Montreal and they do help cushion.

While in Montreal with 2 sisters and visiting a third, a delicate subject reared it's interesting head. You know how, when you get older, or whatever, it is sometimes difficult to hold it all in. Know what I'm saying? With the sisters and any amount of wine we get into a frivolous mood sometimes. Discussions and actions get a bit heightened? One thing Ileads to another and legs get crossed. Eyes roll back in heads and girls sink to the floor in panic. What you gonna do?

Well, after an impromptu poke in the armpits from my DH, it came to me. Bicycle shorts! They might look odd (well actually they look pretty awful) but they do have an air of sporty purpose. Who would know? And they have all that padding down there. I think I'm on to something. Someone notify Whoopi and tell her poise comes in many disquises.

Wednesday, 10 August 2011


I went to the mailbox today. I love mail. First I get out my bike and bike past the mailbox to the local bike/hike trail. Today there was a diesel spill in the canal there. Someone with bald tires in the rain hit a truck and it dumped. No one was hurt, just the guardrail and 2 vehicles. Meanwhile 1000 litres of diesel dumped into the highest point of a waterway that extends across the province. Oops. Mind you, cleanup and repairs started right away. Mention was made that those who draw drinking water from Williams Lake should sniff before they sip. Bless my city water!

Back to the mail. After I do my 10 km circuit in the park I get back to the mailbox and get my reward. I try not to collect every day, as an empty box is not rewarding and I like to build a little anticipation. I am expecting a DVD and some books currently so anticipation is heightened!. I also have more magazine subscriptions than I really should. It's an adiction. So sad to have a monkey on my back like this but I do try to weed back occasionlly. I got 3 in yesterday's mail and that was lovely! I spent a few hours in the sunroom catching up on how a sunroom (and other rooms) could look if I had some time, money and imagination. Oh wait! I'm retired. I think I may have some time! I'll look.

Anyway, no packages today. Very sad, but motivating for tomorrow's bike ride. I'll open the box and there will be a little key from the mail guy. That lets me open a bigger box and behind door #1 (or #2, depending on size) will be my treat! Don't you just love the internet?

Monday, 8 August 2011

Henri and his progeny

This morning I woke to 3 male juvenile pheasants trying to break into my truck. There were 2 in the truck bed, standing on 6 sheets of 3/8" plywood and another on top of the cab flapping his little wings and stomping his feet. Now the girls, they just drop in for the keys. The boys are a little more adventurous.

Two years ago a male pheasant began to hang out in our yard. We have a little more than an acre just outside a lovely city. He was gorgeous, long tailed and technicoloured and flaunted his brilliance by strutting his stuff on top of our bark mulch pile. He would mount this pile hopefully every morning around sunup and crow about his maleness and availability. Sun comes up mighty early and a male pheasant uses a sound like a 20 foot rusty gate swinging open to attract a mate. Did nothing for me. Sadly no mate appeared and Henri, the original Urban Pheasant was destined to be a bachelor, or so we thought.

We were entertained daily by Henri over the summer and into the fall, but he went off wherever (Cuba?) over the winter and we were most surprised to see him again in the garden this spring. Yah! Much more crowing on the mulch pile (more like a compost pile by now) and trips to the local feed store for corn ensued. We had not seen any other pheasants around, ever, and were VERY surprised to eventually see Henri in the garden showing his 3 new wives around the corn pile. He had obviously bargained his corn for a harem. We were thrilled and awaited the arrival of a flock.

The flock appeared! 14 little chicks and their watchful mom arrived soon enough to check out the corn. Our joy was much dampened when my DH reported a pile of pheasant feathers on the highway behind our house. Henri had at least been able to pass on his lineage and corn pile before going on to a just reward somewhere. Is there a pheasant heaven? What's it like?

So now we host a flock. They first just scurried through the grass with mom, but after a few weeks she went the way of all mom's and left the little beasts to forage on their own. Our grass on one side is quite long and doesn't get mowed, and this is the side with the corn pile (4 cups a day, and no more you free loaders!). So as you look out the kitchen window you would see the grass ripple in little zig zaggy lines and little skinny heads would pop up to check for danger. It looked so much like scenes from Jurassic Park that we have taken to calling them 'the velociraptors'. Over the summer they have grown to the size of plump chickens and visit us through the grass several times a day. They also have taken to eating raspberries from my patch and it's hilarious to see them bouncing up and down to grab fruit while the jays dive bomb from above. They do earn their keep though. The way to their fav foods lies through my garden, and I haven't seen a slug or bug since they arrived. Yah!.

So now they've gotten older and bolder. You can see the males getting the start of their tails and practising their aggressive dances. They've tried a takedown on the truck. This is going to be interesting. We already have a set of nesting ducks in their 3rd. year of residence. The groundhog has great grand-groundhogs living under the tree out front. Two chipmunks may be living in the back drainpipe. Don't bring up the deer. He's big and he frightens me. We never mention the raccoons. That would be bad luck I fear.

Now if they could all just convince the deer to leave my strawberries and hostas alone.

Sunday, 7 August 2011

Here is the July face. I have great hopes for December maybe. Here I think I look too much like my mother, and as BN would say, I have cat whiskers.

My First Time

I've just retired, and I have a lot on my mind. I want to collect my thoughts, muse a bit, share with friends. It's a bit like I have finally started living, even though that's not even faintly true. This is just a great time for me and I'm learning lots. A blog may be a way of consolidating, reflecting and celebrating what comes. It's for me, but I like to share.

Why does my iPad have the ' on the second keyboard? Makes me want to avoid contractions, it does.

I have decided to record my face each month. I have always been of the opinion that people who retire from teaching grow younger and more radiant over the first year. Empirical evidence is required, methinks. Please pardon the hair. It has a mind of it's own and a haircutter with a flair for the 'je ne sais couix'. How does one spell that?