Tag Archives: dogs

Paying Gig…

I might be a bit scarce in the blogosphere over the next little while…I’ve taken a temporary job that is scheduled to last for seven weeks. It is a position which will allow me to use my communications, marketing and public relations skills…it feels good to have someone recognize those abilities again! I hope that some networking while I’m back “in circulation” may lead to a permanent position somewhere (my work at the bookstore is strictly sweat equity – it will be mine when Dad is gone).

In the meantime, I hope to write at least one new post a week, and try to keep up with my reading of yours (I may not comment as much)! I will fill in with some of my favourites from the archives (from back when I had two loyal readers!).

Here is the first installment from the archives (originally published March 26, 2010):

Creature Discomforts

One of the benefits of living in the country is seeing a variety of wild animals and birds on a regular basis.  On occasion, members of our family have close encounters with these creatures, which aren’t always fun…

Jake is our schnoodle (miniature schnauzer/miniature poodle).  This fifteen lbs. of curly-haired energy adores flying around our fenced back yard as fast as his little legs can go!  He is also the biggest suck ever, needing to have his head on your chest right under your chin no matter what else you’re trying to accomplish!  Unfortunately, he sometimes gets into trouble…

Jake at full gallop...photo taken by Jim

Last winter, we noticed that a porcupine was (literally) hanging out in our back yard.  We dubbed him “Mr. Prickles.”  He would sit in a tree all day, gorging himself on bark, even during a raging snowstorm.  When he got tired, he would inch backward, ever so carefully, down the tree trunk, and amble over to the next tree, climb up, and repeat the above process.  On his journey between the trees, he would leave little presents on the ground, which Jake assumed were meant to be his dessert!  Ewww!

Mr. Prickles Eating Lunch...photo taken by Jim

Last summer, I let Jake out the back door, making sure the Mr. Prickles was nowhere in sight…I should have gone outside and checked over the little hill at the bottom of the yard!  Jake wasted no time heading straight for the intruder, barking wildly and circling the thorny creature.  By the time I had my shoes on, Jake had managed to get his small mouth around some of Mr. Prickles’ rear end, and ended up with a snoutful of quills!  While Mr. Prickles made his unhurried way towards the fence (which has holes big enough for him to squeeze through), I scooped up our dog and took him in the house to survey the damage.

I removed 19 quills of varying sizes from Jake’s mouth and nose…he was a trooper…he’s used to Jim grooming him, and he didn’t even flinch, even when I had to  use needle-nose pliers to pull some of the more stubborn ones (I found out later about cutting the ends off the quills to release the pressure).  There was one quill that I just couldn’t get, so I asked Jim to tackle that one after he got home.  Luckily, Jim was able to remove that one, and found another one which had worked its way in through Jake’s cheek and back out again!  Jim washed Jake’s face with peroxide, and we watched carefully over the next couple of weeks for any signs of infection.

It never occurred to me to take Jake to the vet…all I could think about was getting the things out of his face!  A friend of Jim’s told us she had spent more than $3500 at the vet’s with her two big dogs and porcupine quills!  Later, my snowplow guy told me about some woman at his camp who had been turned in to the Humane Society because she had taken quills out of her own dog!  That seems ridiculous to me!

After that, we made sure that Jake went out on the leash.  This winter, while there was snow on our back deck, we would just let him out there (leaving the gate closed).

One day in February, the kids decided it would be a good idea to let Jake run around the back yard again…we hadn’t seen Mr. Prickles for several weeks.  Down the steps he went…and stopped in his tracks, sniffing at something under the steps.  “Mom!  The porcupine’s dead under our back step!” reported Anna.

I said (a la Monty Python): “Maybe he’s not really dead…maybe he’s just restin’.”  I put on my boots, trudged down the steps, and poked Mr. Prickles gingerly with my toe.  He didn’t move.  Luckily, he didn’t stink either…it was still cold enough for his body to be frozen.

Jim came home from work, and I reported the sad news of Mr. Prickles’ demise.  “Did you do anything with him?” he asked.

“No…I don’t do dead bodies!  That’s your job!” I replied.  So Jim went out with a shovel, and heaved Mr. Prickles’ earthly remains over the fence into the woods.

A couple of weeks later, we noticed a couple of buzzards circling overhead…Dad said, “There must be something dead around here…”

RIP Mr. Prickles…


Filed under blogging, memories

Still Learning in 2010…

Taking the lead from my blogging friends, Todd Pack, Izzie Darling, and Lady Justine, here’s a list of the things I learned this year…if you want to read the full story on any of these lessons, search a keyword or click the appropriate tag in the sidebar:

1. Our dog thinks porcupine poop is dessert.

2. Hope loves Jake enough to share her toothbrush with him.

3. Homemade rolls don’t have to be “pretty” to taste good.

4. Egg cartons are not good containers to start plants indoors in.

5. Dogs love to destroy egg cartons with seedlings in them.

6. Jim’s parents are our biggest supporters.

7. Bleachers are hard things to sit on for more than a couple of hours.

8. I am really out of shape.

9. Seeing a toy from your childhood 40 years later brings you right back to that time in your life.

10. If the winter is mild enough, spinach from last year can survive.

11. Maple vinaigrette makes spinach salad a beautiful thing!

12. There’s no such thing as “too many bird feeders.”

13. Squirrels can do amazing tricks to get to a bird feeder.

14. Some people keep their toilet paper in the breadbox.

15. Mothers-in-law are often right.

16. More people in Saint John knew when the new Costco was opening than were aware of the city’s 225th birthday this year.

17. Rhubarb runs amok if left to grow unchecked.

18. Orthodontists make more per hour than most of us.

19. Sometimes plants get a lot bigger than the seed package says they will…my five-foot sunflowers ended up being seven or eight feet tall!

20. I like portobello mushroom/swiss veggie burgers.

21. Our dog enjoys eating Popsicle sticks.

22. Cosmopolitan was a literary magazine back in the early 1900’s.

23. There is only one kind of hummingbird which frequents New Brunswick: the Ruby-Throated Hummingbird.

24. I love Mint Crisp M&M’s.

25. I learned what a “fisher” was, after seeing one cross the road in front of our car.

26. Before you construct a really big birdhouse, figure out where you’re going to put it and how to get it up there!

27. My dad’s a good singer, and I’m not the only one who thinks so!

28. They sell live ladybugs at Home Depot.

29. Right after you purchase twenty tomato plants, the forty you started from seed will rally.

30. Ladybugs aren’t always red with black spots…sometimes they’re brown with cream spots.

31. As long as they’re under warranty, Vogue Optical will replace glasses which have been chewed by a dog!

32. We have a cherry tree, and eight high-bush blueberries I’d never noticed before.

33. “Beaver Tails” are too expensive to buy now.

34. Hope really likes getting muddy.

35. Wallpaper is nearly impossible to find.

36. Hummingbirds are fearless.

37. The Chinese cabbage I planted is not the “head” type.

38. How to make good piecrust…the secret is lard.

39. Some people will ignore a sign that says: “Danger – Do Not Touch.”

40. Deer can be aggressive.

41. Organic broccoli often goes to seed faster than I can harvest it.

42. I love rutabaga!

43. I found out what “purslane” looks like.

44. It’s never a good idea to put a chicken burger into a toaster.

45. I don’t hate all sci-fi…I enjoy “Eureka.”

46. You can purchase a sailboat on the Internet.

47. Ripe canteloupe is not a good lunchbox food.

48. Picking things from the garden in the dark is really difficult.

49. I suck at “Musical Chairs.”

50. The blogging community is full of incredible people…I am so happy to have made their online acquaintances!

I’m looking forward to learning more in 2011!


Filed under blogging, cooking, family, food, gardening, memories, nature, self-discovery

Introducing Jake…Guest Blogger…

"Writing skills run in my family!"

Mommy’s gone back to the bookstore today after kind of a crazy week…she asked me to tell you about yesterday.

I woke up when Grandad got up…he took me outside on the leash, but I just sniffed around looking for this guy, who was on our porch with his buddy last night, devouring our Halloween pumpkins:

Doesn't he look like fun to play with? (Anna took the picture)

I waited until Grandad went back outside to work on the woodpile before I snuck into the back kitchen and pooped on the floor.

Mommy came downstairs about 9:30, looking like something the cat drug in…oh wait, Mommy had to get rid of the cats when she moved in with Daddy…allergies and stuff!  Hope had hollered upstairs and told her how hungry she was, so of course (sucker that she is) Mommy came running down right away!  I jumped all over her and gave her kisses, so she’d know how much I loved her!  Daddy won’t let me jump on him right now…he’s afraid I’ll bump my head into his sore nose!

Mommy got out all the stuff to make Toad in the Hole for three, but then Hope said she didn’t like that kind of bagel, so she didn’t want any.  Anna was getting in the shower, so she wasn’t ready for hers yet.  Then Anna asked, instead of Toad in the Hole, if she could have French Toast Bagel, with cinnamon.  Mommy was muttering bad words while she made breakfast.  She made Daddy some tea…he was lying in the LazyBoy chair in the living room.  She got him some antibiotics too.

By the time Mommy sat down at the computer to check her e-mail and eat her breakfast, Anna was out of the shower.  She and Hope started their usual Sunday morning bickering.  It took Mommy half an hour to drink her tea…she got up so many times to referee the stuff going on in the family room!  I got to lick her plate though!  Finally, Mommy went upstairs to have a shower.

When Mommy came back down, she was in a little better mood…weird thing about humans…they don’t like being dirty like we do!  She started folding the eight loads of laundry, while Hope and Anna played on their computers, and listened to crappy music (my excuse for not helping is that I don’t have opposable thumbs – I barked at the squirrels on the deck, and begged to be let out every half hour, just so Mommy wouldn’t be bored).  Daddy was watching something on TV (but his eyes were closed).

About lunch time, Mommy went outside to the garden…I watched out the window while she pulled up rutabagas and carrots (rutabagas suck, but carrots are awesome and crunchy!).  Her nose kept running whenever she leaned over.  When Mommy came in, she had mud on her face from blowing her nose with muddy fingers (I think she had tissues in her pocket).

Mommy told Daddy that Kaylee and Scott were coming over for supper.  I love them, but I hope they don’t bring that thing!

Isn't it scary?

Mommy started making meatballs for supper…mmm!  She hasn’t made those in a long time!  She used Daddy’s ice cream scoop with the release on it, so she wouldn’t have to touch the raw meat with her fingers.  Grandad peeled and sliced the carrots…it took him forever (but not as long as it took Anna to peel and slice the potatoes for the Spinach and Potatoes Alfredo – oh, my Marmaduke – that kid is slower than Mommy!).  I hoped Mommy would forget the rutabagas, but she put them in the oven to bake.

Kaylee and Scott came about 4:30, and my worst fears were realized…it must have snuck into their car when they weren’t looking!  I barked, but it didn’t go away!  Mommy ran around the living room, picking up clean clothes off the couches and chairs, firing empty meal replacement shake bottles into the recycling, and pushing the LazyBoy back where it belonged against the wall.

Daddy settled himself back into the LazyBoy, and Mommy came in to visit with our guests while supper was cooking.  They let the thing walk and crawl around on the floor…it was picking up all the good stuff that I like to eat!  I watched from the safety of Grandad’s lap.  I never saw such a squirmy thing!  Kaylee had made chocolate chip cookies…they didn’t share those with me (a little chocolate never hurt anybody…oh, yeah…now I remember Hope’s birthday party last year and the Smore incident!).

Oh, no!  Daddy picked it up…”Watch out, Daddy!  It‘s going to whack you in the nose!”  I barked, but Mommy yelled at me.

Soon, it was time for supper…I staked out the couch in the dining room, waiting in case anyone dropped something on the floor…no luck!  “What do you keep giving that thing perfectly good carrots for…I could take those off your hands!”  Daddy slipped me some meatball when he thought Mommy wasn’t looking.  They were having pumpkin pie for dessert…I’m not a fan!

After the dishes got carried to the kitchen, Mommy put down the meatball pan and the potato dish for me to lick…amazing stuff…I love that woman!

Kaylee and Scott left with the thing right after supper…they said something about it‘s missing its afternoon nap…I was glad it was gone, so I could have my Mommy and Daddy to myself again!  The nerve of them bringing that to my house!

I jumped up on Mommy just as soon as she sat down on the couch to watch TV…I think they should do a new version of the Amazing Race with Mommies and their dogs!  I’m smarter than Nick, for sure!

Nick...I've eaten Milk-Bones smarter than he is!

After the show was over, Mommy went upstairs to bed…Daddy stayed in the LazyBoy (she wasn’t mad at him…I saw her kiss him good night!).  I wasn’t lonely last night…maybe if I’m lucky, Daddy will sleep down here every night…


Filed under family, food, gardening, satire

Of Pigeons, Puppies, and Other Pets Which Go Poop in the Night…

The first pets I remember having were a pair of turtles…I was four, I think.  They were tiny, dark green things with the little red spots on their heads.  I can’t recall what their names were.  They lived in a clear plastic bowl that didn’t smell very good most of the time.  It’s a wonder that my brother and I didn’t die of salmonella poisoning…I don’t ever remember my mom telling us to wash our hands after holding those turtles!

After the turtles went to that “great terrarium in the sky,” we got Toby, a miniature dachschund (weiner dog).  Toby lived in a pen in our basement, and was a very good barker, especially as my brother and I raced around the basement on our tricycles!  After a couple of years, he was diagnosed with distemper, and we had to put him to sleep.  I don’t think my mother missed him much!

Me and Toby...

One night, as the family ate supper, we heard a big thump…a pigeon had flown into one of our windows.  His wing was damaged, and he couldn’t fly.  My dad built him a cage in the basement with scrap wood and chicken wire.  We named our new pet “Hector Birdwell.”  I think he eventually recovered from his injuries, and we released him back into the wild…

In roughly that same time period, we discovered a rabbit nest in our back yard with four tiny bunnies in it…the mother was nowhere to be found.  We brought them into the basement (do you see a pattern here?) and named them Flopsy, Mopsy, Cottontail and Peter.  Unfortunately, none of them survived without their mother.

After we moved to Canada, we had cats…they were all outside cats…my mom didn’t allow cats in the house until we had all moved out!  At our first house, the stone house, we had Tripper.  He was a beautiful striped tomcat with a great personality.  He was my brother’s cat, mostly…he’d ride around on Jeff’s shoulder.  After we moved to Rednersville, we got Nicky (whose full name was “Nicholas Saone Georges Chat”…I was ten, and had just started taking French at school).   Nicky was a honey-coloured tabby with the personality of an angel, unless you were a rodent or a bird (those were captured and the remains left proudly in front of the back door for my horrified mom to find!).  We had Nicky for about ten years…one day, he just didn’t come home… 

My brother and I were in Towers, a local department store, one day, and saw a cage full of white mice.  Begging ensued.  My parents caved, and we each brought home one white mouse.  They didn’t last long, and soon we were back at Towers buying a pair of hamsters, Tops and Harold (named for a wonderful couple who were like grandparents to us).  Since they were male and female, one morning we discovered that there had been six hairless hamster babies born during the night.  Being novice hamster owners, we didn’t know that you’re supposed to take the father out of the cage when there are newborns…it wasn’t long before the babies “disappeared”…who knew that daddy hamsters were cannibals?  The second time Tops and Harold presented us with offspring, we relocated Harold until the babies were big enough not to be devoured by their father.

The eight hamsters lived in a large wooden box covered with a window screen.  One night, we were invited to another family’s home for dinner.  When we came home, some irresponsible child (might have been me…nobody really knows) had left the screen off the top of the box, and we had hamsters all over our house!  After several hours of searching, we’d found most of them, except for Harold (he’d probably had enough of his brood, and found some young hamster hussy to shack up with).  One of the babies had managed to fall through into the basement (they lived on our first floor), injuring his spine.  “Dickie” just dragged his useless back legs around after that.

I was fourteen when we got Pixie, a small black chihuahua/terrier mix, who was pregnant when we brought her home.  Pixie also liked to bark, and would terrorize any boy I brought home.  She must have mated with a much larger dog…the four puppies were huge, and had to be literally pulled from her straining body (she chose to give birth the day my brother and I were being interviewed by a local newspaper reporter about our community newspaper, the Rednersville Review…we kept getting up from our chairs to go over and see how the dog was doing)!  We named them Samantha (Sam), George, Chestnut (Chessie), and Cleo.  Sam and George were black with white on their paws, and the other two were a lovely light brown.  I crocheted each of them little coats to wear.

We gave away the puppies when they were eight weeks old…they all ended up to be bigger than their mother was.  Mom had Pixie long after my brother and I had moved out, and was sad to have her put to sleep after Pixie eventually lost her eyesight and control of her bowels.

My first pet after I moved out was Mandy, a dark striped tabby.  We never had the money to get her fixed, and she got nastier and nastier whenever she was in heat.  When my oldest daughter was about a year old, we decided it would be best to have Mandy put to sleep, as we were worried about her attacking the baby.

Then we got another “Nicky.”  He wasn’t nearly as nice as his namesake…he was also a blond tabby.  He didn’t like people to come into the house, and would howl at them if they came near him!  One time, Nicky accidentally got into our downstairs neighbour’s apartment, where he spent the next nine hours trapped with SEVEN other cats!  Judy was at work, and we had to wait until she got home to rescue Nicky…it took an hour-and-a-half…I ended up just throwing Judy’s comforter over him and scooping him up.  He was traumatized for weeks!

We got Rusty from my oldest daughter’s babysitter.  He was a beautiful, big ginger tabby without a brain in his head.  One night, I was in bed and my ex-husband came in to wake me up.  “Rusty’s in the living room, dead as a doornail,” he said.  “What?” I asked, in a sleepy stupor.  He repeated what he’d said.  I roused myself and followed him into the living room.  There was Rusty, lying on the floor with his head thrown back…to this day, we don’t know what killed him.  Kaylee was seven at the time…she was heartbroken!

We replaced Rusty with Buddy, another dark brown tabby.  Buddy was Nicky’s opposite…a big suck who would soak up any attention anybody gave him.  Nicky sulked for a while, but eventually accepted his new brother.

A few years later, my ex-husband and I split up, and I had to take the cats to the SPCA, as we were leaving the city.  That was one of the hardest things I’ve ever done…

Fast forward to the present…we can’t have cats in the house, since Jim and his kids have severe allergies.  Our Schnoodle (miniature schnauzer/miniature poodle), Jake, just turned two (we got him when he was eight weeks old).  He continues to amaze us, and at times, drive us crazy, but we love him anyway (to read more about him, search “Jake” in the Search box at right).

Jake, shortly after we got him in December, 2008...

Anna’s trying to talk me into getting another dog to keep Jake company, but it’s not happening…


Filed under family, memories

Excuse Me, Sir, But Your Search Engine Has Run Amok…

This is another assignment set by my friend over at Hippie Cahier…she suggested we write a post about search terms people use to find our blog.  Since I’ve been thinking about doing this already, now is as good a time as any…

1. transistor radio.  This now obsolete device was mentioned in exactly one blog post about waiting for a hurricane, and 31 nostalgic people found my blog because of it.

2. Mia Michaels.  Nine people with nothing better to do were searching for info on this ditzy dance diva, who appeared in this post because she used entirely the wrong word to describe a dancer’s performance on So You Think You Can Dance.  Mia’s catty claws were out last season…a lot of her comments were nasty and unwarranted!  Please bring back Mary Murphy (believe me…I never thought I would say that!).

Mary...we want you back!

3. how were readers digest condensed booksTwo poor souls typed this into a search engine.  Hmmm…how were they?  Heavy.  Expensive.  Good fire starters or doorstops.  The boxes they came in are handy for mailing other books though…

4. price to put cat to sleep saint john, nb.  This one mystifies me…yes, my blog is called Herding Cats in Hammond River, which is near Saint John, but it really has nothing to do with cats, and I don’t remember ever talking about putting a cat to sleep in any of my posts.  I have no idea how much that costs, and I don’t want to know.  And yet, two people found my blog this way…go figure!

5. the dog eat my homework.  This search had to have been typed by someone whose first language was something other than English (at least I hope so).  It got me two hits on this post about my Schnoover (Schnauzer/Poodle/Hoover) who eats everything in sight, including things not normally consumed.

Jake's favourite things to eat...

6. sock pile.  How bored does one have to be to Google “sock pile”…twice???  I wish I had their phone number so I could invite them over to sort them…they obviously have more time than I do…

7. deviated septum how to fix ontario.  I talked about Jim’s deviated septum in this post.  I have never tackled the issue of “how to fix Ontario.”  I don’t live there any more for a reason…

8. tapioca cheese steak like made in school.  That lunch lady needs to be fired…if she’s putting tapioca in the cheese steak, she’s doing it all wrong!  I don’t remember them ever serving cheese steak of any sort in our school cafeteria…tube steak, yes!

Hold the tapioca please...

 9. dirty girl sneaker.  Okay…this is just wrong.  I write an innocent story about a family trip to Hopewell Rocks, and this is how they find it?

10. muddy kids.  See #9.  Ditto.

11. blue jay cheerleading.  I’ve written about blue jays, and I’ve written about cheerleading, but I’ve never seen a blue jay cheerleading (it’s tough for them to find spankies small enough to fit).  Maybe some poor sap hoped that major league baseball games have cheerleaders now?  Not happening…

12. huge bean pod.  This person wasn’t just looking for any bean pod…it had to be a huge one!  Apparently, size does matter!

P.S. Did you notice how I put all the terms into the tags, so people could find them again?  Never let it be said that I’m not Internet-savvy…


Filed under blogging, rants, satire

Honourable Mention…

Wow…first the Bloody Brilliant Blogger’s Award, and now I’ve been “tagged” by Hippie Cahier, a self-described “woman of mystery” who shares my appreciation of both Todd Pack’s Messy Desk and Blurt.  I checked out some of Hippie’s blog last night…nearly peed myself laughing at this post: Confessions of a Worrier Princess

Thanks, Hippie, for tagging me…I’m supposed to answer 8 questions about myself, and then tag 8 other bloggers (who then repeat the process).  So, here it is:

1. If you could have any superpower, what would you have? Why?

I want the ability to tell when people are lying, and then be able to point that fact out to other people.  Anyone who lies for their own gain would experience an immediate change of colour to their tongue…the bigger the lie, the brighter red it would turn (husbands who lie when asked, “Does this outfit make me look fat?” would be exempt).  I think my superhero name would be Lady Lie Detector (and my costume would be tasteful, but show lots of cleavage).

This guy told his wife he was working late...it was a lie!

2. Who is your style icon?

If I had lots of money, I would like to dress like Meredith Vieira.  She dresses casually, but always looks good.  I also really like Sears’ Jessica line.  Most of the clothes I buy now come from consignment stores or Value Village.

Meredith Vieira...cool style...

3. What is your favorite quote?

This is a hard one…I am a “quote junkie.”  I’m going to give you two:

Live as if you were to die tomorrow. Learn as if you were to live forever.  Mahatma Ghandi 

I learn something new every day, even if it’s something small.  If you ever stop learning, I believe you’ve got one foot in the grave!

Well-behaved women seldom make history.  Laurel Thatcher Ulrich

I have this quote on a mug, and a tote bag.  I’ve never let men tell me what to do, and I never will!

I want this shirt!

4. What is the best compliment you’ve ever received?

“Your daughter is so well-behaved!” (and then I turn around and look behind me to see who they’re really talking to).

5. What playlist/cd is in your CD player/iPod right now?

Hmmm…don’t have an iPod…don’t know how to work one!  I often just pop a CD into my computer and listen to it.  It would probably be something folk or blues (probably one of the artists I have links to on the right side).  I’m also fond of CBC Radio 2 Concerts on Demand.

6. Are you a night owl or a morning person?

That’s an easy one: morning person.  I’m up at 5:30 during the week, and might sleep in until 8 on weekends.  If I don’t get to bed some time between 10 and 11, I’m really cranky the next day!  Being a morning person can be a problem when one sleeps with a night owl, but I’m slowly getting him “trained.”  At least he’s stopped staying up half the night!

7. Do you prefer dogs or cats? 

I like both, but I think dogs are my favourite.  Cats really don’t need us except to look after them…they usually don’t follow you around unless they want something.  Our dog is a huge suck…he always wants to be with us, wherever we happen to be!  Even if we’ve only been out of his sight for a couple of minutes, he jumps around like it’s Christmas when we come back!  “Oh, Mommy!  I’m so happy to see you!” 

This is Jake, hanging out on the trampoline with the girls...

8. What is the meaning behind your blog name?

Well, let’s see…I live in Hammond River, New Brunswick, with Jim, our four teenagers, and my dad.  Managing daily life is sometimes nearly impossible, like “herding cats” (refer to #7).  I have to tell a funny story about my friend, Renée, over at Life in the Boomer Lane:  Renée is a tiny bit technically-challenged, and was talking to her daughter in England on Skype to get her to add a link to my blog on Renée’s.  Her daughter misheard, and added a link to “Hurting Cats in Hammond River.”  We try not to do that here…

So, I’ve finished my assignment…the taggees are Maura at 36 x 37 (a recent discovery from Freshly Pressed – she’s funny and thinks I’m “delightful” – plus, she’s from Ohio!) and anyone who comments on this post and feels like doing it…I already gave most of my blogging friends a “shitload of homework” (as my friend, Nancy, at Embracing Myself so eloquently puts it) when I passed on the Bloody Brilliant Blogger’s Award!


Filed under blogging, friends, satire, self-discovery

Dear Earl…

September 4, 2010

Dear Earl:

I am writing to express my deep disappointment that you chose not to make an appearance today in Hammond River…That imposter you sent was hardly up to your standards!  Do you call that rain?  I can spit harder than that!  And wind?  It barely messed up my hair! 

We worked really hard to get ready for your visit!  I picked everything that was ready in the garden.  The kids took down everything but the frame of the trampoline…

Kids working on the trampoline...

Jim used bungee cords to lash our lawn furniture to a tree…

Our lawn furniture isn't going anywhere...

Jim also brought all the bird feeders in the house, except one, which was buzzing…he decided to leave that one out on the porch.

I had the menu all planned: tuna sandwiches and cheese and crackers (because we assumed that your presence would not have a favourable affect on our electricity).  Instead, we were forced to eat spaghetti sauce made from our garden tomatoes:

Freshly-peeled tomatoes...

Sauce cooking...

The finished product on some radiatori pasta...yummy!

The kids watched a little TV (or a BIG TV, as it turns out), something else we didn’t think we’d be able to do (we had board games on standby).  Deal or No Deal was on.  The contestant was from Alaska.  Hope asked Anna, “Does she live in a snow globe?”  When Anna broke into hysterical fits of laughter, Hope corrected herself…”I meant an igloo!” she said.  Anna assured her that the woman probably lived in a house or an apartment.

Once the rain stopped, Jake had fun with his little friend on the deck, who was helping himself to the formerly buzzing birdfeeder…

Jake watching the chipmunk fill his cheeks...

As you can see, we had a fine time without you.  I think our friendship is over, and we never want to see you again.




Filed under cooking, family, food, gardening, nature, satire

Today’s Post is Brought to You by the Letter P…

Since the letter P seems to have popped up a lot around our place in the last week, I decided it would be pleasurable to post about it:

1. Last Saturday, Jim, Anna and I went blackberry picking at my private patch on the West Side (Hope preferred to purchase packages at McAllister Place instead).  Jim ploughed purposefully through the prickles, blazing new paths.  We picked a full plastic peanut pail of blackberries in about an hour-and-a-half.  Anna was perfectly fine until she was pursuing a particularly perfect bunch of berries, lost her balance, and pitched into the prickly purgatory.  She suffered painful scratches which we later applied Polysporin to.  I pointed out that I had perspiration pouring down my posterior – Anna said that was a piece of information she’d prefer not to have been privy to.  After picking up Hope, we stopped at Jim’s parents’ to pick up a ladder.  Jim wanted to put up the new ceiling fan we’d purchased at the yard sale in St. Martins.

2. This week, I took my persnickety pupils to finish up shopping for school supplies.  Hope got purple wedge heels (Anna bought them for her), which later caused her to fall and tear a hole in her pants.  It’s a pity that it is no longer prevalent to patch jeans!  Hope also got purple sneakers (she protested when I prevailed on her to purchase size 10 – said she didn’t want to have “clown feet!”).  Jim got Hope a purple plaid bookbag, and purple plaid sneakers for Brianna at Payless.

Hope's precarious purple sandals...

Hope's purple sneakers...Size 10!


Hope's purple plaid bookbag...

3. Jake, our poodle/schnauzer got a haircut this week.  The job was somewhat patchy, as the guard kept falling off the trimmer.  He made me laugh yesterday when I caught our pooch perched on the arm of the chair perusing the kids who were playing outside on the trampoline.  His back legs were sticking straight out…I tried to photograph him, but he defeated my purpose by turning around to look at me!

Look at Jake's side just in front of his back leg...that's where the guard fell off...

4. We’ve been snacking on foods that start with the letter P this week.  Jim and I both like peanuts (Jim eats barbecue, I prefer honey-roasted).  Jim got a big bag of mixed chips – he doesn’t like pretzels, so he leaves them for the Pretzel Princess (that would be me).  I also love glasses of pineapple juice over ice.

Jim's bag of barbecued peanuts and my jar of honey roasted...

Jim's rejected pretzels...


5. Wednesday afternoon, I stopped at the post office to pick up postage stamps.  I had to pass the Big Brothers/Big Sisters book sale, so I purchased another pile of books.  We have a customer named Phil who likes all things outdoors…several of the books made me think of him.  As I passed through the City Market, I actually ran into Phil, and told him I bought books for him.  He put aside several as he was waiting for a payment to pass at the bank.  He plans to order a pricey publication on fishing when his check clears.  

6. On Wednesday, I pissed off a passionate patriotic person with something I posted.  I pouted for a couple of days…my proclivity to post was temporarily paralyzed.  I am partial to the person I perturbed, so we both apologized profusely for provoking each other and the precarious predicament has passed.  Everything is peachy! 

7. On Friday, we called the plumber because we had a leaking pipe in the kids’ bathroom.  When I talked to him on the phone, he proposed that sometimes pinholes in the pipe cause leaks.  I proclaimed that the problem was probably bigger than a pinhole, as Jim had seen quite a puddle of water in our basement.  The plumber made a big hole in the wall, and replaced the tap.  He didn’t have the right part to make it possible to have a shower.

Plumber's handiwork so far...

8. On Friday evening, I was in the garden when I perceived a couple of pink poppies peeking out amongst the profusion of plants:  these were the third and fourth ones I have seen (the first one was in Dad’s pea patch).  I did not plant poppies this year (although I purchased seeds for them).  I had been pulling perplexing weeds that I couldn’t identify in any listing of pervasive plants prevalent in our province (after poring over some publications on plant identification, I became privy to the name of another pretty weed we have: purslane).  Upon examining the leaves of these poppies, I realized they were my mystery weed!

Pink poppy in the pumpkin patch...

The plentiful purslane...


9. Remember the pumpkin that was growing on the fence?  Well, it’s even more portly now!  The biggest ones are starting to turn orange.  Our beans continue to be prolific, particularly the Blue Jay, Mennonite Purple Stripe, and Royal Burgundy beans, which all have purple on them.  It’s doubtful whether our peppers will ever produce.  We’re still waiting for the purple Brussels sprouts too.

Pumpkin on the fence...

Big pumpkin...

Purple blossoms on the Blue Jay beans...my most prolific producer...

A Mennonite Purple Stripe bean run amok...this one's about 7" long...

This Royal Burgundy bean is more purple than burgundy (turns green when cooked)...

Still waiting for the peppers to blossom...

Still no signs of sprouts on the Purple Brussels Sprouts...

10. We’re having people over for supper tonight, my little Puddin’ Pop, Elise, and her parents.  I’m looking forward to seeing her…it’s been at least three weeks!  I had planned to have pork in the Crock Pot, and mashed potatoes, but got a beef roast out of the freezer instead…I must have been preoccupied! 

Me and my Puddin' Pop, the last time I saw her on August 5th...


Filed under blogging, books, cooking, family, food, friends, gardening, satire, shopping

Twelve Things I Wouldn’t Do For All The Tea in China…

This is another blog that came from one of those “writing prompts.”  I thought it sounded kind of fun:
1. Spend more than 20 minutes doing hair and makeup.  I’m what you call “low-maintenance” when it comes to that stuff.  Gone are the days when I used to bother using appliances like curling irons.  I shower, blow-dry, spray, put on a “basic” face, and go (I wonder about people who have time to use eyelash curlers!).  One thing I always have on is earrings – I feel naked without them!

This would be an instrument of torture if someone forced me to use this!

2. Own a Hummer.  Seriously, who needs one of these to go to the grocery store?  My order for seven people fits just fine into our Dodge Caravan (and my family eats a lot!).  I might change my mind if I’m ever travelling across the desert in a war zone (which is another thing I wouldn’t do for all the tea in China).

She probably needs a Hummer to carry all her makeup...

3. Skydive (ditto on bungee-jumping).  I’m not afraid of dying…I’m afraid of not dying if something goes wrong!  A friend of mine was injured in a bad military parachuting accident – it wrecked his back, hips, and both his legs – immediate medical discharge (and several years later, a hip replacement!).  Bungee-jumping?  Please – I get dizzy on the third step of a ladder!

This is a view I want to see from safely inside the plane!

4. Drink more than two glasses of wine in one sitting.  I dislike being (or feeling) out of control, so I never get drunk – have only been drunk once in my life, and have never done it again because I didn’t like it.  I also dislike vomiting!

Two is my limit...

5. Treat pets like people.  Don’t get me wrong…I love my dog.  But he will never have his own room or his own furniture, and I will never feed him anything but dog food, Snausages, and the occasional bone.  I also refuse to talk to him in anything but a normal tone of voice (no baby talk).

I would recommend therapy for whoever owns these two canine cowboys...

6. Stay up past midnight (ditto on sleeping until noon).  I have stayed up late a few times, but have always spent most of the following day stifling yawns and trying to keep from nodding off at my desk.  I generally like to be in bed sometime between 10 and 11 (which makes sense when one gets up at 5:30 a.m.).  As far as sleeping in, nine is late for me…

Just call me "Sleepy"...

7. Clean fish or game.  I love fresh fish, but if I’m going to cook it, I definitely don’t want something that’s looking back at me.  The head and the guts have to be gone!  I really like moose meat, but bring it to me once the butcher’s done with it!

I'm not touching these until they're filleted...

8. Take a job as a day care worker.  Again, I like kids (I have them), but if I had to look after someone else’s all day long, there would be issues (likely mental ones for me)!  That job is best left up to the professionals!

This is a terrifying sight for me...

9. Brag about my latest purchase at the mall.  Given that I usually have to be coerced to go there because I hate the mall, and that the only stuff I buy there are generally things one of my children absolutely “had to” have, I don’t have anything to brag about.  I’m more likely to tell you about the apple peeler I scooped up at a yard sale for $3!

Apple Peeler...

10. Dye my hair purple (ditto on body piercings and tattoos).  I’m not a confident enough person to want everybody staring at me (I worry about having broccoli stuck in my teeth).  My hair is coloured regularly by my amazing hairdresser, Heather, who covers up the ever-increasing grey, and uses “wild” colours like blonde, caramel, and cinnamon with foils to jazz up my natural light brown locks.  I waited until I was 22 to get my ears pierced, and will never put any more holes in my body (not on purpose anyway).  My oldest daughter has a tattoo in memory of my mom, which the tattoo artist messed up, and Kaylee is not happy about.  Anna wants a tattoo for her birthday…her design features the breast cancer ribbon (a cause close to all our family’s hearts).  I’m still not crazy about her putting something permanent on her body though.

This wouldn't be a good look for me...

11. Be a politician.  I would never make it.  I hate “kissing ass” and I often speak without thinking first.  I hate long meetings, and listening to people who love the sound of their own voices. I am also incapable of lying, which seems to be a job requirement for most politicians these days (no offense to my friends who are politicians – you wouldn’t be my friends if you were liars!).

Start of a political career...

12. Wear fur (ditto on leather pants).  I personally find the idea of killing an animal just for its fur disgusting (not a problem if the whole animal is used, as it is in the North) – it also messes with the food chain.  Fur is way out of my limited budget.  I’ll never wear leather pants because I would look stupid in them, not to mention being extremely uncomfortable!

This fox fur stole is especially hideous...

What wouldn’t you do for all the tea in China?


Filed under rants, self-discovery

My Dog Ate It…Again…

I think our dog, Jake, must have been a goat in another life…there are very few items at our house that he hasn’t tried to eat at least once!

Jake the Goat...

When the kids tell their teachers, “The dog ate my homework,” it’s usually true…no matter how many times we tell them not to leave stuff out, it still happens!  He also likes to chew school supplies: pencils, pens, erasers, rulers, protractors, etc.

All our pencils look like this...

Our gadget-filled home is heaven for a canine who loves the taste of plastic: I’ve lost track of the number of headphones, earbuds, I-Pod cords, and camera connection cords that we’ve had to replace.

Another one bites the dust...

Then there was the time Hope left her glasses within Jake’s reach…that was fun to explain to the people at the optical shop!  They replaced them at no charge (still under warranty)…yay, Vogue Optical!  Sunglasses is another thing that’s destroyed with alarming regularity.

They say the "second pair is free"...I don't think this is what they meant...

The bathroom is one of Jake’s favourite places to troll for trouble…he will chew small plastic shampoo bottles, and we’ve come home more than once to find the remainders of a tampon or two in our living room.  He also enjoys plastic headbands.

These don't stay pretty for long at our house...

Jake’s pretty good about shoes (a blessing since we have four women in the house)…he’s only ruined a couple of pairs…he likes to pull out the insole and chew it…

I’m constantly reminding the kids to put their Popsicle sticks in the garbage…otherwise, we find the splintered remains everywhere!

A nice light snack...

Jake likes “live” stuff too…in the spring, he thinks it’s fun to run by the newly-sprouted peony bushes and just grab a mouthful.  He totally ruined my vegetables that I planted indoors this year…there was dirt, seedlings, and pieces of egg carton all over our family room!  I ended up replanting seeds outside later on.  And then there was the time he thought it would be a good idea to “taste” our friendly neighbourhood porcupine…https://writerwoman61.wordpress.com/2010/03/26/creature-discomforts/ (Jake had already eaten enough of Mr. Prickles’ poop on his forays into the back yard).  He also likes to play with the chipmunks and squirrels on our porch, but hasn’t been able to get close enough to sample them…

Anna snapped this picture of one of our chipmunks eating seeds the birds dropped...see him watching out of the corner of his eye for Jake?

Food of any kind is not safe to leave within Jake’s reach.  He has stolen cookies, cupcakes, fresh rolls, chocolate Easter eggs, bananas (he really doesn’t like them!), potatoes, and onions.  Hope had a bonfire at her birthday party last year, and the girls made Smores…guess who found the chocolate bar that one of the guests left on the lawn chair?  Poor Jim took Jake out on the deck and induced vomiting!

Smore...Jake definitely didn't want any more when Jim was finished with him...

Jake’s all-time favourite thing to eat is lunchbags (and the plastic food containers within).  Jim attaches his lunchbag to his laptop bag when he goes to work, and sometimes forgets to detach the lunchbag when he comes home.  We came home from a movie last night, and found that Jake had found it (again!).  The lunchbag was toast…zipper was finally broken!

Today, Jim took his lunch in a bag with this guy’s picture on it:

Donald Duck...the only manly lunchbag I could find in the house...

His co-workers should get a kick out of that…


Filed under family, food, gardening, memories, rants