Tag Archives: random stuff

Random Things I’ve Learned This Week…

For lack of something else to talk about, here’s a wrap-up of some of the amazing (and not so amazing) things I’ve learned this week:

1. How powerful the “Yada-Yada Sisterhood” is:  I’ve spoken on several occasions about how much I value the friendships I’ve made through writing this blog, especially with talented female bloggers.  So far this week, I’ve made an editing suggestion for someone’s novel (replacing a word that didn’t quite work), recommended a post written by a new friend to another friend that helped her get over some self-doubts she was having, and connected an old friend with someone whose blog I felt she would relate to.  One of my blogging friends wrote a poem about peace that was so beautiful, I put a link to it on my Facebook page.  I love that so many diverse women are part of the community that is my Blogroll!  I invite you to explore these blogs at the right side of my home page if you haven’t already…all the authors are unique, but united in their generosity to share their words with us!

2. What a great example someone can be.  Our Saint John community lost an important volunteer this past week: Paulina was 85 years old, and active with many different organizations.  If she wasn’t selling raffle tickets on a gift basket in the mall, I’d see her walking for exercise.  She never stopped – she always had something to do!  Paulina was a quiet, gracious woman who will be greatly missed by all who knew her.  I’m glad I had the opportunity to meet her!

3. How someone can injure themselves getting dressed in the morning.  I believe I’ve mentioned this before, but Anna is slightly challenged in the coordination department (she inherited all my grace and charm!).  While getting ready for the first day of school yesterday, she lost her balance while putting on her jeans, fell, and broke the zipper on her pants.  She also scraped her leg on the bathroom vanity…

4. How important it is to do things with your partner that they enjoy.  Since Jim and I started watching Eureka together, he’s commented on how much it means to him that I’m doing something I normally wouldn’t do (watch science-fiction) just to spend time with him (well, him and Colin Ferguson – see previous post). 

5. That it’s possible to buy a sailboat on the Internet.  We had a customer in yesterday from British Columbia, who was purchasing a 52-foot boat from a man in Lorneville, New Brunswick.  The plan is for he and his lady to sail it home through the Panama Canal.  He found the listing on a broker’s site on the Internet, and this was his second trip to New Brunswick to make the deal. 

6. That how hard it rains is directly dependent on how slowly the tourists in front of you are walking.  We have cruise ship passengers in town today…’nuff said.

7. That simple suppers sometimes taste the best.  Anna and Hope made supper for us on Monday night: taco salad and macaroni salad.  My dad enjoyed it and couldn’t stop talking about how good it was!  I liked it just because somebody else cooked it (and there were leftovers for lunches the next day). 

8. That my garden will produce cucumbers after all (at least one).  I found what was the first cucumber the other night, and could quite possibly be the last…the pumpkins and squash have completely taken over the patch.  I am also hopeful about peppers – they’re finally starting to blossom!  I harvested some more rutabagas too…the slugs seem to like them almost as much as I do!

9. That I respect the strikers’ right to strike, but not their right to impede my progress.  I was on the way to do some errands yesterday, and encountered a lone picketer in front of Brunswick Square where members of the Delta Brunswick Hotel staff are on strike.  As I brushed past him, he said very sarcastically, “Thanks for respecting our picket line.”  Resisting the urge to smack him, I continued on my way to the post office to mail my package.  I was so angry, I completely forgot about going to the banking machine, and picking up an item I needed at the drugstore.

10. That ripe canteloupe is not a good thing to pack in a lunch.  Jim attaches his lunchbag to the strap of his laptop bag, and it bumps against the back of his leg when he walks.  He had the unpleasant sensation of something wet on his pants when he arrived at work yesterday…the canteloupe slice I’d thoughtfully packed for him had liquified in its plastic wrap, and was all over him and his lunchbag.  Sorry, honey!

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Filed under blogging, family, food, friends, gardening, rants, satire, self-discovery

It’s All About Me…

I have been writing this blog for almost three months…many people who read it have never met me.  Some know me on a superficial level, and others are family members who haven’t seen me for years…

After receiving a negative comment about something I wrote (sent in a private e-mail), I felt it necessary to let folks know more about the “real me.” (the title is tongue-in-cheek).  Forgive me if I repeat myself from previous blogs.  These are in no particular order:

1. I am honest to a fault…I will never lie to you (and believe most other people are too – I believe most of what people tell me).  By the same token, my tongue (or keyboard) sometimes moves faster than my brain – I sometimes say things that could be hurtful without thinking about the consequences. 

2. I take everything personally…this is why I chose not to pursue journalism.  I was way too sensitive!  I want everyone to like me!

3. I see only colours and shapes without correction…I’ve been wearing really thick glasses since I was 6.  It’s a good thing my hearing is sharp!

4. I have been working since I was 10, and started my first business at age 11. 

5. I was a single mom with three children for ten years.  Other than three weeks on public assistance, I was financially independent during that time.  As a mother of girls, I have always taught them (as my mother taught me) never to depend on anyone else for money! 

6. I have a congenital hip defect that means my left leg is longer than the right one (up to 2″ difference at one point)…I went through school having to wear a lift on my right shoe.  I have had two surgeries to try to correct the problem.  The legs still aren’t the same length, but I’m not going to let them cut bone!

7. I am distantly related to the famous Beecher family on my mom’s side.  They were strong abolitionists…I have always had a strong interest in civil rights, and have a good knowledge of the Civil War time period.

8. I have trouble walking and chewing gum at the same time.  However, I’ve never broken a bone.  I did go through a glass door once when I was seven – that was five stitches, and hours of people pulling glass shards out of me with tweezers.

9. I taught myself to read at age 3…I still love to read.  I wish everyone could read!

10. I became a Canadian citizen (with the rest of my family) in 1982.  I am a dual citizen of Canada and the U.S.

11. I really like to cook and bake…I feed people I love!  I hate cleaning up afterward (I’m a terrible housekeeper).

12. I have never smoked or experimented with drugs…I like to be in control of my faculties (I’ve only ever been drunk once in my life…I didn’t like it, so I never did it again!). 

13. My family and friends are my most precious assets.  I will fight anything or anyone who threatens them!

14. I chose not to go to university, because if I’d applied for a student loan, my parents were expected to make a financial contribution to the cost of my education…they didn’t have the money, and I wasn’t asking for it.  I paid my own tuition at community college.

15. I am stubborn, sometimes to the point of stupidity (after one of the surgeries mentioned in #6, I insisted on going out for Hallowe’en with my leg in a cast from crotch to ankle – I used my crutches to haul myself up and down the 1/4- mile long driveways in our neighbourhood).  I hate asking for help (that’s the stoic German in me)!

16. I don’t have a driver’s license.  I had my temporary permit when I was eighteen, but never took the test…as an adult, I never had a car and depended on my feet, buses and taxis to get around the cities I lived.  I know I can drive, but frankly, cars go a lot faster now than thirty years ago! 

17. I spend a lot of time promoting businesses that treat me well.  But, if I am treated badly, I will never go back.  I will also tell everyone I know about my bad experience. 

18. I have spent a lot of my adult life as an activist.  I have served on the boards of many community organizations including: the Kidney Foundation of Canada, CH.A.D.D. Canada (Children and Adults with Attention Deficit Disorder), the Midtown Residents Association (Moncton), the Saint John Women’s Conference, and the Business Community Anti-Poverty Initiative.  As a business owner, I was on the boards of the Atlantic Home-Based Business Network (Moncton), and the Saint John West Business Association.

19. I am a huge procrastinator…I always crammed for exams at the last minute (and pulled off A’s!).

20. I would never intentionally hurt anyone (unless they were hurting someone in my family – see #13).

21. My favourite number is 27.  I don’t know why.

22. My sun sign is Cancer…I have pretty well all the traits associated with that sign.   

23. I find walking over bridges with moving water underneath really scary.

24. I like bugs that don’t bite.

25. I can’t stand loud, unnecessary noise of any kind. 

26. I do not attend church, and haven’t on a regular basis since I was 11.  I treat other people as I wish to be treated, and go out of my way to be helpful – I think that’s what God wants us all to do.  People who try to push their religion on me make me extremely uncomfortable, and I avoid them if I can.  My beliefs are my business (as long as they “do no harm” – there are a lot of abhorrent things done in the name of organized religion).

27. It bothers me a great deal that people who steal in North America often receive longer prison sentences than those who hurt or kill other people.

28. I don’t like to sit and do nothing.  I like to be busy all the time, even if it’s just reading a book.  I don’t react well to my schedule being derailled by events beyond my control.

29. I am up at 5:30 every morning (I sleep until 8 on weekends), and in bed by 11:00 at the latest…I have always been a morning person.

30. I am an organ donor.  One of my cousins passed away in the early 90’s after waiting too long for a liver transplant.  I would urge all of my readers to consider being a donor.  There are far too many people waiting for far too few organs…you won’t need them after you’re gone!

I hope that this random list has helped you to get a better picture of what makes me tick…thank you for taking the time to read it!

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Weekly Wrapup…

Tough to believe it’s Friday already…another week is almost finished…have only posted once this week, but I’ve been BUSY (honest!):

1. On Monday, I took Anna to find a bathing suit top…said bathing suit top had to be UNDERWIRE due to Anna’s genes from her father’s side of the family (let’s just say the women on my side of the family tend more towards pear-shaped).  Finding the perfect one took quite a while…it cost more than the last THREE complete bathing suits I bought for myself (keeping in mind that the kids spend my money so fast, I probably bought those suits over a 15-year period)!  Jim patiently waited on a bench in the mall while we completed our purchase…it took most of my cash (including coins) because the debit/credit machine wasn’t working…Murphy must have bought his bathing suit there just before we arrived…

2. We had Kaylee, Scott and Elise over for supper on Monday night…they had been away on vacation, and I hadn’t seen my “puddin-pop” in more than two weeks.  She is crawling now, and working on pushing her first two teeth through…can’t believe she’s nine months old already! 

Scott, Elise, and Kaylee on vacation...

3. I had a job interview on Tuesday…I felt it went well, but I haven’t heard anything yet…I’m hoping the guy’s as big a procrastinator as I am, and just hasn’t gotten around to calling me yet (I can dream, can’t I?)…

4. As I was coming back from the interview, I saw a woman my age wearing white overalls…apparently she didn’t get the memo that overalls on anyone over the age of 5 is not cute.  Does she have any idea how big her butt looks in those?

5. Tuesday night, I went out to check my garden: my squash plants were covered with cucumber beetles!  I normally like bugs, but not when they’re chewing holes in perfectly good leaves!  I sprayed them with soapy water, but they were back munching away within two hours!  I checked the Internet and found that I need to get some “good bugs” called “beneficial nematodes.”  In the course of my research, I also found that you can get 3 (count ’em) 1/3- cup bags of live ladybugs at Home Depot for $20 (ladybugs won’t help me with my problem, though).

There's about a dozen of these guys on each hill of my squash...

6. The rest of my garden was doing okay…was delighted to find that my new plantings of cucumbers and pumpkins were up, although the cucumber beetles may start on those soon too!  We’ve been eating Dad’s spinach from last year for the last two weeks…yummy!  The peonies and the wild roses have “popped” too.

7. As mentioned in previous posts, people are still bringing us books they want to get rid of faster than we can process them…in the past two weeks, I think I’ve priced more than 3 dozen boxes of books (some good, others a complete waste of time – seriously, have these people seen our store?).  I have 23 boxes of books that I can touch sitting in my chair at my desk (all done – waiting for people to come and pick up their money/rejects, and then the good ones will be processed and put away – wishing the “storage fairy” would do something about our little problem soon).  Dad and I have an appointment to visit a colleague’s warehouse on Sunday…he’s getting out of the business, and trying to unload his stock as quickly as possible (this is at least Dad’s fourth trip to the warehouse and my second – getting some good stuff).

8.  On Wednesday, I walked down to Harbour Station to pick up vouchers for the kids to go to the midway…got a couple of extras for my friend Brad’s kids…they’re coming to visit from Ontario next weekend!  We’ve got a lot of cleaning to do before they get here!

9.  My blogging friend, Jane, got back from her stepson’s wedding on Wednesday…she wrote a beautiful (and hilarious) post about the whole affair (http://planejaner.wordpress.com/2010/06/17/getting-them-married-grab-a-soda-and-a-sandwich-maybe-a-cookie-this-is-a-long-post/), which I greatly enjoyed reading last night.

10.  We stopped at Co-Op garden center last night to look for those “good bugs.”  No luck, but I did get some tomato/pepper/chive plants since I don’t think my inch-high ones are going to grow fast enough to produce anything before our very short growing season is over.  We tried Brunswick Nurseries too…they suggested Halifax Seeds (we’ll go there on the way home).  Brunswick Nurseries has added a couple of new critters to their domestic petting zoo (they made me think of my blogging friend, Nancy, who has 100 of these guys!):

Coffee and Cream - Two Baby Alpacas

Jim and I want to take Elise to see them soon!

11. For supper last night, we barbecued sausages, hot dogs and veggie burgers…I love the Portobello Swiss ones I’ve been getting at Superstore!  We also had our very first salad from the garden – a combo of lettuce, mixed greens, spinach, and tat soi…some of the leaves were a little holey (more bugs!), but it tasted amazing!  Leftovers in our lunches today…

12. I was out in the garden until after nine last night putting in my new plants.  Will have to get some more eggshells out to protect the tomatoes from our huge slug population!  I planted the chives in a broken terracotta pot, which I set between two of the peony bushes.  The fact that there’s dirt spilling out the side doesn’t bother me a bit.  When I was putting my hoe away, I noticed a bird feeder in the garage that Jim hadn’t discovered yet – it’s just like the one he put up a couple of weeks ago.  We’ve lost the suet feeder…it’s dropped into the bushes by our back steps, and despite his best efforts, Jim can’t find it (it is a bit challenging searching through unpruned roses/raspberry canes!).  Here’s a picture Jim took of the new feeder, which has had as many as six goldfinches perched on it at once:

Our Pretty Yellow Birds...

Tomorrow, we’re off to see the New River Beach Sand Sculpture competition…it’s my first time there…we’ll probably stop in Pennfield for blueberry shortcake too.  I haven’t decided what we’re doing for Father’s Day yet…will try to post some new garden photos later.

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Monday Mishmash…

The Queen of Procrastinators strikes again…I have let several days go by without posting…I apologize for the delay.  Here’s what I’ve been up to:

1. We celebrated Dad’s 73rd birthday on Wednesday night…his actual birthday was the 28th, but not everyone was going to be around on Friday, so we moved it up.  We had lasagna, and German chocolate cake for dessert (I bought the cake – it was good, though!).  Hope gave him a “Grandad” mug she bought with her own money, and Jim and I ordered a set of Ron James DVD’s for him (which haven’t arrived in the mail yet).  For those who don’t know who Ron James is, he is a hilarious Canadian comedian from Nova Scotia, who once visited our store (he collects “Big/Little” books).  He’s kind of a Canadian version of Robin Williams – ADHD on wheels.  Check out his website:  http://ronjames.ca/

The Birthday Boy...

2.  Wednesday night was the first night we saw hummingbirds at our feeders – we have determined that we have at least three of them: a pair of ruby-throated hummingbirds (a male and a female), and possibly a second female, but she has different colouration.  Anna saw all three at the same time once.  Here are some photos Jim took:

Male Ruby-Throated Hummingbird...

The Mystery Guest...

Female Ruby-Throated Hummingbird...

3. When I went out to water the garden on Wednesday night, I was delighted to discover that some of the seeds I’d planted on the weekend had sprouted…several kinds of lettuce and greens were up!  Unfortunately, there seems to be a bug that has something against my yellow beans – they have been chewed down to the nub in most cases – it started with holes in the leaves, then the leaves disappeared.  I didn’t really like yellow beans anyway…

4.  I spent most of Thursday and Friday at the store assessing books.  We are to the point where I have no idea where we’re going to put the next bunch that walks in the door…my chair is surrounded by boxes now (I have eight boxes to put away!).  We need a room-stretcher (and more shelves).  Hope was off school on Friday, so we had Chinese food for lunch.

5. Saturday morning, Jim and I and the girls got up early and headed out for the Quispamsis Town-Wide Yard Sale (Devin is not a shopper, so he enjoyed some extra hours of sleep).  We had picked up the map at the grocery store a couple of weeks ago, and I had carefully mapped out a logical route (which Jim estimated would take in excess of eight hours to complete – we had 4-and-a-half!).  Jim got a palm sander for $10.  I found a beautiful painting of a blonde cocker spaniel that looked like the one my dad had when he was a kid (although Dad said the dog in the painting looked “too intelligent” to be his dog).  I also got a lovely art deco painting for a dollar (I will take it to my friend, Amy, to have it reframed).  The kids picked up a few small things too – Hope was happy to get a karaoke machine for $3 to continue her singing.  About noon, we started smelling something burning – our van had an issue with its brakes, so we dropped it off at home and picked up the car instead.  Our last stop was an estate sale: they had lots of old books, and I bought a boxfull.  I totalled up my finds today – for the $25 I spent, I got over $725 worth of books!  Not a bad haul…

6. We stopped and picked up a new hose and nozzle on Saturday before going home…it made a big difference when I watered my garden on Saturday night!  Talk about “more power!”  A package of cinnamon buns also forced its way into my cart at grocery – have no idea how that happened!  We had pizza and some of last year’s spinach (fresh from the garden!) for supper – nothing tastes as good as just-picked veggies!

7.  I spent Sunday morning trying to get caught up with laundry (which has been badly neglected since I’ve been gardening in the evenings).  I washed and dried five loads, and folded about eight (still some there from last week).  Poor Anna informed me that she didn’t have any shorts that fit (funny…her pile of clothes was bigger than anybody’s…).  In between loads, I made clam chowder and started rereading “The Pilot’s Wife” by Anita Shreve – it is our next book for book club, and since I read it last September, I felt the need to read it again (especially since I’d suggested it – I thought I should at least know the character’s names when we talk about it!).  I loved it the first time!

The Pilot's Wife...

8. Sunday afternoon, Jim and Anna and I went to see the Shrek 4 movie: Shrek Forever After.  I enjoyed the soundtrack, and there were a couple of funny lines, but it didn’t come close to the first one.  One of my friends commented about how “dark” the movie was.  I got some new Mint Crisp M&M’s at the dollar store to eat at the movie…they were yummy!  We saw a double rainbow on the way home…

M&M Mint Crisp...Mmmm...

 9. I was happy to discover last night that I had several more new seedlings in the garden…morning glories, sunflowers, cabbage, Chinese cabbage, brussels sprouts, a few tomatoes, and a couple varieties of winter squash.  I expect the sweet peas and pumpkins to be up soon.  No sign of carrots, peppers, broccoli or cauliflower yet (except for carrots, these are seeds I replanted directly in the garden last weekend after Jake destroyed the ones I planted in the house).  The peas and broad beans are doing well, as are the pole and bush beans.  My weeding last night was interrupted by a brief thunderstorm…I wish it had rained a little longer…it’s been dry.

10. This morning on the way to town, we saw a “fisher” cross the road in front of the car…it’s kind of like a big weasel, and apparently is the only animal able to eat porcupines without suffering any ill effects from the quills (they also eat cats and small dogs, as well as mice, squirrels, and rabbits).  The one we saw was about three feet long…neat to see!

A fisher climbing a tree...don't try to pet this guy...

I continue to enjoy the posts my blogging sisters are writing lately…it amazes me how much we seem to have in common with each other!  They are amazingly gifted writers – each has her own special style.  I look forward to Jane and Nancy’s return to regular posting…I miss you girls!

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Pianos, Projectors, Pop-Up Toasters, and Pigs…

Sometimes, I really don’t have much to write about, so I improvise…I make a daily visit to the “Today in History” website (read why by clicking here: https://writerwoman61.wordpress.com/2010/04/06/tuesdays-twinkies-teflon-and-tv-dinners/).

May 27th was an epic day when it comes to inventions/firsts that impact ordinary folks like me: 

1. In 1796, a guy from New Jersey named James Sylvanus McLean received the first U.S. patent for “an improvement in piano fortes” (the first piano-like instrument in the country was known as a “spinet” and had been built some 27 years earlier by fellow Jersey boy, John Harris).  Some of my happiest childhood memories centre around the piano…it was the first instrument I learned to play (see https://writerwoman61.wordpress.com/2010/04/19/sounds-that-soothe-my-soul-part-1-the-first-20-years/).  My mom enjoyed playing it too.  I believe ours was a Baldwin Hamilton studio piano…it looked a lot like this one:

Piano...

2. In 1895, a film camera/projector, the Kineopticon, was patented by inventor, Birt Acres.  Many years later in the early 1970’s, my mom decided to take a film course at Loyalist College in Belleville, Ontario.  My dad was the star of her first short film…it was based on Henry David Thoreau’s Walden.  I remember going with them to film it at our country property near Millbridge, Ontario.  Dad read this famous quote as he narrated the film: “I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived.”  Later, there was another incident involving Mom and a slide projector.  She was having an art show of her abstract work, and often gave a live presentation as well.  One night, the audience got an “animated” show, as the slide projector overheated and the image onscreen bubbled, melted and disintegrated before our eyes!  Neat effect, but totally unplanned!

Kineopticon Camera...it's a good thing cameras are smaller now...

3. In 1919, Charles Strite patented the pop-up toaster, called the Toastmaster.  What a great idea!  Imagine the people holding their bread hopefully over the fire trying to get it toasted evenly!  Our first toaster was a shiny chrome model which did two slices at once.  Mom used to mix sugar and cinnamon and sprinkle it on our toast.  I’ve traded up since then…when Jim and I moved in together, he had a four-slice toaster with a bagel setting (which I keep forgetting to adjust when I do regular bread!).  With seven people in the family, that larger capacity is a handy thing to have!

Instruction book for Strite's machine...

4. In 1930, masking tape was invented by Richard Drew.  Where would we be without it?  We’d have paint everywhere it wasn’t supposed to be, for one thing.  I also remember using rolled-up pieces of masking tape to de-cat hair my clothes when I was younger.  Another handy use is for price tags for junk at yard sales.

Masking tape is a lot fancier now than it used to be...we only had one colour...beige...

5. In 1933, Walt Disney released their animated film “Three Little Pigs.”  That book was the first book I learned to read, at age 3.  I remember the wolf’s line: “I’ll huff, and I’ll puff, and I’ll blow your house down!”  Mean old wolf…the pigs weren’t scared though…remember their song “Who’s Afraid of the Big Bad Wolf?”

This book was released at the same time as the movie...

6. In 1960, Baltimore Oriole Clint Courtney was the first catcher to use the oversized catcher’s mitt.  I found it fascinating that this development only happened the year before I was born…I thought it was a lot older!  There’s a fun profile of Courtney here: http://weblogs.baltimoresun.com/sports/thetoydepartment/2009/05/

Here's Courtney with his mitt...

7. In 1961, the first black light was sold.  This brings me back to record stores in the seventies, and the black light posters hanging on the walls.  I never bought one – I thought they were ugly, and I’m pretty sure my parents wouldn’t have bought me a black light, even if I asked for one.

I might have gone for this one if I'd seen it in 1976...

  I hope you’ve enjoyed this random trip through history…

 

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Wackadoo Wednesday…

I’m borrowing the word, “wackadoo” from my friend, Jane, not because she’s “wackadoo”, but because she is the first person I ever heard use this particular word!

I apologize for the long spaces between postings in the past week…we’ve been busy both at home and at the store, so I haven’t had nearly as much computer time (or thinking time) as I would have liked.  I think this posting will be another collection of random items:

1. My middle daughter, Anna, got braces last week…her 12-year molar on the bottom is fused to the bone (she’s almost 16), and needs to be coaxed through, as is one eyetooth on the top.  After the orthodontist explained that leaving things alone could lead to more serious long-term issues, I talked to Anna’s father, and we made the decision to cough up $4000 for braces (his insurance is covering the other $2000 – hooray for orthodontic coverage!).  Unfortunately, Anna grinds her teeth at night.  Braces were put on Tuesday, and by Thursday, she’d ground the little blue rubber cushions at the back of her mouth down to mere nubs (these cushions were to keep her from biting down on her bottom bracket with her top teeth and breaking it)!  Back we went, where the technician installed BIGGER cushions.  Those were totalled by Sunday, and since Monday was a holiday, I had to wait until Tuesday to call the orthodontist again.  Our appointment is tomorrow…maybe they could install stainless steel cushions this time?

They don't look like they cost $6000, do they?

2. As previously mentioned, this past weekend was a holiday weekend (for Americans who are unaware, we celebrate Queen Victoria’s birthday the third Monday in May).  The weather was amazing – warm but with a nice breeze to keep from getting too sweaty!  I spent all day Saturday in the garden, except for a couple of hours we went grocery shopping and running errands.  I enjoyed listening to two birds having a conversation from two different trees – couldn’t see either of them, but it was fun to listen!  I hoed, pulled weeds, and finished planting (and replanting) all the vegetables.  At the top of the garden, I planted a full row of sunflowers I’m excited about – they only grow about 5 feet tall, but they come in 5 or 6 different colours – they’re called “Autumn Beauty.”  Beside the fence, I planted half a row each of sweet peas and morning glories – I’m hoping they’ll climb on the fence.  The flowers will be visible from our driveway out front too.

I hope my sunflowers are as pretty as these...

3. While I was in the garden, Anna was painting Jim’s big birdhouse on the side porch – it’s absolutely gorgeous!  Will post pictures later…flowers and bugs and leaves, oh my!  There’s a potential for 24 bird homes inside. 

4. When I woke up Sunday morning, I was pretty sore, but put on my “holy pants” (see this post for a better description:  https://writerwoman61.wordpress.com/2010/04/05/getting-down-to-the-nitty-gritty/) and an old T-shirt, and went back outside to water our garden.  The outside faucet is at the front of the house, and the garden is at the side of the back yard.  This necessitates dragging the hose several hundred feet around the corner and through the gate.  Combine this with a nozzle that definitely isn’t worth the $10 I paid for it (a 3-year-old boy could pee with more force!), and 25 feet of useless “coiled” hose at the end of my 100 feet of heavy duty hose, leaking connectors everywhere…let’s just say I was ready to spit nails after the 45 minutes that exercise took!  I stripped off my sodden clothes, and went to town to pick up Hope at her dad’s, and do a couple more errands.  Saturday was Kaylee’s birthday, and I had invited her and her family over for supper on Sunday- I needed to pick up a gift card for her at the mall.  When I arrived at the agreed-upon store, there were signs up everywhere saying they were closing…after a frantic phone call to Kaylee, she suggested I just get a mall gift card instead.  The “errands” took about three hours, and I still hadn’t made supper yet!  I also wanted to make a strawberry-rhubarb pie for Kaylee’s birthday (cake doesn’t seem to disappear very fast around our house).  Instead of the lasagna I’d promised her, we agreed on BBQ – I tried some portobello mushroom/swiss veggie burgers I bought – they were yummy!  Everybody else had steak, hamburgers, hot dogs or sausage.  I made a huge potato salad too.  With store-bought crust, the pie turned out to be delicious.  My granddaughter was dressed in her new spring dress, which is totally useless for demonstrating her newfound crawling ability, but cute as a button!

Elise - 8 months old...

5.  Jim’s daughter, Brianna, got home late Sunday night after a whirlwind school trip to Quebec City.  She had a great time!  Brianna brought me home some little cheese spreaders with bumblebees on them – the kids were quite amused when I called them “ladybugs” – I was a little tired…

6. Monday was another beautiful day…however, I wanted to make spaghetti sauce.  I watered the garden again, and then spent the rest of the afternoon in the kitchen.  We were invited to Jim’s mom’s for his brother-in-law, Chris’ birthday supper…we enjoyed another BBQ with Jim’s whole family and the birthday boy’s parents.  Jim’s mom had made baked beans, which I don’t get to eat at our house because Jim doesn’t like them!  Shirley told me that the recipe had come from an 82-year-old man at their church…it was amazing!  Jim’s dad offered us a raised bed from their back yard, which I’ll use to put my perennials in.  Afterward, Chris’ parents followed us home and got some rhubarb from our yard.  Then I built a lasagna with the spaghetti sauce, and fell, exhuausted, into bed.

Chris and his dog, Bella...

7.  Anna woke me up from a sound sleep about 2 a.m.  Our dog, Jake, had been “acting funny” for about three hours, and had just thrown up.  I went downstairs and discovered that he was completely out of water – I had no idea how long it had been that way.  I curled up on the loveseat, where I dozed for the next 2 1/2 hours.  Jake seemed to settle down after that.  We still don’t know what was wrong with him, although I suspect the part pieces of Popsicle sticks I’ve been finding around the living room have something to do with his discomfort…

8.  Tuesday morning, I went in to the bookstore, photographed three boxes of books, edited and uploaded the photos to the net, and then appraised four more boxes of books.  We have more books than we have space for…I have no idea where we’re going to put them all!  Getting some good stuff though…was fun to see issues of Cosmopolitan magazine from the early 1900’s – nary a mention of sex – it was actually a literary magazine then!

February, 1909 Cosmo...What...no cleavage?

9.  Tuesday was also my mom’s birthday – she died in September, 2007.  I wish she could have met Jim, his kids and especially her first great-granddaughter, Elise!  I miss her every day, although I’m happy she’s not in pain any more!

Mom...

10.  Today, I’m at the store.  I appraised two more boxes of books, and Anna helped me hook up a new printer that I bought.  I have a new project which I’m excited about and will talk more about later.   We’ve had two more people offer us books today – we don’t have room! 

I’ve enjoyed reading my blogging sisters’ work this week – some deep thoughts there – check out the links at the right…I’ll try to get back here on a little more regular basis, but if the weather’s nice, I’ll be outside!

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

Post #50…Random Observances…

I’ve been writing this blog for almost two months now, and as my title suggests, this is Post #50.  I feel like I should deliver some amazing wisdom to celebrate this momentous occasion (I have a fondness for statistics).  Since I’m not feeling particularly wise this morning, I think I’ll do something else…

1. A friend observed earlier this week that more people in Saint John were aware of the opening date for the long-awaited Costco than the fact that our city celebrated its 225th birthday on May 20th…I wonder how many people know that we are the oldest incorporated city in North America?  This is indeed a sad commentary…

Our current Saint John logo...

2. My father called himself a “numbnuts” yesterday…I didn’t have tape running…the man never admits when he’s wrong!

3. While watching the season finale of “The Middle” last night, the mother, Frankie, decided that she and Mike were “lazy parents” because their kids were having trouble at school…Mike countered with, “Maybe we’re not lazy parents…maybe we just got stuck with crappy kids!”  I’m with Mike on that one.  No offence to my “perfect” children (but when you forget your homework, it’s not my fault!).

Frankie and Mike's "Crappy Kids"

4. My peas and beans are up in the garden…hooray!  One of the squirrels has been digging in the big lettuce pot…bad squirrel!  Herbs are still hanging on…

5. My beloved Jim has become obsessed with birdfeeders…we have 2 regular ones, a suet feeder, and three hummingbird feeders on our back deck!  The squirrels and the starlings are having a field day!  Jim is also working on finishing a huge birdhouse that his dad started years ago…we may need heavy equipment to hoist it into the tree where he plans to put it!  He and Anna are getting some good photos though…

Anna took this one before the feeder got moved to the deck...

6. Our rhubarb is ready…wishing I knew how to can things…maybe I’ll make some pies (with pre-made pie crust, of course).  Anybody within driving distance is welcome to come and help themselves (to the rhubarb, not the pies!)…

How come my pie never looks like this?

7. My daughter, Kaylee, wants to reclaim her elliptical machine, which she refused to come and get when we were moving…it has resided in our back kitchen for the last year-and-a-half…there are at least ten boxes which have to be relocated before it’s going anywhere…oh, joy…

8. We were folding another massive amount of laundry last night…Jim repeated his idea of making the kids do their own laundry (while he was matching the full garbage bag full of socks).  I’m starting to think maybe he has a point…with three teenaged girls, it’s impossible to keep track of whose stuff is whose!  Another observance – when folding a towel, I fold it vertically first, and then horizontally.  My dad seems to think the other way is right…it’s really not helpful if I have to fold it again.  Just another peri-menopausal moment of rage…you’re welcome!

I need this guy to fold my towels...

9. We have overnight company coming from Ontario in about a month…wondering how we’re going to have the house in a “presentable” state by then…where did I leave that magic wand?  Oh…it’s over there, under the big pile of crap!

10. I rediscovered pesto and feta cheese recently…really enjoy spreading it on a tortilla and popping it under the broiler for a couple of minutes…discovered that writing a blog and cooking at the same time can cause the smoke alarm to go off…

Pesto...food of the gods...

11. I bought the new cookies with blueberries and brown suger – you know, the ones they’ve been advertising on TV like crazy?  They were on sale at Shopper’s…they are as good as they say…and they even have flax in them!  Delicious, and healthy too (at least that’s what I keep telling myself as I shove them down my throat, six at a time – they are kinda thin!).

You have to try these...

12. I might be getting that bike I was wishing for (https://writerwoman61.wordpress.com/2010/04/27/fear-of-falling-terror-on-two-wheels/).  Jim’s dad says there’s one in their shed they’re not using…yay!  I have to work off those cookies…

Thank you for taking the time to read my blog, and I hope you continue to enjoy it as much as I love writing it!

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Filed under gardening, memories, rants, self-discovery