Sunday, September 30, 2012

Feelin' the Love

Bliss. I think I need one of these for my garden.
Every few years, Steve and I take a weekend away to do some strategic planning. I think the first time we did so was when he came back from his tour in Sarajevo.

These are important sessions for us. They restore the couple connection that can be stretched thin, with both of us working, travelling for our jobs, four kids (even though two have left home, we still worry about and support them). They are especially important as we face major milestones in our life, as we are now.

In a little less than two years, Steve will retire from his 35-year career in the Canadian military. At 18, he signed up to serve his country and he never looked back. Three years later, I signed on for the ride.

When he retires, we both will say goodbye to a way of life. This past week, we attended a seminar on preparation for retirement. It raised a lot of good questions:
  • where will we live: city, country, snowbirds?
  • will we retire at the same time?
  • how much travel will we do?
  • what will our finances be like?
  • how will we meet the social, intellectual, and identity needs that are currently fulfilled through our careers?
All excellent questions. So we decided to use the weekend to discuss them. We had already planned a trip to Kingston and Gananoque.

Victoria Rose Inn, Gananoque. Gananoque has a population of 5,400 and is about half an hour's drive from Kingston.
My friend's daughter thinks it looks like a castle. It sure felt that special!
Breakfast, as always, was scrumptious, though it did not have any of the bacon we had smelled the night before; disappointing. Who ate that bacon? Where did it go? They are contributing to the global bacon shortage!
Morning snack. They let me take this to my room after breakfast.
They also stocked the guest pantry with jujubes and Twizzlers.
We started in on our homework after that, then walked into town and continued over lunch. And dessert.
Pecan pie and real root beer.
By then we had pinpointed some areas that still need some discussion and thought, and were glad that we still have many months to consider them.

Walking back to our inn, we passed a teeny, tiny art boutique and fell in love with a few jewels.
Don't these just scream, "HAPPY!"?
I may have a "thing" for glass art.
We spent the afternoon relaxing, and then we got all dressed up to go to a gala!

I wore gold ear rings and bracelet,
and had golden nail polish, clutch, and shoes.
(I never know what to do with my hands
in pictures.)
I felt like a princess in my red dress, alongside my dashing soldier. 

The gala was a fundraiser for a museum affiliated with Steve's branch of the military (Communications and Electronics branch, since you asked). Steve is the branch advisor, so he has a modest figurehead role.

As part of the fundraiser, there was a silent auction. Loosened up by a glass or two of champagne, we started by bidding on three packages. We happily withdrew from the third one. Then I saw someone pick up a pen to outbid us on one of the remaining two, so I upped my bid on the third one on our list. 

Moments later, I discovered that she had looked at our bid and changed her mind. Oops. 

So we ended up "winning" two lots and walking away several hundred dollars poorer. But, we have some excellent winter parkas, a new counter-top convection oven, and a free dinner at a microbrewery in Kingston, along with a night in a suite.

So it was all good, in the end.

Having finished all our homework on Saturday, we had a slow morning wandering the gardens at the B&B.

This wee fellow was trying valiantly to open the bud.
A brief spot of sunshine.
This retaining wall was probably 100 years old - and was beautiful -
but it did not look like it would be around much longer.
A happy, little flower.
So that was our beautiful weekend. We're back home now, in the thick of things. I'm procrastinating about laundry and grocery shopping. It'll all get done eventually. Probably before we retire, but no promises.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Hair Wars: Accidentally Annointed

I once learned a valuable tip from my mother-in-law when I asked her how she kept her skin so youthful. She told me that, no, she didn't use any expensive products, but she does use baby oil every time she takes a bath.

Now, if I had started following this path earlier in life (particularly when we lived in desiccating Colorado!) my skin might be something to write home about.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Domestic Bliss

I am a cancer which, if you put stock in such things, explains my homebody inclinations.

I find great satisfaction in beautifying my home and spending time there. I know people who are somewhat the opposite, who can think of a million better things to do with their time, creativity, and money.

Yesterday, therefore, was my kind of Sunday. Steve had defrosted a turkey, just because, and I made a delicious stuffing with nutty multigrain bread, lots of real butter, and fresh herbs from the garden. (A garden which I bribed my son to make for me.)

In the evening, I finished doing the laundry my way, and continued reading the captivating novel I have on the go (one of those novels that is so engrossing that you find yourself thinking about it throughout the day).  One of our daughters came home for dinner, too, which made it special.

And this evening, we made a turkey pot pie with more fresh herbs, Steve's special biscuit crust, and asparagus tossed in with the meat and gravy. Yum!

As always, there was some biscuit dough left over, so I had to make some cinnamon roll (see the picture above, and recipe here).

Brian commented, that one of the best things about turkey dinner isn't the slow-roasted, succulent meat itself, but all the other things that go with it, including the "leftovers."  I put leftovers in quotation marks because, really, it feels more like a whole new meal. It's like calling lasagne a leftover just because you're using a sauce that you made a double batch of the day before.

I'm sitting here almost purring, so contented am I.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Airing Dirty Laundry

It may come as no surprise to you that I can be a little OCD about laundry, given how (manageably) OCD I am about so many other things in my life. I'm just a wee bit . . .  particular.

As our household has gotten smaller (our two daughters have now moved out), I have finally taken back the chore of doing laundry. During the years when it was one of the children's chores, I tolerated a more "normal" standard of laundering.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Technical Difficulties

We have five computers in this house of only four people. Two of those are my laptops. Neither of the laptops currently functions. This is what my current laptop looks looked like:
Before I performed surgery.
The screen flickers unless the lid is opened to juuuuuust the right angle. That angle keeps increasing, to the point that it had to be opened to its maximum angle. Otherwise, it performs beautifully and has everything I need in terms of performance.

On my previous laptop, the screen is just white. At that time, two years ago, I was told it would cost $300 to repair. I opted for a new laptop.

Earlier in that same laptop's life, the monitor had flickered quite a bit, so I sent it for repairs. It came back with the hard drive wiped. Why????

This time, I figure I have nothing to lose. Rather than risking an overzealous repair or buying a new laptop, I decided to take a stab at resurrecting the machine. What could possibly go wrong?

So I watched the videos about how to replace a screen.

Looks pretty straightforward, though somewhat fiddly. But, heck, I can do stained glass! I can do cross-stitch on fine linen! I can do delicate beading! This should be a cinch!

I ordered a screen for about $70 from It arrived quickly, looking like this.

Before I started, I backed up all my files.

I encountered my first difficulty almost as soon as I removed the battery.
The critical screw is positioned conveniently behind the base.
I called in the expert: my son, Peter.
He's even more dexterous than I.
He even comes with a fancy tool kit.
From when he helped out on tech support at high school.
The tech staff gave him this kit as his graduation present.
But it was to no avail. In the end, we found more elaborate instructions that involved taking the entire base apart. Whereupon, we found this.
A bundle of wires that twists and wraps through each of the two hinges.
(Doesn't the motherboard look pretty?)
At this point, we continued with replacing the screen as we were already so close. But when we did, the display was exactly as it had previously been.

Evidently, and as I'd kind of suspected all along, the wires are frayed. What I didn't realize earlier is that you can actually order a "cable bundle." I had assumed that if the wires were gone, I'd have to find someone with a soldering iron and magnifying glass. Wrong.

So the laptop is currently in several pieces in the bubble-wrap bag, waiting for me to order the cable bundle.

All of this explains why I haven't blogged in a whole week. I don't like blogging via my iPad. Tonight, I've borrowed a work laptop so I can edit the photos and write an actual post.

I do hope to get the danged cables and put the whole thing back together again, at which time I'll finish this story and (I hope) get back to blogging more regularly.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Man of my Dreams

As I awoke this morning, I dreamt of babies (again) and then my new (dream) husband [Steve and I were no longer together for some reason] turned to me, held me close and whispered, "Would you, would you . . . have another baby? Because," he leaned in even closer and almost apologetically offered, "I love you."

Ah, he knows the way to this menopausal woman's heart!

I melted and said that of course I would have another child! Of course!

It wasn't until I awoke that I considered who my new lover was.

William H. Macy

Yup. One of the least attractive mugs on the planet. Possibly least likely to be asked to perform without a shirt on. (Next to Robin Williams, of course.)

The subconscious mind is a very, very weird space.

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Good While it Lasted

'Way back in May I wrote a post here about my out-of-control appetite. And in June I mentioned that Victoza, while helping lower my blood sugar, had also suppressed my appetite, a very welcome side effect.


Here we are three months later. My blood sugar is doing much better (morning blood sugar is now 6.8 mg/dL, which is very close to healthy normal), but my appetite is ramping back to [my] normal. I'm back to eating independently of any sense of hunger.

Example: the other day at work, we had a farewell lunch for one of our colleagues. I ate salad and a sandwich. Then we had cake to celebrate another colleague's birthday (and the birth of his first child). I ate a slice.

Then I went out for coffee with my boss. I ate a biscotti. 110 calories, 15 gm carbohydrates, 0 nutrients.

Why? I certainly wasn't hungry! But as I stood before the display case of pastries that I knew would be delectable, I chose the least sinful of the items on offer. To assuage my guilt, I bought one for my boss as well (like an alcoholic trying to convince everyone around her to drink up). She, having had the same meal I'd had for lunch, thanked me and said she'd save hers for breakfast. Smart woman with a normal appetite.

So the "magic pill" of Victoza seems to be losing its potency. I feel a little like Charlie in Flowers for Algernon, aware that the state of grace was to be short-lived. Unlike Charlie, however, I'm not powerless.

I'm simply going to have to really work on the willpower.

On the bright side, I have been able to keep off the ten pounds I lost in the early days of Victoza, without feeling deprived or really even trying. This is a first for me. Typically, unless I am on a specific weight-loss program, I gain half a pound per month.

That's 1,750 calories per month more than I burn*. So I guess I should acknowledge that I've been eating less than I was before, which is progress.

More importantly, I've been eating better than I was before. If I go to the food court at lunch, it's to buy a vegetable soup or some veggies and dip, not a sandwich or smoothie (or both!). I have avoided the chip-wagon like the devil.

So I do credit those changes, along with the medications, with helping my blood sugar. I was just hoping for a smaller waistline as well.

*1,750 calories is probably what I should consume daily, so I really just need one day of fasting per month, right? Maybe if I just slept through one whole day per month that might work. What do you think?

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