Thursday, February 27, 2014

Doing Without and Making Do

This picture is not a mistake. You'll understand in a moment.
When I decided to quit my job last fall, it was with full knowledge that our household income would be seriously tightened, especially given that I have no pension. Steve and I tossed spreadsheets back and forth, trying to remember every possible expense we incur on a regular basis, so we wouldn't have surprises.

Surprisingly, the adjustment hasn't been as horrible as I'd expected.

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Mind your manners.

In the off-leash area of the Bruce Pit dog park.
Now that we've got Kane's walking behaviour under control, I'm slowly working on his social skills. Which means I have some learning to do before I can really do the training. Meanwhile, I'm encountering some frustrations.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Favourite Things: Clipperz

[Sarcasm] Don't you just LOVE trying to log into a website that you only visit once a year? [/sarcasm]

Which variation of the "usual" password did you use? Is this one of those sites that dictates your password requirements (must include your mother's blood type)? Which of your five e-mail addresses did you use? Do you even still have access to that e-mail account?

Well I, my dear friend, have found a solution for you! It's called Clipperz, and it rocks.

Monday, February 24, 2014

Dinner in a Hurry

Picture of pasta alle vongole

For me, the hardest thing about planning dinner every night is the question: what to make. I look in the fridge and -- ugh! Nothing inspires me.

Friday, February 21, 2014

Fiction Friday: The Sweet Bully

Betty White as Sue Ann Nivens on The Mary Tyler Moore Show in the 1970s.
Medusa smiled, but it was one of those artificial smiles that hides all sorts of venom. She seemed to ascribe to the "Sue Ann Nivens" school of passive aggression: if you say it with a smile, it isn't cruel.

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Retirement =/= Nothing to do

Photography: it's one of the ways I pass my time
Never, ever ask someone who is retired what they do all day. It's as silly as asking a stay-at-home parent how they spend all that time. (I won't get into the whole "must be nice to be a stay-at-home mother and do nothing all day" argument. Insane.)

As everyone who has retired before me can attest, there is no shortage of stuff to keep me busy. The delightful part is that I can take my time about it.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

These boots are made for walking!

Brand new boots!

Never in my life have I walked so much in snow. Or, at least, not that I remember.

It is possible that I had better boots in my early years, when I was dependent upon shanks' mare for transportation. Though I contend that Ottawa gets more snow than either Burlington (where I grew up) or Kingston (where I went to university).

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

It all depends on your point of view.

Winter scene at Britannia Beach
When I go for a walk, I'm usually looking at the scenery. I see things like this.

Monday, February 17, 2014

Better and Better

All tuckered out after an energetic walk.

You may recall that I was at my wit's end with Kane as he was completely rebellious on the leash and -- given his strength -- was able to make me dance to his tune. It was atrocious.

Following our visit with Cher from Street Wise Canine, we've had a much better time with Kane. Unfortunately (and not surprisingly), we did see some regression over the following days. He got to the point that he was exerting continual pressure on the prong collar - which is not the way it's supposed to work.

Friday, February 14, 2014

Call to Action - UPDATED

Parts for a nebulizer, a device used to administer medication
in the form of a mist inhaled into the lungs
I'm writing this post because, according to Holiday Insights, February 14 is national organ donor awareness day. They can't be wrong.

Organ donation is an issue that I am happy to promote because, as I've shared with you before, two of my nieces have Cystic Fibrosis, a genetic disease that is not curable (though it is treatable) and is fatal. Full stop.

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Personal Reflection: Harmony and Integrity

I attended a really interesting lecture last fall that talked about inner harmony being a function of personal integrity. The speakers, Nedra Lander and Danielle Nahon, told about a patient, a holocaust survivor who had subsequently become wealthy.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Long live the Queen (Elizabeth Cake)!

This pretty plate was a gift from my friend, K.B.

My nephew recently mentioned one of his favourite desserts (as served at a gluten-free bakery in town) called Queen Elizabeth Cake. Having never heard of such a thing, I had to do a little research.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Just imagine.

Don't you just love fashion week? The pretty styles, the trending colours, the unique ways of putting things together.

Monday, February 10, 2014

One Month

K.B. with her horse
It's been a month since my friend K.B. died. In some ways, I can't believe so much time has passed already. In others, it feels like it was just yesterday.

If you knew K.B. well, you would know that she really loved animals, especially horses. For a time, she part-owned a horse in Regina. I, myself, haven't been on a horse since I was in early high school.

You might also know that she was fascinated by dreams. (Dreams really are a strange phenomenon, I must agree.) The fiction she had begun writing on her blog concerned "dream guardians."

Here is her first entry in the story she was working on:

Friday, February 7, 2014

Fiction Friday: Spoiler Alert, Take Two

If you're like me, you sometimes skip to the second-last chapter of a book, just so you can find out how it ends. I always go back to where I've left off, because I'm interested in learning how the author gets to that climax, but I have NO PATIENCE.

Last week, I wrote a violent death for Agnes. This week, I'm taking a stab at the first scenario: a peaceful death as an elderly person. 

So here we go: The Death of Agnes, Take Two

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Mango Creamsicle Smoothie

I had avoided fresh mangoes for years simply because I couldn't figure out how to cut them. I always ended up with woody bits and felt ripped off. Then I discovered this.

I didn't buy it the first time I saw it because, really, who needs yet another single-purpose kitchen tool. But I finally caved (because I really do love mango). It was totally worth it.

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Let's get real.

My niece shared a link to a blog entitled "We can't be friends" the other day. In it, the author posted a picture of her living room generously adorned with kids' toys, puzzles, cards, blankets, boxes, laundry - and two adorably mop-headed children. She writes,
See that picture above?

That's my life. 90% of the time - that beautiful mess is my life. Despite my best efforts, it is crazy, chaotic and absolutely unorganized.

I like you. I think you are sweet, and fun to hang out with. But let me give it to you straight. If I have to clean for three hours before you come over…

We can’t be friends. We just can’t.

Monday, February 3, 2014

Night and Day

Kane, our 11-month-old puppy, looking up at Steve for direction.
You can see the small prong collar nestled into his ruff.
UPDATE: Kane turned one on January 19, 2014.
The last post I wrote about walking Kane demonstrated the nightmare we were facing: the dog would be fine for a while and then just freak out. My friends on Facebook know that it had not improved significantly since that blog post.

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