Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Still Summer

It is mid-August and, while we are still in the throes of summer, there are signs of the change coming: night falls more quickly now, the resident geese have stepped up their activity level from simply wandering about pooping all over our golf courses and beaches to routinely practicing their formation flying techniques in anticipation of the journey ahead, and everywhere I look, it's "Back to School"!   But still, for a few more weeks at least, it's summer.

And here I am on the eve of my 49th birthday.  Tomorrow I begin my 50th year and the one-year countdown to the second half of my live-to-be-a-hundred life. I don't know what the coming year will bring but I'm feeling like it could be one of the most important years of this life; 365 days dedicated to reflection, preparation and transformation. And, of course, laundry.

But even though my days are getting shorter, and signs of what's to come are everywhere, it's still summer where I am right now.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Bless me Blogger, I have slacked

It has been six months since my last post.  And it's not like nothing really compelling has happened in the interim; au contraire.  I mean, jobs (and weight) have been lost (and gained), and people (yes, plural) have died. And I had yet another birthday, hurtling me headlong towards 50, or what I am considering the halfway point of my life.  Although after all the deaths this year, the majority of them the senseless, unexplainable losses of young people far in advance of what anyone would consider their's probably best to assume nothing about how I might add and divide my days.

Anyway, lots to dissect and reflect upon, and this post - this one right here - totally lacking in any actual content, only hinting at what's to come - this here is where I start.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

The Optimistic Gardener

Today I planted things. In egg cartons. In my kitchen.

I'm the optimistic type. Despite my many gardening failures in the past, I will persist. I actually grew beans, chard, tomatoes and zucchini last year and some of it survived to harvest.  So this year I'm taking it to the next level and "starting" my own plants. I only spent about $20 on dirt and seeds so it's a small investment compared to the plants I bought last year for significantly more money. And the pre-grown vegetables I also bought.

Three varieties of tomatoes, hot peppers, flowers, zucchini and pumpkin have all  been laid to rest in special "starter mix", moistened and covered, and hovered and prayed over.  If all goes well, by this time next month I will be ministering tenderly to well over a hundred tiny seedlings in our decrepit greenhouse shed, and be anxiously waiting till the daytime temperature climbs over +20 and I get them outside and let Mother Nature take a greater hand in their care - that chick really knows what it's doing when it comes to plants and junk.  Me?  I'm merely hopeful.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012


So random and noisy, a little like me!

Transportation Tips for Mini Cupcakes

Yes, yes I know that that we've all moved on from the cupcake craze by now, and it's eye-gougingly tedious to encounter a blog post dealing with something so specific and so domestic when you are looking for insight, inspiration, drama or even just a few yuks, but here it is anyway: a very small piece of information, useful to only a few...

So I've been baking and decorating cupcakes lately - they're cute, portion-controlled, nobody gives a shit if you use a mix, and they're fairly inexpensive to churn out by the dozen for school bake sales, birthdays, work stuff, whatever.

Plus, somehow (much to my mortification) I've found myself the owner of a stacking cupcake caddy complete with carrying handle and reversible interior trays, which lets me transport three-dozen conventional-sized cupcakes. Maybe I'm just weirdly self-conscious, but I find it horribly embarassing to sashay into the school gym with this Tupperware monstrosity, looking every inch the soccer mom - I would seriously rather schlep around a ferret on a leash while wearing a 2-piece bathing suit.  But ferrets are not known for their skill or capacity in handling baked goods, so I swallow my wannabe hipster pride and just try to muster a little swagger whenever I'm on bake sale duty.

At Christmas I decided that mini cupcakes are far cuter than the full-sized ones and everyone can buy/eat more. But the cupcake carrier functioned more like a bouncy castle than a safe haven for the little guys and I ended up buying half of my contribution back at the high school concert because they were smooshed (om nom nom - oh well!)

Man, this is a lot of lead-up for a single tip with very limited relevance, so here it is, my very domestic tip for the cupcake-bakers out there:

The safest and easiest way to store and transport mini cupcakes is in styrofoam egg cartons.  Yep! Three dozen mini cupcakes (shown below) arrived safely at my workplace yesterday after being carried on the bus along with my laptop, my lunch and all my other daily necessaires. All of them survived the trip in perfect condition and were fairly easy to remove without smearing the icing.

Mini cupcakes safe and sound
And that is my tip! Thank you for bearing with me; I promise not to let this happen too often - I've got my reputation to think of.  I mean, next thing you know I could be offering up stain-removal or toilet cleaning advice.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Frugalista Goes Cold Turkey

Like so many people, I fell off the wagon over the holidays.  There was temptation everywhere!

And while I certainly could be talking about food and drink, I'm not - I'm referring to my moratorium on clothes shopping for myself and a general commitment to consuming far less overall.

Of course I had to shop - buy gifts and goodies for people - so I was in and out of stores quite frequently before Christmas. I actually made out okay with the Christmas shopping, managing to get my shopping done with only ONE trip to the mall and only about four visits to the dollar store.  The rest of my purchases were made in individual stores which somehow makes me feel a little righteous.  It helped a lot to make lists and try to stick to them. Also, as a side-boast, we used only cash this Christmas for our shopping - Holla!

No, the trouble came afterwards.  Appetite whetted by the pre-Christmas consuming, bargains everywhere and a fat stack in my wallet courtesy of my mother-in-law, I went on a little bit of a shopping bender.  Some of the details are a little hazy, but I'm fairly certain I spent the whole holidays going in and out of stores - it's the MIL's preferred pastime, so there is a tendency to overindulge when she visits. And, you know, the holidays and mother-in-law visits are not generally regarded as times of low stress, so some of the retail activity was therapeutic in nature (at least that's what I told myself when I found myself alone and aimlessly wandering the concrete aisles of the local Walmart Supercentre at 10 pm on the 27th, and then again on the 28th, returning my purchases of the previous evening and buying more things.)

I really loved it at first, I mean I REVELLED in the deliciousness of the merchandise, the fondling, the choosing, the purchase, the bringing home of the bags and the ceremonial laying out of the goods.  I've really got a problem...  I actually leave tags on new clothes just so I can experience the "thrill of the new" when I bring the garment out of my closet to wear for the first time, and remind myself of the great deal I got when I look at the tag and see that red sale price handwritten in.  (Sometimes won't even throw them out; I'll keep the tags and receipts on my dresser to look at another time, which is maybe just a little obsessive!) But after a few days, it all began to feel like some painful compulsion, like the cigarette that the addict HAS to have, even when she has strep throat (yes, speaking from personal experience here; don't judge, okay?).

But the holidays ended, the MIL went back to Winnipeg, and life returned to normal.  Except the part where I didn't just stop shopping.  I squandered three precious hours at the mall last Sunday, and again yesterday I found myself a the dollar store with nothing really critical to buy.  I can't afford to be like this, and I hate to waste my time this way.

They say that the first thing you have to do when you have an addiction is admit that you are powerless. I say bullshit!  I have all kinds of power and I'm exercising that power by stopping the shopping right now.  And I'm not even going to indulge myself by sharing the details of my various (Awesome! Awesome! Awesome! Amazing deals! I can show you the receipts!) Boxing Week purchases.

From now until Easter at least, there will be no clothing purchases, no unplanned household purchases, and no trips to the drugstore or the dollar store without a list.  The fat stack's gone now anyway.

Monday, January 9, 2012

Haiku: morning kisses

morning kisses

cheeks against my lips
velvet, rubber memory
lingers the whole day