Monday, 30 May 2011


Rule #1:  listen carefully before speaking. 

 I arrived here from Manitoba for a job in the garment industry.  I knew no one and spent a lot of time making new friends and joining organizations - Childrens Hospital fund raisers, Playhouse theatre, baseball teams (I don't play baseball but there was beer).  
I was concerned about living here because nothing (nothing) was open on Sundays or after 5PM except on Thursday and Friday.

One evening I received a phone call, it was a local survey they said (in actuality they were selling 2 for 1 coupon books).  The question asked was about some restaurants, six I think she listed off. 

 Had I been to any of them?  Yes, I had.

'How did you find them?' she said

'Vernon's not a very big town' I said 'they were easy to find.'

Silence - kind of - with little huffing noises in the background.
I realized she was trying not to laugh out loud.

'No no' she sputtered, 'I meant did you like them?'

I was glad she couldn't see my red face.

Saturday, 28 May 2011

Tent City

We live in a small village 10 miles from the nearest town. It's rural but not remote.
We do a lot of driving to get our boys to sporting and social events.  It has become common place for us and we don't give it a second thought.  Well, to be truthful, the second thought comes every time we fill up the gas tanks and then we do wish we lived closer to the action.  

Tonight one of the local boys is having a party and he has invited a lot of "town kids".   Our front yard is filled with tents and all the beds in the house will be full.  Our neighbors up the road will have kids sleeping in their trailer and their house.

They have the girls - we have the boys.

When Sean went out tonight I said have fun, be good, and don't tip over any mail boxes.

I won't get any sleep until they are all tucked in their respective beds  - safe and sound - and the mail boxes are still standing.

I am starting to see grey hairs.

Friday, 27 May 2011

A Round Tuit

I have a big list of things to do. Every one one them seemed like a good idea at the time that I hauled these things into the house, however I am rethinking some of my decisions.

I need to reupholster this chair but feel I should take a course in upholstery first

and this one, I think I can do it without the upholstery lesson

The cover on this chair and stool is nasty - it is patio furniture fabric. Add this to the list.

I need to paint these chairs and make cushions for them

This plant stand needs help.

and these dining room chairs - not sure what to do here - there are 10 of them.

and I thought I could make a clock from this 100 year old Chinese egg jar lid

This door needs painting and I am thinking about doing the Martha Stewart chalkboard paint treatment

This is what Martha did....

Custom Colors How-To

Start with flat-finish latex paint in any shade. For small areas, such as a door panel, mix 1 cup at a time.
1. Pour 1 cup of paint into a container. Add 2 tablespoons of unsanded tile grout. Mix with a paint stirrer, carefully breaking up clumps.

2. Apply paint with a roller or a sponge paintbrush to a primed or painted surface. Work in small sections, going over the same spot several times to ensure full, even coverage. Let dry.

3. Smooth area with 150-grit sandpaper, and wipe off dust.

4. To condition: Rub the side of a piece of chalk over entire surface. Wipe away residue with a barely damp sponge.

On Sunday evening I did finish one project - I recovered the bench seat in our boat. I'm feeling pretty pleased with myself even though it did take me two years to get to that project. Oh well, better late than never. And I do have a dress to make for a wedding next weekend, and there are weeds I should get to before they take over the garden.  I'll get around to it later - the clay in my pottery room is calling me....

Wednesday, 25 May 2011

Long in the Tooth - and Knee

My fading  orange legs and I have been shopping for a dress for an upcoming wedding. While I found several that I liked (and could afford) they are still in the store because they showed my knees.

My knees are not really offensive or scary but they are certainly closer to 60 than 50 and word is that you shouldn't show your knees after the age of 47.

I don't know who made this rule but I think it stinks.

So, because my knees showed  while wearing  the 'store' dresses I have decided to make one myself - one that is long enough to cover these not-to-be-seen knees.

Wish me luck.

Herman - May 25, 2011

Tuesday, 24 May 2011

Dogs Talking to God

My friend Cindy who, like so many of us loves her dog, sent me this and I had to share.

Dear God: Is it on purpose our names are the same, only reversed?

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Dear God: Why do humans smell the flowers, but seldom, if ever, smell one another?

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Dear God: When we get to heaven, can we sit on your couch? Or is it still the same old story?

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Dear God: Why are there cars named after the jaguar, the cougar, the mustang, the colt, the stingray, 

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and the rabbit, but not ONE named for a Dog? How often do you see a cougar riding around?
We do love a nice ride! Would it be so hard to rename the 'Chrysler Eagle' the 'Chrysler Beagle'?

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Dear God: If a Dog barks his head off in the forest and no human hears him, is he still a Bad Dog?

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Dear God: We Dogs can understand human verbal instructions, hand signals, whistles, horns, clickers,
beepers, scent ID's, electromagnetic energy fields, and Frisbee flight paths. What do humans understand?

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Dear God:  More meatballs, less spaghetti, please.

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Dear God: Are there mailmen in Heaven? If there are, will I have to apologize?

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Dear God:  Let me give you a list of just some of the things I must remember to be a Good Dog.
1. I will not eat the cats' food before they eat it or after they throw it up. 

2. I will not roll on dead seagulls, fish, crabs, etc., just because I like the way they smell. 

3. The Litter Box is not a cookie jar. 

4. The sofa is not a 'face towel'. 

5. The garbage collector is not stealing our stuff. 

6. I will not play tug-of-war with Dad's underwear when he's on the toilet. 

7.  Sticking my nose into someone's crotch is an unacceptable way of saying 'hello'. 

8. I don't need to suddenly stand straight up when I'm under the coffee table 

9. I must shake the rainwater out of my fur before entering the house - not after. 

10. I will not come in from outside and immediately drag my butt across the carpet. 

11. I will not sit in the middle of the living room and lick my crotch. 

12. The cat is not a 'squeaky toy' so when I play with him and he makes that noise,
it's usually not a good thing.

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    P.S.  Dear God: When I get to Heaven….. may I have my testicles back?

Monday, 23 May 2011

Not so Bad after all

It's a little like going to the dentist.  You worry and stew until its over and then you realize you fretted for nothing. 

Taking the kids to H2O was like that.

This video below shows Adam going off the diving board and Sean filming the event on his GoPro.

Yesterday was a good day at H2O. 
The kids behaved themselves, the hour and fifteen minute car ride was uneventful both there and back.  They all liked the dinner I made for them - chicken enchiladas, salad and ice cream cake.  We had them all home by nine thirty and I felt guilty for thinking it would be an ordeal.

Now they all think I am a super mom and Adam shouldn't complain about me at all and they wish their moms would take them and their friends to a cool place like that and "my mom will be calling you  for the recipe". 

So here it is,  the recipe for chicken wrapped in a flour tortilla.  We call them chicken enchiladas.  I  don't know if it really is an enchilada, but it does have chicken in it.

Chicken Enchiladas

One roasted chicken. 
I sometimes do this myself  but I often bail and buy them from the supermarket already roasted .

Remove skin and bones and place them into a pot with 4 - 5 cups of water and bring to a boil and simmer for one hour.   Or, you can skip this part and just use canned chicken stock that you bought at the store when you bought the roasted chicken.

Meanwhile, dice the chicken meat and place in a pan over medium high heat along with 1 tsp dried onion, 1/2 tsp cumin, 1/2 tsp dried oregano, 1/2 tsp chili powder, 1/2 tsp garlic powder and 2 tbsp taco seasoning mix.   Sprinkle with 1 1/2 tbsp flour and stir until well mixed.  Ladle in 2 cups chicken broth from the stock pot you created above (or the stuff you bought at the store).  Stir until thickened and heated through.  Add 3 tbsp salsa and 1/2 cup grated sharp cheddar cheese. If this mixture appears to be too thick add a bit more chicken stock.
Cool slightly and spoon about half a cup of the mixture onto a flour tortilla, roll up, place in baking dish, and sprinkle with generous amounts of grated jack and cheddar cheese.
Bake for 20 minutes in a 350 F degree oven.

Like childbirth, memories of the actual event changes, and in a couple of months I will get another 'really good idea" and will be kicking myself until it is over and everything went fine.   

It's not easy being a worrier with great ideas.

Sunday, 22 May 2011

Bird Brain

How big is a bird's brain?
Can they think and scheme and plot against me?

I think so....

Alfred Hitchcock had it right - birds are scary and evil.

Something else scary in the water

The area in which we live has a lot of lakes - Okanagan, Kalamalka, Swan, Mable, Sugar, Skaha, and many other smaller lakes.  It is beautiful here.

Okanagan Lake

A lot of people think there is a "lake monster" living in these waters.    They call it Ogopogo.  A few years ago there was a million dollar bounty on it's head but no one was able to prove it's existence.

This is what they think it looks like - pretty big.  We go out on the lake often and I haven't seen it.

I know it's not real but sometimes when I'm in the water and a piece of seaweed touches me I panic a bit .

Kalamalka Lake

There have been no reports of lake monsters here.

Today, when we swim, we will be in an indoor water park - no monsters there - except for the one's we're bringing....

Saturday, 21 May 2011

Thank You Queen Victoria

In  honor of  Queen Victoria we get a day off from work on Monday, which for a lot of us equals a three day weekend.  For me it is a four day weekend as I don't work Fridays.

As for the people in hospitality or essential services they don't all get these days off, and I feel badly for them, but I'm glad they are there just in case I am taken to the hospital or need to go out for dinner.

Lots of folks in Canada see this weekend as the official start of the summer season ,even though kids are still in school, and many people go to their cottages or go camping. 

We are doing yard work. 
Son number one has taken lots of "I'll be right back" when he notices something he has to photograph, and son number two has had a lots of  "but I thought we were done!" breaks. 

Even though for us it is a yard-working weekend it feels relaxing in our little corner of paradise and, who knows, if its not raining on Monday we might take the boat out onto the lake. 

Tomorrow we take six kids plus our own to H2O, a water park, in Kelowna.  I need to not answer the phone as the number of boys going are increasing each time it rings.

Have a great weekend everyone!

Thursday, 19 May 2011

Come Dance With Me

My cousin, who lost her mom a few months ago, sent me this note that I've copied below and I had to admit guilt.  My intentions are good and,  while I do try to live life rather than have too many obligations tie me down,  these words made me realize that it's the people in our lives and how we spend time with them that makes us complete.

Her note (which I'm pretty sure she didn't write because there is no "Steve" in our family and I know her lips have touched ice cream) read as follows:

Too many people put off something that brings them joy just because they haven't thought about it, don't have it on their schedule, didn't know it was coming or are too rigid to depart from their routine.

Think about all those women on the Titanic who passed up dessert at dinner that fateful night in an effort to cut back. From then on, I've tried to be a little more flexible.

How many women out there will eat at home because their husband didn't suggest going out to dinner until after something had been thawed? Does the word 'refrigeration' mean nothing to them?
How often have your kids dropped in to talk and sat in silence while you watched ' Jeopardy ' on television?

I cannot count the times I called my sister and said, 'How about going to lunch in a half hour?' She would gas up and stammer, 'I can't. I have clothes on the line. My hair is dirty. I wish I had known yesterday, I had a late breakfast, It looks like rain.' And my personal favorite: 'It's Monday.' She died a few years ago. We never did have lunch together.

Because Canadians cram so much into their lives, we tend to schedule our headaches. We live on a sparse diet of promises we make to ourselves when all the conditions are perfect!

We'll go back and visit the grandparents when we get Steve toilet-trained. We'll entertain when we replace the living-room carpet... We'll go on a second honeymoon when we get two more kids out of college.

Life has a way of accelerating as we get older. The days get shorter, and the list of promises to ourselves gets longer. One morning, we awaken, and all we have to show for our lives is a litany of 'I'm going to,' 'I plan on,' and 'Someday, when things are settled down a bit.'

When anyone calls my 'seize the moment' friend, she is open to adventure and available for trips. She keeps an open mind on new ideas. Her enthusiasm for life is contagious. You talk with her for five minutes, and you're ready to trade your bad feet for a pair of Roller blades and skip an elevator for a bungee cord..

My lips have not touched ice cream in 10 years. I love ice cream. It's just that I might as well apply it directly to my stomach with a spatula and eliminate the digestive process The other day, I stopped the car and bought a triple-Decker. If my car had hit an iceberg on the way home, I would have died happy.

 If you were going to die soon and had only one phone call you could make, who would you call and what would you say? And why are you waiting?

Have you ever watched kids playing on a merry go round or listened to the rain lapping on the ground? Ever followed a butter fly's erratic flight or gazed at the sun into the fading night? Do you run through each day on the fly? When you ask ' How are you?' Do you hear the reply?

When the day is done, do you lie in your bed with the next hundred chores running through your head? Ever told your child, 'We'll do it tomorrow.' And in your haste, not see his sorrow? Ever lost touch? Let a good friendship die? Just call to say 'Hi?

When you worry and hurry through your day, it is like an unopened gift....Thrown away..... Life is not a race. Take it slower. Hear the music before the song is over.

'Life may not be the party we hoped for.. but while we are here we might as well dance!

So everybody, gather round the people you love and put on your dancing shoes .

Wednesday, 18 May 2011

Pale and over 40

This morning talking to Adam I said something I thought was cool and thought he would think so too.
 I got a "you're pale and over 40 mom - give it up"

"Not my legs - they are still orange!"

But on a happy note I work across the street from a close-outs retailer.  Usually its a lots of cheap plastic crap stuff but today I was so thrilled to see a transport truck pull up to his loading dock and off-load carts and carts of plants and bushes and shrubs and I am in gardeners heaven!

99 cent hostas, dahlias, asparagus (here I go again - overloading the vegetable garden!) $2.99 peace roses, climbing roses,  $1.49 astilbe, day lilies, asiatic lilies, a rainbow of assorted colors.  My office looks like a greenhouse it is so packed full and he (clear out retailer) is still opening boxes.   

I might be pale and over 40 but I can shop for bargains like a 20 year old!

And here are some beautiful house signs (I'm trying to win one!) that is offering as a giveaway.  She has a great blog, lots of humor, great designs and is a lovely person.

It's my lunch hour and I am going back to the plant sale - I will need the truck to get home!

Tuesday, 17 May 2011


Started the day with Tan in a Can -  good idea if you want orange legs.

Shopped for a dress for an upcoming wedding - nothing looks good with orange legs

Allergic to some kind of garden weed - itchy bumps all over my hands, arms and ankles

Heavy frost is forecast for tonight - tomatoes will freeze

Archie (the Dog) dug up 6 newly planted shrubs - he must have thought the bone meal in the planting hole was buried treasure.

In a moment of weakness I told Adam we would take him and five of his friends to H20 on Sunday 
Having trouble typing with my swollen itchy fingers.

Ate an entire row of brownies that I made for Thursdays May Day Tea.  I'll make lemon squares tomorrow and practice restraint.    (Good luck with that)

Still unsure if I should load the kiln or leave well enough alone.

If you don't hear from me tomorrow just ........

Monday, 16 May 2011

There's Something Scary in the Water

Other peoples adventures are often more interesting  than my own.

My friend V and her husband went on a trip to Hawaii.  V doesn't swim and is afraid of water but she figured there is more to Hawaii than the ocean.

Around Day 4 V's husband insisted  on going snorkling.  After three days he had convinced her to at least go to the beach and consider it. She relented, assuming she could sit on the beach under a tree, read a book, sip a cooling beverage and have a great afternoon - which she did. 
That evening was filled with his recounting of the glorious underwater sights he had experienced that day.

Day 5 and V's husband wanted to go snorkling again.  But this time he insisted that she snorkle too.  She relented once again.  Equipment was rented and as she stood at the waters edge planning her foray into the deep blue it was decided that she would be better off paddling around in the shallows - nothing deeper than the bottom of the ocean bed touching her stomach as she floated/crawled.  As  time passed  V became more relaxed and adventurous.  The sea life was beautiful and it was all very calming and surreal.  She even made it out as far as waist deep and was thrilled with her accomplishment as she knew her husband would be too. 
She noticed him standing in the water and decided to go out and surprise him, his orange and blue swim shorts a bright beacon in the water. 
When she finally arrived where he was standing she stretched out her arm and, from behind, reached through his legs and gave him a wifely fondle. 

The man whose equipment she had cupped was surprisingly calm but definitely not her husband. 

She gasped, snorted, swallowed ocean water, coughed then ran, swam, moved as fast as she could in her rented flippers toward the beach and away from the humiliation.

It wasn't over.
 For the next six days whenever she saw the familiar stranger in the hotel lobby he gave an ever so slight smile and nod.

'But they were wearing the same swimming shorts!' she insisted.

Uh Huh.

Sunday, 15 May 2011

Ahh the Weekend - Days of Rest

This is not my yard. 

Last weekend we washed windows and it was so lovely for the few  days  hours that they were sparkling clean.
This is what has happened during those short seven days:

It rained.
Adam and two of his friends did 'breath-fog art' on three windows.
Archie (the dog) presses his nose against the panes when he looks out the windows - he's looked out of five windows several times this week. 
The birds have returned and, in the process of fattening up for mating season, they eat way too much food.  I am astounded how they can poop sideways!  Two upstairs windows got direct hits.

I cleaned them today but I was not happy.

Maybe if I had the husband put in some window boxes it would be enough of a distraction  from the unclean panes.

Creativity+ Timothy K Hamilton's photostream  

Its been warm here and this is what the creek drainage ditch looks like today.  I think I'll give the tax man a call.  He'll probably raise the rates because of the potential for  'free tree removal'.

I planted the rest of the garden today and once again I will have enough produce for the entire neighborhood.  I am resisting the urge (an exercise in futility) to plant potatoes  because of the potato beetles.  
I kept space available. 

These are the potato beetle larvae,  I get to squish those things if I plant potatoes.  Maybe if I keep looking at this picture the potatoes won't get planted.

Now I am going to ride my bike to the ATM as both boys 'need money for school tomorrow'.
And I thought education was free!

I read this somewhere and remember the words but don't recall who wrote it but it sums up my boys in these few lines:

"When his mom screeched that he treated the house like a hotel he called reception to complain about the maids attitude."