All posts filed under: Home Life

Not Fueled by Chocolate

As I slide towards another birthday, I am reminded that increasing age diminishes my ability to shed those extra pounds that cluster around the part of my body that makes me look like a pear. An unfortunate side effect of getting older is that it is getting harder to maintain anything remotely resembling an hour glass figure. A brisk thirty minute walk in the morning and forty-five minutes at the gym after lunch just isn’t enough exercise to make my clothes feel ‘less snug’. I’ve been forced to cut calories too, starting with the ultimate sacrifice – no dark chocolate snacks until the pudginess is brought into submission again. For some indefinite amount of time, my blog writing will ‘Not Be Fueled by Chocolate.’ There are any number of articles and advertisements that suggest how to lose weight (many are for bogus diets or are designed to drain your bank account), but it is only in the last few years that researchers have identified how our body fat makes us fat. With the rise in …

Christmas Tree

Christmas – there is, perhaps, no other time of the year when Peace and Goodwill is more prevalent. That is what makes Christmas my favorite time of the year and my Christmas Tree my favorite photo this month. My Christmas Tree is full of decorations that are either home made or from little shops all over the world. There is even something from Qatar where local merchants take a multi-prong approach to marketing for every major holiday, even non-Muslim ones! O Christmas Tree, O Christmas Tree, Your branches green delight us!   They are green when summer days are bright, They are green when winter snow is white.   O Christmas Tree, O Christmas Tree, Your branches green delight us! – English version of O Tannenbaum by Ernst Anschütz –   The Christmas Tree in Canada:  Advent calendars, gingerbread houses, cookies and Christmas trees were all introduced by German settlers who migrated to Canada from the United States in the 1700’s. But it was Queen Victoria’s German husband, Prince Albert, who solidified the Christmas tree …

Bubble

I could have (okay I did) spend hours one afternoon in front of a water fountain – taking photos of ‘never two the same’ Shape Shifting Blobs and impressively big Bubbles. Eye of newt, and toe of frog, Wool of bat, and tongue of dog, Adder’s fork, and blind-worm’s sting, Lizard’s leg, and owlet’s wing, For a charm of powerful trouble, Like a hell-broth boil and bubble. Double, double toil and trouble; Fire burn, and caldron bubble. – William Shakespeare –

Canadian Snowbirds – Renewing a Prescription Drug in Arizona

Good News for Canadian Snowbirds! If you are going to run out of a prescription drug before you can get back to Canada, there could be a way you can get it refilled. Take the remaining medication to a local Urgent Care (Primary Care Walk-in) Centre (we used the one nearest  to us, in Fountain Hills Arizona). Be sure the medication is in the original container with the label from the pharmacy that filled your prescription. The Doctors or Nurse Practitioners will give you a similar check-up to what your doctor at home would do before renewing your prescription. There will, of course, be a fee for this service. The prescription will be sent to a pharmacy of your choice for pick-up the next day. Totally unrelated to this topic – I’ve edited the following popular Snowbird joke that circulates in emails. I made it an Alberta/Arizona joke instead of Minneapolis/Florida (though it is rather far fetched to think someone would choose to honeymoon in Arizona…) An Alberta couple decided to go to Arizona to …

Temporary – Blog Posts, Laundry and Hair Cuts

It is my 8th Anniversary of Blogging. Is that long enough to say blogging isn’t a temporary pastime for me? My blog posts, on the other hand, are only of temporary interest to the blogging world! Other temporary things in my life: laundry – if I ever get ‘caught up’, it will only be for a few hours… hair cut – if it is perfect, it won’t be for long; same with fingernail length cuts, scrapes, bruises, a cold weather, seasons batteries ripe fruit, ice cubes in a drink, gum flavour shiny copper or silver, empty dishwasher new car smell, full tank of gas fresh-cut grass, perfect flowers family vacations, Christmas Spirit bubbles Fall leaves and the berries from the Mountain Ash Tree Snowflakes What things would you put on your list of temporary things? This week’s WordPress.com Photo Challenge is Temporary.

Pumpkin Meets Drill

A well-rounded and compact head – a good description of a cabbage, but it works for a pumpkin too! This year I used a drill to make almost perfect round holes in my jack-o’-lantern. (Did you know that the term jack-o’-lantern comes from an Irish folktale? Large turnips and potatoes were used by the Irish in Ireland, but they switched to the readily available pumpkins when they came to America.) ‘Jack’ doesn’t look all that handsome in the daylight, but he really ‘shines’ in the dark! When I was looking for a quotation about pumpkins, I found a musing by Alexander McCall Smith. It reminded me of transporting my pumpkins last year.  I secured them in the back seat of the Jeep and briefly thought about what quiet, friendly companions they were. The pumpkin looked delicious—almost perfectly round and deep yellow in colour, it sat on the passenger seat beside her so comfortably as she drove out of the car park, so pleased to be what it was, that she imagined conducting a conversation with …

The Christmas Spirit Can’t Come too Early this Year

The World of Commerce starts promoting Christmas earlier and earlier each year, it seems. In Canada and the United States, the ‘Great Pumpkin’ products can be in one shopping aisle and ‘Jolly Old Saint Nick’ can be in the next. Personally, I don’t like the crass materialism of the season, and I really feel sorry for the Sales Associates in the stores. Imagine having to listen to the same Christmas music for almost 2 months! This year, however, I’ve put up my small table top Christmas tree already. Every time I walk by it, I am cheered by the tiny white snowmen decorations that my daughter and I made over 18 years ago. At night the twinkly lights brighten that corner of the room. It is peaceful. I have several reasons for putting up this tree so early. First, it is a calming reminder that this final journey with a loved one is down their path to a peaceful place. The tree is also a reminder that the greatest contribution I can give others right now …

Layered Treats – S’mores and Rice Krispies

There are many layers of history for the ingredients in this  S’mores and Rice Krispies® recipe! – Chocolate has been around for more than 2000 years. Sweetened chocolate didn’t appear until Europeans discovered the Americas and sampled the native chocolate drink, which was bitter. They added sugar, and by the 17th century, chocolate was a fashionable drink. – Marshmallows were originally a plant based product that was used for centuries for medicinal purposes. When the plant sap was replaced by gelatin in the late 1800’s, today’s marshmallow was born. In 1927, the Girl Scouts Handbook came out with a recipe for ‘Some More’ which quickly became ‘Smores’. – Graham crackers are made from Graham flour, which is named after it’s inventor Sylvester Graham who began making them in the 1830’s. – Kellogg’s Rice Krispies® debuted in 1927. Their Rice Krispies Marshmallow Treats® recipe was first advertised in 1940. It became a popular food for mailing to service people abroad. Here is how you put all these things together to make this layered treat! You’ll need: …

The Sad, Silent Coffee Machine

Eldest daughter and her family have been staying with us, on and off, for the past month.  This has not created any space continuum inconvenience to The Car Guy and I – The Red House is more than large enough (because it is the same house we raised a squabble of teens in). Two extra adults and two teenagers  – we left it to them to jostle for prime real estate to set up their internet command stations. Our kitchen is spacious. It is more than capable of handling the extra cooks. The biggest difference was that the fridge filled and emptied on a daily, rather than weekly basis. Oh, and the dishwasher was often pressed into service twice a day. But the workhorse, no, the single most essential appliance in the house, was the Coffee Machine. These people are fueled by liquid caffeine. This coffee falls into your stomach, and straightway there is a general commotion… From that moment on, everything becomes agitated. Ideas quick-march into motion like battalions of a grand army to …

A Satisfying Day at the ‘Gamma Dogs’ House

We recently became ‘Grandparents’ to a puppy, though the term ‘puppy’ seems odd for a dog that never was very small and is growing really quickly. Our daughter and her husband are taking their puppy, Ghost, to puppy classes and are making good progress in establishing themselves as the ‘Alpha Dogs’! This training is quickly forgotten, however, in the excitement of a day here at our rural Red House. We joke that I am so far down in the dog’s ‘hierarchy of obedience’ alphabet that I am the ‘Gamma Dog’. “So many smells. I wonder if any of them are dog approved food. The ‘Alpha Dog Lady’ sure didn’t like the dead gopher I found here last week.” “Sniffing, running, digging, rolling! People – I need a bowl of water!” “And I’m done. Could someone carry me to the car?” This week’s WordPress.com Photo Challenge is Satisfaction. Are you a dog owner? Or – do you just enjoy a dog when it visits, then get to send it home with the owners?

purple monster

The 2017 Alberta Flu Bug Arrives at my Door

I shall take you to bed and have my way with you. I will make you ache, shake, and sweat until you moan and groan. I will make you beg me to stop! When I am finished you will be weak for days. Sincerely, The Flu. I’ve been getting an Annual Flu shot since 2003, and up until now I have been flu-free. My luck ran out last Monday. I woke up feeling awful – fever, chills, whole body muscle pain,  intense fatigue, a cough, and skin so sensitive I could hardly stand to wear clothes. All these symptoms pointed to a flu virus. The flu, in a nutshell: At First I was afraid I was gonna die. Now I’m afraid I won’t. – Author Unknown – For 3 days I shuffled from bed to couch and back to bed. By Day 4, the whole body symptoms had receded, but site specific rashes and inflammations popped up. I felt well enough, though, to get out of bed and go see the Doctor. He confirmed I …

These Things Match up with Things on my Wants List

Sometimes it is best if The Car Guy just agrees with me… This bench would be perfect on my patio! Too bad it is in a store in Calgary, not Phoenix. This would be perfect in The Car Guys garage. Too bad it was in a store in Phoenix and not in a store in Calgary. Ice Cream and cereal and fruit – a good match when I’m out of milk and yogurt. This week’s WordPress Photo Challenge is A Good Match. Post 566

Super Bowl Quiz – The Winning Answers

We were invited to a Super Bowl party. I knew it was going to be a good one when the hostess pointed me in the direction of a really well stocked snack counter. Then she handed me the first of the number of glasses of wine it takes to drink a half bottle or so. With my beverage in one hand, and a plate of munchies in the other, I commandeered a front row seat on the soft couches. “Before the game starts,” said the hostess, “You are all going to take a Super Bowl Quiz. There is a prize for whoever gets the most right answers.” She handed each of us a single page of questions, which I dutifully read. I only knew three answers. I had no idea about the rest. Not a clue. That wasn’t a surprise, since I didn’t even know which teams were playing in the game I was about to watch. (In my defense, I am Canadian, and the last time I really paid any attention to football was …

Christmas 2016 – Santa and the North Pole

Christmas is very nearly here, and I’d like to wish all of you a very Merry Christmas, and All the Best in the New Year. As you can see from this photo of my Christmas tree, I’m all ready for Santa to visit.  I anticipate one very nicely wrapped medium sized gift of the hair drying appliance variety! For better or for worse, Christmas is a time for gifts and giving. Who knows that better than Santa – and Wal-Mart, Costco and Tesco, to name just a few of the larger retailers! While it is easy to walk into the familiar brick and mortar stores in communities around the world, it is quite impossible to visit Santa’s establishment. There are several reasons for this. First, of course, is the fact that Santa is not a retailer. He is the owner of a factory and distribution outlet. His business model simply does not include on-site sales. Then there is the issue of the location of his  facility. It is, according to lore, at the North Pole …

How Local is Local? Test Case – My Carrots

The movement to eat locally grown food can be relatively easy, or impractically hard, depending on how strictly you follow it. Kris Vester, president of Slow Food Calgary, describes a locally grown organic product as one that is grown locally, is free of pesticides, herbicides and synthetic fertilizers and is produced in a way that does not use fossil fuels or any other matter that may affect the environment for future generations. This definition made me think about the carrots I just harvested from my garden. Geographically, they are as local as you can get. They are free of pesticides, herbicides and synthetic fertilizers. I didn’t use fossil fuels to put the seeds into the ground or get the carrots out of the ground. But what about the seeds themselves? How did the seed company grow and harvest them? How were they transported to the stores where they were sold? I used a fossil fueled vehicle to go buy the seeds and bring them home. The Car Guy used a fossil fueled vehicle to pick …

The Quippery

Mysterious Baskets and Magic Gas Tanks

The Car Guy says we have a mysterious laundry basket at our house too. On the flip side, I have a car with a magic gas tank! When the tank is almost empty, I just put the car in the garage, and the next time I drive it, the tank is full again! Have you experienced any inexplicable events like this? Post 550

Spruce Needles Snow

Macro Photos – Vaguely Familiar Abstracts

Can you guess what these ‘abstract photos’ are – from the hints in the quotations below the photo? There was a rough stone age and a smooth stone age and a bronze age, and many years afterward a cut-glass age. In the cut-glass age, when young ladies had persuaded young men with long, curly mustaches to marry them, they sat down several months afterward and wrote thank-you notes for all sorts of cut-glass presents… – F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Cut-Glass Bowl – …we live on the edge of the abstract all the time. Look at something solid in the known world: an automobile. Separate the fender, the hood, the roof, lie them on the garage floor, walk around them. Let go of the urge to reassemble the car or to pronounce fender, hood, roof. Look at them as curve, line, form. ― Natalie Goldberg, Living Color: Painting, Writing, and the Bones of Seeing – The pine stays green in winter… wisdom in hardship. – Norman Douglas – Deciding whether or not to trust a person …

The Quippery

Local Libraries, Books and the Guerrilla Librarian

In ‘The Alphabet and Good Intentions’ I explained the rather unique book filing system that our local librarians use. On occasion, this drives me to distraction – so last week I kind of refiled all the John Grisham’s. Now his books are in two locations instead of four. I suppose I could ask to be a volunteer at this library, but I’ve met a few of the other volunteers, and they are not a very flexible group of women, (either in the way they run the library, or in their ability to reach to the top and bottom shelves – they are quite a bit older than me…).  I have decided I am much more suited to being a guerrilla librarian. I found other references to just this kind of activity: “…Maxwell had also found a vocation of sorts, unpaid but satisfying, even addicting. He moved library books.” Though the author of this story isn’t stated, the blog post with the rest of the story is here, and it is quite fun:  Swiss Army Librarian. …

Time and My Clock Walls – So Late So Soon

How time has changed!  When I was young, a clock had hands and you learned how to ‘tell time’. We had only a few clocks in our house. One was in the kitchen, and I suppose there was an alarm clock for my parental units (but I don’t remember ever hearing it ring.) I didn’t really pay attention to what time is was. Grown-ups did that for me. I just did what they told me to do when they told me to do it – mostly. If no one was telling me where to be or what to do, I let the sun and a rumble in my stomach guide me. Today we are surrounded by clocks. They reside in every conceivable appliance. This has a cost though – a microwave oven can consume more electricity powering its digital clock than it does heating food! Of course, most wall clocks are battery powered – but  how much do you spend on batteries in a year? How many clocks do you have to reset when Daylight …

Christmas Greetings – 2015

The Car Guy is in the kitchen making S’More Pinwheels; the snow is gently falling; NORAD is already tracking Santa’s progress; we have no place we have to be until tomorrow morning – Life is Good. I don’t mean to sound like a Grinch, but if we are going to be ‘entertained’ by Christmas Carols for almost a month, don’t you think they could play this one now and again? I want a hippopotamus for Christmas Only a hippopotamus will do No crocodiles or rhinoceroseses I only like hippopotamuseses And hippopotamuses like me too! – Written by John Rox, sung by Gayla Peevey in 1953- To the member of our family who got my name in the Christmas draw – you didn’t ask me for a Christmas Wish List. Did you finally get me a hippo? To my small group of faithful readers – and to the thousands of followers of this blog who might stumble onto this post by mistake – Have a very Merry Christmas! Post 525