Friday, December 19, 2008

Neighbourhood watchdog

I have already admitted that when it comes to energy conservation, I am a hypocrite: I keep my home at 55 degrees Fahrenheit, but I love outdoor Christmas lights and encourage everyone to put them up.

But tonight I am up later than normal (almost 1 am) and I just looked up and down my street. Two houses still have their lights lit, which is ridiculous. I mean really, who expects twinkly lights after 10 pm or so? Who's around to SEE them?

I suspect these households forgot to turn them off, and so now will be wasting energy all night. I wonder if they would appreciate me banging on their doors right now to let them know.

(oh, and by the way, I forgot to mention this the other day: Husbandly One was in the kitchen, going through the day's mail, when I heard him drop an F-bomb. Curious, I went to investigate after he moved on to other things. The F-bomb was detonated by our gas bill. I took a quick peek inside and realized that, based on the total due, clearly the dumbass hadn't paid our bill the month prior and now we owed two month's worth. I was SOOOOO mad at him.... until I unfolded it completely. No no, he HAD paid our gas bill the previous month, the current balance due (think: "mortgage payment" type number) was for four weeks of me sitting in the cold and dark.

So much for me setting my thermostat to 55 degress Fahrenheit (on average). I hope everybody who lives here is ready to make friends with 45...

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Winter survival

We had our second big snowfall of the season the other day. And on that same day, I mindlessly opened the pantry to feed the animals. Last can of dogfood. Slumping bag of cat food that contained about nine crunchies and a halfcup of crunchy dust. Doh!

Didn't I write about this last year? Didn't I suggest that we all keep a stash of three or four days worth of essentials, in case we couldn't lave the house?

It was me? Yeah, that's what I thought.

The problem with keeping a storm stash in my house is I have to hide it, otherwise the men use it and don't tell me. No more dogfood in the pantry? No problem, Irma has a dozen cans in the furnace room, just go grab one. Hell, bring up four or five so we don't have to keep going down there. And hey look, she's got double A batteries, I totally need some for the Wii remote. And why did she put canned soup on the grocery list this week, she's got six cans right here! Ooo, grab those matches, too, my lighter's almost dead.


So do yourself a favour: imagine what would happen if the power went out for three days and you couldn't leave the house. What could you cook in your fireplace? What would you do for light? How would you take care of your pets? And after you have prepared your box of storm supplies? HIDE IT.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Update on Phelan

Thanks to the generosity of her readers, enough money was raised to save her farm in less than 36 hours. The PayPal button has now been removed from her site.

Amazing what happens when a bunch of strangers become a community, hmm?

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Getting on the Phelan band wagon

As you know by now, my interest and determination to grow my own food has been revving up these last few months. In 2009, I really AM putting in my my first garden of any real size. I am going to live my dream.

One of the people who has given me the greatest inspiration in this area is Phelan. I have never met this remarkable woman, but I have read every word of her blog, all four years worth of archives. A few years ago, she and her husband took the plunge in to modern day homesteading: growing huge gardens; raising livestock for meat, dairy, eggs, and companionship; learning "new" skills, which are actually quite old, in an attmept to live their lives more simply and richly, while treading gently on this planet.

I love this stranger, and I recommend her blog with all my heart.

On Christmas Eve, Phelan and her family will be forced off their small farm. (No, that is not melodrama, the date really IS December 24th.) She and her husband have worked hard these years to pay all their bills and be self sufficient. Earlier this year, however, her husband was laid off from his job and took a new position at a lower rate of pay. And now they are in crisis.

After many comments ftom faithful readers of her blogs (and it sounds like a few heated discussions with her friends, ha ha) she has reluctantly put a PayPal button up on her site. I have donated, and, quite frankly, I am asking you to consider doing the same.

I know there are many appeals for everyone's money at this time of year. I also know that it must be pretty easy to attempt an "Oh poor me, give me money" scam on the internet. Fair enough. But you just have to trust me; if you read even a month's worth of her posts, you would see that there is no way this situation could be anything but real.

I routinely give money to organizations, in order that they may then distribute the funds. A gift to Phelan's farm fund would just cut out the middle man.

I STILL have not learned to hyperlink (mabe in 2009, after I put in the garden) but her blog is at

Please read her posts from Dec 8 and 9.

That's it for tonight, just me with an appeal for your support. Just consider it, okay?

Sunday, November 30, 2008


1. This morning, Husbandly One was the absolute picture of health. Before I left to drive Son back to his dad's house, the two loves of my life spent about a half hour sitting closely together on the couch, while Husbandly One explained his on-line soccer league to the boy. At 2:30, I dropped Husbandly One (perfectly healthy) at work so he could do an inventory, and drove Son out to our "swap" point, a town about half way between our two homes. By the time I got back and picked up Husbandly One up at 5pm, he had the plague. His head felt like lead, all his joints ached, and I could feel his terrbile fever by simply touching his cheek.

On our way back to the house, I said, "Stop at the drug store so I can at least get you some Neo-Citran." And he did. And THIS, friends & neighbours, is how I know that this sickness is really, really bad. Husbandly One hates pharmaceuticals in all their forms, even refused pain medication after his surgery two years ago (he did not refuse it DURING the surgery, ha ha!). So for him to allow me to feed him aspirin? He must feel like unmitigated crap.

It is almost 8pm, and I fed him the Neo-Citran around 5:15pm. He has been asleep in bed since. I'll wake him up in a few hours to check his temp again and see if he is hungry, but other than that, I want him in bed.

The side effects of this, obviously, is that I had to call Ex-Husband and warn him that Son had been in close proximity with Plague Man earlier today, and I myself am contemplating sleeping downstairs in Son's room, rather than in my own room, cuddled up to Contagion.

2. The more I read on-line about urban homesteading, the more I am convinced I need to stop gardening on my previous tiny scale, and at least move up to a small scale this year. I need to start small, I need to start humbly, and I need to start with low expectations, but I need to START. Oh, and everything I read? Leads me to read more, ha ha.

3. Bill Clinton was awesome. As I think I mentioned, his speech was on the economy. He opened by explaining in layman's terms what went wrong in the States, and how through our global inter-dependence, we were therefore going to feel it here in Canada, too, even though technically "our" economy wasn't hurt much at all. He talked about how in the last eight years, too much of the financial boon in the States was tied to only one segment, housing. Not just in terms of the mortgage crisis, but in jobs created for construction, etc. Put too much faith in to one segment and then when it goes to hell? A country collapses.

He also talked about the crisis facing the Big Three automakers. He didn't get in to how they got to this point too much, but he did talk about how they can get out of this mess. If the US gov't does indeed bail them out, then the Big Three need to prove what they are going to do differently, and he mentioned hybrid cars in particular. One of the three (I think it's GM, but I could be very wrong) has a new hybrid in development. It will get about 40 miles of driving distance to a charge (and most cars in the US are driven less that 25 miles per day) before the gasoline engine has to kick in. Now, this new hybrid is only slated to hit dealer floors in 2010, and it will cost about $40,000. Clinton questioned why this could be stepped up, and why (if the gov't bails them out) they couldn't swallow those development costs initially and offer the new car for $20 to 25 thousand, to actually make it viable for people to buy it...

He also talked about charitable giving and how, in these horrid times, it is still important for people to give. AND he taught me something about about my own country, Canada, as it relates to international relief effort.

Whenever there is a humanitarian crisis, you always hear about countries pledging aid to the affected. In the States, this food aid takes the form of loading wheat and rice on a plane, and flying it over to the affected country. But in Canada -- and I literally didn't know this-- we spend 50% of our aid budget buying locally. Which means that, if the country in crisis is, I don't know, Sri Lanka, our government buys food NEAR Sri Lanka. This allows emerging markets to flourish, allows us to get food on the scene of the disaster much more quickly, makes good international neighbours who will in future look upon trade with Canada favourably for the shot in the arm we gave their producers, etc. Plus? Rather than transport food 10,000 kilometers? Maybe it only has to be transported a few hundred kilometers.

This system has been working beautifully in Canada for several years, I learned. I FURTHER learned that when a similar plan was suggested in the States? Big Ag went CRAZY and it didn't pass.

So score one for the Canadians.

At the end of the afternoon, I was enraptured with President Clinton, Husbandly One not so much. After the past few years of Bill Clinton sound bites on CNN, Husbandly One was really hoping for a more visibly passionate speech from the President. I told him I felt the lecture WAS very passionate, and that he had to remember that Bill Clinton speaking at a political rally, trying to get people excited, was very different from a speech where he was trying to get people to think.

3. My Christmas tree is up. I handled the actual tree construction and lighting (boring, nasty activities) so that when Son got here on Friday, we could move in to the actual DECORATING, which is the fun part.

4. Spoke to my Mum tonight. We decided that, based on the number of people who will be home for the holidays this year, major meals will be at her house. I used to have a dining room table that sat twelve, but a year ago we got rid on it, replacing it with a table for four. (We eat at our dining room table every single day, don't own a kitchen table, and the table was frankly just too big for the dining room in our tiny house.) We FURTHER decided that, instead of the crazy gift giving frenzy that has usually occurred in the past, we are going to draw names among the adults for stockings ($25 limit) and the actual gifts ($100 limit.) Children are NOT included in this rule...well, we only have one child in our extended family, Son, but the point is everyone wants to get him something and children should be the focus of gift giving. (And he hs already told me some of the things HE wants to buy for the grown ups, and I will have to budget for that, ha ha!)

5. My thermostat is set at a balmy 56 degrees Fahrenheit. Husbandly One is in bed under warm blankets, I have a blanket over my lap and am perfectly happy. I refuse to waste money and fossil fuels just so I can sit around in a t-shirt.

Monday, November 24, 2008


Oh my heavens, tomorrow is the day we will hear Bill Clinton speak IN PERSON. As a Canadian, I admired him as President, and I have adored him as an ex-president. Three years ago, Husbandly One and I almost changed family vacation plans so we could go hear him speak three hours away from our home. (We were supposed to be sixteen hours away from home in the other direction, at that time... so we made the difficult decision to go on the vacation.)

But tomorrow? I will hear a speech of his in its entirely, instead of the sound bites on CNN. And I will be in the same room.

I have made this perfectly clear on the blog in the past: celebrities don't impress me, I literally could not care less. But POLITICIANS? Totally different story,

Wednesday, November 19, 2008


Today was nasty cold, and while the wind wasn't fierce, it had a raw bite to it. It began snowing early this afternoon, big white flakes that melted as soon as it touched the ground. It is now 9pm, the snow is still falling, and the ground is white. My black truck is white. The street is white. Something tells me it'll all still be there tomorrow.

About an hour ago, Husbandly One felt a bit chilly so he got up to look at the thermostat. I was instantly ready with my usual argument about why he shouldn't turn up the heat....but all he did was look at it for a second, and then went in to our bedroom to get a sweater. I was stunned, unable to comprehend this bizarre sight before me. He just shrugged and said, "It's 62 degrees Fahrenheit in here, the house is warm enough."

Whuuuuuuuuuut? Where did THIS come from? I hate to say I praised him for his wise decision, because it makes it sound like I treat him like a three year old who just sat on the potty... but, well, I DID praise him.

He is exhausted after many late nights at work and many late nights watching past seasons of "Lost" with me on DVD, so just now he decided to go to bed. At 9pm, people. Between the sweater and the sleeping, I think something may be wrong with him, it's so out of character. As soon as I had him tucked in, I went back to the thermostat (my arch nemesis!) and turned it down even more to 58 degrees. I grabbed a blanket for my lap, turned off all the lights and lit a candle, and here I am now, in my pitch black cold house.

My motivation in all this is half about saving money, and half about embracing my inner granola. The amount of electricity and natural gas we waste in this house is staggering and it needs to stop. One candle that I move around with me provides more than enough light for simply sitting around. (If I was knitting or reading, I'd put a light on; I'm practical, not crazy.) And let's be honest: the TV is on, as (obviously) is my computer. This isn't about being electricity-free, and it's not about denying myself anything, it's about making conscious choices.

Yes, I prefer to set my thermostat low and adjust my clothing accordingly. If my one little body feels chilly, doesn't it make sense to warm up that BODY, instead of forcing warm air through 1500 square feet?

I have a friend who uses candles as her main source of light in order to save on electricity. Another friend laughed and said, "Yes, but candles can cost even more than using a light bulb." Apparently he never considered how often women are given candles as GIFTS. As I look around my very dimly lit livingroom and dining room, I can see 19 candles in various locations and groupings, and I didn't buy a single one of them! And be honest, YOU have candles you received as gifts, and you DON'T actually get around to burning most of them, do you? You just kind of "have" them. Well, stop looking at the damn thing and set fire to it! And turn off the lights when you do.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Lest We Forget

Remembrance Day. One huge, emotional wallop for yours truly. I actually have a hard time articulating how I feel every November 11th, it is a big jumble of gut-wrenching sorrow, incredible patriotism, deep deep humility, fierce joy, intense thankfulness, and some more humility thrown in for good measure. Enough said.

This afternoon, Husbandly One and I finally took a drive to the new windfarm that has been erected not far from town. A half hour of driving brought us to this amazing, amazing place. I had our camera with me, but I was so awestruck as we drove around -- and at one point, just sat in one place for ten minutes, watching the blades turn in the wind-- that I didn't take a single picture. It was so awesome, the idea that we are producing electricity by simply harnessing the power of the wind. Unreal, and so exciting!

Because it is Remembrance Day, there weren't a lot of people actually working there today (they are still installing the last three of 32 windmills). We passed through what appears to be their construction headquarters, based on the number of trailers, trucks parked, etc. And on the very edge of this area, I spied what I think is their garbage dump. It is several giant piles of wood packaging: wood pallets, massive wood boxes the size and shape of coffins, and hundreds of low wood boxes, just perfect for square foot gardening. These open boxes were 3 by 5 feet, and about ten inches tall, just sitting there, waiting for me to liberate them and grow vegetables in them!

Sadly, we didn't see anyone we could ask about these fabulous boxes, so of course I didn't take sorely tempted as I was! I ALSO saw, throughout the site, entire BALES of abandonned peat moss. Whaaaaaaat? Do you have any idea how much that stuff costs, and how good it is for your garden?? I suspect the bales of peat moss are somehow used in conjunction with the large cranes they use to construct the windmills., as they were most prevalent in areas where cranes are still operational. I ALSO saw many bales of hay, which would be fabulous in a compost pile.

Anyway, I digress. I surely did want some of that abandonned peat moss, and I surely did want those abandonned wood boxes, so when we got home I sent an email inquiry to the company that owns the wind farm, simply asking what happens to the wood boxes after the contents are unpacked, and if it would be possible for me to get permission to take and/or pay for some. We'll see how they respond to THAT question....if favourable, I will also inquire oh-so-nonchalantly regarding the hay and peat moss.

Not bad for a lazy afternoon drive!

The other news in my very boring life (yes, it is boring, I have made peace with that and learned to embrace it!) is that yesterday I discovered Husbandly One doesn't know when my birthday is!

Let me set the scene: every year on my birthday, Husbandly One leaves work during the afternoon to go shopping. When I get in our truck at the end of the day, there is always a big shopping bag in the back that I'm supposed to pretend I don't notice. When we get home, either he locks himself in our bedroom to wrap my gift, or he just hands me the shopping bag. Every year. And it BUGS me, particularly seeing how I look forward to gift GIVING very much, and so always have his birthday or Valentine's Day token ready waaaaay ahead of time, with much thought and love put in to it. It hurts me, quite frankly, that when it comes to giving ME gifts, it always feels like he forgot, that he didn't care enough to think about me ahead of time.

Yesterday, we got home from work, and he declared he needed to, umm, go get a haircut, yes, a haircut, I really have to go to it today, it can't wait, I need a haircut. And I thought, "Squeeee!!"

He came home two hours later, with several shopping bags he thinks I didn't notice, that he stashed in the basement. And he didn't HAVE a haircut. More squeeee-ing from me, because I was so excited that he was planning ahead of time to give me a gift. (Seriously, this is a FIRST)

Around 10pm last night, he re-emerged from the basement with a big, beautiful gift bag, and put it in the corner of the living room. Like, not putting it near me, just in a corner of the room where he could store it until later. I said, "Dear, you can't leave that there, the animals will get in to it." And he looked at me a little strangely, a bit perplexed.

At 11:50pm last night, I stood up and said, "Well, that's it for me, I'm going to bed."

Him: "Why now? If you wait ten minutes, it'll be your birthday."

Talk about a dash of cold water. No more squee-ing for me.

Me: "No it won't."

Him: "Yes, in ten minutes it'll be November 11th, and it'll be your birthday."

Me: "No, I ASSURE you, it will NOT. My birthday is NOT November 11!""

Stomp stomp stomp to our bedroom.

I was beyond hurt and angry, I was wild. After all these years, how can he not know when my stupid birthday is???

But sometimes God smiles on us, and gives us a gentle poke in the ribs, because by the time I made it to our room, I was giggling. Then laughing. Then in crying in mirth over how stupid I was being.

So tonight, November 11th, NOT my birthday, Husbandly One cooked me a very elaborate, very special meal. And opened a very long cherished, very rare bottle of wine. And then raised a glass to me on my "non-birthday." And as we touched glasses, I was reminded once again that he may be an idiot, but he's MY idiot, and he loves me.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Divisible by ten

The other day I was trying to describe a typical winter here to a friend who lives in the States, and when it got to average temperature, I had to stop and literally use a conversion chart in order to figure out what "my" minus 12 degrees Celcius meant in "her" Fahrenheit. And I remember saying, "I'm sorry, it's my Metric upbringing, I don't understand Imperial measurements!'

But that got me thinking. The Metric system was only introduced in Canada in the early 1970's (or so I think, based on the heavy focus it received in my grades one and two curriculum) And so while we small children grasped the concept easily, we still had our parents back at home, who had been raised on the Imperial system. As such, we were brought up on both systems, to a certain degree.


I can only buy food in kilograms and have no idea what a pound of meat looks like. However, I weigh people in pounds, and have no idea what a 45 kilogram person would look like.

I know how much a litre of liquid is, but if you told me a recipe called for 400 millilitres of milk? I'd cry. Give me measurements in cups and half cups. Likewise, I want to hear about tablespoons and teaspoons, I do NOT want to hear about 45 millilitres, because (whatever that IS) surely no good can come from that.

I seriously do NOT understand the concept of a mile, you need to talk to me in kilometres. What I find funny, though, is that even here in Canada, car dealerships will declare that a vehicle gets "52 miles per gallon", and we all nod and agree that's good fuel economy, even though we have no idea what that means! Now, to be fair, "52 miles per gallon", sounds waaaaaay more impressive than "22.14 kilometres per litre", even though that's the exact conversion. (Again, had to look it up.)

And while I DO understrand distance in Metric, NEVER tell me a person is 159 centimeters tall, unless you want to confuse me to death. I think of "people height" in feet. 159 centimetres is 5'3", my own height. Hmm, that 159 sounds way more impressive, but the 5'3" sounds so dainty and petite. And, you know, understandable.

Temperature? Weather must be in Metric, but if I'm cooking, please tell me to turn the oven to 350F, Ok? And if I have a fever, don't tell me I'm up to 41 degrees Celcius, just cut to the chase and tell me it's 103F, otherwise I won't know if it's good or bad.

Am I the norm for the first generation of Metric Canadians? I think so. So now I'm going to take my 5'3" body in to my 16 degree Celsius kitchen to turn my oven to 350F so I can cook my 2 kilogram roast with one cup of onions.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Loaded for a living

This afternoon, Husbandly One and I attended the Grand Tasting at the "World Wine & Food Expo" in our city. What this means, essentially, is that over 400 wines were available to sample.

We attend this event every year, for two reasons: one, to find new wines to enjoy in our home; and two (much more importantly), to find new wines to add to our wine list at work.

Husbandly One is the designated driver, but he is also the one who chooses the wine list for our hotel. He ALSO trusts my palate, so the way it works is that he makes me try the wines he is interested in. If I feel very strongly about them, he will taste them. Got that so far?

At a wine tasting event, you chose which wines you want to try (you could never get through 400 wines!) and you are given about two tablespoons of the stuff. This is just enough to fully create the nose of the wine (the way it smells) and then you taste it. In most cases, you drink about a teaspoon of it and then dump the rest out, unless it is a wine you are really interested in. At that point, you may end up drinking about a tablespoon of the stuff. And if it was good enough for me to drink a full tablespoon? THEN Husbandly One would ask for a sample and have a quick teaspoon of it.

We did a lot of work this afternoon, found some great wines to add to our list, and we did it all between 1pm and 3:30pm. And then Husbandly One said, "Okay, let's get back to the office and put our orders together."

Please understand he had tried about 15 wines in delicate little sips at this point. I, his guinea pig, had tried over seventy.

"Dude, I can't go back to work, I'm HAMMERED." In two and a half hours, I had probably consumed ten glasses of wine for heaven's sake! He found it FUNNY that I was now too intoxicated to talk to clients, even though he put me in that situation!

So here I sit at home, drunk, while he is back at work being productive. The things I do for my company....

Monday, November 3, 2008

The sun'll come out tomorrow

Yes, friends and neighbours, the US election is finally upon us. I firmly believe that Barack Obama is the next president of the United States. However, not so many years ago I was also firmly convinced that Al Gore was the next president of the United States, so let's not go there.

My personal opinions notwithstanding, I sincerely hope that any Americans reading this plan to go out and vote tomorrow. Vote for whoever you want, just go do it. (I say this from my lofty position of a Canadian, who just went through our own federal election....with the lowest voter turnout in history. Niiiiiiiiiice)

And, oh, can you BELIEVE the story about Barack Obama's grandmother?? That is just heart breaking on about 849285 levels. Prayers to their family.

Ok, that's it for tonight. Must get back to CNN...

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Another list

10 books I recommend
1. The Bible (even if you don't read it from a spiritual stand point, there are some great stories in there!)
2. The Stand by Stephen King
3. Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck
4. Little Women by Louisa May Alcott
5. Outlander series by Diana Gabaldon
6. Madame Bovary by Flaubert
7. all the Little House books by Laura Ingalls Wilder
8. the Anne of Green Gables series by L.M. Montgomery
9. the Harry Potter books by J.K. Rowling
10. The Diary of Anne Frank.
(Hmmm...most of my choices are "children's" books. Interesting.)

9 places I want to visit
1. Portugal
2. the Great Wall of China
3. Russia
4. your house
5. a private tropical beach
6. Mayan relics
7. the Egyptian pyramids
8. Northern Canada (preferably within the polar circle)
9. Dubai

8 favourite foods
1. Coffee
2. escargots
3. popcorn
4. salmon
5. asparagus
6. buffalo tenderloin
7. raw spinach
8. Corn Nuts

7 jobs I have had
1. Hotel front desk clerk
2. night auditor
3. credit manager
4. payroll manager
5. Executive housekeeper
6. Catering manager
7. interviewer for Statistics Canada.

6 stupid facts about me
1. left handed
2. famous as a proof reader at work (not so much on this blog)
3. love watching golf on TV but think the game in real life is unbearably stupid
4. hate ice cream
5. collect rocks
6. adore obscure trivia

5 every day favourites
1. coffee
2. a good laugh
3. coming home
4. a real letter in my mail box
5. hugs and kisses

4 mood lifters
1. hugs and kisses
2. my favourite blogs
3. an unexpected phone call from someone I love
4. hot bath

3 reasons to get out of bed
1. Christmas
2. "alone time"in early morning
3. need to pee

2 people I love (only two??)
1. Son
2. Husbandly One

1 thing I love about myself
1. curious

So c'mon...what does your list look like, I'd love to see it.

Saturday, October 25, 2008


Husbandly One hates Chinese food.

I looooooooooooove Chinese food.

I am home by myself tonight, so I hatched the decadent plan to order some Chinese take-out and have myself a little food orgy. I called a local place, told them I was ordering for delivery, and asked if they took debit-at-the-door. Oh, no problem, we take debit, credit cards, whatever you got lady. And it'll be about twenty minutes.

More than an HOUR passes, I was just about to call them back to see if something was wrong, when my phone rang. The restaurant telling me my food was ready. Ummm...great, so why isn't it HERE?

Whoever took my order did not register the fact that it was for delivery. Ok, mistakes happen. But when I double checked about the payment thing, I was told that no, they only take cash for delivery. "So, you want me to send driver?"
"Ummm, NO, because I can't pay you!!"
"But we already made it."
"If the driver can;t take cards, can I give you my credit card number over the phone??"
"No, has to be in person."
"Well then I'm sorry but don't send any food here, this is ridiculous."
"But we made the food."
"Yes, and I told you I wanted it delivered, and I told you I was going to pay by debit."
"You didn't tell me that!"
"No, of course I didn't tell YOU that, I told the man who answered the phone when I called. Ask him."
"But the food is made!!"
"And this is my problem HOW??"

So it is now 9pm, I am so hungry that I might pass out at any second, and I have just called a second restaurant to place a second order that will take another half hour. And no, they don't take debit-at-the-door either, but they did take my Visa number and all is arranged and paid for.

I don't fault the first restaurant for not having the most up-to-date technology, that ability to allow customers to pay by plastic at the door, I get the fact that it must be an expensive undertaking. But when I placed my order, I made it PERFECTLY CLEAR how I wanted to receive my order, and how I planned to pay for it. I was told "Ok!"

So instead of treating me like a bad customer who reneged on her order, how bout you deal with arsehole who answered the phone in the first place?

(and yeah yeah, I know this is a totally lame blog entry, but I'm hungry, dammit.)

Friday, October 24, 2008

Finicky insult....or the shape of things to come?

Last night I realized I had some stewing beef in the fridge that was quickly going over to The Dark Side. I loathe wasting grocery money, so I immediately threw it in my crockpot with anything I could put my hands on. I knew that I would be the only one home for dinner tonight, but I figured the act of cooking the beef would buy me another few days for our family to consume it.

I had a third of a bottle of red wine that had been sitting on the counter for a week, so I threw it in. I had some carrots in the crisper, so they came in to play, too. I didn't have fresh mushrooms, so the canned version had to do. I did have fresh garlic, so I crushed four large cloves and threw them in. A few other finds in my pantry, and I had what I thought was a reasonable combination to cook today.

When I got home from work, the smell of red wine coming from my crockpot was amazing. I quickly cooked some rice and then doled myself a healthy portion of the beef mixture on top. Not bad.

Right around THAT time, I realized I didn't have any dog food in the house for Sasha. The thing I had made in the crockpot was 98% pure beef, so I took out a plate to cool, and when it was ready I put it in the dog's dish.

She was clearly excited to see that I was filling her dish. She walked straight up to it, sniffed, and then stepped back. No, c'mere baby, c'mere, look at the nummies Mummy has for you. C'mere, girl.

And then she stepped back again.

The DOG doesn't like my cooking. Can't wait til my family gets home.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Part Two: Here's what's wrong (and right) about healthcare

Welcome to Canada, that glorious land where I will swear our healthcare is better than that of the US. Why? well, obviously, because my healthcare is free and easily accessible.


Before I moved here, I lived in a "Have" province (clearly, in direct opposition to where I currently reside, a "Have Not" province.) Want to see your doctor? Call him, you'll have an appointment later this week. Don't like your doctor? Call another office, they'll have you in within two weeks, faster if it's an emergency.


I have lived in this province for SEVEN YEARS, and have not had a doctor that entire time. I am almost 39 years old, so, notwithstanding any other normal medical issue that may come up? Skipping your annual Pap test? Not such a good idea.

Oh, and both of my parents died at the age of SIXTY? Yeah, I might want to see someone.

I am currently on three separate waiting lists, trying to get a doctor to accept me as a patient. See, our medical system works like a charm if you have always lived in this province, but if you have the audacity to move in to it? I hope you doubled up on your inhaler medication before you left home, because dude? You are SCREWED. (And, just to be morbid? I called my father's doctor just after Daddy died, and essentially said, "Listen, your case load is now down by One...and you guys clearly know our family's medical history, so...can you get me in? No response.)

So tonight I cut myself on a can of dogfood. Cut myself so badly that I called my Mum for her advice. And after I tried her suggestion and it didn't work? Called the 1-800 number for our provincial "Telecare"... they're kind of the people you call when you sincerely don't know what to do, or when you have no place else to turn.

Based on what the lovely Shannon, a registered nurse told me, I need to haul ass to an after hours clinic tomorrow and get a tetanus shot. But what else the Lovely Shannon told me? There's a provincial registry I can add my name to, something I didn't know before. WHY DIDN'T SOMEONE TELL ME ABOUT THIS BEFORE??

I hate to get graphic (because, hey, my MUM reads this) but in addition to the fact that the top of my left index finger doesn't seem interested in staying attached to my body? I have an expired IUD in my uterus right now, and no way to get it out, because I don't have a doctor. After seven years of waiting.

And I'm sorry, but that shit is just messed up. I deserve the same healthcare as any other Canadian, regardless of where I live. God knows my taxes pay for it.

And thank God that the lovely Shannon took the time to tell me there is something else I can do. It may just be adding my name to yet another waiting list, but at least I did it.

Edited to note: Just so we're all clear, I haven't been waiting seven years to get my IUD out, I have been waiting seven years for a doctor. The IUD expired, like two months ago, which is an inconvenience, NOT seven years ago, which would just be gross and disgusting.

Kinda like me talking about my IUD in the first place.

Monday, October 20, 2008

That AIDS guy

Listen, it is after midnight, and I only caught part of the news, but...

There's this guy, Johnson Aziga, who is being tried for first degree murder by the Canadian government, because of his reckless disregard for public safety and spreading HIV; the government says they can prove he transmitted the disease to seven women and that two of the women have since died. This is the first time our government has launched such a case.

And they are launching it because they had already issued him an order to disclose his HIV status to his future sex partners, but he ignored it. In some cases, his partners asked him about his HIV status, and the rutting bastard flat out lied to them.

Umm, maybe I'm being a bit of an innocent here, but I'm pretty sure the government doesn't get involved in each HIV case in our country. So how much of a scum bag was this guy in the first place, before he killed those two women, that caused the government to attempt to step in? Because Christ alone knows who else this asshole killed. Well, here, read this...

Aziga, a native of Uganda and former research analyst with Ontario's ministry of the Attorney General was diagnosed with HIV in 1997 and was counselled by medical officials not to have unprotected sex and to inform partners of his HIV status, court heard.
In October 2002, Hamilton public health officials issued a written order to Aziga to disclose his health status to sex partners and to use condoms after he acknowledged to a public health nurse he had unprotected sex with at least one woman and had not disclosed his HIV status, Power said witnesses will testify.
Aziga was issued a second written order under the Health Protection and Promotion Act in August 2003, the Crown attorney told the court.
Despite being warned of the danger of infecting others, Aziga continued to have unprotected sex, even on the morning of his arrest, Power said the evidence will show.
Aziga and seven complainants who tested positive all share a rare strain of HIV not commonly found in North America, Power noted.

Good God, what is WRONG with people??

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Gift giving? I RULE

Okay, Husbandly One's birthday isn't until Wednesday, but I'm ready. Here's what will happen:

He will open a large gift (the box started off as a case of coffee), only to discover 40 small bags of potato chips. If he digs through that, he will find another box....which contains about 100 individually wrapped peanut butter cups and yet another box. When he opens that box, he will find a staggering amount of M&M's covering yet another smaller box.

When he opens that box,he will be overwhelmed by the number of "Rocket" candy rolls concealing yet another box. That box will reveal dozens of Halloween themed chocolates...and another box.

That box is a small box of cereal, with a "prize in every box". When he digs through the cereal, he will eventually find a tiny glass vial containing a small piece of paper. When he unrolls the paper, he will find a teeny tiny picture of Bill Clinton. (representing our tickets to hear President Clinton speak at the end of November.)

I spent over $65 on candy to put this together, but I figure four things:

1) it was fun to do
2)it'll be fun to watch
3) the man DOES have a sweet tooth, and
4) Hallowe'en is a week after his birthday, so I don't have to buy Hallowe'en candy.

Financial Crisis

No no, I'm not personally in one, but, umm, collectively we're ALL in one. Not only do we all need to save money, we all need to treat our natural resources (water, oil, food) like the precious commodities they are.

Does anyone have any suggestions for my normal, middle class household to help us save money and/or reduce our impact on the environment? And please, don't tell me to Google it, I HAVE. I'm just asking if there is something you personally are doing that is working, or if you have a favourite site you turn to.

All of this has been prompted by a bit of ageism....for the first time, I am REALLY seeing that there are three distinct generations living in my house, and only one of us seems interested in saving the planet / our wallets. There's me, almost forty; Husbandly One, almost sixty; and Stepson, just on the other side of twenty.

Stepson: could care less about any of this, is not polically minded, does not consider global issues, feels he should be able to walk around the house in shorts during winter, does not pay the heating bill.

Husbandly One: actually pays the heating bill, so is often grumpy. Still, if Husbandly One feels the slightest bit chilly, he turns up the heat.

Me: the crunchy granola chick in the middle, screaming, "If you are cold, put on more clothes! The sweater is paid for already, the heat is NOT!"

I face the same issues with our soaring grocery bill. I am a big fan of eating leftovers, recipes that involve stewing beef, my crock pot, and whatever is on sale. Husbandly One is much more capricious, purchasing whatever appeals to him in the moment. I once tried menu planning/grocery shopping for a three week period and it almost destroyed his psyche. "How can we decide on Monday what we want to eat on Thrusday?"

(Irma, in the background, banging head on wall.)

So, my Internet Friends, is there anything you can suggest? I am looking for ANY way to stretch a dollar.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

And one more thing

I hope all you Canadians went out and voted today. I hope all you Americans go out and vote three weeks from now. It really is important, you guys.


Here's what's wrong with health care

To recap: Husbandly One has a strange feeling in his leg last Friday so went to the outpatient department in the morning. He sat in Emergency all day, waiting to be taken to his room. He was delivered to his room at 8:30pm, but no one came to uptake him (ie, fill out the opening paperwork whixh says he is now that floor's responsibility) until 10:15 pm. It was also at that time we were told not to expect an actual doctor to come see him that weekend.

Late Monday morning, a chief hematology doctor (or however you spell it) finally shows up and tells him that he is free to go, as long as he comes back that same day at 2pm for an injection, and then Tuesday (today) for one last appointment at 8am. APPOINTMENT.

Ex-Husband returns to the hospital this morning at 8am, leaving our 12 year old home alone, because, remember, he has an appointment.

Ex-Husband finally sees the doctor at 4:30pm. (Chief hematology guy again). Chief guy tells Ex-Husbnad that, in is opinion, there never WAS a blood clot this time, he thinks that the MRI picked up the scarring from the last time Ex-Husband had a blood clot. In laymen's terms, there's nothing wrong with Ex-Husband, there never was, and he spent all that time in the hospital for nothing. more small thing they need to mention. See, Chief guy wasn't actually the doctor who admitted Ex-Husband in to the hospital last Friday. No, that would be some ER doctor. So technically, Ex-Husband should never have been allowed to go home on Monday, because original docor didn't say it was okay. But, you know, original doctor is on days off. SO THEY NEED TO RE-ADMIT EX-HUSBAND TODAY SO ORIGINAL DOCTOR CAN SIGN HIM OUT ON WEDNESDAY. Even though there is nothing WRONG with him, they need him to scramble to figure out what the hell he is going to do about the 12 year old who has been home by himself all day, and apparently doesn't have a parent coming home, either. All this because they need all their stupid paperwrk filled out six ways to Sunday so they don't leave themselves open to some law suit.

Now, I have zero problem with the fact that they admitted him to the hospital in the first place; after all, blood clots can kill you. But during those days in the hospital, it's not like he actually received any medical care (he was even taking the meds he had brought with him from home, so it's not like he even got four days worth of free drugs out of the deal, and he didn't even see a doctor for the first three days). And while he was there, he was costing me (as a tax-payer) money. And taking up a bed that could have been used for someone who was actually sick. And now they won't let him leave!

This afternoon he and I discussed the idea of him just leaving against medical advice, or whatever that's called. It was very tempting, but then we both realized that if he does that, if anything ever goes wrong at any time during the rest of his life and we actually DO need to sue someone, someone will pull the fact that he checked himself out and figure out a way to blame that future trouble on this one hospital stay. (Did that make sense?)

This whole situation is so stupid I can't even see straight. (oh and don't worry, Son is with friends for the night and is being well looked afer.)

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Because, apparently, I need MORE drama in my life

Context: Ex-Husband planned to fly to Alberta with our Son on Saturday (yesterday) for a week of sightseeting in the Rockies, plus Thanksgiving with his own family. Much holiday joy and memory making was anticipated by all.

Reality: Friday afternoon, Ex-Husband called me in my office at 3:30pm, to tell me that he had been admitted to the hospital and I needed to jump in my truck immediately to go get Son. (Son and Ex-Husband live two hours away from me.)

Long story short, I picked up Son at their house, packed a bag for Ex-Husband, and then went to the hospital.

He has been hospitalized due to blood clots in his leg. The truly scary part about all this is that this is the third time in three years the blood clots have formed, despite the fact that he is already on several blood thinners. The damn things just keep coming back. And the damn things could kill him in the blink of an eye. He is 41 years old.

Son and I spent Friday evening with Ex-Husband, finally arriving back at their house at 11pm. Saturday morning, we were back at the hospital by 9am, and we hung out with Ex-Husband til 1pm, at which time I literally HAD to bring Son here to my house. Number One, I had been wearing the same dress, nylons, and black pumps for two days already. Number Two, my impromptu trip meant that Husandly One was back at our house sans vehicle. Number Three? STILL no sign of The Grand-Boobah-Doctor, who apparently thinks Ex-Husband's case is serious enough to warrant attention from his own self, but aparently has no interest in coming in during Thanskgiving weekend. Ex-Husband has now been in the hospital for three days, and he hasn't seen one single doctor one single time.

And no, I am NOT making this up, the nurses have been hinting at this ever since Ex-Husband was admitted: there is no real reason for him to be there (he could be treated as an outpatient) but they do not have the authority to release him, and he better be prepared to wait til Tuesday, as they all know that Grand-High-Poobah won't come in on the weekend.

All of which is frustrating for all of us....Ex-Husband in particular, because he is now stuck in the hospital for no real reason, with absolutely no one to come visit him and keep the boredom away. (he doesn't want to tell any of his friends or any one at work about the whole situation.) I feel terrible because I had to leave his city to bring Son here, but the fact remains I HAD to come home, I would honestly prefer to still be there so we could keep him company.

I may not be in love with my Ex-Husband, and things since we split have not always been rosy, but I will always love him, and my life will always be tied up in his. (I am listed, rightly so, as his next-of-kin, for heaven's sake.) I hope he is making it through the day without too much boredom, and I hope the emails I send him are cheering him up. (He called me this morning to let me know that he is receiving my messages, but for some reason the weird hosptial internet service won't let him reply.)

And....I really have nothing else to say. Ex-Husband, Son and I are in limbo, and so that's how I'll end this post.

Edited to add: Husbandly One insists I return to Ex-Husband's city tomorrow, whether it be to take Son home or simply so Son can visit his father. Husbandly One gets that "family" may often be a complicated, convoluted thing....but at the end of the day, it's still Family.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

The best part about dealing with celebrities

In my job, I have to deal with famous people (or Famous People's People) on a regular basis. None of this fazes me in the least-- after all, they are just normal people doing their jobs-- and I do everything I can to fulfill their specific requests without judging.

Perfect example: a few years ago I had to take care of, arguably, the biggest rock band in the world. The lead singer wanted (among other things) a full sized coffee maker, Starbucks coffee, a bottle of red wine, a bottle of white wine, six local beers, six imported beers, a bottle of Scotch, a particular mineral water, and many assorted sandwiches and snack foods.

Some of the people in my organization who saw the full list snickered....if buddy needed all that for a one night stay, he must be a major alcoholic with an eating disorder, ha ha.

Noooooo....not even a little bit. Think about your own life; you come home to your house at the end of the day, and you feel like having...what? Do you want a beer, or do you want a glass of apple juice? You paw through your fridge, trying to decide between the leftover chicken or a container of yogurt. Just because you have four or five types of liquor in your house, doesn't mean you're going to drink them, does it? The point is you have a choice.

Celebrities on tour don't have a home, don't have their own creature comforts. And so yes, some of them ask for what appears at first glance to be "everything". The end result is they use about 5% of what you put in their rooms....but at least they have a choice, they get to feel like normal people, too.

I love this part of planning for celebrities more than any other. No, I don't want to meet them. No, I don't want tickets. I just want to be the one who provides what they need.

So I have this celebrity coming next week. I received her rider ("list of things she'd like") a few weeks ago, which included a particular mineral water, and today I finally spoke to her manager again.

Manager: So you can get the organic vegetables, right?
Me: Yes, it's already done.

Manager: And there's no problem about her dog?
Me: No, we're a pet friendly hotel.

Manager: Great. Oh, and don't worry about the water, I know now that it's not available in Canada.
Me: Yeah, but I have it.

(long pause)

Manager: (sputtering) What are you talking about, every place we've been in Canada they told us it's not available!
Me: It's not, they don't sell it in Canada.
Me: We called Atlanta and had it shipped. No big deal.
Manager: but but but but but but every other hotel told us they couldn't get it.
Me: Well, uh, we did.

THOSE are the moments I love, the moments when I get to show these people that my hotel rules all, that we take their needs seriously and will do whatever it takes to make sure they feel welcomed.

(And when I further told her that Atlanta had sent me way more water than I asked for, and she could have it to take with her on the tour bus for the other Canadian stops? I think I made a new best friend.)

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

The Knitting Chronicles

I am presently knitting three sweaters at the same time: for my Son, for Husbandly One, and for Step Son. The last time I knit a sweater for Son was almost ten years ago, and I have never knit for the other two. All I'm getting at is that the sight of me knitting hasn't been the norm around here.

All of these sweaters are a surprise to the recipient, and yet all three of them are in on the secret that I am knitting a sweater for someone else. Got that? Son knows I am knitting a green sweater for Husbandly One, Husbandly One knows I am knitting a red sweater for Son, and StepSon thinks the blue sweater is actually meant for his father.

I am the master of deception.

Except for the fact that I have to knit openly most evenings; I knit based on who isn't home -- or isn't expected home-- at any given time. And so, Husbandly One -- who only knows I am knitting a red sweater for Son-- has also seen me working on a blue sweater. My StepSon, who knows about the green sweater, has walked in on me as I work on the red one.

And nobody has questioned a thing.

So my question to you, dear Internet: Should I be glad they are all typical oblivious boys, or should I be pissed off that no one pays the slightest damn bit of attention to anything I do around here, as long as they all get fed?


Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Countdown to the election

Ok, guys, listen up: the election is one week from today. No, not the U.S. election which is so close to my heart, but our own, somewhat boring, Canadian election.

Yes, I said boring. I have no doubt that all of the national party leaders are very passionate about our country, but....umm, yawn. (With the possible exception of NDP leader Jack Layton....not saying I would necessarily ever cast a vote for him, but I'd sure like to have him sitting at my kitchen table, telling stories with a beer in his hand. He's the leader who seems most like a person, if you get my meaning.)

But again, there's only one week left, and then all this boring boringness will go away. Yay, TV go back to regularly scheduled programming! And you know what happens then? One of these people will be leading our country. As in, "in charge of CANADA", which, as you know, is a pretty big place. And, umm, happens to be where we live. And pay taxes. And (hopefully) avoid wars.

Listen, I am the first to admit that our political process could use a little more razzle dazzle to encourage people to get involved and vote, and clearly we aren't going to get any on this campaign. But if you haven't decided who you're going to vote for, or even if you're going to vote at all?

You only have to pay attention for one week, I promise. Just give the whole process a chance for seven days. Listen to what the leaders are offering, read what the newspapers are reporting, listen to what your co-workers are saying over coffee, and then draw your own conclusions. Just for seven days, okay, you can do that standing on your head, I know it.

The right to vote is one of the things I hold closest to my heart. I don't care who you vote for, just get involved and do it. Please?

(Oh, and if you DO need me to tell you who to vote for? Email me.)

(I'm kidding, I'm kidding...)

Monday, October 6, 2008

You know what would rock?

A few positive thoughts directed at us here at Casa Floresta.

No, nothing is wrong, but I do have something on my mind that isn't all puppy dogs and rainbows.

So, just for giggles, how 'bout you send a little love my way and we'll all see what happens.

Ambiguously Yours,

Friday, October 3, 2008

The last week

Yikes, how is it possible so much time has passed since I posted??

Elton John was, quite simply, amazing. Oh no, wait, that's not what I meant: Elton John was FREAKING, LIFE-ALTERING, AMAZING.

There, I feel better.

Husbandly One and I had second row tickets, which were (watch for repetition) AMAZING for most of the concert. But four songs before the end, those of us in the front rows were encouraged to "rush" the stage. Which, hello, we did.

So there I am, literally as close to Elton John as I am to my laptop at this moment, and he pulls out a pen to sign autographs for those of us in the front row. He signed tickets, he signed purses, he signed albums, and (memorably!) he signed someone's Visa card.

And there's me in the front row, Husbandly One with his hands on my hips behind me. Did I offer up my tickets? Did I offer up my arm? Did I lift my shirt for Sir Elton to sign my bra? (hey, I saw a chick to this.)

No no, I pushed other concert-goers in front of me, trying to get THEM the right position for his attention.

My livelong path in the hospitality industry has rendered me completely incapable of taking something for myself, for me it is always about someone else.

Stupid, stupid Irma.

On the other hand...

My Mum and my StepSon were also at the concert, in the nosebleed section. They saw Husbandly One and I rush the stage, they saw us dance to the music, they saw Elton John within inches of us, they saw us as we danced three feet away from The Man.

Afterwards, Step-Son said to me, "Well, it certainly looked like the two of you had a Good Date."


Yes we did.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Not your typical Sunday night

Going to Elton John in an hour.

Elton John.

In an hour.

(excuse me while I go pass out....)

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Michael Moore, Part Two

As previously mentioned, I am a big fan of Michael Moore's movies. This morning, I finally got a chance to watch his new movie, "Slacker Uprising". The verdict?


I am used to his movies informing me, taking me places I've never gone, making me listen to stories I would never otherwise hear. This movie, however, felt much more like a concert film than it did a documentary.

I was under the (very) misguided impression that this movie was about his campaign to encourage young people to vote, no matter which way their political leanings went: just do it. But, no, it was two hours of him trying to get people to vote Democrat, which I found vaguely annoying.

Don't get me wrong: If I was an American, I would be a Democrat, and I would want you to vote Democrat, too. I just feel misled...I thought the movie would be a plea to get involved with the PROCESS, not with a party.

Mind you, I sincerely admire him for his efforts to wake up young people. We need more leaders like this, more people who are willing to campaign on the importance of each and every vote, more public figures who are willing to go to the wall for what they believe. Michael Moore, as the subject of this film, earned my respect.

On the other hand, Michael Moore, as the director of this film, left me cold for the first time in 15 years. I mean, I just didn't care.....all of his previous films actually taught me something, this one just showed me a bunch of musical performances, a bunch of enthralled crowds, yada yada yada. This movie was long on money shots, and very short on substance. And it pains me to say it.

I AM glad I watched it, and I actually hope you will watch it too. It actually IS a good's just not as good as his previous work has taught us to expect.

(And, by the way, my personal favourite when it comes to movies, editing? Based on the footage that made the movie, the film, in my humble opinion, should have been about 8 minutes shorter.)

Thursday, September 25, 2008

New blog to add to "your favourites"

On the right hand side, you will find some (but by no means all) of the blogs I enjoy on a regular basis. I added a new one tonight, "the Johnson Chronicles". When this blog was first recommended to me a few months ago, I did what I always do: I went back to the very beginning and read forward.

If you are looking for a blog that is fascinating and yet very different, try this one. To date there aren't even that many posts, you could probably read the whole thing in just over an hour. But if you are like me, in that hour you will get a real feel for this very special family.

I could say more, but my throat is starting to close over. I don't know why this family's story touches me so deeply, but it really does. They make me believe that good people exist in the world. They make me remember that love conquers all. They remind me that the simplest pleasures are the best ones.

So c'mon, check them out. I wouldn't steer you wrong.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Michael Moore

Let's get this out in the open right away: I enjoy his films. I could give you hundreds of reasons why, but that's not really the point.

I do not always agree with his politics, nor do I always agree with some of his interview techniques. I could give you hundreds of reasons why, but that's not really the point.

The point is that I just took a quick look around the internet, looking for reviews of his new movie "Slacker Uprising." The articles I read tended to highlight his politics much more than the quality of the film itself, and the comments to these articles surprised me.

Not one person, at any site I visited, actually commented on the movie, or on his decision to release it, completely free, on the web. No, all the comments were about Michael Moore The Man. Love him or hate him, all any one wanted to talk about was HIM. (And just to save you some time? Most of the people who took the time to comment won't exactly be sending him Christmas cards) Actual arguments broke out on some of these sites, arguments whose logic and choice of colourful euphemisms seem far more suited to a school yard. "You're a dum dum. No, you are. No, you are to infinity."

(cough,cough) Hi? Is this thing on? Can I get a word in edgewise?

Shouldn't the question be whether or not he has created a good film? Shouldn't the discussion revolve around the merits of the movie? (You know....movies?....It's an art form? Seriously, look it up.) Could we maybe talk about that? Cinematography, script, sound, or (my personal favourite) editing? Any takers??

Listen, I get the fact that he is a polarizing person, that he personally stirs up strong emotions in others. If you think he is Satan in a ball cap, that's your right. But can't we all stay on topic for five minutes, and get back to hating or deifying him later?

And, in a bold initiative, I plan to SEE the movie before I make up my mind about it.

'Cause I'm just crazy that way.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008


Bill Clinton is speaking in my city on November 25. My little tiny Canadian city. He will be speaking on the economy, and the timing of his appearnace means that both the Canadian and US elections will be over, so his speech will have more relevance, as we will have a clear political view for both countries for the next four years.

Must. Get. Tickets.

Husbandly One, who is every bit as excited as I am in theory, is still insisting on Being The Grown Up: "Yes, it would be fabulous to hear him speak, but it is very expensive..."

Bwah ha ha, he has clearly forgotten that his birthday is coming up. And that every year, I get him something totally lame because I have NO idea what to get him. And that, while tickets are more expensive than whatever I always buy him in a panic, at least this year I would 100% know he'll love my gift.

Operators are standing by...

Monday, September 22, 2008

I never learn

I went apple picking on Sunday with my son, sister, and Mum. A wholesome family time was had by all. And now I have more than sixty apples in my kitchen. What the hell was I thinking??

Thursday, September 18, 2008

To Renelle

I answered you in "Comments", but to make sure you see this... call me at work and ask for me by my maiden name. I would love to talk to you and have you in for lunch or whatever. We have lots to discuss!

3-D Ultrasounds

Such a thing did not exist when I was pregnant, way back in the Old Ages, twelve years ago. But I have seen the photos that result from these expensive and completely medically unnecessary ultrasounds, and I recommend them strongly. I mean, it's a REAL picture of your in-utero baby, you literally see what the kid looks like. It's staggering, it's amazing. Well worth whatever you have to pay.

This morning, friends of mine went for a 3-D ultrasound of their 28 week fetus. They already knew they were having a son, they just wanted to see his sweet face.

The 3-D ultrasound confirmed what they already suspected: their son is breeach, essentially standing feet down in the womb. And facing his mother's back. She is now looking at an almost certain C-section delivery she desperately wanted to avoid.

And those $400 pictures they brought home? No face is visible in any of them. What they got for their money was several dozen pictures of the baby's butt and penis.

Sigh....boys start so young.

Sssh, don't tell

I think I have made it somewhat clear that I adore my Husbandly One. He is everything to me, he makes me laugh, he makes me feel safe, he rocks my world. But lately, I just wish he would go away.

A few weeks ago, I decided to knit him a sweater for Christmas. Knitting is nothing new in my world, and he has spent many an evening beside me on the couch, listening to the clicking of my flashing needles. (I knit pretty damn fast if I do say so myself.)

But, see, the Christmas sweater is a surprise, and so I only pick it up when he's not home. Usually, in the autumn, I spend at least half my evenings alone due to his work schedule. But this fall? He comes home with me EVERY NIGHT, he has decided (argh!) that spending time with Wifely One needs to be a priority.

So do me a favour, will you? If you know me in real life, think of reasons to get him the hell out of the house, would you? You have one extra hockey ticket? Good. You want to go for drinks? BAD, because he will then invite me.

C'mon, people, think of reasons you want to be friends with him but not me!!

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

We now resume regular programming

Prior to this evening, the last time I even turned my laptop on was six days ago. Last Thursday, I picked up the first volume of the "Twilight" series. Four books and 2500 pages later, I put the last one down late last night.

I have heard so much about these books in te last few months that I decided to give them a whirl. Did I enjoy them? Umm, yeah. Compulsively.

Do I recommend them? Completely.

Would I read them again? No.

Would I recommend buying them? With no dispresect to the author, No.

Listen, they are super fun books, a great escape. But, to me, a book is only truly great if I want to read it multiple times. It's kind of a hard concept to explain, because I know most people (cough cough normal people) generally only read books once. Me? Not so much.

It also bears mentioning that these books are actually targeted at, and written for, teenagers, not for women who have begun counting down the days til "the Big 4 Oh". Still, these books have become quite popular among women my age. So there.

Definitely check them out. Just do so at the library, unless you have a sixteen year old daughter. Then you can just borrow her copies.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Another public service announcement

Reject any recipe that contains an ingredient your Loved One hates, no matter how little of that ingredient is used.

The End.

Ok, not really.

A few days ago I found a casserole recipe that looked wonderful. It had chicken, cheese, and bacon, all wrapped in pastry and shaped in to a beautiful ring. I decided I needed to add this new dish to my arsenal immediately.

Unfortunately, I did not have any of the ingredients in my kitchen, so I went out and bought a few boneless, skinless chicken breasts to create my "two cups of chopped chicken". I always have several varieties of cheese in my fridge, but never cheddar, so I bought a big bag of pre-grated cheese to speed things up. I don't usually have bacon so I bought a bag of precooked, pre-crumbled stuff. And pastry? That's why God gave us Pillsbury.

By the end of my quick trip to the store for these, and a few other, ingredients, I had spent almost $25.00.

On a casserole.

Once back home, I began assembling it. The dish also called for pimento....I left that out because I find it loathsome so it was gone. It also called for a half cup of diced onion, something Husbandly One and I adore, but my Stepson can't stomach, so I left that out, too. It also called for a quarter cup or Miracle Whip.

Now. Husbandly One hates the stuff with a passion, but I I figured a mere quarter cup of the stuff, combined with two cups chicken, one and a half cups of cheese, a half cup of bacon, the remaining ingredients that made the cut, plus all that pastry , would make it simply an innocuous binding agent.


I don't know what kind of molecular power Miracle Whip has, but it should be studied in the highest centres of learning in the land. After all that money spent, and all the time to put it together, what I served Husbandly One was simply a very pretty piece of Miracle Whip Pie. The taste of salad dressing** was so strong that even I couldn't eat more than a few bites of it.

So, note to other would-be-cooks: When in doubt of a recipe, as it relates to your Loved One's preferences, WALK AWAY.

** When I was young, and would read "Salad Dressing" on the Miracle Whip bottle, I was always horrified to think that some people would actually scoop a big dollop of it on to a bed of lettuce and tomatoes. It was only once I was 30 that I realized it referred to things like chicken salad or tuna salad.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Oh why not

Meme I have "stolen" from the Butterscotch Palace. Catch is you can only answer in one word, whatever pops in to your head first....Try it, it's fun but revealing in its simplicity.

1. Where is your cell phone? PURSE
2. Were is your significant other? HERE
3. Your hair? UP
4. Your mother? GONE
5. Your father? GONE
6. Your favorite thing? GARDEN
7. Your dream last night? BAD
8. Your dream/goal? THIS
9. The room you're in? LIVINGROOM
11. Your fear? ALONE
12. Where do you want to be in 6 years? HERE
13. Where were you last night? HERE
14. What you're not? GIRLIE
16. One of your wish list items? GIRLIE
17. Where you grew up? MONCTON
18. The last thing you did? PEE
19. What are you wearing? SWEATS
20. Your TV? ON
21. Your pet? LOUD
22. Your computer? YUM
23. Your mood? FINE
24. Missing someone? ALWAYS
25. Your car? TOTALLED
26. Something you're not wearing? RING
27. Favorite store? SCRAPBOOK
28. Your summer? WET
29. Love someone? PASSIONATELY
30. Your favorite color? PURPLE
31. When is the last time you laughed? 19:30
32. Last time you cried? YESTERDAY

Monday, September 1, 2008

A helpful hint from Irma


If, one day, you realize there are three flies in your house? And, if, the next day, you realize there are seven? Don't just look at them and say, "Huh. I wonder where they came from."

But if that's what you did? (Because, in fact, that is what I did.) Two days later, get ready to spend the entire evening swinging wildly at the walls and ceiling with dishtowels and WalMart flyers.

C'mon, it's summer, everybody gets the odd fly in their house, right? But we killed over thirty during this evening's massacre, and many more escaped and are still here somewhere.

We have never had a fly infestation like this, in all the years we have lived here. Husbandly One is wandering around, his eyes trained on the ceiling, one of my good yellow dishtowels in hand, audibly wondering where the hell they are coming from.

On a totally unrelated note, 23 year old Step Son just brought up the dirty dishes from his bedroom and almost completely filled the dishwasher with slimy glasses and cereal bowls crusty with old milk.


Gee, honey, I have no idea where the flies are coming from. What a mystery.

Long weekend

First, like everyone else, I am praying for the people of Louisiana and surrounding states, and am glued to CNN.

This long weekend is the tail end of my vacation, and the weather is nasty. Still, we have enjoyed the last few days. Friday night, we went to a birthday party for the wife of one of our coworkers. We had a lovely time, and it led to an invitation to a different co-workers house for dinner on Sunday. Husbandly One and I don't go out much, so the idea of two social invitations in one weekend was pretty heady stuff.

In between, on Saturday, Husbandly One suddenly said to me, "Let's go buy some bushes." A week ago, he finished repairing / renovating / rebuilding our front deck; it is now much smaller and we are very happy with it. This led to him digging me a new flowerbed while I was away, in the area previously covered my our exceptionally long deck. But now the flowerbed was sitting naked and it was really bothering him. (And can I state again how happy I am that he is getting the Gardening Bug...)

Anyway, Saturday night we went to a local greenhouse and purchased two Red Prince Weigelas, which are now my new babies. We planted them Sunday afternoon and I am thrilled with them, can't wait to see their bright red blooms next summer.

Last night, after cleaning up from our gardening, we went out to our friend's house for dinner. The husband of the couple is Greek (like, as in "from Greece", not as in "of Greek descent") and had prepared a complete feast of what he called Greek junk food... souvlaki, cheese pies, olive tapanade, and lots and lots of homemade tzatziki which was unlike tzatziki I have ever eaten.

He had made more food than four people could ever hope to eat, and I think he was very disappointed with my appetite. Husbandly One kept trying to reassure him: "No, really, Wifely One has already has far more food than I have ever seen her eat in one sitting...." and that was even before the souvlaki was placed in front of me. We had a great evening, and it looks like all four of us had a good time together outside of work (yay, new friends!) so hopefully in the future they will have many more opportunities to see how little I eat and get used to it.

(And no, I'm not exactly saying I eat like a bird. Well, I guess I DO, but I eat like a bird many times a day. I just can't get through much food at a time.)

SO, between two great evenings out and some work on my little Urban Homestead, it has been a great weekend. Time now, however, to do some laundry. Sigh. Stupid end of vacation.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Back from our 'caching trip

End result after three days of searching? A mere 34 caches logged. Most of this had to do with my (very) poor but well meant planning for the first day, which I quickly amended for days two and three. Still, we had a great time. Son and I fought occasionally, and we got sarcastic with each other occasionally, and at one bad point I told him, "Just because I've never smacked you in twelve years, don't think I can't start now." Niiiiiiiice. But MAN we had fun, at the end of the day the thrill of the hunt takes over.

Geocaching is a fabulous activity for everyone. You do need to purchase a handheld GPS unit to play, but they come down in price every day. And for a $200 investment, you can give yourself and your family a wonderful hobby for years to come. Trust me, check it out at

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

The Lessons of Childhood

My ex-husband and I have brought Son up as well as we can. I'm sure we have made mistakes, the same way all parents do, but we also know we have imprinted our deepest values on him.

Son and I are currently staying in a hotel. This evening, I sent him down to the vending machine to get himself a Diet Coke. Before he got back to our room, I could hear his footsteps thundering down the hall as he ran back. (Running in hotels is something he knows not to do.)

"Amah," he panted when he arrived, "I put in the money for my Diet Coke but THREE came out. I only took one, I left the other two because I'm honest."

I told him to go back immediately and GET the other two, otherwise his honesty would be wasted by the next person to walk by. When he returned to our room, I called the front desk and explained the situation to the manager: my son had paid for one Coke, he had received three, and he wanted to return the other two to the appropriate department. The manager (who happens to be a good friend of mine, and knows Son's moral character very well) thought this was wonderful, and offered the suggestion that the hotel was so impressed by his honesty that they wanted to give him the other two Cokes as a reward for reporting this.

And I was all, "Dude, but then what the hell am I going to do with three Diet Cokes??" And, really? Why should he get a reward for doing the right thing, the obvious thing?

My child may not have had the benefit of a religious education in his life, but he does know the Cardinal Rule: Don't take anything that isn't yours.

Don't steal, because it's not yours. Don't defame someone's name, because it's not yours. Don't write graffiti on rocks, or carve things on trees, because it's not yours. Don't lie, as anything that happens because of that lie is not yours.

It's really not such a difficult concept.

But I am still filled with such, such pride when Son lives as he has been taught to live.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Wish us luck

Tomorrow morning Son and I head off for a two-and-a-half day trip to Prince Edward Island to do some binge caching. Husbandly One thinks we will do 21 caches, Son thinks 50, and I am hoping for 100.

At the end of the day, I don't care if we only get five's the hunt that's fun. Wish us sharp eyes, fair weather, and good bug spray!

Sunday, August 24, 2008

There are garden centres, and then there are garden centres

Yesterday Husbandly One and I needed to run a few errands, and found ourselves near a relatively new gardening centre we had never visited. Husbandly One suggested we stop in, just to see what they were about. (My Lord I love than man.)

We walked around, and I certainly admit their brand new facility was beautiful and interesting. But I stopped dead in my tracks when I saw their huge, end-of-season annuals section. BIG sale was going on. You could purchase a six inch pot of scraggly, dying pansies for the rock bottom price of $5.99 ! Everwhere I looked, over a sea of questionable plants, were the same shocking prices.

I felt like finding an employee and saying, "Hi, just a question out of curiosity here. You DO know that it is the end of August, right? And you DO know that any annual planted now will be dead within a month, right?"

Six dollars my foot.

I will never visit that gardening centre again.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

An Open Letter to The Ass Clowns I Met Today

Dear Ass Clowns,

This afternoon, Son and I went geocaching on foot to a location which is both remote and yet within 3 kms of our house. We enjoyed the thrill of the hunt, we enjoyed our time in nature, we enjoyed our time with each other, we even enjoyed the light rain that made us decide to return home earlier than anticipated. What we did NOT enjoy was you.

On our way out of our remote location, I suddenly spied "something" on the side of the trail three hundred meters ahead of us. I slowed my pace, Son questioning why. I said, "I just have a weird feeling about this." He looked again, and said, "Oh Amah, it's just backpackers."

Yeah, but my Spidey senses were tingling. My first thought was "I am a woman alone with a child on a deserted dirt road, and I don't feel good about whoever is ahead." Something was not right about the two people who had emerged from the woods, and even though you were still so far away I couldn't tell if you were men or women, I was hesitant to go any closer.

Well, ha ha, turns out I was wrong. You were no threat at all. Your crazy ass, aggressive, unleashed dogs were the REAL problem.

What were you thinking while you watched your two dogs tear off in my direction, barking wildly? When you saw me grab my son and put his body behind mine, did you find that amusing? I think you must have, because you certainly didn't seem concerned about this. I stood in a dirt road, protecting my son, while your dogs stood less than two feet away from me, baring their teeth and barking up a storm. They would jump back a few feet and then charge us again, while I stood motionless. My son's hands were dug in my sides, but I didn;t feel that at that time. I watched your circling dogs as well as I could, turning my body to keep Son as far away from them as possible. I made up my mind that I was going to have to fight the black dog, and hoped the yellow dog wouldn't jump me because of it.

While this was going on, I could hear one of you saying, "Oreo, c'mere. C'mere Oreo, c'mere." You never increased your speed over an amble, you never dropped your heavy backpack so you could run, you just meandered along while I contemplated whether I should hit the lead dog with my left arm, which is my strongest, or with my right in case I was badly mauled and needed to preserve my writing hand.

When you got within 200 feet of me, your dogs suddenly ran off in to the bush. I stayed immobile, waiting for you to collar them. You disappeared in to the brush behind them, and I slowly started walking away.

That's when your dogs charged us from behind.

I whirled around, once again shoving my Son behind me, ready to face your lunatic dogs again. My legs were shaking from fear at this point, but you kept up your slow pace as your dogs once AGAIN circled us, once AGAIN let me know I was infringing on their territory. My 12 year old Son began to cry around that point, asshole. He was so scared that all he could moan was, "Mummy.....Mummy...."

YOU, on the other hand, still saw nothing wrong. To your credit, this time you did kind of lope towards your beasts, saying, "They don't bite, lady."

Excuse me? They don't bite? And what exactly do you base that fact on, all the other people they have terrorized?

The dogs took off again....and two minutes later they once more charged us. Finally your wife realized she should do something, and slowly walked over to grab the choke chain on the less aggressive of the two dogs. She tried to grab the aggressive one, but he snarled at her, so she stepped back.

Your wife, the OWNER of this dog, was too scared to grab it.

And then it charged us again.

At that point, I started to cry. Tears of pure rage and maternal instinct. Sorry to tell you mister, that dog came within six inches of me attacking IT. Perhaps you realized this, because for the first time you ran towards your good friend Oreo, telling him to "Quit it, boy, c'mere. C'mere. C'mere." Because, you know, that was so effective the first time.

Demon Dog bounded off in to the woods again as you approached. I stooped down and picked up a good sized rock. I was done fucking around with your fucking dog. I spread my feet in a defensive stance, balanced as carefully as I could with a 12 year old hanging on to the back of my T-shirt, and waited.

Eventually you reappeared with the dog finally on a leash. You looked at me petulantly and repeated, "It's not like my dogs bite."

I couldn't even speak to you, I just took son by the hand and resumed my walk the hell out of there. A few hundred feet further on, I passed your wife who was holding back the other dog (barely) on its choke chain. "Gee I'm sorry our dogs scared you, they're just being naughty naughty babies."

Lady, you want to be some glad I had dropped that rock, because otherwise I may have bashed the side of your head in.

I have never been so scared in my life. I understand the desire to allow your dogs off-leash. I ALSO understand the responsibility of ensuring your dogs won't attack a 5'3" woman with her child.



Monday, August 18, 2008

What's in a Name?

Really, what IS in a name? Do you know why your parents named you the way they did? Do you know what they would have named you had you been of the opposite sex?

I do know why my parents named me, but I have no idea what they would have done had I been a boy. I assume they would have given me the name they ultimately gave my younger brother, which was my mother's maiden name, but I don't KNOW, for all I know I could have ended up a boy named Alan. I wish I could still ask my parents this question, but they have both been gone for two years, so I will never know what would have happened if I hadn't been a girl.

But I AM a girl, so I can share my story with you.

First, I hope we all know my name isn't really Irma,right? Because "Irma" doesn't figure anywhere in the story I am about to tell you.

I was born on a cold day in 1969, and my parents were told, almost immediately, that I would not live. Things had gone very wrong for me during delivery, and they should not have any hope, they should not pray for miracles, they should just accept my brief passage through this world.

Imagine being 23 and 24 years old, first time parents, and being told your baby was going to die. And further imagine that you didn't even have a NAME for that baby, because you couldn't agree between your two favourites.

Now further imagine that somehow your baby daughter held on, somehow after eight days she came came back from that gray land, back to the land of the living. How would you, now joyfully, name that baby?

Both of my parents "votes" came from popular music of the day, and, in context of my story, I really don't know which one fits better. And the really interesting thing, to me, is that they both cast their votes long before I was born, but both votes ultimately address my tenuous birth.

Daddy's choice was Caroline, after Neil Diamond's song "Sweet Caroline".

Where it began
I cant begin to knowin
But then I know its growin strong
It was in the spring
And spring became the summer
Who'd have believed you'd come along

Hands, touching hands
Reaching out
Touching me, Touching you

Sweet Caroline
Good times never seemed so good
I've been inclined
To believe they never would

But now I look at the night
And it don't seem so lonely
We fill it up with only two
And when I hurt
Hurting runs off my shoulders
How can I hurt when I'm with you

Warm, touching warm
Reaching out
Touching me, touching me

Sweet Caroline
Good times never seemed so good
I've been inclined
To believe they never would

My mother's choice, on the other hand, was to name me Jennifer after Donovan's song, "Jennifer Juniper."

Jennifer Juniper
lives upon the hill,
Jennifer Juniper,
sitting very still.
Is she sleeping ?
I don't think so.
Is she breathing ?
Yes, very low.
Whatcha doing, Jennifer, my love ?

Jennifer Juniper
rides a dappled mare,
Jennifer Juniper,
lilacs in her hair.
Is she dreaming ?
Yes, I think so.
Is she pretty ?
Yes, ever so.
Whatcha doing, Jennifer, my love ?

I'm thinking of what it would be like if she loved me.
You know just lately this happy song it came along
And I like to somehow try and tell you.

Jennifer Juniper,
hair of golden flax.
Jennifer Juniper
longs for what she lacks.
Do you like her ?
Yes, I do, Sir.
Would you love her ?
Yes, I would, Sir.
Whatcha doing Jennifer, my love ?

I'm not going to tell you which name ultimately won. I'm just trying to tell you that, based on my precarious entry in to this world, the lyrics of both songs make me weep with thanksgiving and love for my parents.

I answer to one of those names, but I would gladly answer to the other name, as well.

Unstructured Vacation

I normally have my vacations planned out months before they occur. I know where we will be, I know what we will be doing, and I know what it will cost. I plan plan plan plan plan plan. Until this year.

I am currently on vacation. I am at home. I have no idea what I am doing tomorrow....then again, until I did it, I had no idea what I was doing TODAY, either.

Last Friday: finished work. Ex-Husband dropped Son off at my house in the evening.

Saturday: Son and I went berrying. Shut up, it is SO a good activity for a 12 year old boy to share with his mom, particularly since we do it every year. We brought back a healthy basket of raspberries, and a HUGE basket of blueberries. Once back home, we flash froze tons of both so that we will have yummy baking ingredients next winter. Son and I then made some decadent cream cheese & berry tarts. We also shoved many handfuls of berries straight down our gullets, but whatever, I'm not admitting to any of that.

Sunday: Nothing. We ate more of the tarts we made Saturday, but other than that? Nothing.

Today: Husbandly One had to go to some corporate golf thing, leaving Son and I at home sans car, so Son and I went geocaching. Clearly we could only pick caches within walking distance of our house, but....well, OUR idea of "walking distance" may be a bit longer than yours, ha ha.

Son and I left the house around 11:30 am, and arrived back at 4 pm, both exhausted, both a bit sunburned, but with three caches under our belts. We then went to my Mum's house for dinner, and are now back home, still waiting for Husbandly One to get back from the golf thing. (Win me something GOOD, baby... every year it is one of our friends who win the trip to Vegas, while you bring home yet ANOTHER golf umbrella. Please, this year? Win something GOOD.)

Tomorrow? Umm, we may go caching again, my sister may join us.

At some point over the next two weeks, Son has specifically said he wants to go to Prince Edward Island, and I will certainly take him for a night or two, along with whatever sightseeing that entails. I am just a little surprised at how well I (as the Master Planner) am dealing with this two week period where I don't have a single concrete plan. Maybe I am learning to mellow out...??

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Being a chick

Once again tonight, I am feeling a bit perplexed over my complete inability to be a girl.

Things that reassure me of my own femininity:

Well, the big one, I've had a baby. Nuff said.
I never wear trousers to work, I am truly more comfortable in a skirt.
As far as my shoes go, I believe the higher the heel, the better.

And...umm....that's all I got.

I don't know how to use makeup, I don't know how to do stuff with my hair, I can't put sweet kittenish outfits together or dedicate the time for personal grooming that I assume most women do without thinking. I would LIKE to have those skills, but somehow I didn't get the genes for it.

Now, take my aunts, or my mother. She was 4'9" and 85 lbs. She spent most of her life forced to shop in the children's section, but the woman was undeniably A Woman. She had style, she had class, she had the perfect jewelry, even if she was just ironing in the living room. And this was not an affectation, she presented herself this way without even thinking about it.

I am the tallest, gangliest woman on my maternal side, at a shocking and unthinkable 5'3". Maybe that's why I just can't "get" this girl stuff, I'm too freakishly tall.

Usaully it doesn't bother me, this genetic mutation I have. But every now and again, I wish I knew how to do those girlie things. Hell, I wish I considered shaving my legs a priority. (it's not a priority because, umm, I have several long skirts.)

I wish my Husbandly One could come home to a vision of womanly loveliness...but he can't. He's got ME.

Oh well, he comes home to me, anyway. Maybe he doesn't mind my awkward, gangly ways as much as I do.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Sunday thoughts

When I get up before Husbandly One on the weekend... I creep around the house, making as little noise as possible so he can sleep. I close our bedroom door, and then sit in silence in the living room, reading, until he wakes on his own. (Please note this may mean me being all silent and mouse-like from 8 am to 1 in the afternoon) When he wakes, I immediately get him a coffee, and we start our day.

When Husbandly One gets up before me... well, that has never happened before, ever, until today. When Husbandly One gets up before me, he leaves the bedroom door wide open. And turns on the TV so he can watch the Olympics. Loudly. And then when I stomp out of the bedroom, he looks so contrite that I sort of forgive him. Until I realize no coffee is forthcoming. I finally say, "Well, I'll just get my OWN coffee, shall I??"

More contriteness. Ok ok, dude does not know how to be The First Person Up. I still love him.

I poured my own coffee, and opened the fridge to discover there was not so much as a drop of dairy product to put in my coffee. Much swearing and banging ensued. And as I grabbed my car keys and ran my fingers through my un-combed bedhead before leaving the house in search of milk, Husbandly One said, "Oh, since you're going out, can you also pick up...."

Good thing for him he never finished that sentence.

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Bitterness and Beer, both with a capital B

I have finally got around to reading the concert coverage in the newspaper, and while it appears most people had a fabulous time, I was personaly affronted by the people who complained about the "exhorbitant" price of beer at the site.

I do not speak for my company, I do not pretend for even one second that what I am about to say is officially sanctioned, because I assure you it is NOT, and I could get in to a lot of trouble over what I am about to say....

You're right, $6.50 for a beer seems like a lot at first glance. But did you consider how much it cost us to move our entire operation to a FIELD? Did you consider the number of trucks we needed to rent to simply get our stuff there, and how much that cost? Or the refrigerated trucks that needed to be kept running 24 hours a day for two days (trucks we ALSO rented). Did you consider our additional payroll, or the fact we needed to buy two dozen barbeques? Did you consider that we spend thousands of dollars printing the very drink tickets you complained about?

All I'm trying to say is that, at "my" concert or any other, I understand the first reaction is that we are ripping you off with our high prices. Please know this is NOT the case, we actually make less profit per unit at a concert than if we were serving you back at our regular place of business.

Rock n' roll don't come cheap, people....not to you, as concert goers, and not to me, as a supplier.

Getting off my soapbox now.

Monday, August 4, 2008


I am now two days post-concert, and the fatigue is actually getting worse.

When I finally got home Saturday night I ended up staying up til 5:30....when I then went to bed and had visions of people flashing across my brain, all asking me questions, all asking me what to do next. I have no idea what time I fell asleep.

Sunday morning, Husbandly One (who was already showered and dressed) poked me long enough to get me to wake up. He went back to the site, and an hour later my step father drove me the hotel so I could reconcile the bedroom account for the concert. I got home at 5pm, completely drained. Husbandly One walked through our door at 10pm, we talked and looked at TV for an hour and a half, and then we went to bed.

I went to bed with Husbandly One.

I actually got to feel him fling an arm around my hip before we both collapsed. I can't remember the last time we managed that. Bliss.

This morning, Monday, he left for the hotel at 11am. He kind of woke me to let me know he would be home around two. At 1:30, he called me to say it would be at least 5pm before he got home. And it was pretty obvious to him that his phone call had woken me up.

It is currently 6:30pm. I am still so tired that I want to die. But Husbandly One is still at work, trying to sort out the acounting and put this whole thing to bed.

There is no way for me to explain to you how physically tired I am, so I know there is no way he can explain to ME how tired he is. I worked maybe 20% as hard as he did, and I feel like I'm going to die. He did so much more, but he still gets up every day to go back and do still more.

That man is my hero.

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Life In The Fast Lane

One of the songs I kinda-sort-half heard at the Eagles concert yesterday, but it sure fits my mood right now. (And the reason I only half heard it? I was too busy.)

As I mentioned previously, we organized and deployed the catering for 45,000 concert-goers yesterday. I wasn't the principle person doing the organizing -- that would be Husbandly One-- but I certainly did my fair share of advance work, and I DEFINITELY did my share of work on the addition to handling the riders and requirements of four bands back at the hotel. I have worked hard on this all summer, this week I worked crazy hard, and then concert day itself? I have never worked that hard in my life.

When we managers finally left the concert site last night around 3am, about half of us had lost our voices entirely, a quarter were experiencing back pain, and the rest of us felt fine except for our feet. Just amputate them now, okay? (that would be ME.) But we were all exhilirated, we were all riding that high that comes from hard work and a successful day.

I would love to give a detailed, blow by blow account of the day, because it was really cool, very interesting, exceptionally stressful, and the most fun I've had in a long time.....but to do so would give away way too much about me, my clients whose privacy I take very seriously, and the way we run our operation at work. But do let me tell you that the day was a huge success, despite the weather, and we are very, very proud of how it went and the money we made for our company.

(Now isn't THAT an interesting thought to come shooting out...I am proud of the money I made for "my company:. No, I don't own the damn thing, so I'm not going to get a dime out of the extra work I have done on this project. But I sincerely love the company I work for so much that I, and my fellow employees, will fight to the death to ensure its success. Lucky me, to work in an environment that inspires such devotion from its employees, because I am not the only one. We love our workplace like it was a member of our family.)

Listen, I am so tired I can barely see; I worked extra hours all summer, but this week I worked an average of 17 hours a day and I am just about done in. So the one Concert Story I feel compelled to share right now, without breaching client confidentiality, is one I did not even experience myself.

During Concert Day, most of our staff (including yours truly) was at the concert site. Only two managers were left at the hotel, to oversee all the employees, working in all departments, who weren't required at the site. One of the managers, Claire, told me that she was going about her normal business in the early afternoon when she heard the most amazing piano music coming from our banquet floor, one open level above where she was. People often bang around on our grand piano if we happen to leave it unlocked-- and we have all heard "Chopsticks" more times than we could count-- but what she was hearing was so beautiful and melodic that it stopped her in her tracks.

Curious, she went up the escalator to see who was creating such music...and discovered John Fogerty at the piano. He had found a completely deserted banquet floor with an unlocked grand piano, and just wanted to play to relax. He was not playing his own music, or CCR tunes, but lovely classical pieces.

She quietly crept back downstairs to the lobby, and had the lobby Muzak turned off so the beautiful music would be better heard.

I have known Claire for years, and I have never once seen her when she wasn't moving. But she sat down in the lobby and enjoyed her own private piano concert for thirty minutes, a concert John Fogerty never knew he was giving.

Now, isn't that a lovely story?