Thursday, December 27, 2007

Hockey night and day and night in Canada.

Gotta love Christmas week in the hockey world. I am a Canuck fan. And I was thrilled to watch them kick Calgary's butt 5-3 tonight.

But this was not before we watched Canada beat Slovakia in the World Juniors, which had been recorded to the PVR earlier in the day. (I will admit to catching a few naps during this game.)

Immediately following the Canucks came the Spengler Cup game. Canada against Davos, or someone. Alb is currently watching this game. I couldn't take any more. I'm a Canuck fan, not necessarily a huge hockey fan. And so while Alb lays in bed watching the has-beens and not-quites play hockey, I sit here in the dark at midnight typing out my life for you.

We generally start watching hockey games a while after they actually start. With the PVR you can then fast forward through the commercials and basically catch up to live tv by the time the game ends.

It was 9:35 when the phone rang. We were watching the 3rd period. "Mom, can Dad come pick me up? I'm at 15th and Nicholson," was Jed's response when I said, "Hello."

He wanted a ride because he didn't want to wait until 9:49 when the bus was scheduled to arrive. I explained that even if Dad left now, the bus would probably get to him first, and I convinced him to just patiently wait for the bus.

About 20 minutes later, I could hear a diesel engine running in the driveway. I thought, "That little turkey, he must have convinced a passerby to give him a ride home."

A glance out the window confirmed that, yes, he had gotten a ride to our door. In a city bus. Yes, there was a city bus at our driveway! The bus stop is a few blocks away on a different street than we live on, but the driver was finished for the night and Jed was the only one on the bus so he brought him right home. Now that's service!

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

The Year in Review

Happy Christmas to all our friends and family, and family that is our friends! What a year 2007 has been. We started off the year as empty nesters celebrating our 25th anniversary in January. Quite an accomplishment in today's world, I sit here and smugly think, all the while smiling at how relatively easy Albert has made it for us to achieve this. :)

We had the wind knocked out of our sails shortly thereafter when Albert's sister, Muriel, was tragically and suddenly taken from us. Equally shocking to us, about the same time, we learned that Brandi's marriage had ended.

February we celebrated Albert's Dad's 80th birthday and his 12th anniversary (actually, it might even have been his 13th) as a cancer survivor.

In March, after a few years of talking about it, we started the countdown to our trip across Canada on the Goldwing.

In June, the Ziemer family had its first ever family-only reunion to celebrate Dad and Mom's 60th anniversary. This kind of made our 25 years pale in comparison, but gives a great example to follow.

July 16th we embarked on our journey with great excitement and even disbelief that it was actually happening. The trip was fantastic and we wouldn't hesitate to do it again on the bike. We are little disappointed that we didn't get over to Newfoundland, but 6 and a half weeks just wasn't long enough. Ten weeks would have been better, I think. As most of you know, I blogged along the way and if you are sitting on a winter's day with nothing to do, you can check it out at

September was turbulent as we settled back into real life. There were lots of changes taking place at my work and there were issues arising in Jed's home.

In October we moved Jed back to our house. We are in the midst of making plans to set up a basement suite for him to live in. This will allow him to have some independence, yet still receive the support and supervision he needs. While the home he had been in for 15 months didn't meet his needs, we are thankful that it allowed us to be gone for the summer without too much worry. We learned and grew through the experience and we thank God for the good things that did come of it.

This fall, I took a watercolour art class and will continue with another one in January. Albert is exercising his brain with guitar lessons this year.

Zedd (Ken) and Jade are doing well. Jade went to art school with me. It was fun doing girl-stuff together.

Brandi came home from Vancouver for a short visit for Christmas. It was so good to see her. It was the first time we've spent time with her since last Christmas, with the exception of seeing her at Bernie and Stacey's wedding in May. That weekend we got to meet Kore. He seems like a really nice guy, but as parents it's taking some time for us to accept the situation. But God is good and life carries on.

Well, this is starting to sound like a therapy session so it's probably a good thing the year is coming to an end. We look forward to 2008 and anticipate good things in store. It is our hope that God will bless each of you in a very personal and meaningful way in the coming year.

Monday, December 24, 2007

And just like that, it's over.

Ahh! I sink into my computer chair, glass of wine in hand, and contemplate putting some music on as I set out to catch up on some facebooking, email and blogging. No music, I decide. I'll just sit here in the glorious silence of my semi dark house all alone.

I love my family. I love Christmas. I love all the food. And drinking. And gifts, and wrapping and decorating and parties and food and drinking and.....

After a day of hub-bub and turkey and creative ways of dragging the gift opening out so it takes hours and tests the patience of my children, 5 o'clock was suddenly upon us. Zedd and Jade headed home with their stash of goodies, Alb headed off to work to earn more money in 12 hours than I make in a month, Jed wandered off to Christmas Eve Service at the church and I drove Brandi to the airport after a very short, but better-than-nothing visit.

I climb into my new flannel pj's and light a few candles around me and count my blessings.

2007 has been a wild ride and I thank God for the gift of His Son which has allowed me to hang on for the ride and emerge triumphant to face 2008 with anticipation and vigor. (For now.)

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Mom, I'm going to die on this plane.

Those are not exactly the words a mother wants to hear in the middle of the night while on the way to the airport.

Brandi's Jazz Air flight was delayed in Vancouver for over an hour because the plane wouldn't start and it needed to be hooked to a "thing-a-ma-jig" or something for an hour before they could leave.

The little old 24 seater was a step up from a propeller plane and the two girls her age sitting near her helped the flight to pass quickly once they got off the ground. But I'm betting she'll splurge the extra hundred bucks next time and fly West Jet, get her free peanuts and arrive at a decent hour.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

How many trips to Costco does it take?

I will not enter another store, with the exception of ONE more trip to Superstore, until after the 28th of December. I won't, I won't, I won't.

I've repeated this numerous times in the last 4 days. It's not working. Every day I think of just one more thing, and end up cha-chinging my debit card till it nearly melts from the friction of over-use.

The other day, I deposited my pay cheque and my Christmas bonus on the way to "my last trip to Costco," which Alb accompanied me on. He wanted to get a snow shovel. On the way to the shovel aisle we got interrupted by the Dewalt tool aisle. Uh, yeah. So long, goodbye, Christmas Bonus. And a mere $600 later, we exited the store with a piled high cart. It wasn't until after the Dewalt drill, saw and reciprocating saw, and whatever else was in the case, were unpacked and charging their batteries we realized we forgot the shovel.

After work today, I thought I'd just whip into Costco one last time and grab a shovel and a few other items I'd thought of. I managed to keep it just over $150 this time. As I drove into my bumpy snow-packed driveway, I realized ... yup, I forgot the shovel.

I am not going back there! Where are the kids who came around last week offering to shovel it for me for 5 bucks? I had no cash so I had to turn them away. Yoohooo boys! I have cash now. Come Back!

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Is it a lie if you didn't mean to say the wrong thing?

Normally I go to church on Saturday night. It just fits my schedule better when I work every Sunday. However this week I was scheduled for kitchen duty on Sunday. This happens every 8 or 10 weeks and I get to go to church and have people ask me if I'm new to the fellowship I've been attending for 10 or 12 years.

This weekend was Christmas concert weekend. I was asked to bring some baking for Saturday night service, my usual service. Because I knew I was attending Sunday to do coffee duty, I just dropped off my baking on Saturday night and left.

On the way home, I took a different route home than I had taken to get to the church. There was a road block for the Christmas Counter Attack. The kind officer asked, "Have you had anything to drink tonight?"
"Nothing, at all?"

Since my mind works approximately 347.82 times faster than my lips, the little red devil on my left shoulder had me thinking I should say, "I just came from the church where they are having a Christmas Concert rehearsal. I keep telling them that if they served beer they'd get more volunteers." But at the same time the angel on the right shoulder reminded that I had just had 2 glasses of wine with my dinner. Ooops. I just lied to an officer. I hadn't really intended to lie. I just didn't think. I certainly wasn't drunk, so it didn't cross my mind to say I had had some wine.

Now what do I do? Do I back-track and confess that, yes, I have been drinking. Or do I carry on with my original statement?

I choked out an answer, "Nothing at all."

My nose grew 3 inches and my face turned red in embarassment in the dark and the kind officer glanced me up and down and I guess he approved of my innocent smile as he said, "Have a good evening."

Friday, December 14, 2007

Have you no idea what you smell like?

There's that perfume that people wear that just gags you when they walk by. You know which one I mean... the one that smells like mildew. It's better known as Patchouli oil. Every time I smell it, I can't help but think, "Person who shares my air space, have you no idea what you smell like?"

The Patchouli plant

I was in the mall the other day and my hands were very dry and in need of a sample of moisturizer. I had no clue that Lush had opened the day before, or else I would not have headed off to Body Shop. But off I headed.

There, front and centre with a large sign saying "BEST SELLER!" was some different varieties of hemp lotions and potions. One was Extreme Hand Protector. Ah yes, just what I needed. I squeezed and rubbed and suddenly realized the unlisted ingredient was patchouli oil. OMG!

Read what Wikipedia has to say about patchouli:
Patchouli oil and incense underwent a surge in popularity in the 1960s and 1970s, mostly among devotees of the free love and hippie lifestyles, since the pungent smell of patchouli is known to cover the smell of burnt cannabis and body odor. During the Vietnam war, American soldiers used patchouli to mask the smell of the graves of enemy soldiers killed in combat. War protesters of the time used patchouli on themselves, to demonstrate that "we are all one race, we are the same as the enemy soldiers." Also, the Hare Krishna movement may have been partly responsible for this surge, as the god Krishna is said to "inhabit" patchouli. It can also be used as a hair conditioner for dreadlocks. One study suggests Patchouli oil may serve as an outdoor insect repellent.

I don't think I had body odour to disguise, and it's been quite a number of years since I have needed to mask the scent of burnt cannabis. (And quite frankly, burnt cannabis and unwashed bodies smell better.) I washed my hands and applied a variety of other products to mask the smell. But no luck. For the next two hours, every person I passed in the mall looked at me out of the corner of their eye and I could tell they were thinking, "Person who shares my air space, have you no idea what you smell like?"

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Sleeping in: a fantasty that never materializes.

Tuesday was sleep-in day. It was the first day since I don't remember when, that no one had to work, Jed's lifeskills worker wasn't arriving at the crack of dawn and we had nothing pressing on our schedule. We even let Jed stay up until midnight.

Typically, I am wide awake sometime between 5 and 7 am. But I love the thought of sleeping in being a possibility. However, Tuesday it appeared it might be a reality. I was still soundly sleeping at 7:45... when I heard my bedroom door open and the deep bass voice of my 21-year-old baby says, "What's your plan for today, Mom."

I kept the f-words and other expletives contained within my head while I growled, "Shut the door!" But that was it. 7:45 was my sleep in.

Today I have plenty on my schedule, not the least of which is shopping. Jed has papers to deliver this morning and he also needs to shovel snow at his job at the nearby motel, then he has an appointment at 1:00.

Being the loving and supportive mother that I am, I have offered to help him by driving around while he does the papers. As I called him bright and early to ask him, "What's your plan, Jed." let's just say, he wasn't as graceful at containing the expletives as I had been the morning before.

Sunday, December 9, 2007

Good things are about to happen.

At minus 20, this morning was the warmest we've had in about 10 days or so. The thermometer has been bouncing between -20 and -30. Yesterday morning it was hovering about -30 when I went to start my car to take Jed to work.

wrrrr-wrr-wrr--- Nope. The poor little Jet just refused to fire on her 7 year old battery. And I had so many errands and things planned to do. Was I frustrated sitting there in my frozen little car? No. I actually began to get quite excited as I thought of all the things that were about to happen: We are going on a tropical vacation, Alb is finally going to get his ear pierced, we are getting matching tattoos on our butts, I'm losing 40 pounds. How do I know these things? Cuz I'm pretty sure hell is about to freeze over.

Friday, December 7, 2007

Guilt? Or a prompting from the Spirit? Either way I think I'll take action.

Sometimes a guilty conscience can cause you to read more into a situation that is really there. I'm hoping that's the case for today when I got a mental slap upside the head.

As I ranted in my earlier blog, I have not even signed my name to a bought Christmas card, much less laboured over creating the fantastic unique specimens of paper and envelope that I usually send out to friends and family. Today I received a couple of Christmas cards in the mail to add to the beautiful collection that is starting to accumulate on the hearth. One was from my Grandparents...

"Merry Christmas, we love you and we keep informed about your family through your parents...." Okay, perhaps it's just my guilt speaking, but does that not sound an awful lot like, "Merry Christmas, we love you. And you, well it seems you have totally forgotten your Grandparents even exist, for we have not heard from you since last Christmas. And you know full well we do not have a computer so we cannot follow your blog and we do not access Facebook. Love Grandpa and Grandma."

I will sign off now and go find a pen and a box of Christmas cards.

Thursday, December 6, 2007

A little calm among the hubbub

Two weeks? How can Christmas be only 2 weeks away. I'm running about two months behind right now. Normally by October 1st I have decided on what colour of wrapping paper to use, and come up with a creative way to tag each present in such a way that no one knows whose is whose. Yes, I said "what colour of wrapping paper to use." Doesn't everyone 'theme' wrap so everything matches?

And boxes. I have but 2 boxes in my collection of empties. I cannot wrap a present that is not rectangular or square. There'll be no misshapen packages or gift bags allowed in my house. Everything has to stack in a neat little pile. Okay, I use the term "little" loosely. The pile is normally about 5 feet high and 12 feet across. Not this year.

So far I have one present bought. One. Just one. And I have ordered two online - I hope they come in wrap-able boxes. Well, at this point I just hope they come, I'm running out of time.

I haven't done any baking. I haven't planned a party. I haven't made or signed a single Christmas card. I haven't even lit a pine or cranberry scented candle. But...

Jesus and Mary and the others have been removed from the cellar and are arranged on the coffee table where they sit quietly amongst the hubbub to gently remind us that He came to bring peace and good will.

Monday, December 3, 2007

This is a test

I can create blogs directly in Office 2007 and have them upload automatically. At least that's the theory. And this is a test.

Friday, November 30, 2007

Legal at last!

And I got the barcode to prove it:

Yes, this is me. Me and my own very legal copy of Adobe Creative Suite3 Design Premium. And for $1899 you can have your very own copy:

As you know, I don't like to jump into things without being sure. Especially if it's gonna cost money. This is how I justified "borrowing" Photoshop for the past number of years. I've come to realize that there's a good chance digital design is probably not just a passing fancy of mine so I'd better do the right thing.

I donate design services to church-related things quite regularly. For some reason donating illegal products to God was starting to wear on my conscience. And I figured while I had the Visa card out.... cha-ching! I may as well get Office 2007 Professional and what the heck, throw in a copy of Painter X. Happy Birthday to me. And I even bought a Christmas music CD this week. Before long I won't even need Limewire.

Now I just need to get someone to actually pay me to do something so I can write off my software splurges. Anyone need a business card or a digital face lift?

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Pent up anger? Over tired? PMS? Childish violence?

I think perhaps I was suffering from all of the above last night at midnight. And throw a few glasses of wine in on top of that.

To preface the story, lets back up a bit and say that we have always had a key-type door knob on our bedroom door. It's safer that way when you live with a special needs son who is left at home alone sometimes. (Yes, there are cases of coke, bags of nachos and other assorted goodies piled in the corner of our bedroom for safe keeping.) Of course we've had to get in the habit of using the lock again after 15 months of living alone. We keep the key in a secret special spot, not too far from the door for easy access. Friday night Jed was standing near me when I opened the door after getting home from work, so rather than expose the secret spot, I slipped the key into my pocket.

Saturday night Jed headed off to church and Alb went to work. I locked the bedroom door and headed off to a Christmas gift exchange party. I got a cool present. The food was fantastic and the wine was excellent. I was absolutely exhausted when I arrived home shortly before midnight. I chased Jed off to bed and reached for the key.

"Oh shitsticks on a blanket!" The key is not there. I just wanna go to bed.

I don't know what I expected Albert to do for me from 10 kilometers away at the pulp mill but I phoned him anyway. He assured me that there was no easy way to break into the locked door ... they make the knobs like that on purpose so thieves can't get into your house. I just wanna go to bed.

As I am on the phone with him I grab the hammer and some sort of metal thingy and make a feeble attempt to pry the door open but soon realize Alb is right. There is no easy way to break in. But I just wanna go to bed. So, I raise the hammer over my head and I was really quite amazed at how easily it went right through the door. Being an interior door, unlike the knob, it was not made to keep thieves at bay. The violent noise brought Jed running from his room to investigate. I quickly explained I couldn't get in the locked door. He reaches to the secret spot and says, "Did you look here for the key?" I guess the secret wasn't so secret and it was really pointless to have the door locked in the first place. I was too tired to become any more frustrated by that thought. It only took about 10 swings to get an opening through both sides of the door large enough to get my arm through and unlock the knob from the inside.

I chose a Thanksgiving themed kitchen towel to patch the hole with cuz it sort of matches the orange/copper tones in the bedroom.

The damage from the outside.

My "patch job" from the inside.

Friday, November 23, 2007

It's for a good cause.

How many times have you justified a dumb decision with the reasoning that it's for a good cause?

Oh yeah, I'll buy a $100 Harley raffle ticket for Big Brothers. It's a good cause. Just don't try to analyze what BB does with all their money, cuz all the work with the children is done on a volunteer basis. Think of the billion-dollar fund raising they do each year, and the money they make through Value Village and other sources. You'd think they'd have a enough to pay the big siblings 20 bucks an hour and still manage to eliminate the wait lists they claim to have.

And that wacky-tabaccy, or other substance. You just had to smoke (inject, inhale, ingest) it, cuz if you hadn't, your friend would have inhaled the entire thing on their own. Then you'd be at fault for their overdose.

And what about that Christmas silent auction fund raiser at the church? Man, that'll get you every time.

There were a number of times during this evening when I thought, "If they were to suddenly end all bidding, I'd be in serious doo-doo." What possesses a person to sign their name beside a "Large Boston Pizza with up to 7 toppings" and then add a dollar sign followed by a 4 and a zero? Thank God someone was stupider than I.

And what if I had been successful in my bid to bring home a set of doll furniture made from purple plastic canvas?

God only knows what I would have done with a Kinesiologist gift certificate for $50. (I don't even know how to spell the freaking word, much less know what he's supposed to do for me.)

I was disappointed I missed out on the installed remote vehicle starter - good for diesel engines.

I'm looking at a stack of items on my kitchen table that include a 18x24 mirror. A hurricane lamp/candle thingy that I'm sure I have an exact duplicate of somewhere in my basement. A gift basket of raspberry syrup and stuff. Jed is sleeping with a new stuffed puppy- the kind that comes free with the purchase of 3 Carlton cards. I paid $27 for it. And I was the successful bidder on a shampoo gift pack. The shampoo looks like someone used it half-a-dozen times then donated 3/4 of the remaining bottle. The 'hair gook' which came with it is for shiny bouncy curls. Now there's a product that'll be useful in our house - me with 2 inch straight hair. Albert with none. And Jed who rarely washes his. However it did come with a $25 gift certificate for a haircut from a salon called "DV8". Yeah, Deviate is a place I want to attack my locks with scissors.

The auction was a huge success for the church. Our household is going to have to cancel Christmas, unless someone wants to receive some syrup or a used bottle of shampoo. And I pray my cheque doesn't bounce. But it's all good. It's all for a good cause.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

The evidence followed me.

Since Jed has been back at our place I've had to park my car in the driveway because all his stuff is stacked in the garage. There is room for his stuff over on the right hand side instead of on the left where my car should be, but there's been a leak in the roof. Alb priced out a new roof yesterday. Tomorrow I shall insist he gets it done.

Winter has arrived here in the frozen north. And while my grass is still green, (take that as an elbow dig in the ribs to those who still live in my old neighbourhood where I'm sure there is 2 feet of snow) it is about -10 at night.

Alb left a couple of hours before me this morning and he plugged my car in when he left. He neglected to tell me this- which probably wouldn't matter anyway, cuz I woulda forgot by the time I left. Although he didn't tell me, he did drape the cord across my rear mirror in clear view where any self-respecting driver would notice. Uh yeah. I think I probably stepped over the cord, got in my car and thought, "My car sure starts nicely, even when it's cold. What a nice car I have."

This thought was quickly interrupted when I heard a terrible unfamiliar noise as I drove down the driveway. I'm not sure if I damaged the block heater or not. The extension cord is probably slightly longer than it was before. And I proved I need my garage back - sooner than later would be preferable.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Missed another photo op.

As we arrived in Kamloops for our recent visit, my mother met us outside on the deck. The vision of her leaning on the railing while we piled out of the truck is one I will never forget. Not because the it was outstanding or unusual, but because it's the same visual we have received for the last 10 years or so every time we arrive. My mother in her seafoam green sweater. It has long since lost its $1.99 Value Village price tag and the two tiny staple holes have become stretched into openings large enough to slip an arm through. And each time we see it, it has another hole or two. I suppose if it were left long enough, it would eventually begin to look like it was made of lace. The brown splotches of hair dye make it look like she recently rolled in doggy doo. (I am still wondering how brown hair dye got on her sweater, when all of her hair shades have ranged from fluorescent orange to dark burgundy.)

About two or three years ago I went shopping with her to get a replacement sweater. It was a beautiful shade of red. It fit her perfectly. It had no stains. It had no rips. Thus it was too "good" to wear around the house, and it still hangs practically brand new in her closet.

As we were saying goodbye, I spied the well-loved seafoam sweater hanging on the back of the door. It was only about 12 inches from the utensil drawer which holds the kitchen shears. Before Mom could finish the routine instructions of "Drive safe. Watch for animals." I had the scissors in my right hand and the sweater in my left. And I lost control. I began stabbing and hacking and chopping like a mad woman on acid. I calmly replaced the scissors in the drawer, dropped the remaining seafoam shreds on the floor, and turned and walked out the door.

She'd better be leaning on the railing in a red sweater the next time I see her.

Monday, November 12, 2007

The art part was fun. The science of it however...

We are finishing up our art class this week. I don't anticipate that generations from now someone will find one of my projects stashed behind an old armoire, take it to an art auction and be able to retire on the proceeds. But it has been fantastically fun.

I've learned about colours. We don't use terms like red, yellow, orange, green and blue. It's Quinacradone, ochre, cadmium, Hooker's and Phthalo.

Never being one to take things at face value, I had to wonder why the word cadmium is used to refer to reds, yellows and oranges. I distinctly remember not cutting class that day in grade nine science when we learned that cadmium is a bluish coloured metal on the periodic table.

Yes, I admit my life is so dull that I felt the need to google it. Cadmium has 2 main uses: battery acid and paint pigment. It's a known carcinogenic, causes kidney failure and permanent respiratory damage, even in minute doses. Inhalation is more destructive than ingestion.

While I don't plan to eat my paintings, I can't help but breathe while I paint. I suddenly have an urge to do all my artwork in blues, greens and greys.

My first encounter with watercolour.

What I've accumulated.

A photo we took at Peggy's Cove

My rendition.

A mountain in Jasper or Robson Park.

Riding along towards Lake Superior

My combo creation of the mountain and Lake Superior.

Overlooking the Northumberland Straight on the Cabot Trail.

Although nothing like the original, I really like the way my sky turned out.

A fantastic view of the sunset from our campsite in Nova Scotia.

I hate the way my interpretation turned out. But hey, I'm a newbie... and I was using a lot of cadmium based colour in this project. ;)

Some practice work, using tonality.

Large trees at the old homestead where we went "hunting."

The old homestead.

I combined the homestead and the large trees. I trust not too many people will know that the big trees didn't actually grow near the buildings.

Friday, November 9, 2007

How to Build an Igloo

Building an igloo has never been real high on my list of 100 things to do before I die. As a matter of fact, I prefer to avoid any thing to do with that 4-letter S word that falls from the sky in winter. But some people like it. And they blog about their adventures. And they win contests.

You can see the winning blog here.

Personally, my vote was for the runner up blog: Bugaboo This. The pictures are fantastic, although once again, depict activities involving the S word.

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Free Press! Get Yer Free Press!

We moved Jed out of the house on Abbott yesterday. Notice I didn't say "Jed moved back home." So far I have myself convinced that he has only temporarily parked his butt and his stuff here. (I'm happier that way.)

Do you know how many editions of the Free Press have been delivered in the past 15 months? Neither do I, cuz I didn't count them as we packed up his room. But they filled 3 green buckets from Superstore. And a kitchen garbage bag. And 3 grocery bags. And a laundry basket. And yes they were all inside his 10x10 bedroom. And he has no idea that the City of PG Refuse Collection hauled them all away this morning.

He has a bit of a paper fetish I think. His bulletin board is plastered with funeral service cards for people I didn't even know had died. There was a stack of bank machine deposit envelopes in a bag that outnumbered the deposits I have made in my whole life. And calendars. There were enough calendars tacked to his walls to wallpaper an entire 1600 sq ft house. I think the guy has single-handedly kept 3 pulp mills in production. So, bless his heart, I don't think Alb will ever have to worry about the mill closing.

And tomorrow, well tomorrow he starts his new job... delivering The Free Press. God please don't let there ever be extra copies.

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

No Free Trip to Vancouver.

Well the e-Tourism Awards Ceremony is only 48 hours away. No one called to say my free flight was in the mail so I guess I'm not a finalist in the travelers of Canada blogging contest. I can't say that I'm disappointed in this. The mere thought of standing on a stage amongst hundreds of strangers was enough to make me want to retract my entry. But the braggin' rights woulda been cool.

I'm still rather shocked at the number of visits I continue to get on my blogs - both my one about our travels across the country, and this one which periodically rambles on about life. I'm still enjoying rambling on and I don't really plan for the project to peter out, but...

It's not like I have nothing to write about: office politics that are so serious for those involved, but hilarious to those who have a cynical detached view. Life with a special needs son who is currently overcrowding my once empty nest. Relationships that bite you in the ass when you're not looking. And the social system I'm forced to depend on, now there's one great hilarity after another. Yes, my life is one barrel of laughs and when I get a moment I'll share with you.

Saturday, November 3, 2007

I am alive

I know I haven't blogged in a long time. There's been absolutely nothing funny in my life. As a matter of fact its it's been pathetically sad. But....

I am currently in Kamloops visiting my parents and arming myself with blogging fodder. I have them a little nervous about that, so we'll have to see how much salsa and canned goods they load my vehicle with when I leave. That'll determine how many tales I tell about the aging process and the effects it has on otherwise intellegent people.

Friday, October 26, 2007

Who's the one needing a life skills coach?

Staffing circumstances have dictated that Jed is back at our house for a while. My empty nest is feeling kinda full.

He has a life skills worker work with him each morning from 9:00 to 12:30. Let me preface by saying I love the woman and she deserves a very large crown in heaven for her work here on earth. And besides, she looks like my mom's sister. But....

Okay, I'm just not into have house staff arrive at my door at 8:45 am. We have always been night people. We stay up late. We sleep in if we can. We eat late at night. I rarely do the dishes at night (This is where you feel sorry for me because I don't have dishwasher.) - I do them about 10 or 11 before I go to work at noon. Now, I feel like I have to be up, showered, dressed and done my chores by 8:30. It bites!

The real issue is that it makes me see how much I, personally, need a life skills coach. As I try to stay out of the picture while another woman instructs my child in the basic rules of life, there are times I wanna crawl into a hole and hide when I realize how many of these rules I don't follow. It's no wonder my kid doesn't have these skills.

What is my response supposed to be when I hear her say, "Any life skill teacher will tell you that you don't iron on the counter. You use an ironing board."

Uh, yeah. Do I interject and say, "Um, actually I haven't owned an ironing board for about 8 years. As a matter of fact I didn't even own an iron for while till Barbee gave me one when she stayed with us couple of years ago." Or do I just let her think my son is a hopeless case. I decide it's easier to let her think negatively of my son.

One morning I realized she had cleaned the bathtub after Jed had a shower. I know this because I had noticed a bathtub ring the day before and just pulled the curtain closed to make it disappear as I headed off to work. The next day it was gone. Am I embarrassed by that? Only when I think about it.

When she threatened to leave one morning if Jed wouldn't greet her when he got out of bed, I hope that the bewildered look that was going through my mind didn't show on my face. Are people supposed to be polite to each other before they've had coffee?

Thank God Jed is my youngest or I'd be thinking I need to head off to a parenting class or something.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Ha Ha! Like Mother Like Son.

I took Jed shopping tonight for a costume. We went to Value Village first. No luck finding anything suitable. He's helping at the church youth program where the theme is the 10 plagues. He wants to dress as an Egyptian.

We headed off to Walmart where I looked at patterns in the pattern book, refused to buy a $15 pattern and got a couple of pieces of fabric cut to fake a head piece and robe. It was gonna be about $18 for fabric.

As we headed to the check-out I said "Let's just go look at the costume section." And there, for $19.97, was a Caesar costume that he was willing to go with. (I know Caesar wasn't in Egypt, but hey, I'm willing to bet that a hundred kids under 10 won't remember that.) Head piece, arm bands, robe, sash and all were included. I did a quick look around for employees. My eyes scanned upward for cameras. And as I set the costume into my cart with my right hand, my left hand quickly tossed the cut pieces of fabric onto the bottom shelf beneath the costumes.

The costume didn't include sandals, so off we headed to the shoe department hoping to find some $2 discounted footwear left over from summer. There were some for $4.97. Into the cart they went and I turned in the direction of the check-outs once again. Just as I was noticing that I still had the piece of poster board in my cart that I had originally intended to use for assembling a head piece, Jed came up behind me with a pair of slippers that looked like bears.

"Very cool." I said. "But we can't afford them today. Please put them back." Meanwhile, I was thinking "As soon as he gets out of eyesight, I'm gonna ditch this piece of cardboard here in the luggage aisle."

He wasn't gone 3 seconds. My hand was just reaching for the cardboard when I realized he was right behind me again. I turned and looked, only to see his slippers sitting on top of a stack of purses.

"Jedediah! You go put those back where you found them! Don't you leave a mess for the employees to have to clean up after you!"

And you guessed it. As soon as he turned out of sight the poster board was standing neatly behind a set of luggage. And I was off to pay for the costume.

What we intended.

What we got.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Why can't we hibernate an be completely unaware winter even exists.

Christmas is coming! At least all my neighbours seem to think so. The neighbour to my left and 4 houses in a row across the street all put their christmas lights up on the weekend. They haven't actually turned them on, but they're ready.

And me. Well I still have summer blooming in full glory. My dollar store foliage in the boxes around the deck is getting a little faded now. I did replace some of the blatantly summerish blooms with autumn coloured stems about six weeks ago. But even the most die-hard summer enthusiast has to know when succumb to nature's change in seasons.

It only took about 18 seconds to pull up all my plants and stuff them into a bag for next year. And presto! Summer was over.

It may be a bit early for the Nativity scene, so I think I'll just keep the blinds closed, look at my beautiful bouquet from my husband and ignore fact winter is coming.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Hear! Hear!

My ears are tone deaf, I cannot tell you if one note is higher or lower than another. I cannot pick out all the different instruments or voice parts in a song. But my teeth can distinguish even the most minute sounds from each other.

Sounds make my teeth hurt. I'm not talking about the irritating teeth-on-edge feeling when hearing someone rake their fingernails down a chalkboard. I'm talking pain. And it's often caused by ridiculously simple noises: rubbing the fibres of a cotton ball together, crinkling a bag, or certain tones or instruments if there is music playing.

The weird thing is, it's not consistent. There are certain sounds that will hurt every time I hear them, like dragging a fork across an earthenware plate. (This is why you'll only find Corelle in my kitchen.) But I'll have days when my teeth are feeling sensitive and every sound just seems magnified and painful. Last night was one of those times.

I endured supper during which time my husband and son would allow their fork to touch their plates. Normal procedure, I realize. But it pierced my ear drum like a cannon going off. The sounds of the skates on ice in the hockey game on tv came across my teeth like a dentist drill. When Jed started playing a computer game with background music that I'm sure was made with chalkboards, styrofoam and voices going through puberty, I could take no more. I retreated to my bedroom in search of some silence.

Ahh! That was better. For about 1/2 an hour, until my husband followed me and flicked on the tv. When was the last time you saw a comedy act take place in a kitchen setting where the clanking of dishes was louder than the vocal conversation? There was one on last night.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

From laying awake listening to him snore - to well rested butt sittin' on the floor.

I hate our bed. It makes Alb snore. I know all beds tend to do that to all people as they age but this is different.

For years we slept on a queen size solid foam mattress. When we moved to this small house we downsized to a cheap double bed. It's kinda like sleeping on a piece of slate. We softened it with a memory foam topper. But I don't care for memory foam much neither. I think it's a texture thing - it feels like dough, or a really fat stomach (which I am all too familiar with). Alb started to snore 'round about the same time. I didn't really put 2 and 2 together until we slept on a 6" piece of foam from Walmart all summer. Alb really didn't snore at all (I don't know if the same can be said for me, but I don't care cuz I was sleeping). Once again, I didn't really think of it... until we came home and the sawing logs started again.

I think the hard mattress makes him sleep on his back rather than his side. Perhaps it's just me. Maybe I sleep so soundly on foam I am unaware of the snoring that has been going on all along. Either way, I spent most of my day off yesterday wandering from store to store having mini naps in the mattress departments.

I found the perfect mattress. It's solid latex foam and I can take one home for a mere $2979. I realize I spend more time in my bed than my car, and I spent more than 10 times that on my car but I just can't do it. But the sticker shock was enough to jolt me into thinking my old queen size mattress really will fit in my small master bedroom. And the small piece of slate can be moved to the spare room.

I lugged the queen mattress by myself from the spare room to our room and flopped it onto the platform bed frame - where, of course, it hangs over about 4 inches on either side and 6" on the bottom, resembling the backside of an enormous person trying to sit on a folding chair. Even in this floppy state, I had a fantastic sleep last night -sans (that means "without") snoring.

As long as we don't sit on the edge of the bed we'll be fine. I forgot this morning and sat on the end of the bed to put my socks on. I ended up on my butt on the floor. Ooops.

Monday, October 15, 2007

And it burns burns burns...

I hate green peppers. Every once in a while I think, "I'm an adult now. I like most foods. There's no reason for me not to eat them." But the fact is I just don't like 'em. However, I love hot peppers. A girl at work has gotten me on this kick of eating whole hot pickled peppers.

Seeing as it is salsa making season, and I know my Dad's garden is brimming with peppers of all varieties, I told my mom about my recent hot pepper consumption. And as if by magic there were jars of hot pickled peppers in with my shipment of salsa.

I scooped myself a little bowl of them and sat down at my computer and mindlessly tossed one into my mouth as I was reading through my email. Holy Hannah! I gasped for breath and choked while my eyes welled up with tears. I then wiped away my tears with the hand that held the peppers. Good lordy, I thought my eyeball was gonna melt. I ran to the bathroom mirror because I was sure I'd find a blister on my lower lip.

Now, since Chantel had gotten me started eating those things, I had to take a jar to work to share with her. Now let me tell you, that livened up an otherwise slow day at work. In between curse-words and tears, we managed to polish off half the jar before we both broke out into a sweat. I got to thinking that sweat is associated with weight loss. hmmm.... Mom just might be on to something. I've ordered up another batch cuz I sense that these ones will be gone before long.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

The science of poop.

I remember target practicing with a .22 caliber rifle as child of 8 or 9. I remember cutting the heads off chickens with an axe at about the same age. I was probably even younger than that when I witnessed a live pig being strung up by the ankles before being shot with a large rifle. I remember having the unthankful task of having to drown a batch of kittens in a burlap sack at the age of ... well, at the risk of having my parents arrested... let's just say I wasn't very old. Even though the purpose of my task was to euthanize the poor creatures, I could not bring myself to tie the top of the burlap potato sack closed. It seemed just too claustrophobic to me. So I threw them into the Fraser River in an open sack. Did you you know cats can swim? I don't think I ever told anyone I hadn't accomplished my mission that day, and I secretly hoped they all made it to shore.

While I am a carnivore and I enjoy a good steak, I am not particularly excited about the kill.

We agreed to meet with some friends who were out hunting yesterday. With the exception of the above incidences, I have never gone hunting. We armed ourselves with warm clothes and a camera and headed out to the bush.

We piled on the ATV's and we were off. It was a fun ride, but not anything like being on the back of a Goldwing on the 401. However, some of the trails were reminiscent of some roads in rural Nova Scotia.

This looks relatively flat, but trust me, it was about a 60 degree slope.
I was shocked that the Quad was able to come back up this hill without hesitation
while packing Dan and I - neither of whom are feather weights.

Fresh poop. It was still wet. Apparently it belonged to an elk.
And he wasn't far away.

I didn't even know elk lived around here.

I'm told this is moose poop.
And it's been quite a few days since he passed this way.
Who knew poop was so informative?

We also came across a pile of bear poop.
Also not that fresh. But it was too fresh for my liking.
From the size of the pile, I'm guessing he had very large bowels.
I didn't even get a picture cuz I was too busy having my eyes
closed in prayer hoping he wouldn't materialize.

There was an old homestead way out there
in the middle of nowhere. People used to live
out here in the boonies.

Not only did people live in this remote location. Various animals have tried to take up residence in the old buildings over the years. There were an enormous number of bones trapped inside. Some were just random bones, others complete skeletons laying exactly as they had been when they laid down while wearing skin. See the cat legs on the stump on the right? It was quite decomposed, but it sure looked like the remains of a domestic cat to me. Way out here? How did it get here? Perhaps some other weak stomached person had tried to send a batch of kittens to kitty heaven in the nearby river. I dunno, but it was all a little much for me, and I think I'll continue to do my carnivorous hunting in the aisles of Costco and Superstore.

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Oh the eerie silence.

Sitting here at my computer, I can hear two clocks ticking - one is 15 feet behind me and the other is in the kitchen. Other than that I hear nothing. Albert is sleeping after working night shift. Jed has gone home after spending 3 days with us. And the dog, well the dog has left home, so truly we are now empty nesters.

As far as dogs go, we could not have asked for a quieter more docile one. But still it's noticeable having her gone, after being accustomed to her laying, gently snoring, and farting under my chair for 12 years.

Our little Sergeant has moved in with Grandpa and Grandma Z. Now she has someone to talk to her during the day and let her out to pee. Her aging digestive system can no longer handle being in the house all day. And my aging digestive system was starting to balk at cleaning up the dog bombs in the basement after a full day at work.

Grandma likes the little bark she gives to warn that someone's at the door. Sergeant likes the acreage to roam. And I shall become accustomed to the silent, poop-free, hairless days of being a non-pet owner. Ahhh.

Sunday, October 7, 2007

Minding my P's and Q's

I have lots to be thankful for. I am sure I could write out a list of 100 things without much problem.

As I mentally begin forming a list I can't help but think past the gifts I receive to the givers. I have a lot of givers in my life. For them I am thankful. And ultimately I have to be thankful to God for giving me the givers.

So thanks, eh.

Friday, October 5, 2007

People are grouchy

I am happy (ish).

The same cannot be said for all of the people that have crossed my path in the last few days. Today a co-worker asked me why everyone is so grouchy. Like I was supposed to have the answer. Perhaps it is me. But people are grouchy these days. Seriously, just about everyone is snapping for no good reason. I realize that winter is hanging heavy in the air and I don't like it neither, but geez people - lighten up.

I understand that I had a great summer with lots of sunshine and vitamin D whereas most BCer's did not. So take a pill. Or go tanning. Fly away to a tropical location. But get out of my face!

Have a nice day.

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Betty's Baaaack!

Betty the Bike just won't call it quits. Her insurance lapsed on September 15 and she was all tucked away in the back corner of the garage. But she has emerged again for another 3 months.

Okay, it's very unlikely we'll still be riding her in 3 months but ICBC won't allow you to put a shorter term than that on a bike.

Why would relatively sane individuals insure a bike in PG when it's fricken freezing outside? I'll blame it on Ford. The truck is back in the shop for warranty work. This time it's the huma-ma-jiggy on the whatcha-ma-call-it that's allowing water to leak into something, creating clouds of blue smoke to billow out of the back.

It's all covered by warranty but they don't supply a replacement vehicle and they need the truck for 4 days.

I know lots of couples survive sharing a single vehicle, but for some reason we just can't figure out how to make it work - even for 4 days.

I know, I know we'd probably been smarter to rent a vehicle, but it's too late to think of that now; Betty's got her new sticker already. Let's just pray for no snow or ice for at least 5 days. And it will be great if we can get a couple of nice sunny afternoon rides in.

Anyone wanna buy a really nice shiny black Ford truck?

Consider Yourself Reminded.

Ten years. It's been 10 years today since I was branded with that title that no-one ever wants to wear. That is until you receive it. ...