The Good, The Bad and The Ugly

The bad days are beginning to be more frequent in my senior years. On the other hand the good days that come along are very good, so I’ll keep plugging along hoping for more good than bad.

Starting off on what I thought was a good day, I decided to make pasta salad, which hubby and I haven’t had for quite some time. I only made a small batch for our supper and I was trotting along so well until the pasta had cooled enough to dress. That night we decided to finish off the last chicken legs in the freezer. We had been to Costco the previous day and stocked up on chicken thighs for a change. Not wanting a large meal we voted for the pasta salad as a nice side dish with the legs.

All was going well, as I said, until it came time to dress the salad. As I was stirring in the mayo, I also added the salt and pepper. Once done, I gave it a taste for seasoning and OMG my tongue felt like it had swallowed half the box of salt!! It was awful and I started to get upset. Not always thinking straight, I grabbed Nat to take a taste to confirm my suspicions. His face suddenly cringed, his eyes closed and his tongue was spitting out whatever it could. The following discussions:

“What were you thinking”?, he asked.

“No bloody idea. I took a pinch from the salt box and must of miscalculated”, was my reply.

“No kidding”, was his sarcastic retort.

I’m not starting over, so how do I fix it?”, I asked.

“The only answer is to boil some more macaroni, add it to your mix and see if it absorbs that extra salt”, Hubby’s response .

So away I went. It worked. We did, however, now have enough pasta salad to invite the neighbours over. In the end we decided to put away enough for lunch the next day and toss the rest. Ce la vie!!!! My fault and lesson learned, even though I won’t remember a thing.

As the week continued, and most days were just boring, I went for my hair appointment feeling somewhat optimistic and upbeat. I decided to get a perm this time, now that my hair has grown back from the Thrush scenario. The shampoo I bought for hair loss worked better than expected and I was pleased as I sat in my hairdresser’s chair. Even she had noticed my hair looked better and we proceeded with a discussion on what kind of perm I wanted. On a whim “Let’s go really curly”, was my smart ass reply. Without hesitation the process began.

This time there was some excitement at the salon regarding a possible abandoned car with Texas license plates. One of the customers went out to check the car and discovered it had also been left unlocked. Naturally, she opened the door, had a good look around at a small mess in the front seat and smelling what she felt was more than a dead animal lingering. She returned to the shop and the theories soon began. My hairdresser reported the customer’s finding to the owner of the Avondale Store who put a note on the car window that it will be towed if not removed by end of day. We all had a good laugh at the various scenarios being discussed and, trust me, they began to get a little weird only because they were Texas plates!! None of us have ever heard of anything good coming from the State of Texas, especially from watching TV.

With all things now settled, it was time to remove the small pink curlers and reveal the masterpiece. EGAD!!!! I was taken aback as I have never in my entire life had so many curls on top of my head. I looked like Mohammed Ali, with a mass of Afro curls only on a much smaller head!! I started to laugh as my hairdresser could see the huge disappointment in my eyes. She reassured me it could be fixed with a curling iron and smoothed out. But the whole idea of getting a perm was not having to use a curling iron. I wanted to finger and fluff my hair in the morning. Another smart ass idea of mine gone wrong. In the end my hairdresser fixed Mr. Ali’s curly top and I was at least able to face the public again.

For the last month, my mind has also been on the crappy eating habits I’ve returned to. Chocolate has been the bane of my existence. Eating more than I should. Buying more than I should and stashing whatever I can in the fridge. Whenever Nat is out of the house at his golf games (3 x a week) I’ll sit in front of our computer and stream my favourite British cooking or comedy shows while munching on as much chocolate as it takes to complete the show – each one usually an hour long. Seriously, I’m addicted and sick. I’m now anticipating really bad blood sugar levels at my next blood work which will probably confirm the high results I’m getting at home. Telling myself every morning to behave and lay off, I’m only good on the days that Nat is not out of the house. The true signs of a Chocoholic.

I finally came to terms once my blood work was done. After checking the results online today, my numbers weren’t good, but weren’t has high as I had anticipated. I’ve now disposed of any stashes in the fridge, started keeping record of my exercise, blood pressure and blood sugar results everyday to remind myself that if I don’t make better gains, I’m going to have two really pissed off Nephrologists. The discipline is extremely hard and it’s been getting me depressed at times. Hubby tries to support me as best he can but being an already disciplined person, it’s hard for him to connect with me. These are the times I miss living closer to my sisters. I know I can get through this, despite going it alone.

Back to normalcy, and in order to get out of the house to clear away the dust bunnies that had gathered on our shoulders, Nat and I headed to the Balls Falls Craft Show this Thanksgiving weekend. We had walked around the Marshville Heritage Festival the week before, which was a bit of a bust.

When we arrived at Balls Falls. we were surprised at the reorganization of the event. They had now extended the parking area to a larger lot, had 6-seater golf carts running back and forth every minute to pick up people who were unable to walk up and down the large hill that takes you down to the Artisans and Big Barn. The Artisans, too, had been re-organized. The large tent at one end was now split in two with new Artisan tents in between. All Artisans in the Big Barn were laid out in a more conducive manner, and the Food Artisans were located in another large tent set up behind the Big Barn. The only disappointment was the Food Tents and eating area, which seemed to have been downsized. It was probably just my mind playing tricks, but the seating area was moved behind all of the Food Vendors and the Band Stage was now abandoned with Artisans scattered around where picnic benches use to be. Really not conducive to enjoying lunch and watching the world go by.

As Nat and I walked around we really enjoyed a lot of the Vendors and their wares. Some of the Vendors seemed to have changed while other new ones had arrived. The one Artist I love was there and has expanded her village houses using recycled boards. They were gorgeous and it pained me to keep my credit card in my wallet. Damn!!! In the end I found a few more items I would loved to have bought, but I had to be good and save my pennies for our 25th Wedding Anniversary trip to Stratford for 4 days.

Continuing on the bad day vein, the Mail app on my iPad has decided to act up. Apparently I’m not alone in this, as I have a sister having the same problem. Mail will send or receive messages, but if you try to answer a received email, it won’t go. I get a message back regarding a problem with the setup on the Server or that the address is not recognized. Another one of those things where I’ll end up on the phone talking to someone at Cogeco to see what the problem is. I’m sure it’s something I’ve done wrong at this end – it usually always is!!

After visiting Balls Falls we returned home for a quiet afternoon. As it was such a perfect day, Nat went for a walk while I did a little research on cooking our little turkey breast for Monday. Wanting to save a lot of hassle and mini-arguments, I happened upon a recipe for the Slow CookerDespite not having all of the ingredients, I knew we could improvise as we have in the past and it would all work out.

With the arrival of Monday, we proceeded to get the Slow Cooker out and the veggies all prepped and ready. We cut up some potatoes, and onions, laid them in the base of the cooker and placed the turkey breast on top (after seasoning the breast). Switched on the cooker for 6 hours and we were done. Voila, our meal was complete except for the gravy and one other side which could be completed closer to eating time.

During the rest of the afternoon we could smell the turkey cooking away and as luck would have it, the turkey was done earlier than expected. It had reached its temperature so we decided to eat early. What the hell, it was only us!! With the drippings in the bottom of the slow cooker, Nat was able to make his gravy in the same pot, while I heated up another side dish. The turkey breast was sliced, the potatoes laid along side and the extra side was ready to go. We enjoyed a very quiet, yummy Thanksgiving dinner on our own. (Honestly, still not the same without a whole wack of family sitting around a big table and all talking above one another.) We retired to our recliners for the rest of the evening.

Regarding the Turkey Breast, I have to give cudos to Costco. While getting our semi-annual groceries this past month, we came across a small bin full of turkey breasts with bone in for only $9.99. A deal we could not resist, we grabbed a package and when we were unpacking it at home, we discovered it was the whole top of a turkey. Both sides were huge and we divided the pair and froze one for another time. Such a deal!!

With Thanksgiving over, we have Halloween to look forward to. Oh goody!! I’ve lost my zest for this event and would love to just turn out the lights. Nat, on the other hand, feels that since the neighbourhood has increased with Little Ones, that we should do something. This year, my love, it’s all yours.

Only The Lonely

The dog days of summer are now gone and the cool, rainy days of Fall are upon us.

Halloween was the only day of the year where so many rang our door bell all in one day. Sad, but true. This was a banner year – we actually had 10 children come to our door. Nat even had to convince me to buy something for the little trick or treaters (*@&%*) as past years have been dismal. One year we had 3 kids, in 2011 we had one and in 2012 we turned off the lights (only one knocked on the door). When Nat brought up the subject this year I told him if he wanted to celebrate, then he had to answer the door himself. I had enough from past years. While living in St. Catharines it was always me that trotted up the six steps from the family room to answer the door to the over twenty children that knocked, and I soon learned to just sit on the steps and do crosswords in-between each little group that came by. Suburbs with semis were popular – double doses!!

With the first knock on our door this year, Nat did try to pop up out of his recliner, but since I was three steps closer I beat him to it, and ended up answering the door myself. Pleasantly surprised, it was 3 little boys with Santa Claus-size sacks and thinking this would be it, I handed them 3 small candy bars (hoping to keep what was left for ourselves). A few minutes later, another 3 girls arrived and what to our surprise they were looking for donations for Community Care. Threw Nat and myself for a major loop. Suddenly we’re scrambling though the cupboards trying to pick up some canned goods to drop in their bags, along with some treats for themselves. Well, that was nice, I thought! Finally I was opening the door for a good cause. It wasn’t much longer before we greeted a few more kids before things began to die down. The rainy miserable night kept most of the children closer to home we surmised, as the street across from our house wasn’t as busy as past years. Yes, I ended up answering the door only because by the time Nat popped out of that recliner of his, the kids would think there was nobody home! Don’t get me wrong, he really did “rise up” and help. It wasn’t that bad of a night as I thought!

With the crappy weather now upon us, my emotions have been running a bit wild. I’m spending more days inside than out and my depression comes back now and again at bed time, just long enough to bring tears to my eyes. My mind races and my thoughts turn to missing certain things in my life. Things I can’t control, things I can’t change and “escaping” means going to a mall to shop for a short-term “fix”.

During the summer I could at least escape to the patio, play with the iPad, listen to music or even watch a downloaded show. Alas, the canopy has been taken down for the summer and stored away. That task was easy. It was harder putting the damn thing up than it was taking it down. We truly enjoyed our back patio for most of the summer. The weather was so much better than past years and the canopy really helped prevent the sun from beaming down on the old wrinkled face and making me look even more like an Apple Doll. My escapism during the winter months may well be to outer space – the internet. Nat tries his best to understand but unless you’ve been there, done that, you’ll never get it. So many things flying in and out of your brain, so many thoughts, perceptions, emotions and ideas float around in what seems an empty shell that only houses thoughts and egotistical loneliness. Suddenly, however, the morning arrives and something takes a hold of you. That pill you popped before bed time somehow kicked in and your emotions have calmed down. Despite the slight lingering anger, you take on the day as if nothing had happened and no one is the wiser. That therapy you thought about can wait for now.

Baking is my therapy and I’ve been having a lot of sessions these past few weeks. Three batches of cookie dough in the freezer, along with 4 different kinds of already baked cookies ready for the Christmas tins and Nat’s lunch. After being asked by my loving hubby, I found and baked really great Empire Biscuits, which he loves and practically has to take out a mortgage on the house whenever he buys them at the bakery in Niagara-on-the-Lake!! Looking like they take a lot of effort in the bakery cabinet, I was taken aback at how easy they were. The dough comes together so quickly and the only time-consuming part is the assembly – jam in the centre and a almond icing and cherry on top. One disappointment with this recipe is that it only makes 12 actual cookies (24 before assembly). Feeling pretty proud of myself I decided to make another batch a couple of days later for Christmas (if they last that long with Nat in the house).

Nat and I were also extremely pleased to finally see our landscaper start the front walkway. We’ve both been anxious to get this project done and were beginning to worry if it wouldn’t happen until the Spring. The rain delays set our landscaper and his other projects back a few weeks and the poor guy is still trying to play catch-up. He had a lot of plantings to do and it was a struggle to get them in the gardens before the first frost. Our little project looks like it will only take a few days and Nat is also pleased that we were able to have our guy lower the drainage pipe from the eaves to the ditch. Once the old concrete tiles were removed it was quite apparent that the drainage pipe was a little too close to the surface and when the frost did come it would certainly raise up any new patio bricks that were laid with care and expense! The first of the week should see the arrival of the new patio bricks, along with a new step for the front stoop. The one thing I’m very anxious to see done, so I won’t have to feel like I’m climbing up and down Mount Everest to go and get the mail. I felt sorry for those Halloween trick or treaters for making the climb, but at least now they’ll have a “step up” next year. (Good one, eh??)

On a high note, we’ve now received one good payment from the solar panels that lay atop our south-facing roof. Nat and I were surprised, a little more than anticipated but we know the winter months won’t be as lucrative. The paper work can be a bit of a draw back and we haven’t even begun to deal with Revenue Canada yet. I know we’ll soon get into some sort of routine and be thankful for small mercies – that we at least have some sort of additional income for the next twenty years. Only God knows what can fall out of the sky and rain on your parade!!