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.

Rainy Days and Delays

The weather these days isn’t exactly helping our cause. We’re both still waiting on our landscaper to show up to lay out the new front walkway. It’s so disheartening that the rain falls almost every other day and nothing can get done. Being an optimist, I’ll continue to keep my hopes up until the end of the month, which isn’t that far off!!

In order to fill the hours in the days, Nat and I have managed to keep somewhat busy. Now that he’s joined Queenston Golf Club he’s golfing more despite his feelings of guilt leaving me home alone. I don’t suppose he’ll ever get over it, and at least I know he’s still thinking about me. His guilt also works to my advantage – he doesn’t hesitate when I tell him I’m off to the shops!! Nat and I also drove out to the Balls Falls Heritage Festival which I love attending. It was an absolute perfect fall day and my latest favourite crafter was there. She’s from Quebec and her craft is making little village homes (individually or in groups) from scraps of wood and metal.  I now own three of her little homes, along with a tree, that hang in our kitchen. They help to add that “cottage kitchen” feel. After my purchase, we walked in and out all of the exhibit tents and barns before buying my usual two candy apples, having a bite to eat at the food tents and then wandering home the back roads. All in all a lovely day.

My Little French Village
My Little French Village

A week or so ago, Laura called and asked if we could pick up our granddaughter from college in Orillia. Her car was still needing attention and she thought it safer if we went and her ex-hubby would take Karly back in a weeks time. Of course we said yes, and when Friday arrived I packed a cooler bag full of cookies, drinks and sandwiches. As we had to leave by 3:00 pm to pick Karly up for 6:00, we decided to eat at one of the food and gas stations just north of Barrie. To save a few bucks, we decided a couple of sandwiches would do us and we’d share some french fries once we arrived at the food station. It all worked out pretty good and we were soon back on the road. It was a nice break, too, as the trip from Ridgeway to Orillia is one of the most tiresome. I had also packed a few things to keep the boredom at a minimum – magazine, iPad, needlepoint – but alas I’m not comfy with any of that while on the road. My mind keeps wandering and I’m always looking up to see where we are,  how Nat is doing and watching the world go by. Driving home in the dark is also another bug of mine as I get older, but Karly and her dog, Murphy, seemed to be doing okay – they both slept the entire way! Her dad met us at Tim Horton’s in Vineland to take Karly the rest of the way back to Fonthill, so we had a chance to see Shawn and Linda for a few minutes, something we don’t get to do much anymore since Laura and Shawn separated. Shawn was such a nice son-in-law and I like to think that we got along pretty good, so sometimes I miss the old family gatherings, but life goes on in its own illogical way and I have to make adjustments accordingly. At least he’s now in a happy relationship (or so it appearsand no nasty separation problems have occurred, so Nat and I count our blessings in that department.

After that very boring trip to Orillia, Nat and I decided to not even get in the van on Saturday. We had to go to Costco but told ourselves that Sunday would do. So, when Sunday arrived, we drove into St. Catharines with our little list of things to get – the baker (kaiser rolls), the golf shop (exchange a golf bag Nat won at the Golf Banquet) and Costco for fish and other items.

Speaking of the Golf Banquet, Nat and I didn’t really get too dressed up this year. As it was being held on Thanksgiving we were told there wouldn’t be as many attending as in other years. Once we arrived, it was quite apparent as the dinner tables laid out were far fewer than years before. We still had a great time, but never did get a dance in. The DJ wasn’t exactly playing our style of music and just the younger couples were boogying away. With fewer people, the whole ceremony was kept short, the gifts were given out fairly quickly (Nat won a nice golf bag) and the meal was served a little sooner. Everyone had a great time but most of the older members and their partners left early, including John and Ann (Nat’s brother-in-law and wife), Jim and Cathy (friends) and us. One of our two nights out a year had come to an end.

Love Turkey, Getting Sick of Leftovers!

Thanksgiving weekend couldn’t have been any better. The weather was perfect, the food was fabulous and the company even better. But it’s now time to move one. God knows, the retailers (especially in today’s economy) will be jumping on that Christmas bandwagon so fast it’ll make your head spin. The sooner they make a sale, the better for all of us.

We’ve now had turkey 4 days in a row and I’m craving a good medium-rare steak like you wouldn’t believe!! I’m going to freeze the rest of the leftovers – the dark meat that always looms alone on its’ own serving platter – for soup and stews this winter. As always it’s a great meal on a cold winter’s night.

We were fortunate enough to have two Thanksgiving meals – a quiet, intimate meal at Gail’s on Sunday, and a robust, noisy and active family dinner at our house on Monday. It was great fun but ever so tiring after two days of cleaning, organizing counter space, cooking and setting tables. It’s days like that I crave a huge kitchen with double ovens, two fridges and miles of counter space. But it all worked out and things couldn’t have gone smoother.

The grandkids enjoyed goofing off in the backyard while the adults were able to converse quietly around the dinner table after a satisfying meal. Despite the fact that we have a smaller dining room now, we were able to sit 8 people comfortably and set up the usual “kids” table in the adjoining kitchen. As it was also Laura’s birthday we had the added treat of birthday (ice cream) cake afterwards, along with Grandma’s (that’s me!) usual baked cookies and bars.

The day after Thanksgiving was spent voting and taking a trip into Niagara Falls for a couple of items just to get out of the house and enjoy a perfect Fall weekend. Oh yes, and to take advantage of the low gas prices. For once in recent memory, gas prices actually went down on a long weekend!!!! Just proves these really are weird and wacky economic times.

It’s All Relative – But The Food Was Good

Good food, good friends and family, good times. Good Thanksgiving. Did I mention good food? Man, that bird was worth the wait. It remained juicy to the last mouthful. Plus my mini apple pie tarts worked out pretty good – for a first time try. Got the recipe from Ricardo and Friends from the Food Network. Easy enough to make, but as it had to be done closer to dessert time, it got a little tricky. Timing was an all out effort – but it worked – and it went over pretty good, if I do say so myself. If my son-in-law has seconds, it has to be good!!! 

All in all we had a nice dinner – but, as usual, Nat and I really don’t remember eating it. So, we repeated the meal tonight, with leftovers. Worked for me!!!

On the “house front” – we’ve been told that the furnace needs to be replaced. The company the Vendor got in to look at it, did not recommend “fixing” the one that’s there. Whatever was wrong, they said that it was a cheap furnace and that it may not last that much longer. So, long story short (again!) we’re hoping she’ll meet us half way in getting a new one. We’ll hopefully know more tomorrow. Keep your fingers crossed. We both know now that we should have had that inspection done way sooner than we did – then we would have had some leverage before our house was actually sold. Can’t look back – too little, too late!!

So Nat and I are going to bite the bullet, get some estimates and see what goes up the old chimney!!!

After putting our feet up this morning – recovering from the past two hectic days – we started to do a little packing this afternoon. I packed up some of our collectibles and Nat chopped wood that he wants to get rid of. A little bit here, a little bit there!!! It’s all relative. So we’ll keep chugging away – that little train really did eventually make it up that hill – at least I’ve been told. Growing up, however, I soon learned that some fairy stories really are just that!!!!!

Oops, There’s A Leg Missing!!

Turkey’s done!!! God, it’s killing me. The aroma in the house is wonderful. We decided to do the bird (not the finger kind!!) a day ahead to save time, heat and tension. My family all knows I have to work alone in the kitchen and when Nat and I get together in there, it can get ugly!! So by doing the bird a day ahead, we only have to contend with the potatos and veggies – and that’s a cinch. That little routine we have down pat, from Sunday suppers.

The bird it sitting on the counter resting, letting the juices run back in and it’s all golden brown on top and moist and wonderful inside. So we’re having “Egg & Chips” for supper – how sad is that with a 20 pound bird on the table!!!! Nat may wake up in the morning and find it has a leg missing – ya think?? Anyone who reads this and tells is a dead man!!! 

Also set the tables today. A big one (big kids) and a little one (little kids). Some traditions just don’t change, do they? But the kids enjoy their own table, as they can chit chat away and we won’t disturb them, if they won’t disturb us. All works out quite well.

Still haven’t heard back from the owner of our prospective house in Ridgeway about the furnace. Suppose we won’t hear now until after Thanksgiving. It’s killing Nat – not knowing which way she’s going to go. But her agent did impress upon her that it was not an unreasonable request to at least get the furnaced fixed properly. Here’s hoping she’s a reasonable person.

So here’s to a Happy Thanksgiving! Now, start your engines for the commencement of Christmas shopping !! God Bless us everyone.