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.

HO, HOoooo, No Caboose!!

Christmas was good!! Had my gang over on Christmas Eve, minus big Sis. She had the audacity to fall off the last step to her laundry room, break her foot, have surgery Christmas Eve, test drive crutches Christmas Day and finally arrive home Boxing Day. Did she have to make a whole production of it??? God bless her, she’s resting comfortably at home, her foot propped up high above sea level and being waited on hand and foot, with visitors coming left, right and centre making her bedroom door look like the revolving one at The Plaza Hotel!! The six week lay-up is going to be frustrating and I’m guessing we’re all going to get a gazillion pieces of beaded jewelry for Christmas 2009!! I’d like a bracelet, please!!!

As each of my sisters decided not to exchange gifts this year, and as I had already completed something for each of them, I went ahead anyway and presented my gift to each sister on Christmas Eve. My brother’s copy was mailed to him only because he insists on living in the wilds of Northern Ontario and for some ungodly reason loves it!! Even though Gail was laying around in Hamilton getting her foot all bent back into shape, the girls went ahead and opened their gifts. It was fun to watch each one open their parcel, then have their jaws drop to the ground when they discovered what it was and begin to flip through the pages of this “Book”.

The story behind this “Book”:   In 1947 our parents travelled to the Island of Eleuthra where my father was going to work on a plantation and teach the Islanders how to farm. As Mom became pregnant with her second child, she decided to have her baby back home in Canada and, naturally, the letters began the day she left. Over 150 of these love letters were rediscovered and I was certain they had to be archived for posterity and family historical purposes. Having knowledge of the web site (an on-line, print on demand publishing company) I was successful in getting the letters published. The experience was absolutely wonderful and I now have ideas galore floating around in my mushy little brain for other projects. The end reward was (as they say) “priceless”. Each and every sibling now has a fully-published book containing each and every letter, along with letters from friends and relatives (including our grandparents). For an added bonus I included pictures that Dad took before he travelled for home almost a year later.

The Book is a great insight into our parents’ thoughts and ideas of how they wanted to begin their lives, after being married in 1945. With her husband in the Bahamas, living with her mother, raising her first child and pregnant with her second child, our Mom writes to Dad about the shortage of diapers, certain food items, how expensive sugar is after the war, what’s going on within the little village of Smithville and, above all, lets him know how much he’s missed. Dad writes back reassuring his love, describing what he’s doing on a daily basis and giving an historical insight into life on the Island. Dad also writes little notes on some of the letters to his first born, Gail, which in my opinion is something every child would cherish to have and keep. The letters are fun to read and you certainly begin to understand their sense of humour and they reaffirm what their children already knew – their great love for each other!

After an exciting and fun Christmas Eve, Nat and I went to bed exhausted. We had a few leftover cookies, squares and treats we cleaned up and packed up before rising early Christmas morning to travel down the road to see the grandkids open their presents from us. Again, a lot of excitement, with No. 1 grandson wound up like a tightly wound corkscrew. The whole world doesn’t go fast enough for Lucas, but he tries hard to keep himself in check! He enjoyed the XBox 360 game we bought him and his sister, Karly, was thrilled with her new top-of-the-line, lean-back, adjustable desk chair with adjustable arms!! Along with her new iPod Touch and recently purchased laptop computer from her hard-earned summer job, her parents are going to have a struggle to get her out of that chair, away from her desk and her text messaging, emailing and whatever else teenagers are into these days!!

When we arrived at our other granddaughters’ home, the two of them were glued to their new iPods and took enough time to open our gifts of a new Web Cam for Felicia and more DVDs, a headphone and jewelry box for Bridget. Being their first iPods and already having one, I gave them tips and tricks on how to work with iTunes and get started. I’m thinking their music might take a back seat to the games for awhile – they were both enthralled in playing the whole time we were there.

After all of the excitement, Nat and I headed home to rest up and then off to Marilyn’s for supper. Shawn cooked the turkey and stuffing, while everyone else bought a side dish and the meal was wonderful. We were all clammering after Shawn’s newly discovered recipe for his apple, sausage stuffing and enjoyed good conversation sitting around the dinner table afterward and munching on a tray load of more sweets and treats.

With the Christmas excitement over, we again headed back home exhausted and after a really good night’s sleep awoke to put some bread in the oven and then head off to Claudia’s for a wonderful ham supper. We all got caught up on Gail’s recent adventures to the hospital, had a great supper, watched the kids play Wii games afterwards and again, great conversation and laughs.

All in all a great Christmas despite the fact that Nat and I had to constantly remind ourselves that it was, in fact, Christmas.

“Where” you may ask does the title “HO, HOooo, No Caboose” come in. It doesn’t really, except that on our way home today from visiting Gail and dear brother, Clair (who was laying over from his stop in Toronto), we had to wait for one of those long “Prairie” trains passing through the little village of Stevensville. It had “No Caboose” and I miss seeing them. That’s all!!! 

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.