Bonjour, Mon Ami!

Life has been quiet lately.


About the most exciting thing we’ve done is to discover Hercule Poirot on Netflix. And with twelve seasons to watch, we’ve been giving it our best attention.

. . . Too much maybe?

The other day I was deep in calculations for a project when Man-Wonder came in and wanted to know what I was doing (mostly because I was being quiet and he was getting nervous). I taped the side of my head and said, “Mon ami—it is the brain, the little gray cells, on which one must rely.”

He made a fast exit. Which I liked. So I was thinking about the next time he annoys me. Which won’t be long. Given that the long, dark, cold-rain seasons are upon us—which means we will be hanging about in each other’s space waaaayyy too often—I’ve decided to have a few more quotes in my ‘Ready Aim Fire’ arsenal.

Like when he really, really pisses me off I’m going to tap the side of my nose and say,’ “I enrage myself with an imbecile. I say, ‘I would like to kick him.’ Instead I kick the table. I say, ‘This table, it is the imbecile, I kick him so.” ‘

Or when he acts like a goon I’ll be ready with,

‘ “Eh bien, you are crazy, or appear crazy, or you think you are crazy, and possibly you may be crazy.” ‘

Or, when I do something daft (yeah, it does happen), I shall simply say, ‘ “I demand of you a thousand pardons, monsieur.” ‘

So let it rain, let it hail, let it snow, this chickie is armed and dangerous, thanks to one little egg-headed Belgium detective.





I wonder if it’s time to find another show to OD on. . .?

Autumn Holiday

We are home after another short (ten days) road trip to and along the  Sunshine Coast, and a stay with relatives.


A ferry ride from Nanaimo to Vancouver’s Horseshoe Bay, followed by a highway loop around to catch another ferry from Horseshoe Bay to the Sunshine Coast’s Langdale, were a delight for the senses thanks to typical BC coast weather. Moody blue, gray, and soft lavender-hued mountains draped in ribbons of thick white clouds.

moody west coast

moody west coast

The Sunshine Coast is a twisting winding ride along the edge of the Strait of Georgia with Vancouver Island as the view. The cabin where we stayed was directly across from home so, like last time, we did a lot of waving to us. . .

This trip we toured the Pender Harbour area—which included Madeira Park, Garden Bay, Irvings Landing and, after crossing a three-second bridge, Beaver Island.

Man oh man—it is a place I would move in a heartbeat. No matter where you drive you are treated to views of tiny coves and inlets, fishing boats moored and homes from the ridiculously-huge to the less-than-elbow-room cabins hugging the shores. Lovely!

008 inlet



Near the end of our holiday, during another day of sunshine (there weren’t that many), we found this delightful park close by. It’s  the Cliff Gilker Park and it’s a delight despite the bear and coyote pack sightings posted.

035 039

I confess, I carried a mucking big umbrella to razzle, dazzle any wild beasties I might run into to.


Which we didn’t . . .They must have sensed the danger aura I carried.


Another thing I discovered on this holiday—aside from the fact that Man-Wonder has a teeny-tiny bladder is that he’s really, really thoughtful. I mean, what else would you call someone has enough foresight to face away from a fire hydrant lest he confuse any poor sniffing dogs. . .

007 Like I said—that’s why I call him Man-Wonder!

Great as the holiday was, I believe the most delightful part might well be the sound of the key unlocking your own door at the end of it. . .

Home sweet home.



Lazy Days

There hasn’t been a whole lot happening around here; other than we began The Plan on October one after weekly reports from our neighbors as they worked their way through it. Weight loss and a kissing goodbye to half his medications for diabetes and all of her high blood pressure medication.

the plan

The Plan, created by Lyn-Genet Recitas, is a way of eating to better understand your body and its reactions. You start off with a three-day cleanse—but a very mild, filling kind of cleanse.

And believe me, it cleanses! I felt like I had a low dose of flu for almost seven days as my body detoxed. Did I mention there is a lot of greens in this plan? Try facing saute, raw or steamed greens with a queasy stomach. . .not for sissies!

You begin by following her plan of the least reactive foods and each day, or every other day, add one new type of food to the diet. This allows you to see and feel how your body is reacting to a certain food.

So far my blood pressure has dropped from the mid 140s to an  average 110-115. Getting off blood pressure medicine is my goal (losing weight a big bonus). Man-Wonder is watching his blood sugar numbers slowly drop too. And both of us feel so much easier in the joints and the mind.


But, as with any high part, there is a low part. I have never prepared so many meals so religiously and washed so many freaking dishes!

On another note:

walking home

Just finished Sonia Choquette’s book—Walking Home. It’s about her life falling apart and how she took a walk to think things clear. An 800 kilometer (500 miles) walk. She walked the Camino de Santiago trek over the Pyrenees and northern Spain.

I couldn’t stop reading it which means I finished it waaaay before I was ready to. Reading it made my soul ache to cleanse the way hers had by the end. Excellent book.

And finally,


we went to the movies last night and saw The Martian with Matt Damon. We left the theatre feeling thoroughly entertained.

It’s all good stuff eh . . .

Goodbye summer, hello fall.

imagesMB6PPO62 has arrived with its days of color and nights of cool. It’s giving us scattered days of rain showers after months of dry, dry and more dry. Vegetation is coming back for one last fling of energy and color.

It’s a time of cooling down and reflection.

Yesterday, while sitting on the sun porch, feeling a teasing warm breeze floating past made me put my pages down, lean back and drift on memories of summer. Hot days melting together, just like when we were young and our summers felt endless.


This past summer felt like it was on slow dial. The heat settling over us like jelly, slowing our steps and minds. Looong summer days, filled with hot, dusty air, full-of-life neighborhood noises (which is good in a ‘over 55’ park), barking dogs, lawnmowers, people stopping to talk, barbeques burning food.

Days, where, in the late afternoon the small grassy hillside out back called and I couldn’t help but sprawl on the grass and watch clouds drifting by (and remembering to twitch now and then so any one looking out of a windows knew I was still alive).

Some early evenings I’d be joined by my friend from next door and we’d sit on the lawn, chatting about everything and nothing until it was too dark to see the other’s face.

Or waking every morning to throw open the doors and windows. Such a joy even if I did whine now and then, (okay regularly) about the hot, hot, hot midday temps.  Even though this summer was a smoldering heat wave of change for us here on the west coast, it became jammed full of pleasant memories which will get us through the looong short days of winter.

But, before the grayness of winter drops over us, autumn is here, begging to be savored.


On another note—here’s a site I’m still having fun with —




Speaking of gymnastics. . .

Getting older is an unfunny funny thing when it’s happening to you. Kneeling is a prime sample of this.

When you’re younger, it’s down and up with a spring. Middle age is down and up and maybe not so springy; and definitely less quiet. Old age is a whole new experience—it’s more of a cranky slow train of communication between body parts.

Let’s say you’ve just finished painting a bottom cupboard and want to stand up. So your brain tells your knees to hop to it.

. . . The Knees yelp, “Are you shitting us?”

Your brain tries commando, knowing Knees have been a bit whiny lately. “Rise dammit.”

Knees yell back to Toes, “A little help here amigos.”

Toes, sounding apologetic, kick back with, “Sorry Knobs but we’re busy helping Arches. The poor buggers are cramping up with us bent like we are.”

Knees squirm and call up to Brain, “Hey, Command Center, Knees here. It’s a no go unless Arms stop hanging like hypnotized chimpanzees and help. Maybe mouth could give a shout-out for help.”

Brain gives a sigh. “C’mon everybody, let’s try working this out like a team. One for all, all for one, right?”

“Yeah—well tell that to Thighs. A little pushing action from them babies would have us straightened right out. But do they bother to tighten up? No, they just hang there putting more pressure on us. It’s not fair.”

“Yeah,” Thighs jiggle in disgust, “we’d help you two overgrown knuckles  but it’s all we can do to keep these pillowy pads in motion. We’re as overworked as you two.”

Knees snort in derision. “Like roll us in jelly—we wouldn’t mind your cushy positions in this life!”

Brain breaks in with, “BODY! You’re behaving like children. All this sniping and complaining isn’t helping. Let’s try working together. Arms—reach out and grab the counter. Toes—curl back and pull that kneepad in under Arches. Knees—get ready to straighten out. Toes are going to push, thighs are going to lift upwards ,and arms are going to pull everyone forward. Everyone ready now? Okay, on the count of three. . . one . . .WAIT. . . what?”`

Brain is silent for a second. It comes back to tell the others,  “Mouth wants to help by grunting. Kind of like cheerleading for the team. So—okay gang, we’re going for uplift now — one, two, three . . . good. Good! Annnd . . .  we’re up and mobile again. Excellent job everyone! And see, no crane needed.


.  . .Arms, you can let go of the counter and, uh, Mouth—is that heavy breathing really necessary?”




Marching right into. . . well, something.

September is the month of changes; Adventures and learning curves, even for those well beyond school age. September is when the old farts club’s newsletter arrives brimming with pages of new classes to sign up for.


As I perused the pages I imagined myself trying out for all kinds of new challenges  but I wore myself out reading the descriptions and in the end, signed up, for a fourth time, in the ‘Tai Chi for Beginners’ class and only one new one—Fitness Level 1. And that one was for two reasons only—it had been a hot lazy summer, and the course was labeled as a class of gentle stretches to increase flexibility along with proper breathing and relaxation techniques to energize.



Bald-faced lying old farts!

Gentle stretches my ass! Remember the medicine ball in high school? Divide that in four and you’ve got what they use as balance balls. Sure, if you’re lying on the floor and it’s resting between your feet.

And those cute-colored, stretchy ropes I was told I’d need from the equipment closet. No one mentioned they were color coded for easy, medium and popeye-arms. Guess which one I grabbed?

Then there was the instructor arrived—trim build, white hair and, wow—no moobies. I admit I was impressed with his body but his footwear puzzled me. He wasn’t wearing rubbery-gym shoes. He was wearing big, brown, round-toed hiking style boots. I didn’t get it until he cranked up the music and yelled, “MARCH!”

Those puppies were floor thumpers. We’re talking lift those knees and slap them shoes to the ground boots. March to the front, then march back again. Stomp those feet to one side then stomp to the other. Side to side — left-right, left-right, left-left, right-right, left-left-left, right-right-right.

You know how shock empties the mind? By the time I remembered which foot was left, everyone was right. By the time I flapped out two, they were on three, or back to one. OMG!

Then the nasty instructor starts telling us to turn our feet and legs this way and that way while we’re still doing the side humps. Crap on a Crayola—let’s just say my legs turned in directions they weren’t meant to, even when they were flexible.

Yeah, it was a tough class but, luckily, I had this nice European woman who leaned close after spotting the fear in my eyes.

“Don’t worry” she said, “look how well I’m doing. A year and a half ago I was just like you.”

Oh, yeah, that was encouraging! And, at the end of all those ‘gentle’ exercises, did I feel I’d learned anything?

That I hate exercising? No, I already knew that. I learned that, even if you think you’re heading into a lay-on-the-floor-gently-stretching-apendages-here-and-there class, don’t wear flip-flops.


Because, during certain exercises those tight elastic ropes will slip out from under flip-flops and whatever body part is closest is gonna’ get whacked. And, when that happens, if you have to swear – be aware that Murphy’s Law will stop the music a split second before.


I have until next Monday to decide if I want to go back.

. . Hmmmmmm

Good read: Soul Shifts

soul shifts - Copy

Dr. Wayne Dyer (bless his recently departed soul) describes this book as ‘a brilliant, authoritative, practical guide to higher awareness. Every page brims with highly specific suggestions for shifting to a more enlightened way of being. To waking up our consciousness, to get to know, deeply know the vibrating energy field that makes us who we are.’

‘’No shit Sherlock.” I say to that.

I have been reading Soul Shifts by Dr. Barbara DeAngelis for over a month now. It is one of those books—read a paragraph, maybe a page or two. Might even manage a whole chapter before the mind yells, ‘S.T.O.P. It’s chew time.’ Things must be mulled over, processed, digested thoroughly before proceeding.

I don’t know how many times I’ve had to stop reading because all that’s twirling through my gray matter are the words, Holy shitting Christ (sorry to offend but that’s how the gray goop talks). It’s like Dr. DeAngelis has peered into my soul then yanked out a less-than-sparkly hunk of it and tossed it up onto a page for discussion.

We are vibrational beings. Science has shown this to be true. We are cosmic energy vibrating in a certain pattern that makes up what each of us consider to be “us”. We must transform at the vibrational level if we want to transform “us”. Dr. DeAngelis says deep inside of us is everything we could ever need. She talks about how a tree needs to spread its roots deep so it can grow tall. So do we she says. We need to have a deep soul connection to our consciousness. This book helps us build ourselves strong and steady from the inside out.

This is one hell of a book and I know, without a doubt, as soon as I come to the end of it, I’ll be starting it again. It’s like getting an exciting big gift box. When you open it you find a dozen little boxes inside, each one wrapped around a tiny treasure. And, because each one is so precious, the very minute you’ve gushed over the last one, you’re back to the first one, then the next and . . .

Try it—it might have your brain potty-talking too!


Just how big was the one that got away?

We decided to drive up island and have a coffee in the sleepy, quiet community of Cumberland—about an hour’s drive from home. We hadn’t been there for some time and wondered if much had changed. We arrive the same weekend as their ATMOSPHERE festival.

A slight difference. . .

facial only

Talk about unique —just looking at the huge Italian circus tent in the middle of the festival grounds had my insides bubbling with excitement. Music ebbed and flowed and the air felt electric with energy. It was one of the wildest eclectic group of individuals I’ve seen—let’s just say native wowed hippy-chic who danced with spandex-lovers while medieval tangoed with Egyptian-aspy garbed as grunge-techno leapt about everywhere while healers did what they do best and cooks filled everyone’s bellies.

Expecting a quiet village and finding this exploding party was a tad mindboggling.  A little bit of deep forest between us and the revelers felt like a good thing so we headed to the far edge of town and the shores of Comox Lake to have our our coffee and lunch.

After deciding to give more of the festival a pass we headed home via the old island highway which meanders along the shoreline so we could make a quick stop at Nile Creek. Basically, it’s a  short dirt lane between the highway and the fishing beach where Nile Creek empties into the ocean and is well-known for the arrival of the pinks this time of year.

We found a parking spot halfway down the lane, left side. Man-wonder headed down to where the fishermen were lined up along the shore. I chose to stay behind sketching, not realizing the angle of the sun hitting our windshield was creating a blind spot to anyone looking at our truck. I have to assume that the fisherman, arriving back at his vehicle, parked two ahead of us, on the other side of the lane, didn’t realize it either. The man did a fast scan up and down the lane and then stripped off his chest waders, his shorts and everything else between him and his almighty best.

Talk about a fine specimen! And hoooo-boy, did he ever make my day. . .

And, I wonder, as he drove past, seeing me for the first time, did he catch the ear-to-ear grin on my face?

And, nooooo, I didn’t even think of picking up my pen until it was too late. . .

Pssssst. . . . wanna’ buy a cheap recipe binder?

Okay, one final comment on soap making. After using a small bar for a week I recently read how one can test a batch to see if it’s ready. All you need are PH strips, shaved soap, hot water and a reading of between 8 and 10 on the strip. My bars are at 7. . .




Meanwhile, because I enjoy reading the Cook’s Illustrated magazine, I was thrilled to learn they had a cookbook  so I requested a copy from the library.  .

cooks illustratedHoly Crap on a crayon—talk about a behemoth of a book! I should have read the fine print at the bottom of the cover —where it said 2,000 recipes from 20 years. . .

Opening this cookbook is like walking into an oversized big box store without a list and standing there staring at what must be twenty-five aisles and each one is a mile long.

Where to start??

But, once you get the mojo moving, you realize there are sooo many things you didn’t know existed until you saw them. And, because the child in us is never far away, every recipe in the book is like a bag of candy.

The thing with recipes is I tend to collect them. Sometimes when I’m hungry reading recipes is as good as eating. Sometimes, when it’s time to cook a meal, and I haven’t a freaking clue what to cook, I hunt recipes, and sometimes I come across a recipe that is so off-the-wall I simply have to save it. Doesn’t matter if I have to hike into deep woods to kill something, or gather buried roots—when I’m in a ‘mood’ I believe I might just do that.

In other words — I gather recipes to my bosom like a shiny new baby.

And, that’s why the over-grown king-sized binder holding my recipes recently threw its locking rings wide open like a cowboy leaping on a horse and dumped the roughly six trillion plastic sleeves (each containing at least four recipes) across our slippery ceramic tiled floor. As I watched the ocean of pages sliding in all directions like greased bananas I knew it was time to get ruthless with them. Time to cull the beast!  But first—that beautiful cook book had to go back to the library. I have to go cold turkey. NO. MORE. RECIPES. At least until the binder beast is under control.

So, hey — if you see the Cooks Illustrated book please give it a cuddle for me. And, whatever you do, don’t try to pick it up by yourself . . .

Feeling the ‘ick’ factor

Okay, I confess, I’ve been testing the soap made a week ago.

I ran out of patience and the twice-daily looky-sees weren’t cutting it so I snuck down one of the smaller squares. Yeah, Man-Wonder has been on my case about it but I don’t care because, even at one week old, the soap is nice. It’s creamy and soft to the hands—which was all I was willing to risk for the first day or so.

Just in case. . .And, when no fingers burnt up or fell off, I charged in and washed my all-overs. Nice. Nice enough to begin researching out the next batch.

But, until the soap-curing shelf space is available, I’ve been concocting other types of soap—like foaming hand soap—which is so OMG-osh easy I was finished before I’d barely  started.

Then I remembered the comments posted over last week’s blog by writeknit about how she liked her lemon-scented bars of soap for her kitchen and that led me to thinking about dish soap. In the end I followed a lemon-cinnamon scented liquid dish soap recipe and again—easy-peasy. And at first, I was impressed with the sudsing it produced.

That lasted about two minutes – roughly how long the suds lasted.

Without suds I was hands deep in foggy water and staring down at the many, many bits of mealtime flotsam and jetsam twirling amongst the silverware and plates. I admit I was rating the ‘ick’ factor fairly high. Until I thought about it. I mean, I was staring at what has always been there, only I hadn’t seen it before. Now, without suds, I was able to judge when to change the water, or if it needed changing. Nothing was hidden under a pillow of white suds.

It’s kind of like slapping on a thick layer of makeup to hide the wrinkles; or turning underwear inside out for another day—it doesn’t work; it’s not healthy; and the only person it fools it the one doing it.

So what did I learn this week? Suds, wrinkles in ridges and non-reversible reversed underwear. . .all filed under ick label.

. . . Another day, another learning curve. . .


« Older entries

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 52 other followers