Secateurs and a chin-strap hat to go

So the big ride ‘em lawnmower event didn’t happen.Man-wonder had too long to think about it; his imagination took over and he put it off for a week, hoping he’d be ready.

Curses were heaped upon his head!

But now—here it is—THE NEXT WEEK—and since his back  isn’t one hundred percent back to healthy form yet he ever so nicely asked me if I thought I would mind doing the job. . .


Oh, yeah—like I don’t have it all planned; secateurs clipped to my workpants like a six-shooter just in case I have to jump off the machine and anniliate a rogue dandelion popping up just out of blade-chopping distance. And I’ve already picked out the best hat for the job. It’s the one he calls his fishing hat but I call it his Ranger Rick hat since he hasn’t hung any of his hand-tied flies on it yet.

hat shot(yeah, that’s Man-wonder. Can you see the frown lines? I see them a lot!)

I picked that one because it’s got a chin strap dohicky which might come in handy should I get the G-Forces rocking on the machine (think downhill and wind).

So yes, I am looking forward to this Friday. And if he weasels out again . . . well, let’s just say the property is large and it might take them a while to find him.

Kidding—I’ll just run over his Ranger Rick hat with the truck. . .

I’d better make sure I enjoy every moment sitting on that majestic yellow and green beastie because there’s a good chance I’ll be banned from it after Friday.

Wonder if I’ll have time to snap a ‘selfie’?

Headline: Woman Wonder born amidst blades of grass

Writing this week will be taking a beating as I am having to spend time outside helping Man-wonder who strained his back last week. This week I am acting as Woman Wonder (okay fine – I made that name up, he didn’t.) He’s calling me the woman-behind-lawnmower, which I find rather boring and hardly worth curling the tongue over.

First, let me admit I’m not athletic. I’m barely mobile if it’s too hot, rainy or cold outside. I like sitting.

I know how to straighten up and space out the spine. I sit with an angled stool (below me not in me) and I keep the knees slightly above the hip line.

See – a student of sitting.

Besides, I’ve studied the best of the natural-born sitters which just happens to be babies. If you don’t believe that – check out those little chubbies of cuteness—their spines are a joy to watch.

So, for me to take over the some of the tasks of landscaping where I can`t run inside as soon as my face gets all hot and icky, is going to be tough. The other horrific thing is the sun makes my nose run. Oh, hell, anything beyond a simple sit makes my nose run. I used to laugh at Mom and her box of tissue for every room. Let`s just say I`ve lost that snotty attitude.

But I`ll do it. And secretly—I have to admit to being a teeny-tiny bit excited over the fact that if Man-wonder isn`t in good enough shape for his Friday job, which is the one where he rides his ride’m mower over and around five acres – I GET TO DO IT!

I get to run it. Not beside it. Not behind it. On it!

Cathie on lawn mower


Oh, I have driven it on pavement and it was fun – waving at the neighbours as I screamed down the road at a half mile per hour, goggles and earmuffs firmly in place and waving like the queen in one of her horse-driven buggies (and, hell, probably moving faster than I was).

But this time I`ll be running it over five acres of hillside with wide sloping lawns right down to shoreline.

I hate to admit it, but come Thursday night, if Man-wonder shows no sign of soreness, I may have to sneak over and re-adjust the numbers level of his side of the bed—just enough to through a kink into his plans . . .

Randy with cane

That`s not really mean-spirited is it? After all, he`ll have Saturday and Sunday to re-cooperate. And I`d be right there pampering him. .  . like a good wife should.



Words to Ponder


While at my favorite bricks and mortar book store the other day I was rooting around in the ‘sale’ bins like a pig in pen when I came across a Reader’s Digest  ‘Quotable Quotes’. Pure Gold! Because—next to who-dun-its, art how-tos, herbals, cottage picture books, etc., etc., quote books are a passion. Here’s a few I’ve stopped to ponder over:


“A peacock that rests on his feathers is just another turkey.” – Dolly Parton

You know—beneath all that hair and hooters Dolly is one smart chickie.


“When in doubt, look intelligent.” – Garrison Keillor

I know this to be true. Just try looking over the top of your glasses at someone. It’s a thinker’s pose man. An action which always creates a niggle of squirm and doubt in others.


Treat a person as he is, and he will remain as he is. Treat him as he could be, and he will become what he should be.” – Jimmy Johnson

Well, duh. Any wife/partner/female half of a duo knows that.


“Stress is nothing more than a socially acceptable form of mental illness.” – Richard Carlson

Yeah, and sometimes I feel like there is evil in those two words—socially acceptable.


“When you finally accept that you’re a complete dork, your life gets easier. No sense in trying to be cool.” – Reese Witherspoon

Okay, move over Martha I think I’ve just found my new hero!


“Happiness hides in life’s small details. If you’re not looking, it becomes invisible.” – Joyce Brothers

Now that is something we know as children but forget through the major part of our lives only to become re-acquainted  with it as we become older. I guess there is something to be said for not being able to run too fast.


“Good taste is the enemy of comedy.” – Mel Brooks

Amen. I wonder if Mel and Reese know each other?


Now, if you will excuse me, I hear some unread pages calling my name.





Time passing like calendar pages

calendar pages 2

Each winter I make up the next year’s desk calendar using photos and/or artwork I’ve been introduced to. Stuff that snags the ‘yes’ button.  July’s picture was one of those sneaky, “Hey, look!” shots I took of Mom. She’s wearing an exasperated but secretly pleased smile. ‘Turning the calendar page and seeing her looking back was quite the little zippy-zing to spirit.

Yesterday was her ninety-fourth birthday and the first one she’s been able to skip as she always wanted to.

I miss her; something pure and awful at times.

She was my voice of reason when things went stinky. She was my go-to for comfort when I was lost. She could find the good in almost any situation. Things seldom bothered her and if they did she’d just think it was her fault for being silly. She tried to like everyone and usually she could. There were the odd times when she simply couldn’t like someone and it cranked her. That was hilarious – kind of like watching a frog wearing a dress. No matter which way it was tried on it just didn’t fit right and you couldn’t help but laugh. Mom was unfailing kindness and unconditional love and I am grateful she was here for most of my life.

She was my best friend. The ten months since Mom died has felt like a lifetime and a moment.

Happy Birthday Mom and thank you for being the silver thread whose stitches made each of us in your family.

How come the finish line keeps moving away?


I swear by all that’s holey (socks, sheets, old facecloths) that I am going to write a ‘How-to’ book(let) for mobile home owners—at least for the DIY owners of mobiles like ours.

Those older but still classy mobiles—the kind that remind one of those sweet little white-haired ladies you see at a party. Decked out in their lovely evening gowns and looking so classy; until you move in for a closer look and can’t help but notice the thinning, wrinkly boobs have been pushed up a tad too high and if you look you’ll catch a glimpse of a torn lacy gray slip hanging low on one side. Lean in real close and you’ll smell a hint of arthritic muscle rub twisting around their luscious rose-scented perfumes.

That’s kinda the mobile we have. Looks good as long as you have one eye closed and are quickly rotating the other.

This baby of ours has an overload of one inch pretend-wood trim board. It crowns the top of every wall. It runs down the seam of every wallboard and it runs about three feet up, parallel to the floor, around every wall. Kind of like a top rail for a low wainscoting only they forgot to install the wainscoting!

The phony-balony wood finish also covered all four hundred cupboards in the kitchen. (Okay, eighteen in the kitchen, four in the laundry area and more in each bathroom).

What wasn’t covered in pretend wood was painted white and, at first, it did look clean and fresh but fast forward six months and white was feeling more empty than fresh.

A month ago I decided: Creamy yellow for all top cupboards, soft green for bottom ones and Caribbean Mango smoothie for one long (30′) wall.

All the goofy wood-ish trim could stay as is.

Cupboards turned out fantastic, and I especially love the hammered metal spray I used on the 50 hinges and 34 handles—which happened after pricing out new hardware.

And, with all that time spend in the carport painting and spraying, I got to know the neighbor quite well.


Then it was time to paint the wall.


Orange is a funny color. Don’t get it right and every time you walk into the room (and in a mobile you are constantly walking into ‘the room’) the wall isn’t going to sweetly say, “Hello again!”

No—it’s going to slap you with a growly, “What the hell do you want this time?”

But, as they say, I reefed up my big girl panties and rolled on the paint. The first coat dried ugly-splotchy and as I stared at it I was estimating how many coats of white it was going to take to cover it up.

But the little voice inside said ‘one more coat.’ I listened and painted again, and then, after a long nap in Man-wonder’s recliner, I woke up to find the wall smiling at me.

And, even though it’s more of a Mexican Tango than a Caribbean Mango,  Man-wonder and I agree we can live with it.

Now this is where a ‘how-to in a mobile’ booklet would have been a blessing. You see, for once in my life I was overzealous in taping. Every single piece of stinking pseudo-wood trim was taped over because I had no intention of painting it.

But—painter’s tape and pretending-to-be-real-wood finishes don’t play well together. When the tape came off so did the photo-finish of the trim. .  .

Ever think you’ve finished a job only to find out you’ve just finished the easy parts?

The trim is going white and while I’m painting all six million feet of it— I’m going to practice loving white. . .


Just because a road is paved doesn’t make it smooth

Last Saturday started out easy—we decided to take a drive across island, hit the village of Mesachie Lake and then follow a  widely touted paved logging road which also happens to be called the Pacific Marine Circle Route Drive.

signs page 1a

I mean, what could be more relaxing than a nice long loop to see the Pacific Ocean, follow the coast down to Victoria and then meander home again?

Hmmmmm . . .let’s see

Good description— a day trip through the mountains, to the Pacific Ocean and along the west coast side of Vancouver Island.

Better description—a paved winding, twisting logging road through the island’s the central range of mountains.

Best description—a roller-coaster ride for vehicles!

yield bridge warning bumpy road corner falling rocks  loose gravel narrowing road road flooding slippery sign

And here’s what we learned:

  • That an active logging road doesn’t really have to be wide enough for a logging truck and another vehicle.
  • That a narrow road can be made smaller still, e.g.—when every single creek bed, dry or dampish, and every single crack-in-the-rock canyon, has a single-lane bridge over it with a sign warning drivers to yield to oncoming traffic (if you can see around the corner, past the bridge).
  • That a scenic route can have a gazillion sign posts along both sides of the road.
  • That there are road signs I’ve never seen before (and never want to see again). Like the ones, on approaching corners, where each sharp angled arrow had a downward pointing arrow attached to it; meaning—scissor-sharp  corner coming at cobra-striking speed and turning dementedly fast downhill).
  • That a sign where the arrow was curved into an upside down letter U didn’t mean ‘hell’s a coming’ as Man-wonder moaned.
  • That a lot of people travelling the Pacific Marine Circle Route pack shotguns, judging by the size (and volume) of indents in the signs.
  • That a simple road-trip can take hours and hours (and hours) longer than expected.

What was the most impressive thing about the trip? That I drove and Man-wonder, notorious for his motion sickness, did not even turn green once. . . I might just give his chiropractor a big hug for that.

Would we take the Pacific Marine Circle Route again?

Hmmmmm . . .

flying pig 2





Still speaking of books

I’ve been burning the irises in the last few weeks. I’m a fan of requesting books from the library and then facing piles of them when they arrive for pickup en masse. And I find it so hard to act mature; to keep the guilty little smile off my face and  the toes to the pavement instead of letting them dance out in their own graceless form of a jeté.

But I do and then I scurry home with my bag (s) of treasures, clean my glasses and arrange the different seats I’ll be moving between with my nose pasted to the pages.

Some of the goodies I’ve been reading are:

For the body and mind:

  • PRESCRIPTION FOR NUTRITIONAL HEALING (this one I had to buy) what an amazing book of health solutions to problems. Up to date info on alternative healing, ways to help prevent the problems and different therapies. Phyllis Balch & Stacey Bell even gives solid info on helpful vitamin, herbs and supplements for the problems. I think this book should be on everyone’s shelf. Be warned though – this is one of those big honking mothers of a book so have a lap pillow ready.
  • THE TRIGGER POINT THERAPY WORKBOOK by Clair Davies. the descriptions on the front cover pretty much say it all: a self-treatment guide of pain relief & a proven method for overcoming soft-tissue pain available in a practical step-by-step format. (Plus, I am fan of any writer who an maneuver a raft of big-worded gook and simple it down so everyone can ‘get it’. ) This book is definitely on my to-buy list.
  • THE PLAN by Lyn-Genet Recitas. She writes about how we’ve lost touch with out bodies. How allergic reactions to many of the foods we eat cause constant inflammation in our bodies and how it affects us. She talks about stepping back, cleaning out the system (gently), and then slowly discovering our true reactions to different foods. As well she shows the reader how to live a healthier life. This was an interesting read. I’m glad I did.
  • THE BIOLOGY OF BELIEF by Bruce H. Lipton. This baby takes the reader into the mind. He shows us, right down to cellular levels, how our minds affect our bodies. This line tells it: It shows that genes and DNA do not control our biology that instead, DNA is controlled by signals from outside the cell, including the energetic messages emanating from our thoughts. HUH! Meditation alert! Meditation Alert!

For the artist in all of us:

  • THE COMPLETE WATERCOLORIST’S ESSENTIAL NOTEBOOK BY Gordon Mackenzie. Another treasure from North Light. You know, you can admire many artists but it seems like there are usually only a handful who truly connect with each of us. Gordon is a long time painter and wildly generous in sharing tips to help others. This book overflows with valuable tips. Love this man’s style—his paintings and his sketches are priceless.
  • THE ANIMAL BOOK by Steve Jenkins. Now this was requested as a research book for my writing but I was so blown away by his artwork, never mind the fantastic information, I had to buy it. Steve uses cut and torn papers to illustrate throughout. This book is described as a bookshelf essential and I could not agree more. Child or adult—this one is a keeper.

For the who-dun-it solvers we’d all like to be without having to actually get down and bloody about it:

  • Joan Hess and her Clair Malloy series are always fun
  • Carolyn Hines and her Sarah Booth Delaney series has been most enjoyable
  • Laura Cass has a librarian, driving a bookmobile through the countryside. Light and satisfying (and I like her stray cat called Eddie).
  • Kerry Greenwood with her Phryne Fisher series should be at the head of all to-read lists. Love, love this writer’s style. You are there in her world of Australian, kicking ass with Phryne.
  • Paige Shelton has a farmer’s market series worth reading. Great characters and enough action to satisfy our inner Sherlock.
  • Leann Sweeney always writes a story that is delightful enough to pull you away for a few hours.
  • Jenn McKinlay’s Fairy Tale Cupcakes series is fun, fast and the characters are good stuff. If you like cupcakes, a motley cast of characters and lots of chuckles then try Jenn’s books.

And many, many more . . . but right now I’m off to read a couple of fishing stories that I picked up for Man-wonder but decided I was keeping them in my stash. Maybe he’ll get to read them:

  • One by Henry Winkler, an avid fly-fisherman. It’s called I’ve never met an idiot on the river


  • Tony Taylor’s Fishing the river of time because he’s writing about our local areas.


And yeah, my eyeballs are feeling like the inside of a hen’s wings after she’s had her daily dust bath.

Toodles for now eh.


Never trust a book


When we moved into our present 900 square feet of home it felt like a big sigh of relief after almost 3000 sq ft of living space. But the most exciting part was the getting shed of two-thirds of our gathered stuff. It was so freeing. We swore  promised we’d be careful to follow the rule of one thing in – one thing out.

Tsk. Tsk. Tsk. What fools we mere mortals be.

Seven months later we find we are filling up our nooks and crannies with books, art supplies, writing material and fly tying supplies.

But especially books.

Here’s a nugget of wisdom—did you know you don’t even have to be home much to gather too many books?  TBR schoolbooks          TBR

It’s true!

In my secret child-heart (alias goober-brain) I believe every book has a person’s name in it since their origin  and they know where we live. Many of them wait in hiding until we leave the premise and then, one by one, so we don’t clue in, they sneak into our homes and huddle on our shelves.

C’mon—how many times have you bought a book only to come home and find it already on your shelf? Or find yourself standing in front of a bookshelf, holding a book  and wondering where in heck it came from?

And I swear, that when we are in town shopping for other things a pack of books will hunt us down like starving dogs spotting a couple of wieners. . .and lord help us, once they spot us it’s game over. They hide in our vehicle and wait because they know, oh yes, they know, that there’s a bare counter, table top, or shelf waiting with enough room for them.

And the little ink-tattooed bound beggars are right—there will always be room for one more. . .  and another. . . and another . . . and another. . . and. . . and . . .


Seems Man-wonder and I still haven’t grasped the concept of one out for every new one in. . . .


From Dogs to Ducks

It’s been one of those weeks. Not the busy kind. More the slow, Mañana, and get outta’ my face and space week, thanks to a spell of hot-sticky days. It seems even the birds and animals are taking it slower. 

Except for good old Elvis the Jack Russell a few doors down. That dog has a seriously high bark-o-meter level! Personally I think someone left him out in the sun too long when he was a pup and it fried a few of the cells connecting the brain to the bark. Might of damaged his vision too. Because he tends to stare stone-still for a good thirty seconds before his body begins this weird vibration that starts in his throat and works its way down to his tail which whips around like a whirling dervish – sending the vibrations back through his body to explode out of his snout like a canine barkmobile.

A little tired of listening to Elvis the barking wonder, and to escape the heat for a while, Man-wonder and I went for a paddle on one of our favorite lakes (close to home).

Quennell Lake has always been an interesting paddle.

quennell lake 023

quennell lake 029

The first time we ever tried the lake was just after we’d purchased a canoe. (Yeah, it was on sale because it was still winter and they needed to move merchandise) and yeah, we went for a paddle in mid-February and yeah, we didn’t even make it past the line of shore reeds before we flipped.

I gotta’ say—lake water is damn  very cold in February.

Very, very cold!

Being slightly more intelligent than, say—Elvis, we waited three months before trying again.

Happily we stayed upright and dry that trip. Though just barely!

We found ourselves in the middle of a battle between a frightened duck and a hungry eagle. It was a  little unnerving to have an eagle swooping over you as if he wasn’t even aware of your existence while he tries to snag a la duck. Thankfully we didn’t witness any bloodshed. The duck managed to reach the tall reeds to our left where he stayed hidden until the frustrated eagle gave up. The eagle gave us the stink- eye as he passed for the last time; almost as if he was blaming us for his blown lunch.

Come to think of it – that’s the same look I get when I’m hungry.  .  .

The next trip around Quennell Lake put us under a surprise attack from a swan when we unknowingly paddled in too close to the nest.

There we were, paddling away and yakking it up when this furious honking started ahead of us, at the mouth of the channel. We sat there like a royal pair of goobers watching, and not believing what we were seeing as this big, angry white swan skimmed over the surface of the water heading straight for us. It swerved at the last second. I think I squeaked. I know Man-wonder did. The kamikaze  bundle of protectant feathers was turning around for a repeat performance before we clued in and paddled our butts out of its channel. I still wonder how many how many other unsuspecting canoeists were bird-bombed.

So we were looking forward to this trip because anything could happen and something usually does.

But this time the only sounds were the black-winged redbirds singing and the only action came from people waving at us as we passed them relaxing on their docks. A totally relaxing, quiet and lovely paddle.

Ah well,  there’s always next time. . .




The throat bone is connected to the nose bone and the nose bone is connected to the brain bone and the brain bone is . . . . .

Finally the last little nagging-tickle-in-throat cough from the spring cold has departed. Spring has indeed arrived inside our bodies as it has outside.

We’re free of the muscus-maker.

Well, maybe.

Step back one day: We’re standing in line at the grocery store when my nice, clear, unplugged nose picks up the familiar scent of lemon-coated medicine in cough drop form. Casually pulling up my collar to cover my nose and mouth, I glance around, hunting for the culprit. Then, to my horror, the cashier in front of me softly clears her throat—sending another sickly sweet cloud my way while she man-handles our purchases with virus-carrying, germ-bagging hands.

Oh, crap!

My first instinct was to duck and run but I stood my ground and fought like a princess-warrior against both it and my second instinct, which was to grab the plastic bag out of her hands, pull it down over her germ-spewing face and shove her out the door, telling her to go home and rest. Alone. Out of the public.

But I didn’t do that either.

Instead I put on my pleasant little old lady persona and said, “Oh dear, you have a cold. Shouldn’t you be at home with your head down and your feet up?”

“Can’t. Anyway, it’s my second one this spring.” She croaks, sucking like a demon. “In between I had strep throat.”

I look over at Man-wonder. He’s looking back at me (from a safer distance) with one eyebrow raised. I wonder if I cave and  make a dash for the door, leaving him to handle things—would he? His eyes narrow. He shakes his head.

Sometimes being together for a long time can be a pain; too much mind reading going on. I sigh.

He’s right. If I ask him to take over with germzilla he’s more likely to end up with another cold and to be honest, it’s not worth it—who’s his nurse going to be since I’ve about used up my this-year’s-supply-of-nice already? Things could get sad in an ugly way fast.

And then, that’s when it hit me—what if this rampant virus-spewing epidemic of forced sharing is part of our evolution? Maybe, since the majority of our population is aging, there isn’t going to be enough of the sturdy-studly generation to care for all of us. So maybe, just maybe, this is natural selection at work.

Hmmmm. . . . oh god, is that a germ I feel climbing up my nostril?

Picture 4c

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