Archive for Anything and Everything Else

Sometimes life is as simple as a pickle


The headlines are pumped out at us every day now:




I am happy to report that I already appreciate the simple in my life.

Take the other night at our dinner table – we were having what Man-Wonder calls a BoHo plate of delight. It’s where you pull all the bits and pieces out of the fridge and arrange them artistically on plates. That night it was leftover salads, chunks of ham and cheese, thin slices of red pepper, apples and a nice juicy hunk of watermelon, plus a treat for myself – a nice fat juicy little dill pickle, quartered lengthwise.

Now – here you need to know – Man-Wonder doesn’t care for strong pickles. His preference is a sweet pickle while mine is the kind that yell ‘bite me’ and when you do it sucks your cheeks in like a lady in church hanging onto a fart.

Which is the kind I tucked onto our plates dinner. One little quarter for him and three for me. Naturally, the first thing I eat is one of the slices and I couldn’t help it, I moaned. So good, so tart! I must have moaned a tad too loud because Man-Wonder looked over at me, eyebrows raised.

I pointed at my mouth, shrugged then smiled, all the while thinking ‘OMG, this is going to be so good!’

And, in a fashion most sneaky, I waited, and watched, and waited, and watched because naturally, the last thing left on his plate was the stupid pickle slice. By this time I am almost vibrating, half afraid he’s not going to eat it. But then he did, AND, oh boy – it was worth it! The moment, the very moment, his teeth crunched through the pickle skin was as delicious to me as if I was doing the biting because there was a split second look of absolute horror on his face followed by an instant of panic as he debated whether to spit it out or swallow the monster.

A priceless moment and one where I laughed so hard I felt like I was about to turn inside out.

So yes, I can say with dead certainty – I know how to savor my moments . . .


Road Trip – Grandson Style


‘Gramma, wanna’ take a little road trip?’ Our eldest grandson (aka #1) texted. I stared at his words wondering why a nineteen-year-old wants his grandmother along on a road trip? But decided since it’s was a nineteen year old mind – don’t question – just go with it.

‘Okay. When? Where? Do I have to pack underwear? And who is driving?

‘Soon as I get to the island. To Campbell River to visit my dad. Refuse to talk underwear with you. In my car.’

‘Your car – the former RCMP vehicle? The sirens and flashing lights aren’t still on it are they?’

‘No lights. No sirens. Don’t need them. Everyone thinks it’s a ghost car and they get out of the way pretty quick.’

Maybe the light bulb should have clicked on at that point, but it didn’t. Hell, it didn’t even flash when I was discussing the text with Man-Wonder. . . (who never gets invited on road trips because he is a vomiter; A real quick-to-get-car-sick kind of vomiter unless he’s driving)

Road-trip day arrives and all is well for the first five minutes; until #1 hits the parkway and proceeds to put the pedal to the metal as they say. I suggested (numerous times) he should slow down and do the speed limit. The posted speed is merely a suggestion I am told. My immediate thought right then was – how many drivers say that just before they crash?

The one thing he was right about – other drivers were quick to pull into the slow lane, out of our way, causing #1 to feel like he owned the fast lane. I kept telling myself to focus  on the scene once we arrived at his dad’s place; without a doubt Mr. Mach 1 and his father would be outside, knee-deep in car parts and happier than pigs in muck while I would be inside, enjoying a calming cuppa with my daughter-in-law.

But once again life had other plans! Daughter-in-law wasn’t able to be there but our middle grandson (aka #2) was. And even though I did enjoy (mostly) their male version of a tea party, it wasn’t quite as relaxing as hoped.

Neither was the ride home.

You see, #2 caught a ride with us, which meant #1 chose to drive to impress his younger brother rather than his grandmother and managed to ignore all fear-based, well-meaning advice being ripped from the lips of dear old gramma (and I need to note here – I almost did need that change of underwear mentioned at the start).

I was never so glad to arrive back home to my dear Man-Wonder with his calm, quiet, no-need-to-flash-my-testosterone attitude. I spent that evening doused in rose hydrosol, sipping on a way-too-tall shot Tennessee Fire and ignoring the occasional giggle from Man-Wonder’s recliner.


Cramming the vote (and the possibility of brain implosion)

vote3            vote3             vote3

A while back I signed up to be a deputy returning officer in the federal by-election which happened earlier this month here in town. The whole process was a tad intimidating – thanks to government and its love of paperwork.

One week prior to the election we attended a training session and at the end of the training session we were handed a BIG WHITE BAG. (Think ‘Shrek’. Picture Shrek going to the beach. Imagine the size of his beach bag!)

Why so big? Because it contained every form, envelope and piece of equipment deemed necessary for a government procedure (before, during and after). It also contained an instruction book with more pages than an average-sized cozy whodunit.

vote 1

We were told to study the contents that evening and twice more before the big day.

So, being me, most of the following week I would walk past the BIG BAG, ignoring the pangs of doom and fear:

  • Doom because I still owned my life-long habit of last minute cramming.
  • Fear of no longer having enough active brain cells to handle a cram session.

I tell you – that bag gave me the willies!

Finally – the day before the election – I spread all the bag contents across our bed and opened to the first page of the instructions praying I ‘got it’ before my brain imploded.

Happily the brain cells functioned as requested and election day was a hoot!

My co-conspirator and I handled the contents of the BIG BAG like pros (happy, grateful idiots?) and the only issue that came of the whole day was the state of my body after sitting for 14 hours . . .

. . . I’m still in the middle of a heavy-duty discussion between my arthritic joints, crampy muscles and pumped up brain cells over signing up for the BIG federal election happening this fall . . .

A Breathless Moment Shared.

The other night was one of those nights – where your mind slithers all over the place with eyes wide open staring, because every little sound is a disaster in the making. On and on it went until I finally caught on to what I was doing.

Maybe if I listen to my breath, I thought – I might calm down and slip into snoozedom.

But that didn’t work. As soon as I started paying attention to my breath, I couldn’t get it right. Too fast. Too slow. Not deep enough. Christ, who ever thought breathing could be so hard? Then I heard Man-Wonder give a little snort followed by deep slow breathing. Ahhhh! I’ll sync my breath to his.

And there we were, pleasantly breathing together in a nice sweet rhythm;  all night horrors banished . . . until I realized we weren’t breathing!

My hand shot under his tee-shirt and settled just below his ribcage. No movement. Maybe I wasn’t feeling in the right spot so I moved my hand closer to the center of his chest. Suddenly he gasped; took a deep breath, then smoothed out. My heart climbed back out of my throat. Thank God, he was still alive!

That’s when I almost shot up with surprise – did I just discover the reason for his chronic tiredness? His middle of the night crossword marathons?

I was on a mission – my hand returned to the spot below his ribcage and each time I didn’t feel a breath I nudged him gently. He was going to keep sleeping even if it killed me.

Or that was the plan but eventually I fell asleep somewhere in between nudges.

The next morning while eating breakfast I said, “I think I got a number on your sleep issues.”

“Oh, really?” He looked over at me, one eyebrow doing its thing. “And . . . “

“You stop breathing a lot during the night.”

“Is that why you kept poking me?”

“I was nudging, not poking.” Then it hit me, “How do you know I was nudging you?”

“Because I was awake. First you start feeling me up. Then you start poking at me. How could anyone sleep through those antics? And if I wasn’t breathing – it’s just because I was steeling myself for the next poke. It was really annoying you know.”


And that is why I am always amazed that any marriage ever lasts  . . .


Plumb confused

Sitting, typing, in a coffee shop. Trying to ignore the gathering of testosterone two tables over. It is 6:30 in the morning, hubby in bed a mile away and I felt the need to escape. Not sure what from or why the local coffee shop would be a good escape spot. I gave up a while back trying to figure out my mind and all it’s corners and sharp edges.

But that’s not to say I’m not forever surprised at how the brain works. Like: the surprise I had the other day when, out of the blue, Man-Wonder turned and said, he hoped I didn’t get upset but he wasn’t ready to go home; adding he often felt clearer of the mind when away from the mobile we call home. I was surprised because that’s how I’ve felt for over a year now. We have created a cozy place to relax in the mobile, so why the urge to run? And what are we running from?

Another odd thing we’ve each commented on is, how, when getting up in the wee hours because of aching joints we gravitate toward the recliner, snuggle down in it and read until our eyes drift close and, then, without opening them, reach up, turn the light off, snuggle deeper under the blanket and . . . BAM . . .  the brain goes into full-on-chewing-over-everything-that-has-happened-or-will-happen mode. Reach up, turn the light on, read a few more minutes, eyes drift downward,  reach up . . . you get the idea. Why does the light put one to doze while the dark wakes the brain up?

Another of life’s little puzzles to either ignore or strain our brains trying to figure out.

Update on the testosterone zoo: The men (loose terminology) are taking turns complaining about annoying habits their wives have. It’s like a coin, men on one side, women on the other and whatever side lands face up – the complaints are the same. Funny how some things never change.

One new project done before Christmas this year was a candelabra made from plumbing parts (yeah, we stayed home long enough to complete it) ((and, yeah, okay Man-Wonder put it together – I found the pattern and scared him into doing it – don’t ask!).  It is a cross between goth and steam punk and so utterly sweet. The candles used are bright green beeswax (so not the true color in photo). I loved the combo of bright light green and dark heavy metal.


And that’s all I have to say this 28th day of December. Happy New Year all.

Well. . . Poop

Every day (almost) I tell myself it is time to write another blog, then repeat the thought the following day, and the following day and . . . .today I looked at the last post and almost pooped myself! The last post was in October.

What the hell happened to my weekly blogging?

Life -That’s what happened.

Self-doubt – That’s what happened.

Procrastination – Oh, yeah baby, that puppy really howled!

Same thing with my writing in general – My story characters are still bobbing in and out of the gray matter in my head but the nasty habit of over-thinking snags onto them like a  hungry creature slithering from its muckhole.

I recently turned 65. Thinking about it made me want to run screaming into the dark – like how the heck did I get that old that fast?? I am so not ready. Life is moving fast and I feel like I’m no longer in cinque with it.  That feeling of being a step behind it all had me stewing in the murk-muck I call my brain until I hit on what I think is causing the problem.


Oh, but not those wanton bags of joy which slip in and shift our skin from its trampoline-like tightness to the hammock-in-a-breeze sway. I believe the wrinkles causing the worst issues are those crepe-like little buggers draping themselves over our eyeballs. That extra pinch of droop adding drag to our blinks and changing everything.

I mean, think about it – much of what happens in life happens in the blink of an eye and here we oldsters are too busy slow-blinking to see how life is changing, heck, how we are changing, until we are slapped upside the head with them.

Like suddenly turning 65. . .

However, I did realize one good thing in all that wrinkly thinking. – those eye wrinkles are most likely the cause of one distortion I am grateful for – dear Man-Wonder still thinks I’m . . .  well, you know . . and I thank the powers that be for that myopic miscalculation.


Little pleasures



What’s been happening lately? Not much. Mostly working, at a job where there is way too much waiting around; before, during and after; which sucks up and spits out way too much of the time left for those little pleasures we derive from our non-working life.  During the most recent job-waiting periods a co-worker and I were throwing around ways to improve our pleasure times  (aka avoiding housework where ever possible). A few of our more repeatable ideas are:

  • When the venetian blinds have a dusty coat over them angle the blades upward so the sunlight doesn’t shine across them showing off your lack of loving care.
  • When the sink is partially full of dishes, cover with hot water, using the spray nozzle and dish soap to create a fairy-land sink of soap. Looks pretty and gives you about 40 minutes of clear conscience – most useful if you are nearing the end of a juicy book. (Timing depends on the power of the spray and the brand of dish soap.)
  • When the blades of the ceiling fan have black dusty edges either convince yourself it is a black and white fan or keep it running at a high enough speed to blur.
  • When the meal prep crumbs are spreading themselves across the kitchen floor push them into a neat pile (use your toes), ready for when you grab the broom and dustpan from their hidey-hole ( Naturally it may take a few passes before you remember to grab the above mentioned tools) Another benefit of this pile is, if someone comes in, it looks like you are in the middle of sweeping it up – which makes you look like a clean and caring person).
  • We didn’t come up with much for dirty laundry other than hide it in the machine. Neither of us had enough clothing to need one. (Though the washer for dirty laundry is as good as an oven for dirty dishes in my books.)

I guess what it boils down to is that life is too short to worry about small amounts of dirt. I believe that if your house-cleaning (or lack of) isn’t making you sick – then life is good. Spent the time reading, visiting, dancing naked under the moon – whatever turns your crank and makes you happy.

thMF8S81ON (2)


Love thy neighbour (and her bird) to pieces

turkey twos

I have the most wonderful, inventive neighbour ever. She is the busiest human I’ve ever met. Her mind is locked in fast forward while mine stalls regularly. She is like the energizer bunny in human form so let’s call her EB here.

The thing about EB, is when she comes up with an idea – BOOM – it is in motion.Show her a problem and more likely than not she’ll come up with a solution. Sometimes, even though they work out, her solutions have a few strange twists to them. And sometimes she is prone to overthinking solutions and coming up with new ones.

This year is a prime example of out-of-the-box thinking (and re-thinking) on her part. She was faced with an overcrowded freezer thanks to a Christmas turkey bought in July, an excellent year for blackberries, and suddenly an over-productive veggie garden. To make room in her freezer she decided the bird had to be eaten now which meant thawing for days in the fridge. Which also meant time for her to decide the bird was too big for just the two of them. . . so then she needed to come up with a solution to that problem.

“I’m going to cut it in half.” she tells me. ” I’ll do it before . . . (Mr.EB) comes back from golfing.”

“You need my help?” I asked, picturing her hovering over the frozen bird, butcher knife in hand, hacking, hacking, hacking. I was also thinking it was a good thing the bird was already dead.

“No. No. I have an idea. I’ll yell if I run into trouble” So, being a good neighbour, I plunk myself at my desk by our bedroom window, just in case. Fantastic decision because it gave me a hidden front row seat to her ‘solution.’

I’m barely in my chair before dear EB has a white tarp spread in the narrow space between the back of her mobile and her garden ( also directly in line with my window) where she proceeds to scrub the hell out of her small electric hedge trimmer. Once it is  clean enough she disappears from sight for a moment then returns with her big frozen bird. Whipping on a pair of goggles and an apron she cuts into that turkey with her trimmer, sending bits of turkey matter flying in every direction. Suddenly the back wall of her mobile looks like a rock climbing wall for fairies while the first three rows of her garden took direct hits of turkey tidbits. We won’t even mention the state of her goggles by the time she finished!  EB spent six times as long cleaning up as she did carving.

We haven’t had a chance to chat since her turkey trimming. and there is one thing I am dying to know . . . did her husband notice that half the bird was missing. . . ?




Checkerboard creativity or idiot-ivity?

I’ve had too much time off this summer and too many hot days which led to too much thinking and pondering. My creative urges were starting to feel like someone was rubbing a stem of stinging nettle across my brain.

Hallelujah, last week the weather cooled and my energy returned and off to the carport I went dragging one tired wheeled cart inherited many many moons ago. At one time there was an electrical outlet attached to its top shelf and I remember there was always a kettle, toaster and teapot close by. Cups and saucers on the middle shelf and who knows what on the bottom. (At least while my aunt was alive. After she died Unk turned it into a moveable drink caddy, but then that’s another story in itself.)  It was now time for this baby’s rebirth. I was imagining crisp clean  glossy white.

Too bad it ended up looking like some hospital cast-off.

Then creativity whispered in my ear . . . black AND white.  I stared at it (the table, not my creativity) until I saw it – a checkerboard pattern on the shelves, two white legs with black dots, two black legs with white dots. The sudden rise in energy must have attracted Man-wonder because he wandered into the car port, saw the table and said, “I like it but you don’t do you?” (He does like to ask pointless questions I’ve noticed). I laid out the new plan.

“Uh uh. Don’t do it. Don’t you remember what you said last time you attempted painting a checkerboard pattern? You told me to tell you never to try it again”

Now, there are two things I know for sure. One – I have a piss-poor memory and two – that man’s middle name is pain-in-butt.

“Did you get it in writing? Did I make you swear to stop me?”

“No and no. But you did toss around some pretty nasty words.”

After a short silent staring session I said, (words dripping with disdainful dignity), “Phffffff! Don’t remember and, anyway, I’ve had lots of painting experience since whenever that was.”

Next morning, after he left for work, I spent time researching methods online just to be sure I knew what I was doing. Preparation is half the work and can cover up a few fibs, right? Four hours later I had two shelves done and I was looking at the third with no passion whatsoever. Sadly, I knew the following day would be spent touching up almost every freaking square and the day after that – touching up my touching ups. Besides, the dotty legs were looking a bit disease-y.

When Man-wonder came home, and yes, he had to walk past my painting efforts, he was wise enough to not say “I told you so.” And I was disheartened enough to let him hug me while he promised to tie my hands behind my back the next time I discovered a checkerboard pattern I simply had to do. And then the man with the memory said, still mid-hug, “Hey, remember that old desk we had in the basement on Furn Rd? Remember the fun you had painting it? You threw a bunch of different colors at it and it turned out pretty cool didn’t it? And I still remember that huge couch you had when we first met. It was covered in a splatter paint fabric right? You loved that couch.”

“OMG! I’d forgotten. Splatter-painting! My couch!” I gave him a big squeeze. “And they wonder why I call you Man-wonder.” Then I smacked him. “Why didn’t you remember all that before?”

Well, I splatter-painted the heck out of that table and I may never put anything on it ever again. . . I love it! Something satisfying about a controlled mess . . . table for blog


. But . . . here’s the thing – our sun porch floor needs  a new paint job and I am sorry to say I saw one done in a soft grey and white checkerboard pattern that set my soul singing and I think I could do it, for two reasons

  • First – let’s not call it checkerboard, let’s call them painted tiles.
  • And, since the sun porch isn’t big and the tiles would be . . . I could easily do it in one Man-wonder working day.

I know. I KNOW . . . a bit like the monkey never learns on my part right?

Road trip – from beads to teas

beads 2                                                                    dried tea1

Last Friday Man-wonder looked up from his half-finished crossword and asked, ” Feel like a mini road trip down island? I want to check out of that Duncan bead shop you told me about in Spring.” ( Dear hubby may be sloth-like getting around to things but he does have an elephant-ish mind!) Now, the thing I like about his hunt for beads (for fly tying) is that I most often end up finding treasures. And this road trip was no exception.

The bead shop was a disappointment for him:

  • Man-wonder – one pack of beads
  • Cathie – one cute little treasure chest the perfect size to hold 4 bottles of essential oils

Before leaving Duncan we made one more stop at a shop he knew carried his preferred beads.

  • Man-wonder – zilch
  • Cathie – two jigsaw puzzles and the latest copy of Magnolia Journal to read.

Still, not giving up, he suggested  we made a quick stop in Chemainus on the way home. Chemainus is a wee town with a big bead shop. He almost always finds something there. We agreed and, since it was a road trip of sorts, we decided to take the back roads homeward rather than the highway. I love back roads because they are almost as good as back alleys for finding the unexpected and wonderful.

And, wouldn’t you know it – we found both when we discovered the island’s only tea farm – Westholme Tea Company.  How cool is that? The farm has somewhere between 400 and 600 plants growing in curving rows along a south-facing slope as one drives downhill to the tea shop. Not a big shop but they sell about a half zillion different blends of tea and a least a gazillion  items used in the fine art of tea-brewing. Plus they have a tiny gallery filled with hand formed pottery. The teapots alone wouldn’t look out-of-place at the Mad Hatter’s tea party in Alice in Wonderland. Priceless.

  • Man-wonder – zilch
  • Cathie – well, let’s just say I had way tooo much of a good time in that shop!

Finally we made it to Chemainus where it was another strike-out for Man-wonder’s bead stash. . . but I discovered a magnificent ice cream shop out behind the bead store . . . so we both won.

And get this – dear sweet ever-hopeful Man-wonder is already planning his next bead hunting trip – this time to Victoria.

I can hardly wait!



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