Archive for Anything and Everything Else

There once was a Luddite who texted. . .

My dear man of wonder is such a borderline Luddite that sometimes I am forced to play with it.

A while back I purchased a new phone, capable of everything but swinging on the monkey bars at recess and, since the old flip phone was still in excellent condition, I convinced Man-Wonder to take it over. After some intense cajoling he agreed, and I’m proud to say he’s up to texting six-letter words now. Mind you, he won’t use the camera, he won’t change tunes for the texts or phone messages and he definitely won’t change the picture on the home screen. He insists, “Everything is fine as is, why mess with it?”

The one thing he will do is erase messages. No multi deletes though. Nope, it is once a month . . and one. at. a. time. – a long drawn out painful procedure, peppered with curses and many mumbles about ‘someone having far too much to say’.

Since I’m the reason for his mumbles, and just before I left for the most recent ‘away’ jobs, I decided to really give him something to mumble about. I secretly set his phone up so each time he received a text my voice would loudly announce, “You got a message! You got a message!”

Then I went away for three days. Texting him as often as I could.

Day one and he was texting back as normal. Disappointing. When day two ended without any comments from him I figured I’d either messed up and wasn’t annoying the hell out of him or he’d been so horrified he’d figured out how to change it. Then came day three. Five thirty in the morning to be exact. I had just texted him a cheery good morning. My phone rang within two minutes.

“You know I love you, right? But I can’t handle your voice yelling at me all the time. How do I shut you up?”

Once I quit snickering I explained how to ‘erase’ me. We hung up and I went to work. Late that afternoon, on the drive back down island I sent him a text letting him know. I got a brief ‘Okay’ reply.  A bit later I sent another text with our eta and my drop-off spot. Within seconds my phone rang.

“Stop texting me!” Man-Wonder yelled in my ear. “I screwed up and somehow made you really, really loud and now you’re screaming at me when you text! And now the damn thing is vibrating too. JUST.STOP. TEXTING. PLEASE.”

I laughed all the way home and, yes, I had to text him a couple more times. . . after all – he could have turned his phone off. . .

North, through the mountains, to the sea.

Four hours north of home, the snow crusted mountain tops are at eye level as we three co-workers drive by, our goal is a motor inn in the town of Port McNeil. The sun is brilliant and we think we can see a gold tinge to it. Maybe just our hope that spring is springing. Maybe not.

We will meet up with two other vans full of co-workers, but for now we are about three hours ahead of them.  We separate to our rooms and for me, a walk is a necessity since I’ve just spent three miserable days full of some unknown virus and four hours in a heated vehicle.

I need fresh air!

Port McNeil is tiny. Most homes can either see the ocean or at least hear/smell it. My walk takes me down to the docks, then along past a wee ferry that travels across a narrow inlet to Commorant Island and the village of Alert Bay.

The wash from the ferry’s departure creates small waves that rush themselves toward the rocky shoreline where they crash with a foamy frenzy.

How I’ve missed that sound. it feels like I’ve been wallowing in winter gloom for months and months. I’ve not visited the shore for so long and now, here, it fills me with a sense of lagom – a swedish word to describe ‘just right, just enough’. And, God, even if I am four hours away from home, I am again at home.

Speaking of God, or with God, if you prefer – during the drive through the mountains I found myself thanking the one who created it all, who created this world that is a wonder of such natural (to quote Koosje Koene) ‘awesome art’ and at the same time apologising for our messy finger-painting splashed across so much of it.

We humans must get out of our kindergarten brain when it comes to care of the world that grows us.

Ciao for now

 

A perfect moment . . . or sixty.

It’s been raining almost non-stop for days now. Sunshine busts out every third or fourth day, giving us hope along with a peanut-sized dose of vitamin D. Then it’s gone. A forever time filled with pounding, driving, soppy, drizzly rain; making our brains soggy from the dreary of it.

But that kind of dreary does have its moments, because in our damp daze we will grab onto any distantly-related-to-perfect moment like a life-presever and squeeze it tight, wringing as much joy from it as we can.

Like, this morning — I woke in the predawn, craving a Santa Fa wrap, only the restuarant that serves it wasn’t going to be open for hours yet. After checking the fridge I figured I could create something close in nature. First —  four strips of bacon (two for me and two for Man-Wonder; which makes that his perfect moment when he finally arises). Two eggs omelet style topped with leftover carmelized onions, crumbled bacon, shredded smoked gouda and soft mozza. Fold it all up in a wrap and lightly tap with butter and baked for twenty minutes or so, turning once. Out pops a crispy breakfast wrap, add a dab of salsa and sour cream and heaven lays itself out on your plate crying for the chomping to commence! Add to this one cup of freshly dripped coffee, a small bowl of frozen blueberries and mango pieces, along with the tiniest square of Nanaimo Bar smack in the middle.

You will be excused for thinking that to be a perfect moment. It’s close but you see, I know I have at least one hour before the man-bear crawls from his slumber, sniffing, snorting, scratching and looking for sustenance. I have one hour to round out that meal to perfection. . . so . . .

I turn off all the lights except the two strands of Christmas lights we refuse to take down until winter leaves; I turn the cd player on and soft flute music pushes the rain patter from my brain as I slip into Man-Wonder’s recliner, pull the lever and commence to wiggle and twist until all the lumps are in exactly the right place (his chair’s lumps; not mine. . .).  My body begins to disappear, the aches and pains fading away as I slide into weightless state. All ‘to-do’ lists are emptying from my mind as I drift into that delicious place, the space between here and nowhere.

That, my friends, is truly one of those imperfectly-perfect moments.

Oh Yeah . . .

 

Those moments that open our eyes

“I do not fear death. I had been dead for billions and billions of years before I was born, and had not suffered the slightest inconvenience from it.”
― Mark Twain

We’ve lost another two men from our community in the past few days. One lived a quiet desperate life for years after his wife passed away. He turned to alcohol to ease his loneliness, allowing his life to fade into non-existence, until his heart finally died too.

The other fellow was always busy, always putzing about, improving things for him and his  wife until cancer developed. It spread rapidly, despite painful chemo treatments,  killing him far too quickly

After seeing the raw anguish on his widow’s face I went home, and as I gazed at Man-Wonder snoozing in his recliner, I was filled with a big gratefulness, for as much as I poke fun at him, I treasure the man for who he is — a slow, kind and gentle soul.

“Death ends a life, not a relationship.” — Mitch Alboman 

I was also feeling more than a smidgen of fear that I would be the one left behind so I woke him up to inform him that I was planning on departing this mortal plane first.

Of course he argued.  In fact we’re still arguing about it.  . .

“It is a curious thing, the death of a loved one. We all know that our time in this world is limited, and that eventually all of us will end up underneath some sheet, never to wake up. And yet it is always a surprise when it happens to someone we know. It is like walking up the stairs to your bedroom in the dark, and thinking there is one more stair than there is. Your foot falls down, through the air, and there is a sickly moment of dark surprise as you try and readjust the way you thought of things.”  Lemony Snicket.

Ciao for now

 

Hot Christmas kerfuffle

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A touch of snow on Christmas day. A lovely little selection of gifts shared with dear Man-Wonder and then a quiet dinner. Turkey for sure. Assorted roasted veggies to compliment it. No dessert because I so pigged out for the week and a half prior and wasn’t up to facing anymore sweets. Hubby (being a cookie freak) was fine with no dessert.

We had invited two for dinner; not that we expected either of them to show up. One being a nephew who is Mr. Hermit-if-there-ever-was-one, and the other is Man-Wonder’s brother, Mr. Frugal-gone-amok, who has never had dinner at our place.

They both showed up.

Go figure.

So, Christmas afternoon, the turkey was merrily roasting (well  — if the turkey knew things wouldn’t have been so merry in there — right?) and I was about to put the veggies in during the last hour when it dawned on me that they needed a much higher cooking temp. Now, if I had been using full brain power I’d have clued in much earlier and simply roasted them longer.

But I wasn’t.

Instead I turned the heat up 50 degrees, foil wrapped the bird and hoped for the best.

Which didn’t happen. The bird was over-cooked and the veggies under-cooked but, damn, the gravy was excellent! And the buns were heaven. (Thank you local bakery).

Nobody over-ate. I think they were hoping to fill up on dessert. You know, like pumpkin pie with ice cream, or apple crumble.

Instead I plunked a plate of Christmas cookies down and told them to have at ‘er. (Kudos here to my generous co-worker for magnificent gift of homemade cookies).The cookies didn’t last long. Neither did the company. I think they ran home to snack. . .

Still, it was an interesting evening, a sweet Christmas, and . . . bonus. . .   it’s highly unlikely we’ll have company for dinner next year. . .

 

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From brains gone amok to rag rugs

It’s been since August since I last sat down to discuss what’s passing through my mind. Thoughts, back then, were putzing along like a happy camper. Then work overload shifted my gears and my brain became more like some ferris wheel running amok, careening loops between my ears until I was just a mushmuck of a brain, unable to stop a train-full of negative thoughts from loading on more cars of, shall we be crude and say, shit? Because that’s about the basic truth. I gave up on writing, drawing and just being creative. I was sleeping, working, sleeping and working and feeling bad about everything.

Then the jobs slowed down. There were actual days between jobs. Lately there’s been weeks between jobs. It has been  lovely. Lovely days of long breaths, clear thinking and deep sleeps between jobs.

Did I say how lovely they have been?

I’ve had time to catch up to myself. To see what was happening. And the first thing I did was thank our district manager for the lack of work, AND, request he do his damn-dest to keep me part-time. Since he already treats me (most kindly) like a village idiot, I figured I hadn’t much to lose.

Part time has given me room to breathe and think clearly. I know now there is a book I need to write, a bagload of Christmas cards to create for next year, two rag rugs to crochet and best of all, a lovely husband to snuggle with. All which need a brain in working order.

Here’s hoping he sticks to my plan!

Meanwhile, here’s a glimpse at part of a long-hoarded stash of materials, (I’ve grown so tired of looking at and feeling guilty over), all cut into 3″ wide pieces,

IMG_20171128_152900368_HDR    which I’m stitching together. Then folding the strip into a  1 1/2″wide strip and ironing it flat. The (3 million mile long) strip will be sitting beside my chair this winter until I have crocheted Man-Wonder and myself two cheerful bedside rag rugs.

Season’s cheer to y’all and may your tootsies be toasty warm this winter.

Ciao for now

Dog Days of Summer

Ahhhh, can’t you feel it? That nippish breeze curling up against the backside of the hot dry summer air. The hint, the tiniest of hints that causes a panic flutter deep inside our chests. We are now in the dog days of summer. The. End. Is. Near.

For me, as well as lots of others, I have a love/hate relationship with August.  As soon as the calendar page is turned (yes, we still keep a paper copy) and the dew twinkles at me in the dawn light, I find myself running amok, like a headless chicken, clucking over my list of things to do that haven’t been done because it was too hot. Or, in between those moments, I’ll find myself  standing perfectly still, like a cat stalking a hummingbird, feeling the crisp edge of air tickling over my hot skin, making me realize there is nothing, absolutely nothing, as refreshing as that gentle breeze. And, in those moments, I’ll melt into the easy chair on the patio, reach for my latest whodunit, and make the most of it. List of undone things be damned.

Oh, yeah, I hate those god-awful beautiful moments! images

We beat the record this year for the longest stretch of days without rain — 56 days — hot, hot and in the end, melting days layered with smoke. Smoke from BC’s burning forests  so many kilometers away, blown west to be trapped under our high pressure ridge. Yet, each time someone felt like complaining we just had to think of those poor souls, in the interior, thousands of them, evacuated from their towns, not knowing if they have a home to return to. And we’d shut our mouths, wipe our brows, and talk of other things.

Today, in the middle of the dog days of August, the smoke, for us, has cleared and  we have another day of beautiful blue skies, temps in around 21°C (70°F) and  I still have that list of things to accomplish. But first, Man-Wonder wants to do a short fly-fishing jaunt to the local lake. I think he needs company. Besides, I’m almost at the ending of my book. . . .

 

Ciao for now

My, my, my — how we have changed.

One of my son’s ex-partners saw a picture of me, in my early twenties, and said, “Wow! You were really hot once.”

Sad bastard eh? Did I mention how grateful I am she is now his ex?

Any way this hot-ness (or lack of) memory popped up thanks to a recent conversation where a young co-worker saw my wedding ring and exclaimed, “Cathie, I’ve never seen you wear your ring before. Why not?”

“I’m fat.”

“Cathie!”

“No, really, haven’t you noticed? And, being fat, I overheat easy and, when I overheat, I puff up like an excited puffer fish. Ergo — no ring.”

She shook her head. Then, after giving me the once over, said, ” I bet you were hot when you were young.”

“Oh yeah.” I nodded, agreeing with her. “I overheated real easy back then too.

She shook her head and rolled her eyes. (Just like my son used to do when he was a teenager.)

“Oh . . . you meant THAT kind of HOT . . . . . .”

I have to admit, mulling over those conversations got to me. Thank heavens for my very own caped crusader, riding in to the rescue.

“I love you just the way you are. ” He said, not-so-wisely adding, “No matter what’s hanging where it shouldn’t — you’re still one hot chick in my eyes.”

(Pah! I think he’s just making sure I keep on washing his laundry and baking his cookies. . . .but he did chase the glooms away.)

And it made me realize just how much our thinking changes as we age. When younger , being in the right places, dressed in the right way was important. We were HOT!  Now, sitting in an almost empty parking lot at six in the a.m., slurping back cheap coffees while watching a Big Geek Daddy video clip on my smart phone is far more important. Especially when dear Man-Wonder reaches over to hold my hand for a moment as he smirks.

“What?”

“Big changes in our lives in the past few years and look at where we are now.” He points around.

I smirk back.

You know, according to statistics, we may exist below what the government calls ‘average’ and while our youthful hotness may just be cobwebs in our memories, we are as rich as we need to be, in the ways most important.

That’s pretty hot as far as I’m concerned.

Ciao for now

 

 

Life is full of it ( . . . life that is)

 

When the weather is warm and windows are open, life in a mobile home park is full. Someone coughs. A child laughs. The laugh morphs into a wail. The wail sends a small dog into hysterical barking. Someone screeches at the dog to shut up. The neighbor cranks up their television. I listen much the way a past generation did with radio shows. Until the neighbor’s wife turns it down.

Back outside someone calls to someone else. Their voices rise and fall as they chatter. One of them gasps. The nosy bag in me pushes me closer to the window, thinking if I cup a hand around one ear I’ll hear what the gasping is about.

Man-Wonder clears his throat. I look over. He’s staring at me, one eyebrow raised, Vulcan-style. I slouch back down thinking I should feel guilty but I mostly feel annoyed because I love to listen to conversations. There’s something so distantly-intimate about that momentary peek into another’s life. Sometimes I am envious at what I hear but mostly I’m grateful for my life and what’s in it.

Grateful that:

  1. I’m not a child, preteen or teenager nowadays. Once, way back when, was enough thank you.
  2. That, the cancer threatening the life of a neighbor isn’t ours.
  3. My day off from work is filled with things like soap-making, reading, sketching and gardening.
  4. That I have six garden beds brimming with life, blooms and happy bugs.
  5. That sketching in my book belongs to me and I don’t have to show anyone, ever. That’s liberating!
  6. That the people I work with are a freaky tidal wave of emotions and personalities which I enjoy immensely.
  7. That, after a grueling 10 hour inventory job, That instead of collapsing around a table in the store’s lunchroom, I wander out back of the store and find a small patch of grass with a lovely little tree in the middle of it. I plunk myself down; whip off my socks and shoes, wiggle my toes, and laugh as a ladybug tickles its way up and over a foot. I coax it onto a finger and carefully return it to a blade of grass. Then I watch a bee buzz from clover blossom to clover blossom around me. By the time the boss finishes her part and we are ready to head for home, I’m as relaxed as if I’d had a couple of snorts of ‘Tennessee Fire.’

(Thank heavens for grass. I mean the fresh green stuff, not the dried brown kind. . . though that stuff has valid points to it too!)

  1. That, after 21 years, my husband still seems pleased to see me when I come home. And, I’m still happy to see him too.
  2. That a simple supper can be as filling as an expensive restaurant meal. It really depends on the state of mind while eating it.
  3. And finally, that I still have two good ears for all the juicy conversations calling to them. (At least when Mr. Throat-clearing Eyebrow isn’t around. . .)

Love is . . .

Boy, it’s been awhile! My new (okay, maybe five months is not so new anymore) ‘crazy job’ has been draining my energy faster than the battery in my smart phone. But thanks to a wonderful four days off (in a row!) some energy has leaked back in.

The first day I woke up revved and the hobby room was torn apart and put back together in a much nicer way. Day two I rested the aching muscles while reading two whodunits. Day three was washing floors, laundry and baking (I won’t count the soup I made that turned out so disgusting). Day four (today) was for more reading while I rested the new sore muscles (who knew there were so many freaking muscles in the body?). I also realized how much I’ve missed writing. So while spitting out bugs (see below) and catching a couple of smiles from Man-Wonder I decided to write my version of what love is.

. . . you see we recently celebrated our 21st (or 221st as dear Man-Wonder is prone to say) and here’s hoping the next 200 are as rare and ripe as the first.

LOVE IS. . .

  • Him still offering his arm to me when walking along the street. Love is understanding that the level ground arm offer is good manners. The heading-uphill arm offer is his way of making sure I make it! (And is it rather more polite than his first 20 years of uphill help which was dashing behind me, grabbing a handful of butt and yelling “git ‘er going hun”).

 

  • Me willing to sit amidst a thick cloud of midges (harmless he calls them — not-so-tasty I call them when I forget to keep my mouth shut) while he practices his fly-fishing casts from shore.

 

  • After years and years of marriage, both of us realizing, at the same moment, how daft our argument is and busting out laughing instead.

 

  •  Him telling me I’m beautiful, and me not telling him he needs to either have his eyes or brain examined.

. . . In other words, love is finding the best friend in each other and remembering to honor that.

Ciao for now from the West Coast

 

 

 

 

 

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