Archive for life at its finest

Teeny tiny things and big thoughts

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Going back to work has taken precedence over everything else these past three months. Everything has had to fit in around THE WORK SCHEDULE. And it’s been crazy. This travelling around to do store/business inventory is not for normal people. Not for excitable souls either. It’s not for anyone who likes ‘regular’. It’s a goofy job and it suits me just fine.

But its newness has worn down enough to let my mind wander back to the things I’ve neglected. Some things like cooking and cleaning aren’t missed, but the early morning sketching or the late night writing and especially the full night of sleep without some freaky dream about counting are missed big time.

I find as I’m coming out of that give-‘er-all mentality I keep wandering into the hobby room to wipe the thin layer of neglect off the laptop case and my art bag. Often it’s followed by a long, pitiful, deep sigh. I miss my old companions.

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So I am, the minute the days warm up just a tad more and the sun hustles its magnificence up about an hour earlier, out the door with my sketch bag. As for the writing — I think a few walks in the warm spring sun will help the juices bubble again. Especially when I see those teeny tiny mushrooms under the trees. Something about seeing them always open the mind’s eye to a world of teeny tiny people with a big problem.

Tiny people . . . fairies . . . things that go bump in the night. . . Oh my!

Come on sun, this goofy broad needs a long walk. . .and a few mushrooms.

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The strangers we work with

Take a bunch of strangers; ask them to rely on each other and most times they will congeal into a functioning, working group of friendly acquaintances. Maybe they will be uncomfortable. Maybe they won’t.

Like the one, I recently joined.

It surprises me how well we meld together when the personalities and lifestyles are so different. Within our group we have:

  • A young woman who exudes this wonderful exotic and energetic vibe. She runs a karaoke business  and, in her spare time, plans and executes burlesque shows.karaoke
  • Another young woman, pregnant and due any day, sparks up her face with rings and bells and gothic-ish eye make-up. She has another heavy load. It’s called Aspergers.
  • One shy peach of a fellow suffers from Autism.
  • Then there’s the older geezer who was a pianist on cruise ships for 23 years.pianist
  • There is a former taxi driver from Vancouver. Things can get wild when she’s the designated driver. . .  fearful
  • Can’t forget the elf of a fellow with a natty sense of humor who carves beautiful things from driftwood.
  • Or the teacher of English,teacher freshly back from 10 years in China.
  • As well as scads of college/university students popping in and out, working for extra monies.

I could go on but this small portion shows what I love about this group. Variety that most times wouldn’t work together but in this weird job does. Watching this group interact can be as entertaining as going to the movies — only here I’m being paid to watch.

Yah for the humans! We are such a fascinating study.

On the road . . . again . . .and again . . .and

 

2017 began with one major difference. After 13 years of not working outside of the home, I got a job. Travelling around Vancouver Island, the smaller gulf islands, and the lower mainland, doing inventory for a large assortment of businesses and stores.

It’s a whole lot of counting, which I like, and they are paying me to count — which I really like. Plus there’s the entertainment that comes when a wild assortment of individuals is corralled into a team and when one is sharing a hotel room with someone they’ve just met.

Well, hell, what could be more interesting?

The job also requires, ladder-climbing, lots of squatting,ache-2 kneeling,ache-1and some serious ache-3 stretching. All things this body hasn’t been used to — meaning a whole lot of aching going on. Especially during a day off when there’s no git-er-done adrenaline to hold it back. It’s akin to opening a cage door and letting a herd of shaggy wild buffalo loose to stampede over everything.

But, as crazy as the job schedules can be and as much as the body aches, I like this job.

The one thing I haven’t liked is the time spent travelling, in the company van, or on a ferry somewhere in the Strait of Georgia. It has already pushed me to admit my old-school flip phone is no longer enough.*Sigh* Pushed me to acknowledge upgrading so I can text hubby, play Majong, or write during those down times, instead of nodding off until a pothole, or loudspeaker, jolts you awake again.

So what have I been doing during the last few days off?

Studying cell phones, phablets and tablets until my brain feels like ten-day-old warmed-up Jello. To combat that I went poetry hunting and came across this sweet itty poem by Alan Benjamin:

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Let’s count the raindrops

As they pour;

One million, two million,

Three million, four.

 
I fell in love with it for two reasons: not only does it describe the weather around here but it felt like I’d just taken a delightfully big breath away from death by technology drowning.

Yah for sweet simple!

 

 

 

Yummy and Redneck-y . . . does it get any better?

Every year, like many others, the urge to create something Christmassy hits in November. This year I found the perfect creation thanks to my old heroine, Martha Stewart.  (I still have a single legged one-direction sprinkler from her company. Man-Wonder hates it, I love it. Even after the leg broke I continued to use it. . . but when the . . . oh, never mind. That’s another story for another time. Right now, it’s about Christmas.)

So. there I was perusing her magazine when what to my wonderous eyes should appear but an advent calendar with a woodsy twang. Red peg-board. My cabin-in-the-bush heart sang. Man-Wonder’s didn’t but he went along with me because time teaches many things. Off we went to the lumber store. After I finished sniffing the lumber we bought a 2′ x 4′ piece of peg-board and holly-jolly red spray paint.

With the peg-board, and some found doweling for pegs painted, I was ready to hunt down little muslin bags.

Bah! After figuring out the price for 25 bags, my inner Grinch sent me home to make my own. Only once they were made with numbers painted on I still wasn’t satisfied. They looked  . . .naked. So out came the embroidery threads and each wee bag got its own picture.

I hung the bags and realized the board itself looked unfinished, like it needed trimming. A nice Christmassy braid — that’s what it needed.

Have you ever braided long, like 2 zillion foot long(it felt like it) strips of fabric together? OMG! Man-Wonder ended up standing behind me and unraveling the tangles as I braided — mostly to stop my flow of dirty words.

In the end the trim looked great. But I still wasn’t 100% with the bags. Maybe bobble-locks on the drawstrings would perfect them out and, luckily, I had a  bag of them in the hobby room. Unluckily, they were black. . .

. . .Back outside, on a ladder, between our carport and the neighbour’s hedge I strung a string of bobble-locks and sprayed the bejesus out of them (and here’s hoping nobody notices the white overspray on the rhodo leaves before spring).

But, yeah, those bobble-locks did the job so that meant one last thing to do —fill the bags. It almost broke my heart when I learned that Jack Daniels doesn’t make their Tennessee Fire in teeny-tiny bottles. There went the daily snort of Christmas cheer.

Next best? Candy. JuJubes. Gummies. Alsorts . . . (Though my stinky subconscious did force me to throw some nuts into the mix for value.)

Finally. Finally. All was done on Nov. 30th. Just in time.

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We’re calling it our Christmas Diet.

Yum!

 

 

Toilet tripping

Okay, not really tripping over a toilet. But I did drive past one, then back up to take a picture of it.

Why?

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Because it was wearing a garbage bag!

I get that someone would put a working toilet out on the side of the road. If they don’t need it, someone else might. But then I wondered if maybe it wasn’t a give-away. Maybe it’s a friendly DIY outdoor toilet — you sit, you pull the bag up around yourself and go about your business?  Or are the owners of the toilet merely trying a fresh approach to building up their compost pile?

Not sure I want to know.

Maybe they are trying to get rid of it and thought wrapping it in black plastic would make it more attractive. Less chance of any dirty grass or gravel attaching itself to the sticky old wax ring on the bottom of the toilet.

Euuuwh. Maybe we’re all better off not knowing.

But after seeing that toilet I wondered what interesting toilet talk I could find online.

Did you know there is a ‘National Toilet Day’? Yep! November 19th. Plus I found some bits of humor worth sticking on any bathroom wall:

  • Bare Bottoms Welcomed Here!
  • NOTICE: Replacing The Toilet Paper Roll Will Not Cause Brain Damage !
  • This Is A Do-It-Yourself Bathroom. No Maid Service Available.
  • “Maybe humans are just the pet alligators that God flushed down the toilet.” ~  Chuck Palahniuk
  • “You know an odd feeling? Sitting on the toilet eating a chocolate candy bar.”~ George Carlin
  • “Today, the degradation of the inner life is symbolized by the fact that the only place sacred from interruption is the private toilet.” ~ Lewis Mumford
  • “The toilets at a local police station have been stolen. Police say they have nothing to go on.” ~ Ronnie Barker
  • “Poop humor is fun. If you do the toilet scenes well and commit to them, they can be really, really powerful.” ~ Sandra Bullock
  • “Today you can go to a gas station and find the cash register open and the toilets locked. They must think toilet paper is worth more than money.” ~ Joey Bishop

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That’s it because I gotta’ go now. . . . like right now. . . .

Ciao

 

 

Big lake, little lake

Two mini canoe adventures so far this summer. And three creepy-interesting things to share.

The first was a three-hour paddle around Quamichan (Qualm-itch-in) Lake. There we met a most curious damsel fly that decided it was going to rest on my hand, which left me trying to one-handedly open the container and grab the camera. Man-Wonder watched me for a moment before commenting that I might as well stop groping around since we’d left it on the table.

Seriously? I’ve got this beautifully prehistoric looking insect visiting and I can’t capture the image? I’m pretty sure the strong vibe coming from  my imagined head-smack  sent any lurking fish far away and deep. And probably the reason all hubby snagged onto that trip was a waterlogged twig and two weeds.

And, sort of speaking of noises — we were introduced to a couple of new ones that day. As we approached a cluster of reeds we were greeted by a chorus from the invading species of monster-sized bullfrogs, with their croaks that sound like something sitting in tin cans and twanging on rubberbands. Then they let loose with what I can only describe as something sounding like a herd of miniature elephants trumpeting before they attack. Personally, if I was a female bullfrog and that was the male’s mating call . . . I’d jump down the throat of the closest hungry blue heron! Euuuh.

As we paddled away from the raucous bully-frogs we hit a portion of the lake filled with algae bloom. Probably caused by sprayed fertilizer from a farm by the lake. I thought the brilliant green bloom was spongy until I tried to scoop up a drifting hunk. It slide through my fingers like wet cotton candy.

Creepy in an interesting way. . .

A few days later we were on an early morning paddle around a little lake close to home when  Man-Wonder spots something unusual at one end of the lake. We paddled over to check out what turned out to be a solid skim of dying chironomids (aka midges).

IMG_2517 (Not sun reflection at the top of the picture — just bugs)

While Man-Wonder studied the bugs I did a quick watercolor sketch of the shoreline. And, then, in a moment of creativity (and because I was at the back of the canoe and not being watched) decided to scoop up a bunch of the dead (tiny) bugs, dabbing them into the water part of my scene. A touch of realism and, later at home, once the carcasses were dry, I would seal them in place.

Yeah, it seemed like a good idea  . . .

Which lasted until we got back to the very warm truck and I was showing off my cleverness and one of the bugs came alive. Then another. And another!

“Oooh, zombie bugs.”Man-Wonder said, laughing.

SLAM!

I am glad chironomids are so very tiny. It saved me from having to see the looks on their teeny-tiny squished faces when I reopened my sketch book.

Really, even though I try to respect most creatures, I wasn’t about to share the ride home with the little buggers.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It’s Almost All About the Food

‘If you ask me, food for thought sounds like a pretty good trade.’ 

~   Abby Heugel @  https://abbyhasissues.com/

Lately, that’s all it has been about. The planning, the production, the harvesting and the stuffing of one’s face. Thanks to a wonderful spring/summer so far, giving us even cycles of rain and sun, the gardens are bursting their borders.

IMG_2495 The front garden bed is supposed to be a spring shrub bed with bulbs filling in the spaces between. This year it’s a six-foot high field of fiery red crocosmias and gladiolas. As for the shrubs — it’s kind of like a ‘Where’s Waldo’— only in plant form.

IMG_2497.JPG  In the back garden, the squash, cucumber and zucchini have taken total control. (I’m thinking it’s one too many bags of manure in March).  I bet  the lettuces are loving the shade created by those ‘wild child’ plants. If only I could find them!

IMG_2501.JPG   As for the berry bed — let’s just say the line from freezer to raspberries is a steady one and I’m pretty sure some of the poor pollen-heavy bees are lost within that tangled thicket of canes.

“I try to find the good in every situation. Wait. That was a typo. I meant “food”.  I try to find the food in every situation.”                                       ~ Abby Heugel @  https://abbyhasissues.com/

Even my reading is related to food at this time of year. Last winter I found Food in Jars  ‘preserving in small batches year-round’ by Marisa McClellan.  Most of her recipes call for 4 or 5 half-pint or 1 pint jars, so the recipes are perfect for us with limited garden size. In the front of her book was the publisher’s website. Good foody site plus there is a blog with some interesting pictures.                       ~     http://www.runningpresscooks.com/

As for our eating —Mostly we’re still following ‘The Plan’ by Lyn-Genet Recitas (hence the crazy veggie bed) but I recently discovered ‘Sweet Paleo: Gluten Free Grain Free Delights’ by Lea Valle, and sweet Mary, mother of Joseph, is this an excellent book or what?! It uses many of the same ingredients as the ‘Plan’ and my sweet tooth has been doing a happy dance for days.

And now, if you will excuse me, her book is calling my name with the same intensity as a bag of jube jubes. . .

“I think the best part of being a superhero would be that you could turn your cape around and use it as a bib.”                           ~ Abby Heugel @  https://abbyhasissues.com/

pssssst – (in case you hadn’t noticed)  Abby Heugel @  https://abbyhasissues.com/  is worth a visit  . . .