Sunday, September 27, 2015

Sunday Night Chit Chat: Lots of Parentheticals

Howdy Humble Readers... 

Whew... where did the weekend go? 

My Beloved and I went out for a date night on Friday.  A very yummy dinner out (I had a Cajun chicken burger and salad), a meander through the bookstore, and a movie (The Intern... I highly recommend it.  Very funny). 

Saturday was just a wasted day for me.  I woke up in a foul mood and stayed that way pretty much all day.  I don't know what it was, but my poor Beloved and wee-lings had to put up a very cranky hobbit all day.  I had no motivation to do anything.  Ok, I did cook a big breakfast (challah French toast, turkey sausage, and scrambled eggs), and I did make dinner.  But other than that, I was just a lump.  A grumpy lump. 

So by default, today was a very busy day.  Sunday school, worship, trip to the bakery, grocery shopping (which SHOULD HAVE BEEN DONE ON FRIDAY), putting away of said groceries, cooking supper, and getting Ginny's stuff ready for school tomorrow (including coming up with something for Crazy Hair/Hat/Tie day).

As an aside, can I just say, for what we pay for groceries, someone should bring them home for us, schlep them up the stairs, and then put them away.  And I strongly dislike the grocery store on a Sunday afternoon.  I don't want to be there, and it seems like everyone else in the Shire wants to be there, dawdling. 

I should have also gone to the Halloween supply store to look around because I know if I don't get there soon (yes, I know it's only the end of September, but they tend to get picked over quickly) Ginny and Pip will end up trick or treating as "Kids with a Pathetic Mommy Who Can't Sew and is Running Out Of Imagination For This Crap".

Oh dear, I think I'm still a grumpy lump. 

On to tonight's chit chat.  Here's what I'm...

Reading - Go Set A Watchman by Harper Lee.  I'm about a third of the way through it and I'm liking it, for the most part.  I purposely avoided any reviews of it, but there are a few distracting things that I read about the book earlier in the summer that are taking some of the enjoyment out of it for me.  That's what I get for being number 22 on the hold list at the library on the day it was released rather than buying a copy for myself. 

Watching - Nothing.  The tv is actually off (a rarity in our house... I can hear you tsk-ing me from all around the world.  Yes, I am a tv junkie), but the DVR is recording. 

Listening To - Right this second, New Kids On The Block.  I have my headphones on because my Beloved was watching Fawlty Towers (John Cleese is a comic genius, but was grating on me tonight). 

Tonight's Dinner
Cooking/Baking - Tonight's dinner was baked penne with meat sauce and Caesar salad.  I made it specifically to initiate my new Rachael Ray Lasagna pan that my Beloved gave me for my birthday.  I had been drooling over the pan for a while, and as it means that he will get more lasagna I'm sure he thought it was a win-win sort of gift.  It's one of those things for the kitchen that I want, but would never just go out and buy.  Tomorrow we're having chicken curry with rice and roasted green beans.  And I recently realized I have about a dozen frozen black bananas in my freezer that I should turn into banana bread or muffins or something soon. 

Thinking About - the start up of our congregation's Confirmation classes for this year.  I'm struggling with getting a couple of families to commit.  They want their kids confirmed, but they also want me and the other students to work around their schedules.  Kind of frustrating. 

Adding to My To Do List - Oy, tomorrow's to do list is already a mile long.  Clean the kitchen and bath, work out (I MUST), work on my writing project, clean the fish bowl, wash towels, and hopefully clean up my dead container garden on the balcony. 

Thankful For - The fact that my Beloved and wee-lings love me even when I'm a grumpy lump... or a lumpy grump.  Or just plain bitchy. 

Monday, September 21, 2015

#MicroblogMonday: It Comes In Threes

Greetings Humble Readers...

Marriages around me have taken an beating in the past month.  Three marriages in my broader social circle have hit the skids.  One is a couple with two small kids, who had been together since high school.  Another involves a stereotypical mid-life crisis.  The third just makes me sad.  Two are in our family, one is an old friend. 

All of this makes me wonder, why?  And why am I surprised when it happens?  I know that no one goes into marriage (except maybe a Kardashian) with the expectation that it will end.  And it makes me worry... if it can happen to these people, then it could happen to us. 

My Beloved and I are good.  We've faced a lot together and survived it.  I think we've come through much of it stronger, as a couple.  As a team. 

Current events have just rattled me a little. 

This was posted as a part of Mel's #MicoroblogMondays.  Pop over and check out what others are sharing today. 

Monday, September 7, 2015

#MicroblogMondays: Ode To An Old Book

Greetings Humble Readers...

(Fair Warning: This isn't a typical #MicroblogMonday post.  But it's what I needed to write tonight.)

A while back I mentioned that I was reading an old favourite, The House of Five Swords by Tristram Tupper.  I love this book.  It's a beautiful love story set at the end of the Gilded Age, in a small Virginia town.  It's a love story between a daughter and father, between a man and a woman, and between a family and their honour.  A son disowned, and a mysterious stranger who shows up just as the town builds a munitions plant to capitalize on the war in Europe. 
If you look close you can see the embossed title
on the upper right corner
I bought this book when I was 13 or 14 years old from a recycling depot in K-town, when I was obsessed with books that looked old.  It's a first edition (not that I think it made it to a second printing) from 1922.  I read it and fell in love.  When I went to Germany as an exchange student for three months, it was one of the two English-language novels I took with me (I can't remember the other). 

I re-read it over and over, all the way through high school.  When I left for college, I packed up all the books I wasn't taking with me (it didn't make the cut this time), and put the boxes in the garage.  Four years later, when I returned and was trying to get my stuff together for my out-of-province move, I couldn't find that particular box of books.  My mom thought that they may have been sold in a garage sale the year before.  I was heartbroken. 

Over the years, I would poke around on the internet to see if anyone was selling a copy.  I had seen them listed for as much as $1000 on ebay, but even at the more common price of around $200, I just could never afford to replace it. 

A few years ago, when my parents were downsizing, they shipped a couple of boxes of my things that had been found around their old house.  Lo and behold, one of the boxes was my box of long lost books!  There were several other of my 'antique' books, but right on the top was my House of Five Swords. 

I hadn't read it since high school, and recently I was moved to re-read it.  Reading it as an adult was an amazing experience.  Reliving scenes that had stayed in my mind over the years, discovering new tidbits that I hadn't resonated with as a teen.  The thick paper of the pages, the fragility of the spine, the musty smell that is undeniably that old book smell. 

And the writer in me just swooned over the language.  This is a book that was written in the era rather than just about the era.  The vocabulary, the structure, even the punctuation. I had a mind-boggling epiphany... this book is where I discovered my love of ellipses... :)

While ereaders and tablets may be convenient this book, and others like it, are why this hobbit will never fully transition away from paper books. 

This was posted as a part of Mel's #MicroblogMondays.  Click over and check out what others are talking about tonight. 

Sunday, September 6, 2015

Sunday Night Chit Chat: Last Weekend of Summer?

Howdy Humble Readers...

This certainly hasn't felt like Labour Day weekend around here.  It's been so cold and rainy that it really feels more like Thanksgiving weekend.  It's been 6C since Friday. 

We spent part of the day yesterday in the Teeny-tiny Town to the South, where MIL lives.  She had invited us down for dinner.  Now, I love my MIL.  She is a very sweet, giving woman.  Generous to a fault.  She has, however, three little foibles... 1 - she drops by unannounced, whenever she's in town, 2 - She lives on the borderline between pack-rat and hoarder (If I get rid of something from our house, or donate them to a thrift store, I CANNOT tell her.  She has, in the past, gone through my boxes and bags of thrift store donations and 'saved' more than half of it), and 3 - she eats dinner early, really early.  When my FIL was alive, dinner was at 5pm sharp.  Now, she eats dinner between 4 and 5pm.  Yesterday, dinner was at 4:30.  Crazy!

Other big happenings in the hobbit-hole this week... Ginny's first couple of days of kindergarten.  She has done really well and is super excited about things like gym class and having TWO recesses.  She brought home her first home-reading assignment and has been especially keen on reading to us all the time.  She is in a class of 23. Twenty-two little girls, only one boy (poor kid, lol).  I'm struggling a bit with the fact that there are big chunks of her day that I have no clue about, and have to rely on what she tells me.  She's not big on the details of her day just yet.  Riding the bus went well on Friday, the only hiccup being that she almost forgot her hoodie on the bus when she came home. 

While letting go has been an adjustment (who am I kidding, I shed more than a few tears) for both my Beloved and I, the one who has been most affected by Ginny going to school is Pip.  On her first day, when we left her in her classroom, it was Pippin who started bawling on the sidewalk in front of the school, crying "I miss my Awwdweee".  Friday was rough on him too, particularly at nap time.  He desperately wanted Ginny to come give him hugs and smooches before he went down to sleep. 

One other highlight of this weekend... the Roughriders finally won a game!  Woohoo!  An 0 and 9 record was getting a little tough to swallow.  Hopefully this means bigger and better things for our Roughies!

Ok, onto the chit chat.  Here's what I'm...

Reading - I just finished "The All-Girl Filling Station's Last Reunion" by Fannie Flagg (of Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistlestop Café fame).  It was really good, about a little piece of WWII history that I didn't know.  The first couple of chapters were a bit confusing, but once I got into it, I really loved it.  And an interesting main character, who finds out when she's 59 (or is she 60?) that she was adopted, and the fall out of her quest to find her birth mother.  Sweet and funny.  Tonight I'm starting a pot-boiler romance, "The Art of Sinning" by Sabrina Jeffries.  I really do enjoy the occasional bodice-ripper. 

Watching - Nothing.  Sportscenter is on, but I'm not really paying attention.  I am, however, looking forward to many of my regular shows coming back soon.  Oh, and if you live in Canada, you really should check out "Still Standing" on the CBC.  It's Jonny Harris (he plays Constable Crabtree on Murdoch Mysteries, but he's also a great stand-up comic).  The show is Jonny traveling to small, struggling towns across the country, and learning what makes them unique.  It sounds a bit dull with how I've described it, but it really is terribly funny and very cool how he works all the local folks he meets into his stand-up routine. 

Listening to - My Beloved is snoring on the other end of the couch. 

Cooking/Baking - Tonight was a full on fall supper.  Pork roast (done with steak spice, thyme, and a bit of cinnamon), mashed taters & gravy, roasted acorn squash, broccoli, and Yorkshire puddings.  Yum!  It was so good, and perfect for a day like today.  We also had apple pie (a frozen one I found in the freezer) for dessert.  On Friday, to distract Pip a bit from his missing-Ginny-funk, we baked chocolate chip cookies. 

Adding to my To Do List - I MUST make optometrist appointments for the wee-lings!  I MUST!  And I'm colouring my hair tomorrow.  I'm sick of the grey. 

Thinking About - That I hope I can sleep past 5am tomorrow.  My internal clock wakes me up at 5 almost every morning.  It would be nice to sleep in a bit. 

Thankful For - My church family.  They really do care about us, about the wee-lings, and always lend a hand in wrangling my kids' stuff that ends up everywhere during the service.  Today there was some good-natured ribbing going on with the families who usually sit near us, as they are Winnipeg Blue Bomber fans (the long time rivals of the Roughriders). 

Friday, September 4, 2015

Hobbit-ish Potpurri: Breathing Clear

Hey Humble Readers...

Wow, that's three weeks of my life I'll never get back. 

Seriously, between the Crud, the ear infection, and the side effects of transitioning my blood pressure meds, I'm just now starting to feel like myself again.  The ear infection was a doozy, with symptoms lasting until the day after I finished my 10-day run of antibiotics.  Dizziness/vertigo was a big problem.  Dr. B even put me on an inhaler because I could not shake the cough (the smoke that was in the air from the wildfires in BC and Washington was also a contributing factor, I'm sure), and actually still have it a bit.  Buuuuttt... I am better and trying to get back into the swing of thing.

The weather man must have known that the kids wouldn't want to go back to school if the weather was nice, so he ordered up some distinctly fall weather.  Today is only 6C (45F) at 3pm.  Yikes!  And because of my prolonged ill-health and the crappy weather, my poor container garden has taken a beating.  I'll be able to salvage some carrots, cherry tomatoes and maybe the rosemary, but I lost the basil (no pesto this year... *sniff*), the oregano, and the mint.  The thyme is still on the edge, we'll see what happens.  My sweet peas (flowers) and sunflowers never actually blossomed this year.  Ah, well...

Today is Ginny's first full day of school.  She even rode the bus.  Wednesday was just a couple of hours to get the kindergarteners acclimated to their room and to deal with their school supplies.  I will post pics and the account of her first day on the weekend. 

My Beloved has a job interview next week Friday.  It's been about a month and a half since his last one.  This one is in the Shire (which makes me super happy), and that's about all we know.  They listed their salary as 'competitive' so I guess we'll find out what that means if it gets that far.  I'm trying really hard not to get too attached to the idea of this one working out.  I can't live with the crash when it doesn't pan out. 

I want to tell you all how proud I am of my Beloved.  Not only has he worked his butt off the last three weeks, taking care of pretty much everything around the hobbit-hole, worked his usual overtime at the office, and taken care of me and the kids... he has also been studying his backside off for his most recent exam.  Of the entire CGA program, this course has been touted as the hardest.  Even the guy who does the online lectures failed the first time he took it.  For the last three months our mantra has been "64 is the enemy"... 65% has been the target.  My superstar Beloved went into the final exam sitting at 72%. 

Well, Pip and I are off to meet Ginny at the bus stop.  Hope all is well in your world. 

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Sunday Night Chit Chat: Not What I Planned

Hey Humble Readers...

So this week went nowhere like I intended. 

You may recall that I told you last week that I was having a rough time with coming off my current bp meds so that I can start a new rx.  Well, that has been put on hold a bit.

Last Sunday I had a terrible headache and dizziness all day, which I chalked up to the change in my labetalol dosage.  But by the time I went to bed on Sunday night I had a killer sore throat.  On Monday I had no voice and a fever, and my sinuses were on fire.  My voice didn't start to return until Wednesday, just in time for my ears to start to seriously ache. 

By Friday, I was in agony with my ears feeling like my eardrums were going to burst. And I couldn't shake the fever.  I went to the walk-in clinic, and, lo and behold, I have a double inner ear infection.  Fun times.  I've been on antibiotics since Friday, and I'm beginning to improve.  Of course, I still have the general crud (cough, congestion) to deal with, but my right ear feels much better, and my left is on the mend. 

Of course, this means that absolutely nothing got done this week.  The hobbit-hole is a disaster, school supply shopping still hasn't happened, and I'm not even close to prepared for my Beloved's birthday next weekend.  I didn't send the wedding card for my cousin's wedding (happening tomorrow), and I still have to make optometrist appointments for the wee-lings (which I meant to do ages ago). 

My Beloved has been amazing, taking care of me, when I have barely been able to walk down the hall because of the dizziness, and the wee-lings.  He has cooked or bought food, done the grocery shopping, and kept the wee-lings out of my hair so that I could rest.  All while studying for his upcoming exam and having to work some overtime this week. 

I go to see Dr. B on Tuesday, so we'll see what the new plan is for my bp meds.  (I'm hoping I'll be able to drive by then, otherwise my Beloved will have to take me.)

Ok, onto the chit chat.  Here's what I'm:

Reading - I finished A Measure of Light by Beth Powning.  It was an interesting read. It's an historical novel about Mary Dyer, a Puritan-turned-Quaker Englishwoman who came to the Colonies in the mid-1600s.  Primarily about how the men ruling the Boston colony were just as bad, if not worse, as the rulers in England that drove them out, and the persecution of the Quakers in both.  I found it difficult to empathize with the main character in the last third of the book (I found her a bit fanatical), but it did make me want to read more about her as an historical figure and about the early days of the Quaker denomination.  Now I'm reading an old one... The House of Five Swords by Tristram Tupper.  It's an old favourite, but if any of you have ever read it, I would be very surprised.  I'm looking forward to telling you about it when I'm finished.  I also have a new-ish Fannie Flagg book from the library that I'm excited to get into. 

Watching - The tv is on, but I'm not really paying attention to it.  I do have a couple of movies on the dvr that I want to watch soon... The Theory of Everything and Jersey Boys.

Cooking - LOL... not much.  I did cook that turkey early last week, and we lived on the leftovers for a few days, which was a blessing.  I made a terrible meatloaf yesterday, but somehow my Beloved and the wee-lings managed to choke it down. 

Thinking About - the fact that I seriously need a shower, but I really just want to go to bed.  And trying not to think about how itchy my ears are right now. 

Adding to my To Do List - There's so much I need to do, but mostly I just want to get the hobbit-hole back in order.  The kitchen floor is kind of grossing me out.  Hopefully by Wednesday I'll have things on their way to normal. 

Thankful For - My Beloved.  He's amazing. 

Monday, August 17, 2015

#MicroblogMondays: Creative Help?

Hey Humble Readers...

I'm looking for some input from you all today. 

I'm working on a creative piece set in the late 1970s/early 80s.  To help with my focus and get further into my characters' heads, I'm putting together a playlist to listen to while I'm writing.  I have a few tracks already, like a few Elvis songs for one of my main characters, and I can't help but include Elvira by the Oak Ridge Boys (it was my favourite song when I was 6 or 7 years old).

But I'm stuck for music for a middle-aged mom.  She's an ultra-conservative, type-A, very rigid person.  I think she likes more country music than pop, certainly not disco or 70s rock. 

What do you think she might listen to? 

This was posted as a part of Mel's #MicroblogMondays.  Click on over to see what others are blogging about today. 

Sunday, August 16, 2015

Sunday Night Chit Chat: This, That, and The Other

Good Evening Humble Readers...

First, here are some lovely flowers for you all... :)

I hope you are all doing well.  Things here in the Shire have been busy and a bit challenging this past week. 

Ginny and Pippin had a week of day camp (half-days) at the local rec center.  They both really enjoyed themselves and I enjoyed having the mornings to myself.  It did mean a bit of creative schedule juggling to get us all out the door in time to drop my Beloved off at work on time each morning so that I could have the car, but it was worth it.  An unexpected bonus of day camp was that I was forced to test how far Pippin's potty training has progressed, as they only take kids who are potty-trained (ie - no pull ups).  I made sure that he had extra clothes in his backpack each day, and he did really well, no accidents at all. 

I also had a regular appointment with Dr. B (our family doc) to get my prescriptions renewed.  We've been changing my blood pressure meds for the last 6 months or so trying to find the best combination for me that has the least side effects (one of the most recent ones gave me horrible back spasms and triggered IBS flares... not cool) and is easiest on our bank account.  The one med that's been consistent ever since I was pregnant with Ginny was the labe.talol, just in varying dosages. 

Turns out that Dr. B was under the impression that we were still trying to have more wee-lings.  LOL!  (He was the one who put through my request for a tubal ligation as a part of my last C-section AND sent my Beloved for his vasectomy.)  Because he thought we were still trying to conceive, he hasn't put me on more efficient meds.  So, now that we have cleared that misconception (pun not intended) out of the way, I can go on better meds. 

BUT... I have to be weaned off the labe.talol before I can go on anything else.  Definitely not fun.  Dizzy spells, migraines, and just feeling generally like crap have been the headlines for the last few days.  I have another week and a half of slowly reducing my dosage before I can start the new meds. 

On the upside, I have done a bit of reading and some creative writing this week.  My friends, Sira and JJ, and I have started our own little writers group, so that we have some accountability when it comes to our creative endeavours.  We had our inaugural get-together this past week and it was fun sharing our work.  Of course, after we were done talking about our writing, we immediately transitioned into our usual gab fest. 

Ok, enough.  Onto the chit-chat.  Here's what I'm...

Reading - Just finished a reread of Jurassic Park.  I've read it a few times since my teen years, and while the technology in it is a tad dated now, it still holds up on sheer entertainment value.  Now I'm into a historical novel called A Measure of Light by Beth Powning.  I'm only a couple of chapters in, but it's about a Puritan woman who, with her husband, is in the process of emigrating to America because of the persecution in Britain.  It's based on a true story, and I'm eager to see where this goes. 

Watching - Nothing in particular.  Planning on an early night tonight as I'm still pretty wiped out from the all-day headache.  I need to get caught up on my DVR'd shows though. 

Cooking - I ended up not cooking tonight, but tomorrow I am doing a turkey dinner.  Not a full-on Thanksgiving turkey dinner, but pretty close.  I've had this turkey in the freezer for too long now, and as the weather has cooled off considerably this week, I'm going to town.  The turkey will cover three dinners, plus some lunches this week.  I'm excited about it. 

Thinking About - My Beloved's birthday is coming up soon and I'm at a loss, as usual.  The only thing I know is that I'm planning on making him a root beer cake. 

Adding to My To Do List - Getting the hobbit-hole back in shape, reorganizing the wee-lings' room (again).

Grateful For - That there is a light at the end of the tunnel with this medication mess.  In a couple of weeks, I'll be on the new meds, and hopefully there will be no more headaches!

Monday, August 10, 2015

#Microblog Mondays: Hallelujah!

Hey Humble Readers...

Windows 10 did a number on me last week.  There were so many glitches as a result of the upgrade that I actually stopped using my laptop for a few days, just to save my sanity.  My trackpad two-finger scroll and cursor lock wasn't working (this was HUGE for me) and neither Microsoft nor ASUS had a working fix for it, and blogging had become a nightmare.  I couldn't post pictures through Picasa or from my computer, the compose screen had gone back to the old html format with no way to get it to switch over to the more updated version.  I was having problems commenting on blogs, most of the time my comment wouldn't be posted at all.  And let's not forget all the little changes that are challenging to muscle memory (like where the back button is now, and the layout of the start menu). 

BUT... I am victorious!  I finally got a tip from someone on the Microsoft help forum (not one of their techs... THANK YOU SO MUCH Mournfulbliss, whoever you are!) about rolling back the driver on my trackpad.  After a little tinkering, voila!  I have my two-finger scrolling/cursor lock back again.  Yay!  And after a bit of hunting, I found out that all the problems I have been having with blogging stems from the fact that Blogger and most other traditional blog platforms haven't yet been able to code for the new Microsoft Edge internet browser.  So I have reverted back to Internet Explorer for the time being. 

So now that things are mostly functioning properly, I am a happy hobbit!

This was posted as a part of Mel's #MicroblogMondays.  Click over and check out everyone else's micro posts!  (And yes, I know that this was a little longer than the recommended 7 or 8 sentences, but I had much to say. LOL)

Monday, August 3, 2015

#MicroBlogMondays: Mom Hair

Hey Humble Readers...

Did you know I shaved my head last winter? Completely bald, in support of one of my best girlfriends, Sira, who was going through chemo treatments. She is, thankfully, in full remission now, and my hair looks more like something someone would actually ask a hairdresser to do for them, rather than just Velcro-like stubble.

I have no regrets about shaving my head, but man oh man I cannot wait for it to grow out. I've been told that short hair suits me and that it's really about time that I cut my hair like most moms do. I, on the other hand, don't like how I look with short hair and am looking forward to when it is long enough to actually do something with. And mostly, I don't like it because when I look in the mirror I don't see myself, I see my bio-mom.

Do you have 'mom-hair'?

This was posted as a part of Mel's #MicroBlogMondays. Click over and check out what others are sharing today.

Sunday, August 2, 2015

Sunday Night Chit Chat: August Long Weekend Edition

Hey Humble Readers...

If this post actually gets published, I will be greatly surprised, as I am ready to chuck my laptop out the window. Blogging should not be this frustrating. I am unable to post any pics right now, as I can't upload anything from my computer or from Picasa. I don't know if it's just a Blogger glitch or if this is one of the myriad of problems I've encountered since my Windows 10 upgrade. Then after doing battle with trying to load a pic, I go ahead and write two thirds of the post, only to accidentally delete the whole thing. Grrr...

Anywho, I fully intended to share a pic of our dinner tonight. Sliced steak with goat cheese polenta, and a sauce made with sautéed peppers and onions, burst grape tomatoes with a little stock and steak sauce. Yummy! It was a first for the wee-lings, as they've never had polenta before, but they both gobbled it up. Of course, Pippin chose not to eat his steak or the peppers in the sauce. I did, however, question my sanity while I was stirring a steaming pot of polenta in this heat. Oh, and the way that Pippin says polenta is too cute... pwowenta.

Here's what I'm:

Reading - I just finished reading "Flights and Chimes and Mysterious Times" by Emma Trevayne. It was a good book, a junior fiction (the same intended audience as Harry Potter) steampunk fantasy. It was mostly a fun read, I just questioned the main character's motivation in the middle of the story. I liked it enough that I'll probably read more in the series, if there are more. Tonight I'm going to be starting a reread of Jurassic Park.

Watching - Nothing in particular at the moment, but I'm planning on watching the Simon Pegg movie "Hector and the Search for Happiness"

Listening to - The fan labouring away attempting to move the humid air around.

Budgeting for - School stuff for Ginny. I'm actually doing not too bad with this so far. I ordered some new school clothes for her from The Children's Place, all of it at least 50% off and free shipping. We got her backpack, pencil case, and lunch bag as a set at a 40% off sale last weekend. All that's really left is the actual school supplies (I'm figuring on about $35-40 for that) and her actual school/bussing fees. I know that bussing is $150 for the year, but I'm not sure what the school will be asking for.

Excited for - The wee-lings will be doing a week of day camp (half-days) in a little over a week. Ginny is doing a camp called Bounce Into Fall, and Pip is doing Dino Tykes. I'm sure they'll have a blast, and I'll get a bunch of time to get some stuff done around the hobbit hole.

Adding to my to do list - Noticed today how terribly dirty my kitchen and living room windows are. Really must clean them.

Grateful For - My Beloved's commitment to making time for the wee-lings, even when he's busy with work and his CGA course stuff. He is in the midst of a very challenging course right now (Taxation), but he still makes time to play and listen to their stories.

Thinking About - The story I was writing earlier today.

Doing This Week - I'm trying to build a new schedule for myself that allows me to get all my should-dos done so that I can allow myself to enjoy the things I want to do. (this topic really needs its own post)

I was so glad when I popped over to Carla's My 1/2 Dozen Daily and saw that she had done a Chit Chat post. I had been thinking about doing one myself, but am just lazy enough to be glad she came up with the questions for this week.

Saturday, August 1, 2015

Hobbit-ish Potpurri: I Need Some Technical Assistance ASAP

Hey Humble Readers...

I have a few little odds and ends to share today. Thought I'd bring back a blast from the past and do a potpourri post.

We have a new bakery in the Shire and I am thrilled to death! You have to understand, if you looked up bakeries in the phone book or online, the only listings were for a couple of commercial bakeries and grocery store bakeries. Seriously, the first listing is for the Sa.fe.way bakery. For a girl who grew up in a city with a plethora of family owned German and other eastern European bakeries, this was a hard adjustment. The bakery we have now is a chain, but it's one I'm familiar with, and they do really great breads. I can get challah! You have no idea how excited I am about this. I know I could bake my own challah, but my bread baking skills aren't that strong.

My MIL was here taking care of the wee-lings while my Beloved and I were in Big-City-to-the-South. I love her, and I appreciate that she's willing to come and stay here, to give us the chance to get away. But, Humble Readers, she cleaned my pantry while she was here. And reorganized it. I'm equally embarrassed and irritated. I can't find anything. She also reorganized my pots & pans cupboard, and cleaned our laundry closet (we have a little room for our stackable washer/dryer). How do I tell her that while I appreciate her taking care of the wee-lings, I would rather she not clean? I know I'm not the greatest housekeeper in the world, but we don't live in filth.

I've updated the menu widget over there on the right. I'm also planning on sharing a few recipes in the next little while. I've been gung-ho on pasta salads this summer and I have a great recipe I can't wait to share with you all.

I'm not terribly happy with Windows 10. I have had to troubleshoot a number of problems, and there's one big one (to me) that I can't seem to get to work right. Since the upgrade, I haven't been able to do the two-finger scroll with my touchpad. It's very frustrating. If any of you are comfortable with uninstalling and reinstalling drivers (what the oh-so-helpful techs from Microsoft suggest as a fix), could you let me know? I need some guidance. (GAH! MY BLOGGER SETTINGS ARE ALL SCREWED UP TOO! I CAN'T REMEMBER HOW TO GET IT TO FIX THE FORMATTING. HELP!!!)

It's been pretty hot the last few days. We seem to be in this pattern of three or four days of rain and cooler temps, followed by three or four days of normal to high temps with high humidity. I think our region is the only part of the province that isn't in a serious drought situation.

The next federal election hasn't officially been called yet (possibly announced tomorrow?), and I'm already sick of all the attack ads. The thing is, I'm really feeling that I'm going to have to pay very close attention to the debates and all the stuff that the party leaders are talking about this time around. That sounds bad, that I'm an uneducated voter, but I have generally voted for the same party for most of my adult life, not because I agreed with all of their platform, but because they seemed like the lesser of three evils. I'm not convinced that another party could do better than the current ruling party, but I'm not enthralled with Stephen Harper. Me = Confused.

It's a long weekend here north of the 49th. In most provinces anyway. While I'm glad for the extra day off for my Beloved, this weekend always seems like a bit of a throw away long weekend. We never really plan anything, and it's usually stupid hot, so all we do is live in front of the fan and try not to sweat on each other.

That's about it for tonight. I'm off to go make supper. Hope you all are having a great weekend. What are you up to?

Update: I think I got the formatting issue sorted. My compose screen doesn't look the same as it used to, but at least the finished product looks better.

Thursday, July 30, 2015

Food, Glorious Food

Howdy Humble Readers,

(This post was meant to post on Wednesday night, but Blogger was being persnickety)

My Beloved and I had a great little trip to the Big-City-to-the-South. 

We really didn't do much.  The only things I had planned, other than my Beloved's mock interview (which was moderately helpful), was where we were going to stay and where we were going to eat.  And knowing my hobbit-ish nature, you have to know that the food was a big part of this little trip.  Please forgive me as I rhapsodise about the wonders we experienced over the last couple of days. 

When we do any travelling, even just down the highway, I have a rule about eating out.  We WILL NOT eat anywhere we could eat at home.  I will not go to a Timmies, or a chain restaurant (unless it's a chain we don't have in the Shire, but even that's a last resort).  I prefer to find locally owned and operated places. 

My Beloved trying to eat the
enormous Booker's Burger
A big help in this regard has been the Food Network Canada show "You Gotta Eat Here" (same format as 'Diners, Drive-ins & Dives' with Guy Fieri).  Over the last few years, we have discovered, with their assistance, some amazing restaurants.  This trip was no exception. 

After my Beloved's interview, we spent some time window shopping in the downtown core before we headed to Booker's BBQ Grill & Crabshack.  From the outside, it's not much.  In fact, I've driven right past it countless time when coming into the downtown area.  It's across the street from what appears to be a very seedy hotel but we are taught to not judge a book by it's cover, right?  Oh my, it was yummy food! 

My burnt ends & fries
with bbq mayo dipping sauce
My Beloved had the Booker's Burger... a burger with smoked brisket, smoked pulled pork, and crispy onion straws... with the yam fries.  It was huge, I wish I would have gotten a picture of it when arrived at the table.  He was moaning and groaning in happiness as he chowed down.  I had the appetizer order of burnt ends (brisket) and a side of fries.  I have to say, the burnt ends were little chunks of smoky, saucy heaven.  We both agreed we'd have to come back some Sunday for their all-you-can eat ribs and crab. 

After lunch we needed some exercise, so we decided on a whim to go to the science center.  It was a fun little jaunt, and I'm definitely looking forward to taking the wee-lings there when they are a bit older.  Later we checked into our hotel and both had a bit of a rest as we had been up extra early. 

The last time we were in Big-City-to-the-South for a getaway, two years ago, we went to Big T's BBQ & Smokehouse, and I fell in love.  I had been daydreaming about their dusty rib ends and deep fried pickles ever since.  I knew that even though we had just had BBQ for lunch there was no way I was going to miss a chance to go to Big T's. 
The dusty rib ends are hiding under the ribs.

I had the two-meat plate... a half-rack of St. Louis ribs, dusty rib ends, mashed taters, and fried green tomatoes.  A heart-attack on a plate, to be sure, but oh so good.  I especially enjoyed the tomatoes, crunchy and tart.  My Beloved had the smoked meatloaf with dirty rice and potato salad, and he dared to say that it was better than my meatloaf... lol.  Then I had a bite, and I whole-heartedly agreed.  As good as Booker's was, I have to confess that Big T's is my favourite. 

That is the biggest slice of meatloaf
I've ever seen!
The last of our food adventures came this morning, at a tiny little breakfast and lunch place called OEB.  The last time we were in Big-City-to-the-South, I had wanted to visit but they were closed.  I'm so glad I put it on our list for this trip.  Their eggs come from their own flock of free run chickens.  Their potatoes are all cooked in duck fat.  Yes, I said duck fat.  And they are AMAZING!  Seriously, if I lived any closer, I would have to eat there once a week.  At least.  And I would die in about 6 months. 
My Beloved had the Croque Madame.  Thick cut sourdough rye toast topped with rosemary ham, roasted tomatoes, some of the amazing potatoes, mozzarella, summer truffles, and brown butter hollandaise.  On top of all that, as if it needed more, were two eggs. They were supposed to be sunny side up, but my Beloved and I share a strong dislike for runny yolks, and the staff at OEB were more than happy to accommodate. 

My Beloved's Croque Madam

I had one of their 'box'd breakfasts'.  Imagine poutine... that wonderfully heart-stopping Canadian combination of French fries, cheese curds, and gravy.  Now, picture that done for breakfast, served up in a Chinese food take out box.  A healthy helping of those crispy-duck-fat-fried-potatoes, topped with cheese curd from Quebec, brown butter hollandaise sauce, crowned with poached eggs (I had scrambled... again, runny yolks make me shiver), micro greens, and I chose the lox and capers.  Oh good gravy, IT WAS THE BEST BREAKFAST I'VE EVER HAD!  I couldn't finish it.  I gave it my best shot, but I was defeated.  Oh, and while my Beloved was paying, they brought him a coffee in a to go cup.  I thought that was a great touch.  All in all, OEB was well worth the 2+ years wait, and we most certainly will go back the next time we are in the Big-City-to-the-South. 

My box'd A-Lott A-Lox
I'm not going to step on the scale for a few days after all that crazy food we ate.  But it was fun, and we have a couple of new go-to places for when we head south. 

The rest of our time away was filled with a lot of time hanging out in our hotel, and a bunch of time window shopping.  We did make a couple of purchases... Ginny's backpack/lunch kit for school, a couple of little treats for the wee-lings, and some 'fancy' tea (David's Tea, Forever Nuts)  for me.  We were going to stop at an antique mall that I've been wanting to check out for a while, but we were both wiped after all that food and walking, so we headed home a bit early.  It was a great chance for us to reconnect, hang out, and just be a couple. 

Monday, July 27, 2015

#MicroblogMondays: Micro-Vacay

Hey Humble Readers...

For the first time in two years, my Beloved and I are heading out for a little getaway.  He has a mock interview, through the CPA program to help improve his interview skills, in the Big-City-to-the-South tomorrow morning.  We'll get to spend the rest of the day, and most of the day Wednesday, just being together without the wee-lings. 

I'm excited to get away, to do some window shopping, and to eat at my favourite restaurant in the Big-City.  Heck, even getting to stay in a hotel is a treat.  We are both leaving our computers and tablets at home, and are going to focus on just being 'us' for a couple of days. 

It's money we probably shouldn't spend, but I see nothing but good coming from a chance to recharge and reconnect. 

This was posted as a part of Mel's #MicroblogMondays.  Click here to learn more, to connect with other microbloggers, and to join in. 

Sunday, July 26, 2015

A Pretty [Stormy] Prairie Weekend

Hey Humble Readers...

I hope you all had a good weekend.  Ours was busy, and definitely eventful.  Here are some views from this afternoon. 

We were at an Ent family reunion campout over the weekend, about a half hour to the south of the Shire.  Our little hobbit clan went out to the campground for the day yesterday, and then came home to sleep.  (In true hobbit fashion, I prefer the comfort of my bed to that of a tent or even a primo camper like my in-laws all have.  I also prefer being able to take a hot shower too.)  And then we went back out again this morning. 

Ginny bundled up in Gramma's
jacket around the campfire
It was great to see so much of my Beloved's family.  There are a lot of my Beloved's cousins, and I only see them once every couple of years, so it's hard to keep everyone straight.  The wee-lings had a great time playing with their cousins (actually their first cousins, once removed), and getting spoiled by all the aunties and uncles. 

Pip with one of his auntie-cousins
at the campfire.
The major excitement came in when a major storm hit on Saturday afternoon.  We were expecting a bit of rain, possibly even some hail if it worked up to a thunderstorm.  At about 3 o'clock, the wind started to howl and suddenly tarps, camper awnings, tablecloths, lawn chairs, food, everything went flying.  We were in full on frantic mode as we were all trying to save a much as we could and run for cover.  Turns out that we were under a tornado warning.  Lovely. 

Lovely rainbow on Saturday night.
When the storm hit hard, and everyone was dashing around lowering awnings, wrangling things that were blowing away, I grabbed the wee-lings and headed for our car.  I knew it was bad when the car was rocking back and forth in the wind, and I couldn't see the vehicles parked on either side of us, less than three feet away.  I kept the wee-lings distracted by playing their favourite song from my playlist (Little Red Wagon by Miranda Lambert) over and over. 

Thankfully, there was no major damage done to any of the campers (one awning took a hit), and even more thankfully no one was hurt.  After a very long 20 minutes, the wind eased a bit and the rain slowed enough for my Beloved to come out from his brother's camper to get us.  We spent another 15 minutes all crammed into the camper before we could head back out and clean up.  And man was it ever a mess.  There were a lot of jokes about finding chip bowls and playing cards two towns away. 

We were blessed with some great sunshine after the storm, and the rest of our time together was pretty tame.  We all got sunburned (me most of all), ate a lot of great food, and had a lot of fun.  The kids stayed up way past their bedtime, got immensely dirty, and had an awesome time.  And so did we. 

Thursday, July 23, 2015

The Wee-lings

Hey Humble Readers,

First and foremost, thank you so much for your comments on yesterday's post.  It's lovely to know that you all are still out there. 

I've been pondering what to write next, but there is so much I'm not sure where to begin.  It's been a long time since you all have seen any pics of my beautiful wee-lings... so maybe we'll start there. 
Ginny and Pip at Vacation Bible School
Ginny is 4 now (4 and a half, Mummy!) and is eagerly anticipating the beginning of kindergarten in the fall.  She still has some of the beautiful curls she had as a baby, but most of her hair is straight now with just a bit of a wave.   She's still sucking her thumb (when she's bored or tired), which drives me batty, but she can also read pretty much anything at a first grade level, which makes me super proud.  Ginny did her first dance class this past spring and enjoyed herself immensely.  When I asked her if she wanted to do dance again or something different in the fall, she said "Sports, Mummy!" very emphatically.  I guess I'm going to be looking into soccer or something for her.  She loves board games (Trouble, Candyland, Reversi/Othello, and my Beloved is teaching her to play chess) and card games (Go Fish, Memory, and Old Maid).  Ginny is very much a Daddy's girl, counting down the days between weekends, when Daddy can spend the whole day with her. 

Wearing Daddy's shoes
 She and I went to her kindergarten orientation back in May and ever since she's been asking when she can go back.  The process of registering her for school was more stressful than I imagined it would be.  Which school district, public or Catholic, or would we go with the semi-private Christian school?  Which offers full day kindergarten?  Which offers bussing for the kindergarten students?  Because there are no schools within walking distance of the hobbit-hole, and because we only have the one vehicle, those last two questions were particularly important.  The big thing with all these questions was that we had to make our decision last December, because registration started the first day back after Christmas break, and it can be very difficult to get into the school of your choice here if you aren't one of the first in line.  Ultimately, we chose a Catholic school, because it does full day kindergarten with bussing (her bus stop will be just across the street from our condo) and she will get a bit of faith-based education. So, on the first Monday of January, there I was in a line outside her school with a bunch of other moms, bundled up to my eyeballs in the winter weather, at 7:00am.  She'll be going to school Wednesdays and Fridays, and alternating Mondays.  How is my wee, sweet honey bear big enough for this???
At the Zoo in May
Pippin turned 3 in May, and he's such a big boy now.  He's a couple of inches shorter than Ginny, but weighs almost the exact same.  Such a solid little guy.  He's doing moderately well with potty training, wearing big boy underwear during the day (when we're at home), and pull ups for naptime and bedtime, although he usually wakes up dry.  He still naps every day, usually 2 hours, but sometimes up to 3.5 hours.  His eczema has eased considerably, with only a few small spots on his wrists and elbows, but he has had horrible seasonal allergies this year. 
Lunch at the Zoo
Pip's speech difficulties linger, but they are much more age appropriate now.  He was in speech therapy for a little over 6 months, and made great improvements.  He talks non-stop now, and most adults can understand the majority of what he says.  His speech pathologist thinks that he'll have most of his letter sounds sorted out by the time he starts school.  And if an adult mimics his way of saying things, he will try to correct them, which is super cute.  Sadly, he has recently become a rather picky eater.  It began with mushrooms making him gag.  Now there isn't a dinnertime that isn't fraught with frustration, bribery, and wheedling.  He'll eat breakfast and lunch no problem, but dinner is always a challenge.  Meat is still hit or miss with him, but he does like most vegetables.  I really think he just gets bored with eating and doesn't want to take the time to finish, so instead says he's full or that he doesn't like it.  Hopefully, it's just a phase. 
Waiting for the parade to start
They do play well together, most of the time.  I have recently found that they do much better when I'm out of the room, which is tricky in our small home, but I am trying to figure out ways to be away from them and still get stuff done.  As much as I'm not sure that I'm ready for Ginny to start school in the fall, I am looking forward to having more one on one time with Pip. 

I was surprised by a surge of baby-fever a few weeks ago, and it struck me that my wee-lings are no longer babies.  I don't really want another child, and it's certainly too late now to be thinking that, but I do miss when they were small enough to be in my arms, when they weren't quite so independent.  Parenting really is a bittersweet thing. 

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Pushing the Reset Button

Hello out there in the blogosphere...

I'm not sure if any of my Humble Readers are still around.  Not likely, given my absurdly long absence, but if you're here, I'd like to say hi and give a small update. 

2014 was not a very good year for this little hobbit clan.  Sadly, 2015 hasn't shown a whole lot of improvement. 

After being laid off in April of 2014, my Beloved is still working at his 'temporary' job with a former employer.  I am thankful that we have this income, but I continue to pray for the right job to open up for him.  He is getting more and more frustrated with his job every day... it only pays him 2/3 of what he should be making given his experience and education, no benefits, and worst of all he feels like he's sacrificing his professional reputation and personal integrity at an alarming regularity.  He's been continuing his CGA/CPA studies, but still has two years to go before he gets his designation.  He has applied and interviewed for a large number of positions, but nothing has panned out thus far.  It is getting harder and harder to believe that there will be something out there for him in the near future. 

I was working nights, for about 10 months, at my old bookstore.  It was only 9pm-1am, four or five days a week, but the toll it took on my health was pretty spectacular.  I have gained back almost all the weight I lost two years ago, my blood pressure was ridiculously high, and worst of all, I felt a serious disconnect from our wee-lings, as I was half asleep most days. 

I left the bookstore for a multitude of reasons, but primarily because I felt like I wasn't being the mummy I should be.  It was a hard decision, and financially it means that my Beloved has to work overtime every week, but my health is slowly improving and I feel like I'm finding my feet again with the wee-lings. 

I have struggled with a lot of things this past year, but in particular I felt that I have lost touch with two things that had been parts of how I defined myself all my life.  I am struggling to read... I've lost that easy ability to lose myself in the written word.  Books have been my solace throughout all the dark times of my life, but I don't have that comfort now.  At least not in the way that I used to.  And I have been struggling to write... anything.  Blog posts (obviously), journaling, and certainly anything resembling a creative outlet have dried up. 

And so, I am taking a tentative step... back into the blogosphere, back to the library, and back into my workout clothes.  I'm hoping I still have a voice (and maybe a reader or two), that I can find some willpower to pull my health off the back burner, and that I can find the courage to sit before a blank page and find the words to fill it. 

To that end, or at least to the end of getting back into the blogosphere, I am contemplating a platform change.  I have been on Blogger for a lot of years, but I am wondering if there is something out there that is user friendly, cheap (as in free, at least for now), and not a huge pain in the butt to transfer to.  Do you have any suggestions?  What has worked for you? 

Hoping to chat with you all again soon.