Friday, December 22, 2006

Merry Christmas...

Just wanted to wish everyone a very Merry Christmas. We finally managed to get our tree up and decorated and my kitchen is now fully functional. Christmas miracles do happen! It's finished just in time for me to prepare Christmas dinner for fourteen.

I haven't finished my Christmas shopping yet (actually, I've barely started) but I still have a few days to squeeze it in before a visit from these guys.

Now all we need is a light dusting of snow and our Christmas will be complete.

Merry Christmas everyone!

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

The Kitchen that ate my life...and my bank account.

Tomorrow is the day that I meet with Rona and the rep from NHB (the kitchen cabinet manufacturer) and work out the financials of my kitchen. I'm going in loaded for bear and hope to recoup some of the extra costs that I have had to incur because of their incompetence.

They are coming to my home tomorrow morning at 9:30 AM to do a "walk-through". I am assuming this is to ensure that I didn't install two kitchens or any extras from all of the bits and pieces that arrived and had to be sent back or exchanged or reordered. No problem. When they arrive they will find a kitchen (almost) identical to the to-scale drawings I provided them at the beginning of this fiasco. The only reason that they are not identical is because, a few of the items that were ordered incorrectly, we finally caved to, and installed anyway rather than wait another six weeks for the proper one to arrive.

Last word from my contractor was that they said they were already a few hundred dollars in the red for the items. This does not break my heart since my extra expenses are in the thousands.

In some ways I just want this to be over. Finish already and get the hell out of my house. But I don't want to give in just to have it over. They cost me money, they caused me stress, they caused an epic inconvienince and there are days, weeks, months that I will never get back.

How do you put a price on not being able to entertain, not being able to throw a birthday party for your child, not being able to accomodate a visit from family members or friends, not being able to sit anywhere in your house except your bed to eat or have a cup of coffee, not having running water or anything to prepare food for weeks. What is the price tag for all of that? (and more) I'm not sure, but I intend to try tomorrow and with any luck I can finally put all of this behind us and start living my life again.

Cross your fingers for me.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Happy Birthday!

Just wanted to wish one of my favourite people on the planet a Happy Birthday! Jules, have a great day and know that you are being held close to our hearts today.

Monday, November 06, 2006

Kitchen Renovation Update...

I have been avoiding the blog lately. The renovation of my kitchen has had me in a blue funk for so long that I decided that I didn't want to burden you with the depressing details. But, alas, progress has finally been made.

A majority of the counters have now been installed. The plumber is due today to hook up my sink and dishwasher. I will finally have running water in my kitchen once again. No more paper plates or washing dishes in the bath tub. Hooray!

The natural gas technician should be coming tomorrow to hook up my stove top and fireplace and to check out my furnace. The roof got shingled. The skylight was replaced. (Not without some drama when they realized that the one they ordered was the wrong size.)

My contractors are off this week to go deer hunting. God, don't you love it when deer hunting takes presidence over finishing a renovation? They should be back on Monday and if all goes well...the hard wood should be finished in the diningroom and hallway, the painting should be finished, the desk area will be installed, the granite counter guy will be back to finish installing the rest of the counters, the light fixtures will be put in place and I can think about moving some of my furniture back in.

And all of this has only taken...about three months. It should have taken six weeks.

The hardwood in the bedrooms will be postponed until later. We will clear and paint each room one at a time and then have the contractor come in for a day to lay the flooring. We have decided to renovate our walkin closet by installing units for storage and god help us, we have already decided to re-do both bathrooms.

We have met with Rona to discuss all of the many, many items that have gone wrong and will negotiate our final payment for all of our cabinets once the kitchen is finished. I have only begun making their lives miserable to compensate for the chaos that we have been forced to live in. I'm not sure if they fully appreciate how calm and reserved I've been to date. Cross your fingers for me and let's hope that all of the delays are now a thing of the past.

The kid will finally get his belated birthday party and if all goes well we plan to hold a house warming party in the first part of December. There will be a gathering of good friends, great food and many martinis. Finally something to really look forward to. Hope to see all of you there.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Happy Birthday...

The kid turned 14 yesterday. Words fail me. He's such an amazing kid. He was telling us at dinner last night that his school consists of people who are his friends and people he hasn't met yet. What a cool view of the world. I'm not sure if I was ever that optimistic. Every year that passes has been a new learning experience that has enriched our lives in countless ways and for the first time ever...I almost wish that we had decided to have more children.

Happy Birthday!


One of my best friends also celebrates her birthday on Oct 17th. The good news is that even with my spotty memory...I will probably never forget her birthday. My thanks to her for being a part of our family's lives.

Happy Birthday to you too babe!

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Kitchen Update...

My kitchen has been delayed for...wait for it...six weeks. The cupboards were incorrect sizes, styles or just plain missing from the order. We have reordered all of the missing / wrong items and it will be a minimum of 4 to 6 weeks to get the right cupboards.

My old kitchen is half out and the new one is about a third in. Neither one of them functions to any degree. The hardwood can't be laid until the old kitchen is completely ripped out. The new kitchen has no counters or sink or running water or oven or stove. So the old one can't come out until the new one functions. So, no hardwood can be laid, the granite counters can't go in until the cupboards are installed. Are you getting the picture?

In the mean time I have two burners on my stove and a coffee maker. Oh, and let's not forget the BBQ. I have no furniture in the first floor of my house except for beds to sleep in. I am storing 60 cases of hardwood and all of my new appliances, which can't be installed, in my basement. The ceiling in my rec room in the basement has been ripped out to accommodate the plumbing and electrical. Which can't be fixed until the sink and dishwasher are installed and functioning. So the basement is also space that is inhabitable. My frustration level and stress levels are in the stratosphere.

So, if you care for me at all...please don't ask how my renovation is going.


Thursday, September 28, 2006


Say it with me now...

"I will never renovate the space I live in again."

"I will never renovate the space I live in again."

" I will never @#$%#&% renovate the space I live in again."

If ever, at some point in the future, I decide that it is a good idea to renovate...please, someone for goodness sake, hit me in the head with a two by four and remind me of the torturous misery I am now enduring.

Nuff said.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006


Put a little magic in your glass.

Abra Cadabra

2 oz. Vodka
½ oz. Peach schnapps
½ oz. Apricot brandy
1 oz. Pineapple juice

Combine ingredients in mixing glass. Add ice, shake to chill and strain into your glass. Garnish with pineapple or peach.

Quick Updates...

My reno is finally starting to look like something. They laid the tile in my kitchen yesterday and will grout it today. I have ceilings and paint has been applied to some walls. The kitchen cupboards will go in once the grout is dry. The granite guy should be by late in the week for final measurements and my counters should go in next week. The appliances will be delivered a week today and the hardwood should go in by mid-week next week. So, apart from the five pounds of drywall dust that I ingest on a daily basis and the fact that for the past two and a half weeks it appeared that a bomb had gone off in my house, things are looking up. ::grin::


Other news: The kid made the cut for his high school soccer team. He is one of only two grade nine students to make the team. There were thirty-five kids that tried out over a period of five days. They only took eighteen. Suffice it to say that his mother is proud.

His first game is today at one of the other local high schools. His coach demands that they all wear a dress shirt and tie on game day. Seeing him dressed up this morning was the highlight of my day. But it revealed the fact that both my son and I need to learn to tie a necktie properly. Hubby is working midnights so was unable to bail us out. Thank goodness for his friend down the street who is an Air Cadet. It wasn't pretty but it was better than tying it around his head as a head band. ::hhmmmm:: I better not mention that to the kid...knowing him, he would take great pleasure in wearing it that way just to the see the kind of reaction he might get. After all, he will say, the coach only said he needed to wear one, not where he had to wear one. Anyone want to take bets on how long it takes him to figure out this slant? And lets not forget, no one said that he had to wear pants. What would we do for entertainment if he weren't here?

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Choices Have Consequences...

"I believe that we are solely responsible for our choices, and we have to accept the consequences of every deed, word, and thought throughout our lifetime".

- Elisabeth Kubler-Ross
Every day, every one of us makes choices.

How we live our lives, where we live our lives, who we share our lives with and how we support ourselves. Big decisions. What to eat for lunch, whether to return a call, how we spend our free time or what to wear to our next meeting. Small decisions.

Every choice has consequences. Some effect us and some effect others. Do we always make the right choice? Hell, no. Do we always weigh all of the mitigating factors when we make a choice? Of course not, we're human.

We make choices and, right or wrong, we need to live with the consequences.

"Actions have consequences...first rule of life. And the second rule is this - you are the only one responsible for your own actions".

- Holly Lisle, Fire In the Mist, 1992
Every choice is influenced by many factors. Obligations, responsibilities, love, lust, joy, hate, sorrow, fear, grief, depression, money. Every decision a person makes has a massive number of effects on our lives and the lives of many others. Do we please ourselves or do we please others? Can we please both? Certainly, we can't please everyone.

I think the simplest choices are the ones we make based on our own wants and needs. The selfish decisions. But once you start including the influences of the other factors like the wants and needs of children, spouses, family, friends, employers and financial obligations and all of the multitude of other "things" that in today's society we are bombarded with, then decisions become anything but simple.

Is a choice that benefits us and hurts others a right choice? Is a choice that benefits others and hurts us a wrong choice? Are the right choices only the ones that do no harm? Are there really any choices that do NO harm?

Some choices have immediate results and some decisions we only come to regret or applaud after months or years. So when do we decide that it is the time to judge a decision? Who decides what the right choice is? Or the wrong choice is? Who will be the judge? The answer,in all honesty, is probably everyone whether you want them to or not and, they do so, ALL of the time.

"It is well, when judging a friend, to remember that he is judging you with the same godlike and superior impartiality".

- Arnold Bennett
Who among us is really fit to judge the validity of another's choice? WE don't have to live with the results of those choices. The truth, in my opinion, is that the only one qualified to judge the choices we make is, in fact, ourselves. The person making the choice is the only one who knows all of the factors that were considered (or discounted) while making the choice. We are the ones that must live with the consequences of our decisions. We are the ones that must look into the mirror each morning and ask ourselves "Can I live with the choices that I have made?".

On the surface, a woman deciding to leave an abusive husband may seem like a no- brainer. But, if leaving him causes a great deal of hardship for her children, then the decision is less clear cut. She needs to weigh the benefits of the decision against the burden of bearing the consequences. After all, what harm is she already doing to her children by staying and allowing him to continue to abuse her? Her choice may simply be the choice of the lesser evil.

Consider the mother that continues to support her child well into their forties. Said child has never held down a job to support themselves, has proven time and time again that they will steal and lie and endanger the lives of innocents by driving drunk. Do we feel sorry for her child, who may have to spend time in prison? "No, of course not" we say. "He must hopefully learn that when you break the law and make bad choices that there is a price to pay". "You choose poorly and you earn the punishment". His choice. His consequence.

And what about the mother? She is financially destitute and has had untold hardships caused by this wayward child. She breaks no laws and only loves her child despite their actions. When she complains about the hardships in her life that she must endure and asks for sympathy, financial support and emotional support. Do we provide it? Or, like the child (child?) she protects do we harden our hearts and say "you must realize the consequences of your actions". She chose to allow him into her home to rob her blind. She chose not to press charges when he stole her car and wrote it off. The hardships that she is enduring are a direct result of the choices that she has made. Is her choice any better than his? Are his choices a result of hers? Do either of them have a right to complain about the results of their choices?

Finally, consider the woman who has sacrificed her dreams for a financially secure home for her children. She has a job that pays her bills. She lives in a decent neighborhood. She takes her children to soccer practice. She encourages her children to pursue their dreams and supports them to achieve them. She still dreams, but with each year that passes the fulfillment of her own dreams becomes less likely. Is her choice more noble than any of the others? Does SHE have the right to complain and rage against the injustice of the world or do we likewise say to her "you are responsible for your own choices". "You must bear the consequences of those decisions". At some point she must have made the conscience decision that the sacrifice of her dreams was a worthwhile price to pay for a secure future for her children. Her choice. Not your choice or my choice. Her choice. Is it the right choice? Maybe, for her, it is.

Even if our choices cause us to endure hardships, the benefits of those choices may very well be worth the hardships, to the one making the decision. We don't need to understand it. We just need to respect it.

"Honor isn't about making the right choices. It's about dealing with the consequences".

- Midori Koto

In my opinion, if a person bears the burden of their choices with dignity and grace, then they are deserving of our respect and admiration. No matter what choices they have made. If we choose to judge them in any manner, then they shouldn't be judged for the validity of their choice but for their ability to live with the results.

All that any of us can hope for is the freedom to make our own choices, the wisdom to learn from our experiences and for people in our lives, who love us enough, to respect our decisions.

"I am blessed with the freedom to make my own choices. I understand that it is my responsibility to bear the consequences of those decisions. And I respect that you, have the right to refuse to listen to, or sympathize with, any complaints I may have about the results of those decisions".

- Martini Goddess

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Canada and the Cost of Education...

Tomorrow the kid has orientation at the High School he will be attending in less than a week. (God, how time flies.) He will get his semester schedule and have time to locate his classrooms so that the first day will be a little less stressful. It would be nice if they could figure out a way to make it less stressful for the parents.

They have informed us that we may purchase text books, gym uniforms, a lock, safety goggles etc. and pay lab fees for the year on this day. But it is strictly cash only. From what I have heard from other parents this will amount to approximately $200.00. God help parents will more than one child. This doesn't include the binders, pens, paper, calculator etc. he will require or the new sneakers and clothes he will need. (He seems to be growing every five minutes. Thirteen and already close to five foot astounds me.)

How do some families manage with these cost? I guess we are fortunate to be able to pay them without too much thought or financial discomfort but I'm sure that this isn't the case with a lot of local families. I don't remember it being anywhere near this expensive when I attended. (Alright, twenty years ago, IS a long time...but still!)

My coworker has a child going into Grade Four and she was saying that the school now sends home a list of the items that each child will require. The list was extensive and included things like "their own box of Kleenex"?!. I kid you not. It cost her almost $75.00 for school supplies for Grade Four!

Where have all our tax dollars gone? Public education is suppose to be accessible for all. But it seems that even that has started to become difficult for lower income families. It seems to me that the education of our children should be a bigger priority. The only way that schools are managing on their current budgets is by passing along costs to families and then making up the difference by fund raising.

All of the schools are on the fund raising band wagon. It seems that every week papers come home trying to get your child to sell some thing. I resent having the schools push my child into becoming a salesman and harassing our extended family and friends for money because you can be damn certain that I won't allow him to go door to door canvassing. It's just not safe to do so anymore. So you hit your family up for the cash by selling chocolate bars, cookie dough, calendars, raffle tickets and magazines and then they in turn do the same to you for their children. So at the end of the day...the parents are still paying these fees.

It concerns me that this is what we have become. But then again...maybe I shouldn't be so surprised. I work in a non-profit in the social services sector and we have been "doing more with less" for years. We are chronically short of cash and these are some of the most vulnerable individuals in society.

So I guess my question remains; Where have all the tax dollars gone and what is more important than education and supports for the disabled? Don't get me started on health care or the elderly...that's a subject for a rant on a different day.

I guess I'm just a little disappointed and disillusioned with my school board, province and country at the moment.

Canada,a great place to live...if you can afford to.

Monday, August 28, 2006

Home Again, Home Again...Where did I put that Axe?

Well, we have arrived home safe and sound after two weeks camping. (One week without children...lovely.) The weather was wonderful, scenery was beautiful and after the first two or three days all of the stress simply left me.

Unfortunately, upon returning home I have now decided to commit fratricide. My contractor, who also happens to be said brother, was suppose to start my renovation while we were away. They had two weeks to rip out a wall and carpeting etc. and we wouldn't be there to complain about the mess. Guess what? He hasn't been yet. I am so angry that I could spit bullets.

He is curiously absent, has not returned phone calls and once I cornered our mother I found out that he is currently "back at the hunting camp four wheeling" with my other brother. Still don't know why he's MIA but there are at least a dozen people now who don't want to be anywhere in the general vicinity when I do manage to catch up with him.

This reno was suppose to start in May, then June, then July, then right after he got back from vacation the second week in August. It should have been finished by the end of August. Now I have doubts that it will be finished by Thanksgiving. I have 18 people coming for thanksgiving dinner...guess I'll just send them all to my brothers house. Now isn't that a great idea!

Note to not renovate. If you don't like where you live...move.

I need a martini or better yet, a pitcher of martinis!!!

Some how I don't think it will help but I'm sure that my brother will need a few after I get through with him.

Friday, August 11, 2006

Out of my Mind...

Who the hell, in their right mind, decides to go on vacation for two weeks, camping, while contractors rip their house apart?

Me, I guess...and actually,I am having serious doubts about my sanity. I have been packing and purging my house and taking the kid to camp every day. Euge started his new job this week and proceeded to put in fifty-eight hours in five days. He's also working from four in the afternoon until four in the I haven't actually seen him awake since Monday.

Work has been a bear. Just trying to get everything done so that you can go on vacation is incredibly stressful. And don't even talk to me about the pile of work that will greet me on my return. Why do we even bother with vacation when it requires so much prep work and then a mountain of stuff to catch up on when you get back?

Then again... the thought of sunshine, martinis, lazy mornings and birds chirping does sound inviting. I guess we need to drive ourselves to the edge of insanity so that we can manage to get a break to reconnect with our sanity. All I can say is that edge is getting way too close for comfort. I just hope that I can hold on until my vacation starts...or they may have to commit me for real.

Tata for now...I'll update you on the demolition and reconstruction of the majority of my house when I get back at the end of the month, hopefully with my sanity once again restored.

Monday, July 31, 2006

Home, Sweet, Home?

Summer is zipping by and I'm still in renovation hell. My house is half packed and trashed. No one is motivated to be concerned about paint on the floor or a spill on the carpet when it's all getting chucked in a couple of weeks. One hopes that their attitudes will change when the new hardwood goes down.

I honestly believe that it's easier to build a new house than to renovate the one you are currently living in. Okay, so you pack stuff where to you put it? A sky hook in the front yard? My basement is full, my garage is full and I still have stuff to get out of my living room/dining room/kitchen so that they can start demolition of the dividing wall. I think we will end up moving the same damn boxes from room to room to room as the contractors finish one area and move to the next. FUN..whooya! (Not!)

On a positive note, I must comment on the fact that my multi-talented husband has once again surprised me. (You figure after twenty years that isn't possible any more.) The man has not had any experience with redecorating or renovations but had no problem laying a sub-floor in our laundry room, painting, touching up trim, cutting and laying ceramic tile and grouting. A very professional job. The man is a wonder. I'm starting to believe there isn't anything he can't do. (And do well, I must admit.)

So, the summer dwindles, the mess will only get worse and I have all of my fingers and toes crossed that all of this is nothing but a bad dream by the end of September. I am SO looking forward to the new kitchen...but honestly, if I had known how much work it was going to be...I probably would have put the damn house on the market and bought a new one. Live and learn.

Thursday, June 29, 2006


We've had a few milestones in the last week. My husband turned forty and strangely enough the earth did not stop spinning. This is a good thing, it means that I may just survive turning forty next year. My son graduated from grade eight and is off to high school in the fall. To make all of this extra special my best friend was visiting from Australia and got to be a part of all of it.

The Mardi Gras Birthday party I threw for my husband's 40th Birthday went well. I'm not sure it was a grand slam but I think he enjoyed himself and I think that everyone that attended did as well. The food was awesome and they served my signature martinis. What could be better?

Note to self, to rethink the music at an event if you expect people to dance and party. I hired a blues / jazz band to play and they were very good. Just not the type of music that people jump up and dance to. It made for great background music and I think that the jazz lovers in the crowd appreciated the accomplished expertise of the band. But the most important thing was that the Birthday Boy (Man, I suppose at forty) enjoyed himself.

This week the kid graduated with stellar marks and received two awards at the graduation ceremony. There he is, thirteen and surrounded by an entire gaggle of girls. I'm not sure if his popularity is due to his extroverted personality or simply due to the fact that, at this age, most of the girls are taller than the boys and at 5'6" he is one of the few that can look them in the eye. Regardless of the cause it is difficult to find him anywhere except in the middle of a female entourage. He's not complaining and due to the fact that he still has the ability to think clearly and logically when surrounded by that much estrogen I'm not complaining yet either. Any day now the hormones will kick in and all logic and common sense will flee my child's brain. Until then I choose to simply enjoy my thoughtful, level-headed, sociable child.

So it's been an eventful's hoping for many more to come, especially if they are all as memorable as these ones were. Thanks to everyone who made the trip to my neck of the woods to be a part of our celebrations.

Monday, June 19, 2006

The Woes of Party Planning...

My darling husband turns forty at the end of the month and I've been planning a party for him. We are having a mini Mardi Gras, complete with a live Blues Band and custom made masks.

The party is this weekend and I still haven't heard from almost half of the invited guests as to who is attending. I had forgotten how frustrating this can be. I need to finalize the menu with the caterer tomorrow and I still don't know if there will be forty or sixty people attending!

The party should be a blast, but I have to say that I will be very glad when it is over.

We are also in the middle of a major renovation of my kitchen/living room/ dining room. Which is why the party will take place in a rented space rather than my home.

Some days...I eat stress for breakfast...but lately, it feels like stress is eating me for dessert at every meal.

Here's a small prayer to the Gods that I survive until the end of the month.

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Update on Life Stranger than Fiction...

I guess someone at "Fairyland Retirement Village" had a moment of clarity and decided that maybe it wasn't the best name for the place. It might have been after they heard the rumors circulating in the area that it was either "owned by" or "a place for"(depending on who you talk to) retired gay people. Leave it to a homophobic moment to make someone change their mind about the name of their company. Then they immediately had a brain fart and decided that "Golden Pond Retirement Home" was a much better choice.

One has to ponder whether they have an ounce of original thought in their tiny little minds. Everyone (of an age) remembers the movie "On Golden Pond". But what you need to appreciate about this place is...

a) they do have a pond, but it's completely enclosed by a four foot high chain-link fence. We wouldn't want any of the residents to wander and accidentally drown. The pond is an oval about half the size of a skating rink. (Let's just call it "Mosquito Haven" or "Boggy Oversized Puddle". It does not remind you in any way of the vistas seen in the movie.

b)there is another retirement home in the area called the "Golden Plow" (don't ask me...I don't know what genius came up with that one either) and they do run the risk having people confuse the two.

c)and lastly, I don't know about you, but when I hear the words"Golden Pond" in relation to a residence for the elderly the only image that comes to mind is a large puddle of urine. Sick, insensitive and politically incorrect but none the less true.

Maybe they should call it "Incarcerated Pond" or "Pond View But Don't Touch". I don't know why they couldn't come up with something a little more sensible and appealing like "Fairview Retirement Home". Hey it's not very original... but I still think it's an improvement over anything they have come up with so far.

The only thing I know for sure is that just about anything is better than the original "Fairyland" but the do seem to pushing the envelop to see what they can come up with that is equally atrocious.

Monday, May 29, 2006

Deep Thoughts...

I'm currently reading a book by Barbara Coloroso called "Kids are worth it!". One of my Board members, who is a retired principle, recommended it to me. She is the international guru on parenting and the person that educators reference when they talk about teaching children. She started her life as a Franciscan nun so she brings a unique perspective to the subject. She is now married with three children and I'm finding it riveting.

She feels that we should stop teaching our children "what" to think and start teaching them "how"to think. As a parent it makes me pause to consider "what or how am I teaching my child?" and what do "I" believe?

The subject interested me enough, that even with my incredibly busy schedule, I decided to put her book down and start with something that establishes a bit more of a foundation on the subject. So, I have starting researching philosophy. Once I have the basics I plan to pick up where I left off with her book and then carry on with the others she has written. (She has three.)

It's funny how sometimes you reach a point in your life where you start to ask yourself. "Who am I?", "What do I stand for?" and "What do I believe?". If you know me at know that I planned, at one point in my life, on becoming a nun. Maybe that's why her book has struck a chord with me? But it has also got me thinking about my beliefs and organized religion as well.

It is unlikely that I will re-embrace my Roman Catholic upbringing but it makes me want to quantify what I believe and find out if there is an organization or religious order that has similar beliefs. So after building a foundation in general philosophy I plan to move on to philosophy of Eastern and Western Religion.

For those interested in these topics...I'll keep you posted. For those who aren''ve had fair warning.

Thursday, May 18, 2006

Wake up Call...

For the past few weeks I have been working and doing little else. I have logged more than 100 hours in each of the last few pay periods. It's amazing how oblivious you become to the world at large. Your entire focus narrows to trying to get enough sleep to deal effectively with whatever the following day throws your way.

My birthday and my sixteenth wedding anniversary came and went, as did Mother's day. Just another day with too little sleep.

Then there are events that occur that bring you back to yourself. Make you aware once again that your life is spilling like sand between your fingers without you even realizing it.

Today I have the unhappy duty of taking my lovely, adorable, sweet-tempered, seventeen year old dog to the vet. She hasn't been well for awhile. We knew the time was coming. I don't expect to bring her home.

No matter how you try to prepare yourself for events like this. There truly is no way to really be ready. But it's events like this that wake you up to the fact that there is a lot more to life than work. Even if you work for a noble cause in the non-profit sector you need to remember that there are family, friends and, yes, pets that depend on you. They need your time and attention as well.

I look back and I can't remember a time that our little Ducky dog was not a part our family. She can be seen is in our wedding pictures, our son's baby pictures and was present at every important event that has occurred in our lives. Our son has never know life with out her. She may only be "a dog" in some people's eyes. But for us it may mean the loss of part of our family., as I whisper a prayer for my beloved Ducky, I will promise to remember to hug my kid, to say "I love you" to my mom, to call my dad to just ask "how are your doing?", to invite my friends to dinner more often, to pet my cats, to really look at and admire my garden, to listen to the birds in the back yard and to hold on tight to my hubby while I cry.

All things come to an end...the trick is remembering to really appreciate the important things while you have them.

Friday, May 12, 2006

Tent Trailer Trash: The Season Begins...

The weather has been great lately and if you know me at just know that I've been bugging my hubby to set up the tent trailer in the back yard. I prefer to sleep in the tent trailer when I have a choice. Hence the nickname "Tent Trailer Trash".

We are planning to go camping at Silver Lake Provincial Park for the May long weekend. The kid has decided to stay at Grandma's a go to Riverfest with his friends. I just hope that he doesn't run his Grandma ragged driving him all over the countryside.

So I have the unexpected bonus of a long weekend alone with my hubby of sixteen years. COOL! Happy Victoria Day!

Friday, April 28, 2006

More Recipes...

I haven't perfected these yet...but they sound interesting. I'll let you know if they need to be adjusted once they have been through a more thorough taste testing.

Honey Dew Martini
1.25 oz Vodka
.25 oz Melon Liqueur
.25 oz Triple Sec

Shake with ice, strain into a glass and garnish with melon.

Caesar Martini
1 oz Vodka
4 oz Clamato
1 Dash of Tabasco
1 Dash of Worchester
Ground Black Pepper

Rim the martini glass with celery salt and garnish with celery greens.

Sweet Tart Martini
1 oz Melon Liqueur
.75 oz Apple Vodka
.5 oz Lime Cordial
.5 oz Cranberry Juice

Throw in a few blueberries and serve with a small dish of "Sweet-Tart" candies.

Spring Fling Martini

1 oz Vodka
1 oz Peach Schnapps
1 oz Cranberry Juice

Garnish with mandarin orange slices or peach slice.

Experiment and enjoy!

Thursday, April 27, 2006

Administrative Professional's Day...

Wednesday, April 26, 2006 was Administrative Professional's Day. My Executive Director presented me with a bouquet of orchids, a gift card for Chapters and a thank you card "for all of the support" that I provide. Our Manager of Support Services presented me with a hot coffee and a muffin and her verbal appreciation of my contribution to our agency.

Now...was that really all that difficult? One day, to take the time to say "hey...thanks, we appreciate your hard work". One day, to enjoy some well earned appreciation for all that we do. I have been fortunate to work with people who realize that it's important to take the time to say thank you. But that is not always the case with the population at large. Now, I have some mixed feelings about this day. It use to be called Secretary's Day. And just so we're clear..."I AM NOT A SECRETARY!".

I heard the announcer on the local radio station poking fun at this day no less than half a dozen times. He maginalized my profession by saying "hey, Administrative's just a fancy name for a Secretary. After all it's still the chick that answers the phone. Right?".

I SO take offence to this attitude. I will have you know that: a) answering phones is less than 1% of my job b) I am not a receptionist c) I do not get coffee c) my duties include, tech support (hardware and software), network administrator, accounts payable, accounts receivable, payroll, database management, facility management, project coordination, Employer's Certified Health & Safety Rep, Health & Safety Accident Investigation & Inspections, Health & Safety research and training, audit preparation, budget development and yes, I prepare correspondence too. Then, there are all the duties that fall under the "and other duties as assigned" category of my job. Which, basically, includes all the crap no one else will do.

When I hear people belittle my profession with comments like "Domestic Engineers...still vacuum your house and prepared your meals, it's just a fancy name for Housewives after all. So why not call Administrative Professionals what they are, Secretaries?". I'll tell you why. Because we would RIOT. We are tired of being the beasts of burden who do most of the work and get none of the credit. Actually, in some cases, I've taken the blame for something that was not my fault, just so that my boss was not portray in an unflattering light.

We perform these duties unflinchingly, we know our responsibility is to keep things running smoothly and to make our Executives look good. And for the most part we accept our role as "the person behind the curtain" and we carry on. But for one day a year...I would appreciate it... if I could actually enjoy the acknowledgement of my dedication and hard work without some chauvinistic, sarcastic, blithering idiot disparaging my profession.

Enough said. I need a martini!

Monday, April 24, 2006

Life, Stranger than Fiction...

My mother-in-law currently resides in a retirement home. It's a small private home that is located in the countryside. It use to be owned by the Dorlands and was called Dorland House. A nice strong, quiet name. It was recently sold to new owners and we were informed of the new name. Wait for it... we now make cheques payable to "Fairyland Retirement Village". I kid you not, after all who could make this shit up.

My mother-in-law is not a retired pixie, (maybe a retired witch, but that's a whole different blog) she does not frolic in the woods with imps, fairies and wood elves. Who in their right mind calls a retirement home "Fairyland"? What kind of reaction is she to expect when she informs people that she now lives in Fairyland? She has been diagnosed with dementia (among her other ailments), did we really need to complicate any hospital visit by having to explain to health care professionals that she really does live in Fairyland?

File this one under stupid moments and the thoughtless abuse of the elderly. Some days you just have to shake your head and wonder what the hell they were thinking.

Friday, April 21, 2006

Motherhood Moments...

My thirteen year old son recently had his grade eight graduation photos taken. Now, I realize that kids grow up...but I think it's the small milestones that occur that remind us just how quickly it's happening.

In preparation for this auspicious event we discussed what he would wear and decided that his hair needed to be addressed. So, off we go to the hairdresser to make the child (pardon me, young man) presentable.

Now, I'm an army as far as I'm concerned, if a man's hair is touching his collar, it's time for a haircut. I raised an opinionated, independent, free-thinking, confident child. (Who, strangely enough, often agrees with his opinionated, mother.) But on this topic he was adamant that he wanted to grow his hair longer. Which, really is fine by me. After all... it's just hair. There could be a lot more destructive ways for him to rebel or assert his independence. So the hairdresser just "cleaned it up a little" and we put in some blond highlights.

Boys colouring their hair. This must be a sign of the times because when I was his age, boys did not colour their hair. (Hell, I'm not sure that girls my age coloured their hair.) Now in days, it seems very commonplace. It made for a kind of surreal mother - son bonding moment. I always figured that this would be the type of thing that I would do with a daughter. I never envisioned it to be something that I did with my son. Not that I'm complaining, he is my one and only and I hope that I have raised him not to have preconceived ideas about gender roles. But it's kind of like getting an unexpected having a chocolate craving and seeing a box of chocolates, and just knowing that it's empty, preparing yourself for opening it, and seeing that it's empty, and then looking inside to be surprised that it's a beautiful, brimming, full box.

The morning of the photos he asked for my help blow drying his hair. Now, I know that these type of requests are going to be few and far between, so I enjoyed every moment of it while it lasted. He wore one of his dressy, button down shirts and his father's tie and as I gazed at him, I realized...that he's grown another inch and is now at least four inches taller than me. Funny how you don't notice this on a daily basis.

He's growing up. I keep waiting for the angry, disgruntled, teenager to emerge from my sensitive, considerate child and it hasn't happened...yet. I know, I know, my days are numbered. But a mother has to hope that the teenage angst that infects the greater population will elude her son. Maybe I will be one of the lucky ones. Maybe he will remain the sweet, abiding person with the quick laugh and the sharp wit, while the others around him cave to peer pressure, trend and rebellion. And maybe.....pigs will fly loop-dee-loops over the grand canyon next week. I know it's unlikely...but a mothers still got to hold on to that small scrap of hope.

Do me a favour and keep an eye out for those pigs.

Thursday, April 20, 2006

Too True...

I saw this poem and just had to share...

I like to have a martini

Two at the very most

At three I'm under the table

At four I'm under the host.

- Dorothy Parker

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Links for the Martini Lover...

For glasses, garnish, martini sets, gift packs, reviews and a several databases of recipes.





Tuesday, April 18, 2006

The Martini Experience...

I sometimes wonder why I have become so enamoured with martinis. It's a fairly new obsession but there is just so much about the whole experience that I enjoy.

It isn't just the drink. (Although taste does matter.) It's about the ritual.

There is something compelling about preparing a martini. The chilled glass, the presentation, the preparation, the ingredients and let's not forget the garnish. I use to think that garnish was simply that horrible Maraschino cherry that you had to fish out of your drink before it became contaminated. But now I understand that two or three fresh raspberries or a little lemon zest floating in your lovely, chilled martini glass, actually does make it taste better. A feast for the eyes, a cool kiss on the lips and a decadent experience for the palate.

My hunny recently took me to a small Inn in Merrickville. They, oddly enough, had a nice selection of martinis on their bar menu. I haven't tried them all yet, (I need to get a few more ingredients first.) but thought that I would pass on a few of them.

Red Apple Martini

1 oz of Apple Vodka
1 oz of Apple Liqueur
1 oz of Cranberry Juice

Shake with ice, then strain into a martini glass. Float a thin slice of apple on top and enjoy.

This next one is for my lovely transplanted Jules. A taste of Canada, eh.

Maple Martini

1.5 oz of Vodka
1 Tbsp of Maple Syrup
Splash of Soda

If you have maple sugar (or crushed maple sugar candies), then when you prepare the glass, rub the rim with a little maple syrup and then roll the edge in the maple sugar. MMmmmmm yummy and pretty too. Shake with ice and pour into our pretty glass.

Moon Dust Martini

1 oz of Vodka
1 oz of Goldschlager

Rim the glass with a mixture of brown sugar and cinnamon. Shake with ice and strain into a martini glass. Cinnamon hearts might work as a garnish in this too, but I haven't tried that yet. I'm not sure if the colour on the hearts would bleed into the drink and whether that would be a bad thing or not. (maybe it would be good, we could call it a Bleeding Heart Martini.)

It's all about experimentation. The next one I plan to try is a SoHo Martini, but I need some SoHo Lychee Liqueur first. I'll let you know how it turns out.

Thursday, April 06, 2006

Reflecting on Birthdays...

I recently celebrated my birthday and I've decided that the older we get the more childlike we become. When you are a's all about instant gratification. The universe as we knew it revolved around us and our needs and our wants.

Then as we matured and became more sophisticated we learned to be more giving. This is especially true if you become a parent. Suddenly our life and our universe revolved around another human being. Our child or even our partner to some degree becomes a new focus. The universe as we know it shifts.

Then as the child or children grow (and in some cases, as your partner matures and grows up) and their immediate needs become less demanding, I think that our universe changes focus once again. (You have my sympathies if you have had to raise your partner, sometimes they never grow up.)

We age, and reflect back on our lives, we evaluate our accomplishments and reassess our regrets and we discover that we care less and less about fitting in, making good impressions or justifying our life to anyone. We care more about "doing" the things that we wanted to accomplish in our lives and less about "what the neighbours might think".

I don't worry, any more, about whether or not people will understand why I want to do the things that I do, and worry more about getting them done in the time I have left on this planet. This, I think is the how we revert back to our childhood days. Children don't justify why they want the things they want, or why they want to do things that they do. They get excited about life and living and they have fun.

So I have finally reached the age that I have officially embraced the child within me. My universe has changed orbit once again and I have become the centre of my own universe. It's my birthday...and, to quote Kat, "After all, at the end of the day, it's all about me".

So...if I'm going to be the centre of my own universe...I might as well christen myuself goddess. Happy Birthday to me!

Friday, March 31, 2006

Raspberry Cosmopolitans - Recipe

Raspberry Cosmos

Personally I call these Nectar of the Gods (or Goddess)

In a shaker - ice, half full
2 oz - Raspberry Absolute
1 oz - Triple Sec
1 oz - Lime Cordial
4 to 6 oz of Ocean Spray Rasberry/Cranberry Juice

Rub the rims of two glasses with fresh lime and squeeze a little into the shaker. Shake and pour into glasses. Drop in a couple of fresh raspberries and enjoy!