Saturday, May 31, 2008

Smile of the Day

We've had a lot of rain in the last week. Now the sun has been out for a few days, the grass is green, the trees are in full leaf and spring flowers are everywhere. I think my favourites are the flowering ornamental plum trees, the blooms of which can range from pale pink to dark raspberry in colour.

Today in my travels I found myself alone in Moby the van, barrelling down the highway in the sunshine under a startlingly blue sky with the radio cranked and singing along to a song I remembered from when I was a teenager.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Book Review #5

I literally just finished reading the book A Fraction of the Whole by Steve Toltz less than five minutes ago. It's a difficult book to describe. The back cover calls it "An irreverent comic adventure spanning three continents, about a father and son against each other and against the world."

It is philosophical, intellectual, irreverent, hilarious, and questions many of the ideals society holds dear. This is Australian Steve Toltz's first novel and I'm sure I'm not alone in hoping there are more to come. I shall leave you with a couple of quotes:

"...like most travelers, we had brought our preconceived notions with us on the journey and did not check them, as we should have, into immigration as hazardous materials best suited for quarantine."

and:

"I tried to go to sleep, and when I couldn't go there, I tried to get sleep to come to me. That didn't work either."

Friday, May 23, 2008

Right Foot, Right Foot, Right Foot, Right Foot, ...

Well, OK, the police aren't yet saying if the fourth foot found is a right foot. It was, however, found while still inside a running shoe, just like the other three feet found within the last year or so. This is getting weirder and weirder.

If you have no idea what I'm talking about, the news article here explains that a severed human foot was found washed up on Canada's west coast, the fourth so far. I commented back in February about this bizarre situation when the third right foot was found. All feet were male, all were found still inside a running shoe, the first two were size 12, and the first three were right feet. I wonder if the latest one will continue the pattern.

UPDATE: Yes, the fourth foot found IS a right foot, still no word on if it was a size 12. The police, however, have stated that none of the feet have been "forcibly severed". Translation: each foot has separated from its body without human intervention, likely from decomposition and wave action while in the ocean. OK, but how did those four corpses wind up in the ocean in the first place? Shipwrecks? Misadventure? Murder?

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Interesting Things

In order to get to know some of my new coworkers better, I joined in a river pathway clean-up project in my city as part of my new company's team. It was fun: a couple of hours picking up garbage and recyclables on a beautiful sunny day, followed by a barbecue and prizes. I didn't win a prize (I rarely do, Lady Luck and I are not well-acquainted) but I enjoyed the sunshine and making some new friends.

I didn't win the "most interesting find" unofficial competition, but my odd find did make me laugh. It was a pair of men's black boxer shorts printed with little red hearts. I also found 41 cents in change.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

I Just Learned Something Else

I learned that a wee little spider (maybe 1 cm across, toe to toe, if spiders had toes, which I know they don't, but you know what I mean) is capable of withstanding a speed of 75 km/hr while perched on a windshield without slipping, sliding, or going to that great big spiderweb in the sky. That little fella just hunkered down and hung on. I wondered if the force of the wind had killed him, but upon returning to a stop he perked right up and scurried across my windshield and down the side of Moby (my big white whale of a van).

I wish I could find winter boots that grip the ice the same way those little spider legs gripped the glass.

Monday, May 19, 2008

I Just Learned Something

Note to self: when the cat on your lap is the one who likes to headbutt you when she wants a cuddle, do NOT attempt to take a sip of hot coffee.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Excuse Me While I Check My Bananas

Last week at the library, I had a telephone call at the reference desk from a lovely elderly lady. Her grandson had signed her up for a computer class and she was calling to confirm the date and time. She told me that this same grandson had gotten her all set up at home with a computer and internet connection and had shown her the basics, but he thought our computer class on setting up an email account would be beneficial.

At this point I was having trouble hearing the woman over the alarm bells going off in my head. I asked her a few more questions to determine how much she knew about computers and the internet. This sweet lady had difficulty understanding me until I realized that she thought the words "internet" and "email" were interchangeable.

In an attempt to help her understand the difference, I made the following analogy. "A banana is a fruit, but not all fruits are bananas. In the same way, email is a part of the internet, but there's more to the internet than just email." She laughed and laughed, had me repeat it so she could write it down, then thanked me and hung up. Damn! I had wanted to tell her that before she took our computer class on email, I think she should take one we offer for computer neophytes called "Eek, a Mouse!"

It's All About Me

Last night I decided to have for supper all the things I didn't usually make in the past because my ex didn't like them. Here's the menu:

Sole fillets sauteed in butter and seasonings
Ravioli with a broccoli and white cheddar filling
Lemon dill sauce (for both of the above)
garden salad with sliced tomatoes
Red wine (the last of the Tarapaca Chilean Cabernet Sauvignon)

I ate the above while sitting on my tiny back deck at my little bistro table, enjoying the beautiful warm evening. My ex doesn't like fish, cooked broccoli, dill, tomatoes, wine or eating outside. Funny how we can go for years doing things to please others and never giving consideration to pleasing ourselves.

I had a lovely meal, a lovely evening, and I'm definitely going to do something like this again!


Update: I've mowed and watered the lawn and am now caught up on outdoor chores. Next: vacuuming and dusting... tomorrow.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Finding Joy in Small Accomplishments

At lunchtime today, after the kids left to be with their dad for the weekend, I tackled one of the two jobs that used to be my spouse's: I took the Christmas lights down off the eaves of the house. Tomorrow I will take on the second job: I shall mow the lawn.

(For those of you who think it's odd to still have the Christmas lights up in May: where I live, there is often still a small patch of ice on the grass in the shade by my front door well into April. That ice is right where the ladder needs to be placed.)

I'm having a hard time thinking of any other household jobs that used to be his that I will now have to do for myself. Being on my own (so far!) hasn't been as difficult as I had expected.

It has been a lovely, peaceful day. I planted flowers in pots along my driveway, watered the flowerbeds, read a bit of my book, re-potted the tiny tomato plant my youngest son gave me for Mother's Day last weekend, and I plan to have my supper on my tiny back deck at my little bistro table with a glass of red wine. The temperature is +29 Celsius (84 F for any Americans out there) - warmer than usual for our spring. That's more of a summer temperature and I'm loving every minute of it.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Mother's Day Dinner: Yum

The kids helped tidy the house while I prepared a Mother's Day supper for my parents. The menu:

Homemade multi-grain buns
Spinach salad with grapes, red onion and red pepper
Steamed fresh green beans
Chicken breasts and thighs baked in a homemade tomato sauce topped with two kinds of cheese
Sweet potato casserole topped with pecans

And for dessert:

Homemade coconut fudge brownies
Homemade vanilla ice cream
Sliced fresh strawberries

Accompanied by:

Tarapaca Gran Reserva Cabernet Sauvignon from Chile
Coffee made from freshly ground beans

Everything came together beautifully and turned out well. The only slight hiccup was when one of my boys reached for a bun at the wrong time, bumping Grammy's hand as she was serving the sweet potato casserole. He got some of the very hot sweet potato on his hand but thankfully was only mildly burned. A couple of minutes under the cold water tap followed by a liberal smearing of goo from the aloe vera plant and his hand had only a small red spot to mark the incident.

Friday, May 9, 2008

Overheard

I overheard the following at the local swimming pool where a toddler sat with his mother, watching his daddy and older sister in a parented swimming class. The child had trouble pronouncing his "esses" and I knew what he meant, but it sounded so funny to hear him say:

"I want wimmin!"

Sunday, May 4, 2008

Neglect

I've been neglecting this blog lately. I'll try to be better. I wanted this blog to be about things that bring a smile to my face, not sad stuff. Unfortunately, it has been a sad week.

I'm now a single parent. My husband and I have separated and will be sharing custody. It's not what I wanted, but I didn't have a choice. We're determined to remain friendly for the kids' sakes, and to keep their best interests as our priority.

In order to ease the financial stress, I've taken a full-time job. I'll still work a shift every week or two at the library, but I'll now be working 40 hours a week at a regular day job so that I have my weekends and evenings free to be with the kids.

I'm very lucky to have a good group of supportive friends and my parents just a short drive away. In the past I've always prided myself on my self-sufficiency but I'm going to have to learn to ask for help when I need it.