Tuesday, December 29, 2009
I thought I'd take a picture of the girls in the aprons, but in my fog-brain state, I forgot that my camera was set to 'video' instead of regular picture.
But the video is likely better anyway because of GG's antics. I had just told her to make a 'big smile' and she did her best:
Don't they look cute (the girls, I mean -- not the aprons!)
Several weeks ago, I received this piece on the 'History of Aprons'. It made me smile (or as GG says, "smyyyyyelll") too...
I don't think our kids know what an apron is.
The principal use of Grandma's apron was to protect the dress underneath, but along with that,
it served as a potholder for removing hot pans from the oven.
It was wonderful for drying children's tears, and on occasion
was even used for cleaning out dirty ears.
From the chicken coop, the apron was used for carrying eggs,
fussy chicks, and sometimes half-hatched eggs
to be finished in the warming oven.
When company came,
those aprons were ideal hiding places for shy kids.
And when the weather was cold, grandma wrapped it around her arms.
Those big old aprons wiped many a perspiring brow,
bent over the hot wood stove.
Chips and kindling wood were brought into the kitchen in that apron.
From the garden, it carried all sorts of vegetables.
After the peas had been shelled, it carried out the hulls.
In the fall, the apron was used to bring in apples
that had fallen from the trees.
When unexpected company drove up the road,
it was surprising how much furniture that old apron could dust
in a matter of seconds.
When dinner was ready, Grandma walked out onto the porch,
waved her apron, and the men knew it was time
to come in from the fields to dinner
It will be a long time before someone invents something
that will replace that "old-time apron" that served so many purposes.
Tuesday, December 15, 2009
Some days, I wish I had six teenagers. Not the 'hang-out-at-the-mall' kind, but the hardworking, energetic, helpful kind. You know -- like John-Boy Walton.
Alas, we're empty-nesters, and the best I have is my travelling cat (click here for that story) and my faithful and most intelligent Border Collie, Shilo. I say, "intelligent," because she knows to come when I call, "Treats, treats!"
Her intelligence is crucial, if I'm to get help with putting my tree up. Click on this video to see the possibilities.
Ah, yes, I believe there's hope.
"Come on, Shilo. Have I got a job for you. Come on, pup. Treats...treats."
I hope you're enjoying the Christmas preparations at your home. And if I don't get back to blogging before then, I hope you have a very, merry Christmas. And to all a good night.
"G'night Shilo-boy -- oops, I mean Shilo-girl."
Wednesday, December 2, 2009
This year I saw a decorated Christmas tree while I was on my way to buy Halloween treats. What, did they think we'd forget?
I promise I'll remember. But could we just wait at least until November?
Today, I did the first of my Christmas shopping. Well, that's not really true. So far, I've bought our little grandaughter's present three times. The trouble is, Grandma Joey can't stand the excitement, and GG gets to open the gift. Then it's back to the store for another. So far, she's opened two. I can't give her the last one until Christmas, because I've run out of ideas.
But today, in the store, I was shopping for others.
I'm not a very good shopper -- I mean, I don't get to town often, and I have no idea what the stores have. Today I saw a lot (I mean A LOT!) of Hannah Montana. What happened? Everywhere I turned, it was some brand name or other. And not just on the toys -- t-shirts, pyjamas, socks, and even underwear, all branded.
Are we all so idea-bankrupt that we can't give 'brandless' gifts? Are we so easily manipulated that this advertising strategy works?
If I'm going to be successful in my plan to overthrow the industry, I'd better get busy making some gifts. Ooops, maybe I should have gotten started back in October when I saw that first Christmas tree!
Thursday, October 22, 2009
Like you, I try to present a respectable image. I mean, I want people to see me as a responsible citizen who does what’s right and moral. I smile and greet those I know, and they do the same when they see me.
For this reason, I didn’t see anything amiss when I met my neighbours at the corner on Monday. We waved to each other, and then drove on.
You know that old Fred Penner song, “The Cat Came Back”? Well I’m singing it this way today:
The cat came back – ♪ ♫ the very next day.
Oh the cat came back -- (thanks to our neighbour)
I’ve mentioned it before…maybe several times…I don’t get off this place very often.
Well, apparently my cat feels the same way. I often catch him sneaking into a car if the door is open for any length of time. However, I didn’t realize that he had devised another way of escaping the isolation at the ‘end of the road.’
Yesterday, my neighbour drove into the yard while I was out calling for the cat. I hadn’t seen him (the cat) for a couple of days – and was beginning to worry about the coyote that I’d seen skulking around.
But lo and behold, my neighbour brought the cat with him.
“I’m really surprised he’d go that far,” I exclaimed. “That’s quite a walk -- over two miles.”
He explained that the cat hadn't walked -- he hitched a ride. Our neighbours (the ones I met at the corner)
Their waving was more than just being neighbourly – it was,
(So much for my attempt at a ‘respectable/responsible’ image.)
Apparently the cat has very sharp claws and held on for two miles. After that, he’d had enough and put himself up for adoption at the neighbours’ place.
I’m so glad that
The cat came back (thanks to our neighbour) ♪ ♫
Yes the cat came back and I hope that he's back to stay.♫ ♪
Friday, October 9, 2009
Well, I can ‘awfulize’ a lot of things in order to get the treat, and this week my annual medical checkup qualified. While I was still in ‘that position’ in the Doc’s office, I contemplated my ‘treat’.
Maybe a specialty coffee with extra whipped topping…
What about lunch out?...
Maybe a new book (to add to my already mountainous collection of those yet unread!)
After telling my Doc how much I hate ‘that position’ and all that it entails, she humoured me with a story that one of her colleagues decided to give a prize to the first woman who claimed to enjoy that appointment.
Being the most competitive person I know, I asked what the prize was.
Doc didn’t know.
“It would have to be pretty good,” I thought, “Considering I get my own prize when it’s over anyway.”
I decided to forego the fancy coffee and get groceries instead. But when I got to the supermarket, I went straight to the book aisle – just to see….
I’m feeling just a little older today (in part due to the annual checkup reminder) and partly due to my bad eyes. I guess I should have put ‘bifocals’ on my list of possible treats, because when I started looking at the books, the first title to catch my eye was, Grits For All Occasions.
What? Do people really serve ‘grits’ for company? Maybe this is the latest ‘haute cuisine’ and I haven’t heard of it way out here at the end of the road.
“I’ll have to look for grits in the cereal aisle,” I thought, “I can’t be the only one who isn’t up on the latest culinary fad.”
But no, I looked more closely. The title was actually, Gifts For All Occasions. I started to laugh out loud at the thought of serving ‘grits’ to my next dinner guest. Sounds really yummy, don’t you think?
But my laughter stopped when other customers looked at me with grimaced faces and pursed lips, and started herding their children in the opposite direction.
On I went, to see another title. By this time, I put my glasses on to read, How the Scots Created Canada, and I started to laugh again. I’ve always been proud of my Scottish heritage, but I had no idea that my ancestors played such a major role in this great country!
In the end, I didn’t buy any books, but it was a treat to browse, just the same. I’m usually in such a hurry to get in and out and back to my work at the end of the road.
The next time you need a treat, maybe some time browsing book titles will be just the ticket. You never know what will bring a smile, chuckle, or a major giggle-fit.
And if you see a middle-aged woman giggling, relax. She might be fresh from the Doc’s office in need of a good old belly-laugh.
Monday, August 17, 2009
Not so showey.
How does your garden grow?
With this much rain
And forecast sun...
Maybe more will come up in the row?
Here it is past the middle of August, and I’m still waiting for some of my sweet peas to poke through the ground.
Ever the optimist, I guess…
The ones that came early are finally starting to bloom.
And, joy of joys, the lavatera is blooming, too.
Of course there is always an abundance of that. So far, I’ve used it in stir fries, salad, casseroles and muffins.
Have you ever noticed how hard it is to give zucchini away? Everyone has lots of their own.
Several years ago, I enjoyed a 4-H speech on this wondrous vegetable. The speaker had several strategies for getting rid of zucchini. The only one I recall is, “Take it to church and after the service starts, put one in every vehicle. This works best if you attend a church with a large, trusting congregation. Large because you’ll need a lot of cars – Trusting because they have to leave the cars unlocked.”
Hmmm…might have to try that next weekend….
In the meanwhile, I hope your summer is going well…
By the way, how are you fixed for zucchini? What church did you say you attend?
Wednesday, August 5, 2009
If you share this type of learning disability (the utter disregard for all the behaviourist theories ever written), read on…
This one started with a quick trip to a nearby city. He had to get machinery parts; I had a few errands to run, and offered to pick up a shirt for him to wear to a wedding the next day.
“What size should I buy?” I questioned.
He responded without hesitation, “Extra Large Tall.”
I didn’t believe him. “I’m sure it’s not ‘Tall’. The sleeves would be too long.”
He assured me that he knew what size he last purchased.
I assured him I would have noticed when pressing his shirts.
As certain as I was, I took him up in his offer of, “Betcha”.
“How much do you have?” he queried.
“Five bucks,” was my response. (I would really enjoy a Caramel Macchiato while at the mall. And with an extra $5.00, I might even make it a Venti.)
This was followed by the ritual handshake -- the official and solemn clincher to a bet.
“Okay,” he replied, as he turned up the tag in the back of his shirt.
Sure enough, there it was. ‘XLT’ (and the sleeves were not too long).
“Well,” I calmly told him as I reached for my wallet, “They obviously made some mistake on the tag, but you go ahead and enjoy a cappuccino on me.”
“You know what PT Barnum said,” he replied as he quickly bolted before my elbow collided with his ribs.
“Yeah, yeah – There’s a sucker born every minute.”
Why or why don’t I learn??
It all began in the early years of our marriage, over a badminton match.
I’d played all winter and had done pretty well in our adult badminton club.
He claimed he’d gone to ‘zones’ in Junior High.
I said, “Junior High was a long time ago.”
I agreed to wager the first paycheque from my new job.
He was better than I thought.
Then there was the time I noticed a neon cross on a church. “How odd,” I commented.
To which he replied, “Oh, neon crosses are very common.”
“No way, only here, only one,” I knowingly assured him.
He pushed out his hand in an offer to shake mine and uttered that dreadful word, “Betcha.”
“You’re on.” I shook the hand. Then he turned my head 45 degrees to the left where I saw not one, but TWO other neon crosses.
You’d think I’d learn…
Last year, I was very sure about the name of a vehicle I’d seen and considered buying. “Have you seen the new Focus?” I asked.
“A Ford? I thought you wanted an SUV,”
“No, it’s a Jeep. And it is an SUV,” I said.
“Then it’s not a Focus,” he replied in his ‘teetering on expert’ tone.
“I’m sure it was called Focus. I can still see the letters on the back of the vehicle in my mind’s eye.”
“Betcha,” was his response.
“A million dollars,” I agreed.
(Short note to the reader: Unless the bets are $5 or less, I don’t pay. So the ‘million dollars’ I offered, was simply an indication of my certainty of being right – not a foolish risk that might result in my having to actually pay that enormous sum.)
An interested hotel desk clerk overhead our conversation, so I included him in the discussion.
He awkwardly offered, “Do you mean the Jeep Compass?”
“Well, I knew it ended in the ‘s’ sound,” I sheepishly replied (a desperate effort to nurse my wounded pride.
Dear reader: I bet (I mean I suppose) you’re wondering if I’ve ever won a bet with this guy.
I am happy to say that I have. However, he denies it, so I’m still waiting for my thousand dollars.
He thought Lou Ferigno had a Brooklyn accent. I said he had a hearing loss. I know I’m right, but until I provide ‘proof’ he’s holding on to the cash.
Note to self: The next time he offers his hand along with that little word, “Betcha”, keep your hand to yourself and keep quiet. Unless, of course, you are really, really sure. If you are really, really sure, make a noble effort to recover all your losses.
Monday, July 6, 2009
But, I digress. Back to my story: I don’t think that I’m discriminatory. Truly. But when my newest neighbours moved in last week, I lost it.
When we moved to the end of the road three years ago, I looked forward to a quiet, country life, away from the noise of people and progress, with enough distance from neighbours that I’d look forward to our visits.
We started to set up a yard – trees, flower beds, and lawn. It’s been a back-breaking, thankless job. The harsh winters finished off many trees and made the perennials ‘annuals’. This summer is dry, and very windy. However, we just keep working at it, re-placing trees and perennials that don’t make it, knowing that although we won’t experience the shade of the trees, someone will…sometime…
The lawn is finally filling in and looks green when/if it rains. It’s almost good enough to enjoy with our little granddaughter. You know – frolic and play – if this grammy can frolic after all the work…
But…my new neighbours don’t seem to care. They moved in waaaay too close, but it’s the construction of their new ‘digs’ (pun intended) that has me upset.
Photo credit: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gopher_(animal)
Just when I got rid of the last ones, and filled in their hole,
I found that overnight two more families moved in.
And they are not ‘greeners’ – the other place wasn’t good enough for them; they built their own homes. All without even checking the property line.
If they stayed on their side of the fence, I’d be fine. But they don’t – they crowd in on my side and tic me off.
I come from a long line of expert marksmen; my grandfather, uncle, father, mother, and brother always hit their marks. Apparently, I was adopted. None of that precision found its way to my genes.
So far, I’ve shot almost two boxes of shells and hit only one lousy gopher. I had to laugh when I read the warning on the shell box,
The manufacturers obviously hadn’t considered me when they dreamed up that line!
When our neighbour (the good kind) came over with his seven-year-old and hit ‘seven out of eight’ I was ecstatic (if not a tad jealous). How can a kid be such a crack shot?
This neighbourhood problem is becoming an obsession. I wake every morning and walk to the gun cabinet (even before I make the coffee!)
After a very long stretch of missing, I told my husband I was going to start aiming at larger things just so I could hit something.
I notice he’s becoming very well-behaved…
Ah well…such is life at the end of the road.
If you are anywhere close by, and have weapons of any kind, come on over. I will thank you, my lawn will thank you, and my frolicking granddaughter will thank you, too.
Wednesday, July 1, 2009
I’m so glad you stopped by to see my long-awaited lilacs! Here it is July 1st (Canada Day!) and I finally have enough lilacs at the end of the road to make a bouquet for the table. This late spring has to be some kind of record!
I was so excited to get them into water that I grabbed the first thing available. No worries – I’m so busy with the ‘dubya’ tasks (watering and weeding) that I won’t be needing the measuring cup for baking any time soon.
Happy Canada Day, everyone. Maybe summer is finally on its way.
Sunday, June 21, 2009
In a community where rain is measured by tenths of an inch, (and sometimes by one hundredths) we were elated with two recent showers.
When my husband brought home this rain gauge,
But, sure enough, the next day, the clouds opened up and poured out almost 3/4 of an inch.
And what a difference it makes…
The flower beds came to life:
And we even have tiny little apples on the trees!
Oh, I can taste that apple sauce already!
I hope you’re enjoying spring wherever you are…
And please -- if you have too much rain, send it our way. We can always use more; and the gauge will surely hold it!
Tuesday, May 19, 2009
Until the snow came yesterday, I spent most of my days outside. Preparing the soil in my new flower bed took 3 days! Like all the gardens around here, it’s huge. What was I thinkin’? Anyway, it’s done, and I’m waiting for the Lavatera to come up. If it grows and blooms, I’ll take a picture to show you that my hours of work paid off. But don’t hold your breath – I am definitely not the ‘gardener’ around here.
Because my days are spent outside, I’m afraid that the housework has been neglected. The dust bunnies are mating, and the dishes overflow the sink. But I haven’t run out of dishes yet (still have the Tupperware to go through) so there’s no hurry. If you come to visit, we’ll have to sit on the verandah because I won’t let you see inside!
A few days ago, I made a quick trip to a nearby town. The sign outside the community advertised an upcoming event. It read:
I giggled, and wondered where to register. I’d love to exchange my filthy house for a clean one. Do you think the new resident would trade back when she gets this one back in shape?
Happy spring, everyone.
PS I think the sign originally read, "OPEN House and Plant Exchange" but the letters for "Open" may have blown into southern Saskatchewan! Ah spring....you have to love it!
Thursday, April 30, 2009
I’m a long way from my seniors’ discount era. (12 years!) But they keep asking.
My husband, knowing how frugal I am, wonders why I don’t just say, “Yes,” and reap the benefits. He makes a good point…but…the truth is, I’m caught off guard when it happens, and I just don’t think that clearly.
I know that I look every year of my true age, but I don’t think I look 12 years older than I am! Anyway, after it happened again yesterday and I spent a good 2 hours fuming about it, I wondered if there is something I’m doing to promote this question. Maybe I could do things differently…Here’s what I came up with:
Joey’s Top 10 Reasons For Being Asked if She Qualifies for the Seniors’ Discount:
But the next time a sixteen year old girl with blue hair, and 22 piercings asks me if I'm eligible for the Seniors' Discount, I’m going to be ready with a pleasant, “Of course!” And when she asks for proof, I’ll lean close, so she can get a good look at all my wrinkles, and ask in a loud voice for directions to the sensible shoes. I hope to save a bundle!
Thursday, April 9, 2009
They appeal to me for a couple of reasons:
1. I’m cheap – frugal – whatever you want to call it – I don’t like to spend more than I have to.
Sometimes, I think about the history of a treasure I find in a thrift store. For instance, the wonderful green pillow I bought a few years back. I wonder who first bought it. Was that person as thrilled as I was when I first saw it? Maybe it was a gift. Did it sit on a sofa in a grandma’s house? Maybe it was on a guest bed. How did it end up in that thrift store?
My mind can conjure up all kinds of possibilities…
When I see a silver tray engraved with the names of a bride and groom, along with the date of their wedding, I wonder what happened. Did the bride just tire of polishing the silver? Did the marriage end? Where are these people now?
Each item held such promise at the beginning. What happened?
The last time I browsed the book section in a thrift store, I opened up a copy of Dr. Laura’s book, The Proper Care and Feeding of Husbands. I don’t know why I picked it up because I already have this book and I really like it. In fact, I’ve loaned it out a number of times. I highly recommend it. But, apparently the previous owner of this particular volume didn’t share my high regard for Dr. Laura’s advice.
Inside the cover was a hand-written yellow post-it note that read,
I hope someone buys that book and gains from Dr. Laura’s ideas.
I hope the author of that note finds that her generalization of men isn’t true about all of them.
I also hope someone takes that silver tray home. The engraving could be hidden with antique linen; and it could provide many years of service in a new home. Just not my home – I don’t want to polish it!
Wednesday, April 1, 2009
Wednesday, March 25, 2009
It was a long day; I’m so glad we started with good coffee. Up and down the aisles we walked, stopping at each pen to gaze thoughtfully at the creatures inside. Truly they all looked the same to me – well, apart from the colours, I mean.
But, oh the differences Hubby could see.
“Look at the back end. See how much length there is behind the pin bone?”
“See how round that is – that’s all beef, and that’s what we want.”
“These ones aren’t finished – I’m not interested in them.”
“These are great, but they’ll go too high”
He looked at the bulls, then read about each one in the catalogue. Birth weight, rate of gain, and scrotal measurement were all considered.
And on, and on, and on…
After three hours, we went inside to enjoy a meal before the sale began.
This was definitely more interesting for me. The food was great, but the people were even better.
Mostly men, but a handful of women, too. Lots of chatting, and laughter. Some back-slapping and, “Haven’t seen you since the last sale!” comments.
Soon enough the sale began. The only suit in the place was on the auctioneer. A dapper-looking chap with darting eyes and a dimple-framed grin. He was having fun, but not at the expense of getting the job done.
“Look at the length of these bulls,” he quipped. “Longer than a kiss from your mother-in-law!”
Near the end of the sale, he warned the crowd, “If you wanna buy a bull from Reg and Mike, you’d better put your hand up now ---- or come back next year.”
After the bulls were sold, 15 heifers were to be offered. Again, he explained to the crowd, “When you think this is over, don’t leave -- ‘cause we’ve got some Saler heifers coming up at the end. But a feller’d have a tough time explaining to his wife how he went to a bull sale and came home with heifers instead.”
In the end, we bought a couple of bulls, and three heifers. And there was no need for Hubby to explain to his wife. She watched it all unfold in living colour. Twelve hours later, we were back home. When I closed my eyes I could still see all those bulls in all those pens.
Since turnabout is only fair, I wonder how I’ll get him to attend a quilt show with me next week. It will be my turn to gaze longingly, check measurements, and if we take a cheque book, maybe I'll even bring home a treasure!
Friday, March 20, 2009
Not a fancy designer bag – not even real leather – but something to keep his wallet in so that it’s not in his pants' pocket when they hit the washer.
Perhaps you can relate. I think this is event #7 at our place. In 35 years of marriage, I have never washed my own wallet, but I’ve managed to scrub his clean at least seven times. It’s not that I’m more careful with my own stuff – it’s because I’d notice my purse going into the washer, and I keep my wallet in a purse. Yes, my husband needs a purse.
A purse would have saved the dinosaur tooth that met its demise in the washer. What 65 million years in the Alberta Badlands couldn’t accomplish, 45 minutes in a front-load did quite nicely.
Since it was my fault (probably all seven times), I thought I’d take responsibility this time and look after the replacement of the cards. Some were easier than others. The Blue Cross cards could be ordered by phone, but the birth certificate required a visit to the Registry office. Since hubby can’t get away to do that (and it was my fault anyway), I created a letter of permission. He signed. I drove to the registry. And the helpful clerk behind the counter handed me the forms.
I quickly filled in the required names, birthdates, etc., but I struggled with the ‘reason for application’. I needn't have worried -- the woman behind the counter readily understood, when she read, "altercation with a washing machine."
She just smiled.
Maybe her husband needs a purse, too.