Thursday, December 29, 2011

Cat vs. Dog: a Christmas Tale

Cast of characters:
1. 10-year old resident cat. 

2. 10-MONTH old visiting dog. Still a puppy, really.

3. Litter box.  To the cat, it's a toilet.

Sequence of events:

1. Cat lives here.  Cat is King!
2. Daughter and son-in-law bring dog over for Christmas visit.  Dog is interloper!
3. Cat is dignified and regal.
4. Dog is goofy.
5. Cat watches dog from strategic vantage point.
6. Dog innocently wanders past, oblivious to cat.
7. Cat CHASES Dog.
8. People react and yell.  Chaos ensues.
9. Dog is caught and held.  Dog is scared.
10 Cat is chased away and given a little spanking.
11. Cat stomps off to kitchen and eats some of dog's food.
12. Dog is oblivious.
13. Time passes.
14. Humans eat Christmas dinner. Yum.
15. Cat digests dog food.
16. Cat visits litter box, leaving massive and pungent treasure due to unaccustomed dog food.
17. Humans sit around, semi comatose from Christmas dinner.
18. Dog walks past previously unnoticed litter box.
19. Dog decides that litter box is some sort of Christmas BUFFET.
20. Dog reaches in and grabs (with paw? mouth? who knows?) large and succulent cat poo.
21. Dog puts cat poo on small carpet in front of litter box.
22. Dog ROLLS on massive squishy yummy cat poo.
23. Dog rubs face in same. Arf Arf Arf this is wonderful.
24. Man of the house notices dog behaving weirdly in utility room and suggests that son-in-law see what's up.
25. Son-in-law waves off dad-in-law.  Son in law says dog is just playing with 'something'
26. Odor of flattened, smeared, cat poo wafts into family room.
27. A nanosecond passes.
28. !?!
29. Men spring off couch; men yell; dog jumps up from mat; dog runs around scared; men catch dog.
30. Dog is temporarily tied to front door.
31. Daughter comes running from other room to find dog smeared in poo and tied to front door.
32. Daughter drags dog to bathroom.

33. Dog has unexpected Christmas bath.  Dog is not thrilled.

34. Cat sits on Christmas village, in triumph.

35. Cat 1; Dog 0. Merry Christmas!

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Merry You-Know-What

This is the general mood around here.

In case anyone was wondering.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Fathers and Sons

Talk about the 'world in a grain of sand'.  Did Blake have a son?


We had occasion to have our son in the car with us when we had to stop and pick up a few groceries.
He doesn't live at home any more and we miss doing things for him.

Dad to son: This won't take long. If you need some groceries for yourself, I'll pay for them.
Son: OK dad. Cool!

Shopping starts.  We grab cart, son grabs hand basket.  I confer with husband over bananas and squash; son goes his own way.

We go down one aisle; we see son scooting down another, items accumulating in his basket.

Nearing the end now - our cart half full, son's basket full.

Dad peers into son's basket.

Dad: Hey that peanut butter's full of sugar.  How about you put that back and get the natural one without all the added crap?

Son: Well dad, how about I pay for my own groceries and then I can get what I want?

A few seconds pass.  I look at these two, who are really quite alike.  Dad 50, and son 21. Both kind, reasonable men.
They look at each other. No antagonism - just measuring, assessing. Looking.
Eternity in an hour.

Dad:  Well, how about you get what you want, and I'll still pay for it?

Son: (Smiling) OK dad.  Let's go then.

Me: *smiling*.  We go.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

The Weather Outside is Boring?

It's pretty blah out there.  No exciting snow, no blustery wind, no cosy rain, no gentle late fall sun.
Just grey, cool-ish, blah.

I'm remembering last spring; the deck was warming up, annuals were grabbing hold, and it was nice enough to go and take pictures of outdoor stuff.

And just like that, summer was here.

At least things were happening out there.

Whereas now.....nothing.  Just blah.

We need some action around here!

Thursday, December 8, 2011

This time last year

Today is my berfday!  I call it a berfday, because birthdays remind me of childhood.  Balloons, cake, presents, fuss.  Of course I don't call it a berfday out loud.

This time last year I was here:
and often here:

and frequently here:

and all over here:

People sang to me is a foreign language:

and I was the embarrassed center of attention for a few minutes.

But that berfday ended in a "zero", and I felt the need to do something extraordinary.

This year's berfday ends in a "one", of course.

We'll spend the day doing errands, take a walk, go for a quiet dinner for two, and then have the family over on Sunday.
....and I'll enjoy it just as much.

This wasn't meant as a solicitation for Birthday wishes.  In fact, if you are moved to comment, then please tell me about a memorable birthday of yours.  Or what you would like to do to make a memorable birthday.
Or if you prefer a quiet day with no fuss at all.

Or if you still picture birthdays as childhood celebrations (like I do).
Honestly, shouldn't there be some balloons in that picture?

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

In spring we plant a lot of annuals in pots on the deck.  These plants are perennials - don't ask me what they are.  I was going for a zen effect in this pot.  You can see that the predominant colour around here is green, green, green.  the annuals give us some nice contrast.  Here's a nice burst of spring and summer colour to give temporary relief for the December blahs.....

Oops.  Green again.

Monday, December 5, 2011

View from the deck

I've been inspired by DJan.  She enjoys the critters she sees around her balcony.  Over the next little while I'm going to show some of the flora and fauna on and around MY deck....which is attached to a normal house in a smallish yard in a regular subdivision, in south-western BC.  
Small and suburban, but so busy with all sorts of swooping and scurrying. 
 I love it.

I'll try to post a picture every few days.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

A bird in the hand

A bird in the hand...

 is recovering a bit

after being in the jaws of Homer the Hunter.

Yeah, you.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

My children: One of each.

Here they are, my girl and my boy.  They've survived the sibling rivalries of childhood to become friends.  Both no longer living at home, they actually make the effort to get together and DO things.
With EACH OTHER (gasp)!

In spite of my attempts to raise them non-stereotypically, they seem to have fallen into place as a girly-girl, and a 'boys will be boys' boy.

Or so I thought.....

Wait a minute....Who's this?  My daughter and my...other daughter?

Ummmm, I've never seen him, er her, like this before...

He/she reminds me of someone...

Yep, that's my son.  All boy.
OK, OK, it was 'dress a man in drag' day at my daughter's school (Makeup Design for Film and Television, at Vancouver Film School), and her dear little brother offered to humiliate himself for the sake of her education. 

I guess it's OK that he was a girl for a day.
But, my girl, my real girl, well, she is ALL girl!  

Except on beard day.

Here she is with her beard application partner, posing outside the school.
Yep, I have two kids.  A girl and a boy.  One of each.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

They're getting younger!

A customer has paid me a HUGE compliment.

"Kathryn", he says boozily (having just returned from lunch a little more flammable than when he left), "when that husband of yours leaves you for a younger woman....(dramatic pause), I will have you."

I am so completely stunned by this pronouncement I hardly know what to say.  My face, however, lets out a snort, which I quickly cover with my hand.  I love his use of 'when' instead of 'if'.  I love his earnestness.  I love his generosity.  Imagine taking someone else's leavings?  How kind!
I love his optimism. 
He is 15-20 years my senior, with pink face and white hair.  A little rotund. Also, he already has a wife.

I resist the urge to tell him I already have a father. 

The proposition before this one was even worse, if that is possible.  A few months ago a man in his 80's (I swear), followed me off the ferry.  He was wearing a fedora.  A fedora!  And a suit made in the 40s.
While standing at the curb waiting for my ride he leaned towards me.  Thinking he was going to ask for directions (to the nearest raisin ranch), I leaned toward him.
"Tell me", he says, in heavily garlicked, accented English, "Arra joo marreet?"
"Pardon me?", I say.
"Arra joo MARREET, wit HUSBAND?
(HUH?  Is he asking me if I'm married?)
"Um, yes!", I say.  "Why?"

"I lika da look of joo", he says.  "Iah see you no wear paint on joo face.  I lika dat."

OMG.  He was asking if I was married because he likes the look of me.  OMG.
He likes me because I don't paint my face. ACK!! ACK!!
I have the strong urge to put on a ton of makeup. Immediately. Permanently.

My reassuringly young and suddenly studly husband arrives to pick me up and I DIVE into the car.
"Hi honey!  Glad to see you too!", he says.
The propositioners are getting younger.  Who knows what the next few months will bring?

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

What was THAT about?

Inspired by Deborah's post about a week in her life I decided to attempt a week in MY life.  Just to balance the universe, so to speak.  Where hers is refreshingly foreign, interesting, varied, and stimulating, mine is, well, has foreign components, weird, monotonous in it's variety, and, ummm, back to weird.

Sunday: Shop for groceries. Plan meals., do laundry, etc.  Ponder incessant rain.

Monday: repeat of Sunday. Different food.  Sporadic rain.

Tuesday: our work-week starts on Tuesday.  Ringing phones, mumbling men, humbling, stumbling, bumbling men - all wanting motorcycle parts.  Some know what they ride, what they want, what it's called.  Others are confused about the names of their own motorcycles, are vague about what they want, and absolutely do not know what the parts are called.
One writes, in what I can only imagine to be a quest for valves and a cylinder:
"Want gud used vavles and clinder."
Vavles?  Clinder?  OMG.   I am tempted to write back in kind, but decide not to waste the energy.  One has to know how to spell in order to really appreciate a good spelling tragedy.

Wednesday: Men, please take a look at your motorcycle and find out what it's called.  The brand would be a good start.  The model, a pleasant surprise.  The year - the icing on the cake. Please.  Look at your insurance papers.  There's usually a clue on there.  A clue like the exact make, model and year.
For heaven's sake please stop telling me you ride a Maximum.  It's a MAXIM.  No Mum about it.  Either you're obsessed with size, or too attached to your mother.  Please.
And, for those with other obsessions....It's a VIRAGO.  VIRAGO.  Not a Viagra. Please do not phone me and tell me you ride a Viagra and then expect me to respond in a mature manner.  I can't.

Thursday:  Yes, my husband can fix your bike.  Yes, he knows what he's doing. Yes, you'll have to leave it here. Yes, it's a piece of crap because you haven't maintained it.  Yes, the air filter is important. Yes, the money you saved on not maintaining your motorcycle will have to be spent now (in spades) to make the bike safe and usable.   Yes, your brother-in-law has made a noble attempt to clean your carb.  Yes, he's lost/improperly installed a few pieces.  Yes they were important. Yes, he's not a mechanic, but I'm sure he's a great accountant/plumber/cook/framer/banker/security guard/logger.  Oh, he's unemployed?  No, we don't need anyone here right now.

Friday: Oh, you pushed your bike all the way from the mall 8 blocks away because it wouldn't start?
Wow, that's a long way to push this heavy bike.  In the rain too? Bummer.
OK - here's your kill switch.  Yes, that's right.  Now flip it.  There.  Shazam!
Yes, you pushed your bike 8 blocks and now you find that someone flipped your kill switch and now you've flipped it back and now the bike starts and now you are embarrassed.  Bummer again!
No charge!
Have a nice day.

Saturday:  Customer calls and wants to speak directly to husband/owner.  does not want to leave message with me (wife).  Tells me "I want to talk to him.  You don't know anything".
I tell him it's my job to take messages , with details, so husband can prioritize call-backs. Customer uncooperative, but leaves number.
Calls back 5 minutes later, (I see his number come up on call display) in wild and crafty attempt to get to speak to directly to husband/owner, but hangs up in my ear when I answer.   I make note, and tell husband that customer is being a jerk.  Husband too busy to call back as is occupied with other customers, other phone-line, mechanic's question etc.
Jerky Customer calls back 3rd time.  Sprinkles f-bomb liberally in attempt to intimidate me.  Tells me I'm a liar when I say husband is too busy right now.  Tells me that he, customer, was in the shop earlier in the day and saw husband 'just sitting around'.  Tells me I am being RUDE to HIM (customer) because I won't just go and get husband.

Something snaps.  I see red.  I scream into phone.  I use F-bomb too.  I hang up phone by repeatedly banging receiver as hard as I can until phone breaks.  I stand up, collect purse, storm out of office.
I see husband (on other phone line) stop conversation and look at me with jaw hanging open.  The world goes into slow motion.  Blood pressure up thru roof, steam coming from ears, blood squirting from eyeballs (well, almost).  "Is it that jerk again?", husband asks.  The words come to me as though I'm under water - slow and heavy.  "Yes", I scream, "and you can effing tell him he can effing eff off!"
And then I can hear again; the mechanic's air gun in the back, the traffic out front, the other phone line ringing, people talking.
I go to the parking lot and sit in my car.  Husband offers to drive me home.  I decline, but stay in car to sit and breathe calmly for a while. 
What happened to me?  I NEVER do things like that.  Never scream.  Seldom swear.  Never at a person.  Never break things.  Never slam things. Never lose control.

Sunday: Recover from work week. Don't go grocery shopping.  Don't do laundry.  Barely cook.  Hardly eat.  Vent to friends. Think about life.

Monday: do a bit of shopping.  Plan meals, cook, eat.  Look at laundry pile.  Contemplate price of new phone.  (the one I broke does work, but only on speakerphone now.  receiver is toast).

Tuesday: Back to work.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Conversations with Customers

Telephone: Ring Ring!

Me (middle-aged world-weary wife of Motorcycle shop owner): SuperSport!

Customer: (young male, talking on cell phone while driving, arghhh) Hi,  I'm going down Fraser Highway, heading to Route 10.  Do I turn right or left?

Me: that would depend on which direction you're coming from.  Are you heading North or South?

Customer: Ummmm.....

Me: (slowly and clearly) are you heading for the mountains or the States?

Customer: (pause, then triumphantly) the States!

Me: OK, you're heading south.  When you get to Route 10, turn East.

Customer: so....right or left?

Me: East would be towards Ontario, and West would be towards the ocean. So....?

Customer: so drive towards Ontario?

Me: Yes, but stop a few thousand miles before you get there.

Customer: (totally missing my pithy humour) Ok, are you on the right or left on Route 10?

Me: We're on the North side.  That would be towards the mountains! 

Customer: Ummm. OK, I'm almost there.

Me: What are you hoping to find once you get here?  Which part do you need?

Customer:  I have a 1998 blah blah blah (name of motorcycle) and I need a side cover.

Me: right or left?

Customer: when I'm facing the bike or sitting on the bike?

Me: There is only one left and one right on a motorcycle.  Does your left hand change to your right hand if your friend is sitting on your shoulders and then he gets off to look at you?

Customer: (long pause, deep thought)

Me: so which sidecover do you need?

Customer: Ummmm....North?

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Where have I been?

It's been a while.  A few things happened.
We took a trip to Disneyland with our adult children.  It was stress, stress, stress, fun, fun, fun, stress, stress, stress.  After it was over, I realized that the fun far outweighed the stress.
We got busier at work (thank god).
Our son got hurt at work.  Not a lot, but enough.  He's OK, and I'm grateful.
I guess it's all just life happening.
There have been a lot of funny, and meaningful, things I'd like to blog about.  I've still been reading other's blogs and getting a lot of inspiration and laughs from them.  I've started following some, and un-following others.
I'll try to get back to blogging soon.  There are a lot of things I have to say.
Look out!

Friday, January 28, 2011

Lentil and Brown Rice Casserole

For Nancy, at Life in the Second Half, who is trying to eat more meatless meals.  Sorry it took me a few days to get this posted......


Lentil and Brown Rice Casserole:

(My family loves this - it's a good comfort food best served with crusty bread
for dipping, and a salad!)

1/2 cup dry red or white wine
1 & 1/2 cups chicken or vegetable stock
1/2 cup dried lentils, washed (I use red lentils)
1/2 cup uncooked brown rice (do NOT use white rice-the casserole turns to mush)
1 cup mashed canned tomatoes
1 medium onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
1/4 tsp dried thyme
1 small bay leaf
1/4 tsp salt
pinch pepper
1/4 tsp dried basil
1/2 cup (approx) shredded cheese. (The recipe suggests Swiss cheese but I use
whatever I like...)

Mix everything but the cheese into a 6 cup casserole. Cover tightly with lid or
Bake in 350 degree oven for 1 & 1/2 hours (that's one and a half hours) or
slightly longer until lentils are tender and liquid is absorbed,
stirring 2 - 3 times during baking.

Remove lid, remove bay leaf, and sprinkle cheese on top. Return to oven for 5
minutes or until cheese melts.
Serves 4 as a main dish, or 6-8 as a side dish.
(Note: I always double this recipe because he-who-will-not-be-named will eat 3 helpings and then
have more for breakfast the next day....)

Kathryn : )