Wednesday, September 26, 2012

And my prize is....

a copy of the Farmers' Almanac!

I had mentioned on my latest Sunday night chit chat post that my name had been selected in a drawing, but i wasn't sure what the prize was.

I'm glad for this prize, as i usually buy a copy each year, although last year i bought the Old Farmer's Almanac which is similar, but i prefer this one.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

25th anniversary

No, not mine, that was last year.

Today marks the 25th anniversary for the release of the movie The Princess Bride. It's a fun film to watch, and i really enjoy the sword fighting.

I'm going to be sure to have a light dinner so i can have room for popcorn and watch it this evening.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Sunday night chit chat, 23 September 2012

Carla says this can be a photo or saying.

“Those who wish to sing will always find a song.” - Celtic Proverb

A few things at the moment.  "Advanced Sailing" by Tony Gibbs, "Grandma's Wartime Kitchen" by Joanne Lamb Hayes and "Eating for Victory" by Jill Norman

Nothing on the screen lately 

Listening to
JoJo crunch kibble. 

The weather's turned colder, and i decided to make some macaroni skillet pizza. I don't have pasta very often, so this is a treat.

Happy you accomplished this week
One part of a very long, difficult work project. I've got another section to go and am hopeful that i'll have it finished by Tuesday. 

Got to see some sailing friends yesterday as they returned to port and before they headed for home.
Finished one of two mittens and hope to have the other done by this time next week.

My name was selected to win a drawing. I don't know what the prize is, but am shocked that i won, so that i shall like the prize no matter what it is!

Looking forward to next week
Visit from a loved one next weekend. It'll be nice to catch up.

Thankful for today
Glorious weather. It was hot outside, and i was wishing i could have gone sailing or hiking today. After allowing myself 10 minutes to pout about my walking cast, i decided that i could enjoy things around the house and be a patient patient by keeping the leg elevated.

Bonus Question
You receive an unexpected large sum of money. It's a BIG number. Whats the first thing you do with it?
Believe it or not, i've thought about this from time to time, and with different numbers. No matter what, i'm giving away at least 10%; i have some pet charities and organisations i like and believe in, so should like some of the monies to go there. And perhaps to some who are very dear to me. If the number is BIG enough, i'd pay off all the debt (real estate debt). If there was still money left, i'd have to think about next steps. Would i be able to work part-time rather than full-time as i am now? Would i be able to retire at this very moment? Even if the answer were yes, i'd never have to work another job for pay again, i'd still give a two-week notice. I think i'd need at least that long to get over some of the shock!

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Mend it like Beckham

In searching web sites the other day to see how long i'll have to wear my Frankenboot, i came across the drfoot website ( ) where they discuss all things podiatry. They explain how the boot i have works and that many athletes have used it with great success. It was there that i saw the phrase in the title, and i've decided to adopt that as my mantra while my foot is healing. (The specific link is

I have no lingering dreams that the National Hockey League will ever call me up (and i doubt this season they'd even want me as a scab), nor do i think the US Olympic team will phone me, given that they consider women who are excellent players and half my age too old, but that doesn't mean i'm any less of an athlete. I am clearly not the fastest skater nor the most adept, but i do play hockey. If i could play as well as i think the game, i'd be another Wayne Gretzky or Bobby Orr. The challenge is for me to figure out what i CAN do given my abilities and to do it well while leaving room for improvement. I think there's a real niche for someone wanting to coach--the ability to take a bunch of determined but not terribly gifted athletes and bring out the best in them and help them improve their game. Yes, sounds like what many do with kids, but nobody seems all that interested when it's older women. Too bad, as many of us really want to improve, and we'd be glad for the opportunity.

My orthopaedist made a face when i told her i played hockey, and i got the distinct impression that she was ready to stick me in that middle aged woman box when i hobbled in with my fractured 5th metatarsal. While i cannot deny my cack-handedness, which i think may be partly due to the fact that i probably should be left handed, and while i may look a bit dumpy, here's a newsflash. I do stuff. I hike, sail, kayak, snowshoe, practice yoga, and play hockey. I also work a fulltime job, which is sedentary and which often has me busy more than 40 hours a week. My garden was a bust this year, but i still managed to can some tomatoes, dry some herbs, and am contemplating putting up some saurkraut.

The professional athletes i read about have only their professional job and can take oodles of time perfecting their bodies so they can excel at their craft. For everything else, they have the wherewithal to employ staff. Now, granted, not all do. But what i wish to point out is why, because i'm not in that creme de la creme athletic class, am i treated differently? I need my body to perform at its best to do ALL of these things. And not just for several years so i can earn heaps of money, invest it well, and retire, but for the rest of my life.

Mend it like Beckham? You betcha.

Monday, September 17, 2012

The boot

Last Tuesday, i saw a simple tribute to 9/11 that i thought quite moving and wanted to take a few pictures of it. So, upon returning home from my errand, i got the digital camera took the short 10-minute walk to the fire station to snap a few pics and was on my home when i fell off the curb.

Yes, just another cackhanded moment, and my foot hurt a bit as i got up and walked the rest of the way home. I also had cut my hand a little when i fell on the pavement.

I cleaned myself up, got a bag of ice for my foot, and elevated the limb while the ice bag rested on my foot. Then i felt a queer stiffening along the outside of my foot and called my doctor's office. A visit there, a ride to the X-ray machine, and a visit with an orthopedist confirms that i have fractured my foot.

So, i'm wearing a walking cast, elevating my foot for most of the day, and keep the boot on unless i'm bathing or sleeping. Although for the first two days, i kept it on whilst sleeping, too.

My sailing season is over for the year. Ditto kayaking. No running, skating, hockey, hiking for awhile. Not sure how long, since it depends upon how bad the fracture is and how quickly the patient heals. I'm to have a two-week follow up, which is actually 16 days after The Event.

Driving is a challenge since my car is a standard transmission, and the boot doesn't allow my foot to bend the way it needs to in order to depress the clutch fully. So, i limit my driving to "only when absolutely necessary" moments and wear a slip-on clog for the drives.

The cats are purring, I haven't forgotten everything i learned from when i had the broken leg, and i believe if i'm a patient patient, the healing will come sooner rather than later.

photo from
I did do an Internet search to see how long these 5th metatarsal fractures can take. Anywhere between 3 and 12 weeks from what i've seen. Meantime, i'm glad i've a pair of jeans that i can wear without ripping the leg seam, and i've still got a few pair of cargo pants with the legs that zip off for shorts. It's just starting to get nippy here now where full leg coverings are appreciated in the morning and evening.

Monday, September 10, 2012

When the weather is fickle...

which it was this weekend, i decided against sailing. I wanted to go, and in retrospect could have done so without getting rained upon, but the partly cloudy and chance of showers forecast was just cloudy enough and just threatening enough that sailing seemed a daft idea. Saturday night, we had loads of wind with gusts approaching probably 60 mph (~96 km/hr) and before those big gusts at night, the wind kicked up enough that there was surf. Since i'm very much in the pleasure boating phase of my sailing life, that didn't appeal to me. And, i need to get a new batten for the mainsail, as one of them has gone missing. It must've been when Himself and i went out, and i was busily trying to furl the mainsail while Himself steered, or as from my point of view on the bow when i was taking down the jib, getting Dangerously Close to Other Objects.

Battens are long, slender bits of plastic that slide into handy little pockets along the part of my mainsail sail not attached to the mast (aka leech). Wikipedia shows a picture, but it has the batten line drawn too far across for my sail. The battens help keep the edge of flapping so it improves aerodynamics. Actually, the writing below the picture explains the roach--those of us who may have been potheads will undoubtedly have a different image floating in our brains...

The mainsail on my boat doesn't have such a defined roach, but the battens are there all the same.

The picture from Wikipedia (

I've a feeling a hole developed in the pocket's end, and while i was trying to furl the mainsail and direct Himself, as he was getting a little antsy about not seeing as much as before we lowered the main, that the batten slipped through the hole and caught enough breeze to go overboard. Himself wouldn't know to look for that, and i wouldn't, either. Hindsight being the wonderful gift it is, i can now add it to "things i also need to consider." That list has grown quite long.

SFB and i went sailing the weekend before this last one, which is when he said how that flapping or luffing shouldn't be, as it looked amateurish, and he was the one to discover the missing batten. So, it bothered his sensibilities, but not enough for us to stop sailing. We were trying to figure out when it occurred and the best i could figure was when Himself and i went.

The sailing season is fast coming to a close here, but i'd like to go until the end of September, and well, i need a batten so i decided i ought to go to the marine store on Sunday to pick up another. The weather was still that partly cloudy/will clear off but it took a long time clearing off.

I decided i'd be more productive at home canning tomatoes and doing some bits of cleaning around the house. If i went to the marine store, well, i'd just dawdle and not get much done. After canning the tomatoes, i dawdled. I also misjudged the yield i'd get from the 20 lbs of tomatoes i picked up.

I had canned some in 2010 and got two small boxes worth. Each box was a peck, so i had a half bushel, and canned quarts and pints. Yes, i wrote down how much, but can be buggered if i can find that piece of paper. This time around, the farmer had
10-lb boxes, but i wasn't sure how that compared to pecks. Two of the 10-lb boxes looked about right, and doubting myself after i brought them home, i went looking for answers. I found 14 lbs is 9 pints. Okay, so by using Algebra, 20 lbs would give me nearly 13 pints, and allowing for waste, a dozen pints would be adequate. Only i ended up with 18 pints. Not a bad problem to have, and i was glad to have had enough pint jars on hand and lids and screw tops. I had decided the 18th wasn't worth processing since i'd have to process it all by its lonesome (my canner has a rack for 7 bottles per load, and i didn't realize i'd need that seventh spot plus until after i'd processed the first dozen), and it was mostly juice since i smoosh the tomatoes and hot pack them. One of the lids didn't seal right on the other 17 and rather than wait an interminably long time for the water to boil so i could have another go, i opted for using a zippy bag and freezing the contents.

I have 13 quarts left from the 2010 session, and the 16 pints plus one quart frozen should keep us for a bit. I do like having the option to pick from pints and quarts since we are a small household. I shall endeavour to use up the quarts as they are older--i also need to rethink if i want to continue canning in quarts or just go with all pints, since i also canned pints in that 2010 session, and those have been consumed.

I'd like to do more canning than i do. But ceramic stoves aren't really made for that sort of thing. At the farmer's market, one of the stalls is run by an older couple who make all things pickled. A friend asked me to pick up several bottles of their piccalilli, which is pickled green tomatoes. They had samples, and it's got a sweet and sour taste. I told them it was a bit too sweet for my palate, yet i've thought back to that piccalilli nearly every day since tasting it. What does that say about me?

The couple is retiring at the end of this season, and the wife and i had a chat about canning. She said she uses a dome type canner that doesn't need as much water. "They run about sixty dollars," she explained, "but well worth it. I'm on my third one." She promised to bring information for me this week and will share the piccalilli recipe. I'll also pick up my friend's order then, as she requested more jars than they had on hand.

When i lived in Pennsylvania and frost was scheduled to arrive, i'd pluck the tomato plants with green tomatoes on them, hang them upside down, and let the fruits ripen inside down cellar. One year, we had the last tomato on Thanksgiving Day. But i'm far enough north now that that won't happen, unless we celebrate Canada's Thanksgiving (mid October), and there've been enough rodents down cellar here that i'd only be feeding them instead of ourselves. So, piccalilli may find a way into my life after all.

Some forecasters are saying we'll have a warmer than usual autumn this year. If that's true, then i might get to enjoy the second raspberry harvest from the everbearing vines. The previous owners planted them, and they do yield yummy berries. The first harvest is in July and the second early to mid October. Last year i got 3 berries in the second harvest before frost came. We also got a foot of snow on Hallowe'en.

This year, i didn't do any gardening to speak of. I decided to spend time sailing and kayaking instead. I'm not sorry for it, as i've had a lot of fun, and i can buy cukes and whatnot to can, although that's not quite the same as plucking from one's own garden and pickling or putting by.

Perhaps when i'm retired from working full-time, i'll be able to do both.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

What was your first 45?

A facebook friend posed this question. She's someone i first met when we were in
6th grade (11 years old), and although we're both a bit taller, plumper, and have lost all our baby teeth, we both look the same in our faces. I can't say that for all of our classmates, and sadly, a few have died since our last class reunion in 2007, which she organized and made look effortless. Our next reunion is coming up next year, which she has agreed once again to plan and organize, and this has been the shot in the arse i needed to get back to exercising a bit more regularly than i have been.

I took the summer off except for kayaking, sailing, and a few hikes, but really, i do need to get back to it. Hockey is starting up in two months, and after hockey ends at the end of March, and outfitting the boat in April, knowing that the reunion is occurring in July will provide the oomph i need so i don't slack off again next summer.

Living in the US, of course, one of the comments to her question had to do with guns, and another asked, "What's a 45?" The rest of us immediately thought of music.

I can vividly remember buying my first 45. Karen Z and i walked down to a small neighborhood store known then as Pete's. We could buy candy and gum there. Those with a majority card could buy beer. And many of us walked there to buy cigarettes for our parents. Remember those days when no one thought twice about a
10 year-old forking over the money for a pack of smokes for his folks? My dad smoked Camel nonfilters.

Anyhow, on this particular day, Karen and i were going to buy 45's. She had an older sister Noreen who had stacks of them, and i thought Noreen was glamorous. She was just enough older where she did cool things like wear white lipstick. I was sure Karen had also bought 45's before, but i never had. So this was big doings. A rite of passage.

Karen selected "Leaving on a Jet Plane" sung by Peter, Paul, and Mary.

I didn't want to be a copycat, so i selected Bobby Sherman's "La, La, La, if I Had You."

As i read the titles others had posted to answer Ellen's question, i found myself humming tunes i haven't heard in years. Like this one:

Others mentioned Petula Clark's record "Downtown," and Tommy James and the Shondells "Crimson and Clover."  I'm going to have to visit for awhile on YouTube and take a walk down Memory Lane!

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Starting another trip around the sun

Himself and i both have birthdays in August, and we celebrated that fact on
31 August by going to a restaurant that is turning out to be one of our favourites. For starters, it's owned and run by a hockey teammate, and i like to support local businesses. For another, the food is divine and the service very good or excellent. It's a spendy place, so the budget doesn't allow us to go often but for special occasions, it's the first place we think of now.

So, we glammed up and went. Himself had a filet mignon covered with chunks of roquefort and i had a flat iron steak doused in black pepper. Both had a red wine sauce. I chose to order from the prix fixe menu and we split the appetizer of duck pâté that was accompanied by a yummy chutney and cornichons or little sour pickles. I had a salad as well, and for dessert, we both opted for soufflés; H went with the grand mariner while i chose the raspberry.

Our original plan had been to sail for much of the day and attend a contradance that evening, but the day before i thought it better to have the nice dinner instead of the dance. The weathermen got it wrong, and the day was overcast enough with small craft advisories, so we stayed on shore. The first of September proved to be an unbelieveably gorgeous day, so we went sailing then.

Today is rainy, again defying the forecast of "partly cloudy," so i am catching up on blog reading and email. Tomorrow's a holiday here, and if the weather permits, i see sailing in my future. If the weather stay fickle, then i shall look at the list of to-do items around the house and see if the list can be a bit shorter by day's end.

I always liked having a summer birthday as it meant not having to go to school or move my birthday celebration to the weekend nearest The Day. But, there's also some melancholy having it the last day of August. For many, that signals The End of Summer, and there's a lingering sadness. The sun seems to set much sooner all of a sudden, although it's been happening minutes at a time since Solstice.

Before the rain started in earnesttoday, the sun overcame the early morning clouds, and Himself and i walked the breakwater, which offers magnificent views.

I find the time around my birthday a good time to reassess and plan what i'd like to do or change in the upcoming year. My exercise regime has been curiously absent much of the summer, and i want to see what i can do to reinstate it. Hockey season will be upon me in two months, and now in my fifties, i can't expect to be in tip-top shape by being a couch potato until two weeks before the season and train like mad in fourteen days to achieve peak condition. I'd still like to hike Offa's Dyke at some point, and being the all-or-nothing sort of person that i am, i want to do all 177 miles. Practicing by hiking around here will do me a world of good. Himself and i trained for a year before we went on our second trip to Grand Canyon. The first trip, we thought we were in good shape, and we were, but not in good enough shape to hike very much there. To be fair, we live at sea level, and hadn't taken the mile plus elevation into consideration. We enjoyed enough of what we saw that first trip to know a second was most definitely in order, and that we needed to take our training seriously.

We lived in what was rapidly approaching suburbia, although when we first arrived there it was rural. Some people gawped as we wandered the streets with backpacks loaded with iron weights, others laughed and pointed. We didn't care because we had a plan and were on a mission. A page out of Noah's book, i guess. The training paid handsome rewards indeed for we hiked a longer trail than we had first thought we'd do, and we weren't sorry. Sore next day? Absolutely, but not sorry. It's still our longest hike to date, 16.8 miles.

I've been looking at my Life List, which is what i've called it ever since i can remember, and long before the movie The Bucket List ever hit the scene. Offa's Dyke has been a recent addition to the list. Most of the long-time ones have been crossed off because i've been able to do them. I still haven't made it to Australia (long time list item) or Antarctica (on the list for the last 20 years or so), and some i have graciously retired because of time and circumstance (e.g., wanting to work on submarines. They didn't take women when i was young enough, and now i'm also too fat as well as too old). Shrug. I do currently own a boat and am learning to sail it. I love kayaking. I'm back on the coast where i belong. I knit a pair of socks and several pairs of mittens. I've had a chance to work on a schooner, which i took and loved. Which i might take again should the opportunity present. I've learned to can some food.

In looking back over my Life List, it's an almagation of the mundane and exotic. Some of it is intensely personal while other items like the travel destinations are open for discussion.

Everyone in the household is napping at the moment but me. I think they may be onto something. Perhaps i need to add "Take more naps" to the list.