Wednesday, 13 November 2019

I Didn't Wake Up This Grumpy

This morning I have been reading a book I know I would have loved ten years ago, "Bruno, Chief of Police" by Martin Walker.  Bruno is a charming man, but dammit, I can't keep both the people and the mystery in my brain at the same time.

I would like to see an Old Folk section at Chapters that would provide us with books of no more than 4 important characters, no pets, (especially those with names like Gigi and Bobby so you keep thinking mistakenly that they are more people in the story), and no more than 3 possible killers of the important characters.  Also it would be a  lovely addition to have a built-in movable ribbon that   tells you where you left off the story.

And while I'm at it, Chapters, please put more chocolate bars at the pay desk.  It only makes sense that I need to focus on books where the books are and chocolate where it brings additional joy to my visit to Chapters.  Thank you.

Monday, 11 November 2019

Dreams of Germany - Träume von Deutschland

Years and years ago, I spent 4 years in Germany.For the first 18 months, we lived in a small village where we had been able to rent a one-bedroom apartment, which seemed like heaven, mostly because it was next door to the local bakery, so we could start the day
with warm croissants. That was just one of the unusual things about our new life: my refrigerator was about 2 feet high, so we had to go to the market nearly every day and buy small amounts of things that we were going to eat that day. 

 Chris and I would take a basket, buy a small bottle of milk and whatever meat we were going to have that day and everyone we passed on the street said Gutentag and would chuck Chris under the chin.

 
All of these memories came back this week because I bought a new duvet cover. I had never even heard of a duvet before I moved to Allagen in Germany and was thrilled to have one,
which I would shake out and tuck under the mattress until one day my landlady came by and showed me the correct way to shake it out the window and then fold it down to the end of the bed and use my hand to make a V in the middle. I felt very European doing that.

So I'm back to feeling European again....Gute Nacht!

Thursday, 31 October 2019

So I looked at us in a new way

I often use Blogger as a place to babble, other times to find out, by writing about it, how I feel about something.  This time I know how I feel.

I feel pissed off and I'm desperately beating myself up for it.

When Dave said he was going to get his hip bones replaced, I remember I thought what a good idea that was.  I was thinking of him, and how the pain in his hips was making his usual activities either hurtful or impossible. I was right. 

The surgery is exactly what he needed in order to keep himself active, and to do when he's recovered from surgery, the things he loves, like biking all over the place since we live in such a beautiful part of Ontario, or strolling around our pleasant neighbourhood.  We knew how long it would take him to recover his ability to walk.  I had no problem with that.  I don't know why, but I just accepted how it would be good for him and off we went.

He had his operation,which thankfully went well, and after a few days bedridden in hospital----a very good hospital (the Montfort Hospital which I would recommend to anyone) we came home with the help of my brother Sean who stayed with us for a few days to help Dave move about when he needed that help. He was very thoughtful and useful and after we felt we knew what was going on, he went back home.

 Dave has been getting around the house using a walker with a couple of wheels.  It is not fast or easy for him. Because of the change that comes with his being unable to  walk easily, I've been made aware of the difference in our responsibilities in running the house, and I've had to take on many of them.  The others just wait for him to be mobile again.

I am able....I am strong.....I normally do a lot around the house. I just didn't realize how much of what gets done for us both is done by him, and that all those things still need getting done. I also didn't realize how much of the day, up to now, I spend drinking coffee, eating snacks or sipping wine, which I do sitting down, or reading books, again done sitting down, being alone but accessible.

 My new understanding had made me feel happy that I never chose nursing as my lifework.

I hope I am sounding selfish and shamed, because I certainly am both of those things, at the same time that I am so grateful for the surgery, and so looking forward to his being able to ride his bike or to drive the car out to places where he can use his skis or snowshoes.

It has been a real lesson, and one I'm dismayed to have been so late in learning.




Sunday, 27 October 2019

In which I feel worried about stuff done in the kitchen

I never took great joy in cooking or baking but I did have a few things that other people seemed to like, which made me sort-of-joyful. A friend had given me a great recipe for oatmeal bread, and I'd been lucky in making rice puddings and the best, the really best! bread-pudding.  It worked so well that anyone who ate it always asked for the recipe.

Here it is:
one-half cup raisins,6 to 8 slices of day-old bread, 3 tablespoons of butter, 2 cups of milk, half a cup of sugar, i teaspoon of vanilla extract and 2 eggs.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Put raisins in a cup of hot water to soak for 5 minutes; grease a baking dish; tear up bread into the dish; drain and add raisins,; melt butter and pour over bread; heat milk and sugar until steaming, add vanilla; beat eggs lightly, add hot milk gradually to the eggs. pour over the bread.  Cook 25 minutes . (you may want to substitute chopped dried apricots or dried cranberries) Enjoy!

So, why did I post a recipe today?  Because Dave, who usually does the complicated cooking, has had his hips replaced and needs to look after himself, which includes not standing up in the kitchen for the half-hour or so it takes to mix the recipe. That means that I'm going to give it a try although I'm sure I haven't made this for years. When I saw this recipe, sent by me to Dave 1990 while he was in BC, I thought he might be happy to have this with our dinner tonight, and also, I could put off this scary baking for another half-hour while I write a blog.

Now there is a danger that 2 people who love each other will have to gently support the other if this doesn't work. So I thought if Dave knew I'd included others he might just be ecstatic over this Bread-pudding .

A "yay!" would help.✌




Sunday, 6 October 2019

Not really politics....

We've just taken an October drive in the country when we would normally love looking at orange, red and yellow leaves but it disappointed us as everything is still looking very green.

In my mind, autumn is a beautiful few weeks that helps us to relearn that we live in Canada, a four- season country. In reality, for a few years, our weather has been something quite different, and I'm thinking that we're stuck with this new higgly-piggly surprise-us set of faux-seasons.

Now I have a new set of amazingly warm winter boots, a coat that is labeled as able to keep me warm even at 30 degrees below zero, two mittens that are about the size of those belonging to heavyweight wrestlers, and a laundry basket full of scarves.  That'll keep me warm.  I also have a fall coat, a midweight scarf or two and gloves that are just meant to look good. I expect to be able to use both of them, for days at a time, in some kind of Russian manipulation of our climate.

Of course the Russian thing is probably because Dave and I have been watching "Homeland", a Netflix thing with Claire Danes, which seems to have finished in an unacceptable way.

Imagine, weather and politics in one blog.

Monday, 30 September 2019

In which I take a good step

Yesterday I stopped reading a book I'd already put 3 or 4 days into.

I stopped reading this highly-reviewed book because I couldn't stand it.

I am pleased with myself at the same time that I worry that I've made a mistake.  Of course, even though I passed the book on to someone else, I feel like I'm letting down book-reading.

I've done this a few times but not with a book that everyone else was reading with great satisfaction. Every time over the last few weeks, when I get on the O-train, I've seen at least one person entirely taken up in it, and once I even caught an oral review. 
Don't tell me I can't make decisions


Monday, 23 September 2019

Why I stomped my feet today


  •  We bought me a new Chromebook because my old laptop was letting me down, but in spite of the many things I love about the new machine, like the flat keyboard, the lightness of the computer and the ability to continue using the French version of the keyboard (because I worked for more than  20 years for governments that expected me to be able to write in either English or French) ...in spite of these good things I can't write more than a line at a time without finding that the Chromebook has, on its own, chosen a different place for me to continue the sentence I'm working on.  Sometimes it's not even the same page. When I learned how to use a computer keyboard, it was a rule that you didn't look at the keyboard but watched the screen, so it's even worse to see that I'm doing the right thing and still not getting the product I want. 
  • I have very thick hair and it grows quickly, so I have sometimes chosen a short haircut that works really well but only lasts a couple of weeks. As a result, I've learned pretty well how to cut my own hair, even to use the scissors that cleverly thin your hair if that's what you're looking for.  A few evenings ago, I cut the sides, got out the hand-mirror so I could cut the back, and when I felt like I'd done the length well, I got ready to finish the look I wanted by thinning it in places that needed it. Those scissors were gone....no one but me and Dave in the house and those scissors were gone.  When I got up in the morning, there they were, just where they were supposed to be.  And that wasn't the first time that I was sure I knew where something was, then it wasn't there and then it was.  One of my kids told me, sweetly, that I had to expect that kind of thing to be happening to me, as my memory was getting less to be counted on because of my age. I guess I'd forgotten that.
  • I go for a walk almost every day---not long walks but pleasant ones because we are so lucky to be in a place that gives me access to several different kinds of scenes: green grass, paths that follow the river, or lead to beautiful churches, others that take me over to Québec and of course I live near to both the Byward Market and the roads that are home to lovely coffee shops and bars, for which I always have a book. Today when I went out for my walk, I intended to walk over to the river where there is a beautiful waterfall only to find that the road that goes from here to Gatineau was only allowing cars and bicycles. I was so annoyed, partly because just yesterday there had been thousands of persons on that road, for a marathon, and partly because I'd left my wallet at home and couldn't choose to have a glass of wine at the museum that was right in front me. I did however take a boring route home, saw one goose, tripped over my own feet and scratched my knee. Tomorrow I'm going to stay home.