Saturday, 31 October 2009

Happy halloween!

October 31st. The day for ghosts and goblins, witches and warlocks, vampires and vamps. Little ones dressed as fuzzy little bunnies, pirates, and ninja turtles with their mom or dad in tow to make sure they don't have any problems. Older kids out to get as much candy as they can in the few hours before they have to be home. Then the teens who are too cool to wear a "real" costume, but instead "borrow" a few things from mom and dad's wardrobe.

They are all fantastic and I will give each and every one of them something! The wee ones will usually get 3 or 4 chocolate bars, the older ones 2 or 3, and the teens 1 or more, depending on their attitude when they come to the door. The polite ones get more.

I am not dressing up this year. I usually do but it seems that time got away from me this year and I ran out of time to put a costume together. I suppose I could work on one instead of writing this blog, but I would rather write than sew. And we have company coming for supper so I have a house to clean.

So for now, off to vacuum and wash the floors, clean the bathrooms, and tidy up. Then a bit of a nap, I think. After all, we may actually have a lot of kids daring to trick or treat at our door and I have to be ready...

Monday, 26 October 2009

Strange Sightings...

In two months from today, Christmas 2009 will be over and done with. The presents will have been opened, the turkey, cookies and cakes eaten, and far too much liquid cheer taken in. This realization struck home on Sunday when Lisa and I took mom to Home Depot to get some things for the condo - new switch and plugs covers, light fixtures for the hallway and closets, and a new lockset for the front door. As we came in the door, what to my wondering eyes should appear, but a huge range of Christmas ornaments for the house and garden! And what was among these wonderous things, but a pink Christmas tree! Pink!! Give me a break! Christmas trees are supposed to be GREEN! Not white, not pink, not purple - GREEN! And they are supposed to look like real, honest-to-goodness trees!

Remember the silver tin foil trees that were the vogue in the 1960's? You couldn't put lights on them for fear of being electrocuted, so anyone with one of these so-called "trees" (aka monstrosities) had a colored disk that had a light behind it sitting on the floor. This was supposed to cast a pretty glow into this fire hazard and make it look very festive. I always thought they were awful, even as a kid. They didn't say Christmas! They looked like what was left of the foil mom put on the turkey to keep it from getting too brown!

This year, I will once again put up a REAL tree, probably a Balsam Fir, and decorate it with all the ornaments collected over the years. There are the rather ratty ones the kids made in grade one that still get hung every year, and the new, glitzy gold and red glass ornaments I saw in HD last year and just "had to have". The tree will go up sometime between December 15th and 20th and will take at least 3 hours to get "just right". But it will be so worth the work and the wait.

Monday, 19 October 2009

Monday Mornings...Bleh!!!

How often do you ask someone how they are on a Monday morning to get the response "It's Monday..."? Why do people hate Mondays? They have just two or more days to enjoy some R & R, so what's the problem?

If their weekends are like mine, they are full of work. Sure, it's not the same as what we do from Monday to Friday, but it is still WORK! Cleaning the house, mowing the lawn, raking leaves, painting, adding a new deck, grocery shopping. You name it! We do everything that can't get done during the week on those two days and then wonder why we are exhausted come Monday!

Why not go on strike? Leave the housework for a week! The leaves will still be there in the Spring! So will the lawn! Painting? Does the house really need it? Naw. Didn't think so. Just tell everyone the patches of Spackle are supposed to be there. It's a new technique, like rag-rolling or sponging.

So now you have a relaxing weekend all worked out, Monday morning should be easy! You will bound into work with a sunny smile, all ready to dive in and git 'er done! You won't need that coffee to wake you up, because you are relaxed and can't wait to get working on that RFP! Then as things come sailing at you over your cubicle wall from all the Monday-haters around you, you will laugh and tell them how to make their Monday mornings brighter because you have found the "secret"! They will only hate you for a week or so until they learn the "secret" too.

Friday, 16 October 2009

Fall in Alberta. Go figure...

If you don't like the weather in Alberta at any given time, just wait 15 minutes. Our weather changes faster than a woman can change her mind! This Fall in particular has been very strange. Temperatures in the high 20's in September and then snow in early October! The leaves hardly had a chance to change color before they ended up all over the lawn frozen solid.

Now that our recent snow is melting, my weekend task will be to rake up those rapidly thawing leaves and put them into pumpkin-faced orange trash bags for display for Halloween. All those wet leaves packed into plastic bags and then placed in the sun. Sounds kind of smelly to me.

Wednesday, 14 October 2009

Oh, The Weather Outside...

I was in Costco this weekend and was quite dismayed to see Christmas trees, decorations, and cards on display. Too early folks!! Give it another month, please! I worked in the retail industry for many years and we were not allowed to have our Christmas displays up or the merchandise on the shelf before Halloween. Now it seems we have four new seasons - Spring, Summer, Christmas and the Rest-of-Winter.

Since Christmas stuff is already in the stores, I decided no time like the present to get Christmas lists from all the various kids, grandkids, neices and nephews. So far, I have seen everything from "I have no idea. You pick something." to "A car". Looks like this will be a shopping trip like other years - I will be walking around Wal-Mart with my cell phone clutched precariously between my ear and shoulder asking the various daughters and sons if their offspring would like this nifty truck/doll/game for Christmas. My husband will pick up five of whatever for the kids - so they all have the same thing and there is no resentment because this one got something that one wanted. They are adults! If they do that, it is time for them to GROW UP!

Time to do some Christmas baking too. Shortbread needs a few months to mellow and get that rich, buttery taste to mature. I have an old recipe made with REAL butter, icing sugar, cornstarch and flour. Nothing else. It is soooooooo good!!!

Now I am hungry, time to go get lunch. Maybe a shortbread cookie or two from the bakery too...

Wednesday, 7 October 2009

A Little Dip in the Gene Pool

There was a show on TV a few nights ago that talked about how some geneticists and paleontologists are looking into the possibility of creating dinosaurs from chickens by turning on genes that have long been dormant. They added a "virus"-covered bead to the beak area of a chicken embryo and ended up with the embryo showing signs of teeth after an incubation period. Then they added another virus and ended up with the chicken growing feathers on its legs instead of scales.

This begs the question - do we really want to play with the gene pool like this and recreate the dinosaurs? Birds are the recent ancestors of dinosaurs, or at least this is the hypothesis. Scientists are now saying that the scales that covered dinosaurs millions of years ago developed into feathers and they developed flight.

Okay, it could be plausible, especially when you see the similarities between some of the smaller dinosaurs and modern birds, but do we really want to recreate the dinosaurs?? Remember the saying "Don't mess with Mother Nature"?

Tuesday, 6 October 2009

Are You Ready?

The weather is getting cooler and snow is in the forecast this weekend. Yuck!! It is only the beginning of October! We can't have snow yet! Not until December 24, and then it has to melt on December 26!

No, I don't skate, ski, snowboard, or anything else. In fact, I avoid snow as much as possible. I would LOVE to head south at the sign of the first snow flake. One of these days. For now, I bundle up and try to stay indoors as much as possible.

Every now and then, I think that maybe I will learn to ski. To race down the side of a mountain as fast as I can go would be a real rush! The wind in my hair; the snow down my neck when I go head over heels; the sympathy I will get with my leg/arm/whatever in a cast. Then my moment of insanity passes nearly as fast as it came on and I decide I would rather just watch skiing on my TV from the cozy comfort of my Lazy Boy, preferably with a hot toddy in hand.

So, as the season comes upon us, the only thing I am looking forward to is Christmas. We do need snow for the few days of the Christmas season, but then it can disappear again. Maybe this year, I will just hibernate...

Friday, 2 October 2009

Don't Get Taken In...

This is to all the ladies out there who are going through a relationship breakdown. Your emotions are fragile right now. You feel that men are scum for various reasons. Then you start chatting with some guy online who says all the right things - you are beautiful/smart/funny, you make him feel so great, he wants your body - and then all of a sudden, this online relationship has gotten to the point where he wants to spend the rest of his life with you, he will move to where ever you are - even if is the North Pole - and live with you forever. This usually takes between 3 to 5 days. Yes, DAYS! Talk about your whirlwind romance!

So now he has you hooked. The stars in your eyes light up a room. You are totally smitten. Then he needs a favour from you. For me, the first time (yeah, I admit. I got taken in twice) he was a guy who lived in Barrie, Ontario who owned an import business. I got a call from him saying he wanted me to buy a top of the line laptop and send it to him in Ghana where he happened to be "on business". His laptop had supposedly died and he could not get a replacement.

This last time, he was an American soldier stationed in Iraq. After the requisite 5 days had passed and I was hooked, he told me he needed me to accept a mysterious package for him that he was sending by some "diplomat". Well, this "diplomat" emailed me from supposedly Ghana asking for $2000 so he could come to me with this package. When this guy wanted to phone me, I gave him my number and as soon as I heard his voice I knew it was the same guy, or someone from the same country.

I did not send the laptop or the money!

So if you get into a situation like this, GET OUT as soon as you can! Please be smart and tell the jerk to take a flying leap. Yes, it hurts like hell because you have been made to think you are the best thing since sliced bread and now all of a sudden you have to make choice between that wonderful feeling or your bank account. Because believe me, if they can get a laptop or $2000 out of you, they will try for more until they bleed you dry!