Tuesday, June 30, 2020

Out to Lunch

I took the photos below one work-day last week.  I'm so grateful to have a selection of beautiful spots for relaxing strolls on stressful days.

Monday, June 29, 2020

Marvellous Marvin Monday

My sister chose this picture because she thinks it looks like Marvin has me trapped in a box.  She thinks he's saying, "You think it's cute and funny when I'm in a box and you close the lid and hold it shut. Well, payback is a _itch mommy." 

That actually sounds like something my sister would do!  

Besides, we only shut  Marvin in a box when we take him in his carrier to the vet.  That's traumatic enough for all of us.  

Marvin is actually checking out the box that contained his new cat-tree.

We both agree Marvin is a very spoiled cat.

If this isn't enough Marvin for you, you can follow him on Instagram.  He's @marvinmeowmeow.  

Sunday, June 28, 2020

Exhausted and Board

First week back to work.  I'm exhausted, but I expected that.  I also expected that my job would be different. I didn't expect that we'd have to figure out so much on the fly.  It's physically and mentally draining.  I'm so glad I prepped meals last week.  

This week I'm back to planning meals.  There are holes in the plan for the upcoming week.  That's OK.  Not only has my job changed, but my schedule has changed.  I'm not quite sure how everything will fit together.  I'll receive my groceries and my veggies tomorrow.  Once I see what I have I can fill in the holes for the rest of the week.

I'm relying heavily on prepared foods and simple recipes.  There's even hot dogs on the menu.  I haven't bought hot dogs in years, but they're simple and they remind me of past cookouts  By Wednesday I'm going to need something to remind me that there was a time when we weren't planning our lives around a pandemic.

Bean and cheese quesadillas will be my go-to lunch for a while.  Our staff room can only accommodate one person when we have to physical distance.  I've decided that it's easier to head out on my break. Quesadillas keep well in an insulated lunch bag with an ice pack.  And, when the weather is too wet to head to the park, they're easy to eat in my car.

I've also decided to use two dry-erase boards for meal-planning.  I think I'll be better able avoid food waste if I start planning next week as we use up things in the fridge this week. 

This week's recipes:

Chickpea curry: A cross between this recipe and the chickpea curry in Stephanie Kay's 5-ingredient cookbook.  The two recipes combined in a stove-top version should use up a few odds and ends in the fridge.

Beet pesto:  Made during last week's kitchen frenzy.  I don't think I mentioned that I used sunflower seeds instead of almonds.  Initial tastes while prepping were good.  Looking forward to trying it in a meal.  Pink pasta!

Sloppy Joes:  There are still a few jars of this in the freezer from the last batch I made.  We'll serve it on buns from my favourite bakery.  I love their hamburger buns.  I buy them and freeze them when they have them.

Chicken fajita salad:  I'll do a variation of this recipe.  I like that the same recipe is used for the marinade and the dressing.  The fewer steps the better!  I know I won't make it exactly as written, because I won't have chicken thighs, avocado or cilantro in the house.

(*Note:  I don't get anything for the links above.  They're there for your information.  Hope you find them useful.)

Saturday, June 27, 2020


Management has been informed that the wrong photo was posted on June 22 for Marvellous Marvin Monday.  You will find the correct photo below:

Management would like to point out that Marvin's cheeks always look "puffy, and squeezable, and fluffy".  And, though he does look more bunny-like in this photo, management still does not see teeth.  Perhaps management needs new glasses.

Management apologises for the error.

If this isn't enough Marvin for you, you can follow him on Instagram.  He's @marvinmeowmeow.  

Friday, June 26, 2020

Peanut Butter Porridge Heart

This is the second time a heart has appeared in my breakfast bowl.

I guess you could say I feast on hearts for breakfast.  Sounds rather fierce.  I like it, particularly since no hearts were actually consumed.  I'm far too squeamish for that.

Thursday, June 25, 2020

Blenheim Beauties

This week's Throwback Thursday photo presented a mystery.

Photo courtesy of Dad

Dad titled it "Blenheim Sale". It's obvious from the sign on the shop behind us that we were in Blenheim, but neither my sister nor I have any memory of this trip.  I don't remember ever being in Blenheim.

My sister does.  She remembers going to Blenheim with her guy friends in the winter for hockey games. But, since, "that person beside me looks kind of like you, and I have very short, shorts on, and you have shorts on, it's definitely not winter. I must have gone a third time that I don't remember."

I'm glad she's the one who mentioned her short shorts.  

So, why were we in Blenheim?  Were we there for the carnival? What was the sale that Dad mentioned in the photo title?  Were we there to shop? Did we go on that rather rickety looking Tilt-A-Whirl?

When I look at our hair, I can't tell if we are suffering from post-Tilt-A-Whirl damage or if it's just a windy day.

Mom to the rescue again.  She figures we had gone for a drive out toward Blenheim looking for fruit - perhaps strawberries or cherries - and found the Blenheim Cherry Festival and Sidewalk Sale.  

"OH! No wonder I remember that day so well, it was SO exciting, NOT! Why would we have gone all the way to Blenheim to get strawberries?" 

While Mom's explanation didn't immediately jog my sister's memory, it did prompt this anecdote later in the day:

"Did we sing at this festival - up on a little stage with an old man playing guitar? Wasn't there a radio station there too, and we lost a trivia question but got consolation prizes like a  bumper sticker or something?  I remember playing sidewalk games somewhere too. At that age, I wouldn't have done those things in a town where someone might know me."

I don't remember that happening in Blenheim or anywhere else, though it certainly sounds like something we would do if we knew we would be anonymous.  We have done stranger things - usually at her suggestion.

I do remember the mom-made tops we are wearing.  My sister's without shoulder ties, because she was always more daring in her wardrobe choices.  Did I mention her short shorts?  I also remember the velour rompers Mom made from the same pattern.  They were deliciously soft, but oh-so warm on hot, humid days. 

And though I don't remember this particular day, I do remember summer drives through the county and beyond.  Sometimes there was a destination in mind, but often we were just driving for the experience of the drive.  We never knew where we'd end up, or what adventures we'd have along the way.  Sometimes we'd find perfectly ripened fruit at a road-side stand.  Sometimes we'd find "Ontario's longest running carnival and sidewalk sale".   

Wednesday, June 24, 2020

Beach Dreaming

Wish I was at the beach.

Wish you were there too.

Wish we were there together. 


Tuesday, June 23, 2020

Kitchen Day

Back-to-work is looming.  I've been off for over three months, and the job I'm going back to looks nothing like the job I left.  Hubby will be biking to work for the first time in ages.  I suspect we will be exhausted in the evenings.  Since I'm still home, I spent the morning in the kitchen prepping meals for when we are too tired to cook. 

We had roasted chicken for dinner last night, so I used the bones and scraps to make chicken stock in the oven.

This morning I used the stock to make lemon, chicken, orzo soup.  This will be frozen for future dinners.

While the soup simmered, I used the beets left over from last night's dinner to make beet pesto.  I've never tried it before, but it was very tasty.  Looking forward to having it on pasta with a side salad in the not-too-distant future.

After that I washed many, many dishes, then I made kielbasa and cabbage stew.  Tomorrow's dinner done!

I sub garlic sausage for kielbasa.  I use less sausage, cabbage, sugar and paprika that the recipe calls for. 

I washed more dishes while the stew simmered.

Finally, I made bean and cheese quesadillas for lunches tomorrow.  Canned pinto beans mashed with about 1/4 cup commercially-prepared salsa, shredded cheddar, tortilla.  Done.

That was a lot of work.  I'm tired.  I'm hungry.  I wonder if there's anything in the house to eat?

Monday, June 22, 2020

Marvellous Marvin Monday

My sister chose this photo for Marvelous Marvin Monday.

She chose it because she thinks Marvin looks like he is auditioning to be the new Cadbury Easter Bunny.  He is saying,"See how long my ears look when I lay like this. And my cheeks look so puffy, and squeezable, and fluffy." She even thinks you can see his bunny teeth - proof that Marvin can be the Cadbury Easter Bunny.

Marvin could be thinking that, as Marvin generally thinks he can do whatever he wants.  He's a cat.

If this isn't enough Marvin for you, you can follow him on Instagram.  He's @marvinmeowmeow.  

Sunday, June 21, 2020

Breezy Burgers

Yesterday we picked up burgers, fries and colas from our favourite burger joint then we headed out for a seaside picnic.  It was wildly windy. We almost lost our bag of fries to a particularly forceful gust.  Still, it was beautiful, and after we ate we had the beach to ourselves before the the clouds and the rain blew in.  

(*Note:  I don't get anything for the links above.  They're there for your information.  Hope you find them useful.)

Saturday, June 20, 2020

Warm Bread

My favourite bakery re-opened this week.  So pleased that they are back.  Mmmmmmmmmm.

(*Note:  I don't get anything for the links above.  They're there for your information.  Hope you find them useful.)

Friday, June 19, 2020

Floral Wavelength

I spotted this tiny pink flower growing out of a crack in the road earlier today.

While I was taking my flower picture, Dad was sending me one of his flower pictures. 

It seems that we were on the same wavelength, though his connection was somewhat amplified.

Thursday, June 18, 2020

Elephants in the Family

A few weeks ago I shared a picture of my sister and I standing in front of elephants at the zoo.  That photo got me thinking about this photo of my nephew and niece.

Photo courtesy of Dad

I wasn't present when the picture was taken, but I thought my sister and her kids would like to share their memories of the day.  I forwarded it to the three of them for their thoughts, only to discover that my sister wasn't there either.  My parents had taken the kids on this adventure.

What?!?  My parents never let me ride an elephant.  Well, at least I had that in common with my sister.  Or so I thought.  

My sister has not only had the chance to ride an elephant, she's also ridden a camel, or  a dromedary, or maybe both.  She was rather fuzzy on the details.  In fact, it's possible the elephant was an alcohol-induced hallucination, as she believes she rode it at a bar in Texas. She didn't say if the elephant was pink.

And speaking of pink...

Photo courtesy of my nephew

My nephew sent this photo with the message "Same shoes" on seeing the elephant photo.  I hadn't even noticed that both my niece and nephew were wearing Crocs.

My sister did though.  Her first comment was "Aren't they cute?" 

Her second comment was, "Those orange and pink Crocs were around forever."

At least she mentioned her cute kids before she commented on their footwear.

My niece also focused on the cuteness, "My brother had the cutest effing smile in this picture."

He truly did. When you look at the delight on his face it's no surprise that he recently spent a semester living on a real African lion safari.

Because yes, that's where the picture was taken. I had to consult Mom to find out that the photo was taken at the African Lion Safari in Cambridge, Ontario. They had stopped there as part of a larger grandparent/grandchild road trip that stretched all the way to Niagara Falls.

Mom told me that after a rainy drive through the park, she, my dad, my niece and my nephew took in the bird show and the elephant show. Then they stood in line in the rain so the kids could ride the elephant. Standing in line in the rain? I don't remember my parents having that much patience when my sister and I were kids, but when I look back on the photos of my childhood road trips, I can see my parents had more patience than I remember.

*Note:  I don't get anything for the links above.  They're there for your information.  Hope you find them useful.)

Wednesday, June 17, 2020

Tuesday, June 16, 2020

Snail Days

This photo pretty much sums up my days. 

Just hanging out at home.  Suits me just fine.

Monday, June 15, 2020

Marvellous Marvin Monday

My sister chose this photo for Marvellous Marvin Monday.

The other pictures I sent featured more Marvin, but she thought this one best depicted what a silly cat he is.  She also wanted to point out that Marvin needed his nails trimmed.  She's right. He did. By the time she received the photo he had already had a pedicure.  

Thankfully, Marvin doesn't mind having his nails trimmed.  In fact, I get the impression he'd be a wouldn't be opposed to the full spa treatment.  He's typically cat-like in his need to be pampered.

If this isn't enough Marvin for you, you can follow him on Instagram.  He's @marvinmeowmeow.  

Sunday, June 14, 2020

Mmmm. Beeeer.

Yesterday it was Bigfoot Donuts.  Today it was Gladstone Brewery. It's been a Homer Simpson kind of weekend. Doh!

(*Note:  I don't get anything for the links above.  They're there for your information.  Hope you find them useful.)

Saturday, June 13, 2020

Art Heart

I spotted this heart while out walking.  I'm delighted to see that someone else in my neighbourhood is noticing hearts.  That they used this heart-shaped rock to express their creativity just adds to the delight.  I'm also impressed that they chose to display it so that passers-by can enjoy it too.  It would be easy for someone to walk away with the piece.  The creator chose to share anyway.  That makes me smile. 

Friday, June 12, 2020

Truck Nuts

I have developed a new, and in my opinion, wonderfully all-purpose expletive.

Truck nuts.

Not the clearest picture, but I didn't want anyone to see me taking a picture of truck nuts.

It can be said with a sigh of tired exasperation.

"Ahhhhh truck nuts"

It can be used metaphorically.

"She's as empathetic as a barrel of truck nuts."

It can can be an exclamation of strong emotion.

"TRUCK NUTS! Someone stole my bike!"

It can be used as a dismissal.

"Why don't you go play with your truck nuts?"

And as an insulting name.

"Hey! Truck Nuts! Clean up after your dog!"

Of course, as with any expletive, use with caution.  You wouldn't want someone to come after you swinging a set of truck nuts.

Thursday, June 11, 2020

Red Pill/Blue Pill

Yes, I realise it's a green pill.  I stopped taking the blue pills years ago.  Besides, the headache I woke with today  wasn't blue-pill worthy.  It wasn't even green-pill worthy.  In the world of headaches, it is fairly minor, though is requiring that I limit my screen time.  Throwback Thursday will be delayed as a result.

Wednesday, June 10, 2020

Patient Pages

Writing has become a big part of my distanced days.  I'm up early taking part in Firefly Creative Writing's Morning Coffee Sessions.  I journal.  I write here.  Pages and pages and pages.  This writing thing might be becoming a habit.

This week I noticed that I'm running out of pages.  The journal I ordered from our local bookstore in May is rapidly filling up.  

I considered placing another order, but I decided to support a local, budding artist instead.

One of my co-workers does amazing things with paper.  He makes adorable, complex origami figures.  He creates magnificent, three-dimensional masks from folded paper. He constructs beautiful handmade journals.  And he's still learning.  Some day I won't be able to afford his work.  

But right now I can, so I contacted him to see if he had any journals to sell.  He did.  And in a transaction that felt vaguely illicit, I bought three.  They are now waiting patiently for my pen.  It will be hard to decide which one to fill first.

At one time I would have hesitated to mark their pages with my scribbles.  I'm beyond that now, and I'm sure my humble words will be enhanced by their beautiful new homes.

(*Note:  I don't get anything for the links above.  They're there for your information.  Hope you find them useful.)

Tuesday, June 9, 2020

Prove Me Wrong

Yesterday I accused Marvin of un-catlike behaviour.  He immediately proved me wrong.  The box he ignored became the focus of his attention.  I think he even slept in it last night.

His contrariety proves is, in fact, a very catlike cat.

If this isn't enough Marvin for you, you can follow him on Instagram.  He's @marvinmeowmeow.  

Monday, June 8, 2020

Marvellous Marvin Monday

Marvin was in good form this week.  I sent five pictures to my sister.  Her choice:

Her thoughts:

It looks like the pillows behind his head are bunny ears and he's saying,  "Oh please. Just because you put crooked bunny ears on me, you can't make me hoppity hop into a box. I'm a sophisticated cat not a cute little bunny, I don't hippity hop, I gracefully lunge into a box, like a prima ballerina, WHEN I want to jump in a box."

Her thoughts are fairly close to reality.  Marvin sniffed at the box, then ignored it.  Of all the cats we've had in our home, he's the least interested in boxes.  His lack of enthusiasm is practically un-catlike.

If this isn't enough Marvin for you, you can follow him on Instagram.  He's @marvinmeowmeow.  

Sunday, June 7, 2020

Caffeine and Clear Skies

This morning, as I sipped my home-pressed coffee, I wondered what the line-up was like at Starbucks.  It has been months since Hubby and I have indulged.  First, we weren't going anywhere, so it didn't occur to us.  More recently, every time we've thought of it, the line-ups were too long to bother.

Today, since I was up early anyway, I decided to go check it out.  I was third in line. Success!

The car smelled so good that, even though it was a beautiful morning,  I rolled up the windows to better enjoy the aroma.  

Later, since we were caffeine fuelled and since it was such a lovely morning, we headed out for a short ocean-side walk.  We purposely chose a less-popular beach.  Again, we practically had the place to ourselves

Friday, June 5, 2020

Polar Poop

After I posted yesterday, my sister came back with another zoo story.  It's one neither my mother nor I remember, but it could be true.  I certainly have no trouble picturing my sister yelling about poop in public.

I cannot confirm the authenticity of my sister's story, but I can confirm that the item pictured above is 100 percent real bear poop.

"I remember the polar bear standing up from his nap.  He stretched and yawned with his mouth open as wide as it could go.  Everyone thought he was so cute. Then he turned around,  stretched again with his ass waving in the air, and dropped a gargantuous pile of poop in front of us all.  Not so cute anymore!

"I yelled, 'Look everyone! He's pooping!' at the top of my lungs.  I'm pretty sure Dad was embarrassed, but he didn't say much.  Probably because of the look Mom gave him.  And because I wasn't the only one yelling about it!"

Nope, I have no memory of this happening, but it sounds so much like something my sister would do that I'm laughing right out loud.

Thanks for the memory, whether I remember it or not!

Thursday, June 4, 2020

Polyester Primates

Below we have a photo of four zoo animals - two elephants and two polyester primates.

Detroit Zoo 1974
Photo courtesy of Dad

Seriously, that was the first thing my sister brought up - our outfits. 

"I hated that polyester outfit.  At least yours had ventilation at the neck.  Mine was a stifling, half-turtleneck that was so tight around my neck.  No air circulated through the neck or the chest or the back of the shirt itself." 

I'm sure she's right, but that certainly wasn't what I noticed first about this photo.  We had to continue with the wardrobe critique before we could talk about anything else though.

"I hated it when you wore your hair like that.  Those silly ponytail holders with those little balls.  I just didn't like them.  Oh wait, I did like them for one reason and one reason only.  When we would fight I could grab that silly ball and stretch the elastic.  When it hit your head coming back it must have hurt.  You screamed loud enough."

Fighting aside, I quite liked my hair like that.  Look how straight and shiny it is. I certainly thought it looked better than later perms, but I couldn't get my sister to admit to that.  She did agree that her hair was a bit messed up, but only because she must have wiped the perspiration from her brow just prior to the picture being snapped.  Her bad hair is due to extenuating circumstances. My bad hair, in her opinion, is just bad hair.

Eventually we were able to move on to the elephant in the room - the actual elephants.  

"Dad's timing must have been off.  That angle is making it look like my head has just slid out of that elephant's ass.  Maybe that's what's wrong with my hair.  Ewww."

At least she was willing to finally acknowledge there was something wrong with her hair.

We did eventually reminisce about the zoo itself.  The excitement of spotting the Detroit Zoo water tower from the road.  The fun of following the animal footprints stamped on the walkways throughout the park.  The polar bear that would splash onlookers.  Mom's dislike of the reptile exhibit.  The fact that we both remember all the words from this 1982 commerical**.

On viewing that ad again, I realise that, with her concern about her wardrobe, my sister might have more in common with the peacocks than the primates.  Polyester peacock.  Sounds just about right.

(*Note:  I don't get anything for the links above.  They're there for your information.  Hope you find them useful.)
(** Note: The picture quality is quite bad, but the sound is OK.)

Wednesday, June 3, 2020

Fountain of Joy

My pandemic-prompted downtime has helped me to understand how little I need to get by.  As a result, I'm experiencing so much appreciation when something new comes into my life.

I won't elaborate, partly because it's hard to articulate, and partly because I'd rather spend the time hanging out by my fountain.

I can't begin to tell you how much joy it is bringing me.  Thanks to Hubby for this wonderful surprise.  


Tuesday, June 2, 2020

Rainy Walk

It's rainy here today.  I took a reasonably long walk anyway.  I pretty much had the world to myself.