Mule Muffins! (and a Recipe)

I know what you’re thinking. I’m using an epithet generally reserved for people like Col. Potter. But what I’m really talking about are mules made from muffins. So today’s post is called: Mule Muffins! (and a Recipe).

I know what you’re thinking now. Mules. No. Not this mule (who’s super cute and wants to live in my backyard, if I had one).

 (c) Can Stock Photo

How pretty are mules anyway? Seriously, they are under-rated.
(c) Can Stock Photo Heck yeah I pay for stock photography.

These mules. You got it. The ones that gave me osteo-arthritis. Now you’re talkin’.mules-marabou

This story is not really about the best kind of footwear: soft, comfy spongy happy shoes.

But shoes made from muffins. Aye, there’s the rub. These muffins, not those.

Let’s step back a moment. This is a dream I had about my wearing English muffins. It’s a metaphor, pretty sure. What else could it be?

Mule Muffins! (and a Recipe)

Here’s some background

When I was younger, I worked in downtown Toronto. My friends were still in high school but I had a weird job doing online research and building databases, back in 1983. Not a lot online research back then, but enough to keep me gainfully employed (and out of school because I had left home early and REALLY needed the job).

So downtown Toronto was where I was wandering in this dream: barefoot, in a sundress. But think: Commerce Court or the TD Centre.

I was trying to walk from downtown Toronto to Montreal, by way of Aurora.

Perhaps not a great idea, looking back.

Here’s the map (Toronto-Aurora-Montreal) by foot

Only 118 hours? Imagine that! And I was going to take the train. 

Toronto-Dees-Montreal

Sneaky Dee’s

In my dream, I stopped by Sneaky Dee’s first. Have you been? It’s a great place; but as someone who likely didn’t belong there said to me once: don’t order the port.

I don’t want to appropriate anyone’s photography so here’s a quick collage (and the search I used to pull up the collage).

SneakyDeesCollage

Sneaky Dee’s, how I loved thee.

I used to live within crawling (believe me, I know) distance of  Sneaky Dee’s waaaaay back when the sun could still shine between my thighs.


By the way, Sneaky Dee’s is not a place to go pee-pees if you’re mysophobic. 🙂 Fortunately, this doesn’t bother me.


I kinda miss this part of my life (and the dress size which went with it).

Dee’s does a wicked breakfast (hangover helper we called it) and when they moved south to College & Bathurst, I swear I did too, just to keep my sanity.

Right. My dream. It’s a long walk and the business district is nothing but concrete. And in my dream, like in freals, my feet hurt (did I mention I now have arthritis?). Then I remembered (in my dream):

I had English muffins in my pockets

This is how I began to realise I was dreaming: usable pockets in women’s clothing. Right after THEY cure the common cold, THEY will design sundresses with useful pockets.

Have you worn English muffins? They are the epitome of bready footwear. Keep a few in your pocket and you can go anywhere. Climb every mountain. Eschew the streams though. Your shoes will degrade like a teenager’s language after their first martini.

So what’s the point of all this?

Glad you asked.  I didn’t get to Aurora or Montreal, really. I think I woke up after Sneaky Dee’s, when I bumped into an ex-boyfriend’s parents (from the late 80s) and offered to give them a lift home in the car I suddenly had (1967 Mustang, I thank you). I started some strange journey, wearing English muffins on my feet, and never got anywhere.

And I started this blog on December 26, 2014 (now it’s January 9, 2015 and I just posted Flipping My Lids) (no wait, it’s now December 6, 2016 and I just posted My First Kiss) then I started to load content for a client’s two websites and I was swamped. I spent the entire holiday loading underwhelming websites (thankfully I didn’t design them) and working like a dog and never EVER getting to finish this blog and I forgot the rest of the dream.

Between 2014 and now I’ve been overworked, fired, hired, injured, had pneumonia (twice) H1N1, broke a couple of bones, pinched several nerves in my neck, and played laser tag. I’ve written at least 200 blogs and yet never finished this off. Til now. 

So what’s the point again?

Well for one thing: English muffins suck monkey bums for walking. They seem like a good idea at the time; but when your feet hurt like a motherscratcher, any port in a storm… to mix metaphors.

Ok, so what about Montreal and Aurora?

Right. I forgot. Montreal is where I did my MA in English(Creative Writing). Aurora is where I lived (post-Toronto) til I ran away. The devils’ in the details.

My dream was telling me I was about to embark on a long strange journey (a lot of which was any port in a storm, is my thinking) that hopefully allowed me to transcend my corporate yet rock-and-roll past, as well as my working behind-the-scenes doing everyone else’s blogs, sites, consulting, five-year-plans, and you get the idea. Constantly sublimating my creative need for someone else’s vision.

I think I’m done, finally. It was funny, yesterday on Facebook, to see a blog I wrote two years ago for a client being reposted  on their FB page, being passed off as someone else’s work (it’s ok, I signed those rights away to them). The odd thing was, the blog was written on a semi-personal level. The company forgot to actually re-read the blog and remove my personal asides. Snicker. Rather gratifying, really.

I clicked “like” and moved on. 


Right, the Recipe.

This is from my old but still existing recipe blog (circa 2011) Like I Need Another Hole in my Head which needs a serious update. I’ve pasted this, verbatim. I really need to fix that thing.

Carrot Bran Muffins (can be low-fat, if you wish)

I know I said this isn’t a low-fat healthy site, but sometimes you just gotta have something good for you. Apologies to all who may be offended. I promise to type up my cinnamon bun recipe shortly.

But dang these are good and moist and have very little fat to them if you use applesauce (makes muffin a bit denser though) instead of oil.

Prep time: 10 – 15 minutes

Baking time: 20 minutes (making LARGE muffins… adjust time accordingly for regular size)

Regular muffins have 185 calories and 4.5 grams of fibre and a few grams of fat, nothing like muffins from franchised coffee shops!

Makes 12 regular muffins or 6 large muffins

1 1/4 cup flour (150 grams)
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp soda
1/4 tsp salt
2 cups raisin bran cereal (110 grams, add more if you wish!)
1 1/4 cup milk (306 grams for skim)
1/4 cup of either unsweetened applesauce or vegetable oil
1/3 cup molasses
1 egg or 2 egg whites
1 cup (more or less) of shredded carrot
1/2 cup additional raisins or chopped dates (mostly for moisture)

Preheat oven to 400. Either use muffin liners or spray tin with cooking spray or butter and flour your tins.

1. Add cereal and milk together in a large bowl and let the cereal soften about five minutes.

2. Add oil (or applesauce), molasses, egg and beat. Beat or stir in dry ingredients.

3. Add carrot (and additional fruit if using) and stir.

4. Glop into tins. Personally I make larger muffins. So what they have nearly 400 calories? You need energy mid-day right? These will do it with low-fat and as you can see, low-sugar. Live a little.

5. Bake approx 20 minutes. I use a convection oven so adjust your time accordingly. May take longer.

These keep very well. Extremely moist muffins.

 


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My First Kiss

photo © Can Stock Photo / kickanwicksell.. the rest by yours truly.

I’ve been out of the romance blogosphere for a while but am slowly coming back to it. Today is my first blog for Romance Writers Weekly in months and the question on the bloghop today is from Romance Author Leslie Hachtel who’s asked us to talk about “My First Kiss.” Thanks for joining us today from Brenda Margriet’s tale on her first kiss (or if I’m your first stop, follow the hop til you’ve come full-circle).

My First Kiss

I wish I had a Mr Darcy-type first kiss. I don’t. My first kiss story is appallingly peudoscientific. And cringe-worthy. 🙂

I tried to decide between blogging about my first romantic kiss which I probably enjoyed, or the one I with which I just experimented in practice for the first REAL kiss and I gotta tell you, I remember the experiment much better. In fact, I can’t remember with whom I had my first kiss.

No.

Really.

This goes back to my being 13 and hanging around the world’s biggest pick-up joint for 13 year-olds everywhere in Hogtown: the Ontario Science Centre. You know, that old chestnut. Hanging out “learning” things when really you’re hoping for a wee grope from the right guy? This is one step up from “going to the library.” Looking back all I can say is “ew.”

But my BFF (well, more like BFATT … Best Friend At The Time) was exponentially prettier than I, so the best I could hope for was seconds or thirds. I got neither. EXCEPT… one of her rejected skeevs on the subway-ride home—I have purposely forgotten his name—very kindly offered to show me “how to kiss” and I, being rejected many times over by even my BFF’s leavings INCLUDING him, was happy to up my kissing skills (being null) just in case… just in case… one day man, one day!

I learned something that day. Well, many things:

  1. Sloppy wet kisses repulse me.
  2. Cigarette breathe is vile.
  3. Kissing without love (or its teenage facsimile: hormones engaged) is up there with nails on a chalkboard for me as far as enjoyment value is concerned. I’d rather eat squishy slippery lettuce than kiss someone who’s entirely uninteresting to me.

A while thereafter I found my first real boyfriend and found his kisses OK. I guess we weren’t the best fit. I came to the conclusion that kissing really grossed me out unless it was a polite peck, or I was insanely in love. Kissing is such an intimate thing (as is the germ-ridden saliva which accompanies it). I figured out I would no more French kiss a dog than I would any young man.

Actually, the dog had a better chance. Or one of these hedgehogs. I’d totally kiss a hedgehog. Hedgehogs deserve smooches.

photo © Can Stock Photo / kickanwicksell.. the rest by yours truly.

photo © Can Stock Photo / kickanwicksell.. the rest by yours truly.

I know what you’re thinking: I’m a cat person. True enough. But I am also not suicidal. (And if you had a cat named Tiny Finger Shark like I do, you’d understand.) 

I told my husband I was back to blogging (neck brace and wrist braces on as I said this…) and he pointed out that he remembers HIS first kiss because he’s romantic (he is). I said I only remembered HIS first kiss with ME (because I’m even MORE romantic and wouldn’t dream of counting any other “kiss” I’ve had before his as a real kiss).

So there. Trumped (can I say that?) his ace I did.

Our First Kiss

Our first kiss was epic and actually came after our mutual declaration of love. That’s right. We pledged our troth (on the phone…long story…) and THEN had to wait a few days before we could meet up THEN kiss. And dang it all, it was, to us at least, as stellar (more so) than that kiss in Bridget Jones’ Diary. And come to think of it, our first kiss was on a VERY snowy day but as for the rest, alas I was not sporting my animal-print knickers. That would be later.

In fact, I’m wearing them now as I type this. 

You’re welcome.

Just to help you purge that last image:

Next stop on our hop? UK-based Romance Author Carrie Elks who has a new romance releasing in exactly one week:

carrie_natasha


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About Romance Writers Weekly

Romance Writer’s Weekly is a group of writers who love everything about the romance genre. We’re comprised of traditionally-published and self-published authors, as well as those who aspire to publish (that’d be me… I… me?). We write in nearly every sub-genre of romance, from contemporary to historical, paranormal to suspense. If you love reading romance you’re sure to find something you like these! So if you are a reader, writer, reviewer or book club member, feel free to contact us, we would love your company!

 

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Is the Cup Half-Full or Half-Empty?

Yup. I know what you’re thinking: this blog is all about whether an “empty” cup (I don’t use glasses… that’s another blog for another day) isn’t really just chock-full of elements like nitrogen, oxygen, and carbon in their gaseous state… and who are we to be sniffy about privileging matter in its liquid form? It’s ok. I went there too. No, today’s blog is about one of my pet peeves: tv shows, commercials, and films wherein the character is holding an empty cup and pretending to drink from it.

Actually, I have a few cupular pet peeves. I think I’ll make this a series.

First, I tried to find all those commercials and film snippets which have made me bananas, over the last few decades. People holding empty cups (and similarly irritating: people holding empty paper grocery bags) but random Google searches proved useless except for this mostly unrelated gem courtesy of Cracked.com’s YouTube channel which, thankfully, does have a dude holding an empty cup, but it’s not quite what I needed for my blog.

Please enjoy this video. I had to endure a commercial for The Big Bang Theory before I could watch this.

Roger Horton. Yeah, I’d vote for you.

Then I happened upon Mental Floss which led me to Slate and (bless his buns) Myles McNutt. He beat me to it and frankly, I’m not this good.

Proof once again I live in a world inhabited only by cats, I discover the #EmptyCupAwards started, oh, two years ago…


Since McNutt had it worked out for me, I decided to share this with you all, then change the focus of today’s blog to what you all originally thought I was going to write on:

Empty vs. Full

Somewhere, always lurking, is a smart-ass who will answer the half-empty, half-full question with “there’s air in there!” thus silencing the rhetorical questioner. Usually also quashing all good chatter leaving nothing (or would that be something) but an awkward pause. Don’t worry: I’ve been that pedantic self-righteous 11 year-old. Perhaps you’ve been one, too (one, two, get it?).

Pretty sure the bowl is "empty" but not my Hello Kitty mug. It probably has green tea in it, or 抹茶 for you purists.

Pretty sure the bowl is “empty” but not my Hello Kitty mug. It probably has green tea in it, or 抹茶 for you purists.

Is the Cup Half-Full or Half-Empty?

The question is so much more than a discourse on the elements; we all know that. It’s about whether your response is optimistic (half-full) or pessimistic (half-empty). Frankly, I’ve found this discourse just a little too “binary” (yeah, I said it) and reductionist (which my spell check tells me is NOT a word but hey, neologism IS a word so nyah). Reductionist. I said it.

It’s a blog about what is and isn’t “there” and whether or not a cup of anything is always a good thing. My first thoughts:

  • The cup is never empty. Anyone who stayed awake in Grade 9 science will tell you that, if they dare.
  • Sometimes there’s poison in that cup. Good thing it’s half-empty. But dang, who drank it and will I have to hide the body? Who poisoned the cup? Why? Am I next? Thankfully, I am friends with a lot of mystery authors and likely, they can help me on this one.
  • The ambrosia distilled from kitten sneezes and happy puppy toots may be in your cup, in which case half-full is still pretty ok. Who drank it shouldn’t be my response. Thank you for saving me some is what I should say. Let’s have a little gratitude, people.
  • The cup is half-full or half-empty depending on your need. If you are drinking Buckley’s Mixture and are halfway done…. well, if you’ve had Buckley’s, you know. You need that cup to be empty. Emptied.  Maybe one should move to the more verbally enhanced question: is the cup half-filled or half-emptied?
  • Sometimes it’s just so awesome to have a cup. There’s a semiotics in this observation: some people don’t have cups and likely don’t have decent water to drink. But here in the First World…need a cup? Here’s how you fold one, if you’re in a tight spot. This comes in handy if you’re in IKEA, a land forgotten by drinking fountains. Take a fresh page from an ubiquitous catalogue festooning that temple to compartmentalization and fold your little heart out. One use only though, people.
  • And now that you’ve read the point above, you may be feeling a bit crappy about the fact that I mentioned that some people don’t have access to potable water. Do something about it, even if you just share some page from Watsi.org or Unicef. Maybe the other person will donate, thanks to your clicking “share” or “like” or one of those little hearts.

What started this blog today: my hatred for seeing people “drink” from “empty” cups. What it’s really all about? The fact that my little bubble gets burst when I notice the artifice of it all. In film, this is when the suture is ruptured. I love suture. I like my #safespace (or is it #safeplace or #happyspace? #happyplace?).  (My kid just told me it’s #safespace and #happyplace.)

This particular suture rupture irks me, metaphorically, because what I ultimately see is the mirroring of real-life people in my day-to-day (well, on Facebook at least) drinking from full cups and they’re not aware of it. When I see fake people fake drink from fake cups my mind goes to all the real people out there “drinking” from very full cups and some (not all) are no more “aware” (certainly not really #grateful or #blessed) than those actors on those shows, commercials, and films.  

But I know what you’re really wondering, through all this?

Why don’t I drink from glasses?

What’s the metaphor there? Glass houses? Mirror Stage? Simulacra? Nah, it’s much more easy peasy: I knock them over and break them. That’s kinda it, really. I’m a klutz. Freud sums this up nicely:

Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar.

And sometimes the cup is neither full nor empty, and it may not even be there. But if you have a cup, you’re doing pretty good. If it has something palatable in it, so much the better. If you can fill someone else’s — figuratively or literally — then you are truly having a great day. Go fill someone’s cup today and please, for me, make sure you slosh it around a bit. Leave a mark. Share the love.

 


I’m canvassing for the Heart & Stroke Foundation again this year and yes, I’m starting well before Heart Month (which is February)… Even $5 would be nice. Please give. Super thanks!

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The Momfia Getaway

I know what you’re thinking: this is a blog about the Momfia and their daring escape from their latest caper (thus keeping their bail money for another day). You’re probably right. But the weekend has only begun and I’m not there as their designated driver. Since I don’t drink, I’d be the perfect driver for the Momfia getaway.

What this blog is really about: claustrophobia. Sure sure, there are likely other diagnoses I could invoke (I have a slew of them in my sling bag) but the main one is claustrophobia.

Let me tell you something: claustrophobia blows monkey bottoms. And while no, I can’t “just get over it,” I can write a blog about it (sitting near a window, car keys in hand). Ok, kinda joking there.

Maybe.

I have known these women for years. We’re in a birth club together (yes, we call ourselves the Momfia) and some of us have been hanging out (mostly online) since we were pregnant. I love these women. And while we’re all so geographically distant, we do our best to get together when we can.

For me, this is challenging. Almost insurmountable. Depending on distance and venue, I can do it. It all comes down to distance and venue (read: escapability). Oh wait, and body count. Distance. Venue. Body Count. Trips to IKEA? Manageable for about an hour, then I freak out (I am not good with malls, as you may recall). Trips far-ish away, to a dwelling and room-sharing (and toilet-sharing, don’t even… don’t eeeeeeeeeeven get me started)? I just can’t. It’s so painful for me. I can barely imagine it.

What makes it worse is the self-loathing and rationalizing I go through when a group event is put together. I want to see people. I know only a few of the now-69 women who make up our happy troupe since 2010. But I cannot fully express how downright physically painful it is for me to be in a confined space (yes, a ski chalet with 14 women counts as confined). And yet. And yet. It all looks so fun.

In a rare moment, I’ll thank FB for the fact that I can semi-participate while I sit at home hating myself.

There’s karaoke

I love karaoke. I have no shame. None. Doesn’t matter what key, tempo, or genre. I will sing it loud and proud. So you’d think I would be down with the get-together, right?

Nope. My total lack of singing shame has nothing to do with claustrophobia. What I wouldn’t give for Ali and me to croon I Got You, Babe, lovingly into each others’ eyes. I’d have to stand on a stool though, she’s pretty tall.

Pretty sure some Nancy Sinatra is going on, here. Note bottles of invigorating elixir in the lower right-hand corner. :)

Pretty sure some Nancy Sinatra is going on, here. Note bottles of invigorating elixir in the lower right-hand corner. 🙂

 

There’s just good ol’ sleepover fun

undies-02

I’m menopausal. Undies in the freezer sounds pretty good to me. 🙂

I want to be carefree like this. Like in those 80s films or even better, British comedies from 1968-1971. Capricious. Fun-loving. Anything for a dare. Poops and giggles.

But I can’t. I find it hard to breathe just thinking about being in the living room with them. All of whom I know to some extent. But those four walls, and that distance from my safe place (home)… it’s so hard. I’m someone who can’t even close the door to her own bedroom. No. Really. It freaks me out.

And the worst of it is not having a proper way to explain it. So I got up this morning and thought I’d write a love letter to my Birth Club sisters. We’ve all been through so many things together (and more to come). And I love all of you but I have to say sometimes I just can’t do it. I want to. I intend to. I generally fall through. And I’m sorry. I appreciate you’re not all sitting there waiting for me to splash up the day, but I know some of you may feel slighted, insulted even, at my seeming aloofness.

I can do one-on-one quite well. Small trips to IKEA. And while I hoped and prayed I could drive up to see you all today, I am afraid THE FEAR will take hold. If you don’t suffer from it, you cannot understand it. Hunter S. Thompson got it. 

Getting the Fear

But I know some of you get it, some don’t. We can’t all ‘get’ everything.

I confess I never understood amber teething necklaces.

Gals, I love you all and am always grateful for your friendship. Have fun. Drive safely. Take pix. Skype if you can. Mwah.

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November 7th: The Day of Truth

I know what you’re thinking: the title should read November 8th: The Day of Truth: US Election Day. But this isn’t really about November 8th or Election Day in the US (my brother’s birthday, by the way. Happy Birthday, Geoff). And I’m 100% certain November 8 won’t be a Day of Truth no matter what point on the political spectrum you are. It’s about my annual check-up. Yes, it’s “that time of the year.” I’ll keep the title, then as November 7th: The Day of Truth. (I also added that to keep Brother Google happy about my search engine optimisation).

November 7th: The Day of Truth

Those remembering my last year’s check-up (which should be no one), I complained to my doctor (ok, maybe you did hear about this) that I was not really losing anything but collagen, despite being on Weight Watchers and “hitting the gym” and what could he check blood-wise to give me the downlow why I was suddenly a card-carrying member of the Junior Behemoth Society.

Dr Steve laid upon me “the look” which every menopausal woman dreads. If you’re menopausal, you know it. If not, you’ll find out. If you’re neither menopausal nor a woman, well, there is no helping you. I cannot explain “the look.” But if you’ve ever laid “the look” on your loving wife, girlfriend, spousal-equivalent, you are most likely dead or wish you were.

He nonetheless signed me up for a flurry of tests, all of which told me Rambo-Diddly-Squat. Let’s face it, I’m a 50 year-old menopausal woman.

justfeedit

Oh the humanity!

I had to accept the fact that I was fifty. (Actually, at the time I was forty-nine but I’ve moved on and frankly, I was in my fiftieth year). My body has changed. And I don’t belong to the school of Just Accept Your Body. Why? Because I’m a hateful misogynist self-loathing bitch? No. While I am a hateful bitch, it’s not for that reason.

Being a hateful misogynist self-loathing bitch is just something I picked up when I was in my teens and I only do it socially. I never inhale.

Well you may ask: Why not just accept the extra 30 pounds? Because heart attack and stroke will kill more women than most any other cause of death (and the bummer of it all is they don’t have any cute little pink sockies or ribbons for you to buy). Schlepping an extra 20, then 30, then 40 pounds (it grows and grows) PLUS not really working too hard at the gym is, frankly, going to take me down. Saying “but I walk a lot and walking is the best thing for you” is horse poo, unless you’re power-walking. Ambling along after the dog is pretty much a zero on the cardio chart. So while I THINK I upped my game, I realised I really had to UP it.

Freals, as the young say.

So for the last year, I’ve been eating hippie crap like this for breakfast:

 

Hello Kitty and All Bran and Greek Yogurt OH MY!

Hello Kitty and All Bran and Greek Yogurt OH MY!

Note my fetching Hello Kitty pencils and bucket, from my hubs. And yes, tucked within that mess o’ HOMEMADE Greek yogurt, Bran Buds, cranberries, pumpkin seeds and walnuts, are chocolate chips. Mea culpa.

But hey, it’s better than what I used to do which is starve myself with 120 calories of oatbran (I love oatbran) and that’s it for breakfast, then I’d be ravenous for lunch or after a workout. Yeah, this is more calorie and fat-rich, but it gets me to 13:00 even if I hit the gym for two hours. I’ve been trying to stick to Weight Watchers Simply Filling for the rest.

It’s still hard (because I cheat like a dog), though. The needle’s barely moved but I can now, one year later, honestly say the stagnancy is likely some muscle mass. I’m lifting three times what I lifted last year. I have well and truly upped my game.

  • I’m FINALLY out of plus size for the first time in 6 years.
  • I can run (ish) 5k without puking. The osteo in my feet doesn’t always enjoy it though. So despite the tut-tutting of that dude (Paul Plakas) from X-Weighted, I’m now one-ish with the elliptical.
  • I can do real push-ups ….on toes….when the pain’s not too bad.

So there’s progress. But what will my doctor see? Will Dr Steve see all this or will he note the digits and wag a finger at me?

This is why I’m writing the blog today. If I get any grief, I’ll send him here.

Things I’ve Learned this Year

  1. I can always push a bit harder than I think I can. We’re not talking foolhardy here, just a wee bit more.
  2. I eat more than I think I eat. Thank you MyFitnessPal (aka MyFatArsePal) for helping me on this on.
  3. I needed to juggle my food groups around a bit, get the percentages better.
  4. Carbs are good. Don’t let anyone tell you differently. They are essential.
  5. Zumba is bonus-delightful if you find another uncoordinated person with whom to share the joy. Her name is Irene and you can’t have her, she’s mine.
  6. Zumba’s not a workout; it’s just a warm-up.
  7. Basing fitness on steps is bogus. Suck it, pedometer. Suck it long. Suck it hard.
  8. Go to a gym that really suits your needs and try everything at least twice. If you’re a person who gets a great workout at home, hat’s off to you. I’m never that person.

This is my list. Not yours. Your list will be different.

I’ve learned much about myself this year. Mostly: I’ve learned how I’ve given myself too many pats on the back. This is the adult version of what we do with kids today: a certificate for “graduating” from junior kindergarten or a parade for clearing the table and a special dance for using the toilet.

My real reward, I hope and pray, is not dropping dead at 55.

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Eye Yi Yi Yi

I know what you’re hoping, you’re praying: that this is a blog about corn chips. Particularly those from the era of the Frito Bandito song, back before colour TV and frowning on appropriation of voice was invented. Fat tasted better back then, and the hand that tipped the salt was not so stingy.

But there you’d be wrong. This is a blog about my contact lenses. But first:

The Frito Bandito Corn Chips Song

(voiced by Mel Blanc)

Blind as a Bat

I’m blind as a bat which is not to say I’m terribly ill-sighted (true: not all bats are blind, they’ve been painted with the same brush that made pigs sweat) but that I echolocate.

My husband and children and cats can all vouch for this.

You see (snicker, a pun), I lose my glasses constantly. Generally they’re on my nose but because I’m on the ewie side of 49 (meaning, I’m 49.85), I have to remove them for some tasks. My progressive lenses blow chunks because Satan’s Optometrist sold me frames too small for the human eye (I was vain, so it’s a bit my fault too). Remember Satan’s Chiro? She has an optometrist brother, and his name is self-evident.

Generally speaking, after I put my glasses down, have my “menopausal moment” and wander off to do something else, I return to where I think I left my glasses only to find the cat dipping her paws into my smoothie, sneaking a few dainty sips before she trots off, knowing I can’t tell which cat she is without my ever-loving glasses. Fiend. Last time I’ll ever adopt twins (another blog for another day). And my glasses? They are NEVER where I’ve think I’ve left them. NEVER.

Today: I was feeling jaunty. I put on my contacts. But before I tell you this story, let me tell you another.

I’ve always worn contacts. Always. I was the first kid on my block with contacts. Back then, things were simpler and contact lenses were whittled-out bingo chips. A bit harsh on the cornea but they did the trick (and now you know where the expression “rose coloured glasses” comes from…).

Did I say bingo chips? I meant hard lenses. The kind that pop out during your biology exam. I moved on to smooshy ones later.

Then I turned 40

Satan’s Optometrist. Yeah. Him. Ille sePoint blank (that doesn’t mean what you may think, by the way), he tells me my eyes are too old for contacts. That’s right, he said “too old.”

Frequent readers of this blog will know that “too old” is my trigger and my target. He notched that arrow and it flew true. I was incensed (and hurt). He wouldn’t prescribe my contacts. I was forced to wear glasses for the next nine years. Boy, am I bitter. Until….

I get a new optometrist who tells me a lot has advanced in the world of ocular bingo chips. Of course it’s all bogus one-day use bingo chips, money-grubbing capitalist piggies. Seriously people, just learn to clean your lenses. Anyhoodle, I get a pair to try and guess what?

Satan’s Optometrist was right. Either that, or my arms are too short. I had to buy cheaters so I could see anything closer than the floor. For the first time in my life, I needed reading glasses. Darn darn darny darn.

If, at first, you don’t fricasee…

Months later—today—for no real reason, I decided to try try again. Maybe it’s all neurological and my brain just needs to adjust a bit more. I have to retrain my brain to see.

So I put my lenses on (which, after nine years of little practice, is slightly more tricky than performing a heart-lung transplant with a silicone spatula, or trying to remove, clean, and reinsert a Diva Cup on a six-hour train-ride to Montréal and believe me, you will need those six hours and still live with regrets, seriously why didn’t I just wear a pad and be done with it?)….

…. and promptly lost my glasses. Yes, I lost them. Where oh where did I put my glasses because guess what, over-40 friends (younger, take note), I can’t see closer than 6 feet in these things. I wasn’t ready to give the “bifocal” contacts a try yet. And now, I’m paying the price. I walk about with more tippy-toe trepidation than a barefooted parent in Legoland.

I use my echolocation

“Where are mommy’s glasses?” I call out, hoping the sound waves bounce off the heads of my progeny who are watching game walkthroughs on YouTube. The cats are indifferent. One, I notice, is already dipping her paw into my Hello Kitty mug. Another is busy trying to kill my guitar (and that’s a left-handed guitar little miss Sally the Hutt, so don’t even THINK about knocking it over).

Sally-guitar

What? Me kill your guitar? But Mommy, I LOVE Y… hey, is that a fly?

“Glasses, glasses, where are you?”

I know what you’re thinking: the smart woman would have removed her contacts first, then possibly been able to see enough to find the glasses. But alas, I was feeling very sequentially monogamous this morning and I wanted to have my glasses handy the moment I popped those suckers out. Glasses off or contacts in, I regard the floor as a menancing locus of hazard. Whether riddled with hair balls, Lego, or my glasses which may or may not have fallen from something the flo … crrrruuuunchhhh

Eye yi yi yi

Here they are, dang-doodle.

The owls are not what they seem, or in my case: the cats.

Sally-glasses

Thanks to tremendous advancements made in living room radiology, I had a Blade Runner breakthrough moment.

Sally wasn’t trying to kill my guitar, she was trying to blind me as only a cat can: by looking utterly adorable.  I was so focused on her belly (and my guitar) that I missed the obvious: Sally the Hutt was hiding my glasses (which had indeed fallen) under the ample spread of her delicious, purry rolls. As Sally gets up to release a hair ball into my sandals, the truth lands quick and stinging, like a smack on my bottom from Eric Northman—if I were into such things but I’m not. Maybe. Well, who am I to sneer when I haven’t even tried it?

I fell for the oldest trick in the book: misdirection. 

Penn and Teller discuss this at length; and despite the fact that I had this knowledge, I was overcome by a massive ack-ack attack of cuteness and thus was played like a catnip mousie in the cunning paws of Sally.

I think Penn and Teller say this better than anyone and I would be remiss in my responsibility as a blogger NOT to share this knowledge with you. You probably don’t know this, but Penn & Teller may or may not be cats, they’re THAT GOOD at misdirection.

Penn & Teller – Smoking/Sleight of Hand Trick


This shaggy cat story was brought to you today by the letters Nutella and binge-watching, and by the number Hello Kitty coffee mug.

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Probiotic Woman

Probiotic Woman

I know what you’re thinking. This is a blog about Steve Austin. And there you’d be partially right, you semiotician’s dream, you.

I’m not altruistic. This is all about me. If you squint just right though, it’s about you, as well.

First: a warning. If you’re sensitive to the word douchebag, this is not the blog for you today.

By why Steve Austin (no, not this Steve Austin, the other guy) and not the utterly fabulous The Bionic Woman, you may ask? Simple: the intro for The Six Million Dollar Man says what I need it to say. Don’t get me wrong, sisters. I love Jaime Sommers. It’s just that Oscar Goldman (not the mathematician, but the other guy) is speaking for me. And what with all the gender stuff going on these days, why should I restrict my blog about my latest ontologic struggle to the shape and placement of my pink parts (not those pink parts…those belong to a hyena. I mean the other bits and of course they don’t have to be pink. Mine might not even BE pink… it’s not like I’ve seen my chiro lately to even be able to contort myself down there for a peek)?

I don’t need your cisgendered fascism.

Let’s face it, The Six Million Dollar Man has a great voice over. Surely we can agree on that. Are you under 35 or over 65? You will need to watch this, first.

Intro: Six Million Dollar Man

I have had a bumpy month (yes, again. I think this is a transition year) and since July 5th, a lot has happened. Not much that I want to talk about, as such; but enough that I now fully realize that each of our days are numbered.

There are many references to our days being numbered (Book of Job, Psalms…I’ll leave you to Google this). And it’s not to bum  you out, but to free you that I’m sharing this tidbit:

Life is short; but it’s longer than you think when you’re consulting for douchebags.

I thought I had cast off the last of my douchebags in 2015, but I was wrong. There remained but one, lurking, and mercifully on July 5th, we parted ways. All this led me to thinking: these past 18 months I’ve been variously ill or injured, and almost-always grumpy. Sometimes all three, simultaneously. And what for? Ill health, stress, and three pinched nerves in my neck which never seem to get better. This douchebag compromised my health, my relationships and work for other clients who are not douchebags, and most importantly: my family life. I know I know… The Douche Who Shall Not Be Named only did as much as I allowed. There you’re right. You’re bang on. Things you learn at 49. Better to learn at 49 than 50, I always say.

Oh, before I forget, this blog may seem thoughtful or dirge-like… it’s not. Don’t fret. Something caustic is coming.

Oddly enough, this aforementioned douchebag is relatively self-aware. But I am unwilling to believe people are douches, despite compelling evidence. This douche even suggested that s/h/it (easier to write it that way than to throw all the permuatative pronouns in there, right?) would be good fodder for my Devotions for Douchebags site. No no no, I said. Why? Because I have always focused on redemption. Not just for me, but for those around me. So I still hold to that, but in the meantime, indulge me whilst I purge some vitriol.

THE URGE

Can you imagine the pitch for this pilot? I’ll let you know what HBO has to say.

Did someone say purge? Maybe instead of douchebag, we should use the gender-inspecific term: enema. Not quite the same thing, but hey, cleans you out.

Before I purge, then, I have written my former unworthy constituent a devotion:

Kidding. S/h/it is not worth my time. Do you know how long it takes me to write those devotions?

Did I say purge? Why purge when I can rebuild? I had an idea: why not, instead of purging my vitriol, bile, and whatever other caustic (see, I told you something caustic this way comes) matter one can conjure, why not just fill myself up with probionics (yeah, I made that up)? Refill my ontological gut with happy bacteria and foster new growth? Why slash-and-burn when I can plant elsewhere?

For health, both mental and physical, I’m taking a work break for a couple of months. Which means I may actually blog more (I can dictate a blog, doncha know, save my neck for other things like tattoos). I can rebuild. I have the technology (and Dragon Naturally Speaking).

And if you know or suspect you have a douchebag in your midst, don’t slash-and-burn, fill yourself with good and flush that sucker. Oh wait, am I back to purging now? Fill yourself with good and leave no room for that dbag to wiggle in.

Let’s face it, analogies are a terrible platform for a discourse on anything other than expanding on activities I want to do with Tyrion Lannister.


It would be wrong of my to end this blog on any other bombshell than dropping in the wonderful tune Douchebags by Joe Bear.

Douchebags by Joe Bear

Oh, and that’s my long-suffering friend Paula singing back-up.

You’re welcome.

Picture of someone’s innards: (c) Can Stock Photo. Don’t be an enema (contents only), get your own canstock account.

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The Dudess Abides

THE DUDESS ABIDES

I know what you’re thinking: this is a blog about The Big Lebowski. There you’d be wrong. Or are you? It’s true, my love for Sam Elliott abides, in a pure and innocent way. But as we’re both married to other people, to covet each other would be wrong. But first, since I mentioned it….

The Dudess Abides

Alrighty, that’s enough. He’s mine.

What this is about is that I’ve been super bummed. Not totally depressed (that was before, when I wasn’t writing blogs… I don’t write when I’m depressed, I write after I’m better); but I’ve been bummed on so many levels and the bumtesence has slurred my crispy self into a mindless video game-playing mushpot (not real games, but silly tower defence games like Garden Rescue: Christmas Edition; but even that eventually bummed me out and I was busted down to PRIVATE from GENERAL.

Thankfully, I have my bae Paula to hold my hand through these dark times:

 


Stole_my_tree_June17

I left her a dirge-quality voice note thereafter. The vocabulary of which, I figure, only Joan Rivers (R.I.P.) would have been bold enough to share on a blog.

But as always, despite my whining, Paula was close-by.

 

Pride_goeth_June17

I tried to explain the plants’ mission: to save the Christmas trees from the peril of marauding, thieving insects and annelids. I quickly realized this was a proverbial exercise in futility. And besides, Paula knew my malaise and my penchant for popping-off terrestrial crustaceans had something to do with each other. She’s good. My personal semiotics are not lost on her. I was fighting my own demons but needed some sort of tangible battle to express my inner turmoil.

Well, she would have said that but I like to put words into her mouth. She was going to go there, but I cut short our exchange to write the preliminary notes for this blog. Because you see.. I was suddenly all messed-up on something kinda nifty….

As I sat whimpering in my self-imposed but ill-fitting Weltanschauung (pronounce it just as it’s spelled), I discovered:

I sold a book this quarter.

KDP-June21-2016

My life, suddenly, got better. I didn’t even remember I still had a book out there. I put this travesty up as a lark one day, at least a year ago, to amuse a few colleagues. Don’t ask. If it were worthy of your scrutiny, I would have posted a cover reveal, the blog tour, reviews. You get the idea. It’s a short story collection I wrote as impudent fun one day (seriously, a cumulative one day) and posted. The characters are named for former clients who irked me. Corporate flash fiction, if you will, with a sexually inappropriate bend (to the left, if you please).

So on the very day I’m exchanging emails with a fellow walking-away-from-it-all writer, I’ll call her Dana, I discover that after I’ve turned out the lights, someone was home.

Elvis had NOT left the building.

In other words: I was still in the game. I was, once again, an author.

The prospect of holding what was left, after Amazon’s take, in my hot little hands grew almost too much for me. The answer was clear:

Paula and I had to get tattoos.

Ok, I made that up. Although we did get tattoos, they were BEFORE all this. It just felt like a nice narrative.

Having said all this, I did what any other author (I don’t really think of myself as author though) would do: I checked for a review. bupkis.

I’ll update you all if someone actually does write a review, even if it’s a troll.

So after six weeks of the blahs, I returned to the land of the inked (on two levels, for those who appreciate a pun). I may actually finish one of the other six manuscripts gracing my desktop.

Instgram_heads_June17

Or not. Maybe I’ll just count my money ($0.35 CAD) and retire.


What I’m Listening to:

I’m all about audiobooks these days. So this month it’s been:

  • Diary of A Mad Diva by Joan Rivers (read by Joan Rivers, R.I.P)
  • 100 Ways to Simplify Your Life by Joyce Meyer (read by Sandra McCollom)
  • Game of Thrones by George R.R. Martin (read by Roy Datrice who is a freaking genius of a narrator)
  • Asapscience : answers to the world’s weirdest questions, most persistent rumors & unexplained phenomena by Mitchell Moffit & Greg Brown (read by the authors)

and PS to “Dana” who may be reading this… don’t worry, I’m still really out of the game. But that thrill… oh that thrill and surprise of seeing a sale… be still my foolish heart… 

Dudess_abides_June17

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Best of Bridge: Baking with My Mum

Best of Bridge: Baking with My Mum

A few things have happened in the two months (plus) since I’ve blogged. One? I was very sick. No. Really. Very sick. And it changed my life in a way I’m not quite ready to share here but I can tell you this:

I bake more.

I cook and bake more.

Mostly I bake. I love to bake.

Another thing which didn’t happen to me but affected me? My friend’s mum died. My mum died going on nine years now; but today I was about to bake (peanut butter and jam squares) and it reminded me to dig up my mother’s cookbooks (my sister took the jewellery and THAT is another blog for another day: I took the cookbooks).

My friend had a rough go of it and I re-lived some of the mixed feelings one has when a parent dies: anger, frustration, denial, sorrow. I am too lazy to ask Dr Google the list of things one goes through after a death but you get the idea: it’s a bumpy ride.

But you see, for me it was different. My mother and I always had a bumpy ride of it but in her final years, as dementia took over, our relationship blossomed. I’m not trying to be funny here (usually, I try, but this time it’s just what it is). Our best years were likely her last two years. We had a beautiful relationship. Our antagonism was gone. I’d call her and every call was a joy. Even if I had called twice in the same day. She was always thrilled to hear from me and we chatted up a storm. She was jolly and happy. Sunny, for lack of a better word. Our best years. And I cherished them.

Mum-July22-2007So when she died, I mourned but I was grateful to have had that time with her. All those angry moments and horrible things that came out of my mouth. They disappeared (she forgot, and hopefully forgave) and our relationship was fresh. New. When I became a mother, I saw my mum through very different eyes. I was sad she was gone when DS1 was only seven weeks old. But she got to see him, hold him as best she could. My last photo of her is her reaching out to him. My father (now gone, too) could never look at this photo, the last ever taken of his wife of 62 years.

Only two weeks earlier we’d been out for a visit and Mum was still at home, sitting up, all seemed tickety-boo.

So today, looking for recipes for my next venture, I happened across the fabulous BEST OF BRIDGE books I filched from my parents’ house. And for the first time. Today. I saw this note:

BestOfBridge

I was kind of blown away. Maybe this isn’t profound for any of you but for me, it caused me to burst into tears.

I was touched she wrote down who gave her the book, and when. Like it was important to her. And I guess it was. To me, I remember the book, loved it. But I don’t remember ever seeing the note before and I have used this book at least 100 times.

I guess the notes appear when the child is ready.

And I got to wondering: does my mother forgive me for being such a pain-in-the-arse kid? Mouthy. Self-righteous. Troublesome. Does she forgive me? Did she, when we were at our worst fights, think in the back of her mind that one day I will understand. One day I’ll fight with my own child and suddenly “get it?” About love, fights, harsh words. And forgiveness. We never had any “talks” and never addressed any of our issues. I only told her once I loved her (and she, me) and that was just before surgery on her aorta. It was an awkward moment for us both.

So I wondered, as I looked for a recipe for orange cake (found it) tears in my eyes: could she forgive me, would she, after the fights, the shitty things I’ve said, or thought, over the years? Just because we all do it doesn’t excuse it. Would she know nine years later—even though she’s gone and I have no way to tell her—I’m sorry and that I love her?

I am thinking she knows and forgives. Anyhoodle, Mum, I love you. Thanks for all that hamburger soup (p. 129) you made for me from this cookbook when I was sick.

And everything else. Every.

 

 

 

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Früit Löps

I know what you’re thinking: you’re proud I’ve been adding fruit and fibre to my diet. I’m good that way. Oprah notwithstanding, Weight Watchers has been working for me and apparently I still get all the fruits and veggies I want, except for corn (fascists).

Eating gluten-based fruit for snackies has been a strange experience. Not the least of which: .

All the colours taste the same. A ersatz citrus hitherto unknown in this post-Higgs-Boson time-space continuum. Sweet, ephemeral, a lil bit bitter but not enough to make you make that face.

Having said all this, I want to point out this blog not really about:

Früit Löps

It’s about an article I read in New Scientist recently. Apparently, after one shakes hands, one sniffs one’s hands.

IMAG5654

Don’t believe me? Watch this.

Ok, so it was a year ago, not recently. But hey, I’m not one with the aforementioned time-space continuum.

This article perturbed me on several levels.

One: I know I don’t do this.

Two: I don’t know anyone who would do this.

Three: I threw up a little in my mouth when I read the article, nevermind watched the video.

These reactions say more about me than I would care to imagine. My latest and favourite-ist strawman hubs was brought in for a consult.

He agreed on a few points: he doesn’t do this. He’s never seen anyone who’s done this. Point the Third was left hanging though. Strangely  he wasn’t nauseous or revolted by the article or video.


It’s perhaps früitful to mention that one entire wing of my family calls me “Monk.” They’re the wing who knows me best. They’re the ones who, in the dark days, helped me get out of the house in less than two hours each day. The dark days when I carried a back pack the size of Alaska with every imaginable “necessity” tucked in. Because one never knows when one will need a change of clothes, umbrella, ziplock bags, Swiss Army knife (ok, everyone needs a Swiss Army knife but mine’s really BOSS), a week’s worth of medication, back-up shoes, a few books, a K-Way (not KY, you pervs), Purell, more Purell (for back-up), wet naps (screw you, septic systems!), a towel, granola bars, package of Fig Newtons… you get the idea.

And that was just to go to class. This was my back pack, not my school bag.


 

And the decencies had to be observed. The ritual. The order of operations. And every morning there was a very dear friend/family member (short version: I ran away from home, the neighbours took me in) waiting for me to do the rundown.

“Do I have the…”

“It’s there. I saw you pack it. You’re going to be late.”

“I need more food.”

“You’re only going to a two-hour Latin class.”

“I forgot my flashlight.” I run upstairs.

“It’s in your bag,” she calls up. “You never took it out.” She shoves me to the door. “Go,” she says. “There are only four people in your class. If you’re late, everyone will notice.”

You see? I am writing this blog and listing the items in my bag and even here I forgot the flashlight was in my bag!

Every morning this woman got me out of the house. Thankfully, psychiatry and medication took care of the rest.

All of this to say? The idea of:

a) touching someone else’s hand unless they were very well-known to me and

b) sniffing their rank effluence from my offended appendage

is more than I could handle. I’m no weirdo. Shaking hands is part of our society. I can shake hands. I just have to hold my hand at a distance afterwards and scour it later. That’s why we have hydrogen peroxide.

What’s this got to do with früit löps? You must be joking. The answer is clear: they’re touching.

IMAG5617Look at that jumble! Blues and pinks bumping uglies with oranges and greens? Chaos.  

And yet, there is hope for me. I can eat these now without sorting. I can actually stick my hand into the bag and not even look at what colours I’ve pulled before I shove the sugar-laden goodness into my yap.

This, dear friends, is progress.

A bit about OCD, just a bit. It makes me insane when people talk about their clean and tidy houses and titteringly refer to their OCD. They have no clue what a prison OCD is and frankly Scarlett, keeping a tidy kitchen does not a OCD-sufferer make. Sorry to burst that bubble.

The checking, the double-checking. Getting interrupted while checking means a return to the top of the sequence to start again. The intrusive thoughts. The bizarre ritual/remedy for intrusive thoughts. Compulsions to deal with the distress. Oh, I wish my only concern was cleaning and tidying the kitchen. Some nights I would lay awake wishing that would be my only issue.

But I’m sharing this not to bum you out but to cheer you: because I ate 200gr of these motherscratching carbs the other day and it was brilliant to just shovel things into my mouth with no regard for order and ritual. Brute alimentary impulse control was my only issue and to be honest, it was worth the 14 “smart points.”

The new Weight Watchers points system, by the way, can French kiss my arse. Another blog for another day. 

I think I’ll let Paula have the penultimate word:

Screenshot_2016-03-09-14-05-23

 

And the hand-sniffing? Well, that’s just gross. But the video doesn’t lie, I suppose. Too bad the researchers just didn’t find the 1-2% who, like me (and Paula), were packing wet naps (or P12 sandpaper)

 

 

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