Lost Track of Time

Imagine my shock and horror to realize I haven’t written a blog in almost a month, and for no good reason other than I seem to have lost track of time.  The cursed life of the retired person.  We have all the time in the world to do whatever we please, but we decide to waste it and do nothing but look at You Tube videos.  Notice I’m dragging every single retired Boomer into this.

I do have some productive days, such as last week when I took my chiropractor’s sister-in-law thrift store shopping for four hours.  I’ve never shopped that long in those stores before, so it was quite the marathon.  It’s funny because Shelley said she needed to buy clothes, and I certainly didn’t, so guess who came home with three tops and who came home with nine.

Those damned Mennonites had all tops at 50% off so I blame them.  When a Tommy Hilfiger sweater is $4.00 I have to purchase it.  But then when I get home and look at the masses of clothes that I already own I like it quite a bit less.  Obviously buying cheap items whether one needs them or not is some type of mental illness.

And then my time is taken up with cooking for mom which involves shopping, cooking, cleaning and packaging.  Mom currently has a terrible bum leg that’s causing all sorts of agony so I’ll be going in between my usual visits to see if I can help in some way.  I can see that being 97 has its challenges.

Mom loses track of time, too, so when I go to town and return that can be enough time for her to assume I’ve been killed.  Last time I was there I arrived home after a 15-minute visit to town with mom saying she was mentally arranging the funeral and then wondered if my will is in order.  This type of questioning makes me nearly crazy, so I just replied that there’s nothing about my will she needs to worry herself about.

Because Christmas and its attendant tasks can sap any time one may have, I’ve made a master list of cookies, who is getting them, when they must be baked, and by when they’re going into the mail or out for personal delivery.  I plan on making six different kinds so you can see an Excel spreadsheet is probably in order here.

The other day I was in the basement getting mom’s cooler of food ready to take to Osoyoos when George the cat threw something at my head which caused me to scream.  Anyone who’s heard it knows my scream can break glass, but because of his penchant for rodents and because the object was small and gray, I thought he’d thrown a mouse at my head.

Calvin heard the scream (the neighbours probably did too) and opened his door to see if I was hurt, and I explained the situation. As I did I saw a bunch of feathers so realized it was a bird.  We looked all over and finally Calvin spotted it sitting in the window, so he grabbed a towel and took it outside where he reported at first it just laid there, feeling sure its life was over, and then suddenly took flight.

With this cold weather, besides You Tube I like to waste time with shows on Netflix such as Dead to Me, and on CBC Gem I like The Great Canadian Baking Show.  Cry me a river, Millennials, someday you’ll be old, retired people, too.

Cooped Up

Louie had a ball the other day as he chased and bit into the rear tail feathers of a couple of the chickens as they’d gotten out of their enclosure.  Then I noticed one was missing, and it turned out it was grabbed by a predator as there was a trail of feathers over the fence into the neighbour’s large field.

During the chicken-biting melee Louie didn’t listen as I screamed at him to stop attacking, so I had to physically remove him from the hen and carry him into the house, his mouth filled with fluffy white feathers.  The chickens weren’t hurt, aside from the one that was eaten, so now we’re down to six.  Kate and Brave Chicken, my favourite chickens, were luckily not deceased.

But now the hens are cooped up because the heavy snow collapsed their flimsy little chicken wire fence and so they could easily walk over it and escape.  Fun for Louie, but not for them, so they have to stay inside.  It’s warm, and there’s a light on for twelve hours, plus the other day I bought a mirror as I read chickens like them for some reason.

I updated the profile bio on my Facebook page to “A retired old broad who owns cats, dogs and chickens.”  I thought that pretty much sums it up, and I also noticed a section on hobbies, and couldn’t find a way to type in the word thrifting, so picked eating.  Because really, that’s totally a very strong hobby.

As an example, this morning I began the day with eight pieces of bacon and a thick slice of bread made into delicious French toast, all drenched in maple syrup.  Like the chickens we’re all cooped up in this part of the world as it’s cold (minus three today) and dreary so what better thing to do than shovel in a bunch of food?

Margaret visited for three days, and we practiced extreme eating then, too.  The weather was still warm and sunny, so not sure what possible excuse there could be, other than I love to cook.  On the first night I made panko-breaded chicken strips, followed by boeuf bourguignon, and finally wild-caught shrimp in a cream sauce on spaghetti for the final evening.  I’d made iced brownies for our dessert.

Further participation in my hobby included lunch at a restaurant with my pal Sharon, and I always order fries when I’m out, Marilyn and family were here for lunch which included a spinach quiche and fried potatoes, lunch with Ralph at Milestones (more fries) and a Happy Hour at the Eldorado with the Crones two days ago.

And guess what?  I’ve now gained at least eight pounds since summer.  It’d be crazy not to but like a lotto ticket buyer, I have hope.  I think oh please God let me stand on the scale and let it not scare the bejesus out of me when I look down, then GAAAH!  Kind of the worst time of year to be increasing in girth when every part of Superstore is now crammed with Christmas goodies.

Margaret and I are off to Mexico again in February so I’m going to have to hope that’s enough incentive to lose the fat prior to putting on a bathing suit.  But for a procrastinator with eating as a hobby when it’s just November, and when February is so very far away, I’m going to have to keep you posted on this project. Why I bought frozen yogurt bars today I do not know.

The Chickens are Mean

I was so thankful the dogs decided to give up on hunting the chickens. Once Calvin had the chicken wire stapled to the ground the dogs realized there was no way to get to them.  Now the chickens and dogs hang around together quietly just inches apart, separated by the chicken fencing.

The other day Louie was standing there minding his own business, but very close to the fence, so one of the hens came over, looked at him, and pecked his nose through the wire.  Louie recoiled, but said nothing, and just had a disappointed look on his face, albeit a look that said “I won’t forget this.”  I told him to just get away from the chickens, as obviously they don’t like him.

Frieda was also pecked, but she took it poorly, first yelping and then running away.  The hens are getting quite feisty, and I guess they don’t want little dogs within inches of them.  The other night one was outside the fence again, and I know if dog and chicken meet minus a fence between them, a melee is gonna ensue.

The cats are keeping busy killing as many mice and rats as they can.  I stepped into cold rat guts the other night as I made my way to the bathroom.  Then to add insult to injury I had a small mouse head balled up in the bed.  That was likely found by Frieda and brought in as a snack but then forgotten or lost.

I’m making human snacks due to the large amount of green tomatoes I have left in the garden.  I made green tomato chutney and two kinds of salsa, one cooked and the other with raw ingredients.  Not sure if any will ever be eaten, and in a couple of years I’ll be hauling these jars out from the back of the fridge wondering whatever they could be.

Today I experimented with fermented carrot juice.  I used to be nuts about it and when I worked downtown I’d go to a health food store and buy it there.  I juiced a whole lot of carrots, then added salt, and it says to leave at room temperature for ten days.  I’ll let you know if it works.

Mom swears by fermented foods and eats dozens of jars of sauerkraut and red cabbage every month.  I certainly don’t want to make it to 97, and I don’t eat either of those two foods so I’m likely safe there, though God knows what the carrot juice’ll do for longevity.  Pretty sure the tequila balances that out.

Other bad foods I’ve made include fig jam.  I had a lot of figs this year, and at the very end I thought they were pretty tasteless due to the lack of heat, and so made jam.  But then the jam ended up rather tasteless, so that was stupid.

I’d bought a horse radish root in the spring, so I guess that should be harvested.  I also have a mighty big crop of hardy kiwis and other than making jam with them, I don’t know that anyone would like them.  I guess I could freeze them but then what?  Both the fridge and freezer will be cluttered with jars of questionable food items.

Still waiting for eggs, but if the chickens attack I won’t be able to collect them, Calvin’ll have to do it.  He said he’s never in his life been pecked by a chicken, so we’ll see if perhaps I accidentally adopted vicious hens.

Now I can wrangle chickens

Calvin thought we were doing well enough with our four chickens to warrant a couple more, as he said our flock was awfully small.  So I emailed the guy I’d bought them from and he said he had three left, so would I take all of them given he didn’t want to end up with one chicken.  I said sure, and as Calvin was off helping his mom at the ranch I drove over with the dog kennel and he stuck them inside.

I brought them into the coop and opened the door as they were just sitting there, quietly, and let them make their way out in their own time.  Their former home was flat, however our coop has a ramp so it took them a couple of hours to venture down it, but once they had they joined the other four pecking around the yard.

Carl the handyman had warned me dawn and dusk is when marauders such as raccoons will try to beat up chickens, and so I’m vigilant with getting the hens inside and the coop hatch closed.  So on the new chickens’ first night in the coop I went out expecting them to have joined the other four as it was getting dark, however my four were in, and the three new ones were hanging around in their yard.

I thought what the hell am I gonna do as I’ve never wrangled a chicken before, so I thought maybe luring them with food with work.  I went into the coop and threw down some special chicken feed and of course my four pounced right on it, but the other three remained out, looking in at me.

I left the coop and stood staring at the chickens.  I thought well, maybe they’ll hunker down under the coop and be fine.  However I knew any predator would easily be able to attack them there, so had to figure out a way to get those hens in.

Oh crap.  There’s no gate to the fenced chicken yard so I had to straddle the chain link and then woof! a heavy landing going downhill on the other side.  By now I was sweating from the effort of getting over the fence, it was getting darker by the minute and I thought I have got to get these chickens into the coop.

By now anger was helping a lot, and so I decided I had to run down the chicken closest to the ramp, caught it, it squawked like mad, but didn’t peck, and I was able to throw it into the open doorway.  I managed to run down the other two and one by one grabbed them and threw them into the coop, sweating mightily.

Another skill to add the list perhaps?  This to add to the several culinary successes I had over the past couple of weeks.  A fab spinach quiche and prune tart for Patricia, successful chicken with thyme and honey for the Crones, four different baked goods for the former gym coffee group, and finally chicken salad for Elsa and lettuce chicken wraps for Marie.

When the Crones were here a stink bug flew into the bowl of tomato salad, which were chopped with onion and oil and vinegar.  I managed to fish it out, but it fell off my fork, whereby it fell right into Frieda’s mouth as she thought it was food.  And it kind of was as it was stink bug marinated in oil and vinegar.  She seemed fine with it though three days later had a bout of terrible diarrhea but with her it could be the glutinous amounts of cat feces she wolfs from the pile of dirt I keep for gardening.

How to Burn Meringue

I watched all 120 episodes of the Great British Baking Show, and have been trying my hand at some new baking, but often fall back on the old tried and true.  So when Penny and Jim, as well as John and Katrina were coming for dinner, I thought I’d better play it safe and make Pavlovas.

You know Pavlovas?  Just a fancy name for meringues filled with something like fruit compote and whipped cream.  When I made them for James and Julie in the spring I added a lovely crème patisserie, but this time I thought I’d better not fool around given I also had chicken Marbella and other things to make.

I’ve never had any problems making meringues, yet some instinct told me to make them the day prior, just in case.  Good thing as they came out of the oven mostly raw and sticky and so I had no choice but to throw them out and start again, which I did the morning of the dinner party.

They turned out beautifully, and as I needed counter space I decided to leave them in the oven until after dinner when I’d add the peach compote and whip.  The guests arrived and due to a recent shop-out at Costco with Elsa, I had a nice box of spring rolls which I thought would make a decent appetizer while we waited for the chicken.

I have an open kitchen dining living room so could chat with the assembled while going to the oven to preheat it for the spring rolls.  I sat down and about twenty minutes in, in mid-sentence I screamed Oh my God! and ran to the oven to remove the caramelized meringues.  Damn it!  That’s never happened to me before, so it was quite disturbing.

But you know how annoyingly loyal old friends are, and they insisted, no no, these are perfectly fine!  I had two bites and said no thanks, and Katrina has the good luck of being a Type2 diabetic so said she wasn’t able to eat that much sugar and just had the whipping cream off the top.

I went to Osoyoos to hang around with old friends Bernard and Michael who were visiting from Victoria.  On my way to mom’s I always stop at Luke’s first and drop stuff off for Jan as she adores things I buy for her like pickled herring or white chocolate with nuts.  At this time of year she adores getting all of the local produce and I had a lot of garlic, crab apples and plums to drop off.

She had about 40 tidy little baggies sitting on a cookie sheet on the counter with a pinkish substance inside, so I said what’s that, Jan, and she replied “Pork.”  She explained it has to go out into the sun and after several days it’s “sour” and then ready to eat.  She said “you want to try some, mom?”  I demurred as I don’t like the idea of raw pork left in the sun until sour.  Probably just me though, right?

But you know what they say, one man’s feast is another man’s poison.  George the male cat is a real scrapper and spends summers covered in scabs from war wounds from other cats.  That’s Frieda’s cue to get busy and nibble each and every scab off the cat, while he lies there purring, thanking the dog for the service.  Not my idea of food, but there’s no stopping some people or animals.

The Chickens Are Here

Most people strive for inner peace and find ways to bring less stress into their lives to achieve this.  For some reason, I cast about for ways in which to drive myself crazy with anxiety.  I must’ve needed to age several years as why else would I purchase four beautiful white chickens which now cause sleepless nights of worry?

I’ve never really looked at a chicken before but now that I own four of them, I think they’re extraordinary and lovely.  That’s a bummer as I’ve already messaged a chicken farmer down the road who said owls, hawks, raccoons and bobcats have all killed countless numbers of her birds, and she’s had to electrify both the top and bottom of her fence.

We can only try, I suppose.  You’ll recall the situation several years ago when I tried beekeeping.  After purchasing the hives, frames, smoker, bee suit, hot knife, honey spinner, and the bees themselves, a bear came along and knocked down the hive and ate the bees and honey and came back the following spring to see if there was more to be had so I had to pack in beekeeping.

Because I’m scared of chickens and hoping through experience this will pass as I felt the same way about the bees and got over that, I had Calvin drive us to Glenmore to pick them up.  The farmer was super nice, as was his small son and their beautiful basset hound dachshund-mix female dog.  We popped the hens into a dog kennel and put them on the back seat and drove home.

The coop is lovely.  Filled with straw, a ladder for them to roost on, nesting boxes, water, food, and a motion-sensitive light outside, we said night night to the hens.  I then spent the night wondering if they were too hot, or too cold, or if perhaps a raccoon was tearing at the screen and if we should have a sturdier covering for that window.  You know, the relaxed rural lifestyle we all crave.

And here’s more fun.  The dogs are hounds so they’ve hunted quails, squirrels and other rodents, and these menaces are going to discover four white birds living in a fenced area of the yard.  Though the dogs never go into this area, now fenced they want in in the worst way.

Calvin is so adorable as he’s used to large dogs on his parents’ farm which were shown the chickens and learned not to touch them.  He said once the dogs know those are their chickens they’ll be fine, and I said I doubt that very, very much.  Most big dogs are trained to listen given they’re size and all, but these two little hounds won’t do the most basic things so to stop them from biting a chicken seems impossible.  To be continued.

I remember telling people about the beekeeping and a common response was “oh did you take that course at the college on beekeeping?” to which I would reply in the negative.  Usually with a “Heavens, no!” And now when I tell people about the chickens, with wrinkled brow they’ll ask a similar question and I reply “piffle.” How hard can this be??

Now we wait to see if these young hens will start to lay, and then the real fun begins.

Opportunity Knocked

Years ago I contacted the City to ask about zoning re: chickens, and I got the official reply that I’m zoned for up to ten chickens or ten rabbits.  Why would I want rabbits?  But then whenever I’d think about getting chickens I’d chicken-out because it all seemed so daunting.  Just like with beekeeping, where I started out knowing nothing and being scared crapless of them, I know nothing about chickens and fear them, too.

Enter Calvin the Millennial Basement Tenant.  It turns out he’s an expert in chickens as he grew up on a farm and he tended to them.  He was very keen on the whole idea, so I thought wow I’d be stupid not to strike while I have him here to help.  Though when I said to Luke I wonder how long Calvin’s going to live here, he said “oh, he’s a millennial so probably about 20 years.”

My friend Scott came over and as usual when you have someone look with a fresh eye it can really help.  I had wanted to convert the old playhouse into a coop, but then he looked at the solid little shed at the top of my driveway and said why not just use that?  It’s already nicely made, and I did just have it re-roofed last year by Carl and all I do is store junk in there.

So now Calvin’s going to convert that shed, and he’s insulating it right now and has bought some wire for a fence to prevent the dogs from menacing the chickens.  I worry about George the cat who’s brought a Stellar’s Jay into the house before, so he could have the strength to beat up a chicken.

I wanted to get those adorable black and white striped hens, however couldn’t find any available so have bought four white chickens which I believe are sussex.  The standard red/orange ones are leghorns.  I told the nice man I bought them from I’ll get them at Labour Day and that gives us lots of time to do the shed.  Notice the word ‘us’ which always means only Calvin.

“We” also need to paint the shed, and will do it like a mini barn, red and white.  I’ll then have to make a nice sign for the door with these dear birds’ names on them: Kate, Megan, Charlotte and Lily.  They’re to be treated like royalty, at least until the first bobcat or racoon gets peckish.

The chickens have made me think of the bees, so I went onto Okanagan Beekeeping’s website and see the prices are now $275 for a queen and her brood.  It used to be $175 but then everything’s gone up.  I’ll have to order this fall and then pick them up in the spring.  Calvin said chickens can be brought home on the back seat in a cardboard box which sounds somewhat more relaxing than driving the bees home in the trunk.  I make it a quick drive from the bee place to here.

I’ll be ready for the end of the world: eggs, honey, vegetables, a bit of fruit.  The well.  I guess by now you think I’m some kind of a crazy survivalist, but I’m not, I’m just nutty.

Which could be a hereditary trait as my nearly blind 97-year-old mom phoned the other day to say she really didn’t like the old stereo in the living room, and when I come we have to look at that corner and try to think of what piece of furniture to buy.  Most people at that age are in their dotage, but nah-ah, not mom.  She’s a good example of continuing to do things in the face of others going, are you nuts?

Medical Miracles

After all the tick nonsense, the blood test for Lyme disease came back negative, as did the tick, and so it’s quite likely there’s absolutely nothing wrong with me.  I have the nice new doctor, and she also sent me for routine blood tests, the results of which we discussed by phone.  She said my white and red blood platelet count was good, iron and B 12 levels are okay, very low cholesterol, no sign of diabetes, good kidney and liver function, so she said to continue doing whatever I’m doing.

You know what a mistake that is, don’t you?  We had the phone appointment a few days ago and I’ve probably gained five pounds with the thought that the doctor TOLD me this is okay to do.  I simply have to stop going through the drive-thru at Dairy Queen for a chocolate-dipped cone.

Genes could have something to do with it, as you’ll recall mom ate a hundred pounds of fruitcake a year while I was in the fruitcake business.  At 97 she’s puttering around her house, watering her plants, eating dozens of Ritter Sport chocolate bars a week, and happily filling in her rest time with CNN and MSNBC, glass of wine in hand.

Calvin went home to his mom’s ranch in Falkland for a week, and while there found a little orange tabby kitten that needed a home so asked me if he could bring him here.  I said sure, but just know George will beat the tar out of that cat if he sees it on his property, but Calvin said he’s going to try to keep Felix as an indoor cat.

I was telling Calvin about my two white cats, Simone and Claudette who I had when I was 20 and had an apartment on Hemlock Street in Vancouver.  It was an ivy-covered old brick building, and those cats would go outside the window and walk along the narrow ledge, even though we were on the second floor. 

Hemlock Street was a feeder onto the Granville Street bridge, so people would barrel past the building at tremendous speeds.  When I first told my dear old gramma my boyfriend gave me two kittens for my birthday her reply in German was “throw them right out the window onto the street.” This is very funny because two years later these cats moved into my gramma and grampa’s house in Osoyoos, and were pampered pets. 

For some reason I treated the cats like dogs so I recall taking them down to Kits beach with my deaf boyfriend Bob and we’d hang out with other deaf people, and must’ve made quite a scene with the two white cats.  They were good cats as they just kind of stayed nearby, but now I imagine them running straight onto a busy road.  As we get older, we get more timid.

And more lazy, as I just called Gilles the nice gardener to come and prune a bunch of stuff for me.  In this heat I can haul the hoses around and water, but that’s my limit.  The tomatoes, cucumbers and yellow zucchini are all starting to produce, I have a lot of figs but not sure if they’ll ripen in time, and a bumper crop of hardy kiwi.

I’ve pitted a few pounds of cherries, cooked them, then added Kirsch brandy so that I can make Black Forest cake.  I’m determined to conquer the Genoise sponge.  More health food, perhaps?

50th High School Reunion

While I struggle to recall who the guests were at birthdays and other celebrations of the past, I can remember a lot of my graduation night.  As it occurred 50 years ago this is astounding, but when I think of the amount of liquor I consumed that night, it’s a miracle of memory.  I think what made it so memorable was being with people I had known since the age of six from the vaunted Osoyoos Elementary Junior Secondary School.

And so there we were, 19 of us from Osoyoos and I think a larger contingent from Oliver.  We attended South Okanagan Secondary School for grades 11 and 12, and for me these were happy years.  It was therefore great to see some people I hadn’t seen since the last reunion ten years ago, and at least two people I hadn’t seen for 50 years.

I find it hard to visit with that many people in a few hours though, so I saw a lot of folks and said hi and that was about it.  It was held at the lovely Quinta Ferreira Winery in Oliver, out on their front deck looking north to McIntyre Bluff.  I don’t drink wine so before leaving home I had the sense to put four ounces of tequila and some mix into a water bottle.

It was lucky I was at the reunion at all, as that morning our friends Jim and Fede met Luke and me and we all headed out in Luke’s boat.  Jim made the mistake of attempting to waterski which ended after just two tries as he’d pulled his left buttock muscle and couldn’t walk after that for several days.  I was falling over in the boat laughing but eventually I was able to stop it and at least act sad about his injury.

I said I wouldn’t try to ski after that incident, and so Luke said well try the tube, it’s fun.  I said sure.  As soon as he roared off I almost fell over backwards but managed to stay upright and mostly on the wake which I could handle.  However Luke got bored of it and soon did tight loop de loops which would cause the tube to fly at the highest rate of speed perpendicular to the boat, then over the big waves he’d made which caused the tube to bounce three feet up out of the water and whoomp! back down, then a turn in the opposite direction and I’d go flying up alongside the boat, gripping for dear life.

I had a lot of time to ponder dismemberment and death as it was early in the morning and the lake was like glass.  Few boats were out so I could enjoy the experience without distractions.  I could see at the speeds I was being whipped, if I so much as moved a muscle the wrong way, I’d be flung onto the water and I’d hit as though it was cement.

Fede told me afterward he was saying Luke, that’s your mother, but Luke wasn’t having any of it.  When I finally did the cut power signal and got into the boat I said to Luke what the hell are you doing I’m 68 years old, and he just shrugged and said that’s how you tube.  End of story.

And so, uninjured I got out the white dress I’d bought in Hawaii and hoped to look both young and thin in it.  Failing that, I was hoping the dress would distract people.  There was a photographer there taking pictures of various groups so I look forward to getting them.

Several from our grad class have died, so it’ll be interesting to see which of us makes it to the 60th.  I certainly won’t be boating the morning of that event, should I still be alive.

A Complete Mess

There’s really nothing like being cocky and then having the Universe punch you in the head to focus your mind.  Remember I said, phew, no symptoms from the two ticks?  About one week after writing that I noticed the skin on my right leg was totally numb from the knee to the ankle, and thought oh dear, I must’ve pinched a nerve sitting on a high stool at King Taps at Happy Hour with Kathy.

About a week after that I was eating dinner and thought man, my salivary gland is feeling very funny.  This got much worse and I realized I had a swollen lymph node at the top of my jaw and under my ear.  My friend Julie who’s a nurse had warned me to be vigilant about any weird symptoms, and between the numb skin and this lymph node I finally realized the ticks did mess with my system.

As seeing a doctor is out these days, I was able to book a ten-minute phone appointment with her, explained everything, and she prescribed ten days of doxycycline and asked for the tick as it’s going to be analyzed to see if it carries Lyme disease.  As the doctor’s office and pharmacy are adjoining, I picked up the pills and dropped the tick.  So now I wait for the results.

I’m thinking even if that filthy tick comes back negative, how do I know the tick I had in my chest, and which I pulled out and threw down the sink, didn’t carry Lyme?  Or, if I have these symptoms, and the tick doesn’t have Lyme, I think I should stay on the antibiotics no matter what they do to my system just to ensure all tick filth is dead.

Into every life a little rain must fall.  And I guess this is why my entire system decided to fail and go into a migraine, which made me sick for three days afterward, and so I’ve contacted Joan and said I need Reiki badly as obviously I’m out of alignment with the Universe.  What next, I wonder.

Shopping therapy is my excuse for the ridiculous amount of tchotchkes I’m hauling home from the thrift stores.  I fell in love with a trio of adorable Beswick ducks from the 1940’s, a small lusterware bowl with two intertwined swans as the handle, a Shafford hand-decorated cup and saucer made in Japan, and several other unneeded items.

My house is actually a small gift shop when you think of it.  I’ve chosen what on eBay, Etsy, and wherever I do my research, are decent and laudable items, so basically a person could just walk around shopping, pointing at items they wish to view, and then buying.  But could they, really?  I insanely pondered breeding dachshunds at one time and then realized I could never, ever sell any of the puppies.

You know how I love to cook and bake, so am happily planning the menu for my birthday party in Osoyoos next week.  I’m going to make sriracha chicken skewers, wild salmon, Amish pasta salad, Greek salad, sweet and sour cucumber salad, small roasted potatoes and buy some nice soft buns to warm.  For dessert Phyllis offered to make a cake, but mom can eat half of one on her own, so I’m going to make a Black Forest cake to ensure everyone can eat like mad.

So all things considered, life isn’t all that bad, and the next time I write an entire blog about my health please send nasty messages to bring me to my senses.