Louie Got Traumatized

Mango the cat is going to turn 13 at the beginning of April, and one of his favourite snacks is poisoned ants.  Because this house seems to be a refuge for huge colonies, there are times when an army of ants can be seen marching into it along the walls.  I attack with Raid foam and also put those little cans of poison around.

Whichever it is that actually kills them, I don’t know, but there are times when their dead bodies are belched all over a small area.  Soon Mango’s over there, eating all the corpses, then meticulously cleaning himself afterward, as though he hasn’t just chemically altered his whole body.

And speaking of birthdays, little Louie’s going to turn four on April 1st.  It was sad but the other day he was soundly beaten up by a skittish black lab on our daily walk in the neighbourhood.

I saw the youngish woman and the dog on a leash approaching and Louie did too and he started to get excited to rush forward to greet them.  Being a Lover and not a Fighter, he was pretty shocked by what happened over the next few moments.

Just as the woman was saying she didn’t like it when her dog started stalking the way she was, at the same moment Louie started growling at the dog and also lunging for it, and suddenly the melee was on.  Dog fight on Hall Road!

As this dog was three times Louie’s height, she had him off the ground in her mouth and he was being shaken out like a dirty mop.  He was screaming and I was yelling Help Help, while the woman fought to get her dog to release Lou.

I inspected my dog, and didn’t see anything on him so told her he was okay.  She apologized and left admonishing the dog as they walked away.  Louie ran all the way home, and wasn’t himself for the rest of the day.

A few hours later I noticed he was holding his head to the side, and then I saw one ear flap had an incision from a bite mark.  I put Polysporin on it, and otherwise the dog was fine.  The next day he went on his walk as though nothing traumatic had occurred the day prior.

And here’s some happy news.  The bees survived the winter!  I went down on the first sunny and warm day in March and took off the insulation.  I put my ear to the hive and couldn’t hear a thing so I thought they’d probably bought the farm.

But then I pried open the lid, and there they were, crawling around the top of the frames.  I had a pollen patty ready for them which I slapped on top of the bees and frames and put the lid on top of that.  With that food they’ll easily make it until the dandelions bloom.

I’ve researched chickens, but I haven’t done one single thing about ordering any. First I need a handyman to convert the kids’ old playhouse into a coop.  Then I need fencing around, and actually over top due to the raccoons.  Otherwise, no chickens.

In a month or so I’ll be picking up a second hive, so will concentrate on the bees for now.

Music That Soothes the Soul

The Christmas before last I bought myself a small portable turntable so I can play all of my old albums.  I’m currently listening to Neal Young’s After the Goldrush and just loving it as much now as I did in 1972, albeit without the teenage angst.

The albums are an archaeological record of my growth and development.  There are a couple of very early Beatle albums, A Hard Day’s Night and Beatles VI, both of which I would’ve received for Christmas from my mom in 1965 or 1966.

After that there are several of the Monkees’ albums.  I remember Freddie’s puzzlement at my dumping of the Beatles for the Monkees, but to a 12 year old girl they were like dandelions to the bees.  I was completely besotted first by Ringo Starr  of the Beatles, and then Mickey Dolenz of the Monkees.

Not surprising then, that I decided to join the percussion section of the Osoyoos Elementary Junior Secondary School band when I was in grade 7.  I’ve written of this traumatizing experience before, however will just remind you of it again.

Every Tuesday there was an assembly in the gym, and this began with the Lord’s Prayer and Oh Canada.  The latter began with a drum roll, and that would be me.  Mr. Storwick would extend his right arm full length, and point his finger at my face.

This was the moment one lone girl had to play a drum roll for the entire student body or die.  Naturally I always did it, but at great expense to my nerves.

I was too poor for a record player for several years, so there’s a music gap until my first job in Prince George teaching the deaf.  From that epoch I can see I branched out, and from the late 1970’s there are several Bruce Springsteen, the Clash, Blondie, Graham Parker, Billy Joel and Elvis Costello albums.

Those albums don’t remind me of teenage angst, but rather of extreme drunken behaviour in the North.  Prince George from 1978 to 1983 was a trip.  It was filled with young folks, many of whom were fascinating artists and poets, and my years there were a blur of parties and bad assed hangovers.

After that there are the records that represent my move to Vancouver, meeting Denis, and getting married.  These are artists like Tina Turner, Cyndi Lauper, Huey Lewis, and Bryan Adams.  However Luke was born in 1986 so that’s where the music ends.

By the time I got around to listening to music again albums were gone, and I had to buy CD’s.  They’re fine, but they sure don’t bring me the nostalgia of my old record albums.  I wrote “Aldo and Me” and drew a heart around it on many of the Beatles albums.  Those who knew me in 1967 know that was my very first boyfriend.  Great memories!

Spoke Too Soon, As Usual

You’ll recall I was gloating as I thought I’d sold the Richter street house, but no.  The hairdresser and husband said they found a house they liked better, and another couple who looked at it weren’t thrilled.  I’m showing it again on Monday, so let’s hope the thing moves.

But guess what?  I’m finally learning to let go of things and go with the river instead of fighting it all the time.  Total surrender, and I have to admit things are easier to manage that way.  I’m working with a wonderful Reiki master and meditating daily, so I have to say I’m pretty calm.

Today I meditated fully for 19 minutes, and I started just a while ago with 2 – 3 minutes and I’d give up.  I love the idea of just sitting and emptying the mind, as it’s a wonderfully relaxing thing to do.  The worst way to be brought out of it is with the staccato bark of the intrepid dachshund as he spots a squirrel on the telephone wire.

This weekend dear mom is turning 92 so I plan to make a chocolate cake for that.  Actually, it’s my chocolate chunk cake that the kids and everyone is really crazy about as it’s made with cocoa, and has chunks of chocolate in the batter as well.  Naturally it has chocolate icing, and made in 4 layers so a person’s a bit dizzy after eating a piece of it.

One can never really have too much chocolate, I don’t think.  When I was growing up in Osoyoos my grandparents would go to town for groceries every Saturday.  They’d come home just before Bugs Bunny would start at 4:00 PM and always had some of my favourite chocolate bars for me to mete out to myself over the week.

My friend Petra came for coffee this afternoon, and that engendered hours of cleaning.  Just for two hours of coffee, I started yesterday and was just finishing up as she knocked on the door.  I cannot believe how filthy this house can get.

But now it feels fab to sit here in a clean house as I type, looking at the bouquet of pink tulips she brought.   I feel sad about my outdoor tulips as last year I had part of the heaved asphalt driveway removed and crush put down.  This went right to the edge of my tulip bed and I don’t think they have a hope of making it back up through that.

We still have snow in our yards here in Kelowna, though Osoyoos is nice and dry as ever.  100 miles sure makes a difference, which always surprises me.  But I can leave here in a full snow storm and by Penticton there’s nothing left of the bad weather at all.

Here I am on my one thousandth diet, and hoping for the best by summer.  I’m not starving myself but have largely stopped eating sugar, so that’s got to do something.  However I’m not insane so on the weekend I will allow myself a lovely peach cocktail as otherwise what’s the point?

So with my new-found calm, I do hope I can think positively and sell the Richter street house so that I can get solar panels slapped onto the roof.  They’ll look kind of funny but I guess it’s good as they’ll be an advertisement to the neighbourhood to get with the program.  I can be a role model of how to avoid being complicit in the Site C dam.

My Real Estate Selling Skills Seem Strong

I may have sold our rental house on Richter Street, so feel happy about that.  Denis and I bought it almost 15 years ago, so it’s probably time to retire from the landlord business.  I feel pretty bad about the tenants though, as I only ever rented to people with pets because it’s so hard to find places to rent.

There’s such a nice rural feel about the place with a pig named Moose and a bunny, several dogs, and an apiary.  Really a lovely place, right downtown, just blocks from everything.  I guess Moose doesn’t know he’s an urban pig.

And once again I find myself browsing topics like Best Chickens for Cold Weather as I really like the idea of keeping a few, especially since this place is quite rural.  I’d name them, of course, and then grieve each passing.

I have big plans for the lower yard, as I want to remove everything down there except the apricot tree, and plant Russian purple garlic in all of the beds.  Isn’t that brilliant given the price of organic garlic?  I’m pretty well ga ga in anticipation of spring so I can get at it.

I also ordered a nuc bee hive, which is a new baby brood with a queen, so that I can have two bee hives.  That is if my own hive survived this cold winter, which I hope it did.  If it did, then they’ll have neighbours.

So now you’re sitting there thinking no fruitcake business, no more gym attendance, and now no more landlording.  What does the woman do with herself all day?  I ask myself that same question daily around 3:00 PM.  By 4:00 I have a cocktail and then I notice I forget about it entirely until the next day.

But other than walk the dog and visit mom who’s got a very bad back, I’ve compiled my newsletters into a book format.  This has nearly killed me as it’s mostly editing and the kind of thing I hate to do.

I end up printing it just to figure out where I am as sometimes I cut an article, paste it elsewhere, then can never find it again to delete it.  Endless scrolling and searching can lead to intense anger.

I’ve interspersed the articles with a dozen of my tested recipes, so it’d be one of those books people might like to take to the bathroom.  You know, it’s not deep reading, so would be something humorous to bring a bit of cheer to an otherwise dull day.

And then what to do with the book?  I have to find a publisher who is either drunk early in the afternoon and present it to them at dinner time, or else hope using the 7 degrees of Kevin Bacon theory I’m related to someone in the book publishing business.

Then there’s the novel I’m to be writing, and guess what, I’m still just reading!  As I lie on the couch I say to myself, but this is important homework for the book.  Every writer knows you have to read like crazy in order to write.

But first things first.  For Sale By Owner does seem to have worked, so that’s a plus.

Wrecks the Cat

One of my dear old orange tabby cats has gone to Heaven at the age of 13 years and 8 months.  Wrecks was just an adorable, sweet guy, and also the most destructive cat ever, hence his name.

I used to have a sectional couch on which he sharpened his claws so mightily only strips of fabric remained on each end.  He was a powerful, large cat, and he liked to sit back on his haunches and really go deeply into the sofa with his powerful big claws.

However he did adorable things, too, like adopt Louie when I brought the puppy home.  He didn’t really care much for the other three dogs.  Arnie and Mojo were already here when he arrived, and later Ricky came along.  Wrecks didn’t care a whit for Ricky.

But once those three dogs were gone and I brought Louie the puppy home Wrecks decided he liked this little guy.  They played like mad for a long time, but in the past six months or so Wrecks would just walk away from any play invitations.  He’d lost a lot of weight, and looked quite scruffy.

I Googled the issue, and it appears about 30% of older cats can get kidney failure and I believe that could have been the case.  Because he was born wild I just couldn’t picture him on any kind of a medication regime.  I was nearly killed trying to give him an antibiotic last year for his head abscess.

As a Buddhist, I thought I’d let nature take its course, but in the end, I did intervene and called the wonderful vet from Noah’s Ark Mobile Pet Care here in Kelowna.  Wrecks was going downhill rapidly so I phoned Dr. Patt and she came over and euthanized the cat in the comfort of his own living room.

It was a very nice way for the cat to go, and thanks to our current government, now people can have the same service.  It’s hard to believe that wouldn’t already have been the case, but whatever, we have it now.

In the spring when kittens are plentiful at the SPCA, I’ll drive over and go eenie meenie miney mo and get a little critter to bring home to be part of the zany Hall Road crew.

And speaking of zany, here’s something I never would’ve expected.  I read the BC SPCA discourages people from having bird feeders.  Remember I raced out and got one in the summer and was proud of myself?

The other day I looked out and it was half off the branch, glass front broken in half, roof torn.  I don’t know what kind of animal wanted to get at the sunflower seeds, but it sure dampened my desire for bird feeders.

Then when I went on line and read the SPCA doesn’t want people to have them, I went hurray, good riddance.  The dog spent the entire summer under the bird feeder eating the spent sunflower seed shells and then having some difficulty with expelling them at the other end.   So you can see there’s nothing good in a bird feeder for me.

Haruka’s First Christmas in Canada

As you know, Haruka arrived at the end of November, so she was here for all the preparations and said she was looking forward to her first Canadian Christmas.  It all went well, and I think everyone enjoyed it.  I did, that’s for sure, as both kids, their wives and my mom were here, then Denis came over on Christmas Day.

In preparation for the Christmas weekend, mom and I had a luncheon at her house for my pals Phyllis and Penny, and Penny’s mom, also named Phyllis, who’s also 91 like mom.  Initially we’d planned to meet at a restaurant, but due to mom’s bad back it seemed so much easier to do it at her house.

They all just loved it, as the meal began with a salad made with avocados, blanched snap peas and green beans, lettuce, cukes and a home made green goddess dressing.  I also crumbled feta cheese and pecans roasted in maple syrup over the top before serving individual plates to the women.

Once that was eaten we had the seafood chowder which I believe was in one of my latest newsletters.  It’s a really delicious soup and so easy to make.  They went nuts over it, as it has fennel fronds in it which taste so exotic.

For dessert we had the rum mousse which I had in the December newsletter, and accompanied that with my cookies such as the Spitzbueble.  All in all, a well-received lunch by these nice women, so I was pleased.

Warmed up by that, I was able to produce a roast beef dinner with mashed potatoes, Yorkshire puddings, gravy and veggies on Christmas Eve, and the standard stuffed turkey, potatoes, gravy, and so on for Christmas Day.

As usual there were way too many gifts, and some were too large anyway, to fit under the tree, so they were set about.  I said to Haruka we usually get so exhausted halfway through opening stuff we eat, then return to open more.

Not that each gift is expensive, but it’s just fun things we all take turns watching the other person open.  Luke gave me two adorable Japanese-themed mugs that I just love, and Haruka gave me a dachshund-themed dog bed which Louie adores.

On Christmas Day the kids expect eggs Benedict, but Luke didn’t come until afternoon so I made them for Nicky and Haruka.  Mom doesn’t like them as it’s always murder to get everything as scalding hot as she likes in that kind of a dish.  And she only likes food the temperature of Venus so she refuses to eat anything cooler than that.

Mom far prefers to eat a slice of a German Stollen, which is a kind of a dense raisin loaf with a stripe of marzipan that runs down the middle.  She looks forward to that the way the offspring look forward to their eggs Benny.  Luke got his individually made for him on Boxing Day, to prepare him for the drive to Osoyoos to drop mom.

We neglected to play poker or roulette on Christmas Day and at dinner when I asked the assembled why we hadn’t they blamed it on lack of planning and Margaret’s absence.  They said if Margaret was here, we would’ve been more organized.  Next year, for sure.

Rum Mousse

½ cup white rum

1 tbsp gelatine (one package)

3 eggs

½ cup sugar

1 cup whipping cream


Heat rum in small pot but don’t let it boil.  Sprinkle on the gelatine powder and stir until it’s completely dissolved.  Set aside to cool.

Separate eggs, and beat egg yolks and sugar until creamy

Beat the egg whites until stiff.

Fold the egg mixture as well as the rum into the egg whites

Whip the cream, and fold that in carefully.

Cover bowl with plastic wrap and put into fridge for 24 hours.