Thursday, December 31, 2009

Happy New Year!


Emily, Christmas afternoon


I love blogging.

The first time I ever saw a blog was during my time at Widownet, a message board I'd found just eleven days after Dale died. I spent hours and hours on that board. I started dating a year later and continued writing about that, but once I'd met Bill (I had been widowed twenty months by then) I needed another outlet. I fell fast and hard for Bill and wasn't willing to write about it when I knew so many people were still pining for their lost loves, so in June of 2004 I followed a link posted at the bottom of Kamai40's post. That's how I found journalspace! I'm not sure if Kamai is still blogging, but she was the one that introduced me to it and I took to it like a duck to water.

All through my LDR with Bill, through Jamie's teenage rebellion, through our transition of getting custody of Em and becoming a blended family, my career changes and ups and downs - I blogged through it all.

This past August was the first time in years where I just couldn't write anymore. I couldn't write about my disppointments or my financial difficulties, my depression or my fear. It seemed like I was paralyzed and started getting through each day in survival mode.

Now that there is light at the end of the tunnel, it feels like I can breathe again. I am looking forward to dropping my hours at work, taking some classes, and blogging again. Physically, I have very little pain and most of my Fibro symptoms are in remission. Getting another vehicle will be possible sometime in January. It might be damn cold today (-26°C) but inside my little house, it's warm. My husband has a short working day and I have the day off. The kids are happy and healthy and watching RENT in the living room.

I hope you all have a wonderful time tonight. Be safe and take pics!

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

love my days off


my ornament from Cin, an old JS friend


The tree will be coming down just after New Years, so I thought I'd post a few more pics. This is an ornament that Cin sent me, either last year or the year before. My memory is terrible! I got a chuckle out my reflection in the shiny bulb beside it. Reminded me of those people that post pics of toasters on kajiji, and it takes a few moments before you realize that the dude with the camera is nude. (I'm not nude, I am wearing PJ's)

At any rate, I'll spend the next few days enjoying the tree and some of my other decorations before having to take it down. Working at the off-price store has been both good and bad. Good, because I have lost another six pounds, making it twenty-two pounds in total. Bad, because I hate the way that I am dismissed by some customers and some managers. To be honest, I'm grateful for the chance at making an income, but after a few months I started resenting the loss of time with family.

And that is the biggest reason to go to college. Maybe I didn't know what I wanted to do in 1983, but I know now, and it's not working at an off-price store!

**edit**

It wasn't my day off! I got a call and had to go in until 7 pm. Guess I should check my calender more often!

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

pass me that shovel


my street this morning


Thanks for all the comments! I've been working from 1-9 and have tomorrow off, so I'm looking forward to doing some more blogging.

We have a lot of snow! Snowdrifts several feet high line the sidewalks and we've has a LOT of frost these past two days. Thankfully, it's above freezing (11°C) which means that the walk to the bus will seem shorter than usual.

Happy Tuesday!

Friday, December 25, 2009

it's all over but the crying


Tokyo; 9:45 am this morning


Merry Christmas!

We're having a very quiet day but to be honest, we needed it. Work has been kicking our butts this past week. It's been bitterly cold (-40°C) and I haven't been able to get a car yet. Bill's truck is now able to change gears (for awhile there it was stuck in first) but has no heat. Brrrr!

Christmas was lovely and everyone gave and received awesome gifts (lots of jewelry, lotions and PJ's all around) but I didn't balance the gifts between the stockings and under the tree so it seemed like Emily had more than Jamie. I always feel so guilty when that happens, but overall everything turned out great.

Tonight we're going to see Sherlock Holmes, then coming back for turkey afterward. No big dinner, since Jamie is having dinner with her BF's family, but we'll be having hot turkey sandwiches with stuffing, mashed potatoes and veggies.

How was your day? I have to admit, I thought quite a bit about all my old journalspace friends today and all the fun we used to have. It's been just over a year since the old site crashed. I enjoy blogspot quite a bit, as well as the new Keep Connected Live site and hope to spend more time there in January.

Leave me a comment as a Christmas present!

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Jamie's Bday weekend


Lola, 2008


I can't believe that December is almost over! On Tuesday, Jamie will be twenty-one years old, then a few days later it'll be Christmas.

I have most of the shopping done, although I still have to get Jamie one more thing for Christmas and I have to figure something out for Bill. We've all had so many sacrifices this year (he sold his Xbox360, as well as both his Serius radios) so maybe I'll replace the radio. He always enjoyed the Talk Radio.

After the holidays we have to concentrate on getting the mortgage caught up, which should be simple enough with all of Bill's overtime and my hours at the off-price store. I'm also looking forward to getting a car on Tuesday! It's going to be a little tight because the insurance agency and the car dealership are nowhere near each other. I'm going to be bussing it out to the highway for the car, so I'll have to stop at the insurance place first to pay some kind of credit so that I can do business by fax. Then I work from 1:30 - 10:00. Long day!

Today Em and I are bussing it to the South End to pick up a few things, then bussing it to the North End to meet up with Jamie, who is working with a crazy part-timer at Body Shop. That's the problem with retail - you just don't know someone is nuts until a few weeks later. Then it's too late to do much of anything, unless they get caught stealing or something. After that, Bill will join us and we'll decide if we should eat out to celebrate Jamie's 21st birthday, or come home and make Shepard's Pie, like she requested. It'll be up in the air, depending on the time.

Happy Sunday!

Friday, December 18, 2009

gifts of Christmas Past


Christmas gift, circa 1971.


This little sewing maching was one of my favourite Christmas gifts, ever! That would explain how it's survived for going-on thirty-nine years and over a dozen moves. My other was an Easy-Bake oven, but I lost that when Mom & Dad broke up and dad gave away our toys out of spite.

But I digress. I'm sure this little sewing maching would work if I installed batteries, and maybe I should because Bill is going to need a few pairs of pants hemmed, lol.

Here's a Christmas joke:

"Santa, have you lost weight?" "Mrs Claus is looking exceptionally pretty today." "Your toys look wonderful this year."

- Rudolph's cousin, Larry the Brown-Nosed Reindeer

Friday, December 11, 2009

updates



I know, I know. I am almost forty-five and Shia LaBeouf is what, twenty-three? Still, he's a hottie.

I'm playing hookie from work right now. Not a full day's worth but definitely for the next hour. Bill started a great new job yesterday, meaning that I was supposed to catch the 12 o'clock bus just down the street so that I could be on the selling floor by 12:30. The house is so quiet that I decided to call in so that I can finish my coffee in peace!

Here's an update on what's going on:

- Bill's new position is delivering oxygen to different areas around Central Alberta. It pays well and he'll get an excellent benefit package, including dental, life insurance and disability insurance.

- Jamie just finished three days training for her new job at the payday loan place and is also enjoying her Body shop job. She hopes to buy her own car in the next few months.

- Em got Honours for her first semester of grade seven. She still has her paper route and she's babysitting for a new family and excited about making $60 this Saturday.

- I am working 40 hours/week at the big box store and every second weekend at the clothing store. I went to the college day before yesterday and applied for upgrading math and starting a management program in January, which can be laddered into the Business Administration program next September. It's kind of exciting and scary at the same time! I'm not sure what will happen with work, depending on how much funding I'm entitled to.

- I took the bus yesterday for the first time in five years. It had been fifteen years before that! I am looking forward to getting a car again, on my next payday.

- Christmas shopping isn't finished yet. I think that I will spend my entire widow's pension on it, now that I know that Bill will have a paycheque soon. After that, we're going to do some major saving so it's a good thing we've learned to live frugally!

Happy Friday.

december moon


photographer unknown


As tough as the last five years had been, there were moments between Dale and I that will always come back to me as unique to that relationship and all the little idiosyncrasies involved.

For example, Dale and I were very co-dependent with one another and it didn't dawn on us to get help. I followed him wherever he went and vise versa, we held onto each other no matter where we were. It wasn't an odd sight to walk into his dojo to see me sitting there, watching him teach. During breaks, he'd come over to stand by me and hold my hand. At parties, if he sat near me, his hand would be on my knee, my ankle, or my foot, depending on what was reachable.

We considered ourselves lucky to have an active sex life. Much of our closeness was derived from that because we shared so much passion, and from time to time the intensity of it all would bring me to tears. He used to tease me a little about it because it's disconcerting for a man if your wife has an orgasm that makes her cry, but what do you do?

Anyway, in December of 2001 Dale had started seeing a new Doctor in hopes of being able to wean himself off the alcohol. We'd received the terminal diagnosis a few months before and I was desperate to have him quit drinking, desperate to save his life. In the months previous to that he'd been dealing with chronic relapses and had been unable to deal with any aspects of normal life, including making love to me. Maybe I was too bitter and angry anyway. To be honest, it's one of those "which came first, the chicken or the egg?" type things. I couldn't have sex with a man that was slowly killing himself, and he couldn't bring himself to initiate sex knowing that I resented him for it.

It was a lonely time.

It was December and Christmas was fast approaching, much like it is now. We were living in the duplex and the master bedroom had this big picture window that looked out onto an alleyway with tall, mature trees. That night Dale and I lay sprawled sideways across the queen sized bed, he with his head on a stack a pillows, and me laying the opposite way, on my side with my head in my hand. Out the window to the right hand side I noticed that the moon was huge. The sky was a beautiful shade of navy blue and the trees swayed from side to side.

We talked about hope and for once in a long while he was actually sober. He thought that he'd be able to quit drinking gradually because the new Doc had prescribed Librium. I don't remember what I was thinking. Somehow, one thing led to another and we were making love, and from time to time I would notice that the moon was no longer on the right side of the window but in the centre.

With each kiss I would think his eyes are so blue when he's loving me and I can't stand to think of what might come.Don't think about it. Don't think about it! Near the end of our lovemaking I felt the tears running down my cheeks and pooling in my neck and near my collarbone. I fought to keep from crying out in despair because somehow I knew. My hands ran over his freckled shoulders and up into his thick dark hair, and instead of searching out his eyes I looked out the window, where the moon had moved across to the left hand side.

"Are you okay?" he whispered.

Feeling the need to lie, I nodded. As he drifted off to sleep I think that we both knew in our hearts that it was the end. I lay there, wide awake, wondering what the hell was going to happen next.

As it turned out, we never made love again, and he died on October 2, 2002.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

lovely


I got this poinsettia by using 500 Sobey's points. It's cute, but those Sobey's points are useless - I think that you need to redeem 1200 of them to get a tiny bag of shredded carrots. Do American and foreign grocery stores do this? Award one point for every dollar spent just to track your shooping habits?

Ahem. Anyway, I like to get at least one poinsettia each year, to compliment the various silk ones around the house.

Tonight I hope to start wrapping gifts. Exciting!

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

I won't even wish for snow


Merry Christmas, 2009


Yesterday's snow made it really seem like Christmas, so I'm glad that the tree was up. And even though this year has been brutal in many ways, I'm really looking forward to the holidays.

We got this 7 ft. artificial tree last year and it really fits the space. It holds all of our ornaments and I love that we don't have to maintain it or clean up after it.

Do you have tree themes? For years I built a food theme around apples, candy canes, cookies and balls made of nutmeg but that changed the year that Bill came. I bought a group of family snowmen, one with each of our names on it. Em wasn't with us that year but we tell her she was with us on the tree. Bill has a little gold firetruck from the first year that he was here, and Jamie added a bear in a canoe from her trip to Vancouver in October. Dale has one of his gold medals tied to the tree with a red ribbon (my late husband was a Shotokan Karate instructor) The little snowman in the pic is part of a group that I bought last year.

Tokyo was a little put out because we took her spot from in front of the window, but she's making up for that by walking all over our entertainment unit. I swear she sheds more to get even, lol.

Monday, November 30, 2009

yikes


photo by Carin Fausett


Fifteen minutes ago I had just finished lacing up my boots and putting on my scarf when a stiff wind picked up and created a white out. It's been blizzarding ever since and I doubt I'll get to run my day-off errands any time soon. This would normally upset me, but since we finished putting up the tree last night and I have a roast about half done in the oven, it's pretty cosy.

Things have improved a lot since I gave up the Nissan. What an incredible weight lifted from our shoulders! I know that I will face penalties but for this moment - I'm just happy being able to balance the rest of the responsibilities.

Work is going okay now that I'm getting into the groove, but I still struggle with being tolerant. There are only a few things that really get to me.

The worst is bad parenting. Some people stay for four or five hours. Others let their children tear through the store, climbing all over everything or into everything. They leave toddlers alone in the toy department then refuse to buy them anything, or argue all the way to the register. The staggering theft bothers me, especially when I know it's just happened in the last few minutes, while I was nearby. It's hard to not take it personally.

The great thing is being able to see so much merchandise before anyone else, being able to place it on hold, and getting everything at a discount, which will really help this Christmas. Also, we decided to sponsor a family this year and my store helped us by donating bakeware, which was very helpful.

I'm off to get milk, now that the storm has died down. Happy Monday!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

mid week


photographer unknown


Well, the truck went back to the dealership Monday night, with a minimum amount of drama. Not that I wasn't edgy and easily hurt that day, but it went okay. Bill drives an older pickup and he's been giving me rides to work.

The car we were looking at didn't have a/c, so we're back to square one but still hope to pick something up on Friday. That'll go a long way to making me feel more independent, even though my credit rating is in the toilet right now.

Onward and upward.

Since my family has decided they don't want to have Christmas, I've been a little down about it. My Mom turns eighty-one this Sunday and I just don't know how to have Christmas without her! I might have been okay had my sister wanted to do something with us, but they want to do their own thing as well. *sigh* For now, our plan is to volunteer at at least one place, do Christmas Mass at St. Mary's on Christmas Eve, and have Christmas dinner here at home the next day. I think we'll all go to a movie on Christmas night.

Jamie wants to start planning and saving for a trip next year - she wants to do Christmas in New York! That would mean no family vacation again next summer so I'm not sure how I feel about that. I love the idea of a holiday like that, but our financial situation would really have to improve!

I hope you're all having a good week, so far.

Monday, November 16, 2009

I'll miss your smooth ride


in the new house, 2004


I've been missing you all and have been missing the writing, so I'm happy to have a day off from work. Both jobs have been going well and I've gotten into a habit of getting ready for work without coffee or the internet (although sometimes I have to stop for a double-double, even if that means inhaling it in the lunchroom before starting my shift) and then playing around on Farmtown or playing Pathwords after work, before hand washing my work clothes and getting into bed.

The big event this week is about my truck, a 2007 Nissan Xterra that I leased two and a half years ago when I began my career with Sun Life Financial. At the time, the $700 payment seemed a little steep but I expected to make enough commissions to cover that as well as my other living expenses, and the the entire payment was a tax write off. For many, many months Bill's wages had to cover everything, which was incredibly tight. By the time I left the insurance gig, Bill was only a few weeks away from losing his job, and the payments became crippling.

I'm ashamed to admit that after each payment was made, I couldn't afford to buy food. Still, the thought of losing my incredibly reliable vehicle, which has four wheel drive and tackles the Alberta winters like a pro, would make me almost sick to my stomach.

Last Wednesday I finally had the $1,400 together to catch up the payments, but in the back of my mind I knew I needed to get Emily's winter boots and meat for the freezer, I knew I needed to pay the utilities and I knew that I needed to get the insurance back on the house and I needed to get my life insurance back in place. All day Thursday I sat on that money, thinking it would be okay. By Friday morning I was letting go of the truck, and by the time early afternoon rolled around I knew I was going to let it go. That day, Bill and I searched around for a suitable car that I could drive to work, and found a little red one, which I hope to pick up on Friday.

Anyway, this afternoon I'm cleaning out the truck and taking it back to Nissan dealer. I can't say I won't be sad but I hope that Bill can buy me another one some day - a used one.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

november already?!


photo by Tim Lyons


The house is incredibly quiet right now, and I am enjoying it a lot. Em had a sleepover last night (so she's napping), Jamie stayed out until five or six this morning and is still sleeping, and Bill is out doing a gutter job.

There are so many things that I've been thinking about, and kept hoping that I'd get back to blogging. A month ago, one of my previous managers at the insurance company accepted a promotion in Victoria, BC and moved out there while his family stayed behind to sell the house and settle things here. He was my favourite manager and this promotion will be bring him (at the very least) a $75,000 increase in salary. Incredible! Since I still miss my insurance gig and still wish I had been able to make a go of it, I can't help but wonder if I had stayed, if I had waited to get through this last physical road block - would I have been able to move into management there?

Of course, those what ifs are moot now. I am working five days a week at the big box store and once a week at the clothing store and I'm planning to take a Human Resources course in April. Onward and upward.

I saw an Oprah interview with Patrick Swayze's widow, Lisa Neimi. My heart just broke for her, she's so new! It's only been six weeks since his death and she still refers to him in present tense. I wish I could say I remember those days, but I don't. Back then I was still putting one foot in front of the other and longing for the day I could think of Dale and what we went through, without crying. Well, after seven years I still cry - although now, it's mostly for me and not about the lonliness without him. Fortunately, I have blocked out a lot of the traumatic memories, even though I had to give up the good with the bad.

Financially, my family is still struggling but we're getting by. We've been lucky that we haven't had any utilities shut off, although I'm driving my truck with no insurance and I had to let my life insurance lapse. Jamie will be getting more hours soon and Bill picked up a freelance job to do someone's facia and eavestoughs and that should catch up the one truck payment that we're behind. Unfortunately, he hasn't been able to secure a full time job yet. Soon - I hear things are picking up again.

I just don't know what we'd do without hope.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

big box nightmares


In the last six weeks, I've dropped over fifteen pounds and most of it is due to the incessent picking up after the sub-species of the off-price shopper. Not the courteous shoppers who put something back after having looked at it - I'm talking about the ones who throw things on the floor, abandon stuff all over the store, leave their carts at the front of a long line-up, or steal things by ripping into the packaging and leaving the debris strewn about the beauty department.

It's crazy.

The other day I was telling someone about my job at the jewelry counter/customer service department at an off-price retailer and she threw up her hands.

"Oh my!" she exclaimed, "I have often lost hope for humanity shopping in those places!"

"How so?" I asked.

"My best friend is one of those people who just throws things down, letting them hit the floor, or get caught up in another hanger. I'm so embarrassed to shop with her..."

I know I shouldn't be shocked, but seriously - some people are PIGS. They walk around dropping names ("my Kenneth Cole watch, my Guess bag....") but they treat the store and the associates like crap. Makes it hard to respect a young couple after seeing how they let their kids tear into toy packaging, or the mom who just dumps her unwanted bath towels into the candy display. The teenagers are a bunch of little thieves, and the Ladies Who Lunch are the absolute worst for dropping $150.00 + Italian Leather bags onto the floor. They'll step over them to get to the Ed Hardy scarves, which will be snapped up faster than you can spell i-m-p-r-e-s-s-e-d w-i-t-h m-e y-e-t? If you're not, we have some over-priced and pretty ugly Ed Hardy bracelets.

I guess I'm just a little jaded. As for the recession, looks like it doesn't exist when it comes to getting that sean john jacket...

Monday, October 19, 2009

back to school


Today Jamie and I are going down to the Aboriginal Employment Centre and then to the Career school to see if we're entitled to funding. Although I am happy to be working, I'm making about 55% of what I did when I was managing clothing stores. I really hope that I can be making $50K + by the end of next year!

As much as I have enjoyed retail (well, it's definitely a love/hate thing!) I think it's time to get into something that will take me to retirement and allow me to start saving $1,000/month for retirement.

What business are you in, and do you like it? I'm thinking of doing something in the Human Resources line of work, but need to start gathering information on what skills are required and how much they pay.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

catching up



I've missed all the people I used to read online! Between the work and the house and the truck and the kids and scrambling to keep caught up, I barely have time to play on Facebook.

I've been working about 40 hours a week but need to put in 6 days to get that, and for the most part I'm exhausted when I get home. The thing that kills me is that I think of blogging ideas all day long, but when I get home I just can't concentrate enough to get it out.

Also, I have been having major difficulties with dry eyes and contact lenses. The store I work in dries them out and makes them scratchy and sore, and lots of nights I just want to take them out and lay down for a bit.

At any rate, I am excited that both kids are gone for the afternoon, so I'll be able to catch up. How are you doing? What is new? Didya miss me?

Friday, October 2, 2009

love this pic


photo by Cosmo Condina, for Getty Images.


I came across this beautiful fall pic and wanted to share it. It reminds me of the winding country roads of Alberta, although this one was snapped in Ontario. I'm looking forward to seeing it myself one day! Here's more info:

The historic Niagara Parkway, or “River Road,” is the route that Winston Churchill called "the prettiest Sunday afternoon drive in the world," and follows the winding curves of the Niagara River, which divides Canada and the US. The loveliest stretch in autumn is between the small towns of Queenston and Niagara-on-the-Lake and reaches its pinnacle of color in early October.

In the past few weeks we've been able to visit my parents more often, and the drive out is just beautiful this time of year. It takes something that is normally mundane (stopping for fuel, going to the bank) and makes it into something memorable. I know we're going through a rough time, but I truly am grateful for the life I have now. I see a recovery in almost all areas in the next three months and to be honest, I get such joy out of the littlest thing.

For example, I recently went into a Bibles For Missions thrift store and found four white, restaurant quality sandwich plates, a white tea pot and half a dozen teaspoons, all for two dollars. Jamie brought me some Body Shop cleanser just as my other stuff ran out. And my entranceway is newly cleaned and dusted (including the ceiling fan) thanks to Bill.

At any rate, I just wanted to balance out the day with something positive. I'll sign off soon to take some pictures of Bill's pumpkin. He's carving it right now, but I don't know what he decided on.

Have a good weekend!

friday, Oct 2



Dan Kelly and Dale Peterson, circa 1995


This past few weeks has been more difficult because of everything going on - the illness, the lack of money (and the phone calls that ensue) the basement flooding without home insurance (couldn’t pay the premium) the big box store not paying me for a month (they had my banking info wrong) and the bank closing down my account and calling in my thousand dollar overdraft (they kept my truck payment and widow’s pension to pay it off) and of course, there is the countdown that goes on every year since Dale passed away. Songs spur memories while I’m driving around trying to get things done, tears come easily and more often than before.

As much as I miss the good man he once was, it mostly comes down to the trauma involved with his drinking, the way he got sick, and the broken man he was when he died. For the most part I’ve forgiven him, although I found it sad the day that Jamie was angry with Bill (over the last fight we’d had, involving Em playing us against each other) and said something like “well, he needs to think of us as one unit or else he’s no better than Dale was. And Dale was a good-for-nothing drunk.”

Brutal honesty, and there is a bit of guilt because he once asked me while he was dying, to try to remember to good things. The humour, the affection, the way he loved, lived and breathed karate. So I’ll do that today.

About ten months after he died, one of my employees took a job in Japan, and agreed to scatter some of his ashes into the Pacific ocean there. This is the message she left me this morning:

It was a misty day here today, the humidity before the rain making the air heavy but cool. The clouds hugged the mountains and flowed into the sea where a part of his spirit lay.
xo

Dale Peterson. February 12, 1967 - October 2, 2002.

I hated how awful the end was, but this is the life I was meant to have. I hope you have peace now.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

manly men get facials

For some reason, the editor won't let me upload a photo. I so rarely ever write a post without a picture! I'm sure it will look strange.

I worked an eight hour shift at the big box store today, and tomorrow I have a short evening shift. That means that in the morning, Bill and I can both attend the job fair and after that, we're booked for a facial with my sister.

Apparently she's taking an esthetics course and they need people to practice on - I'm all for that! Bill and I went for a massage, a facial and a steam for our first wedding anniversary and loved it, and we're both looking forward to tomorrow.

Speaking of men & facials - do you think that men are finally figuring out how awesome they are? I doubt Bill would have thought so before I dragged him to the first one!

Friday, September 18, 2009

gifts of a different sort


Other than all the flu like sickness in the house (Jamie, myself & Em) and other various snafus, things have been going okay. Ever since Bill lost his job we've been operating on major survival mode, but we've been pretty lucky. Seemingly blessed with good karma some days.

One such incident happened just recently.

We're currently one payment behind on most things, like the phone, the mortgage and the truck. It's scary, but not repossession-scary as long as we keep the status quo and have the last truck and house payments made on the day before the next one is due. Since I have yet to receive any pay from the off price store and Bill's unemployment benefits have just kicked in, we've been piecing income together from everywhere - Jamie's jobs at Home Depot and the bath product store, mine at the clothing store, gutter jobs and kajiji ads.

Last week as the fifteenth approached, my anxiety over the truck payment started to grow as it usually does three to four days before I have to have it. To make things even more complicated, I'm right in the middle of the countdown to Dale's death on October 2, and I found myself thinking about and talking to him as I hand washed my work clothes.


It doesn't seem like seven years at all. Or does it? I wonder if you come around anymore. Do you see us? Have you moved on? I'm getting better every year, but it's taking me awhile. I had no idea of the toll it would take, and I suppose that's good. I try not to have regrets but in this case the price was pretty high.
I wonder if you ever get jealous, if you feel the possessiveness in death like you did in life. I used to chuckle about it because we both know that while you were here I loved you completely, but I also feel a little guilt that my relationship with Bill brings me so much joy. So much so that he feels like a gift, like maybe you had a hand in it. By the way, if you have any connections, can you help us out a little? I don't need a lot, just a little hope.


Within the hour, I got a call from a lady who wanted the microfibre chair that I had listed on Kajiji (for 34 days, 244 hits) for $270, and she didn't even try to talk me down. I made the truck payment that afternoon.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

hens and chicks


I thought I'd post a picture of my favourite little plant this year, Hens and Chicks. We planted one last year, but it didn't perform well at all and didn't come back.

I'll be the first one to say that I don't know anything at all about gardening! I have a black thumb, usually. What I like about this plant is that it is a perrenial and it can be propagated so easily.

The one we bought this year was bigger, about 5 inches across. It also had a ring of baby hens along the outside, and two weeks after we planted it we removed all the babies and planted them in the soil along the top of the cinder blocks in our rock garden. They've all grown to an impressive size already, but I suspect they won't grow babies until next year.

Another thing I discovered while reading up on them is that they grow in the most precarious conditions - they'll grow on top of a rock!

So far, from one $5.00 plant, we've gotten 17 so far. That really appeals to the frugal side of me :)

Monday, September 7, 2009

labour day


photo by Eve Parry


The last few days have been brutal, in that the store I'm working in has shut off their A/C in an attempt to save money. Working an 8 hour shift in that kind of heat makes me bone weary! And very sore. Who knew?

Obviously, I have been very lucky for the last few years, mostly in regard to working conditions - air conditioned office, my own desk, writing my own schedule. I never expected to become a cashier/sales associate again at the age of 44.

But I digress.

I am very thankful that my customers are all very nice, and that I am working with good people. I did have one lady come in that I used to know - way back in the nineties when I was waitressing. She is Greek and her BFF was my boss, and neither of them have much in the way of social graces. Anyway, she asks why I'm working there (aren't you a manager?) I say my husband was laid off, and she says, the last time I saw your husband he was almost dead and I replied, that was my late husband, I'm remarried, to which she says "yeah, he looked terrible."

As if I wasn't aware. *sigh*

I'm really looking forward to getting my skills upgraded!

Thursday, September 3, 2009

is it Thursday already?




I feel terrible writing all those mean things about Jamie's ex-boyfriend, but for awhile there, he was really bothering me. I think he could have handled everything better, but after awhile, Jamie placed a call to him and asked him to back off. He was a gentleman about it and as far as I know, Jamie wants to try to stay friends. She says he was a terrible boyfriend but would make an awesome friend. Good for her.

I started my new job yesterday but it's not exactly what I'd hoped for. The people are nice but the hours stretch long, and since they've turned down the A/C in an effort to be more green, it's uncomfortably warm for the last four hours of your shift. I might plead with them to turn it up again because there is only so much sweat one can take!

There is more drama going on at the other clothing store since the manager returned from vacation days and heard I took this other position. I do not believe it to be a conflict of interest, but she's using it to chastise her one remaining assistant.

It's a common occurence, unfortunately. She'll come back from days off and start the day at 9 a.m. She'll start looking for mistakes and things not done and start working herself into a state of resentment. By the time poor Becky arrives she's ready to strike. It's sad because not only did Becky get two markdowns finished, she placed the store in the Top #5 in the country and managed to keep the wage cost in line.

I feel for her, but this is one reason I'm not working there full time. I have a shift on Saturday, so I told Becky that if it was a conflict of interest I would forgo that shift. If she's willing to work with me, I'll be there. *sigh*

All this makes me think I should really persue the schooling, but until Bill gets working I'll stick it out. Once he starts getting a regular paycheque I'll be able to focus on upgrading.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

summer waning


photo by BIll Jobling


Emily goes back to school on Tuesday, and I am so looking forward to routine again!

As summers go, it was pretty good for both kids, other than the part where Kyle became an ass wipe and Jamie had to dump him. I know it sounds harsh, but I think he did it that way because he wasn't man enough to break up with her on his own - I think he planned it, and I think that he is persuing one of her friends right now.

On the other hand, Jamie is enjoying her new job so far. I really hope she makes new friends there, and maybe meets a guy who would enjoy going to a movie or going for coffee. Guy friends are awesome to have after a break up!

Today I'm working a short shift at the clothing store. Bill and Jamie are picking Em up from the lake and will be back to pick me up when I'm finished my shift, then we'll have supper and Em can go through all her school supplies.

Have a nice weekend!

Thursday, August 27, 2009

momma's boy


mature men are the best!



Jamie had a birthday party for her boyfriend last weekend. As birthday parties go, it could have been better - for example, since we're all broke, she couldn't afford to buy him a birthday cake. Instead, she bought cake mixes and made him a cake. She bought plates, glasses and napkins in a Spiderman theme (I know, I know, he was turning 23. But he's very immature) This was all money that was supposed to be going to our phone bill, but I agreed she should put this money into the get together. About six people came, and they visited, played games, ate cake and drank whatever liquor the guests brought.

Afterward, Kyle (the birthday boy) told Jamie he was disappointed. He thought the party could have been better. He was upset that Jamie didn't want to watch a movie at 11 pm, but she says she was too tired. Between her nanny gig, not sleeping, all the baking (she had to make the cakes twice due to a mishap) and cleaning, she was wiped. He was mad.

The next day, Emily said that he was paying quite a bit of attention to Teagan, one of Jamie's youngest friends, who recently turned eighteen. "Quiet!" he'd call out at the party. "Teagan is trying to tell a story."

A few days later, both Jamie and Kyle slept in and were late to hit the 1:30 matinee, and Kyle was so mad that he told her he couldn't look at her face. On the other hand, he could look at Jocie's face. Jocie is Jamie's best friend, who works at the mall. He headed there to chat her up before coming back here, where Jamie broke up with him.

This is the thing with Kyle - he is a Momma's boy who won't stay over at our house in case his mom gets mad. We all thought that was strange for someoone who was almost twenty-three. The other thing is how touchy he is with girls, including Emily. He pokes and pinches, he comes up behind Emily and picks her up off the ground. Em always told us she wanted us to make him stop, but then we'd find her wrestling with him, so we didn't say anything. Once when he scooped her up, I said "Kyle!" and he dropped her, but there was other strange behaviour too. He had a thing for Jamie's friend, Teagan. He'd sit with her on the couch and put his head on her shoulder, but because he did it in front of us we thought he was just weird.

Anyway, Jamie is heart broken. As much as she knows that he wasn't the one for her, he was her first major love affair. I'm worried about her and hope her new job really helps. As for Kyle, who sometimes read my blog before this all happened - I have something to say to you.

I know that something is going on in your head with regard to Teagan. Kyle - it is not cool to start moving in on Jamie's friends. I know you're thinking it. I think you should just mosey along so that you don't have to hurt Jamie more than you already have. Jamie's friends are off limits, but even if Teagan is receptive, I'm blaming you.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

bicycle bicycle bicycle


photo by Eve Parry


I've been selling things on Kijiji, to supplement our income while we're looking for work. You know things are desparate out there when people try to severely bid you down! For example, I listed a $260 mountain bike for $120, hoping to get a minimum of $100.

A few minutes later, I get an email that says "Sixty bucks. Text me."

One minute after that, I get another. "Eighty dollars. I'll pick it up today."

I text the first saying, "I have another bid for $80."

They reply, "Sorry I only have $60. Can I come get it before I leave for work?"

I replied, "sorry, I'm willing to wait for more."

The good news is that our economists believe that a recession in Canada is almost over, due to deflation. Hopefully, that reaches the Oil & Gas Industry in Alberta!

Friday, August 14, 2009

august 31, 1997



The last few days have been overshadowed by financial worries and back-to-school planning, so I've been more concerned with a little TV watching and reading than blogging. In the old days I would have come here first, but eventually you worry about it becoming the same old, same old.

The book I've been reading is Andrew Morton's biography of Princess Diana, which was written in 1992, five years before her death. I just adored her and remember crying my eyes out the night she died and while watching the funeral coverage. To be honest, she was the last famous person I ever cried for - there have been some notable losses, but nothing at all like Diana. I had no idea I felt so strongly about her until she died.

Anyway, in between chapters I find myself googling all the scandal surrounding the affairs that they had, the gossip about who might or might not be Harry's biological father, and the theory that Diana and Dodi were murdered by the Powers that be. Fascinating!

I'm not finished doing all the digging yet, but the thing that shocked me the most was the accusation that the Queen herself warned someone in Diana's circle against "the Powers that Be" - and it was worded very much like a threat! I think I'm going to have to re-read that part, lol.

Now I'm off to visit as many people as I can. I hope the week was good to you!

Sunday, August 9, 2009

wedding anniversary


photo by J. Chanders


Today is my second wedding anniversary!

I've been sitting here near the deck, listening to all the birds chirping and thinking back to this day two years ago when Bill and I were saying our vows. We stood on a dock in the middle of Bear Lake, and as we repeated the Commissionaire's words, two eagles soared over top. I'm a city girl at heart, but it was pretty romantic.

More than just having a companion to share the burdens in life, Bill gave me a much bigger gift - a family unit that protects each other. I longed for a relationship that my daughter could admire, instead of one that would breed fear and resentment. I hoped that I could set an example for her, that she could see that rebuilding a life was possible.

And it really is.

We have a few problems, but nothing compared to before! For the most part, my days are filled with laughter and kisses and I never really know what'll happen next, and I'm really enjoying it.

Happy Sunday!

Friday, August 7, 2009

friday full of promise


photo by Eve Parry


It's a foggy Alberta morning, but promises to get warmer as the day goes on. Both Bill and I have the day off today, and the kids are leaving in an hour! *insert happy dance here* Jamie and Emily are leaving for an anime convention, so that leaves us to ourselves for our second wedding anniversary on Sunday. I think we're going out to dinner for that.

Hard to believe we've been married for two years already! We haven't had the easiest time of it financially, but the family seems to thrive anyway. Jamie and Em have become sisters in the truest sense of the word and both have had success in school, although Jamie is struggling to find a good job like the rest of us. All of her post-secondary plans are on hold until she finds a way to fund them, and I hope that I can help her as time goes by.

Speaking of work - I think that I will start something on my own to supplement our income. The mean-spirited manager that I work for approached me yesterday and asked me not to quit, so if she works with me on a schedule I might stay on while I start my own consierge business.

Our community of Seniors has grown so much over the last decade, yet they really struggle to get around. A taxi might cost $30 round trip, or a daughter might not be available to take her mom to get a dress. They want to mail packages but the Senior's Bus only runs on certain days. I think I could help fill that gap, but first I need to look into liability insurance and First Aid & CPR training. Hopefully this will something I can do around any jobs I get in the next few years.

Have a nice weekend!

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

busy summer



It's so nice that things are slowing down a bit, now that the rain has been here for a few days. Also, the trees are looking a little greener, and I bet the farmers are happy to see all this moisture!

Rain usually spurs a few gutter cleaning jobs as well, and now that Bill is between jobs again, every penny will help.

Today we have to buy a bus ticket for Emily, who is attending an Anime convention this weekend in Edmonton with Jamie, and Jamie's boyfriend Kyle. However, she has to be back on Sunday at noon so that she can pack for her second summer camp beginning at four p.m. that same day.

Em has been so busy this summer! She just returned from a camping trip to Crowsnest Pass and still has to get all her clothes and bedding washed. After she gets back from camp, she has a two day trip with Bill's sister, then the only thing left to do is back to school shopping. Hard to believe it's all going by so fast.

Anyway, today Bill and I are going out to drop off more resumes and hopefully we get some kind of meaningful work out of it. This past six months has been brutal in the job market!

Happy Wednesday!

Monday, August 3, 2009

still looking for a good fit


In the last week I've become very aware of the fact that I do not want to work for Sandy, the woman who is my part-time boss. She's been running the clothing store for eleven years and was my colleague when I managed the sister store in town, so we used to see each other in Vancouver and Montreal at the rollout meetings.

She hired me in May 2008. For the longest time I worked very part-time and never really had a chance to see what some of my co-workers were talking about. Then one of her two assistants walked off the job and I picked up all her shifts for last week and everything became crystal clear.

She gets grumpy and resentful about all the hours she's required to be there (been there, done that) and starts treating her staff badly. I actually saw some of this this past Spring when I applied for the H&M management position. After they dropped me, she started saying random stuff like "oh, it's too bad that H&M didn't want you" in response to me saying "wow, this t shirt table was torn apart today."

It was all petty stuff but easy to let go, until I was there every day for nine and a half hours. She's not the kindest woman and tends to do a lot of complaining and finger pointing. We have security cameras and she views hours of it every day, then sends her minions out to document. This past week she didn't like that she saw my yellow bra strap when I was wearing a white India cotton smocked tank, so I had to discuss it with her assistant. We had a head office visit on Tuesday and she felt it was important to tell me to "dress properly" for it.

The problem with that is that I still dress in jackets, skirts and sandals and she wears pull on pants with blouses that haven't been ironed, and many people mistake me for her boss.

Obviously, it's time for me to move on when someone tries to put me in my place.

I have applications in at a few independent living buildings and condos, and I want to apply at Pottery Barn tomorrow. I've already given my notice at the store.

You know, this is the first time in my life that I haven't been making much money and it freaks me out. At forty-four, I should be saving for retirement, not trying to get the mortgage payment together.

At least we're all healthy and otherwise happy!

Sunday, August 2, 2009

summer reading


It's been awhile since I've done any blogging! I wish I could say that my life is too busy to get here, but the truth is that I've been working, playing around on facebook, and reading two very different books.

The first is an old Barbara Delinsky novel, called T.L.C., written in 1987. I get a kick out of the descriptions of their clothing - heavy wool skirts, wool tights, and silky blouses with little ties at the neck. Also absent is the mention of cell phones or computers, lol.

The second book I'm reading is an old novel by W.O. Mitchell called Who Has Seen the Wind? I picked it up at a yard sale for 25 cents, and I'm pretty sure this one was on my reading list in elementary school. It's set in 1947 Saskatchewan.

I love reading at the beach, so I think we're headed out to the lake today. Are you reading anything good?

Sunday, July 26, 2009

toes



I just loved having Dexter, the polydactyl boy kitty in the pic. He has seven toes on his front paws (they look like oven mitts!) He was just a baby when Jamie's friend abandoned him, and if we could have handled two cats, we would have kept him.

Thank goodness, my mom took him in for us. She's had him for a few years now and he's huge! They call him Toes now.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

bad managers


painting by Susanne Little


I've been picking up some extra shifts at the clothing store because one of the assistant managers walked off the job on Sunday.

One day after returning from vacation.

You know you hate your job when you last five minutes from coming back! But I can't say that I truly blame her - her manager was relentless (she couldn't do a lot of things right) and the fact that the two of them had a personality conflict didn't help.

This is the same manager that has been dangling that position in front of me since May of 2008, but I'm pretty sure I don't want to be an assistant manager if that title means lots of unpaid overtime and a job that can never be done right. On the other hand, full time work would really help...

Speaking of work, Bill & I have our first eavestough job tonight, for $120. It's a good thing we decided to do this because it looks like Bill hasn't found the position he was hoping for. The first few days were good because he was working with a friendly, helpful guy but yesterday was spent with someone that didn't speak and wouldn't show him how to do anything. Then the dispatch guy had a freak out because one of the experienced guys couldn't fix a Coke machine at McDonald's and they couldn't sell soda. By the end of the day he'd already decided to keep looking for something else.

Anyway, have a nice Thursday! I'm off to see what you all are up to.

Monday, July 20, 2009

love Monday


photographer unknown


Thank goodness that Bill went back to work today!

Since last Monday, he's been off work with a bad back and today he started at his new company. I love that man more than any man I've ever known, but I still wanted to kill him by the time I woke up on Sunday.

In the past week, I have not driven anywhere, because he likes to drive. And he likes to take the most circuitous routes available. A three kilometer trip will eventually add up to about eight, and not only will you hit both the north and east sides of the city, but you'll end up downtown at least twice.

He throws his cigar butts on the ground. He forgets to lock the truck when he comes home. He makes plans to vacuum the bedroom but gets distracted by something else and I trip over the Hoover and the handheld.

The other night he ruined my $40 Party Lite three wick candle by setting another small jar on top of it. While it was still burning.

"Why would you do that?" I asked.

"Well, the little one was almost burned out so I thought that it would burn the table if I didn't set it on something."

"You need to go back to work before I strangle you. And don't even think about retiring."

The rest of the last week was actually pretty nice. I do love spending a lot of time with him, but that "too much of a good thing" is absolutely true.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

vacation plans go awry


Kate, Bill & Emily; Vancouver 2007


This is the first year in several years that we haven't been able to plan a family vacation, and it's depressing me a little. In 2007 we went to Vancouver BC, last year we went to Victoria BC and to be honest, I'd be happy with a weekend trip to Kelowna! (Kelowna is peach country, and only a five hour trip from where we live)

You never know - it could happen, even in light of our work situations.

Bill left his oilfield job on Monday, even though he meant to work his proper notice, because his back went out. Unfortunately when we went to our medical clinic the wait was almost three hours long, (he was in a lot of pain) so he didn't get the medical note into his office until Tuesday, and his payday was yesterday.

They wouldn't give him his paycheque.

Apparently it's legal - they have ten days from his last payday to get his last cheque ready and they're going to use every minute of it, even knowing that Bill has a family to feed. *sigh*

I hate it when things get ugly.

On the other hand, I'm kind of looking forward to things after this rough patch is over. We haven't booked any gutter cleaning jobs yet but we do expect to make up what he lost in pay through this venture.

Also, Bill is planning on going ahead with the lawsuit against his former company, citing Constructive Dismissal. In laymen's terms, they made his job so difficult that they forced him to find a new, lower paying position.

It was just terrible - if you knew Bill personally, you'd know how crazy the whole situation was. They accused him of so many things, and he is just this hardworking guy that is friendly to everyone. He never complained when he had to work on my birthday, on Valentine's Day, and on Mother's Day, he didn't insist on overtime pay when they wouldn't give him time off in lieu. He even went above and beyond his own job duties and no one ever said "thanks" or "good job". It was so disappointing.

With any kind of luck, we'll win the suit and be able to catch a breath.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Friday already?


We've got two computers that are complete and utter crap! They're both eMachines and both freeze up all the time, so we're not getting them anymore.

Currently we're hooked up to the old one (that's where I found the 2006 pic of Bill at the lake) so I've been perusing all the files.

Here's another old pic from 2005 or 2006:



And here's one from 2005, when Bill first returned from Qatar:



I really want to do something fun this weekend. What's everyone up to?

Thursday, July 16, 2009

the long days of July



I believe that this has been been the longest I've ever gone without blogging since I started in 2003. Wow! I missed everyone!

At any rate, we've been busy with summer projects. Bill accepted a job with a major soft drink company, Emily's currently at her first summer camp, Jamie's still looking for a full time job and I am still looking for a second part-time job or a good full time job. In the mean time, we started a buy & sell group on Facebook for all the clothes we've collected over the years and today we're starting up another gutter clean company to supplement our income.

I'm going to drink my coffee and catch up. Happy Thursday!

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

young, single females need not apply



Jamie and I had a frustrating day recently and I'd like to tell you about it, but first I want to say that I am usually a very friendly, helpful person to most people I meet. I hate that I sound racist from time to time, but like Bill always says, it is what it is.

At any rate, today is my last day of employment with the insurance company, which means my benefits end tonight at midnight. My 20 year old has recently had some medical and dental issues arise, and while it was easy to include her on my coverage before (she was still in HS) it won't be that easy getting her on again unless she enrolls in college. For that reason, I took her down to the social services office. Mostly I wanted her to apply for medical coverage, but there was also a chance that they'd help her with rent & food, since she hasn't been able to find work since Last December.

I have no moral issues with providing Jamie with food, clothing, shelter, medicine, personal grooming products, bus passes and insurance, BUT I just don't have enough money, at least not right now. I had some savings that ran out two weeks ago and so far I've been able to keep food in the house, but my other payments are starting to fall behind.

While in the office, we happened to notice that most of the recipients were workers that were brought into our city three years ago to work at the Olymel plant - Sudanese, and Mexicans, as well as a few women who were disabled, and a couple men who looked like they were about sixty. There was a girl in her early twenties who had large, intricate tattoos on both arms, and a trashy looking couple who reeked of weed.

The M.O. for applications is to call a number from the bank of phones along the wall and submit an application to Social Workers who tell you up front whether you qualify or not.

The woman Jamie got was pretty flippant. "Do you have children?" she asked.

"No..."

"Well then. You'd better get out there and start looking for a job then." Click.

Yikes. So if Jamie was a drug dealer wearing diamond earrings, or a girl with $4,000 in ink, she might qualify? Because those people were getting cheques every month based on conversations overheard. Jamie might have made a mistake giving up her position last fall, but she has to survive even if she is a 20 year old having a difficult time finding work. I think that the woman on the phone didn't believe that she was actually looking, but I'm the one that drives her around to look.

Bill and I can't even find a job, and we're both excellent employees with tons of experience and excellent work records. She's going to appeal.

On the way home, she was saying, "You know, I'm starting to get it. I always thought you guys were a bit discriminatory, but after dealing with the system a few times you get to see what everyone else complains about. Apparently I need to be a single mom or an immigrant to get any help."

It's sad, but it's true.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

old friends


Bill and I have been taking the opportunity to see a few movies, now that they're showing up in the cheap theatre. Tickets are between $2.50 and $4.00, compared to $11.00! I suppose I shouldn't be shocked at the jump in prices, but like all people in my age bracket, it freaks me out. We saw Monsters vs. Aliens (we like kid's movies) and Night at the Museum. Not bad, and glad we didn't pay full price.

On Friday I took the girls to run some errands. We'd decided that we'd recycle the pop bottles and milk jugs and go for lunch, so with the $17.00 we got, we went to McDonald's for some burgers.

A few minutes after sitting down, one of Dale's black belts came in! It was someone I hadn't seen since the funeral almost seven years ago. He sat down and spoke to us for almost half an hour and I gave him all the latest karate gossip and invited hm to come with me the next time his and Dale's sensei comes back to Alberta.

I hope he comes.

Afterward, driving to the mall and going from store to store, I couldn't help but think of all the growth my city has seen since Dale died in 2002. Sometimes I picture him coming back and being amazed at everything - there have been two renos to the shopping centre I worked at, and the store that I managed at the time of his death doesn't even exist anymore. There have been more than five thousand homes built since his death, and I even got to buy one. I think that he'd be amazed to see the wrinkles I have at the corners of my eyes, and the way my face has changed.

Anyway, these thoughts come and go and in the end, I always picture myself being straight up with him. It plays out like a movie but with a happy ending.

Hope you all have a nice Sunday.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

shady


For the last few days, Bill and I have been focusing on the front and back yards.

It seems that every Spring, we just don't wait long enough for the perrenials to start coming up, so we cover them with annuals. Then a few weeks later we see the previous ones coming up and have to do some transplanting. Thank goodness none of them have died, but that just goes to show what rookies we are.

Another thing I've noticed is that I am so much like my Mom when it comes to home improvements - meaning I will cut corners and reuse common household items to get something done. For example, the bottom right hand corner shows how we used old 4"X 4"'s to elevate the gazebo roof above the deck doors. They haven't been painted yet, but they are covered with another decorative piece on the outside, so no one driving past would notice.



I found the chandelier at Wal-Mart, but it was the last one and it was on display. Since the last two trips there have been like that, and since I wasn't able to get either thing I wanted because they were displays and there were no sales associates willing to help, I decided that this time I'd take matters into my own hands. First, I asked for help.

Ten minutes later when no one showed up to help me, I walked over to the hardware department and got a step ladder. Then I went back to the gazebo displays, moved a coffee table, pulled the long cord through the frame of the gazebo, got up on the step ladder and took it down myself. I love it! And it was very cheap. I have to admit, I felt a little cocky picturing a store employee finding that step ladder - but I figured it would take a day or two before anyone noticed.

The black filmy curtain is a basic $10 panel from Wal-Mart, which has been hung alongside a wide, taupe-coloured panel that I made from waterproof outdoor fabric and another black filmy curtain to balance it out.

They're all hung on a nine foot Bo Staff that belonged to my late husband, which is attached to the frame with black boot laces.



The cushion was $2 at Value Village.

Eventually it'll have a proper, $400 canopy, but for now this works so great. The gazebo keeps the sun from beating in the back door in the afternoon, keeping the kitchen cool and shaded. The BBQ is very convenient and we've used it several times in the last few days to grill veggies, pork chops and chicken.



Aren't our houses close together? That's the neighbour's deck only a few meters away. I like the privacy of these panels too.

It feels like Saturday every day.

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

What Hue are You?


This morning I've been busy reading HGTV.com, rather than reading blogs. I've been obsessed with it since we got the gazebo up. Here's a quiz I'm taking in a few moments, called What Hue are You?

I'll put my results in the comments. Happy Tuesday!

Sunday, June 28, 2009

my last hurrah


photo by Troy Kajala


My very last insurance-sales appointment was this morning at 10:30, when I pulled up they looked guilty and said, "we were going to call you...."

Story of my insurance career - being stood up, cancelled, or rebooked. Many of the people I worked with told me to double book appointments to make up for those that didn't have consideration for your time, but I never did. I just didn't want to not show up when I said I would, and yet that probably had to do with the demise of my business.

I think that tomorrow, I'll turn in my computer and cross my fingers that I'll get a call for another part time job. I applied at a liquor store, a shoe store, and an Independent Living building, as well as Old Navy, but I'm hoping for the concierge job at the old folk's home. At least I'd get to wear my business attire.

Friday, June 26, 2009

little thieves


photo by Wally Herrala


When I was younger, I would have found the idea of a city curfew ridiculous. Now that I'm a homeowner with children, I hope that the RCMP are going to be vigilant about maintaining our city by-law, which requires anyone sixteen or younger to be inside and away from public areas by 1:00 a.m.

To be honest, it's not so much the police I want help from, it is the parents of the teenagers that are over-running our peaceful neighbourhoods at night. Teenagers that are spray painting our fences, breaking into our cars, and keying the paint.

The other night my next door neighbour heard a commotion outside, and when she went out onto her front porch she spotted a man in pajamas chasing a very large group (she claims to be up to a dozen) of older boys. That would have been the same night they went into my truck and rifled through the glove compartment, took my coffee money, and my CD's. Little bastards!

At any rate, the truck was unlocked because Bill often forgets to do so, although I'm sure he'll start now that they've gotten his Sirius radio. At the same time, I want to know if the parents of these thieves have a clue - do they think they're all hanging out at each other's homes? Do they know what damage their kids are doing, or do they care? It wouldn't surprise me to hear they don't.

This neighbourhood is about ten years old, and the one behind me is only three years old, with homes going for between $270,000 and $450,000. Most of my neighbours are homeowners, but there are a surprising number of rental homes in this area and in order to live here, you've got to work a lot. Maybe these kids aren't supervised because their parents are always at work, or asleep, or drunk.

I just wish they'd step up to the plate and keep their kids where they belong.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

out with the old


This afternoon I have been cleaning out my closet and posting items for sale on a buy/sell site like Craigslist. They're items I thought I'd wear again, but never made it out for one reason or another.

I like to do this every year so that I can justify buying new items, lol.

Last year I made $150 in a yard sale, but this year I'm going online. I've got my eye on a beautiful leather bag, so wish me luck!