The week has gotten away from me. AGAIN. Crazy busy, right? Well, yes, there’s been appointments and work. And kid. And also OLYMPICS.
So come, sit and warm yourself beside the burning of my last shreds of success and dignity. Continue reading
The week has gotten away from me. AGAIN. Crazy busy, right? Well, yes, there’s been appointments and work. And kid. And also OLYMPICS.
So come, sit and warm yourself beside the burning of my last shreds of success and dignity. Continue reading
So, yesterday was my birthday.
Saturday, the day before my birthday, I had planned for Stinkerbelle and myself to bake Xmas cookies. BDH is out of the country at a trade show, and since I had four days soloing with That Girl, there was not going to be any fuss and bother for my birthday. I was planning activities that would keep her busy and engaged for long periods of time. And a batch of gingerbread cookies fit the bill. Maybe a cupcake each if she insisted THERE MUST BE BIRTHDAY CAKE. As sometimes happens with her.
On Saturday morning, I got up with That Girl and she wanted bacon and eggs for breakfast. I was happy to oblige. I made just enough for the two of us, since I have been trying (although often failing) to watch what I eat and how much. So bacon, eggs, toast and coffee in moderation sounded good.
At lunch I had a little bit of left over beef stew. It wasn’t much, but it was tasty. Around 2 pm, I was feeling a bit of gut rot. Nothing unusual for me, especially with the big cup of coffee I was nursing. I took a Pepto Bismol. And decided there would be no cupcake making; maybe tomorrow. So we made 5 or so dozen gingerbread cookies, and it was okay.
Around 5 pm, the gut rot was intesifying a bit. The Pepto had done nothing for me. I tried some Tums, and then had supper around 5:30. A small-ish pizza (to give you an idea of size, Stinkerbelle eats half.)
By the time supper was done, around 6, I was feeling properly ill. I felt like I was full to bursting. My stomach, right under my solar plexus, was starting to hurt from feeling so bloated. And by 6:30, the pain was intense, and had spread to my back. I could not even touch my stomach it hurt so badly.
I choked down another Pepto Bismol. I tried to make myself vomit. I could barely move from the discomfort. I tried emailing BDH (he of the chronic and terrible heartburn) in Chicago for advice. And finally, I got on the phone with TeleHealth.
They said I needed to see a doctor within the next four hours.
As I was alone, that meant I had to truck Stinkerbelle downtown to the hospital with me. I don’t have many friends, if any. I’m not the sort of person who has friends, generally speaking, and those I have are not in town. My neighbour, who is the emergency contact for Stinkerbelle at school, was working. And I haven’t any family I can call on in an emergency.
But, what the hell. That Girl was game for an adventure. Off we went to the hospital.
I got into triage around 7:30 and told her my problem. Right off the bat she said that she had to admit me as a cardiac case because my age and the description of what was happening was presenting as a potential heart attack. She also said that in doing that, the tests would take eight hours to complete, so could I get someone to come take That Girl?
I didn’t have anyone I thought I could call. So, we agreed that Stinkerbelle could stay with me and… we’d see.
They did an ECG, which looked fine. They took me to a cubicle and I waited for chest x-rays, while Stinkerbelle merrily chattered and coloured and tried to tell the time on the clock outside our curtain. She watched the nurse take blood, fascinated, and set me up for an IV. She came along with the nurse and “helped” her take my chest images, and from the other side of the glass I could hear the nurse showing her my heart, my bones, and Stinkerbelle all fascinated about how I looked on the inside.
And then, back to the cubicle, where we waited. I called BDH. My cellphone was, as I rarely use it, almost out of charge. I gave him the update, and tried to tell him not to panic and not to rush home.
He said he’d call me back, and then he called our good friends in a neighbouring city.
And one hour later, around the curtain walked our friend Sandra, who despite the late hour and being in an entirely different city, didn’t hesitate to come to help.
She’s a great friend, is Sandra. My husband had called her and although she was already in her pajamas, she jumped in the car and without a second thought came to my aid. She didn’t get to spend the weekend with her own husband and son because she came to help me out and she did not even mention it. She is a good friend, and we see each other only a couple of times a year, but she would do anything for us. I am unaccustomed to having friends, and it really touched me that she would come and help me out. I’m not used to having people who would help me in my time of need.
She really is a fantastic person. I don’t tell her nearly enough.
She packed up That Girl’s stuff, left me with her iPhone so I could call BDH if I needed to, or keep her in the loop, or just surf the web if I got bored, and she took Stinkerbelle out to her car and brought her back here to bed.
So, problem #1 solved, I was left with the doctors and nurses to work out problem #2. As the blood tests and images and ECG came back negative, everything seemed fine with my heart. So then we set about finding out what WAS wrong. The doctor on call, an odd sort at first glance who in the end quite warmed to me, put me on an IV drip of a drug to stop the pain and inflammation, sort of a muscle relaxant for the abdomen. I sat for awhile and watched it drip, and waited on another tech to bring me in for abdominal images.
At midnight, I was wheeled back into xray, where we celebrated another year of my time on this planet by looking once again at the inside of my person. The tech was making gentle jokes at my expense, and as the IV was taking the edge off the pain, it was actually nice to relax and joke about it.
Back to the cubicle, where I sat for awhile longer. The pain faded to a dull bruise feeling, like I had been punched in the stomach, and I was still feeling bloated, but I was MUCH better. And around 1 pm the doctor came back and said he suspected gallstones.
Gallstones I could live with. (Oh, and a bonus bladder infection revealed by the urine sample that I didn’t even know about. Nice catch, doc.) He sent me home with both a prescription for the meds I had in IV but in pill form, and an antibiotic for the bladder infection, for a bit of sleep, but I was on a callback to do more images, ultrasound this time, as soon as a spot became available.
Which was bright and early the next morning. The call woke up Sandra, who volunteered to stay yet again with Stinkerbelle. And off I went on 5 hours sleep back to emergency.
I got a whackload of images done. They looked at my aorta. They looked at my gallbladder, They looked at my pancreas and my liver and my other insides. It was easy enough but I was feeling tender, and not looking forward to sitting in ER once again. But I did.
In due time, I was called in to see a doctor, NOT the lovely odd doctor of the night before, but an Earnest Young Doctor. I was pronounced fine, with the exception of my liver. I was told I have liver steatosis, or “fatty liver disease”. I laughed. It’s a silly name, and an odd ailment — as the doctor put it, “Some people put on fat on their hips. Some people put on fat on their stomachs. You? You put it on on your liver.” To which I replied, “It’s kind of hard to take my liver out for a jog”.
Earnest Young Doctor panicked in the light of a joke, like a rabbit caught in the headlights. He flailed around a bit, recovered, and explained there is no treatment for this problem but to change my diet and to exercise and to lose at least 20 pounds.
No medical intervention? No surgery? No heart problems? And you are telling me I just have to eat better and exercise more and lose weight? DUDE I AM SO ON THAT TEAM.
Well, it has to be slowly and gradually, but yes, he said, that’s the gist of it. (Subsequent reading seems to indicate that besides people like me who could stand to eat better and lose weight, people with liver steatosis tend to be people who have gastric bypass, starvation and protein malnutrition, or extreme weight loss, or are alcoholics. So. Hence the “slow and steady”.) If I make these changes I will notice a recovery very, very quickly. But if I don’t make the changes, and I leave it go, I am in for a world of hurt, not to mention some No Good Very Bad Liver Things, in 10-20 years’ time.
I opted for the Liver Fitness Plan, thanked Earnest Young Doctor, and headed out into the rain.
I came home to find that Stinkerbelle had roped Sandra into playing dressup all morning, and I was greeted by two princesses, flowers, balloons, and a wee birthday cake. It was a lovely end to a not so lovely 18 hours.
And now I am still tender, still bloated, very tired, but home and, all things considered, healthy enough. As soon as I am rested up, I am back on the fitness wagon. BDH and I must change our lifestyle. FOR REALZ, YO.
And next year? BDH will be out of the country again with that same damn trade show. I will be alone with Stinkerbelle. I’m just going to pretend that I have no birthday, and have toast and water. For a week.
I think it’s a well-established fact that I am cheap. I don’t like to spend money I don’t have to, and I love to bargain shop.
No, that’s not fair. If we are more than flush — and there have been periods in my adult life where this was the case, before mortgage and kid mostly — then I will buy without worrying. Whatever I want, I will get.
But this does not happen often, and thus I have learned to be frugal when it comes to shopping for material stuff. I still have not mastered frugal food shopping, but in that, I am a work in progress.
Anyway, I am cheap. I hate to spend money on things that might be considered “frivolous” or “fun”, and I am always about saving money for the event of an emergency. Or, just saving money, full stop. So, when the time comes to actually SPEND money, it’s a bit of a struggle for me.
For the past couple of birthdays, I have been gifted with a certain amount of money, and I can honestly say I haven’t spent it all. Well, not on myself, anyway — it gets put into the bank and I have the intention of buying this or that. And then I just don’t.
I do a lot of window shopping though. If you checked my computer at any given time, in any number of “shopping carts” on any number of vendor sites, I am sure you’ll find a few things I have placed in there in the course of my browsing. On sale, OF COURSE.
And then what happens is that I either bail, and convince myself that I don’t actually NEED whatever is there, or that I wait too long and whatever it is I was shopping for is sold out.
That kind of takes the decision out of my hands, actually. Which is not bad, because it is also easy to explain away. “Oh, I was GOING to buy it, and then…”
And, as usual, this past December, I spent only a portion of my birthday money. I also have a gift card from Xmas that needs spending. So once again this week, I find myself with a cart full of yarn. There’s a yarn on sale that I have never purchased, but that I have heard is a really good yarn to work with. So yesterday, I made the decision, and I put a bunch of yarn in my cart. And then last night, I put a bit more in.
BDH was all BUY THE DAMN YARN ALREADY WHERE IS YOUR CREDIT CARD HAVE YOU BOUGHT IT YET.
And I hemmed and I hawed and I made excuses, and downstairs on my computer still sits an unordered purchase. I could not bring myself to buy it. Part of me is waffling because I need to purchase more than I had originally thought I would in order to make what I had planned. Part of me is waffling because I am thinking, but I could also buy these books I have wanted.
But mostly it’s the fact that I am going to buy something fun and not completely necessary for myself. And I just can’t bring myself to do it.
I am cheap, but I am certainly not easy.
OH MY DOG I HAVE SUCKED AT POSTING RECENTLY. I really haven’t got a good excuse. I don’t. There’s just been a lot of stuff going on and it’s been hard to find the time.
NO THAT’S NOT A EUPHEMISM, EVERYTHING IS FINE. Really, there’s just been a lot of actual stuff going on. It’s been not exactly busy, but I’ve had a lot of things taking up my brainspace and my time recently.
One of those things has been getting back on the fitness wagon. Again. Remember I mentioned that Cinnamon was upset because, during the Christmas holidays, we rearranged and redecorated the basement, “her” basement space? Yeah. Well, what we did, as cheaply as we could, was create a little exercise studio down there.
Now, our basement is not finished (yet) and we haven’t a ton of money to spare (yet), but over the holidays we took advantage of the Boxing Day/Week sales and decided to do a few things to make a space to work out and do yoga. So, we cleaned out excess junk, reorganized the rest of the junk, and then cleaned a space for our exercise machines (bike, treadmill, elliptical). We then hung some curtains to create another space where we put down some industrial carpet tiles and an area rug, and that’s our yoga space. As the year goes on and if we have a little free cash, we’ll probably think about putting in electrical and putting up some drywall if we can, but for now, it’s a cozy, welcoming place to do our yoga.
So what that means is that every day, we’re diligently exercising and logging our exercise online, and logging what we eat, and along with some family members, we have a little group to encourage each other along a more fit and healthy path. It takes a fair bit of time, but we’re starting to get into the swing of it a little bit. Still, it does take time and effort to keep yourself honest and update your numbers each day. As well, it’s an hour or so a day of exercise, but like I said, that’s been quite fun because of our new space. Which we really love, and that Cinnamon hates.
Which brings me to another time-suck: the perils of the unhappy peeing kitty. As you know, Cinnamon has taken to peeing in her beds, and on one occasion, on my bedroom floor. We suspected she was freaked out by the changes, as she often is, but just to be on the safe side, we took her to the vet for a full checkup. And, happily, there’s absolutely nothing wrong with her except she’s a little old lady. But, unhappily, that means we have a behavioural problem that is a little harder to troubleshoot.
But thanks to our awesome vet here, as well as an awesome vet who reads this blog who chimed in with some fabulous advice, we’re trying a couple of things to see if we can help her Cat Up and adjust to the new place. It’s still too early to tell, and she has peed a couple of times since starting her new “meds”. But on the plus side, she’s been coming and joining us in our yoga space in the last couple of days, happy and purring and chirruping at us, or curling up in a bed under the TV and just hanging out. Either way, it’s a marked improvement. AND, for those of you keeping score, SHE PEED IN HER LITTER BOX, RIGHT IN FRONT OF US, LAST NIGHT. AND THEN AGAIN THIS MORNING. So. Fingers crossed she is getting acclimatized.
The other thing that has occupied my time, or rather not, is being sick. Stinkerbelle was down with a cold for a week, as I mentioned, and it was one of those colds where she had a fever and just wanted to lie around. And that’s fine. But what’s taken my time is that she then ever-so-generously gave it to me. And so I just wanted to lie around. That was fun.
That, combined with a lack of sleep — my new exercise regime has meant the aggravation of my knee issues, which means I am awakened at least once a night and often three and four times a night by pain that needs dealing with in some way, with stretching or massage or getting up and walking about — has made me a treat to live with, let me tell you. But, we’re getting ice on it, and I am taking copious amounts of the strongest analgesics we own, and soon I’ll be starting physio again, so you just get on with it.
So, yeah. I don’t really have any excuse for not posting recently other than I’m a right bastard. But you know, I’m a more fit, more Zen, kitty-managing, cold-fighting, pain-tolerating bastard these days, so that’s got to count for something, right?
BDH and I are trying to get ourselves back into some semblance of shape. After years of eating too much and not exercising enough, we are at the point in our lives where joints hurt and we’re carrying too much excess and pretty soon it could impact our health.
So we’ve been exercising, as well as trying to get our eating habits into better shape.
Actually, we took the initiative over the holidays to make it a little easier to motivate ourselves to exercise, which was the first step. We spent a (surprisingly little) bit of money and some time and energy, and cleaned the basement (where our exercise equipment is) and created a space more conducive to exercising. We put down some carpet and hung a few curtains to separate off a dedicated exercise space.
It’s really nice. We WANT to spend time down there now.
So we are trying to motivate each other to exercise every day, but it’s hard. The only time we can exercise together, because of work and BDH’s soccer schedule, is in the morning.
And I don’t have to tell you, MORNING IS NOT MY BEST TIME.
I have never been good at morning workouts. When I was an athlete and a workout was scheduled in the morning, I dreaded it beforehand and underperformed and sucked wind during and hated it afterwards.
But I thought, maybe this will be different now that I have a CPaP machine to help with my apnea! I will be well rested! Getting up will be NO PROBLEM! Right?
No. Actually, not right at all. In fact, what is happening is that my CPaP is now helping me get a little bit better quality sleep a little longer at night, thereby reminding me HOW COMPLETELY SLEEP DEPRIVED I HAVE BEEN FOR FORTY YEARS. So waking up is supremely challenging.
Dawn of the Living Dead around here most mornings, it’s fair to say.
So this has been a factor in motivation.
But I remind myself that if I do it, I’ll feel good afterwards. I’ll have lots of energy to do work or housework or whatever all morning. I’ll feel better. I like that. I LIKE feeling energetic.
Until around about 3:30 or 4 pm, when I begin to crash. ENERGY LEVELS PLUMMETING LIKE FELIX BAUMGARTNER FALLING FROM SPACE, MAN. Head nodding, snorking myself awake in an armchair with a laptop on my lap, yawning until my eyes water tired.
So I have started having a big mug of tea mid-afternoon, hoping the caffeine will help me get through the worst of it and keep going. And it does! I am more awake and able to function. I am also CRANKY AND PEEVISH, but I am awake!
I can live with cranky. I don’t know if my family can.
Anyway, the tea seems to be helping. It keeps me awake. Until bedtime, around 10:30. AND THEN AFTERWARDS. I am a little hopped up on caffeine at bedtime and it takes awhile to get to sleep. I do, eventually — a little bit of music therapy on the headphones helps relax me, but I end up falling asleep a little later than I probably need to.
And then you know what that means? OH YES, IT MEANS I AM MORE TIRED THE NEXT MORNING BECAUSE NOT ENOUGH SLEEP.
I am in the middle of an energy crisis, here.
But that is fine. All my effort will one day pay off, and although I will be sleep-deprived, I will look FABULOUS AND HEALTHY. As I nod off and fall asleep face first in my plate.
Okay, so I have this kid who gets these ideas into her head about cooking. Specifically, that she wants to cook something, and then she will ask me OVER AND OVER AND OVER AND OVER AND OVER AND OVER AND OVER AND OVER AND OVER AND OVER AND OVER again to make it. Because she’s four.
This is a month of birthdays here at The House of Peevish. Stinkerbelle’s Grammy and Grandad both have birthdays this month, and I have a birthday coming shortly. This, combined with making some cookies last week as a practice run for the holidays, has driven That Girl into an OMG LETS BAKE SOMETHING frenzy. Usually cupcakes, because she is ALL ABOUT THE CUPCAKES, but the emphasis was on the LET’S BAKE part. Also, with some WITH THE MIXER thrown in because she loves the mixer.
Sometime late last week, I think after grocery shopping, we were in the car, and Stinkerbelle started asking to bake. She said, from the depths of the back seat, “Mom, you should make a pie.” Randomly. Apropos of nothing, because a) I don’t often make pies, like, AT ALL, and 2) she doesn’t actually eat pie. So why she thought about pie that second, I don’t know. But she did. And for days afterwards was all MOM MOM MOM PIE PIE PIE PIE MOM PIE PIE PIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIE.
I didn’t make pie.
But then, she shifted from The Pie, and moved back to just generally baking. Something. And I guess today at school, when they began a unit on Christmas, and started talking about Santa and the reindeer and leaving cookies out for Santa, and the school’s Breakfast with Santa event… well, she kicked the whole baking thing into high gear.
Now, we’re trying very hard to keep our spending at the grocery store down to a tighter budget in the weeks leading up to Christmas, so we have some extra cash for the holidays. So the ingredients for baking are generally pretty thin. But, in an effort to — pardon me, any judgy parents out there, but — SHUT HER THE HELL UP, I decided to try to find something, anything, for us to make together.
(Also, it’s a good exercise for her, developmentally. It lets us work on following directions, structuring and order, and some fine motor skills. So, you know, it could be said that I am doing it for those reasons too. NAH.)
The truth was, though, there was very little in the pantry that would be easy to pull together. And then I found a bag of marshmallows. And some rice krispies. BINGO. Something easy and quick to get the Cooking Monkey off my back.
If I am COMPLETELY honest, the marshmallows were a little past their best before date. And really, they are marshmallows. They’re still soft and squishy and white? THEY’RE FINE.
The rice krispies, however? TOTALLY NOT EXPIRED. Although, the box has been open for, what, MONTHS. So, possibly a little stale. I didn’t bother to check though because, dude. It’s rice krispies. In rice krispie squares. How bad could it possibly be?
Also, in the interest of speed, and also to keep That Girl away from a hot pot on the stove, I opted for the microwave method. Which seemed quick and easy, and allowed for her to stir throughout the process without getting too close to anything too hot.
SOUNDS PERFECT, RIGHT? Well, there were a number of flaws in my plan.
For example, when I say “stir”, what I really mean is “flail about a little bit until one gets bored and/or distracted by Sesame Street“.
Also, when I say I used the microwave, I learned that microwave cooking sometimes lacks the staying warm power of something cooked on the stove in a metal pot. And also, as anyone who has microwaved things like bread before can attest, sometimes things heated and then cooled in the microwave can get a little… spongier… than they originally were. Or maybe that was the age of the marshmallows talking.
And when I noted that the rice krispies might be a little stale…
Well, since Stinkerbelle had forfeited the job, it took all my strength to stir up the mess of cereal and marshmallows and get it into a pan, because of the rapidly cooling nature of just-microwaved stuff. And once I got it into the pan, where it was Stinkerbelle’s job to pat it out flat with a spatula, she gave it a few token SMACKS with the spatula and then buggered off to see whatever Kermit was up to. And it was up to me to finish the job.
I let it “cool” — HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA BWAAAAHAHAHAHAHAHA — for a couple of hours on the countertop. I poked it occasionally, where I noticed that it was still decidedly sproingy. Not as firm as I remembered rice krispie squares should eventually become.
I cut some squares out after dinner. Both Stinkerbelle and BDH most emphatically passed on having one — OH MY DOG YOU LITTLE TWERP, YOU MEAN I DID THIS FOR NOTHING? — and it was left to me to Throw Myself On The Rice Krispie Squares.
Where, I have to tell you, that stale rice krispies do not have a nice crisp crunch, as the name “Krispies” would lead you to believe, but instead will make an interesting and somewhat disconcerting SQUEAK when you chew them.
So, that was nice.
So, let’s just add rice krispie squares to the ever-growing list of Ridiculously Simple Things I Cannot Make To Save My Life. Don’t even ask me about Minute Rice. Just DON’T.
I have mentioned before, but our yard backs onto 27 hectares of conservation land. It’s full of trees and wetlands and wildlife and more trees, and there are trails crisscrossing it for hikers and walkers to enjoy. We often go for walks and look for deer and porcupines and woodpeckers and other creatures, and it’s nice to be in the quiet, feeling like you are away from the city for awhile.
Another benefit is that it is cool and shady on a hot day, so sometimes Stinkerbelle and I will go walking in the morning to enjoy the shade and the cool and whatever breezes there might be. And so it was that on one of the very last truly hot days of the summer, we put on some bug spray and headed out.
We took a trail we normally follow, just after we leave the subdivision. It runs off the main, maintained trail that was put in when the subdivision was built but parallel to it. We like it because it’s more in the trees, and it’s quieter because there are less people and it’s not stroller or casual-walker friendly.
As we headed further along the trail, we heard a ruckus closing in behind us. There’s an obnoxious woman on our street who runs a daycare (beyond legal limits but that is another story) who fairly regularly takes her gang of charges out into the woods with her three dogs for walks. They are noisy and ill-behaved, but unfortunately Stinkerbelle cannot resist another child in the wild and often times, we are stuck socializing and walking with the group.
I don’t enjoy it.
So when I heard them coming, I suggested to That Girl that we duck down another, less followed trail in order to avoid them. It was an adventure. The start of that branch of the trail was full of boardwalks, which I thought might be fun for spotting porcupines and other creatures, and also easy to follow since we’d not walked it before.
Shortly after starting down the trail, we met a mom with her three kids. They told us there were some deer just along the path a way, and we got to chatting. They were brand new to the city and were just getting to know the trails, so we advised a trail that we normally follow that would be a nice walk for them. And we went our separate ways.
We ambled along, and after awhile boardwalk became trail. It was fun, exploring a new area of the woods. There were few people, but we could hear the noise from outside the park, so it was not as thick as our usual trails. And it was not as well maintained, either. But because the woman and her family had come from this direction and they were new to the area, I figured it would not be long before we came upon one of the main branches of the trail close by a subdivision.
But we did not.
We found ourselves walking along and coming to parts of the trail that were seemingly abandoned where the watershed made trail disappear into marsh. We’d cross on some downed trees and tried to pick it up again, but had to turn back. And then we’d follow another fork that was better maintained.
And then, suddenly, we found ourselves walking out into an industrial park. An industrial park which is on the extreme southwest side of the park, clear across the entire park from where we had originally entered on the northeast side.
We looked for someone to ask for directions back to the main trailhead, but there was no one. NO ONE. It was 10:30 am on a workday, so there were no schoolkids or dog walkers or anyone. It was getting warmer, and we had been walking for an hour, so I just decided to go back the way we came.
We went back in on the trail we came out on, and started back towards familiar territory. Only, it didn’t become familiar. Although the trail was a main, well-trodden one, and didn’t seem to branch off much, apparently we must have taken a wrong fork in the road somewhere. Spaces we had walked through did not reappear. There were no markers I recognized. And only one guy with a dog came in, and dashed off too quickly for us to ask directions.
We were lost.
I know the trails are marked, and so I tried following the trail markers painted on trees. I thought that the trail markers in our series of trails were blue, and so I followed blue trail markers. Except, as it turns out, ALL the trails seemed to be marked in blue. So we were getting deeper and deeper into unfamiliar territory.
And Stinkerbelle was getting concerned.
Now, my kid may have some delays, but one thing she excels at, and has done since she was a tiny child, is a sense of direction. She has a preternaturally well-developed sense of direction. As a very small child, she could not understand basics questions or name her colours or things like that, but driving in the car she could point out landmarks she had passed maybe once before. She had a look over my shoulder at a Google street view map, and knew exactly where it was. It’s uncanny.
So, she just KNEW we were lost. And started to get scared.
She was also tired, and she knew I was tired, so I knew I had to make light of things and jolly her along or scared would soon turn to panic and crying and it would not be good. So, I plonked her on my back and we would sing songs. Or I would declare that we could NOT be lost, because we were SUPERHEROES! And we would dash along and soon find our way out, easy peasy.
But we did not. And I was starting to feel a little panicked.
I decided to follow trails that headed for bright sunshine. As our conservation area is bordered on all sides by the city, you just have to walk until you get to an edge and you are out.
The problem then becomes finding your way from there. The first time, we emerged on the extreme south side of the park. That would mean walking several kilometres through industrial park and for several kilometres more along one side or the other of the park back to the northeast side, where we live.
And it was very hot, and very sunny, and we had no hats on and no phone to call for a taxi and no money to pay said theoretical taxi even if we could call one.
So, back into the woods we went.
The next time we emerged, we were getting pretty desperate. Stinkerbelle was starting to get too tired to walk, and getting too afraid to jolly along much more with cheerful songs and tales of superhero exploits. We were on the east side, and I knew that if we walked out there, we’d have about a kilometre out to the main road and then a couple of kilometres to home.
So, out we went.
It was ridiculously hot and humid. I had no idea what time it was, but from the shadows it was probably close to noon. I was sweating profusely. Stinkerbelle was tired and doing her best, but I could not expect her to walk the remaining kilometres and I would have to carry her.
I decided that if I came upon someone, anyone, I might beg for a ride home.
We walked along in the scorching heat of a sidewalk in a new and treeless subdivision. There was no one out. Until, up ahead, I saw someone, a woman, weeding her lawn.
We trudged along, and I was feeling hopeful. And my hopes were dashed when we got closer and I found the woman was actually a teenaged girl, out with a teenaged sister and some younger siblings. No hope for a ride there.
But I said hello, and I asked one of the girls what time it was. It was just after noon. I thanked her, and mentioned that we’d been lost in the woods since about 9:30 that morning. She asked where we lived, and I mentioned where, and asked if her street led out to the main street I would need to take to get home. She was shocked at the distance we’d have to walk, but said yes. I thanked her again, and took Stinkerbelle’s hand and headed out of the subdivision.
It took us a few minutes to get to the main drag, and we had a long walk ahead of us, but at least the traffic caused a bit of a breeze as it rushed by. We rounded the corner and started to head north up the road.
Suddenly there was shouting behind us. I turned around and there, running after us in flip flops and carrying two bottles of water, was the young girl we had spoken to a few minutes previously. She said she had felt so bad for us, being lost for so long on such a hot day and with so far to go, and she was sorry this was all she had to offer us.
I almost started to cry. I am tearing up just thinking of it.
I was so grateful. We were so hot and so thirsty and so tired. And although she could have just gone about her day and not given us a second thought, this young woman had gone into the house and run after us to give us a drink. And was apologetic that this was all she had to offer.
I was so grateful. I thanked her again and again for her kindness. The water was so good, and we were so parched. I asked her her name, and introduced myself and Stinkerbelle. I shook her hand and sincerely thanked her once more. And then she headed her way home and we started our long walk home.
We stopped along the way, in the shade of a small tree we found, and we drank some of our water. The bottles were also a nice diversion for That Girl to play with and keep her occupied as I put her up on my shoulders or on my back and carried her the last kilometres home.
And when we finally opened our door and stepped into the air conditioning, four hours after we had set out that morning, I almost wept with relief.
I told BDH the story, and he asked if I remembered the girl’s name or where her house was, so we could go over and thank them. But the problem was, although I was thinking that afternoon that I might beg for some help from someone, I never honestly expected anyone to help us out. I never really expected anything at all. So when I walked away from the house, my only thought was of the heat, and of how miserable I was, and of getting my daughter home as quickly and safely as possible.
I certainly did not expect to have someone chase after us, and go out of their way to be kind. And I was so overwhelmed at the time, her name completely slipped my mind in my rush to say thank you. And, if I am honest, to get some water into myself and Stinkerbelle.
I knew, sort of, where they lived. But I didn’t know for certain, and not well enough to go knocking on doors.
And so I let an opportunity to thank someone for their kindness, sincerely thank them, pass me by. I still regret it.
And probably in part because of that, I will always remember it, and hopefully be able to pay some kindness forward to someone else in their hour of need. And I will remember the lovely girl in the flip flops with the water when I do, and say thanks once again in my heart.
So, one evening, BDH and I were watching BBC television over the VPN — you know, as you do — and a commercial came on. It was one of those commercials that grocery store chains do with somebody cooking a recipe using stuff you buy in their store.
And we watch the BBC a lot, so over the course of a week or two we saw this commercial several times. After the fourth or so time, BDH says to me, “Mmmm, doesn’t that look good?” (About the dish the woman was cooking, OF COURSE, not the woman herself. We are nothing if not motivated by food.)
And so off to Teh Googles went I. And I learned that the woman was, in fact, one Delia Smith, who I gather is a well-known British chef. Mostly I know this because she was referenced by Dawn French in The Vicar of Dibley as being part of the Cooking Holy Trinity, along with Mrs. Cropley. (Which should stand as a warning, but hey. What do I know.)
Anyhoo, I figured…. Pssssh, I can make this Cottage Pie thing, right? It looked like it was basically a standard shepherd’s pie recipe as I know it, only… Britished up. For example, lamb stock? HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA I LIVE IN CANADA HAHAHAHAHA. Also, it took me a while to figure out what the hell a “swede” was — I was pretty sure the Brits don’t cannibalize their Scandanavian neighbours but, you know, I don’t LIVE there or anything.
As it turns out, a swede is a turnip. I’M GETTING SO CULTURED.
Also, no offense to the Welsh, but our UK friends seem to have a thing with leeks. This time, as a topping. Okay. I’m adaptable, right?
Turns out, not so much.
I started cooking according to the instructions, which seemed a little nutty. First off, it called for 2 medium onions. I’m beginning to learn NEVER TRUST A RECIPE THAT DOESN’T GIVE EXACT MEASUREMENTS. Because my assessment of a large or a medium somethingorother may be totally different to another person’s. And, as it turns out, my assessment of a medium onion was probably WAAAAY different than Delia’s, because that was a lot of onion.
Also, 3 oz of carrot and 3 oz of swedeturnip? THREE OUNCES? Really, Delia? That’s not even a whole carrot. And possibly the smallest turnip in the history of horticulture. I mean, if you’re gonna go that small, WHAT IS THE POINT? So I kinda did my own vegetable thing there.
But I continued cooking, using EVERY COOKING UTENSIL KNOWN TO MAN I might add, and after awhile, things came together as they should. Or, at least, fairly close to how I felt they probably should, were Delia looking on at the progress I was making.
And the time came to put it all together. It looked pretty good. The meat and veg had a little too much liquid. The potato topping looked a little sparse. But it was fine.
UNTIL THE LEEKS.
Again, we have the problem of someone’s assessment of “medium”. When I went to the grocery store, there were no “large” and “medium” and “small” leeks. There were just, you know, LEEKS.
But the recipe called for two medium leeks. So I started chopping the first leek, and I suddenly came to the conclusion of HOLY HELL THAT IS A LOT OF LEEKS. I chopped most of one leek and my cutting board was becoming home to Mount Leek. So I said “screw it” and thought we had plenty. As it was, I sprinkled maybe half of what I chopped — perhaps half of the leek-sized leek I bought at the grocery store amid all the other leek-sized leeks — on top of the potatoes, and it was still WAY TOO MUCH LEEKS.
And into the oven it went.
The leeks remained leeky, not at all the cheese-crusted topping the recipe promised. But aside from that, and the too-much liquid bubbling up the sides and flooding the topping, it turned out quite well. Definitely tasty. BDH raved and said the recipe was a keeper.
But, as we gnawed through the ridiculously leeky topping, my husband — who, bear in mind, holds onions as his favourite vegetable and can eat thick slices of raw onions on sandwiches without a second thought — said, “It’s delicious. But, maybe next time, skip the leeks.”
It seems the recent update I installed for my blog has busted it a little bit. Viewing comments, in particular, seems to have gone a bit wonky. For some people. Some of the time.
Meh. No worries. I’ll look into it and get back to you.
Later the next day…
It looks like my theme busted with the upgrade! AAAAAUUUGGGHHH CHANGE IS BAD!
Okay, it’s not so bad. Boring, but fine. I was due for a change anyway.
Some episodes of FAIL from our week here Chez Peevish:
It’s Monday. I struggle to form a coherent thought on Mondays. So, since last week was busy with the Stinkerbelle Birthday Extravaganza, and I could not post on Friday, let me bring you up to speed on my latest failing.
Having a bad week? Never fear, you’re not as big a weenie as I am.
Once again, my life can be summed up in the sound of a forehead repeatedly hitting a desk.
Come, my interwebs peeps, and make yourself feel better about yourselves by reading about what a doofus I am.