Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Being Held Captive

Well this is the day. The day when I'm finally held captive because I haven't any clean clothes. Not one stitch which means I spent all day yesterday in workout clothes biding time when I should have been doing my laundry. It's 10:48 am and I'm still in pjs because there is nothing else until I can get my clothes out of the dryer. Stinky part is that husband left some towels in the washer last night so I have to wait until they are dry until I can get my stuff in there.

I don't have time to line dry and forget towels on the line. That just doesn't bode well. I'm almost 85% tree hugger but there is a limit to my self sacrificing. Crunchy rough towels would be up there with one ply toilet paper. No chance. I'll reuse a brown paper bag until it gives at the seams but rubbing off half my skin while trying to dry off it not acceptable.

With my procrastination comes a good serving of guilt. I am a bit of a tree hugger so I feel horrible that I didn't do my laundry on the weekend when I had the green light to use the amount of electricity to get the job done and the time to get it on the line to dry. So today with the temps climbing into the the low 4o's here I am. A/C running though at 78C. The drapes all pulled to try to keep the temp low and the washer and dryer going overtime. Blarg....why now?

Simple, I've got somewhere I have to go this afternoon. Why this afternoon? Because I procrastinated doing this chore all month. Yep, it's time to have my rings cleaned and inspected. It is something that has to be done every six months. I had 31 days. I chose to put it off until day 31. Some what typical for me.

Here's what I did yesterday while being trapped in sweat pants and procrastinating laundry. I got to the other half of the tomatoes. Spent about 1.5 hrs peeling and seeding to get this.

I believe this stock pot holds about 12 or 14 quarts. It took about 30 minutes to cook them down to the point where I could puree them. While I was waiting for that I chopped the vegetables that I was going to add in.

This is what is in the skillet: 2 large onions, 1 large bell pepper, 1lb of carrots, a bulb of garlic and 1.5 cups of celery. Then to that I added basil, salt and oregano.
Once they were sweated down enough into the pureed tomatoes they went. To that I added balsamic vinegar, a little bit of sugar to take the bite off the acid, some course salt and more basil and a good mitt of bay leaves. Gotta love a product where you know exactly what's in it and a 4 year old could read the ingredient list.

I got 10 pints out of this batch. While I waited for the jars to process (15 mins at 11 psi) I cleaned up the mess and did the dishes. Once out of the canner and safely stored on the cupboard I sat down with a cup of tea and put my tired feet up. One-by-one I heard the sweet sound of "pop" "pop" "suck.....pop" The sounds of each jar sealing. I was able to count them as they popped. Irritating part was that I only counted 9 pops. Yep, one jar failed. Once it was cool enough to touch I swapped out the lid and had to process it all over again but in the end I had 10 lovely sealed soldiers.

I made homemade pizza for dinner then once the dishes were out of the way hubby took the boys off to the park and I made a batch of cookies as a treat to the boys who were so good for me while I got all my kitchen work done. They do drive me crazy from time-to-time but they can really rally when I need it the most.

Sigh....towels are still damp. In the time it took me to write this blog I came up with an idea to ease my conscience. I'll just take the outfit I intend to wear and dry that in the dryer. The rest will go on the line. Phewww....one less chink in my chain.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Tomato Fest

Oh my...um wow. I hurt today. Yesterday I worked out with Misty and her small group training. How embarrassing. I was huffing and puffing through a lot of it. I have zero balance and actually felt a little nauseated after the stairs.

There was no doubt that I'd hurt but wasn't expecting this. I can't do anything without it hurting. So of course that means I've got to have a very active day. I suppose it is better to get up and move about than to sit and let my body seize up more. Off to the gym for a good long swim with the guys. Then several trips down the water slide with the boys. Ouch-a-roo!

Then after we got home and ate lunch I got the bright idea to go in search of produce to put up. Originally, I went in search of corn and beans to put up but I found a fabulous deal on the tomatoes. The next thing I know I'm elbow deep in tomatoes.

The guys vacated the house to give me enough peace and quiet to concentrate and keep from having the boys under my feet. It took 3 hours to peel, seed, boil down and create the sauce and then finally process the jars. The jars came out perfectly. Here's the kicker...I still have half the box of tomatoes left so I have to do the whole thing over tomorrow. I'm fighting the urge to go and get another huge box of tomatoes *snort*

You must be so bored of hearing all my tales of canning. My garden has really revved up my desire to try and save as much of a good thing as possible.

Think of it this way, at least I'm not ranting about my neighbours *giggle*

Friday, August 27, 2010

The Beast!

So it came, finally! Talk about waiting with baited breath. The doorbell rang while hubby had to kids at the park. I could see the brown truck from the window in the front hall. I got giddy. Opening the door to a huge box. Golly....Christmas Time!

This thing is a monster.

I carved out an hour to read the instructions from front to back (it's steam pressure, you bet I'm reading the directions or you could bet I could get seriously hurt) then I washed it thoroughly and put it together. Tested it with a litre of water and played with the temperature on the stove to maintain a constant pressure. That part wasn't easy.

Then after dinner and all my other chores were done I started in on carving up the pumpkins. That part was time consuming. Got it all cut up and blanched (boiled for 2 mins). Then stuffed it down into the jars.

Here is where I went wrong. I forgot how much pumpkin expands when it's cooking and I put too much into the jars. Once I got the processor all fired up I was able to maintain a constant 11 psi without much trouble. Spent the 90 mins putting away a huge batch of dried herbs (dill and basil). Back sore and feet tired I took the jars out of the processor to realize that water had been forced out of the jars while they were boiling and now there was exposed food in the jars. Not ideal.

So this morning I'll be opening all the jars and bringing the pumpkin back to a boil and seasoning it then portioning it out and freezing it. It will still make great pies but now it's not nearly as convenient since my freezer is very expensive real estate. That ought to be a nice way to spend an hour or two this morning. I just hope that I have enough FoodSaver bags to get the job done without interruption.

I do love my processor, really it's shiny and big, big, big! I look forward to doing many good things. I just need to do some forward thinking the next time I can a solid that isn't completely cooked going into the jar.

I also plan to make an apple pie today after I get the grocery shopping done and some more work for the girls. I can't help it. It must be done.

Oh and I just realized that I've been blogging for a year now. Wow how time flies.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

That feeling again

Oh I am going crazy. Ok so not really, it just sorta feels like I'm doing too much and it's been going on since the beginning of last month. For the last week or two in particular have been brutal.

What do you do when there are too many things to do and not nearly enough time or cash to do it all? Blarg. Yeah, I know.

So enough of that whining. It has been busy. There are things getting done. I'm not spinning my wheels entirely. I got the window done and with hubby's help we got it installed. It looks pretty good eh? Not too shabby for a rush job. I've been waiting for a nice sunny day when I'm actually home to witness the window lite up with sunshine to take the picture but it seems I'm never home to capture it. Of course now that it's hanging there are a few things I would have done differently. I should journal those things so that the next time I do a window I remember those things and avoid them.

The next thing is that I've been working on hubby's scarf in my down time which I don't get much of lately. But this is a fast project because the yarn is so easy to work with. I'm used to super chunky or irregular yarn so this nice thin consistent yarn and pattern is a dream.

I should be done this scarf next week and then I'll start right in on that hat. Then perhaps I'll look for some cute yarn and make a set for each boy. Might as well get them done while I can right?

What has really be taking up a lot of time has been my garden. The produce is starting to really roll in. My bean and cucumber plants are producing again. My pumpkins are all in and I'm just biding my time before I cook them and freeze the puree (can't can puree, it's not safe and I'd rather not have to do it after the fact in order to make pies or muffins/breads...ready to use should be just that). I've got Chard coming up like crazy too. Each morning I go out and collect my tomatoes and it requires me to bring a big bowl with me. I've got a pressure canner being shipped to me but I just couldn't wait. These needed to be used up now before they lost their flavour and we certainly can't have that happen!

Today I rounded up the jars and the ingredients and out came the water canner. Salsa! Ok and a few Coronas while I made it. I was on my feet for 2 hours peeling and seeding these tomatoes and all of it came from the garden.

This batch made 8 pints (4ltrs). I had just enough after I sealed and processed the jars to dip some chips for a sample. Good stuff. Makes a big difference knowing exactly what went into it and how. It could have been a crap recipe and because it was so fresh it still would have turned out fabulously.

I also put up some dilled carrots. I have to wait three weeks for these....It's going to be a very long 3 weeks. The carrots took 10 minutes to prepare and the house smelled incredible.

Once the pressure canner gets here I'll be on the prowl for corn, carrots, tomatoes. I'll be putting up jars of corn nibblets, carrots infused with cinnamon and the mother load of pasta sauce. I'll put up any green beans that come out of the garden. Nice part is that I can do them as very small batches since it will take less effort than the water bath for the pressure canning. I literally have to wait 30-40 minutes for my huge water canner to come to a boil. Of course if I had a gas range I wouldn't have to wait near as long. Stupid stove!!!

Oddly, once I was done and had all the mess put away. I actually got the impulse to make bread. I haven't wanted to make bread since May. It's still too hot outside for that nonsense. Can't wait for September!

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Projects Anonymous

Project overdrive, RED ALERT...whooop whooop whooop *siren sounds*

I'm just about done my latest project. I'll be happy to install the stain glass window this week. I took a little time off to finish the creative part of the doing. It looks pretty good. A little wild but I like it. I definitely reflects my frame of mind lately. I'll post pictures of the installed art piece soon.

I got the itch to return to the craft store and spent a few minutes browsing the yarn. Daydreaming up new projects when I realized that I have not yet finished my other knitted afghans. I put back the 6 skenes of this fabulous Alpacha wool and quickly picked up what I was really there for and got out while the getting was good.

Seems I need to back track and finish up some old projects before I move on to my next bit of whimsy. The list is getting long!

  • Scarf
  • Stained Glass panels for the windows flanking the front door
  • Green knitted afghan needs backing, batten and binding done with a ribbon treatment.
  • Blue knitted afghan needs to be washed and blocked. Haven't decided if I'll add tassels or not.
  • A romantic Victorian styled quilt for me
  • Denim quilts for the boys

But before I can do any of that I need to get this window installed and start in on E. and L.'s Halloween costumes: Yoshi and Toad. I'll be making my own patterns for those. Should be interesting and likely take up the full two months prior to the happy day.

Geshhh...It's no wonder I never have energy for cleaning *snort*

Saturday, August 14, 2010


It's the weekend. We originally planned to go camping this weekend but because the forecast was not favourable back on Thursday we decided against going through all the hassle and expense of going just to be rained on.

It seems we are a bit camping cursed. Each year when we pack up the kids and dogs and car and head out it all goes so terribly wrong. If it's not having enough dry clothes to torrential rain and tornadoes then I just don't know what?

So now that we are grounded here for the weekend we'll have to put up with our neighbours. I'm sure they are going to be crawling all over either the front yard or the back yard today. I just hope they don't decide to drink out on their deck tonight or I'll have to lob some flaming bags of Finnigan/Casey poop over the fence.

Hubby got up early and snuck out of the boys house so that I could sleep in. He's really a total sweetie! He's off to Home Depot to get the supplies for the completion of the stain glass window. We are hoping to get it installed tomorrow at the latest. Then I'll get to work on the front door sashing. I just don't like constant reminders that they are there. Though the cloud of cigarette smoke that permanently hangs over my front porch is a constant reminder that they've taken over.

I bet the neighbour that lived next to them across the street is relieved they are gone.

Thursday, August 12, 2010


What do you do when you are up all night reading then get up at 9 am? shhhh! that's a secret. When you come downstairs you realize that the coffee maker has shut itself off while you were snoozing and you've got about 5 minutes of warmth left on your vat of coffee? Then you also realize that not only do you have to make breakfast for yourself but for your kids too?

Yep that's right you stick with your vat of coffee and schlep up a breakfast for the boys. Though it was not as hot as usual it was a darn fine cup of coffee.

I managed to get some work done early and before starting in on housework I poured a bowl of Kashi which my son then promptly mooched. Yup, L. Not just happy with his organic corn pops but also a moocher of my Plain Jane Kashi.

Breakfast is hard for me. I'm not usually hungry and even chugging down a smoothie feels like torture. Having something ready-made would seem like a great idea but with the way I am in the morning I bet I'd just ignore it. I will try doing some overnight oats for a while and see if I can break the cycle of eating breakfast at 10 am (even on days when I'm up at 7am).

I was getting so good at breakfast even though I didn't ever want to eat it when I got up. I was making spelt pancakes (personal sized servings) and light fruit and english muffin things. See what happens when you let one thing go....dominoes.

If I fail at breakfast then I fail for the rest of the day. Note to self: Oatmeal is not evil....

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Defiant little buggers!

They are still hanging around. A few of them must have escaped the round up. They sit in the neighbour's yard taunting the near empty house.

I laugh and then shut the drapes. Does that make me a meany *giggle*

Monday, August 9, 2010

Yep, it's history

So as you know because I blogged about it last month I was less than happy that I was getting new neighbours and not just any neighbours. Yep, the dreaded "I live my entire life in my front yard" neighbours.

It started first thing this morning when they took up their position on the porch next door. Like every other moment of their lives they are on that porch with their dog smoking away. Collecting the chatty neighbours in for a good long conversation.

I can feel my property value shrinking already. Though I was really upset that the previous neighbour was breeding wild cats, I was a bit spoiled with them. I hardly ever saw them and they kept fairly quiet and were as unobtrusive as you'd want a neighbour. I was especially spoiled in that the window that over looks our hallway always had closed drapes.

I have never wanted to put drapes or blinds in that window because it would darken the stairs and landing considerably. I'm a real sucker for as much natural light as I can get. So to help blot out the knowledge that the "new" people are living there I'm installing a stained glass feature. It's a good thing that I can control my passive-aggression or I'd be designing a window with a middle finger giving them a salute.

Maybe I'll get lucky and win the lotto so that I can move very far away. The next house will be set on an acreage with a MOAT!

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Because apparently I really do have an issue....

Diet coke and an enormous appetite are not my only issues as if I need to remind you! *snort* I also swear like a truck driver. Clearly the spring-time swear cleanse has worn off. It's time to step it up again.

I had just finished a 5k run and a vigorous workout with Misty and her small group session and was feeling very depleted by the time I dragged my carcass back home for a jolt of caffeine and a dry tuna pita.

When I got out of the car my neighbour Cherise was there working diligently on reseeding her lawn. Poor thing, they've dumped tons of cash into the appearance of their house and their lawn just doesn't want to co-operate. I should offer them some of my Finnigan poop. Apparently, it does wonders for vegetation! Any way, we got to chatting about the cat colony my other neighbour has bred (and is now moving away this weekend leaving behind these damn cats so that we can clean up her mess!). I am absolutely outraged. I feel horrible for these cats. They've been allowed to multiply and she has made them fairly dependent on her offerings so now these cats though they are completely wild and can't be touched, are not shy enough of humans to stay away from their homes and out of the clutches of the neighbourhood dogs.

Finnigan and Casey played tug-o-war with one back in June and we though they had killed the tiny kitten. Thankfully, they didn't because I would never be able to look at my dogs in the same manner. These cats are too wild to be adopted. What the hell were they thinking by housing them outdoors and feeding them? I've counted at least 8 kittens to a cluster family of 3 females and 2 toms. Insane....any way to make this long story longer, I was sharing my dislike for the situation and couldn't help myself from swearing. The frustration overflowed into nasty bar room language. Not nice. It's not becoming. I've got to do something about it.

Out comes the swear jar! I have to do something about it. It's not right that I will not allow my kids to speak in a certain manner but yet I freely abuse my own rule. I'm not a big fan of hypocrisy and would like to believe that my character is far more upright that what I'm sadly presenting. So a inner self make-over is now over due. Why not? I'm in the process of doing a make-over for the outer self. I'm a total project at this point.

Interesting, you'd think at 40, I would have got my "stuff" together?

The meal plan for the day is:

Breakfast: Oatmeal (consumed 1/4 - 1/2 cup of oats made only with water, salt and a dribble of honey and cinnamon). Strawberry banana protein smoothie (made with 1/2 cup 2% milk and 1/2 cup water.)

Lunch: One large cup of Tim's coffee black with 1 tbsp of my own 5% cream
1 tin of tuna, 1 tbsp of plain low-fat yogurt, 1 tbsp mayo, salt onion and fresh cut chives with a handful of mixed salad greens in a half of a whole wheat pita.
A handful of strawberries.

Snacks: A banana, an apple, plain low-fat yogurt with a tsp of peach jam, kashi bar and liberal helpings of green tea.

Dinner: Mushroom burger on the other half of the whole wheat pita with onions and mustard and a big butt green salad.

Off to throw myself into the shower now. Don't plan to come out until the water runs cold and even then I may need a life preserver.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Justification #102 - It's better than smoking

One of my old habits has made a cameo appearance, as of late. I don't really know why either? I suppose sure laziness and cheapness. When out at a restaurant do I really want to spend $4 on a tiny bottle of Perrier or $1 for a bottomless diet coke? Why are all the things that are good for you so expensive? It's not right!

A quiet day today. Spent much of it working. Then when the smoke started to curl out of my ears I got up and got us out the door. The plan was to take the kids bowling. The bowling alley was so busy that once I got a good look at the line up pushing us back against the door I turned to the boys and bribed them with an ice cream cone to get them to give up the idea of bowling.

The bribe taken I'm now on the hook to take them bowling tomorrow. I was hoping to get an early morning run in tomorrow because it is supposed to be that beautiful. I'm almost excited about it too.

I took a big step today and registered myself for a half marathon in May 2011. I've got a good long time to train for it so I'm not too concerned about that training causing an injury. I'm really looking forward to training with Sheree again. I think that was part of the funk that I experienced after the injury. The end of my long runs/coffees with Sheree and Misty. I turned to Hubby in the car this evening and told him that I'm crossing the finish line of that race even if it means that Sheree is pushing my wheel chair!

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

So that's what I call them....

Misty and her damn chatarungas (ok, so if it wasn't Misty, it would have been Sheree). We had to do a whole bunch of them as a warm up for our run last night. A whole bunch of them translates to me having a very hard time functioning today. My HeyBabies are broken. I'm looking forward to them disappearing outright.

Last night I kicked butt at Run Club. Ok my slow butt. Usually, I run with Lindsay but since she was busy in New York getting proposed to (yes, it's out there now, I was only able to keep that secret until Tuesday Night...not too shabby) and we usually spend the whole run kvetching about the things that piss us off so we usually run pretty slow. Gotta be able to enunciate our complaints eh? Well without her I had to run to the beat of my own cranky thoughts. Needless to say I had really picked up the pace. *snort*

I was pacing the faster girls in the club until I realized that it was too freak'n hot to be going all out and thought that at some point I'd hit a lull. That perhaps it would be better to conserve a little of that wild energy for the other half of the run. I did back off the pace a little but apparently not so much. Sure I wasn't running beside these faster girls but was keeping the same pace right behind them. I was rather pleased with myself. It has been a long time since I've opened up my pace. The paranoia is still strong though.

I had an appointment with Dr. P today and he said he liked what he was feeling. It seems that the full range of motion is back in my hip. That I was now balanced from left-to-right. Though the calf massage and the back cracking could have been skipped. I have a hard time not yelling out when he jumps on me with his whole considerable weight. Then he adjusted my arms. Yep that's right, the ones that were already screaming at me for the mini workout they got last night! I think I scared the full waiting room of elderly ladies. You should have seen the looks on their faces when I walked in the room. "What on Earth was he doing to that little thing? Is he going to do that to me?"

I've got the approval for training. Both cross training with Misty and for trail running and a gentle increase in both pace and distance training. I just need to keep it conservative and mindful. He said it's all good. Yay! *happy dance* With the Good Doctor's green light and Misty eager to twist me into a pretzel I'm well on my way to doing the right thing. Widdling my Heybabies and my "stuff my face" gland into non-existence.

I'm also happy to report that I've been a very good girl today. I did manage to eat breakfast though it was sparse. I had a coffee and a granola bar before 9. Then had a protein smoothie before 10. Lunch was a little delayed and hodge-podge. A nectarine, 1c of leftover barely pilaf and 4 slices of lean ham wrapped around a thinly quartered mozza cheese string. Oh and a cup of coffee chased with a huge glass of water. Dinner amounted to a mediocre grilled chicken salad.

I will be a good girl tonight when I meet JOanne for coffee tonight. Decaf tea. That's it...I really need a decent night's sleep.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Project Me

It's just high time I stopped being so lazy. I'm not happy looking and feeling the way I do. I remember feeling so much better about my self-image back when I was really putting in the effort. So I put pencil to paper and worked out my BMR per Misty's instructions, though I still have some questions about how to factor in exercise and still eat the proper amount of calories. I hope she can shed some light on that.

Today is the first day out the gate. I messed up though by waking too late to have a decent breakfast and didn't even get to have a second cup of coffee because I needed to truck us out to Darlington Park. It was a bit of a mad dash. When I got home I had a hodge podge of lunch. A leftover stuffed pepper (1/4 c total: barley, sundried tomato, carrots, onions, mushrooms, toasted sunflower and pumpkin seeds) then I split a cheese stick in half and wrapped the halves in lean deli ham. Chased the whole lunch down with a nectarine and that second missing coffee from this morning. Yeah see, I told you it was strange.

Dinner tonight will be another mish-mash of stuff. Was thinking of making a toasted Ezekiel muffin with a smear of jam, a hard boiled egg and 1/2 c of sweated chard/mushroom mix. I just don't feel up to sitting down and eating pasta and meat sauce that I'm making for the guys. Once I'm home after my run I'll have a protein smoothie and will snack on some fruit and almonds while I get some work done for Misty.

I never have much of an appetite on days when I run and especially after I run. This weather doesn't bode well with me. I hope that moving this to the forefront of my mind that I can get back to where I need to be. It's hard to watch someone decline so badly in their not so old age. Even worse knowing that the things I fail to do today will result in my kids watching me go down the same path *shudder*

Sunday, August 1, 2010

August 1st

This summer is sure clicking a long. I didn't even realize that this was a long weekend. I guess I've been pretty distracted. I've been dragging a little today. I'm sure it was the active day yesterday. Morning run, cleaning and organizing, scant lunch, an hour in the park and then scant dinner while getting ready to go to a friend's place for a deck night. I didn't really stop to just breathe yesterday.

The day started off much the same though I got to sleep slightly later than normal. I sprang up and headed out to the garden to water my very thirsty plants. Then inside to chug down my first vat of coffee. A few minutes later I was getting ready to head out to play with the boys.

By the time we got home I was exhausted and required a nap. Nothing like a good 2 hour coma. Oddly, spent dreaming about my watermelon plants. How odd. Got up groggy and it took me a good hour to shake it off so that I could make dinner. Steak and Chicken fajitas with Corona.

I've finished my work for the evening and have to admit (yes I'm stooping low these days) that I'm now completely engrossed in the new episode of Jersey Shore so I should call it a night and sign off before I lose my last shred of dignity. *snort*