Razor blades and adulting: The same but differ-, er no actually, they are the same thing.

This is a true story. There is not one word of a lie, no single misleading statement nor exaggeration included herein.

I was going to start this post with “Honestly” but remembered that is a sure fire way to know that there’s a lie coming your way. Maybe not a pack of lies, but at least one, hidden away on a plate of full and half-truths. And really, honestly, I just would not do that.

Ha! See what I just did there? But again, a lie, no. Humour, yes. Poorly executed, perhaps. Well intentioned? Definitely.

I can already see that this post has gotten off to a very tumultuous and scattered start, so I will begin again. Now.

My daughter is, what we now know of as a “tween” but when I was her age, we called “eleven.” She is growing up, getting taller, discovering new interests and just generally not shadowing me as she did when she was younger and I was her whole world. *insert ugly cry face here* I’ll finish boo-hooing about that later, maybe over a litre or two of Moose Tracks because this post isn’t about her. This post is about me. So, when I started thinking about how she is growing up, I remembered myself at her age and that made me think about shaving. Shaving my legs, to be specific. I was probably 11 or 12-years-old when I first lathered up my baby-skinned, peach-fuzzed leg with a bar of soap, popped the plastic cover from the disposable pink double-bladed Daisy razor (that I likely found under the bathroom sink), and giddy with nerves, made that first long drag from ankle to knee cap up my right leg. No doubt that it was within the first three swipes of that deceptively innocent razor, that it bit into my previously un-scarred, taut ankle skin that kept my bones from protruding from my body in such a way that would have prevented me from wearing conventional clothing, like, well, socks or pants without making a bloody mess.

I remember seeing the shock of red oozing from my ankle and feeling the sting of the slice as the soap mixing with the water ran down my leg and over the cut. Today, such an injury may deter me, for I am now old and wise. But then, I was young, foolish and believed that hairless legs would change my life, so I preserved and finished the leg, with two more hateful bites from my razor to serve as proof of my bold and new-found hairless womanliness.

With hardly more trepidation than a toddler with a fork and an open electrical outlet, I lathered up my left leg This time, Daisy attacked immediately and the skin just beside my inner ankle bone split and began to bleed. Refusing to quit, because the thought of walking around with one shaved leg and one reverse-mohawked leg was not only unthinkable, but more because it did not occur to me that I could quit at that point, I carried on. I believe I had a total of seven incisions by the end of that shower.

My pride was bruised, my ankles were shredded, but I had done it. I felt battered but damn it, I was not beaten.

Over the course of the next twenty or so years, I steadily improved my skills until reaching the point of never cutting myself while shaving (preparing food was bumped up a notch as the activity I was most likely to bleed to death while doing. Progress, see?). Of course, by the time I could shave my legs, unscathed, with my eyes closed, my hair growth slowed down, I got old, and it really was not as important anymore because mini skirts and shorts were not a viable option anymore. Irony, see?

Back to it though, in thinking about how my daughter will, likely one day fairly soon, ask to start shaving her legs, I was flooded with these memories of my own introduction into one of the (million) self-injurious practices in which girls and women were (are?) encouraged to participate in order to avoid social ostracism. I decided that I would respect her life choices long ago, respect her autonomy and encourage her to fully own her decisions over her life and body, and even though it may sound absurd, choosing to shave (or not) falls squarely into this category. So when/if the time comes I will arm her with shave foam (or ratchet bar of soap for my girl!), a razor (with a lovely gel strip attached), and carefully show her the ropes, so to speak. It will be a Hallmark moment. Or at least, that is my plan.

Like all good plans, a snafu has come up. Last week, while I was so busy patting myself on the back and marvelling about how far I have come, in just a few short decades, I looked down and realized that I was probably due for my monthly leg shaving ritual. This time, I did not procrastinate (progress, see?) and I remembered to lather up before getting out of the shower (I take every win, no matter how small, gratefully). Wielding my five-blade, moisture-strip-having Gillette Venus razor in my right hand (freebie received in the mail – holla!), I reached down to begin. All the while, still full of a sense of pride and accomplishment, not really paying attention to what I was doing, because I’m aces at shaving, right? Top drawer, really. The first three passes are routine, and then right at the beginning of the fourth pass, it happened. A sting, so foreign and yet somehow also so familiar to me that I failed to fully process it and so I carried on, until I was almost done that leg, and then it hit me. I was bleeding. I was cut. I had cut my ankle shaving. “Ah hell, no!” I said to myself (and probably said it out loud because I was alone and talking to myself just happens sometimes) and I lathered up my other leg, childishly refusing to even look at the first leg, and to acknowledge the shame it had just delivered unto me. First pass on my left leg resulted in immediate ankle injury and I was so throughly shocked and disgusted that I lost the motivation to care about the possibility of bleeding out on the shower floor and just finished it up, barely glancing at that leg either.

My feelings of self-loathing, disappointment, and sheer unadulterated humiliation threatened to overwhelm me as I turned off the water in the shower. I dried off, but refused to allow the towel to even graze my calves, for they had so let me down, they did not deserve the comfort of being dry. Then, it hit me. I could turn this around. I could take this stupid, humiliating, humbling moment and turn it into folly for others. In that way, I could take shit and turn it into sugar. Or something like that, right? Metaphors, much like shaving (apparently), are not my thing. Plus, if you will recall, I recently lost a lot of blood (don’t let the appearance of teeny incisions fool you), so I am not working under ideal conditions here.

First, apologies for the gnarly feet picture, but as former P.M. Chrétien stated 2002 and far better than I could ever hope to: “A proof is a proof. What kind of a proof? It’s a proof. A proof is a proof. And when you have a good proof, it’s because it’s proven.” Hence, the irrefutable proof of my war wounds, to substantiate my story and also to get that awkward foot pic out of the way so our relationship can level up finally. Whew!

The moral of the story, you ask? It is this: When you begin to think that you have this adulting thing all figured out, when you are almost giddy at the thought of how capable and proficient you are at [fill in the blank], when every fibre of your being is urging you to treat yourself to a reward (trip, vat of ice cream, monster diamond ring) for being so accomplished, so pulled together, don’t. Just don’t. For it is at that precise moment that you (or the universe) will find some way to almost sever your Achilles tendon with a grapefruit spoon that you don’t own or know why you have in your kitchen because you hate grapefruit and its pink sourness or make an online bill deposit and accidentally put the decimal point one space further to the right than you intend to, thus paying $2500.00 against your $250 hydro bill and thereby proving once again that you are in no way, shape or form ready to be left unsupervised with pointy objects or financial decisions.

My friends, I just couldn’t make this stuff up if I tried (and yes, I have tried *sigh*).

Oh, and if ya’ll maybe want to say a little prayer for my daughter, that would be great. I have a feeling she’s going to need all the help she can get with me at the helm (I think that’s a sailing metaphor, but I could be wrong, see admission of ignorance above).

I didn’t do my homework and the whole house is going to pay for it.

Last year we were shocked to discover that our apple trees had been brutalized. Small branches snapped, broken off, vandalized. Needless to say, after the carnage, we ended up with a total of three apples, from five trees. At first we thought that it was drunk teenagers, but having been teenagers once ourselves, it seemed a very lame thing to do and one that would afford a teenager zero street credibility. Further investigation lead to the conclusion that it was, in fact, a local gang of deer that had violated our trees so brutally. I was kind of at a loss about what I could do about that, since we live surrounded by forests and the deer were here first and quite frankly, I’m a huge scaredy cat and know in depths of my yellow-bellied toes that I’m incapable of taking on a deer (or even a rabbit) who wants to eat my apple tree(s).

Then, while happily and gratefully stripping a neighbours trees of their delicious pears last autumn, I happened to mention the unprovoked attack to him (we have a handful of neighbours within a ten minute walk), and found out that our local mob of deer had been similarly beastly to his trees and that he resolved the issue by using deer repellant spray that he had purchased from Canadian Tire. Great! I thought to myself. Easy-peasy lemon squeezy. I’ll buy the spray, I’ll use the spray and the deer will be so disgusted that they’ll just pass right on by our trees without another thought and I’ll be, wait for it, a HERO!

And that’s almost exactly what happened. Or at least, I bought the spray and waited for the weather to cooperate and become warm enough for the trees to start waking up. A few Saturdays ago it was a beautiful, warm, clear spring day and that is why I made the dreadful mistake of thinking that nice weather meant that I could safely leave my lovely inside world and venture into the outside. If you know me at all, you may be able to see how my mistakes have already begun to compound, right?

Well, delusional me, with valiant thoughts of heroism and protecting our little apple trees, grabbed the spray (that Canadian Tire had, strangely I thought, put inside a plastic bag and then tied the bag tightly closed) and headed down the driveway towards the trees. On a mission, as it were. Then it hit me. Like a fart in church. Akin to a noxious combination of gallons of decaying cat urine with rotting roadkill, the smell was seeping from the still closed and sealed bottle. Oh, holy Hera, for someone who lives her life, often with the sole daily goal of not catching the scent anything disgusting, to say that this was unexpected and beyond distressing would be understating my alarm. I am a lot of things (slow, prone to falling down, awkward, to name a few) but I am not a quitter. I held my breath, hastily scanned the instructions on the bottle while staving off hypoxia, turned the little nozzle to ‘spray,’ checked the direction of the breeze and pulled the trigger.

Revolting would be doing the resulting stench a kindness. Occasionally, because Mother Nature can be a cruel mother, the breeze would decide to do a loop-de-loop and the spray would come straight back at me. I felt the mist land on my arms and brush my cheeks. I tried not to breath. I thanked God for aging my eyes enough so that I now wear glasses full-time, saving them from the vile droplets that I was sure would burn my retinas. My next thoughts were to curse myself for already having showered that morning and then I felt sad at the realization that I was likely going to have to burn my favourite overall shorts because there was no way that this particular parfum du sack of decaying warthogs would ever come out of the fabric. I may have let out a little shriek, but more likely it was a string of expletives that I’m still not sure that I know the meaning of, all colourfully expressed as I ducked and dodged the spray-back, determined to get the job done, dignity be damned.

And done, I got it. The apple trees finally done, my conscience kicked in and started flashing pictures of our sad little pear tree that lives alone in the backyard. I pictured it surrounded by hunger deer, all clamouring to chomp it’s delicate little limbs. I decided to head into the backyard to spray it, since that poor thing has been a sad specimen since the beginning and since I brought it here, I owe it a chance of survival. I took a deep breath, held it and sprayed the tree while still dancing about trying to avoid any contact with the vile spray and when I was done, despite my best efforts, that spray was the only thing that I could smell and taste.

I tossed the spray bottle into the bike shed (it was closer than the garden shed), went into the kitchen and washed my hands and arms with soap. I scrubbed them with the dishcloth, and somehow convinced myself that I could get away without taking a second shower and burning my clothes. I prefer to think of my self as hopeFUL, rather than hopeLESS, thankyouverymuch.

I’m not sure how long the smell is noticeable to humans, but when two of my children came home from the park, they asked why our driveway smelled “so bad” and why I was twitching and shaking my head so much. I could not get the smell out of my nose. At this point, I was fairly certain that I had killed my sense of smell and that nothing would ever taste or smell the same again. Which, in hindsight, living as I do with five males, could this “loss” be a blessing in disguise? I am fastidious about reading labels for just about everything I purchase and bring into our home and yet I still don’t have a clue what the active ingredients are or what is in that demonic spray that is guaranteed to work as a repellant against deer and rabbit foliage attacks. I simply cannot bring myself to touch the bottle again, not even to check the brand name in order to look it up online. While I’m not proud, I do own my inadequacies.

So, now, I wait and see. If a single deer touches any of those apple trees, it was all for nought and I’ll have to seriously re-evaluate just how attached I am to the idea of growing our own fruit. Conversely, if the apple trees are allowed to grow unmolested, I suppose I will need to consider the experience worth it, even if we only net a single apple. That said, for the next application I’ll be sending one of these kids out there to deal with it. Oh, stop it. First, I’ll give him safety glasses, gloves, and a barf bag, of course. I’m not a complete monster.

~A.

This may be one reason why I get so little done in a day

Generally, I am in constant (non-aerobic, because I’m mostly a sloth) motion and do “stuff” from the time that I rise in the morning until the moment I burrow back into bed at night. It has recently started to bother me just how much more there is always left to do at the end of the day, and then this thing happened (more on that below) and it occurred to me that I may have discovered one of the reasons why I spend so much time doing many things but am never actually done.

One day last week, I had this whole super-snazzy Instagram post typed up and (almost) ready to go, when one of my kids asked to use my phone for some school-related task. Although I should have known better, and in fact, I do know better, I handed over the phone without first copying my post into a Note, and saving it for later. I don’t suppose I need to tell you what happened, but I will anyway (since that’s pretty much what I do around here). As it happened, upon the return of my phone, when I double-clicked the Home button to pull up IG again, yes, you guessed it, IG acted like it was our first time seeing each other that day. UGH. Double Ugh. Ghosted by my own phone. So typical.

That one act of parental selflessness, as a result of a single moment of (play-acting at) adult responsibility, all of my witty musings, my twenty minutes of tapping away on my phone, and what was likely destined to be my IG equivalent of my pièce de résistance, was forever lost. For what was this sacrifice made, you ask? Well my friends, not surprisingly I’m sure, it was for not less than the eleventy-billionth picture of our cat, Lucky, refusing to look at the camera or pose nicely, or do anything remotely cooperative. So yes, I suppose the (absolutely imagined and fictional) loss suffered by the literary and social media worlds is nothing when compared to glory that is this picture of our grumpy cat in the snow: 

Captivating image of Lucky vs. the snow, yes?


I am left wondering, however, for which class my eleventh grader needed a current photograph of our cat, and for what purpose? I mean, has the eleventh grade changed that much since I was in high school? Oh wait, yes, yes, it totally has. We didn’t have cell phones, smart phones, the internet or virtual learning. If we wanted to show off pictures of our pets, we had to actually carry printed photographs around with us, and well, frankly, I’m pretty sure any kids who did that were immediately decimated and jammed inside a locker for the rest of the day. Or maybe I just went to a particularly intolerant high school and I was part of the problem? Ugh (although, and for the record, I never stuffed anyone in a locker, nor ordered anyone else to do it on my behalf, so there is that, right?).

Thus, in my typical wordy fashion, a short story made way-too-long, I’m almost certain that the reason that I spend so much time getting so few things done is that I’m basically crap at adulting. And I have also need to work on my feelings of gratitude for having such a prize cat instead of slagging her off for being grumpy (I mean, look at her role model, right?). And also, I’m pretty sure that I have now completely lost my previous (crazy) train of thought, and cannot re-create my lost post. But take me at my word, it was going to be pure magic. Sigh.

This pandemic is making me do crazy things. Like math.

Heading into these lock downs and the physical distancing mandates back on March 13th (oh, yes, Friday the 13th strikes again. The irony is not lost on me), I never imagined that I would fall prey to a level any higher than my usual for madness. Last night, that changed when I did something that I always thought that I should do but knew I never really would because, well, tedious. And because too much math. And because just plain UGH.

I have done this type of thing before when it involved very simple variables. Like figuring out that price per hamburger patty when I make them fresh vs. buying pre-made or frozen patties. Easy-peasy, right? Exactly, that’s why I would/could do it and then use the results to artificially boost my ego with just how clever I was. Last night though, I raised that bar, and now I’m afraid I may have overshot and will need to keep at it, because my competitive nature will not allow me to stop.

So, what did I do? I calculated just how much money I save each time I prepare our weekly pizza and panzos ritual at home instead of just ordering pizza from Pizzaville (Sutton location only, if you please) for dinner (seven people). As you know, I’m a sharer, so I’m going to give ya’ll the break down (again, the irony is not lost on me that this break down helped to self-diagnose the beginning of own breakdown. Go figure).

Each week (just about), I prepare six panzos and one large eight slice pizza. This serves seven people dinner and leaves enough pizza for Mr. K.B.’s lunch the following day. When we ordered pizza for dinner (back all those months ago when we did such wild and crazy things), we would order one party pizza and one large from Pizzaville. After feeding seven people, leftovers did not really happen, so this was enough for seven dinners, so lunches. It would cost us $38.40 (no drinks or sides and I always picked it up, so no delivery charges), or $5.49 per person. Which is an unbeatable deal if you’re planning say, like, a wedding or a funeral, but for a typical eat-at-home dinner, that’s a bit rich for my budget, and while I would take it from the “Entertainment” or “Restaurant” line from the budget and not my “Grocery” money, it would still equal just over of $150 a month. $150 for weekly pizza dinners!?! *Hanging head in shame*

To make our pizza nights at home, I make a double batch of pizza dough, grate a bar of cheese, cut up the onions, mushrooms and pepperoni, nothing is pre-made or pre-cut. Last night, I used homemade sauce with tomatoes from the garden, so there was no real cost for it, but typically I do use a large jar of Classico. Here’s the break down:
Ingredient Costs:
Pepperoni: $1.99
Onion: $0.20
Mushrooms: $0.50
Cheese: $3.97
Sauce: $2.00
Flour: $0.42
Yeast: $0.14
Olive Oil: $0.72
Sugar: $0.01
Salt: $0.01
Water: $0.00
Total: $9.96

For just less than $10 I can make eight meals, feed seven people dinner and have lunch for one of them the following day, so the cost is $1.25 each portion. Monthly, this equates to $39.84, so in terms of just cash in hand, making the meal at home saves me $113.37 a month. With everyone one home with me 24/7 and no end to that in sight, this extra $100+ helps to cover the extra grocery and sundry costs we are incurring during this first decade of 2020.

Now, don’t get me wrong. It is more time consuming and labour intensive to prepare all of our meals from scratch. At least that’s the rational I remember using when I used to order pizza or we would head out to a restaurant for dinner. If nothing else though, this pandemic has forced me to re-examine some of my favourite go-to beliefs when I’m trying to get out of doing something I don’t want to do. I mean, when you think about the time spent ordering online, deciding who, if anyone is coming with you, getting out of the house, driving to pick the order up, waiting around the pizza place for it to be ready, driving home, getting all set up and eating, it’s no longer really “fast” food. When I order at 5pm, it was usually ready for pick up around 5:30pm, sometimes there would be a wait, so there was another 10 minutes spent hanging around, and then the 15 minute drive home and by then I’ve already spent an hour getting dinner to the house, and about 30 minutes in the car. It’s 6pm. So, I maybe save an hour by ordering, but it’s cost me in other ways, not just financially.

When I start the dough at 4 pm, in the privacy of our own home, the first panzos are on the pizza stone in the oven before by around 4:45pm, the last one (mine), goes in just before 6pm. I haven’t needed to leave the house, I haven’t even needed to change out of my pj’s if I am so inclined that day, and I’ve kept the money I would have spent safely tucked away for the next time I venture out to replenish my pizza supplies. I mean, grocery shop.

It is not a myth. We all do have a price. No, wait. Mine, apparently is $113.37? Putting it that way and in writing makes me think that I may be looking at this issue entirely wrong-headed. This quarantine-brain defect condition of mine is no joke, I tell you. Quickly! More math – $113.37 x 12 = $1360.44. Okay now, that’s better. Saving over a thousand dollars makes me feel WAY better about my choices AND gets me 1/20th of the way to a new (to us) family car. Zoom, zoom!

This one has peppers instead of mushrooms, but the math is the same 😉
Before and after. After is on a full 2020-sized dinner plate, not one of our 1970’s dinner plates (that are a good two inches smaller in diameter). Home panzos are 12 inches long, on average. Baked, not deep fried and SO delicious (if I do say so myself).

Extra veggies because that’s my job, lol. Also, I use the edge of a spoon and sauce to write their names on their panzos, since toppings often vary and heave forbid one get peppers and the other one get meat! Some days, I wonder if my parents ever truly appreciated the simplicity of having an only child to manage?

How is your pandemic grocery budget going? Spending more, less or about the same? Any tips, tricks or strategies to share? Tell me! For us, staying out of restaurants and away from take-away food has been a huge money saver, but I do admit to sometimes wishing that I could hit that virtual “easy” button and let someone else do all the work involved in feeding this crew. Ugh, talk about your first-world problems. Yikes.

Cue the intense privileged class guilt.

P.S. Physical distance with me on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. Sometimes, I post info, ideas or photos everywhere, and other gems (and duds) only get posted in one place. Some things are totally worth skipping, occasionally there are things well-worth sharing. Either way, I’m happy for the company (as long as we can both stay in our own homes, in our jammies, with no actual face-to-face contact. #IntrovertProblems). Please feel free to like, comment on and share any post, for any reason, including blind rage and mockery. I dig it.

Also, if you happen to like what you read, please consider signing up to receive updates via email, just in case you decide, like I recently did, that social media is doing your head in but you still want to read things that will make you feel better about your life choices (and stories about my daily life tend to have that effect on people).
xx
~A.

Just when I think I’m about to really get stuff done and blaze a new path, something like this happens. Every time.

Yesterday afternoon, while two of my smalls (who are all more in the medium-large range, if I’m being honest) worked on their school work and the other two wondered around aimlessly looking for something to do,  I finally finished and posted a new blog post. It only took two-and-a-half weeks, and won’t win me any awards but hey, I got it done, right? As I sat back in my chair, I turned to look out my office window, which faces our driveway and the road beyond just in time to see a huge eighteen-wheeler rumble past our house. Hmmm. That’s strange. We never have vehicles that big on our street. 

Not two minutes later, one of my kids after another filed into my office. “Power’s out” each said with increasing urgency. It suddenly made sense why the site I was trying to access moments before was still loading. No hydro = no internet. Living up here and not on town services, also means that no hydro = no water. Incidentally, yesterday was the hottest day of the year thus far, coming in at around 31C and humid. Good times. Sigh.

We headed outside to see what might have happened. This is what we saw.

Oh. Right. 

A neighbour was on the cross street and yelled over that an 18-wheeler hit the hydro post. Wonderful. It did not escape my notice that the truck broke the hydro pole clean in half and also that a) was no longer at the scene of the destruction and b) that it broke the same hydro pole that has been broken or knocked over no fewer than three times in the past four years, including this past winter when a snow plow took it out after the first snow of the season. Argh.

Police and HydroOne were called. The intersection was closed off and around six hours later, we had power again, and eleven hours later, our internet was restored. Needless to say, it was a long, crummy afternoon and evening. 

Once the power was back on, I finished making dinner (had been using the oven) and set it aside for tonight’s dinner. I did not allow myself a  moment of mum-guilt as I fed the children chips and salsa, sardines (they love those), grapes, crackers and cereal for dinner. Not one. single. moment.

As it turns out, our midnight internet fix was temporary, as just moments before lunch today, the internet and wifi died again as Rogers does the ‘real life’ repair on the line. On the upside though, we did get to keep our hydro though, so it only bites a little bit.

Oh, and it’s only Wednesday. Oh boy.

P.S. Just as I finished this post, our internet connection was restored once again. Only a two hour outage today. Progress!

P.P.S. Join me on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. Sometimes, I post info, ideas or photos everywhere, and other gems (and duds) only get posted in one place. Some things are totally worth skipping, occasionally there are things well-worth sharing. Either way, I’m happy for the company (as long as we can both stay in our own homes, in our jammies, with no actual face-to-face contact. #IntrovertProblems). Also, please feel free to like, comment on and share any post, for any reason, including blind rage and mockery. I dig it.
xx

All I can hope for is that he uses his talents for the greater good one day.

Paxton is now at that stage of development when all of his baby teeth seem to fall out at once. Case in point? He has lost four teeth in the past three or so weeks and most of those have been lost in the past week.

These newly liberated chiclets have been conspicuously absent from his bedtime routine though. Turns out that Pax has a theory. He theorizes that the more teeth he antes up the more cash he will net per tooth. So, he has purposely been saving them up in the hopes of a large windfall.

But, like happens with most of the best laid plans, disaster struck. He lost the fourth tooth at the after school program earlier this week and forgot to bring it home with him (this was not a surprise). Staff, thinking it was just a wad of bloody Kleenex left on the table (go figure!), they tossed it out during clean up (the staff remain blameless and still candidates for sainthood because ewwww – kids can be gross!).

So, last night, having only three teeth, not the missing four, to offer up to the Tooth Fairy, Pax got to thinking.

Not to be deterred by his predicament, really rather not interested in suffering potential financial hardship, and completely unable to accept that it may be the result of unfortunate (albeit avoidable) circumstance, Pax decided to make the Tooth Fairy a card to explain the situation and make his pitch for mercy (and money).

He probably could have spent a bit more time, but he was on a mission to write the actual message inside.
Only this kid would show up without the goods and ask for MORE compensation in return. Lol.

Generally the children who board here receive $2 per tooth. I wonder if Paxton’s strategy worked? And if it did, maybe it’s one that I should explore further… (in some other way that does not involve losing my teeth!)
~A.

P.S. Join me on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. Sometimes, I post info, ideas or photos everywhere, and other gems (and duds) only get posted in one place. Some things are totally worth skipping, occasionally there are things well-worth sharing. Either way, I’m happy for the company (as long as we can both stay in our own homes, in our jammies, with no actual face-to-face contact. #IntrovertProblems). Also, please feel free to like, comment on and share any post, for any reason, including blind rage and mockery. I dig it.
xx

Perhaps my most favourite spam email of all time has arrived.

In this day and age, it is rare that I see any of the spam emails that come through my Inbox. These new finagled Junk Mail filters have greatly improved since the early years of email (remember those days of dial-up and seemingly endless waiting for downloads? Sigh), when each email had to be sifted through in order to figure out which were from people I knew, people I wanted to know, people I didn’t want to know / or was hiding from and which emails were from people I should seriously consider obtaining restraining orders from. Ah, the 90’s. Bless.

But those days are a long, distant memory now. I almost never think of email spam, since I never see it and only notice the Junk Mail folder when the numbers creep so high that I feel obligated to right click and hit ‘delete all’. Until, that is, yesterday.

Glorious, wonderful, yesterday. The second day of the second decade of my second witnessed millennia, January 2, 2020. It was on this day that this marvelous beauty nugget of prose arrived and landed squarely in my Inbox, addressed, as it was, to my first initial and my maiden name, I was instantly hooked. So impressed was I, that I decided to share it here. With you. Because I’m a giver and this here, this is a gift.

It would appear that this email was sent to me in error. Poor woman. She is far too young for me. And I am decidedly female. And I am married (to a man). And I do not live in Toronto and avoid visiting there if at all possible. And, well, truth be known, I’m just not that into her. *shrug*

BUT WAIT!

In case anyone reading this is (or knows someone who may be) interested in following up with this stable, clearly sincere and trustworthy person on her/their offer of love (even though she/they is/are trite), mutual communication and more than likely a solid financial and emotional fleecing and is currently (or will soon be) in possession of “a real man’s characteristics” ( and just as an aside, I want need further details as to what these characteristics are, just in case I do have any), this gorgeous mood-lifting email was sent from (spelled out so as to not create a riot or a clickable link) gregorxharriettee at outlook dot com.

If any of ya’ll give it a whirl, please share the update with me and the rest of us? I love a good happy ending as much as the next girl…

Have you gotten any note-worthy unsolicited emails lately? Ones that aren’t telling you that you’re about to get $26 million dollars from a bank in Nigeria (as soon as you send them a few thousand dollars for paperwork) or to “click here” to enhance your manhood/bank account/secure your account? I wanna know!

P.S. Join me on FacebookInstagram and Twitter. Sometimes, I post info, ideas or photos everywhere, and other gems (and duds) only get posted in one place. Some things are totally worth skipping, occasionally there are things well-worth sharing. Either way, I’m happy for the company (as long as we can both stay in our own homes, in our jammies, with no actual face-to-face contact. #IntrovertProblems). Also, please feel free to like, comment on and share any post, for any reason, including blind rage and mockery. I dig it.

Pretty sure that this is a true story

Now, I don’t like to brag (kind of lying to you, right out of the gate here ??‍♀️), but I’m almost positive that last summer I was a too-cool, quasi-popular,  bubbly and perky fourteen-year-old with poor curling iron skills, hanging with my friends, sporting heavy electric-blue mascara, crop tops, mini skirts and my amazing white Tretorn canvas tennies (true story).

So, really not entirely sure how this summer I find myself staring into the rapidly falling face a forty-something-year-old bedraggled, unkept mini-van-driving mum with (at best) smeared eyeliner (typically applied hastily to one eye), living in a Costco-special skort, Walmart flip flops and food stained tee shirts that passed “the smell test,” driving to yet another soccer game while asking my twelve-year-old in the backseat to please stop shoving Cheddar Penguins up his nose, no matter how close he is to “the record” while simultaneously pleading with Jesus to “take the wheel” because this just cannot be real life (second true story).

Also, pretty sure that I did not see this situation on the horizon last summer, when I was still young, impossibly cool and had never even heard of Cheddar Penguins (or at least I’m pretty sure that this time existed).

I don’t mind admitting to you that all of this is really causing me to call into question the basis for my belief in my innate “coolness” in a whole new and frightening way. I believe that I may have crossed a line that cannot be uncrossed (truest story of them all).

Now, I gotta run. The umpire is about to blow the whistle or shoot the pistol or whatever it is that happens at soccer games to let the kids know that it’s time to score some baskets, drive some balls or steal a base. Never a dull moment here and see? If nothing else, I am finally figuring out soccer-speak. ??‍♀️

P.S. Join me on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. Sometimes, I post info, ideas or photos everywhere, and other gems (and duds) only get posted in one place. Some things are totally worth skipping, occasionally there are things well-worth sharing. Either way, I’m happy for the company (as long as we can both stay in our own homes, in our jammies, with no actual face-to-face contact. #IntrovertProblems). Also, please feel free to like, comment on and share any post, for any reason, including blind rage and mockery. I dig it.
xx

She would have been 106 years-old today and I miss her still.

Julia Winepress Phillips, born on this day in Dundee, Scotland, 1913.

My grandma would have turned 106 years-old today. I spent every weekend from the age of two until twelve with my grandparents. She loved me unconditionally, confided in me, listened to all of my blathers, and never questioned the truth or validity of any of my stories (“Oh, aye now, really? Well, isn’t that just an awffie (awful) thing to have happened to ye? Ah well, dinnae ye worry aboot it, Lovey”). She would sit in the backseat of my grandfather’s car with me (while he sped, swore and occasionally hit things with his car) and sing, laugh and delight in our time together. I could do no wrong in her eyes, nor she in mine. I was her best friend and she was mine.

We would sit and talk for hours on those weekends, she would tell me stories about growing up on Malcolm Street in Dundee, and how they would move house occasionally, but always stayed on Malcolm street. She told me about her brothers and sisters and the one baby girl who did not survive infancy, about her stern mother and wee-Irish father, and going to school and being forced to use her right hand rather than her left (she ended up being ambidextrous as a result) and about how terrified she was when she was sent out to work, delivering milk to houses with dark doorways in the wee hours of the morning as just a tiny five-year-old, because her family needed the money. I’m still not sure if she was more scared of the police officer who brought her home or her mother’s reaction that she’d be ‘caught’ and the resulting at the loss of income it caused.

She talked about being a nurse when she was a young, single woman in Scotland, about her dreams of being a nun and being told ‘no’ by her mother, as she was needed to earn money to support her parents and siblings. She told me about working in the factory during WWII and meeting my grandfather there and how during their first date, his temper got the better of him and he threatened to punch another man in the theatre for being too loud (in hindsight people, the signs are ALWAYS there if we are not blind to them).

She told me about coming to Canada on the boat while she was almost nine-months pregnant and tending to her toddler while my grandfather socialized with other travellers for the duration of the journey. She told me about their early years in Canada, the struggles, the scares, the near-misses.

She always stood tall and proud, she always sat straight-backed and knees together, perhaps crossing her feet at the ankles. She wore skirts with tights and was always clean, presentable, no matter the time of day or the weather outside. She tended to her family, house, and home with a fierce determination and pride. Her house was immaculate and her floors were waxed by hand. She worked outside the home for thirty-odd years (retiring at age 67) and still cooked dinner every evening. She cooked, cleaned, ironed, mended, sewed clothing (she made that dress she’s wearing in the picture above and almost all of her other clothes) and she made ends meet. The beds were always made, the mirrors always shone. She had her hair washed and set by the hairdresser every Friday and never once polished her fingernails.

She refused to let the outside world know her pain, heartache or difficulties. “Don’t let anyone know it hurts. Walk on, like your ankle isn’t sprained, like your back doesn’t hurt, like your heart isn’t broken, don’t limp, don’t frown, and for heaven’s sake, don’t cry. Smile and keep your head up and look them in the eye as you pass. You just need to get home. You can cry there. Never let anyone see you cry.”

My grandma never stood taller than 4’10” a day in her life. By the end of her time with us, she was closer to 4’7″ and could no longer sit or stand quite as tall, and her clever and sharp mind had betrayed her, but she was never less than a titan to me.

I will continue to miss her every day of my life.

Happy birthday, Grandma, until we meet again. xoxo




P.S. Join me on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. Sometimes, I post info, ideas or photos everywhere, and other gems (and duds) only get posted in one place. Some things are totally worth skipping, occasionally there are things well-worth sharing. Either way, I’m happy for the company (as long as we can both stay in our own homes, in our jammies, with no actual face-to-face contact. #IntrovertProblems). Also, please feel free to like, comment on and share any post, for any reason, including blind rage and mockery. I dig it.
xx

A Canning We Will Go + A Giveaway For You!

This month (and maybe next month too) we’re going to be having a #CanningParty courtesy of the loverly people at Bernardin. In preparation of our first jamming’ cannin’ party I want to give away coupons for $10 off the purchase of your own Bernardin Starter Kit. After our first canning party, we’ll have a draw for this Starter Kit, which retails for $49.99 (see link to Canadian Tire), so one of you can try your hand at preserving for the first time or if you’re a seasoned canner, maybe enjoy some new tools in your kitchen.

It's canning season and giveaway time! Free coupons and a canning starter kit - woo hooo!
Coupons! Save $10 off!

Want a coupon? Like and Share this post, and leave a comment (either here or on The Keswick Blog on Facebook with either your favourite thing to preserve or what you are most looking forward to trying to preserve this year. Ten people will be chosen at random and I’ll mail each of them a coupon out to whatever address provided to me. 🙂 Winners will be chosen next week, on July 11th, 2019.

Bernardin Start Kit Giveaway Preview
This could be yours! Everything you need to start canning and preserving all of the wonderful in-season produce we are currently enjoying.

We’ll start the entries for the Starter Kit next week once we have finished with the coupon draws, but here’s a preview of what could be coming your way. During the week of August 5th, I will either deliver (within Georgina) or make this available for pick up to the winner. Because of the size and weight of this kit, I will not be able to send it out via Canada Post or courier, as the cost would be prohibitive for me to cover. Details to follow next week!

P.S. Join me on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. Sometimes, I post info, ideas or photos everywhere, and other gems (and duds) only get posted in one place. Some things are totally worth skipping, occasionally there are things well-worth sharing. Either way, I’m happy for the company (as long as we can both stay in our own homes, in our jammies, with no actual face-to-face contact. #IntrovertProblems). Also, please feel free to like, comment on and share any post, for any reason, including blind rage and mockery. I dig it.
xx