8:10 PM


I lost someone important this week.

She was a lady who was a role model for me in many ways. She was one half of the couple whom my parents had indicated would raise me and my sister if anything happened to them - an indication on paper of their trust, admiration and respect. They passed along those feelings to us in other ways; her house was the only place I was allowed to ride my bike to without question, she was the one to call if my mom didn't have a recipe or sewing answer and for medical advice. Her daughter was my best friend growing up and her home was the place that felt closest to my own.

We camped together as families, celebrated birthdays, anniversaries and dropping in for Christmas Eve at their house was one of my favorite traditions which I later tried to emulate at my own home. She made the best scrambled eggs when we camped and the only eggnog I have ever liked.

She was a career woman with ambition and the ability to pass on her knowledge - I have always admired the combination and never mastered it. She was pulled together and a calm head in a crisis. She had the most recipes for zucchini of anyone I know and the biggest garden I have ever seen. She never failed to make time for a coffee and a chat when I dropped by and sitting at her kitchen table was as comfortable as your best pair of jeans.

And yet for reasons I don't know or understand she felt she couldn't stay with us.

Sometimes people get lost. The voices of people who love them seem like they are far in the distance and they lose perspective. The good things are faded and the dark seems darker. Sometimes they aren't able to find their way back.

And we are left a little lost ourselves.

8:04 PM

What have I done?

OMG I signed up for a boot camp!

My"booty" has been getting a little more filled out than I'd like. And although I have had the best of intentions in getting back on the fitness wagon, it hasn't happened. So thinking desperate times call for desperate measures I looked at some boot camps offered locally and somehow was convinced to sign up for this one.

I am not a 5:30 a.m. person. I get up at about 6:15 a.m. and am not human until 9ish and that's with coffee (and yes I start work at 8). So I didn't sign up for the morning sessions - besides they're in the city and what time would I have to leave to do that?? Instead I'll go after work and then go home to curl up and die...after I spend an hour prepping my 5 or 6 meals for the next day...

6:39 PM

Don't try this at home

For anyone considering painting cabinets; I recommend finding out if someone in your area will spray the doors. I know if I ever undertake a kitchen again I will look into it. This time I checked out new cabinets first but decided they were too pricey. The house still has enough projects in it that budget is a big consideration.

Anyways, after the bubbling fiasco with the boxes I decided to prime the doors. I hate priming. And I hate foam brushes (that's what I decided to use on the non-flat parts).

But first I washed the doors. (Because I can take the heat for not doing that with the boxes.) I also removed the handles and taped all of the hinges because I'm not a dainty painter.

Then I primed...about halfway through I wondered about the whole project. And wondered if the uppers looked ok with the doors off...

But halfway through the first coat of "Soho" paint I was feeling better.

Which is a good thing since I'm betting on another 2 coats and these are only the uppers!

Who's coming over for the next round? I've ordered pizza....feel free to pick up slurpees!

8:43 PM

Giving up the dream

I drove to Didsbury today. And about 10 km outside of home I was in pea soup fog. Mother Nature is really not subtle.

The house is across from a gorgeous restored old home which makes it even more obvious that it is in quite a state of disrepair. There is another red brick character house within a couple of blocks but it's price is 100k more - which probably says something about the interior of the house with the star.

So I came home. And made homemade mushroom soup. And am baking brownies...made with pumpkin and whole wheat flour; but still brownies.

And am letting the dream of the house go.

While waiting for another one.

10:29 PM

Ok Lion...you've made your entrance

I went to Home Depot around 6 o'clock tonight for some painting supplies (more on that later) and we had been melting most of the day. I could see brown grass, the sidewalk and most of the road other than some bits of ice at the edges.

Amazing what can change here in a few hours. I looked out the window here and it's snowing and apparently has been for a while.

Mother Nature has been playing the lion or lamb? game here since March began. Calgary weather is a bit like this all year round. Just when you think it's spring or a second summer compliments of a chinook, she wallops you upside the head with her purse and you get snow...possible in every month of the year here!

I used to think that long, cold winters were hard to take. Once I was here, I wondered how I had survived them even. But there is something to be said for predictability. In Winnipeg you know that winter is winter and summer is summer and all of the seasons are well defined. From November to March you'd better plug in your car and have snow tires or at least good all seasons. There is no walking out in crop capris with a spring in your step thinking it's spring and getting inches of snow and -18 under 12 hours later. And let me tell you that there is something cruel and harsh about thinking that winter is over and finding out that it's not...over and over again.

Some of you know I have moved a lot. And changed jobs quite a lot. So I can't say that I don't like change. Actually, I can say that I don't like it but that I have learned it's a means to something better...almost always. And the sooner you embrace that and get on with it - kind of like ripping off a band-aid - the quicker the painful part is done. Except for weather changes in Calgary. A lot of times the something better doesn't stay...which is just unfair!

....Back to the painting...today's warmer, sunny weather made me feel better about winter coming to an end. For me, that inevitably means that my spirits lift and I get more productive and back to renos and plans and all of that good stuff. Which meant that today I found myself hauling up paint from the basement and deciding the kitchen cabinets needed a refresh. I went to the depot for some paintbrushes and looked at other inspirations such as countertops and hood fans.

I came back home and dove right in...just like every other project. I took all of the cabinet doors off and decided to start with only the uppers - I did learn a bit from past jumping into everything at once experiences. I poured "Soho" into the paint tray and began painting the cabinet boxes noticing as I moved on that the paint was kind of acting weird but figured maybe it was the mini foam roller. And so I optimistically continued...loving the new color and congratulating myself for starting a project and getting out of the doldrums. I went over some of the weird looking spots from the beginning and the second coat looked more normal.

And then I thought...what if the cabinets weren't previously painted with latex. (Even though I had done a nail polish remover test that seemed to indicate that they were)

And the weird look is latex reacting over oil.


It was shortly after that I realized that Mother Nature was having a hissy fit of her own.

I wonder what she was trying to remuddle today. Maybe I'll leave her a bowl of chocolate ice cream on the steps...can't hurt.

9:48 PM

Do we always want what we can't have?

Here it is, my dream house
http://www.realtor.ca/propertyDetails.aspx?propertyId=7914692 right down to the front porch and I even love the corny star. Want to bet those are lilacs at the corners?

But there it is in Didsbury. Didsbury isn't that easy a commute in the winter. It's not shorter in the summer but definitely less stressful driving at that time of year. And Didsbury is in a pretty area. And has a drive in hamburger joint....and it's halfway to Red Deer.

It's like a tease. It was initially listed at $189,900. I requested the full listing and saw the nice lot size, the picket fence that would even keep my sucky gigantasaurus dog in, the big kitchen and the hardwood floors. What? You don't really see those things? Ok, so it's a project. Those of you who know me know I'm all about projects...sad, seemingly unredeemable projects even. I might be a sarcastic prairie girl with a tough exterior but somehow I'm an optimist-softie at heart.

Then we got snow last week on Tuesday - enough that the highways were inadvisable and I worked from home and realized that an extra 30 mins on the highways would be brutal on days like that. But then the listing price dropped 30k. And it was like I could see the refinished floors, new kitchen and furniture on the porch. I could smell the fresh country air. I could see the pickup in the driveway. Today we got rain and then snow. As if to say, "ok woman, if the snow wasn't enough to make you drop that pipedream take this!".

Of course the more the price drops and the mortgage rates drop the cheaper it would be to own - before renos. Except for this little problem with my mortgage penalty which gets larger the more rates drop. (Huge lesson learned here about mortgage contracts -do not agree to an Interest Rate Differential penalty.) For those of you in the prairies...large is not 2-3k...it's like 10-12k. In a market that has dropped back to what values were when I purchased this project house that's a problem. Especially since my equity was used in no small part to getting rid of the problem vehicle (yes, I once owned an Aztek and not only was it ugly, it had major engine issues that GM was crappy about) and getting rid of the problem ex who had unfixable issues and no warranty either. Most days I figure getting rid of both were well worth the expenses. (Lessons learned here about depreciable assets - cars and husbands have both been in this category for me and about not letting the man in your life pick your vehicle)

It's not practical. It's not wise. It's not new and modern and unlikely to have great resale. It may not even be remotely possible. But I still love that house.

How do we stop falling in love with what we can't have? Or do we follow our hearts and just get good at picking up the pieces when we have to?

7:49 PM

Under the wagon

Well not only has the wagon lapped me but the last few weeks I've managed to let my sugar and carb cravings get the best of me. Including shamefully eating Starbucks caramel on cake and anything else I could think of.

So tonight I'm making cookies...healthy cookies though with oatmeal and all natural peanut butter and flax and dried apricots. And I've been throwing flax seed in other stuff, had oatmeal for breakfast twice this week and made sweet potato fries in the oven.

The exercise thing....well.....that's not going so well. The dog and I have gone for a few walks but other than previewing HipHop Abs I haven't given it a whirl. And although my gym membership is paid up, I haven't been there in quite a while.

Why does it seem like watching what you eat and exercising is easier sometimes than others?

And by the way, those cookies? Kind of blah....guess maybe they need some caramel sauce...