Saturday, June 17, 2017

My Home-Made Ginger Ale

I would like to set the record straight about my home-made ginger ale and lemon-lime "soft drinks."

I've offered these recently to friends and they've politely refused, saying they don't drink sugared drinks. Great, they got plain soda water, made from my filtered-water put through the sodastream machine. That's about as home made as you can get.

I make my own ginger "syrup" and lemon-lime "syrup" to flavour the home-made soda water for one reason only: to control the amount of sugar.

I don't know the exact number of tablespoonfuls of sugar that are in each serving of commercial soft drinks, but I know it's a LOT.

Here is mine, for all the world to see. I'll do the ginger "syrup," and then maybe you'll understand why I'm putting quotation marks around the word "syrup."

I used one fair sized ginger root. I peel the ginger root, cut it into small portions and press them through my garlic press. I add 2 cups water.

And one-quarter of a cup of sugar.

I bring it to a boil and simmer it long enough for the water to reduce to one-and-a-half cups. Then I strain it and pour it into a container which I keep in the refrigerator.

Are you with me? I have 1.5 cups of liquid here, and dissolved in that is 1/4 cup of sugar.

To make a ten-ounce glass of ginger ale, I put a HALF TEASPOON of the ginger syrup in the bottom of the glass, and top up with soda water. And ice, if the patron wants it.

A HALF TEASPOON.

I don't actually know how many half-teaspoons are in one-and-a-half-cups of liquid, but it's NOT MUCH.

So really, when I offer you a glass of home-made ginger ale, you can drink it. You've eaten more sugar than that from your diet bar this morning. You get more sugar than that from your vegan protein powder. You get more sugar than that from your bran muffin.

Believe me, you can drink my ginger ale!

Monday, June 5, 2017

Is that laughter...?

The Universe is laughing at me.

A month or so ago, I set out, with a couple of pals, to make beeswax-infused cotton cloths to be used, and re-used, instead of plastic wrap.

The project was a resounding success, the most difficult part being the grating of the beeswax.
But I didn't make enough, and I've been meaning to get around to making more...

In the meantime, my kitteh Spooky got very ill and had to be hospitalized for two days and have a blood test and an ultrasound and a new special veterinary diet. This very diet comes in large tins, and I have to store half a tin in the fridge for a day, since she only gets a half tin at night.

So I have to put the unused portion of the vet food on a plate, and wrap it in - you guessed it - plastic wrap. Each and every day.

I'm using four times as much plastic wrap as I've ever used in my life.

Then, I started a fresh round of migraines. I'm currently waiting for a set of six, repeat, SIX injections into my cervical vertebrae to curb the incessant cluster migraines. In the meantime, I'm taking a migraine medication-of-last-resort: and, it really is a last resort, no pun intended, because it's a suppository.

So in addition to using plastic wrap at four times the norm, I'm going through one latex glove each night.

I did briefly contemplate re-using the glove, but quickly thought better if it, given my scattered thinking processes and somewhat messy housekeeping habits.

Better safe than sorry, I figure. One has to draw the line somewhere!

So much for saving the planet by using less plastic.

Moving on, there's the home-made soap adventure. It only takes a few minutes to make the various recipes. It does take a bit of experimentation to find recipes one likes though. This past week I finally gave in and tried a recipe I'd seen on the internet at least a hundred times, equal parts coconut oil, honey, and Castillo soap. Plus some essential oils.

I used it once, and had to use Boyfriend's Old Spice body gel to wash it off as best I could immediately. I don't know who all those people on the internet were who were raving about this stuff, but I think they're nuts! Bonkers! I've never felt so greasy or sticky in my life! I promptly went back to an older recipe which is much more watery but leaves me actually clean.

Know anyone who likes feeling oily and a bit sticky after their shower? I've got a generous supply of body wash to give away...

I don't mind the loss if the coconut oil. I can even stand losing the half cup of Castillo soap. It's the liquid honey that pisses me off - I could have used that in my tea!

So much for saving the planet with my home-made soap. At least, not this week.

Then there was the palazzo-pants fiasco. I made a lovely pair of pants and wore them going to work last week when I had that unfortunate encounter eith the motorist who didn't want to stop for pedestrians and ended up tripping on the pants, which were too long.

Boyfriend pinned them up for me this week and I'll try again, but not before I managed to seriously injure my already dangerously weak right knee. It's been putting out a fresh bruis each day this week and the pain is getting worse, not better.

So  I'm off to the doctor in the morning. Because I made home-made pants, trying to save some money. I wonder what this fiasco will end up costing me.

I'm not winning.


Friday, May 26, 2017

The Cross-Walk

grumble grumble grumble...

One soaking wet outfit, two scraped knees (one of which is swelling up beautifully) two scraped palms later...Only my pride is seriously hurt, but I am pissed!

There is a crosswalk on Peel Street where I work. Where almost no drivers ever stop for the pedestrians.

When Hubby and I used to cross every day, Hubby would just step out, because he was pretty much the size of a moose and people would slam on their brakes to miss hitting him. By contrast to him, I'm small. I'm not small by contrast to many other people, but I digress...

Motorists almost never stop for pedestrians there. The paint is always faded, one of the signs is usually broken, people just don't walk out and take their chances usually.

Today, as I was making my way up the hill, I saw a GOOD driver, driving a Meldrum the mover truck, make a proper stop to allow pedestrians to cross.

And the class-1 A-HOLE in the car behind him started honking his horn and simply wouldn't stop. The truck driver got out of his truck to explain to the A-HOLE that you HAVE TO stop at crosswalks - but the A-HOLE got out of his car and proceeded to yell at the truck driver.

And this was too much for me. I have what can only be described as a VERY short fuse! I started yelling at the A-HOLE (I have a voice meant for the Theatre - you can HEAR me, whether you want to or not)! I yelled at him that this was a crosswalk. The Meldrum man, getting back in his truck, thanked me.

I continued to yell at the A-HOLE. "It's a CROSSWALK, buddy! People have to cross here! So shut up and wait two minutes!" Or something to that effect.

The Meldrum truck had moved on, but I stood in front of the car, yelling at the A-HOLE. In point of fact, I think by now I was being the bigger A-HOLE, but I was really mad at the guy.

Anyway, I waved my umbrella as if I was going to hit his precious car (I was careful that it WOULDN'T) and I called him an A-HOLE one more time. He drove away, yelling at me to "Shut the F**K up, B***H!"

And then I fell down.

I had made it to the sidewalk before I fell. My umbrella popped open and went rolling out into traffic, students came to pick me up, people were very kind wanting to know if I was hurt. I was still hopping mad, but laughing because I had tripped over my own two feet, because my new pants I was wearing are simply a bit too long, and I'd been too stupid to shorten them. I told them I realized I was probably a bigger a-hole than the guy I was yelling at, but that it really bugged me when people don't STOP FOR PEDESTRIANS!!!

Brings a new interpretation to the term "Cross-walk!"

Friday, May 5, 2017

Rain

I woke up this morning, dreaming about old-fashioned rain boots.

Your grandmother's rain boots - or rather, MY grandmother's rain boots!

Plastic rain boots that you put over your shoes, that had a space for your (sensible) heels to go, and which closed with round elastics that slipped over buttons.



These ugly things!

Now, I might have been dreaming of them because we're currently experiencing some flooding in Quebec and Ontario. A friend of mine actually is in the process of having her basement filling up with water as I write this, and two days ago, while she was out for a walk, she a sinkhole opened up and swallowed half of her. She was all right and got out only muddied, and it took her a few hours to realize that things might have gone much worse. I don't personally know anyone else affected by the flooding currently.

In my dream, my Grandmother was, again, trying to get me to wear these things.

I hated them when she was alive, and I couldn't get rid of them fast enough when her back was turned. The lectures I had to put up with! "They're so practical!" she would argue, and I couldn't fight back - then...

But this morning, in my ablutions, I realized, they're NOT practical, and I finally answered back! 

"They're made of PLASTIC!" I said. "Sure, they only cost a few dollars, but they'll also wear out quickly because they're so cheap, and then you have to buy another pair, and another...It would be much better to invest in a GOOD pair of rain boots and be done with it!"

Besides which, jeez gran - they're BUTT-UGLY, for crying out loud!

Grandma would look at them and say they looked perfectly sensible.

It's hard, being brought up by your grandparents, because those extra years in between your ages make for some seriously ridiculous misunderstandings, misinterpretations, and just plain misses.

If I were the parent or grandparent of a child who steadfastly refused to wear protective gear, I wonder, would I have to strength to say, "I can't afford to buy you new shoes, you have to wear these to cover up."

Or would I have the strength to say, "These are butt-ugly! Let's get a real pair of boots!"

I wonder also if I dreamt about this because the graveyard where my grandparents lie is flooded. Or if someone I know is about to be flooded. 

I wonder stuff like that. It ain't easy being me!

The stupid thing is, this morning I was thinking about my choice of footwear, and I found myself wishing I had a pair of these ugly things! I wonder, is this something that happens when you turn 60? Does all sense of fashion simply evaporate?

I could wear my running shoes, which are porous, and so my feet would get really wet. Or I could wear my shoes, which are leather, and only get slightly wet toes. And that's when I found myself wishing for a pair of ugly plastic overshoes.

I guess I should just have worn boots.

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Visits to Doctors

Today I once again had the pleasure of seeing a doctor, this time, the neurologist. And for once, I'm going to break with my tradition and name a name, because I happen to think Dr. Guy Boudreau is simply the best doctor I have ever encountered in my life.

That's not the topic of the blog though. The topic is good-old, longsuffering, faithful Hubby!

Hubby usually accompanies me to doctor's visits that are either serious, scary, or to Dr. Boudreau. It's just habit, actually. Hubby and I deal with stress using humor, and he actually enjoys the process of driving around looking for parking spots. This makes him the ideal chauffeur! Plus, it's a chance to spend some time with him, something I don't get to do enough of lately.

Today he was in fine form, telling me about his previous day's visit to the dentist, Dr. John Drummond, who I name here because I think he's the best dentist I've ever met!

And now, on with the tale...

Dr. John was flogging toothbrushes, Hubby informed me, and I dutifully rolled my eyes. I have a favourite kind - first introduced to me by Dr. John - that I stick with now because it works so well and feels so good.

Hubby continued his tale. "He went on and on about the benefits, I was just smiling and nodding," he said. I know. Hubby is a VERY "hard room." "I had left in fact, with the literature in my hand. I wasn't going to buy it," he said. "But then I saw what it had!"

And it had?

Bluetooth.

Okay, there are SO MANY jokes possible, but on with the tale...

There's a suction cup cell phone holder you stick to the mirror. You open the app and you brush your teeth, and the app watches you.

It tells you you need to spend more time on this quadrant or that quadrant. It's does this for flossing as well.

And it shares all your brushing habits with your dentist, who can make recommendations to you via email!

At this point, my own visit to my own doctor for my own problems are WAAAYYY in the back seat! I'm rolling on the floor, scaring all the other patients in the waiting room.

"If I watched you brush you teeth," I managed to gasp out, "you'd tell me to f-off and die!"

Hubby nods enthusiastically and laughs till he coughs.

"I've been yelling at you to floss for YEARS!" I tell him.

"I know! I know" he grins - ear to ear. "I love this thing!" He whips out the app and shows me his data.

"You do understand that you were married to me - you still are! - and I told you to brush and floss for years - for FREE! But NOOOOO! Once it costs over a hundred dollars and has BLUETOOTH..."

For the sake of my readers who don't enjoy profanity, I will not write down the rest of what I said to Hubby. Suffice it to say that we laughed our guts out, he admits freely to being an idiot, and I am thankful that finally, FINALLY, something is getting him to take better care of his teeth.

Effing idiot.


Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Malevolance

I had a horrible experience riding the bus on the way to work today. And I'm pretty sure only one other person noticed. But it shook me to my core.

I got on the 115 to go downtown and sat in a front-facing seat beside a man in a grey windbreaker jacket. And then it began.

Most people, when you sit down next to them, budge. Wiggle a bit. If only to acknowledge that you exist as a human being, that someone has come and sat next to them, if not to actually give you a bit of room.

Not so this person. He was stone. He wasn't exactly "manspreading," but our arms were touching lightly. I wiggled a few times to see if I could find a position where I wasn't touching him and could still keep my seat when the bus went around corners.

No go. It was either sit there uncomfortably all the way in, or move.

Fortunately, when we approached the south shore terminus, the last stop before getting on the bridge, several people got up, including a young lady who had been sitting in what I think of as my seat of choice: the sideways-facing seat right beside the wheel well, where I can plop the gigantic bag that holds my lunch and my knitting. So I made a beeline for this seat and hauled my big bag up onto the wheel well, and quietly prayed that the stone man wouldn't take my leaving as a personal insult, that he would see I had more room here, and let that be that.

Some tiny Asian woman sat next to him, and throughout the ride I kept stealing a glance to see how she was coping with Stoney. I could see she was uncomfortable. Stoney was unmoved.

She signalled to get off the bus before the terminus downtown - the bus makes several stops on different streets before arriving at the end of its journey. I briefly glanced up at her as she was leaving, and as my eyes dropped...

He was glaring at me.

I'm not talking a casual glance. I am talking murderous hatred.

I dropped my eyes quickly and minded my own business, but I'm pretty sure my blood pressure shot through the roof. I made sure he got off the bus well ahead of me, I kept him in sight as long as I could when I did get off, I stayed well behind him. And when I lost sight of him, I took careful note of who was around me, to the point of spinning around every so often to see if anyone was behind me, till I made it to my bus shelter.

I would normally have sat down, but today I put my back to the glass corner and peered in every direction, watching every pedestrian, looking for a grey windbreaker jacket.

Finally, some people I recognized came into the shelter, a man with his small son, and a friend of theirs, who were chatting amiably - about break-ins at their local gas station. And then the father received some phone calls that amounted to a roofer coming to his house to give an estimate, him calling his wife at the house to let her know that the man in their driveway was the roofer and it was okay to let him in...

Fear is real and danger is everywhere. When my grandparents, who basically raised me, were young people, the world seemed safer. I've often wondered if they lived especially sheltered or naive lives. But I remember my grandmother's anxiety over finding a $2 bill at the grocery store. She tried to give it to the cashier, who said it wasn't hers, she tried the person in front of her and behind her, and no one would take it, so she'd had no choice other than to bring it home.

And it bothered her. For days! Till I visited her, laughed at her story and took the offending $2 off her hands.

In her day, one did not even touch money that didn't belong to you. That was personal integrity.

Robberies were shocking.

It was unheard of that a workman, coming to your home, might pose a threat to your safety.

In London, in the 1800s, Jack the Ripper held the world in terror. Now there are television shows on every night of the week that show in graphic gory detail scenes similar to the ones he left behind, and worse, and we are becoming accustomed to the horror of it.

A single venomous glance today had me looking up whether it is legal in Canada to carry a knife for purposes of self-defence, and considering taking a self-defence for old ladies course. I actually had tears seeping out while I was scouring the perimeter in the bus shelter and had to stop myself from calling Boyfriend or Husband to come and get me. Both of whom, by the way, would undoubtedly dismiss my fears as unfounded, ridiculous, mood-disorder-anxiety-driven, and, above all, silly.

Silly woman.

Saturday, April 15, 2017

The Suburban Cyclist (Hinterland Who's Who)

Like the return of the Geese, and the First Robin Redbreast, the appearance of the Suburban Cyclist is a harbinger of Spring in the Canadian Hinterlands.



This particular Suburban Cyclist is an adult female, well past her prime. There are many clues which give evidence of this. Note the baggy purple and pink plumage - it is in stark contrast to the svelt, darker, sleeker plumage sported by the young who are still of mating age. In those birds, you will see racing stripes and sometimes corporate logos, but you will most certainly see every curve and every cranny of the bird's body, to advertise to the opposite sex that it is ready to mate.

Not so with this particular bird. Its baggy jacket clearly indicates that it is well past breeding years. It is dressing for warmth and comfort, something the young never do.

Note also the cuffs of the bird's pants are rolled - if you were to suggest to a young bird that she roll her cuffs, she would roll her eyes at you. Only older birds roll their cuffs. It is an indication they are completely uninterested in mating.

Another clue as to the bird's age are the baskets on the rear of the bicycle, which in this case contain a bag of knitting.

Lastly you will note the heavy steel-frame of the bicycle, and the high-ride handlebars. These are clear indicators that the bird is well past her prime, and is not "showing off" for anyone while she is out riding. We do not know why this bird continues to ride, since she is obviously not seeking a mate, but we may surmise that it is out of habit, or perhaps even simply to get from A to B.

One oddity remains, the pleasant expression on the bird's face. Since she is not ready to mate, we have no explanation. Perhaps she is visiting her grandchildren.

For further information on the Suburban Cyclist, contact the Canadian Wildlife and Fisheries Service, 52 Sparks St., Ottawa.