December 24, 2011

Christmas musings

It's here.  Christmas has come around once again. 

This will probably be the last year - or close to it - that the little guy still believes in the mystery of Santa Claus.  That means we're more excited than ever to make it special for him. 

Earlier this summer he lost his DS and we told him to be good and we might get him one for Christmas.  So there is a DS under the tree and he's going to be really happy to see it.  Not only that, but my sister-in-law got him a Wii.  We are not sure what he'll want to play with first but he's going to be just beside himself. 

Aside the from the truly fun kid stuff, my strange child will be equally; excited to get his own tape dispenser and stapler.  He's funny like that. 

We are more excited than him, I think.  The anticipation of seeing his sweet little face light up at the sight of the gift-laden tree...I can't wait. 

So my sister-in-law came early today and, bless her, brought wine!  It's been so long since I had a few drinks that the first glass slid down pretty quick and set my head to spinning a little.  I figured it might be better to stick a little more food in the belly before drinking any more because I can only imagine me hobbling around on crutches while I'm muzzy-headed.  It's hard enough to get around on the crutches when I'm sober! 

Now that dinner's over, we're relaxing and watching White Christmas.  Nothing says Christmas like Bing Crosby.  What a loss to entertainment when he died!  He was always the voice of Christmas, but I have to say that in recent years Michael Buble has made himself the new voice!  I could listen to him sing the phone book. 

So I'm sitting here and wondering how soon we can get the little guy to bed and to sleep.  I'm tired and I am pretty sure my hubby is too.  We were up until 2:30 this morning in a marathon of wrapping.  It's all good though. 

Christmas is truly my favourite time of year, more so now that I have a son to enjoy it with.  I wish everyone a safe and happy holiday season.  Spend time with family.  Call your friends.  Don't drink and drive. 

December 02, 2011

What's in a name?

I have been cursed with a unique name. 

It was the bane of my existence as a kid because I was too shy to correct teachers - or anyone else for that matter - when they pronounced it wrong. 

Nuala...pronounced as "new-la" an old Irish name.  The funny thing is that I am not Irish.  Not even close.  My dad is French-Canadian and my mother is native.  Makes me Metis.  What happened is that when my mother was pregnant on me, she was convinced I was a boy.  Consequently she only had boy's names picked out.  As she went into labour my dad asked, "What if it's a girl?".  So they named me after one of their good friends at the time, who is most definitely Irish and 50 years after being in Canada still sounds as if she's just off the boat.  The true irony to my life is that I married into an Irish family, my mother-in-law being from Belfast and my father-in-law being from Ireland by way of England.  When our son was born, we named him Fynn, another good Irish name.  So now I have an Irish first name, Irish last name and I'm not even remotely Irish.  Quit laughing, eh? 

One thing that I've always wanted, but have never actually had, is a good nickname.  Most people - like my husband - think my name is so neat that they prefer to call me by that rather than tag me with a nickname.  Some have tried over the years, but none has stuck.  My dad called me BooBoo when I was a little girl.  Nasty nicknames resulted in grade school from kids that were making fun of my name.  My family has always shortened my name to "Nual" (sounding like newel).  Some friends have come up with "Nuals" (sounding like newels).  In high school I was called "Vanilla" by one guy who played in the band with me.  He thought it kind of rhymed with Nuala and since he also happened to be black, he found it really funny. 

Surprisingly, or maybe not, the men in my life have been consistent in their nickname attempts.  One called me "AJ" (as in A.J. Foyt the race driver).  Another called me "Mario" (as in Mario Andretti, another race driver).  Yet another called me "Stirling" (as in Stirling Moss, the race driver).  Do you see the trend?  Yes, I have a heavy foot, but that's another discussion entirely.  Two men came up with "BooBoo" (not sure I see the reasons but that's what they called me however briefly) and one called me "babe" or "babes".  Not too original, but it is what it is.  But nothing ever sticks.  They - the men - are singular in their nicknaming.  More of a pet name really than a nickname because no-one else ever picked up on these names and started using them as applied to me. 

I don't even know what I would suggest if someone were to want to use a nickname for me.  I like to cook; should they call me "chef"?  I'm a fountain of trivial knowledge; should they call me "Einstein"?  I do drive fast; perhaps "Lightning McQueen" would be more apropos. 

I probably wouldn't even be obsessing over it except that in the rural area where I live, it seemed to me at first (and sometimes still) that nobody has an actual name.  The guy that moved our pool table when we had a flood was called "Dude".  One of our acquaintances is called "Claude" and another "Bugsy".  Our biker pals have names like "Hayburner", "Flash", "Boomer", "Chico", "Weiner", and "Gator".  I knew some of these guys for years before finding out their real names! 

Of course, you always have to be careful what you wish for.  One of our biker pals was nicked as "Kodak" but when he showed up at the clubhouse on clean-up day with his own vacuum and cleaning stuff, someone commented, "look at the girly man" and it stuck.  He's been known as Girly Man ever since.  He tried to shake it for years before giving in and embracing it - even going so far as to label his homemade wine as "GM Wines". 

Since I've been getting around on crutches for about three months now, some have been calling me "Hop-Along".  I'm not answering.  There's got to be a better name than that!  How about "Nuala"? 

November 21, 2011

Getting crafty now

Twelve years ago my husband agreed that we could have one child.  We made this deal after he'd had six months to consider whether he wanted children.  After all, he was already in his 40's at the time and children may not have been on his mind.  So after he said yes to having one, I decided it was time I finally learned to crochet so I could make stuff for our little one. 

A friend of my mother is left-handed (like me) and she agreed to show me the basics.  I trekked to the city, picked up my mother and we went to visit her friend.  A few hours later I had the basics - chain stitch, single crochet, double crochet and finishing off.  So I bought some books, some hooks, and some yarn and set off on my new adventure. 

I've made many things since those first few months.  I've managed to increase my skill and speed to the point where I feel I can make just about anything. 

 A lovely ripple afghan - my first blanket made - that I made for a friend who was having her first baby.  The ripples are graduations of pink, white, and green.  It's made with two strands of white held together, then drop one at end of a row, pick up one pink and drop other white at end of row, pick up second pink, then reverse until back to a row of white/white.  Same process with the green and keep going. 
A doily from a pattern called "Circle of Friends".  I kept this one for myself.  I want to make some more for some of my dear friends, but the pattern is flawed and I'll need to write down how I fixed it.  I showed this doily at the local fair and won first prize with it.

 After three boys, my friend was assured this one was a girl so I made a pink blanket with giraffes on it.  Her daughter carried it everywhere and when she started school, I made a small facecloth sized one with one giraffe on it for her to bring along.  

Another baby afghan, but this time made for my brother and his wife's new little one.  This is made with a variegated yarn (two strands together) in a waffle pattern. 
When my niece announced she was expecting, I made this cute little tumbling bears afghan from granny squares.  Very time consuming to sew it all together.  I think if I make this one again, I'm going to crochet the squares together. 

When my same niece as mentioned above was a little girl, I made this "southern belle" Barbie for her.  It's made from peach coloured thread with yellow trim and accents.  My original plan had been to make one for each of our nieces (four at the time) and when this one took me three months to finish (working on it constantly) I nixed the other three and this was the only one completed.  I subsequently sold the pattern book on ebay to eliminate temptation to make it again.

Of course there are lots of other things I've made like Christmas wreaths for some friends, a Lord's Prayer wall hanging for my dad and step-mother and countless dishcloths and potholders. 

These days, since I am still off my feet, I've been working busily with the hook and yarn.  I've made a bunch more potholders for my foodie friends, a rainbow coloured tablecloth for my dad and step-mother, some lovely doilies, and several large granny-style squares. 

The granny squares are part of a swap I'm involved in.  Several years ago while searching online for free patterns, I stumbled across a website where I could sign up to participate in swaps.  The idea is that you pick one being done in colours you might like (my first was "stained glass" using multi-coloured yarns edged in black).  The swap organizer posts details like colours to use, size of square and date to be done by.  You send them an email to sign up and at the start date you receive a note telling you how many squares to make.  For example, you might have to make two squares for each person in the swap and each square has to be eight inches.  If there are 20 people in the swap, you make 40 squares - two for every participant, including yourself.  Send your completed squares to the organizer together with the money for her to return the box to you.  She sorts out the squares so everyone has some of everyone else's and then sends your box back filled with squares from everyone else. 

Getting that box in the mail is like Christmas.  You open it up and excitedly tear through it to see what you got.  Lots of times swappers will include a little note about themselves together with a pattern too.  It's fun.  I've done five of these swaps now.  You put all the squares together and voila, you have an afghan. 

Check out the site here... ... it should open in a new window for you. 

Well I'm off again.  Still have a few projects I'm working on and my latest swap of "the greens" - 12" squares in green.  Cheers.

November 15, 2011

What makes daytime television successful?

I'm positive that there must be something there.  I've been watching television during the day on and off for weeks now.  The thing is, I can't find anything to recommend it. 

I don't want to impugn the intelligence of the daytime tv viewer, but I can't see how anyone who actually uses their head as more than a hat rack can actually watch more than an hour a day.  Follow me here...

Soap operas - Old format, stale storylines, even some of the actors look like they've been on the same show in the same role for fifty years. 

Talk shows - Not your old Mike Douglas or Phil Donohue.  Nowadays you've got Springer and other sensationalist type of programs.  They actually advertise for the freaks that appear on their shows - "Are you or someone you know a drug addict?" or "Are you sure you're really the father of your children?" 

"Reality" shows - Here's where I have a real problem.  I actually like reality shows like Battle of the Blades, Iron Chef, Survivor, Amazing Race.  But there are so many cheap, quick and dirty knockoffs out there now it's ridiculous.  There's Storage Wars, Cupcake Girls, Keeping up with the Kardashians, and the list goes on.  Is there nothing that won't become a reality show these days?  Why not one called "That Time of the Month", or "What Really Happens in the Garage".  How about "Homework Blues"?  Or my personal favourite potential new show "My Dog Has Fleas". 

News programs - Need I say more?  Snore. 

About the best chance of actual interesting viewing is on channels like The Learning Channel, Discovery Channel, Food Network, Space Channel and Spike (because it shows reruns of shows like CSI). 

Fortunately, we have satellite so I can actually listen to radio channels like "Rock of the Rock" from Newfoundland and when radio programming gets repetitive, there are dozens of Galaxy music channels.  I can listen to anything from big band to baroque. 

So I guess to answer my original question, the short answer is that what makes daytime television successful are the multitudes of people that can't think independently and come up with something better to do.  I have to go now, Oprah is on... LOL

November 10, 2011

Requiem for a Rabbit

Poor Bugs.  We barely met him and he was gone. 

When my husband and son went to check on Bugs and give him more food and water, Bugs had died. 

That is sad for a number of reasons.  The person that dropped him off will never know that they condemned their former pet to death.  The coworker of my husband that was willing to take him into her home will now miss having Bugs.  My son now needs an explanation of what happened since he's only seven years old and death has not had much impact on his young life yet. 

As to what happened to Bugs, we can only speculate.  Based on my husband's observations of Bugs' behaviour, we believe he may have been stunned, either by a brush with a car or perhaps by the original tossing from a vehicle.  Either way, he was leaning to the left as he ran in circles. 

Another possibility is that Bugs simply succumbed to exposure.  After all, he was likely outside in the cold for at least two nights and days.  That's harsh for a former indoor pet. 

Either way, Bugs now rests in his cardboard coffin and will have a ceremonial burial on the weekend.  Poor bunny.  I'm so sorry that life didn't happen the way it should have for you.  Rest in peace little bunny. 

November 09, 2011

A common problem when you live in the country

I remember when I was a kid and we had this cute little white Maltese dog named "Snowball" - yeah, it was original.  Anyway, Snowball and the mailman had a real hate relationship.  The dog was your typical little barky ankle-biter and the mailman was in the wrong profession.  He was terrified of anything on four legs no matter what size.  So one day when he passed our little dog out on its line and Snowball started barking, the mailman sprayed Snowball with mace.

Some time later, my little brother was walking the dog down the street and when Snowball sighted the mailman a little ways up the block, he yanked the leash from my brother's hand, raced up the block, and bit the mailman.  (I would have bitten him too if he'd sprayed me with mace.)  So the arms of the law determined that our little dog had to go.  I'm sure it broke my dad's heart to take this beloved family pet away from three crying children, but he placated us by saying "Snowball is going to live in the country.  He'll be okay."

Now that I actually live in the country, I've come to understand what happened all those almost 40 or so years ago.

Since moving out to the lovely countryside, we've had to put down a kitten that had maggots feeding on it.  The poor thing was far too young to be away from momma kitty and was starving to death.  Our vet showed true compassion in taking it from its misery.  I agreed to bury it on our property and he only ended up charging me half the usual price for the service.

Another time we sheltered a dog in our garden shed for a couple of weeks.  She was very skittish and had obviously had a litter of puppies within the past few months.  It was in December and I put out the pillow we still had from our own dog who had passed away the previous year.  From an upstairs side window I observed "Lucky" as we'd taken to calling her actually huddling into the big pillow and resting.  She would scare off each morning as my husband left for work, but I'd use the moment to put out a dish of water and food for her.  I'd hoped to get her comfortable enough to adopt us, but one day just before Christmas, she left and never came back.

We've also experienced our share of full-grown cats coming around.  Last spring we had a friendly orange tabby hanging around.  He'd come to the deck door and although he never came inside, he would eat from my hand, and even let me pick him up.

Our most recent visitor is a most unusual one.  A couple of nights ago my husband encountered a rabbit in the driveway.  He was surprised that it didn't take off when it saw him, but carefully backed away from the rabbit and left it be.  Well, Bugs Bunny was narrowly rescued from being ripped apart by our dog and the dog belonging to my husband's best friend the next day.  The dogs - remarkably - listened when the two men shouted at them to stop.  My husband's friend scooped up Bugs and they've got him set up in the dog crate in the shop.  We're not keeping a rabbit, so Bugs needs a home.

I'm not against adopting drive-by strays.  When my son was six months old he and I went to visit my folks for Thanksgiving since my husband had to work that weekend.  As we sat in their backyard (they also lived in the country), with me having the little guy sitting on my knee, this pretty grey cat jumped into my lap and started nuzzling me, then settled down and curled up between my stomach and my son's back.

My dad told me that the cat was a stray and had been hanging around for months, living off birds and mice.  So after talking with my husband about the cat, it was decided she could come home with the little guy and me.  We lured her into the garage with a can of salmon and in the morning we taped her into a box with some air holes and put her into my car for the long trip home.  She's still with us seven years later.

I can't remember when I made the connection, but we'd been living in our current spot a few years when I asked my dad about the times our pets had "gone to live in the country".  He reluctantly admitted that he'd done just the same thing...driving to the countryside, picking a spot near water and/or water supply like a stream or pond, let the pet out and then left them behind.  I like to think that Snowball got lucky and found a family that took him in, keeping him as a loving pet for years.  The alternatives - coyotes, starvation, even cars - are too horrible to contemplate.

November 08, 2011

A new cast on life

The trip to the emergency department paid off.  They removed the old cast and discovered that I was right!  Yes, I was right.  My foot had permanent contact with the cast in a couple of places, basically pushing the skin against bone and not allowing any circulation.  The new cast is much improved. 

But riddle me this Batman, why is it that I have to repeat the details to each new individual that looks at me in the hospital?  Do you people not talk to each other?  You can't or couldn't be bothered to read the file?  Or was my story not even written down to begin with?  Yes, fun times in the emergency room. 

So I'm back in bed, foot up, and listening to the seasonal sounds of the deer hunt.  The weather is nice - warmer than it should be for this time of year - so it's nice to have the window open and enjoy the outdoors since I can't actually go out right now. 

November 07, 2011

Is it the cast or just me?

I'm heading off to emergency this morning with my husband.  It's been six days since the surgery and, while I've never personally been in a cast before, I'm pretty sure that the pain shouldn't be getting worse.  My poor ankles feel like they are being crushed in a vice of concrete blocks.  As my husband pointed out, the surgery was the bottom of my foot - not the ankles!  It's getting so I don't want to get up to go to the bathroom because the pain of blood rushing to my foot makes me either want to puke or pass out.  Neither option really appeals.  Hmm...I wonder how good and effective those adult diapers really are?  Nah, couldn't do that. 

But onto a happier report, it's been almost a week and I don't really need the pain meds anymore.  The foot itself is feeling much better. 

It's early here.  My husband is getting our son up and ready for school.  I'm pretty warm right now and could use some fresh air, so I'm going to scoot up the bed so I can reach the window and open it a bit.  I will have air and be able to listen to the river while the world around me starts its day. 

November 05, 2011


So here I am, with loads of time to kill.  I decided to start a blog.

It's been on my mind for some time, but now I've got the time.  Back on September 21st I fell and broke my foot.  We didn't know at the time how seriously it was damaged.  The first x-rays at emergency were not conclusive.  A week later, after follow-up x-rays, I was assured nothing was broken or fractured.  Another week after that my family doctor was concerned about the difference between what I was told and the written report he received, and the fact that I was still in a lot of pain.  So at the end of week 3, I had a CT scan which confirmed that I'd seriously broken my foot.  Ten days after that I saw a specialist and on November 1st I had surgery. 

So here I am, with loads of time to kill.  My foot is up in the air, television is...well...television, and I figured this would be a fun way to pass the time and finally get the blog started.