… And Dessert

Wait for the end … wait for it …

 

Table Manners Too

Remember they guy who made that mind-boggling ‘pass the pepper’ machine?

Well, before that he wanted the salt …

 

Having My Head Examined – Part 2

Part 1 – HERE

Pumpkin pie notwithstanding, the actual visit was … an experience.

Have you ever seen the poster by Gottfried Heinwein, called ‘The Boulevard of Broken Dreams’, wherein he reworked Edward Hopper’s ‘Nighthawks at the Diner’ with Humphrey Bogart, Marilyn Monroe, James Dean, and Elvis Presley, instead of the original characters?

Boulevard of Broken Dreams

Boulevard of Broken Dreams

I’ve been in and out of hospital, (takes off shoes and socks to count) somewhere in the order of fifteen times in my adult life. All of those visits have been for surgeries to my knee with a few tagged on the end there for my thyroid cancer.

Almost every hospital, (on two continents) had a large entrance or atrium, where there’s usually a coffee shop, a directory, the elevators, a few clusters of faux-comfy chairs, that sort of thing … I’ve always thought of these areas as a sort of ‘boulevard of broken bodies’, because inevitably there would be a smattering of all sorts of body’s, in all sorts of stages of repair and disrepair scattered throughout.

The energy of broken and mending people is hard to be around sometimes. When I think of the thousands of people who have moved through those halls and rooms, all with their fears and pain and terror, it’s almost possible the hear the walls themselves screaming to be released from it all.

This miasma isn’t noticeable to the casual observer, and if loins are suitably girded, one simply feels a sense of relief when one leaves.

My loins were not sufficiently girded. I was already emotionally off-balance. (for reasons mentioned in Part 1)

Throw into the mix, having to wear a mask, (being mid-range-deaf and everyone else is wearing masks too so I can’t lip-read as I usually do and I certainly can’t decode their mufflings without a universal translator) the whole ‘boulevard’ thing, and add an eerie dose of those halls of medicament being damn-near deserted just to top it all off.

I gotta tell you, I was so far out of my skin (read ‘comfort zone) I could’ve been orbiting Jupiter and I wouldn’t’ve been able to tell the difference.

Normally I’m easy-going, but nothing’s ‘normal’ anymore, is it?

By comparison, the CT scan itself was the epitome of horizontalised boringness.

On the way home I blathered on to Mrs Widds about all of the above, and as good listeners (and, hopefully, all spouses) are wont to do, she made supportive noises in all the right places and offered up her wisdoms when I finally ran out of steam.

12 days later, though, and the hospital STILL hasn’t sent its report to my GP. (as of today 22nd October)

Teh STAREZ of DOOM

Teh STAREZ of DOOM

On the up side, a cold front is dragging lots of chilly air down from the Arctic this weekend, so we might even see some early snow …. and we all know how I feel about snow!

SNOW!!!

SNOW!!!

Our road, January 2017 - Oh, how so long ago that seems

Our road, January 2017 – Oh, how so long ago that seems

Mrs Widds Bakes: Pumpkin Pie

As promised.

This is the recipe for just the filling, which is the most important part. The pie shell is (mostly) just to keep the filling from glooping all over your oven while it bakes.

Mind you, Mrs Widds pastry is spectacular all by itself, but, if you’re not a pastry person, or if you don’t have a Mrs Widds of your very own, a store-bought pie shell will suffice. (although, now that I read it, this recipe calls for an unbaked pie shell – I have no idea if such a creature exists in stores. You’re on your own there)

Herewith be the magic recipe book … (it’s been around the block a few times)

Published in 1960! I'm only two years older than this book. How wonderful is that!!!

Published in 1960! I’m only two years older than this book. How wonderful is that!!!

This recipe has been used so many times the page actually smells like pumpkin pie …

Can you smell that tantalising aroma from there?

Can you smell that tantalising aroma from there?

Pumpkin Pie filling:

1 1/2 cups of canned or mashed cooked pumpkin (we repurpose our Halloween pumpkin and once it’s all nice and cooked and mushy we freeze it in freezer bags with about 2 cups per bag)

3/4 cups of sugar

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 to 1 1/4 teaspoon of cinnamon

1/2 to 1 teaspoon of ginger

1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon of nutmeg

1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon of cloves

3 slightly beaten eggs

1 to 1 1/4 cups milk

1 6oz can (2/3 cup) of evaporated milk

1 9″ (22cm) unbaked pastry shell

 

Thoroughly combine pumpkin, sugar, salt, and spices.

Blend in eggs, milk, and evaporated milk.

Pour the mixture into the pastry shell. (crimp the edges high – filling is generous)

Bake at 400°F for 50 minutes, or until a knife inserted halfway between the center and the edge comes out clean.

Cool.

Eat.

Go back for seconds.

Possibly thirds.

As you become familiar with the recipe you can adjust the sugar and spices to taste, and if you want any of the other recipes on the page just enlarge the picture.

Having My Head Examined – Part 1

So, you know that 10-day trailer holiday we just had? … well, I came home to a way too long list of friends who were at the very dire end of cancer diagnoses. This, as you might’ve guessed was firmly in the ‘not fun’ category of ‘things to learn immediately after one returns home from holidays’.

However, this sort of thing gets one to contemplating Mortality and the Universe, and Everything … especially when one has a CT scan scheduled a mere ten days later.

Migraines and vertigo do not friendly bedfellows make, and my GP and I, (said in a very proper British accent) … my GP and I, had decided that an elimination process was in order, so off to hospital I headed last Saturday (10th) for a CT scan of my noggin.

I’d like to think the inside of my brain looks something like this …

An Owl-ish laser-like focus

An Owl-ish laser-like focus

… but it probably looks like this …

Demented flea, on speed

Demented flea, on speed

… back to my story …

The last time I had a scan of a part of my body, a mere ultrasound of my shoulder, I ended up discovering I had cancer. (in my case, thanks to that non-related shoulder scan, my cancer was caught early, surgically removed, and with a hefty dose of radiation, never-no-more was see  again)

That series of fortuitous events, combined with my friend’s recent dire news got me to wondering … in just a little hyperactive (and somewhat hypochondriac-al) part of my mind … what else, completely unrelated to those migraine/vertigo bedfellows, my CT scan might reveal.

After restraining the urge to roll my eyes, I tried to calm that wee bit of my psyche down by telling it that all the scan will show is what’s already there, or not there, as the case may be … which didn’t help … so we overindulged in Mrs Widds absolutely most fabulous pumpkin pie … which did.

So, my friends, in these times of momentous (some good, some not-so-good, and some terrible) changes, when all else fails to soothe the savage psyche, eat pumpkin pie.

-oOo-

If there was something serious I would’ve heard from my GP by now so I’m not too concerned.

-oOo-

As always the images I use are my own, or are clipart, are otherwise attributed, or are artist unknown. These ones are ‘artist unknown’.

Cue The Sheepish Puns …

The Epitome of, ‘If It Ain’t Broke’, Has Finally Arrived

Yes folks, the ‘new and improved’ WordPress block editor has finally been imposed on my dashboard. (I’m just very glad I got my last post published before they did the deed)

I will now go forth and joust with this new beast until I get it to work how I want it to work. (because sooner or later it will be the one we’ll all have to be using) I did say at the beginning of this whole affair, and after initially checking it out, that I would wait until this moment to go anywhere near it … and here I am.

In the meantime, there are still a couple of workarounds out there that will enable me to post as I normally do while I figure this shit out.

Chris, at The Story Reading Ape has a post up that spells it out. Go there, and if you need ’em, see if the workarounds work for you.

2020 is the year the entire world had to change what had gone before. I guess WordPress didn’t want to be left out.

I leave you with the immortal words of this cute kitten I found in my ‘Clip Art’ file …

UPDATE: Beetlepete has some more info on workarounds

A Perfect Ten, Finale – 2010: Beginnings and Endings

Well, here we are, at the beginning.

It was quite a decade, and it’s been an interesting exercise revisiting it via, firstly, my Great Blog Post Emendation, and thence on to these ‘one-per-year’ posts.

In looking back, I’ve found my line-of-sight swinging towards, not only the present, but the future also. A future that is occluded by Covid-19 – as it is for all of us – but also has some threads weaving in and out of the mists that I can tug on and feel their energy pulling me forth.

Going on our trip-ette for ten days was the perfect way to end these last ten years, to give myself time to, as I said at the end of my last post, stare at the scenery and drink tea … which I did … both, in copious quantities.

I had fine ideas of doing some deep spiritual work, of writing down a few outlines (vague outlines, ‘cos I’m a dyed-in-the-wool ‘pantser’*) of the stories that are percolating underneath the attic stairs in the back of my mind, of brainstorming the, Covid-19-revised, future of ‘The Wunder-Lusters’, and many other things too numerous to mention. To give myself credit I had allowed the first five days to do the ‘scenery and tea’ bit, but after that I’d planned to get to work.

Yeah … about that plan … it was obvious by the first weekend that none of the above list of things was going to happen. I didn’t even get my camera out until we were almost at the end of our time there.

The first three days were still smoke-raddled by the capricious winds blowing up from the fires in the U.S. The next couple of days were filled with glorious blue skies and brisk winds … which got steadily stronger, and stronger and blew in thunderous storm clouds and rain … and more rain, and still more rain … that had reduced itself to occasional showers by the time we left.

Since getting home, late on Sunday afternoon, we’ve had nothing but sunshine … ain’t life twisty like that?

However, herewith, as promised, some photos and first ever videos of the (also first ever) official, Wunder-Lusters Adventure …

This is the view from where I sat under the trailer awning, all bundled up, sipping my tea, and listening to the rain.

 

And this made me smile …

A Puff of Dragon's Breath Cloud - busy with things to do and people to see

A Puff of Dragon’s Breath Cloud – busy with things to do and people to see

A little white cloud that had far greater ambitions than I …

(A bit wibbly-wobbly because of a stiff tripod. I ‘hand-held’ the rest, but I’m going to have to work through my equipment list poste-haste)

We did go for walks along the beach in-between the rain-showers and rain-deluges.

Very fine silt sand drifted between an endless vista of the most, pick-up-and-put-in-your-pocket-river-tumbled stones, I’ve seen for a good many years.

 

I have a selection of very special ones with me as I write this. I also picked up a piece of driftwood that caught my Attention. I don’t know, yet, what the stones and the wood will do, but they’ll make their opinions on the topic known when they’re ready, of that I’m sure.

The transition between sunshine and stormclouds happened in a matter of moments. Not long after I filmed this, another deluge descended upon us …

 

It was cold that night. I even tucked myself into bed with an extra hot water bottle. (a few things, among many, to make sure you have when camping, whatever you’re camping in – duct tape, wire, and an extra hot water bottle)

The next morning, I spied my most favourite weather event in the entire world

SNOW!!!

SNOW!!!

Of course Cheam Mountain is over 2000 meters high, and our campground sat at 23 meters, but still … SNOW!!!

Up close and personal

Up close and personal

And this is what she looks like, from another angle, when she’s really got her groove on, courtesy of Wikipedia and the photographer, Jack Borno …

Cheam_Peak by Jack Borno

Cheam_Peak by Jack Borno

It turns out I did think deep thoughts about ‘The Wunder-Lusters’, and Spirituality, and writing, and the Universe and Everything, but just not how I envisioned it before I started … life’s twisty like that.

-oOo-

We stayed at the Cheam Fishing VIllage and Campground (where the Stó:lō, the People of the River, have fished for 10,000 years) in Agassiz. They’re closed for the year now, but if you’re ever in the neighbourhood check them out.

* ‘pantser’ – a writer who writes her stories by the ‘seat-of-her-pants’, making it up as she goes along, as it were … as opposed to a ‘plotter’, who outlines the story ‘plot’ to varying degrees of detail before she starts in on the meat of it.

A Perfect Ten – 2011

Continuing my countdown to my blog’s 10th Anniversary on 27th September this year, I’m revisiting what I posted on or around that date each year.

The world was a very different place in 2011 … although, the genesis of where we are now was alive and well back then, for those who had eyes to see.

Still, an entire blog post about Autumn colours and rain, and tiny birds is a wondrous thing.

My ability to see things so simply feels as though it’s been eroded almost down to nothing this year. (on a planet of 8 billion-ish people, I’m probably not the only one)

I could list the crises, but we all know them by heart now don’t we?

So I’m not going to. I’m going to tell you what I’m doing right now, (apart from writing this post that is) and we’ll see where that takes my thoughts.

I’m listening to some ambient music on YouTube by ‘Calmed by Nature’ This piece is called … actually, I’ll embed it below and you can have a listen for yourself.

I finished the last of the renovations (that I mentioned in my ‘2013’ post) to our travel-trailer a few hours ago, and we’ve been packing and putting things in place since then, (we’re both knackered, and I don’t think my knees are going to speak to me for a while) because our ‘trial run/retreat/mini holiday, starts tomorrow afternoon.

We’ll be gone for ten days, (getting back on the 27th – a friend is looking after our home and collect all the late season tomatoes that are only now starting to ripen – ain’t it the way!) so I won’t be around at all for that time, (I’ll be around for a bit tomorrow morning) but I’m planning to take photos and perhaps tinker with a video or two for my final post in this ‘Perfect Ten’ series – we shall see.

The only time I’m going to turn the laptop on is to download the above-mentioned images from my trusty little phone to my external hard drive.

I have paper and pencils and pens in abundance, to tempt my creative palate, and a few books on the side, for seasoning … but mostly I think I’m going to sit and stare at the scenery, and drink tea.

A Perfect Ten – 2012

Continuing my countdown to my blog’s 10th Anniversary on 27th September this year, I’m revisiting what I posted on or around that date each year.

27th September 2012 – My second Blog-O-Versary, in which I praise those who lifted me up in my blogging endeavours.

For as long as I can remember throughout my childhood and teens, there’s was no-one, really, who I could honestly say, ‘lifted me up’.

My parents, I assume, were trying, but they both managed to break themselves in different ways, long before I came along.

During my short tenure at school, ( I had to leave when I was 14 and get a job – lied about my age – in order to survive) using words of more than two syllables, and conversation starters about space exploration, were frowned upon.

As a teen and young adult my demeanour didn’t help. I looked confident, competent, albeit a little quiet and reserved. This was how I protected myself. Voracious reading gave me a breadth of knowledge that I could draw on, as required, in any given social occasion.

I … managed.

It wasn’t until my mid twenties that I first encountered people who understood and acted from the principle of ‘lifting others up.’

What a revelation.

Since then I have been the lift-ee, more times than I can count, and an equally uncountable number of times I have been the lift-er. Sometimes there were agendas and sometimes there were ‘just because’s’, but each time, someone moved a little ahead on their Path.

These days, I am confident, competent, albeit a little quiet and reserved, with a not-so-deeply-hidden, twisty sense of humour. There are times, of course, where the old patterns rise from my memories, but they don’t stick around for long, I’m wise to their shenanigans now.