Muttski Comes Home



$11.99 bouquet of delight

Somebody was missing the wee doggie, so I motored (as they said in all the old newspapers around here) over to Karen’s and picked him up. 

“If you want to come home with me,” I said to him, “go get in your kennel.” Which he promptly did. That dog has a large vocabulary. There was no pointing, no special tone of voice, nothing.

Her daughter is home from BC for a week or so and was busy upstairs, grooming dogs, for the first half-hour I was there. She’d brought her own dog along and when she joined her mother and me in the living room, Andi made herself right at home.


Danielle and Andi 2019

Andi, the big galoot, has been having some gas problems. Danielle’s been holding her nose all day.

Duckie April 2019 age 14

Duckie, age 14, seemed happy to get home and inspect his domain.











Beth: My goodness woman you look like a child in that photo.
My Hello Kitty pyjama bottoms fool everyone.

wisewebwoman: Lovely photos but those wood ticks are a worry indeed. Horrible things. You look so tiny, you hardly take up any space.
When I worked with my sister and her business partner at the funeral lunch last week, they called me the “tall” one and asked me to reach things down from the top shelf! I’m 5’4″ — short enough to curl up on a couch and appear small. I’ll be measured again at my annual checkup because this is three-quarters of an inch less than what I’ve always been and maybe the doctor’s office misread my height last spring. I just turned 60; I shouldn’t be getting shorter already, should I?

deb: It’s so nice to see your face. I’ve been doing a lot of that as well, holding my grandbaby. It’s a lovely feeling.
Being 9 or 10 hours away, we rely on videocalls between visits.

Teresa Bahlis: Congratulations on the latest addition to your family.
It sounds like they’re determined to get a boy by going for number three. We’ll see!

Lorna Cunningham-Rushton: Just reading this made me begin scratching head to toe. Luckily, I have some lemongrass lotion too. And I should never have put that before saying how lovely that baby looks. All our local kids are older than 6. Not much snuggling going on.
I just said to Scott that hmmm … we haven’t received any pictures for a few days … I bet Little Rose is changing fast. They have pretty much non-stop company lined up there for a while, so we will wait patiently in the knowledge that we will receive a photo update when her parents have a chance to breathe.
Here’s one taken when we were there. Little Eva, like most small children, likes to try on other people’s shoes. Here she’s wearing a pair of my Blundstones as she clicks some straps together on her stroller. She absolutely must join all fasteners everywhere:


My shoes get dusty on our gravel road, but should still look better than this after one trip through a cold-water wash.



Tick Talk Time


On the way to Calgary; looking forward from the back seat

Got the bad news the other day: brother Bruce, who lives a mile down the road, has already picked several “big fat ticks” off their dog Lucy. 

I immediately pulled my jar of lemongrass lotion out of the fridge, where it’s been stored since the fall, and began my two-or-three-times-during-the-day ritual of slathering it on neck,  shoulders, ears, wrists, ankles, lower back, belly, hips and thighs. That pretty much covers all the landing spots for wood ticks.

Then I sent an email to Laura, requesting another six jars to get me through the summer.

I shall now embark upon the wearing of my summer wardrobe: pants tucked into socks, collars turned up and buttoned up, long sleeves tightly fastened at the wrist. It sucks — and so do wood ticks.

There is still some snow on the ground, yet the wood ticks are out. Sickening.

I wondered if this year Scott would get some chickens to put in the coop, once it’s properly repaired. Last year they were fixing it up for pigs, but never completed the task and no pigs came to stay. Emil loves pigs and actually so do I.

Not that I like chickens or want chickens to look after, not that I care about eating chicken, not that I want to make Emil refuse to walk around anywhere in their vicinity (no idea why he avoids chickens; will not go near them), but because I’ve read that chickens will eat their weight in wood ticks. You can put an electric fence around them to keep predators at bay, and move it to various spots around your yard. This will probably not get done, as Farm Beau is too busy and I have no clue how to do any of it. Nor will I push it, as the thought of stepping in chickenshit while walking around the yard puts me off.


Lorna Cunningham-Rushton: I’m in awe of everything you and Scott have done to improve your place. Dave and I have been in this place for ten years and count ourselves genii to have painted the front hall and by ourselves I mean we paid the guy who actually did it

It’s all down to Scott. I’m just the cheering section and occasional consultant.

deb: Your granddaughters are both beautiful. The little one looks like she is in a milk coma.

You’re lucky to have a handy husband.

It does seem like he can fix just about anything.

wisewebwoman: My gawd, they’re both gorgeous, lucky you and loads of fun ahead. And often the work bubbling underneath us is never noted. You are lucky indeed, sounds like so much work was done.

When I put it all down “on paper” the other day, it made me realize … I need to make sure that man never runs out of oatmeal-raisin cookies. I made him some more yesterday. I should also include potatoes in our meals more often, just to keep him happy. I’m not there yet; still alternating them with rice and pasta because hey, it’s not all about the handyman! I eat too.

with little rose

‘Cause we only have eyes … for … you

with little rose in jammies

In our jammies to watch The Mule. We all went to bed when there was still a half-hour left, so don’t know how it ended.

Credit Where It’s Due

kali and her baby

Her mom and dad had us take this new doll and car-seat carrier to the hospital when bringing the baby home. Little Eva was thrilled to have her own baby to carry out.

Sometimes when it’s time to get off my ass and start moving, I delay by poking around on my directory page, reading blogs. Sometimes I look into the archive there to see what I was doing on this date years ago.

Comparing today to an entry in April 2009, I see that nothing has changed at the end of the driveway.

However, Scott has pretty much transformed the main floor of the house. He has removed closets and walls, installed new and larger windows as well as exterior doors, fixed ceilings and repainted every surface but the floor, removed all the carpet and put in new flooring throughout, and taken out the old kitchen cupboards and put in new. He also put in a new furnace and an air exchanger.


I’ve probably forgotten a few things.


That’s just the main floor; he also had to remove the concrete back step and build a new one with a small landing (the “deck” I take my coffee to on summer mornings), and jack up and repair the spacious porch that was an addition to the main structure. In the basement he’s fixed the concrete floor, taken out an old bedroom, built new stairs and added a water softener. Outside he’s put in a septic tank and a new well, had the lagoon filled in, reshingled our house and the Quonset, reinsulated the house and hired a machine to dig down all around the basement wall to add weeping tile, and had a power line buried and an electrician out to do some rewiring indoors.


He’s also paid for all this. Goodness, I really must show more appreciation. As he likes to remind me periodically. Hee!
leila harper rose

Little Rose all ready to go home.

Occasionally I get impatient because the siding hasn’t been put on yet though it has been chosen, purchased and stacked in one of the outbuildings for the last five years, waiting … and that as often as we say we’re going to get at the basement and at least haul out all the old musty shit (extreme moisture and sewer-and-water backup were frequent features of our first years here; Scott has made great strides in improving that situation as well), we never quite do.


Really I should be giving him a big sloppy thank you kiss every day for all the efforts he’s made already to make this house bright and comfortable. As my friend Cathy once said when we talked about Scott’s carpentering and general fix-it skills: “You don’t know how lucky you are, Kathy.”


Once in a while I do need to think straight. It’s all too easy to wish for more when you’ve already got a lot. Our house is small and basic but it’s now warm and dry and bright and it’s all thanks to him.

I wonder what the former owner would think if she ever stopped in. I often dream that I’m in a house I used to live in and am fascinated by all the ways it’s been renovated and changed. Also I’m usually worried about being caught inside the home, as the new owners never know I’m there.




wisewebwoman: You had the look of a thinker then and still do. No fool you, but then cunning can be “canny” i.e. knowing. Congrats on the new arrival, nothing like a baby to cuddle. I’m glad all went well.


They’re having no fun recovering from a caesarean or establishing breastfeeding, but at least the hospital part passed without serious complications and they are back home in their own environment to settle into the “more than double the trouble” life of two kids instead of one.

ernie shenanigan: 
Congrats! Sisters . . . so fun! Glad your drive was uneventful. Hoping for the same here. Just started driving to North Carolina from Chicago for my 11 yr old daughter’s World Championship Irish Dancing competition. 12 hour drive. I made my husband come. This is usimually my scene. I xannot drive that far as a solo driver. Hoping the other kids behave while we are gone.


What is it about those long drives that leaves one so exhausted at the end of the day, and again the next? We drove home Wednesday and not only did I have to drag my sorry ass early to bed, but I was good for nothing all the next day!– and thankful there was nothing on the agenda, because yesterday I helped prepare, serve, and clean up after a funeral lunch built for 250 people and we pounded our feet on a hard commercial floor for more than five hours. I like to be on the move like that but my back began complaining after the first two hours and my tootsies were aching even before we finished up. I might not’ve been adequately peppy without Thursday to lie about and “recuperate.” Jeez, you’d think I’d been ill … .

Hope you all enjoyed yourselves at the competition and your daughter had a good time.  Irish dancing always looks like fun.

And welcome, ‘Ernie.’ I haven’t seen you here before!

deb: Congratulations!


Thanks, Deb, and backatcha for your newborn grandson. I saw the photo of the two of you and wished I could ever look that good in a picture.
Last summer I bought a cute black picture frame at a garage sale. It said “The Girls” in sparkling letters and would be just right if there was a sister for Little Eva. Pregnant at the time, Mel expected a boy so I started thinking of who to pass on the frame to. She suggested it would still be usable for a photo of LE with her and me, though. (So obvious — why didn’t I think of it?)

Baby Picture Delayed


We got a surprise! Our daughter-in-law was convinced she was having a boy … but nope! Little Eva got a sister … a living doll. She was pretty excited about the wrapped wee bundle, hugging and kissing (and poking) the tiny face. She sat on her dad’s knee while he helped her “hold” the baby, and when Gunnar handed Baby to me, Little Eva wailed! I gave her back right promptly.

Of course it wasn’t long till Little Eva was off and running, checking out the hospital room, so I got my turn. I also had a good long hold the night before we left Calgary, when I didn’t put her down for several hours. If there is anything nicer than a newborn sleeping in your arms, tell me … what is it?

There isn’t anything.

We arrived home last night so I’m not completely unpacked and haven’t found the cord to transfer phone photos to the laptop, otherwise I’d post a proper “new baby” picture! In the meantime you’re stuck with this Throwback Thursday thing and what I have put on Instagram (see sidebar).

The headshots above: me in Grade One and a couple years ago. Do I not have just about the exact same look on my face? I remember a beau saying, when I was in my late teens or early twenties, that I appeared “cunning.” I didn’t appreciate that characterization, as it has shades of weaseliness. I gave him the benefit of the doubt because English was his second language; maybe he didn’t mean it in quite the way it sounded. I hope I don’t always look as if I’m plotting something.

In a photo of Emil at about age five, he had that SAME little “troublemaker” look: “Hm, wonder what I can get away with today?”


 Teresa Bahlis: I know!!!! Still plenty of snow here in Montreal. Slowest melt ever, good for those who live on the river and less risk of flooding. Freezing rain with snow on the way for today. OMG make it stop!

We got out of here just in time last Saturday to avoid terrible roads — snow and ice. We hit snow and rain on the first half of our drive but had no road problems, and coming back yesterday was a dream. Long — 10 hours — but good highway.

Lorna Cunningham-Rushton: So sweet

Is she ever. And busy. Busy, busy, busy.

wisewebwoman: She is so adorable! Can’t wait for your news! A very fine line and seriously if the butt isn’t enjoying it, stop.

That’s what I say: if the person you’re teasing isn’t laughing, why are you doing it? I say something similar to those who don’t respect the sensibilities of people who are bothered by certain political incorrectnesses. We aren’t always able to imagine ourselves in someone else’s shoes, naturally. But if those wearing the shoes say we’re saying things that are offensive to them, would it kill us to take them seriously and stop — without bitching because ooh, we didn’t mean anything by it?



A Waiting Game

Our Little Sweetheart

Photo taken a few weeks ago

We are waiting for our little babycake to wake up so we can feed and dress and cuddle her, all the while waiting for a call from the hospital to tell us the caesarean surgery has gone according to plan and Baby2 has been born strong and healthy.


deb:I can’t believe how much snow you still have. Ours is almost gone here in Edmonton, except for the low lying and shady areas. Still haven’t heard or seen a robin yet

And you guys had a LOT of snow this winter, didn’t you? We didn’t.

In my head was much LESS civil than you. Lawdie. One time a whole bowl of spaghetti on his head. I was young but still. He had engaged the kids in mocking me. (He just sat there – rolling his eyes at the kids, like see?). He would have called it teasing which is always bullying to me.
Ah well. We’ve had spring, I know – shocking we really haven’t had a winter like anywhere else. It just has to be climate change. Our summers are getting hotter too.

Some teasing does cross the line between goodnatured and passive-aggressive, and the teaser doesn’t cop to it when it’s pointed out. “Where’s your sense of humour?” they’ll say. Screw that. I’ll laugh when they say something funny. As long as I’m always the butt of the joke, it’s not as witty as the smartass insists it is. It gets tiresome. I notice such teasers don’t take it as a joke when s/he’s the one being teased.

Old Man Winter Won’t F Off

snowed again

You may not notice how the snow’s stuck to the west side of the trees, but it’s the reason I took this photo through our office window, overlooking Scott’s vegetable garden space.

I had to wear my ski pants, again, to go out to the barn. But I’m told the ducks are back, so there’s that. And I saw a robin yesterday.

I’m happy to report that it’s now been three months with only two “migraine” episodes each that required prescription medication. Also, the number of the migraines has reduced to four per month (two of which were managed by non-prescription Advil) from what has always been six to eight and no non-prescription drug ever helped at all.

Something good is going on here and it’s about damn time. Thirty years’ worth.

What am I doing right? I forgot to mention in February when I wrote about all the “maybe this, maybe that” things that could be making the difference (and I’ve kept them up), that since Christmas I’ve been wearing a pair of Voxx (?) sock liners that Karen gave me. I know, I know, their “technology” claims sound like snake oil, but … wearing them is one thing I’ve done consistently at the same time as the migraines and their intensity have dwindled.


Wisewebwoman: Yes saw it in January, OMG, one of the best musicals I’ve ever seen and I’m not alone in that as my US and Ontario peeps say the same. It is mind-blowing. I hope you get to see it. I can’t play the sound track without crying.
And your fellah sounds like a fellah I had. I was much more civil than you.

How is it possible to be more civil than a saint, now? LOL. I see he’s a fellah you had and that makes sense!

I’ll go see Come From Away, for sure, if there’s an opportunity. I love musicals, especially when they’re done professionally like that one. That whole story is beautiful — the way the Newfoundlanders stepped up — not with the bare minimum, and even that was an incredible feat, but with welcome and friendship and entertainment and every possible comfort they could think of. Just beautiful.

Good Thing You’re Pretty

east of wadena

East of Wadena, on my way home Sunday after driving Emil home from Everett’s at 7 p.m.

“Hello, Sir,” he said, arriving Chez Nous after his day’s work. I’d been at the hairdresser that morning and gotten a very short haircut. He ridicules all my haircuts and calls me names like “Beaker” — and I can see it, yes I can, for I have that kind of sticky-up, straight hair when it’s close-cropped, along with three cowlicks — and since I am in the habit of laughing at my own appearance in the mirror most days, especially in the morning, I don’t feel more than a modicum of chagrin. He’s being insensitive and unkind, sure, but … I reply, sometimes out loud and sometimes silently (as I’ve heard our eldest say to his wife when he’s irritated, and I think it’s so sensible), “It’s a good thing you’re pretty.”

When my beloved bitches about his own hair, I always tell him it looks fine and he’s as handsome as ever, regardless of what his excellent head of hair is doing. For I, in case you don’t know it, am a friggin’ saint. Actually his hair never looks bad, to me, so I’m not being kind. I’m being truthful.


Wisewebwoman: I totally get you. I am looking for this rather lovely bowl that had a blue glaze on the outside and a terracotta on the inside that was perfect for tossing salads. I am demented as it was one of those one of a kinds and I packed it in tea towels when moving and not a whisper of it since. I am enraged at me. And frustrated as these things happen far too often. I feel like chaining everything to my waist and dragging it around like some mad character in a play.

It seems like there is always one item that gets lost in a move, no matter how careful you are or even if you’ve done all the packing and carrying yourself.

Wisewebwoman: I love how freshly starched those clothes appear on the wee ones. I hope your aunt gets better soon and your wee corner had tears spring to my eyes.

Mom said Grandma was fussy about the appearance of her daughters.

Say, weren’t you to attend Come From Away in January?