Tossed Salad

Sending sister Karen the caterer pics of my green Tupperware bowl, asking how many heads of lettuce I’ll need to fill it with tossed salad for Scott’s mom’s 80th birthday supper tomorrow.

Hard to tell size from photos. Karen eventually tells me that it says on the bottom what size the bowl is. Mine holds 46 cups. Four or five heads of lettuce, she says.

It won’t be anything fancy. Lettuce, cucumbers, celery, green onions, radishes, cherry tomatoes. I might throw in a handful of coconut, a few raisins, and some tiny chunks of cheddar. We’ll see.

That’s to be my contribution to the meal tomorrow. I’m not sure yet whether I’ll actually attend. Sunday and Monday are Everett’s days off and I want to be helping him pack, move, and clean the rental. And let’s face it: a house full of people is not a place I enjoy being for more than five minutes, and with more than 50 other guests I doubt I’ll be missed. Again, we’ll see.

Emil is here and he loves that sort of thing, while I avoid group gatherings more and more as the years go by. Or I make myself stay only two hours if I can; my god I am turning into Dad, who generally jumps up and goes home right after a meal — and hey I don’t think that’s a bad thing — who doesn’t prefer a guest who leaves early, anyway? Hee! God that sounds terrible. I don’t really mean it. But I please myself instead of doing things I imagine are expected by others. I don’t want to offend them, but I want to offend myself even less.

I love my mother-in-law, who is a dear, and wouldn’t want to hurt her feelings. On the other hand, how important is it to her or to Scott that I am there? Unless they are doing family photos — which they probably will — I don’t think my absence should matter. I have a good reason for being elsewhere. I’d prefer to make a brief appearance, give a royal wave, and get back to helping Everett. “Time is of the essence,” as the saying goes.

It was still not warm enough, when I got up at nine this morning and stepped outside, to have coffee on the step. I look forward to those days of summer. The wind remains icy.

My plan for today is to finally get at the perennial beds and clean off last year’s dead stalks. But first I’ll tuck my pants into my socks, my shirt into my pants, put up the collar, button the cuffs, pop on a hat, and slather up with lemongrass lotion to repel the woodticks. Nothing works 100% — I haven’t tried Maggie’s permethrin method of treating outdoor workclothes — yet. I keep meaning to, especially for Scott who gets covered with ticks when he goes fencing, and not getting around to it. Meanwhile the lemongrass lotion is something I can apply to my skin numerous times a day without worrying about carcinogenic chemicals. (See for Laura’s lemongrass lotion and other natural wonders.)


wisewebwoman: Exhaustedly touring a few blogs, yous being right up there. Worked our provincial election yesterday. A 16 hour day, JFC, was it worth the bucks? Ask me when I finally unfold the cash out of the envelope in a few weeks. So pleased for you and Everett.

Enjoy the grands and the simmering spring. We are getting little bubbles of it now and again.

I’ve seen pics of your harbour and the icebergs! But especially loved the pic you just put on your blog with the two bereaved crows, and the story of their flock’s support. How sweet is that and who knew?!

Bridge City Poet: Good drawing. Fully agree.

There are still a lot of backwards thinkers in our world. It’s disheartening to see them in positions of political power. Abortion is a horrible, regretted thing, and it ain’t nobody’s business but that of the pregnant person.


Everett Starts His Move

uterus gives the finger

A message to those who make laws trying to prevent women from making choices about what they’ll use their own bodies for.

Everett and I spent a pleasant hour together chatting and packing up his cupboards, then loaded the boxes into my car and took them over to his new house. We unpacked them onto the kitchen countertop — he’ll put them away himself when he moves in, he said — and then Scott came into town to see what needs to be done with the toilet — which is leaking and he is replacing today — and we sat in the living room, where our friend Laird left his late mother’s couch and a couple easy chairs for Everett, and got a feel for the place. 

I sent Everett back to his rental house with the empty boxes and my car so he can take a few more things over after work the rest of the week. I’ll go help him again on Sunday and Monday when he has days off, and Scott will go with the truck to move furniture if he doesn’t have to be in the field. He needs to get a crop into the ground and the weather and soil moisture will dictate. Plus all the inlaws are coming in for his mother’s 80th birthday party on Sunday; it’s going to be hard for him to be in the field when the littles are here.

Laird’s mom had perennial beds on two sides of Everett’s new little house and along the garage wall, and guess who will take care of them? It won’t be Everett; he won’t even look at them unless pride of ownership takes hold of him at some point. We can only hope. I can’t just let them be choked out by quackgrass. Or can I? I guess I can, but it would be a shame. Maybe someday he’ll take the beds out and plant grass, but for this year … Mom to the rescue!

Reta, Laird left a package at the house for me. It was a stack of his mom’s cassettes of Uncle Bob “and Bill,” whoever that is. My 1995 Taurus has a tape player so I’ll listen to them while driving I guess.

Damon says he’s left a message at Neil and Rose’s about your recovery after the heart surgery. I haven’t heard from them or gotten around to phoning there, either. It’s assumed that no news is good news! It’ll be interesting to see if, once you’re back on your feet, you’ve got more piss ‘n’ vinegar than you had before. I’ll get on the horn one of these days.

I’m working to meet a Friday deadline, and have just learned that our kids and grandkids are arriving from Calgary today rather than tomorrow. No phone calls for me!


Beverly King: My bank is constantly trying to get me to ‘go paperless.’ I tried, but then I discovered you have to change your password every month, and if you don’t, they lock your online account. I appreciate that they’re trying to be extra cautious, but my memory is not good enough to keep up with revolving passwords.

I keep passwords coded (in a book) so that I’m the only one who knows what the letters and numbers and symbols stand for. I wouldn’t remember them all otherwise, but since the book could conceivably fall into the wrong hands … that’s my method.

Lorna Cunningham-Rushton: Will we ever see spring, I wonder…usually by now you might carry a sweater if you’re going to still be out in the evening. The heat has been off in the building for over a week which again is usually OK, but I’m sitting in my bedroom in a jacket, with a blanket over my legs. Not really anything awful when you’re aware of real hardship in the world, I know, but at the moment I’m selfishly thinking about myself.
I went out onto the step one night right before bed and the air was warm and still like a summer evening. The next morning I had to put the furnace on. But at least we got some rain in the wee small hours! I was noticing, though, that there aren’t as many birds in our backyard slough as usual, which makes me wonder if the world’s 80% wildlife loss announced on the news is now apparent here. I’ve already thought for a while that we should be seeing more rabbits and coyotes in the fields. Wildlife loss is a good reason to complain, in spite of having enough food, warm and dry shelter, and feeling safe on the streets of the town. It’s terrible, terrible, terrible. Also, would it be wise NOT to think of oneself when you’re feeling cold, Lorna? Nosiree! You have to take care of the business of keeping warm; that’s just the way it is. I completely hear you. A cold life would be a miserable life.

First Kelly Green

Evidence that leaves began popping out yesterday. What a lift that gives to my spirits!

70 YEARS AGO, May 5, 1949; Invermay: Mr. B. Murray was a lucky man this past week. A purse containing over $100 was returned to him by Mr. H. Deacon who found it in his field. It is believed to have been carried there from the livery barn in a load of manure. – Looking Back, Wadena News


This story has reminded me of the reason I stopped banking online. My financial institution issued a new Terms of Service agreement a couple years ago and I read it carefully. It stated that should a fraudster get hold of my password and access my account, the institution would not be responsible for replacing stolen funds. I thought Wait a Minute Here — criminals have all kinds of ways to access people’s passwords — even if I were not negligent or scammed, they have computer programs that can try every possible combination of letters and numbers till eventually they hit on the right one.

I brought this to the attention of a teller, who said Well, That’s Not Really What It Means. We’d cover the loss if it happened.

Nevertheless, that’s what it SAYS, said I; Cancel My Online Access.

Note in the story above that whether the customer’s own password-naivety is what got her into trouble or not, the bank isn’t automatically covering her loss. The banks encourage reluctant customers to use online banking but don’t have our backs when it turns out to be less secure than they want us to believe.


I like slow mornings to lie in bed and read for at least an hour after I awaken, in peace and quiet. If the TV’s on in the living room, I close the bedroom door. If Scott’s on the phone, I close the bedroom door. If people come over early, I sometimes also close the bedroom door till I feel ready to face faces.

Today I scrolled through my Instagram account and made my daily posting there, and then looked at Twitter. I see the RCMP are being raked over the coals for investigating the burning of a Nazi flag in Kelliher. It does rub one the wrong way, doesn’t it? Even though flying a Nazi flag isn’t against the law and burning someone else’s property is, seeing that flag burn felt absolutely right.

Part of the Kelliher mayor’s statement played over the radio news was that the flag was flown by a 30-something man who “never grew up.” That’s a good reflection of my own attitude toward haters, abusers, misbehavers: they never grew up.




Beautiful petunia colors. Healthy too.

Aren’t they? I’m pampering them as they get used to direct sun; the real hurdle will be the wind in our yard. I can’t even leave them on the step just now. One moment it’s calm and lovely; the very next, the wind is battering them. And back and forth like this it can go, all day. I’ve set something up in what I hope will be a low-wind location now, but there really is no such thing here. Wind can come from every direction at all times. It’s weird actually.

Bitter sweet times for a lot of us. thinking of our own mothers, other mothers, my mothering friends, those I mother.
The flowers are lovely and so forgiving.

All flowers on our step take horrible beatings from the wind. I have faith only in petunias to withstand the torture. Petunias also remind me of Mom, who taught me to sing “I’m a lonely little petunia in an onion patch” when I was about three years old.

Enjoy Your Mother’s Day

I stuck to my plan and only bought petunias when we made our trip over to the greenhouse yesterday afternoon. 15 plants for $80.

60 YEARS AGO, May 8, 1959: RETIRED! Forty years is a long time when the words “hard labour” are tacked on after it, so when someone turned in an item of news saying that Old Frank had been pensioned off after 40 years of hard labour we began enquiries. “Old Frank” is the Co-op Milk delivery horse driven by Russell Wickstrom. Seems poor old Frank has been superseded by a brand new bay. – Looking Back, Wadena News


Scott was headed for town on a mission for light parts (one burnt-out in the kitchen needed a new ballast or something, or maybe he was after a part for farm machinery; or both) and I asked him to stop at the store and pick up some maple walnut ice cream so we could have some in Mom’s memory today. She loved ice cream and maple walnut was her favourite.

I didn’t think of it when I was at the store getting groceries on Friday evening (that’s the time to go; the place is virtually empty). I’d just come from Everett’s, where Emil had reminded me Mother’s Day was coming up, and Everett had made it clear that I’d be getting no phone call or card or gift from him. “I got you a Christmas present; that’s good for all year,” he said. It’s all bullshit, he said — pfft, as if one day is more special than others! I teased him that I’m not the least bothered, for I know he appreciates my stellar mothering every day of the year whether he admits it or not.
At the store, two young men — teenagers — were clerking at the checkout counter. The one who packed the groceries pushed the cart to my car and loaded the bags into the back seat. On the way across the parking lot, I asked if he had any plans for spoiling his mom on Mother’s Day.
“I’m giving her a card and flowers.”
“Nice!” I said. “Some kids don’t do anything at all.”
“Oh I always do,” he said with enthusiasm. It was sweet.

I have to think back to when was the last time Everett wished me a happy Mother’s Day. Where’s the evidence? Probably in my handwritten journals. Once upon a time, he was the sweetest of the sweet. Now he does his darnedest to hide his tender heart, but I know it’s there somewhere.

Lorna Cunningham-Rushton

Oh my, David bought me some succulent plants (which I love for their lack of attention needed), as well as a jacket he loved and thought was perfect for me (which it is), and because we both love chocolate, we got two bricks of dark chocolate ice cream. I’m keeping him.

What a prince!

Glad the check-up went well. I can’t think in metric.

That makes two of us. Old school! Though you have an excuse, being American. In Canada it came into “official” practice (product weights, distances, etc.) in the 1970s when I was still in high school, so I should have made the shift in thinking by now.

Your Comments and Mine

Arriving a few minutes early for my 1 o’clock appointment, I had to wait for the staff to return from lunch. The clinic doors were locked and I sat in the sun with my car door open.



You may not be his mother but he appreciates the mother that you are! Happy Mother’s Day to you.


Same to you, Beth!


Congrats on your excellent check-up! Randy Rabbit sounds like quite the bunny. 🙂 Behind our old business, there was a house with a crawl space that sheltered several feral cats. Peaceably living with them was a large white bunny, probably some kid’s Easter present that got out.


Randy’s had to be put back into the barn. He was discovered in the dog’s mouth. I suspect the dog decided Randy was being too rapey, and decided to help the cats out.



Good for you and the checkup. Love the bunny story, they’re never lonely are they?


Next month: mammogram. A lot less pleasant than the checkup.


Lorna Cunningham-Rushton

Annual check up went well; glad to hear that. I use centimetres but always have to make a guess at what that would be in my reality As for weight, it’s pounds for me, mostly because when I lose a few, I can feel joyful; losing a kilometer isn’t even noticeable.


I never mind losing a few pounds, but can’t be bothered to put any effort into it. Not if it means depriving myself of anything.

Lorna Cunningham-Rushton

Beth, you make a great point. I’m going to feel annoyed if Dave doesn’t give me a tulip or two.

Go out and buy yourself some if he doesn’t. My tulips lasted barely a week. Yesterday I picked up carnations. They, at least, stay fresh a while longer.

Medical Stuff

Randy rabbit

This flop-eared bunny over at the inlaws’ farm has a formal name but Scott calls him Randy Rabbit because, let out of the barn, he’s chasing the cats all over and trying to mate with them. 

With the nurse practitioner for my annual checkup, here’s what I learned:

I haven’t lost any more height since last year’s measurement and my weight hasn’t changed.

The assistant gives the measurements in centimetres and kilograms but they still mean little to me, 40 years after this country began using them officially. I know how long a centimetre is, sure, but still need to translate them into feet and inches if there are more than 20. Same with kilograms; I’m a pounds-and-ounces gal.

My blood pressure’s good, as always, but here’s the best part: they don’t ask for blood work every year anymore. Now it’s only requested if you’re showing symptoms of a health problem or they’re keeping an eye on something. It’s less stressful for the patients, says the nurse, and puts less strain on the medical system.


Aunt Reta, recovered from her broken arm and her hip replacement, is having her open heart surgery this morning down in Phoenix. I’m waiting to hear she’s sailed through with flying colours.



I agree showers are the best. Hope the weather warms up and you can get some gardening done. Just above 0 this morning with loads of rain on the way. Have a Happy Mother’s Day. Good luck to your son with his move.

I tell myself I’m only buying petunias for bedding plants this year. But so far I’ve picked up half a dozen packages of flower seeds. Incorrigible to the end.
Happy Mother’s Day to you, too!


Homeowner Ev

mule deer

One of four regular visitors to our yard over the past week. One was seen nibbling on a rose bush. We may need an outside dog, after all. Not that it’s any guarantee; Jenna Doodle apparently couldn’t tell the difference between a cow (allowed to be there) and a deer (that should be scared off). She welcomed all.

Except for those first few moments when the warm water is rising over your skin … oh … my … god … the pure, unadulterated pleasure …

… give me a shower any day.

When I step out of a bath, I feel like lying down.

When I exit a shower, I’m invigorated.


A friend’s mother passed away on New Year’s Day, and Everett has purchased her house, a two-bedroom bungalow in Wadena. He’ll be moving on or before the 1st of June, and I’ll help him do that and clean the house he’s been renting for the past five years.

It will be a busy month, between that and lots of company on the inlaw side to celebrate Scott’s mother’s 80th birthday with a family supper.

I have yet to start pruning all the dead stalks and leaves from the flower beds. Been waiting for a day warm enough to make me want to be out there. There’s lots of greenery poking up from the soil, but no rush. I figure the old stuff protects the young shoots from snow and frost, and we’re still getting some of both. Also, the dried flower heads are there for the birds. I’m feeding them sunflower seeds yet, because there are no insects around, to speak of.

The local greenhouses open this Mother’s Day weekend. Oh Oh. I’m going “old school” this year and buying only petunias for our windy step. I’ve given up growing anything else there anymore; petunias are the toughest of the tough. In recent years Scott has come with me and let me pick out whatever bedding plants I want as a Mother’s Day gift. I’m not his mother but he still spoils me on that day. Why not? Spoil me every day, I say — it won’t hurt ya, it might even help ya!

I’m off — places to go, things to do. See you tomorrow.