Monday 29 January 2018

Pseudo Poetry Monday: Healthy Food

It's not officially Poetry Monday until our fearless leader Diane says it is, but I felt moved to write a poem anyway. Join in if you wish!

No, this is not a post about all the healthy things I've been eating.

It's a poem about the dismay that I feel because I can't seem to like spinach, and I SO want to.

Spinach Tastes Like Blech To Me

It sounds so easy in the cookbooks
In the newspaper articles
In the food bloggers' blogs:
Add a handful of spinach to everything -
Eggs, pasta, soup, stew, sandwiches, lasagna -
Possibly even cake, although I haven't see that recipe yet.
Spinach looks so good.
Green. Tender. Full of vitamins.
But honestly?
Spinach makes me queasy.
It doesn't matter if it's raw or cooked or halfway in-between.
To me it tastes like earth smells.
Does that make sense?
It has an "earthy" flavour
And for me that is not a good thing.
How I wish I had the gene to enjoy spinach . . .
Alas! I have not.
The last uncountable number of containers of spinach I bought
Went to compost.
I could not face eating them.
Now I save money
And leave them at the store.


Spinach and noodles?


Spinach for breakfast?

I said "NO"!

Spinach and tofu?

Seriously? NO.

Spinach on pizza?

Noooooooooooooo . . .

Spinach and kiwi smoothie?

What a way to ruin a good kiwi!

What's scarier than a bunch of ghosts?

Spinach and fish, that's what! Look, you can even see where the fish tried to get away and they had to drag it back onto the plate!

Just Say No . . . to spinach


Is there a healthy food that just doesn't suit your taste? Tell me all about it, and help me blot out the memory of writing about spinach. Please.

And have a good healthy week, if at all possible :)

Friday 26 January 2018

I Needed The Break Anyhow

Remember how I said we've been having trouble with getting onto websites in general the last month or so?

That hasn't changed.

In fact, in preparation for my Friday post (which is being written at the end of a long Thursday of travel to see grandchildren ... oh, and their parents, too! can't forget them!) I have just spent one whole hour of my rapidly diminishing lifetime trying to simply get into my two email accounts and my Blogger account. It is an excruciatingly slow process. I have tabs for a number of websites open across the top of the page, and as each one tries - and fails - to find the server for that website, I click the "Try Again" button. I feel a bit like that old-timey plate-spinning act: start the first plate spinning on the tall stick, then start the second plate spinning, meanwhile watch for the first one to start wobbling, get it spinning again, start the third plate spinning, watch for the next one that starts to wobble, get it spinning, repeat, repeat, repeat . . .

I would insert a YouTube clip in here of just that thing, except I can't BLOODY GET ON THE WEBSITE!

The most important thing is that I finally got on Blogger, although I still can't access the blogs that I follow. They call Blogger a "platform" and I'm starting to picture it as an actual train platform, where crowds of people are trying to get on the train and they're pushing and shoving because there are only so many seats and everybody thinks they'll get a seat if they just keep trying . . . and here I am, pushing and shoving with the best of them . . .

So I think I'll just turn in my train ticket for tonight and take the bus home, or heck maybe just walk. Figuratively speaking. My kitties would like some of my time after being home alone all day, so I'll put my feet up, read a book, and snuggle with them.

Only one cat at a time, mind you, because one is so aggressive she would maim or kill the other if she had the chance, and that wouldn't be a terribly peaceful end to the day, would it?

Kitty One:

Potential victim

Kitty Two:

Potential killer

If I am hit-and-miss at answering comments, or at leaving comments on your blogs, it will be because of our internet issue.

Or because the cats accidentally got put in one room together and I got in the middle of that mess and am probably at the hospital getting a blood transfusion . . . . . . . . . . . .

No; we are very careful. So it will be the internet's - or our computer's - fault :)

A question for you, if you feel inclined to answer: What do you do to relax if you - HORRORS - can't get on the internet? Does it involve a hammer to the computer screen? No? Is that just me?

Until Monday, thank you for reading and I hope you have a good weekend. And now I will skedadle off the internet before I become the straw that breaks Blogger's back, as it were :)

Monday 22 January 2018

Snow In The Garden And Fire In The Feet

We have some snow, finally, the result of a couple of snowstorms one after another. Now it finally feels like a normal January.

The garden solar light has a new hat

Otherwise, I seem to have run out of words but it is probably a temporary condition. Meanwhile, please enjoy this video from YouTube ...

Hope your week is pleasant, and that you get a chance to do a little dance, even if it's just ten seconds on the way to the mailbox :)

Friday 19 January 2018

Laundry Baskets

I wasn't going to air this post on laundry baskets (which technically is less about laundry baskets and more about "not" laundry baskets), but the gauntlet has been thrown down and now I really must. Yorkshire Pudding made fun of the topic, and Steve Reed was somewhat incredulous about getting a whole post out of it (see comments on previous post), so if this post fails to astound/amaze/amuse/inform/instill pity, I blame both of them. Except that Steve was loopy on painkillers, so he's off the hook, which means I will have to put all the blame on Mr. Pudding Man. Aw, don't worry, he can dish out the teasing well enough, and he takes it well, too! (Right, YP? RIGHT??)


When I left home in my teens, I bought the usual laundry baskets to tote my laundry to the facilities at the dorm and then at my apartment. It seemed like the best choice - bags were only for camping, while leaving clothes in a pile on the floor was against my upbringing, and a cardboard box, although affordable, was a bit tacky looking.

Regular laundry basket. Nothing fancy.

Those baskets functioned for years just like they were supposed to. Easy to clean, easy to carry, got the job done.

When I was in my early thirties, I started noticing it hurt to carry a full laundry basket; the ridge around the top dug into my side in a most uncomfortable way. This was also about the time I was beginning to find camping unpleasant because somehow the ground had gotten too hard, even with an air mattress under me, and I was wincing when certain spots on my back, arms and legs were subjected to any pressure at all.

At 2 a.m., camping felt like sleeping on these.

I stopped carrying laundry in baskets, and started using large plastic bags, the kind you'd put recycling in. I would have used black garbage bags except I was afraid someone (cough*husband*cough) would mistake the dirty clothes for garbage and I didn't want to replace all the clothes we owned on short notice.

"Where's the bag I left in the hall?" "You mean that garbage bag? . . . oops"

Plastic bags worked very well until we got a cat (and then another cat) who loved the flavour or possibly the texture of plastic and constantly tried to chew on the bags. Plastic does not make for a safe treat for any animal, no matter how much they love it; it can cause intestinal blockages or suffocation. Another solution had to be found.

"She is wrong. Plastic bags are delicious. And nutritious."

I decided to sew cloth bags, and for a couple of years (yes, years) I thought about doing it every time I washed clothes but never actually, you know, did it. And in the meantime we were - horrors! - dumping our dirty clothes on the closet floor, and when there was a bagful we'd take a plastic bag from the closet shelf and stuff the clothes in it and take it to the basement for laundering. And because I have a vivid imagination (and truly you don't need to have a vivid imagination if you do any reading because you'll already know about sloughed-off skin cells, and tiny fragments of this and that, and dust and dirt and food crumbs and dust mites, etc. etc. etc. that fall out of those dirty clothes when you take them off), every time I gathered up the dirty clothes I would clean the floor too. That's a lot of cleaning over the years, my friends.

Not me (I eschew lipstick). The cleaning equipment is about right, though.

So finally I found an old sheet and cut out the cloth bags and I found some thread that didn't match but that I wanted to use up because who in their right mind would ever use a whole spool of purple thread in one lifetime? and I had those suckers ready to sew. But first I had to hem several pairs of trousers, and the laundry bags took a back seat to other priorities and I STILL HAVEN'T SEWN THEM.

The other day I was thinking about how I wished there was an easier solution.

Also not me. Not me, not sewing. Too busy daydreaming.

I thought, wouldn't it be great if there was some sort of lightweight container, easily wiped out, durable and portable, to put dirty clothing into? Something the cats wouldn't try to eat every time they passed it?

Something like ... say ... a basket. For laundry. A laundry basket.

Good thinking, Sherlock Einstein.

However, it still hurts my side to carry one on my hip, and now it also hurts my back to carry it in front of me with both hands, plus that leaves me with zero hands free to do anything else, like opening doors or holding the stair rail.

Is there a solution for me? (besides sitting down and sewing those cloth bags, that is) (which, on reflection, I probably could have done in the time it took to write this post)

How do you store your dirty laundry prior to washing it? Or maybe more to the point, how do you transport it from the point where you take it off to the point where you wash it?

Let's all talk about our dirty laundry! Don't be shy!

Yep. Could have sewn those bags in less than an hour. Still haven't done so. Waiting for alternative solutions that might come from blog readers. No pressure. I'm just waiting. Patiently. Waiting.

Footnote: Yorkshire Pudding made a further comment on the previous post, and included a link to a book called "The Laundry Basket" and from the preview available on Amazon it looks like an interesting volume. So it IS possible to write something worthwhile about laundry baskets! Here is the link (thanks, YP):

Stay tuned for my next post, entitled "Drying Clothes."

(Just kidding.) (Maybe.)

All photos courtesy of Pixabay, except the laundry basket, which I snipped from Canadian Tire's website, so I wouldn't have to take a picture of my own, and the sheep, which I think I might have lifted from one of the blogs I read regularly. If so, please take it as a compliment, and tell me so I can credit you!

If you have read this far, you should win something. Something big and valuable. Unfortunately, I have nothing big except cats and nothing valuable except chocolate. Which I am reluctant to share.

So I'm afraid all I can offer is this measly wish: Hope your weekend is excellent! Maybe there will be prizes next time :)

Monday 15 January 2018

Come Laugh With Me

The time I should have spent writing a post for today was instead spent watching YouTube videos.

The plan was to re-find a certain bit of information I'd discovered some time ago about a specific Beach Boys tune from their Pet Sounds album. (I'm going to keep you in suspense and not tell which one.) I was a fan of the surfing tunes of the Beach Boys when I was younger but completely missed their later works, so I've been catching up on Brian Wilson's genius over the past year or two.

Not very surprisingly, I ran out of time before I ran out of videos. So I decided to scrap that post for now. But not forever. Hopefully.

The next option, as I faced a loudly ticking clock, was to polish up a quick post I'd written about laundry baskets. Unfortunately, on returning to that piece of writing, I found that polishing was not nearly enough to make it presentable. It needed something more, something like maybe a heart transplant or a new transmission or at the very least a side order of healthy veggies in order to make it work. Now it, too, is on hold. Maybe forever. Hopefully.

So once again I am calling upon all good kitties and doggies found on to come forth and entertain. Thank you, O Furry Ones. You have saved my hide too many times to count.

First, the kitties:

Then the doggies:

And one final LOL that I couldn't categorize:

Thank you for dropping in! Hope you have a good week.

Friday 12 January 2018

A Singing Heart On A Gray Walk

I haven't written about my walks for quite awhile now.

That's because I haven't been walking for quite awhile now.

I believe it was late summer when I last went out regularly. And then the craft sale was looming, and work got busy, and I hurt my back, and Christmas happened, and the Arctic mass of cold air moved in, and ... here we are.

But yesterday I finally got out again. It was a relatively mild day (minus 6C) and I was dressed warmly so it was just refreshingly cold, not bitterly so.

I took my favourite route of several, and it felt like coming home. It was wonderful.

Having only a few routes can make it hard to capture something different on camera. The challenge is to either find something new in the same landscape, or look at something in a new way.

Here is what's being served up on the buffet line today.

A reflection of a tree in the puddle beside the curb

A different tree here. I love the new growth revealed on this one each autumn when the leaves fall. It reminds me of a brush cut (remember those?) or a porcupine.

I've tried to get a shot of this low wall in other seasons but it just blended in with the road and the land. I was surprised to find that the snow, rather than making the shot too dull, actually helps to show the curve of the wall better. I need to try this with other shots that don't turn out well in the seasons when I tend to take them.

Some evidence of the windstorm we had last week

The trail lights came on as I was walking. Again, I've tried to take pictures of this in summer, and it just doesn't work, so I was happy to see this one turn out.

That's it for this Friday. I hope your weekend is full of serenity and contentment.

Or, if you prefer, unpredictability and excitement. But only if you prefer :)

Monday 8 January 2018

The Tubes Are Full

(Please note that Poetry Monday is on hiatus with Diane somewhere in the sunny south! Regular programming may or may not resume at some point; it's unclear at the moment. In the meantime, feel free to leave your poem, on a topic of your choice, in the comments here. Or you may leave your address in the comments with a note that we can find your poem on your blog.)

Dear Fellow Internet Users,

For almost two weeks, the Donkey House computer has been experiencing frequent slowdowns, often to the point of complete stoppage. I am becoming all too familiar with the following critter:

What IS that critter, anyway? Is it meant to look like something in current popular culture?? I get that it's holding a map, but WHAT IS THAT CRITTER SUPPOSED TO BE??

Here it is, up close. I still don't know what it is, no matter how big it gets.

At first, I used all the well-known, non-techie manoeuvres: clicking the mouse button over and over, clicking the mouse button a little (or a lot) harder than necessary, clicking the mouse button as quickly as possible, clicking the mouse button as slowly as possible, staring at the screen, giving the screen the side-eye, pretending not to watch the screen at all, swearing at the computer, apologizing to the computer, pretending I didn't care, etc., etc., but not a single one of those things worked consistently.

So I moved on to actual thinking and troubleshooting.

Maybe our computer had a virus. After all, it is flu season in the northern hemisphere. A virus scan showed that two Trojan horses had indeed tried to infiltrate our computer. However, they had been contained by the anti-virus program and we were able to eliminate them. And because they had been contained, they should not really have been the source of the issue at all.

Next, I reset our modem, because I've been told it needs to be done now and then if there seems to be a problem connecting to the internet. I don't know all the technicalities, I just know that it means a trip to the basement, unplugging some stuff and plugging the same stuff back in, and it might or might not improve things, depending. Depending on what? I have no idea.

I reset that thing at least ten times. I didn't keep an actual count, but I can assure you that ten is a conservative estimate. At twelve stair steps per one-way trip, it was a pretty good workout, especially for a bum knee.

Nothing helped. Our internet connection was non-existent at this point. I know this because the little icon at the bottom of the screen that shows the four bars when we have a good connection was now showing a yellow exclamation mark instead. Sometimes it shows a red X which means the same thing, and I don't know why it's one way sometimes and the other way other times, but it is, and I've learned to be comfortable with partial knowledge, as long as it eventually turns back into four bars of magical connection.

So at the point where there was zero connection, I had a nap.

And when I woke up, the internet was fine. It was more normal than it had been in ages, in terms of speed and connectivity. For a few hours I thought perhaps resetting the modem had worked, but with a time lag.


The next morning, it was back to being slow loading pages, or refusing to load them at all. I don't know anymore if it's a connectivity issue or a loading issue, or if there's any difference between the two. AND I DON'T CARE. (Pretending not to care again.)

The only theory I have left is that the tubes must be full. You know, those "the internet is a series of tubes" tubes. For anyone who has not heard of this meme, it is part of a statement made in 2006 by former Alaskan Senator Ted Stevens when he was criticizing an amendment to a bill; the amendment essentially supported net neutrality but the late Senator didn't believe it was a good thing. You can read more at this Wikipedia entry.

Here is the excerpt from his speech which contains the "series of tubes" comment:

"Ten movies streaming across that, that Internet, and what happens to your own personal Internet? I just the other day got… an Internet was sent by my staff at 10 o'clock in the morning on Friday. I got it yesterday [Tuesday]. Why? Because it got tangled up with all these things going on the Internet commercially. 

"[…] They want to deliver vast amounts of information over the Internet. And again, the Internet is not something that you just dump something on. It's not a big truck. It's a series of tubes. And if you don't understand, those tubes can be filled and if they are filled, when you put your message in, it gets in line and it's going to be delayed by anyone that puts into that tube enormous amounts of material, enormous amounts of material."
It's 2018. Clearly the tubes are now filled.

With "enormous amounts of material, enormous amounts of material."

I've always pictured the internet tubes like this:

Large, sparkly, and unfillable

But it is becoming painfully clear that the internet tubes are more like this:

That's right. Skinny, blue, and no capacity at all.

The truth is such a disappointment.

So, Fine People of the Internet, I must ask you to stop filling the internets with "enormous amounts of material" in order that the rest of us can get on once in a while.

Thanking you in advance,

The Donkey

Both internet interpretations are provided by Pixabay, as usual. Thank you, Pixabay; you always know just what's in my head and have a picture for it.

Friday 5 January 2018

Holiday Memories Of The Non-Sentimental Kind

In view of the difficulty I had coming up with a Christmas memory for Poetry Monday a couple of weeks ago, I'm doing a highlights post from the holiday season just ended. That way I'll have something to prompt me next year. Assuming that I remember I wrote this.

~ This isn't really a highlight, but I hurt my knee playing Scrabble. Don't laugh; if you're getting on in years, it might happen to you. It appears to have been a result of simply sitting awkwardly for the ninety minutes it took our son to whup me. I was not aware of it at the time or I would have changed position. It's been a week now, and I'm still hurting. While I'm at it, I will add in a whiny voice that my fingers are also still hurting from my October 31 fall. That was nine weeks ago. This has to stop soon or I will have to get cross. Is this an age thing, this getting hurt easily and taking forever to heal? Or is it a fitness thing? That's probably what it is. But how can I get fit when I keep hurting myself? I know; I'll wrap myself in used Christmas tissue paper. Many, many layers of tissue paper. Bonus: I'll have the whole sidewalk to myself when I go for a walk.

~ Does having two similar things represent a collection? If so, I'm now collecting outdoor wooden deer/reindeer. I impulse-bought one at the hardware store for twelve bucks, to avoid having to figure out where the outdoor extension cord for the lights had gotten to, and then saw another of a different style at the thrift store. It cost $2.50. Best money spent EVER. It does have rather large googly eyes and its antlers are wiggly, but husband has assured me he can fix the antlers and we'll just live with the eyes. However, it kind of makes me wonder what Rudolph saw or what substances he was into.

Here, you be the judge:

Rudolph (back) and . . . unnamed deer (front)

Here is Rudolph, enlarged a bit:

Yep, his pupils are definitely big

~ When you were in elementary school, did you get the post-Christmas writing assignment every year to write about your holiday? My composition was always a list of the presents I got. Since I don't seem to have aged mentally very much since then, here is my list for 2017: three wall calendars, two books, two boxes of chocolates, a Christmas cushion, a beautiful necklace, a red polar bear, and various forms of cash/gift cards. I don't have enough walls for three calendars, but I love the thoughtfulness behind them. Maybe I can hang them in rotating shifts.

And here's the red polar bear. Were you expecting a real bear? A stuffed bear?

A wooden bear! With a Canadian maple leaf cutout

~ This year I finally got my table centrepiece made. I had the supplies to make it well before last Christmas, but my excellent procrastination skills saved the day and kept me from using up my crafting opportunity until this year rolled around.

Well, actually, I didn't make it in time for Christmas dinner this year either, but I did complete it in time for our second dinner on Boxing Day. It took longer to dig the tray out of a high cupboard than it did to arrange the items on the tray. Isn't that the way with procrastinating most of the time? What we think will take forever and require a lot of effort ends up being fine. Oh, that sounds an awful lot like a pep talk for this procrastinator, doesn't it?

Here is my centrepiece. There was supposed to be a battery operated tea light candle in the red dish, but I had no idea where I might have put it, so I put those little shiny balls in it instead.

All supplies except the tray came from the dollar store. Not everything at the dollar store is a mere dollar, which seems like a lack of truth in advertising to me, so this might have cost as much as $6. Then again, it might have been only $4. Next year I'll use a square tray instead of a rectangular one, and it will be like a BRAND NEW CENTREPIECE and the cost per use will be half of what it is this year. And the year after that I might use a ROUND tray. Can you stand the excitement?? This is what you get when you cross a crafter with an accountant.

~ Speaking of work, I didn't go to work, I didn't consider going to work, I didn't even think about work for ten days in a row. (I'm talking paid, job-type work. I did quite a lot of other, unpaid work at home.) Actually, I did think about the job for a bit on January 1, but then I ate more chocolate and made the thought go away again.

So that's it for another year.  We're back to the routine here, which is fine with me. I do love the season overall, but I'm always glad to return to sanity after the new year rolls in.

What passes for sanity, anyhow.

Question: What would YOU call that wooden deer if you were responsible for naming it?

Monday 1 January 2018

What Can I Do?

Recently I was reminded of a beautiful piece of music that you have probably all heard at some point before this. When I went searching the internet for a video, I was happy to find a version of it that I had not heard before--a version so sweet and beautiful I wanted to share it here in case you--like me--hadn't yet come across it.

Thanks, Geo., for the inspiration, and thank you, Harlem Boys Choir for your rendition. (Please note the volume goes from quiet to fairly loud and you may wish to keep your hand on the volume button toward the end.)

Written by Jill Jackson-Miller and Sy Miller in 1955. According to the Wikipedia entry, the original lyrics for the song have been altered on many occasions for differing reasons, including for gender neutrality, and for secularity (where "God as our Father" is replaced with "Earth as our Mother" or "love as our compass"). Whatever words you sing, the tune is unforgettable.

Lyrics in this version:

Let there be peace on earth
And let it begin with me
Let there be peace on earth
A peace that was meant to be
With God as our father
Family all are we
Let us walk with each other
In perfect harmony
Let peace begin with me
Let this be the moment now
With every step I take
Let this be my silent vow
To take each moment
And live each moment
In peace eternally
Let there be peace on earth
And let it begin with me.

I want to remember "... let it begin with me" every day, and the beauty of this arrangement plus the harmony and pure voices of this choir will surely help me do that.

Happy New Year, my friends.