Thursday, 21 March 2013

It's official...

My only regret is that I'll have to start shaving my legs again.
Oh, was I thinking out loud there?
Keen frost to scrape off the car this AM. (-15 C), snow, and more snow in the forecast.  Yes, it's spring time in Ontario.  This time last year we had a balmy 25C. 
As we wait for the garden to bloom, we got excited about the pot plant in the foyer (it's been a slow week).  Beyond the violets, we've never had anything flower before.  Until now.  The lowly specimen below needed some sun and it has thrived over the last twelve months becoming a veritable mini jungle.


And lo, tiny green buds did appear...
And the green buds grew and turned yellow...

We're on tenterhooks.
Actually, I'm the only one on tenterhooks.  Nobody else has noticed.
It's not so much the weather, but the talking about it; the complaining about it.  Even today.  Brilliant sunshine but some unable to get past the temperature. Get outside and enjoy it.  Come back with something new to talk about!

Fled the cubicle yesterday for the First Day of Spring and found a quiet spot overlooking a farmer's field.  Broke bread with Bach-the Cello Suite # 1.  Ahhh.  Followed by Satie-solo piano and Steve Reid-Duet.  A fine trio of music.  It was a passing policeman who pulled up beside me this time.  Just checking there were no issues.  With Bach? Never.  The Rite of Spring was a given.  Thank-you, Tom.

Your task for today?  At some point, leave your building and take in the Spring weather.

Monday, 11 March 2013

Spring Tide

Cardinals in the Vatican but, more important than a Conclave, cardinals in my tree.    A different kind of herald to Spring.  Not a robin in sight.  The scarlet plumed visitors silence the doves as they hold court every morning high in the tree tops.

Friday morning landscape shone brilliantly.  Everything covered in ice crystals and it was a pity to have to wait ‘til noon to enjoy the day.  By twelve o’clock, it had all melted with the 6C temps. The Widget Maker brought in a plate of homemade cookies which were rather good. The only problem with oatmeal cookies is the mouth feel afterwards.  It’s like you haven’t brushed your teeth for a week. Broke free from the cubical and headed into Farm Country.

This is what has happened to much of the land. 

Busy roads so took Cemetery for some peace and quiet.  A couple of fine buildings but if you look to the right of this barn you will see the march of the Housing Survey.  Countless tracts of prime farm land now plumbed and wired for the cookie cutter survey.

A couple approached in their car and wondered if I was OK as I’d been getting in and out of the car.  Explained what I was up to and we commiserated over the housing development.  They had moved to the area forty years ago and were expecting to live out a peaceful existence in the middle of nowhere.  And now look what’s happened.  Fortunately for this parcel of land there is a gas line running through it that prevents any further development.  But what is to become of the North farm? 

Roadside trees dying off everywhere and it looks like the City has pruned many to mere stumps.

Missed the detour on the way back and took a drive through no man’s land. Buoyed sufficiently by the fresh air, mild weather and sunshine to continue on for another four hours.  When you have to wait ‘til April for mild weather, you tend to get very excited at the prospect of a nice day in early March.  We have had to fire up the A/C  in April but I think that happened only once.

The afternoon did not go as planned.  I selfishly wanted to get on with my own job but a relaxing Friday afternoon it was not.  Beers offered up for the men so I waited for cocktail hour.  The very refreshing Gimlet-lime cordial and gin.  How was Women’s Day in your neighbourhood?  Nary a mention here; what a shocker!

Awoke to the alarm Saturday AM.  Sat bolt upright in bed and mined the brain for some sense of what day it was.  The horror of it being a work day was too much to bear.  The cogs did their work and the grey cells concluded that it was in fact Saturday.

Cracked open a fresh pot of Greaves peach jam.  Don’t know about you but the first spoonfuls of a freshly opened, room temperature jam are wonderful.   Afterwards, it becomes like cheese that you have to get out of the fridge long before you use it. 

Glorious weekend weather.  Bulbs at 2.5” and counting.  Sedum seems to have to survived the late season transplant.   The rabbit is back as evidenced by the vast piles of droppings.  Two years ago it consumed half the seedlings.  The neighbours rigged elaborate trip lines but this is a cunning family of rabbits.  They are not fooled by a carrot dangling from a thread.

Did a spot of gardening.  Must work towards having Sundays free for whatever.  I do not want to come in to contact with the washer and dryer.  Braced myself for the clocks springing forward.  Why do we have to endure this?  I have yet to hear a rational argument on this.  Just get used to daylight on the rush hour and then we are plunged right back to darkness again.  Paper offered up suggestions for countering the shift:  fresh air and exercise, early to sleep and so on.  I took a late supper and followed it with a coffee which kept me up ‘til 4AM.  Needless to say I was not a picture of health come Sunday breakfast.

We managed 10C and after a turn in the garden headed out to the Spring Tide show at Gage Park. 

The greenhouse staff did a fine job of combining the tropicals with tulips, daffodils and so on. 

Melt water threatened to flood the park.  Some of the older trees are under protection. 

A one-man-unamplified-band performed in the band shell.

Almost bought an ice cream  it was that nice.  Here’s hoping the fine weather lasts.  I was remembering about three years ago when all the snow from the February storm had disappeared, even the black crusts by the side of the road.  Then wallop!  A freak late March storm.  The horror!

Oh sorry, did I spoil your mood?

Monday, 4 March 2013

Who says a Birthday has to last one day?

Or, my defense of a two week Birthday celebration. 

Much like Xmas cards, the steady trickle of Birthday cards in the mailbox brings pleasure to the recipient that a bill simply cannot hope to achieve.  As stated back in December, cards are worth the effort.

Another year on the clock but I feared a relapse.  The weather matched my mood and health. 
February 19  Cold and windy day; snow late PM.  The deep ache of early flu settled across the shoulders.  Abandoned the work out in favour of my blanket, a good book and herbal tea.  (Do I know how to live?)  Amused myself with a little Apartment Therapy.  Everyone in raptures today over the concept of the sink bowl.  Basically, you get yourself a container of some kind and use it to collect your vegetable peelings and so forth.  Site regulars in awe of this “new” concept and have gone to great lengths to adorn their sinks with high end glassware for the sole purpose of temporarily housing used tea bags and table scraps.  It is now regarded as avant garde to keep a used margarine container on the counter. Someone was channelling my thoughts and reminded the dear readership that this is a compost bucket and nothing else.  And, could they not take the scraps and put them directly into the garbage pail?  Sheep are everywhere.

February 20  Cold with flurries.  Birthday mode kicked into high gear.  Three cards in the mailbox.  No time to take in the aches and pains.  Day two of no proper lunch. Society frowns on lunch.  Instant gratification demands answers and the noon hour be damned!

February 21  Cold weather alert.  SO VERY TIRED. No lunch hour.   Took an Horlicks to take the edge off the cold and nearly knocked myself out.  Turns out the Horlicks is manufactured in Taiwan.  Whatever happened to UK point of origin?  Collapsed into bed and, despite the aching, I passed out from the exhaustion.
Quote found on myback40feet:  It is in our nature to be generous but thinking about it makes us selfish.  How very true.

February 22  Snow and freezing rain.  UGH. I was on tenterhooks.  Is this the shape of things to come? Is the 23rd to be characterized by sore throat, aches and sleep deprivation?  Will I in fact see tomorrow?  Took a bowl of Vietnamese rare beef soup to ward off the coming plague.  Pho Mai on Stone Church  was doing a brisk noon hour trade.  Extremely busy menu and, unless you’re a regular, I recommend starting with the basics.  Cat fish figuring prominently.  Dosed myself with an early evening cocktail for medicinal purposes but it lacked that je ne sais quoi.  Perused Ranch Dressing .  As fine a job as the shadow box was, I think I would hang the antique ornaments on an Xmas tree.

February 23.  Overcast and cold.  Not an auspicious start to the day.  Cold seems to be in full swing. The Pater called with BD wishes. Had to abandon dinner plans.  It was to have been an Indian extravaganza ~The Full Monty.  Instead I nursed my cold and ate leftovers.  The humanity! Took a single malt-for medicinal purposes. 

Finished The Sisters Brothers.  I cannot say enough about his book.  A few lines:
My touching Charlie’s arm like this would never have happened when it was attached and as such I blushed from the foreignness of it (pg. 311)
It must not have been that I loved the bookkeeper but that I loved the idea of her loving me and the idea of not being alone(pg 304)

As seen this week on a package of staples :  Caution-staples have sharp points.
In-store point of purchase:  Turn unit to face customer.  And then, Turn unit to face cashier. 
Are we simpletons? No.

February 24  Sun trying to emerge.  Cold.  The Pater arrived bearing gifts.  Gifts wrapped, I may add, in Xmas paper.  My first thought was that they had just been unearthed from a forgotten December stash. Now in possession of appropriately sized glassware for the sticky rice and shrimp cocktail dishes.  No need for the booster seats. Capped of the day by finally putting the knob back on the bathroom door.  Naturally the screwdriver slipped and sliced into the fresh paintwork taking a sheet of paint with it. Alas.

And so, I was determined to mine this past week for all it was worth in an effort to stave off an early death. 

February 25 Bit of sun.  LONG DAY.  I am now in possession of my next experimental dessert-Coffee Parfait a la Ginger Rogers courtesy of Silver Screen Suppers Went with a Mediterranean diet in an effort to fortify myself.  The Pater firmly believes in a daily ration of animal fat and the more bacon on your plate the merrier.  I chose vegetables, olive oil and fish.  Did not have the desired effect.

February 26  Wind and freezing rain.  20 cm on the horizon.  Thought it was Wednesday.  Disappointed with reality.  The Widget Maker brought me a latte.  No lunch hour, again. Euphoria all but gone by 18:00  Took the workout but could barely keep moving after the half hour point.  Perhaps I should have gone with a bit of streaky bacon?  Ominous sign as I left the parking lot.  The parking and street lights went out and stayed out.  A stampless Birthday Card was waiting for me in the mailbox.  Well done Canada Post.  Bed, early again.

February 27 Snow, drizzle and slush.  Definitely Wednesday.  Deep aching, tired.  Straight to bed at 17:00
February 28  Early flurries.  Abandoned a day of Widget Making.  Drank copious amounts of herbal tea.  SO VERY TIRED.  On more intimate terms with the WC than usual.  Burned the fever off.  Extreme appetite. 

What happens on Mondays that brings me so low on Tuesdays? 

March 1 Sunny, cold.  TIRED but persevered.  An unopened piece of mail sat waiting for my return.  I cried out, “Am I the only person capable of opening mail?”  Staggering appetite.  Ate like a returning champion at a hot dog eating contest.  Finished the Trollope. Think I’ve had my fill of marriage exposee for a while.  Could Trollope not have had the flaky one head off to Scotland with the groundskeeper?   Broke free of the cube for a wee jaunt into the countryside.  Wee being 10 minutes.   Found a crumbling farm yard and the cattle were out on Dickenson Road.  They looked like woolly mammoths compared to this past Fall. Wild turkeys reached the South side of the hill.  Same trek every day.  Early morning start on the North side taking in the afternoon sun by noon.
Putting things in writing is dangerous business.  How you’ve meant things to be read and how it’s actually read are two very different things.  Corporate email clearly illustrates that there is no room for comedy which is too bad because we,  all of us, need a little levity in an otherwise dull day. But later, Coke bust in the neighbourhood!  News at 11:00   Yes, never a dull moment for the locals. 
Distressing read on the South African business.  Apartheid alive and well.   

March 2  Overcast, few flurries. 6AM-the lone dove sat cooing to an unseen partner.  I wondered if they’d set up nest in the drain pipe.  Spied tulips and daffodils making their way out of the cold earth.  We are how far away from Spring?  It was decided that after an early night, a lie in and an afternoon nap that dinner plans would finally come to fruition.  The Gate of India was the destination of choice.  We went with the works~bhaji, samosa, Mulligatawny and Dall soup, Tandoor chicken and tikki masala, gulab jaman, kulfi and chai.  Excellent dinner.  World’s smallest cocktail glass and if it hadn’t been pointed out to me I would never have known my martini was on the table.

So you see it's good to take your time with Birthdays.  Take a week, take two if it pleases you. 

March 3 Sunny, cold.  Sunday wind down mode.  Sam opened the grocery store and I was inspired to cook. I chose a birthday cake, of course. Wachtel interview with George Saunders.  Humans as lawn ornaments.  Hmm.  Putting The Semplica Girl Diaries on the reading list.

10 PM  Is that a tickle in the throat??