Frigging Snot-Sucking Cold

“The Cold” – The Sequel

flu microbeOh how I regret not getting the flu shot this year!  I was so busy all fall, I just didn’t take the time to go to the Dr. and take care of it.  Then I heard that the six strains of influenza that the flu gurus chose this year to protect us all against, weren’t the ones that were entering our airspace!  Great.  So I figured it probably wouldn’t have been worth my while, anyway.

We were doing very well until that lousy month of March descended upon us.  Our daughter was the first to succumb to the green eyed cold microbe.  Thankfully we had a puffer in the medicine cabinet that wasn’t expired from last year’s flu season, so within ten days along with dosing herself with Vitamins C and D, chugging lemon juice and honey and enough oranges to keep the Florida citrus farmer in business, she managed to fight it off.

Somewhere along the way, the hubby caught the bug, and while our daughter is very pro-active about taking control of her treatment, all hubby could do was sit in front of the TV in his recliner, moaning,  swaddled in a fleecy blanket, exploding at regular intervals in fits of coughing that had me checking to see if he brought up a lung.  As we are all aware, the man cold is a pitiful condition and all one can hope for is for it too, to pass.  I was not to escape unscathed, however.

Within days of Paul’s  getting infected, I started to feel the malaise creeping over me, the scratchy throat, the hurty eyes, the low grade fever.  How could I avoid it when the wash from the explosive coughing and hacking was constantly enveloping me?  I would have had to bathe in hand sanitizer and lysol to escape the contamination!  Or, at least wear a gas mask.

Meanwhile, the elder one sat in her granny flat, sucking in the oxygen and saying she felt fine.  Maybe, with the cannula tubes sticking up her nose, she had a better chance on avoiding it, and we had made sure the Dr. had administered the flu shot on his fall visit.  Of course, these circumstances were to change rapidly when her home care worker fell victim to the flu bug and it quickly turned to double pneumonia!

It wasn’t long before the elder one started showing signs of infection. I thanked my lucky stars that we weren’t living in an area of the world that is stricken with Ebola!  We wouldn’t last jig time!  After a couple of days with the cough progressing, the refusal to eat  and the weakness setting in, it was over to the Health Sciences Hospital we went.

I had to laugh at the hospital’s policy on protection of patient’s privacy, as I sat in the triage office with my mother-in-law, in full view of the patient intake records that were stacked on the counter.  We were ushered into an ER suite where an EKG was done, vitals recorded, and vials of blood drawn.  An IV was inserted and bags of saline and antibiotics were hung, and within minutes the elder one was whisked off for chest x-rays.  Soon a nurse came by to say they needed the room, so all of the elder one’s few possessions were packed aboard her transport and she was parked out in the ER corridor. Apparently we were waiting for a medical consult, or so I assumed from reading the white board which changed from minute to minute as patients entered and left the department.

Directly across from where I was sitting, a white board, announcing the handle time stats that the hospital had been able to achieve through the various departments, had been posted.  The statistics presented broke down the handle time of patient care from when the patient had entered the department, whether it be ER, hospital admittance, day surgery, etc. from the Dr.’s initial assessment, to discharge.  It reminded me of when I worked at Convergys and the all-important call handle time. they were unrealistically hoping to achieve.  They had the average length of stay worked out to the minute, and I wondered if the Dr.s who kept within their prescribed parameters got a bonus, or at least a treat.  It was no wonder that the nurses and Dr.s were running around like blue arsed flies and had no time to stop to fill a small request. like a paper cup of ice water for a person who was parched from the effects of pneumonia and the dry air of the hospital.

After several hours waiting in the corridor, during which time a Dr. and a couple of residents examined my mother-in-law, who was dressed only in a “Johnny coat” and endured the indignity of being on full display to the many folks who wandered in and out of the ER, either looking for their loved ones, or seeking treatment themselves.  This was also the circumstance that we found ourselves subjected to as the Dr. brought up the question of my mother-in-law’s wishes in the event that her heart should stop!  That’s not the place you would want to be presented with that decision to make, and someone standing over you, holding out a pen, and forcing you to make a decision right on the spot!

The Dr. decided that he would admit my mother-in-law and the clock started ticking on her admittance handle time.  we were further informed then that the hospital was on “Diversion” because of the busy day they were having, there was no bed available to put my mother in, so they were going to transport her across town in an ambulance to St. Clare’s Mercy Hospital.  Not the ideal situation for a ninety year old with one lung half filled with fluid! But what choice did we have, so we settled in to wait for the ambulance crew.

Three hours later, we were still waiting for the EMT’s to show up.  Even though at least seven crews rolled through, none had been asked to pick up the mother-in-law.  Finally I hailed the passing ER admin nurse and asked if there might not have been a bed open up in the three hours that we had been awaiting a transfer.  She was highly offended that I would presume to question their authority, so I expressed my views on the strain on my mother-in-law’s condition to put her through further bother in transferring her to another hospital..  She finally agreed to call the ambulance service to get an ETA on when we could expect them to show up.

At this point I was starving, and as a diabetic, knew that I should try and grab some food.  I was afraid to leave my monther-in-law’s side, however, as she was not lucid enough to answer questions about her condition, And I wouldn’t be sure of where they were going to take her.  Neither she nor I were sorry to hear the next EMT crew calling for Mrs. Cook.

From the time we brought her in at 10:45 am to the time she went into the ambulance at 8:10 pm, ten and a quarter hours had passed. I don’t know what that did to their patient handle time stats!

The elder one has since recovered marginally and has been deemed well enough to come home.The first time she was discharged was the Friday after her Monday’s admittance.  By Friday, she was still weak as a kitten, was barking like a dog, and had by now had developed a condition called thrush, which is a fungal infection of the mouth, causing pain in the tongue and tissues inside the mouth, making it difficult to eat, drink, or swallow.  The elder one, who was not a fan of hospital food at the best of times was now not eating anything, and drinking very little either.  We could literally see her shrinking away in the bed, and while she would have been happier and us more comfortable with her being home, we knew that there was danger to herself, being that she would be in her own apartment, alone at night, and with the sore mouth and complications with the pneumonia, even though she might meet the criterion for being declared “clinically stable” she was far from being well enough to come home in these circumstances.

Paul made the suggestion that he would like to have a social worker’s input on what should be done about Mrs. Cook’s care and it wasn’t long before another nurse showed up to take another set of vitals.  After a short time, the nurse announced that Mrs. Cook could stay overnight and they wold re-assess in the morning.  It looked like the Dr. wasn’t willing to take on the social worker, who does wield more power on whether a patient should be discharged or not.  Being that we would be into the weekend, with a decreased staff and very few Dr.s around, we figured she wouldn’t be going anywhere until Monday.

On monday, by three thirty we hadn’t heard anything from the hospital on whether or not they were discharging Mrs. Cook, so over we goes to the hospital to check on her status.  Her nurse said she had been trying to locate her Dr. to see if he would release her, but he wasn’t readily available.  Finally she said she would page him again, and we got her dressed and ready to go, in case we had to make a break for it.  Although she wasn’t what you would call well, and still isn’t, half a week from when she came home, as the Dr. put it, “she’s probably better off at home because at least she wouldn’t be exposed to further infection.”  What? are the health care facilities so rotten dirty that one risks infection lying in a bed receiving treatment for pneumonia?  I guess the thrush incident was proof that this was true.  Either this, or the nurses were not being vigilant in their patient’s care by cutting corners by not having them rinse their mouths after mask treatments.  God help us all if they were dealing with Ebola, Leprosy, or some either horrible communicable disease!  That’s one way to cut down on the patient handle time, if they all die!

The other night I just-for-fun googled Hospital Statistics and how they arrive at their goals for patient handle time.  I came across a study for handling patients presenting with pneumonia.  You should have seen the formulas and the variables they use to come up with an acceptable average  “goal” time for patient care.  Three days seemed to be what the computer squeezed out for a ninety one year old with a history of COPD, on home oxygen.  I remembered when the attending physician had, upon learning Mrs. Cook’s age, patted her on the hand and said, “My, you’ve lived a fine long life haven’t you?”  as much to say,” Well what do you expect, we’re not going to waste our time trying to prolong your life when their are lots of younger people out there  requiring our care.”

For a person who owned her own business for thirty eight years and diligently paid her taxes quarterly until we had to take control of her affairs, this attitude on the part of health care so-called “professionals” towards seniors is not warranted.  I would be very surprised if any of them would allow their elderly parents to be treated with the lack of respect and dignity that many of these poor old souls have to endure.  It’s time that Dr.s and nurses are allowed to take the time to make sure patients receive quality care in an environment conducive to healing.

Some say that the health care system here in Canada is the envy of the world, but the care you get is not always enviable.  Under our system, everyone is entitled to free health care, and that is a wonderful thing.  I just hope the bean counters don’t shave off so many minutes of patient handling time that people don’t have time to fully recover from their illnesses.  Remember that old nemesis in the call center called “One call resolution?”  maybe the statisticians should add another  variable called “re-admittance” to that God-awful long equation, before they are satisfied that they are making the best decisions on our health care.

norma in yellow circle                                                   elderly-hospital-bed


The Laundry Mountain

Laundry – A Most Irksome Household Chore!


laundry 1

Whoooboy!  You know you have left the laundry too long when you’ve been wearing pajama pants around the house for two days and washing coldyour hubby is down to his last pair if skivvies, the ones with Santa skiing on them which he refuses to wear anytime other than Christmas.  A request has been made for clean socks and underwear so I must drag my ass out of the writing cave and get at it, even though I have caught the dreaded man-flu and feel like hammered shit.

Thanks be to God that I don’t have to go down to the river and beat the clothes clean with a stick!  Being that  we live on the 47th parallel, I would probably have to beat a hole through the ice still to get to running water, despite the fact that it’s APRIL 26TH!!! Thankfully,  I don’t have to hang out the wash to dry and have it freeze solid on the line, either.  So what is it about laundry that is such a pain, even with the convenience of modern day appliances?

I think that a degree course could be offered in the laundry arts.  The first thing to know is that symbols on clothing tags have meaning.  I have learned to avoid buying any  items that require hand washing, washing in any temperature other than warm, and anything that has to be laid flat to dry.  I figure, in this day and age, why would you buy clothing items that can’t be fired into an automatic washer and dryer?  My daughter has yet to acquire this wisdom, and therefore does her own laundry.  To avoid pink dress shirts and gray underwear, all of my stuff gets sorted by colors, blacks and whites.  Towels don’t have to abide by the color rule because they have been washed that often, there’s no dye left in them to run.  Do you get my drift about how titchy a task this laundry business can be?  I’m not even going to get into the different types of laundry detergent and fabric softeners that’s out there, and how to know how much to use.  Then there’s stain removers and laundry brighteners, and a plethora of helpful handy products to make your clean clothes smell clean!

Then there’s the time issue.  Wheras with the old school washer-spin-dryers or even the old wringer washers, a load of clothes would take 15 minutes max to cycle, the modern machines take about an hour, by the time they soak, pre-wash, wash, rinse, water soften, and rinse, then to dry a load, you’re looking at anywhere from a half hour to 45-50 minutes.  Then there is the process of folding, or hanging the clean clothes up in your closet.   I am a big advocate of catching the clothes at the end of the drying cycle to avoid IRONING!!!  UGH!!.  Thank the Gods for non wrinkle and perma press fabrics. Either way, this laundry mountain I’m looking at is gonna take all weekend to scale.

My husband, in his wisdom, says, “Why don’t you do a little laundry each day, then you don’t end up with a big old pile at the end of the week.”  To which I reply, “Why don’t you do any at all?”  Which does not bode well for marital harmony.  The problem is while laundry is a necessary evil, it is BORING AS HELL, and if you hope to tempt me out of the writing cave to do it, then I expect to be rewarded with chocolate or wine, or take-out for dinner!

I always wondered if owning your own laundry equipment was a better option than taking the whole mess out to a laundromat and loading up seven machines at the one time. Brilliant!  Unfortunately my washer broke down one weekend and I had to put the theory to the test.  I found out how small capacity the commercial washers really have, along with how unpredictably hot or cold the dryers could be.  Your clothes were either toasted or still damp after an hour.  I swear the dryers have an even more voracious appetite for odd socks than my own.  Plus, I spent almost $25 in coin to get all of the clothes washed and dried.

Conclusion?  I’ll stick to using my own machines at home, thank-you.  Anybody weighing the costs should look into a second hand machine!  Lots of folks are upgrading to the fancy new machines and abandoning their old ones, which still work great!

So, whatever you’re doing this weekend, I hope you’ve conquered your own personal laundry mountain and your whole week will be April fresh!


sparkly norma                                   laundrylaundry wringerlaundry mountain


Oh Christmas Tree

Finding a Perfect Christmas Tree

christmas tree 2

I absolutely love putting up the Christmas tree! First when we were married, Paul and I would go out into the woods and hunt all day for the perfect native spruce.

I will never forget our first Christmas tree. We had just been married  and like most newlyweds, we were still working on furnishing our first home. We didn’t have a lot of extra money to spend on a fancy artificial tree, which, to our way of thinking, lacked in the aesthetics department with the absence of the outdoor fresh piney smell.

So, out we drove over the Trans Canada Highway, searching for a suitable centrepiece for our first Christmas together. The sun was warm on our backs on that perfect winter day, throwing sparkles onto the blanket of newly fallen snow as we hiked a country trail under a clear blue sky, towing our battered toboggan. A couple of hours in, we hadn’t found a suitable specimen and I was starting to get discouraged. It wasn’t that I was being overly picky, but every tree we considered had some imperfection, either a misshapen bough, a crooked trunk, or else it was too sparse, too thick, or it was a funny colour. We stopped for a
“mug up” when we came to the edge of a frozen pond, and while Paul lit a fire in his Kelly kettle to make some tea, I was scanning the tree line from my perch on a convenient nearby rock. It was hard to see the trees individually, because, as anyone who knows the Newfoundland landscape could tell you, the trees grow thick as thieves. My gaze wandered to a small grove of trees growing close to the edge of the pond. The way the sun shone down on its snow topped branches made it glow almost as if were lit by a light from within. The shape was perfectly symmetrical, each branch perfectly spaced.  It was as if it had been made for us to find.

We brought it home and although the number of decoration on it were few, it was the perfect Christmas tree in our eyes.  Thirty years later, when we get out the boxes of ornaments we have collected each year since that first Christmas, we treasure each memory as we find a special place for each one.  I have made a special box for our daughter, to collect the ornaments that Santa leaves for her in her stocking, so that one day, when she leaves home, she will bring with her a box of special memories of her childhood to begin her own family tradition.

blue glitter norma               christmas tree 3christmas decorating


Writing a Fiction Novel – The Lion’s Den

lion 6

The Lion’s Den due for publication April 2015

Genre: Action/Adventure/Romance




Hi Friends,

I thought I would tell you about what the journey has been like so far in getting my first novel, The Lion’s Den ready for launch on April 15th.

When I told him that I had written The lion’s Den,  a good friend of mine told me to get in touch with a woman he knew in Florida, a ghostwriter and collaborator, who helps authors assess their manuscripts and can help get their work ready for self-publishing or for traditional submission to a publishing house.  Her specialty is non-fiction, but she is equally skilled with other types of writing.  I first met Karen Rowe on a Skype video call.  We talked about my novel and she made me feel very positive about its viability whereas I had a lot of insecurities about whether it would ever be good enough for publishing.  Before she read the manuscript, we sat down and spent an hour identifying who my “ideal reader” would be.  I had not given that any thought when I was writing!  All I thought about was the story itself.  I didn’t think about who the actual story would appeal to, and that, I realised after we had pieced together an “Ideal Reader Composite,”  would prove very important in deciding how to direct the marketing and to clue in to what my target demographic would be.   Following an in-depth interview which covered everything from who had read my book so far and what social media I was using  to promote it, Karen was able to put together a viability scorecard, which evaluated how “publishing ready” I am as an author.  Keep in mind, all of this is done before ever the evaluator ever reads the manuscript. Her recommendation was that I spend a minimum of 3-6 months of social media platform building, before ever the book was published, whether I was going the self-publishing route, or going through a literary agent or traditional publishing house.  Publishers, I learned, are looking for authors with a built-in following who can bring their readers  and fans with them and who can demonstrate the ability to market, sell, and promote their own books.

The next step was to put the book through a chapter by chapter feedback and preliminary edit.  Karen is a former literature teacher, so she has lots of experience in editing.  She was able to identify areas of strength and weakness in the manuscript.  She could suggest where re-writes were indicated and where chapters could be put in better order to make the story more readable.  Thankfully, with my work, she found that only minor editing was required, and she sent the manuscript back to me electronically with her recommendations printed in the page margins.  So awesomely convenient for me to do the rewrites and corrections!  Based on her evaluation, Karen was now able make recommendations on where I should go from here.  She was confident that the book is viable, and with a little editing would be publishing-ready.  The big decision would be whether to self-publish, or spend my time submitting query letters and drafting proposals to publishers. She felt that hiring a literary agent at this point would be a waste of time and resources.

From here, Karen put together a book action plan which takes us past the final draft review and into professional book cover design, pre-formatting the manuscript for digital conversion to Kindle and other digital platforms like iBookstore, Sony, Barnes and Noble Nook, and assigning an ISBN.  If the book was to be produced in print, it would have to be formatted for that as well.  All these phases, of course, cost money, even before one book is sold!

So what stage am I at now?  Well, the manuscript is in for final editing.  That should be completed by Wednesday.  A graphic artist, recommended by Karen is working on the cover.  Initial samples will be ready by Monday or Tuesday. The social media platform is in place with accounts open on Twitter, Hootsuite, Google plus,  a professional as well as personal page on Facebook, and this, my own website, has been up and running since November.  Now, as a person who does not have a large circle of friends, getting exposure on these social media sites is a full time job in itself.  I found that I was not getting as much traffic through the site as I needed to raise the kind of awareness that is needed for a successful book launch.  Karen was able to recommend another Florida based businesswoman who could help me with building a following.  Ginger Rockey-Johnson is a marketing mogul with experience in educating business owners on the use of the internet, covering topics like Social Media, Search Engine Optimization, Social Networking, and Internet Marketing Strategies. She is now mentoring me in how to raise awareness about my book.

Well, folks, gone are the days when you begged at the doors of the big publishing houses, hoping against hope that someone would consent to read a chapter or two of your book.  Now people are able to get their manuscripts out in front of the public, who, after all, are  the consumers who will ultimately decide what they want to read.  It takes a lot of guts to actually produce a finished manuscript and get it to the point that it can be put in the hands of the reader.  Whether a book is a big success or a terrible flop, it’s quite an achievement to have made it through the process, and for anyone who has made it to that point, I can only say “Bravo!”

I guess that time will tell whether I have made a good investment or not, but whether The Lions Den will succeed on the literary stage or not, it will be an investment in myself.  I hope that if you are contemplating jumping into the publishing arena yourself, that this has been of some help to you.  Please know that the process comes with a significant price tag, even if you decide to only e-publish.  and I highly recommend working with professional people to be sure you are getting true and honest feedback and information.  If you have a great idea for a non-fiction book.  Karen Rowe is a fantastic person to talk to, as she can help you actually write your text, and is an expert in putting your book together for you.  These people know publishing and work with a team of professionals who will work for you at very reasonable rates to get your work ready for the literary stage.  Now all you have to do is put on your big girl/big boy pants and get over any reluctance you have to self promote. The great thing about this is, if you don’t know where to start,  there is help out there for that too.  Contact me for their contact information if you’re interested.

So, good luck with your journey, wherever it takes you!  Hope we’ll meet some day, or that you will email me and tell me what a success you’ve become!  As my friend Karen would say,

“To Your Success!”

hello my name is norma

Only the Lonely – The Empty nest

Only the Lonely 

empty nest







Empty nest

You know that song, “Only the Lonely”, well it’s how I’m feeling these days.  I had heard about the empty nest syndrome, but didn’t realize how devastatingly lonely it would feel when our children, our pets, and our elders one by one left the nest.  I have never, up to this point, felt myself aging.  Our daughter is twenty-six, our Westie was with us for thirteen of those years, and the grandmother would be ninety one in her birthday.  Time, they say, is only a human construct, yet we count our lifetime down in years, months, weeks and days.  It’s only a flash in the pan.  Better make the most out of life, make your mark on this earth while you can.  Don’t think you’ll always have time.

Heather leaves for New York on Sunday.  Fly little bird.  Have a great life!


Only the Lonely

Only one wife, only one husband

Only one grandparent lives with us, now

We had only one child, who has

Only one aunt and only one uncle

Because daddy is an only child.

The child was lonely being only

So we got only one dog

But he would only sleep in our room

So we got only one bunny for the daughter to snuggle

When she felt lonely for being only.

The years passed and friends

Came and  went and nobody saw us get older

Only the mirror in the hall.

Only one day the grandmother wasn’t there any more

The dog passed away only yesterday

The bunny only stays in his cage, now

The child found her one and only

She wanted only to be with him

Only New York would do.

Now there are only two of us

It’s very quiet here

Only the clock and me


Only two months left until my first novel, The Lion’s Den comes out.  I’m hoping that the writing will save me from the desolation of the empty nest and give me purpose in my golden years.

The best part is, I can invite all of you to come with me.  None of us need to be lonely.

love, norma








Indulge me, please. My dog, Kirby, died today.

Kirby Died Today

westie meadow




Our little Westie, Kirby, died today. I didn’t see it coming. I took him to the vet last Thursday and she treated him for an ear infection, did some bloodwork, checked out his heart and kidneys, all fine. She told me his liver readings were up a bit, probably due to the allergy meds he was taking. He had started to show signs of arthritis, but not unexpected at thirteen years of age. She figured he was in good shape for his age, probably had another couple of years in him.

We took him with us out to Port Blandford as Paul had to do a favour for a friend, and he slept between us on the front seat of the truck all the way out. Coming home today, he was cuddled up by my side under his blanket, asleep, when suddenly he stretched out his front legs and stopped breathing. Several minutes went by before we realised he was gone.

He has been my friend and constant companion for thirteen years. I can’t believe he’s gone. There’s a huge hole in my heart.


westie sleepingkirby                                                                                                                                   October 9, 2001 – February 11, 2015


Sleep well, sweet prince and softly.

Just one of those days (from hell!)

Bet Your Ass, Hell Hath Fury!

Remember in that “About” section where I confessed that being the  parent, business partner, elder care giver, wife and chief cook and bottle washer was sucking the life out of me? Here’s a sample of how that goes down.  You try adding writing a novel to that job description!  I’d be lying if I said I didn’t enjoy it, though.


Oh, yes!  It’s going to happen soon.  There will be gray matter all over the ceiling, just like the chocolate chip explosion, only less tasty.

It all started yesterday morning.  I had been on the weather network, procrastinating getting started at work.  The weather gurus were predicting a snow bomb for our area, twenty to forty centimeters of snow.  Hell!  I promptly shut down Google and fired up the old VPN and hunkered down to work.   I started doing the bank reconciliations for last taxation year.  As should be duly  noted, I hate the bastards and put them off, and now had no choice but to tackle them in order for the accountant (Shauna, the loud one who makes my head hurt, but is so g’damn efficient) to do the year end.   I didn’t realise that I had already done January for some reason (A gift to myself when I found that out, one down eleven to go!).  So I buckled in and did February.  I have a freakin’ awesome set of instructions written out to myself on how to go about it, I’m just rusty now.  February was a little problematic, but I gets ‘er done and on to March!  I never stopped until I saw the balance line equal zero, around 10:00 last night.  Great.  I’m a quarter of the way there.

No time to cook a decent meal, so we have baloney and beans for supper.  Bad move…

I get up this morning, all set  to finish April, and realize that I forgot to make a couple of journal entries. The g’damn process is so gnarly that it takes the best part of two hours to get back to a zero balance.  I’m pretty sure I did one entry wrong, and didn’t change the date from today’s to the date I am working on, so when I go to do this months rec (probably this time next year)  I will probably be out the amount of this bank entry, which is lurking somewhere in cyberspace hell like a time bomb waiting to go off! Terrorist fucking accounting system, I swear to God!!!

So the elder one hobbles out to the door around 11:00, looking like death warmed over, holding her wrist like the proverbial bird with a broken wing.  Me: ” How are you feeling today?”  Her: ” Bad.”  Yup, Lasix has got her wrist in a knot, just as I predicted yesterday. Looks like Thursday until I can stop the double dose she’s on due to the congestive heart, so that we’re sure her lungs are clear.  More pain to come in the wrist.  So, I get her breakfast because her wrist is too bad to even take down a coffee cup, throw a handful of pills down her neck, couple of extra Tylenol, and I plant her on the couch for a nap.  Yeehaw, back to the office for fifteen minutes until I have to take the daughter to work in “the Pearl”, a forty minute round trip.  Didn’t know whether I should let her drive, because the Mrs. from the Insurance Company called the above mentioned elder one yesterday to say her insurance is up at the end of March, and of course, innocent to the ways of the world, she spilled the beans and told the nice lady she was no longer driving, and she was giving her car to her grandaughter, who is just learning to drive, and her son and daughter in law now drive her car.  Great.  Of course, that sheds a whole n’other light on the policy, which now has to be re-worked with the son as the main driver.  The daughter does not have to be insured until she actually gets her licence, but can still learn as long as there is insurance in force on the car. The elder one had totally misunderstood what the woman had said and thought that she was telling her that the car had had no insurance paid for the whole of last year and that all of us had been driving it uninsured!  I was ready to eat the bitch, because I knew damn well that the premium had to be paid or else they would be tormenting her to death, and a registered letter would have had to been issued notifying her that they had cancelled the insurance policy.  So at this point, I had some investigating to do and Heather still had to get to work, so I say, “Let’s take a risk.”  So she drove her grandmother’s (or her car, who the hell knows?) in to the Pearl.

I had to go for groceries.  Of course, with a list long as your arm from the mother-in-law, which makes grocery getting fun, because everything has to be kept separate, and I’m trying to think of what I need at the same time.  Of course, she forgot to give me her debit card, so I still have to pay the full shot, which came to over $400. So I drag it all home and into the house with no one to help me, the dog barking his fool head off, and starved because I had forgotten to feed the bugger, and pissing myself at the same time, because the morning coffee decided to make a re-appearance.  Thank-you water pills.  Finally, I get straightened out from all that and I open the door to the in-law apartment to bring  out her groceries, only to be barraged by messages from the agent at  the Insurance company to get in touch with her immediately about the mother-in-law’s insurance. Of course the elder one figured I should just drop everything and call the bitch right NOW!  Meanwhile my back was killing me from lugging groceries and then she informs me that she had gotten the runs (back door trots) from the beans, and had been to the bathroom a dozen times since I had gone out, which meant that she couldn’t put the groceries away.  Meanwhile, my stuff was out thawing in the front porch.  She kept yanking my chain, until I almost lost it and told her that if things got much worse with her, we were going to have to get her a nurse.  Of course, she misunderstood, and thought I meant putting her into a home, and she got all quiet.  She then figured that she should be calling Belbin’s or Coleman’s to place a grocery order for delivery.  Hell,YES!!!  She finally gets it!  I am so worn out from the whole shebackle, I feel like I should do the same.

Meanwhile, life goes on in the office, and hubby/boss calls with a dozen or more things for me to look up and fax, and by the sounds of things is having just as bad or worse a day than I’m having.  The Mrs. finally calls me back from the Insurance company and we get the changes needed started on the policy for the mother-in-law’s car.  Good thing I didn’t go aboard the missus, cos it was the mother-in-law’s muddled brain that caused most of the confusion and upset, and I wasted a lot of time gathering up proof that last year’s insurance was paid.  Meanwhile, she  probably still thinks we have all been driving her car without insurance.  *sigh*  Why do professional people even bother to discuss confusing business issues with the elderly?

So, in summary, no vendor’s got paid today, only half of April got reconciled, we’re pretty sure there is insurance on Heather’s car at least until next Monday, but I wouldn’t bank on it if we had an accident in it before the policy was re-written.  (If she looks up my driver’s license, she’s probably going to wonder why I wasn’t licensed for seven years somewhere in between there.  If she asks, I think I’m gonna tell her I was in prison!!!)

AND THE SNOW BOMB HASN’T HIT!!!  What’s up with that.  If I was as wrong as often about people’s accounts and paying vendors as they are about the weather, I’d be fired.  I don’t feel one bit bad about being behind on my bank rec’s.  If those twerps at CRA had to contend with what I have to contend with in the run of a day, the taxation center would be covered in brain matter from people’s heads exploding!  I kid you not.

Now I’ve got so many groceries that I can’t decide what to have for supper.  Hubby just came home, ready to eat the fatted calf, and It’s still on a styrofoam tray in the fridge.  I think I’m going with the previously frozen cod tongues, because with the way I’m feeling today, someone needs to be fed a meal of tongues before the night is out!  Oh my!!!

Hope your day went better than mine!  Enjoy the calm before the storm.  At least you didn’t have to shovel your way in!  Tomorrow may be a delayed start.  One can only hope, with the city council snowclearing crews cut to the bare minimum.  Tim Horton’s will have to be making road calls to keep the poor buggers going!!!  Hope Heather gets off before the heavy bombing starts!  You can bet your ass, I won’t be taking the Corolla out to pick her up!  Love you like  a day on the beach in Florida.   I so need a holiday!!!  Chances are I wouldn’t be coming back, if I made an escape now.  *frantically counts travel points*  *sweatdrop*

Your pal,

blue glitter norma

The Cookie Exchange,or The Great Chocolate Chip Explosion!

Cookie Newbie 

crying baby







I was just reflecting on that Christmas, twenty-six years ago, as I took out the last of this year’s Christmas cookies I had left over in the freezer.

Ah yes, it was Christmas 1988.  I’ll never forget it, as it was the year our daughter, Heather was born.  Things were kind of manic around our house, because things, as usual,  were not going according to plan.  Heather’s arrival was expected around November 30th, and up to December 15th, despite five attempts to hurry things along, and short of employing a stick of dynamite, there was just no way that child was coming out!  Finally on December 16th, the nurse who met me in the case room at the hospital,  after seeing my discouraged face said, “That baby is coming out  today, come hell or high water.” Great! I thought, unconvinced.

Seven o’clock that night, as I lay in my drug induced euphoria, after they finally put me out of my misery and did an emergency C-section, they placed the little pink bundle in my arms.  Everyone was so delighted.  My mother told me later that all the people out at the Orange Lodge where they were attending a dinner and dance, clapped when they heard the news!    Five days later, the nursing staff said I was ready to go home.  It was December 21st.

I don’t know if it was the baby blues setting in, or what, but once I got home and got settled away, I realised that Paul hadn’t put up the Christmas tree.  This ticked me off no end as I had been waddling around, half the size of an elephant before being admitted to hospital, and was not capable of putting up a cut tree.  He was now gone back to work, so it fell to my mother and father to come  and decorate our tree, which Paul had finally shoved in a bucket and set in place in the living room.  Every other year, he had tied the tree onto the wrought iron railing, to secure it, but this year, he figured, it would be fine.

It was not fine.  I was asleep in my bed, the baby settled in for a nap, when I came conscious with a loud crash and the sound of tinkling glass from the direction of the living room.  I arose from my bed to see what was the matter, only to find the Christmas tree on the floor, my father loudly yelling at my mother who was standing on a kitchen chair, holding a box of ornaments in her hand, and pieces of my smashed blown glass ornaments all over the floor.  By the time Paul arrived home, he was being held responsible for being the person who ruined Christmas by not tying the Christmas tree onto the rail.

Around about that time, I received a phone call from a friend of mine, reminding me of my cookie exchange commitment whereby I was supposed to have six batches of cookies ready for Saturday night to exchange with six of our friends.  Having forgotten all about this with waiting on Heather to arrive, and thinking I would have plenty of time to do the cookies after I got home from hospital, I tiredly put on my apron and got out the ingredients to make cookies.  Of course, I had agreed to make my famous chocolate dipped marachino cherry balls, which were a pain in the ass to make, but I sucked it up, tired as I was and got out the pans to melt the chocolate chips over boiling water.

I don’t know if it was the leftover drugs in my system, or the sleep deprivation of being home less than a week with a newborn, but my hazy brain did not see the folly of putting a tight-fitting saucepan containing chocolate chips into the top of another  saucepan of boiling water until it was too late.  Unsuspectingly, I turned my back on the stove for a moment to roll the marachino cherries in coconut buttercream frosting, when suddenly a sound like a shotgun going off exploded over the stove and chocolate chips rained down like shrapnel all over the kitchen.  Paul, who had been hiding out in his workshop came bounding up over the stairs and looked around in wonder before he started to laugh as I stood there with chocolate all over me as the baby started to wail.

Twelve years later, when we did the final cleaning on the house before we moved, I still found chocolate chips up on the ledge up over the upper kitchen cupboard doors.  I haven’t made anything that you have to dip in chocolate since.

One more note…..Heather is an only child, and it wasn’t only because of the colic.



chocolate chips




Happy New Year

 A Brand New Year!

new year






Hi friends and followers.

It’s that time again to reflect on the year gone past and to usher in a brand new year.  It’s like starting with a fresh blank page.  You can choose what you want to concentrate on, what to change, and what to let go of.  the last one is really important, because there is so much in life that can hold you back if you let it.  Letting go of old baggage can be very cathartic.  life is too short to keep thinking about old hurts and repeating old habits.  Time to try something new.  It’s helpful to do something symbolic like write down all the stuff you want to change or get rid of and throw the notes in the fireplace, or light a fire outdoors and send them into the cosmos.  If you like, you can put them in a Chinese lantern, if you are permitted to release them in your community.  It’s a visual reminder that you are letting the past go.

Time to think of what you want to change.  Everybody is used to making resolutions to lose weight or stop smoking, and we get about three weeks into the new year and we’re back to our old habits.  Making resolutions is like setting yourself up to fail.  This year, I have decided to make gradual changes is my lifestyle and see if I can maintain them.  Things like stopping using coffee cream and replacing it with 2% milk this week, then maybe next week, buying multigrain bread instead of white.  rather than going “cold turkey” with a multitude of change, it gives you a chance to acclimatise to healthier eating.  if you are a smoker, figure out when you want a smoke the most, then make yourself wait an hour every day for a week, and see if you can eventually eliminate that smoke break.  Substitute another activity, ie:  chew gum or drink water during that time if it helps.  I treated myself to a set of motivational audiotapes which I set aside some time each day to listen to.  It’s surprising how the messages stick in your subconscious mind and help you to shut down that little demon’s voice that urges you to eat those chocolates or have another cigarette.  Visualizing change helps, too. Post a picture of the kind of body you would like to have on your fridge or “stash” cupboard.  (Come on, all of us who are overweight have one.)  Don’t let past incidents of falling off the diet wagon influence you.  We let all that past negative stuff go, remember? This is a whole new approach.  If you have to have some chocolate, go for it!  Don’t be hard on yourself, you can try again tomorrow.  Try not to binge, make a little go a long way.  Enjoy every particle of your smoke, if you have to have one. There’s nothing more  detrimental to a fledgling diet than complete deprivation.  Be kind to yourself!

Try something new!  What have you always wished you could do, but have never taken the time to try?  Would you  like to be able to speak and understand French?  Would you like to try writing, drawing, or painting? Would you like to meet new people?  The internet may be a great source for many of these activities.  You Tube has tons of instructional videos, you can buy software to teach you so many things.  Lots of information is out there on the web to get you started in lots of great leisure activities.  If you want the face to face contact, take a course at a community college.  Be a couch potato no more!  All of a sudden, there’s not enough time in a day to do all of the things you want to do!

You will be amazed by the changes in yourself.  Suddenly you have interesting things to talk about.  Your confidence level rises, and you become vibrant and attractive to other people.  More importantly, you feel better about yourself, and that, my friend, is gold!

And so, to all of my friends, family and fans, I wish you a bright and Happy New Year with all good things coming your way!  I can’t wait until April to share my book, The Lions Den with you.  Taking a chance to try something new has changed my life.  I hope you give yourself the freedom to see what you can do too!

Remember to:

Dance as if no one is watching, sing as if no one is listening and live every day as if it was your last.

Old Irish proverb



Turkey Days

Mr. Turkey 

Christmas turkey







Over the past few days, I have shared some funny stories with friends while enjoying some holiday cheer. As the wine bottle got emptier, the stories got funnier. Here are a few samples. Feel free to comment and add your own stories to the list!

One Christmas when a friend of mine was just a newlywed, she and her husband were trying to figure out how to stuff and truss their first Christmas turkey. She had taken the bird out of the freezer and had carefully followed the directions for thawing and preparing it for cooking. She assembled all of the ingredients to make her mother’s traditional savory stuffing and had the roaster prepped and ready. All systems were go.
Not having had any experience, so far in her short cooking career, with poultry stuffing, and not having paid much attention to her mother’s ministrations to Christmas turkeys in the past, my friend stood there in her kitchen in puzzlement, with the huge bowl of dressing and the decapitated turkey sitting there in the sink. What did you do next? Bravely she grabbed a handful of the seasoned crummey mixture and gingerly shoved it inside the bird’s cold clammy orifice. She was surprised, when she had filled the cavity to capacity, with how much dressing she had left over. She skewered the flap of skin firmly shut and tied kitchen twine around the bird to hold all of its appendages in place. The oven was up to cooking temperature, and she shook salt and pepper on the trussed bird, placed the domed top of the roaster in place and shoved it into the oven.
Several hours later, after a few peeks into the roaster to baste and monitor the level of doneness, the meat thermometer pronounced the bird cooked, and the roaster was triumphantly removed from the oven, delicious smells emanating from the golden browned meat.
Mom and dad were sitting at the dining room table when my friend placed the picture perfect turkey in front of her husband who was poised and ready with the carving implements. He proudly placed succulent slices of turkey onto their wedding china plates. When the time came to scoop out the dressing, hubby looked a little puzzled. He cut open the entrance to the turkey’s chest cavity and pulled out a huge turkey neck and paper bag full of the cooked turkey giblets! My friend’s face was as red as the cranberry sauce as she realized she had only stuffed the turkey’s back end, and had forgotten all about removing the entrails and stuffing the turkey’s chest cavity!
For New Year’s Dinner, she played it safe and cooked a roast!

My best friend related this story about her first encounter with cooking a Christmas turkey:

Before Christmas, my husband and I went to the supermarket to purchase our first Christmas turkey. Not knowing exactly how much meat we would actually go through, we opted for a twenty five pound gobbler. We got a great deal on the huge frozen bird and proudly carted it home and placed it into the deep freeze with great anticipation.
Before the sun was fully up on Christmas morning, my husband and I tiptoed down to the kitchen to prepare the bird for cooking. The stuffing was already made and sat waiting while my husband took the turkey out of the fridge and placed it on waxed paper on the counter. Not having the hang of how to approach the bird for stuffing, I grabbed a large spoonful of the dressing in one hand, while trying to hold the bird still on the counter with the other. Having been freshly washed, the turkey was as slippery as a greased pig, and took off down the counter like a curling stone. Only for my husband caught it as it came flying off the end of the kitchen counter, it would have crashed into the fridge and met its second demise, or landed in the dog’s dinner dish! We had several more skirmishes with the slippery bird until we determined that to stuff a turkey you first need to either corral it in a big bowl or keep it contained in the kitchen sink!

And finally, we found out that you don’t necessarily have to be an inexperienced cook for a turkey to get the best of you! Here’s what happened to my friend’s mother one Christmas:

I was a teenager, about sixteen years old, and let me tell you, I could put away the food! It was Christmas and the smell of the turkey roasting was making my stomach growl with anticipation! The Christmas turkey mom and dad had chosen that year was a twenty five pounder. We were a family with six youngsters, four of whom were teenaged boys, so they knew a turkey with some meat on its bones was needed. Because it was so big, mom’s usual roasters were too small to take it, so she had to resort to a couple of those tinfoil roasting pans stacked inside each other to contain the bird. Into the cavernous oven it went and finally the time came that the turkey was pronounced cooked and mom enlisted dad’s help to take the bird out of the oven. The heat was intense and the steam made the sweat pop out on dad’s brow as he grasped the tinfoil covered roaster in his big oven mitt clad hands. Just as he made to heave the heavy pan up onto the kitchen counter, the pan buckled and the turkey and its juices escaped onto the kitchen floor! As mom made a wild grab to try and save the bird from falling, she slipped on the pan drippings and nearly went down with the ship! Unfortunately, she landed right on top of the turkey and nearly burned the arse off herself as she went skidding across the kitchen on the turkey’s back like a manned torpedo. She held on though, and would have made a great draft poster girl for World War II!
Luckily we were able to salvage enough turkey to still enjoy our Christmas dinner, even though we had to eat it with tinned gravy!

Now it’s your turn! Comment and share your turkey stories here! Merry Christmas!


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