Change #81: The Insurmountable Apple Pie Quest

As a child I remember my mother on almost every special occasion, would whip up butter tarts, cherry tarts, or lemon meringue tarts and much to her annoyance, thanks to my father, brother and me, she would barely get one batch of tarts out of the oven, before the first batch had disappeared.

My mother is by all measures one of the best bakers I have ever known and always strives for perfection. There are few times that her baking adventures are not successful. While my father was a good cook in terms of making spanakopita, roast beef, baked summer vegetables, or anything on a barbecue; I never saw him raise a wooden spoon to help with baking.

All of it, was my mother. She also made perfect apple pie from scratch.

I love apple pie. I will buy apple pie, eat apple pie, but I have never in my 42 years attempted to bake an apple pie.

That is until tonight. 

This was one of those challenges that I pondered, thought about, considered, reconsidered, checked recipes, double checked recipes, settled on a recipe and then put it off for another night.  That’s just who I am. 

But I did it. When I began perusing recipes to make the crust of the pie (yeah, I was going to make my own crust this time, unlike the lemon meringue pie challenge) I was surprised at what was required. As well, the ingredients and instructions were foreign to me. It was not what I recalled my mother had done all those times she baked pies and tarts.

Then I remembered something: my Momma always used Tenderflake. I scurried off to the store to purchase my Tenderflake and hoped the back of the package contained a recipe. And as predicted, there it was – THE PIE CRUST RECIPE!

Full disclosure here: I confess this was the 2nd purchase of Tenderflake.  The first one sat in my cupboard for the last 6 months (that would be when I first started this blog) and grease leaked through the box. I was horrified and threw out the first box. But I never checked the back to see if there was a recipe on how to make the crust.

I worked with two recipes today. One was for the pie crust, the second was for the apples and sauce.  The trickiest one for me was the pie crust recipe.

I am always confused whenever something says “fold in”, “blend” or “knead”. The only real instruction I understand is stir. I can stir. I stir well. Imagine my surprise, when on the recipe for the pie crust it said, use two knives and cut in the lard (Tenderflake) into the flour. I inexpertly muddled my way through this step, until I had something that resembled oatmeal as per the instructions. (I am VERY familiar with oatmeal. I have it every morning).

After that I peeled and chopped my apples, and began to make some sauce my mother never made. I then rolled out the bottom portion of the dough and was surprised that it looked and felt the way dough should look. Once I plopped it into the pie plate, it was VERY clear again that a beginner was at work in building this pie.

The culmination of this experience was when my hubby arrived in perfect time as I was just boiling my sauce. The water/flour/sugar mixture within a second, became a thick grunge of a mess. My hubby, running with a measuring cup that carried more water, saved the sauce mixture.

Then there was a second moment when he rescued my pie. As I read the instructions to him I said, “I need to pour it over the pie crust so that it doesn’t run off.” His head bounced up as he questioned me and said, “how’s the sauce going to get to the apples if we put a lid on it.”

I scrunched my face up and said, “my mother just punched holes in it. If we do that it should work.” (It never occurred to me that there are different pie recipes.)

Although I was still confused because Momma also always put an egg mixture on top of it and the recipe that I read and re-read never mentioned this. My hubby, not trusting my ability to follow instructions, ran over after I had already rolled out the dough and said, “You have to do it as a lattice.”

I threw my hands up and said, “I don’t know how to do that!”

His answer was, “It’s easy. You just cut strips and put it on top.”

I assigned him the task and said, “Fine, you do it!”

And, he did a beautiful job.

I began my pie odyssey at 4 PM today. At 7 PM I got to enjoy a slice. Was it worth it? As the smell of cinnamon and apples hangs  in the air of my house, and the warmth of the oven is still felt, I dove my fork in and declared – it was delicious. I can honestly say it was worth every step.

Although, I would not do it every weekend.

***

Other Challenges: 

Alcohol-Free Challenge:

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Last night we had friends over, and this was my drink. I am on track to complete this challenge. (I can drink on April 8th!) 

***

The Blonde Hair Challenge is Complete:

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As of April 1st, I have gone back to my roots. It was fun for a short time, but I will always be a brunette. 

 

31 Days Of The Makeup Challenge

This challenge is complete.

Thank goodness, after today, it’s all over. I know some women that don’t mind it, and others love the process of applying cosmetics daily. Women that love makeup, will never be seen without it, and are overwhelming beautiful all the time; they will even make the extra effort to apply the stuff several times a day.

To them I raise my hand in a cyber-high-five and scream, GO GIRL! We are all different, come in many shapes and forms, have things that we love in terms of clothing or colours, and have different passions that some people just don’t understand. There is room for all of us in this world – and that’s what makes each person special.  

Yet for me, I have determined after more than 31 days of this challenge, I just can’t do it. Blonde hair or not, I am just too lazy.

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So long, farewell, daily makeup application! You – I will not miss!

 

Change #80: The Road That Follows The River, Or The Highway: If You Had to Choose, What Would it Be?

It seems like an easy decision, but brace yourself, you might be surprised.

First off, another tangent. Why? Because, that’s what I do.

In general with this blog, I find my most difficult challenges are the ones that I need to complete on a weekday morning. If I planned to swap my earl grey tea for coffee, I would prefer to do it mid-morning, than at the beginning of the day. The same thing is true with almost anything that requires me to alter my routine and think outside the box; or for that matter, in another box. It’s hard for me to concentrate in the morning when I follow the exact script in the AM; but switch even the smallest detail, and I am fumbling every item for the rest of the day from adding sweetner to my tea, to trying to remember how to operate my vehicle. D is for drive, right? Ok, let me put it in R.

But that’s what this blog is about. It forces me to break my routine, my habits (some good, some bad, although as of late, mostly bad habits) and most things that are familiar.

My normal drive to work requires me to take Carling Aveneu, then the Parkway, as I follow the other worker bees as we head towards the downtown core. Today, I altered that route.

Let me just also mention that I didn’t just jump in my car and go. No way. I would get lost. I’ve lived in this city for over 20 years, and I still get turned around in my neighbourhood. So, yes, I did review a map or two to ensure a street or two lined up.

My new route today consisted of taking the Queensway (aka 417), getting off at Parkdale, then making a right on Scott St. that connected to Booth St. (that was the part I needed to check) as I headed in the direction of downtown Ottawa.

Now for some people that might not sound like a big deal. The 417, you say? I take that everyday.

It’s funny what you grow to miss. When I had another job in the east end of Ottawa, the most convenient, fastest route, was the 417.  And I hated it. I hated taking the Queensway and if something catastrophic happened, (one morning it was a diesel spill) it meant the Queensway would be backed up to the front door of my house. (I’m not kidding. Well, maybe a little. But not by much.)

Also, when I took the Queensway a couple of years ago, I always got caught at one set of traffic lights that would only allow 3 cars to make it across the intersection, before we were faced with another red light. In contrast, the other drivers waiting on the other side, would get a green light that would allow 400 cars to make it across the intersection. I don’t mean to whine, but it’s a little unfair. 

Last year when I started a different job, I was thrilled to escape the Queensway gridlock and sail along the wonderfully quiet Carling Avenue, and turn onto the Parkway where sunrises were reflected on the water of the Ottawa River. It was a FANTASTIC way to  way start the workday!

Fanstastic, with a  few exceptions. For example, when I get all the red lights on Carling and it turns my “sailing commute” into what it must be like when the waves on the North Atlantic throw a ship back and forth, and the Captain is just trying his/her best not to let the ship sink. Then there are days when everyone in my area decides to leave AT EXACTLY THE SAME TIME and traffic is BUSY!!! Finally, there are times when traffic is busy because there has been a major accident on the Queensway and everyone is looking for an alternate route and takes Carling Avenue. (Ok, in this situation, no one in traffic should be angry. Someone else just had a worse day than the rest of us. The worst case for those crawling along in our cars: we’ll be late for work. No big deal.)

The Parkway is also particularly treacherous in the winter. The real fun begins when there is snow that is perpetually gathered along the edges of the two lanes; this  means both lanes have lost about 1/4 of their lane. Cars in both lanes, negotiate at various times who gets to “hog” two lanes. The roads are also typically ice-covered. If that’s not enough to make you want to chain-smoke on the way to work, there will be drifting snow when a car travelling beside you decides it is a good time to pass. This will create whiteout conditions.

The Parkway is the forgotten road as Ottawa snowplows are busy taking care of the major arteries in Ottawa. (aka the Queensway).  This leaves the Parkway drivers to fend for themselves. Proceed with caution at your own risk – should be the sign that you see when you take the Parkway in the winter There were many mornings this winter when I was white-knuckled, and grinding my teeth on the way to work as I attempted to make it on time and alive.

If weather conditions are perfect you may still have the following situations that could happen along Carling Avenue: Stop. Go. Stop. Go. Watch out for the bus!

Then, once I made it on the Parkway: Why is that guy doing 90 on the Parkway? (Speed limit is 60 km/hr)  Oh god, I hate these lights! IRRRCCKKK!! Freaking lights! Why, oh why do they  change from yellow to red in a millisecond! If you blink, you’ll miss the light. And if you do miss the light, there is an OC Transpo bus waiting to pulverize you and push you into the Ottawa River.

Good times.

I’m exaggerating.

No, I’m not.

Ok, maybe a little.

But this morning it was sunny and perfectly clear driving conditions. And I took the Queensway. There were STILL those first set of lights that appear to have been adjusted slightly – it now allows 15 cars to go before it returns to a red signal.

Then, of course, I got stopped outside of Bayshore which means I only had 5 minutes of ripping along at over 100 KM/HR. After that, I got to the exhilarating speed of 20 KM for roughly 20 minutes.  The really wonderful thing about Queensway driving though is this: if it’s a nice day, and with no STOP lights, you don’t have to concentrate on driving as much. That meant my mind got a brief hiatus to work on other puzzles as my physical self was stuck crawling along the highway.

I have to say my morning commute was a little bumpy at times. I am quite rusty with highway driving in the early AM, but I managed to get to work without missing a connecting road. To be honest though, the drive time may have been a little longer – 40 or 45 minutes versus 35 minutes.

Would I do it again?

Of course. Even though my mind had to work a little harder this morning trying to remember when to turn and not to, it was nice to take a different road. While doing a different route may take you to the same ultimate destination – the scenes along the way offer new experiences.

***

No photos. I was driving.

🙂 

Change #79: Mission Impossible – Blue Bubblegum Ice Cream

Mission Impossible. 

Yeah, who had blue blue bubblegum ice cream tonight?

Me, that’s who! 

Do you remember that blog post? I attempted to have bubblegum ice cream because I never had it as a child, and decided I would make it so one night – to hell with being too old! Alas, the night I attempted it, the stars did not align for me, and Purdys  Chocolatier was plum out of it. Instead, I opted for some other flavour that a five-year old would have.  The other stuff was good – but I still wanted to try bubblegum ice cream.

Tonight I made a second attempt. I decided from the start that if they did not have bubblegum ice cream I was going to have vanilla. Seriously, at some point you have to stop making substitutions (I mean substituting other stuff for bubblegum. I wanted ice cream!) and just wait for bubblegum to be available.

The doors opened. The stars aligned. The cosmic universe was in my favour. (You would think I just won the lottery here.) And there it was….

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I do believe that’s vanilla underneath it.

I had a single scoop in a cup. As I swooped up a spoonful, I was so excited as I hunted for an empty seat at Carlingwood Shopping Mall. I have no idea what was going on at that mall on a Tuesday night; but every bench was taken for the first couple of 100 feet. (I’m not very good at judging distance. I’m the type that turns immediately at 300 feet when my GPS says so because I think I must be right on top of the road I have to turn onto. Yeah, it’s ugly.)

Anyways, there I go off-roading again.  Let’s get back on track.

Bubblegum ice cream was very sweet tasting, but also had a little bit of an artificial taste as well. (Just like bubblegum) When I finally found a seat, I dove into my blue blob of ice cream a little further and noticed what I thought were candies. I scooped a bit up. And then I started chewing. It was candy after all, you need to chew.

And I chewed.

Chewed.

Chewed some more. 

It was not candy. It was bubblegum. I don’t know why, but I didn’t think they actually put bubblegum in the ice cream. I thought it was the same flavor that you get when you chew Bubblicious or something, but certainly they wouldn’t… 

They couldn’t…. 

But they did. And there I sat chewing bubblegum while attempting to eat ice cream. You have no idea how hard it was (or, maybe you do? Have you had bubblegum ice cream?) to scoop my ice cream, slurp it down (because that’s what you do with ice cream) and try not to inadvertently swallow my gum in the process. If I did swallow my blob of gum (I kept accidentally adding more gum to the mound  because it was hidden under ice cream) I was certain I would choke on it. Once that happened a 6 foot, brawny, security guard that looks just like Zac Efron would show up to save my life.

Why you say?

Why not?

He was walking around Carlingwood Mall doing his patrols and saw that I needed medical attention (I was blue, just like my ice cream) as I was unable to breathe. The ever-hero he dives into action and smacks me on the back and a gigantic ball of gum is immediately dislodged from my throat.

After he saves my life, he would turn to me and say, “Aren’t you a little too old to be eating that type of ice cream? Maybe you should stick to vanilla.”

As I watch him walk away I mumble, “it was for my blog.”

But he doesn’t hear me.  (Fantasy. With a heavy dose of reality. )

This next part is not fantasy. The last spoonful I had of ice cream, had one of those candy/bubble gum pieces stuck in it. I know this because half way through eating my ice cream I decided I had enough of chewing gum and eating ice cream at the same time. I multi-task all day long. I don’t want to do it with ice cream. 

I had already removed all the bubble gum I had in my mouth discreetly, via a napkin a little earlier. With the new piece of gum that had sneaked it’s way in, I decided to chew it a bit. It was a second, maybe two – then it got caught on my molars and decided it would web itself along my back teeth. I tried to “subtly” stick my fingers in my back molar to pull it out, but as I pulled, a long string of gum stretched from my back molar to my finger.  I yanked at it breaking it off. I decided I would just leave the rest of the gum on the molar and deal with it when I got home.

THE END.

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It was good. But a lot of work.

***

Sort of the end…

Here’s a few other random thoughts that don’t belong anywhere else:

Random Thought #1: 

Look to your right.  (I think that’s right.) You should see a list of blog posts in progress. Honestly, we have too many on the go. But so far, I’m on target for the ones that remain. Blonde hair. Check. Make-up on every day so far. Check. Alcohol-free. Check. 

(I think that’s all. If I’m missing anything, please let me know.)

***

Random Thought #2:

I don’t think I’ve ever pulled the definition of “boundary” before. I figured I should check out what the “official” definition means.

 Definition of boundary

 

  1. :  something that indicates or fixes a limit or extent

~ taken from Merriam-Webster Dictionary

***

Random Thought #3: 

Built a snowman last night on my front lawn, that was probably the world’s smallest, and most pathetic. It rained today, but somehow the little guy was still there. I thought he looked exceptionally cute, and while it doesn’t count as a “real change” I wanted to share him with you.

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That’s salt people. He is right beside our walkway. We should name him PB. Like peanut butter.  Or, like Pushing Boundaries. He can be my mascot.

 

Happy 100th Blog Post Followers!

Just when you’re feeling defeated, something very small happens, that reminds you that you hit a milestone.

I was completely unaware this was even happening, just trying to meet my changes/challenges. I know I’m running behind in my total changes; but it’s pretty amazing when you get a little red notification that says:

100 Blog Posts

Accomplishment?

Sure, let’s call it that.

Thank you to my dedicated followers for coming along. I know it’s not always nice being inside my head; but without the ongoing support I probably would have quit this blog sometime ago.

But I didn’t. I joked sometime ago, I should have just called this Changes. That way when I changed my mind and quit, the title would still work. With the title Pushing Boundaries – there is no option to surrender.

***

Ok, 3 blog posts in one day. No more today. I have other writing to do. And groceries to get. And gas and a car wash….laundry…you know.

Change #78: At Starbucks, The Blonde Espresso

Yup, finally got around to it.

Although, my hand may have been forced a little as the Starbucks store we went to were out of earl grey tea. Normally, I would be annoyed. However, realizing I am VERY DELINQUENT in my changes I took the opportunity to take the lack of earl grey tea situation, and turn it into a Blonde Espresso.

How was it? It wasn’t as bitter tasting as I’ve had in the past with other coffee drinks, where on occasion, I’ve left half my beverage. (I was told by the barista that it’s the lighter coffee blend.) However, I also didn’t love it instantly. My hubby who is a coffee connoisseur advised me to add sugar and on his advice, I meandered my way to the coffee station and plopped in a packet of brown sugar.

After that, it wasn’t bad. As a matter of fact, I think it was alright. This is evidenced by the fact that I finished my beverage in less than 10 minutes.

Would I have it again?

I don’t know. The problem is that I’m not a coffee drinker and while this was alright, it definitely wasn’t up there with the Chili Mocha.  Did I love it? It wasn’t memorable. And with all great loves, I believe that to be a requirement.

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Change #77: Go Alcohol-Free For The Next 13 Days

I know the health benefits of having a glass of wine. A quick Google search says that drinking alcohol in moderation reduces your risk of dying from heart disease, reduces your risk of some strokes, and may show a reduced risk of diabetes.

Sure, there are some health benefits.

Last night, I had one too many glasses of wine. Not a lot. Not a falling-down-I-can’t-remember-what-I-said kind of night. But, I had two or three glasses and as I’m short (I’m 5 foot, 2 inches and I’m rounding up) that’s enough for someone like me.

I don’t normally drink that much. I have one 3 ounce glass of red wine most evenings and that’s enough for me. What I’ve found  recently is this: I feel terrible the next day. Not always. But it’s definitely becoming more times than I can count.

This morning I felt tired and lethargic in spite of going to bed at 9 PM (yes, I know, I’m old) and sleeping until 6 am. I took Hershey for a big walk when it was still sunny out (Welcome to Ottawa. We are under a freezing rain warning. AGAIN.) and we even made our way to the woods for a short loop. I do find nature refreshing and relaxing as Hershey and I weaved our way along rocky, ice-covered, snowy trails. It was a short jaunt – but it was nice just the same. But I didn’t feel as great as I normally do when we emerged from the woods.

After my walk with Hershey, I went for a short run hoping it would help to reboot my system. It seems it did not work. Instead, only 2 Km into the run,  I nearly cried as I thought about what a failure I am.  (I tried to argue with myself: I have a degree, I write, and I’ve finished 3 marathons. But the common-sense girl had disappeared. What was left was a shell of woman, who believed herself to be an underachiever.)

Alcohol is a depressant. It helps you to relax but I’ve noticed for some time, that if I’m a little bit down, it will take me down a little further. (**Just a small note here. March is a tough month for me. March 20th my father would have been 72 years old.)

As well, I’ve noticed an alarming trend of creating excuses for consuming a drink. Some of my reasons include: I’m celebrating, I need to relax, I’m with friends, it’s a social occasion, and the best of all – I’ve had a bad day.

I know people that do not drink. It’s not a requirement, and it should not be.  I also find that when I drink I lose control of my eating. Add to this that when I wake the next day, if I planned to workout and actually make it out the door, it’s impossibly difficult. (That’s exactly what happened on my run this morning.)

Here’s my commitment: for the next 13 days, I’m going alcohol-free. It’s an attempt to reboot my system and find better ways to cope with bad days.  I already have a few ideas: go to a movie, take a bath, go for a run, go to the gym, go for a swim, read a book – just pick something different.

And now you might ask, why for 13 days? Because, the CN Tower Stair Climb is on April 8th. After this achievement, I would like to have a drink to celebrate with my hubby. As well, after 13 days without alcohol, I will know again, that I can have a social drink (just one) and it’s alright.

***

Yes, we are still on change #77. I lost one blog post because of the: 5 days of 30 minutes of exercise debacle.

To all my blog followers: thank you for kindly not questioning whether I wore makeup on Friday when I woke with nausea at 3 AM and a crushing headache that developed at 8 AM. To this I have to say: I did it. I wore makeup even though I felt terrible. It was the one thing I did not forget to do. Only 5 days to go for that challenge. Thank goodness.

P.S. Another blog post to follow. Change #78….

Change #76: Oops, I did it again….

It was 10:15 PM. There was something that threatened me to the core. Something within my mind, that would take me down publicly. It was there –lurking in the shadows. 

Unbeknownst to me it hovered in the mirror. As I pulled out my floss, I begin to flick little bits from various meals that I eat throughout the day, that had moments ago, clung to my teeth. Green bits of spinach from my spinach and feta wrap that I eat in the morning. The banana bread I eat at 2 PM. These were reminders of an incoming failure: the failure to eat well, and that other thing that pushes back on fat cells.

What was it?

What was the other thing?

The THING?

As I looked up in the mirror, she stared back at me: that slightly chubby woman.

Yes, I had made it through the day. But just barely. I had been nauseous at 3 AM, and I believed it to be in part, caused from my massage 9 hours earlier. Then, I got a kill-me-now headache at 8 AM before I left the house to go to work.

Yes, I had been late for work because of these events. However, I had made it through several centimeters of snow that should never have fallen that day, and avoided an accident. I made it to work in one piece: both me and the car.

As I settled at my desk I was sore all over. I felt like I had beaten black and blue. I might as well have boxed in a ring the night before. The headache returned.

But I made it. I made it through the workday. Then, when I thought I was safe in my car, the freezing rain commenced. The events of the day started to make me buckle and I cried to myself, could this day get any worse? 

I made it home in one piece carrying pizza to feed to my roommates. (Ahem, that would be hubby and Hershey….sorry, I’m trying to write this like a 1940’s murder mystery here. Let’s continue….) The roommates and I eat our steaming hot pizza that dripped with overloaded grease and cheese. Yes, it was a win, and a win for all.

Roommate with two legs offered to walk the beast. (Oh god, I don’t really want to call him a beast….Remember, he is LBM. Or, HERSHEY!) I welcomed the offer and settled in to nurse my  headache and exhaustion with a red vintage drink.

We watched Legends of Tomorrow and Arrow. Those daring superheroes. A superhero I would love to be. As I looked at their chiseled bodies to fight bad guys, it was a reminder of something forgotten.

A challenge.

A commitment.

As I flossed my teeth, I stared at myself: AND THERE IT WAS….

I mumbled, “Crap, I didn’t do a workout!!!!”

I fought for a moment. As I swiped at the invisible intruder that would take me down, I swore I could still win! The recumbent bike was steps away! Surely I could make it!

But, then it gathered it’s hands around my throat and it took me. It was over.

Another failure claimed a blog post.

***

P.S. Thanks to Britney Spears for singing the song, Oops, I did it again.

I know I get to say that so many times, for various things, in one day. And with blog posts.

Change #76 & #77: The Workout & My Night of, Thou Shall Not Touch Facebook…

Change #76: I had an appointment tonight in the downtown core in order to get a massage, to combat my nasty little headaches that have plagued me for the last two weeks.

Yeah, joke’s over.  

Parked my car at the corner of Cooper St. and Metcalfe and weaved my way down Metcalfe (towards the Parliament buildings, I think that’s north?), zigged over to Elgin St, crossed the Mackenzie Bridge, cut through Rideau Center, and snaked my way down to Rideau Street for my massage appointment.

The total time one way was more than 15 minutes. I checked my phone when I left my car and it was 5:45 PM and it was well past 6:05 PM when I stopped to check the time again at Rideau Center. I arrived at my appointment at around 6:15 PM.

I got to do the same walk back to my car. (No, I did not take a taxi, nor did I Uber it back to my vehicle). Although, there was a small detour at Starbucks after my massage to gobble up a sandwich (Ahem, and tea. It’s never too late for tea.) before continuing on with my walk.

Brilliantly lovely, spring walk where it was slightly cool, but still warm enough that I could go sans chapeau since – good god, I can’t remember!

Now, I did stop a few times to take photos. But hey, you need to enjoy your surroundings too while fulfilling your 30 minute requirement of exercise with a lovely walk outside.

Enjoy the photos!

 

Also, accidentally clicked on a button on my phone while taking some photos at night that offered various options such as vintage, sepia, grey-scale….I had absolutely no idea my camera could do these things!

I love black and white photos. (Ok, I know, it’s nighttime.)

***

Change # 77: Yeah. For a woman who just joined Facebook in December 2015, I think I may need intervention. Purposely avoided computer entirely last night, unwilling to risk the chance that if I tried to check my bank balance, my fingers would happily dance over and click on Facebook without me knowing it. If that happened, I knew it would be a slippery slope towards checking the Amazon graphs, and  Wordpress Stats, and I would fail this challenge.

The only electronics I used last night was my phone. I used it once to check the weather before Hershey and I headed out for our walk. Later after hubby got home, I used his tablet to ask some other random question that I was curious about that I needed an answer to immediately. All I know for certain tonight, was that the question was not related to Amazon graphs nor Facebook, and therefore I have met the challenge. But I have no idea, what I asked Google that I needed an answer to right away. How to do a puppy hemlich maneuver?   How to make brownies? No, and no. Therefore, I’m certain it was not THAT important.

THIS CHALLENGE WAS VERY HARD. I FELT LIKE FROM 5 PM – 10 PM I WAS GOING THROUGH WITHDRAWAL.

Also, got to watch a Dr. Who episode with Matt Smith, Karen Gillan, and Arthur Darvill on the DVD’s my husband purchased for me last Christmas. Sadly it is March, and last night was the first night I pulled the plastic wrapper off the package.

I love Dr. Who. Last night, I was reminded of all the reasons why.

Sorry, no pictures. You have to trust me on change #77.

Change #77: The Forbidden Realm: Facebook and Obsessive Graph Checking

I had an epiphany yesterday as I strolled around one of our smaller malls in Ottawa called Carlingwood Mall. As I passed the third jewellery store, I thought about the beginning of a relationship; that time when everything is new and fresh and a couple begins to date and they will spend long periods of time together in order to get to know each other. On occasion, in order to show your appreciation of the other person (most of the time the woman) a man will lavish expensive items like jewellery on the lady of his dreams.

What I’ve found in my relationships (whether with my husband, friends, family, or LBM) is that over time I begin to neglect the people that matter the most to me. I have many reasons: work stress (all my jobs including writing), grief, loss, financial concerns, chores….there are an endless number of reasons. I thought it was ironic though that at the beginning of my relationship with my husband, I was committed to spend a great deal of time with him. And today, we have short conversations before I run upstairs to work on my writing.

The same thing is true with my dog. When he was a puppy I would spend a great deal of time with him. Now that he is older and he’s coming up to his 9th birthday, I spend less and less time with him. Sure, I still do his walks and we snuggle on the couch in the mornings. But I have become more rushed with him, more impatient as my computer beckons to me to come and work on the many projects I have sitting in pending status.

My dog. LBM. The chocolate snug-a-boo who was a puppy when my Dad got sick, and a few months later when I got the call from my brother saying my father died. He was there when the phone rang again, 11 months later, and my mother said my brother had an accident. Almost 5 years after that phone call, another call – this time to announce my brother died. And he was there when I came home after my friend died last year.

And I neglect him. We use to spend Wednesday nights together, go for a big walk, pop some popcorn, and watch TV. HE LOVED IT. I know he loved it, because he would climb on the couch, flip upside down and his jowls drooped from hanging his head upside down. (He kind of looks like a bat.) It’s the ultimate indicator he is happy.

Tonight will be different. I always have to clean the floors and do laundry. That still has to be done. But, what I don’t need to do is lose 40 minutes obsessively checking my sales graphs with Amazon (really not that much changes daily/hourly) or hanging out on Facebook. The time I spend reviewing graphs alone normally costs me an hour. And that’s Hershey and my cuddle/watch TV together time.

After 5 PM tonight, no graph checking, or hanging around on Facebook. Tis forbidden.  I need to spend time with LBM.

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P.S. Just in case you all think I’m a lousy wife, I do plan to be better to my hubby too. My dog can’t argue with me about blogging about him. Hershey can’t read.