Technology interupted

My long-time mobile phone died in its sleep Sunday. It left a gaping hole in my daily routine.

By ten am Monday it was evident this hole had to be filled. I couldn’t keep reaching for a phone that wasn’t there.

I steeled myself to head back out on the market, and ended up in the mall. A nice young employee started chatting me up, and informed me that I had insurance coverage for exactly this sort of situation. The catch was that, as with anything worthwhile, it would take some patience.

It waited two long days. I paced the house. I sat in isolation at my laptop away from the TV, dinner table, or bathroom – unable to multitask.

When the new phone arrived it was awkward at first as I figured out how to make it work for me. I reinstalled my apps. I chose a new ring tone.

My new phone and I had eight good hours before it all fell apart.

The phone suggested an update, and I just hit yes not thinking an update could come between my technology and I in any serious way.

After the update my new phone got stuck in an endless loop of powering off and restarting. I eventually managed to turn the power off so I could get some sleep. I hoped when morning came this would all have been a bad dream.

In the morning I turned my phone on and logged into Facebook. We had another good four hours until the update loop returned.

I decided the phone and I needed help, so I went back to the Telus Store. Another young employee told me I had too many apps running in the background. Closing them seemed to help, and I left believing the issue was that I had been selfishly asking too much of the phone’s memory. I could learn to close apps. Right?

This lasted until bedtime. Then the update loop came back.

This time was worse. Not only did it start and restart on an endless loop, it also told me my pin number was incorrect and locked me out.

I had to leave it on the coffee table downstairs and go to bed for a second fitful night of sleep.

Again I got up bright and early. Showered. Made myself and Americano. Answered some emails on my laptop.  Made some toast. Browsed Pinterest. Had a second Americano. Tweeted about Trump.

But then, walking down the hallway to grab a granola bar I found myself reaching into my pocket for my phone and was forced to admit that I couldn’t pretend this problem away.

With sorrow in my heart, I did my hair, got dressed, and went to the mall. I calmly demanded a new phone, explaining that I couldn’t live without one and this phone I had now was unreliable and dysfunctional.

He said he couldn’t repair it because it was a third party phone.

I begged for a replacement. He said that wasn’t allowed and would get us both into trouble.

I begged for a loaner just to get me through the weekend. He said he didn’t have authorization to do that for me.

Finally I pleaded with him to end my old phone contract a week early, and just give me whatever was in store.

He waived the week, and brought me a new, healthy phone.

I have a new phone now. And it has a pretty protective cover with blue flowers. My old phone didn’t have that. And my rebound phone sure didn’t. All my apps are back and functioning. I feel great. I feel connected in a way I haven’t felt in 5 days.

There truly is a light at the end of every tunnel.


New Resolutions to get hung up on

Gracious me, I’m sorry that this blog is a bit late, but I’ve been busy cleaning my room.

You know I take great joy in my time spent in my lovely home, and tend my beautiful rooms with care – mostly. But there is a dark side to my homebody ways. There’s a shameful room based hierarchy.

There's a chair under there...
There’s a chair under there…

Yes, some rooms have been elevated above others. I didn’t mean anything by it, it just kinda happened.

I spend a lot of time on my main floor. I fawn over my newly renovated kitchen. I dote on my library. I turn to my living room when I need to relax. I spend all my free time in my art room.

My bedroom gets short shrift. I leave it in the morning for my kitchen and a happy cup of joe, and only return when I’ve had my full of wakefulness and craftiness and general homey delights. I drag myself upstairs with tired resignation, abandon my clothes on my bedside chair, fall into bed, and snore until dawn.

2014-08-11-22-32-11As the days pass my room begins to look neglected and sad. By the end of a week my bedside chair is barely holding up under the weight of clothes 43 inches deep and I’m forced to wear my third best black cardigan because cardis #1 and #2 are lost in the rubble.

But no more! I’ve decided to turn over a new leaf and hang up my clothes. I want to spend quality time in my bedroom, undistracted by my routine Saturday hunt for the silk blouse with the little pink rosebuds on it. I want to have access to the right cardigan at the right time. I want to sit in that arm chair and think.

This is it. 2017 is the year I take control of my bedroom. Wish me luck.




Happy first world birthday to me

My birthday was Monday. The day played out pretty well.

The noise of my husband showering before work woke me from a sound sleep this morning.  After he toweled dry he came over to the bed, leaned over and whispered “Good morning my love, you are 4 dozen years old today.”

I found that confusing.

First of all, I was in a pre-coffee stupor. Secondly, I never liked multiplying by 12. But I gave him a kiss and a few moments later managed to pull together the mental capacity to understand he had just wished me happy 48th birthday.

Before he left for work he brought the suitcase upstairs to our bedroom for me, and placed a wrapped box on my laptop in my office. I marvel at what he can accomplish before coffee.

The suitcase was for me to pack as we had only two days until we flew out to Ottawa for Christmas. I would have gotten the suitcase myself and started my packing earlier, but spiders. In the basement. In the basement storage speakerscloset with the suitcases. I don’t like spiders.

The wrapped box was my birthday gift. It held speakers for my laptop. I can now fill my office/art room with the sounds of music. This such a relief. The stereo is on the other side of the house and the sound just doesn’t carry from the east to the west wings at all, and the speakers built into my laptop are too feeble to do my music justice.

Now I can paint to a waltz, sculpt to jazz, sew to the sounds of the grand ole opry, and type to a soothing folksy ballad.

Another first world problem solved. My husband is my hero.



Ninjapoo is not a term of endearment

tessaoutsiderartI am devoted doggy mommy.

On an inauspicious March day in 2005, I wandered in to my local Petcetera. I walked out a new woman, reformed by the soulful gaze of a skinny, mangy puppy sitting with eyes full of heart.

You know those smart people who pick up long lost paintings by masters from dumpsters, seeing past the banged up frames and layers of soot? I have the dog version of that.

My dog is one of a kind. She’s basically outsider art.


Do I care when all the other yoga pant wearing Starbucks drinking doggy mommies strut by the by my front yard with their designer doggies looking askance at my scruffy baby? Nope.

Do I complain when I come home and have to pick up a little garbage because my dog has once again rooted through the trash looking for butter wrappers? Nope.

Do I care that Tessa hasn’t exactly made the doggy varsity team? Or can fetch or catch or do any of the traditional doggy tricks? No.


I love her unconditionally. But this dog, the dog I love and dote on, the dog that spends hour upon hour with me out in the yard, the dog who has her own spot on the couch, the dog who has unchallenged first right of occupancy to prime real estate in front of every window, this dog has a secret problem.

Like a ninja in the night we don’t see her come and go, we only know where she has been by the little clues she leaves behind.

Behold, the ninjapoo of shame.

tessa's shame


Safety first

AgoodMotherI pride myself on being a good mother. I take risks and put my own personal well being on the line for my children on a routine basis. Motherhood is just one step removed from martyrdom after all. It causes women about as much grief as any other existing ideology and many of us do it for all the wrong reasons. Still, most of us have the best intentions, and a willingness to accept the risks.

So when my son began dating his first girlfriend I decided I would be progressive and proactive. I took it upon myself to nurture their blossoming relationship right from the start. After all, I am sex positive. I am positive they are going to have sex.

So I made a trip to my local pharmacy, which happens to be in my local grocery store.  I headed for the condom section, which turned out to be a condom aisle. A whole aisle. I had no idea.

condomsI stood there stunned, and a little too afraid to actually pick up any of the boxes and read the fine print. I  don’t know how long I stood there surveying the shelves. Maybe five minutes, maybe three hours.

I was woken from my stupor by a voice over my left shoulder. As soon as I realized that voice belonged to an actual human being and wasn’t coming from inside my head, I turned in that direction. I stood face to face with a handsome twenty something man smiling at me with genuine concern.

“Do you need help?” He asked.

I instantly had a hot flash and blurted out “Not for me, for my son…”

He nodded empathetically, fully aware that women of my age obviously didn’t have sex, let alone safe sex. He took a cautious step forward, hands visible at all times, and reached out and pointed to a box on one of the shelves “These are my favourites.”

durex-surprise-me-12-preservatifsAt this exact moment his girlfriend showed up, and he turned to her to explain himself “This woman is buying condoms for her son, isn’t that great?”

She clapped her hands “You are a wonderful mother! Did he tell you these,” she also pointed, “are our favourite?”

I think I nodded.

She waited.

I stood there.

She picked up the box from the shelf and offered them to me.

I grabbed them, turned around, and ran for the cash. The cashier didn’t mention it. I didn’t get a bag, I popped them right in my purse and prepared for a hasty retreat back to the safety of the parking lot. It was all going well until I got to the door.

There at the door was that lovely young couple, and as I passed them they waved and said in unison “Wish your son good luck!”

Now I have to find a new grocery store because I cannot risk going back there and having them asked me how he did.



We’re all dying on the inside

article-2281413-17BC00A2000005DC-517_634x432I have dyed my hair since I was in my early 20s. I’ve had yellow hair, black hair, red hair and accidental purple hair. I’ve used off the shelf store dye, I’ve used henna, and I’ve paid salon prices. I don’t even really remember what colour my hair is naturally.

My hair is self expression. I dye it to express myself. I have no ulterior motive. So the other day when making small talk with a store clerk about needing to get into my stylist I was shocked that she assumed I had grey to cover.

tumblr_inline_mmjdxp3hsl1qz4rgpGrey hair. To cover. Like an old lady.

Perhaps as response to my confused look she cheerfully and without any remorse quipped, “I assume that’s the case when women get to a certain age.”

I apparently am a “certain age”. That realization was a bit of a downer. I hadn’t really considered myself old in spite of the fact that I currently have three children in post secondary education. Or in spite of the fact that I recently broke down and got bifocal  glasses. Or in spite of the fact that a person born the year I graduated high school is right now having an existential crisis on the eve of a 30th birthday.

Meryl-Streep-in-The-Devil-014I drove home from what would otherwise have been a wonderful shopping adventure wondering if I had gone grey. Had I inadvertently been covering up a wonderful head of silver hair? Because I know that if I were to be grey, I would be fabulously grey. 

Now I have to know. I have to let my hair colour lapse. I don’t know how I am going to break the news to my stylist.




My fashion is blowin’ in the wind

There are times I think – fashion be damned, I should gain 5lbs just for my own safety.
poppinsFor instance, on windy days.

In my home town you could knock me over with the weather on just about any day. Goodness knows the situation changes often enough that I can never feel safe letting my guard down or leaving my cardigan at home.

But the other day was the worst! I left the office at lunch for my usual Wednesday casual shopping. My work location is idyllic because the building sits on Jasper Avenue, close to shopping. I enjoy a weekly fashion filled 45 minute spree, and then I head back to the office.

From the boutiques my return route is west. West up Jasper avenue. Which, on the day in question, was against the wind.

into the windWalking into the wind was like wading through silly putty. I struggled my way up the street, walking forward with my entire tiny frame at a 45 degree angle to the pavement. I can’t say for certain if I was saved by the heft of my packages or the forgotten american coins in my purse but had I been 5 lbs lighter I would have had to hunker behind a bus shelter and ride the gale out.

Being small is hazardous. The risk of being overcome by the elements is tremendous, but it’s just one of the burdens of my petite stature I have to come to accept.

I count my blessings that I made it back to the office alive. I’m sure it isn’t the first time that my impulse shopping instincts have saved me. Next time, if I don’t find a perfect pair of shoes or a jacket to die for, I may not be so lucky.

blustery day




To book a Job

Hark, the kitchen renovation is upon us. In hours of contemplation we sat, during which options were presented to us. Counters choices begat counter finishes, counter finishes begat hardware selections, and hardware selections begat backsplash options. We’ve decided. We have made our offerings to the kitchen designer.

As I prepare to endure my kitchen being laid to waste, mustering my strength to keep my eye looking forward to my just end reward, I feel a bit homelitic. I can find no evidence that anyone before me has written down the trials and tribulations of the path of the kitchen renovant. I feel this is a lapse in the canon I must rectify as part of my own journey.

Herein beginith the book of renovations:

Renovations 14:28 – For which of you, desiring to fix a kitchen, does not first sit down and count the cost, whether we have the revenue to pay for it?

Renovations 24:27 – Prepare your plumbing and electrical, get all up to code before installation of the cabinets, and after that set the counters.

Renovations 14:1-12 – The renovating woman vacates her kitchen, and with her own hands washes dishes.

Renovations 24:3 – By willpower a kitchen is built, and by contractors it is finished.

reno tile 1


What a pane

Well, wish me luck! I am taking one big step toward removing a window, one giant leap toward a total kitchen renovation.

You know what they say, short term pane for long term counter space.

We’re getting a new kitchen window; same width, less height. My plan is to run a counter under this newer, shorter window. Obviously we need the storage space for the china and the dishes, but I have a bigger vision.

my crocusesNext winter I shall pot all sorts of herbs and flowers, and grow them under this new window. This time next year I hope crocuses will be sitting in my sunny window next to the espresso machine. Imagine how much better life will be with year round access to fresh basil. I don’t know how I’ve managed to cook during the winter without access to fresh herbs. I have been making due with a sub-par cook area and sub par ingredients. I will be relieved when my kitchen helps rather than hinders my culinary experiments.

IMG_20160301_084619This is how the window looked this morning.

Note the dismal view of the neighbour’s house.

A properly placed rosemary bonsai will go a long way toward making my window gazing less dreary.

This is how the work progressed. Thank goodness the window guys didn’t block my access to my espresso machine or it could have been a much rougher morning.

IMG_20160301_091617  IMG_20160301_095516 (1)  IMG_20160301_095724  IMG_20160301_110213

It may be unattractive right now, but you know what they say – no pane, no new kitchen.

It’s done. Now there is no going back. No cancelling the cheque. This is my odyssey, my journey to a proper home and this was only my first trial. My next act will be to hold a long dinner party to celebrate and finally say good-bye to my forsaken kitchen.

Ongoing beginnings

When my darling husband and I first started our journey together I shared some of the ups, downs and pitfalls of house hunting. Our quest for the perfect nest was somewhat less than smooth. In the end, though we chose the path of least resistance, it was not a choice entirely without drawbacks. Specifically, there were some immediate decorating challenges.

So we unpacked, and immediately began correcting the decorative deficiencies.

We build our library in the weird little empty room off the patio, so that this:

original library

Ended up transforming over a few weeks into a home for my books:2012-12-29 12.32.32  Place to be library

And made me so happy.

We then painted and decorated both the library and the cold white living room so the main floor was fit for entertaining.

original living xmas party time

We eventually painted and decorated the master bedroom and master bath (yes, it was not only poorly laid out but poorly decorated as well).

We then equipped my art room/office for my needs.

original artroom croppedhome officeIt had natural light but needed some upgrades to be able house my clutter.  Now it definitely holds my clutter

My beloved designed and laid out my garden retreat.

2013-05-18 13.52.14 -> 2014-04-28 20.17.03 -> 2014-05-11 21.01.55 -> 2014-05-16 20.59.02

We have come so far, but the war is not yet over. There has been a lull in activity for the past ten months, but we have been mustering our strength for the next battle.

We are renovating our kitchen. Because really, who could be expected to live with this?

kitchen reno window pic

I am going to need all my strength to pull this one off … and really patient contractors.