Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Being a good girl for the holidays!

I was over visiting Kate this morning and she was very excited that she was able (because of an unexpected business trip) to decorate the family home for Christmas earlier than in the past! Kate's one of those people! Yes, I said it with that tone...one of THOSE people that loves the holiday season! She's all bubbly and festive and shit! Honestly, I'm not sure how we've managed to remain friends (and very good friends, might I add) for so long with such definite differences. Okay, well maybe I do know.....she's got a wicked sense of humour, she's kind to a fault and did I say she has a wicked sense of humour? You know the saying opposites attract....well, I could for all intents and purpose be her husband on this topic.

This year though,because I value the opinions of my good friends Kate and Colleen , I've decided to model my holiday thoughts and actions after them!

Tonight I will start by going to a {{choke}} mall and start to Christmas shop. I will have my shopping done before December 15th.

This weekend I will force the younger people in my house to remain home and create the wonderful atmosphere of Christmas by decorating the house. This will be done at the same time as I hog tie my husband to a ladder in my kitchen so that he can paint the kitchen! I can do all this because they fear me!! This is a good thing!!

Wish me luck!~! TeeHee!
Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Wow that's some expensive cookie!

Last year Colleen and I made a day where we got together to bake for Christmas and we decided that we would do two of whatever we were making and share. That would then provide us with double the types of goodies and a fun way to spend a day together. This year we opened it up to other folks and Aimee and Dawn decided to join us.

Yesterday Aimee and I went to do groceries and get the items at the bulk food store we needed for our get together as it's coming quickly.

This year I am making butter tarts (Colleen's hubby likes them alot and so does my family), sugar cookies (Aimee likes them a lot and they are good to have around at holiday time) and raspberry jam thumbprint cookies..(it wouldn't be Christmas without them!, my Mom used to make them for us and they have to be my favorite cookie!).

Aimee has chosen to go into the realm of new and exciting. She's young and adventurous and maybe just a little on the snotty side (LOL, shhhh! don't tell her I said so!)(Aimee, Mama loves you!). She's decided to make Biscotti! I don't know about you but I always think "Ooowww biscotti at $2.50 a pop, that there is for rich folks, not me, the little old poor person" Aimee worked at one of those specialty coffee shops all through high school and she used to bring us home the day old baked goods like muffins and such but since biscotti has such a great shelf life (like 3 weeks) there was never any of this coming home for us. Anyway, back to our shopping spree for biscotti ingredients...we went to the local bulk food store to buy the nuts and dried cranberries that Aimee needed and walked out with the most expensive plastic bag of groceries I have ever bought!! Now I know why they charge $2.50 per cookie at those stores!

I'm so very excited about having biscotti in my house that I might even go buy one of those tall glass biscotti jars to put on my counter so that I can show everyone that comes that we have come along way and can now be classified as people that eat $2.50 cookies as a regular item. That's right Folks....biscotti is not just for treats anymore!!
Monday, November 19, 2007

didn't even get into the stadium.....

This was a great weekend.

On Friday night we supped at an Italian eatery that was short on Fettuccine Alfredo (saving it in case someone ordered it for takeout), were totally out of spaghetti and Parmesan cheese and the wonderful pepperoncini's that are usually in their salads were totally being rationned as well. Truly disappointing. The company was good and that certainly made the evening entirely worthwhile!

On Saturday, the dog got groomed, the house got tidied, Aimee and I had breakfast together and then went and chose a couple of paint colours for our kitchen. We took the colours home, slapped the sample paint on the walls, made a final decision. The chosen colour is Benjamin Moore's CC-62 Sundried tomato. It's a deep warm red colour that just makes me SOOOO happy! Then I got a nap and then went for dinner to my good friend Colleen's. Again another great day!

On Sunday, my friend "B" came over to practice her pedicure giving skills on us. Ahhh, I finally understand the feeling the rich and famous people get from being pampered in their homes . There is something very cool about being able to sit on your own couch and have someone pamper your tender tootsies!

While "B" was there hubby arrived home from his football weekend away. It seems he had a great weekend but he didn't get in to actually see the game. He and another fellow that was in the gang of 6 that went, refused to pay $180 for a scalped ticket to a college football game! See I told you he was smarter than the other men in my past! So he enjoyed the game on t.v. in the comfort of some tavern in Ann Arbor Michigan. He had a great weekened with the guys! Seems like a long way to travel for a football game on t.v. in a bar! He could have just gone down to the corner and watched it for a small fraction of the cost of his little trip. He did have fun though and he brought me back a big bottle of Bailey's that he got at the duty free and he brought back some cash....all in all not so bad. p.s. Hubby didn't have the same feelings for the paint that I did...but I win and he will paint.

Aimee made 6 wonderful quiches for dinner on Sunday and we wrapped up the evening with the kids teaching me how to play poker. I could never profess to be ready for poker with outsiders but I enjoyed it and might even try and give the kids a run for their money sometime soon!
Friday, November 16, 2007

You wanna go where?

Husband called me last night with another of his last minute invitation things from his buddy....yes, this is the same buddy that invited us to see Genesis with them because the people he had originally intended to go with backed out...remember it ended up costing us a fortune! It was a good time but had we been able to plan for it...well 'nuf said you know what I mean.

So this time Dude is inviting Hubby to a football game. Not just any football game, but a football game that requires 2 overnight stays away from home, conversion of currency and again leaving today Friday!

So because I am a softie and hate to see my hubby disappointed, he is off to Michigan to watch a Michigan State University Football game. I want you to know however that I did not give in without giving the grief that should rightly accompany the trip.

Here are my points:

1) why are you the fill in guy! I know this guy didn't just plan this trip last night! He's got a wife and two babies at home that I'm positive would not be so agreeable to last minute arrangements! Why are you not good enough to invite to these things in the first place? Why is it he's always calling you at the last minute?

2) we have alot of shit going on around here that could use your half hearted attention! Like the problem in the basement! The painting of the kitchen and the hallway...maybe finishing the stepup things on the doorways so people aren't stubbing their toes on ceramic tile!

3) it's 5 weeks till Christmas and you wanna spend how much going to Michigan for what? A football game??

He kept saying, "Well if we can't do it hun, I'll call him and tell him I can't go". Picture Eeyore saying "Oh bother" that's what hubby's face looked like!

Honestly People he sucks! He does this to me all the time! Calls me when I'm out and puts me on the spot!

Boys are dumb!!!
Wednesday, November 14, 2007

"HOW MANY" shopping days till Christmas??!?!?!?!?

Oh heavens.....when I start getting emails that countdown Christmas I get scared for my sanity.

I Love Christmas....the family gathering, the happy, warm fuzzy feeling of seeing everyone happy and in one place and especially the food!

I hate Christmas because of the shopping! Who cares how many more days of shopping till then...for me that really means how many more days of procrastination before the absolute necessity of fighting the crowds. How many more days of mind bending despondency over what the hell to buy those kids!

So if you are reading this children.....send lists, with lot of suggestions, sizes, where I can find it and I will get busy! Aimee....tell your sisters since they don't bother with my blog!

Thanks, Christmas Crazy Mama Dukes
Monday, November 12, 2007

part three and the saga continues.....

Taking the time to write about my past has been somewhat cathartic. I mean the emotional purging not the bowel kind, although sometimes....well we'll not go there. Sometimes it's difficult to look back on so many stupid decisions and find any semblance of sanity! Then there are times when I look at the times I started over or moved on and want to slap myself on the back and say good for you....feelings so mixed. So many hurt feelings, so much risk of damaging little lives that were in my care; decisions made that in hindsight could have been absolutely horrible except for the grace of God and my Mom and Dad, I think!

Anyway, part three finds me and my three little treasures in a rented old farmhouse, in the middle of city, by ourselves again. Although the rent was reasonable, the utilities were exorbitant! This old house had a lot of good things going for it. It was centrally located, a block from my Paternal Grandmother's house, a huge yard for the kids to play in a relatively upscale neighborhood just a 10 minute's drive from my Mom and Dads. The other good thing it had going for it was a spare room on the main floor that could be rented out.

To me, a single mom with no money, this seemed like the answer to my immediate problem of greater cash outlay than cash! Immediately, I rented the room to a guy that I had become friends with that had just lost his place due to a split with his girlfriend. The extra money that this provided me was the difference between struggling just to keep oil in the furnace to eating well and a night or two out on the town.

Unfortunately, this second source of income soon found a new girlfriend to move in with and I loss that little taste of freedom.

One night at pool, I mentioned to an older gentleman on my team that I needed to replace that income and he suggested that his son move in and rent that room from me.

His son had just moved to Canada from Los Angeles and had unfortunately worn out his welcome at his dad's seniors apartment.

I offered for him to move in to our home. He accepted. He lived with us for an entire year. He became a part of our family. He became my best friend until one day I got notified that I had been accepted into social housing and he couldn't come with us. It was a time that was filled with mixed emotions, I was finally going to be living in housing that I could afford but I would miss his opinions on the guys I was dating and the kids would miss his advice on how to deal with their crazy mom!

He moved in with an acquaintance of mine into a room that she had for rent. We would still see each other in social settings...it became soon became obvious that he hated his new living arrangements and that we missed him being a part of our everyday lives. It became evident that there was only one thing to do.....despite the cautionary warnings of our common friends, we started dating. Many people warned us that we were ruining a really good friendship by moving to this new level.

He moved out of his bad rooming situation into an apartment with a guy that he worked with and we continued to explore this new dating phenomenon.

After about 6 months of this new exploration, he proposed and I accepted. When we announced to the world that we going to cement our relationship under the law and get married we received nothing but grief from our friends and from his father. One night his father actually verbally attacked me in the bar at pool.

I totally understood his concern. I had been married before. I had three kids. I wasn't going to have any more.

These were all things that we had discussed. My former roommate and now fiancee assured me that none of these things were important to him. He loved me, he loved my kids and for him that was enough. That is what he told his father.

That was 11 years ago.

This year we celebrated our 9th anniversary and he's still alive. I haven't poisoned him and he hasn't stabbed me!

He is the love of my life and he can read....and he can write and he makes me laugh. He loves my kids. He thinks my Dad is hilarious and he loves my Mom. He is a true part of our family and most importantly, he loves and respects me!

This story hasn't even come near an end.....fortunately for me.....there are many new and exciting adventures ahead of us!
Friday, November 09, 2007

it's my life....part two

So where did we leave off....oh yeah, two kids, no hubby and me trying to finish up at college.

In my last year at college I met "illiterate idiot #2". He was extremely attractive, very persuasive and he had a dark side. The fact that we could barely communicate should have been the first clue that he would be good for a good time and not a long time. He was of Portuguese descent, dark and extremely handsome and he was definitely convinced that I was the one!

By this time I had been alone for a couple of years, the kids I went to school with were all years younger than me and besides I had 2 young kids that took up what spare time I had. Again, I was looking for someone to love me, pay attention to me, tell me I was beautiful! He did all those things for me (later I found out he did the same for others, yes at the same time!) Next stop, daughter number 3! When I was in the final stages of pregnancy it came time to start trying to pick names and I was torn between Natalia and Bronwyn. I soon ruled out Bronwyn because he couldn't say it and then ruled out Natalia because apparently, that time he disappeared for a weekend, he was off assisting his other girlfriend in the birth of their daughter whom they named Natalia! Baby # 3 came into the world while he was out boozing it up with his buddies I think cause he wasn't at the hospital and the older girls were with a neighbor. Yes, this was my life! During this time I was fostering two little girls and it came time for them to go back to their Mom. This was a sad time for us to say goodbye to Sandy and Miranda who had been a part of our family for some 2 years. Anyway, things just went from bad to worse and when I got a job to support my growing family (cause hell knows he couldn't hold one) it was in a neighbouring community that turned out to be that much closer to my Mom and Dad.

So, I did what came naturally! I packed up my kids and "illiterate idiot #2" and moved back to my home town. Another city, another fresh beginning! Within a year, youngest baby 18months old , I found myself alone again except now with 3 little girls to support! Not to worry though because I had always been the one to struggle with the supporting part! My parents again stood by me while I figured things out.

Thankfully this was the BEST thing that ever happened to me! I was finally rid of the illiterate idiots in my life and grown up enough to realize that although I would perhaps meet other idiots...I was never having anymore babies and I was never supporting another man's stupid ass! That was 16 years ago. My girls do not know the "illiterate idiots" that are their biological fathers. The oldest girls haven't seen theirs since they were around 8 years old (they are 25 and 24 now) and except for the annual call after they turned 18 to see if he could stop paying the $100 a month he payed for child support we haven't heard from him. The baby (now 17) has no idea what her dad looks like as she's not seen him since the day he walked away with our car and stereo and whatever else he could fit in the vehicle and we all say "GOOD RIDDANCE"!

This was to be the last territorial move my family made but not the last big family change.....oh the stories....

stay tuned for part 3 "how the guy that rented the extra room became the Love of my life"....
Thursday, November 08, 2007

because you asked.....

Mary Pat commented that she thought the fact that I had moved many times to a new city just to start over was an interesting concept and she wanted to know more....

Well here goes nothing!

When I was a young rebellious 17 year old idiot, I felt like the world was against me and I needed to have a fresh start.

I picked up my very few belongings and made my way to the great white north. Back to the place I spent my summers as a child. This is where I married my first illiterate fool. I met a man that was 14 years my senior. He seemed to have his shit together and I needed somebody to love, cherish and take care of me. He fit the bill quite nicely. (at least for a short time!)

At 17, my judgment was impaired. Here I was, a fairly booksmart literate teenager, with a very skewed idea of what the world should be....there he was, an illiterate lumber worker with a job, an apartment and little else.

Together we moved from this small town to another small town for a fresh start after he lost his job with the lumber mill. When we got to our new location he spent months looking for a new job and by the time he found employment, I found myself pregnant with baby number 1.

By the time baby number 2 was born 12 months 22 days later, he had been fired from 3 jobs and was out of work again. I worked in various occupations from manager of 2 retail stores to Bartender at the local strip club. By the time Baby number 2 was 6 months old we had separated 4 times and in a last ditch effort to find a job "the illiterate one" had moved to Southern Ontario on his own. I stayed behind, working and raising babies. I was all of 21 years old.

Due to a combination of my own stubbornness and other things, my relationship with my parents was still strained at best, but we were working towards a mending of ways because of the grand babies. Grand babies have a tendency to bridge wide gaps. When "the illiterate one"
called to say "he had a great job, a fab apartment and a wonderful fresh start, would I please bring the kids to Southern Ontario for a new beginning" my parents were quick to agree that this was a good idea. Basically this would put their grand babies living 45 minutes away instead of 10 hours away.

I agreed for the sake of my little family that this was the way to go. I gave notice at my job and my apartment, packed up our belongings and prepared to move south.

One week before actually leaving I got this call from "the illiterate one" that told me he had no job, no apartment but a really cool campsite that was close to town and the job was just a matter of time! I packed up and moved anyway, leaving my worldly goods stored in my Grandmother's garage in my hometown 45 minutes away form the "cool campsite"

When I arrived at the "cool campsite" there with 2 babies under the age of 3, it was to find "the illiterate one" with nothing but a pup tent and a great tan! In the month of June some would consider this an adventure. I was young, energetic and momentarily STUPID. We lasted 6 weeks in that campsite and then one sunny August day I decided enough was enough and the babies and I moved to a less than wonderful apartment that had running water, a roof and electricity. Oh yes, "the illiterate one" one came eventually as well but it didn't last long. By September, separated again I returned to High School to finish up my grade 12 so that I could move on to college.

In the next 4 years, my Parents were my rock! Without them I don't know that I would have made it! They helped out with finances, they helped out with the kids and basically they provided the support that I needed to finally make the break from the first "illiterate one". I graduated from college but not from the world of "Stupid in Love" .

So this is 3 major moves between the ages of 17-24. This doesn't count the individual moves within town while going to college (4 more times within 4 years).

There is one more major move that we made but the story surrounding that one is also a long one....so we'll leave that for another time!
Monday, November 05, 2007

For the Love of MP!

This seemed easy.....and well, we all love MP and therefore must do her memes so that she knows it! Highlighted stuff is what I've done.

01. Bought everyone in the bar a drink (not)
2. Swam with wild dolphins
03. Climbed a mountain
04. Taken a Ferrari for a test drive
05. Been inside the Great Pyramid
06. Held a tarantula
07. Taken a candlelit bath with someone (no thanks, they'd just ruin it by wanting sex, good one Kate! I agree and besides not gonna get two in my bathtub unless one is the 9 lb Yorkie! )
08. Said “I love you” and meant it
09. Hugged a tree
10. Bungee jumped (not on your life...or mine for that matter)
11. Visited Paris (would like to)
12. Watched a lightning storm at sea (not fond of the lightning thing...usually find me hidden somewhere if I know it's happening!)
13. Stayed up all night long and saw the sun rise (oh to be young again)
14. Seen the Northern Lights (yep...beautiful)
15. Gone to a huge sports game (unfortunately)
16. Walked the stairs to the top of the leaning Tower of Pisa
17. Grown and eaten your own vegetables (once...then decided too much work easier to do the farmer's market)
18. Touched an iceberg (ice cube maybe)
19. Slept under the stars (yep not as romantic as it sound...dew it's a bitch
20. Changed a baby’s diaper (shit yes)
21. Taken a trip in a hot air balloon (sounds nice but not a fan of a basket being the only thing between me and the ground)
22. Watched a meteor shower
23. Gotten drunk on champagne (yuck!)
24. Given more than you can afford to charity
25. Looked up at the night sky through a telescope
26. Had an uncontrollable giggling fit at the worst possible moment
27. Had a food fight (and water and many other fun things to clean up after!)
28. Bet on a winning horse
29. Asked out a stranger (in my younger days)
30. Had a snowball fight
31. Screamed as loudly as you possibly can
32. Held a lamb ( fed a baby goat as well)
33. Seen a total eclipse
34. Ridden a roller coaster (yep and hate it every time)
35. Hit a home run
36.Danced like a fool and didn’t care who was looking
37. Adopted an accent for an entire day (only to do telemarketing when I was younger)
38. Actually felt happy about your life, even for just a moment
39. Had two hard drives for your computer
40. Visited all 50 states
41. Taken care of someone who was drunk
42. Had amazing friends
43. Danced with a stranger in a foreign country
44. Watched whales
45. Stolen a sign
46. Backpacked in Europe
47. Taken a road-trip
48. Gone rock climbing
49. Midnight walk on the beach
50. Gone sky diving...Lucky to get me in a plane let alone to jump out
51. Visited Ireland (would love to)
52. Been heartbroken longer than you were actually in love
53. In a restaurant, sat at a stranger’s table and had a meal with them (not by choice)
54. Visited Japan
55. Milked a cow
56. Alphabetized your CDs (why bother?)
57. Pretended to be a superhero
58. Sung karaoke
59. Lounged around in bed all day (actually lounged on a couch for 3 days)
60. Played touch football
61. Gone scuba diving.
62. Kissed in the rain
63. Played in the mud
64. Played in the rain
65. Gone to a drive-in theater
66. Visited the Great Wall of China
67. Started a business (gave that up when idiots started calling outside business hours))
68. Fallen in love and not had your heart broken
69. Toured ancient sites
70. Taken a martial arts class (payed for a martial arts class)
71. Played D&D for more than 6 hours straight
72. Gotten married (yep- twice!)
73. Been in a movie
74. Crashed a party
75. Gotten divorced (necessary to attempt the second marriage)
76. Gone without food for 5 days
77. Made cookies from scratch (of course...how else do you make cookies)
78. Won first prize in a costume contest (at work, got three extra vacation days as first prize!)
79. Ridden a gondola in Venice
80. Gotten a tattoo (yep, damn it hurt!)
81. Rafted the Snake River
82. Been on television news programs as an “expert”
83. Gotten flowers for no reason
84. Performed on stage
85. Been to Las Vegas (NEED TO GO BACK!)
86. Recorded music
87. Eaten shark (husband's idea...not my idea of a great fish!)
88. Kissed on the first date (kiss...interesting approach)
89. Gone to Thailand (someday!)
90. Bought a house
91. Been in a combat zone
92. Buried one/both of your parents (buried both my in-laws but thankfully not my parents!)
93. Been on a cruise ship
94. Spoken more than one language fluently (not simultaneously but thanks to Mom...yes)
95. Performed in Rocky Horror
96. Raised children
97. Followed your favorite band/singer on tour (just a band that came through town...to the next town!)
98. Passed out cold (yep)
99. Taken an exotic bicycle tour in a foreign country
100. Picked up and moved to another city to just start over (SO MANY TIMES!!!)
101. Walked the Golden Gate Bridge
102. Sang loudly in the car, and didn’t stop when you knew someone was looking
103. Had plastic surgery
104. Survived an accident that you shouldn't’t have survived
105. Wrote articles for a large publication
106. Lost over 100 pounds (probably should...)
107. Held someone while they were having a flashback
108. Piloted an airplane
109. Touched a stingray (no....again with the mutal respect thing)
110. Broken someone’s heart
111. Helped an animal give birth
112. Won money on a T.V. game show (nope, Bingo's and Casino's but never TV)
113. Broken a bone (Yep...just a wrist and tailbone)
114. Gone on an African photo safari
115. Had a facial part pierced other than your ears
116. Fired a rifle, shotgun, or pistol (shot and killed Bambi's Dad during hunting season)
117. Eaten mushrooms that were gathered in the wild (ahhh no)
118. Ridden a horse (for sure hated every moment of it )
119. Had major surgery
120. Had a snake as a pet (ICK)
121. Hiked to the bottom of the Grand Canyon
122. Slept for more than 30 hours over the course of 48 hours
123. Visited more foreign countries than U.S. states
124. Visited all 7 continents (lord these people have money)
125. Taken a canoe trip that lasted more than 2 days
126. Eaten kangaroo meat (does kangaroo jerky count...have some of that at home...gonna have to break into that!)
127. Eaten sushi (yum)
128. Had your picture in the newspaper
129. Changed someone’s mind about something you care deeply about
130. Gone back to school
131. Parasailed ( now that's a sight)
132. Touched a cockroach
133. Eaten fried green tomatoes
134. Read The Iliad - and the Odyssey
135. Selected one “important” author who you missed in school, and read
136. Killed and prepared an animal for eating
137. Skipped all your school reunions
138. Communicated with someone without sharing a common spoken language
139. Been elected to public office
140. Written your own computer language
141. Thought to yourself that you’re living your dream
142. Had to put someone you love into hospice care
143. Built your own PC from parts
144. Sold your own artwork to someone who didn’t know you
145. Had a booth at a street fair (would a Christmas Bazaar count?)
146. Dyed your hair
147. Been a DJ
148. Shaved your head
149. Caused a car accident
150. Saved someone’s life

Well that was fun! NOT!
Thursday, November 01, 2007


Here they are...the pictures you've all been looking for!

I know this is not as exciting for you as it is for us but this is my new floor! This weekend we will finish putting baseboards and cupboard kickplates or whatever they are called back in and then the next project will be to paint my walls a warm shade of red.

I'm excited!

Once again good job Tile Queen! Mama Dukes loves and appreciates everything you do for us!!!