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At Home With Ailsa - June 2004

At Home I * At Home II * At Home III * At Home IV * Archived At Home With Ailsa Pages!

February '05 * January '05 * December '04 * November '04 * October '04 * September '04 * August '04 * July '04 * June '04 * June 17th - 30th *

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Wednesday, June 30th, 2004. Hey there, Goiiigeous! How are ya, ta'day? Good? Great? Canny believe it's almost July?! Man, where does the time go? It's funny how July suddenly feels like th summer has finally arrived, then you realize it'll be gone so quickly, too, then back to the snow before you know it... hmmmm, must refill that Prozac Perscription... yaha, ha! No, no -- I just rely on the old standby, Sody Pop Wine, which I'm very fond of -- the Black Currant one in particular. Better than regular pop (it's like pop with a real 'pop'! ha,ha!), and not quite a real wine -- it's all very pleasant, and no need to swing by the Doctor's Office first! ha,ha!

Well, we had a very weird thing happen to us, yesterday -- some guy phoned Dwight to tell him a pile of crap about a job we just had done, so I thought I would just mention it briefly, since this is something that does happen between some guys in the same Trade, and it's good to be aware of it. This guy called Dwight out of the blue, and according to Dwight, he used some very crude language. Of course, I wanted to know all the language, but Dwight wouldn't even tell me the first letters on some of the words -- I kept saying, "Did they start with an 'F'? What about an 'A'??" I didn't want to go any further down that path when Dwight said there were waaay more letters than that -- and this is a guy that neither of us have ever met or used.

Anyway, so here's the important thing -- some contractors feel like they have to diss all of their competition whenever they don't get the job, and it's good to keep in mind that some contractors can be petty and bizarre, and that's not a good sign. You want to weed them out, since if they'll bad-mouth their competition, it won't be long before they're bad-mouthing you. They can be like the School Gossip -- you know the ones who can't keep a thought to themselves, and blurt out any stupid thing that happens to pop into their tiny minds at any time. Our first Cabinet Guy was like that, too -- what a pain in the (word starts with 'A'...) Shirt! This guy wouldn't shut up and was extremely difficult to work with -- I fired him as soon as we found a replacement Carpenter, our beloved Trevor, who was wonderful to work with. Our favourite feature about Trevor is that he actually listened to what we said, then did it! YaaaHooo! We were badly in need of someone who wouldn't bad-mouth everything and just get the job done. We'd forgotten about that until yesterday's bizarro call with this creepy, crude contractor.

Tip of the Day: When you are choosing a Contractor, be sure to meet with them in person before the job begins, and the longer they will be working for you, the more important this is, because you don't want to feel ill every time you see their truck pulling up to your house -- you should feel very happy to see them, because it means you'll soon be finished the Project...Some people just creep you out, so if you feel uncomfortable with the Contractor at the outset, it'll only get much worse as the job goes along. Unless you're in such a tight market that you can't find anyone else, it'll be much easier on you if you take a little more time to find someone you can deal with easily.

Now one thing that happens a lot is you will meet with the Boss, and really like him or her, then when the job starts, the Employees come over and are difficult to work with, so it's not unreasonable to ask who will be working on your job. We had a few contractors on this house build who wouldn't take direction from me, because I am 'a Girl'... I'm sure you can imagine how well that went down with me! ha,ha! Loooosers! I was the one in charge of many of the jobs around here, so that wasn't good! And even the Phone Installation Guy from the regular Phone Company wouldn't put in Two Lines like I asked him to because he said my 'husband would have to approve that'... hmmmmm. I only let it go because by then we had been waiting for months to get the stooopid phone line in, so I figured one line was better than nothing, but now I wish I had forced the issue. What a jerk, and believe me, there's no shortage of them.

You know I'm a big supporter of decent contractors, and the vast majority are good, but there are still some shady people out there, and they end up giving us all a bad name, and I hate that. It's the same as in any Field, though -- there are always a few bad apples (are those the 'B' and 'A' words?? ha,ha!), you just have to be aware of the general traits of a 'baddie' so you can weed them out of your life and you work... with any luck! Or use them and cut them loose as soon as you can! It's all about getting the work done, right??

Aidan is watching Sesame Street in the Lower Living Room (who is in charge of Summer Programming that they can't put some new stuff on for people at home during the day, hmmm??). Anyway, it is such a great show for wee kids, and is pretty entertaining for adults, too! They just did a wee song about what types of Families there are, and do you know what used to drive me crazy when I was on my own with Cara? People (yes, the same annoying people I mentioned above...)who would say to me that Cara came from a 'Broken Home'. Ugh. No. I took her OUT OF a Broken Home -- just because a Mum is a Single Mum, that does not in any way imply a problem with the child or that there will be a problem with said child -- it represents a Mum who saw a problem in her marriage that was so severe that she has chosen to raise the child (or children) on her own -- usually more for the child's sake than her own. We need to make a big change in society so that all families are recognized as being healthy and happy is that is what they are, and 'healthy and happy' is not always in the realm of a married couple with children...

We have too many families in new arrangements (generally much happier arrangements) to hold to stooopid old notions that weren't accurate in the first place. I'm glad that Sesame Street can send out such a positive message to all the little kids who are here and happy -- and we need to get rid of the phrase 'illegitimate children' -- all children are 'legitimate children' -- I'm shocked when I hear that term still bandied about -- it's the craziest thing out there, and needs to go. Maybe we can all use the next two decades, or so, to discard all those stooopid old notions that have not helped our societies -- notions about sex, age, race, religion -- you name it -- whatever is getting in the way of true hapiness for people needs to be revisited to see if any of the old way of thinking still holds water, and if it doesn't, toss it away and come up with a new version. Something Positive and Nice, instead of mean and undermining -- sounds good, don't it?? ha,ha!

Better get going -- oh, and I totally ran out of time, yesterday, and didn't get any new pictures on -- sorry about that! I'll see if I can get into my new pictures, today -- that's such a bother, that photo program!

What a pain in the shirt my Photo System is -- it still won't accept my new pictures... so let me see what else I have...

Well, I don't think I've shown you this, yet, although I meant to, so today's the big day! ha,ha! Anyway, this is one of our favorite meals, and it's really easy to make. A lot of our meals arrive from me putting off making the dinner,then I'm in a frenzy in the kitchen trying to figure out something new and tasty to make that won't take very long -- and that's how I came up with this recipe.

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Salsa Chicken and Rice. I always use my Electric Skillet, but you could pop this in the oven, too. Just cover over some Chicken Breasts (however many you need for your particular family) with a mixture of Salsa and a tin of Diced Tomatoes. Cover and Simmer until you remember you were making something for dinner... then put the Rice on and everything'll be ready at the same time. You can serve this with French Bread or just on it's own. This is great over Pasta, too. See how versatile it is?? ha,ha! I think I'll make this for dinner, it looks so tasty!

See you later! Ailsa!!

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Tuesday, June 29th, 2004. Hi, Honey! Welcome back Home! It's always lovely to see you... I love the way your eyes sparkle like that -- have you had a wee nip, already today? I don't blame you -- I would, too, if I didn't have to drive Cara all over the place... Summer Vacation is more work for me in terms of driving than any time during the School Year, ironically enough! Ah, well. It means I have a whole lot less time to work on my Site, too, and all the Construction Stuff that's been happening around here, lately, has curtailed my time on the computer, as well. I'll just work when I can and we'll see how the Summer goes...

So the Driveway is all done -- the Paving Crew arrived out of nowhere, yesterday, and they stayed all day to get the job done -- they were here until well after 7:00 pm last night. The Driveway looks great -- we're really happy with it. Now we need to do some Landscaping up to the Pavement with Gravel and White Rock (we're going to line the whole thing on both sides with White Rock -- that'll look very pretty up against the Black Pavement). That was a little panicky getting the whole job going, what with not having any notice of their actual arrival, but we pulled it off and now the whole thing is done. It's kind of a funny thing, because that was the last really 'Big-Ticket' Item to do on the house, and it feels kind of sad in a way, to be done with this house. Is that weird? It's like the last day your kid is in School and they're ready to move out -- I think I'm experiencing 'Empty Nest Syndrome' with my actual Nest! ha,ha,ha!

I probably feel that way because I was waiting until the Driveway was Paved before we had any Open Houses -- I just felt that was such a critical part of the look of the house, I didn't want to really 'present' the house until it was all done. It's much easier for a Buyer to get a good feel for the house when it's completed, so they don't have to worry about what's going to be done and what will it look like. It's easy for Builders to look at any Project at any stage and know what the finished building will look liike, because we're all so familiar with the Trade, but that doesn't always apply to Buyers, nor should it. But it's nice to present your best look when you're ready to sell your house, so that's what we're doing. Now we just need to figure out when we'll have the time to do our first Open House -- maybe in July... we'd like to spend the rest of the Summer in this House, and enjoy the Hot Tub and stuff, so if we had a Possession Date for some time at the end of the summer or in the Fall (hopefully, the Fall), that would work well for us. We'll see what happens.

Tip of the Day: Take your time when you're Buying or Selling a Home, if you possibly can. We tend to put our house on the Market and get a Firm Deal before we even start to look seriously to find the next house. That works well for us, because it's very stressful to go out and find something else that you love, then try to sell your current home in the tiny time-frame that the new purchase allows. That two or three month period can do a lot of couple in, so watch out for that. It's good to keep in mind when a Realtor is pushing you to make a purchase that you may or may not be ready for that they don't care whether your marriage stays together -- they're interested in the Sale. Not that they aren't caring on some level, but your relationship is only paramount to you, not the Salesperson. Know yourself and your Partner to decide how much stress your relationship can withstand, and go from there. It'll be worht the wait, and who knows, maybe something better will come along while you're waiting!

Here's a wee Scottish Phrase that I think of often, and I find it really applies in Real Estate, as well as in the rest of your life...

"Wha's for ye'll no' go by ye." Slur the 'ye' a bit to get the right sound... It just translates into "What is meant to be for you in your Life will happen, and some things that you hope beyond hope that they'll happen don't, and years later you'll be sooo thankful that they didn't. It's a round-about way of saying 'Trust in the Universe...', but I can't imagine a lot of Scotsmen saying that, so we'll stick with the "What's for you will not go by you..." There, I cleaned it up and 'North Americanized' it for ye! ha,ha,ha!

Hey, did you happen to catch Northshore last night? That's the new Show that comes from the same Producers from The O.C., which I think is a great Show. Anyway, Northshore takes place in Hawaii, and we'll watch anything for a while if we get to see some gorgeous beaches (and people!!)... it's a really good show, with some nice little twists. One thing I wonder about with so many shows on TV, these days, is how is it that they still don't really reflect the Cultural Reality and Diversity of North America? Ah, well -- maybe we'll see more integration as the Shows progress. Oh, and The Casino was on, too, and we're enjoying that.. We were in Las Vegas last summer, and wouldn't you know it -- that crazy Dwight wouldn't let me gamble even on the Slots -- very annoyink! So we're watching The Casino last night, and Dwight says how much fun we had in Vegas. I looked over at him to see if he was kidding, because it was terible -- from the Hotel to Dwight's very bad behaviour -- I hope never to go back to Vegas with Dwight. I said to him that I look forward to the day when the image he has of himself and how things will go (or have already gone...!) actually matches the reality! Now that would be much better!

Okay, gotta go put on my chauffeur's hat! See you tomorrow! Ailsa!!

Oh, and we now have a Minority Government in Canada, after the Big National Vote, yesterday. I hope that keeps things relatively stable in Canada, so no-one can remove hard-won Human Rights Issues, and bring in some badly needed new ones. And not spend too much on stupid things -- often a Minority Gov't provides a better system of checks and balances for all the Parites, so I hope that's how it plays itself out. And it would be nice if they would follow the American Model and just pick a day every three or four years for an Election, and stick to it. Then everyone would know when to vote, and we wouldn't have to beg Leaders to leave... and I hope they are able to sort out the Voting System for the next time around, because each and every time I've been in to Vote out here in Calgary, they never have my name on their stooopid lists. Thank God I'm such a determined little Voter -- they've taken so many other rights away from me, I'll be damned if they're going to prevent me from voting because they're lousy beaurocrats... there's my little rant for the day... and we finally convinced them that we should be able to Vote -- then we went out for dinner, which was quite nice.

I love this style of Dress for myself, and I don't know how many of this type of Shirt I've bought for Dwight -- anything to stop him from wearing horizontal Stipes! ha,ha! (and no kidding!) Anyway, Northshore reminded me of this, and I think when we sell this house we might head to Hawaii for a little Trip, to reward ourselves for working so hard on the House over the years!


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Monday, June 28th, 2004. Hi, Baby-Cakes! My Sugary Little Donut -- actually, not tooo little a donut, unless they're the Stampede Donuts, which I'm only slightly addicted to... those little donuts are worth the price of admission into the Stampede, right there! (The Calgary Stampede is this huuuge even held in Calgary every July, and Dwight and I met during the Stampede 9 years ago... man, sometimes that seems like a tiny amount of time ago, and other times it feels like it's been almost a decade! ha,ha,ha!)

Well, guess who came to the door, this morning, first thing? The Pavers! It's a miracle. But not all that great at first, since we had been waiting for the Estimator to come back to tell us how many Loads of Crushed Gravel we would need, and he was a no-show, so it was quite a surprise to see them ready to go with all their equipment this morning. I had to scamble around a bit to get a couple of loads of the gravel to the house within an hour, which was incredibly lucky, so thanks to Dirt Cheep for saving the day! I had to call Dwight at work to let him know they're here and not at a commercial job he was having them do in Downtown Calgary -- that's why we thought the LAST place they'd be today was at our house, but I'm happy to see them here, because it'll be great to get the Driveway paved and done.

So the pavers figure they'll be done Rolling out the Driveway by Noon, and finished the paving by 7:00 pm, tonight. That would really be something! And today is Votin' Day in Canada, so I had already said to Dwight to be sure to get home early enough for us to pop into the Polls, together, then we can go out for dinner afterwards, but with the paving crew here, our best bet might be to go in earlier and skip the dinner. Rats, and I wanted to make a night of it! Ah, well! Technically, I'm mad at Dwight, anyway, because last night poor little Aidan had come into our room, again, but Dwight didn't want him in there, so I had to go sleep with Aidan (he's 4 and our son, in case you're a 'newbie' to the Site, and if you are, man, are you good looking! ha,ha!) in his little Single Bed because Aidan was crying and very upset, so I was not happy about that at all -- especially since I'd been out all yesterday, staining the deck, and I could have used a good night's sleep... anyway, all this transpired in the middle of the night, and Dwight didn't know why I was mad at him this morning, so my best guess is that he doesn't have any memory of the whole thing, at all... men.... you can't sell them! (Very often...!)

You know what's funny? When you're in the middle of a build or a renovation project, it's surprising how quickly you will get over whatever has been bugging you about your spouse when you need them to do any particular job or consult with them right away about a job that has suddenly come into being, like this morning. I had to put in at least three calls to Dwight, and then I think he'll pop back to the house to check on the work at noon, then head back into work. It's good to be 'The Boss'! ha,ha! Except for yesterday, when Dwight was being The Boss of me -- surprisingly, that never goes over all that well, since I lean more toward the 'Marriage as Partnership' model, and Dwight is really more into, "I married you and now you're my employee for life and for free... the old Employer-Employeeeee Relationship... can you see how we occasionally (morning, noon, and evening...) run into trouble? ha,ha! Ah, well, the Deck looks fantastic!

Oh, and here's a quick tidbit about the Deck -- I consulted Dwight before I got started Staining, Dwight went on the Mow the Lawn (the fun job...), and I got started Staining. Well, wouldn't you know it -- half way through the job, Dwight takes a break from the mowing, looks at the part I'd already stained and says it's the wrong color stain...ugh. I've been down this path many, many times with Dwight, because he always finds fault with any work I do -- a joyful characteristic that most people looove, but I happen to detest ... go figure! Anyway, I told him it IS the right color, it looks great, and if he's just gonna sit around an criticize, why not pick up a brush and help me with the deack? So he went back to mowing, then joined me later to help, and we finished all the 'Top Part' of the Deck -- all the Railing -- the Deck is 12' X 20', I think. There were so many 'discussions' around the size and shape of that deck that I remember just giving in and saying, "Build whatever you want", and so he did, and I was just happy to see the thing done. Sometimes that's just how it goes...

Tip of the Day: I figured this out, yesterday -- we both had Deck Stain on us -- Dwight seemed to be covered in it, and I had some on my legs, arms and hans -- I guess that does sound like a lot! Anyhooo, here's an easy way to remove Stain or Paint from your Skin-- Pour some Vegetable Oil into a small bowl, and with a Kleenex Tissue or Paper Towel, dip it into the oil then rub that on the Stain. It'll come right off and won't hurt your skin. Also, if you get some paint or stain on your clothes (I have to assume you're not working in yer Party Clothes! ha,ha!), you can rub some oil into it and the stain will come up. Just be sure to put some liguid laundry soap on the stain right away, too, so the oil doesn't make an even worse stain!

This is the Dining Room Deck I was Staining, yesterday -- of course, the snow has finally melted and it was a hot, dry day, yesterday, so perfect for staining. Oh, and Stain is often a better choice for a Deck than Regular Exterior Paint, because it lasts longetr and it can come in a huge variety of colors, too, so if you're thinking of finishing your deck have a look at the Staining Products to see if there's a good one for you.


And if you're Canadian, Please Get Out and VOTE!

Every Vote's a Good Vote, right??

See you tomorrow, Baby! Ailsa!!

(I've gotta go check those Pavers!)

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It's The Weekend! Sat. & Sun., June 26th & 27th, 2004. Hey there, Sweet Thaaang... thing...thingee -- no, that's not right...let's go back to the 'thaaang'! ha,ha! Some words just work better than others, and just a quick Tip for the Unaware, don't test any new words wit' yo' Great Grandma -- she won't appreciate it nearly as much as you might think. Well, what have you got planned for this weekend? Working in the House or in the Garden? Us, too. Both, with any luck. I tried talking to Dwight about the Fireplace Mantelpiece (yes, we are still 'discussing' this -- can you believe that?) again, last night, but no forward movement there at all... sooo annoyink! I think I'm gonna have to call our Bannister Guy to see if he can work on that with me.

I really don't like going against Dwight, but this is just silly -- now he says he wants to just leave the Fireplaces with no mantelplaces -- just the way he wanted it before (he likes 'a clean look', he claims...). Hmmm. Sometimes you have to rock the boat a wee bit before you get off -- we'll see how this plays itself out. Maybe I'll just put in a quick call and get a quote -- that's always good.

Hey, you know what term came up in a conversation I had this week? Oppositional Disorder, or as we used to call it, 'BKS' -- Bad Kid Syndrome... har, har! It's sooo funny how even the most basic of behaviours has been given a fancy new name, and then it's all okay. When I first started Teaching, I had an Assistant who wouldn't 'let me' use the words 'good' and 'bad'. Yes, she was very, very smart, indeed. But that's when I first realized that these basic concepts were being swept under the table in favor of all sorts of other, much fancier, terms that no kid understood. Useful AND practical. Much easier to dance around the issue if no-one in the room can remember what the new acronym of the day might stand for -- A.D.D., S.U.V., S.A.D., and if I had my way, 'B.A.D.' -- wouldn't that be more fun to say when you're talking about a really bad little kid, and you get to sit in a meeting and say, "Uh, I think he might be 'B.A.D.'!" ha,ha,ha! Okay, that's just for my own amusement, but it might get people laughing, and I think that would go a long way toward lightening up a difficult situation.

Now that I think of it, I think Dwight might have a little case of that, and it's entirely possible that Aidan got that gene! ha,ha,ha! Thank God they're both cute -- they can just ride through life on their looks! yuff, yuff! I know, I know, it's a serious issue... I used to do a lot of work with Behaviourally 'Challenged' Students, so Behavioural Management was a huge part of my life for a very long time. One of the best 'tricks of the trade' was Charting (where you literally chart the bad -- that's right, I said it -- behaviour over the course of a week, then a month... you get the picture, to see if there are any trends. "Why, say, it seems that little Billy is bad whenever he is alone in an office with his intern..." you know, that sort of thing...this one might not apply to all the troublesome children -- some of them will be called Johnnie or Mary...). Anyway, once you can identify the problem areas, you can work to eliminate them.

In Dwight's case, he seems to get 'B.A.D.' when he comes home from work, but he insists on coming home every night, so no luck with that one, yet, but I'm working on it! ha,ha,ha! (Man, I think I might like those jokes just a little too much! ha,ha!) And Aidan gets 'B.A.D.' whenever we are at a Party and there are other humans to watch him... (happened last night!). Each and every time he 'guarantees me' (Aidan says, "Don't worry, Mummy. I guarunteeee you I'll be good", then he runs wildly off into the fields... what's a Ma to do??). And you can't really Bribe them, either -- I used to say to Aidan, "I won't be able to get you an Ice Cream if you can't behave" -- that's after about a million, "I'll buy you an ice cream if you'll behave..." possible bribes. Aidan would always reply, "That's okay. I'll have an ice cream another day".

And when Cara was little and in Nursery School, she was so good (why, yes, it's the exact opposite of 'B.A.D.'!), she 'got to' sit in the Time Out Chair one day, and it was one of her most exciting days evah'! She waved at all the other kids and couldn't stop talking about it all night! So funny! Her teacher, Anne Marie (who was absolutely fabulous) thought it was funny, too, so we all laughed and moved on from whatever issue had landed her in the Time Out Chair. Some things you just let fly, and other things you have to nip in the bud right away. Like a penchant for fire, or stealing... or any number of other things that could fall under the category of 'B.A.D.'!

I got some good advice a few years ago to tell Dwight when he was suffering from a bad case of B.A.D. that I was going to go and buy the most expensive dress I could find as a punishment to him. That would work, I guess, if you didn't know that when you're married, the Bank Accounts are equally held, so I would be wasting my own money, and I could never do that! Plus, I hate spending too much on anything -- that's only good for the Store, right?? Now, I did run this by Dwight, once, and he shrugged his shoulders and said, "Buy anything you want..." Ugh. I think he just said that because he knows I would never be so silly. So that didn't work at all! Must find a new technique! I wonder if he wants any ice cream?? ha,ha!

Tip of the Day: Try to ignore all the problems that are all around you -- hey, maybe they'll just disappear, and you won't have to deal with them at all... and use good, clear, words whenever you're dealing with people who might be described as 'children', 'husbands', or 'special'... it's hard enough to get through to some folks using good old-fashioned easy words, let alone the new-fangled fancy ones! ha,ha,ha! And you might want to consider asking them at the Liquor Store if there's a discount if you buy in bulk...! har, har!

Here's where 'Da Party Be At', last night -- beautiful property, eh??

Thanks for stopping by for a wee visit! Have a great Weekend!!

Oh, and if you're Canadian, don't forget to Vote on Monday -- I'll get you an ice cream if you just go in and vote!! ha,ha! Ailsa!!

Here you go -- there must be something here that interests you! Just Follow the Lead and see what you'll find! (It's my new favorite thing to do!)


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Friday, June 25th, 2004. Hi, Honey! You're Home, again! What's for Dinner? What, you were just gonna ask ME that?? That's how Dwight greeted me at the door when I arrived home after 7:00 pm, last night. He'd been home for hours, and I hadn't even gotten my jacket off, yet, and he's asking me "What's for dinner??" I laughed, of course, then looked at his little hungry face and realized he was serious... now, how's this boy gonna manage when I'm not here? Here's what I figure -- if you have the ability to make your way to the Pantry AND to recognize when you're hungry, I say, "Go help yourself to whatever appeals to you..." And the Fridge and Freezer are jammed with all sorts of tasty things, so it's not like he would have had to go very far to find something edible.

Ah, well. That just goes to show you how ludicrously dependent on yo' spouse ... and when I was driving into The Mall (Cara has a problem with staying home all day long.... apparently, she didn't inherit 'the Hermit Gene' from me! ha,ha!), yesterday, I was following the signs on the new roadway that said "Shopping Mall"... so far, so good... then the road took me out and around and about as far away from the Mall as possible. Moron Sign Putters, if that's what their Title is! ha,ha! (Yes, that one's just for my own satisfaction and amusement! ha,ha!) So I ended up having to go a huge distance away to turn around to get back to The Mall (if this had only been for me, I would have scrapped the whole deal until the mall people learned how to place a sign accurately, but we were on a mission to make Cara's day better...).

Now here's the weird 'the universe might be looking out for me' thing ... we were stopped at a Red Light right beside a Gas Station -- I happned to glance down to check how much Gas we had, and I was below the Red Empty Line! Man. I thought Dwight had filled up my Van... so I had to pull in and fill the tank, myself. That shouldn't be that big a deal, except that I haven't actually filled my own gas tank for years -- about 8 years -- ever since I started 'letting' Dwight do that job. And whenever I do have to get my own gas (very rarely), I go to the Full Service Lots -- so it took me ages to figure out how the pump worked, since everything has changed since the last time I did this... funny. Cara watched me while I struggled away, trying to figure out what all the beeping was about. It used to be that you would pull down the lever, put in the gas -- done. But not now -- there were at least 5 steps before you could even get started. And then all I could think of was that Show on Oprah where the girls accidentally started a fire with the gas... oi, so I was a little nervous. And mad at Dwight for not fulfilling his role as 'Gas-Povider'! ha,ha!

Cara and I were laughing about it when I got back in the car, because if I am ever to become an Independent Woman, again, I'ma gonna have to learn how to do all this 'Daily Functioning' stuff all over again! har, har! It's not like I'll be able to be reliant on the neighbors, or with any luck, a boyfriend (can you still be a boyfriend over 40?? ha,ha!) to do all these little chores for me. And Dwight won't be able to show up at some new chick's doorstep for a date and ask 'What's for dinner?' when she opens the door... I'm sure the swooosh of the door shutting in his face would be answer enough... ha,ha! (Dating -- what a weird concept -- it's hard to even begin to wrap my head around that... luckily, the only thing I'm flirting with right now is The Idea of potentially having to Date... no big decisions as of yet...)

Oh, yeah. The 'the universe seems to be taking care of me' thing -- if the sign to the Mall hadn't been wrong, I wouldn't have driven in the direction of the Gas Station, and if I had gone ahead and parked directly at the Mall, I'm not so sure my car would have started, due to the extreme lack of gas... So thanks, Crappy Sign Putters -- you saved the day! ha,ha! That's one thing I noticed about Calgary right off the bat when I first moved here -- if you're not a local, God Help You when you're trying to find anything. I'm not sure why Sign Placement seems to elude the City Planners so very badly. They need 'An Outsider' to drive around and show them what signs need to be where. It's right up there with those people who give you directions based on what was there fifty years ago -- "Well, you go up past Henry's Old Farm, turn Left to the the Old School Site, make a Right at the Big Oak Tree -- they removed it last year -- what a shame -- and then make a quick U-Turn at The Old Turner House." There -- that should be easy, except that you don't know anyone called Henry or Turner, and aren't U-Turns illegal? Ah, well. Maybe they're happy with things they way they are -- it's quieter in the Mall, what with 'Outsiders' not being able to find the Entrance, 'n all! ha,ha!

I saw a little thing on the News, the other night, on the eaffect of Trans Fats on Newborns... so the suggestion was for Pregnant Women (and I would assume Nursing Mother's, too...) to avoid Trans Fats, too. They could add that to the very long list of everything you're not supposed to eat when you're Pregnant. But when I was Pregnant with Cara and Aidan, I was very, very careful with everything I ate (I even cut out Chocolate & Tea -- now if that's not a sign of undying love, I don't know what is! ha,ha!). I am very happy to see so many Foods with the Information right on the side of the package -- that's a great start to making some healthy choices.

I'd really like to know the Fat Grams in the Dairy Queen Pecan Fudge Sundae -- just out of curiosity... I haven't had one for a while, because I don't feel like an informed consuner on that one -- funny, eh? Maybe I'll have time to go online to see if the information is at their Site, assuming that they have one. I would like to see these Fast Food Establishnments hand out a little Information Pamphlet to any Customers who are interested -- they could have them prominently displayed at the Drive-Thru Window and at the Regular Counter. And if they're worried that fewer people will buy their Products, I don't think that would happen in droves -- it would just allow folks to plan out their day a little better, so that if you chose to have a special DQ Treat, you could just adjust whatever else you're gonna have to balance the food out... or go for a walk while you eat the Sundae! (That's my big fancy Plan! Hope it works! ha,ha!)

If you are watching your Diet (and by 'diet', I just mean what you happen to eat every day...), and you're not already in the habit of checking the Food Values at the Side of any Food Package, make that part of your everyday habits. Carbohydrate levels in any one item are still good if they are in the 27 and under range, and Fats you can keep to about 37 grams a day for women (hopefully -- but it's something to shoot for!), and somewhere in the 50 gram range for men. You can have a very nice life full of all sorts of tasty foods when you stay relatively within that range. And now Trans Fats are listed, too, so if you see there's an item of food that you regularly eat that you've just discoved is chock full of Trans Fats, consider switching to something else that is similar but safer.

They're still doing studies to find out whether Trans Fats are carcinogenic, but it would be better to err on the side of caution and cut it out where ever you can. Or at least limit it where you can, without making yourself all depressed at what you're missing. It's all a juggling act to create a healthier life, have healthier children and Families, and still be happy. I don't think you should be miserable in order to get healthier -- that doesn't seem like a reasonable trade-off to me. It's much easier to 'do the right thing' when you get to occasionally 'do the wrong thing', but as long as you're willing to accept that you might have a few adjustments to make to allow for the 'bad' every-so-often, it should all work out well. And add in The Apple Crumble For One into your Diet -- you'll love it and you should be able to drop 10 - 20 pounds within a few months, if that. Effective and Easy -- just like I like my ... oh, no, wait -- it's not that kind of Site! You'll just have to guess! ha,ha!

Okay, I've gotta go have my Apple Crumble for Lunch, since I had French Toast for Breakfast -- see how I'm walkin' the walk, not just talkin' the talk?? ha,ha!

I was trying to find some pictures of that little Serving Table I like to put up whenever we're having a Dinner Party or a Great Big Party. I couldn't quite find the shots I was looking for, but here are a couple so you can get the general idea...


That's Cara at her 16th Birthday Party -- believe me, I had a whole lot more food for that to feed all those hungry Teenagers! And to my great surprise, they didn't eat all that much, so we've got Oreo Cookies until next Christmas -- good thing those cookies last forever! ha,ha! See how the smaller table is right up against the Window? Perfect for Ice Cream Cake -- har, har! And there's the whole Regular Dining Room Table -- the Serving Table goes over in front of the Window on the Left, unless it's a Giant Party, then I set up two Serving Tables, one in front of each Window.

Thanks for popping by for a little visit! Did you find My Home Page was faster to Load? Whatever -- I'll just play around with the Site until it's really successful, then I can just concentrate on the Daily Updates, right? ha,ha!

And Thanks to all my wonderful Readers who have been helping me 'click my way to success' -- why, I oughtta change my name to 'Dorothy', and see if that works!

See you on The Weekend! Ailsa!!


I am endlessly interested in the whole Foreclosure thing, so here's a good path to follow for Foreclosures. You know that whole Deepak Chopra thing where you are to try following wherever you're lead, just to see what happens next? I love that idea. When I followed my own link, yesterday, I came across this great site for Real Estate in California -- another source of great interest to me! Here it is, again, in case you want to check it out, too...<California>

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Thursday, June 24th, 2004. Well hello there, my little friend! Have you lost a little weight? You're looking very slim! ha,ha! I'm on a '2nd Button' day -- I sewed this row of buttons on my favorite Black Mini-Skirt (yes, I wear it practically every day, and pretty much all the time through the build -- I just kept a pair of shorts in the Van if other men were at the house... otherwise, the black skirt it is! ha,ha!). Anyhooo, I sewed a row of 4 buttons at the waist (it zips up, and I wear it backwards -- I know, I just keep getting lovelier and lovelier! I'm all about being as comfy as I wanna be!). This whole thing happened when the original button fell off -- from overuse, no doubt(!) -- and I had lost quite a bit of weight, so I sewed on one new button, lost some more weight (thanks to my deeelicious Apple Crumble Diet!), sewed on another button... and eventually I ended up with a row of five, but then I took off the first one, since I don't plan to be that size ever again (fingers crossed!).

When I first put my skirt on, this morning, I was a 'Third Button' Girl, but then I was doing the laundry and thought, "Ah, forget it -- I'm goin' back to the 2nd Button!" I really do have little coversations with myself -- see how lonely it can get when you work At Home?? Dwight brought home a big box of donuts, last night, so why not just enjoy my day, hmmmm? Plus, I wanna be comfy! And, sad to say, I haven't been a 'Fourth Button Girl' since the Christmas Party -- I must have been more serious about the whole 'diet thing' back then -- now, not so much! Maybe tomorrow...

So you know how I got that mean letter, yesterday, well, like any squealer, I sent the letter off to my new friend, Adam, at (he's my Affiliate Manager there -- and if you're wondering what an Affiliate Program is, it's a thing you join when you have a website so you can earn money for your Site -- it's great for the Companies, because the Websites Advertise their Products for Free until a Sale is made, so it's like a free Marketing Campaign...). I wanted to get his take on the letter, and to see if it had any merit, even though it was annoyink... Adam can give me an objective perspective on My Site without an ounce of meanness - that other guy could take a lesson from him! So Adam suggested that I could try stream-lining my Home Page, which I just did, to make it faster to Load, and to Archive my Daily Updates -- that's still pretty tricky for me to do, because of the time commitment. However, he mentioned something about Control F, so I'm guessing that might work to do something -- must find out!

Sometimes it does work to get mad at something to make a change -- that's generally when things do take a big turn for the better -- when you get sooo mad or so fed up that you have no choice but to make a change. Now, the person or persons whomade you so very mad before the changes occured rarely make it into the 'New Picture', but who cares, since they probably will never change -- if there's one thing I've learned about jerks over the years (and unfortunately, I've known more than my fair share of jerks...), is that they actually think they're wonderful. Helpful and fun. NOT hateful and stupid, as you may believe them to be! ha,ha,ha! Really, might as well laugh at it, or you'll just end up in the corner wiht another bottle, and that's gonna make you forget about your Budget, and then you'll be stuck where you are...

But if you ever have the opportunity to remove all the jerks from your life, you'll be much better off -- the problem is that jerks are like Spam -- no matter how many controls you put on them, they still arrive, and you can still be fooled by a few of them! ha,ha! I say we all make Construction Paper Delete Buttons (that will be my new Button # 5!), so we can at least pretend to have some control over whether these jerks get to stay or not... hopefully, not!

I'm glancing over at Famous Home & Hideaways while I'm working, this morning. Makes me want to Build again! I'm soo easily influenced by a gorgeous home! Ah, well, who isn't? It's just that every time I see some Architectural Feature that I really like, I have a tremendous need to build it into my next house -- hope I don't have to wait too long to do that, again. Things are so precarious, right now, it's difficult to say when the next actual Build will be. Dwight is really leaning toward a much smaller home in the city (Calgary), and I'm leaning toward a job in California -- go figure! We'll have to see how things work out. Nothing is ever as easy as it seems, or as perfect as it may look. But it all makes for an interesting life -- I don't think I could live a life when I knew exactly what would happen every single day for the rest of my life -- I like that things change daily for me -- it's far more entertaining!

Okay, gotta get going. Cara is finished school, now, and has one day between regular school and her practices for The Bard at The Big Rock and Summer School -- so I should do something to make Cara's life even better, too! Oh, and if you recall that I was looking into sending Cara to Scotland to spend some time with my Parents this Summer, we just could work out the time-frame. It'll have to happen when she's a bit older...but it will definitely happen, because that's a great Trip, and I know she would love it!

Here are some pictures of our Trip down to California -- see why I want to live there, again? The first picture is Cara and Aidan on the Beach at Carmel, then Aidan playing in the Park outside The Cheesecake Factory in Marina del Ray (one of my favorite places -- the Cheescake Factory AND Marina del Ray...).

** **

The last shot is my favorite part of the Road in Santa Monica, where Cara and I used to live. You're driving along the Number 10 Freeway, go through a tunnel and pop out with the Ocean right there -- it's incredible! I love that bit! And all the Fish & Chip Shops! Cara and I used to go and pick up our Fish & Chip Dinner and head down to the Beach for a picnic -- what fun! Aidan and I do that, now, too -- only we swing by McDonalds and go down to the River Park in Okotoks, which is also very pretty. But it ain't no ocean, so I'm still inclined to go back! ha,ha!

Check out these Links to see what I like like!


Thanks for stopping by for a wee visit!

See ya' Tomorrow! Ailsa!!

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This is a great link to see if there are any Jobs that might appeal to YOU in California! ha,ha!

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Wednesday, June 23rd, 2004. Oi, am I late, today....! But Welcome In, Folks! Only the nice ones can come in, today (yes, that's you, of course... all my Readers are lovely and charming, not to mention incredibly good-looking! ha,ha!). Man, what a weird 'Business Day' -- I got a nasty little note from some moron -- and I know the address -- it's close to a place where I used to work outside of Toronto... whatevah... can't let losers get to me, right? You come across mean-spirited people from time to time in any line of business. The lucky thing when you're on the Computer is you can just Block them, which is a very nice little feature. I wish they had a giant Block Button you could push for all the other annoyink people in your life that you could get rid of in one fell swoop... wouldn't that be fun? Just a simple wish! ha,ha,ha!

Hey, did you catch a little TV. last night? What a great Tuesday Night Line-Up, considering it's already into Summer Programming -- Bernie Mac, Method & Red and Last Comic Standing. Lots of great laughs ... just what we all needed! If you've been watching Last Comic Standing, you'll probably already have chosen your favorites, but I really like Corey Holcolm and Gary Gulman. They're the type of Comics that are not only memorable by their look, but if you can remember -- and still laugh at -- their routines from last week, that's a very good sign!

This new Method & Red Show is brand new and abslutely hilarious -- especially if you live in an Estate area or Gated Community -- you'll be oh-so-familiar with all their Rules and Regulations... freedom, scheedom -- you have to go along with the rules or get out, which is what the two guys were faced with last night. Very funny. Even Dwight laughed, so you can use that as a Comedy Meter! ha,ha,ha!

On the upside of my not-so-great business day, I did find this great new Service where we can go in and find all sorts of stuff specific to us. Okay, the vast majority of it is stuff that really appeals to me, but I figure that you probably like the same things, and if we lived closer to one another, we might just go looking at Show Homes, together... am I right? Ha, ha! Yes, don't cry. Of course we'll stop at the Bar on the way home... just wipe those tears away before we go in -- they're just gonna Card us (well, more likely, they'll Card you -- I haven't been carded since I was 26 and standing with Cara (she was much, much younger!) in my Grocery Cart buying Beer at a Supermarket in California -- and excited I was to be thought of as sooo very young! ha,ha,ha! And then never again after that! Ah, well... I guess I'm free to drink whenever I like... see how there's always an upside? har, har!)

So I thought I'd put these new little Links at the bottom of my Daily Updates, then we can all go have a look-see at what they have to offer ... I was just upstairs making all the Beds, so I thought we'd start with Beautiful Bedrooms, since I loves me a beautiful Bedroom -- it's often a neglected Room in the House (the Master Bedroom, I mean... not to be confused with 'The Master's Bedroom' -- really, that name needs to change to something a little nicer -- I think the new name is 'The Owner's Suite', but that's not all that much better, is it? There's 'The Looove Palace', but if you're married, that won't even be accurate and some people will wonder what you're talking about, and then the others will merely be disgusted... yeeeeeew! ha,ha!See why there's a need for a new name?) Anyway, check it out and I will, too. Maybe we'll all get some great new ideas for the next house...!

Tip of the Day: Hey, are you familiar with any Latin? It's mostly fun to know other languages for joking around or to get away with saying something that you might not get away with in your own language -- I think you know where I'm going with that! Anyway, my favourite Latin Phrase is Illegitimus Non Tatum Carborundum. It translates (and don't be offended..., but this applies to me, today) into, "Don't Let the Bastards Get You Down". Even the Romans had to contend with losers, and see what they built?? ha,ha! All those years of Latin, and that's all I remember! That was time well spent, no doubt -- but I am pretty good a 'Root Words', which helps when I'm playing Scrabble, so it's not like it was all for nuthin'! har, har!

You know how I've mentioned before that I have a major case of 'in your face' determination? I know, it's hard to believe I can have such a bad attitude, but there you go -- so I Hope to God that I make it really big with this site, just to spite all the looooosers! Luuuushures.... and also to support my little family, so it's not all bad! ha,ha! You can call them names, too -- they can't hear you... too much sand in their ears, I think! yuff, yuff!

Here's the Link!


(Hey, there's another Cara when you follow this Link! Cool!)

Thanks for popping in for a little visit!

See ya' Tomorrow! Ailsa!!

(I'll go get some pictures -- be right back!)

Here are a few shots of our Master Bedroom -- the Sunroom is right off the Master, which is a very nice Feature! That's Tia on the Bed, of course (she matches the Bedding!), and the first picture has the French Glass Doors before they were painted White, then in the last shot, you can see behind the Sheers that they are now a nice crisp White -- very pretty!

** **

Can you se the bed in the foreground? I know -- just barely... but there's the Interior Window that looks through to the Sunroom -- we didn't put any Glass in it so that I can water the plants easier. It's nice to be able to lay in bed and look out that window -- what a lovely View!

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Tuesday, June 22nd, 2004. Hey, Good-Lookin'! Whatcha got cookin'? I hope it's not ham, since that's what we've been eating since the Father's Day Ham Dinner! ha,ha! Man, we're less than a week before the big Federal Elections in Canada, and Dwight still hasn't gone down to Register. I hope that's not a hassle to Register on Voting Day - it shouldn't be -- they should make things as painless and as fast as possible to allow eveyone to vote... oh, and you know how we're out here in 'The West' (Calgary, Alberta), well, Paul Martin had said at the begining of his campaign that he was going to stop Western Alienation (we don't all wear cowboy hats and talk like dolts -- although most of us OWN a cowboy hat and talk like that for fun...but the Ontarion View of the West is very negative -- I know because I grew up in Ontario...). Well, wouldn't you know it, I saw a litttle blurb on TV the other day, and guess who was dissing Alberta? What is that all about?

There are some serious issues in Canada about Alienation and who is smarter than the other -- like a bad case of Sibling Rivalry. Silly. No wonder certain Provinces have Separatist Movements -- but what we need for stronger Trade is to be more united, and then present a United Front. And stop dissing the United States -- see, even their name says they're United... why can't we follow their lead? And when did U.S. bashing become a sport in Canada? How intensely stupid is that? Cara had a teacher one year who wouldn't be nice to me because we had lived in the States and loved it -- I think it's horrible when these teachers carry their negative attitudes that exist without warrant into the classroom. We see it at every level of education in Canada. That has to stop, and yesterday...

Anyway, quick reminder that if you've moved since the last election, just bring your Gas and Electric Bills with you -- not to complain about the prices (although, that would be fun, in general...), but they can take the info from those bills to put the paperwork through, and they prove who you are... and your Driver's Licence or Picture I.D. I wonder if they ever have a child care area for Mums and Dads who can't find a babysitter? We have our 'built-in' babysitter -- Cara . That's the upside of having two children 11 years apart! ha,ha! Now who's laughing about that, eh?? Unless they let you bring your child or children into the Voting Booth with you... do they do that?

And I'd like to see them go around with some sort of bus or something to pick up anyone who needs a ride to the Voting Booth -- anything that would increase Voter Turn-out. Maybe it could be like giving blood (although, that's what it feels like AFTER you've voted... aha, ha!) -- they could hand out Juice and Cookies until you feel less wooooozie! ha,ha! Or give you a coupon for McDonalds or something! Maybe some free donuts -- "Votes for Donuts" could be their new slogan! ha,ha! I know fer sures that Canadians will respond well to the offer of getting a free donut!

Tip of the Day: We had a massive Lightning Storm, last night -- we turned out all the lights (because the Storm knocked out our Satellite Dish, otherwise we would have continued to watch The Casino...!) and sat in the Sunroom to watch the Lightning. It was really beautiful, provided you're inside and cozy, as opposed to outside and drenched... But here's something to think about before the summer storms hit -- make sure you have functioning Flashlights all over the house, and handy enough that you could find them easily if the lights were ever to go out. I like to make sure everyone in the house has their own Flashlight beside their bed so they can just feel comfortable that they'll be able to see if the power were ever to go out.

I need to go around the house and see if I can find a Transistor Radio -- I always think of that whenever there's a situation when I think, "Oh, what if we need a transistor Radio??" and all I can remember is the one I had when I was about 12... now that won't be of any use, will it? I thought I had bought one for Cara years ago, but it's one of those weird little things you feel has gone by the wayside, until there's an emergency... so maybe go see if you have one kickin' around the house, and get some fresh batteries for it. (Fresh means -- not 30 years old...)

There's an old 'Ellen DeGeneres Show' on TV, right now, and they just mentioned how there's a 'Rave' in there during the breaks, since they love to dance on that show... anyway, that reminds me of something that crossed my mind the other day. I'm sure you've watched your share of the Dateline and 20/20 Specials on the drug 'e' (it's fun to joke about...), but I'm pretty sure that I heard the kids don't feel any pain (so-to-speak) when they're on it, and they have energy beyond belief... if the 'no pain' thing is right, is this a drug we should investigate for women in Labour? Not in The Labour Party (although, that might already be happening... ha,ha,ha!). But they pump you full of drugs during Childbirth (if you're lucky enough...), so if this really did work like that, would that be a good alternative? It can't be any more harmful to the baby than the morphine or whatever it is they give you... I can't remember -- I think those memories leave you instantly, so you'll even consider doing that again, lest we have a whole world of 'First-Borns'! ha,ha,ha! Something to think about...

I'll go get some new pics! Be right back!

That stooopid Photo Program still won't let me get the new pictures into the computer -- this is the third time this has happened -- wish I could remember how I got around the problem, before...


So you know how Cara was in the Okotoks Parade on the weekend? She was on a Float to Promote the Fine Arts School's Presentation of 'The Bard at the Big Rock' version of Shakespeare's Much Ado About Nothing. And here's The Big Rock -- it's really cool, so I'm sure it'll be a lot of fun. And that's the Mountain View from The Big Rock -- beautiful, huh?

Thanks for coming in for a wee visit!

See ya later, Baby! Ailsa!!


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Monday, June 21st, 2004. Hi, Honey! How you been keepin'? Did you get through Father's Day -- I mean, did you enjoy it? Those Holidays that are specific to one person in the house who may or may not deserve a big HooHaw for how they handle the role, but Hallmark has made it a big fancy day that you have to observe -- it's weird... but we had a nice big Family Dinner, and that was tasty, at the very least. I forgot an entire Dish of Veggies and all the Rolls, but it was still a ton of food, and everything was nice. As far as I could tell, Dwight seemed to enjoy his day... and I just spent the day cleaning and cooking -- my favorite two things to do...(yes, my tongue is stuck firmly in my cheek!)

One thing I started doing for these Dinner Parties that has made my life a whole lot easier (no, that's not true -- it's has made dinner parties somewhat easier... there -- that's closer to the actual truth...!) is to set up a separate Table (one of those Folding Tables you can store in the Garage) where all the Food for the Dinner can be served. Especially when you have a whole pile of people at the Table, it doesn't clutter the table up with all that food. And people can go ahead and serve themselves, 'Buffet Style' instead of having to ask for everything to be passed -- that's always a bother to have to pass some enormous platter of meat from one end of the table to the other -- and if you're lucky enough to have an 'Uncle Frank' who insists that he "Don't wanna bother nobody", so he leans over the whole table to grab the item he wants (yuuuck!), then drags himself through a few other dishes on his way back into his seat... hmmmmm. Yes, the 'Buffet Table' works wonders! And then you can just pack it up and put it back in the garage when you're all done.

Finally, Summer is officially here -- Thank God for that! And, we have some sun! Until Wednesday, when it'll turn cold and rainy, again... and guess who finnaly arrived? That's right, our Bobcat Guy! WooHoo! It's funny how excited you get when any specific worker guy (or gal!) shows up! You feel like it's your lucky day... we drove home from the Okotoks Parade that Cara was in on the Weekend (great parade, by the way, and it lasted well over an hour, it was so big -- who knew??), and the cars were all parked on the road and off the Driveway -- a great sign when you're desperate to get your Driveway Paved! All the Large Gravel had been scraped off the Driveway and placed on either side of the house.

There was so much gravel that Dwight had some of it moved under the Hot Tub Deck and some was used as the base for his special 'Gravel Garden'... we gave him a hard time about that, but Dwight doesn't see that the idea of a gravel garden is slighly 'off', so he didn't laugh at all... I think he lost some of his sense of humour when he lost all that weight! Ah, well -- what are you gonna do? I know one solution, and that happens to remind me of a little conversation we had last night -- what would it be like to Date, again, and would we even bother... I think Dwight would have no difficulty finding 'a new chick'...provided he didn't arrive at the date with his black socks hiked up to his knees along with his white sneakers -- every girl's Dream Date! ha,ha,ha,ha! But here's the funny thing -- Ifind that when we are with other poeple at a party, or something, it almost always crosses my mind, "Oh My God -- what if I were on a Blind Date with this loser?" Yeah, thanks to Roger Lodge on one of our favorite Shows, Blind Date -- I don't remember Dating being that bad, but maybe I've just cast those memories away! ha,ha,ha!

Tip of the Day: You can make good use of the Space under a Deck by putting a good solid amount of Gravel under the deck, to cover the entire area. If you just leave it with the dirt, it'll be all muddy and gross, and you won't be able to do anything with it. This is particularly useful if you have a fairly high Deck, and can walk under it -- both of our Decks are very high off the ground, and because the Hot Tub is set into the Deck off the Sunroom, Dwight needs to be able to access the Controls, so having gravel under there makes it a whole lot neater, so the 'swear factor' outta go down a fair bit! ha,ha!

Okay, let me go see if I can get the computer to accept my new pictures -- be right back!

Here are the two Decks -- the first shot is the Sunroom Deck through Aidan's Bedroom Window -- the Sunroom juts out from the house over on that side... then the Deck through the Sunroom -- pretty, eh?

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And then that's the Back Deck off the Dining Room -- you can see how high off the ground they are, so why not use that extra space for storage? At the very least, Aidan keeps his tiny lawn mower and assorted Trucks under there -- keeps them off the lawn!

Thank you for coming in for a little visit! I'll see you again, tomorrow!

Later, Baby! Ailsa!!

Well, I just like this link -- funny, huh?!


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It be The Weekend! June 19th & 20th, 2004. What's happenin', Baaaby?? I hope you'll have some time to chilax a bit this weekend! And I hope that for myself, too... 'The Guys' are coming out to the house, today, to get some work done outside, and I hope to God the Bobcat Guy shows up so we can get that damn Driveway done -- the gravel still hasn't been scraped off, yet, in preparation for the Rolling Stage of getting ready to Pave the Driveway ... and we have 4 full days of sunshine in the weather forecast, so we can't waste those sitting around, waiting...

Dwight's home, this morning -- that's a good thing for some wives, but I can't stand it because he hates when I work on the computer (and here I have an enormous Website... but whatevah...!), and I'm just in the middle of writing this! Ah, well. What do other women do when their husband wants their undivided attention until some shiny baubble distracts them, again?? (Something shiny like a Bobcat, I'm hoping...! ha,ha!) I've already given him his breakfast -- what more does he want?? ha,ha! Hey, you know how I was saying I should write a bit about Marriage, and include it in the Site? Actually, I have written some long thing, and it must be around here somewhere, but I haven't come across it (my method of looking for things is when I get a minute, I'll spin my Office Chair around, and if the item I'm looking for happens to magically appear in front of my face, Voila! I've found it! And if not, I have no clue where it is, and maybe I'll find it when I move...!)

The Marriage thing is endlessly intriguing for me, though, perhaps because I struggle with it so... but here's something I've learned in this marriage (this is my second marriage, and one of my favorite jokes is "Third Time's the Charm!". I'm lovely like that! ha,ha,ha! Anyhooo, the trick to staying married any length of time is to not talk too much outside of your marriage about what's really happening in it -- especially to a close friend. What happens is that you vent your aggravation, your friend listens to the whole thing, then you look at your spouse at dinner and forget all about whatever annoyink thing happened between you (because you have a whole life built up between the two of you and who ever else you've brought into the mix -- children, not other adults, hopefully! har, har!). The next time you vent to your friend, they say, "Hey, haven't you already told me this story 129 times? Last week??" They don't have the opportunity to see the way things have either been resolved or forgotten, so then they want to hold you accountable for what you've said, and that can be difficult, especially if you're busy trying NOT to be accountable! ha,ha!

Almost everyne in long-term marriages that I know exists on this "Let's pretend everything is great" Level, and it seems to work. My problem is that I'm crappy at operating like that -- I always want to resolve issues as they arise, not pretend they don't exist at all -- I just can't do that. Dwight would be thrilled, I'm sure, if I could develop that wonderful skill. I said to him the other night, "Hey, why don't we forget everything that has happened up until now, and pretend like we don't know one another, and try Dating, again?" Dwight said, "What do you mean?", because he's got that whole denial thing down to a fine art! ha,ha! And then I remembered that we used to have a running joke that whenever we had a bad dinner out, or went somewhere and it ended badly, I would say to Dwight, "Ah, well. Lucky it's not our First Date!" Because he wouldn't have been invited back! Then we would laugh and forget about it. And that worked for quite a while.

I'm asked a lot (I wonder why??) whether building this house was hard on our Relationship... that's a good question, because many couples do not survive it through a Build or a Renovation, even a tiny one. It's surprising how much you can hate someone because of their love of, say, Purple... ha,ha! There are so many decisions to make, and you have to work very closely together and come up with a speedy agreement -- unlike the rest of your marriage where you can pretty much wile away the years trying to make up your mind on any particular thing... And many's a house that was never finished, or sold before Completion, because the couple couldn't stand each other anymore. It happens. For us, I think the Build has been more of a glue between us, because neither of us wanted to lose any money, so at least we have that in common! Hey, you gotta have something, right?? ha,ha!

The easiest way to make it intact from the start of a Renovation or Building Project is to be very clear from the beginning WHY you're doing it. Is it to make money on the property? Fine, go with that, as long as you're both on track with that. And if it's to make you're home 'perfect' for the next 50 years, good luck with that... the problem with trying to make everything perfect for the next 50 years (because there's no plan to ever, evah move..."Til Death do us Part" is mostly for your relationship with the house! ha,ha!) is that you and your spouse might not have exactly the same taste, and if he wants everything Rose Pink with some off shades of lavender (well, now I think you have a whole other issue, but I'll let you pretend that's not happening, too, and it'll probably all work itself out...! ha,ha!), and you were thinking Navy Blue, you're in for a rocky road -- which, of course, reminds me of ice cream, which reminds me of chocolate...

Oh, and I went into Costco, yesterday, to load up on all sorts of things we probably don't need but they looked really appealing while I was there (Hankies and Toilet Paper in the 100 roll package! ha,ha! Enough for a week, or so...)... and I looked right at the Crunchie Bars, which have been my 'chocolate of choice' since I bought a case of them the last time I was at Costco... but I decided that maybe I should try weaning myself off of them, so I bought a case of the new S'mores, instead. Ugh. What a mistake. I must stop trying things by the caseload... what was I thinking? I'm an advertizer's dream, because I saw it on TV, and they looked deeelicious, and I love a campfire, and have made many, many s'mores over the years... anyway, they don't taste like that -- not at all. I had a couple of bites and wrapped it up to put in the cupboard. As a chocaholic, that's like a Crack Addict putting some rocks aside, "Maybe for later... I'll see how desperate I am...". I have to assume that's what a Crackhead would say, since I don't actually know any.... Hey, remember the Crackhead from The PJ's? (Eddie Murphy's Animated Show that was absolutely hilarious a few years back...) He was my favorite Character -- I used to love when he would invite everyone back to 'his mattress' for a party! Whatevah -- that appealed to my sense of humor! ha,ha!

Tip of the Day: Before you start on any Building Project, be very, very clear with your spouse or insignificant other (yuff, yuff! And I guess that could still be the same person! ha,ha!) what the job will be, WHY you're doing it, and how you'll manage conflict. Even if you agree to disagree, settle on anything that is neutral (for resale if you don't make it -- come on, now -- we have to be practical...!) in order to get the job done. It's all about Completion, ain't it?? And keep your 'Eye on the Prize' (the completed job) the whole way through. And if you're looking for a little 'couple entertainment (couples arguing), head on down to any Home Improvement Center and listen in on a few conversations... it's like watching TV, only live!

I think I'll have to get the pictures later, since Dwight is still waiting for me to turn off the computer -- really, you'd think he'd go find something else to do... (which is what Bill Clinton did, no?? ha,ha!). I'll post them as soon as I can!

So, in honor of Father's Day, here's the Dad in our house -- Dwight! There he is Grouting the Sunroom Floor (I'm on the other side wiping up the grout and making perfect lines, since that's my job...), then there's Aidan and Dwight out in the Garden to the South of the House -- pretty, eh? I love that picture!

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And then ther's Dwight in the Lower Level putting in the In-Floor Heating, before the cement is poured in the Basement Floor. Cool, huh? And that's one of the jobs that Dwight does that allowed us the opportunity to build this house! (And my job in this bit was to go around and trim off all the little 'ties' that hold the red tubing down to the rebar -- about a thousand or so of them! I'm all about the glamour! ha,ha!)

Thanks for swingin' by for a little visit! I love to have lots of visitors! And I have a whole case of S'mores, if you'd like to try a couple....! ha,ha,ha! Me, I'm gonna go have a slice of the Lemon Cheesecake I got at Costco, yesterday -- yum! I'd give you a wee slice of that, too! And some Gin, which is the Traditional Drink to go with Lemon Cheesecake, I think -- I'm not completely sure about that, but go ahead and put them together until there's an intervention to make you stop... that'll be a good plan! ha,ha,ha!

You can enter the Contest for your own Mother, if you like -- or your Girlfriend or Wife (or Both -- I don't know -- is Billy Clinton reading this?? Because he CAN?? ha,ha,ha!

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Happy Father's Day to all the Great Dads Out There!!

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Friday, June 18th, 2004. Hey, HEY, Hey! You know what I just realized? I was putting the Daily Updates after each other, instead of starting at the Top of the Page every day -- now what was I thinking?? So if you're looking for yesterday's Update, just scroll down a wee bit. And I have to try to remember to start a whole new page every Week, I guess, so I won't have the bother of having to Archive a zillion pages later, when I realize that the Page is soooo long you can't possibly get to the bottom... ah, well... live and learn, right? I can't wait for the day when I learn things the very first time, as opposed to now when I have to make the same mistakes over and over again before it dawns on me "Oh, why I've been down this path before, and wasn't there a Wicked Witch at the end and her house wasn't really made out of candy??" I'm suckered into that one every time! ha,ha,ha,ha!

They have this brand new thing from Google Adsense that I use on My Site (those are the Ads at the Top of the Page...) and I am very excited about it, because hopefully it will help my site make more money (which is essential...) and I don't have to do the massive amount of work I thought I might have to do to accomplish this little task (I use 'little' facetiously, of course...) -- anyhooo, Google is Providing an Automatic Site Search and added to that is a World Web Search ... how great is that?? Now I don't have to go all through the Site and try to figure out every page any particular page or idea is on -- man, that would easily have taken me 6 months to a year to do, so I'm thrilled with new Service! It's funny what you get excited about as your life takes all these twists and turns to places you never even knew existed before! Makes life very, very interesting, that's for sure!

So now I need to figure out how my Site Readers can make me their Home Page, so they can all use me for their Search Engine... drop me a line if you know that sort of thing... I know you can mark a Page by Right Clicking and going to Add To Favorites, but I think there's some other way to add it even easier, I just don't know what that is... I'm still a little 'Newbie'! ha,ha!

Well, I just ate my very last Crunchie Bar from the Giant Case of Chocolate Bars I bought at Costco, so you know what that means -- that's right -- another Trip to Costco! I haven't been for about 6 weeks, I guess -- I should measure time by the 'Caseload' -- Case of Chocolate, that is! ha,ha! (I'm giddy at the thought of going to Costco! ha,ha!)

Cara's in her Big Parade Float, tomorrow -- we live close to a relatively small town, Okotoks, and really there's just the one Main Road, conviently called 'Main Street'. Now, this is not a very long road, and the Parade starts at 11:00 am, so I'm guessing it'll be over about 11:03, or if they all turn around and come back down the street, 11:07... that's just my own estimation, but I have been wrong a number of times per day for many, many years now, so I could be wrong on that, too! aha, ha!!

It's sooo much fun being in a Parade -- I used to belong to The Trenton Citizen's Marching Band (my main instrument is the Flute), and we went all over Southern Ontario, Canada to March in all these Small Town Parades -- and a couple of times in Toronto (not a small town anymore! ha,ha!)... I used to really love my Uniform, and it was a lot of fun to see the kids at the sides of the streets -- adults really get into a Parade, too, it's one big giant fun-fest! And a great experience for kids. Cara is in it to promote the Play her school is putting on this summer -- The Bard at the Big Rock (Dwight wants to know who the Bard is...), and they'll be performing Much Ado About Nothing. I love an outdoor performance -- they have Shakespeare in the Park in a lot of towns in the Summer, so if you have the opportunity, try to catch one. Quite often they'll provide a Picnic Lunch, too, so that's fun to have a little picnic and watch some Shakespeare!

Tip of the Day: Be realisitic. I know,that seems so very obvious, but you'd be surprised how many folks live their lives with their heads so far up in the clouds (is it the clouds or was it somewhere else...? No matter -- I'm sure you're on the same track as me, now...! har, har!) that they never are able to accomplish or attain what they really want. When it comes to Building and Renovation, it invariably costs waaay more than you think is humanly possible, so do yourself a gigantic favor and get every price for every tiny thing you are going to have done in writing.

A 'friendly quote' is not enough, especially if you're heading down to see the Banker to beg for -- oops, I mean 'borrow' some money. Often you have to provide a huge list of everything that will be done before you can get a Builder's Loan or a Home Equity Loan. Frankly, I would be more inclined to Search for these Loans online, first, so you can see where you can get your Best Rate. And just so's you know, a Home Equity Loan for a Renovation is much easier to get because it's based on the amount of Equity in your Current Home, so they're much easier to come by, which is lucky!

Okay, better go get some pictures! Be right back!

Sometimes it's sooo much work to come up with a new meal idea every single day... so if you like Chicken, here's an easy way to make some really tasty Chicken you can BBQ or pop in the Oven.

In the morning (or the night before...) put fresh or Frozen Chicken fillets or pieces into a Freezer Size Ziploc Bag. Pour in enough Italian Salad Dressing to cover the chicken for one Marinade. (It's really yummy -- we had that last night, that's why I happen to be thinking about it...). Zip up the bag and pop that into the fridge until you're ready to cook the meat.

Two other really easy Marinades are BBQ Sauce -- any kind you like -- this is very tasty... and the other one I'm very fond of is a mixture of 1/3 cup vinegar, 2/3 cup Vegetable Oil, then any spice you like -- I use Greek Spices sometimes, and Montreal Steak Spice other times. It changes the flavor of the meat significantly, then I generally serve that with Barley or Rice and some nice Veggies. It looks great and always tastes delicious! Hope that helps you think up something good for your own dinner, tonight! And then every other night for the rest of your life -- sounds exciting, don't it?? ha,ha!

Oh, yeah. You can use different sorts of meat in those types of Marinades, too -- I'm particularly fond of Pork Tenderloin (I think I'll have that for the Father's Day Dinner...), and the Montreal Steak Spice is the best Spice for that. Use your kitchen as an experimental grounds -- try new things and see how it works out -- nothing too weird, but it's fun to try something new and you find you love it, then you can add that to your regular Meals!

Thanks for popping in for a wee visit! And did I tell you that you look fabulous, today? You really make that Comb-Over thing work for you, so I say, "Keep it"... you can Date some other time...! ha,ha,ha!

These eSupport Groups have a little something for everyone, so check it out and see what's in it for you!



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Great Dads 'n Grads Gifts -- it's not too late to Order Stuff Online -- Father's Day is this Sunday! (And I add new stuff in every day, to keep it interesting!)

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Monday, June 14th, 2004. I had a whole thing on how great it is to take Summer School Courses, because I spent some time earlier this morning getting Cara set up in one for July... and I took a whole years worth of University (my 2nd Year of my Bachelor of Arts Degree from Queen's University) in the Summer -- one summer. What a deal! It was a whole lot of work, but it saved me a bundle of money and a whole extra year at University, so I felt that was well worth it. I'm also a big fan of Online Education -- I feel like it's the wave of the future, what with it becoming next to impossible getting into the Universities, and you can work away at your own pace, which I also like. And, it opens up the world of University to everyone - did you know that the vast number of Universities will alow you to take one course, regardless of your High School Marks, and provided you are an Adult, to allow you to prove to them you can handle the work. If you get 65 or above, you can continue on with your Course Work. Isn't that a great idea? Then we can all make more money!

Well, it's already 6:30 pm, and Dwight will be home for dinner any second, so I better leave it at that for today, but this is where I'll write the Daily Updates for this week until I can figure anything else out! Se you tomorrow!

Later Baby! Ailsa!

(You know what to do!)

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Tuesday, June 15th, 2004. Hi, Honey! You're Home... and just in time to try my new take on my favorite Apple Crumble for One -- I tried it out last night, and now I think it'll be a real 'pick-me-up' during the day when I'm completely fed up (have you noticed that's been happening a lot, lately? Yeah, me too...!)... anyway, I happened to be making a new batch of the Crumble Mix for the Apple Crumble, and I couldn't find the new bottle of Vanilla that Dwight had hidden in the Fridge. I can never figure out how Dwight decides on where any particular item purchased at the store should go when he puts the groceries away -- I always say to him to leave the groceries and let me put them away, but he's delusional about knowing where things belong and insists on 'helping'...

Anyhoooo, that was a long story to get to the bit about 'The Rum'... so I'm searching the kitchen and the fridge for the Vanilla, and what did I see at the back of the Fridge but a bottle of Vanilla RUM! Yum. Rum... Now, you know me fairly well by now, so I'm sure it's not a real stretch for you to see that my next thought was to add that to my Apple Crumble Recipe! ha,ha! Then I remembered that I have this for breakfast, and there's that stooopid rule of 'no drinking until after breakfast .. except for on the weekends and Thursdays..." I think that's the rule -- it's hard to recall these things with any real degree of accuracy! ya'ha, ha!

I finished making up the Crumble Mixture and put it in the giant Freezer Bag, since I make up enough to last me about a week to 2 weeks, depending on how crappy my days are...then I felt I really should TEST it, then I thought, "Ooooh, I should test it with the Vanilla Rum...", so I added some Vanilla Rum to the Applesauce, and stirred that around, added the Crumble Mix and popped that into the microwave for a minute ... man, was that deeelicious! Just that little KICK that you might enjoy every now and then (afternoon and evening... ha,ha,ha!). Give it a 'Shot', so-to-speak! ha,ha!

I wrote a thing yesterday that ended up not going through, so I suppose that was a good thing, but it's still a matter that is important to parents, especially parents of teenagers. We're at the satge right now where Cara and her friends are all turning 16 -- it's a magical age. Magical in that they all think they are infallible, and that's a frightening thing. It can lead to all sorts of choices that could ruin their lives as they know them, or God Forbid, much, much worse. Because we live out in the country, you have to take the ighway to get to our house, which is fine for regular Adult Drivers, but scares me beyond belief when it's Cara in a car with other teenage drivers. I have no problem with them driving in town, on surface streets (I learned that term when I lived in L.A., and everyone took 'surface streets' to avoid the traffic on the Freeways...) -- it's the Highway I have a huuuge problem with...

Now, I'm not big on confrontation or 'laying down the law' with anyone -- generally speaking, that just makes people mad and rarely works, but my big goal right now is to get Cara from 16 to 18 without any damage... so I'm thinking about maybe sending Cara to Scotland to stay with her Grandparents when Summer School is out. It would be fun for Cara, give her a new perspective on her life (whenever you go back to your Ancestral Place, it dawns on you that you are a part of an enormous cycle -- it had a profound affect on me when I went over when I was 23...). Anyway, I think my Mum and Dad are going over for the summer, so we'll see if that might work out (if you're new to the Site, I'm Scottish, but was raised in Canada, spent some wonderful years in Los Angeles, California, was dragged back to Canada where I've been waiting to become free to make my own choices again -- whatever they may be... I just want to be free to make the choices myself...).

So some difficult days -- you can see why that Vanilla Rum seemed so very appealing last night! ha,ha! There are times when your kids will not like you very much, if at all, and that's just a part of parenting -- it's not your job to be their buddy, or to placate them at any expense -- it's your job (and my job this week...) to make the decisions that will keep your child safe until they are truly old enough to make all their own decisions, and then you just have to hope to god you've covered all the basics and they make reasonably good choices, and can survive the all to talk about it later in therapy! Ya gotta do what you gotta do, right? Sometimes it's just really hard, but it has to be done...

Tip of the Day: Are you trying to lose some weight and having a tough time with the whole 'not eating so much' thing? Here's a little tip that might work for you -- it's cheap and worth a try -- Get yourself a small jar of Vick's Vapour Rub. (It doesn't have to be Vick's, but now you can picture it in your head... and some of the knock-offs smell weird...). Keep the Jar handy during the Day and in the Evening when you have your 'trouble times' -- most people have certain times during the day or evening when they are most likely to want to eat -- aside from regular meals, I mean... So every so often, open the jar and 'take a big whiff'. (Great if you're on 'e', too...ha,ha,ha! I'm kiddink, of course -- not to be taking 'e', if at all possible... ha,ha,ha!) Don't wait until you're starving before you breathe in the menthol -- breathe it in every so often. It'll really curb your appetite. And make you want to dance all night... yuff, yuff!

Okay, gotta go get some watermelon for Aidan -- he doesn't like to get his fingers sticky, so I have to cut it away from the rind -- just one of his many 'quirks'! I'll be back in a minute to get you some pictures!

Here's where Tia spends a good portion of her day when it's rainy outside! It's the Laundry Room Sink -- now that crazy Dwight wanted to put in one of those enormous Laundry Sinks -- it was a huuuge fight during the Build of this house! Funny, when I think of it, now, but infuriating at the time... you know how that is...Dwight had some notion that I would be slaving over this huge Laundry Tub, soaking every item of laundry to be washed -- uh, noooo... not with the modern-day technology I like to call "The Washing Machine"... Please, what was he thinking??

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Anyway, it has always been my job to clean Tia's Paws since she was a little puppy, so I knew I needed a sink that wasn't too deep that I could just set her in to clean her up. I actually wanted a bigger sink than the one we settled on, ironically enough, but by then Dwight had found this medium sized sink and had put it in... along with a Spray Nozzle, which is perfect for cleaning muddy paws!

Tia looks like she really loves getting cleaned up, too, don't she?? ha,ha,ha,ha! Her favorite part is getting her paws dried -- I like it too, because I hold her like a Baby, and she falls asleep in my arms, which I love... she's a sweet little girl!

Thanks for popping in for a wee visit! It's always lovely to see you!

See ya later, Baby! Ailsa!!


Great Dads 'n Grads Gifts -- it's not too late to Order Stuff Online -- Father's Day is this Sunday! (And I add new stuff in every day, to keep it interesting!)

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Wednesday, June 16th, 2004. Yo, yo, yo! What up, Daaaawg?? L'il Daaaawggies... hey, why not -- it's not like I'm not out here in the Prairies...! ha,ha,ha! And I'm thinking about dogs because Tia has been in my lap a good portion of the morning -- she was outside playing, and I think she thought she stood a pretty good chance of catching one of the little Prairie Dogs she watches from the windows... so by the time she came back into the house, she was covered in mud -- she had managed to get her head into one of the holes those wee Prairie Dogs dig. Her ears were all filthy, and everything! So when I was washing her up in the sink, I had a helluva time trying to get those ears clean, but then when I was giving her a wee cuddle when I was drying her up, she fell asleep, and I started to nod off, too. It's very powerful when other people around you doze off, because we are all so susceptible to what we are surrounded by, right?

So the big Political Debates were on in Canada, last night -- if it's not Hockey, it's Politics... the Election is coming up so quickly, that at least I got some answers to the questions I'm concerned about. I have to say I was very surprised that the Liberals will not bring the issue of Same Sex Marriage to the House of Commons. Paul Martin, our current Prime Minister, wants the Supreme Court to make the decision... I don't know about you, but I wouldn't want those old hoots to make a big decision like that -- for one, they're not voted in, so they certainly don't represent my views... I think the only fair thing is to allow it to go to an Open Vote in the House of Commons, and the Conservative Party with Stephen Harper believes in that -- at least then the people who are making a decision about such a critical Human Rights Issue will be folks we've voted in ourselves, and that's better than the alternative.

One thing that drives me crazy with all this political talk is about Canada nt having a Two-Tier Health Care System -- who are they kidding? Puh-leeease! We've had a Two-Tier System for years, it's just kept hush-hush. I think I've mentioned before that there are the Ads on TV about this poor woman who is in her 30's and is diagnosed with Breast Cancer. The Ad says, "Will she have the Insurance to pay for her $42,000. Bill to pay for the Drugs she'll need??" What? At first I DID think it was an American Ad, since we get a lot of U.S. TV (Thank God, since Canadian Television sucks, for the most part... maybe they could start producing Shows that are actually GOOD, then they could support themselves instead of being subsidized by the Government to make sure we remember that we're Canadian... how stooopid is that? It would be a sad day if we identified with a pathetic Show just because it was made in the same country where you lived. And the few Shows that we DO have that are hilarious -- This Hour Has 22 Minutes and Air Farce -- come under fire and may or may not continue to be funded...).

Anyway, the Ad is for Alberta, and it's for Blue Cross Coverage to make sure you can pay for the drugs you might need. I wonder how many Canadians know they need additional Health Care Coverage to get the drugs they might need to save their lives? I'll tell you -- we're in no position to throw stones at the U.S. Model for Health Care -- I had much better Health Care when I lived in the States than I've had in Canada. Plus, I don't have a big problem with some Health Care Centers where you can 'Buy an Operation' -- if we let people who have the money pay for their own Procedures, won't that open up more beds for people who can't afford that choice? And if my life, or my child's life were ever at risk, and the Waiting List was soooo long (all based on 'fairness') that they may or may not make it -- of course you would go to any length to get the Health Care Service. You'd sell your house or do anything to keep them healthy or return them to good health... I think the option should exist.

Hmmm, I'm just watching an old Oprah Show with a guy who is talking about becoming a Millionaire, and he advocates the Double Monthly Mortgage Payment -- that's TWO Mortgage Payments in One Month... man, I hat ethat stoopid idea. That is sooo hard for regular families to manage, because sometimes things happen, and it's next to impossible to come up with a whole other Mortgage Payment every single Month. It's soooo much better just to put one Extra Mortgage Payment Once a Year -- Twice if you can manage that. It's far less stressful, and will knock years off your Mortgage.

The other thing this guy is saying is that you should Cut Up Your Credit Cards -- no, no, no -- that'll negatively affect your Fico Score, and you don't want that to happen. And I'm not such a big believer in the whole Money into the Retirement Fund thing -- I still believe it's far better to put money aside to Buy Your Own Home, or put that money on your Mortgage. Financial Advice is like any other kind of Advice -- take out the bit that seems reasonable and actually relates to your own life, and forget the rest.

The easiest ways for me to save money were to cut out at least one Shopping Trip per month (then work your way to cutting out one Shopping Trip per week), which saved well over $500. per month, so that was good. And then to be completely aware of how much you spend, and what you spend it on -- if you find you're out buying a whole lot of stuff you don't need a t all, decide whether you really need to do that, and if the answer is 'No', then stop. Make a mental decision and stick to it -- it'll be worth it when there's a lot more money in your Bank Account at the end of every month. Makes you feel nice and secure.

The other thing this fellow says (and this is a Financial Guru) is to 'Not have a Budget'... Hmmm. I agree that it's annoyink to live with a Strict Budget, but I think it's very reasonable to look at all the money that comes into your house each month, and make a decision about how much of that money will go to paying for everything in your life. In this house, I have a 'General Budget' of $2500. per month -- in our last house (it was a whole lot smaller...), my monthly budget was $1500. There are always things that come up that cost more than that, but I don't include Building Costs in that Dollar Number. I consider those Costs outside of the Main Monthly Budget. There's a separate Bank Account to manage the Building Costs, and that works well for us.

The important thing about having a General Budget is to know exactly what you have (and don't have) so you can work within your own Budget. One thinfg that constantly amazes me with Financial Advisors is when they see a young Family struggling away in a house they really can't afford, they tell them to put more money aside for a Retirement Fund -- because theirCompany is managing it... and they don't say to the Family -- "Look you need to move. Sell that house where all your money is being sapped up, and 'Buy Down' ... a nice Condo or a smaller home." That is the most obvious thing to me -- it's not more important to hold onto a house that no longer serves your purposes, even if you love it. Financial struggles are not worth any nice house -- it's always better to cut your losses and find a new place to live that doesn't cost nearly so much. THEN, you can recoup your finances in your new place, be more comfortable emotionally and financially. Your life will be so much better right away -- or at least within a couple of months, if it even takes that long to integrate yourself into your new place!

Tip of the Day: If your House has gone waaaay up in Value from the Day you bought it, and you want to 'take the money out of your house', consider selling it, taking the Profit and buying a Brand New or Relatively New House. Just like the Stock Market, if you buy a house and never sell it, it still holds the value it did on the day you bought it, until you 'realize' the dollar difference by selling it. If you bought some stock at $5.00 a Share, and then they went up to $90.00 a Share, but you didn't sell, you wouldn't have realized any new money -- and then if the Stock Market goes back down and then your Stock drops to $2.00 per Share, you've lost money... so if you want to see the money you've made, you need to sell the Stock or the house.

It's always a personal choice, of course -- some folks really like to find one home and stay there forever ("I'm gonna die in this house..."). Me, I like to take the money out of any house and move to another one, reinvest the Equity and eventually have no Mortgage at all, or take that extra money and invest it in other Real Estate. But that's just me -- you need to find where you're comfortable and where you'll be financially happy, then you'll find the emotional stuff will be much easier to deal with, then!

I still haven't been able to get into my Program to get my new pictures into the computer, but when I do, man, I've got some great new shots for you! ha,ha! I'll go see what I can find for today -- be right back!

I was going to put some pictures of the little Prairie Dogs, but then I happened to click on this picture, and it's so cute, I thought I'd just put it on -- since I refer to Aidan and Tia so very much! They're both cute, ain't they?? ha,ha,ha!

This is in the Great Room, and Tia and Aidan vie for the Lounger Settee -- it's everyone's favorite place to sit, because it's an enormous Chair/Couch!

Thanks for swinging by for a little visit!

See ya, Baby! Ailsa!


Great Dads 'n Grads Gifts -- it's not too late to Order Stuff Online -- Father's Day is this Sunday! (And I add new stuff in every day, to keep it interesting!)

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Thursday, June 17th, 2004. Hey, Baby! 'H' to the 'izzo', which, as far as I understand it, translates into "Good Day, Fine Friend", but not everybody has that kind of time to go through all that formality, so H to the izzo it be! ha,ha,ha,ha! So it crossed my mind, last night, at about midnight, or so, that Aidan will be getting on the School Bus this coming September... hmmmm. I still have him in a Car Seat, so it seems crazy to take him from his Car Seat in my van to the giant Bus with no seatbelt and God-Knows-Who on the other end of the Bus Route all by himself. He's soooo little! And because I just signed Cara up for a Summer School course, it made me think that maybe there's some sort of Home Module for Aidan to do some Kindergarten Studies at home...?

I started out as a Kindergarten Teacher, then my students got older and older (now they're all parents, themselves -- ha,ha!), and now I just consider My Site as my new favorite way to 'share the wealth of knowledge 'dat is ME' with as many folks as I can reach! Anyway, it's not like I'm not trained to Teach Aidan, if I were to keep him home a little longer... I guess I hadn't thought this one through -- Cara went on the School Bus when she was 5, but she was a very different little 5 year old -- Aidan is a little bit crazy around the seams, and I'm not sure of what he will do on the Bus, and what will happen between the time I put him on the bus and when he arrives home... that's the part I'm worried about.

We still have a massive amount of fancy Locks on every Door in the house -- to keep Aidan IN! So how will that work out in School, when they have no locks of any sort -- oh, and here's my Pet Peeve about primarily Canadian Schools -- most Schools in the U.S. accept that bad things can happen, and lock the main doors to the school during School Hours. You have to ring the door bell (why, it's just like being at home and having a visitor identify themselves befoere they come in, rather than just strolling in and walking straight into your office...!), identify yourself, and then they can buzz you in -- just like at any Apartment Building. So it's not like the technology doesn't already exist. It makes me really uncomfortable that our Schools are wide open for anyone to come in, unannounced, and kids can get out without anyone noticing. That ain't good. I think a very simple system of locking the doors when the kids are in Class would be very easy to establish, and would give parents and students a higher degree of safety. That would work for everyone, wouldn't it?

Ooooh, I'm sooo easily distracted -- I just tried some new exercises with my Exercise Ball -- I'm really gonna have to find someone to take some pictures of me so I can show you them -- they're lots of fun! No kidding! Here's a quick explanation, and see if you can follow it until I get the picutres -- Lay back on your Exercise Ball -- remember, my stooopid Pin broke while I was trying to blow mine up, so it's about 3/4 of the way full, which I now realize is waaaay better for comfort and 'bounce'. Anyway, now you've got the Exercise Ball in the middle of your back. Keep your feet planted firmly on the floor, and lift your beeeehind up in a Pelvic Tilt position. Get a couple of Hand Weights -- really, probably best to get these handy first, rather than struggle yourself silly in some crazy position ...

So once you're all nice and balanced on the Exercise Ball, Put the Hand Weights over your head (one per hand... I don't know how much you've been drinking when you're reading this, but I figure it's safe to assume you've had at least 3 shots by now... ya'ha,ha!). With relatively straight arms, lift the Weights Up over your chest, then down to the sides. Them hold them both together above your head, and drop them together back behind your head. (Not ON yo' head, for God's Sake... maybe put the bottle down for a second so that doesn't happen too many more times, 'cause that's gonna smart in the morning! har, har!) Do 10 of each 3 times. Very nice little Exercise. You can do those when you're watching Television, but not while you're eating. Drinking should still be fine... ha,ha!

Have you picked up a set of Free Weights, yet? They're really inexpensive and great to have on hand, so-to-speak... I got mine at Walmart -- they have a really good Sporting Goods Section. And if you're new to the whole Weight thing, start with very light weights -- 1 pounders, and get yourself a couple of each size up to 10 pounds each. You'll find that some exercises require more weight, and some require a very light weight. For the above exercises, I would start out with 1 or 2 pounds in each hand, then gradually work your way up to 3 - 5 pounds. It's always better to start with the lowest weights so you don't hurt yourself, because then you won't get any exercise in at all, so that wouldn't be useful at all, now would it? Okay, you can pick up the bottle, again -- what's that? You never put it down? Ah, well. You'll have one arm that has a very well toned 'Drinker's Arm', and that has to count for somethin', right? ha,ha,ha!

Tip of the Day: Well, it has to do with yesterday's Daily Update -- I think I forgot to mention that when you make a separate Payment on pretty much any Loan (Car Loan, Mortgage Payment -- maybe you owe Tony from The Sopranos a couple of G's...), the extra Payment goes straight to the Principal (no, not the Principal at your school -- unless they're desperately trying to 'increase their personal revenues' by running a loan sharking operation out of the Office -- really, Teachers should be paid a whole lot more...! ha,ha!), so that's why making one or two extra payments on your Mortgage a year can greatly reduce the number of years on your Mortgage... or on a Car Loan. We like to pay everything off as quickly as possible, so we can maintain a very low 'monthly payout', then Dwight can save even more -- he's a 'Savin' kind of boy -- that's his favorite thing to do! Ah, well -- it's that special personality trait that allowed us to get into this house, so I ain't complainin'! ha,ha!

Let me go get some pictures for you -- be right back!

I had to go in and give each of the Pie Shell Makin' pictures a name and save them, so that took me a few minutes!

This is the Easiest Schmeasiest Pie Shell on the Planet -- or it's the easiest one I've ever made! ha,ha!

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You just mix the Flour with a little Sugar and dash of Salt, shake up some milk and oil, pour that into the flour mixture, mix it around with a fork, then press it into the shape of the Pie Plate. You can bake it for about 12 minutes if you need a Baked Pie Shell, or just toss in a couple of tablespoons of sugar and 2 tbsp of flour, then pour in whatever fruit you like. You can top that with my Apple Crumble Mix, or the Easy Pie Topping ... hey, did you see the running theme of everything being easy?? ha,ha! I love to bake, but I'm not willing to give up a whole day to do it -- my limit is about half an hour, and then it has to taste delicious, or forget it!

Click here for the Full Recipe for Easy Schmeasy Pie Crust!

Thanks for coming in for a wee visit! And Thanks you to my Kind Readers who are signing up for stuff and cicking on the Ads -- that's the only way I can stay afloat, so "Tank Ye, Tank Ye!"

See ya, Later, Baby! Ailsa!!

Here's a bunch of cool stuff to check out -- and the Big ClubMom Contest is over at the End of June, so Enter it today so you can get your name in to Win Some Great Prizes! (And you're supporting My Site at the same time, so it's totally a win-win, any way you look at it! ha,ha!) Oh, and it's completely Free to Enter -- and you can tell all your friends to stop by my site and they can fill in a Ballet, too -- then I can keep writing my Site and not have to take that job digging ditches.... or Teaching! ha,ha,ha! Thanks for all your Support -- I really appreciate that!

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Great Dads 'n Grads Gifts -- it's not too late to Order Stuff Online -- Father's Day is this Sunday! (And I add new stuff in every day, to keep it interesting!)


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And here's all the Photo Pages! (With Info!)


Check out for all your Kitchen Needs & Wants!

Recipes -- Cheesecake ,Cinnamon Buns, Salsa Chicken , Macaroni Salad ,Chicken Noodle Soup, Taco Spaghetti , Easy Pie Crust , Creamy Peach Pie , Great BBQ Marinade , 'Pass da' Pasta, Rosemary Steak, Onion Barley (an Aphrodisiac!), Stuffed Green Peppers, Fruit Puffs , BBQ Veggies, Apple Crumble for One , Barbequed Meatballs, Gambling, Everything Else!!


I love this Ad for Spongebob Squarepants Screensavers because on of my very favorite Spongebob scenes is where Spongebob is secretly watching a Show of Jellyfish like it's a porn movie, when Gary the Snail comes in the room and Spongebob yelps at getting caught watching 'something bad' and quickly changes the channel so Gary can't see it ... Hilarious!

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