Until I had a personal confrontation with ... strawberry jam???

Well, it all started so easily. My minivan showed up at 10:05 and then I was taken on a convoluted route while the driver picked up and dropped off others. But I eventually arrived at the restaurant in High Park which, for the benefit of strangers, I like to boast - cuz trufax - is larger than Monaco, around 11:15. There were already a couple people whom I knew, so we sat together until the gaggle of people arrived. I ended up sitting with the woman I'd sat next to at both pub nights. She's in a wheelchair with an extension for her legs, so usually sits at the end of the table. Anyway, I liked the fact that we already knew each other.

So ... strawberry jam??? I ordered a Mediterranean omelette which came with tiny home fries as well as two slices of toast and - yes - packets of the jam. I wasn't aware I'd dribbled or otherwise smeared some beyond the rim of my plate closest to the edge of the table. You can fill in the sticky blanks. I ended up with jam on the front of my jumper and my capelet. Some might have even penetrated through the thin material of my jumper and onto my trousers. Yuck. Yuck. Yuck. I tried to clean some of it, but knew that only a shower and laundry would really work. Anyway, I sat outside with my two friends until my ride came, luckily at 2:10 as scheduled.

When I got in, I had a lovely Euphoria experience and got my laundry done. What a relief. I'd already conveyed to SuM and gf that I'd bring over the bottle of Hypnotiq and Bourbon Maple Walnut tarts while we watched SNL Weekend Update. SuM loved-loved-loved the Hypnotiq. We all had two glasses of it on the rocks. So what was the occasion? Well, I thought we should celebrate the fact that SuM's gf had just officially moved in this week. To my surprise, I found out that her cat is too scared to come down so has been hiding in the bedroom. So I may have to wait a while before I get to meet her.

Right now, I need to take my painkillers ('cuz my knees are protesting long minivan rides) and perhaps read for a little while. I'm glad I don't have to go anywhere until Sunday. Yay for time to recuperate.
I'm talking about Frits, a delightful Dutch man whose role in my chosen family was dear friend first - before he assumed the ceremonial role as one of my wedding attendants, acting as father-in-law. He had a quirky sense of humour (well, he'd have to, natch, being MY friend) and found all sorts of unusual piggy treasures to give to me. I'm relieved that I still have a couple of very small pieces that survived the gruesome downsizing. Dear Frits, may your spirit be encapsulated in a bright star that will shine down upon me with a familiar twinkle.

So, how did I find out? Our mutual friend (who is my jeweller) posted on FB that he was in a coma; he later added a post to say that he was no longer with us. The wonderful thing is that I had no idea I'd probably seen Frits in the late 70s when I used to go with a friend (after he got off from work at midnight) to the hoity-toity bar/restaurant nearby for some oysters and as many drinks as we could until last call. Speaking of oysters, back then, in a restaurant, they were $0.60/each or $7.20 a dozen. Cheap-cheap-cheap. And how was our mutual friend connected? Frits was the manager and hired him, first in a joe job until he was promoted to be a waiter. Small world, huh.

Just as well that I had no plans for the day. Luckily, the cats allowed me to sleep in. Diva was to the left of my head (I presume my head was too hot for her) and Ce-Ce was on the ledge near the foot of my bed. Grumpy was ... somewhere. SuM and her gf came back in the early afternoon, then took off again to the beach where they intended to watch the fireworks tonight. With the extra special holiday, there are fireworks happening in many, many places in TO. Hey, just let me get to sleep after midnight.

Watched my usual TV shows in the evening and then finished rereading just the prologue and epilogue of my Sherlock Holmes (Phantom of the Opera) book. Now I get to reread "Rogue One" to try to get accustomed to the characters' names. So, it's almost time to say goodnight. Well, after one (self-made) obligation.
But at least it also allowed me to sleep in past 9 before I settled in to finish my book about Dewey, the library cat. Uh-oh. After being with that cat for 19 years of its ups and downs, I was heartbroken to read about his failing health and eventual death. So I cried. Lots and lots. I'm already exhausted.

I cried a few more times during the day. Watched a surprise makeover for a family ... and blubbered. Anything that aroused my empathy led to more tears. Finally, I couldn't stand it any more. I needed the company of another human being. Also a cat! So I went out on the back deck and was joined by SuM's gf. I told her about the book that had started it all. We talked about all sorts of things. I asked her questions about her cat and am now curious to figure out what cross-breed she is. Sounds fascinating.

Decided not to kill myself in the evening with laundry (extra loads), so I'll do it tomorrow late morning. Instead I began a new murder mystery. I'm also considering entering a writing contest (about faith) as a part of the celebrations surrounding Canada's 150th birthday. Just a wee problem: the deadline is June 30th. Eeeeeeeeeek. But I'm making it a wee bit easier, using autobiographical snippets and focusing on the meaning I found in performing and listening to music. And I'll see how it goes. There's a $10 registration fee; first prize is $10K, second is $2.5K with both stories being published. There's also a poetry category with the same prizes.

Speaking of music, I got Final Jeopardy! right. Ha, Beethoven's "Fur Elise" FTW. Anyway, my book is calling out to me, so I'm going to ::giggles:: surrender. TTFN.
Still, I'm moaning from the gustatory delights from dinner tonight, courtesy of SuM who was also treating her gf (whose b'day is this Sunday). We went to a bar/hangout-type place not too far away. I'd never heard of the place. But the food was first rate. I had a glass of Chardonnay (the only house white) and then I ordered a "Black and Blue" bowl. Sounds weird and klunky, right? But it was divine. Here's the description:
Sautéed Beef Tenderloin, Mushroom, Red Onion, Spinach, Blue Cheese, Peppercorn Cream Sauce with Penne. With extra Parmesan and freshly ground black Pepper on top.
Holy moly, it was amazing. I originally thought it was in a red wine sauce. But no matter. The taste clincher was the blue cheese. OMG. I so want to come back here, and have already decided who my dining companions will be. Resistance is futile. Yes, indeedy!

Before that, I enjoyed yet another good night of sleep. Honestly, I think that ice cold can of Coke every evening sends me right over into dreamland. I am so not complaining. I polished off the rest of the Champagne (a measly inch in the flute) for brekkie (along with a virtuous Vegetable and Lentil Pot Pie)!

I finally finished my second "Come From Away" book. Yes, I cried in lots of places. I've started a new book that SuM just finished reading in hardcover, though she mentioned she'd read it before. It's Neil Gaiman's "Neverwhere". I'm finding it weird, but will keep going. I also put a hold on a recc from a church/FB friend. It's "shrill" by Lindy West. The cover is striking.

I caught up with the second epi of the newest season of MasterChef. I guess today was a good day to spark ALL of my culinary senses, even if all I was doing was watching. Anyway, I think I should go to bed soon. I have a book to read. No boredom today which is a very good thing. And I also imparted some practical advice on the Savage Love Letter of the Day. Busy, busy, bu....
OMG. I'm old. It's no wonder I feel so wiped out just from being treated. Anyway, I survived, lol. Though the day started out drizzly and cold (ack, rain, don't drip on my hair), we ended up with a majorly sunny though cool and breezy afternoon. I was thrilled to wear my new "designer" jewellery (though the wee jewelled flower which is part of the clasp refuses to lie flat against my neck; do I need lessons in ::giggles:: product placement?). Church was - as usual - fabulous. After church, I had to hang around waiting for Ash and church-John to finish their once-monthly volunteer duties, counting the offering. So I indulged in the smallest piece of birthday cake. And waited. Normally, I don't get a chance to observe a lot after church as I have to be out the door to catch my ride. But, today, I watched as people seemed reluctant to leave the social hall despite the clock hands climbing toward 2:00. There were several tables set up and still active: Trans awareness, Trans Pride, Social Justice Network fund-raising environmentally friendly steel water bottles, a T-shirts for Pride table, and finally the Children's sewing class.

Finally, Ash and c-J were finished (of course there had been discrepancies in the count), so we could go to my fave brunch place in the village (Café California). As I still felt stuffed, I ordered a Western Cmelette (with calming, healthy eggs) along with Canada's Hangover Cure (aka a Bloody Caesar). Now I wasn't hung over, but thought my stomach would absorb its prophylactic properties! The restaurant was really sweet. Hearing it was my birthday, they presented me with a slab of chocolate cake (with mango? cream and white chocolate? cream). I shared it with c-J while Ash had just a smidgeon of the cream. I finally spilled the details of the blind group's fall trip and c-J is VERY interested. Turns out he's never seen the G&S operetta either. I thought we should both brush up on the lyrics before we go as they'll be delivered at a really fast clip.

Then it was time for the sleepy blonde to come home. I wasn't just sleepy, I was lethargic, much too incapable of writing my review. So I made a placeholder FB post, letting people know I'd write it tomorrow, blaming birthday "fatigue". I tried to read for a while (this time a Nero Wolfe mystery), but was too tired. So, after the 6:00 p.m. news, I dozed off for a couple of hours. I also found out inadvertently who'd won MasterChef Canada. Oh, terrific, it's the contestant I was rooting for. Now I can enjoy watching the Finale in peace. Yay. When SuM came home from work, I asked her when she thought we should go to dinner (obviously, the last thing on my mind). She suggested Thursday. Oh, thank goodness. I may be hungry by then, lol. Now I'm looking forward to sleeping in (please, universe) tomorrow morning, then lounging around. And possibly getting around to making that big salad.
Hmmm. Does that mean time stretches when it's warm out and contracts when it's cold? Ha! Imagine a pompous investor (but without the humility of a philanthropist) trying to pull that one over our fave snarky astrophysicist, MRM, PhD, PhD, etc.

Well, my birthday is stretching ever so long (not that I'm complaining; it's simply an observation). Today it was Brian's turn to share in the festivities. He also brought the new protective coating and military-force case for Niebieski Motylek ("Little Blue Butterfly" in Polish, "Little Blue" abbreviated), my newly named iPad who joins his big sister Liblikas. Oh, what a relief to have a proper case.

He even brought me organic strawberries ... and an honest-to-goodness birthday card. Now I'm really impressed, because it seems everybody has stopped giving (especially mailing) greeting cards. Everything is electronic these days. So it was a lovely gesture to receive something tangible that can actually be displayed on my dining table, along with the tulips.

After fiddling around with both computers, we finally left to drive to the Indian restaurant. We were determined to eat two orders of Tandoori Shrimp. We did. Along with a Papadum, Plain Naan (I'm on duty tomorrow), Sautéed Scallops (unexpectedly served in a strange but tasty sauce), and Chicken Biryani that came with Raita. Also, a Gin'n'Tonic each. Nom. We may have slightly overestimated how much we could eat, but we've done that before. So I ended up with lots of leftovers to keep me company at home.

Once I was home, I collapsed. I'd had tears in my eyes from some of the spices, and now I was sweating. Oh, well, it's good for the body.

After watching the news and my game show repeats, I returned to reading "The Martian" with Little Blue propped up on my torso as I was lying in bed. Even though the case feels very heavy, and the lid isn't quite in the right position, it still made a huge difference in my ability to pretend-hold it. I was only touching it barely, to keep it stable. My poor hands are so grateful. As a result, I finally managed to finish my second read-through of the book. Yay.

Now I'd better think of sleep and church and wearing nice things. Well, almost all nice things. If it's raining, I'll have to wear more practical footwear. ::still crosses fingers for nice weather::
* waking up way too early and staying awake
* admiring the shiny nature of the pink gold in my new bling
* reading more of "The Martian"
* receiving oodles of best wishes by text, e-mails, FB, in person and over the phone
* getting lots of gorgeous foodies (and wine) delivered
* revelling in the scent of "Euphoria" from my shower gel all the way to perfume (but where are my solid perfume and silky cream?)
* opening a bottle of Champagne like a pro (parallel to the floor, turning the bottle against the cork)
* drinking two flutes of bubbly (flutes courtesy of church-John)
* savouring smoked salmon on fresh artisanal bread
* eating overpriced blueberries
* staggering from the pain and weakness while doing the laundry BZZZZZZT. Wait! What? Oh, well, we all know that I mix chores in with indulging myself.

Yes, yes, it was, is, and shall be for the next few days, a celebration of my birthday. Hilariously, when a friend called me this evening and asked - out of curiosity - how old I was, I knocked TEN years off the total! Ha - I wish. My joints would be dancing with glee. At least the bubbly managed to contain the pain for a little while.

Anyway, I need to slide into bed, even if I spend a bit more time reading. But I'm worn out. Even spending the day pampered tomorrow comes with an expenditure of energy, being away from home, etc. Crossing my fingers. Night-night, all.
... better than NO holiday celebration at all. But, first, the rest of my silly day.

Went to bed at 2:22 (slightly naughty) and woke up at 10:02. Hey, nearly 8 hours. Yay. Didn't have brekkie until around 11:30. Then continued reading (and finished) "Murden on the QE2", another pretend Jessica Fletcher mystery while I had my fireplace (lights only) on for ambiance. Then I dozed off which meant I was late feeding the cats their lunches. But, first, I had to find the little monsters. Well, not Diva. Grumpy was on the back deck and came in. But Ce-Ce was missing. After I fed the two, I took a chance and opened the front door. Oh, look who's meowing, wanting to come in. So I fed her. While I was supervising the chaos, SuM came home unexpectedly early and we finalized our dinner plans.

We finally got together close to 7. She baked my whiskey-mustard chicken wings and got wine glasses for my bottle of rosé. She'd cooked up some broccoli, snow peas, and scallions with lemongrass paste, ginger, and garlic. And then we dug in. We polished off the wine and I have a few chicken wings as leftovers. Then we took a break in the living room, watching the cold open of the last SNL featuring Leonard Cohen's "Hallelujah"> OMG, so well done. I'd already watched the rest of the epi, considering it forgettable, but SuM wants to watch it 'cuz she likes the musical guest Katy Perry. Other than that, we listened to a modified light-classical channel she found. When I'd sat down on the couch, I'd moved a book she was reading: Neil Gaiman's "Norse Mythology". She mentioned some of his other books and I was interested in "Neverwhere" (so I've put a hold on it).

I suggested we could watch my Special Anniversary Edition of the "Stargate" movie ('cuz it has a dreamy young James Spader in it) for our next movie night. And then we finally had the dessert she prepared: vanilla ice cream, mouth-watering raspberries and supposedly ridiculously-priced blueberries, with tons of Bailey's on top. Mmmmmmmmm.

Right now, I've finished my mint iced tea and am heading off to bed, totally cat free (I believe, lol). I'm going to start another mystery book.
Er ... what? Well, that's the way I'm interpreting my day. First of all, it was almost warm enough and sunny, so I just wore a turtleneck sweater under my jumper, with my tropical sarong-scarf adorning my capelet.

Though I was still having bouts of violent coughing, church-John soothed my throat by presenting me with a mocha (with lots of whipped cream). I'm testing the theory that caffeine suppresses the coughing reflex. Hey, it's scientific (lol). Church was extremely soothing, especially the exquisite music. And much of the service, even though it was devoted to Mother's Day (and the less said about that on a personal level by me, the better).

After I got home, it took me much longer to write my review (because of the MD aspects), but I was very pleased with the outcome. And it's lovely to get comments from people I haven't seen in years. After I was done, I was an exhausted wreck. Finally had some real food (no, Tim Horton's hash browns, also a prezzie from c-J, don't count). Then I watched last night's Saturday Night Live. I found a lot of it screamingly funny, but was aggravated by the slurring of syllables and lowering volume especially when Baldwin was playing DJT. So not fair! I was missing the punchlines.

Right now, I think I'm going to be reaching for a ginger beer. I think I'll forego my hot lemon drink (woo-hoo, that's so daring). I'm also slightly confused, because my right leg has not hurt all day long. Uh ... leg? I thought your fractures had sprung their own mini-fractures. ::shakes head:: I have no idea what message my body is sending me. But erasure of pain is FABULOUS!!! Anyway, I think it's time to lie down and tackle "The Martian" for a while.

I hope your Sunday fulfilled you in many flavours, too.
That happened even though I woke up around 6 again. Seriously, body? So I puttered around, even starting a reread of "The Martian". Washed some recycling before my groceries were delivered before 12:30. Oh, lovely delectable foodies. After I put everything away, I did a rough wrapping job of the deluxe jasmine tea I got for Sue, wrote in the pretty butterfly card, and carried those along with the case of ginger beer, setting them down on the dining table. So, she'd been busy decorating for her party tonight. She'd planned to have a pinata. I can't imagine the vacuuming necessary to capture all the stray treats. When she came home from work, she thanked me. Hey, she gives me super-special chocolate for Christmas, I give her super-special tea for her birthday. We have equilibrium. Lol.

Did a bit of housekeeping on my DW account. Unfortunately, when I imported my LJ entries, the comments didn't come through. So I did a second import which got me the comments ... along with duplicates of all the entries. Mind you, I'm reading entries from the good old days, when I had a hoity-toity life, entertaining by the fountain in the garden every Sunday afternoon. Aaaaaaah.

Finally got to relax in the evening, though all I had to watch was the usual news and game shows. As our speaker for tomorrow's blind group has cancelled, I've been told to bring my assortment of jokes. Well, I'm going to do it electronically. I d/l'd two joke bookes and plan to - very gingerly - transport my iPad to the other side of the world ... er ... city tomorrow. I figure I can always nungee tie it to my walker. But it'll be nice to be able to read from it and, while I'm waiting for my ride home, I can continue reading ... you know what.

I think I'd better post and do some advance sorting of what I'll be taking with me tomorrow. Hoping the rain holds off. We're expecting major flooding from the storms headed our way from the States. Hey, is that any kind of present? I think not.
I am so out of it, after such a long (though mostly amazing) day that started when I woke up two minutes ahead of the 5:45 alarm. Anything that spares me having to listen to the tune is a very good thing. The weather seemed to be hinting warmth while also threatening rain. Luckily, the clouds only menaced slightly and the sun came out in late afternoon.

I arrived at church at 9:10 (eek, so early) and spent the next hour listening to the glorious music from the first service and chatting with friends. Managed to snag my usual seat and dragged church-John and (to my delight) Ashley to sit in the same pew with me. Though Ash was there, she was in too much pain to come to brunch with us. I'm sorry to see she's being hit with the ravages of getting older. The music director had gathered a large and versatile group of instrumentalists to form the "band". The sound system was excellent and I particularly loved hearing the violins over it. All the music was triumphal and splendid.

When the service ended at 12:20, we were on our way to my fave place in the village. The waiters were outrageous and the food delish. C-J and I shared a half pitcher of "winter" sangria and Spanish coffees. While he had the classic breakfast, I moaned over spaghetti with savoury lamb meatballs. It was the perfect food for me, as the pasta was very easy to digest. The seasoning of the lamb and the tomato sauce was exceptional. C-J and I enjoyed covering a multitude of conversation topics through the afternoon.

Finally, it was time to get me home (along with the applesnax and paper towel he'd bought for me). When we arrived, he assumed his natural role as the cats' Uncle John (hee). And, then, he left me to settle down and crank out my service review. It felt shorter than usual, but I think it was an average length. Perhaps the fact that I didn't dwell on specifics made it seem shorter. I finished minutes before 6, so could switch on the news. Imagine my shock to hear that some really nasty person had "fire-bombed" a church in the west end. Luckily, whatever combustible liquids he'd poured through a hole in the window failed to spread, so damage was limited to about five grand. As well as cancelled church services and a shocked congregation. The only good news after that was seeing how fabulously the Maple Leafs had played, winning against the Caps in double OT. Woo-hoo!

After that, I zombie-watched last night's SNL. I really shouldn't watch when I'm so out of it. Right now, I just want to wash my face and go to bed. So I think I shall. Let's hope I'm back to being fully human tomorrow morning. ::crosses fingers::
And I had the gastric pain when I arrived home after 3. But, first, I had a delightful morning and overall celebration with Brian. I slept in until 6:30 (oh, the horror) as I didn't know whether I'd have bedhead. Luckily, my hair was completely bouncy. Yay! I chose my layered clothing (to avoid wearing a coat), selecting old leggings paired with very thin socks, loose draped dress with turtleneck underneath, capelet (obviously all black), along with my vibrant azalea, yellow, and mango top. To complement (not match) the top, I wore my ruby bee earrings and carried my (for realz) red Parisian purse with matching wallet. What was in the wallet? My debit card. Talk about travelling light!

My ride arrived shortly after 11:15 and we were flying through my Enchanted Forest (Rosedale Valley Road). I shared the minivan with a woman whose mother had been a jazz singer, so we had a great time talking about music and vocal cords). I was dropped off at the Windsor Arms Hotel (a small boutique hotel in the fancy part of town where I lived for 33 years) around 11:45. Okay, I'm early. I was ensconced in an armchair in the lobby by the concierge and treated like royalty. Me like. Naturally, Brian had to be a bad baby, making me worry that he'd be late. Oh, he wasn't late. He'd just diverted first to Whole Foods a couple blocks away. ::rolls eyes::

But, then, at 12:30 we were shown into the Purple Room (which we'd requested) and seated right in front of the real fireplace! The chairs were like velvet and had arms. What a relief. I started the "meal" off by ordering a Kir Royale. We both ordered Darjeeling tea. I decided we should eat the savoury items first, so we had a bunch of tiny sandwiches or tartlets. IMO, the tartlets were just too much pie shell. One of the most stunning items was beet risotto in a cucumber cup! Another really good one was spicy salmon. After that, Brian cut the desserts in half, so we had a truffle with caramel, multi-layered opera cake, a sponge cake, tiramisu (was that all?). As Brian had indicated we were celebrating our birthdays, our server brought out an oblong plate on which "Happy Birthday" had been written in chocolate with two birthday candles and two extra portions of tiramisu in transparent glasses. But, wait, we weren't finished yet. We'd left the heaviest items to the end, namely two scones each (one cream, one with currants?) along with the clotted cream, strawberry jam, and multi-berry preserve. OMG. I was eating on auto-pilot and only could finish one. So, I asked that it be wrapped up. Oh, it got wrapped up. In a pretty box placed in a hotel gift bag. Mmmmm.

Our server also took a picture of the two of us in front of the fireplace. I was thrilled that my good side was facing the camera (Brian's phone). I love the fact that I have proof of looking 20 years younger. Brian couldn't believe that was actually my hair because it was so poufy. He thought it was a wig! And, because I felt so good, he talked me into having my stylist pamper me each month, not only with a cut, but also with a professional colour and hair treatment. I so did not object. Feeling this fabulous is worth paying for (and she's certainly not charging downtown prices)!

Anyway, we were surprised to be finished within the supposed two-hour limit. We paid and then went out to the lobby where we waited for my ride to arrive. Luckily, we didn't have to wait long and then I was on my way with two gift bags (the second containing the Euphoria shower gel Brian had bought online on my behalf). And it was warm with the sun peeking out as the driver also took the Enchanted Forest. What a fabulous day. Which we will have to repeat next month. We'll be checking into other high tea places, too.

After forcing myself to swallow a bottle of ginger beer (good for what ails you) and spending a couple hours lying down (on the left side so that the pyloric valve remains closed), I felt a lot better. Enough to actually face the iPad. I d/l'd and installed the update. Then I checked my bookshelf on Overdrive. Imagine my shock (and delight) to find that both books were there and complete. So, it was ALL Apple's fault. ::giggles:: Anyway, it's getting late, so I'm going to take my evening supplements, read - just a titch - then slide off to happyland. More gorgeous weather and church tomorrow. ::beams::
Say what? Pages to read?? You, blondie???

Yes, moi. "Historic" blonde hair and all. But, first, the rest of my day.

I was mortified to wake up at 5:13 (as the alarm was set for an already spooky 5:45). But I obliged my weird body by getting out of bed, only to use the unexpected time wisely (check for the pod under the bed, please) to take down the second tree and remove most of the other decorations. Blondie, I'm proud of you ... uh ... me. The only things left were the plugs (too tangled up for me to see) and the greenery hanging from the brass wreath holder. Once I'd removed the adorable mini plush animals from the gold sleigh, I gave them a new home in the top tier of my fruit stand. After that, I found another black turtleneck to wear underneath a very tight slinky black top: the trapped air kept me very warm. I added my tropical chiffon scarf to warm up my look. And, then, I had brekkie!

It wasn't as cold out as it had been yesterday, but the sky was filled with clouds. Still, I was happy to be outdoors, even with only street shoes. Arrived at church at 9:15 and was thrilled to see my special mum arrive. Why? Well, March is her birth month and we were celebrating birthdays and anniversaries today. She'll be turnig 89! Then the rest of my friends showed up. I greeted Brent between services to congratulate him on his latest honour. When church-John showed up, he treated me to another mocha. OMG, do I ever need that today!

The service was ethereal. We have an Irish singer whose voice and demeanour give me shivers. She is angelic. We had so much glorious music filling the Sanctuary just as the unexpected sun poured in through the south windows. Brent's lesson was about taking risks and sacrificing in order to move toward the unknown. He cautioned us to be open to whoever would be the next senior pastor. It was a very emotional service for me but I couldn't stay to share my reactions because I had to catch my cab home.

When I got in, I had a few minutes to post a check-in on FB with an explanation that my review would be delayed. The cause of my delay, namely my chosen baby brother Brian, showed up after 1:30 bearing many gifties. First of all, there were oodles of movies and TV shows (on DVD or Blu-Ray). Yippee! Which should I watch first? "Galaxy Quest" or-- or-- "Les Mis"??? And on and on. But the biggest question mark was the loan of his (cracked, old) mini iPad. Would I be able to see anything on it? He connected to the library and d/l'd "Brooklyn" - a library recommendation using my phone as a wi-fi hot spot. I don't want to use SuM's, as I'm already hogging it with the desktop! I asked for a strong, sans serif font in a light colour on a dark background. OMG. I can actually read words, even with the iPad resting on my boobs!!! I still have to become accustomed to swiping pages, but I am thrilled beyond words.

After Brian had accomplished the impossible ('cuz, really, I had not expected success), we drove off to the nearest Swish in totally unexpected blazing sun. It should have been mostly cloudy, but Brian said the sun came out just for us. ::beams:: I splurged on dinner for us, ordering a half litre of Sauvignon Blanc, the chicken spring roll appetizer, the special 2-for-1 dinner upgraded to include special bbq sauces, and dessert. Oh, nom. I saved my mini-doughnuts to bring home which is where we headed once the sun was beginning to slide closer to the horizon. When we got back, we were busy with a few more chores (I mentioned how I'd give the place a rest before hanging up a gorgeous floral rope along with the Ikea lights later in the spring) and excited talk of our joint birthday celebration. Hmmm. So, the plan is to have high tea. I shall have to investigate.

After Brian left, I watched the news, then put on the nature music channel and began to read my borrowed book. Page after page after page ... until I dozed off for a little while. So utterly relaxing.... But, wait. Blondie, don't you have something else hanging over your head? ::sighs:: Yes, I didn't write my Sunday review. I was just too mellow (read slightly tipsy from the wine) to concentrate on words. So I'll be doing that tomorrow ... whenever I wake up. No rush, body, no rush. ::giggles and gets ready to read a few more pages before sleep::
The day started out on a high note as I'd set the alarm for 8, leaving me with plenty of time before my pickup shortly after noon. I was also lazy and didn't put on fresh eye makeup. Hey, these are my chosen sisters, so I think I'm excused. As the day was slightly colder, but gloriously sunny, I added a turtleneck to my outfit, as well as my circular scarf. I left the house early because I had to handle going down the unstable front steps, then walking down the driveway to get my walker from the garden. Just as I was walking back, I heard the beep of my minivan. Wow, he was very early. We also had a speedy traffic-free drive to the restaurant. Yes, I'd arrived at 12:10, with the others expected at 1:00. But I got a banquette seat for myself with lots of room for RS and Jan. I sat and enjoyed my pot of Earl Grey with milk and sugar. So soothing. In the end, both of them were early, too, so we got the chicken feast on its way.

We had so much fun catching up. Haven't seen RS in months because she has a new job that's not only downtown, but west of downtown - while she lives in the suburbs to the northeast of my location. When Sunday comes round, she ponders "church or sleep" and sleep wins. But she'll make an effort to come, now that the weather is improving. We chatted about all sorts of stuff. I suggested having a group movie outing to see "Hidden Figures". They agreed. So, perhaps a week from Saturday.

We surprised ourselves by eating so efficiently (and deciding to take half our meals home), that it was way too early (1:30, with our rides expected at 3:30). So we paid our bill, mentioned we'd sit and let our lunch digest and then probably order dessert later from another server. Apple pie with vanilla ice cream and a drizzle of caramel sauce was my treat. We took our time savouring the tastes. Finally decided we needed some fresh air, so headed outside at 3:05. RS's ride came early (3:20); my ride was late (3:45); and Jan decided to take public transit home, so she left as soon as I was safely away. I was home in mere minutes. Yay.

I managed to relax before watching my evening programs. After I'd had a drink to wash down the leftovers, I zonked out for about 4 minutes at the beginning of Jeopardy! so had to restart. It was a good game and I was rooting for the student from MIT. As was church-John when we exchanged texts. We are such dorks! Was too woozy to watch Murdoch Mysteries so will watch the recording tomorrow morning. All hail magic TV. Anyway, I'm having a craving for more ice cream, so will indulge. All hail ice cream, too!
I may have had a testing malfunction in the morning when I thought I'd try to cook ONE chicken wing. Unfortunately, I reused a Styrofoam bowl that was overwhelmed by the power setting. So the bottom of the bowl got burned off. Oops. Cue cleaning the microwave.

At least I'd had a gorgeously full night of sleep. Drinking a can of Coke and another of tonic water didn't prevent me from dropping right off and not waking up until 8:30. I so needed that. After the microwave mess, I got my act together and started putting stuff together. By the time Ashley arrived (at 5:00), I'd cooked the Whiskey Mustard chicken wings, put out a really good guacamole, subdued black bean salsa, a too acidic corn salsa, cherry tomatoes, black olives, pickles (reminder to self: Ash doesn't like pickles), blackberries, red grapes, and leftover pineapple. All washed down by vodka and a good red grapefruit juice (her fave brand).

We ate, we talked, we moaned about our knees, we laughed, we enjoyed the fireplace, she's sourcing a Kobo eReader for me. She was very complimentary about the new furniture layout. She believes it makes my place look even bigger. By the time she left, we were both very mellow. [I have to laugh because she was apologizing for forgetting the bottle of wine she intended to bring. To which I replied she'd already brought over "housewarming" bottles twice and to ::giggles:: not do it any more, especially when we're celebrating her birthday.] I scurried to put leftovers away and wash ALL the dishes. Even though I used my silver snowflake napkin rings, I hadn't used my real silver flatware because of too many acidic foods.

Finally, I was done with chores and getting chilled, so I climbed into bed and watched my rerun game shows. I'd already watched last night's Shark Tank which was a first run epi. And, now, my eyes are drooping and I'm yawning. Could it be that I'm ready for bed? I vote YES!
If I wanted to stay up longer, I'd need to find some toothpicks which - ouch! But I had a terrific day, even if I did wake up at 6:00. I read stories until it was time to start cleaning, rearranging stuff and - the time-consuming necessity of washing all the fruits and veggies. I have apparently stumbled on a way to make tired fruit look luscious again: just pop it in a warm bath to rejuvenate.

I left some things out of the menu because I was already stressed out and running out of room on the coffee table. I put out hard & soft oka cheese, cambozola and two types of crackers. Also black olives, grape tomatoes, blackberries, red grapes, cherries. Cherry smoked ham around fresh pineapple chunks. We also tried one of the fancy white wines I'd picked up in wine country because it was judged to go well with spicy Thai, Korean, and Indian foods. Well, I sure tested the compatibility with what I was serving!

John showed up at 1:00 by which time I was already overheating from all the rushing back and forth. I'd meant to get dressed (no, I really did), but ended up just putting my gorgeous mango-azalea top over my heavy satin nightgown. As we sat and ate, we exchanged outrageous stories about the past, and laughed our heads off. I mentioned I would be using my slow cooker tomorrow so, suddenly, whatever was on the table became a likely ingredient for a new recipe. Oka cheese too hard? Throw it in the slow cooker. Same for the grapes. Etc., etc. I had NO idea that c-J could be so silly.

Alas, c-J had to depart finally after 5:00. As I saw him to the door, I enjoyed seeing a gorgeous sunset - the layer closest to the horizon a deep pink colour. I was so tired, the dishes are still sitting on the coffee table. The only thing I did was finish off the black olives while the leftovers of the cheese returned to the fridge.

I was disappointed my usual Thursday shows were repeats but I probably would not have been able to pay full attention. I was happy to get a confirming e-mail from Ashley about when she'll arrive on Saturday. More party! More food! More laughter! Yay!

Now, if you'll kindly excuse me, I am going to collapse into my bed and get some well-deserved sleep.
So, the toasty warmth was majorly delayed and was only uncovered a short while ago. How? Well, I saw something unusual on my FB page, namely "1 unidentified item" on the right side of my screen. What??? So I clicked on it. It was an unposted comment on my timeline, sharing and hugely complimenting me on my devoted service via my summary of church on December 11. I swear I never saw that weird indicator before. Anyway, I love knowing that what I'm contributing (to the best of my limited physical ability) resonates with people. Now if only the warming effects could be bundled up to cocoon me all winter long.

Otherwise, it was a brutally cold and windy day. With the temps around 15F and a windchill of 0F, I would have loved to have stayed snuggled in bed. But, no. This "devoted" camper went off to church bright and early. At least it really was bright, with dazzling sunshine pouring in through the windows of the Sanctuary. What else poured in was the liquid gold sounds from our guest musicians - a brass quintet. The first played a smoooooth jazzy ballad and then some gorgeously contrapuntal brilliance from J.S. Bach. I was also thrilled that my driver was already waiting when I left the church and got me home very quickly.

I didn't write all that much about the service (very little from the Lesson/Sermon) and then I relaxed. I tried watching last night's Saturday Night Live but dozed off at some point and again at the end. Imagine my shock to wake up, see my cellphone saying 7:44 - and thinking it was TOMORROW morning. Well, how was I to know, especially if it was a dark morning. I was so relieved to find out it was STILL today. Anyway, I hope I can still get some deep sleep, even if it's only to bolster my immune system.
Soooo, I didn't go to bed last night. I'd been busy writing (and writing and WRITING), saw it was already close to 3:00, so decided just to slog ahead and try to finish the story (especially as I wasn't sure whether AO3 followed GMT). Finished my quirky fic for the LGBT Fest 2016 Amnesty and posted it to the comm around 5:15. With a little more puttering around, I finally went to bed at 5:50, setting the alarm for 10:00, so that the cats would get fed. Let's just say I was not a happy camper when I woke up. Four hours nowadays is way too little.

I was lazy in the afternoon. Watched the Year of the Farce I'd recorded last night but, as I was lying in bed, I missed a lot of the jokes, so I'll be rewatching. Early evening, I made myself some traditional Polish baby pierogi filled with chopped mushrooms and sauerkraut, traditionally served in a meatless beet broth on Christmas Eve. Hey, it was NYE and I had them with sour cream. Later I enjoyed one bubbly drink - a can of Tonic Water - and some European chocolates. Okay, I'm feeling very content. I got to indulge in behaviour from a decade ago when writing all night was something I did often. But it's not healthy to stay up overnight even if one catches up on sleep during the day and I have to acknowledge that. So, perhaps, I'll do it only a couple times a year. Hey, I think that's my frivolous NYE resolution. On a more serious note, I hope to have a serene year (again) and NO health problems. I wish all of you the same. Note I didn't include prosperous because, hey, that's just pushing it (so not lol).

Anyway, I'm dreading going off to church tomorrow. Without SuM at home to salt the driveway, I'm going to have to exit via the front door and get the driver to help me retrieve my walker. It's supposed to be 50 later in the week. I've got my fingers crossed for lots of MELTING!!!!!

Good night and good sleep!
So, to begin at the beginning, I went to bed at 1:11 and woke up at 5:49. Whaaaaa? Body, I don't have to get up early for church. Sheesh. But the body insisted, so I got up and sat on the couch. I opened the gift from SuM. It's a very good thing that I was on my best behaviour as I unwrapped the two items in tissue paper (including glitter) placed in a decorated gift box with a detachable lid. First there was this treasure box of something that could have been chocolates the shape and size of dice. But I couldn't read the booklet. Okay, I'll figure it out later. [Sum told me later they're chocolates from all over the world!] Then I unwrapped the bigger item and nearly SHRIEKED when I saw the Jeopardy! logo. It was one of those 365 page-a-day calendars, so I'm sure I'll learn fascinating things all year round. I just wish they'd make the calendars in a multi-ring format so we could just, uh, turn over the page instead of ripping it off. Still, I was tickled not only pink but plaid! I also looked through the gift bag from my meals providers. Uh-oh, I think the quilters' guild was trying to appeal to some more sedate clients with their choice of colours and patterns on the reversible linen table mat. Well, I'm sure I can use it in some more boring fashion, lol. Perhaps a potholder?

I managed to stay up until 9 and then felt an urge to sleep again. Only problem I needed to recharge my old phone acting as an alarm. I set it for 10:30. Imagine my shock when I woke up at - eeeeeeeeek - 11:18, meaning I'd missed the beginning of church (at 10:50). I clicked on the link and was at the middle of the sermon. Uh-oh. I watched and wrote my review. At the end of a beautiful service, all I could do was write a few words about the service, saying I'd write more when I was awake next. Like in a couple of days (because I'll have to wait most likely until Wednesday, Tuesday, if I'm lucky).

After "church", I finally had my brekkie. And then relaxed all afternoon long. So, even though SuM's ex and son were invited for tonight's dinner (after having had their traditional seafood Christmas Eve), SuM said they wouldn't be coming (and here she'd gone and bought a larger Prime Rib roast for which I smushed two recipes into one). So, it was going to be just the two of us. We joined forces and resources (I provided two small bottles of Jamaican ginger beer, a bottle of rosé, sea salt and rainbow peppercorn grinders, portobello mushrooms for the gravy, while SuM provided roast companion onions, potatoes, green beens, gravy, and a freshly-baked frosted carrot cake. We listened to the festive, relaxed Latino music channel. Turns out we also both love Bluegrass music, but there isn't a separate channel for that. Sigh.

Anyway, the meal began at 7:30 and ended at - was it - 10:00. Comfortably full and I'm sure I'll sleep well tonight. Plus I only had a sliver of cake, so I'll want a kitty bag tomorrow. I also snapped a Christmas cracker and ended up with a pretty snowflake and a red paper crown. Plus a groaner joke: Who was the first underwater spy? James Pond. Owwwwwwww. I also have another cracker for tomorrow. So, I may just have a glass of eggnog topped with my chocolate, sugar, and cinnamon sprinkles from my special grinder. And, then, beddy-byes for the very relaxed and rested Queen. Best decision I ever made to not go to church physically today. Nighty-night, all.
Whoa! What a difference a day makes. First of all, I did manage to find funny or intriguing stories to read, so much so that I didn't climb into bed until 3:13. Eeeeeek! So I set the alarm for 9:33 (my fingers fumbled so I left it at :33). But I actually woke up around 7:40 and found it acceptable. Had a leisurely morning and was surprised to get my groceries delivered right at the beginning of the window, at 11:00 a.m., at which point I had to turn both my fridges into the cooling handbag version in the manner of Mary Poppins. But I did it ('cuz I iz creative). Then I got to watch yesterday's news and game shows on SuM's TV. Also contributed to this week's Savage Love.

All the cats spent most of the day with me and SuM texted me, asking me to feed them lunch. Uh ... SuM, the container is empty. Oh, no prob. There's a big bag in the corner of the covered porch. So I went and looked and actually found it. Such a relief. When SuM finally got in (she'd been out for a drink with a colleague and then did a wee bit of shopping), I asked whether she could take a look at my TV. But, first, she wanted to make supper and offered me some homemade beef meatballs mixed with hoisin and sriracha. Yummy! So, after we'd eaten, she came back for girl talk and then looking at the TV. Oh, thank heavens. It wasn't anything wrong with the TV; the Fibe box just needed to be reset. ::growls in frustration:: After we got the TV working again, I was wondering how to switch the remote so I could play DVDs (as it had been way too long). Um ... blondie, it would really, REALLY help if your blu-ray player was actually PLUGGED in. Oy. So, yay. I can plays discs, even though switching on the remote requires THREE hands (which, obviously, I do not have).

Anyway, even though she doesn't have prior consent from her ex, SuM's invited me to join them and their son for Christmas Day dinner. Though I'd been planning on having a quiet day at home (and cooking), I think I may take her up on the invite. I just don't know what I can contribute. I have eggnog. Or wine. Or-or-or ... I don't know. I'll have to ask her tomorrow. We've already divvied up the day: she dyes her hair in the morning; I do laundry and wash my hair in the afternoon. Sounds like a plan. Anyway, I just sent Diva and Grumpy home with their mum. I don't need to be charged with alienation of affection, lol. And my offer of a bottle of rosé has been accepted. Yay!


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