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Showing posts from December, 2021

Buttery Artichokes

Artichokes, so misunderstood... "These things are just plain annoying. After all the trouble you go to, you get about as much actual "food" out of eating an artichoke as you would from licking 30 or 40 postage stamps. Have the shrimp cocktail instead."   - Miss Piggy Ah, the humble artichoke, that quiet and unassuming thistle that shoppers often pass by because they haven't a clue about how to cook it. There are varied recipes out there, some requiring more effort than others.   What is an artichoke?   It's a vegetable with arching, deeply lobed, silvery leaves. The flowers develop in a large head from an edible bud about 8–15 cm (3–6 in) diameter with numerous triangular scales; the individual florets are purple.  The yummy portions of the buds are, according to Wikipedia , "primarily the fleshy lower portions of the involucral bracts and the base, known as the heart; the mass of immature florets in the center of the bud is called the cho

A Tribute to Two Dads

The anniversary of my Dad's death hit me hard this year. I don't know why.  No, I do. I'm depressed. So very fucking depressed. Not the boo-hoo kill myself kind of depression. No, this is the kind where I want to sob into a pillow, or dog flank, or Jeff's neck. I avoided Dad's hoarded tool bench and organized tool box. I didn't let my eyes rest on his remaining clothing. I stayed out of the basement as best I could. I avoided all things Dad  ...except for his jacket.  It's a warm thing with a softy fleece lining.  It has a hood. It feels like I'm wrapped in his embrace. I can't even count the number of times I went outside late at night, sat down for a cigarette, and pulled that hood up so I could have a good cry. I'm torn between denial and acceptance. This is why I hate December and January. We lost several dogs during those months. I have spent most of this year's December freaking out in fear of Jeff or Mum dying. Or one of our dogs. In m

Dog Bliss: A Toasty Warm Chair

I put a heating pad under a fleece blanket on my office chair. It's usually placed flat on the back, a welcome treat for a painful lumbar area. Hershey was the only one to "get it", pressing his back against it when it was on. (The pad automatically turns off after a while.)  He didn't notice the positioning at first. The chair was just a soft spot for proper bone-chewing. And then it warmed to the point where he could feel it.  Zoie hopped up to harass him (ie grab the bone and run away). She soon discovered the warmth. Now both dogs are curled up with eyes closed and satisfied expressions on their faces. This is a moment of dog bliss.

Merry Christmas

 T H E T O T I N - W H E E L E R F A M I L Y   W I S H E S Y O U  A       M E R R Y C H R I S T M A S     ─ ─ ─ ─ & ─ ─ ─ ─        H A P P Y N E W Y E A R       M A Y Y O U R D A Y S B E F I L L E D   W I T H L O V E , L A U G H T E R , & H E A L T H  


  "I have pooped in the yard and now I will eat croutons." Her mastery of the Queen's English gives me pause. Didn't I shut down the computer? Why would anyone on BBC News make that proclamation?  I mean, it's plausible to hear that during Parliamentary coverage but we haven't bothered to pay attention since John Bercow left.    Never listened to the House of Commons bicker? It's loads more entertaining than our own sawdust and sneer sessions here in the US.       What was I going to say? No matter. I'm sure it was something dull. Might as well get off my ass and pat her on her head. Good poop, Zoie! I don't have the heart to tell her that we don't have croutons. 


I suspect Zoie raided my desk top while nobody was looking. My empty cough drop bag was pushed into a corner. There was some effort put in to get my destroyed (by Zoie!) CPaP mask. But it was the search history that truly gave her away. I don't know what liuipucccccccccccccccccccccccccccik is supposed to be. It's not something I would type. Could have been Jeff doing it, maybe? Google Translate seems to think it is Hawaiian. I'm not so sure:  Google's suggestion. Liuipu, or LEW-ee-poo, has a odd ring to it. It also changes when we add the "c", becoming lee-way-puck.  That all goes out the window once when adding more than one "c". Each is pronounced "see" followed by "eye" and "kay".  Google insists that the "cik" bit is Latvian, and loosely means "how much".  It could be pronounced "seek" and "tsik" depending on whatever language Google throws at me.  I'm halfway tempted to m

Chocolate Donut Dogmageddon

I had my COVID booster on Monday. I've spent the last two days stumbling and listing like a drunken sailor. I'm confused, lethargic. Thoughts and words seemed pushed through molasses. It's my immune system. My autoimmune system? Whatever. It knocks me on my ass. Jeff goes to the shop on Wednesdays. Huzzah! I get to spend an evening doing anything I want. What I wanted to do most was sleep.  The dogs are usually good for me. Except for tonight. Oh. My. God. They. Would. Not. Shut. Up. If my mother's demon wasn't setting them off, it was Piper barking at nothing. Ruff... BOWOWOWOW! AYEH EH EH EEEEEH BOWWOW WOW YAP YAP BOW WOW WOW! I wanted to skin them and turn their fur into mittens for orphans.  Despite being a target-rich environment, I lacked anything to throw at them. My screams of "SHIT THE FUCK UP!" mingled with their cacophony. They'd quiet down and exhaustion took my mind from me. This repetitive cycle lasted an hour. And then, Dog mageddon . I

Clonazepam Chronicles

  Clonazepam is my prescribed go-to for sleep. When it hits, it hits hard. I can't operate heavy machinery, like the ice-maker or toilet flush handle. There isn't any euphoria. It just this woah-no-balance-how-long-has-this-wall-been-here? feeling. I don't have much coordination. A few scant hours had passed since I took last night's clonazepam.I was in a deep sleep when Jeff began to nudge me. "You alarm is going off (it wasn't) and the dogs want Breakfast Biscuit." I moved to the edge of the bed (the world sloshed along with me). There wasn't any indication of an alarm.or other noise on my phone. It took me three tries to stand up from bed. I toppled on the landing ( How did I get down here? ) and staggered into the bathroom and found the toilet. I think I feel asleep for a few minutes. All I remember is hitting the floor. Back to the bedroom I go! "Hey, let the dogs out. I'm too wobbly," I said. "I'm wobbly, too," he cou

Breathe Journal: A Guided 52 Week Planner

I journal. This site is filled with daily life events and memories. It's also sprinkled with recipes, reflections, dog stuff, and a smattering of snark. Smattering? More like 50% of coffee-induced sarcasm. I have a propensity for it. It's woven into my entries. It bubbles into my real life. It's a weapon. It's a riddle or joke. It's a hobby and an addiction. There was opportunity to trim the causticity early this year. I spotted the single issue magazine near the checkout counter at Walgreens in December 2020. I broke my vow to use it in 2021. I now vow to use it in 2022. Creating personal change might seem arduous, but with a little self-reflection and plenty of practice it’s possible to establish new thought processes and behavioral patterns that’ll have you doing more of what you enjoy and soon become a part of who you are. Brought to you by the creators of Breathe magazine, this journal presents a collection of images, inspirational quotations, and guided

The Humble Contronym

con·tro·nym /ˈkäntrəˌnim/ noun plural noun: contronyms a word with two opposite meanings, e.g. sanction (which can mean both ‘a penalty for disobeying a law’ and ‘official permission or approval for an action’).   Contronyms have existed for a long, long while but it's seldom that I find anyone interested in them. Was mildly surprised today to find a Pocket article on the topic. 25 Words That Are Their Own Opposites Stumble into the looking-glass world of contronyms. The contronym (also spelled “contranym”) goes by many names, including auto-antonym, antagonym, enantiodrome, self-antonym, antilogy and Janus word (from the Roman god of beginnings and endings, often depicted with two faces looking in opposite directions). There are more than 25 words, of course. Also add to that count all the words that have fallen into disuse. It's times like these that I absolutely love my native language! Moar contronyms! Moar! Each one is delicious. I should take a moment

Tea Kettle Bliss

  I bought a kettle for upstairs. For the first time in years, I was able to enjoy a steaming hot mug of tea while sitting at my desk. Bliss, people. Pure bliss.

Reflections: A cathartic process VI...

Departure at the Grey Havens Ted Nasmith “In sorrow we must go, but not in despair. Behold! we are not bound for ever to the circles of the world, and beyond them is more than memory.” ― J.R.R. Tolkien Reader beware! This is a cathartic process. It rambles. It's nonsensical at times. It's venting my feelings, somewhat. It's dull if you are anyone but me. LOLZ 💀 Memories are hard to deal with, regardless of whether happy or sad, when the world around you seems intent on overloading you with shit. "I don't have the bandwidth to make those kinds of decisions" comes to mind. A bit dated, but brought back to the present by one of my favorite shows. Washing a jacket set me off tonight. It was my dad's. I slipped it on and looked at the cuffs. I saw his hands there. I have the slightly feminine version. I'm thinking that I share that trait with my aunt, but it's been a long time since I've seen her hands. SO... I opted to wash

Jimmy Buffett, Margaritaville, and Parrot Heads

Jimmy Buffett and Margaritaville are a whole-world immersion, like Disney for kids if Disney was in every state. It's hard to actually describe that immersion, as each person finds Jimmy in his or her own unique way. (No, Jimmy isn't Jesus.)  I first heard his music at a biker bar thirty years ago. The fan base has exploded since then. The official Jimmy Buffet fan club is Parrot Heads in Paradise, Inc (PHiP). It's as unique as the artist himself. They sponsor an annual Meeting of the Minds (MOTM) event. Support Charities with Parrot Head Music The 2022 Meeting of the Minds is a beachfront festival to celebrate Parrot Heads in Paradise - a nonprofit inspired by Jimmy Buffet and his music. Over the years, the festival has raised over 53 million dollars towards various charities.  This special island event features over 30 hours of live music and cool events over the course of five days. The festival takes place in beautiful Key West near all sorts of cool att

Small Town Living: 2021 Toronto Christmas Parade

   "City sidewalks, busy sidewalks, dressed in holiday style. In the air, there’s a feeling of Christmas."   – Ray Evans, "Silver Bells"  Our Gem City holds a Christmas Parade every year. Every year, I'm caught off guard by it. They really do need a marketing manager for this town. Hell, make it voluntary and I'll do the job. Anyway, every year, this parade kicks off my holiday smiles. Our home is at the tail beginning of this celebration. In prior years, they staged the equestrians in a vacant lot by Yummy's Ice Cream. Sometimes we had a school band this far back. Always, and I mean always, the first responders line up just outside our front door. Had I known the parade was this weekend, I would have two signs in our front yard. The larger sign would express our thanks to all of them. The smaller would chide them for not joining Civil Air Patrol. (It's a fam thing.) We were decorating our tree as they lined up. The throaty rumble of those large

Soft And Fluffy Condensed Milk Bread

This recipe came up randomly on YouTube, a small treasure tucked into the sidebar.  The channel is  Savor Easy and just about everything she offers looks like heaven. I have not tried it yet. Might do so in the next week or two, and I'll offer a review. How to make a soft and fluffy, warm and buttery Condensed Milk Bread.   Here's what you'll need: 1 cup milk (250ml) room temp (you can use fresh, UHT or evap milk) ¼ cup sweetened condensed milk (75g) 1 egg 2 tbsp sugar (30g) 2 and ¼ tsp instant yeast (7g) (TYPO ERROR IN THE VIDEO--its in TEASPOON not CUP) 3 and ¼ cups All purpose flour (400g) plus more for kneading 1 tsp salt (5g) ¼ cup softened butter (50g) Glaze: 3 tbsp softened butter (45g) 3 tbsp sweetened condensed milk(45g)

Going to Ground: black crazy ants

Nature calls me. I relish every biome except desert. I suppose I would go full-on woodland hermit and live in a tree or cave were it not for myrmecophobia - my fear of ants. It isn't an inexplicable fear. It's tied to a specific experience. An acquaintance of my mother invited me to her daughter's slumber party. I wouldn't have been much older than eight.  The party itself had all the right elements: Light as a Feather; Stiff as a Board , scary tales, braiding hair. Typical stuff. It was held in the family's outdoor living room (a large room attached to a house, with three walls being glass). The ceiling was a series of skylights.  I don't know when we all fell asleep under the stars. All I remember is my eyes popping open because somebody screamed.  I sat up. Weird black coffee grinds dropped from my face and arms. I tried to wipe the filth off my face, out of my eyes, spitting out bits of it. And then I began to scream. I was covered in black crazy ants. Ants

Conversations with My Dogs

  I have conversations with my dogs which are sometimes serious. Mostly, I put words in their mouths as they chatter, grunt whine, bark, and otherwise voice their demands. Case in point: Zoie. I ran out of gas! I got a flat tire! I lost my tux at the cleaners! I locked my keys in the car! An old friend came in from out of town! Someone stole my car! There was an earthquake! A terrible flood! Locusts! IT WASN'T MY FAULT, I SWEAR TO GOD! — Ƭօռɨ Wɦɛɛʟɛʀ (@gruffchick) November 16, 2021 Somebody pee'd on the deck. That somebody could only have been a small, harlequin min pin. The boys leave bigger puddles; the smallest dog wasn't outside. The moment lent itself to an ever-expanding chapter of this dog's life. Zoie: Rrroom rrruh reeeee Me: What do you mean, you don't like the defense attorney I recommended?! Zoie: brrr ooowooo *sneeze* rawrawraw! Me: I don't care. Go find your own damn attorney. Zoie: BARK! Me: Uh, uh. We both know you