Tag Archives: housekeeping

I’m a household hurricane…


Looking forward to seeing my sister and her family tomorrow as they pass by on their way to Southern Ontario.  They’ll have dinner and spend the night, so I’m on a mad cleaning and shopping spree.  Having people over is a great reason to get out that vacuum and tackle the dog hair and the popcorn that’s fallen between the sofa cushions.  

Sis been recently diagnosed with a gluten issue, so it’s also a great chance to try making some corn tortillas for our Mexican supper tomorrow night. Will also be checking out the gluten-free cakes at Dufflet tomorrow morning, and I’ve found some gluten-free oats to make porridge in the morning. (Yes, I know, oats don’t have gluten, but apparently typical crops can contain traces of wheat so these oats are grown and processed to be completely wheat-free.)

Tonight, I descend to the basement to deal with the man-cave, aka, Michael’s music and entertainment room.  It is a big mess of instruments, cases, music, empty pop cans, video game boxes and controllers, dirty socks, and possibly dirty dishes. Also, his spit container, for when he does whatever he does with his instruments to release built-up whatever. And dust. We need to turn it into a serene sleeping space.  We have one other bedroom down there that just needs a vac and dust.  

So, I’m off to Costco, Loblaws, and the hardware store.  This’ll probably be it for blogging today!

[Cute pic courtesy of the Graphics Fairy!]

Seven Quick Takes Friday


  1. We had our final choir rehearsal last night before our participation in the Rosary Procession and Eucharistic adoration at the Marian Shrine of Gratitude this Sunday.  We were in a different church hall with rather poor lighting (not to mention a very musty smell).  I had to take my glasses off to see my music, and so could not see Joseph, our conductor, very well.  But it’s all coming together I think.  The chant bits are a bit robotic, but I think it’ll be a great evening.
  2. Zouheir gets home tomorrow evening and I need to get the house in order.  Things tend to slip a little when he’s away, so today will be a big clean-up.  I also want to get the curtains in our bedroom hemmed (and by hemmed, I mean ironing on the hemming tape that came with the panels.  I’ve already done the sheers, so it’s not a big job.  Just six panels.  I don’t even take them off the rods, but just pull them up onto the ironing board and away we go.
  3. A couple of times a day, I get hit with the memory that Josephine is no longer with us.  Because she lived in Europe, we didn’t see her that often.  But we spoke to her at least once a week, and she was always available to chat, especially for Zouheir.  There will be a mass said for her at St. Ephrem Syrian Catholic Church in Montreal next weekend, so we will be there to sort of host it.  The former parish priest, who is now the Bishop of Jerusalem for that rite, is in Montreal and he will say the mass.  He knew her well and we are grateful that he will be celebrating that day.
  4. I got a very nice email from Michael’s bass trombone teacher regarding his progress and dedication.  Michael picked up this instrument last fall so that he could join the Stage Band at school  and had a few lessons from his tuba teacher. But he’s heading to music camp at the end of the month and wanted to get some solid teaching in before that, so he’s had five weekly lessons so far this summer and he’s really improving.  (Trust me, I can hear the practicing.)  I’m thrilled that he’s so keen about music, both playing and listening.  He’s also started to teach himself piano this summer which is wonderful. 
  5. I am listening to Peter Carey’s Parrot and Olivier in America, a wonderful novel with terrific narration by Humphrey Bower.  It’s set in the 19th century, after the French Revolution, and concerns the son of French aristocrats and the motherless son of an itinerant English printer, who are linked through a series of events and end up travelling to America together. Incredibly rich in period detail and funny as heck, I am enjoying this book immensely.  I’m not usually an audio-book reader, but Bower is wonderful at capturing not only the two voices in the novel (one French, one English) but the minor characters as well (women, Americans, a Jewish impresario, etc).  I’m a little over halfway through and highly recommend it!  
  6. I met with Sister Bernadette Reis last night of the Daughters of St. Paul.  She’s doing a retreat in our parish in September and it’s going to be dynamite!  I’m helping put it together with another Catholic Women’s League exec and we’re both very excited about it.  We’re opening it up beyond the parish and hope to get a good crowd out.
  7. I have stalled on both my quilt and my genealogical studies.  I have been preoccupied this week, and while I haven’t been particularly busy, I guess I just don’t feel like working on either of those things.  Bereavement is a funny thing….I thought that these activities would relax and distract me, but I just can’t seem to get enough focus to work on them.  While I’ve got the ironing board out to do my curtains, I’ll press the squares I’ve sewn to date and maybe that will get me back on track on the quilt at least.  I am scheduled to start two new genealogy courses in September, so I’ve really got to get the one I’m doing finished soon.  

Normally hosted by Jennifer at Conversion Diary, this week’s Seven Quick Takes is being guest-hosted at Betty Beguiles.  Drop by to read more Quick Takes!

The list for today

Yesterday was a bit of a write-off.  I awoke feeling like I’d been hit by a truck, and worried that I was getting the flu that Michael just got over.  I couldn’t even get dressed until I absolutely HAD to take Wilson out for a walk.  I didn’t blow dry my hair, so it’s a fuzz ball today.  It wasn’t until just before Michael got home from school that the kitchen got tidied from breakfast (and to be honest, from the half of dinner that didn’t fit into the dishwasher the night before).  I forgot to go to the library.  My decluttering projects didn’t go anywhere.  By late afternoon, I was feeling much better, but I forgot the loads of laundry, one in the dryer and the other in the washer.

So I’m gonna write my big list for today here and cross things off as they get done.  Sort of a public accountability thing.  I’m not committed to getting the entire list done, but at least a respectable amount.

  • Finish laundry and get two additional loads done.
  • Clean kitchen
  • Wash kitchen floor
  • Return library books
  • Pick up prescriptions
  • Declutter filing cabinet
  • Declutter kitchen counter
  • Declutter bookshelf beside desk
  • Organize kitchen drawer
  • Remind Michael to finish moving his stuff out of Z’s office
  • Vacuum living room
  • Vacuum stairs and upper hall
  • Do sewing repairs (jeans, shirt, mattress cover)
  • Make chicken pot pie for supper

Seven Quick Takes Friday


There was a terrific interview with Van Morrison on Studio Q yesterday, one of the most in depth that he has given.  Jian Ghomeshi seems to be able to bring out the best in his guests.  The full, uncut interview is available at the website.

Michael used his Wednesday tuba lesson to pick up some basics on the bass trombone, which he will be playing in the Jr. Jazz Band at school.  It went well, although the first jazz band rehearsal Thursday morning was a little overwhelming.  Now that he knows the slide positions, he can bring an instrument home to practice some of the music on his own.

While he was at his lesson, I checked out the Bloor-Gladstone library, recently renovated.

A couple of interior shots…



I was at the first meeting of our parish’s Catholic Women’s League Executive last night.  One of the projects that we are getting involved in is the support of a refugee family that the parish is sponsoring.  They are not expected to arrive until next spring, which will be THREE years since the parish started the process.  The holdup is apparently red tape with the Canadian government.  How frustrating for the family, who I believe are living in a refugee camp at the moment.

Michael has headed off to band camp for four days this morning.  I drove him and his duffel bag to school for 8:30, and as I arrived, he called home saying that he had forgotten his music and mouthpiece, so I drove back with these items.  It was quite nerve wracking driving through the neighborhood, with cyclists and pedestrians paying NO attention to the traffic around them.  I sound like an old fogey, but do they think that ear-buds provide some sort of invincibility?  I saw a group of four teenage boys cross Lawrence West, a busy four lane street, not even looking at the traffic.  Four lanes of cars came to screeching halts while these hooded and budded lads wandered nonchalantly across the street.

One son at university and one at band camp means four days at home on our own.  ‘Nuff said.

I am joining an 8-week “Get a Handle on Your Clutter” group hosted by Beth Dargis over at My Simpler Life.  We have our first online meeting (a group chat) Monday evening where we will think about our personal motivations for decluttering and create a plan.  I am looking forward to making progress on the house between now and Christmas.

We had the exteriors of our windows cleaned yesterday, so my big project over the next few days is to clean the insides, and take down the screens.  With the cool weather descending and the shorter days, we can use all the light we can get!  This is my favorite time of year, weather-wise, and I feel positively energized by the temperature.  I’m also sleeping better at night, now that I’ve got the duvet and cosy blanket out again.

Where I’m at

I haven’t been blogging much at all, and have contemplated giving it up for the simplicity and ease of Facebook, where it’s all really ephemeral and you don’t need to think much to post a status update or quick link. I’ll give it one last shot to see if it sticks.

It’s been a rough summer in many ways. Alex headed off to university this fall and not a moment too soon. Lots of drama, and not a lot of positive and pleasant interaction kept me walking on egg shells much of the time. Which is not what a mother should have to do.

He’s been gone a week, and I miss him a lot. But the tone at home is calmer and I’m working to find a new equilibrium inside myself. This past week, I have been very sleepy a lot of the time, and that is probably my body telling me that I am destressing. I’ve also had more than my share of headaches and back tension. A massage might be in order.

Michael started at the local high school last week and so far, so great. He is enthusiastic about most everything, is trying out for the Volleyball team, will play in the band, is taking tuba lessons and karate and Japanese on Saturdays (for his third year). He’s picking up extra chores around the house for some extra allowance now that his brother is gone, and is generally easy to please.

Z is away for 9 days in China on business, but my brother is here as he transitions from Berkeley to Toronto. He starts teaching tomorrow, and I’ve been helping him think through how to furnish his office and organize his stuff. My sister-in-law (the saint) and their three children (under 4) are still in California and will move up in November. He’ll be spending time in both cities until then.

The house is a bit of a tip, so I need to reboot my cleaning schedule and get back to the gym. I hope to hang out here at Domestic Bliss more often, particularly as things get a little more blissful around here. Thanks to anyone who’s still dropping by.


New Template – New List

I finally got around to getting a new (free!) template.  It’s kinda happy, and spring-like, and sunny, which is what I need during these dark, rainy, days of whatever season we’re in right now.  

My decluttering list is quickly shrinking.  A trip to Goodwill today and I’ll be in great shape.  Not on the list were my five home theatre speakers that are being sold tonight (thank you, craigslist).  The A/V receiver isn’t going, likely because it’s not HD-compatible.  Not sure what to do with it at this point. 

Yesterday, I hung a bunch of art, photos, and a heavy mirror on the walls in the basement hallway and it looks great.

Today is errands and cleaning day.

  • Goodwill
  • Library 
  • Costco
  • Cleaning:
    • Four One bathrooms
    • Boys bathtub
    • Vac main floor
    • Vac second floor
    • Dust master bedroom
    • Ironing
    • Kitchen floor
    • Microwave
    • Outside of kitchen cupboards
    This list should be much shorter, except I haven’t done any cleaning yet this week.  I use the Motivated Moms chore list so that everything gets done in some semblance of rotation.  This week has been one distraction after another, particularly with the push to declutter before our guests arrive on Saturday.

    Tonight, Z and I have tickets for the Toronto Sympony Orchestra with pianist Radu Lupu.  We usually have dinner out before, but work commitments (Z) may preclude that.   Anyway, it will be a little treat for all our hard work this week.

    Loose ends are getting gathered.

    Many things are finally coming together.

    • My new laptop arrived yesterday and I’ve transferred most of my data over from my old one. It’s a lovely thing, with green satin lid, large glossy screen, and Windows Vista which doesn’t seem as bad as all the reports and, frankly, is not that much different from XP, at least in terms of the interface.
      I can’t find my CD copy of Quicken though. I purchased it last summer when we arrived in Toronto and were living in the condo. I simply cannot lay my hands on it and I need it to transfer all our financial files to my new machine. I will do a detailed scour of the house today to try to locate it.
    • I have been in touch with a behavioural therapist/trainer for Wilson. He’s a doll in many ways, but he’s got a lot of anxiety and is dangerously prey driven. That includes people, other dogs, small animals, and anything that deigns to come onto our property. Jana will come out Tuesday afternoon for 4 hours of training and we’ll see how it goes. She’s with Bark Busters and the organization has been recommended to us by multiple people. I just need to be able to have a plumber over without Wilson barking his head off for two hours.
    • My car is scheduled for repair starting on Monday. The total (including rental) is about $1300….I’ve learned not to be surprised at how expensive it is to have a few scratches and dents taken out of a car. But that’s why we have insurance. Because I wasn’t at fault and got to the car to the Collision Reporting Centre within 24 hours, I don’t even have to pay the deductible.
    • I’m back on track with my cleaning schedule. I’ve flipped between Flylady and the Motivated Moms planner, and am on the latter these days. I like her system because it’s slow and steady. A little bit every day and pretty soon the house is looking fine.
    • Alex was all in a tizzy because he is behind in his community service hours for school, specifically for Religion class. He is a peer tutor for math and science but he hasn’t had much business so doesn’t have the requisite 20 hours. I have lined him up some tutoring with one of his cousins who’s in Grade 9 and having trouble with math, and he’ll start that tomorrow. He and his father are also going to make some casseroles as part of a ministry that our parish has, making meals for the Good Shepherd Centre. The parish provides the recipe and large aluminum foil casserole pans. Parish members make the casseroles and then drop them into the freezer at the parish on an on-going basis.

    The end of a taxing effort

    Yep…my taxes are done. Well, at least the part where you organize everything and fill out extensive online forms so that a professional can actually complete the return.

    We have the services of an accounting firm, courtesy of Z’s employer. Our taxes are complex, mainly due to our return to Canada from the US over the past year and a half. We have to file two returns, one for each country, and there are complexities that are beyond two mathematicians (Z and me) to handle.

    On top of this, we neglected to update our address with our US mortgage company (for example), forgetting that they would need to send us a statement of mortgage interest for the year. Multiply that by 5 and I had to make a lot of calls.

    Bottom line: the electronic files are submitted, the envelope of information slips is ready to courier to Vancouver, and the form disclosing all our Canadian bank and retirement accounts is ready to mail to the IRS (because, you understand, they need to know all this.)

    This is the earliest we’ve had all this done in years, and I’m feeling pretty proud of it all. Taxes are one of those things that hang over your shoulders and play with your head until they’re actually done. And being the domestic goddess that I am, I get to do it all!! Me! And my computer!

    Menu Plan Monday


    With my new headache prevention regime, I will have to pay more attention to ingredients and recipes going forward. Here’s my plan for this week:

    Monday: Poached salmon, roasted asparagus, mashed potatoes
    Tuesday: WW Pasta and sauce, steamed green beans
    Wednesday: Shrimp stir-fry on rice
    Thursday: Parent-teacher interviews over dinner hour – order in/dine out.
    Friday: Chickpea curry on rice.

    Menu Plan Monday


    For various reasons, I didn’t get menus planned in advance last week as I had a migraine and it was a little chaotic around the house. So this week I’m back on track. I need to clear some space in the cupboards and freezer, so we’re going to try to work our way through some of my stockpile this week.

    Monday: Cheesy tuna casserole, salad
    Tuesday: Homemade lentil soup with herb bread and cheese tray
    Wednesday: Shrimp and veg stir-fry with rice
    Thursday: White cheddar and spinach ravioli, edamame, and garlic bread.
    Friday: Eat out at local chinese buffet. (Z is not big on buffets but he’s travelling on business this week, so the boys and I will get our fill!)