Thursday, August 23, 2007

Help! Shameless plea for gift ideas

It's my mother's 70th birthday at the end of September, but a lot of the family is going to be gathering at our holiday cottage in a couple of weeks and I thought it might be nice to do something special for her then. But I'm unusually stuck for ideas! I want to do something more than cake and ice cream, but what? She doesn't like overly sappy displays. I had wanted to make her something, but I've been so busy and feeling rather uncreative, anyway.

My mother is very down-to-earth. She loves gardening and music (she an organist by profession); she canoes and plays tennis and she's a fantastic cook. She's an all-around great woman and she deserves something special!

Any ideas?
:: posted by Ann Howell, 2:39 PM | link | 2 comments |

Sunday, August 12, 2007

At least I was wearing clean underwear

If your mother ever warned you to always wear clean underwear just in case you were in an accident, you may just want to listen to her. On Wed. night as I was carrying 2 glasses of pre-dinner wine to the patio, I paused to look at the cat who was cleaning herself at the bottom of the steps. In that instant, I lost my footing and took a bad tumble down the back steps, gashing my head on a ceramic planter. My husband managed to get me upstairs to the bathroom to wash away the blood and see how bad it was, but I started shaking and throwing up, so he decided that it was best to call 911. 4 hours, an ambulance ride and 2 stitches later, I was back at home, battered and bruised, but generally feeling a lot better than I looked.

I'm still recovering, four days later. I took a real bashing to my right side and am only just starting to regain motility to my right arm and shoulder. On the plus side, K. has taken over the cooking and cleaning duties for the weekend. On the down side, I went for almost a week without a hair wash. I had been planning a "spa night" on Wednesday. I was going to have a long soak in the tub, give myself a facial, colour my roots, do my nails... But instead, I spent the evening in the ER, getting stitched up and x-rayed. At any rate, I hadn't washed my hair since Monday, so by this morning it was getting pretty gnarly. (Luckily, my husband didn't mind being coiffeur for a day).

Besides that, things here are okay. I've been traveling back and forth to Chicago for work quite a bit. Well, I say Chicago, but our satellite office is actually an hour north of the city, so I haven't seen much of the downtown yet. I did spend one day there in June for a conference, but as I was on my own I just spent a few hours at the Art Institute and walking around the "Magnificent Mile" before heading back to my suburban hotel. The museum was great, though -- one of my all-time faves and one I certainly want to revisit.

The only other thing worthy of mention is that we bought a second car. I found a '95 Land Rover Discovery parked downtown with a For Sale sign on it and it was love at first sight. And once my husband got a look at it, it was all over (he's wanted one for a long time now). Being a 12 year-old British car, it has lot of "quirks", so tuning her up has become K's summer project. We're going on holiday the first week of September, so we're hoping that the car'll be ship-shape by then. We've rented a lakeside cottage in Eastern Quebec and invited my family and some friends to stay. I'm really looking forward to it, especially since my brother and his boyfriend (F) might be coming up from NYC and this will be the first time we'll meet F face to face. Plus, it's a great setting -- nice cottage nestled in pine trees, cabin with a sauna, deck looking out onto the lake... bliss!

Anyway, after resting a lot during the past few days, it's time to get up and about today. We've got painting in the living room to finish (I'll be doing as much prep work as I can left-handed). It's going from a yellowy off-white with a colonial blue ceiling to a deep grey-brown with white trim and ceiling. It's almost done and it really looks great. We've got built-in bookshelves in the back that weren't terribly well-made, but with the dark paint behind them they look like a million bucks. But first, it's brunch with friends. It's a lot easier to paint with a belly full of French toast...
:: posted by Ann Howell, 9:58 AM | link | 5 comments |