does this outfit make me look like a hobbit?

Last week I wasn’t able to get out of the house to do anything. Sometimes my MS fatigue dictates just how much I am able to get out and about. Usually I try to get out at least once or twice a week to run errands, pick up a few groceries and whatnot. I prefer my trips to town to be short and more often so that I can manage my energy better. Leaving everything to one day can often leave me so exhausted that it takes three to four days to recover from such an outing. Unfortunately, if it is impossible to garner enough energy for at least one outing, I quickly become housebound. It’s a Catch-22 situation.

Thankfully, Sauerkraut recognizes this and will often suggest on a Sunday that we go for a drive and tag team the grocery aisle. This past Sunday morning was one of those occasions. I barely had the sleep out of my eyes when Sauerkraut suggested that we go to town and pick up a few groceries. We had been living like Old Mother Hubbard with all our bare cupboards … only, in our case, the dog and kitty cats were well fed because, heavens to Betsy, we let them go without.

Of course, I started to say “no, not today.” It wasn’t that I was any more tired than usual; instead, it was a far more serious issue. My hair. Yep, you know what I’m talking about. If the hair is not flowing and waving the way it should be, we can’t go anywhere. Not even to Wal-Mart. What if someone saw me looking like I had just rolled out of bed or, even worse, like an alpaca who had not combed its hair for days? If I were to leave the house looking like I was, well, let’s just say, it would not have been fair to the rest of the world. I imagined people screaming their heads off running from the crazed alpaca. “Run! Run! There’s a crazed alpaca with dirty hair on the loose!”

bad hair day

Sauerkraut suggested that I toss on a ball cap and that we hit the road. “No one will notice. We need groceries. You need to get out of the house. That’s what’s important here.”

I really don’t like it when he is right. I knew that I needed to get out of the house but I also knew that I did not have the energy to shower, blow dry and style my hair nor did I have the time. Sauerkraut wanted to hit the road right then and there.   Sooooo … a hat it was. A ball cap it wasn’t. I decided to step outside of the old comfort zone of going out with great hair by playing “hide the dirty alpaca hair under the pretty winter hat” trick.

This particular winter hat that I had chosen to wear is pretty. It is a brown corduroy brimmed hat with a colourful band around its middle that I had purchased the winter before at a local artisan co-op. Not only is it extremely well-made, it matches my beautiful golden brown Tara cape that I had purchased several years ago on a trip to Ireland. The winter hat/Tara cape outfit for hiding the dirty alpaca hair was beginning to shape up brilliantly. After giving myself the once over in the bathroom mirror, I decided that the magic trick just might work after all.

But then I had to open my big fat mouth. As soon as I saw Sauerkraut, I just couldn’t refrain from asking that one stupid almost fatal question….

Me (jokingly): Does this outfit make me look like a hobbit?

Sauerkraut (excitedly): Yes!!

Me: dead silence

Sauerkraut: Right answer?

Me (shaking my head):  No.

Things had just gotten dicey. Bail money might be needed shortly.

Sauerkraut attempted to right the wrong.

Sauerkraut:  Ummm, you don’t look like a hobbit. You look like a writer.

Me (sigh):  Better. But now I’m really sure that I look like a hobbit. I don’t know what else to wear. I can’t go out looking like a hobbit especially a hobbit with dirty alpaca hair.

Sauerkraut: You look pretty. I like what you’re wearing. Let’s go. You’ll feel better once you are out of the house.

Me: Nice try, Sauerkraut. But it’s too late. The hobbit damage has been done.

I stood for a minute and thought about it. He’s right again, damn it. What matters is that I get out of the house. Does it matter what anyone else thinks of me? No. We often get so hung up on what other people will think that we end up not living our lives as we should. On the plus side, I would be leaving the house properly dressed for the rainy weather. I was neither naked nor wearing pyjamas. I wasn’t even close to looking like one of those ‘people of Wal-Mart’ memes that makes its way around Facebook every now and then.

Me: Ok. Let’s go. But if anyone laughs at me or calls me Frodo, you’re going to punch them.

Sauerkraut: You know it.


On our drive to town, I was thinking about the characteristics of a hobbit. Why? I’m not sure. It’s scares the heck out of me sometimes just how my mind works. Remember in one of my previous posts where I had mentioned that I had prayed to St. Anthony to help me find my lost mind? Well, he still hasn’t found it. Poor St. Anthony. Of all the tasks he’s been given, finding my mind must be his worst. Anyway, back to the hobbits’ characteristics.

I decided to Google it and see just how closely I resembled a hobbit. Here’s what I discovered:

  • A hobbit’s height is between two and four feet. While I am 5’3”, I am considered short in the human world. Therefore, we are both short.
  • A hobbit has feet with tough, leathery soles covered in hair (he seldom wears shoes). Thank goodness, I strike out here because I like to think I have nice, soft feet; a woman with hairy feet isn’t all that attractive, right? Although, if I didn’t have to wear shoes, I wouldn’t. We’ll split this characteristic.
  • Apparently, a hobbit has long skillful fingers. When I was younger, someone once told me that I had “Kermit the Frog” fingers. While she meant long skinny fingers, I’m not certain she meant skillful. Another split.
  • Hobbits have a tendency towards chubbiness. Sigh. Need I say more?
  • They have little or no facial hair. Does menopausal peach fuzz count as little or no facial hair?
  • They have an ability to disappear swiftly and silently. No and No.
  • Excellent hearing and sharp eyesight. Yes, and, with glasses, yes.
  • A hobbit has no understanding of machinery more complicated than the watermill, forge bellows, and the hand loom. In my realm, after running the household appliances, my beloved hair straightener, and my trusty electronics, I am lost. Same issues, different realms.
  • Like a hobbit, I too delight in wearing bright colours, particularly yellow and green. Happy, happy, happy!
  • Again, like a hobbit, I share a love of food and drink, eating a mere six times a day on average. Hence, the chubbiness. There are no winners here.
  • A love of laughter, jests, games, and celebrations. Hell, yes!!!
  • A love of peace and quiet and “good tilled” earth. I also love peace and quiet; just not so sure about the tilled earth. Split characteristic once again.
  • A particular love for smoking of tobacco in small clay pipe. Nope. Nada. No way, Jose. Although the small clay pipe would go along quite nicely with my Tara cape. It might even make me appear like I am of an intellectual mind. I just may consider getting one minus the tobacco.
  • Tolkien wrote about the hobbits’ tendency to live in burrows or what he called a hole. On most days, my home looks like a hole with its dust bunnies rolling along like tumbleweeds. Let’s call this a draw.
  • They are usually shy, but are nevertheless capable of great courage and amazing feats under the proper circumstances. Oh, yes, most definitely. I am woman, hear me roar.
  • They are adept with slings and throwing stones. Unless I can liken this to slinging a good one-liner every now and then, they’ve got me here.
  • Hobbits are deeply contented with their way of life. As am I. Win. Win.

What does all this mean, you ask? Damned if I know. All I know is that if it looks like a duck, walks like a duck and quacks like a duck, then it probably is a duck. I will leave it up to you to decide if I have descended from hobbits or not. Let me know what you think and I will post the “looks like a hobbit or doesn’t look like a hobbit” results in a future post. 😉

Now, back to my trip to town with Sauerkraut. I am happy to report that not one person laughed at me nor did anyone call me Frodo. Some people may have been thinking ‘oh, there goes Bilbo Baggins’ but at least they kept it to themselves.

Linda the Hobbit

Forgoing great looking hair for important social outing: 1

Punches thrown: 0

Please note: the hobbits’ characteristics were taken from “Hobbits for Dummies”.  Appropriate? I think so.


pink chores, blue chores

When my friend, let’s call her Reba, told me about how she and her partner divided their household chores into ‘pink’ and ‘blue’ chores, my initial reaction was, “isn’t that a bit sexist? “ (Now before you go creeping through my Facebook friends list to see who Reba is, I’ll save you some time by telling you that she is not there. At no time in my blog posts will I use anyone’s real name unless I have their permission to do so. Plus, I like the challenge of picking a name for my friends that suits their personality. I chose Reba for this particular friend because, like the characters Reba McEntire has portrayed on her television series, my Reba is a smart, kind, loving, no-nonsense, wisecracking, sarcastic, take the bull-by-the-horns-and-lets-deal-with-it-now kind of gal – my type of BFF.) Now back to Reba’s ‘pink chores/blue chores’.


Reba went on to explain how she and her partner discussed what chores they did and did not like doing and how they negotiated who would do which specific chore. It wasn’t a matter of assuming that washing the dishes was a pink chore, per se, it was more a negotiation about who would do which chore so that no one ever felt like they were being saddled with a chore just because it was viewed male or female.

That evening, I told Sauerkraut about Reba’s pink chores, blue chores designations. I thought that this might be something he would embrace thinking, ‘that is brilliant! Let’s give it a whirl.” Instead, he looked at me and asked, “Don’t we do that already?” Already? I’m not sure what planet he’s on right now but we were galaxies apart. I wanted to discuss this. Why should Reba and her partner have pink chores, blue chores when we do not?

I’m not sure if I was expecting him to say let’s make a chart and divide the household chores by who agrees to do what. If we were to go by way of a chart, I would want stickers. I like stickers. Stickers are fun and I definitely would want to be rewarded for say, actually folding the laundry as soon as it comes out of the dryer. I quickly surmise that Sauerkraut is not the sticker type. So, down with the chart and stickers.

Perhaps I was hoping for an “okay, let’s talk about this” and from there we would engage in negotiations about who would do what. The negotiations would go something like this:

k6010620   Me: Sauerkraut, I will fold the laundry as soon as it comes out of the dryer if you agree to put your dirty clothes in the laundry hamper as soon as you take them off thereby avoiding that pile of dirty clothes accumulating beside the bed. (Clever, huh?)

Sauerkraut: Okay.

Me: And I will clean up the kitchen if you agree to cook supper.

Sauerkraut: Don’t we already to that?

Me: Yes, but I will clean up the kitchen that same evening rather than, you know, leaving it for the next day. I will do this providing you cook something that doesn’t require a lot of pots. I hate washing pots. Plus, if you wouldn’t mind lining the baking pan and cookie sheets with foil before baking, say Shake ‘n Bake chicken, that would be AWESOME. (Ladies, do you see where my negotiations are going? Again, clever, huh?)

Sauerkraut: Of course.

Me:  Now it is your turn. Is there anything specific you would like to negotiate?

Sauerkraut: No. Our lives are perfect just the way they are. I just want to do what makes you happy.

Me: You’re so sweet.

Sauerkraut: I know.

And in a perfect world, we wouldn’t need VISA.

But, Sauerkraut is right. We already do something like that. We just have never specifically said that one chore would be done by one specific person. It did, however, get me thinking about how we got this way.

It seems to me that it is Sauerkraut’s and my nature to be this way. He is easy going as am I. He is better at performing certain tasks than I am like car maintenance and peeing standing up. I am better at loading the dishwasher than he is because I approach it like it is a game of Tetris. I can’t really say that I am better at peeing sitting down than he is, well, because I think men in general have it the best of both worlds in that department.

What I can say is that in almost sixteen years of marriage, Sauerkraut and I have learned to pick our battles. Is the world going to end because he doesn’t always put his clothes in the dirty clothes hamper? No. Is the world going to end because I don’t load my Tetris inspired dishwasher every evening after dinner? No. What it means is that I will likely be cursing myself the next day because some of the food has now hardened on the plates. But that is my bad, no one else’s.


However, thinking of chores in terms of pink or blue, forced me to think outside the box rather than sitting there letting things fester to the point of boiling over. When I now look at the pile of dishes in the sink, I no longer mutter under my breath, “how can he not SEE that sink full of dishes?” Instead, I remind myself how I would much rather wash a sink full of dishes than lying on the cold ground trying to repair the brakes on the car for the umpteenth dozenth time. Instead of wondering why I am the only one to notice that the toilet paper roll needs replacing, I remind myself how I would much rather change the roll AND clean the toilet than having to drag the smelly garbage out of the shed in the blistering summer heat and doing a dump run. In my mind, cleaning the toilet is the lesser of two evils.

Dr. Evil

What I can also say is that if I did want to negotiate chores into categories, I know that Sauerkraut would be willing to talk about it. He just doesn’t understand why we would have to. “If there’s anything you want me to do, just ask,” is his philosophy. And herein lies the problem. I do not like to ask for help. I have been fiercely independent my whole life. An only cabbage, I am used to doing things by and for myself. Asking is an extremely difficult action for me to do. It makes me uncomfortable and anxious. It is not that I see it as a sign of weakness but more that I would hate to be a bother. I would never want anyone thinking I was taking advantage of them. But I am learning. Living with MS is teaching me that there are days when I simply cannot do things for myself and that it is okay to ask for help. More importantly, it is teaching me that people, especially Sauerkraut, genuinely want to help.

Labelling something a “pink” chore or a “blue” chore is just that … a label. It is also a fun way to face tasks that most of us wish that we did not have to do. You could very well call your chore list “his or her”, “my or your”, “shit I will do or shit you will do” or whatever works for you. There is nothing sexist about it; it merely is a way of negotiating what will work best for you as a couple. It means that you are working together for the common good of your relationship. Bottom line, it ensures that shit gets done around the cabbage patch.

Sometimes people need charts with stickers. Others, like us, are subconsciously negotiating who does what around the house without even knowing that we are doing it. Take our cabbage patch this week. After a particularly challenging MS week (sleep has been elusive, weakness has set in and it basically hurts to have my eyes open), the patch was looking like Miley Cyrus went through it on her wrecking ball. The dust bunnies were waving as they rolled by (cheeky little devils) and a couple of spiders went mad spinning their webs (what would Charlotte think?). Instead of cursing under his breath, Sauerkraut went along picking up the clutter here and there. Today, he showed those dust bunnies what karma actually means by hauling out the vacuum and exacting his revenge. I never had to utter a word.

Today was also dump run day. Being the trooper that he is, Sauerkraut knew that I didn’t have the strength to change the cats’ litter boxes before leaving so he cleaned them without being asked. I had previously designated the litter boxes as a pink chore because I had wanted the cats in the first place. See? I subconsciously decided that on my own but it is nice to know that if I wanted to negotiate cleaning the litter box by, say, taking turns cleaning it, Sauerkraut would.

That, my friends, is true freakin’ blue love right there.

Chores: 50/50

Stickers: 0




The Christmas stocking purse

Some cabbage families have ‘normal’ Christmas traditions such as hanging their perfectly embroidered Christmas stockings by the chimney with care or wrapping their gifts in beautiful papers with pretty matching bows and coordinating gift tags. They bake delicious gingerbread cookies and decadent squares as well as decorate their homes with a flourish only rivalled by Liberace. Oh, the bling! Then there’s us.


In this testosterone filled patch, tradition went by the wayside once the wee cabbages were old enough to realize that sleeping in on Christmas morning was way better than getting up at the crack of dawn to see if Santa had arrived. Their justifications for sleeping in probably went something like this:

  • No matter what time we get up, it will still be Christmas day.
  • Our presents will still be here when we get up.
  • I’m sure one of them (probably MC) reminded me that, after all, I had been lying about the whole Christmas magic thing all those years anyway. Ouch.

It was also around this time that I had been diagnosed with MS. I know that I would not have the strength to argue with them anyway. Between that and operating my store during the busy Christmas season, I had had very little energy left for decorating, baking and Christmas party shaking. So sleeping in it was.

As a family, we decided that it was more important that I use what little energy I had to actually enjoy Christmas rather than trying to create the ‘perfect’ Christmas. We decided that we would spend our time watching Christmas movies such as Elf (oh, how I love that movie), playing games (have you ever played Pigs?) and spending quality time with each other rather than baking, decorating and Christmas overachieving. While I knew that my cabbages were looking out for me, I also knew that secretly they were performing their very own happy dances when I wasn’t looking because now they would not have to drag out all those Christmas containers for me. In my mind, they were yelling, “start the car!” before I changed my mind.

Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy Christmas and when we were all younger, I did it all: the decorating, the baking, the countdown calendars, the wrapping, the Christmas concerts, the parades. I LOVED it. But life has a way of bringing us into the present and I had to adjust my expectations and priorities to my fit my MS diagnosis, limited energy and raging testosterone cabbages’ attitudes. Really, it wasn’t much of a decision to make for spending time with my cabbages was way more important than having a perfectly decorated patch. Imagine, if you will, that what I chose and continue to choose is all the craziness and dysfuction of a Griswold family relationship over Clark’s obsession of making sure that everything is perfect, a kazillion Christmas lights not inlcuded.


Since that decision, the patch has seen another shift. The cabbages moved away for their post-secondary education and upon graduation and whatnot, their lives have taken them to other parts of the country. It is no longer possible for them to come home every Christmas. Only YC has been able to make it home for the past two Christmases; something he uses to his advantage in his attempts to convince me that he should indeed be the favoured cabbage in the patch at all times. There was some mention of an increased share in my will as well.

It was also during this time that I decided to thin down our Christmas decorations and keep only what was essential to sprinkle the house with a little bit of Christmas spirit: Christmas tree baubles, a couple of wreaths, candles, keepsakes and stockings. Or so I thought.

One year ago on Christmas Eve, when I was gathering YC’s stocking stuffers, I discovered that all the Christmas stockings were AWOL. They were gone, gone, gone. Sauerkraut, in an attempt to diffuse any potential over-reaction and potential meltdown by me assured me that YC wouldn’t mind, probably wouldn’t even notice, if I was to put his stuffers in any old sock. Any old sock, he says. He won’t mind, he says. Probably won’t even notice, he says. Are you freakin’ kidding me?

I’ll notice, I say. The stuffers won’t fit in just any old sock, I say. I’ve got to come up with something else, I say. It has to be brilliant, I say. Nothing like a bit of eleventh hour pressure on Christmas Eve night. Then I had one of Oprah’s “Ah ha” moments.


I ran to my closet and chose a red purse. I chose it for a few reasons: it was Christmassy in colour, fairly big, uniquely shaped and had several pockets both inside and out. Oh, the pockets! This was going to slow YC down because he wouldn’t be able to just dump the stuffers out on couch and say, “Why, thank you, Mom”. He was going to have to work for those stuffers by going through each and every pocket. And work he did.

The look on YC’s face was priceless. What the heck, he says. This isn’t my stocking, he says. You’ve truly lost your mind, he says. I proclaimed, “YC, it’s our new tradition! It’s a Christmas stocking purse!”

And that, my dear friends, is how legends are born.

IMG_1469 (1)


The Christmas stocking purse filled to its zipper again in 2015




Christmas stocking purse: 1

Old sock: 0



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