Thursday, December 31, 2009

Wow! Where'd the Year Go?

As I was brushing my teeth this morning, it hit me that this is the last day of the year. December 31, 2009. Tomorrow is 2010 already. Where did the year go? What did I accomplish in the past year? Where am I going in the next 365 days?

It seems that the older I get, the faster time flies by. I just get the Christmas decorations put away and it is Valentines Day, then Easter, then.... and it just keeps going. All of a sudden it is December and I think "But I just put all the Christmas stuff away!"

So now it is time to look back over the past twelve months and think about what I have accomplished and what is still to be done. This is not an easy task, as I find that not only does time fly by fast, it is so fast it doesn't stick in the brain. It just sort of goes in one side and slides out the other. Too fast for anything to grab hold and stop it. But here is my list:

Accomplishments:

- Got over my fear of amusement park rides (well, some of them anyway. Still don't like loop-the-loop rollercoasters). When we went to Disneyland in 2000, there was no way on God's green earth you would get me on anything that went faster than a crawl, or that spun, dipped, climbed or flew. But when hubby and I spent our vacation once again at the Magic Kingdom in April, I went on them all and had a blast!! Splash Mountain, Big Thunder Mountain Railway, Gizzly River, Star Tours, Soaring over California ... I couldn't ride them enough! And I SOOOOOO want to go back and do it all again!

- Lost 10 pounds! Woohoo! Cut out the junk food, eat more fruit and veggies, drink lots of water. Talk about a boring diet, but you get lots of exercise with the frequent trips to the bathroom.

- Put on 20 pounds. Okay, so maybe this is not a real accomplishment, and it sucks, but it did happen. More junk food, less fruit and veggies, still lots of water though so still get the exercise.

Hmmm. This is harder than I thought. Or do I really lead such a boring life that losing and gaining weight is at the top of my accomplishments list? Okay. Try again...

- Helped my granddaughter complete her Gold level Duke of Edinburgh's Award and watched as she was presented her certificate by His Royal Highness Prince Edward at a ceremony in June.

- Was presented with an award at the cadet end of year ceremonies for volunteering at camps and working with the cadets on their D of E awards.

- Discovered blogging. I like to write and this is one way for me to get my thoughts out there. If anyone reads them, great! If not, oh well. Their loss!

So what have I not accomplished that will be on the Big To Do List for 2010?

- Lose at least 80 pounds and tone my muscles so I can wear clothes that don't make me look like Moby Dick's sister. Maybe start a walking program with Amanda, and possibly go to the gym a few times a week. But then again, isn't there some way I can lose weight and tone up without the sweat factor???

- Sell my house and move into a carriage home where everything is on one floor, but that still has a small yard to accomodate "the boys", aka Mick and Teddy. Something like what mom is in now. Three bedrooms (one for us, one for guests and one for my office/craft room), laundry area, pantry, and possibly a fireplace. But wait. That would mean going through everything in the house and figuring out what to keep, what to throw, and what could be sold in a garage sale. Now that REALLY sounds like work...

- Start eating healthier. More fruit and veggies, less junk. Cut out the sweets (for a dessert junkie, this may be asking just a bit too much!) and exercise more (already discussed this one).

Sound like a good start? It should keep me busy for a few months anyway. At least until Christmas sneaks up on me again and says "What? Not ready again???"

Safe and Happy New Year, everyone! May 2010 bring you all you wish for and then some!

Friday, December 25, 2009

Merry Christmas!

It is 6:48 AM Christmas morning and I am the only one awake yet. The Husband is still sawing logs along with the dogs so I have some quiet time for me.

I think this is the time I like the best - no one else is stirring, all is quiet inside and out, and I can sit here and watch the lights on the tree as they twinkle a good morning. Since we are going elsewhere for supper, my husband is not huffing and puffing over getting a turkey the size of a small child stuffed and into the oven, I am not worrying about getting the trifle done, and there is no need to spend all day cleaning the house and cooking only to be too exhaused to enjoy myself when the kids come to visit. This time, WE are going to THEM!! They have the "fun" of cleaning the house before everyone arrives and again after everyone leaves, of cooking a massive meal that will be scarfed down as though none of us had eaten in a week.

Ah, but this year, they are all doing it pot-luck style. For breakfast at Cheryl and John's house, we are bringing Champagne and orange juice, Cheryl has a Christmas Wife Saver, and Glenda is bringing pancakes and strawberries. For supper at Lisa and Clint's, Jenn is bringing turkey, Lisa has potatoes and veggies, and I am bringing salad and wine. Dessert consists of a frozen cheesecake and cookies. For once, mom gets to sit back and enjoy while we do it all! Easy, peesy. This is something I had tried to talk Dwayne into doing years ago, but he would have none of it! His guests were not going to bring their own food! Unheard of!! Well, as he has gotten older, he has also become a bit wiser and realizes this is the way to go. Pot-lucks are a great way to spread the work around so the hostess is not so pooped she falls asleep in the mashed potatoes half way through dinner!

Well, I hear rumblings from the bedroom, so it looks like someone is at least thinking about getting up. I want to open presents! One of them is an e-Book reader that I can hardly wait to get my hands on! There is time for another cup of coffee before having a shower and getting dressed. So a big Merry Christmas to all, and please Please PLEASE don't drink and drive!!

Friday, December 18, 2009

Where's the Concert?

Have you ever kept a secret from everyone and then had it blow up in your face? You wish you had told at least one person your plans? Well, such is the case at my house.

A week or so ago, my husband decided that he was going to drive to Edgerton (about 3 hours east of our home) to see our three grandsons' Christmas concert on December 15. The mercury had been spending its time well below the -15C mark, so there had been no school for a few days. Dwayne (the husband) still wanted to go out there, so rather than let him drive out there by himself, I went along. Dumb...

The drive was rather uneventful, other than the overturned rig on the highway, and the deer the guy in front of us almost hit. But all was good. Got to Wainwright and grabbed a burger to choke down for supper then continued on to Edgerton. We got there about 6:15 and were amazed at the display of Christmas lights! I have to give the residents of this tiny village a huge A+ in this department! The decorations were gorgeous!

So, we meandered around a bit and finally came across the school, which had a very empty parking lot. Ok. No big deal. Small place - maybe no one showed up until just before the concert. Let's drive around the village for a bit and take in the lights. Well, that took about 5 minutes so back to the school. Still no one there (well what do you expect? Everyone to show up in that 5 minutes?) so go for another drive around to see the lights from a different angle. This time we drove UP the main drag rather than DOWN. That was when I saw the sign in the middle of the road.

ATTENTION
Christmas Concert
moved to
Wednesday at
7:00 PM at
the school.

I haven't had such a good laugh in ages!!! Dwayne was speechless (yes, he can be once in a while) but he wouldn't believe it. So he tried to call his daughter, who we discovered was not home. He left a message and we drove to the school to see if anyone had decided to show up anyway. No, of course they hadn't. Then he noticed a sign on the school door, which, on closer inspection, said the concert had been postponed to the next night. Again, I had a good laugh! (Did I mention I have a nasty streak?)

We decided to tackle the long drive home when the cell phone rang. It was Tammy returning our call. Dwayne explained that we (meaning 'he') had wanted to surprise all of them by coming to the concert and now we were going home because it had been postponed. The husband decided that we should go visit them instead so off we went for another 1/2 hour drive east. We visited for about an hour and then finally headed home - a 3 1/2 hour drive now.

The moral of the story? Make sure you let at least ONE person know what you have planned in case things change. Unless you really want to let you significant other have a great laugh!!

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Shortbread Once More...

Hi all,

I had a request for the shortbread recipe in my previous blog, so here it is for your cooking and eating pleasure!

Grandma's Shortbread
3/4 cup softened butter (PLEASE don't use margarine; it really does need to be butter)
1/2 cup cornstarch
1/2 cup icing sugar
1 cup flour
Cream the butter first for a minute or so - this makes a softer, more melt-in-your-mouth cookie. Mix the dry ingredients together and then add, a tablespoon at a time, into the butter. I use my stand mixer on low, but you can also mix it by hand with a wooden spoon if you want to get rid of holiday flab before it hits you! Don't over mix if you are using a mixer - the dough should still have a few crumbs that didn't incorporate. That's okay.
Dump the dough, crumbs and all, onto a lightly floured counter top or pastry cloth and knead very gently a few times to mix the remaining crumbs in. Form into a circle and roll out to about 1/4" thick. Cut out your favourite shapes and place on cookie sheets lined with parchment. If you don't have parchment, just put them on ungreased cookie sheets. Reroll the scraps and continue cutting out shapes until there is no dough left. Not to worry - it will not cause the cookies to be tough doing this. Bake at 350F for about 15 minutes or until the edges are JUST barely golden. I have found they are not as buttery if they get too golden. They should be very white when taken out of the oven.
Place the cookies carefully onto cooling racks. They are very fragile while hot and fall apart at the drop of a hat! Let them cool and then decorate to your heart's content! Store them in an air-tight container at room temperature for up to 4 weeks, but I really doubt they will last that long! They can be frozen and then removed from the freezer a day or two before they are required to let the flavour develop before serving.
I hope you enjoy these wonderful cookies as much as my family does! (By the way, the dough is so delicious raw!! Probably explains why I barely get two dozen cookies from one batch!)

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Shortbread... MMMMMMMM.....

Tonight is shortbread night. This will be the second batch. The first batch never makes it to Christmas - it is meant to be eaten before it has a chance to mature. That way, we are so tired of shortbread by the time I make the second batch that we don't eat it and there is plenty for company!

I use a recipe I found on the back of a box of cornstarch - Grandma's Shortbread - and tried it out. It has been a staple at Christmas ever since. It has four ingredients - 3/4 cup butter, 1/2 cup cornstarch, 1/2 cup icing sugar, and 1 cup flour - and is so easy to make. Mix the dry ingredients together and then add them a spoonful at a time to the creamed butter in the mixing bowl with the mixer on low.

Now, it is very important to have the mixer on low. You've heard of the laws of nature? Well, one of them (can't remember which one) states that when a light slow moving object is whacked by a heavy fast moving one, the lighter one will go flying. Such is the case of a mixture of flour, cornstarch and icing sugar coming into contact with rapidly spinning beaters. You want instant grey hair? Then let 'er rip!

I cream the butter first to make it fluffier, then SLOWLY mix in the dry stuff a spoonful at a time on LOW until well combined. Don't beat too much or you end up with tough shortbread, and no one likes that! (Wait a minute. Maybe take half out now and make GOOD shortbread for me, and beat the crap out of the rest and put that out for everyone else. Hmmm...) Where was I? Oh yes. When the dry is mixed in, dump the whole thing onto a lightly floured counter top and roll to about 1/4" thick. Cut out shapes and bake at 350 for about 15 minutes until just starting to get golden on the edges. Reroll the scraps and keep on going until you run out of dough. When the cookies are cool, decorate to your heart's desire!

I found these little tubes of icing called Scribblers that have just enough icing to trace around the edge of about 6 cookies. They come in a package of four primary colors and are perfect for kids to use. And the icing dries hard so the cookies can be stacked - that is, if they last long enough to actually make it into a cookie tin!

So enjoy my favourite recipe for Grandma's Shortbread! As the late, great Julia Child used to say, Bon Apetite!

Monday, November 30, 2009

Where'd the Sun Go?

I am looking out the little slit of window I can see from my desk and can't help thinking how gloomy it looks outside. The sky is grey and heavy, and all I can think of is that I would really rather be on a warm beach somewhere. The Carribbean for example. Aruba, Jamaica, Cuba, Cozumel - any or all of these would suit me fine! Just do some hopping from resort to resort for the next several months until it warms up here again. As long as someone else pays for it, I am SO there!! Anyone out there who would take on the payments? Anyone??

There are days when I think a sugar daddy would be a great idea. Some good looking, generous, intelligent, happy, compasionate man who can hold a good conversation without telling me what I have been doing wrong and how I can correct it. Passionate would be good too, but totally optional. I don't necesarrily want someone who wants to make out all the time. Just someone who wants to spend his money on me. Is that REALLY too much to ask? I don't think so. I am married, after all, so hanky panky is just not part of the equation right now.

Christmas on a tropical island would be wonderful. Palm trees instead of fir trees, sand instead of snow, fish instead of turkey. I am so there!!! Yes, I do enjoy turkey and all the trimmings but if I had to give it up for the sun and surf, I would gladly do it! I can decorate a small palm tree and make it just as pretty as a Balsam Fir. Sand is much nicer to dig your toes into and lie on than snow, which tends to give frost bite when bare body parts stay in it too long.

So give me an island in the tropics and I will be very happy. I just need someone else's bank account to pay for it. Let me know if you fnd someone willing to help me out...

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Holy Cow! Five Weeks Til Christmas!

Where has the year gone? It is November 19 and Christmas Day will be here before we know it. Are you ready?? I'm not! There is baking to do (after al, Christmas without shortbread is just another day), gifts to buy and wrap, cards to write and mail out, the tree to put up and decorate...

Every year, I say "Next year, I will be organized and start early so I am done by December 1" and every year I am no where even close! The cookies do get made, usually the weekend before Christmas so they don't have time to mature and get that wonderful buttery taste. The shopping gets done the same weekend and the cards get hand delivered to those close by. The rest are mailed and if they arrive before Christmas, bonus!!

Then there is the Christmas tree. Last December the grandkids both moved out to go live with their mom, so we didn't get a big tree as we have always had. Instead, my husband opted for a 2' tall, pre-decorated, plastic and wire concoction that goes from stored-in-the-basement to up-and-in-its-glory in 5 minutes flat! The presents hide the tree until later Christmas Day when they are all opened and taken out to various vehicles to be taken home after supper. When it is time to take the tree down (Boxing Day if my husband had his way), it goes back in its box and downstairs to the basement for another year. I am really pushing for a real tree this year, even a short one. A nice 4' Balsam Fir.

Now I have reread this blog, I have made some plans. This weekend, I am baking my shortbread cookies come hell or high water! And while they are in the oven, I will write my cards and get them ready for mailing. Then I will start my Christmas list for shopping next weekend! I just MAY be ready by December 1 for a change! Wish me luck!

Friday, November 13, 2009

Horray! Hooray! It's Moving Day!

Tomorrow is finally Moving Day. Yes, it deserves capital letters, just like Christmas Day or Easter Day. It may never become a stat holiday, but for me, my sister, and her family, it should be! The new condo needed a lot of work, and we have taken off baseboard, ripped out carpet and underlay, painted nearly every surface that could possibly be painted, vacuumed and shampooed the carpets, installed the new over-the-stove microwave (man! those things weigh a ton!), and spent many sleepless nights worrying that mom will fret about leaving her home of 31 years to start a new one.

Yes, she has fretted, and cryed, and thought. She knows that moving from a house with stairs to a condo with none is a good move, but her home has 31 years of memories. That is hard to leave behind. There are all the skinned knees, bloody noses, and many, many bumps and bruises my brothers suffered as they were growing up. There is the "really pretty plant" growing at the back of the garden where the garage now stands that turned out to be marijuana. It disappeared one night just as mysteriously as it appeared, conincidentally the same night I identified it just as one of my brothers came within earshot. There are the 31 Christmases, Easters and Thanksgivings, and the very many birthday and anniversary celebrations. Then there are the tears shed when relationships broke up, loved ones passed away, and much cherished pets took their last breaths.

So much to remember. I guess all I can do is sit with her tonight, hold her hand, and remember with her. We can talk, and laugh, and cry together as mom says goodbye to this home and embarks on a new adventure. After all, there is a nice older gentleman in the condo next door...

Monday, November 9, 2009

If I Never See a Paint Brush Again...

One more week and mom will be moved into her condo. The kitchen has been gutted and the appliances disposed of, any holes in the walls have been patched, the hall, kitchen and pantry lino and the carpet in the two smaller bedrooms has been replaced.

This is a nice condo, with no stairs so mom doesn't have to do to the basement to do laundry anymore. It has a small yard for Ebony, mom's 7 year old black lab who still thinks she is a pup, to lope around in, and a nice covered area where we can sit in the summer and enjoy a cup of tea under an immense spruce tree.

When we first saw the place, the first thought was "Oh my God!". Being the good family that we are, we all said that we could handle the renos that neede to be done. The kitchen was awful - dark cabinets, old appliances, torn lino - and two of the bedrooms looked as though they had been used purely for storage, although one of them did have an individual sleeping on a sheet on the floor. We wanted to measure the rooms so we could order carpet, but when we saw "the sleeper", we decided it could wait. Within ten minutes of mom having the key to the place, my b-i-l had the cupboards off the wall in the kitchen and in a broken heap in the middle of the floor. And what "presents" did we find under them? Oh, you really don't want to know. Let's just say a very large family of mice had been resident for some time. EEEWWW!!!

There must have been a run on awful colored paint at one time because the three bedrooms were painted a shade that falls somewhere between baby-poop and khaki with dark pea green trim. The living room, halls, two bedrooms and kitchen are now painted something called Taupe Mist - very nice taupe with a hint of pink to make it very warm, and the master is painted Brook Trout - a very pale pink. The new carpet and lino are installed and the cupboards have been delivered. Appliances come this week and then the carpets will be cleaned.

Saturday is the Big Day - mom moves in. Yay!! Stay tuned for the ups and downs of moving day...

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Happy halloween!

October 31st. The day for ghosts and goblins, witches and warlocks, vampires and vamps. Little ones dressed as fuzzy little bunnies, pirates, and ninja turtles with their mom or dad in tow to make sure they don't have any problems. Older kids out to get as much candy as they can in the few hours before they have to be home. Then the teens who are too cool to wear a "real" costume, but instead "borrow" a few things from mom and dad's wardrobe.

They are all fantastic and I will give each and every one of them something! The wee ones will usually get 3 or 4 chocolate bars, the older ones 2 or 3, and the teens 1 or more, depending on their attitude when they come to the door. The polite ones get more.

I am not dressing up this year. I usually do but it seems that time got away from me this year and I ran out of time to put a costume together. I suppose I could work on one instead of writing this blog, but I would rather write than sew. And we have company coming for supper so I have a house to clean.

So for now, off to vacuum and wash the floors, clean the bathrooms, and tidy up. Then a bit of a nap, I think. After all, we may actually have a lot of kids daring to trick or treat at our door and I have to be ready...

Monday, October 26, 2009

Strange Sightings...

In two months from today, Christmas 2009 will be over and done with. The presents will have been opened, the turkey, cookies and cakes eaten, and far too much liquid cheer taken in. This realization struck home on Sunday when Lisa and I took mom to Home Depot to get some things for the condo - new switch and plugs covers, light fixtures for the hallway and closets, and a new lockset for the front door. As we came in the door, what to my wondering eyes should appear, but a huge range of Christmas ornaments for the house and garden! And what was among these wonderous things, but a pink Christmas tree! Pink!! Give me a break! Christmas trees are supposed to be GREEN! Not white, not pink, not purple - GREEN! And they are supposed to look like real, honest-to-goodness trees!

Remember the silver tin foil trees that were the vogue in the 1960's? You couldn't put lights on them for fear of being electrocuted, so anyone with one of these so-called "trees" (aka monstrosities) had a colored disk that had a light behind it sitting on the floor. This was supposed to cast a pretty glow into this fire hazard and make it look very festive. I always thought they were awful, even as a kid. They didn't say Christmas! They looked like what was left of the foil mom put on the turkey to keep it from getting too brown!

This year, I will once again put up a REAL tree, probably a Balsam Fir, and decorate it with all the ornaments collected over the years. There are the rather ratty ones the kids made in grade one that still get hung every year, and the new, glitzy gold and red glass ornaments I saw in HD last year and just "had to have". The tree will go up sometime between December 15th and 20th and will take at least 3 hours to get "just right". But it will be so worth the work and the wait.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Monday Mornings...Bleh!!!

How often do you ask someone how they are on a Monday morning to get the response "It's Monday..."? Why do people hate Mondays? They have just two or more days to enjoy some R & R, so what's the problem?

If their weekends are like mine, they are full of work. Sure, it's not the same as what we do from Monday to Friday, but it is still WORK! Cleaning the house, mowing the lawn, raking leaves, painting, adding a new deck, grocery shopping. You name it! We do everything that can't get done during the week on those two days and then wonder why we are exhausted come Monday!

Why not go on strike? Leave the housework for a week! The leaves will still be there in the Spring! So will the lawn! Painting? Does the house really need it? Naw. Didn't think so. Just tell everyone the patches of Spackle are supposed to be there. It's a new technique, like rag-rolling or sponging.

So now you have a relaxing weekend all worked out, Monday morning should be easy! You will bound into work with a sunny smile, all ready to dive in and git 'er done! You won't need that coffee to wake you up, because you are relaxed and can't wait to get working on that RFP! Then as things come sailing at you over your cubicle wall from all the Monday-haters around you, you will laugh and tell them how to make their Monday mornings brighter because you have found the "secret"! They will only hate you for a week or so until they learn the "secret" too.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Fall in Alberta. Go figure...

If you don't like the weather in Alberta at any given time, just wait 15 minutes. Our weather changes faster than a woman can change her mind! This Fall in particular has been very strange. Temperatures in the high 20's in September and then snow in early October! The leaves hardly had a chance to change color before they ended up all over the lawn frozen solid.

Now that our recent snow is melting, my weekend task will be to rake up those rapidly thawing leaves and put them into pumpkin-faced orange trash bags for display for Halloween. All those wet leaves packed into plastic bags and then placed in the sun. Sounds kind of smelly to me.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Oh, The Weather Outside...

I was in Costco this weekend and was quite dismayed to see Christmas trees, decorations, and cards on display. Too early folks!! Give it another month, please! I worked in the retail industry for many years and we were not allowed to have our Christmas displays up or the merchandise on the shelf before Halloween. Now it seems we have four new seasons - Spring, Summer, Christmas and the Rest-of-Winter.

Since Christmas stuff is already in the stores, I decided no time like the present to get Christmas lists from all the various kids, grandkids, neices and nephews. So far, I have seen everything from "I have no idea. You pick something." to "A car". Looks like this will be a shopping trip like other years - I will be walking around Wal-Mart with my cell phone clutched precariously between my ear and shoulder asking the various daughters and sons if their offspring would like this nifty truck/doll/game for Christmas. My husband will pick up five of whatever for the kids - so they all have the same thing and there is no resentment because this one got something that one wanted. They are adults! If they do that, it is time for them to GROW UP!

Time to do some Christmas baking too. Shortbread needs a few months to mellow and get that rich, buttery taste to mature. I have an old recipe made with REAL butter, icing sugar, cornstarch and flour. Nothing else. It is soooooooo good!!!

Now I am hungry, time to go get lunch. Maybe a shortbread cookie or two from the bakery too...

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

A Little Dip in the Gene Pool

There was a show on TV a few nights ago that talked about how some geneticists and paleontologists are looking into the possibility of creating dinosaurs from chickens by turning on genes that have long been dormant. They added a "virus"-covered bead to the beak area of a chicken embryo and ended up with the embryo showing signs of teeth after an incubation period. Then they added another virus and ended up with the chicken growing feathers on its legs instead of scales.

This begs the question - do we really want to play with the gene pool like this and recreate the dinosaurs? Birds are the recent ancestors of dinosaurs, or at least this is the hypothesis. Scientists are now saying that the scales that covered dinosaurs millions of years ago developed into feathers and they developed flight.

Okay, it could be plausible, especially when you see the similarities between some of the smaller dinosaurs and modern birds, but do we really want to recreate the dinosaurs?? Remember the saying "Don't mess with Mother Nature"?

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Are You Ready?

The weather is getting cooler and snow is in the forecast this weekend. Yuck!! It is only the beginning of October! We can't have snow yet! Not until December 24, and then it has to melt on December 26!

No, I don't skate, ski, snowboard, or anything else. In fact, I avoid snow as much as possible. I would LOVE to head south at the sign of the first snow flake. One of these days. For now, I bundle up and try to stay indoors as much as possible.

Every now and then, I think that maybe I will learn to ski. To race down the side of a mountain as fast as I can go would be a real rush! The wind in my hair; the snow down my neck when I go head over heels; the sympathy I will get with my leg/arm/whatever in a cast. Then my moment of insanity passes nearly as fast as it came on and I decide I would rather just watch skiing on my TV from the cozy comfort of my Lazy Boy, preferably with a hot toddy in hand.

So, as the season comes upon us, the only thing I am looking forward to is Christmas. We do need snow for the few days of the Christmas season, but then it can disappear again. Maybe this year, I will just hibernate...

Friday, October 2, 2009

Don't Get Taken In...

This is to all the ladies out there who are going through a relationship breakdown. Your emotions are fragile right now. You feel that men are scum for various reasons. Then you start chatting with some guy online who says all the right things - you are beautiful/smart/funny, you make him feel so great, he wants your body - and then all of a sudden, this online relationship has gotten to the point where he wants to spend the rest of his life with you, he will move to where ever you are - even if is the North Pole - and live with you forever. This usually takes between 3 to 5 days. Yes, DAYS! Talk about your whirlwind romance!

So now he has you hooked. The stars in your eyes light up a room. You are totally smitten. Then he needs a favour from you. For me, the first time (yeah, I admit. I got taken in twice) he was a guy who lived in Barrie, Ontario who owned an import business. I got a call from him saying he wanted me to buy a top of the line laptop and send it to him in Ghana where he happened to be "on business". His laptop had supposedly died and he could not get a replacement.

This last time, he was an American soldier stationed in Iraq. After the requisite 5 days had passed and I was hooked, he told me he needed me to accept a mysterious package for him that he was sending by some "diplomat". Well, this "diplomat" emailed me from supposedly Ghana asking for $2000 so he could come to me with this package. When this guy wanted to phone me, I gave him my number and as soon as I heard his voice I knew it was the same guy, or someone from the same country.

I did not send the laptop or the money!

So if you get into a situation like this, GET OUT as soon as you can! Please be smart and tell the jerk to take a flying leap. Yes, it hurts like hell because you have been made to think you are the best thing since sliced bread and now all of a sudden you have to make choice between that wonderful feeling or your bank account. Because believe me, if they can get a laptop or $2000 out of you, they will try for more until they bleed you dry!