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September 16, 2007

Oh I've seen wind and I've seen rain...

Wow, what a windy, blustery, wet-n-wild day we had yesterday! I could see the wind (because it was full of water) swirling and rushing around, bending trees and hustling debris along the road. Our power went out for three hours in the afternoon...good time for reading, although the clouds were so dark, there was barely enough light to do so after about four o'clock.

I called the NS Power 24 hr outage line and at first they said the power would be back on at 3:45 but when I called back at 3:30 for an update, they said 5pm...uh huh, we'll see about that, I thought to myself. Impressively though, the power surged back on at almost exactly 5:00...so exact that I wondered if they were ready before then, but decided to wait to show off their predictive powers! Surely not...?? :)

MN had a friend over and they played in the basement with flashlights. I could hear lots of shrieking - they told me they saw ghosts in the mirror down there. Plus MN had put something on the top stair, but when they came back to that part of the basement, the object was at the bottom so they figured the ghost had moved it. (I'm thinking maybe the cat, but no doubt that just shows my lack of imagination.) In any case, they had lots of fun and if they feel we have a ghost, so be it! When the power finally came back on, we watched GhostTrackers on TV and MN relived her afternoon through the (very scared) kids on the show.

TG and I had been watching Armageddon (the movie from a few years back) when the power went out. Such a tear-jerker, that one...TG and I are both major cry-babies whenever there's an emotional scene in a movie so of course we had the tissues close at hand for this one. Doesn't seem to matter whether it's a good movie, or (as in this case) a lame-o, we'll still be sniffling away making puppy-stomping noises (which phrase comes from Dave...who does NOT stomp puppies so don't send the SPCA our way, please!) Unfortunately we got right back into it as soon as the power returned, so I didn't get started on supper until twenty to seven...oops. Oh well, by the time we actually ate, everyone was certainly hungry!

December 26, 2007

A Wii Christmas Tale...

Once upon a time, Nintendo invented the Wii...quickly followed by cries from the girls of "ooo, we want that!!"...to which we replied "we're not made of money, we can't buy expensive Christmas gifts AND still afford a trip this summer" (this conversation was last Christmas). Without hesitation, both agreed that the trip was the thing.

Shortly afterward, their existing GameCube packed it in, never to work again. Gasp, the horror, the horror!!! What on earth would they do all year without a gaming console?!! Long gone are the days of playing outside with nothing but an old pot and a mud puddle...these gals want "quick reactions required" electronic stimulation.

They went without a game console for nearly a year...and I have to say, I noticed them drifting apart. Some parents complain that their kids spend too much time playing electronic games as a solo activities and not enough time socializing, but this is one of the few activities my girls do together (they are six years apart in age.) Without the shared gaming, they come home from school and go to their separate rooms to do their homework, then read or play separately. Moods and energy levels droop...

Continue reading "A Wii Christmas Tale..." »

January 28, 2008

To drive, or not to drive...

I have a love/hate relationship with winter. In theory, I love it - always say I could never live anywhere without the full range of seasons. In practice, however, my commitment to the white season falters long before the temperature dips down to -20C (as was the case last week.)

At the moment, it is a balmy 1C. Now that might sound like a great improvement after last week's deep freeze temps, except that this little "heat wave" came with horrid precipitation. Snow overnight, then ice pellets (those were nasty while I was shovelling, I can tell you (felt like Mother Nature had a vendetta against me!) At the moment, we are experiencing the ever UNpopular freezing rain...which is falling on top of the layer of ice pellets...which, in turn, fell on top of the snow that fell overnight. Very, very slip-sliding conditions indeed!!

The up-side of the slipperyness was that it was quite easy to slide the shovel across the driveway (I was using one of those bucket types that work in a plow-like fashion). But the ice pellets were brutal - like little stinging insects - before they morphed into the freezing rain. I was quite bedraggled by the time I came in to shower and bring my body temperature back up to human levels!

Now I sit all cozy in my house with coffee in hand, wondering if the roads are decent enough so I can safely drive into work. The road in front of my house is invisible under the white stuff, but the highway is partially clear so I am torn. I have an easy half hour drive to work when roads are bare and traffic free...longer during rush hour and bad weather. But why take chances unnecessarily - my workplace won't fall apart without me. I think I will wait a little while longer and see if the freezing rain stops soon...

Continue reading "To drive, or not to drive..." »

February 1, 2008

National Wear Red Day

This is an extremely timely topic for me personally.

At this very moment, my grandmother lies in critical condition in the cardio intensive care unit.

She had a triple bypass on Wednesday, which went well. But later that night, the nurses felt something was amiss so ordered a chest x-ray and found bleeding and clotting in her chest cavity. A second surgery was performed (you know it's an emergency when the hospital assembles a cardiac surgery team at 3am) to find the cause. Two surgeries within 12 hours would be difficult for anyone, but for an 84 year old woman, is very dicey business indeed. The nurse made a point of telling us how big a deal it was for her to have been anaesthetized twice in such a short time...not to alarm us, but just so we would be aware of the seriousness.

My sister and I were at the hospital all day yesterday and today, although for the most part, Grammie was not aware of our presence. But yesterday, when she was awake (groggy, but awake enough to hold our hands), she seemed comforted to know we were there. She started to show signs of distress when we had to leave (only allowed to stay for maybe 10 minutes at a time in the ICU) but relaxed a bit when we said we were not going to leave the hospital and would be back again very soon.

No improvement today, and in fact somewhat worse since they fear she might be brewing an infection (temp was up, plus white cell count up).

We spent much time today in the hospital chapel (aside from any spiritual comfort, frankly it's just one of the few quiet places to sit in the hospital), but I'm afraid I have a shadow over my own heart...

My sincerest thanks to girasole for suggesting this as our first blog challenge topic. I'll take comfort in knowing that many thousands of people, Slow Travellers among them, are wearing red today to show their support for women's heart disease awareness.

February 3, 2008

Good nurse, bad nurse?

I see that I am just making it in under the wire with today's post! I fear I haven't the brain power to come up with anything other than the following bit of rambling though...

I went to church this morning feeling reasonably okay...then someone asked how I was doing and I quickly deteriorated...sigh, what a pathetic weeper I am. (That and the fact that I am utterly exhausted from spending so much time at the hospital with Grammie.) But I have always been one to fall apart at the slightest sign of caring...it's like my floodgates burst when I come in contact with compassion.

I had a chance to apologize to Rev. Valerie afterward for leaving just as she started speaking ('cause that's gotta make a minister feel good - members of the congregation getting up and walking out the door!) But she knows about Grammie, so wasn't at all offended...in fact nearly put me in tears again with her kindness and sincere offer to help - whatever I need, just call. I just wanted some hugs of strength for now.

Anyway, onto my topic, brief though my post will be since I'm soooo tired. Grammie had another good day today (relatively speaking...she is still on life support so not out of the woods yet.) But she was quite alert and a tad feisty - woohoo, she's baa-aack!! It was so incredibly good to see her smile...as much as smiling is possible with straps around her head holding in the breathing tubes.

Her nurse today was a very blunt and to the point woman, no messing around or slacking off on this one's watch. Grammie did not care for this nurse and was making no bones about it. (She cannot speak, but made it clear in other ways.) When we commented on what good care the nurses are taking of her, Grammie looked over at the nurse, then back at us and frowned and shook her head "no".

The nurse was so hard-boiled that I got to wondering if it was an intentional contrast to the nurses of the past few days. I mean, perhaps the medical team feels it's time to force a change, for bad or good, so were pushing Grammie a bit harder today. I cannot imagine this would really be the case, but I kept wondering if this was a medical equivalent of a good cop, bad cop routine! It's just that the previous nurses were all so much gentler, the contrast is startling.

Ah but it gave us that "lightness of being" feeling to see Grammie acting a bit spunky and seeing her own self finally re-emerging. I think I might actually sleep well tonight!

February 8, 2008

A head cold and a book

Grrr, all that time in the hospital recently seems to have landed me with one of those horrid head colds where your head is full of wool...pulsating, expanding, wool, that is. Most disappointing is that I am missing the "Lunch Bunch" - a Friday noon time choral singing experience at St. Matthew's in Halifax. The church is beside the office building where I work, and the singing is just for fun, not gospel, some show tunes, some folk tunes. I was really looking forward to joining in today. But who can sing with a drippy nose?! Welcome our new singing sensation "Andasamo and the Nasal Tones"!! Oh boy, I'll have them lining up at the door...

So, what now? It's cold outside...ok, that's not so newsworthy, given that it is February in Canada after all.

Help, I need help...someone throw me a topic, please!!!

Somebody??? Anyone?? Helloooo?? Is anyone out there?

Very well then, here's all I can come up with...don't say I didn't warn you...

Continue reading "A head cold and a book" »

February 12, 2008

I got nothing...

I am not feeling verbally inspired today, I'm afraid. So I'll (hopefully) give you a laugh instead.

Here are a couple pictures taken on the webcam - we're just goofin' around, that's all!

Continue reading "I got nothing..." »

February 13, 2008

Biscuits anyone?

I can't believe this - I made seafood chowder and home made biscuits for supper - and the biscuits even turned out!! Tender inside, light brown crustiness outside - sheer perfection!! I am so proud of baking-challenged self!!

The chowder wasn't too shabby either. I made something along the lines of a traditional Maritimes variety - mmm-MMM my favourite. Except that it was a bit of a poorman's version because we haven't had time to get groceries in a while. I had to scrounge whatever potatoes were in the bag (three left), and make do without celery (boohoo), but as long as I've got seafood and milk, the rest can be improvised.

I cooked the potatoes, along with some carrots and onions, until tender crisp. In the meantime, I coated the seafood with a little flour, paprika, salt and pepper, and lightly sautèed it in butter before adding to the vegetables. I then added a couple cups of whole milk, heated (not boiled) and voilà, a simple but tasty bowl of chowder.

I made the plain biscuits while the veggies and fish were cooking. Now I'll tell you, I used to make a mean biscuit in my (much) younger days, but lost the knack over the years. My last batch was rather a dismal failure. Well colour me surprised 'cause I've got my biscuit groove back!! I'm not really sure what went right...maybe my relaxed attitude, maybe the wide cranberry glass bowl, maybe my hands-on twirling technique while pouring in the cold milk to the flour mixture. Who knows...whatever it was, it worked. The mass balled up before I knew, and baked up to perfection. Even the little leftover bits baked into tender crispy morsels of goodness.

I know, I know...better to wait until I make another succulent batch before proclaiming my skills to the world - but I figure I may never get a second chance :) This could be a one time blip in a long line of tough, chewy biscuits. So I'm gonna make hay while the sun shines, celebrate my (tiny) successes as they come, blow my own horn before the band goes on break!!

...you can say "I told you so" later...

February 15, 2008

Ol' Blue Eyes, British Blades and biscuits

Ol' Blue Eyes...
This video is for my grandmother (who is back in ICU, but stable for now). I remember as a little girl, she'd tell us how she and her friends would swoon over Frank Sinatra (naturally my sister and I would giggle at the very thought of our Grammie swooning!) And the song is one that she played often on her organ (when she could pry us away from playing "On the Banks of the Wabash, Far Away" and other such tunes from the songbook. At the time we found "Moon River" a tad tedious and clamoured for her to play a tune called "Squid Jiggin' Ground" on her accordian instead!



British Blades...
Isn't funny how often paths cross unexpectedly? Dave is an avid participant in the forum on British Blades. He's in the relatively early stages of perfecting his knife-making craft, and gets tips, tricks and inspiration from the boards. One day he mentioned a poster from New Brunswick who was a swordmaker and whose mother was an author...I said hey, what a coincidence, just recently while watching a show on Book TV (or whatever it's called), I saw an interview with a woman author from New Brunswick whose son was a swordmaker.

But the more relevant coincidence is that one of the posters on British Blades was talking about this great travel forum he/she belongs to called Slow Travel! Maddeningly though, Dave can't find that thread again so I do not know the poster's username...grrr!

Biscuits...
Kim, this one's for you - straight out of my Betty Crocker's Cookbook (1983 printing):

Continue reading "Ol' Blue Eyes, British Blades and biscuits" »

February 17, 2008

A dalliance with Dali

I found this article while looking for something else entirely and it reminded of one of my favourite paintings: Canada's Dali Connection

I must admit that I am not all that familiar with the works of Salvador Dali. I have certainly seen reproductions of The Persistence of Memory (although I confess that until a few minutes ago, I had only ever known it as the melting clocks...) and other popular paintings, but have seen very few in person.

Dali's Santiago El Grande caught my eye twenty plus years ago on my first visit to the Beaverbrook Art Gallery in Fredericton, New Brunswick, and I am still drawn to it today. Unfortunately I am unable to find much information on the painting (most of the links just lead to poster galleries), so will just share the image for now.

The painting is huge and incredibly powerful...one gets lost in the dimensions. I think a roadtrip to Fredericton is in order this summer, so I can dally longer with this Dali masterpiece.

Continue reading "A dalliance with Dali" »

February 19, 2008

Ladies and Gentlemen...Stan Rogers!

That's the opening line of the live CD "Home in Halifax", a recording of Stan Rogers performing at the Rebecca Cohn auditorium in Halifax a year or so before his death in 1983 (plane crash...an all too familiar end for many a beloved musician.)

Home%20in%20Halifax.jpg

I have this CD in my collection, and it is one that I listen to over and over...and over again. Stan was a songwriter, with a precious gift of insight, and a deep love of his subject matter. His lyrics and rhythms capture the essence of Canada's diversity.

He left such an impression on the Canadian folk music scene that The International Festival of Songwriters, held annually in Canso, is named after him: the Stan Rogers Folk Festival

I read that Mansell Davies of the Calgary Folk Festival said that Stan's music became a tradition in itself-- "as if it's always been there."

Continue reading "Ladies and Gentlemen...Stan Rogers!" »

February 20, 2008

Teenagers...Act now!!

Here is what my husband set as our PC desktop wallpaper...I didn't know about it until I heard Ginger burst out in hysterical laughter and came to see what was so funny:

WB8195~Teenagers-Tired-Of-Being-Harassed-By-Your-Parents-Posters.jpg

Churchill...fact or fiction?

Ok, I'm cheating and backposting...and I haven't even got anything much to say, I just forgot to publish this yesterday...

Check out this funny article (funny as in shake your head slowly in amazement, not funny ha-ha). It boggles the mind sometimes to find out how little people know. (Not that I'm a genius or anything myself, but...23% thought Winston Churchill was made up??!)

February 27, 2008

Poet's Corner

I just found a great website: Poet's Corner

(Which I assume is named after the original Poet's Corner in Westminster Abbey, which we were thrilled to wander through last summer when in London.)

Not that I don't have a bunch of actual books to browse through, but those weighty anthologies can be a b*tch to lug around!! This website will come in handy if I need some mental nourishment to go with my lunch while at work. There are lots of literary and poetry sites out there, but this one is very easy to get around and doesn't have a lot of flashing ads or photos hogging the pages. Here are a few poems that strike my fancy this evening...

Doesn't this perfectly capture those early brief moments that are the glory of dawn:

Dawn

ECSTATIC bird songs pound
the hollow vastness of the sky
with metallic clinkings--
beating color up into it
at a far edge,--beating it, beating it
with rising, triumphant ardor,--
stirring it into warmth,
quickening in it a spreading change,--
bursting wildly against it as
dividing the horizon, a heavy sun
lifts himself--is lifted--
bit by bit above the edge
of things,--runs free at last
out into the open--!lumbering
glorified in full release upward--
songs cease.

William Carlos Williams

Continue reading "Poet's Corner" »

March 4, 2008

Medical mayhem

Dealing with our health care system really sucks the life out of a person!

Our grandmother was suddenly - and prematurely - discharged from the hospital. The hospital called late last week and said she was being discharged the next day - we said "whoa, back the bus up here...um, what?!!" We've been visiting her every single day and had certainly seen no evidence she was ready to come home. But, the Halifax hospital said they were releasing her because the resources could be put to better use (i.e. patients in worse condition), but also said her home hospital was not cooperating with their request for a respite bed, so they had no choice but to discharge her. The nurse said it was up to us to take her or not, but "if it were my grandmother, I wouldn't want to see her sent home alone". Obviously neither did we, but the best we could manage was to convince them to keep her until Sunday so we could get a bedroom ready for her at my sister's house.

Feeling that we were sandbagged, I wrote a letter on behalf of my sister and I outlining our serious concerns and how we'd been pressured into agreeing to Gram's release in spite of believing that she was not ready. We signed it and sent it to the hospital's Patient Representative - and I faxed copies to the Pres. & CEO of the Health District, to Grammie's family doc, to the Provincial Minister of Health, and to three different Members of the Legislative Assembly (MLAs - Provincial Government reps - for Gram's district, as well as my sister's and mine). No messing around here, I was in serious "go big or stay home" mode!!

Continue reading "Medical mayhem" »

March 15, 2008

Images of Spring

TrailingArbutus380.jpg


O sweet spontaneous

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e.e. cummings

Continue reading "Images of Spring" »

Dog/Cat diary

I just found this in the WonderCafe Discussion Lounge...

DOG DIARY
8:00 am - Dog food! My favorite thing!
9:30 am - A car ride! My favorite thing!
9:40 am - A walk in the park! My favorite thing!
10:30 am - Got rubbed and petted! My favorite thing!
12:00 PM - Lunch! My favorite thing!
1:00 PM - Played in the yard! My favorite thing!
3:00 PM - Wagged my tail! My favorite thing!
5:00 PM - Milk bones! My favorite thing!
7:00 PM - Got to play ball! My favorite thing!
8:00 PM - Wow! Watched TV with the people! My favorite thing!
11:00 PM - Sleeping on the bed! My favorite thing!

CAT DIARY

Day 983 of my captivity.
My captors continue to taunt me with bizarre little dangling objects.
They dine lavishly on fresh meat, while the other inmates and I are
fed hash or some sort of dry nuggets. Although I make my contempt
for the rations perfectly clear, I nevertheless must eat something
in order to keep up my strength. The only thing that keeps me going
is my dream of escape.

In an attempt to disgust them, I once again vomit on the carpet.

Today I decapitated a mouse and dropped its headless body at their
feet. I had hoped this would strike fear into their hearts, since
it clearly demonstrates what I am capable of. However, they merely
made condescending comments about what a 'good little hunter' I am.
Bastards!

There was some sort of assembly of their accomplices tonight. I was
placed in solitary confinement for the duration of the event.
However, I could hear the noises and smell the food. I overheard
that my confinement was due to the power of 'allergies.' I must
learn what this means, and how to use it to my advantage.

Today I was almost successful in an attempt to assassinate one of
my tormentors by weaving around his feet as he was walking. I must
try this again tomorrow -- but at the top of the stairs.

I am convinced that the other prisoners here are flunkies and
snitches.

The dog receives special privileges. He is regularly released - and
seems to be more than willing to return. He is obviously mentally
challenged.


I also found this bobble head Jesus...who says organized religion has no sense of humour!

March 16, 2008

I like pie!

With a nod to Marta's post on pi, here are some thoughts on pie.

My daughters often exclaim "I like pie!" for no apparent reason. I just googled to see where the expression comes from. The first hit I clicked was a page of comments posted on this blog. The second was a definition in Urban dictionary, although in my experience the phrase is used on a more random basis than to avoid being drawn into an uncomfortable topic of conversation. Oh well, all I can say is...I like pie! :)

Continue reading "I like pie!" »

April 27, 2008

Buon giorno, Principessa!

"La vita e bella" (Life is Beautiful). We watched this brilliant masterpiece again last night. A friend had lent me her copy a year or so ago. I had never heard of it, but she was sure I would love it. Boy, was she right! I watched it once and immediately bought my own copy. If you haven't already seen this wonderful movie, do so now. (And I strongly recommend NOT reading reviews or plot synopsis beforehand, just let the story unfold and take your breath away.)

No spiders or Visigoths allowed...

April 29, 2008

Star Trekkin'

Oh, the things one finds on youtube...

We had Star Trekkin' played at our wedding reception in 1987. The older crowd was decidedly baffled by this bizarre song, but we, and our small circle of close friends, danced up a storm while singing the lyrics at the top of our lungs.

Still cracks me up, 21 years later...

May 3, 2008

You're such a wimp, mum...

"Oh my goodness, are you still crying?" snorts Miss Ninja as we watched the movie Dirty Dancing last evening. Yes, laugh if you must (and I know Dave is) but...this movie chokes me up every single time. And trust me, I've watched it a LOT of times. Used to be that I couldn't go past it on TV, didn't matter when the movie had started, I'd stop channel flipping and watch to the end. Now I own my own copy so I can watch it anytime.

I don't even know what it is about the movie that so captivates me. I'm not a huge Patrick Swayze fan or anything (although he has some mighty fine dance moves in this film!) I love the ebb and flow of the relationships between Baby and Johnny, and between Baby and her father. I can't explain it, this cheesy movie just tugs at my heartstrings, no matter how often I watch.

May 4, 2008

Ristorante Piccolo Mondo - mmMMM!!

Last night, Ginger, my mom and I went out for supper, then to see a play (The Producers) at Neptune Theatre.

We first went to a fabulous Greek restaurant called OPA!, which is one of our very favourite eating establishments in Halifax. Alas, they were booked solid until 8pm (we arrived around 6pm without a reservation). Ok...on to plan B. We didn't have a plan B, except to stroll down Argyle Street and check out the other restaurants (which are many and varied.) We opted for Ristorante Piccolo Mondo. Afterward we all agreed that we were glad OPA! had been full, otherwise we may not have discovered this great spot.

Our waitress was from Quebec, with some Spanish ancestry, and was excellent. She was informative, amusing, attentive without being intrusive. The waitress told us that the owner's sister (Italian of course and whom they all called Nona) made three of the dishes on the menu herself - lasagna, ravioli, manicotti - all with homemade pasta. She made the ravioli with the freshest ingredients, from her own old recipe. How could I resist? I had the ravioli. Mom had lasagna and Ginger had salmone affumicato (not being overly hungry). For wine, I had a lovely Lamberti Pinot Grigio...Mom had a tasty red Italian wine (I forget the name).

Oh my goodness, my ravioli was absolutely delicious! Big squares of pasta filled with spinach and ricotta with a light tomato sauce over top, and a little glob of mascarpone. I told the waitress to give my compliments to Nona. Mom's lasagna was also fabulous, as was Ginger's smoked salmon (although the radicchio was a bit strong for her taste...and she didn't even try the capers!)

After we finished, having taken our time and lingered over these wonderful main dishes, I had espresso and tiramisu. Superb espresso, I must say. Tasted just like the espresso we drank in Italy. I'd had an espresso at another Halifax restaurant a while ago, which just tasted like slightly stronger than normal coffee. So I savoured this cup. The tiramisu was heavenly. So light and creamy, not too cakey, dashed with cocoa powder on top to contrast with the sweet filling.

I will definitely be returning to Piccolo Mondo. There were many other items on the menu I want to sample, and I want to try out their lunchtime panini as well.

Buono Appetit!!

May 9, 2008

My brush with fame...

We were looking through old photos recently, enjoying stories and memories of my brother-in-law, Floyd. I came across a couple photos from the March 2000 Halifax show of Blue Rodeo's "the days in between" tour.

Floyd was first cousins with the father of Blue Rodeo's bassist, Bazil Donovan. Often Bazil would send Floyd tickets and, sometimes backstage passes, to the concerts when the band played in Halifax.

Once I'd found these photos, naturally I had to go digging and find the rest of my memorabilia from that night. I'd bought the CD sometime beforehand, and Floyd decided that I MUST have autographs, so he took the CD insert and got all the band members to sign it. ('Cause that's just the kind of guy he was...) Then he introduced me to Jim and Bazil (I say casually, as if we're on a first name basis - ha!) and took a couple photos. As for keeping the ticket stub and back stage pass...I must confess to being a terrible packrat as far as that sort of thing. (I even still have the ticket from my grade 12 prom, for heaven's sake!!)

Continue reading "My brush with fame..." »

May 10, 2008

Ooo, shiny!!!

So I was doing laundry yesterday and finally had to admit that my dryer has reached the end of its useful life. I "dried" a load of towels for about two hours before finally giving up, taking them out of the dryer, and hanging them up to finish. The next load of laundry - sheets - dried just fine. As did the load of jeans. The load of socks, underwear and other lightweight stuff did not fare so well...again, out it came and was hung all around the house to finish drying. Ok, enough of this crap, I thought. When Dave got home, I said "we need a new dryer". He needed no convincing...he'd done the laundry last week...

Into Leon's we went this morning. We found a great, basic Maytag on sale. Of course there were lots of more (and a few less) expensive dryers, but this has all the settings I need. And it has 7 cubic feet of awesome drying space! Fewer loads are always a bonus in my mind.

A funny thing happened on the way to the store...

I decided it was time for a new stove as well. Our old one is more than 15 years old, the burner pans are disgusting, the burners themselves are loose, the oven was not self-cleaning (and since I work full time, you can imagine how often it was manually cleaned...) so was pretty cruddy. All in all, time for a replacement. Again, Maytag to the rescue. We chose this range, with super capacity oven. I love the smooth top, and the warming burner, and the self cleaning oven, and...

I know, I know...how exciting can new appliances be?? (Clearly I don't have enough excitement in my life if I get this worked up over a new dryer and stove!!) I even took photos, how sad is that...

Continue reading "Ooo, shiny!!!" »

May 13, 2008

Blue Rodeo

As a follow up to my earlier post about meeting Blue Rodeo, here is a sample of their music.

"Lost Together" is one of Dave's favourite songs ever, and I love it too. It is exquisitely beautiful.

Continue reading "Blue Rodeo" »

Delishes fishes dishes

That's the slogan of McKelvies, the restaurant where we went for lunch yesterday. And boy, is it true!!

I had the chef's special: smoked salmon and capers on a bed of penne, with a vodka-lemon sauce. Garnished with a sprig of watercress, so it looked as delightful as it tasted. Yum-yum-yummy!! Sorry I didn't get any photos, so you'll have to conjure up your own mental image and drool over that!

May 14, 2008

This is for girasoli...

In answer to your lobster comment...

Lobsters.JPG

...yes, Nova Scotia lobsters and Maine lobsters are pretty much the same! For me, it's hard to beat digging into a big ol' pile of the crustaceans as is. I don't need them shelled and fancied up with sauces, etc (although that type of meal is good too!!)

June 18, 2008

I won!! I won!!

Hooray, I won softdrink's contest!!! She had a contest to see who could guess how many earrings she puts in each ear. And I won! Woohoo!! I never win anything, this is so exciting! (Well ok, there was that one time when I was twelve and I won a hotel stay in Florida...we were already visiting Florida at the time so it was of no use, what are the odds of that? Oh and I won a dvd player from a site called the Geckoplex, but we never got it to work...we gave it away for parts...the person we gave it to got it working, though, so at least somebody got something out of it!)

Anyway, the prize in this contest was the winner's choice from a selection of six books. I chose I Capture The Castle by Dodie Smith.

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I hadn't actually heard of this book before Jill's contest, but it sounds wonderful and lighthearted and I think it will make a great summer read!

June 24, 2008

What do you mean, who am I buying this for?

I bought it for myself, of course. Yeesh, can't a grown woman buy herself a book without everyone thinking she's lost her marbles? Just because the book is aimed at preschoolers...hey, my inner child stomped her foot and said "I want that!!", what can I say?! :o)

I was browsing the bookshelves the other day (what else is new...) and I came across Guido's Gondola, a delightful children's book. Lovely illustrations, a heartwarming message told in rhymes, and Venice!! What more could one need from a book?

The blurb on the back is as follows:

"Guido spends his days shuttling tourists along the waterways of Venice in a small gondola. The kindhearted young rat enjoys the simple pleasures of his world–until his eyes are opened to the possibilities of all that could be accomplished with a larger, faster vessel. As Guido is persuaded to acquire bigger and better boats, life becomes increasingly complicated. Just how far will he go in his search for true satisfaction?

You and your child will giggle your way through this enchanting story of a small rat with a big heart, who learns the hard way that it’s the little joys of life that matter most."

The author includes this passage on her dedication page:

Better one handful with tranquility than two handfuls with toil and chasing after the wind. Ecclesiastes 4:6

Amen to that!

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June 25, 2008

Grow Up? No way!

Someone sent me this cartoon:

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I forwarded it along to another friend, adding the comment: "Woohoo, only six more years until I'm off the hook on the whole growing up thing - hopefully my inner child can hold off the dreaded maturity until then..."

But as I typed that message, it struck me: "Ok, wait a minute, I'm only six years away from being fifty????? Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhh...the horror...the horror..."

June 26, 2008

Let us go then...to the source!

It occurs to me that since I took my title from T. S. Eliot's The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock, I should actually post an entry about the poem on my blog.

As a teenager, I fell under the spell of Eliot's language; the rhythm and cadence of his poems were the proverbial music to my ears. I find that his imagery and personification bring a scene intensely to life. I had the great fortune of studying a couple of Eliot's poems with a brilliant English professor who unlocked many secrets of his, often extremely obscure, allusions. (Thank you Professor Tetreault, of Dalhousie University!!!)

The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock is a rather bleak poem for the most part, about a man who is, I think, afraid to live life with any hope or joy. Now I like to imagine how different Prufrock's answers to the questions would be if only he would let himself be open to possibility. Go, Alfred, GO!! Yes, you DO dare to disturb the universe!!

Eliot was under the influence of Dante Alighieri when writing this particular piece, having extensively read Dante's work in its original Italian form, and indeed prefaces the poem with a stanza from the Inferno.

According to wikipedia, one translation of those lines is:

"If I thought my answer were given
to anyone who would ever return to the world,
this flame would stand still without moving any further.
But since never from this abyss
has anyone ever returned alive, if what I hear is true,
without fear of infamy I answer you."

–Spoken by Count Guido da Montefeltro, a Damned Soul in the Eighth Circle of Hell in Dante's Divine Comedy, the Inferno, Canto XXVII, Lines 61-66.

There is an online study guide here for anyone interested in learning more about this strange work.

Continue reading "Let us go then...to the source!" »

June 29, 2008

Summer Reads Giveaway

Ooo, there's an awesome book giveaway going on at Hey Lady! Whatcha Reading.

Not that I want you to enter or anything because, ahem, that would dilute my chances...I'm just saying there's a cool contest on the go. (Oh, alright enter if you must!) I found out about this giveaway from my blogfriend fizzybeverage (aka softdrink) - thanks Jill !!

There are some great picks on the list too:
The Monster of Florence, by Douglas Preston
The Preacher and the Presidents, by Nancy Gibbs, Michael Duffy
Swine Not, by Jimmy Buffet, Helen Bransford
Miscarriage of Justice, by Kip Gayden
Trespassers will be Baptised, by Elizabeth Hancock
He Loves Me, He Loves Me Not, by Trish Ryan
A Summer Affair, by Elin Hilderbrand
Barefoot, by Elin Hilderbrand
Made in the U.S.A., by Billy Letts
Off Season, by Anne Siddons
A Rose by the Door, by Deborah Bedford
Remember Me, by Deborah Bedford
Child 44, by Tom Smith
Close, by Melinda Cole

I want them!! I want them ALLLLLLLL...muahahahahhahahahahahhaha!!!!!!
(sorry, got a little carried away in my glee at the thought of winning 14 books...)

July 12, 2008

My prize is here!

A few weeks ago, I posted that I had won Jill's contest.

This is just the quickest of entries to say that my book arrived in the mail on Friday!!

I plan to dive in as soon as I finish reading "Tempting Faith DiNapoli"...which will likely be tonight as I have only a few pages to go. I'm almost disappointed to finish it though because is such a great read. It's funny and sad and silly and serious and full of "hey, that happened to me, too" moments...you know, those little everyday embarrassments or thrills that happen during childhood and teenhood, but which rarely get written about because many authors stick to the "big issues". There are big issues in here too, mind you, but surrounded by insightful and fascinating everyday stuff. Seems to have gotten mixed reviews, but I am enjoying it very much.

Anyway, as for the newest addition to my library - "I Capture the Castle" - thanks a mill, Jill :) I like the bookmark, too. (Oh and Ginger says she loves your handwriting.)

July 16, 2008

City of Angels

City of Angels was apparently panned by the critics, but I love this movie. It gets me everytime I watch, tissues at hand, as I weep my way through. I cry at the scenes of intense longing, at the scenes of heartbreak, at the scenes of newfound joy...Miss Ninja was right, I really am a wimp!!

I don't know what to think about Meg Ryan...in the abstract, I have it in my head that I don't care for her acting, but inevitably I find her performances quite moving or quirky. She was wonderful in this vulnerable role.

Nicolas Cage, on the other hand, well now he's a another story...let's just say he's way up there on my laminated list. (A friend of Miss Ninja's said "the old guy from National Treasure - eeEW!" Apparently he's an acquired taste...I'd think it was just an age thing but she adores Johnny Depp, who's actually a tad older than Cage!) I love his intensity in this movie.

Ginger and I watched City of Angels this evening (I just bought it - found it in a bargain bin and couldn't resist)...she had not seen it before, and had no idea what to expect but judging from her reaction, it packed an emotional punch for her too. I'll ask her for her thoughts tomorrow since it's pretty late and she's gone off to bed. (I, on the other hand, will be up until 2am or so, waiting for Miss Ninja...she went to Newfoundland with a friend and her family. They planned to return earlier this evening, but the ferry was delayed for about 4 hours. I'll be a cranky girl tomorrow at work - I best warn my coworkers to run away, run away!!)

The City of Angels soundtrack is also wonderful, especially Sarah McLachlin's Angel, shown here:

July 31, 2008

Oh my pretty wine jug, I knew I'd find you someday!

Every since my first visit to Italy in March 2006, when we were served house wine in ceramic jugs of various sizes, shapes and patterns, I have wanted a wine jug of my own. I loved the casualness of house wine served in a ceramic pitcher, with tumblers to drink from. Plus I often buy Fontana di Papa's Castelli Romani (red) and Colli Albani (white), and would like to be able to have something smaller than a 2 litre bottle sitting on the table from which to refill my glass.

I've looked high and low but, until today, hadn't come across a pitcher that called my name. I recently bought a plain glass carafe for a buck or so at a junk store in Maitland, but considered that merely a stop gap measure until the perfect jug appeared.

MN and I were driving home from the Valley (we'd spent yesterday at the Berwick United Church camp, with Valerie and her daughter) and as we drew close to home, I suddenly thought that I should go to Winners/Homesense today. I had a feeling that I would find my wine jug. So along I went and...what should my eyes behold across the aisle? AHA, there IT is!! My perfect pitcher!! Clearly my awesome psychic powers were bang on today.

O frabjous day! Callooh! Callay! I chortled in my joy!

...to paraphrase a line from Jabberwocky.

Imagine my further delight when I flipped it over and discovered what was stamped on the bottom:

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Oh be still my Italy-obsessed heart...such raptures ensued that I enticed myself into buying two matching platters! (Have I mentioned that it doesn't take much to excite me?!?) But to take possession of all three pieces for a measly $40, how could I possibly have resisted? The pitcher is perfect for about a litre, but will hold up to a litre and a half.

Here are my beautiful new acquisitions:

Continue reading "Oh my pretty wine jug, I knew I'd find you someday!" »

August 9, 2008

Meme Me (50 things about me)

I copied this meme from Jill, who lifted it from Trisha, who stole it from Pam who had just seen it floating around out there…

1. Do you like blue cheese? only Dragon's Breath Blue.
2. Have you ever smoked a cigarette? Alas yes, but not for 15+ years.
3. Do you own a gun? Nope.
4. What flavor do you add to your drink at Sonic? Er, what's Sonic?
5. Do you get nervous before doctor appointments? No...oh wait, does this include mammograms? ;)
6. Do you like hot-dogs? No but will choke 'em down in a pinch.
7. Favorite Christmas Song? "We Three Kings of Orient Are" by Mojo Nixon & The Toadliquors! Seriously though, I'd say Kendall Payne's version of "O Come O Come Emmanuel".
8. What do you prefer to drink in the morning? A big glass of water chased with a cup of black coffee.
9. Can you do push-ups? Of course...well, a few...ok, maybe one or two.
10. What’s your favorite meal? I don't really have a favourite meal, it really depends on my mood and the season...one fave would be fish chowder and hot buttered biscuits, with blueberry crisp for dessert...but only if my mom made the crisp 'cause I suck at crisp-making.
11. What’s your favorite piece of jewelry? The small silver cross Dave gave me because he entirely supports my faith journey even though he doesn't share it.
12. Favorite hobby? Reading (except if we're talking 'obsession', in which case I change my answer to "Italy")
13. Do you work with people who idolize you? Of course, who wouldn't idolize me?! ;)
14. Name a trait that you hate about yourself? Hate? Nothing...but I'm not so fond of my annoying moments of insecurity.
15. (this question seems to be missing...)
16. Middle name? Margaret (which is also the name of my mother...and my mother-in-law...and my step-mother...Twilight Zone anyone?)
17. Name 3 thoughts at this moment: "Ouch, that coffee was hot." "When are Dave and the girls going to wake up?" "Ooo look, something shiny..."
18. Name 3 things you bought yesterday: A book (actually five books...), lunch, coffee.
19. Name 3 drinks you regularly drink? Water, coffee, milk.
20. Current worry right now? My daughter's upcoming foray into university life...this is also my current source of joy.
21. Current hate right now? I'm drawing a blank on this one...oh wait, I hate that my husband hates cats!
22. Favorite place to be? By the ocean...in my mom's kitchen...in my church sanctuary...in the Loggia dei Lanzi in Florence...the list goes on. Clearly I'm not so good at "pick one" questions :)
23. How did you bring in New Years? With sparklers and a bottle of Freixenet, out on the veranda, watching fireworks going off around the neighbourhood.
24. Favorite place to go? Favourite close to home place - Chebucto Head; Far away - Italy.
25. Name three people who will complete this? No clue.
26. Whose answer do you want to read the most? See answer to #25...
27. What color shirt are you wearing? White, with a brown moose on it.
28. Do you like sleeping on satin sheets? I've never slept in them.
29. Can you whistle? Yes, but am no competition for Roger Whittaker, that's for sure.
30. Favorite color(s)? Lemon yellow, raspberry red, aquamarine, the glowing colours of the buildings in Pisa.
31. Would you be a pirate? Only if Johnny Depp's on board...
32. What songs do you sing in the shower? Too many to name...a few examples would be hymns, Janis Joplin tunes, the Mamma Mia soundtrack.
33. Favorite girl’s name? Miss Ninja
34. Favorite boy’s name? Winston
35. What’s in your pocket right now? Lint...and a gum wrapper.
36. Last thing that made you laugh? Jill's responses to this meme.
37. Bed sheets as a child? Wet. Oh, you mean the pattern? :) Let me think...some wild orange, green and yellow concoction with cartoonish dragons or something.
38. Worst injury you’ve ever had? Deep bruising to my lower back from a head-over-heels fall down the basement stairs in the pitch dark while Hurricane Juan raged outside...it still aches occasionally.
39. Do you love where you live? Absolutely! I love my house and living in Nova Scotia.
40. How many tv’s are in your house? Four, including the one in my bedroom hiding under a pile of clothes. That gives me an idea for another answer to #21...I hate how much we spend on digital cable. I'd live without it, but I was outvoted...
41. Who is your loudest friend? I honestly don't know, I don't really think of my friends in those kinds of terms...
42. How many dogs do you have? Nary a one...our cat Winston is bigger than many small dogs, does that count?
43. Does someone have a crush on you? My husband, I should hope!
44. (another missing question...44 is my age though, just so you know.)
45. What is your favorite book? "I couldn’t pick just one." (What Jill said...)
46. What is your favorite candy? chocolate...dark chocolate
47. What is your favorite sports team? Yeah, I don't do sports...
48. What song do you want played at your funeral? "Shine, Jesus, Shine" or "Hallelujah, Your Love is Amazing" or "Jesus, You have come to the Lakeshore"...there are so many possibilities, but in any case, no dragging dirges at my funeral, thank you very much!
49. What were you doing at 12 AM last night? Reading...and listening to Dave snore...
50. What was the first thing you thought of when you woke up this morning? "What time is it?" Quickly followed by "Curses, why am I so wide awake at 5:07 on a Saturday morning?!?!!?!?"

August 22, 2008

Come closer and light up my hearts...

My friend Karl was talking about these funky "Proximity Based Geek Lovin'" t-shirts that he wants to get for himself and his partner.

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Now I want some too!! They are too fun and geeky sounding for words! There's even a video so you can see them in action:

I was joking with the girls last night that I was going to buy a couple, give one to the unsuspecting Miss Ninja...and someday when she wore it to school, I'd come and pick her up and our hearts would all light up! I think this is a marvellously fun plan...she was rather less amused. No doubt if I ever did carry out this nefarious scheme, she'd be forced to change schools since she would never be able to show her face at the old one again. Oh junior high students...they are so easily embarrassed. Although her best friend said she would wear one with me, so I guess these things are ok at that age as long as not with your own mother...although K does call me "mom" half the time.

Ooo, hey this could be the next great fundraiser for my church: "Love thy neighbour...the church-geek way!" We could all wear our t-shirts some Sunday, sing a rousing chorus of Shine Jesus Shine (Lord The Light Of Your Love Is Shining), and have us a big ole congregational love-in...lol

August 24, 2008

Beware of evil mutant attack squirrels...

Dave showed me this crazy story, which he read on the British Blades forum:

I never dreamed that slowly cruising on my motorcycle through a residential
neighborhood could be so incredibly dangerous! Little did I suspect. I was
on Brice Street - a very nice neighborhood with perfect lawns and slow
traffic. As I passed an oncoming car, a brown furry missile shot out from
under it and tumbled to a stop immediately in front of me.

It was a squirrel and must have been trying to run across the road when it
encountered the car. I really was not going very fast, but there was no time
to brake or avoid it -- it was that close! . I hate to run over animals, and
I really hate it on a motorcycle; but a squirrel should pose no danger to
me.

I barely had time to brace for the impact. Animal lovers, never fear.
Squirrels, I discovered, can take care of themselves!

Inches before impact, the squirrel flipped to his feet. He was standing on
his hind legs and facing my oncoming Valkyrie with steadfast resolve in his
beady little eyes. His mouth opened; and at the last possible second, he
screamed and leapt! I am pretty sure the scream was squirrel for, "Banzai!"
or maybe, "Die you gravy-sucking, heathen scum!" The leap was nothing short
of spectacular. He shot straight up, flew over my windshield, and impacted
me squarely in the chest. Instantly, he set upon me. If I did not know
better, I would have sworn he brought 20 of his little buddies along for the
attack. Snarling, hissing, and tearing at my clothes, he was a frenzy of
activity. As I was dressed only in a light T-shirt, summer riding gloves,
and jeans, this was a bit of a cause for concern. This furry little tornado
was doing some damage!

Picture a large man on a huge black and chrome cruiser, dressed in jeans, a
T-shirt, and leather gloves, puttering at maybe 25 mph down a quiet
residential street, and in the fight of his life with a squirrel.

And losing...

I grabbed for him with my left hand. After a few misses, I finally managed
to snag his tail. With all my strength, I flung the evil rodent off to the
left of the bike, almost running into the right curb as I recoiled from the
throw. That should have done it. The matter should have ended right there.

Continue reading "Beware of evil mutant attack squirrels..." »

August 29, 2008

I am SO glad I didn't book with Zoom!

Zoom Airlines have been grounded for financial reasons. From their website:

Hugh and John Boyle, the founders of Zoom, said tonight: "We deeply regret the fact that we have been forced to suspend all Zoom operations. It is a tragic day for our passengers and more than 600 staff.

"We are desperately sorry for the inconvenience and disappointment that this will cause passengers and those who have booked flights.

"We have done everything we can to support the airline and left no stone unturned to secure a re-financing package that would have kept our aircraft flying. Even late today we believed we had secured a new investment package to ensure future operations but the actions of creditors meant we could not continue flying. Having been unable to complete the investment package the directors of Zoom had no option but to instigate administration proceedings.

"The suspension of operations is a result of the exceptionally difficult trading conditions which have affected all airlines over the last 12 months. We have worked hard over the last seven years to build up a successful business but have incurred losses in the current year due to the unprecedented increase in the price of aviation fuel and the economic climate. The increase in the price of oil has added around $50 million to our annual operating costs and we could not recover that from passengers who had already booked their flights.

"We would like to thank the many thousands of passengers who chose to travel with Zoom during the last seven years and efforts of the airline's staff. We are extremely sorry for today's unavoidable actions."

CBC Nova Scotia and Halifax's Chronicle Herald are both carrying this story front and centre today. I feel so sorry for all the passengers who are stranded. According to one passenger, quoted in the Herald: "Taxi and limousine drivers at the arrivals area of the airport refused to take Zoom customers to nearby hotels because they did not want to miss more lucrative trips downtown." Finding a hotel room is also tough since many are full. According to CBC: "Passengers bedded down in the airport's observation deck with sleeping mats, pillows and blankets provided by the airport."

Someone must be working right this minute to pull Zoom ads from various spots though...Just a few moments ago, I was looking up movie times on Cinema Clock and the click ad on the right side of every page I visited was for Zoom. Suddenly, the area to the right is now blank. Oh wait, about five minutes later, a new ad appeared in that spot...not for Zoom obviously!

When I booked my tickets for my trip to Italy this October, I had looked at both Zoom and Canadian Affair. Their prices were comparable for Halifax-London flights, but the Canadian Affair dates fit my plans better, so I went with them. PHEW!!!

September 10, 2008

The Promise

I just love this song...
(Actually I love the whole album, but this song is especially beautiful.)

The Promise
Lyrics and music by: Tracy Chapman
Album: New Beginning

Lyrics:

Continue reading "The Promise" »

September 11, 2008

Infrequently

I must admit it took me a second to get this...and then I nearly spewed my coffee all over the place when I burst out laughing...


An elderly couple, who were both widowed, had been going out with each other for a long time. Urged on by their friends, they decided it was finally time to get married. Before the wedding, they went out to dinner and had a long conversation regarding how their marriage might work.

They discussed finances, living arrangements, and so on. Finally, the old gentleman decided it was time to broach the subject of their physical relationship. 'How do you feel about sex?' he asked, rather tentatively.

'I would like it infrequently' she replied. The old gentleman sat quietly for a moment, adjusted his glasses, then leaned over towards her and whispered: 'Is that one word, or two?'

September 24, 2008

Natural Highs...

Natural Highs

A woman I used to work with sent me this list as one of those "pass this along to your 20 closest friends and good things will happen" chain emails...naturally I did not pass it along to anyone (don't tell me what to do!) But thought I would share them here because they are lovely thoughts.

1. Falling in love.
2. Laughing so hard your face hurts.
3. A hot shower.
4. No lines at the supermarket.
5. A special glance.
6. Getting mail.
7. Taking a drive on a pretty road.
8. Hearing your favorite song on the radio.
9. Lying in bed listening to the rain outside.
10. Hot towels fresh out of the dryer.
11. Chocolate milkshake (vanilla or strawberry).
12. A bubble bath.
13. Giggling.
14. A good conversation.
15. The beach.
16. Finding a 20 dollar bill in your coat from last winter.
17. Laughing at yourself.
18. Looking into their eyes and knowing they Love you.
19. Midnight phone calls that last for hours.
20. Running through sprinklers.
21. Laughing for absolutely no reason at all.
22. Having someone tell you that you're beautiful.
23. Laughing at an inside joke with FRIENDS.
25. Accidentally overhearing someone say something nice about you.
26. Waking up and realizing you still have a few hours left to sleep.
27. Your first kiss (either the very first or with a new partner).
28. Making new friends or spending time with old ones.
29. Playing with a new puppy or kitten.
30. Having someone play with your hair.
31. Sweet dreams.
32. Hot chocolate.
33. Road trips with friends.
34. Swinging on swings.
35. Making eye contact with a cute stranger.
36. Making chocolate chip cookies.
37. Having your friends send you homemade cookies.
38. Holding hands with someone you care about.
39. Running into an old friend and realizing that some things (good or bad) never change.
40. Watching the expression on someone's face as they open a much desired present from you.
41. Watching the sunrise.
42. Getting out of bed every morning and being grateful for another beautiful day.
43. Knowing that somebody misses you.
44. Getting a hug from someone you care about deeply.
45. Knowing you've done the right thing, no matter what other people think.


Hard to choose, but I think my favourites are - 2 (and #13, except giggle fits often overtake me at the most inappropriate times...oops!), 33 (driving, talking, laughing...so wonderful!), 34 (oh the joy of swinging!) and 44 (hard to find anything more comforting than this).

Not hard to choose my least favourites though - 11 (not a milkshake person, just gimme the ice cream!) and 19 (not a phone person).

September 27, 2008

My first book...

Seems a certain someone has decided that if she keeps harassing me about writing a book, I will, in fact, write one, if only to shut her up! Well I have to tell you, she can be reeeaaalllllyy persuasive and alas, I can withstand the pressure no longer...

Ok Valerie, my oh-so-persistent friend, here in your honour...making its public debut...is my very first book. Oh, I just know it will be a best seller...

Continue reading "My first book..." »

October 1, 2008

Life after death...

"Is there really life after death??" Where the heck did THIS thought come from? Yikes, surely I have better things to think about on the eve of a trip to Italy than pondering the mysteries of life after death! Oh well, now that I'm on the subject...and have a few minutes to kill ('cause sure as heck I'm not starting anything new at work, and have finished all that I intended to do today anyway - which is a miracle in itself with my mind wandering all over the place like this!)

I guess the thought came because something reminded me of an Anthony Bourdain's No Reservations episode. I love that show - Tony will eat anything and enjoy it...well except for that nasty bit of offal served him in Namibia (unwashed warthog rectum cooked al dente on the ashes of an open fire...mmm...) If I hadn't seen that footage for myself, I'd be hard pressed to believe anyone could physically manage to swallow such a thing without some serious gagging! (Man, he almost managed to look like he enjoyed it...almost. Although I'm not so sure he wasn't sick afterward.)

Anyway, the show I was reminded of was based in Cleveland (just a tad less exotic than Africa!) and his guest was a guy named Harvey Pekar. I had never before heard of Harver Pekar, or his apparently very well known autobiographical series American Splendor, but this exchange cracked me up:

Anthony_Bourdain: "Does it give you satisfaction to know people will still be reading American Splendour in 50, 100 years?"

Harver Pekar: "Yeah, but I'll be dead then...when you're dead, it robs you of many pleasures."

Continue reading "Life after death..." »

December 13, 2008

Prop 8 - The Musical

Sara showed me this video last night on the Funny or Die website. We laughed our heads off. And then we talked a lot about the attitudes and hypocrisy highlighted by the skit, and how disturbing it is when the bible and religion are twisted to support prejudice. As a church goer who does support same gender marriage, I pray that the Supreme Court of California has the wisdom to nullify Proposition 8!

Enjoy!!

Continue reading "Prop 8 - The Musical" »

December 17, 2008

A Winter Poem

A friend sent me this the other day...hope you enjoy it as much as I did ♥

"I found this beautiful winter poem and thought it might be a comfort to you. It was to me, and it's very well written. I felt it really captured my own feelings about winter."

Continue reading "A Winter Poem" »

December 22, 2008

Have a jolly Polly Christmas...

As expected, I'm having a devil of a time keeping a certain little miss Polly out of the Christmas tree...

I'm just standing here beside the tree, what's the problem?
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I'll just close my eyes and she won't see me...
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Oops, that didn't work, I better duck behind this branch...
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So many pretty packages...I fit right in, don't you think?
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Hey, is this card for ME?
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I didn't have a chance to snap a photo of Polly actually climbing up the tree just now...I was too busy squawking at her to "GET DOWN FROM THERE!!!"

December 27, 2008

It doesn't take much...

...to make me happy :)

Kathy - happy to say YES, I did get that DVD I wanted - woohoo!!!!

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Mamma Mia was truly all I wanted this year. This movie just makes me happy - the singing, the dancing, the gorgeous Greek Isles scenery, the many entwined connections of the heart (mother-daughter, man-woman, lifelong girlfriends)...I can't ask for more than to feel lighthearted and happy for a couple hours!!

I did get a few other lovely gifts as well, though...

Continue reading "It doesn't take much..." »

December 31, 2008

Happy New Year!!!

Wishing all my friends a Happy, healthy, safe and blessed New Year!!!

We are supposed to be walloped with a blizzard here on the East Coast tonight, so many people have cancelled their New Year's Eve plans and are staying home. I was almost one of them, but when I called Valerie to say that I didn't think we would make it, she said that we can always stay at her place if the roads get too bad for driving. So...after making sure it wasn't too much of a pain for us to stay, I decided that we will still go and take her up on her offer, if need be. I feel a bit hesitant though, because she already has a good friend and her daughter staying with her (not to mention friends of her own children!), so am not convinced she needs the added hassle of finding room for Dave and I too, but...I was really looking forward to this evening, so we're going anyway! But am hoping the storm doesn't hit until later than expected and we can drive home...but if worse comes to worse, I guess we'll just have to play the part of those annoying party guests who overstay their welcome!

Ok, just as I finished typing the above note, the phone rang and it was Valerie...calling to reinforce that YES we are welcome to stay overnight and she even has a real bed for us. She figured I was home having second thoughts about going...I said no, not second thoughts exactly, but told her that I had literally just written in my blog about feeling hesitant about staying so what a bizarre coincidence that she called just at that moment. She said it was her psychic powers...I think she was just worried about missing out on the yummy, yummy eggrolls I am bringing! (I told her I was bringing some awesome meat eggrolls - Jean's Chinese Restaurant in Halifax has a buy one, get one free deal on right now - who can resist that?! I myself ordered 4 dozen for the price of 2...) lol

Salute! (A glass of champagne always goes down nicely on this night of the year!) and Peace to all on this wonderful night!

From the Environment Canada website, here is what we have to look forward to:

Continue reading "Happy New Year!!!" »

January 5, 2009

Time wasting 101

I had been planning to go to a UCW (United Church Women) potluck supper this evening, but my "date" had to cancel at the last minute so the potluck was off. (I would have gone anyway, except that I'm not actually a member of the UCW, nor did I know where the dinner was being held. I just happened to be at my friend's house the other day when she got a call reminding her of the upcoming potluck, so she asked if I wanted to go with her.)

So...plans gone astray, I wondered what to do with my evening?? You might guess that I would see it as an opportunity to do something useful, like catch up on my church treasurer stuff, or clean up the remnants of my holiday mess, but nope, you'd be wrong! I just spent my evening on the computer, reading blogs and Facebook stuff, and playing with Picasa creating photo collages. Ok, so not the most productive way to take advantage of an unexpectedly free evening, but I had fun...and the other stuff will get done another day! Seriously, I could teach a course on procrastination and wasting time...it's an artform I have perfected over the years. (I sometimes wonder how I get the "real" stuff done at all, but in the end, I always do...my path to completion just has a lot of twists and meandering, that's all!)

And now, without further ado, I share with you my wonderful creations. Prepare to be impressed and awed by my amazing collaging skills!! (And those of you who have used Picasa and know how idiotically simple it is can just hush up and let me bask in the praise of those who think this actually took talent on my part!! LOL)

Continue reading "Time wasting 101" »

January 7, 2009

A closer look...for Sandra

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That is the same collage as the one in my last entry, I'm just including it again as I tell the stories of some of the paintings in it. Oh, how I loved watching my grandmother paint!! Mostly she painted with a knife (or whatever the terminology is...looked like a knife or mini spatula of some kind), using oil paint, I think...was thick and came in tubes anyway, so her paintings are very textured. The paintings in the collage are all hanging in my mom's house. I am blessed to have several in my house also (see this entry if you want to check them out.)

Continue reading "A closer look...for Sandra" »

January 21, 2009

Random creeping...

Apparently a certain younger daughter of mine was creeping 'round the house with my camera recently. Here are some of her photos...

Me engrossed in something! (I had no clue this was even taken until I downloaded the photos from my camera onto my laptop):
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Continue reading "Random creeping..." »

February 1, 2009

And we're off...Feb blogging challenge, day one!

Let the Second Annual February Blog Extravaganza begin!!!

Except, er, I don't actually have an idea for today's post...

How about if I post some photos I took this morning?

I was first to arrive for our pre-service choir practice, and instead of heading straight into the chapel to wait for the others, I went into the sanctuary. For me, there is something so wonderful about being in this place all by myself. In the stillness and silence, I feel calmed and strengthened. In the absence of other people, I feel not at all alone, the presence of the Spirit surrounds and fills me. It seems an incredible blessing to feel so entirely at home, with such a sense of belonging, in this amazing and awesome place of worship.

While enjoying my commune with God in the beautiful sanctuary this morning, I snapped some photos. Continue on to view those...

Continue reading "And we're off...Feb blogging challenge, day one!" »

February 3, 2009

A mixed bag...

...of precipitation is expected today. Here's the current weather warning for my area:

Warnings Hants County 4:42 AM AST Tuesday 3 February 2009 Snowfall warning for Hants County continued

Total snowfall amounts between 15 to 30 centimetres today and tonight.

A low pressure centre will move up the U.S. eastern seaboard today. The low will become a winter storm and pass just to the east of Nova Scotia tonight. This will result in a mixture of precipitation types along the Atlantic coast of mainland Nova Scotia and Cape Breton where snow..Ice pellets..Freezing rain and rain can be expected. Away from the Atlantic coast..Heavy snow with local amounts up to 30 centimetres can be expected. Strengthening northeasterly winds will give rise to blowing snow leading to reduced visibilities later this afternoon.

Conditions will improve overnight as the storm centre moves away to reach Newfoundland by Wednesday morning.

...also a mixed bag of ramblings in my post today!

Andrea (friend/coworker) arrived in the office looking decidely dishevelled. Iris and I laughed at what we thought was bedhead, but come to find out, Andrea was almost run over by a bus this morning - yikes!!! She said she and the bus were literally nose to windshield, very scary. A bystander on the sidewalk said he thought the bus actually did hit her, but she said no, it stopped with a couple inches to spare. Wow. I always have a running joke about making sure to share my knowledge "just in case I am run over by a bus tomorrow"...perhaps not such an unlikely event after all if this is the caliber of driving that goes on in Halifax!

Continue reading "A mixed bag..." »

February 5, 2009

Tempest World Cuisine

Just heard about a restaurant in Wolfville Nova Scotia, called Tempest World Cuisine that sounds wonderful.

Naturally I had to google it, and the one-line teaser read

"a haven from the hurry up world, serving sophisticated food in a attractive environment, internationally recognized chef."
Well, I simply had to check this out further...

From their website:

"From around the world to the heart of the Annapolis Valley - evocative of faraway places and fond memories, glorious meals and great companions. To challenge your senses. Tempest was created to be a refuge from the storm - a haven to indulge in earthly pleasures.

Carefully selected wines from our province and all corners of the globe. Ingredients sourced locally and presented with artistic flair in an environment designed to complement the dining experience. Sustainable choices. Personal relationships with suppliers and producers. This is Tempest.


"...There's nothing ill can dwell in such a temple: Good things will strive to dwell within it..."
Shakespeare, The Tempest


We welcome you to join us in beautiful Wolfville, NS for lunch and dinner. We are less than one hour from Metro Halifax. Whether in our contemporary dining room or under the elms on our quiet patio, far from the madding crowd. Chef Michael Howell and Mary Harwell look forward to seeing you soon."

The chef even runs a blog on the website. The Feb 2 entry is about the Slow Food movement, and the related Slow City movement, and says

"after several years of deliberating, the Town of Wolfville has decided to begin the process of Citta Slow (Slow City) designation."

According to wikipedia, the Cittaslow movement originated in Italy in October 1999. Among other claims to fame, Wolfville is the town of my birth, so if it gets designated as a Cittaslow, I will have yet one more connection to Italy! Yeah ok, it's a stretch, but I'll take any connection I can get!! I'm sure I must have been Italian in a previous life...

Continue reading "Tempest World Cuisine" »

February 9, 2009

Is backdating still cheating if I couldn't log in at the right time? ;)

So I went to login to Moveable Type and post my daily entry last night...and here's what came up on the otherwise blank screen:

Content-type: text/html 'D:\Websites\InetDomain\slowtrav\wwwroot\mtype\mt.cgi' script produced no output

Hmph, so much for my perfect February blogging record, I thought grumpily. Then decided I will not to have a gap in my calendar simply because of a system glitch, so am backdating this for Feb 9!

Um, I didn't actually have anything earth shattering to blog about though, so here are some photos of the cats.

Continue reading "Is backdating still cheating if I couldn't log in at the right time? ;)" »

February 13, 2009

My new Exercise Routine

Having read Sandra's fantastic entry chock full of exercising tips, I am inspired to begin a new routine of my own:

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Continue reading "My new Exercise Routine" »

February 16, 2009

Red Pepper Jelly

Well today is one of those days...I simply have no idea what to write about. I have my letter "O" from Jill, but have to leave that list for another day when I start writing earlier than 10pm! Unfortunately I didn't have any blog dreams recently like Eden. The big excitement of my day was serendipitously obtaining free tickets to the play "Doubt" at Neptune, and making plans to go with Valerie. We were originally planning to go see the play as a double date with our husbands, but then two free tickets landed in my lap, so...we are dumping the hubbies and going just the two of us. (Thanks to my sister Lynn for this most excellent gift...thanks to Lynn's friend Cathy who was unable to use her tickets so gave them to Lynn, who had babysitting issues and was not able to use them herself...and thanks to my daughter Sara who was first offered the tickets because she has to see this play for her English class but turns out her paper is due long before the date of these particular tickets, so they have passed on to me...like I said, serendipity!! Oh and did I mention that the tickets are literally for the night of my birthday - how cool is that?! But that date is more than a month away, so I will save the Doubt writeup for another day.)

So...

Red Pepper Jelly

It's very pretty! Just look at this glowing orange radiance:
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Continue reading "Red Pepper Jelly" »

March 3, 2009

On hiatus?

I probably won't post many entries over the next while, because much has fallen by the wayside this past month of daily blogging! I gots a lot of catching up to do! :)

In the meantime...here are some thoughtful and inspiring words from Jann Arden, which I read in the Jan-09 issue of Chatelaine while awaiting my mammogram, and they so resonated with me that I quickly scribbled them on a scrap of paper and stuck it in my purse to re-read later...

"You know, you have a chance every day when you wake up to recreate yourself. My dad says 'you are not what you did, but what you will do.' I think too many people live too long on old glories, but that's not what life is".

Words of wisdom. I must contemplate them further while I knit...

Continue reading "On hiatus?" »

May 4, 2009

Three months' work down the drain!

The current top story on CBC Nova Scotia:

Nova Scotia's minority Tory government falls

Nova Scotia's opposition MLAs voted down a finance bill Monday, prompting the fall of the minority Progressive Conservative government and setting the stage for an election...

You can read the details CBC or the Chronicle Herald, if interested. I'll just point out that this line in the CBC write up:

The budget dies with the fall of the government.

basically means the last three months of my life were all for naught, since that time was spent working on the budget for my department. Unless the Tory government is re-elected and sticks with the existing budget. That would, of course, be the easiest outcome for me professionally...although am personally hoping for a change in government. The timing is such that we'll most likely be knee deep in budget preparations again during June and July. However, my position is not normally involved in budgets, so I really don't know what I'll be doing. Last time I was supposed to return to my regular accounting duties, our Deputy Minister wanted me to stay on budgets (and I must say it is great for the ego to have your work appreciated at that level!) But who knows if that will be the case again.

All I can say with certainty is that I am not changing my July vacation plans as a result of all this! Come hell or high water, I am going to spend two wonderful weeks in Newfoundland with my best friend and our families. And that, says me, is that!

May 23, 2009

Hey my blog looks really cool in Polish!

I know, it doesn't take much to amuse me, but...I just noticed from my stats that someone has been reading my blog translated into Polish...how cool is that??! I find it amazing that people read translated versions of my blog - first Italian, and now Polish - I love it!! :)

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Here's a little bit of a closer look at the current main page in three different languages:

Continue reading "Hey my blog looks really cool in Polish!" »

June 9, 2009

My inner child strikes again! :)

Who wants to work in a blah office? Not me!! During our weekend at IAC, we went to the Dollar Store a couple times. It was only a short walk from campus, and gave us something to do during the excessive amount of free time we had to fill. Well, be still my heart...what did I spy, but the most wonderful and colourful window stickies...so of course I had to buy them. (Hey, it was the Dollar Store, so wasn't much of a splurge!)

They really brighten up my window...and bring a smile to many of my coworkers. People have done a double take on walking past my door and backed up for a second look. One woman said "you really are the biggest kid around here!" Yup...that's me!

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June 11, 2009

Life, I love you, all is groovy!

I grabbed a Simon & Garfunkle CD on my way out the door this morning, and sang along to their gorgeous harmonies while driving into work. So many wonderful tunes, but one in particular sang to me today - I played it three times in a row in the car and was still humming it walking into my building (people give me weird looks about that sometimes...oh well!) I have loved this song since I was a little girl (grew up listening to my mom's and Aunt Phyllis's S & G albums - their music is in my blood, I think!) This really fits my mood this morning. In spite of grey, drizzly skies, my soul is soaring and my heart is singing Life, I love you, all is groovy!! ♥ I don't even know why I am flying so high today, maybe because Dave is supposed to get home this evening (although he's only been away since Monday morning), maybe because I am so excited that our visit to Newfoundland is only a month away...whatever the reason, I embrace this joyful mood and want to share it! :)

I found this wonderfully goofy video on youtube...don't these two guys look like they are having a blast? I celebrate their childish delight! I so want to go outside and skip around in the grass right now! :)

Continue reading "Life, I love you, all is groovy!" »

July 5, 2009

Random images

Just some random photos I happened to have gathered on my computer and feel like sharing right now...


Wild strawberries...picked from my front yard (before Dave mowed them off!)
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Butterfly cloud...I posted this photo the other day, but then found the most marvellous poem to match it.
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This exhilarating poem makes my heart sing and my soul soar...here's the text in case it's hard to make out in the photo:

Light

Light, my light, the world-filling light,
the eye-kissing light,
heart-sweetening light!

Ah, the light dances, my darling, at the center of my life;
the light strikes, my darling, the chords of my love;
the sky opens, the wind runs wild, laughter passes over the earth.

The butterflies spread their sails on the sea of light.
Lilies and jasmines surge up on the crest of the waves of light.

The light is shattered into gold on every cloud, my darling,
and it scatters gems in profusion.

Mirth spreads from leaf to leaf, my darling,
and gladness without measure.
The heaven's river has drowned its banks
and the flood of joy is abroad.

Continue reading "Random images" »

August 12, 2009

Fun at work...

Who says civil servants don't have fun at work? Just got this email from our departmental "ReThink Committee", which is a group of volunteers doing their part to make us more environmentally friendly. (Round of applause for them!)

***************************************************************
Subject: Climate Impact of Airplanes


Did you know that aviation has by far the greatest climate impact of any transport mode? CO2 emissions from international aviation currently account for 4 to 9 % of the total climate change impact of human activity, and they continue to grow.

That’s why the ReThink committee wants you to test your flying skills - at a Paper Airplane Flying Contest!

When: August 19, 2009
Time: Contest 1 at 12:30, or Contest 2 at 1:00
Place: 8 North Training Room

Bring your own printer or copier paper from the recycle bin so you can build your own machine. You’ll have about 10 minutes, then we’ll have a flight competition and award a prize for the airplane that flies the farthest.

If you don’t want to build or fly, come and cheer on your favourite flyer! Or just come to learn about carbon offset credits and becoming carbon neutral.

The ReThink Committee

P.S. If it’s been a while since you built a paper airplane, check out these web sites:

www.paperairplanes.co.uk/planes.php

www.10paperairplanes.com/

www.bestpaperairplanes.net/

***************************************************************

And now, if you'll excuse me, I must go practice my airplane construction technique! ;)

November 15, 2009

Laid low by the flu...

It seems that, like our blog friend Sandra, my daughter Sara, and my friend Mark, I too have succumbed to the flu. At first I tried to pretend it was just a cold, but since my symptoms match those of H1N1, my pretence didn't last long.

I must say though, the information on H1N1 symptoms is rather conflicting depending on which website you check. However, the US Dept of Health, the Public Health Agency of Canada, and the Center for Disease Control all list the same set of symptoms: fever, cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, body aches, headache, chills, fatigue, and possibly vomiting or diarrhea. The Mayo Clinic has a similar list, but also includes eye redness and burning, and loss of appetite.

The main decision factor for H1N1, as far as I can tell, are the sudden onset and severity of symptoms, particularly the cough and fever. H1N1 apparently hits within hours, whereas seasonal flu and colds develop over a period of a couple/few days.

I was fine until felt a bit of a cough coming on late Friday. I woke up Saturday morning with a fever, chills, a very painful chest cough and my body felt like I'd been hit by a bus and thrown against the building across the road. My eyes have definitely been burning today and yesterday, so it was interesting to find that listed as an H1N1 symptom on the Mayo clinic site. I'm also having an occasional brief flutter in my chest, not sure what that's about but imagine is nothing since there's no mention of it as being something to watch for. I haven't noticed a significant loss of appetite, although come to think of it, I haven't been eating much in the way of solids. Mostly I've just had popsicles, crappy tea and chicken soup. (Valerie made me home made chicken soup and brought it over yesterday...I've never had anyone do that for me before, it really lifted my heart. ♥) I'm not sure about the stuffy nose. My sinuses feel a bit full and are throbbing along with my head, but my nose isn't runny...except for the moments I am overcome with tears of frustration because I hate being sick.

And it sucks having to miss out on things because of being sick. I was supposed to go to Truro with Valerie today. (She was guest preaching at a First United's anniversary celebration and I was going along just to share a special occasion with her because that's what friends do.) But given the strongly emphasized message to quarantine oneself at the first sign of swine flu, it would not have been very responsible of me to go along and spread my germs, so I stayed home.

I now understand why people use the expression "laid low" in relation to illness ... I feel low in every possible way: physically, mentally, emotionally, spiritually. Dave's gone away hunting. I'm honestly glad he gets to have his hunting trip and wouldn't have asked him to cancel, but...I also wish he was here right now to give me a hug, I really could use it :(

Well, I'm too tired to write anything more right now. I'm hoping to be one of those who has a relatively mild, short lived bout of swine flu...I am so not enjoying feeling this draggy and low.

November 21, 2009

Catching up...

Well, I'm finally getting my energy back after having the flu all week. I can't believe the negative impact this flu had on my mood. I was down in the dumps, half weepy even, all week. (Imagine PMS on steroids...) My mood lifted a bit Wednesday, but it was back in the dumps Thursday and early Friday. I think by that point, my low mood was partly from the flu itself, partly due to my frustration at still feeling so fatigued, and partly due to my feeling like a pain in neck to all those around me. I was tired of being tired, and tired of having to ask people to do things for me.

My sister lifted my spirits late Friday morning with great phone chat, convincing me not to feel bad about leaning on people when I need to. She also reminded me of a Sesame Street skit where some muppets had to knock on someone's door, needing help for some reason, and while they were waiting for the person to answer, got themselves all worked up with imagined reasons why that person won't want to help. So when the unsuspecting person finally opened the door, they snapped out something in an accusatory tone like "fine, don't help then" and stormed away. I laughed and said good grief, that was me on the phone earlier with Valerie, who was coming to pick M and I up later that afternoon...good thing she loves me!

All week long, I had my fingers and toes crossed that I'd be recovered enough by Friday night to go to the Buddy Wasisname and the Other Fellers concert. We had gotten tickets a month ago and were all really looking forward to an evening out, dinner and the show. Fortunately, I was up for it, although was still quite tired and my appetite wasn't fully back to normal. (In reality, I would had to have been pretty much on death's door before I would have missed this, but happily, that wasn't the case!)

We went to the Cellar in Bedford for supper and had a fantastic meal. We shared a terrific appetizer - artichoke terrine with toasted rounds of bread. SO yummy!!!! Mind you, I was then too full to finish my entree. I had chicken and sundried tomato on fettucini egg noodles. I ate maybe half of it, although it was quite delicious. Can't recall what the others had, but all the dishes were tasty. And our waitress was great, had a fun sense of humour. For example, we'd all asked for glasses of water but none materialized...so then Valerie asked for a pitcher of water, adding "and glasses" since we hadn't gotten any the first time we'd asked. When the waitress brought the water pitcher, she'd stuck four straws in it as a joke! I thought it was pretty funny. My coffee didn't taste good to me though, which oddly enough seems to be a common thing with this flu. Mark said he found the same thing when he had this flu, and afterward I remembered reading another friend's facebook status about being turned off coffee while she had the flu.

The Buddy Wasisname concert was great, I thoroughly enjoyed it! I had no idea they were such talented musicians, in addition to being very funny. I don't think their humour would translate well if I tried to explain it, or share any of their jokes though, so I won't even try. Suffice to say that if they come your way, you should go see them. I posted a youtube video I found of one of their songs a while ago in this entry. Alas, they didn't play it during the concert, but here are a couple that they did play. (I just found the videos on youtube, I didn't make them.)

Continue reading "Catching up..." »

December 29, 2009

Choir potluck - rice salads

We had a Christmas potluck at our choir director's house last night. I must confess the word potluck strikes a tiny chord of terror in my heart! Ok, not so much terror as anxiety. My limited experience with potlucks has tended to be at work gatherings where you have to decide way in advance what you are bringing, record your selection on a sign up sheet, and then pray that you have time to make it and remember to bring it on the appropriate day. There always seems to be an air of "it better be perfect" floating over the whole thing. Not to mention that half my office always seems to be counting calories, so I never know what to make! Too much stress!!

Happily, potlucks centered around church seem to be far less stressful...ok, so that is partly because I usually just bring my appetite and my friend Valerie brings enough food for both of us, but whatever...minor technicalities :) But I told her that I would bring the food for our choir potluck, so she could just show up and eat for a change. The day of potluck arrived and I hadn't really given food much thought. I remembered a really easy artichoke and rice salad recipe I'd seen on Eden's blog, and a roasted corn and wild rice salad recipe I'd seen on Deborah's blog. I couldn't decide which to make, so I made both. (Click on the links to get the recipes, I won't bother retyping them here.)

Mark and Val were already at Lorraine's house when Dave and I arrived. I handed the dishes to Val so I could take off my coat and boots, and said "which one do you want to bring?" She said she'd take credit for whichever one tasted the best! Each was quite yummy though so, as we sat around the table eating, she decided she had made both of them. One of the other woman could tell from the snickering that Val really hadn't made them at all, and wondered who had...at which point Mark jumped in, saying he'd slaved over a hot stove all day and now here was his wife taking credit for his efforts. Too funny!!

Here are photos of the salads...

Continue reading "Choir potluck - rice salads" »

March 15, 2010

Plantar fasciitis

I woke up yesterday morning with a sore heel. My first thought was that it was bruised, because that's what it feels like. And it may very well be that I stepped on a rock or something and bruised my heel pad, although surely if I stepped hard enough to leave a bruise, I'd remember, wouldn't I? Or maybe I have an early warning sign of plantar fasciitis. From what I've read, and from what a few Facebook friends have shared, my symptoms might fit the profile of plantar fasciitis. (You can read about this condition here or you can google it for more information than you ever wanted to know!)

Mind you, the wiki page says: "Sometimes ball-of-foot pain is mistakenly assumed to be derived from plantar fasciitis. A dull pain or numbness in the metatarsal region of the foot could instead be metatarsalgia (aka stone bruise), also called capsulitis." I'm not diagnosing myself with this, or any particular condition. If my heel pain persists, I'll be going to see my doctor for sure. But I am concerned enough to take some precautions, like stretching exercises and also might pop up to the pharmacy and see what orthotics they have for arch support. I do have high arches, and that increases risk of getting plantar fasciitis. Women are also more prone to getting it.

According to this article on CBC's website, causes can include overloading the plantar fascia by "increasing your exercise activity too much, too quickly — like adding too many kilometres to your running or walking program." Say, perhaps power walking a km to meet a friend and then walking together another 3-5 kms over the lunchhour? (Which I did Friday, not that walking 5 kms is unusual for me, but I haven't been out much lately so am a tad out of shape.) So I figure better safe than sorry, and certainly adding some stretching to my daily routine won't be a bad thing in any case!

Here's a video I found on youtube that has a good summary of this condition and ways to help ease the pain and prevent flareups:


September 1, 2010

A neat coincidence

I was just browsing the threads on SlowTalk, and a post by LisaF in the Blogging Talk section caught my eye. Lisa has a new blog called Life is Good. I clicked over and the first entry I saw was one called It's the Little Things, about the little things she loves about Rome. Well - be still my heart - ROME!!! Many of the things she loves strike a chord in me...the shrines, late night walks, watching the Vespas, wondering what's behind those doorways...sigh, I wish I was returning to Rome in November, like Lisa! What also caught my eye was her photo...as soon as I saw it, I thought hey, I've seen that shrine!! So I had a look through my albums and voilà, there it was, with a caption indicating that it is in the Lateran area...

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October 2, 2010

My new blog...

I've had a kind of growing sense that my thoughts don't quite fit with the Slow Travel blog theme. Slow Travellers are obviously a diverse lot with varied interests, but the Slow Travel focus and philosphy is (duh!) travel. And, as you will have noticed, my entries are rarely travel related! At this point in my life, my journeying is of a different kind...walking my faith path. The direction I have chosen is following a call to ministry, rather than following a call to far off places. Mind you, I am utterly determined to return to la bella Italia one of these days :), but future trips will be few and far between.

So I've decided to let this particular blog lie fallow for the time being, and have created a new blog on Blogger. I do have another reason for the switch, which is that it will be easier for me to share my photos and share things like videos (must confess I find it rather tedious uploading photos on this blog and had already been thinking of switching to Blogger.)

I expect the new site will have much the same content as this one...reflections on how I try to live out my faith, music, photos, etc...as well as silly memes and quizzes and other such nerdiness that I enjoy! I hope you will come and join me over on my new blog!!!

Ciao!
Anne :-)

Edited to add the link to my new blog...I am now posting HERE.

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