Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Ricky Martin and Fantasy Real Estate

Was just reading over on Towelroad that Ricky Marin has purchased an island off the coast of Rio for an estimated $8 million. Yeah baby! I'd likes to have me my own island too! (Of course, Brad and I wouldn't mind sharing one with Ricky, either!) Here's a clip of Sr. Martin:

For about the same price ($7,944,000 Canadian) you could buy a castle in Somerset, England:

This week's Super7 lotto is an estimated $20,000,000. Everybody's got a dream, right?

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Too Strange for Words

I was surfing on-line newspapers and happened upon this article from the Sydney Morning Hearld. It's about West Australian Opposition Leader, Troy Buswell. He apparently first denied and then later admitted to sniffing a woman's chair. A-hem... Yes, you read that right:

On Monday, Mr Buswell was accused of lifting a woman's chair in his office in 2005, sniffing it in front of her and later repeating the act in front of staff members. The woman, who does not want to be named, said she was "shocked and outraged and I told him

You can read the whole thing here.

Sheesh. The mind boggles. Even George Bush only tried to give Angela Merckel a neck massage! What next, gentle readers, what next?

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Ah mes amis...

OMFG!!! We just got back from the Met broadcast of La Fille du Régiment. It was THE best opera that we have seen this season. Completely enjoyable and fulfilling in every respect. The voices sent shivers down my spine and it was, in places, laugh-out-loud funny; it is an opera comique afterall. The two main characters - Juan Diego Florez as Tonio and Natalie Dessay as Marie, were outstanding, both in their acting performances and their singing. Both are very demanding roles - the tenor has NINE top Cs in a single aria! - and they both rose to the challenge, as did all of the other singers and the chorus. If you have never been to an opera before, this would definitely be a great initiation. All of the lyrics are in subscript, so it's no problem following the action. Today's performance is being rebroadcast on May 10. I would highly, highly recommend it. This production has travelled from London to Vienna to New York, with today being the finale in NYC. Here is a clip from the Covent Garden performance. Juan Diego Florez (from Peru) is absolutely adorable. Enh... Scratch that. He's a hunk! Check it out:

Skinny Saturday 9

It's another beautiful sunny day here. And the snow is officially GONE! Yay! I raked our front lawn last Sunday and got 4 big bags of cultch off it. (In the fall, we get about 35 to 40 bags of leaves off our front and back lawns.) We're off to another Met opera broadcast this afternoon - La Fille du Régiment. Should be good. Oh, and here's a heads up regarding what looks like a great series on PBS starting tomorrow night: Carrier. It's about life on board the aircraft carrier USS Nimitz. It looks fascinating, even if you're not into things military. DADT is sure to come up.

Happy Saturday all! And here they are, the boyz of Skinny Saturday 9:

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Savage Grace

Hmmmm. This looks good. Savage Grace with Julianne Moore. It's about the 1972 Barbara Daly Baekeland murder case. U.S. release on May 30/08.

Thursday Funnies

With a big hat tip to Don!

Don't you hate when this happens!?

50 ccs Ephinefrin STAT!

American Psycho Chef

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

an april poem

by e e cummings

anyone lived in a pretty how town
(with up so floating many bells down)
spring summer autumn winter
he sang his didn't he danced his did
Women and men(both little and small)
cared for anyone not at all
they sowed their isn't they reaped their same
sun moon stars rain
children guessed(but only a few
and down they forgot as up they grew
autumn winter spring summer)
that noone loved him more by more
when by now and tree by leaf
she laughed his joy she cried his grief
bird by snow and stir by still
anyone's any was all to her
someones married their everyones
laughed their cryings and did their dance
(sleep wake hope and then)
they said their nevers they slept their dream
stars rain sun moon
(and only the snow can begin to explain
how children are apt to forget to remember
with up so floating many bells down)
one day anyone died i guess
(and noone stooped to kiss his face)
busy folk buried them side by side
little by little and was by was
all by all and deep by deep
and more by more they dream their sleep
noone and anyone earth by april
wish by spirit and if by yes.
Women and men(both dong and ding)
summer autumn winter spring
reaped their sowing and went their came
sun moon stars rain

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Some Underworld Spy

At the pool the other day there was this absolute hunk. And I do mean absolute. He could have starred in his own vodka ad. 24 yo maybe, 6', sculpted body, wearing speedos down to (and including) his pubic hair. His only problem was that he KNEW he was drop-dead gorgeous, which is fine in and of itself, but he also wanted everyone else to know that he was drop-dead gorgeous. He was a perfect peacock. He strutted around the pool several times before geting his big toe wet. He talked to the lifeguard, walked around some more, and finally deigned to get in the pool and swim a few laps (which he did very well, incidently). Then he got out again, walked around the pool again, adjusted his goggles, stretched, etc... I really had to smile. Hey if you've got it, I suppose you may as well flaunt it. The following is dedicated to him (God, you gotta love Carly):


Are these bodybuilders or roasted chickens? A number of years ago I went to a couple of local bodybuilding competitions and the guys were in shape, muscular, in a well-proportioned way and, well, hot. These dudes look like someone forgot them on the rotisserie overnight. Downright scary.

Oh, and Happy Earth Day! Do something nice for the planet. And turn off the sun lamp - these fellas are done!

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Super Sunday

Today was a beautiful day here. Sunny and warm. I raked our front lawn this morning because there were 3 layers of dust and dirt and grime on it from the past winter. I got 4 bags of leaves and other culch off it. Then I baked a double batch of G.I. (glycemic index) muffins, half of which I will freeze. I eat one at 10:00 a.m. at work and another at 3:00 p.m. They are supposed to make me not want a cinnamon roll or a bag of chips from the cafeteria. Most of the time it works.

Way back in my 25 things about me, I said that I had had a couple of out of body experiences. I thought I might tell you about those now. There have been two. One was run-of-the-mill, ho-hum, drug induced: I was in high school. I was down on our shore (my mother's property on a large lake) with some friends. We were smoking marijuana. For some reason, I decided to hyperventilate and then hold my breath. That lead to what I suppose some might call a mini seizure. We were sitting on the rocks and the next thing I remember was screaming, "Party, party, help me, I'm getting hurt!" I was flailing around on the rocks and my friends were freaking out. It truly was an out of body experience, however, as in my mind, time had no meaning. I could have been "out" for mere seconds, for a couple of minutes, or for years. It was the oddest sensation. Time had no meaning. I could hear myself calling out, but it wasn't me. It was a very strange experience and one that I did not want to repeat.

My second out-of-body experience also happened on our property the lake. I was in Grade 9 or 10, and I had stayed the night at my brother's cottage on the shore - and I hadn't been taking drugs the night before! I woke up fairly early in the morning, and right away, I realized that something was different. Every pore, every cell in my body was alive. I could feel each one. Individually. It was an amazing sensation. I got up and went outside. It was a beautiful, clear, bright, June morning. The lake was sparkling, the leaves were swaying in the light breeze, the birds were singing. And I felt that I was a part of it all, that I was connected to each and every thing around me - the lake, the trees, the birds, nature itself. I was - literally - one with everything. Everything resonnated. I was at one with and at peace with the universe. Being the age I was, it really didn't sink in just how spectacular this moment was until later. I continued on, walking up the field to my mother's house. It was all like a dream. Bright, vibrant colours and noises. I remember at one point I knelt down to smell a wild strawberry blossom. I can still smell it... But then, just as quickly as it had come, it went. I could feel it fading away and wanted desperately to try to keep it, but to no avail. The entire experience, I suppose, lasted perhaps 10 minutes. But it was amazing. And I have NEVER experienced anything like it again. It refer to it now as my moment of enlightenment or clarity. It must be what the Dalai Lama and other Buddhist practionners experience on a daily basis. To me, it was Nirvana - it was all connected and it was all good. My only regret is that I didn't appreciate the experience fully until quite a bit later and that it was so fleeting. Try as I might, I can't reproduce it. It was spontaneous and random. I hope I will find it again one day.

Some random pics from the weekend:

Almost a full moon (from our deck):

Our back yard (most of that snow is now gone):

Tofu/chickpea stew (recipe will follow):

Our rhubarb patch!

A stubborn patch of snow!

Saturday, April 19, 2008

L'été indien

It's spring here, which means that the sap is flowing in the woods. And on my computer, evidently. Do you know Joe Dassin? If not, allow me to intoduce you. It's a nice (if somewhat sappy) song, from the 1970s I think. Check it out:

Skinny Saturday 8

Samedi encore; et enfin. Saturday at last. Just finished my 21 km bike. Was a good day on Thursday with mom. We got the power of attorney thing done with my lawyer and had a good meal at the Chinese restaurant. Was a nice outing for her, I think.

Brad had dinner at his parents' last night and I went for drinks with Don and Mar where we were able to sit out on the deck of the taproom. Unbelievable! All of a sudden it's practically summer! People were thronging to outdoor decks and terraces. So nice after the incredibly LONG winter we have had.

In other news, my neice who is a travel agent e-mailed me the other day and told me about the great fam (short for familiarization) trip she has lined up in a couple of weeks. She just has to pay to get to Toronto and from there she will be whisked off to Dubai for an all-expenses paid luxury week in that beautiful city in the U.A.E. She's not sure where they'll be putting her up, she's dreaming of the 7 star Burj-al-Arab, but it probably won't be there. I'm thinking I may have been too hasty when I said that I wouldn't visit my sister who's moving to the Middle East there... I'll see what impression my neice has when she returns and take it from there. I really would like to visit that part of the world.

It was a beautiful morning here, but now it's overcast. Fairly warm, though and the snow continues to melt. Despite what I said about summer above, there are still patches of snow here and there. Hope everyone has a good weekend. Without further ado, here's da boyz of Skinny Saturday 8:

Wednesday, April 16, 2008


Not much going on in this neck of the woods. The weather has been really nice the last few days and the snow continues to melt like crazy, which is a very good thing. I finally managed to get to the pool on Sunday and I had a good swim. I'm going to try to go tomorrow morning for the early swim (6:30 a.m.). I'm taking tomorrow off to run errands for mom and to bring her to town for lunch at her favourite Chinese restaurant, where we will meet my lawyer who has prepared a Power of Attorney for me. It's a good thing to have in case she ever becomes mentally incompetent and incapable of making her own decisions. Mom was apparently a little concerned about eating Chinese in front of a stranger. "I don't know if that's a good idea or not," she said to me on the phone last night. "Eating rice. What if I spill it all over myself?" LOL. Which she undoubtedly will, knowing my mother. But I set her mind at ease, saying that the lawyer wouldn't be joining us for a meal - just a quick signing her life away session! "Oh, well, that's okay, then," she said perceptibly relieved.

Before I forget, here is the recipe (if you can call it that, it's so easy) for the tapenade I made for the potluck on the weekend. Simply throw 1 cup of pitted black (Kalamata) olives into the food processor along with 3/4 cup drained oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes. Process until finely chopped. Add 2/3 cup extra virgin olive oil, 1/4 cup drained capers, and 3/4 teaspoon oregano. Process until combined. C'est tout! Very simple. On the weekend, I thought I had a jar of capers in the fridge, but when the time came to make the tapenade, there wasn't a caper in sight. I substituted an equal amount of pine nuts, and that worked out well, too.

I leave you with a pic of some Italian boyz in Moscow:

Monday, April 14, 2008

Scenes from a Potluck

Just a few pics from our potluck on Saturday. Was a great evening with lots of GREAT food. I'll post my tapenade and potato & shrimp curry recipes in a day or two. Don and Marlene brought a very tasty bean salad (made with their own, home-grown black beans); George and Barb brought a chicken dish, which was green in colour, but still very tasty (just kidding - take it from a backsliding vegetarian, it was super good) and they also brought a Moroccan vegetable stew that was also excellent. Shaun and Mary brought two homemade baguettes and vegetarian "meatballs" & rice dish, all of which was outstanding. Thanks so much guys!

The boyz were most appreciative of the babe pics in Skinny Saturday, so perhaps it will become a once-a-month special twist for them.

Gentle readers will also be thrilled to learn that muscle-boy George has agreed to a command performance in an upcoming Skinny Saturday - a streaming video featuring him showering in the brand-new bathroom we're going to be doing on our top floor! Go Georges! Stay tuned!

Barb's back, Shaun's back, Brad in front of the door, Mary

Mary, Shaun, Barb & George

Marlene and Don

Don and Brad - Don't ask! (actually they're checking on how to reattach a windowbox)

Pie (the last one till Italy - sob!)

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Skinny Saturday 7 (With Nepal and Babes!)

Brrr... As I write this, wet snow flakes are falling outside. Supposed to turn to rain and then back to snow overnight and tomorrow. A huge amount of snow has melted in this last week, but there's still quite a bit left to go.

Brad and I are hosting the monthly potluck tonight. We've been getting together with the two other couples who are going to Italy with us for the last few months to plan the trip - and to eat and drink, of course. George and Barb are joining us tonight, too, so we'll be 8 in all. After dinner, we're going to do a slide show of Brad's hiking trip to Nepal last fall. He and Don and Marlene went on an organized 2-week trek into Everest base camp last October. They are all big time hikers. Me, not so much. I couldn't have gone on this trip anyway because it fell at the same time as mom was moving into the special care home.

For tonight's potluck, I am making a tapenade for spreading on baguettes as a app and an Indian potato and shrimp curry. The original recipe calls for pork, for which I substitute tofu, but our BarBEARa is not partial to tofu, so in deference to her finicky tastes, I'll use shrimp. Marlene loves my raspberry pies, so to get brownie points with her, I made one of those last night.

As you can imagine, with all of these pies I have been making lately and all of the brie and sun-dried tomatoes I have been gobbling down, my scales are stubborning refusing to go below the 170 lb. mark. Grrr. I'll get back on the straight and narrow next week, though, and finally try to integrate the swimming component of my weight-loss program. Wish me luck!

Also this week, yielding to several complaints from my straight buds, I will post a couple pics of what I hope they will consider hot babes. I hope you appreciate it boyz! (Jersey! The stuff I had to wade through to get these pics! :-)

Have a good weekend all!

Friday, April 11, 2008

Overheard in New York

It's a slow day here... But it will soon be the weekend. Finally! Was a particularly good day on Overheard in New York, though!

Who Knew Getting to Grandmother's House Would Be This Hard?

Chick, a little buzzed: Fleetwood, crestwood, woodlawn ... There's so much wood on this train I can't concentrate.
Boyfriend: [stares at her wide-eyed].
Chick: Oh my god, did I just say that?
Boyfriend: Yes, and at least five guys heard it.
Random guy: I'm one.

--Metro North

Overheard by: I'm two

via Overheard in New York, Apr 10, 2008

Thursday, April 10, 2008

All Roads Lead to Rome

Our trip to Italy draws closer each day. In about a month and a half, Don and Marlene, Shaun and Mary, and Brad and I will set off for almost 2 weeks in Italia. We've been planning it for a while now. First it was 6 months away, then 4, then just a couple of months, and now it's NEXT month. We are spending 3 nights in Rome then taking the train to Florence where we'll rent cars and drive to the villa we've rented in the hills of Chianti.

The villa looks lovely in the photos on the Internet: spacious rooms, a huge loggia (outdoor eating area), and a gorgeous pool. Each couple will also have their own bathroom, and apparently, the rental includes the services of 2 maids for 4 hours a day. Just what these maids will look like (and what they'll do for 4 hours a day) has been the subject of a good many conversations among the 6 of us. I think Shaun and Don are picturing long-haired beauties in skimpy black and white outfits who will bring them Camparis and pick up dropped napkins by the pool. Sorta like this:

Mary and Mar have more matronly, bandana-wearing cheek-pinchers in mind. Such photos are hard to find, but more along the lines of this:

Meanwhile, Brad and I are hoping the villa description simply neglected to mention the presence of the taughtly muscled pool guy/gardener/masseur... Oversights like that do happen, you know! This guy would do in a pinch:

In any case, after our wonderful week at the villa, we are spending a night in Florence, a night in Pisa, and then overnighting in London on our way home. If any of you have any tips or Italy must-sees, please share them in the comments. Likewise restaurant recommendations. Perhaps we could persuade these these two fraternal chefs to cook for us for the week at the villa. Mmmm... Twins!

Wednesday, April 09, 2008


In my family, the person I am closest to is no doubt my sister who is next youngest in age to me (she's 7 years older). She and her husband lived in various places of Ontario over the years and for the last decade or so, they have been in Nova Scotia. She and I were the ones who looked after everything last fall when our mother moved into the special care home. We both took the week off, helped mom get settled into her new digs, and packed up her old place. A few months ago, my sis moved to Edmonton, Alberta, in search of greener pastures. Now she tells me that her husband has landed a job in the Middle East, and not in one of the more "forward thinking" locales in that region. For them, though, it's an opportunity that can't be passed by.

They'll live in a compound reserved for foreigners and will have somewhat limited contact with locals. Frankly, I'm not sure how long she will be able to tough it out. All she sees right now are sun-filled days by the pool and visits to the gold souk. She asked me if I would visit, and I immediately responded, "No way!" And it's true. While that whole region holds a certain fascination for me, I would not step foot in the country where they will be. It's incredibly fundamental and very hostile toward gays. I considered meeting her in a neighbouring country or city such as Qtar or Dubai, but I'm not sure I could even do that. I would not want my hard-earned tourist dollars to support any regime that terrorizes, jails, and kills it's gay citizens - not to mention the deplorable conditions reserved for women and migrant labourers (read: slaves).

And it sucks, because I really would like to visit these places and certainly go there to see my sister and brother-in-law. It sucks that the fundamentalists have taken over in so many places in the Middle East, with governments now vying to outdo each other in a bid to become the most "pious." There was an article on this topic just yesterday in the International Herald Tribune.

I've come to the conclusion that the only place in the region I would go to meet my sis for a visit would be Israel, someplace I'd also like to see and where, for the most part, they treat their gay citizens with respect and dignity. She would probably appreciate the break, too, doffing the veils and walking around in freedom. Tel Aviv has a great beach and lots of nightlife... We'll see...

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Stockholm Syndrome

Okay. I have to admit it. Both Brad and I have been smitten. We've fallen head over heels in love with Sweden's beautiful capital city. We visited twice in 06-07. The first time, in late September 2006, we stayed for five days before heading on to Russia. We were so enamoured of the place that we decided we needed to go back right away. To give us a legitimate reason, Brad signed up for the Stockholm marathon, which was held on June 10, 2007. (It was his first marathon, and it was HOT and quite humid, but he finished!) We stayed for a week on that trip, renting an apartment in very central Södermalm. We spent some time with a couple of Swedish bloggers we had been in contact with and it was a really great trip.

It's funny, on both trips locals came up to us and started speaking Swedish. They were convinced that we were someone they knew. At Wedholms Fisk, I thought I was going to have to show the fellow my Canadian passport, before he would believe that I was not his long lost friend! The same thing happened again on our second trip when we were taking a boat and around the archipelago that surrounds Stockholm. A woman came up to us speaking Swedish, thinking she knew us BOTH! When we related what had happened the year before at the restaurant, she said, "Oh well, that settles it, your souls belong to Sweden!" Fine by us :-)

So now we dream wistfully of buying a property in Stockholm and maybe even retiring there. It's probably not in the cards, but stranger things, I suppose, have happened. And... Say if I had an extra million and a half lying around, I would pounce on this place below. It's listed at 6,750,000 Swedish Kroner (that's $1,148,869 Canadian or $1,131,156 US). Take a look: