Saturday, August 30, 2008

Skinny Saturday 24

Hey all. Hope everyone is having a good holiday weekend. Well, it's a holiday weekend here in North America (Labour Day on Monday). Is it in Europe and Mexico/South America as well? It was a beautiful morning here and sunny up until just a few hours ago, but now it's mostly cloudy and there's a 40% chance of showers.

Went to the farmer's market with Shaun (and Mary too!) this morning. I bought some tomatoes, basil for pesto (this batch I'll freeze for a cold day in January!), pasteries, and corn. This will be our first corn on the cob of the season and I'm looking forward to it. When I was a kid, we used to have several end-of-summer corn boils down at the lake. We'd stuff ourselves with ear after ear of sweet corn, ending up with greasy fingers and mouths. We'd play hide and seek or tag until the stars came out at which point someone would usually light a bonfire on the lakeshore. Songs were sung, stories were spun, and we kids would often swim by the glow of the fire. Good times. Carefree times...

After market, I had a quick breakfast and then biked my 21 km. I showered and ran some more errands and than stopped in for a quick visit with Brad's mom at the hospital. Brad is doing a 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. shift (It's now 3:50 p.m. and he's still not back.) Then I came back home, read part of today's Globe and Mail, did a pile of dishes, and made out our grocery list. If the rain holds off, I'm going to head back out on the deck and finish the paper.

Here's the boyz:

Friday, August 29, 2008

Italian Olympic Song

There's a song I keep hearing on my Italian radio Station, which I determined last week was somehow connected to the recent Olympics in Beijing. I finally managed to piece together enough words to be able to find the lyrics on-line, but unfortunately, the song does not appear to have been uploaded to YouTube yet. I hope someone does upload it, as it's really a beautiful song.

Here are the Italian lyrics:

Vai, vai, vai che il tuo cuore non si ferma mai / Vai, vai, vai più del vento che ti porterà / In mezzo al cielo tra le stelle, la tua stella è quella là / La più lucida, la più bella, è la stella della libertà / Forza, vai, e dopo il lancio non voltarti mai / Volerà… oltre l’Everest … arriverà / Il traguardo è la tua vita / Nell’istante che lo supererà / E anche il tempo che ti sfida / Con il cuore e con la mente lo cancellerai / Vai, vai, vai più del vento che ti porterà / Ciao, ciao, ciao… tu nel sogno resterai / Un uomo solo può vincere il mondo / Se il suo cuore conquisterà / L’ultimo metro, l’ultimo secondo / Il sogno nel sogno… / L’ultimo sogno / La libertà /

If anyone knows how I can access the song on-line please let me know. It's performed by Lucio Dalla.

Otherwise, I'm looking forward to a long, long weekend. We are still taking Tuesday off even though our Paul has had to cancel Tuesday with us because of his work. I think Brad and I will still go over to the East coast and spend a couple of hours on the beach and have a good seafood lunch. It's supposed to be sunny and 27 C on Tuesday! I also hope to have the chance to meet my newest great neice and give her the floppy doll I purchased for her in Rome.

We're hooking up with Don and Mar and Shaun and Mary after work for drinks. Will have to buy Mr. Don a brew today in honour of his birthday. Happy Birthday my friend!

Good weekend all! Tune in tomorrow for the regular slew of fellas.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Bits and Bites

Just a quick little catch up post. I know I sometimes say that and then ramble on and on, but this time I mean it! I have last night's Big Brother to watch!

I clicked past the 2000-km mark on the stationary bike today! Ugh. Was the first I had biked this week, well since last Saturday. I really fall off my schedule when we have guests staying with us - Brad's sister, my sister, uzw. I HAVE to get back on a program ASAP as the pounds are starting to pile on. Summertime and pies also take their toll.

So Obama becomes the official candidate tonight. Ugh again. While I like him better than Clinton, I fear that perhaps she may have been able to win against McCain whereas Obama may not. Listen up, all you 'Mericans, if y'all elect another moron Republican, well, it ain't gonna be pretty. Surely that won't happen! Surely.

That said, here in Canada, we'll probably re-elect our very own moron Conservative in an election that will likely be called very soon. Ugh yet again.

On a happier note, I've decided to take next Tuesday off to make an extra long weekend. I think we are going to do something with our very own Paulie; hopefully a daytrip to the beach and a great meal afterwards.

On another happy note, Brad and I have booked tickets to a Met opera next March starring Nathalie Dessay and Juan Diego Florez!!! Yay! NYC in late March! Hopefuly the weather will be nice. The last time we were there in '04 it was in February, and the weather was perfect - we even were able to buy sandwiches at Whole Food and eat al fresco in Central Park. New York is one of my favourite cities in the world. This will be a very short get-away (just 3 nights), but it will be a lot of fun!

So that's it. But maybe just for the heck of it, I will throw in a couple more photos from Italy. I know, I know, Italy should be over with. I promise - just a few more!

The Ligurian Sea as seen from the trail in Cinque Terre

Vernazza - one of the five villages that make up Cinque Terre. Brad and I stayed in Vernazza for three nights back in 1996

This time we did the trail as a daytrip. We had just finished and sat down for a beer when this happened. Thank god we weren't still on the trail!


Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Reduce, Reuse, Recycle

After a few days of sunny, warm weather, we're back to cloudy and cool again. Maybe September, which starts next Monday (yikes!) will be better.

Not a whole lot new going on. My sis left on Sunday morning. Mom is rested after our visit and her daytrip to town, and Brad's mom remains in hospital. Brad is taking the next 3 days off to increase the number of hours he spends at the hospital and give his siblings a bit of a break. His mother has had a whole slew of roommates during the month plus she has been at the hospital. We know her most recent one, as she used to offer cooking classes for groups of 10 or more. We and some friends did several with her. Her other claim to fame was that her son, Kel, was once a contestant on Survivor! He had duel Canadian-American citizenship and he was a hottie. Unfortunately he was voted off very early on.

Speaking of TV shows here's a pic of gay actor T.J. Knight (Grey's Anatomy) and his boyfriend Mark Cornelsen that was taken recently in L.A. Dig the boyfriend's shirt!

Oh, and I just about forgot. I received my Jovanotti Safari CD yesterday from Amazon. I meant to pick up the CD in Italy, but we never came across a record store. I'm looking forward to hearing the whole CD.

And okay. Here's a gratuitous Olympic jock pic. Just because. Iranian Hadi Sepehrzad:

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Skinny Saturday 23 - delayed!

Jeez... Where does the time go?? The last time I looked, it was Thursday! Thankfully, I was able to take last Friday off. My sister from Alberta spent Thursday, Friday, and Saturday with us and we were able to do a lot of stuff with mom. My sister and I picked up mom and brought her up for lunch on Friday (we all had fried whole clams and french fries - mmm, mmm, mmm!) and then the two of them went clothes shopping. My sis and I drove then mom back to her digs after which we hightailed it back to town to make it for drinks with Shaun and Mary. The five of us then went to our Greek restaurant for supper.

On Saturday, sis and I got up early, picked up Shaun and headed to the farmers' market. We got lots of stuff including tomatoes, Swiss chard, basil, pasteries, and green beans, some of which I steamed and then packed with cream to take to mom. My sis and I went down to mom's again on Saturday and we were going to take her to the lake, but she didn't feel up to it - she was tired out from the day before and she had also had a nosebleed during the night and didn't get a lot of sleep afterwards. So sis and I dropped off her usual supplies and then the two of us headed over to the lake and our brother's cottage. We had a nice visit with the gang there - my neice and her husband and their daughter were also there as was my sister-in-law and her 81-year-old mother! We then drove back to town and had an al fresco dinner with Bradley on the deck. Later on, we watched The Queen with Helen Mirin. I conked out about half way through and went to bed. My sis left this morning for Nova Scotia to see her sons, some friends, and to keep some medical appointments.

Today, I did a big clean up of both bathrooms, changed the bedding, 2 washes, and made pesto and an apple pie. My sister and I picked some apples from an wild old apple tree down at the lake yesterday. It makes the best apple pie ever. I think this is Brad's all-time favourite pie. No doubt it will be gone by tomorow!

Here are some pics and da boyz:

My sis and great neice on the shore looking for good skipping rocks

Part of our property at the lake. It's very private - about 25 acres and no neighbours

Oh, the hours I've spent in that cove!

My brother's cottage

That was my view for many a summer

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Better in Time

Here's another song I'm digging over the Italian airwaves. I have no idea if this one has crossed the Pond yet or not as I seldom listen to local commercial radio. It's by British singer Leona Lewis. Sorry I couldn't find a live version. All YouTube has seems to be ones this this with the words added in. The music is good quality, though. Check it out:

The Gargoyle

I bought a new book on Tuesday and I can't put it down. It's entitled The Gargoyle, and is written by first-time Canadian novelist Andrew Davidson. Here's a link at Amazon. And here's the Amazon description:

The narrator of The Gargoyle is a very contemporary cynic, physically beautiful and sexually adept, who dwells in the moral vacuum that is modern life. As the book opens, he is driving along a dark road when he is distracted by what seems to be a flight of arrows. He crashes into a ravine and suffers horrible burns over much of his body. As he recovers in a burn ward, undergoing the tortures of the damned, he awaits the day when he can leave the hospital and commit carefully planned suicide—for he is now a monster in appearance as well as in soul.

A beautiful and compelling, but clearly unhinged, sculptress of gargoyles by the name of Marianne Engel appears at the foot of his bed and insists that they were once lovers in medieval Germany. In her telling, he was a badly injured mercenary and she was a nun and scribe in the famed monastery of Engelthal who nursed him back to health. As she spins their tale in Scheherazade fashion and relates equally mesmerizing stories of deathless love in Japan, Iceland, Italy, and England, he finds himself drawn back to life—and, finally, in love. He is released into Marianne's care and takes up residence in her huge stone house. But all is not well. For one thing, the pull of his past sins becomes ever more powerful as the morphine he is prescribed becomes ever more addictive. For another, Marianne receives word from God that she has only twenty-seven sculptures left to complete—and her time on earth will be finished.

I'm more than halfway through, which is incredible for me, as I usually read books quite slowly. This one, however, is a real page-turner. I highly recommend it.

In other news, my sister will be in town for the next few days. She's out East for some appointments and will be staying with us for the next 3 days or so, so she can visit with mom who lives about a half hour away. I am going to try to take tomorrow off so we can both do things with mom. Probably bring here here to the city for lunch and maybe some shopping. Hopefully we'll be able to take her over to the lake on Saturday. That's where she lived until last October. Two of my siblings have cottages right on the lake, so it will be a nice outing for her. We'll also have to try to get her hearing aid fixed. The girl at the home broke it the other day as she was trying to change its battery. LOL. There's always something extra when it comes to mom: canned spinach, stewed prunes (home-made, not canned), large-print library books (with pages that are not shiny, if you please), etc. She's a high-maintenance old gal and, to Brad's horror, I'll probably be just like her when I am 89 years old!

Monday, August 18, 2008


Another discovery from Italian radio. Hercules and Love Affair. Song is called "Blind."

Sunday, August 17, 2008

About last night

We had a great time last night with George and Barb. The weather cooperated, the clouds parted for a while, and we were able to dine al fresco on the deck. I think they appreciated the home-cooked meal, and they especially seemed to like the chocolate pecan pie.

Here's some pics:

The before shot


Chocolate pecan pie

Vin Santo from Italy

Georges and Jasper do the Vulcan mind meld

Jasper likes Barb!

Vin Santo and Begonias

Jasper checks for squirrels

The ambiance

Flowers and candels

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Skinny Saturday 22

Well guess what?!! It's yet another cool and overcast day here! 60% chance of showers and thundershowers! At least it's consistent.

Went to the farmer's market early this a.m. Bought tomatoes, English cukes, basil, romaine lettuce, parmasan, a jalapeno gouda, green onions, potatoes, and eggs. Brad's done our other grocery shopping at the supermarket. I will soon drive him up to the hospital where he will stay until 3:00. I need the car today, so I'm dropping him off and will pick him up.

For dinner tonight with George and Barb, I've decided to start with a romaine salad, then we'll have the shrimp curry with basmati rice, and I'm going to make a chocolate pecan pie for dessert. We'll maybe crack open the bottle of vin santo I brought back from Italy, too. Oy... I've got to try to find time to get my biking in today as well!

Gotta run... Here's da boyz:

Friday, August 15, 2008

Sweet About Me

I'm probably way behind the times, but I just heard this catchy little ditty on an Italian radio station. It's by Australian singer Gabriella Cilmi. I think she's channelling a little Amy Winehouse, but whadevah. She's good. Check it out!

Bits and Bites

And so another work week draws to a close. This one seems to have gone by quite fast. We’re not really busy, having just enough work to keep us occupied without being overly taxed. And it’s been another week of mostly overcast skies, with scattered showers and a few sunny breaks. I biked a couple of times and went for a swim on Tuesday. Got by mostly this week on a Swiss chard dal and pesto. Last night we had boiled new potatoes, some other veggies, and a can of tuna we had bought in Italy. So much better that the canned tuna were get here. The Italians pack theirs in oil, whereas our is packed in brine or just water.

And Russia continues to occupy large chunks of Georgia. Flush with petro roubles and the swagger that usually accompanies a heavy wallet, Dimitry and Vlad can’t resist flexing some muscle. It makes for a dangerous situation, however, especially with the idiot manning the Whitehouse. Dubya has pledged to protect Atlanta at all costs!

This Georgian soldier should be making lobio, not war

We’re having our good friends George and Barb down for dinner tomorrow. They moved into their new house yesterday and the renovations are not quite complete (read: their kitchen won’t be finished until late next week). So I figured they could used a good home-cooked meal away from the chaos of the move and the renos. I’ll make a shrimp curry as a main, but that’s all I’m sure of so far. Don’t know what I’ll serve as an app or for dessert.

My sister who’s currently living in Alberta called last night to say that she will be coming for 3 or 4 days next week. Will be good to see her and she’ll use our place as a base when she’s visiting mom. It will mean another big clean up, though, which is probably a good thing as we’ve let stuff slide again after Brad’s sister left. Brad is still doing shifts at the hospital with his mother. Hopefully, she’ll be able to go home in a week and a half or so.

And China continues to be a powerhouse at the Olympics. Not a surprise, I guess. What I am wondering is why no one has recorded the little girl who really sang Ode to the Motherland at the Opening Ceremonies and posted it on YouTube. That vid would go viral for sure, but I suppose YouTube is a banned site in China.

On my way home from work, I usually take a short-cut through a park/playground. The other day, there were a large group of kids being supervised by young adults – no doubt a daycare outing, the kids were probably 5 or 6 years old and the supervisors maybe 19 or 20. As I was walking past, they were just getting ready to leave and I overheard the gal telling one of the little girls to get down off a piece of equipment. The little girl replied that she was trying to. “Don’t tell me you’re trying to, *Jessica*, just get down. Now! Man, you’re so annoying!” I felt badly for *Jessica*. I’m sure dealing with a large bunch of pre-schoolers all day is a trying task, but still… Negative pre-conceptions about ourselves are drilled in from a very young age…

On a more positive note, while making my way through the same park another day last week, I walked past a young father and his two small children who were playing on the monkey bars.… It was, unsurprisingly, starting to spit rain. Daddy burst into a gentle song to the tune of “Do you See What I See?”: “Do you feel what I feel,” he sang. “Raindrops on your head, falling down.” I had to smile. Tenderness and improvisation can be taught at an early age, too.

Have a good weekend all.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008


This is a bittersweet story from CNN. Seems a dog guarded its dead owner's body for weeks after the man apparently committed suidice:

The body of 25-year-old Jake Baysinger of La Salle, Colorado, was found Sunday on the Pawnee National Grasslands about 75 miles northeast of Denver, Colorado. Cash, his German shepherd, was found beside him, thin and dehydrated but still alive. The dog had apparently survived by eating mice and rabbits, authorities said.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Misery loves company

PappaRazzi and Uncle Fester ... er, I mean, his brother go for a walk while vacationing in Italy.

Please help me caption it!

Sunday, August 10, 2008

About Last Night

We had a great time last night at Don and Mar's. Shaun and Mary drove out with us and Brad was the designated driver. Weather-wise it was basically nice. The sun was even out for a while. It gave us a chance to tour part of the property, which is 20 acres in all. (I took the camera, but forgot it in the car until later on.) We saw Don and Marlene's beautiful garden, their fish pond, beehives, and their wonderful vineyard. It has been a HUGE amount of work for them and it will be only next year when they begin to harvest, but the rows of vines are a sight to behold.

We started with some drinks on the deck and then I brought out a baguette and the black olive tapenade I had made along with some freshly grated parmesan. We then had the carrot soup on the deck as well. Then we moved inside for the main courses. Shaun and Mary brought a Morrocan vegetable stew (one of my recipies actually :-) and Marlene made a great vegetable terriaki dish. We got a chance to taste the first wine made by another local winegrower, which was not too shabby, and Mary (bless her) brought out a Super Tuscan she had purchased in Italy! It was terrific!! Thanks again Mary! For dessert, Mar made a yummy blueberry crumble, and Shaun took out a raspberry pie. Both were delish and went down very nicely with some of Don and Marlene's homemade vanilla ice cream! Mmmm...

We then gathered round D & M's computer and they showed us some of their photos from Italy. Don kindly burned a DVD for Brad and me and for Shaun and Mary. Thanks again to you, Don! We also looked at some of their shots from Nepal last fall on the trip they did with Brad. Wow. They took some beautiful photos.

Brad got us home safe and sound, and Shaun (as usual! ;-) fell asleep in the back seat...

Thanks for a great evening everyone! Here are a few shots:

Where it all happened

Three spooky-eyed guard dogs!


Mary shares a joke with greyhound Nina (Ted is in black)

Finnegan is a cross between an antelope and a greyhound! ;-)

Toronto Explosion

There was a HUGE explosion in Toronto early this morning at a propane facility. Someone caught it on viedo and uploaded it to YouTube. It must have been very scary! The massive expolsion is at about 1:49 minutes in. Take a look:

Saturday, August 09, 2008

Skinny Saturday 21

Well, the sun shone here today - for all of 15 minutes! Grrr. This crappy weather is driving me nuts. It better improve soon - there's only 3 more weeks of summer left. Jeez. Can you imagine!? Three more weeks and we'll be in September, or just about!

Anyone see the opening ceremony in Beijing yesterday? I have to admit, wild horses couldn't drag me to China, but I was very impressed by the opening ceremony. It was brillant. Moving and very touching. Hats off to China for that!

I decided to skip the ballet today. Just too many things that had to get done. Something had to give, so the ballet got dropped. Not the end of the world by any means, but it would have been nice to see.

I got to the farmers' market this morning. Bought some parmesan cheese, tomatoes, cucumbers, basil (for pesto), and organic carrots. I also picked up some cheese curds for Marlene. She calls it squeaky cheese because it does make a squeaky sound when you chew it. It's the same thing as they put in Poutine (french fries, cheese curds & gravey). In any case, Mar used to buy it all the time when they lived in town, but now that they are in the country, she seldom makes it in to the market. I also picked up a small jar of sun-dried tomato mustard to go with the curds as a little gift for our hosts for the potluck tonight. For the potluck, Marlene asked me to bring an appetizer, so I am making the Suchuan carrot soup (I've posted the recipe on here before) and a black olive tapenade with dun-dried tomatoes. I'm sure it will be a good time. I'll try to remember our camera and take some pics.

Brad's off to the hospial to see his mom. I've biked my 21 km and have the soup cooking on the stove. I'll upload the boyz and head back to the kitchen to have some lunch and make the tapenade.

Good weekend all!

French rugby players

Okay, where do you sign up for this game?

Swedish soccer player Zoltan Ibrahimovich shows what's he's made of!

French soccer player Thierry Henry

Coach Bob

Another Pretty Face