Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Happy New Year

Bonne Année! Buon Anno! ¡feliz Año Nuevo! Feliz Ano Novo! Gott Nytt Ar! Gutes Neues Jahr! С Новым годом!

Happy New Year one and all!

Some more pics from the year that was:

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

So long 2008 - Part I

Just a bunch of photos from the past year that I saved because I found them interesting for one reason or another. Most are self-explanatory. I'll probably post some more tomorrow...

HRH Prince Harry in Mauritius a few days ago

Local green businessman who was arrested for skateboarding on the street to work. I kid you not.

Pappa Razzi loves his pretty white skirts and red Prada loafers

A Georgian soldier during the conflict with Russia

Bubble, bubble, toil and trouble... Pappa Razzi always looks like he is conjuring up some kind of evil spell - And usually, he is!

And speaking of evil spells... Our own Stephen Harper after he hypnotized the Governor General and made her prorogue Parliament. Gaia was not amused and spit on him.

Russian babushkas at the laying in state of the head of the Russian Orthodox church at Christ the Saviour church in Moscow (Brad and I took a tour of it in 2006)

Monday, December 29, 2008

Catch Up

Well there it is. Christmas has come and gone for another year. We had a turkey finished by BBQ as the power went out. Still tasted great though. And we had Brad's sis from Ontario and her husband and daughter and her boyfriend and Brad's dad for dinner here the other night, which was a success. We had roasted vegetables, baked maple/dijon salmon, and a potato scallop with gorgonzola cheese. Raspberry pie, chocolate hazelnut torte, chocolate squares, and tapicoa pudding made with coconut milk and bananas for dessert. We also opened the bottle of wine that I bought at Palatium, the restaurant/shop we ate at in Rome last summer. Everyone thought it was very good and we agreed that raspberry was the dominate berry note.

Brad's sis and her family flew back today, and I went back to work after a 10-day hiatus. Ugh. I definitely didn't want to get up this morning, nor did Kaiser.

We're having a small New Years Eve party this year. Just close friends and a few neighbours. Hopefully, we'll get off work around 2:00 p.m. on the 31st. I envy those who booked this week off, too. Oh well, it will soon be a new year and I'll have 5 and a half weeks vacation! I get 5 weeks now, and I am carrying over 2 and a half days. I'd really love to go someplace south for a week this winter, but I don't think it's in the cards this year.

Have you seen Prince William's new hairy look? Check it out:

And how about another cute boy, since I missed a whole Skinny Saturday!

Wednesday, December 24, 2008


Joyeux Noël, Feliz Navidad, and all the rest!

Whatever you are celebrating this time of year, I wish you peace, happiness, and prosperity for 2009!

It's snowing here again today, though it is supposed to turn to freezing rain over night and then plain old rain tomorrow. Yuck. I would much rather have snow this time of year.

George and Barb dropped by yesterday for a quick visit before they left town for Barb's mom's place. Don and Marlene are dropping by shortly to share some cheer, as has become our tradition for a number of years now. I have a raspberry pie cooling on the counter in anticipation of their visit.

Later on, we'll head over to Brad's dad's, where the rest of his family has gathered, for a lobster and seafood supper. I am taking a chocolate hazelnut tart I made yesterday. After that, we always drop by the home of another friend who lives alone and have a glass and exchange small gifts with her. Then it's back home to open our own gifts and relax by the tree and fireplace.

Tomorrow, we go to Brad's sister's place for the Big Meal. We are taking a cheese tray, pickles, and other odds and ends. I used to take a raspberry pie there, too, especially for Brad's nephew, but he has since stopped eating wheat, so I will save the rest of the pie I made today for us and for other people who stop by. I'll probably take a piece to my mother, who we will visit on Boxing Day.

To all our friends, old and new, have a wonderful, peace-filled Christmas!


Monday, December 22, 2008

Let it snow, let snow, let it snow!

Well, it already has. Snowed that is. We had a huge blizzard last night. But I have the week off work, Brad works at home, we had no place to go, lots of food and drink in the house, and the neighbours with the snowblower came over and blew out the front of our driveway where the snowplow makes a mountain. Brad finished the rest, and I shovelled some trails in the backyard for the pooches. I lit a fire about 3:00 p.m., we had a good dinner, and soon I'll take a shower and join Brad by the fireplace... Take a look:

Coulda been the whisky, mighta been the gin!

Wasn't that a party! Saturday night chez Georges and BarBEARa. Phew! Now that I am 47, I am glad such parties come only once a year or so! We ate lots (all kinds of good appetizers, including Barb's amazing sweet and sour tofu balls! LOL... And I think my gingerbread cake was a hit again this year. Then there was the wine and the beer, and the tittypuff, and the water and the dancing, and the singing of caroles, and Brad's reading of the Irish version of the Twelve Days of Christmas... All and all a very good time. But late! We drove Shaun and Mary home (Brad was good and was the designated driver), and it was 2:16 a.m., when I got into bed... Ugh. The next morning. Double Ugh. Oh well, like I say - once a year or so.

Yesterday afternon, we visited Brad's nephew and girlfriend as planned. They have a nice place. A friend of theirs came in for a moment, and Brad's nephew introduced us as his uncles. Just a sweet fella. And then we went to Paul's for his Christmas get together. And of course, I forgot to take his gift... We'll try to get it to him before the day! It was a very nice time and we got to see some old friends and meet some new.

Thought I would give out the recipe for the Oatmeal Pecan Pie I made for Barb's birthday (photo in a post below) so here goes: The recipe is from Cooking Light Magazine, I'm not sure of the year or month...

The recipe calls for store-bought pie crust. I always make my own, so you can decide for yourself.

Oatmeal Pecan Pie

1 cup packed dark brown sguar
1 cup corn syrup
2/3 cup regular oats (not instant)
1/2 cup chopped pecans
2 tablespoons butter, melted
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
2 large egg whites, lighly beaten

1. Preheat oven to 325 F

2. Fit rolled dough into a 9" pie plate and flute edges.

3. Combine brown sugar and remaining ingredients, stirring well with a whisk. Pour mixture into prepared pie crust. Bake at 325 F for 50 minutes or until the centre is set (usually 55 minutes or so, depening on how hot your oven is). Cool completely on a wire rack.

Yield: 12 servings. Très simple! I hope you try this and enjoy!

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Skinny Saturday 39

Mamma Mia! What a crazy busy time of year this is! And I'm starting to freak out a bit because I am so far behind. Being laid up with my back for almost a week was a big set back... But, what doesn't get done, doesn't get done, I guess. I haven't yet figured out how to turn the clock back yet.

I had the day off yesterday and used it to catch up a little bit and to make a gingerbread cake to take to a party chez George and Barb this evening. Then we went out to dinner with our good friends Paul and Ron last night. The food wasn't bad, but we were the only ones in the place and the server was a little quirky, and it was like a vinal table cloth, and we probably won't go back too soon. The company was great, though, and we had a lot of laughs, as we always do with Paul and Ron. After we got home (around 9:30), I stewed prunes to take down to my mother.

This morning, Brad and I both got up early and walked dogs respectively - me taking Kaiser on a short walk and Jasper and Brad taking a longer route. We then went to the Farmers Market in the pre-dawn light. It was crazy busy, too. Especially the cheese guys, which, of course, is where we wanted to go. We waited in line for almost 15 minutes to buy some gorgonzola (I make a wicked potato scallop with that at Christmas), some Stilton, and a couple of other odds and ends. Brad bought some pastries and we picked up some kindling, and home we came. Brad dashed off to get our groceries and I had breakfast and got mom's stuff together. We each then 101 things and here I am. It's just after 4:00 p.m., I'll soon have to start thinking about dinner and then, like I said, we have the party to go to later on.

Tomorrow, we may drop by Brad's nephew and his girlfriend to see their new place. They moved into a mini-home a couple of months ago and we have yet to see it. They are both still in university. After that, Paul is having his annual Christmas get-together in the afternoon, so we'll drop by his place as well. Then, whadda know? We have a free evening. YAY!! There's supposed to be a snow storm, so we'll hunker down by the fireplace and enjoy a very quiet evening at home alone. YAY!! Brad's sister and her family from Ontario are arriving on Tuesday to spend Christmas with his dad, so we'll be seeing a lot of them over the course of the next week as well.

Enh... enough blah-blah. Here's da boyz and some extra pics as well:

The oatmeal pecan pie I made for Barb's birthday, belatedly

Jasper thinks squirrels are easier to spot in the snow!

The winter-wonderland that is our back yard

More snow and back yard and Jasper. It's pretty now, but it won't be so pretty come March!

A lovely salad Brad made last week. Very pretty and very tasty!

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Last Rose of Summer

I just came upstairs after taking the pie out of the oven and there was a skating special on CBC. One of the skaters, I'm not sure who she was, was skating to the music of Charlotte Church's rendition of the Last Rose of Summer from the opera Martha. I know that song intimately, having listened to it many times on Renée Flemmings CD. Ms. Flemmings' version is vastly superior to Ms. Church's and I will try to upload it myself on YouTube in the days ahead. In any case, this song touches me deeply, as I would like to have it played at my mother's funeral. I know, that is very morose, but I know that day is coming. Now or in 10 years time. And the song is absolutely beautiful. I would not mind if it were played at my own funeral. And you know what good taste I have. Here are the lyrics. When I manage to upload Ms. Flemmings' version on YouTube, I will post that here as well:

'tis the last rose of summer,
Left blooming alone.
All her lovely companions
Are faded and gone.
No flow'r of her kindred,
No rosebud is nigh,
To reflect back her blushes
Or give sigh for sigh.

I'll not leave thee thou lone one
To pine on the stem,
Since the lovely are sleeping
Go sleep thou with them;
Thus kindly I scatter
Thy leaves o'er the bed,
Where thy mates of the garden
Lie scentless and dead.

So soon may I follow
When friendships decay,
And from loves' shining circle
The gems drop away!
When true hearts lie withered
And fond ones are flown
Oh! who would inhabit
This bleak world alone?

Till I get a chance, this version will do:


Hey all. It's been another very busy day here in eastern Canada. Busy at work, busy at home, and to top it off, we had a mini snowstorm, getting about 12 cm of new snow on the ground. Thankfully Brad has taken pity on me and I am off shovelling duty for the foreseeable future (shhh... he said, "this time" but I am going to try to make it a seasonal thing! - Wish me luck!) My back is basically back to normal, with just an echo of last week's pain. I can tell it's daring me, though... "One wrong move, buster, and you'll be laid out again!"

And I've just taken an oatmal pecan pie out of the oven! "Oatmeal pecan," I can hear you scoffing?! Well don't. it is extremely delicious (I'll post some pics tomorrow.) And it is for our very own BarBEARa, whose birthday we missed because I was out of commission with my back. So Barb, if you are reading this before tomorrow night, pretend to act surprised when we knock at your door demain soir!

I also thought I would share an album with you. It's one that I bought in Italy way back in high school (1978 or 1979, I can't remember which). I bought the LP album there, but it somehow managed to get taken by an ex (a girl, no less!) and I have pinned for it ever since. But I found it a few weeks ago on the Net. Here. You, too, can upload the whole album at that site. If you are Italian, if you speak Italian, or if you just like good music, I urge you to do so. It certainly stands the test of time in my humble opinion.

Ciao bellos (y bellas)!

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

He's bit out of shape now!

Hai, he's hurt his leg and can't do cardio, so he's a little out of shape now! He has a cute accent nonetheless, even with that .5% body fat!

New tune

We heard this on the radio last night and really liked it. I had't heard of Ruthie Foster before, but you can bet I'm going to check out more of her stuff.

Up above my head

Santa in a Speedo

Well you know that Christmas is fast approaching when your spot a bunch of Santas sporting Speedos in downtown Boston! It been a tradition for a number of years now. Check it out!

On the home front, my back gets a little bit better every day. It's still a little painful, but at least I can bend over once more, which is something I thought I'd
never be able to do again last week! I started back at work yesterday, and thankfully it was fairly quiet while I was out of commission. I am taking Friday the 19th off and all of the following week, so I only return to work on December 29. I am really looking forward to the break.

I'm way behind on everything, though, and have yet to purchase a Christmas present. We did put our tree up the other night, but we have yet to start decorating it. Bradley even broke part of our lighht fixture in the living room when he was bring in the tree (I was unable to help him, of course, given my back, and foolishly left him unsupervised for a minute or two whilst he was bringing in the tree!) Oh well, we have a spare part for the light fixture, and the one that broke did so in just two pieces, so I think it can be glued back together. Hopefully, we'll get the lights on the tree tonight at the very least.

Take care and happy Tuesday!