Saturday, December 26, 2009

Happy Boxing Day!

Hey all... I had every intention of doing a few posts before Christmas, but you know how it goes... One thing leads to another and before you know it, Christmas Day has come and gone... And here we are at December 26, or Boxing Day in Canada.

We had a HUGE scare last week with one of Brad's nephews having a terrible accident while snowboarding. He fell and hit his head (sans helmet) and had to be rushed to the Regional Hospital in Saint John. He was within minutes of dying, according to the doctors, but they operated and removed a blood clot, and he was home in time for Christmas. A true Christmas miracle! One of his eyes is still not opening properly, but the docs are confident that it will basically heal itself and he'll be as good as new. He was a very lucky 17-year-old, and we are all lucky that he is still with us.

Other than that, we had a good holiday, going to Brad's dad's place on Christmas Eve and then to his sister's for the big dinner yesterday. Unfortunately, I developed a heck of a Christmas cold, and have not been feeling great, especially yesterday and today. We were supposed to go to mom's today, but I felt wretched when I got up (after an almost sleepless night), so we decided that Brad would go down on his own and deliver mom's gifts. I certainly did not want to expose her to the cold that I have. Don and Marlene had also invited us to their place today after visiting with mom, so Brad is going to keep up that end of the deal as well. He decided to take Jasper with him and do some snowshoeing out at Don and Mar's before returning here later this evening. Jasper will have a ball!

Brad gave me two new watches for Christmas - a very nice regular one to wear every day and a waterproof one that I can wear when I go swimming. The strap of my old waterproof watch broke a couple of weeks ago and I hate being without a timepiece on my wrist. I gave him all of the books on the Canada Reads selection this year as well as one entitled 24 Walks in Paris, which will hopefully come in handy when we are there next fall with Brad's sister and brother-in-law.

I have all of next week off, which I am very much looking forward to. Hopefully I will be able to ditch this awful cold very soon. I keep filling myself with vitamin C and Dristan. We are having some friends and neighbours over on New Year's Eve to ring in the new year.

2010 - Can you imagine! Just two more years to go until 2012!

More soon, I promise, including the long-awaited post on Brad's bike trip from Ottawa home.

Merry Christmas all, a bit belatedly, but better late than never! :)

Here's a little Regina Spektor. Wintry and a little melancholy, which fits my mood perfectly today ("and darkness spreads over the snow like ancient bruises"):

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

December madness...

December has to be busiest month of the year. So many things going on, so much to do. Gifts to buy, cards to send, parties to go to, parties to hold. Concerts, cooking, and generally running around like mad. That has been my December experience, anyway.

And the last few years I have had to do all of mom's stuff for her as well: cards and little gifts she buys for friends, family and the gals who look after her at the home. And after her move back in May, I finally got aorund, sometime in September or October, to changing her address with Canada Revenue (the tax guys). It wasn't all that big a deal, typing up a sheet with her relavant information on it, getting her to sign it, and then faxing it off to St. Johns, Newfoundland. I thought that was it. Then a few weeks ago, she received something in the mail, which she thought was from Revenue Canada, asking for her to update her address with them. When I finally get a hold of the sheet and call the number indicated, I realize that this one was from Service Canada (the ones from whom she gets her Old Age Security and Canada Pension). Argh... And the only way to change her address with them is for her to talk to them directly on the phone and answer a few skill testing questions so they can determine that she is indeed the person they are talking to. So to make a long story short, I have to take Friday morning off, go down to mom's get Service Canada on the line (it's a toll free number with something like 18 options to choose from, which she would never be able to do on her own), and then have her change her address with them. And hopefuly that will be it!

And then there's the snow to shovel and the slippery sidewalks and the dogs that get dirty and wet in the slush and the morons at work and the morons on the bus (hacking and coughing, and sneezing their heads off). And the short days, the line ups at the post office and grocery stores, and the list goes on and on...

I'm really starting not to like December very much. I'm counting the days down to the 23rd, after which I will at least be off work until January 4 (using just 4 vacation days!). And I did get to watch How the Grinch Stole Christmas the other night. Why that Cindy-Lou Who could put a smile on the face of even the grumpiest of souls!

Wednesday, December 09, 2009

Happy Christmas!

Sorry, but I couldn't resist this over-the-top display of ... jeez... I don't know what it is a display of, but it totally cracks me up! Would have been nice if they could have used a Christmas hymn, tho!

Amazing Grace Techno - Computer Controlled Christmas Lights from Richard Holdman on Vimeo.

Tuesday, December 01, 2009

Painting Woes

Hey all... Once again I apologize for not blogging much of late. We've just been incredibly busy and are now in the process of having the inside of our house painted, all save a few rooms. Everything is upside-down and dusty, but the finished produce will be worth it I think. Since we moved in here 5 and a half years ago, we've only painted the top floor master bedroom, which had been an awful burnt orange colour that neither of us could stand. So we had that done fairly quickly. The rest of the house was mostly a light beige colour, which we really didn't mind that much, so we left it ... until now. We're having the trim and the baseboards done in a white glossy oil-based paint and the rest in an off-white called Moroccan Sand. It's looking really good so far, with the den and Brad's office basically done, though I think the office might need another coat tomorrow. The guy who's doing it is very good, fast, and clean. It would take us forever and a day to get the job done. Hopefully, he'll be finished by the end of the coming weekend, if not before. Now we're going to have to get all new furniture and window treatments to match the new look!

In other news, we had a great potluck dinner party last Saturday at Don and Marlene's place in the country. There was a "Christmas in the Village" day going on the same day, with a lot of the shops and galleries putting on special selections of their wares and goods. Don and Mar also participated, setting up a stand to sell their honey and homemade soaps. It was a very nice time despite the rainy cool weather. And dinner was delish, as always.

On Sunday, after going down to visit mom, I went to a special public clinic and got my H1N1 shot. It didn't hurt a bit on Sunday, but yesterday, I really felt like crap - sore arm and every joint in my body aching. But today, everything is back to normal and I feel fit as a fiddle. I even went for a swim after work. Something I have to do more often as well as spending a lot more time in the basement on my stationary bike... Perhaps there's a reason my Skinny Saturdays have fallen by the wayside lately!

In any case, I'll leave you with a few motivational pics!

Cheers amigos!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

The Road

Can't wait for this film to be released. Brad and I both read the book this fall. It's by Cormac McCarthy, the same guy who wrote No Country for Old Men and others. It stars Viggo Mortensen and Kodi Smit-McPhee as the son. It's very dark and intense, much like the book. It opens on Friday, November 27. Here's a sneak preview...

Wednesday, November 18, 2009


Yup. That's me. 48 years old today. Approaching the big milestone, but not quite there yet! I've had a lot of calls, e-mails, and cards from friends and family - Thanks guys and gals! No big plans for today. We're going out to see Paranormal Activity tomorrow with Shaun and Mary and are having dinner on Friday evening with Paul and Ron. Hopefully a quiet weekend to relax and savour my dotage!

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Good News Sunday

Hey all... We had a bit of good news regarding my brother a few days ago. The chemotherapy seems to have done what it was supposed to and the docs are very pleased and optimistic. That is not to say that he is out of the woods just yet, but thus far, the progress has been as good as it can be. I talked to Earl for a few minutes yesterday on the phone and he was tired and quite weak, but that is certainly to be expected. Hopefully we'll know more next week and hopefully the news will continue to be good.

It's been a rainy, dreary day here. We caught the tail end of tropical depression Ida, I think. It rained like a a son-of-a-gun when I was driving down to mom's this morning, but now it's tapered down to just a bit of drizzle and fog. The warm temps that come along with it are nice. And it's supposed to be sunny all week here with temperatures in the high single digits Celcius. Not bad at all for November here.

Which reminds me, happy birthday Marlene! Her birthday was on Nov. 13. And mine is just around the corner on the 18th. The big 4-8 for me this year... Where oh where does the time go?

I leave you with a couple of teaser pics from Brad's bike trip... One day next week, I am going to hand him the keys to the blog and get him to do a post about his trip from Ottawa back home... Stay tuned...

Wednesday, November 11, 2009


Hey all! We made it back safe and sound from the beautiful city of Montréal. We flew up Friday at suppertime, caught a taxi to our hotel, checked in, and then caught another taxi to Milos on Parc Street. It was our first time there and we had a delicious meal. It's a little pricey, but worth every penny. We both started with the crab cakes, which were very yummy, full of crab meat and little else. Then we both also had the grilled halibut as a main, which was also cooked to perfection and very tasty. For dessert, I had the Galaktoboureko, and Brad ordered the Loukoumades. I have to say that Brad's dessert was incredible! Lightly fried greek dough balls drenched in honey - thyme honey from Crete. They were spectacular. (If we hadn't recently bought 12 jars of honey from Don and Marlene, we would have picked up a botle at the restaurant - $60 a pop!) I also ordered a glass of greek dessert wine and Brad had a port to finish off the evening. The service was very good as well, as we were served by very sexy Kostas, a Greek guy in his early twenties with a smile and a bottom to die for! After our great meal, we walked to the nearest metro station and rode back downtown and headed to one of the strip bars for which Montréal is famous. We stayed well into the early hours and spent too much money - well, I spent too much money on the boyz... But what the heck. It's a once a year thing!

Next morning we had breakfast at the hotel, which is included in the price, and then we took the metro to the Atwater Market - a terrific spot with lots of different food shops. I picked up some Israeli couscous and a bottle of olive oil from Spain. Across the street was one of the bigger SAQ liquor stores, so we popped in there and picked up a few bottles that are hard to find at home, including a white port. We then made out way back to the hotel and dropped off our purchases before heading out on foot to meet good friend Maurice for lunch at L'Evidence. It, too, was a great spot and it was good to sit down and catch up with Maurice. After lunch, we hopped in Maurice's car and drove to a Middle Eastern bakery and then to a Greek bakery. This was Brad's wannado, and he picked up lots of yummy pastries, some of which we are still eating! We then went to the Jean-Talon market, which is similar to Atwater, only bigger and, in my opinion, better! The weather was gorgeous, sunny and warm. Maurice then dropped us off at the hotel, where we changed for dinner at Le Piedmontais, a cozy French/Italian resto very close to where we were staying. After another good meal, we made our way to Place des Arts where we saw Mozart's The Magic Flute opera. It too was very good. It finished around 11:00 p.m., and we were both too tired to do anything except head back to the hotel and get a good night's sleep.

The following morning, we again had breakfast at the hotel and then checked out and headed over to our friend Lynn's, who lives in Westmount. After tea and a chat, we went with him to an open house to look at a condo he was thinking of purchasing downtown. We then wandered all over downtown and the Le Plateau district on another sunny and warm fall afternoon. We made a reservation along the way at La Prunelle, a cosy bring-your-own-wine spot. After walking around and shopping a bit more, we found a liquor store and picked up a couple of bottles of wine to have with dinner. Another fine meal later, we were back on the street and headed for the strip club once again - hey, I had to bid my boyz adieu! Sunday was women's night at the place, and it was a completely different atmosphere with all the squeeling gals.. We didn't stay that long and soon caught the metro back to Westmount, where we retired for another good night's sleep.

We had breakfast at Lynn's the next morning - November 9 - our 19th anniversary as a couple! Brad and I then went out and did some shopping in the 'hood. I picked up a new backback - mostly to carry all of our purchases back home in, some soap from my fave Westmount shop, and a new cookbook. All and all, a productive morning. We also picked up some kalamata olive bread and a loaf of sun-dried tomato bread to bring home with us as well as a couple of sandwiches to eat at the airport. Our flight home was uneventful and pleasant, except for this very loud gal from France who was seated directly behind us and who did not shut up for the entire 1 hour 10 minute flight! Man, I wanted to slap her!

So that was our weekend. I had yesterday off and got a lot done around the house and a lot of errands done about town. Today is a statutory holiday in Canada (except for Québec), so tomorrow will be my first day back to work. It has been a great little break. And a 2-day week, I think I can handle at this point. It's been another gorgeous fall day here and we've both been busy outside raking and bagging leaves and I cut down the old raspberry canes and fertilized the patch.... Will no doubt be sore tomorrow!

Nothing new with respect to my brother. He's finished his chemotherapy and it's now wait and see if is normal blood cells make a rebound.

Been a while, so here are some fellas!

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

One Crow Sorrow

A little poem I concocted mostly on my bus ride to work this morning. It's based loosly on an experience I had in junior high or high school. Fortunately, in my case, time stopped. For just a split second.

One Crow Sorrow

Gobbled down
Too fast.

She was about to ask
if he wanted seconds
But distraction intervened

A bird flew by
Very quickly, too close
Outside the window
Cawing an avian warning:
Slow down.

Though no one spoke Crow.

She looked back
but he was gone
The screen door slammed
signaling his exit.

He flew down the driveway
onto the road
Peddling without thinking
Biking by rote.

He really didn't see it
The pulp truck
Coming out of no where
Too fast.

And time continued
No nano intercession; skull cracked.
Temporal reality ending
Dislodged; repealed.

He could have eaten more
His legs were hollow, or so they said
But he wanted to get to practice
Too fast.

Maybe next time; next life
He'd know better.
Learn Crow. Realize...
Seconds matter.

Monday, November 02, 2009

Quick update

Hey guys, just wanted you all to know that we got down to see my brother yesterday. He looked not all that bad at all (much better than I thought he would) and he seems to be in fairly good spirits. I think he's holding up better than I would be in his shoes. He was in a large private room, but another brother e-mailed me today saying that he had been moved into another room, which I doubt is private... By Wednesday, I think he will have received all of the chemo and it will no doubt start to take its toll. In the meantime, we are all hoping and praying for the best. After our visit, we just came home. The restaurant we were going to have lunch at did not open until 4:00 p.m.

We'll be in Montréal this coming weekend... So Maurice, if you are reading this, we hope to hook up with you for lunch on Saturday.

Take care, guys.

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Indulge Weekend - St. Andrews

Hey gang... I finally managed to get some images uploaded of our weekend in St. Andrews with Paul and Ron. They are below in no particular order... It's been a warm and windy day here today with showers threatening. Supposed to rain tonight and be a mix of sun and cloud tomorrow. I doubt that we'll get many trick or treaters tonight. We bought a few treats just in case. I raked most of our front lawn today, bagging the leaves and using the bags to bank the house around our sunporch. There is no basement under the sunporch and just lattice work from the bottom of the floor to the ground, so putting the bags of leaves on the outside by the lattice really makes a difference in keeping the house warmer.

We decided to visit my brother tomorrow, if he's up for a visit. We'll try to get away fairly early, visit my brother, and have lunch in a popular seafood restaurant in Saint John. I'm sure he won't be wanting many visitors next week when he will be feeling the full effect of the chemotherapy. And we are going to Montréal next weekend as well. Just a quick long-weekend jaunt to see an opera and check out life in the big city. We'll have a few good meals as well - in part to celebrate our 19th anniversary! It's officially on November 9.

Here's the pics!

Very typical Canadian fall scene - Road hockey! Dude is getting some practice shots in before the others arrive

View from the Kingsbrae Inn - the last stop on Saturday afternoon's wine trail

Local chefs in a competition Saturday morning. They had $20, 20 minutes to buy things at the market, and 20 minutes to come up with their concoctions: 20/20/20

Our room at the Inn.

One of the rooms upstairs, which will hopefully be occupied by some of our friends next year!

Our dining room. The propane fireplace made it very cosy at night!

Another room upstairs

View from our balcony at low tide

One of the stops on the wine trail. Brendan, the guy in the red shirt on the left, was quite a character. We ran into him several times over the course of the day and evening on Saturday... Super nice guy, but he does have his... um... issues. He manages a popular seafood restaurant in Saint John ;)

Dudes! Let's get this show on the road! Brad, Paul, and Ron in front of our place just before we set off on the wine trail

View of the back of our place. Our deck is on the bottom right. The patio, right on the water, was ours to use as well

Bread at the market

Veggies at the market

The Inn where the chef competition was held on Saturday morning.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Some bad news

Hey guys and gals. Sorry again for not updating the blog very often. There's been a lot going on lately. I tried last night to upload some pics from our Indulge weekend and from Brad's bike trip, but I was unsuccessful. We have a new computer and I think the pics are in a place that Blogger can't grab them from... I'll get that problem solved on the weekend.

Our family has also had some bad news recently. One of my brothers (Earl, for those of you who know him) has been diagnosed with an aggressive form of leukemia. The doctors told him that without treatment, he would have about 3 weeks to live. He just turned 61. Hopefully, they have caught it just in time and he will pull through. He's undergoing intensive chemotherapy designed to totally wipe out his immune system. Hopefully after that, his normal blood cells will rebound and he will be okay. If not, there is not a whole lot else they can do for him... It's been a big shock for all of us. He seems to be holding up well and is in good spirits. He has yet to feel the effects of the chemotherapy, though, I fear... In any case, we are all thinking positive thoughts and hoping for the best.

Will publish some pics on the weekend. I promise!

Thursday, October 22, 2009

First Snow!

Yes, it's true... I'm still ticking away here and have not fallen off the planet! Just haven't had the time or energy to post much lately...

As the title says, we had our fist snow here today! Ugh... No real accumulation so far, but they are calling for up to 10 cm tonight. Way too early for that! It's supposed to warm up and rain most of the weekend, so it won't stick around in any case.

Brad, Paul, and Ron and I had a great time this past weekend. We went to the Indulge Festival in St. Andrews. Brad and I drove down on Friday afternoon and we met Paul and Ron there. Our accommodations were really top-notch, basically the bottom floor of a renovated older home with a full kitchen and dining room, 2 living rooms, and large baths. And no one was staying in the two rooms upstairs, so we had the whole place to ourselves. We had a superb meal on Friday night at Europa restaurant. Saturday morning we went to the market and then grabbed a bite for lunch and set off on the wine trail. We meandered from location to location (art galleries, small shops, inns, etc.) and sampled nice wines and various nibbles along the way. The weather cooperated nicely, too, and it was a spectacular fall day by the ocean. We went to the Extravaganza evening at the historic Algonquin Hotel, which proved to be a lot of fun as well. Back at our abode, Brad turned in at the relatively early hour of 1:30 or so, and Paul and Ron and I stayed up solving the world's problems until almost 3:30 a.m.! We started Sunday morning off with champagne and truffles at a little shop down the street, then sat down for a real brunch at a place nearby. The weather was overcast and cool, so after lunch we headed back to our pad and had a rousing game of scrabble beside the fireplace. Then it was time for wine and cheese and eventually supper - roasted potatoes & fried haddock. All and all, it was a terrific weekend and we'll probably all go back and do it again next year.

I'll post some photos - both of our weekend and Brad's 9-day bike trip - in the days ahead. Stay tuned...

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Just because!

The things you find surfing YouTube! Thought this was kinda cute...

Was just talking to Brad, and he'll be home tomorrow. He was meant to be home today, but he had a flat tire yesterday that slowed his progress, and he was already running a bit behind schedule. But he's back in the province and should be home by lunchtime tomorrow. I hope he's ready for a good ... ummm ... meal! ;)

Went to Georges and Barb's for dinner last night. Was a great meal (thanks Georges!) and I took an apple pie for dessert. When I got home, I tried to watch an episode of True Blood, but the GD DVD went all wonky at the very end of the episode. Jeez, that pisses me off when that happens! I'll wipe it off and hopefully have more luck tonight. I have just one more episode to watch to finish off Season 1.

Happy Thanksgiving to all my Canadian readers!

Tuesday, October 06, 2009

"Vous avez dit Ludmila"

I posted this quite a long time ago, but it definitely deserves a replay. Hope you can understand the French!

Sunday, October 04, 2009

It's raining, It's pouring...

Man... I'm glad Brad isn't biking in the weather we've had here last night and today - It's been raining hard most of the time... Kaiser hates the rain, so he got an abbreviated walk this a.m., but Jasper got the whole nine yards... And we were all soaking wet when we were done.They are both sound asleep as I type this. Nothing like dry sleepy dogs!

Went down to see mom this morning, just before their lunch, so I ended up staying and having a cup of tea while they ate. She was very pleased with the flowers and the other treats I took her. And she looked great. The best I've seen her in a while. And she wasn't even complaining about her arthritis, despite the miserable weather, which always makes it worse. Hopefully some of my other siblings will pay her a visit this afternoon - she was certainly expecting them to, but alas, I have my doubts...

You know it's raining hard when I don't even want to go out to buy my lotto tickets, but I did force myself, as I had to pick up some tofu as well for the Pad Thai I am making for supper. I'll post the recipe for it sometime soon. It really is delish. And you could certainly make it with chicken or shrimp as well.

I watched Breach last night, one of the films we've received from Rogers that Brad has already seen. It was good. About the snagging of a mole in the FBI who was secretly working for the Russians for many years. A true story, apparently, though I hadn't heard anything about it before.

Perhaps Brad will read this tonight chez Maurice, perhaps not. In any case, Baci amore. I miss you! Happy (and safe!) biking!

Addendum: Ugh... Now my left eyelid is smarting from jalapeno juice... Though I washed my hands several times after cutting up the jalapeno, a bit of it must have remained.. Oh well, better my eyelid than someplace lower on my body, which has happened before in the past whilst making Pad Thai!

Now, I'm going to light a fire and put an some opera (probably Snegurochka - a far cry from the YouTube vid below), which was a song from Breach. It's incredibly schmaltzy, but it's for my sweetie, who should soon be in Montréal for the night...

And here are few arias from Snegurochka (The Snow Maiden), which Brad and I saw at the Bolshoi Theatre in Moscow in 2006:

Saturday, October 03, 2009

Skinny Saturday 61 - The Bachelor Edition!

Well, it's starting to cloud over a bit here, but for the most part, it was a spectactular fall day here in eastern Canada. After walking the dogs, I met Shaun and Mary at the farmers' market. They had to pick up some local ingredients for a book club pizza super tomorrow night, and I had to get a few things as well: baklava, organic carrots, fresh cranberries (for a yummy Nantucket cranberry pie I make), eggs, and some kindling. After market, I came home and made a quick shopping list for the grocery store. Usually, I make the list and Brad does the shopping, but this week, of course, I had to go to the grocery store myself. Ugh... I now remember why Brad took over that duty a couple of years ago... People are generally idiots - leaving their carts in the middle of the asile, banging into you, and coughing and sneezing all over the place.. Eeek. And just touching those carts is often enough to make you want to run home and take a sonic shower! In any case, I got the job done and came home, unpacked, scrubbed thorougly, and then ran a few other errands. In my travels, I also picked up a travel brochure from a local travel agency - with or without Brad, I am definitely heading south for a week next winter!

Tonight for supper I'm going to have leftover Chineese take-out from last night (Shaun and I hooked up for drinks yesterday and I didn't feel like cooking anything when I got home), but tomorrow, I'm going to make a Pad Thai, a dish I love and haven't made in ages - Brad sure can't eat it!

I'll head down to see mom tomorrow at some point as well. I bought her a dozen red roses and some special treats for her birthday, which is next Tuesday. The big 8-9!

Till soon, amigos mio..

Friday, October 02, 2009

It's official - I'm a bachelor for the next week or so!

Brad got away yesterday. He took a bus to Moncton and then a train to Montréal and on to Ottawa. He should be in our nation's capital by now. Hope he was able to catch some zzzz's on the train. The dogs and I slept in till 9:00 a.m. this morning, then I took them each for a walk, after gulping down some coffee. I decided to take the day off on vacation. I've had a pretty productive morning. After breakfast, I loaded up the car with our redeemables and took them to the redemption centre. (Growing up Baptist, that name always sounds a bit funny to me!) Then I came back and vacuumed out the car, something that has needed doing for a while now. I also did a load of laundry and now have to grab a bite of lunch. Brad's supposed to call to let me know that he (and the bike) arrived in one piece. Will probably meet the usual suspects for drinks after they finish work. We'll maybe got out someplace for dinner as well. I'll have to remember to tape Coronation Street, so I can watch it when I get back...

Hasta pronto, amigos!

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Nothing new under the sun...

Hey guys, Sorry I haven't been posting much lately... Simply not a lot going on... Fall is definitely here. It was minus 1 C here this morning, but the leaves have only just started to turn and fall... Brad's been biking a lot to get in shape for his upcoming bike trip. He's taking the train to Ottawa and biking back from there! Ugh... That's my Brad, though! He'll spend a few nights in Ottawa and a night in Montreal on the way home.

One of my best friends from work is out (and hospitalized, in fact) with stress/burn-out. He's lost a ton of weight, probably 35 pounds. Hopefully, his stint in the hospital will allow him to turn the corner. I was up to see him a few nights ago, and he looked better than he has in a while, so I'm keeping my fingers crossed.

Was down to see mom last weekend and she's doing well. She'll turn 89 on October 6!

All the world's abuzz over H1N1... Personally, I think the threat is overblown, but we're stocked up (food, medications, etc._) nonetheless.

Hope everyone is doing well. Will post again soon. I promise!

Here's some eye candy in the meantime


Saturday, September 12, 2009

Skinny Saturday 60! And A Book Review!

Hey all,

Another Saturday is upon us. I slept in a bit this morning and forewent(?)/skipped the farmers' market. It was good to sleep in my own bed again, after giving mine to my sister all week. Generally, I sleep on the 2nd floor and Brad sleeps on the 3rd floor (after many years together, we decided we both sleep better in separate beds). The bedroom on the top floor is huge, though, I think we may put in two three-quarter beds up there (we can manage to sleep in the same room), so that we will have a dedicated guest room when people stay over. Would definitely save a lot of hassles and avoid me having to sleep on the pull-out sofa in the living room!

Brad did a 2.5 hour bike trip this morning on his new bike, which he purchased in Halifax last weekend. He thinking of doing a week-long bike trip around the first of October. I ran errands and made pesto, probably for the last time this season. I can't decide whether to freeze this batch or gobble it up next week. Perhaps I'll have one meal with it and then freeze the rest. I like compromises!

Was sick yesterday with a stuffed up head and sore throat, so I stayed home and relaxed. Gave me a chance to say good-bye to my sister, who left yesterday morning for Nova Scotia. She will spend the week there with her family (husband and one son who lives on his own) before she heads back to Alberta. Her husband has landed a temporary job in Halifax and will be staying there for a while.

While at the cottage, I read Family Matters, by Rohinton Mistery (and Indo-Canadian writer who came to Canada in the 1970s; he also wrote A Fine Balance, which is also very good). The novels are set in India and he is a masterful writer. Do check him out if you have a chance. Here's a little blurb on Family Matters:

Set during the 1990s in an overcrowded and politically corrupt Bombay, Rohinton Mistry's Family Matters depicts a family being torn apart by lies, love, and its unresolved demons of the past. Nariman Vakeel is an aging patriarch whose advancing Parkinson's disease and its related complications threaten to destroy his large Parsi family. When Nariman breaks his ankle and becomes bedridden, his two stepchildren turn his care over to their half-sister, Roxanne, who lives in a two-room flat with her husband and two sons. What follows is each character's reaction to this situation, from Roxanne's husband's struggle to provide for his family without neglecting his conscience to their sons' coming of age in an era of uncertainty. Expertly interspersed between these dilemmas are Nariman's tortured remembrances of a forbidden love and its inescapable consequences ("no matter where you go in the world, there is only one story: of youth, and loss, and yearning for redemption. So we tell the same story, over and over. Just the details are different").
Family Matters is a compelling, emotional, and persuasive testimony to the importance of memories in every family's history. In a poetic style rich with detail, Mistry creates a world where fate dances with free will, and the results are often more familiar than anyone would ever care to admit.

It touched a few nerves with me when it came to the guilt trip we lay on ourselves when we despair while looking after an older relative. It can be a very fustrating and thankless job. While my situation pales in comparison to the one in the book, and I would never go to such lengths to get someone else to look after mom, some of the sentiments truly resonated! Definitely a good read!

With that, on to the boyz of Saturday!

Monday, September 07, 2009

Weekend-end Wrap-up

Hey guys and gals. Sorry I haven't written much lately. Been tough getting back into a routine after vacation. Today, we were housecleaning in preparation for the arrival of my sister from Edmonton. She's down for the week to visit mom. We had a visit with George and Barb last night. Was a good time, but too much Effen vodka! ;) Gory. Don't know how those Russians do it!

Will try to write more regularly from now on! IN the meantime, here are a few more pics from opur vacation:

Kaiser - one of the best dogs in the world!

The gang walking on the beach - this was the day I stayed at the cottage fighting with the alarm system!

Me and Jasper on the beach


Hammock time!

Monday, August 31, 2009

All Good things....

...unfortunately, must come to an end. Boo-hoo! Getting back into the grind was exceedingly difficult today. I hit the snooze button at least 6 times this morning.

We had a wonderful vacation at a rented cottage on a river near the ocean. Indeed, the river ebbed and rose with the tide and you could smell the ocean through the pine needles. And it was utterly private - no neighbours at all, anywhere. Bliss!

Our first week was very hot and humid, which was fine with us - we went to the beach, walked on the sand, swam in the ocean, and left the windows open at night at the cottage to let the breeze cool us down. Two of my neices and their kids came over one day, which we spent by the ocean and had a great seafood meal at a restaurant before they went back.

Our good friends George and Barb, Don and Mar, and Shaun and Mary came over one weekend and spent it with us. Oh, the fun we had! Incredible food (thanks guys for all your contributions!), lots of wine and beer (and a little 4-20!), many laughs, midday swims in the river, midnight swims in the river (Barb in her PJs! on Brad's shoulders), a few moments of panic (for me mostly when the galldarn alarm wouldn't stop beeping and then the fire alarm went off, too! - this actually worked in my favour later in the evening, however, when we were playing charades and I had to act out Desperate Housewives!). I think it's safe to say that a good time was had by all... Brad and I were very pleased that we we able to spend part of our vacation with such great friends.

Having the dogs along was a bonus! They loved the place and enjoyed our relaxed pace. Kaiser looked at me as though I were crazy when the alarm went off at 5:35 this a.m.!

Bradley and I bickered quite a bit for the first few days, more so than usual, (I think it stemmed from being around each other 24-7), and so much so that on the 3rd or 4th day, I started the morning off by inquiring what he wanted to fight about on that particular day! LOL. But we we got over that, as we always do.

Oh, and I won $125 in the lotto while we were there! Yipee! I parlayed that into $125,000 when I first told our friends (and I had going them for a minute or so!).

All and all, it was great to get away, great to be off work for 2 weeks straight, great to share it with my friend and partner and for us to share it with our friends and loved ones. And it sucks that it's over!

Here's some pics (and we definitely need a new camera!):


A typical sunset down by the river

Part of the backyard!

Hail! Hail! The Gang's All Here! (Well, almost all - our Paulie wasn't there cuz he was on vacation out West)

Brad, Barb, and Mar cooking up a storm!

Spinning yarns on the deck

Memories of Tuscany! Shaun and Mary get serious in the kitchen!

Ye humble abode

View from the riverbank

Happy pooches!