Saturday, May 30, 2009

Skinny Saturday 55!

Hey guys and gals! Hope everyone is having a good weekend. It's another damp day here, but it is supposed to clear overnight. I went to the market quite early this morning (sorry Shaun, I forgot to ask you if you wanted to go yesterday!). I bought another pound of fiddleheads (this is likely the last week they will be available fresh this year), and some asparagus and gruyère cheese for a tart I am going to attempt to make tomorrow. And yikes. Gruyère is expensive. $15 for a relatively small block! I biked my 21 km after breakfast, showered and made us both sandwiches for lunch and then went out did a few more errands. Brad's off to his dad's for supper tonight and I'm staying here and making pasta puttanesca for my dinner. I'm going to try David Rocco's recipe from his cookbook La Dolce Vita, which I just purchased. It looks like a great book with a lot of easy and useful recipes and ideas. David is a sweetie and used to have a series on TV called Avventura. He's a fun guy and very easy on the eyes. Hard to believe that it's been a year now since we wiont to Italy with Don and Mar and Shaun and Mary! One year ago right now, we were spening our last night in Roma before heading to our beautiful villa in the middle of Chianti. Time flies!

And I think I forgot to mention that we did go to see the new Star Trek flick with Brad's dad last week. Wow!. I was impressed. It was a great movie! I may even remember parts of it for more than a month!

Here are my recent purchases:

I bought this also becaue one can never have enough books on eating in NYC!

And here are the boyz!:

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

10 Honest Things

Joy, from Babble On (link in the side bar) tagged me quite a while ago with this meme where you have to write 10 honest things about yourself... So here goes!

1. I dislike driving. Not the driving itself so much as the other idiots on the road. For years and years now, I have generally taken the bus to and from work, and that no doubt has saved me no end of misery. I was involved in one incident of road rage a number of years ago: as I tried to pass the vehicle ahead of me, dude kept speeding up and would not let me by. I came to my exit, signaled, and gave him the finger as I took the turn. To my amazment, dude swung his car onto the exit ramp at the last second, ending up behind me, screaming and gestering with his fist (which I saw through my mirror, obvioulsy). Ooops, think I! Perhaps giving the finger to this psycho was not such a great idea afterall! In any case, I keep on driving to my destination (my doctor's office, as it turns out), thinking that at least they will be able to patch me up after dude beats me up! The whole time, the idiot behind me is screaming and shaking his fist. LOL... I continue on to the gate of my doc's parking, and finally dude gives up and drives on past. What is up with that, anyway? I mean, people have given me the finger a couple of times while on the road, and I just think, well fcuk you too, asshole, and continue on my merry way.

2. I like to cook and I like to eat good food and drink fine drink. Spending the day in the kitchen is therapeutic for me, not a chore. When it comes to food (and most other things in life, actually), I will spend top dollar to obtain the best there is. Though I could be wrong, my instinct tells me that we only go around once, and life is too short to scrimp on the important things!

3. I dislike insects, particularly spiders. I think it comes from my early morning walks with the dog. At 5:45 or so, I am generally the first one to crash through the webs made overnight as we make our way down the sidewalk. One of the grossest things I've ever seen was a poor bumblebee hobbling through the air inside my brother's camp. As it flew past, it gave off this rank odour of rotting meat. Yuck. In any case, I killed it as it landed on the kitchen table, and when I squashed it, scores of tiny spiders spilled out onto the table. Christ. I was agast, to say the least.

4. I am honest. I do not cheat. Cheating is for losers in my book. Even when someone makes a mistake and gives me back more change than I gave them in the first place, I point out the mistake and carry one. My one exception to this was with a cute red head who used to purposfully undersell me lottery tickets when I would buy them at the convenience store he worked at. I pointed out the mistake on 2 occasions (to which he said, "Oh, that's okay" (big sneaky smile)). After that, I told him to get a passport, as I would have to taken him away for a couple of weeks when I won!

5. I have to know what times it is. Always. It would drive me crazy not to have a watch. This is especialy true since I do travel on the bus and often have just minutes betwen stops when I can run into the mall and run a quick errand, mail a letter, or buy a lotto ticket! ;)

6. I have no mind whatsoever for films or even books. I enjoy both when watching or reading them, but ask me 3 weeks later about a film I had just seen or a book I had just read, and I will not be able to tell you much about them. I can, however, recall an experience, encounter, or conversation forever. I also remember smells and noises. My brother's pipe, my father's cough, the woodstove and cigarette smoke at my aunt's cottage, the little bell the sounds when a train door closes in Switzerland, uzw.

7. To Brad's continual dismay, money means very little to me. I generally am a spendthrift. If I see something I want, I buy it, come what may. This somewhat relates to the quality aspect of No. 2, but it also goes deeper. Dum vivimus vivamus! (While we live, let us live!)

8. I love to travel and experience new cultures and languages. We try to go overseas at least every other year. To my mind there is no better education than travel. I think I caught the bug when I was in Grade 4 and went on a road trip to Florida with my parents and grandparents. For me, it was a blast. Looking back, the adults probably all had their own agendas, but I had a great time and remember many details of that trip to this day.

9. Coronation Street is a secret pleasure. I grew up watching soap operas with my mother and sisters. It's what one did after getting off the school bus and before supper. Back then, it was the Edge of Night and Another World (Rachel & Mac, Russ & Lenore, Iris &n her maid Vivian, Martha & Bill, the lot of 'em). Then I watched Texas for a while as I got older. For a long time, I fell out of the habit altogether, but I have started watching Cory Street in the last years years, and enjoy it thoroughly! So there!

10. I believe in guardian angels or spirits that look out for us when we are too stuipd or otherwise unable to look out for ourselves.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Skinny Saturday 54!

Hey dudes, hope you are having a good weekend! Ours got off to a good start after work yesterday with beer and wine and pizza chez Shaun and Mary's. They had a big deck built off the second floor of their home last year, so we sat out there and ate and drank and chatted still it got too cool and the bugs drove us inside. All the usual suspects were there (Don and Mar and Barb and George). A friend of Shaun and Mary's daughter in Argentina sent her a bottle of Frenet (an Argentinian alcoholic beverage that you mix ColaCola) and she was kind enough to give us a taste of that as well. Very unusual, almost medicinal, but I rather liked it. We also got to meet Shaun and Mary's grandchild last night as well. What a cutie! As usual, Brad and I were the last ones to leave. Thanks for the great evening, guys!

I'm having kind of a slow day today, but I did crank out my 21 km on the stationary bike. Brad and I also went for a bike ride outside last week. It was fun. I hope to do a lot of biking outside this summer on the many trails that snake though the city we live in. Tomorrow I'll go down and see mom for a bit. I have to take the mattress topper for her bed. That is her one complaint about her new abode - that the bed is too hard. The topper should remedy that. She told me the other day on the phone that she would never go back to the place she where was living before. I chuckled and said that now I would have something to hold over her head and that if she ever got out of line, I'd move her back there! "Well I won't go!" she laughed!

Been a while, so here are the boyz with a vew extra thrown in!

Wednesday, May 20, 2009


I head this lovely piece this morning on the BBC Radio 3 Breakfast programme. Joshua Bell playing Robert Schumann's Träumerei (Dreaming). It has to be one of my favourite pieces of all time. (FYI, you can access most of BBC Radio 3's programmes via the link in the sidebar and clicking on "Listening Again.")

Oh! I just found this incredible version of the same piece, this time played on piano by Horowitz in Moscow in 1986! Brad and I attended a concert in the same hall in 2006 when we were in Moscow. It gave me shivers to think that Stalin used to sit in the same space for concerts. (I'm sure that used to give performers of the day shivers as well!) I want this played at my funeral. I can't imagine a more peaceful exit.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Happy Victoria Day!

The unofficial start of Canadian summer, the 3rd Monday of May, Victoria Day weekend. It's been a cool and overcast day here with the temperature struggling to make it to 10 C (50 F). We watched the 3-hour Survivor finale last night. I grudgingly give it to the winner - he played a good game. I then read until 1:00 a.m. (I'll do a post about what book I'm currently reading later this week. It's VERY good.) I biked my 21 km in the basement this morning and then went out and mowed part of our back yard (Yes, still with that gall darn with the reel mower!), as Brad slaved away in the garden he is transforming in the middle of our back yard. Then we both worked to tie up my raspberry canes so they are most standing tall and proud, but not quite so neatly arranged as Cute Boy's. My patch is 4 years old has I really haven't kept the canes in rows as such, just letting them grow willie-nillie wherever they shoot up. Brad and I agreed on a boundary today, though, and any new shoots that come up outside the boundary will be fair game for Brad to pull up or mow. Left to their own devices, the raspberries would take over the entire back yard! I'll take the "after" pic sometime this week when it's sunny. The warbbler couple that have built a nest in my raspberry patch for the past 2 years were back again today checking out the homestead. I hope we didn't put them off by tieing up the canes.

Supper tonight is the lentil salad with herbs and sundried tomatoes over basmati rice, topped with feta cheese and microwaved for a couple of minutes to melt the cheese. Will probably throw some tuna on top of that to amp up the nutritional value of the meal. More rhubarb crisp for dessert (it's even better on the second day). And I AM really curious with regard to what you all do with rhubarb. (Other than the crisp, the only other thing I do is stew it in a bit of water and lots of sugar - it's great served over ice cream or just on its own.) You can leave comments in French, Spanish, or even German - I'll figure it out :) It's what I do!

And here's a pic of mom on her 80th birthday with me and all of my siblings. Almost 9 years ago now. Wow. Where DOES the time go? I am, of course, the cute boy in the ITALIA tee-shirt! ;)

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Sunday, Sunday

Ahhh... Been a great day today. Stayed in bed until almost 9:00 this morning. I had an extra glass or two of wine last night to celebrate mom's successful move. Fcuk. What a relief that that is over and done and with very good results, to boot! We also watched Burn After Reading last night. Enh... Brad Pitt, George Clooney, et al, but I still couldn't get into it.

After walking Kaiser and having breakfast, I checked my lotto tickets to see if I'd won $40 million last night. I hadn't, but neither had anyone else, so the jackpot is now a record $49 million for Wednesday!! I want it!!

I then went for a swim at 11:00 a.m. and swam for 25 minutes non-stop. I have to get back into swimming much more often. And biking outside, and biking in the basement, and walking with my friend Jessica a couple of times a week in the evening!

It was a rainy morning (thank God, too, that I don't have to worry about mom's room flooding with every rain storm!), but it stopped around 1:00 p.m. or so. I made a rhubarb pudding in the afternoon, did several washes and a pile of dishes, and got dinner ready. We had our usual Sunday night fare - baked salmon, potatoes, and tonight with the fiddleheads I was telling you about earlier. Dessert was the rhubarb pudding. Mom called just after supper and said that she wishes she had moved in to her new place in the beginning. She is ABSOLUTELY LOVING it! The caregivers are much more friendly and helpful and the food is... well, there is no comparison with respect to the food. For breakfast she had bacon and sausage and a pancake, homemade soup for lunch, and for dinner they had a very tasty ham supper with all the fixings and bread pudding for dessert! She likes the other ladies who are there and very much enjoys the views. Music to my ears!

Here are a few pics of my day:

The Rhubarb crisp is very easy to make, simply chop enough rhubarb to half-way fill a pyrex baking dish, add one cup of white sugar evenly over the chopped rhubarb. In a large mixing bowl, mix together 1 cup of flour, one cup brown sugar, and 1 teaspoon baking power. Use a pastry cutter to add in a little more than a 1/2 cup of butter. Cut until crumbly. Sprinkle over rhubarb mixture in pyrex pan. Bake at 350 F for about 50 minutes. Yum! Spring pudding!


Wine in a new glass from Boston

To start: tomato with spiced feta, mine with fresh chopped chives and grilled peanut oil (purchased at Dean and Deluca in NYC), Brad's with olive oil & my expensive Balsamico from Italy

Brad made some new doggie beds today (the covers being a gift from non-pesky Barb! Thanks Barb!)

Fiddleheads about to be steamed

Part of our rhubarb patch - Do you Europeans use rhubarb, by the way?

Chives in our herb garden

Lemon Balm in our herb garden - I make a great custard with it (you steep some in milk and it gives a very delicate lemon flavour)

Tulips in our back garden. Remember all that snow a few months ago?? We were chasing the squirrels out of the tulips today. They eat them!

My raspberry patch! This is the before photo. Hopefully, I'll get them tied up properly (à la Michel) tomorrow. We have a holiday here tomorrow. Canada celebrates Queen Victoria's birthday on the 3rd Monday of May. Now I am off to watch the season finale of Survivor. Thank God that odious Coach got voted out last time. Of the remainder, I'd like for Stephen to win. Hasta pronto!

New digs!

So we got mom moved on Friday! All and all, it went quite smoothly. And thankfully, it was a sunny and warm day, better than the rain that was originally forecast. I went down around 11:00 a.m. and got her clothes and other things packed up and put into our car. Brad came down about 1:45 p.m. with the van we had rented and the two of us moved her big things out of her room. We were down to her new place by 3:00 and got her room set up and most of her clothes hung up. She sat out in the beautiful sitting room while we worked away in her room. Brad and left by suppertime (they had a yummy-looking meatloaf, potatoes, and peas, with homemade lemon meringue pie for dessert) and we met up with Shaun and Mary for drinks at our usual spot and grabbed a bite at our favourite Greek place for dinner. Don and Marlene were supposed to meet us as well, but I think they gave up on us and left before we arrived - we were about 25 minutes late. Sorry we missed you, guys!

My sister-in-law and my nephew's wife and I went back down to mom's new place yesterday. We had a good visit, hung some of her pictures on the wall, and my sister-in-law culled through her winter clothes and hung up her summer ones, which I had taken down with us. Mom is liking the place more each day, especially the food. Yesterday, she said it was "heavenly" to have vegetables that hadn't been frozen! I also took down a local seasonal delicacy - fiddleheads, which are the unopened heads of fern fronds that grow along the riverbanks in the springtime here. They are great steamed and served with a squeeze of fresh lemon juice or vinegar and butter. Brad and I will be having some tonight for dinner as well.

Here's a few pics of the new place:

The sunset in the photo on the wall below was taken at our shore on the next lake over. I bought her the raspberry picture on the wall also. It was a tedious process, but many years ago mom taught me how to make pie crust that rival her own. Brad used to leave the house for the first 3 or 4 months whenever I attempted to make pie crusts. The air would often turn blue! Now, of course, they're a cinch.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

From Beginning to End

Looks like a very interesting film out of Brazil. Check out the trailer:

Saturday, May 09, 2009

Skinny Saturday 53

Twas a bright sunny and warm morning here on the east coast of Canada, but it's starting to cloud over and rain is forecast for tonight and tomorrow. A friend and former neighbour came over for a visit and to pick up a recipe of mine yesterday evening. We had wine and cheese on the back deck and then moved inside to the sunporch as it cooled down quite quickly after sunset. Was good to chat and get caught up. Her mother lives at mom's new place, so we'll be able to car pool when we visit on weekends. Less than a week now till mom moves! I will be going down to visit her tomorrow and will stop by the new place as well to make the final decision on which room she will have (2 rooms are available right now). After I pick the room, I will be able to get her phone transferred on the day of the move (next Friday).

I biked my 21 km, shaved, showered, and had lunch. Now I'm waiting for Brad to get back form a meeting so he and I both can head to the grocery store - him for our stuff, and me for mom's.

The leaves are just starting to come out here. Some tulips are in bloom, but next week will probably see more. Hopefully summer is just aound the corner!

Enjoy the weekend and the boyz!

Friday, May 08, 2009


Happy Friday, all. I'm glad the weekend will soon be upon us. It's another cool and overcast day here and it's supposed to stay that way over the weekend for the most part. What can you do?

Here's the trailer for Canadian film maker Atom Egoyan's new movie called Adoration that has just opened. It looks good.

Also, here are a few pics of a young English footballer, Nicklas Bendtner, who had a few too many at a London club after his team (Arsenal) lost to Manchester United in a recent Champion's League semi-final. I'm not sure why he's losing his trousers, but I don't really care, either! :) Move over David Beckham! Emporio Armani might want to consider him for their next underwear campaign!

Wednesday, May 06, 2009


This looks good! A new show starting on NBC this fall:


(or the flu formerly known as Swine)

Though it's faded a bit from the headlines the past few days, the H1N1 flu is still an undercurrent in the world and local psyche. There have been 2 confirmed cases in our small city, both relatively mild. But we had a meeting at work about it the other day, as apparently the upper levels want to have a plan in place in case the flu hits with a vengence with over 30% of the population being affected. Apparently the government has ordered over 11,000 face masks, though the masks are not very effective, since this particular flu is not airborn. The crux of our plan is to have as many people as possible work from home. I'm definitely down for that! It's something that could be easily done in my case. And it's something that I hope to do on a permanent basis within the next year or so anyway. Our department has come around remarkably to the idea of teleworking recently.

What gets me is that there are still a number of people in my office who do not have a computer at home. Can you imagine!? Though we've only recently purchased a cell phone and I have never - ever - sent a text message, I'd be totally lost without our home computer! We've had one at home since 1994, I think. I guess it's a generational thing. The people who don't have a home computer are generally 6 or 7 years older than me. They started working on manual typewriters!

In any case, flu or no flu, I will be happy to work at home.

In other news, I am getting things organized for mom's move, which we have scheduled for next Friday. I've changed her address with the post office so her mail will be forwarded to the new place. Brad has reserevd a van. Tomorrow, I'll call the administrator of her current place to arrange for the transfer or her oxygen and other medications and get the extra-mural nursing care set up the new place. That and a hundred other things before the 15th, but hopefully it will all come together - and it won't rain too much between now and then!

How about a quick pic? This is one of the hunks from The Tudors series. Anyone know when that will start up again here in Canada? They may not have had computers back in Henry's day, but I'm sure they found other things to occupy their time!

Sunday, May 03, 2009

Happy Birthday, Baby!

Forty-two years ago today a little boy was born. I was just 5 and had no inkling as to just what a momentous day it was. Indeed, it took 23 years for our paths to cross, but I am so glad they did. Happy Birthday, Bradley. I love you so.

Embedding for this video has been disabled, but I can still provide a link to Boyzone's Better. I posted the video quite a while ago (prior to the embedding feature being disabled), but it seemed appropriate to post it again today.