Thursday, April 30, 2009

Stayin' Home Has Its Charms

The conference, and thus our trip to Puerto Rico, is cancelled. We are staying home but my sister will still come for a visit so that the airline tickets we paid for aren't a total loss. Now at least she doesn't have to be all responsible for the kids etc, but can just be our guest and relax and fall under the spell of Newman the Newnienoo. We bought a 6 pack of Rosee D'Hibiscus beer for a treat so it will be well appreciated this weekend.

This morning, before we knew we were grounded, we went shopping and got me a new bathing suit and a couple of cute summery dresses. I also got new polish for my toes (bright coral) and a new lip colour (also coral but not so bright) and new under eye concealer so I don't scare everyone in Puerto Rico with my under eye dark circles. Oh well. Now I can be pretty for a knit night. I told Hman I'd take the dresses and bathing suit back but he figures I deserve some pretties. Aaaaaawwwww. He's a keeper!

You can have your laugh, H1N1 virus. Enjoy it while you can, you nasty bug....the more of your legion that fall to the mighty Lysol the better.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Did I say 3 more sleeps?

The swine flu may be the cancellation of the trip. This is a business conference trip not simply pleasure and the company is monitoring the WHO's alert levels. Its gone from 4 to 5 today. An alert of 6 means pandemic.

The virus is spreading but outside of Mexico it is less severe in symptoms(the death in Texas was a child from Mexico). Puerto Rico at this point has no reported cases, but Canada has 19. If the alert goes up to 6 the company is cancelling the conference.
BUT we are going early. The alert could go up in the next 2 days and keep us home....or it could go up the day before the conference starts which means we have to come home, but the damage is done, man. We're already there!

Tricky, non? Its a bit of hurry up and wait.

Now, I know that this flu crisis is serious. I am after the kids to wash hands like crazy but thats about all one can really do unless you buy quality medical masks and gloves (the cheap ones from hardware stores etc etc are all but useless against viruses according to a local expert, because they don't custome fit to keep the germs out) and Lysol your neighborhood repeatedly. The media says "oh its not so bad. Its ok. DON'T PANIC." then in the next breath they are reporting how bad it is, how sad it is, how serious and deadly and oh my we're all gonna die it is. WTF??! Who to listen to?

People get the flu all the time. People die from the flu too, and always have. Historically we are overdue for a global pandemic and everytime there is a bad outbreak of anything (Ebola? bird flu? SARS?) the media and the experts think "This is it!! Here we go!! Get ready for the death counts to reach the bajillions!!".

Its enough to make a girl crazy (er).

Here is something happy and cheerful to finish the day with. I wish we could all take after this child: Briar Rose Perrier
She is a wonderful example of generosity to us all, and a true shining light in troubled times.

3 more sleeps....

....and I leave for Puerto Rico.
I am stressed and not ready at all. So what will I do tonight...go knitting of course.

The amazing V has FINALLY made her big announcement. Its knitterly news so go check it out. I have felt up her new product and I wholly endorse it. Think Reynolds Whiskey but better in hand feel. Or Rowan pure wool, but better. 36 luscious, excellent colours.
St.Denis . Coming someday soon to a LYS near you. And supported with beautiful designs from V and other talents.

Tonight I made a meatless supper. I am trying to do at least one meatless dinner a week. Need more easy peasy yummy recipes.

Spicy Beans and Rice a la Me

Of course I don't measure much so do your best.

You need 3 ribs of celery chopped, one onion chopped, one big pepper (red or green) chopped not too small, 2 cloves garlic minced, one hot pepper of choice (I just used jalapenos from a jar because I forgot to buy one) 3 tomatoes chopped.
Heat a pot and add oil then throw in the dryer the tomatoes for a bit. Sautee veggies until they start to get kinda translucent and tender.
Add 2 cups broth (vegetable would be best). Simmer veggies in the broth a bit. Add 2 tsp oregano, and a table spoon of curry (powder or paste), some salt and pepper. Stir and simmer, add two cans beans of choice (I used a mixed can and a can of red kidney beans) drained and rinsed, and those pesky chopped tomatoes.
Simmer a couple minutes and since everything is starteing to get all cooked like, throw in a cup of converted/parboiled rice (white or brown). Simmer on low with the lid on, stirring occassionally, until the rice is cooked. Turn off the heat and let stand until the liquid is absorbed.
Serve in bowls with grated cheese on top or use as a burrito filling with appropriate condiments like lettuce and cheese or sour cream.... Its way yummy.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009


I have the urge to hear nothing but '80's pop music today. Not only '80's pop but BAD eighties pop.

Very strange. And somewhat frightening


Well, I didn't get to sew yesterday because Ben ended up sick for the morning and my energy level hit zero by 6 PM. So no sexy new top for me to take away on the trip to Puerto Rico. I will survive, I guess.

I had a discussion with a friend that made me sad and a little...not angry...thats not the word I am looking for...something unhappy but not just sad. I am without a term for the moment. She has a situation beyond her control with a family member, and it makes me sad and (insert term here). Sigh.... make me look at my own relationships as well.

Why is it so hard for some people to make an effort? If you are someone that a person claims to love...that the person claims as a good friend, why is it so hard for that person to make the effort to drop a line, dial a phone, be the approacher? I too get tired of being the caller, the sender of emails, the keeper of in touchness.
These "people" are always too busy, so frazzled, so tired, so overwhelmed, too bogged down in what they have in their sphere apparently. Too much social life, too much work, not enough hours.... I dunno. It take maybe 5 minutes to write and say "Hey. I know I'm not much for the keeping in touch regularly buit I just wanted to take a second and let you know I have you in mind more often than you know."

See that? 30 seconds. Not even. True it doesn't solve the issue of who is the giver and who isn't....but it could balm the hurt.

I usually just shake this stuff off because I know that these people have way more going on in their lives than I do. Families, jobs, social lives, problems, etc...
Then again, EVERYONE has that shit going on unless they are a hermit in a cave.

I know me and my friend aren't the only ones with this issue. An acquaintance recently told of the same kind of issue with another.
Friendship is about give and take. About enjoying one another's company even from afar. Respecting each other's feelings. Why is this so hard?

I guess its time for the non-recipricators to take note. We are tired of being let down, ignored, forgotten until needed, dismissed as willing to wait around. We may find we have the strength however, to let go.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Today's Business

It was another bright day earlier on. though nowhere near the glorious temperatures of yesterday. Hman finished anchoring my compost tumbler with another batch of cement, so it should never tip ever again! YAY!. Its already practically full as well so as soon at that cement is hard I have to start tumbling it.
I dug up my wisteria today. Its been growing wonderfully in its spot, but alas, its just not the spot for me to have it. I moved it to the back yard where it can take over the chain link fence and maybe someday bloom! That would be lovely. I had a lot of untangling and clipping of the vine to get it arranged to take over the area.
Then since the wisteria spot was now empty, I dug up my Don Juan climbing rose and popped it in the empty space.

Hman bulit me a potato box today as well! Together we tackled the raspberry canes and tied them back so they stop trying to snare poor unsuspecting creatures (like me) trying to get around.
Ben got in on the action and dug dandelions, emptied bags of black earth, and watered things. An all around excellent helper in the yard and garden activities when the mood strikes.
Now the 3 menfolk are gone to the Cirque Du Soleil "OVO" show in the Old Port. I have peice and quiet and spinach dip...aaaaaahhhhh.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Saturday, not in a park, but feeling like the 4th of July

Today it is an amazing 27 degrees with a good stiff breeze and heaps of sunshine. LOVIN' IT! That an the iced coffee I had whilst out knitting with my girls....thats was nice too. We were at Cafe Depot out on the terasse soaking up sun, comparing knits, knitting and telling stories. It was loverly.
Then I came home, ran Thing Two to a slumber party, came home and was offered delicious beer by the Hman. He had a selection of beers from Dieu Du Ciel microbrewery in St Jerome. OMG. The Rosee d'Hibiscus was extraordinary. I shit you not...the best beer I have ever laid lips on. Its RED! Rd'H is a wheat beer on lees with hibiscus flowers, hence the name. Light and refreshing and tasty. Perfect for a hot day. I am HOOKED on this beer. Its fantastic and if I am lucky available here in town.
Then I got into the garden. I added a couple of bags of store bought black earth from the grocery to a garden bed after cleaning out the old tomato plants etc from last year. I set up some support for the snow peas and planted them, spinach, radishes, and some lettuce. Now I am pooped and rerady for some supper and more beer?

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Red Lily Beetles

I has them. And I saw them doin' "the sex". EEeeeewwwwwww. Now they must die.

A Letter

Dear Barista at Cafe Depot last night,
I'm pretty sure my decaf iced latte was NOT decaf. My sleepless night and lost day are on your head.

Homicidally yours,
Sleep Deprived and not lovin' it.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009


The sun is actually trying to returnm but rain is still possible. Do I risk the clothesline? Hmmmmm
I have more garden plans for thsi season...a 4 square foot potato bin and a HOT planter on the south side foundation of the house, perched on the driveway pavers. This would make for awesome pepper growing and is close to the water to keep them from drying out. PROBLEM: Hman's boat might cast a shadow on the spot. But maybe not..must gauge sun at different times of the day.
Geeta, whom I adore, is now in big trouble with me. She sent me the Weekend Designer blog link and now I am convinced I could sew myself a skirt, a caftan, and possibly even a sundress. New obsession alert!

I think that is all.

Friday, April 17, 2009


So, what I got for Ben for his 12th birthday was an iPod Nano. I was light headed at the price considering he may A) lose it B) break it C) try to take it apart, but D) he'd love it. I don't know the other brands so I went with what I knew. Bad move apparently...
Hman is away on bizniss so when I told him what I got he freaked and gibbered and so on. I don't blame him. I wasn't comfortable with the purchase but was doing the best I could with my limited knowledge. The sales people all speak French so they can parlez vous the merits of anything but I have no idea what they are blah blahhing about so I just winged it.

I am happy to say that I took the Nano back and found something much less expensive. So now Ben will get a Sansa Fuze 4GB MP3 player in a lovely metallic RED. The boy likes him some red. ( see photo above...isn't it awesome??) Best part? It was only $59.95 compared to the $159.95 I had plunked down with pains in my tummy. Stupid I know...dumb move...but I was kinda panicked ok? Now all is well and I actually am so much happier with THIS purchase that I can now enjoy his pleasure even more. Besides he doesn't need 8 MB at this point in his music loving career. Seriously! What was I thinking????
Awesomeness...thy name is Sansa. Actually...I may be jealous. He can use Rhapsody for a free trial period and his battery lasts longer than mine between charges.

I love my iPod...I really do....but that Fuze is one sexy bitch non?

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Oh I forgot!

I heard an interview on CBC radio one yesterday on the show Q with Gian Gilmeshi and this is wahit it was about

Great Depression Cooking With Clara....check it out!

Blah blah blah

Today was a beautiful day. Gorgeous. I went to the chiropractor, shopping for Ben's bday gift (gasp wheeze omgs too much munnies), and then home again to have lunch ready for the boys. Then, I took a nap.
I am just SO busy, non? The dishes are piled sky high, there is always laundry to do ( all...ways..), not to mention vacuumings and various sanitations of the premises.. But no...I chose to curl up on the sofa and nap because I COULD.
This morning Hman left on a wee trip to Ottawa (I think) and will be back Saturday, so technically noone is going to catch me in my more than usually slackingness until then. By which time it will all be caught up etc because that is Ben's TWELFTH birthday. We will be going bowling, having pizza and cake , having a friend for overnight, so you know I don't want reports of especially scary housekeeping leaking to the other mom's whom I don't know.
SWEATER progress: I al 2 rows away from leaving the pink and picking up the blue. Praise the yarny dieties and hallelujah because I do hate this shade of pink. I was working on it at the chiropractor's office while I waited for my turn. I was early, having misjudged how severe the traffic would be. I enjoy working with two colour when there is a simple and easy repeat to the pattern. this is why the Norwegian mitten and I are parting ways and it will be ripped. I just don't have the attention span necessary to be looking at my chart ALL THE TIME for what to do next. I broke the news to the recipient of the non existant pair of mittens and she's cool with it. Now I can make socks with that yummy coloured handyed...mwahahahaha.
I freaked out a sweet man yesterday (cuz thats how I roll) by calling him on the phone. LOL I had a question about the snow peas I want to plant so I contacted The Organic Farm in Newfoundland ( ) to ask "Just how cold hardy is "super cold hardy"?" A very nice man was surprised to get a call from Quebec but was lovely to speak with on the subject. I'm still getting a feel for the seasons here and have now a rough idea of the last average frost date for my area (somewhere between Trois Rivieres and Montreal's) which lays it somewhere between the 3rd of May and the 19th of May. Hmm. I will be away until the 12th of May so that solves that issue.
Spring is very different here than back home. In NS its a long lingering season of mud and chilliness that switches back and forth teasingly from warm to frigid. My average last frost date was around May 25th there but I knew to be wary. I once planted my peas in early April because it was such a balmy spring that year...its a very VARIABLE season when one is near the sea but I had a feel for it most times and did ok.
Here? Not so much. It goes from snow to flowers within days and I never know whether to trust the heat to stay stays and then its kinda late for the peas (they like cooler temps). Now at least I know that "super cold hardy" does not mean they can withstand below 0 temperatures (which we still get at night but less frequently) so now I will treat them just like any other pea. Thanks again to Mike of The Organic Farm in Newfoundland for the chat and the nice email.
I need to go buy new gloves (again) for the weedings etc that need doing right now. I get new gloves EVERY YEAR and lose them. Now, here is a question... I have very nice leather winter lady gloves that I don't wear but have incase I need to be a dressed up lady in winter and can't wear my mittens or other handwear. Would it be ridiculous or frugally smart to not buy gloves for weeding and just repurpose the unused gloves (of which I have 2 pair...possibly 3)? I just hate going and buying yet another pair of good gloves to protect me from the thorns etc and then they are gone before the end of summer.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Today's adventures.

I am going to order my alpine strawberry plants today. I am very excited.
Source: Richter's Herbs in Ontario.

If I space things out ok in the bed I should fit 20 plants. I want Alpine strawberries so that I don't have the hassle of runners (the shoots that come off strawberry plants and make new plants), I can fit more plants per square foot of garden space (no runners), and they bear fruit all season long with proper growing conditions. True, the berries are smaller than commercial varieties but these will have that wild strawberry flavour. In gourmet lingo they are called "Fraises des bois" and i would rather grow them then the usual ones because they are just so much easier and don't take over the entire yard...if I wantedto I could put some in the flower beds for snacks while weeding...they make excellent edging or potted plants. These plants should bear fruit for 4 or 5 years before things need replacing and in THAT case I could use seeds from my own fruit to propagate new plants. Hman loves strawberries and always wanted a big crop but he never really helped out with trying to keep the weeds at bay or sorting out the mothers from the runners, so now that I am trying again its what I say that goes. And he will pay for them.

I was looking around for blueberry bushes but came up with not much at this point. Gonna keep hunting. Its usually cheaper to order than to buy at the nurseries and garden centers. I think I can fit four along the pool fence.

In other newses, the sweater is coming along. I had a scare Friday night on my stitch count but it just turns out that A) my notes were incompletye and B) I'm a dumbass. All turned out to be well once I had my revelation of where all those extra stitches came from and why the math said they should be MORE and my notes said LESS. I was peeing at the time. Never doubt the power of a pee break to bring break throughs in a conundrum. So now I am on the 3rd row of the pattern chart. Its a VERY simple chart...easy 7 stitch repeats but goes slow because I worry about my float lengths in the back. Too short and the knitting will pucker...too long and its messy. I am aiming for slightly too long rather than too short. No sense in expecting JUST RIGHT because thats just silly in my hands.

The Easter candy rush has come and is slowly passing ...the guys were thrilled with the bunny's sugary offerings, his thank you note for the baby carrots they left out for him, the books, Spinbrush toothbrushes, bubble wand swords, and DS Games they each recieved. Happy guys they are.

THIS weekend Ben turns twelve. We need to have an invitation to his friend for sleeping over Saturday and also some bowling. Meant to do that yesterday but forgot.

Time to hang out more laundry...have I mentioned my clothes line love affair? Its still going strong. Love it and this great line drying weather.

Wednesday, April 08, 2009


Today is Wednesday and its usually a good day for me. Mid week I have caught up from the weekend and have a knit night to look forward to. Its also lately been Chiroprator day and I like that too. Next week it'll be Thursday though.
My hand is sore as Flup after today's session. On a good note, Sunday's emotional freakfest released a LOT of pent up stress and my shoulders and neck were way looser and had fewer rock hard knots to work out.
After school Hman and I had a session with the school VP and Ben's teacher and a psychologist who had spent some time with Ben etc. The verdict? Ben's an odd duck. he odd just because he's odd? Or is it something other than the ADD at work( for example: Asperger's etc?)to a specialist. Now, we have been trying to get Ben to someone for 3 1/2 years...ARGH!!!!!! At least we have this psychologist on our side and she can provide her report and recommendations, which we will then take to the doctor we have been using for the last year or so, and HOPEFULLY he can refer us to the specialisty doctor she recommends. Its a French term that I don't understand. I will be hiring my translator friend to translate the Psychologist report for me. ( Also, Ben suffers from extreme anxiety when he has to perform tasks under pressure like times math quizes. He freezes up. Both the psychologist and his teacher were aware of this.)
In theory, we have gotten somewhere..that somewhere is actually scarily similar to where we have been. Since Ben was an infant there was always something different...I just took it to mean I was doing everything wrong. After awhile it became obvious that it was something else. When he was a toddler we had him assessed for Autism. That wasn't it, but he did have some developmental delays and with help, he got caught up to average. By grade two we knew that he still wasn't like other kids so we saw a pediatrician specialist in ADD/ ADHD. Benw as diagnosed (correctly) as having Attention Deficit Disorder and his academic life went from 0 to 60 within weeks. It was amazing. Still....there was something there. Personality? Or some sort of condition that with proper therapies, his way in the social world could be eased. Secondary school is approaching way too fast and with it will be all kinds of stresses and social mores that he just ain't gonna be able to cope with.
At least we will soon have the report to take to the doctor and get put in the right direction to getting Ben the help he needs.

Tuesday, April 07, 2009

Photo day 2

My new Clothesline!! It only took 3 years. The repurposed top to our shade gazebo frame will be a bean teepee this summer. I have crocuses showing but it got cold and we had flurries today so they haven't yet had their day in the sun.
And of course more Newman. How he has grown!!

Photo day

Cats in baskets...what could be better? And my mom's sweater...LOOK sleeves!!

Yes, but then what?

I never really understood the allure of dyeing eggs, beyond the fact that its fun to dye/colour things. I know the spiritual symbolism. I get the history. I just don't really get the whole egg dying phenomenon that is easter build up ( longer Christian and not actually doing Easter so much as "Yay its Spring!!" long weekend with candy and small gifties!!). My mom never really went all out with the egg dying unless I begged. And they never really turned out very coloured (Damn you Paas! Or maybe just food colouring...I dunno)

But what the frak does one do with the coloured eggs beyond throw them in the trash after Easter Sunday? If they've been outside in the grass maybe a dog pee'd on them..or bugs crawled on them...EEEEW! My kids are not eating that. Not to mention refridgeration issues? I just don't get it.

Cameron will not SHUT UP about easter. "This many more days....two days off school...did you go shopping yet?... how about now? I want this....will there be candy trails or plastic egg trails this year?...Did you shop yet??..." He has been warned that one more word will have him receive a decapitated stuffed bunny for Easter..NO!!!! not REALLY!!! ( but I want to, he's bugging me THAT MUCH)

Obviously Cam has clued in about the Bunny. Ben (the elder) has not said a word. Not one. Has not asked for anything questions about hopes for a chocolate extravaganza... Its a little eerie in comparison and makes me a tad sad. I think Cameron spilled the beans to his brother. He never can keep his mouth shut even when asked expressly to keep his new found Bunny discovery to himself. Maybe thats why Ben is saying nothing at all. Because the obvious ruse that he was willing to pretend to believe in has been revealed and now there is no more make believe magic for him to partake of.

Or maybe he just hasn't noticed the date yet......

Saturday, April 04, 2009

Links to past

Here are some links to past articles I have written. I don't want them to disappear into th ether because they are old and I usually forget that I have written anything other than this silly blog. As always, hyperlink and I don't get along. WHY OH WHY, hyperlink??! uses-for-household-items


Dear Weather,
You suck.

Thursday, April 02, 2009

Pasta recipe for you

I made something yummy tonight so I thought I'd share.


Ingredients list : one bag of frozen shrimp and scallops (about a pound?), thawed
2 Tbsp Oil
2 Tbsp Butter (oh..forgot to mention its not a low fat recipe)
2 cloves garlic minced (or more is good too)
a bunch of sun dried tomatoes chopped coarsely
2 Tbsp capers
1 tsp or more of dried basil
1/2 tsp lemon pepper
pinch or two of salt
splash or two of lemon juice
1/4 tsp or so red pepper flakes or crushed red pepper
Parmesan cheese

Heat oil and butter in a pan, then gently sautee the minced garlic. Takes about 5 minutes and do not let it brown.
Turn up the heat to medium high and add the thawed and rinsed seafood, shaking the pan and stirring to get all the garlicky buttery oil all over it and to keep them from cooking too fast.
Add everything else except the parmesan and stir, shaking the pan. There should be a fair amount of liquid in the pan...this is good. If there isn't then add some fish stock.
When the shrimp and fairly pink but NOT overcooked throw in some parmesan and toss things around.

Toss in about half a 400gr pack of cooked spaghetti and toss it all together...add some more lemon if you want and some more parmesan. Should serve 2 or more people depending on the appetites.



So, guess what!? That monstrous fine and car tire booting? NOT OUR FAULT!!!!!

When I finally was able to talk to Hman about it he flipped. All our unpaid tickets and fines were brought up to date and cleared last year. This incident was not about the ticket in February but from two past tickets: one in 2006 and one in 2007. All of which were taken care of. Last year. Hman asked them to check back in the file and make sure he was wiping everything out. He was told the affirmative.
There are other issues at work here as how the original notices of non-payment for tickets went to our old address in Nova Scotia instead of our current address where we actually live and the address to which our cars are registered and licensed?? What is THAT about? But that is what last years clearing of the account was motivated by. ( What if we hadn't even known about the tickets because some knob had removed them from the winshield or they'd blown away? Thats why notices are sent...but we never recieved them.)

Well, apparently that computer didn't tell the other computers. Or didn't tell the system? Or the clerk made a mistake? Because Tuesday happened because of tickets from the semi-distant past which we were told no longer existed.
As for February's ticket...the cheque was sent in with the mail-in portion of the ticket and has not yet been recieved by them or its mislaid in a desk some where because the cheque has not been through our bank account and now IT is over due even though the payment was sent in a long time ago and ON TIME. It only take two days max for something to go from here to there by mail. WTF??

The decision has been made to make a stink about this booting in court. I just want our 500+ dollars back so we can afford to get Hman's car the repairs it needs. He wants blood. Figuratively speaking of course.

Another tale: a colleague of my husband was tickets while paying for his parking at the nearest automated kiosk. He stopped the officer and said "Why!? I was just paying for it!? Here's my receipt! I just GOT HERE!!?" The cop told him he was parked illegally. In a clearly designated PARKING SPACE!!!?? When colleague pointed that out, he was answered with a shrug and the comment that he had the option to contest it in court and was STILL GIVEN A TICKET. WTF!?
This leads one to contemplation: how many fraudulent tickets are given out in a year in Montreal and how many of those people ticketted have the time or resources to take a day off work to appear in court to contest it? How many fraudulent tickets get paid to avoid the hassle and the monies accrued go in city coffers?

As of yesterday morning I still felt unable to breathe properly from the bands of anxiety and stress squeezing me. My trip to the chiropractor really really helped. I love my chiropractor. Even though she hurts me. Its a good hurt that heals.