Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Now I'm in real trouble

I love burgers. Burgers are generally not good for diets.

First we ended up with a "Five Guys Burgers and Fries"...right down the road. One day The Professor just "happened" to find himself IN the store, claiming it was because he was at the video shop, next door, and just had to check it out, which was true, but he was IN the store ...ordering...did I want anything? They are GREAT! I had raved about this meal I had indulged in, in the US, made famous by President Obama, so we were delighted when the chain arrived in Mississauga of all places!

Now I see that A&W has added a GRANDMA burger to the family. For a long time there were Baby, Teen, Mama, Papa, Grandpa, and Uncle Burgers. A petition was actually circulating to get Grandma onto the roster. In my current role, I feel that was only fair! :)

It's prime rib, it comes with horseradish sauce. It's $3.99 plus tax, which means only a Grandma with a certain disposable income can afford it. The closest A&W is at a mall nearby. I may have to make a trip ...just to see. I can find NO nutritional information on how many calories are involved in this meal. It's probably not public for a very good reason. It will be the only meal I will be able to eat all day. Hope it's worth it. It's great to be a Grandma!

Monday, March 28, 2011

Calling all Wedding Guests!

This is too hilarious! Knit Your Own Royal Wedding!! You can even knit the corgis!

For information on the book look here: Ivy Press

I'm pretty sure you can get this on Amazon.ca as well. It says it's not too complicated, but it's pretty tiny knitting!

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Isn't this interesting?

Thursday evening's episode of Grey's Anatomy had one of the characters undergoing a test for Alzheimer's disease. They started by explaining that the doctor would say three words, which they would later ask the patient to recall. "Truck, cabin, spoon". The next part of the test was to start counting backwards from 100 by seven. Question three was "where did you spend last Thanksgiving"? The entire show, under my breath, I'm reciting... truck,cabin,spoon,..truck,cabin,spoon. When the patient was counting backwards, I realized that being mathematically challenged, I've likely NEVER been able to do that, so how would I even know if she was saying the correct number?? Thanksgiving was a bit of a jumble, because I couldn't decide if it was the American one I'd spent in DC, or the Canadian one we spent with my aunt. I figured that I'd better fess up to this limitation right away. I've told the Professor that if I'm ever faced with the test, he's to explain that I never could remember anything, so what's the point - really?? He could not recall Thanksgiving - in any country!!

When I'm not reading those 20 some odd poetry books, I think I had best get at this one right away. I wonder if your brain has to be young to start with??

Truck, Cabin, Spoon!

Saturday, March 26, 2011

The Poet Says

Yesterday a new list appeared in the Oprah magazine. You know how I LOVE lists.

This particular one is: "20 Books of Poetry Everyone Should Own"

Having limited knowledge of poetry, mostly the classical poems learned in school, I have recently been "turned on" to contemporary poetry by Tess Kincaid. I read her offerings in absolute awe. Tess really knows how to turn a phrase and make all those similies and metaphors that I did learn about in school dance upon the page. Tess thinks the Oprah list is a stellar one.

You can visit Tess at her blog "Life at Willow Manor" [see my sidebar for link] and hear her actually read her poems. One I particularly like is "Edna's House"

Just last week she made the announcement that her long awaited publication is forthcoming. I have very excitedly reserved my copy.

I can assure you from personal experience that her poetry in the kitchen is every bit as tasty as her feast upon the page. We just finished up an incredibly large recipe of "Blackstreet's Cabbage Roll Casserole"

You'll have to keep in touch with the goings on at Willow Manor. At any given moment there can be extravagant parties, ghostly sightings, or yet another scrumptious recipe. It's all very poetic.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Let the Race begin

Today the Canadian House of Commons passed a non-confidence motion, defeating the ruling Conservative government led by Prime Minister Stephen Harper, for contempt of Parliament.

The motion, which was tabled by the Liberal Party and backed by the other two parties, Bloc Quebecois and New Democratic Party, was passed by a vote of 156 to 145, making the Harper government the first government defeated for being in contempt of Parliament in Canada's history.

Shortly, there will be an election. This is my Liberal candidate. When we had a citizenship issue for our granddaughter, Omar was the only politician who responded, and offered concrete assistance to our cause. Since our first meeting, we have come to know and respect Omar's efforts and integrity. He even has a great sense of humour :)

Maybe I'll have one of these

Yesterday, my idea of having 200 calories in 18 Cadbury Mini Eggs was nixed by the Loseit.com group. Devon said....Step away from the eggs!

Tim Hortons is now serving Real Fruit Smoothies.

A small 10-ounce smoothie contains one full serving of fruit and 130 calories. Available in mixed berry and strawberry banana, with the option to add yogurt for an additional 30 calories.

The smoothies cost $1.99. Adding vanilla yogurt costs 70 cents extra.

I'm posting this research prior to arriving at the coffee table, smoothie in hand, only to encounter the inevitable grilling of what it contains! There you go girls. Smoothie....chocolate eggs....smoothie.....chocolate eggs....perhaps I'll have to take up running!

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Did you know that this is Mozart?

This is Zoë's favourite action song at the moment. Today I will dedicate it to Elizabeth Taylor.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Top 10 Things List

Lately, The Toronto Star has been doing the "Week of Lists". I love lists.

I should likely be embarrassed for noting this particular list as more eminently noteworthy than say, the earthquake in Japan or the fits of Qaddafi/Gadhafi (however it is that you spell that idiot's name), but those reports are ever present at the moment, and this one was a fleeting side article.

The Top 10 Things Kids Put Up Their Noses

1. Crayons

2. Beads

3. French Fries

4. Fingers

5. Marbles

6. Spaghetti

7. Tissue

8. Cheerios

9. Lego

10. Beans/Peas

This likely speaks volumes of my discernment, but being among several newly minted grandmothers, this article was eye catching, if not "nose catching"!

Photo Credits: All from the web

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Zoë and Finnegan

Zoë and the reluctant Irish cat Finnegan.

Happy St. Patrick's Day Finnie!!!

I'm not sure, but I think Finnegan is saying "Pinch me on St. Patrick's Day and the road is gonna rise up to meet your face!"

The new sound of Irish music. The Corrs.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

So what IS Passata???

Prompted by the coffee-after-gym ladies, I'm blogging today on Passata. Seems as though each day someone comes to the table and says "What IS Passata???" It's basically tomato puree, sieved to remove lumps and seeds. We all love it in our cooking, I can say this with great authority now that I too know what it is - from the Vegetarian Chili recipe :)...the topic yesterday and today was cabbage rolls.

Instead of the time intensive work of rolling cabbage rolls we have been alerted to the easier method. Apparently there is no standard recipe for Cabbage Roll Casserole, but it contains cabbage, rice, ground beef and PASSATA if you wish! I love the bottles it comes in. You purists may chime in anytime - let me know if there is a perfect recipe!

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Do what you can

I'm playing follow the leader here. In case you haven't seen Marie Otero's blog directly, Lennie published this on her blog too. Both of these women have taught me much about Photoshop, and now about life lessons.

Marie is selling prints of her beautiful digital work, "The Lost Geisha", with all profits going to the Red Cross, to aid the victims of the devastating earthquake that occurred a few days ago in Japan.

What a beautiful gesture Marie. Thank you for thinking so globally. It's a wonderful idea and I appreciate your efforts enormously.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Remember this Maxine?

So, this morning, I reluctantly climbed into the car to set out for the gym. As I'm pulling out of the driveway, this song comes on. The sun was shining, I was beaming and singing all the way to the weight room. Did my "curves" routine and bopped right back home. This was the only youtube I could find with decent sound, so it's minimized because it's quite a horrible visual. Dare you to sit still to this one! Turn up the volume and grab the dust cloth. If you dance while dusting, I think that counts as calories burned :

I must say that I had no idea it was Maxine Nightingale who sings this. Whenever I think of Maxine, it's usually this one, whose profound words I can also live by! :)

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Sunday Afternoon at the ballet

One must always be ready for Spain! Couldn't resist adding this version too.
Remember? Think I'm going to watch this again.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

One sunny day in Brussels

The latest shenanigans of Zoë and her parents.

Michael will be off to every park in Belgium now. Zoë seems to approve of her latest form of transport. Notice when they open the hatch, she's in there with her dollies....well rounded child.

In five years time...as the song goes, this girl could be playing football - I should think it will be soccer, or perhaps golf or tennis??? Can't believe she's running around so sturdily already!

I love that she's telling her Maman, the videographer, exactly how she wants this filmed! Shaking a big stick. "You keep the camera rolling, I'm going to run away!"

Friday, March 11, 2011

Confluence of thoughts

This book has been written up in many print book reviews. I finally had enough of an order to get free shipping. Still on the Canadian theme.

Leonard Cohen on the mind I guess. The inscription:
"But what shall I tell you of migrations when in this
empty sky the precise ghosts of departed summer birds
still trace old signs."

Leonard Cohen "The Sparrows," In Let Us Compare Mythologies

The Book

You can read the review here. Could be a bit gruesome, but it does involve historical Paris, and the Canadian wilderness.
Bride of New France

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Canada's Best

I'm working really hard these days to get back into shape after a spell of colds, and winter, and my love of cookies. Today, in my favourite class of the week, our instructor literally brought the class to it's knees with this song. It was part of the cool down music and we were meant to be on our knees, but this is SUCH a beautiful song it just impels one to reflect.

If you watch the video to the end, you'll see Leonard Cohen in the audience and his reaction to KD Lang singing his anthem. Mutual respect of the highest order.

Get comfortable. Get quiet. Take off your shoes and socks if you want the full experience, and let this perfect song wash over you. Hallelujah indeed.

Thanks Devon for the music, the laughter and the spring in my step.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

How will we know?

It's hard to be artistic when you live with a bunch of scientists and skeptics.

Take for instance a new app for the iphone. The other day, at my local learning centre, aka: after workout- Tim Horton's - school of the fittest rim rollers, I learned of a new app for the iphone called:
Sleep Cycle

I had to try it. I did not mention this to The Professor until I had the firm data on the iphone. It gives you a little graph of your sleep "statistics" in the morning after you awaken, presumably in the happiest part of your sleep/awake pattern. Anyone who knows me well, knows that there is no such thing as a "happiest" moment of awakening for me. This morning, I think I was more curious than happy, but I did wake up to the "Warm Breeze" sound that I had set, and the little graph lines were up and down as promised. Apparently I was almost wide awake at 5 a.m. I have no recollection of this, but hey, that's what the "accelerometer" clocked.

I only got 6 hours and 28 minutes of sleep before the alarm went off. I set it early because if it didn't work, I wanted the backup of my "real" alarm clock to kick in. Everything worked. Personally, I thought that was rather scientific of me:)

Now for the real scientific part. The biggest skeptic in the group refuses to test my findings against his own. He says he lies down at night, in a timely manner, with a clear mind and doesn't move until morning. True. I want to see his graph. He says he'd worry all night having an iphone near his head and of course he wouldn't sleep properly. I wonder if everyone gets the same statistical graph? I mean, they can put whatever they want, and who am I to say...when I'm asleep?? How will we know???

By all accounts, if this thing is really based on movement, my lines should be furiously up and down and his should be flat as a pancake. He may give in on the weekend, but for now, best he keeps his own sweet awakening patterns, and I mine :) GAME ON!

P.S. The graph above, taken from the web....mine was the exact opposite. Mostly peaks near the awake part and not so much deep sleeping. I'm off to see if an hour more sleep has any effect tonight!

Sunday, March 6, 2011

The Royal Wedding

I've put a new link in my sidebar for the royal wedding. I've been pacing myself, not wanting to get too hysterical before the big event.

A friend started off the mania by suggesting that a group of us travel up to her condo and spend a few days together, the culmination being celebrating the wedding together. Everyone was "in" immediately. It just so happens that April 29, is my daughter Jane's birthday, as well as our hostess', reason enough for celebration.

The wedding of Charles and Diana was celebrated by our family at an early morning - 5 hour difference - all-English breakfast. I was determined the kids would share in this historic event. They don't remember anything, including my best ever scones!

Now that the royal dress designer has been announced recant :), I think it's only fitting that we start into our elaborate plans for our own little event. It's always wise with this bunch to take a running leap at plans. A certain ongoing Kaffe Fassett inspired quilty-tablecloth comes to mind! Ahem.

Not unlike "Kate's" dress, our plans will likely only be revealed on the day of the wedding. I think I'll have to read all those bloggy-girls that I admire, who make the most imaginative things when they attend retreats.

All ideas welcome!

Photo Credit: marieclaire.co.uk - internet

Saturday, March 5, 2011

The Feel Good Movement

After seeing Karen Arts' blog post last night I was left in tears. It's so touching. To my many young friends who are living with and beating this thing...Go Girls! - You know I think you are AMAZING.

In memory of my Mum who died of colon cancer....I miss you every day.

As a tribute to Kim and all the AMAZING women I know, I am paying this video forward. It is Kim's wish to reach 1,000,000 views. It's a no brainer. I'm a fan of flash mob dancers and this is such an uplifting tribute as well as a great song.

Kim MacGregor organized this flash mob of 200 dancers to launch the "feel good" movement, "I Believe She's Amazing" in honor of her friend Erika Heller who passed away May 28th, 2009 at 31 yrs. old...this is her living legacy. The amazing choreographers and dancers pulled this together in just one-6 hr rehearsal the day before the shoot.
(The song is I Believe by Yolanda Adams, from the soundtrack to the movie Honey starring Jessica Alba.)

Karen, thank you for alerting all of us to this. It's wonderful, and we all hope your sister "feels good" with each new day.

I Believe She's Amazing!
"This site gives you the chance to say "I believe she's amazing" to all the moms, sisters, aunts, grandmas, teachers, daughters, wives and girlfriends who matter and who make you believe in yourself!"

Friday, March 4, 2011

On the topic of BEES

The other day, my honey arrived home with a jar of amber honey for me. He has a "sweet" friend who is a hobby beekeeper. I have become the resident connoisseur of this liquid gold, which the bees work very hard to provide.

I attribute getting through the wretched winter this year to being able to dip into a jar of pure sunshine and luxuriate in it's silky taste. I hope to visit the bees sometime. I wonder what nectar they dine on?

In a less happy story, there was a total collapse of the bee colony at the ROM this winter. When I mentioned to The Professor that I had forgotten most of the bee lore I most assuredly learned in school, he looked askance and started into his best lecture on apiculture.

I hope they find out what happened to all the darling honey bees. In the meantime, there is a new full jar of joy in our cupboard.

Thanks to Denny and Cheryl for their generosity and beekeeping! It's such a noble art.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

What have we learned since then?

I realize, the older I get, the very different life I have led, compared to many of my Canadian friends. When I was just a young un', The Professor and I had the privilege of living, and studying in Princeton, NJ. It was 1968. The Vietnam War was in full swing. Everyone had a cause. We were all aware. We all protested. It was a different aspect of life, living in the US as opposed to not being in the thick of things in Canada. Now when I hear these songs - I get all fired up again and think...What in the world have we learned since then? The lyrics are as pertinent today to all the youth in the middle east protesting for democracy.

These two songs keep coming on my Sirius radio jogging my memory of 40 years ago.

The eastern world it is explodin',
violence flarin', bullets loadin',
you're old enough to kill but not for votin',
you don't believe in war, what's that gun you're totin',
and even the Jordan river has bodies floatin',
but you tell me over and over and over again my friend,
ah, you don't believe we're on the eve of destruction.

While I don't believe we are on the eve of destruction, there is something of great importance happening in the world at the moment. I do hope it culminates in not one more mother's son being killed.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Vegetarian Chili

A while back, we had a wonderful taste of vegetarian chili. When the diet comes out, the chili recipe does too. This one was given to me by a friend at the gym in response to all things crock pot. We are working our way through a ginormous pot of this at the moment. If you are not watching your caloires, you can fancy it up with sour cream and grated cheese. It's fabulous, and The Professor will eat it despite it's not having meat in it.

2 medium white onions diced
2 cloves garlic minced
2 medium sweet potatoes diced
2 medium zucchini diced
1 cup small cauliflower florets
1 red pepper diced
1 green pepper diced
1 cup frozen corn niblets
1 28 oz. can diced tomatoes
1 720 ml jar tomato passata (passata was new to me, but it's fabulous puree)
2 Tbsp. tomato paste
1 can Heinz baked bean in tomato sauce
1 can red kidney beans drained
1 can black beans drained
3 Tbsp. chili powder
Salt and Pepper to taste.

Sauté onions and garlic in 2 Tbsp. oil for five minutes. Add diced vegetables and canned tomatoes, passata, and tomato paste. Add chili powder, salt and pepper. Bring mixture to boil, turn heat down and simmer 45 minutes or until vegetables are tender.

To cook in crock pot, sauté onion in garlic in a pan. Add to crock pot with all other ingredients. Turn heat to high, when bubbling, turn heat to medium for 6 hours.

Freezes well.

I have no idea how many this recipe serves as I usually add more, and different beans and vegetables than it calls for. It's one of those dishes that never seem to reduce in size no matter how long you dip away at it! Either use it to feed a crowd, or be in the mood for lots and lots of chili!!!

Thanks to LG

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Proceed with Caution

Last week I was having problems with my computer appearing to be VERY slow. Upon inspection by the resident 'techy', it was determined that I do not delete enough old email etc. from my various in, out and draft boxes. In fact, I don't know when I ever deleted ...thousands. There doesn't appear to be a "Purge" button on my computer as there is on the techie's, so I undertook the painstaking work of deleting bit by bit. It gets a little mindless and addictive...select, delete, select, delete, and the short story is that I deleted a few things that I should have thought about before using the magic eraser.

I now realize how much I actually go back to, and reference, older mail. To be fair, there is only so much data even the computer can handle, so this was a necessary exercise. The computer IS working faster and better, and the files are slim to nothing, but there is something utterly naked about it all. I may have to contact people to resend information that I have obliterated. Technology can be scary. Proceed with caution.

In the interim, I heard about thousands of people who use gmail that lost all of their mail due to a Google Glitch. As serendipity would have it, one of my favourite columnists, Martha Beck, also talks about the dreaded "File Management" in and article in Oprah..which I also receive electronically!!!