Saturday, July 30, 2011

Lucky Number 7

The drama of the 5th. Edition has now ended. The book has gone to print, and I will be "grandfathernapping" the Professor for an imposed 3 day holiday early this coming week.

This is NOT recommended for light summer reading, but you can probably still sign up for his Molecular Evolution course in the fall :) You can click on the image to "embiggen". I love the new cover, except for the lizard which I voted against :)

It's difficult to imagine what goes into publishing a University text book. This has been going on since 1986..starting, in the old days, in Chapel Hill, NC. - Seven books ago and the fifth edition of this one. Congratulations to the Professor, and to all of us for surviving this long :)

Friday, July 29, 2011

Spanish Fountain - The Essence of Summer

Yet another reason to visit The Metropolitan Museum of Art

John Singer Sargent (American, 1856-1925)
Watercolor and graphite on white wove paper.
This makes me want to get out my watercolor paints...great idea for a summer afternoon.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Now where did I put that.......

It all started in an effort to find a bag of fibres that I wanted to use.

Not in the basement storage,, all the boxes harbouring this-and-that are duly marked and inventoried. One box for cross-stitch, one for recycled fabrics, one for unfinished quilting projects (that might someday resurface), one for odds and sods of wool, one for "curiosities"...for lack of a better explanation.

Upstairs the rooting continued and ended up in the purchase of a new shelf
Pier One...the 'goes anywhere shelf'. It tapers toward the top and was therefore the perfect size and shape to fit in a small hall area between the bedroom and bath. It now stores a vast array of magazines and books.

The hamper (which the shelf replaced) had to be emptied and sorted and redistributed into the linen closet, where happily a new space was found to house the vacuum cleaner. The contents of a small three tiered wire basket on wheels were dispersed and now live in a new little cabinet in the bathroom. The cart will be used in the studio.

Ah yes, in the "Studio" the shelves in the Ikea cupboard needed to be altered. Now heavier boxes housing fat quarters and wool can be pulled out like drawers and tipped as opposed to overhead deathly removal.

What was it I was looking for????

Monday, July 25, 2011

Guest Post - Nancy Whiskey and my ancestors

Guest post by The Professor - who knows no bounds when it comes to looking into my ancestral past. You can be sure I'll be teaching the grandchildren this song :)

Turns out, I descend from a long line of weavers!

The Calton Weavers to be exact. They are from Glasgow, Scotland. This was a REALLY rough area, and life was dreadfully difficult. Apparently it still is. No wonder that they came to Canada, and no wonder that they must have been very disappointed in the the Canadian Shield shale they were given.

The Perth/Lanark side of the family descends from Scottish settlers who came to Canada in 1820. Many of them were from Glasgow and a large contingent were weavers from Calton, now part of Glasgow. One of the ancestors was William Hood (1744 - 1810) who was known to be employed as a weaver. His son James Hood (1776 -1859) came to Canada with his son William Hood (1799 - 1874). William is a great-great grandfather.

William's mother was Elizabeth Jones (1776 - 1803). She is buried in Calton Cemetery in Glasgow. This cemetery, also known as the Abercromby St. Cemetery, was famous as a graveyard for the weavers (and their wives) who worked in Calton.

The area and people were notorious enough to be recorded in song...this rendition by the Clancy Brothers.

an interesting account of Calton today

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Zoë runs away with Pi and Finnegan

A little clip of Miss "Z" doing what she does best these days...running away! I think it's so funny that the cats follow her on her adventure.

I think she's telling Pi cat that there is no time for rolling around if they are to make it to the end of the stoney driveway before Daddy ends the caper!

Thanks for the video Michael.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Summer Mornings

A particularly appealing picture from "The Reading Woman" calendar.

Laurits Andersen Ring (Danish)

At Breakfast 1898

The Bridgeman Art Library, NY

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Summer Tunes

I wonder why this one wasn't more popular?? Indeed I had forgotten all about it, until Sirius gave me a summer jolt! Enjoy the weekend.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Sorry I asked???

Yesterday when I realized it was Bastille Day in France, I questioned the Professor as to my connection to the actual event. Somewhere in the depths of his genealogical findings, I knew of the story of the Storming of the Bastille and my family.

Most references to William Playfair say that he took part in the storming of the Bastille but it's probably much more accurate to say he was present at the event. It's very unlikely that a gentleman like Playfair would join a mob of French speaking workers and peasants.

William was born in Scotland on Sept. 22, 1759 and he died (penniless) on Feb. 11, 1823 in Covent Garden, London. His famous brothers were the architect James Playfair and the mathematician John Playfair.

William had five children ....
Zenobia (?)
Louisa (?)
Elizabeth ("Betsy") born about 1782
John (1780 - 1853)
Lieutenant Colonel Andrew William Playfair (1790 - 1869) (born in Paris)

John and Andrew moved to Lanark sometime around 1840-1841 and Betsy joined them with her two children a few years later when her husband (William Bingley) died.

You are a descendant of John Playfair via his son from his first wife John "Little John" Playfair (1814 - 1900) and you are also a descendant of Andrew via his daughter Annette Elizabeth ("Elizabeth") Playfair (1818 - 1878). (The cousins married each other.)

Their daughter was Annette Elizabeth ("Nettie") Playfair (1843 - 1930) and she married Aaron Floyd Lashley (1833 - 1914). Their son was John Playfair ("J.P.") Leslie (1869 - 1940) who married Jennie Lind Thompson (1872 - 1961). They were your great-grandparents.

Whenever the Professor comes running into the room waving genealogical printouts about my coo-coo family, there is usually a lot of eye rolling on my behalf, but I must give him credit for having done all of this tedious work. I find it all terribly fascinating, but I could never spend the time and mental effort it takes to do all of this.

I wonder if they ate jellied salads? AND I wonder if Betsy was married to THE Mr. Bingley??

Credits: Wikipedia, Professor L. Moran

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Whatever happened to the Jellied Salad?

I don't know about you, but "Jello" jellied salads practically define my entire childhood. There was always something embedded in molded jello, wobbling and glistening at the center of the buffet table.

I happened to love red jello.

When I was in grade school it was popular to invite a few of your teachers to your home for lunch. Those were the days when we walked to and from school, and didn't stay for lunch unless you lived over a mile away.

I really wanted the beautiful kindergarten teacher to marry my homeroom teacher, so I decided to try a little matchmaking over a luncheon of my favourite things. My Mother used to make a tuna casserole that was her signature dish. It was basically a can of tuna and mushroom soup, frozen peas with potato chips "decoratively"? wedged on top. It was served with rice. Why in the world this seemed festive is beyond me, but it was. I wanted her to serve this dish and then have red jello with real whipped cream for dessert. What could be more romantic??

They came, they ate, they were terribly good sports. Years later and much wiser, I found out the kindergarten teacher, unbeknownst to me, was engaged to someone else, and my homeroom teacher batted for the other side, so I was really off the mark in the cupid profession.

At another family function recently, there it was! The orange jellied salad. Mandarin oranges and cottage cheese...a flood of memories. Just try and find a recipe other than in an old church cookbook. The jellied salad has fallen from favour. I want it back. This is a picture of the table at my grandfather's house.
Note all the jellied salads.

The Professor likes tomato aspic which is another incarnation of the jellied salad, but I like the see-through variety where you can pick out the fruit cocktail floating in the bumps of the mold.

This recipe sounds something like the mandarin one, I'm sure you can add just about anything to the "Jello" tastes like a party every time.

Apricot Cottage Cheese Salad with Lemon Juice

Ingredients -

3 oz pack apricot jello
7 oz can apricot halves
12 oz cottage cheese
½ cup mayonnaise
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 cup boiling water
Mint leaves, for garnish


Dissolve the jello powder in the boiling water.

Drain the apricots, keeping 1/2 cup of the syrup.

Chop them up.

Add the lemon juice and reserved apricot syrup to the jello mixture, then stir in the cottage cheese and beat in the mayonnaise.

Chill until it is a bit thicker, and then stir in the apricots.

Chill the jello salad until it is firm, then unmold it and garnish it with the mint leaves.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Can you see him??

There is a particular stretch of road on the trip to Ottawa that is horribly boring, unless you look in the marshy ponds at the side of the road and look for herons. Most times you spot one or two, but it's difficult enough depending on the time of day, while traveling at breakneck speed.

Our return trip "up home" ended in an unplanned diversion and we stopped in Almonte. I decided it was meant to be, so we did a bit of antiquing...well, I antiqued, the Professor scoured the maps to find the quickest route back to the main road. It was a weekend of missed turns, but resulted in fortuitous finds.

The only heron I spotted was actually in Almonte. There were none along the roadside this trip. Again, meant to be.

Would you have seen him, standing there...all alone?

It was dreadfully hot, so he had the best locale in the town.

I had wandered off the antique shop route and found myself on the river walk. Luckily I had the camera, as the Professor always thinks I'm just saying "I saw one!"

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Florence K

I wish Canada would celebrate Canada Day the way the Americans celebrate the Fourth of July.

In Washington, you get top performers with great sound and crowds. Well, okay, perhaps Little Richard is pushing it.

In Canada, we seem to have this need to showcase "new" and upcoming talent from all over the country. While this approach is laudable, it can also mean some fairly sketchy performances. The Professor and I were wondering why in the world some of our most stellar performers were not present this year, particularly since this one included royalty.

Why didn't we have Michael J. Fox or William Shatner as MC? How about getting Celine Dion to come home for a day? Well, guess it's cause they are now in the USA where they are appreciated and make money. We have Bryan Adams and Buffy St. Marie and many others who are recipients of the Order of Canada. How about Neil Young! Shania Twain??? I think she was even in the area signing books! Heck, I'd even welcome PAUL ANKA!!!

The one good thing that I learned this year was the existence of

Florence K.

She is the daughter of fabulous musicians and I just love her style. For this one performance I am grateful. I think the Duke and Duchess also liked her the best.

Have a great weekend. We're off up to the Nation's Capital. I'm not sure that anyone there will listen, but if they do, you can be sure I'll be telling them to fix things next year!

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Il Volo

If you haven't heard...these guys, you're really missing something. Il Volo will be in Toronto in September. They just performed in the lobby of my radio station 96.3 Classical FM. Il Volo means "Flight" in English. They are certainly taking off!

Sunday, July 3, 2011

The Results

I'm not sure if you'll remember the part in "Alice in Wonderland" about the Caucus-Race?

"How to Run a Caucus-Race"

1. With a piece of chalk, mark out a racecourse - it doesn't matter what shape.

2. Place the contestants anywhere on the course.

3. Do not blow a whistle or say, "Ready, steady, go!"
Contestants may begin running whenever they like.

4. Likewise, contestants may stop running whenever they like.

Note for Organizers:
It is very difficult to determine the winner of a Caucus-race, but all winners must have prizes.

It's a bit like that when you have a Mad Hatter's tea party and 3 of the guests are the little bride's attendants.

The first thing is ...there are no rules. You may eat what you want, when you want, it doesn't matter.

So, if you were 8 or 10 years old, where would you start??? Of course you would. With the ICING!

I'm not quite sure if these are the bride's attendants or little girls that ended up on the lounger with just the right sized cakes!

Whoever it was that was floating around the tea table had a hand in the decorating- with-gumballs department.

No teapot was left untouched!

I believe what we're seeing here is the direct result of bridal attendants hopped up on quite a bit of sugar!!

It is Wonderland after all...and there are NO RULES!

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Eat Me, Drink Me

Chapter Three
The Tea Table is ready

Alice said:
"It was much pleasanter at home, when one wasn't always growing larger and smaller and being ordered about by mice and rabbits."

A complete platter of egg salad only. Since everyone has to dig for them in the larger plate, it has been decided that this is a much more civilized form of presentation.

A watermelon, pistachio and balsamic salad...the watermelon cut in heart shapes! Skewers of baby mozzarella, grape tomatoes, and basil...

The oldies and goodies ...Ham, Salmon, Chicken, and everyone's favourite - Cream cheese and cherry

The main event ALWAYS ..Cupcakes!!

Since there are no rules at a Mad Hatter's Tea party, food can be consumed in ANY order at all. Guess where the three little flower girls started ??

A berry shortcake if you please.

The very last jammy heart cookie! There was such a buzz around the cookie plate, it was difficult to photograph these!

Or possibly, someone may have been helping themselves while no one was looking??

I see. The smile on that hedgehog's face and the emptiness of the punch bowl might have something to do with each other!

Miss Ida Louise's Summertime Strawberry Punch
25-30 Servings

2 Cups puréed strawberries (or fruit in season) = 4 Cups
1/2 Cup sugar
2 Cans frozen lemonade
2 Cups strong brewed tea (cooled)

2 Litres of Gingerale
*Optional Sparkling White Wine, Liqueurs can be added as well, depending on taste and degree of alcohol desired.

Mix all together and store in large zip lock bag for freezer. [You may also store in small freezer bags to make thawing quicker.]

Thaw for 2 hours prior to serving and mash.

Just at serving time add:

2 Litres of Gingerale
OR: 1 Litre of Gingerale +
1 Litre of Sparkling Wine (Asti Spumante)

Garnish with fruit or edible flowers.