Tuesday, May 29, 2007


One man's dream...everyone else's nightmare...

Sunday, May 27, 2007

Kinder Bliss

When I was a kid, I believed that tunnels honked; long honks, short honks...they came in all sorts of shapes and sizes. Yes, I know, many of you probably believed in things like Santa Claus or the Tooth Fairy. But for me, it was honking tunnels. Each tunnel had a different sound, a different echo, and a different number of honks. The tunnel going under the Fraser river was best of all because it was so long.

When I was a kid, on hot summer nights, we'd sit on the veranda blowing bubbles and then follow them with a flashlight as they floated over the yard, drifting down the hill and into the night until they unexpectedly burst.

When I was a kid, on hot summer nights, I loved to sleep outside, beneath the stars looking for constellations and watching satellites slowly make their way across the night sky while listening to the lazy hum of crickets in the distance.

When I was a kid, all the children in our neighbourhood would spend hours running about outside, living in our imaginary worlds, until one by one our parents would call us home for dinner.

When I was a kid, we had a game we played...pinching "beauty buns." This game became a bit of an obsession and has provided fodder for epic tales...but that would take another post to explain.

When I was a kid, possibilities were endless and life was magical.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

The Challenge

“The Challenge” appears every week in the Globe and Mail, one of our national newspapers. It is a time to play with language and get creative. Some weeks prove to be far more interesting than others. Last week’s challenge proved to be one of those weeks. The challenge was to amend a foreign-language phrase that is well known in English and provide a new translation. Here are some examples of what transpired:

Bomb de plume: a book so bad it was published under a pseudonym.

Femme fetal: dangerous since birth.

DJ vu: this club is so passé

Ménage, à toi: Honey, it’s your turn to do the house cleaning.

In vitro veritas: paternity test.

Déjà vous: I didn’t expect you to be here so soon.

Snoop du jour: Employee Recognition Day at CSIS (Canada’s secret service).

Person known gratis: a free-loader

Que sera, Saran: What will be left over will be wrapped up.

No bless oblige: We aren’t required to let you take communion.

I would love to hear any that you would like to add. Let the challenge begin.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Meet Bob

I’ve been doing a fair amount of work with International students. Here’s a snippet of the conversation that ensued while working with an 11 year old Korean boy the other day:

KB: Caw ra

(I can’t tell you how many times my name has been massacred and not just by Asians either. My luck wasn’t much better while living in Quebec. Who knew it was so difficult to pronounce. Apparently “L’s” and “R’s” present a specific challenge in many languages. And when placed together, well…that warrants a post of its own. Show me what you can do with a bilabial fricative, and perhaps I’ll go there on another day.)

KB: (Looking very intent) How do you call the orange bridge?

Me: (In a matter of fact tone) I don’t think it really has a name.

KB: It looks so like the Golden Gate Bridge.
(Despite their young age, many of these students have traveled extensively)

Me: Hmm…(raising my eyebrow trying to look like I’m really thinking hard about his last statement) it’s really not quite as large or majestic.

KB: (disbelievingly) It doesn’t have a name?

Me: We usually just call it the big orange bridge.

KB: Humph (thinking pensively for a minute)…so we can call it BOB?

Me: Okay, BOB it is.

KB: (looking very satisfied that we’ve come to this final agreement)

Monday, May 21, 2007

The Goslings are Back

This morning as I was out for a walk, I heard a cacophony of honking. I hurried down towards the water thinking it was nothing but the regular gaggle paddling about, and there they were...but just off to the side were two parents nudging their little goslings into the water. Obviously I couldn't get all that close as these geese are rather protective of their young and given their size, I certainly wouldn't want to get in their way. But I did manage a few pics before they floated off beyond my reach. Unfortunately I was fumbling with my lens and they were well into the water before I took the first picture.

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Mysterious Ticking Noise

Not quite sure why I find this so amusing...but thought I'd share it. Watch out, it's kind of a catchy tune.

Friday, May 18, 2007

That Which Is

Do you hear the whispers of those whose blood courses through your veins as you trod on the soil from whence they came?

Do the voices of the past echo down through the shadows of the mountains or do they bubble up from within?

Can you feel the stories the stones have witnessed, the sagas of the very same imprint on your DNA?

Do you recognize that which you have never seen but is, the distant memories and past dreams which call out, which draw you in?

It is...
the passage of time
the stillness of eternity
the deja-vu

Monday, May 14, 2007

Celebrating Mothers

Yesterday, I had planned on doing a whole post on my mother and why she is so fabulous. There are so many things I could have said, and I had even chosen the most wonderful picture of her. But instead I decided to throw a brunch in her honour. And as my super powers don't extend quite as far as hers...that's as far as I got. But lunch was wonderful. I had also invited some friends of my parents, after all, it was my mother's day and she deserved to enjoy herself with good friends.

I was duly inspired by Cheryl's whole "high tea" experience. I am sure that "high tea" is steeped (pardon the pun) in rich tradition. But alas, I am not British and more a fly by the seat of my pants, make it up as I go sort of gal, so I probably got it all wrong and served all sorts of things I shouldn't have, starting with wine instead of tea. My hosts, of course, had no idea where my inspiration might have come from and very graciously declared that the whole event was very "west coastish."

As far as plans go, or don't go, I had initially wanted to take advantage of the sunny streak of weather we'd been enjoying and to eat outside on the deck. Naturally it didn't once cross my mind that the weather wasn't in the least bit interested in cooperating with me. In fact, I had worried that perhaps it would be a little too warm. But the sunshine did not have me scheduled in, forcing me once again to improvise. So from within, we watched stormy clouds, rain and eventually a rainbow. I guess we didn't miss the sunshine too much.

I won't go into too much detail about what I served, as the pictures give you a pretty good sampling. For me, certain combinations please without fail. The hidden surprise in the profiterals were cherries...with Swiss chocolate, mmm...

I hope all you mothers out there had a wonderful Mother's day.

Friday, May 11, 2007

Cookie Tale

I was recently told this story...I have no one to whom I can give credit, because I know not who wrote it or from where it originally came. But it is beautiful and deserves to be told, so I thought I would share it with all of you.

A young lady was waiting for her flight in the boarding room of a big airport.

As she would need to wait many hours, she decided to buy a book to pass the time. She also bought a bag of cookies.

She sat down in an armchair in the VIP room to rest and read in peace. Beside the armchair where the packet of cookies lay, a man sat down in the next seat, opened his magazine and started reading. When she took the first cookie, the man took one also.

She felt irritated, but said nothing. She just thought, "What nerve. If I was in the mood, I would punch him just for daring!" For each cookie she took, the man took one too. This was infuriating her, but she didn't want to cause a scene. When only one cookie remained, she thought: "Ah ha! What's this abusive man going to do now?"

Then the man, taking the last cookie, divided it and gave her one half. That was too much! She was much too angry now! In a huff, she took her book and things and stormed off to commence boarding. When she sat down in her seat inside the plane, she looked in her purse to get her glasses, and, to her surprise, her package of cookies was there, untouched, unopened.

She felt so ashamed. She was wrong. She had forgotten that she had put her cookies in her purse. The man had divided his cookies with her without feeling angered or bitter...while she had been very angry thinking that she was dividing her cookies with him. And now there was no chance to explain herself or to apologize.

There are four things you cannot recover:
The stone after the throw.
The word after it's said.
The occasion after it's lost.
The time after it's gone.

Thursday, May 10, 2007


I have been inspired. You all know who you are. Yes, all of you who are posting scrumptious, simple, quick recipes that are sure to please. We've been having lovely weather here and I have a dear little rhubarb plant that I transplanted last fall and I am pleased to say that it is now more than flourishing. That being said, this crisp recipe has got to be the fastest most versatile dessert I know. It's one of those handed down recipes that isn't even written down. Alter it as you will. Change the fruit...add stawberries or apples, pears, I've even made this with apricots. But today my little rhubarb plant is begging to be used. I do love this time of year.

In case you are unable to tell, I took the photo before the crisp went in the oven...actually, before I had finished putting the topping on.

Rhubarb Crisp

1/2 C butter
1 C brown sugar

mix together thoroughly

2 C rolled oats
(a little cinnamon if desired)

cut oats into the butter mixture (occasionally I'll add a quarter cup of flour...but it all depends on how I'm feeling)

Cut rhubarb and fill an 8 X 8 pan. Sprinkle crisp mixture on top, pat down gently. Back at 350 for 45 min to 1 hour. Serve with ice cream, whipped cream, cream or just eat plain.

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Variations on the Word Sleep

I would like to watch you sleeping,
which may not happen.
I would like to watch you,
Sleeping. I would like to sleep
with you, to enter
your sleep as its smooth dark wave
slides over my head.

And walk with you through that lucent
wavering forest of bluegreen leaves.
with its watery sun and three moons
towards the cave where you must descend
towards your worst fear.

I would like to give you the silver
branch, the small white flower, the one
word that will protect you
from the grief at the centre
of your dream, from the grief
at the centre. I would like to follow
you up the long stairway
again and become
the boat that would row you back
carefully, a flame
in two cupped hands
to where your body lies
beside me, and you enter
it as easily as breathing in.

I would like to be the air
that inhibits you for a moment
only. I would like to be that unnoticed
and that necessary.

~M Atwood

Monday, May 07, 2007

Happy Birthday

Many great things have happened on May 7th throughout history. To name just a few, on this very day in 1429, Joan of Arc ends the Siege of Orleans, pulling an arrow from her own shoulder and returning wounded to lead the final charge; in 1664, Louis XIV of France inaugurates the Palace of Versailles; in 1812, Robert Browning is born in London; in 1824, it is the world premier of Ludwig van Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony in Vienna; in 1833 composer Johannes Brahms is born in Hamburg; in 1840, Tchaikovsky is born in the Ural region of Russia; in 1908, the University of British Columbia is founded in Vancouver as a branch of McGill; in 1919, Eva Peron was born; in 1920, the Art Gallery of Ontario in Toronto opens an exhibition titled ‘The Group of Seven’ with paintings by Carmichael, Harris, Jackson, Johnston, Lismer, MacDonald and Varley…their first exhibition; in 1985, the Edmonton Oilers take their second Stanley Cup. But one of most special things to ever have happened on this day was the birth of my very dear friend Cheryl over at Free Range Living. So, my very, very dear friend, for your birthday, I present you my magic lamp with genie intact and three wishes. I used up my final wish to wish you a most wonderful and magical garden on your new property.

To everyone else, if you have a chance, please do pop over and wish Cheryl a very happy birthday. And as old Bill Shakespeare says, " With mirth and laughter let old wrinkles come." (Cheryl...not that am wishing you wrinkles...but when they do come, let them be a testament to the happiness in your life.)

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Favorites - Summerhill Winery

I hope you all forgive me for the little hiatus I took last week. I was out of town, and the social life has been taking a little too much of my time that I’ve…ehm...yes, not been too regular with my postings. So where have I been? I'm glad you asked. Last weekend I went to the Okanagan, more specifically Kelowna, part of the northernmost wine region in the world. Okay so there are also lush orchards, spectacular scenery, large lakes, mountains, fancy restaurants... did I mention the wineries?

For those of you who have never been, the Okanagan valley is a semiarid desert (Canada’s only) with an average annual rainfall below 30 centimeters. This lack of humidity, combined with the long hot summer days (due to being so far north) and cool evenings has created what is perhaps the finest grape growing region in the world. The grapes tend to be small with a high sugar and acid content as opposed to the fat watery grapes of many other regions. This allows for intensely flavoured aromatic wines. Mmmm…

Way back in 1995, the Okanagan only had about 26 wineries and some of them were obviously of questionable quality. But now, this “Napa North” or “Tuscany of Canada,” as it’s sometimes dubbed, has more than 120 wineries. However, the one winery that I would like to highlight is Summerhill, Canada’s LARGEST organic vineyard.

It is more than just being organic that makes this Summerhill winery special. Summerhill specializes in sparkling wines and they age all their wines in a four-storey replica of the great pyramid. Steven Cipes, the proprietor, believes that the flavour of fine wines is enhanced when aged in a pyramid. Whether or not this is actually the case, what is indisputable is that Summerhill produces phenomenal quality wines that rival those that come from the most established wine regions in the world. In 2000, Summerhill won a gold medal in the Chardonnay du Monde competition for its Gabriel sparkling wine against France’s champagnes. Of the five gold medals awarded in this category, Summerhill was the only winery outside France to be bestowed with such an honour.

While you’re visiting, don’t forget to take a stroll through the Peace Park and take in the fabulous scenery while lunching on the terrace (a fabulous brunch is offered on weekends) before making your way to the wine shop for tastings. And if you’ve never tried icewine, Summerhill offers an exquisite selection.


Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Which Sports Car Are You?

I'm a Mercedes SLK!

You appreciate the finer things in life. You have a split personality - wild or conservative, depending on your mood. Wherever you go, you like to travel first class. Luxury, style, and fun - who could ask for more?

Take the Which Sports Car Are You? quiz.

Thanks to Peter over at Portrait of Peter for sharing this quiz.