September 19, 2007

The Political Compass

Interesting... I am more left than I thought I would be.

You can find your own place on the chart here.

August 21, 2007

Today would have been Joe Strummer's 55th birthday. So, in honour of his contribution to my listening enjoyment... go listen to the Clash and raise a glass in his memory.

August 03, 2007

A Barrel of Fun

We have a rain barrel just like the one pictured here. When we first saw our new house, there was a green plastic rain barrel here, but the previous owners took it with them. One day Cory came home with this one, and it is beautiful. Plants love the soft, warm water from the rain barrel much more than the hard, freezing cold water from our house. I even read that you can make a compost "tea" with an old pillowcase, a shovel full of compost, and hang it inside your rain barrel for an added whack of nutrients!
I love our barrel! I can keep our flowers alive and not feeling guilty about wasting water. I have vague childhood memories of my grandfather washing his hair with the rain water from his barrel. Maybe I'll give that a whirl one day...

July 01, 2007

We are moved in and getting things organized slowly. My sister and my mom came on moving day and spent the night. They did so much unpacking. I am forever grateful to them. This photo is of a tiny portion of our garden that Cory has tamed... weeded, mulched, new rose bushes added to the existing ones, and even a warrior standing guard. It is inspiring to have this little spot of tameness among all the overgrown gardens! I'll be adding more pictures as we take them!

May 24, 2007

34 Days to Go

Here is the outside of our new house. It is oddly situated on the lot. The side faces the road. This is the back (side) yard taken from the road.
I haven't done much packing. I packed two boxes of records. I need some more boxes that fit the albums. I have to get going on this packing thing!

May 22, 2007

Countdown to The Move - Day 36

This morning I packed five boxes of day care stuff. I am giving all my day care things to my sister-in-law, who will go through it all and pick what she wants and get rid of the rest. That is going to be one heck of a lot of stuff! Hope your are ready for it Eva!
We found a home for our dishwasher and our basement fridge. We are not taking those with us.
We have booked movers! This is the first time we have used movers, and I am so flippin' excited about that. We are still packing everything but the movers will come in and load the truck and then unload it at the new house. I am so happy! The thought of trudging up and down, in and out, up and down just makes me want to crawl into a hole and cry! So the moving men thing is a very good thing!

May 16, 2007


The deals are done! Signed, sealed, delivered! Our house is sold and we have purchased another. It is so good to have everything settled. We move in six weeks. This is a photo of our new kitchen taken today during the home inspection. We will have plenty of decorating to do, and a few fix ups to make, but we are happy with our purchase. First fix up is a new roof! Ugh!

May 08, 2007

We Are Moving

We have been somewhat busy! Job interview, position offered, house for sale, offer in on new house... all within about two and half weeks! More details later.

April 05, 2007

Check This Out!

A town in Manitoba has banned plastic bags! Read more here.

End of Week Nine

So almost nine weeks so far. Last Saturday I actually remembered to bring my shopping bins (although I had to turn around after I had already left the house). My stash o' bags is greatly reduced, and soon I am going to have to get very creative with packaging up stinky diapers and kitty litter. Maybe I will send the diapers home with the day care kids for their parents to throw out!

I am finding myself to be so much more aware of what I am throwing in the trash and what our city does not collect for recycling. Things like plastic film and bags. Certain hard plastics. Our city only takes #1, 2, 4 and 5, so things like a coffee cup lid is not recyclable here. Hubby and I both have stainless steel travel mugs that we use for drinks from home, but we've never tried to get one filled at a coffee shop. I remember hearing that Tim Horton's won't fill them. I should try and see what happens.

So I have been thinking about things that we do in our household already to live a little more lightly. We keep in cool at night and I like it cool in the day. We turned up our air conditioning a few degrees last summer. We turn out light bulbs. We use compact fluorescent bulbs. We reuse most plastic bags and containers.

Some things we don't do that I know we should... let the car idle. Unplug things when not in use like the stereo and tv and computer and coffee maker and phone chargers and on and on and on.
One thing I recently did was purchase a giant package of paper Dixie cups for the day care kids to use. I got so sick and tired of washing cups a zillion times a day. The Dixie cups are the perfect size for little drinks, and although I feel terribly guilty about using them and throwing them out... the sanity saving factor far outweighs the guilt. I have been thinking forward to garden and yard work. Pesticides will be banned in our city in 2008. We could get a push mower.

March 23, 2007

There is a Ray of Hope in Ontario's budget. Included are rebates for home energy audits (here is a link to Ontario's new ecoEnergy Retrofit program) and a campaign of people going to door to door to install energy efficient light bulbs in your front porch light! This article also includes a link to a breakdown on the $125 million in environmental commitments in the budget.

End of Week Seven

The Year Without Toilet Paper : This is a really interesting article from the NY Times.

No Impact Man : This is the blog from the family in the above article. Good reading!

Here is an update about my weekly changes and how well or not well I have been keeping them.

Week #1 - at least one meatless meal a week - I have had this dang manicotti recipe on my menu week after week, and I never get around to making it. It is good, but fussy and time seems to have been at a premium around here lately. So I haven't been doing well with this one really. My day care kids have meatless lunches quite regularly, but the goal was really for my own family meals.

Week #2 - not to buy paper napkins - This has been easy because I have a big bag of napkins here to use up. I have purchased a beautiful set of cloth napkins at the thrift store that I will use for company. I am still on the look out for the perfect every day cloth napkins. I think I want them to be black... to hide stains. I found some new black ones but would much prefer to buy used.

Week #3 - wash out and reuse milk bags - This is going very well. I have found that stuffing a dish towel inside the bag and just letting it sit is the fastest way to dry the bag. It will dry in a few hours that way. I have also found myself washing out ziplock bags, something I was too lazy to do before.

Week #4 - no more plastic bags from stores - Dummy that I am... I now am the owner of six lovely bins that fit in my shopping cart. Shop, place items in bins. Get to check out, pack items back into bins. Put bins in car. Take bins from car to house. Empty bins. It really is very easy.
But I FORGOT to bring them with me last week. Furthermore, I am still not in the habit of asking for no bag from other stores. I really need to work on this one.

Week #5 - I didn't choose a new goal this week... just worked on previous ones.

Week #6 - trash walk around the neighbourhood. I have not done this yet.

Week #7 - start composting again - I finally emptied out our coffee can and it now lives on the counter top. There are a few things inside. Yesterday I had to pick out a banana peel from the garbage can and put it in the compost can. It takes a while to change habits!

This week's new habit? I think I will just work on the previous ones... especially the no bag thing.

March 19, 2007

Reusable Bags

A & P stores (Food Basics, Loeb, Dominion, Ultra Mart) has a fabulous reusable bag. Someone gave me one this weekend, and it is so durable and strong! They are made from 100% recyled stuff and are machine washable. They are 99 cents! What a bargain! Go get some and never use a plastic bag again!

What to Eat?

  • corned beef, veggies, mashed potatoes
  • homemade lasagna, whole wheat rolls, salad
  • sausage casserole
  • turkey dinner (I love cooking a turkey for no reason)
  • cajun fish, rice, veggies
  • pork chops of some description, veggies, potatoes
  • manicotti (if I ever actually make this... it has been on my menu for weeks, and it is rather fussy to make, so I keep putting it off)

Visit Laura for more menu ideas.

March 17, 2007

Random Ten

I am at my sweetie's office listening to my Joe playlist and just thought I would share what comes up...

X-Ray Style - Joe Strummer and the Mescaleros (Rock Art and the X-Ray Style)
Ghetto Defendant - The Clash (Combat Rock)
First Night Back in London - The Clash (Super Black Market Clash)
Sweety of the St. Moritz -101ers (Elgin Avenue Breakdown Revisitied)
Version Pardner - The Clash (Sandinista)
Death or Glory - The Clash (London Calling)
Sandstorm - Joe Strummer (Walker)
Mustapha Dance - The Clash (Super Black Market Clash)
Complete Control - The Clash (The Clash)U.S.
Midnight Jam - Joe Strummer and the Mescaleros (Streetcore)

March 16, 2007

Week Six - Composting

Composting is my new green goal for next week. I want one of these. I have just used a coffee can or ice cream bucket previously. We have a composter in the back yard, and I used to take all my compost items out there, and then last spring we put in a new shed and a new fence... the composter got tucked away in a not so easy to get to spot, and I got out of the habit! So now that the snow is melted, I want to get back into this habit. It makes such great stuff to add to the garden.

You can check out the Composting Council of Canada for more information.

March 09, 2007

Random Ten

Set your digital music player to Shuffle, press Play, then list the first ten songs that appear. No skipping. Here’s my list for today:

Prenda Del Alma - Los Lobos (By the Light of the Moon)
Safe European Home - The Clash (Agora 1979)
It Don't Mean a Thing - Duke Ellington and His Orchestra (Fabulous Big Band Collection)
Jailhouse Rock - Elvis Presley (The Number One Hits)
Protex Blue - The Clash (DeMontford Hall, Leicester, 1977)
Crazy - Gnarls Barkley (St. Elsewhere)
Love - Prince (3121)
China Girl - David Bowie (Let's Dance)
That Old Feeling - Diana Krall (Love Scenes)
I've Changed My Address - Diana Krall (The Girl in the Other Room)

Week Five

This has been a much better green week. I got back on track with washing out the milk bags, and now have quite a stash of them. They are perfect for those large bars of cheese, and because they are so thick they are great for freezing stuff.

I bought two grocery bins. I will have to take a photo of them as I can't find any on the web. I know they are made out of plastic, but I did some research and they say the plastic is at least recyclable. Did you know that the blue boxes you buy for curb pick up of your recyclables are not recyclable? D'oh! I will buy two more this week, and I have one around the house somewhere, so that makes five. That should be plenty. Last Saturday, I shopped for one week with my two bins, and I only had four plastic bags. So the five will be plenty for one week shops, and hopefully, if I pack carefully, they will be enough for two week shops.

What else? Oh, I am getting my daughter to find and save Kool-Aid Jammer packages from school lunches. My sister has the most awesome tote bag made from these packages, and I am going to make one for myself, as a library bag. I get fifteen or more kids books from the library each week, and I can never fit them in the bag I have. I can't wait to make that Kool-Aid bag! Maybe I'll make a bunch for gifts.

We didn't get the attic insulated yet. The work men came and installed the needed vents in the roof, and then came in and said there was a problem. Part of our bedroom ceiling has come away from the trusses, so we have to have that fixed before they will put in more insulation. They also said that they will remove one layer of old insulation (it looks like it has been done once before, poorly) in order to make lots of room for the new insulation.

My daily newspaper subscription ran out last week and I did not renew it. Less paper in my blue box!

My new green goal this week is to go for a "trash walk" at least once a week in my neighbourhood and pick up trash that people have thrown on the ground. I will benefit. My dogs will benefit. The neighbourhood will benefit. And I am hoping that the weather will get nicer!

March 01, 2007

End of Week Four

It hasn't been a great green week.

#1 - at least one meatless meal per week - well, I planned on it... bought the ingredients, but haven't prepared it yet.

#2 - no more paper napkins - I DID find some cloth napkins, but they are not for everyday use. But at least they are on hand now for guests coming over kind of meals. I will keep searching for exactly what I am looking for.

#3 - wash out milk bags and reuse - oh, there was a leak in one of the bags and it leaked into the main bag and things got stinky and gross and I just threw them out. Yuck.

#4 - no more plastic shopping bags - I did not do this at all this week. I didn't find any cloth bags at the thrift store, didn't get to the grocery store to look at the bins, and when we did buy stuff... the item was in a plastic bag before I even realized it!

So in light of all the difficulites this week, I am not choosing a new thing for the coming week. I will just stay with these first four and try to do better. I did bring up the idea of green power to my sweetheart... something to think about. On Monday, we are getting our attic insulated so that will probably make a big dent in the heating bill.

February 24, 2007

End of Week #3

Week #1 - at least one meatless meal a week - check

Week #2 - don't buy anymore paper napkins - check

Week #3 -wash out and reuse milk bags - check

Week #4 - This week I am on the hunt for fabric grocery bags at very reasonable prices (and I am still looking for cloth napkins). Also, I am going to check out how much those green shopping cart bins are... I have at least one already... there may be more lurking around the basement. So my goal is no more plastic grocery bags or any store bags. I have tried this before and the hardest part is remembering to always have a cloth bag with me.

This goal also changes other things around the house. We are so used to having this big cache of grocery bags that we will have to find solutions for those things we use them for... kitty litter, tying up day care diapers (ack... how am I going to contain the smell until garbage day?) Oh this one is actually going to be hard to change. I like all those bags! I use them! But they all do eventually end up in the garbage. Change hurts baby! Deal with it!

February 17, 2007

Saturday Supper Plan

I shopped for two weeks today... well almost two weeks... I left some room for leftovers.

  1. homemade pizza - pepperoni, mushroom, red pepper, mozza
  2. spinach manicotti, broccoli
  3. roast turkey, stuffing, rutabaga
  4. homemade veg-beef soup, cheese biscuits
  5. Baja beef and beans, cauliflower
  6. spicy orange pork chops, cauliflower
  7. Indian butter chicken (P.C. simmering sauce)
  8. meat loaf, peas & carrots, rice
  9. chili and homemade bread
  10. baked tilapia, lemon almond beans, multi-grain bread

See more menus here.

February 16, 2007

Week Two Under my Belt

#1. At least one meatless meal per week. Doing well so far.
#2. Not buying paper napkins ever again. I have not purchased paper napkins, but I didn't find any cloth ones that I wanted to buy, so the search continues. I asked my local fabric store if they carry any organic fabric and they do not. I have looked at earth friendly napkins online, but they are expensive. I have looked at cloth napkins in stores and they smelled so chemically! I didn't want to buy them. So the search continues.
#3. This week's new habit is to wash out and reuse milk bags. We did this when I was a kid at home. We used them as freezer bags for the veggies from our garden. I have done it from time to time, but always got out of the habit quickly. I washed one out this morning!
I have been doing a lot of reading online about eco/green/earth friendly/organic/local/etc. I am getting lots of ideas for future habit changes

February 14, 2007

Works for Me - Boiling Water

I have two or three cups of tea a day. Each time, after I boil the water and fill my mug, I take my dish cloth and hang it over the kitchen faucet, and pour the remaining boliing water over my dish cloth. There you have it... this little step keeps my dish cloth fresh for the whole day. Otherwise, I go through too many cloths in one day. Simple but effective.

Visit Rocks In My Dryer for more tips.

February 09, 2007

Week One - Footprint Friday

This past week, week one of my green journey, was a little tough. Not following through with my first change... that was fine. The tough part was that since my "green radar" was on, grocery shopping was arduous! I looked at everything I put in my cart and thought, "How do people shop so that they get no packaging?" "How will I ever learn which choice is the best choice?" I am so ignorant about green choices that I don't even know where to begin. All week, I found I was consumed with changes I am going to have to make eventually... and worrying because I don't know what to do to actually make those changes. How do I know what has been sprayed with what? What am I buying that gives off toxic gases in my home? Where can I find this product in no packaging? What am I going to wear? How do I know if the clothes I buy are green? Where can a find green clothes? Blah blah blah on and on it went. I was really frustrated. It seems such a huge thing. Everything has got to change. Never mind that I am doing this just for me right now... I am not trying to convince my husband that he needs to sell his vehicle or anything... just things that I can do all by myself. Yesterday, I sat down and made a list of changes that I can make. It made me feel better to do that... to see that even without knowing all the ins and outs and right answers, I can still make changes that are positive. And I told myself that wisdom will surely come through experience. I was just getting too far ahead of myself. Isn't that what I always do?

My change for this week is to never buy paper napkins again. That means I have to find some cloth ones and hopefully I can find cloth ones that are a good green choice. (And hopefully, I will learn what exactly makes that a good green choice.) A secondary change this week is to stop feeling guilty for things I haven't changed yet! Good grief woman!

February 07, 2007

Storing Dog Food

We have two dogs and a cat. I always struggled with where to keep the food so that it would be handy but invisible. One of our dogs is large and we buy giant bags of food. Once the cat arrived, and then the second dog, I was desperate. Finally... I don't know who thought of it originally, my husband or I... but we decided to keep the food in the basement laundry room. Each bag of food gets dumped into a lidded plastic bin (must be lidded or the cat would eat until he exploded), with its own measuring scoop. Wow! Bowls, water, food, everything hidden away in the basement! We keep a bowl of water in the kitchen also. And all it means is a couple of extra trips down to the basement. Well worth it, in my opinion. Visit Shannon for more Works For Me tips.

February 05, 2007

Today's featured meatless recipe is Bean Salad Wraps. Even my meat loving sweetie likes these. They have a little spicy kick, and lots of fibre. I find serving a meatless meal goes over better with my family at lunch time, rather than supper. You probably already have several meatless dishes in your repertoire... grilled cheese, egg salad, omelettes, quiche, frittatas, quesadillas...
Try and add a meatless meal into your menu plan next week. Leave a comment and tell me what you made and how your family enjoyed it.

February 03, 2007

Supper Plan Saturday

I am off to the grocery store bright and early this morning. My sweet hubby is away for three days this week, so I have not exactly planned for those suppers... daughter and I can just wing it and eat whatever we feel like. I am only shopping for one week today.

  • teriyaki shrimp & peppers on rice
  • nachos and sausage rolls (Superbowl food... oh so good for us!)

  • steak on the bbq, mushroom and onions, veggies

  • chicken fajitas

  • szechuan chicken and rice, veggies

A few lunches that I have planned...

  • egg salad sandwiches and salad
  • bean salad wraps

  • cabbage rolls

A few daycare lunches that I have planned

  • tuna noodle casserole

  • meatball subs

  • grilled cheese and tomato soup

See more menus here.

February 02, 2007

Footprint Friday

I have found myself to be more and more interested in making my lifestyle more green. I am a novice at this. I don't pretend to be knowledgeable about this subject, but I do know that there are many resources available to us. Just do some surfing...

I have a couple of green fantasy lives... one is my urban green dream. We live downtown in a funky loft. No car. Walk to work and shopping. Get food at the local farmers' market. Support local businesses. Make our clothes from thrift store finds. The second fantasy life is my rural green dream. We live way out in the woods in a cabin, grow our own food. That's about as far as I have been in that dream. Never mind that I hate gardening and mosquitoes. Our reality is that we live in the suburbs, drive everywhere, hubby's work is forty minutes away. We shop at giant box stores, eat some fast food, buy lots of prepackaged crap, and have way too many things in our home that plug in.

Your eco-footprint is a measure of how many resources you use and tells you whether you tread heavily or lightly upon the planet. You can find numerous footprint tests on the internet in order to find out how your lifestyle measures up. In my Footprint Friday posts, I am going to chronicle the small changes that I make to lighten up my own footprint. So tune in each Friday. If your are interested in joining me, leave a comment.

First change... at least one meatless supper each week. My sweetie will be asking, "Is there any meat in here?" He is a meat lover, that's for sure! Now some of you may be asking, "What harm to the planet is there in eating meat?" If you asked that, I encourage to do some research about meat production...the grain, the water, the pollution ... and I will join you in that research. I know a little, but not enough to give someone an intelligent answer. Then share your meatless recipes with me! Please.

January 31, 2007

Intercom Telephone

We have a telephone that works as an intercom. The base is in the kitchen, one handset is in our daughter's room, and then other handset (which lives on the base) travels around, mostly to the family room in the basement. I can be in the basement, and connect to my daughter in her room. No more shouting at the bottom of the stairs for her to come downstairs. The ring for the intercom is different from the regular ring, so we know that it is an in-house call, not a real call. Once again, my husband proves himself right... he assured me I would really like this feature when he wanted to buy the phone. I am one to begrudge new techie purchases. Another one he assured me that I would enjoy is my mp3 player! And bingo... he was right again!

January 20, 2007

Reverse Graffiti

Interesting article... Clean Green Street Art

January 17, 2007

No More Blank Space

Do you want to know what one of my biggest pet peeves is? Advertising. Advertising on hockey arena ice. I sure would like to watch the players skate without looking at ice ads. Never mind all the ads on the boards. We are so bombarded. There are ads on feminine hygiene products. Soon the whole world will look like a Nascar car. There will be no more blank space. Enjoy your blue sky and green grass while you can... someone is going to put an ad there soon.

January 16, 2007


A while ago, I posted this. I was looking back at it and thought it would be fun to tell you about the meaning behind those things that helped to form me. The colour coding refers to different family members... red is dad, green is mom, purple is mom's parents, orange is dad's parents, turquoise is stepdad's parents.
I am from dusty poetry books,
from The Hobbit and pick-up-sticks.
I am from cedar shakes, nudes in the bathroom,
from willow trees and supper in the sun porch.
I am from stewed rhubarb, and the strawberry patch in June.
I am from euchre games and harvest moon boot dances, stacks of 78's,
and Rudolph flying through the night sky.
I am from rattle snakes on the Bruce Trail,
and questions answered with a question.
From used book stores and train stations and bird watchers.
I am from Boiler Beach and bagpipes,
rabbit paprikash, raspberry jello and caesar salad.
From a meat stealing grandpa, Aunt Ada's main course dessert,
and matching polyester dresses.
I am from treks through the cemetery, squished pennies,
and stone wall building.
I am from biting chipmunks, blue dragonflies,
flying hamsters and yellow Fiats.
I am from auctions, butcher blocks and Tuesday chip nights.
I am from love.
I am from the hands of my Creator.
  • dusty poety books - my dad had books coming out his ears, and my favourites were the poetry ones... Keats, Shelley, and Poe. He gave them to me when I was a teenager, and they are still treasures to me.
  • The Hobbit - dad introduced to me Bilbo Baggins and the rest of the Lord of the Rings crew in 1977, when I was eight years old. It is still one of my favourites.
  • Pick Up Sticks - one of our favourite past-times at dad's house.
  • cedar shakes - I helped watched my step father put these up on the gables of our home, and then he put some in my newly built bedroom in the basement. I loved them!
  • nudes in the bathroom - oh boy! When I was between first grade and fifth grade, my mom wallpapered our powder room with black and white nudes. It was completely normal to me. When we moved in the middle of fifth grade, she found the same wallpaper and put it up in that powder room. I can remember my friends freaking out because there were naked women in the bathroom.
  • willow trees - I loved to climb willow trees, and at two of our homes, I had a willow in easy distance. They were such wonderful places of imagination and dreaming. Sacred places.
  • supper in the sun porch - We had a sun porch off the garage at one home. It was just a roughly built screened in addition with that tacky green corrugated roofing. We lived in that room all summer... visited with guests, set the table for supper every evening, sat in the shade after swimming, played cards in the long summer evenings, sat bug-free in the nights. It was the best room in the house. The table was a giant spool for wire I think. We just put a cloth on it, and it was transformed!
  • We had rhubarb in the garden... loads of rhubarb. We froze it and would use it all year long. I still enjoy it, but I don't have any growing in my yard!
  • We had a big strawberry patch also. I hated that thing. Weeding, weeding, and more weeding. I don't even like strawberries much. Stupid strawberries! Just writing this makes me feel like I am ten years old and have just been asked to weed the strawberry patch!
  • euchre - We played this a lot. I was probably six when I first started learning. My stepdad would have some friends over and play and I always loved watching them. I still like to play, although I am not particularly brilliant at it.
  • harvest moon boot dances - Where do I start explaining this one? My grandmother and her sisters would put on big old boots and dance and sing when there was a harvest or full moon. I think there is home movie footage of this somewhere. I imagine alcohol was involved to some extent! I really don't know where this started... I cannot find any information on it.
  • stacks of 78's - At my grandparents' home, tucked away in a basement cupboard, were a bunch of old 78 records. I can't remember who the artists were, but I loved looking the stack. I wonder where they are now?
  • Rudolph flying through the night sky - At Grandma's house, from the window in her spare room, on Christmas Eve... we could see Rudolph coming... his red nose glowing through the darkness. We were convinced it was Rudolph! Get to sleep or Santa won't stop! Never mind that any other night of the year it was the light from a radio tower!
  • rattle snakes on the Bruce Trail - We went hiking with my dad and grandpa on the Bruce Trail a couple of times. My grandpa was a member. We found a rattle snake once near where we stopped to camp. I can remember my dad poking at it with a stick, and thinking "uh Dad... even I know not to poke at rattle snakes!" Of course, I didn't say that out loud!
  • questions answered with a question - My mom did this all the time. "Mom, can I go to Tracey's house?" "Is your room clean?" It drove me crazy... just answer the question please! I vowed I would never do this to my own kids. Guess what I do quite regularly?
  • used book stores - My dad would often take us to used books stores as he searched for volumes pertaining to whatever subject he was currently obsessed with. I love going to used book stores even now!
  • train stations - My dad lived very close to a train station. We could take the train alone from our town to his town, and walk to the house. Our greetings and farewells we often at that particular station.
  • bird watchers - Dad was an avid birder and I remember him sharing little discoveries with me, and he even bought me a bird book. My grandpa had a bird book and my sister and I would spend hours pouring over that book.
  • Boiler Beach - a spot where I spent days playing at the water's edge.
  • bagpipes - at my grandparents', every Saturday night in the summer, there was a bagpipe parade. I loved to go and see them play. To this day, the sound of bagpipes send shivers down my spine.
  • rabbit paprikash - my stepdad enjoys cooking, and as I was growing up, he would often cook a hungarian paprikash. One time he made it with rabbit instead of chicken, and tried to pass it off as chicken. My sister and I could tell the difference between a chicken bone and a rabbit bone. We were so grossed out, but we had to eat it anyway!
  • raspberry jello - my grandmother always had a raspberry jello prepared for me when I came to visit. The first thing I would do when I walked in the door, was go and look in the fridge to make sure it was there.
  • casesar salad - my mom makes the best caesar salad, and she made it before it was a popular menu item. I still look forward to it when we visit there now.
  • meat stealing grandpa - my grandpa P.J. would distract us at the dinner table and steal the meat off our plates. Without fail.
  • main course dessert - We would go visit Aunt Ada, who was quite elderly, and she would set the dinner table and call us to eat, and every dish she had prepared was dessert! The kids didn't mind. I might try that sometime!
  • matching polyester dresses - my stepdad's parents had a daughter who is around the same age as my sister and I. As kids, I can remember a few times going to visit for Christmas, and the three of us would receive identical dresses. I remember a pink one and a mint green one. Full- length. High, ruffled collar. And very polyester!
  • treks through the cemetery - Dad often took us through cemeteries, enlisting us to find a certain name on a headstone... for whatever he was researching.
  • squished pennies - Dad's backyard backed on to the railroad tracks. There were no fences at that time, and we would go down the hill and put a couple pennies on the track, run back up the hill and wait for the train to go by. Then we would race down to find the pennies the train had squished flat. We had a jar full of them. Gosh, I wouldn't let my kid do this... but it sure was fun. We would also feel the tracks or put our ears to them to listen for the train.
  • stone wall building - same backyard... Dad started making a stone wall... stones, mortar... I can't remember if he finished it. It was only a few feet high. Maybe it is still there.
  • biting chipmunks - I was preschool age... and managed to grab a chipmunk outside my grandparents' house. I must have been feeding them. It bit me and I had to get tetanus shots. Oh joy.
  • blue dragonflies - same grandparents' yard... I can remember being, at the same time, utterly fascinated and utterly terrified of the giant dragonflies in their garden. I was probably three or four.
  • flying hamsters - Uh oh! Not sure I want to reveal this. My sister would take her hamster with her when we went to dad's house. I remember being alone with the hamster and holding it in the palms of my hands and just flinging him up in the air and catching him again. Oh, I was horrible! How could I do that to the poor little hamster? I am ashamed. At the time, I thought it was hilarious.
  • yellow Fiat - my mom had a yellow Fiat. It was a cool car. She had a white Volkswagen too. I remember riding in the back part.
  • auctions - Dad took us to antique auctions all the time. I loved wondering around looking at all the items. Even more I loved the excitement of watching my dad bid on something! I haven't been to one in ages.
  • butcher blocks - Dad had a butcher block in the kitchen. It was so cool! I remember looking at all the cleaver marks on the top of it and daydreaming about the butcher that it used to belong to. I have secretly wanted a block of my own for years, but space just doesn't permit in this house.
  • Tuesday chip nights - Tuesdays were my mom's busiest and most stressful day at work. Often she was too worn out to cook supper on those nights, and we would eat chips for supper while we watched tv. Obviously, as kids, we loved those nights. Obviously, as adults, we would love to still have those nights.

Canada's War Brides

War brides en route to Canada aboard S.S. Letitia
waving goodbye to families and friends.
April 2, 1946. Liverpool England. Photo: Gloster, Barney J. PA-175794.

Last November, a group of 200 women travelled from all across the country to Pier 21 in Halifax. These women are war brides... women who met and married Canadian soldiers overseas and then travelled to be with their husbands once the war was over. Sixty years after arriving on Canadian soil, they returned to Pier 21 (now a museum) to remember and celebrate. Some couples even renewed their wedding vows. Almost 50,000 women came to Canada in this way, and one in thirty Canadians are directly descended from a war bride! It is an incredible piece of history... this unusual immigration. Their stories are fascinating. You can read some here and here.

January 08, 2007

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January 05, 2007

Wheels of Commerce

I received this painting as a Christmas gift from my husband. I had seen it in the fall and instantly loved it. I told him about it that day, and then never mentioned it again. And there it was on Christmas morning... I was very surprised! If you want an explanation of the art, leave a comment and I will tell what I know.

January 03, 2007

Uh Oh

My youngest daycare child went to the hospital yesterday evening with severe pneumonia. She didn't come to daycare yesterday, but stayed home with her mom, and mom took her to the clinic and then she went by ambulance to the hospital. Poor wee thing! If you pray, pray for a quick healing with no complications.

January 02, 2007

So it's Tuesday...

1. chicken and soup and stuffing in the slow cooker, turnip and peas on the side

2. garlic beef enchiladas

3. chicken pot pie

4. pork chops, rice, veggie

5. meatloaf, rice, veggie

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