Friday, February 29, 2008

Not for you, Mom

OMG I first saw this over at Zen's blog and just had to steal it and share it with everyone (except Mom and probably Aunt Carolyn too):


I will spend a few hours watching and re-watching of these videos this weekend!

Bitching and moaning

In case you hadn’t noticed, Ontario (and Quebec, the Maritimes, and many U.S. states) have had a very snowy season this winter. Record-breaking, in fact.

We’re on the eve of March and generally by this time, people are “sick of winter” and “ready for spring”, but the additional snow seems to have intensified the bitching and complaining.

Seriously, the moaning and groaning among my friends and colleagues about winter is just getting annoying. I can understand the rightful whimpers of those who have to shovel heavy layers of snow after every storm, and there’s a small segment of the population who suffer from seasonal affective disorder (or SAD, one of the most fitting acronymns ever), but there are lots of people who don’t have such excuses and I quite honestly have little sympathy. I want to give these people a good smack and tell them, You live in Canada! We have winter every year! Get over it!!!!

When I was growing up on our family farm, we were to some degree at the mercy of the weather. Some years we had droughts, other years we had too much rain. There was nothing that could be done about it. Sometimes conditions would improve after a bad spell (e.g., rain after a long drought) and I would say to my dad, “Hey, this is good! It’s nice that the weather is getting better!” and he would respond back to me, “Well, just as long as it doesn’t rain too much or for too long, because then …” and I wanted to yell at him, It’s the weather!!! Just be happy, goddammit!!!! Why borrow trouble???? (There’s a saying that farmers are never happy and there’s a LOT of truth to that statement.)

As long as my life isn’t in imminent jeopardy, I tend to be really Zen about the weather. And truth be told, this part of the world is one of God’s fortunate places – no hurricanes, very few tornados, moderate weather, etc. There’s nothing I can do to control whether it rains or snows or is too hot or cold, so why stress about it? If there’s a drought, I enjoy the many sunny days. If it’s snowing, I revel in the beauty of the snowflakes swirling and drifting in the air and clinging to the trees. If it’s raining, its sound soothes me.

The next step in my personal development, obviously, is coming to accept that people, not just farmers, like to complain, and there’s absolutely nothing I can do about that either. :)

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Taxes taxes taxes!

Hey, I just started doing my taxes tonight AND I'm completely finished, even have my tax return already submitted electronically! (It helps that I had such a simple return, and the software is - dare I say it? - almost fun to use.) Now all I have to do is sit by with a catcher's mitt and wait for my refund!

Hmmm ... refund ... this is tempting ... I think I'm going to have to squirrel it away very quickly! Otherwise I might be tempted to spend it all on travel (to Europe, finally, and/or British Columbia, but also naturally Seattle ...) or on a new camera (Nikon's D300 is very tempting), or on an assortment of kitchen gadgets like a juicer, a breadmaker, and an electric grinder. But I also have long-term financial goals ... no doubt I'll do something very responsible and conservative with most of it. Some will certainly go to a good cause.

What about you? Are you expecting money or a bill this tax season? And if it's a refund, any exciting plans?

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Eating out of her hand

Taken a week and a half ago. In a place that is magical to me.

Monday, February 25, 2008

I missed this too ... but it's well worth watching

He is sooooo awesome.

This is what I stayed up to see last night

... and then gave up and went to bed instead around 11:15.

Had I known I could find it so easily on the Internet the next day, I would have been in bed by 9:00.

Be sure to watch this clip UNTIL THE VERY END.

Jimmy Stewart - A Dog Named Beau

A co-worker told me about this one:

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Saturday night recap

So last night I had a little party ... about 16 people came over. If you didn't get an invite, it was because it was for a very specific group of people, or you don't know the right people. :) It was fun!

At first everyone stood around the food table. They were all chatting, of course, in a way that gladdened by little hostess-heart; however there was lots of seating that was just looking lost and lonely, and I did feel some anxiety that my guests might become fatigued standing all evening. But the food was pretty good, and I think it's just natural for people to stand around the food (or congregate in the kitchen) at parties.

For the foodies in my reading audience, we had:

  • lots of dips with crackers and slices of multigrain bread,
  • lots of cheeses (there was a pre-fab cheese plate that I bought at a grocery store that in all honesty wasn't all that good [too oily - so I didn't mind when some of it was given to Milo], but I also bought some tasty dill-flavoured havarti and some other kind of goat cheese flavoured with blueberries and cinnamon that tasted like heaven!),
  • a fruit cake,
  • some yummy store-bought cream puffs,
  • some delicious naan bread,
  • tortilla chips + salsa + guacamole
  • baby carrots and cucumber slices

Here are Perkin and Melanie chatting over some chocolate bread (!!!) brought by my culinary idol, Tania:

My parents just called and when I told them that I'd hosted a party for 16 people, their first question was, "And you didn't serve them any meat???" Uh, no. Was that a requirement??? :)

I ended up with an amazing amount of leftover booze, considering it was BYOB. Weird. Shannon brought me a bottle of wine in a fabric gift bag so beautiful that I am seriously tempted to hoard it forever in a dresser drawer or something rather than re-use it and give it away to someone else:

Here are Steph, Elliot, and Natalie as I disrupt their pleasant conversation with my camera for the sake of this blog:

From left to right: Jason, Lillian (yes, the Lillian who occasionally comments on this blog! Hi Lillian!!!), Pia, Grace Kelly, Shannon, and Jenn.

Finally around 10:30 or so, people started feeling confident that they weren't going to get stuck in a dead-end conversation and started sitting on the couch and chairs. Either that or they just gave up from exhaustion. :)

In the photo below: Are they laughing at something Elliot's said? (E. is off-camera to the left.) Or at Perkin's rebuttal? Verdict: Both.

(L-r: Lillian, Jenn, Jo, Tania (behind Perkin's hand), Perkin, Natalie, Melanie, Vitaly, Jason)

In the next photo: Perkin, Natalie, Melanie, Vitally, Jason, and a very pink Matt. (Dude, wear sunscreen!! One day you're gonna look like a raisin! And no, there won't be anything "distinguished-looking" about it at all!) :)

Same cast of characters, with one addition: Milo!

The canine of the evening:

Cheese, Mama? Cheese???

We laughed a LOT.

So I know there will be a few people who will inevitably ask how my cats dealt with the invasion of so many people (and one miniature Dachshund) into their environment. Well, they hid in my bedroom, mostly, and they were somewhat rattled. This morning as I ran my Roomba to pick up all the crumbs left around the kitchen table, both cats acted highly aggrieved, as if to say, When will all this disturbance END???? What can I say? Cats have delicate nerves. They've strapped on their eyemasks and slipped on their terrycloth robes for an afternoon recovery nap. They'll be all right.

Some lessons from the evening:
  • You can never put out enough tasty cheese or guacamole;
  • Every party should have some element of chocolate;
  • I am so lucky to have such cool people to invite into my home for the evening.


Another Obama music/campaign video. Has Clinton or Kerry or Bush or anyone else inspired this kind of thing? I'm curious. If not, it's even more fascinating ...

Quote of the day

"I can't wait until it's Obama vs. McCain.
It's gonna be Youtube vs. Feeding Tube!"

Bill Maher

As seen on

Friday, February 22, 2008

OMG so cute!

But I doubt it'll be so cute when the pup's a few months older ... LOL

Thursday, February 21, 2008


My friend Hassan first posted this on Facebook. My answers are in bold.

For any of you that have watched [Inside the Actor's Studio], you'll know that it usually ends with James Lipton giving the guests a questionnaire...

What is your favorite word?
- Equilibrium. Just saying it makes me feel more balanced and peaceful.

What is your least favorite word?
- At the moment, I can't think of one. I think words are pretty neutral, and it depends on the intent behind it.

What turns you on?
- A great sense of humour. Which is why Jon Stewart is HOT. (Incidentally, I see a great sense of humour as a good indication of high intelligence.)

What turns you off?
- Needy. I can't even stay in the same room.

What sound or noise do you love?
- Rain, babies happily babbling (Lorelai does this perfectly)

What sound or noise do you hate?
- People jangling change in their pockets. It sets my teeth on edge. I've had to mention this to my boss a couple of times because he's always jangling his change and it makes me want to leap out of my own skin.

What is your favorite curse word?
- Jesus. It's my rebellion against my religious phase. I really need to clean up my language.

What profession other than your own would you like to attempt?
- something in the holistic health field

What profession would you not like to do?
- Work in an abattoir

If Heaven exists, what would you like to hear God say when you arrive at the Pearly Gates?
- Welcome, friend. I've enjoyed all our chats!

Anyone else want to answer the questionnaire? I'd love to read your responses! Just click on the link to the comments! :)

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Raw food challenge

Okay, as if vegetarianism isn't radical enough (and I know for some of you it seems WAAAAY too radical already), there are subsets of vegetarianism that are even more rigorous. Did you think that veganism (no meat, no eggs, no dairy) was impossible? Well, there are folks who take it up a notch with vegan/raw food.

I've been reading a bit about it, though not enough to be any kind of authority on it or its alleged benefits, but it makes sense to me intuitively (and as a person with a couple of university organic chemistry courses under her belt) that cooking denatures (read: destroys) many of the vitamins and proteins that are in the raw forms of fruits and vegetables*. So I've been trying to eat substantial quantities of raw vegetables lately, though I'm not certain that I would ever be willing to lead a raw food lifestyle. However, some people with serious health problems (e.g., diabetes) have been motivated to try it, and here's a highly intriguing video about a little experiment (trust me, you want to watch this video until the very end - it's amazing!):

* Yes, I am also aware that cooking actually renders some foods edible. Like I said, I'm not rabid about this or anything. But the video is certainly food for thought. (Sorry about the corny pun.)

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Soup/Casserole Exchange #2

Today was installment #2 of a little soup/casserole exchange some friends of mine and I have started. (I first wrote about it here.) It was again another successful venture. Check it out:

Offerings today:

  • coconut-lentil soup
  • beet soup
  • cabbage rolls
  • chili
  • vegetable-barley soup
ALL vegetarian!!! :)

Furthermore, Alison brought a delicious loaf of homemade cracked-wheat bread - baked just this morning!!! And there might have been a teensy-tiny bit of cherry pie and vanilla ice cream for all near the end.

There are some unexpected benefits to organizing this kind of thing. For instance, Isabelle brought her lovely chili over last night, as she and Ryan had decided to visit her parents out of town this weekend. When she left, I realized that I still hadn't had dinner, had nothing prepared, and at least one of those dishes virtually had my name on it! Ta-daaa! Delivery! :) (It went very well with some black-bean chips I'd purchased earlier in the day, inspired [as always] by my sister-in-law Lisa.)

If you're jealous of me, I will understand. :)

Saturday, February 16, 2008

The best name for a TV character ever

... is a lawyer (in Arrested Development, of course) is Bob Loblaw.

Sorry to all the lawyers out there, but that is funny!!!!

Friday, February 15, 2008

It's good to start a long weekend with a belly laugh

Keep in mind that the woman who wrote this also written (in the days before the second puppy, obviously):

People often write me and ask how I keep my wood floors so clean when I live with a child and a dog, and my answer is that I use a technique called Suffering From a Mental Illness.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Monday is Family Day

Here in Ontario, we have a new statuatory holiday coming up this Monday: Family Day.

I gag slightly I hear the name of this holiday. Seriously, there was no one we could honour (Pierre Trudeau, Tommy Douglas, David Suzuki, Jane Jacobs, Stephen Lewis, Margaret Atwood, June Callwood, even George Strombolopoulos?) by sleeping in and watching DVDs all day?

However, I do have something I want to say about this whole thing:

Dear long weekend,

Please get here as soon as possible. PLEASE.



Eyelid stickers

One of my co-workers sent me this link today.

After reading it, I put on my best dumb blonde look and asked him, "But how did you KNOW???"

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Weird associations

When I walk down a sidewalk after it's snowed (why do I want to say "snown"???), I often think of pie crust. The appearance of the snow blending with the salt/sand becomes much like the flour/shortening mixture would first look like when my mother made pie crusts from scratch.

I realize that there is at least an entire generation that will have no idea what I'm talking about, but maybe someone out there will get it, assuming I'm not too far out there with the comparison.

So ... any associations you'd like to share?


This story reported by the Toronto Star is as bizarre as any episode of Arrested Development:

A man who stole a backhoe to break down the wall of a car wash to get at the coin machine was chased down by a snowplow driver and later arrested after police followed his tracks in the snow.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

A wee contrast

Watch this one first:

Then this one:


Acts of kindness

This is a regular feature of the Toronto Star, which can sometimes bring me to tears. Here are a couple of recent submissions that I think you might enjoy:

Many years ago, I had to travel to and from work on the TTC. It was not easy, as I had to also pick up my two children at daycare and take them on the bus.

One stormy winter night, we were on the northbound Warden bus when my 4-year-old announced he was going to be sick. We got off the bus at the next stop.

After tending to my son, I realized that there would not be another bus for a half an hour. We were not close to anywhere and the storm was getting worse. With a hungry 6-month-old and a diaper bag in my arms and a sick 4-year-old at my side, we began to trudge through the blowing snow.

We were half way home when an elderly man stopped his car and asked if we would like a ride. I was a little hesitant to get into the stranger's vehicle but my arms were aching and both children were crying.

The gentleman opened the door and helped us into the back seat. He then drove us to the door of our apartment building. I was so thankful I offered to pay him. He refused, saying that he hoped someone would help his daughter and grandchildren in the same way, should they ever need it. He had no idea how grateful I was for his assistance.

Barbara Yeo, North Bay

I am a senior and I use the TTC a lot and it was snowing heavily as I was waiting for the bus.

I saw a bus coming in the distance but alas, it was not in service. Much to my surprise it stopped and the driver motioned me to get on, which I did. It was only a small kindness, but to me it meant a lot.

Seniors tend to be ignored in our society and small kindness like these are few and far between.
Kathleen Matthews, Toronto

Arrested Development

I am seriously, scarily addicted to this show now.

I've got all three seasons on DVD and have been watching them has been like eating truffles (savouring each episode) and yet also like eating potato chips (hard to stop at just one).

Excellent writing, fabulous acting, and soooo friggin' funny. One scene, which continues to make me laugh out loud since I watched it on the weekend, is the one where Michael (Jason Bateman) and his teenaged niece Maeby (Alia Shawkat) sing "Afternoon Delight" at the family's company's staff party. They're just singing along, line by line, kind of getting into it, until the lyric "and the thought of rubbin' you is getting so exciting" makes it clear that "afternoon delight" does not refer to an afternoon at the amusement park, if you know what I'm saying. As a result, Michael is totally mortified and utterly awkward in front of his niece and his employees. "I didn't know it was so dirty!" he said of the song.

This scene is hilarious because it totally could happen. Years ago, I went with my friend Ryan to a karyoke bar where he sang "Rock DJ" by Robbie Williams, and there was some lyric about pimping or something that took Ryan rather by surprise ... I can just imagine what it would be like to be singing some song you didn't realize was so sexual with some member of your family, then when it started to sink in you might be both embarrassed and completely grossed out ...

Anyway, AR uses and twists notions of family to get some amazing comedy ... all perfect if you have an ironic sense of humour as I apparently do!

Monday, February 11, 2008

Drying out

I woke up in the middle of the night last night to try to dry out my ears.

I’m not quite sure how, but sometime over the weekend I must have dunked my head in a bucket of water or something, because I had this persistent sound of water in my inner ears (you know, the sound that’s like a cross between the rumble of the ocean and the rattle of a bag of chips, with the accompanying itch/tickle?). It seems bizarre to me that, despite the uncomfortable and distracting sensations of having excess moisture in both my ears, I can't seem to remember how it got there! Surely I should have noticed????

It was worse in my left ear, so I’d gone to sleep on my left side, hoping gravity would give me a hand. So at 4:30AM today, when woken up by my bladder, I first slid over, neck still twisted to the left, until I got to a box of Q-Tips. At this point, my cat Cleo jumped off the bed and slunk away to someplace where no one would be disturbing HER sleep, while I attempted the delicate extraction of water from my ears (which included crazy head-shaking in the hopes that the centrifugal force would help expel the water [and spare me any accidental puncturing of my eardrum] without causing me a migraine).

So if this blog post is dry, boring, lacking energy, or irrelevant, please remember – I was up at 4:30 this morning trying to swab water out of my ears and even my CAT knew it was ridiculous! :)

Sunday, February 10, 2008

This seems like a pretty good idea to me

... but I'm not a parent. Any thoughts on this?

Ah, happy day!!!!

If I could embed this countdown clock in my blog, I would!

Saturday, February 09, 2008

Friday, February 08, 2008

"Reecie, help me get this thing OFF my head!"

Originally uploaded by Noisypond.

Oh, this photo will be kept for YEARS. :)

Big shoes to fill

Originally uploaded by Noisypond.

Thursday, February 07, 2008

"Religion has no place in the banking or mortgage industry"

Really interesting article, but disturbing (though perhaps not surprising) that modern-day banks are willing to make a profit in this way.

Amazing journey

Okay, this news story is about a week old now, but hopefully you didn't hear about it yet so you can enjoy it now:

... he mistakenly picked up the wrong suitcase at the airport. Inside was 10-month-old Gracie Mae, who had curled up in her owner’s suitcase in Florida and ended up going on the ride of her life.

After being tossed in the car, dumped on a baggage belt, X-rayed by the TSA, piled in a cargo hold, flown 1,300 miles from her home in Palm Beach Gardens, Fla., dumped on a conveyor belt, taken for a ride on a carousel, and tossed into another car, Gracie Mae wasn’t in the best frame of mind when Carter opened the suitcase at his home.

The rest of the article is here.

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

The best things in life aren't things

Originally uploaded by Noisypond.

Back home safe in Toronto. About 3 inches of heavy snow and ice waiting on my car, and a slow drive through a snowstorm to get back, but thankfully it was all without mishap.

I miss these two critters, though ...

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Trouble with pants

Originally uploaded by Noisypond.

God, I hope this isn't an indication of his future fashion preferences.

Even more trouble with pants

Originally uploaded by Noisypond.

Thank goodness for onesies!

Marvin the Martian has nothing on this cutie!

Originally uploaded by Noisypond.

Cutest Facebook status update

"Loralie's son is hilarious. He went to a restaurant bathroom and came out without peeing. He said 'oh, I forgot. I was dancing.' Shania Twain was on."

Very pink post-nap cheeks

Originally uploaded by Noisypond.

The cutest

Originally uploaded by Noisypond.

Monday, February 04, 2008

Live - from suburban Seattle!

Hi there, friends and Internet vagabonds,

So you might have guessed (or not, if you’re not a regular visitor) that I am currently in Seattle visiting my brother, sister-in-law, niece and nephew. I didn’t make a big announcement about it because I didn’t want robbers to think they could break into my place while I was out of town. But then I realized:

  1. I took all my “valuables” with me to Seattle;
  2. My apartment is being guarded by guard cats – and they’re likely to be rather foul-tempered at this point.

So, yes, I’ve been in Seattle since late Saturday night (I arrived, made 5 minutes of small talk, and then went to bed), and leave WAAAAY too early Wednesday morning. On Sunday, the amazing Monika, Tracy, Jo, and Dave came over for brunch, and it was so great to catch up with them – they are so awesome. Highlights included the best-ever quiche and Monika’s literal re-enactment of her parents’ cat rolling around on the floor (the latter happened too fast for me to take a photo, and, sadly for this blog, she declined my requests for a re-enactment of the re-enactment).

Of course, the stars of every trip here are Lorelai and Reece, and they never disappoint. They are at such a fun age. Like I’ve told Lisa a couple of times today, it makes you feel sorry for the people who just have one baby at a time. :) Joe and Lisa are such wonderful parents and truly delight in these kids. I’ve taken quite a few photos that you can look at here – and you’ll see what I mean.

It’s been a full day, and I’m finding it difficult to write adequately how awesome all members of this family are. So just trust me – I am very lucky to be related to them.

I am baby, hear me ROAR!!!

Originally uploaded by Noisypond.

Lisa and I had a good giggle over this one.

Babies for Barak Obama

Originally uploaded by Noisypond.

Lorelai was particularly interested in Monika's Obama '08 pin.

Sunday, February 03, 2008

Saturday, February 02, 2008

Daniel Pearl Memorial Violins

When the American journalist Daniel Pearl went missing in Pakistan several years ago now, there was something about his photo that made me know he was a really special person. When I read his widow's book, A Mighty Heart, I understood why and realized that there were many other people who were drawn to this man and saddened and moved by his brutal murder. Maybe you, dear reader, were one of them.

Tonight I read an uplifting story about the Daniel Pearl Memorial Violins. It's here if you would like to read the inspiring and wonderful ways that people are keeping his memory alive and encouraging the values he held.

Friday, February 01, 2008