Showing posts from February, 2012

Freedom To Read

With this year's Freedom to Read week well under way, I took a look at the growing pile of books at my bedside.  I consider myself an avid reader, but I don't come close to the pile that Janet, my friend and fellow blogger shared last summer.

Freedom to read is on my wish list at the moment, though I don't think my interpretation of the phrase is what the Freedom of Expression Committee had in mind when they started this annual celebration.  I have deadlines and guilt that keep me from reading as opposed to a tyrannical regime or over zealous special interest group that's keeping me from exercising my rights as guaranteed by the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.
For now the pile on my bedside table is made up of books for fun, research, and self-improvement.  They are; Cesar's Rules  - Cesar Millan, My India - Jim Corbett, The Man-Eaters of Kumon - Jim Corbett, Annabel - Kathleen Winter, The Fifth Agreement - Ruiz & Ruiz, Tastebuds and Molecules - Fran…

Lasting Lilies

On February 17th we invited friends over for a quasi regular event that happens around the neighbourhood called "Friday Night Happy Hour".  
Our friends Dan and Heather brought us a beautiful bouquet of flowers which still look fantastic 11 days later.  
I love having fresh flowers around the house, don't you?  Alstroemerias (or Peruvian Lilies) are in my top three of favourite flowers to buy.  They just seem to last forever.

Monday, Monday...So Good To Me!

It's gratitude Monday once again.  Today I'm most grateful because:

86.  I received an encouraging email from my writing mentor and it has really motivated me.

87.  I had a nice chat with my son yesterday morning.  Miss him!

88.  we have car insurance and I remembered to take the car in today.  While we were away, on a slippery snowy evening our bumper got crunched while our daughter was stopped at a light.

89.  I have book club tonight.  I missed the last meeting and those awesome ladies!

90.  last night I decided to take two Robaxacet before bedtime instead of one. I had a pain free night and I'm relatively pain free so far today.

Just had to add one more.

91.  there are service people who can be very pleasant to deal with.  Just got off the phone with "Troy" at Visa and he was so helpful and polite.  Didn't charge me for reprinting my June statement for the business Visa and it has appeared in my email box in record time.

Thank Heaven for Little Boys

I've been keen to take a photo of my husband in the football jersey he bought while we were on vacation in Venezuela last month.  It's the jersey of the favourite football team of his youth, Venezuela's Vinotinto or "The Burgundy" and appropriately he's sporting it for his last soccer game of the season.  
It's not often I can get him to pose without sticking his tongue out,  or his chest, making some sort of face, or mooning me.  
Sometimes I think he's the poster boy for the adage "Growing old doesn't have to mean growing up", except he doesn't seem to be growing old either.
I must admit there's something appealing about a fifty year old man still very much in touch with the little boy inside. Sure, there are times when I'm not in the mood for childish behaviour, but in truth those are the times when childish behaviour is just what I need.
Sometimes I take myself a little too seriously and when I do I'm awfully gratefu…

Frugal Fail

After all the ways we've been indulging ourselves for the past couple of months, I thought it was time to tighten our belts and get back into Frugal mode...mostly so we can afford to repeat our indulgent behaviour again next year! 

I'm afraid it didn't take much of a nudge for me to fall off the frugality wagon when I stopped for cooking oil at Valoroso this afternoon.  I swear I have mediterranean blood in me somewhere.  I absolutely love Spanish, Italian and Greek cuisine.  I did refrain from tossing a few of the more extravagant "wants", like instant espresso, into my basket, but I just couldn't resist those tiny red tomatoes and the spicy pickled eggplant.  In the deli case beside the eggplant there was a boccocini salad that would be so easy to make myself,  so of course I bought some boccocini since the tomatoes, basil and kalamata olives were already there in my basket.  Did I mention the fennel?...oh how I love the liquoricey flavour sauted with onio…

Agreeing to Disagree

These photos weren't taken today, but they relate to something I'm doing today.  After reading The Four Agreements several years ago, I'm finally getting around to The Fifth Agreement. I started it on Monday, reading little bits at a time, and even though I'm only twelve pages in it's really making me think about the things we are told, and tell ourselves, and the lies we believe.
Today it reminded me of this picture I came across in January, from my husband's university graduation in October 1986.  I'd bought a new outfit (forgive me, it was the 80's) and he'd been with me when I picked it out.  
When I saw the photo I was furious with him.  I couldn't believe he'd let me buy an outfit that made me look so fat.  Yes, fat.  We really did have a big argument about it. It boggles my mind now, but I remember looking at the photo then and  seeing great bulging thighs and a big roll around my middle.  We'd been married for seven months and I…

My favourite smoothy

1 cup of unsweetened vanilla almond milk,

1/2 medium banana

1 handful of baby spinach leaves
(you'll never taste them)

1/3 cup frozen blueberries

1/3 cup frozen peaches

1/3 cup fresh or frozen strawberries

Whir in a blender until smooth.


Where All Good Things Must Come To An End

This was our view from our breakfast table this morning, on our last day at Sparkling Hill Resort.  We'll probably hit the hot tub before our final spa treatment this morning (Mani-pedi for my girl and a Sparkle Scrub for me), then spend a few relaxing minutes in the Tea Room before we head back to reality....and back to frugality.  *sigh*
Check out my blog "From the Valley and Beyond" late next week to get more details about our treatments, the spa and the restaurant.

Sparkling Hill Resort

My daughter and I are at Sparkling Hill Resort for two nights, and we really packed a lot into our first full day. We got up this morning and crossed the "crystal bridge" pictured above, to have a delicious buffet breakfast with fresh fruit, eggs scrambled with bacon and sausage, a little brie, some panfried rosemary potatoes and several cups of coffee.  There were lots of other tasty options like smoked salmon, other cheeses, ham, cold meats, breads, oatmeal, muffins and scones, juices.  
After breakfast, my daughter took in a yoga class while I did some writing in the hotel's library.  We had to make a trip into nearby Vernon and had a superb lunch at the Eclectic Med.  Once back at the resort we did 40 minutes on the elliptical trainer, went for swim outdoors in the infinity pool, soaked in the hot tub, floated around the indoor salt pool, stimulated our circulation and lymphatic systems walking the Kneipp Water Therapy course and headed back to the hot tub for a pre…

Sparkling with Gratitude

Today I'm most grateful for:
81.   my husband, who thought it was fair that after he spent five days golfing, he should treat our daughter and I to two nights at Sparkling Hill Spa/ Resort. How did he ever come up with such a wonderful idea???

82.  the fact that I have a daughter who enjoys spending time with me and I look forward to having a wonderful relaxing couple of days with her.

83.   the usual suspects who showed up for the short notice Friday Night Happy Hour at our place the other night.  Good friends, good food and good wine.  It doesn't get much better than that!

84.  some exciting and promising research that recently came to light. It's the first time in my 36 years of being diabetic that I've allowed myself to believe there could be a cure in my lifetime.

85.  the wonderful core group that has begun to gather regularly at the dog park.  Our dogs get along so well and the rare occasion when things get out of hand the owners step in and sort it out wi…

And On The Seventh Day...

...Dogs rested.

...cats too.

Mrs. Bubble

Our aging hot tub sprang a leak over the Christmas break. Being outside on the back deck makes it difficult to repair in the middle of winter and I'm really missing it.  Going for a ten minute soak is better than any medication I've been given to help ease my aches and pains.  Though I'm not a bath person I gave in this morning and discovered a hot bubble bath works almost as well as the hot tub...and you don't freeze your buns off getting into it when the temperature is hovering around the zero degree mark.

Wondrous Winter

Yesterday we were treated to a reminder that winter is not over yet.  I was thrilled to watch fluffy snowflakes fall outside my window all day yesterday and even ventured out to shovel the driveway, as well as a path to our door.  From the look of the posts on Facebook however, it seems I am in the minority when it comes to joyfully welcoming the snow.  
I certainly understand the sentiment of people who are wishing for sunshine and warmer temperatures, but it's still WINTER people.  Every time it snows or the weather is appropriate for the season I feel heartened that perhaps we aren't tumbling into the pit of global warming as quickly I'm fearing.  
For those of you who don't enjoy the snow and cold I have this quote that was attributed to Scandinavians when I first heard it.  "There is no bad weather, only bad clothing." If you choose to live in a place with a snowy winter climate, you need to be prepared!  And there are some wonderful ways to participate…

That Time of Year

I did a lot of thinking before I posted this picture today.  Should I or shouldn't I?  It's a winter wonderland outside my window, and I know I could find something beautiful and artistic to shoot, but this was an important part of my day today, and I think it's an important reminder for every woman who happens to stumble upon this post.

Of course I'm talking about the yearly pap test that women must subject themselves to each year.  Frankly, I'd rather have a week of mammograms than go for a pap test, yet I used to schedule one faithfully ever year.  Then a while back through a series of uncontrollable events, I ended up with a male doctor - who incidentally is awesome...but still, I started procrastinating.  For three years. 

If you've been putting your pap test off, this post is for you.  Just make the appointment.  After I left the office this morning, I was so relieved and so happy I'd done it.  It hardly took any time at all...I arrived at the office…

Walking on Sushine

What a gorgeous day it was today.  The temperature hovered around the zero degree mark, but the sun shone all afternoon.  While I was running some errands downtown I decided to wander over to Stuart Park to see what was going on.  Oh how I wish I'd had my skates with me.  Starting this afternoon, I'll be storing them in the car.  The ice on the artificial outdoor rink was like glass and there weren't that many people around. 
I'm trying to keep my photos down to one per day so out of all the photos I snapped this afternoon, this was the one that made me smile.  The Yacht Club marina is opposite the rink and I was tickled by the sight of these seagulls walking on water.

For more photos of what I saw today, follow the link to my travel blog "From the Valley and Beyond".

Heart Warming

The faeries are at it again.  It's a pleasure  to stumble upon this impulsive celebration along the Mission Greenway every holiday.  I don't know who decorates this tree, and I've come to realize I don't want to know.  I believe in Wood Faeries. Just like I believe in Santa Claus.  I know he isn't real, but the spirit of kindness, generosity and love is within us all and it's certainly within the Wood Faeries.  Thank you, whoever you are!

(Sorry about this photo, it is super enhanced as I  had my camera set to let extra light in for some interior photos yesterday and forgot to re-set today).

Many Thanks!

Yup, it's Gratitude Monday once again.  I thought I'd share Ralph Waldo Emerson's list of five that I came across this morning:
"For each new morning with its light,For rest and shelter of the night, For health and food, for love and friends, For everything Thy goodness sends."  

Sometimes it's the simple things in life that we appreciate the most.   Today I am grateful:

76.  that the fog finally lifted from the Valley allowing my husband's plane to land without any delays.  I'm so happy to have him home.

77.   for Reg's compelling stories.  Talking to him always gets me excited about writing and has lifted the fog of procrastination that enveloped me last week.

78.  that my Iranian friends escaped the clutches of Evin prison and the Ayatollah and were able to immigrate to a much safer place.  I've been reading Marina Nemat's Memoir and I think you should too.  I can't imagine a life such as this and I'm so thankful to have been b…

Okanagan Spirits

I really must visit downtown Kelowna more often.  After I retrieved my hubby from the airport this afternoon, we decided to swing by Blonde and pick our daughter up from work.  She still had a good 25 minutes to go so we wandered down the street and came upon this amazing new place that opened just before Christmas.   
Okanagan Spirits is a beautifully appointed distillery located in the 200 Block of Bernard Avenue just east of the Paramount Theatre, in the space that used to be Welkmark.
They have a tasting bar where you can sample an amazing array of spirits and liqueur.  If our bar wasn't already well stocked with Gin and Vodka I would have purchased a bottle of their Raspberry Eau de Vie which is like a very fresh raspberry flavoured vodka.  I also detected the scent of dulse, which surprised our hostess, but have to wonder now that I think about it.  I bought a really interesting book last fall called "Tastebuds and Molecules" and it suggested one of the flavours to…

Afternoon Whimsy

While checking out Facebook this morning I discovered the most wonderful thing for sale at Earth Whimsy.  I immediately posted a comment saying I'd be in this afternoon to pick it up.

If you haven't been into this charming and eclectic store on Ellis North, I highly recommend you go have a poke around.  It draws me like a magnet whenever I find myself impersonating an artist at Opus or visiting the main branch of the Kelowna Library.
Earth Whimsy has a wonderful assortment of original jewellery, art, crafts, retro fashion and collectibles, children's tutu's, strollers, children's accessories, eco friendly make up....too many things to name. 

If you're wondering what caught my eye, it was this old Brownie Camera.  I can't wait to get some film and start shooting.  It'll be interesting to see if the photographs are any better than the ones I took with the Brownie Hawkeye I was given in 1972.  I think I'll really be at a loss not being able to look…

Eggs Ben-addiction

When I talked to my sister last night she mentioned they were having eggs benedict for supper. I've been craving hollandaise ever since, so when my daughter suggested a lunch date at Cora's today, it was a no brainer.

I'd never eaten at Cora's before but I knew it was a breakfast and lunch diner so I figured they'd be sure to have some eggs bennie and I was right.  They offered three varieties:  one with ham, one with asparagus and swiss and a third with mushroom and brie.  I LOVE mushrooms, but brie with hollandaise sauce seemed like it would be waaay to rich.  My daughter ordered the asparagus and swiss and I had the ham.  They were excellent - not quite as lemony as my own hollandaise, but still very good. The pan fried potatoes were also flavourful and nicely browned and the fruit that came with it was a work of art, fresh and delicious.

It's a whole lotta carbs for a diabetic, but I dubbed it insulin worthy.  I gave myself an extra blast and didn't e…

Wolf At The Door

A door is what a dog is perpetually on the wrong side of. - Ogden Nash

Frosty February

iPhone photos taken with my back to the Fine Arts building at UBC Okanagan.

I Feel Rich When...

Image's gratitude Monday.  Almost fifteen years ago I joined a writing group along with three amazing women. We did all sorts of different projects mostly from The Artist's Way.  One multi-talented woman, I'll call her Lizzie, inspired me with a book she made for herself long before expressing gratitude was fashionable.  I think it was called "I Feel Rich When..", an illustrated collection of the little things in her life that made her feel rich.  I don't think she ever published it but I'm hoping she has it still.  Expressing gratitude is a great way to make you feel rich in all the ways that count and I truly believe it leads to an increase in reasons for gratitude.
Today I'm grateful for:

71.  my friends both old and new, you encourage and inspire me and make me feel rich!

72.  the way so many of our plans seemed to go awry on our Venezuela vacation.  These changes led to some amazing experiences we wouldn't have had other wise.  Life's f…

Dear Photograph

Lori-Anne of The Pear Tree recently introduced me to a  neat site called "Dear Photograph".  People use their old photographs and take a shot of them within the original setting circa now.  After surfing the site,  I thought it would be fun to try to take one or two when we went to Venezuela as we'd be visiting some locations my husband would have photos from, from the 60s and 70s.  Unfortunately I couldn't find his photo albums before we went away.  This morning however, I did come across a small black and white photo taken on a family trip to Canaima, sometime in the mid 60's I would think.

Here's my attempt to turn it into a "Dear Photograph" after the fact by holding the old photo infront of my lap top with the new photo as the wallpaper.

 Here's a better version of the recent photo.

Saturday Supper

I dropped my hubby off at the airport to catch a flight to Phoenix this morning.  He and a coworker planned to join a client for a few days of golf.  "A vacation from his vacation?" my friend messaged.  "No, a vacation from the past two weeks with me," I replied with an LOL. 
Unfortunately their flight was cancelled due to a mechanical issue with the plane.  I celebrated having my honey  home for an extra day by whipping together what turned out to be a yummy dinner.  Sometimes scrounging in the fridge and pantry can lead to delicious creativity.  

Who knew a chicken breast with a thin layer of Nayonase and dijon, coated in Panko could be so flavourful and juicy.  It was an organic chicken breast from Mission Meat which gave me a bit of an edge.  I stuffed a zucchini with some sauteed mushrooms, onion and garlic, sprinkled it with Italian spices  and covered it with the left over provolone and mozzarella from Thursday's pizza.  The broccoli was simply steamed…

The Ants Come Marching...

Every year or two a tiny species of ant appear in my kitchen and bathroom - perhaps for a their winter vacation.  They stay a couple of weeks and then disappear.  I hate to bring in an exterminator because of the noxious chemicals, but I'm not above squishing the poor little creatures.  It's funny how something so tiny can make you shriek when you turn on the bathroom light and find a few dozen of them marching up the wall towards the sink.  These guys seem to be drawn towards water.
I have a soft spot for ants as a result of a little piece I wrote a few years ago that was read on CBC's Richardson's Roundup.  I thought I'd share it with you here. In order for you to understand this story I have to describe the candelabra that used to sit on my dining room table.  It's made out of rusty looking iron and supports three glass votive candle holders. These cups are supported by a ring of metal that surrounds each glass.  The centre support of the candelabra holds …

Memories of Movida

As tradition seems to dictate, our first night back from vacation leads to a dinner inspired by the cuisine of our favourite restaurant on the trip.  Tonight's dinner is inspired by the chefs at  Posada Movida on Los Roques.

A simple pizza, some mild Italian sausages from Valoroso, our local Italian grocer, and an Ensalada Mixta; mescalun, big chunks of tomato and avacado and sliced red onions.

Wish we could get the avacados we had on Margarita.  One lasted us two weeks.

Almost Home!

Sitting in the Calgary Airport admiring the view of city set against the stunning Rocky Mountains.  It's been a long trip to get home.  Landed in Toronto at 10pm last night, left this morning at 7am with an hour in Calgary to switch to a plane bound for home.  Unfortunately that plane originated in Montreal where they had freezing rain this morning.  Our flight has been delayed one hour.  Had a lovely trip but it will sure be great to be home!