Saturday, March 31, 2012

Urban Behaviour

I finally got around to using my Twongo Coupon for Urban Harvest this morning.  I dropped by last week to pick up some organic produce, took one look at the crowd and turned myself right back out the door.  I did my best to beat the rush this morning and arrived at 9:10, just after they opened, but the place was filled with people and the line up at the cash was crazy.  Since I didn't have hubby and the dogs waiting in the car this time, I decided to stay.

Urban Harvest is an organic delivery service that's been operating in Kelowna for about twelve years now.  You can sign up online and receive a rubbermaid container of fresh organic fruit and vegetables at your door once a week for a fairly reasonable price.  We tried it a couple of times while the kids were living at home, but we go through a lot of fruit and veggies and their weekly basket just wasn't able to keep up with our needs.  They've made some changes and now that we're down to two, I'm keen to try it again.  

Today I was at the warehouse for their Saturday sale, where they sell the leftovers of the previous week's produce at a reduced price.   I went home with some great looking apples, onions, oranges, green onions, collard greens, kale, yams, mushrooms, cauliflower, bananas, ginger, cherry tomatoes, and an avocado.  It was a real treat to make dinner tonight knowing that everything on the plate was full of vitamins, minerals and healthy goodness.  

Friday, March 30, 2012

Weathering Change

Today was a true illustration of the saying "If you don't like the weather, just wait fifteen minutes."'  We had a little bit of everything today.

My morning started with a lovely rainbow.  It was a double one in fact but the second arc had faded before I was able to take a photo.

Not long after that, Mrs. Peartree posted on FB that there was hail falling on the east side of town and soon after her report we received a deluge of rain and sleet at our house.

Then later this afternoon the beautiful sunshine arrived.   And I would love to show you the photo I took, but my USB ports seem to be out of order. I can't upload any of the photos I took this afternoon.  I think it's time to give up on this MacBook Pro that has been a real lemon.   Hope to figure something else for tomorrow.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Good News Bad News

The bad news is my daughter is moving out this weekend, and yes, you guessed it, the good news is my daughter is moving out this weekend.   As I suggested in the blog post, when she returned to us last fall, I was concerned about the effects of her social life on me, thinking I'd be worried about her staying out late.  Turns out I was right, I worried for nothing.  I guess I've just learned to trust my daughter.  

She's really is fun to have around and I've loved hearing her perspective on things going on in the world.  I've enjoyed hearing about her anthropology and fine art classes and the young men and women in her life.  It's both so different and similar to my own experience in the 80's.   I've also loved having someone else make dinner every Friday night and the recipes she shared like this flavourful one for spinach soup.

I've been sitting here trying to come up with some reasons that I'm not sorry she's leaving but there really isn't much of a list.  Some nights when we go to bed she's still up and moving around in her room above our own so that's a bit noisy, and sometimes you can hear her Blackberry vibrate on the floor in the middle of the night, but these are hardly hardships in my life.  

I do know she'll be glad to go.  She takes the bus most places and it's a very long ride to the University, to her two jobs and to the fitness club she goes to almost every day.  Last weekend they changed the bus routes which means she now has to change twice to get to the university and on weekday afternoons, one exchange has a two minute window to get the connection. Needless to say the first time she tried it the bus was late.  The wait would have made her an hour late for her class so she came home.  Turns out even if she had made it, she wouldn't have been able to come home by bus.  The bus from the university arrives at the first exchange fifteen minutes after the last bus of the night comes out our way around 10 p.m.  Way to go BC Transit.  The good news is that from her new place she'll be able to walk to everywhere but the university.

I guess the good news for me is that she's leaving the nest just like she's supposed to and I'll miss her, just like I'm supposed to.  

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Take Care

Today, while waiting for Lens and Shutter to open, I decided to photograph the pedestrian/bicycle overpass that crosses Highway 97.  When this overpass went up last year I was surprised at the number of complaints I heard about it.  "I've never seen anyone use it." "What a waste of municipal dollars."  It always amazes me when people make sweeping judgements about things based on their own limited experience.  

Regarding the latter, the project was funded by the Build Canada Fund, the Province of BC, the federal Gas Tax, the private sector and yes, the City of Kelowna.  With regards to never seeing anyone use it, I ask "How many times a day do you drive under it?"  and "Why are you looking at the overpass and not the road in front of you?"  Which kind of explains why there's a need for it.  The 2009 Kelowna Community Snapshot reported 2700 vehicular accidents a year and seven of the top ten intersections where these accidents happen involve Hwy 97.

The most recent info I can find on the Insurance Corporation of British Columbia's (ICBC's) website is from 2007 where it says that in Kelowna, there were 1,861 accidents involving pedestrians, resulting in seventy four deaths.  Driver inattentiveness lead to 30.3% of these accidents and 14.4% were caused by pedestrian error/confusion.  Only 4.4% involved alcohol.  In the same year there were 896 collisions involving bicycles resulting in ten deaths.  

In the ten minutes or so I stood taking photographs at 9:15 this morning, five pedestrians and one cyclist used the walkway.  My daughter tells me a friend of hers uses it every weekday to get to work. I believe this overpass is long overdue and if it saves one life, it's worth the cost.  But that's just a sweeping judgement based on my limited experience.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012


With little more than a month left of my one year commitment to post a daily photo, it's been a challenge to post something creative and interesting lately.  These days it's cleaning, culling and Coastal Oregon as I try to get my house in order and finish my latest Blurb book before the 25% off deadline of April 2nd.

Today I couldn't even escape for a mini artist's date, and I know exactly where I would have gone.  

I'm picking my camera up right now, to find something to photograph that represents my day.  

Just to be clear I did not drink six glasses of wine today.   Last night I hosted my book club and I didn't feeling like doing the dishes at 10:00 last night and left it all for this morning.  

Monday, March 26, 2012

Gratitudinous Maximus

Yes, Max is handful, and yes there are days when I think "What have I done?"  And there are the days I say "What have YOU done!!!!".   Like this day....and this day... and this day.  Oh yeah, that's the before picture... I didn't post a picture that would have been taken about an hour later, with one of the sheets pulled off the line, balled up in a pile in the dirt and grass.

If you have a dog, especially if you've had it since it was a puppy, you know what I've been going through.  Puppies are challenging.  But then they look at your with those soulful brown eyes, and their  worried foreheads, and your heart just melts.  Even when you've just finished yelling at them for chewing on your suede boots or snarfing down the granola bar you left on the counter, they'll pad carefully over to you, nudge you gently and try to give you a big sloppy kiss.  

There's a lot to be said for unconditional love, and it's something I'm grateful for today.  I'm also thankful:

111.  we were able to adopt dogs like the ones my husband remembers from his childhood summers on the family farm in England.  His Aunt and Uncle had two Rhodesian Ridgebacks named Butch and Rhonda and a little Jack Russell named Snuff. (I think we'll stick with the only one ridgeback and a Jack Russell cross).

112.  when Max lays on the couch, plops his head in my lap with a sigh and I smooth his wrinkled forehead.  His fur is unbelievably soft and plush.

113.  when Max is in the back seat and he pushes his head between the window and the front seat and rests his chin on my shoulder.

114.  that Max and Pitou get along so well.

115. for the chest harness that makes it easy for me to walk him and saves my shoulder a lot of grief.

116.  I have to take him to the park everyday where we've met so many lovely people and their dogs.

117.  for the hike we take up to Mission Ridge that gets my heart rate up,  renews my spirit and rewards me with such a beautiful view at the top.

Note:  These photos were not staged to fit the text.   These are three of a number of shots I took this morning, trying to get a nice photo of Max and Pitou.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

I Got Nothin'

I'm exhausted.  I have no energy to get it together today.  No photo.  No story. No nuthin, nada, rien,  kaputski.  I'm taking a break. Okay, I got this...but that's it.  See you tomorrow.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Old Spice

Over the past 30 or so years of cooking for myself, I've collected quite a mess of spices and spice jars.  Today I picked up some dill and paprika from Abby's Spice and Tea Store and when I got home I was frustrated by how difficult it was to find the jar I was looking for.  Quite frankly, I was embarrassed by the sloppy collection I've amassed.  It's a shameful way for a Virgo to behave.  

Of course this is tongue in cheek, but I am in home organization mode these days, so it's the perfect time to do some culling, while trying to come up with a thrifty and creative way to make my spices accessible and fresh.  Thanks to Pinterest I have a few different ideas bobbing around in my brain. 

Think of these as the before shots and I'll look forward to sharing my results with you.

Friday, March 23, 2012

Mission Ridge Blues

When you pass the evil dog from the Tinder Box, shown here at the top of the path along Mission Ridge, you come to a flat open sandy area dotted with drought resistant grasses.

My husband and I were walking Max and Pitou along here the other night and I happened to mention that I'd be really sad if they decided to build houses along here.  Cue the stringed instruments.  He told me that he knew for a fact it was going to happen.  He thought the developer would leave a public walkway along the front but it was only a matter of time before the subdivision that sits below the edge of the horizon you see here, works its way up and over the very easily built upon land before you.  

It's a shame they wouldn't turn it into a public space.   Kettle Valley Subdivision has several public areas and the one shown on their home page is at least the size of the spot here.  

It's a great spot for any number of activities.  Many people come here with their dogs, but I've never come across any doggie land mines.  It's an awesome spot for our two to chase each other and play "Clash of the Titans".  People run and bike, train their dogs, and fly radio controlled airplanes.

It's a safe place for curious kids from nearby Crawford to set off their fireworks and try to send Buzz Lightyear "to infinity and beyond". 

The unfortunate truth is that people have to live somewhere.  It would be wonderful live in a small city that you love and have it remain the way it was when you first moved there.  But a city can't survive without growth and the infusion of new people and businesses.  There are many parts of Kelowna that remain untouched, other than by nature...and I sure can't blame someone for wanting to wake up in the morning, or look out the window while they're making supper and see this stunning view every day.   Let's just hope they'll hold off a little longer....

Thursday, March 22, 2012

How Much is Too Much?

Last night I bounded cheerfully onto the sofa while my husband was watching the Canucks - Black Hawks game.  The following conversation ensued:

Me:  How much is too much underwear?
He:  Huh?
Me:  How many pairs of underwear should one person have?
He:  Whaddya mean?
Me:  I mean how much is too much?  How many pairs of underwear does one need?
He thinks for a minute and says with authority.
He:  Fourteen.
Me:  Fourteen pairs of underwear.
He (with a confident nod):  Fourteen.
Me:  You have twenty nine.
He looks incredulous and starts laughing.
Me:  You have twenty nine pairs of underwear.
He, laughing:  I do NOT!
Me:  You do so! I counted them today.  There was so many on the dryer that I decided to count all of your underwear to see how many you had.  You have twenty nine pairs.   I tell ya it killed me today not writing on Facebook "My husband has twenty nine pairs of underwear and I have ten."
He:  Well, I have some just for the gym and there's the ones I just wear to bed in the know, the plaid ones.
Me:  Oh!  I didn't count those ones.  I didn't see the boxers.  You've got about four pair of those, so that makes thirty three....thirty four if you count the pair you're wearing.
He: Did you count the two new pair I bought today?
Me after closing gaping mouth:  You did NOT!
He:  I did!  I couldn't find any today so I bought a couple.
Me:  Couldn't find any??!!!   Did you not look in your drawer????  There's a tonne in there.  I'm sure you've still got some from Huntsville*.  Those blue Y-fronts that you probably bought at Bi-Way.
He, laughing: Yeah, I did.  I threw them out tonight.
Me:  Huh.  That makes me feel kinda sad.
He smiles.
Me:  I bet you have 100 pairs of socks too, no exaggeration.  I am quite confident in saying you have at least 100 pairs of socks.
He:  I do not!
But the sheepish look on his face says that after the underwear count, he thinks it just might be true.
He:  Some of them have sentimental value!  There's the pair Kirk and Lesley** gave me for Christmas.
Me:  Kirk and Lesley gave you a Christmas present?
He:  You got one too...remember when we were in White Rock that year?
Me: Oh yeah.  Well Kirk and Lesley didn't give you your underwear.  Why don't you get rid of a few of the rattier ones?
His eyes are on the hockey game.
Me:  Tomorrow I'm going to pile them up on your dresser and take a picture of all of them.  Seriously.  I am.  And then I'm going to post about it on my blog.
He's pretending not to listen.
Me:  ...can I?  Please?
He, eyes still on the screen:  Ok, but I want an accurate count this time.

thirty four thirty nine-ish

Post script via the email my husband sent me after he read the blog post:

I forgot to mention that there are 2 pairs of travel underwear in the
drawer as well. I also have a few pairs that are a little small that I
am keeping to wear when I have lost 10 pounds, you know, like women who
keep their jeans from high school or university or from before having

*We lived in Huntsville, Ontario from 1986 to 1990.
** Best ever Vancouver Canuck goalie Kirk McLean and the awesome woman that was his wife.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

But You Can Get What You Need

For World Poetry Day I'm sharing a poem I read and fell in love with on Treasuring the Day, a blog by my dear friend Janet.

You Can't Have It All  - Barbara Ras

Covent Gardens Market September 2009
But you can have the fig tree and its fat leaves like clown hands
gloved with green. You can have the touch of a single eleven-year-old finger
on your cheek, waking you at one a.m. to say the hamster is back.
You can have the purr of the cat and the soulful look
of the black dog, the look that says, If I could I would bite
every sorrow until it fled, and when it is August,
you can have it August and abundantly so. You can have love,
though often it will be mysterious, like the white foam
that bubbles up at the top of the bean pot over the red kidneys
until you realize foam's twin is blood.
You can have the skin at the center between a man's legs,
so solid, so doll-like. You can have the life of the mind,
glowing occasionally in priestly vestments, never admitting pettiness,
never stooping to bribe the sullen guard who'll tell you
all roads narrow at the border.
You can speak a foreign language, sometimes,
and it can mean something. You can visit the marker on the grave
where your father wept openly. You can't bring back the dead,
but you can have the words forgive and forget hold hands
as if they meant to spend a lifetime together. And you can be grateful
for makeup, the way it kisses your face, half spice, half amnesia, grateful
for Mozart, his many notes racing one another towards joy, for towels
sucking up the drops on your clean skin, and for deeper thirsts,
for passion fruit, for saliva. You can have the dream,
the dream of Egypt, the horses of Egypt and you riding in the hot sand.
You can have your grandfather sitting on the side of your bed,
at least for a while, you can have clouds and letters, the leaping
of distances, and Indian food with yellow sauce like sunrise.
You can't count on grace to pick you out of a crowd
but here is your friend to teach you how to high jump,
how to throw yourself over the bar, backwards,
until you learn about love, about sweet surrender,
and here are periwinkles, buses that kneel, farms in the mind
as real as Africa. And when adulthood fails you,
you can still summon the memory of the black swan on the pond
of your childhood, the rye bread with peanut butter and bananas
your grandmother gave you while the rest of the family slept.
There is the voice you can still summon at will, like your mother's,
it will always whisper, you can't have it all,
but there is this.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Honey Bees?

I was driving home a couple of weeks ago when something deep in the field on the north west corner of Gordon and Old Meadows Road caught my eye.  Today I had the time to stop and take a photo.

It looks kind of like an apiary but not like any apiary I've seen before.  To be honest I've only seen one apiary before so I guess I'm really not an expert.  If you have any other suggestions, let me know.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Grateful for Spring

Last week I had a thought.  Well, I had many thoughts but this particular thought was about the New Year.  Why is the New Year in January?  Shouldn't it  be in the spring when so much of the world is being renewed be it through plants, through new life in the form of birds and animals, or the re-birth of deities?

Turns out that once upon time, when we followed the Julian Calendar we celebrated the New Year on March 25. We changed to the Gregorian Calendar in the late 1700's because if I recall correctly from my research, the date of the spring equinox eventually became quite inaccurate.   I wish I could find the link that explained the reasoning behind the change of the New Year celebration to January 1st, but I deleted my history yesterday, and darned if I can find the site I was looking at. 

So this long winded pre-amble is my lead up to telling you that today, with less than twenty-four hours until the vernal equinox and what I recall the Baha'i faith calling the New Year, I am most grateful for Spring.  Particularly for:

105.  the sunny, windy days that allowed me to put my sheets out on the line for the first time this year.  Dare I trust Max?

106.  the pale light in the sky when I looked out the window at 6:04 this morning. I'm a morning person and the light really invigorates me in the spring and summer.

107.  the pungent smell of moist black earth and budding poplar leaves.

108.  opening my windows for the first time to let the fresh air blow through.

109.  the evening light that means it's time to start walking the dogs after supper again.  I look forward to running into my  neighbours out doing the same.

110.  not having to put winter clothes on to make roasted beets on the BBQ for tonight's dinner.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Someday Sunday

In my ideal world there is one day a week, when I don't do laundry, or grocery shop, vaccum or clean out the litter box, or waste time on Facebook and Pinterest.  That day is called the Sabbath in many religions and no matter what your beliefs, a day of rest or a day to spend time with family has to be a very good idea. 

Now that I've completed my writing course I am in house cleaning/organizing/de-cluttering mode.  The thought of a Sunday (or any day) free of housework guilt, and time spent with the ones I love is motivating me to get things done.

Today I spent most of the day deep cleaning the kitchen.  Four pets and three people who have a tendency to walk through the house with their shoes on brings in a lot of dirt.  I didn't take a photo of the finished product, but if you're curious it looked pretty much like this post from last June.

I also spent some time working on my Blurb photo book from our drive along the Oregon Coast in September 2010.  Today's photo taken on the beach at Seaside is the picture I decided to use for the cover - a great example of a special Sunday.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Winter Marches On

Even if I had made it to the Mission Greenway today to photograph the St. Patrick's Day tree, I don't think you'd have been able to see it through the snow.

Winter made a valiant effort to hang around just a little longer and it snowed on and off most of the day.  St. Patrick's Day is all about the green, so I guess we'll call this wintergreen.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Three Wishes

I won't be able to make it to the Mission Creek Greenway  on St. Paddy's day so I'm posting the monthly tree photo a day early.  It seems the wood faeries have struck again, or perhaps this month it's the leprechauns.  

Many people believe that if you catch a leprechaun, he has to tell you where his pot of gold is - I think that comes more from the ad for Lucky Charms than true leprechaun folk-lore. Today on Radio West I learned that in fact if you catch a leprechaun he must grant you three wishes.

The Radio West reporters went around the valley asking people what their three wishes would be and it was heartening to hear the simple needs that people have.  Things like health, happiness and peace, money, a job you love, a house, "a few more years for my mom", a canoe and my favourite "honey bees".  

What would you wish for if you had three wishes?

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Sioux Lookout for Dinner

I dashed into the Cod Father's this afternoon after a sudden inspiration to see if they had any fresh pickerel in stock.  Lucky me!  They had some just in from Ontario.  It's usually from Manitoba and though it's a treat when you haven't had any for a while, Manitoba pickerel just doesn't seem as good as the fish we caught in the lakes near Sioux Lookout Ontario where I grew up.

Tonight we'll be having a traditional Sioux inspired dinner with pan fried pickerel, wild rice that I know for sure comes from near Sioux because my dad sent it to me.  Gayle McKenzie's cucumber salad will be one of the side dishes and I think I might dig into the frozen wild blueberries for dessert.  I have no idea what I'll do with them, so feel free to share your suggestions.

My Mom with the result of a good day's fishing in the early 70's

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Harbinger of Spring

March has been it's typical roller-coaster of a month.  We've had rain, we've had snow, we've had bright sunshine and great gusty winds. Yesterday a layer of crystalline snow coated my car.  I wedged my scraper under a crunchy corner and peeled it off my windows like the shell off a giant hard boiled egg.

The dog park was a mess  with a river running from the parking lot through the entry way, settling in dips, making for a very brief visit and a trip straight to the laundry room when we got home.

This morning, somehow the park was relatively dry and I got my first sight of my personal harbinger of spring.  Each March, when  I see a red-winged blackbird, it reminds me that warm weather and blooming flowers are just around the corner. 

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Ruff, Tuff and Buff

It's Max's 9 month birthday today (9 month-aversary?) today.  It wasn't until I looked at these photos that  I realized how muscular Pitou is. 

He and Max may be two totally different breeds, but you can tell they go to the same gym.

(Note: Pitou is actually three totally different breeds:  Jack Russell, Chihuahua and Dachshund)

They make a great sparring team.  And even when Max is wrestling happily with another big dog at the park, Pitou is there acting like the ref; throwing in the odd bark, circling back and forth around two dogs that could take his head off with one bite.  One of the park regulars calls him and other terriers "The Fun Police", but I think he's just making sure his big little brother is OK, ready and willing to lend a paw if it's needed.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Gratitude and Synchronicity

Today I'm most grateful for the way one thing leads to another.  Life's funny that way.  Call it synchronicity, coincidence or fate but it's been proven to me so many times, that ...the moment one definitely commits oneself, then providence moves too. A whole stream of events issues from the decision, raising in one’s favor all manner of unforeseen incidents, meetings and material assistance, which no man could have dreamt would have come his way.  This Goethe quote has turned up before on these pages and it informs my gratitude list this week where I am very thankful:

98.   for the friends who invited me to join them for the big 40th birthday bash in NYC this summer, since I'll be turning the big 5-0.  Looks like 50 is the new 40!

99.   that the trip to The Big Apple will dovetail perfectly with my plan to visit my Dad this summer.

Kelowna's Big Apple on Gyro Beach
100.  for Joyce whose encouragement has brought some wonderful things into my life, including a great new friendship.

101.  for emails from MG that have motivated me to continue writing Reg's story, even after my course is complete at the end of this month.

102.  for my husband.  So many things could have prevented us from ever meeting.  Of course this is true of everyone, but I'm particularly grateful today for all the little things, all the choices we made, that brought us together.  

103.  for my daughter, for many things, but today for showing me how to Photoshop this picture in much easier way than the tutorials I googled.

104.  for fellow blogger Lilly, a generous, talented woman who I've gotten to know on Feel Loved Everyday.  Though I've been practicing Daily Gratitude for years, she first inspired me to make my gratitude public through her own weekly declarations. This has led to me spending time thanking people in person, not just on paper and I think that's a pretty great thing for all.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Curioser and Curioser

When I'm out gadding about town - running errands and such - I often cross Springfield Road at Cooper.  As I pass the parking lot of Mission Creek Alliance Church  I spy these two roof tops,  and I wonder.   

There's something about older buildings that draws my attention.  I love the grey weathered wood and the peeling shingles.  Anything with fuzzy green moss growing on it is particularly appealing.  I have no idea where this comes from but I'm sure there are studies somewhere that would tell me.

Today I decided to stop and see if there was some way to look at these buildings without having to go into the yard of the people that live in the somewhat newer building at the front of the property. At the back of the church parking lot I stood on a snow pile that was more dirt than snow and was able to satisfy my curiosity at last.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

My Inukshuk

I caught sight of my shadow  while scouting for photo ops and tried to take a shot of me making a peace sign.  Turns out I'd need another hand for that - no self timer on the iPhone.

Then I thought "Hey, that looks like an Inukshuk", one with stumpy arms, but an Inukshuk nonetheless.

If you're a regular visitor to this page you know I'm very open to signs from above, or the universe, or whatever you want to call it. According to this link, one of the traditional meanings of Inukshuk is  "You are on the right path".  

I'd like to think I am.  It's been a great journey so far: a winding, joyful, challenging, up and down round and round path, not unlike your own I'm sure. 

Where this path will lead next, I have no idea but I know I don't have to remind you to enjoy the journey while you can.  We know it will end, hopefully a long time from now, and though we don't truly know the ultimate destination, I'd like to quote one of my favourite writers, Stephen King "... may we meet again, in the clearing at the end of the path."

By coincidence I noticed this clip on a friends facebook page not long after I uploaded my post.  It's lovely and fit the theme so I thought I'd share. Yes, and Yes!

Friday, March 9, 2012

Naked Dog Beach

I was driving out Lakeshore Road this afternoon and decided to stop in the parking lot above the dog beach at Cedar Creek.  This section is also the Nude Beach, but I saw no hearty souls in their birthday suits this afternoon.

It was bright and sunny, much more so than this photo shows, but I discovered the battery on my Nikon was dead and had to be happy with my iPhone.  Maybe it will look brighter on your computer.  

I'd like to return with the dogs this weekend.  And in case you're curious, my nude beach days are over.  For some reason the more often I went, the more uncomfortable I felt.  Which reminds me of a comedienne I once saw who described the perils of eating sandwiches on a nude beach in the presence of seagulls.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Currying Flavour

When I arrived home from grocery shopping on Tuesday I discovered my husband had already purchased a four litre jug of milk to replace the empty one I had spied on the counter that morning.  I bought one too.  We don't use a lot of cow's milk and a four litre jug will usually last us two weeks.  It's not that we don't like it, we just believe that milk is for baby cows, not people and use almond or soy milk (though someone  prefers cow milk in their cereal).  I've been on a kick to use up the extra milk for the past two days and tonight we are going to consume it in a flavourful curried cauliflower soup.  

I used this recipe more or less.  The cauliflower was huge so I added a little more curry, used chicken flavoured vegetable broth and replaced the half & half with a cup of skim milk.  I also left some small chunks of cauliflower in the mix because I like a little texture in my creamed soups.  I also added a couple of hunks (about 1/4 cup) of creamed coconut, pictured left.  You can buy this really handy stuff in the Asian section of most grocery stores.  It's great for adding a little boost of flavour or richness to stews and soups.

As I type, I'm boiling up some eggs to add a little protein to the mixed green salad that will accompany the soup, and I'm sure my husband will have some sourdough bread to go with it. It smells fantastic!

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

What's the Solution?

I thought I'd have a  picture of my shiny new bumper to show you today but on the way home from the repair shop I happened upon a gather of several hundred teachers, students and their supporters.  They were assembled in the lot occupied by the Kelowna Farmers Market behind the School District 23 office.

BC Teachers have been on strike, or I should say "protesting" for the past few days (our "democratic" provincial government has legislated they are not allowed to strike).  Whether you agree with the teachers requests or not there is something that cannot be denied by anyone with children in the public school system, or those with teachers as friends or relatives.  The current system is not working and something must be done.   

Governor General Award winning teacher Rhonda Draper
Class sizes are ever increasing, split classes seem to be the norm, the number of students with special needs are increasing while the number teachers hired to assist these students are decreasing.  Teachers are working longer hours, either at home or in the classroom, and many of them are taking money out of their own pockets to buy supplies for their students.  Support staff like librarians, psychologists, and resource teachers are having their hours cut and must spread themselves thinner all the time.

This is not a problem that's limited to BC.  Ontario public school teachers are struggling with many of the same issues, and I would imagine it's a cross Canada problem. In fact if you've seen any of the American documentaries like Waiting for Superman it's safe to say it's a North American problem.   

What is it that keeps our governments from realizing the importance of public education and the value of teachers and support staff that are educating the citizens of the future?  It boggles my mind.  If I had school-aged children right now, I'd be doing everything I could to scrape together the money to put them in private school.  And that's just not right.  We should not have a two-tiered  system.   Every child deserves the best possible education, not just the ones who can afford it.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Better Late Than Never

I am the proud owner of a new pair of figure skates. I used to skate competitively in my youth and I really love ice dancing.  About five years ago, I was thrilled to discover that Kelowna had an adult ice dancing club that met once a week. After a good fifteen years with very little skating to speak of, I was keen to start building up my strength and balance so I could join them.  

Kelowna is a big hockey town.  Every sports store you go into has a wall covered from floor to ceiling with all kinds of men's and boys' hockey skates. It seemed if you were looking for ladies' figure skates you were out of luck.  The few stores that carried women's skates had two or three options, mostly moulded plastic or  hard-as-rock vinyl.    There are lots of figure skaters in Kelowna, but those that belong to the Kelowna Figure Skating Club have to drive the 4 plus hours to Vancouver to find a pair.  I would imagine you can order custom made ones through the club, like we used to when I was young.  For someone who plans to skate once or twice a week, the cost was a bit prohibitive.

Two years ago I stumbled upon some fairly pricey skates at Source for Sports. I returned to the store several times over the years, hoping in vain that they might go on sale.  After struggling with a pair of hard plastic size tens for the past three years, this winter I decided that I deserved to have a proper pair of skates.

I marched myself into Source and tried on a pair of Jackson Mystiques, the least expensive of the Don Jackson skates they carried. They didn't have my size so I ordered in a pair, which still turned out to be the wrong size and I ordered in again.  Turns out I'm an 8 1/2 not a 10. The public skating season is just about over and I think I'll be lucky to find a class that fits my schedule before March 18th.  I'm a bit disappointed, but I'm thrilled at thought of being all ready once things start up again in September.  
Here's a picture of me at the age of ten, dressed in my costume for our winter carnival.  I can't remember what the carnival was called...Galaxy On Ice comes to mind.  Every class represented a different country and my group's performance was called: "America, Stars and Stripes"

Monday, March 5, 2012

Trippin' on Gratitude

It was a whirlwind three day trip to and from Salt Spring Island this past weekend, leaving Friday at 1:30 and arriving home by 5:00 Sunday night.   Even though it seems like we spent most of the time in the car, I'm thankful for each moment we spent with our families.  I'm particularly grateful:

92.  we were able to celebrate my father-in-law Reg's 94th birthday with him.

93.  for the kind, respectful and caring ways of Madeleine who Reg enjoys bantering with so much.

94.  for the fact that Max only ate part of the gearshift and the cover off the armrest while waiting in the car on the ferry, and not the steering wheel or the gas pedal.

95.   that my husband did all of the driving. There's nothing like a long drive to put me right to sleep, especially when we'd been up at 5 a.m. on Saturday and Sunday to catch early Ferries.

96.  for Stephanie, Brad and Shane who don't mind acting as hotel and restaurant on these brief trips and feed us the most delicious tandoori chicken!

97.  for the hospitality of the Salt Spring Youngs who always find room for us and put up with Max's puppy ways without complaint.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Uno, Dos, Tres, Cuatro!


We've brought back some dud gifts for the kids from our trips, but I think we done good with this one.  Our son is a very talented musician and while in Venezuela we picked up a Cuatro for him, which we were able to deliver to him today.    A cuatro has only four strings and they are tuned like a ukelele, much different from a guitar which is his instrument of choice.  It amazes me how he can pick up an instrument, particularly stringed ones and with no instruction at all make it sound great.  And he he can't resist trying a little Ozzie.


Check this out below to see a more traditional approach.  Very Cool!

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Dos Cervezas, Por Favor!

We visited Salt Spring Island this weekend, to celebrate Reg's 94th birthday and to share the goodies we picked up in Venezuela.  Unfortunately we couldn't bring back any food, but we were able to snag a few cans of Polar, (pronounced poh-LAR)  the beer they used to enjoy and we bought a couple of bottles of Cacique (cah-SEE-kay), the coveted rum.   Here's Mike and his brother Bob enjoying the Polar, but I'm told it doesn't taste quite the same.  They feel it's due to the fact that in the old days the cans were steel and the current aluminum cans affect the flavour.

Friday, March 2, 2012


This is Hank.  Also known as Hank the Tank.   Hank is Max and Pitou's cousin.  He's a one year old French Bulldog.  Hank is cool.  But he's too cool to tell you that.  So I'm telling you. you needed someone to tell you.  Just one glance at this photo of Hank and you think:  Man, that dog is cool. And you're right.  He's SO cool.  In fact, he's so cool Chuck Norris has a photo of Hank on all his T-shirts.  When Chuck Norris gets up every morning he thinks "What would Hank do?"  

And he's adorable! In fact he's the very definition of adorable.  Earlier, I posted a picture of him looking adorable, but it immediately replaced all the adorable kitten photos on the internet so I had to remove it.  Because not only his Hank cool and adorable, he's very modest...and humble.  

Maybe some day you'll get to meet Hank.  You'll be able to scratch him behind the ears and hear that adorable grunting and snorting that he does.  For now, you'll just have to be happy with admiring his photo and hope that maybe some day you'll be able to cross that last item, "Meet Hank", off your Bucket List.  

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Freedom to Paint

While visiting Hambleton Galleries this morning, I had an interesting chat with owner Stewart Turcotte.  I knew he was a huge fan of artist Daphne Odjig, but I didn't know much about her, even though I have a fondness for Canada's First Nation artists.  

Having only been exposed to Ms. Odjig's more recent work, I was fascinated by the discovery that when she began selling her art, it was more of a European style of painting.   The painting above: Boats in Harbour, Victoria 1963 shows her impressionistic style.  It was around this time that her art began to focus on the myths and legends of Aboriginal culture and she began using what is referred to as Woodland Style.

Hambleton Galleries has a number of Daphne Odjig paintings and it's very interesting see the variety of styles she uses, including cubism.  I believe the ones pictured to the left are more recent.  The iphone photos do not do her work justice. You'll just have to go into the gallery on Ellis Street and have a look for yourself.

She's also turned some of her paintings into some gorgeous fashions which can be purchased online, and I've seen a number of her coats and scarves at Turtle Island Gallery on Cawston, just behind Hambleton Galleries.