Friday, January 28, 2011

Now we're cooking with gas

Things getting a little boring in the kitchen? Wondering what to serve this weekend? If you don't mind a naked chef, here's an idea or two:

Oh, and here's more from Gino. I love to start the weekend with a laugh.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Time for some flowers

Pioneer Woman is having another photography contest on her blog, and this time the theme is flowers. I pulled out some of my old flower shots mainly because they cheer me up this time of year. Just think, all these little beauties are right there, sleeping beneath the snow. Hard to imagine when I look out the window.

Gasland News

The little documentary that could...

Gasland has been nominated for an Oscar in the Best Documentary Feature category!

If you haven't seen it yet, I urge you to do so. If you can't find it on your local cable, or find it online, it's available for sale on Amazon HERE .

Pennsylvania in particular is in dire straits, as this state is now poised to become one of the largest natural gas fields in the world (along with the Middle East and Russia) if the oil and gas industry gets their way.

They want to do the same fracking thing here where I live.

Cancers, brain damage, asthma, neuropathy (disease or dysfunction of one of more peripheral nerves, typically causing numbness or weakness and pain) are just some of the side effects people have reported from living near these drilling operations. People can no longer drink their tap water, their livestock and pets are dying, the surrounding wildlife is dying. There is no fixing the problem, either. Once this toxic soup is in place, it's there forever.

If you think these chemicals are benign, or that the documentary is one-sided, ask yourself this one question:

Why are these drilling companies exempt from regulation by the Clean Air Act, Clean Water Act, and Safe Drinking Water Act?

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Better and yet...

I am almost recovered from a nasty bout of pneumonia and a few random attacks of the collywobbles. I've been fortunate to be able to lay low for a week and except for walking the dog I've pretty much stayed inside. (And it's going down to minus 30 this weekend so that's no great hardship.) My dear husband has been advised to do the same, and so this weekend has been a marathon of movies and hockey games, as spectators not participants.

Today I watched a compelling documentary GASLAND which shook me up pretty badly. It's about drilling for natural gas, a process called fracking.

From the GASLAND website:

It also enables those hazardous chemicals used in the fracking process (around 80,000 pounds worth on average) to leach into nearby groundwater, streams, wells, and the air. Upwards of 70% remain. Permanently.

Watch the full episode. See more NOW on PBS.
We're not safe in Canada. Fracking has been going on in Alberta for years and is pretty widespread. There's an interesting article HERE and it talks about an Erin Brockovich type crusader by the name of Jessica Ernst. Canada has no national water policy (are you listening, Mr. Harper?) and now there's talk about developing a huge shale gas field along the Saint Lawrence River between Montreal and Quebec City.

Why can't we use wisdom and integrity and practice good stewardship for this earth we all call home? It's the only one we have. If our water is gone, so are we.

Do yourself a favour and look for this documentary. We can't afford to be complacent.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Bah, I say

Novel Woman hasn't disappeared completely.

Novel Woman has pneumonia.

Worse, Novel Woman's prescribed medication resulted in the sudden and violent loss of her breakfast followed by dry heaves all afternoon.

Bah. Novel Woman wouldn't wish this on her worst enemy. Well, maybe her worst enemy, but no one else.

Think happy thoughts think happy thoughts thinkhappythoughts...

And remember:

I shall be back soon. Pass the Kleenex and keep your distance.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Better than Vitamin C

As I struggle to fight off this nasty bug, which has settled into my chest like a cat on a warm duvet, I look to things that will cheer me up. Like this guy. Amazing how it takes so little to make him happy, and it makes me happy to see him dance.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Question: What stays on your nose and eyelashes?

And individually, I'd say they could be one of my favourite things, but when they join forces and drop from the sky in clusters, they are relegated to one of my least favourite things. Let me explain. Not only is it January in Canada, which is a dark and dreary post-holiday time of year, there's this.

1. Novel Woman has the flu. Novel Woman, dutifully but sceptically, was coerced into getting got her flu shot for the first time last fall. Novel Woman now has the flu. Novel Woman says you do the math.

2. Novel Woman currently sounds like she is a two-pack-a-day lifelong smoker. When the telemarketers call, they refer to Novel Woman as "sir".

3. Novel Woman is feverish, so much so that she's talking about herself in the third person.

So she's going to post some cool shots of snowflakes.

(I know it doesn't make sense. See #3 above.)

with permission from

If you want to know more about snow crystals, and really, why wouldn't you, go visit the website where you'll learn exciting snow crystal facts like:

1. How to tell the difference between a stellar dendrite and a capped column. (Who knew?)
2. How to grow designer snowflakes. (Because the everyday ones are so ho hum.)
3. Everything you ever wanted to know about snowflake physics. (Everything? How about how the snowflakes know exactly which morning I'll need to use the car and decide that's when they'll drop from the sky in huge numbers. Evil and psychic? You tell me.)
4. And my favourite - myths and nonsense. (See #3 above. Not a myth, nor nonsense.)

So maybe I'll go out and photograph a snowflake or two. When in Rome, as they say, or in this case, the Great White North, you might as well use what is right on your doorstep. And all over the driveway. And my car.

Off in search of medication...

Addendum: Youngest just sent an email from Uni. She said this:


That's maritime weather for you, this morning was clear, sunny, and as of 2 pm it's been like GOLFBALL sized snow clumps coming down. The side walk to my house is up to my knees, and everything, the homes, the wires, the branches, the streets are COATED in thick layers of poof.

"Thick layers of poof." HAHAHAHAAAA!! (Sorry. That's the fever talking.)

Monday, January 10, 2011

Fess Up Secret Santa!

This was left on my doorstep on the weekend. Hanging from my letter box, actually.

In a lovely golden gift bag wrapped in red tissue paper.

The only thing missing was a card, an identifying tag of some kind so I can thank the recipient.

I figured the most likely suspect (and the one who lives closest) was Kathy Down the Road. It is the kind of thing she'd do. She has dropped off so many tins of baked goods over Christmas that I now resemble the Michelin Man.

But she swears she didn't do it. Either she is a very skilled liar, or it was someone else.

Well? Hellooo?

Anyone want to step forward? There could be a nice cup of coffee in it for you, as long as you don't mind a) dust, b) pet hair and c) a dog who thinks every guest is a new play toy brought over just for him.

I would serve it in one of these puppies. Or we could do tea if you like. I have about a dozen different varieties in the kitchen, including decaf Chai, Tetley BOLD (and regular, but really, when you can go bold, why wouldn't you?) also Yorkshire Gold, PG Tips, Typhoo....Oh, and something called Northern Delights Fine Inuit Herbal Tea in five flavours - Labrador, Crowberry, Ground Juniper, Arctic Blend, and Cloudberry. (There's something very evocative about starting every day with a lovely cup of Cloudberry, no?)

The baked goods, alas, are gone. Long gone. (burp) If I had any baked goods left, I would have served them in this lovely new addition to my kitchen collection. My son's girlfriend is Russian, and when she returned this weekend from visiting her family back home, she brought this for me, remembering I had blue and white dishes and thinking (correctly) that I would like this. I actually love this, plus the fact that she would a) remember the colour of my china and b) lug this all the way back home for me, because it's quite heavy. What a sweetheart, no?

Okay, Masha, was it you who left the mugs? Confess!

Вы для симпатичной тарелки. Вы вышли мне кофейные чашки? Поговорите вверх или я буду служить вы зажарил еду с подливкой.*

*translation: "Thank you for the lovely dish. Did you leave me the coffee cups? Speak up or I will serve you fried food with gravy."

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

French & Saunders & Madonna, oh MY

Beverage alert. If you have one in hand, do not take a sip before you listen to this. You have been warned.

Background: Madonna was interviewed by a Hungarian journalist during the filming of the movie Evita. The questions were asked in Hungarian, translated to English for her, then her answers were translated back to Hungarian. The whole interview was then written up, in Hungarian, for a newspaper in Budapest.

This interview was then translated once more from Hungarian back to English for a transcript more closely resembling a big pot of goulash.

The transcript is what French and Saunders, two comic geniuses, are reading from. I laughed so hard I ended up with a coughing jag.

thank you Julie!

For anyone wishing to have a go with their own words, there is always Babelfish. (You know, from THE HITCHHIKER'S GUIDE TO THE GALAXY.) You enter a body of text, translate it to another language and then cut and paste it and translate back again to English.

For example, if you take the first three lines of this blog, translate them to Korean, then back to English you get this:

Beverage alert. You there is 1 starts and in case, you before listening closely this, has sip and the branch dries. You were warned.

The branch dries? What does it all mean, Basil?

Monday, January 3, 2011

What is this?

Don't you find January always starts off kind of slow?

Our Christmas holiday always ends with both a bang and a whimper as all the kids and their friends and our relatives who have spent weeks on end crammed into our tiny house sharing meals and outdoor skating and games of President (although that's not what the kids called it) all leave to take up their lives again and then....suddenly the holiday really is over. Except for the decorations which have to be taken down, and the mess, which is everywhere.

I've stayed up way too late, eaten too many goodies, played too many games of Angry Birds. I'm in recovery mode. I am about to make chicken soup with egg noodles because my husband and I are fighting colds (although he is in worse shape than I am.) I have to make a big pot, because my son, his friends and my nephew are coming over to watch a hockey game. Hockey games trump colds. Maybe the festivities aren't quite over?

I prefer September for setting goals and I see that month as the real beginning of the year. Resolutions are not my thing and the short dark days in January are ones I just have to get through until the sun shows up again.

Let's start the year with a game of "what is this?"


It is, in fact, the window of our backyard shed.

My son put a paintball through it many years ago and we haven't gotten around to replacing the glass. I think the frost patterns look rather fetching.