Tuesday, December 14, 2010

True Grit

"Now I know you can drink whiskey and I saw you kill a rat, but all the rest has been talk"

I have to be honest with myself... I like westerns. I do not know why, I do not know how- I just do. Certain types like the one I saw last night:

trailer for the Cohen's brothers 2010 film True Grit

Fantastic. I enjoyed the acting, I enjoyed the filming and I enjoyed story which was adapted from a novel of the same name by Charles Portis. I even enjoyed Matt Damon and I never say silly things like that- but then again, I may have just liked his spurs.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Making Bismuth Subsalicylate Funny

In addition to the current theme of today, I though I would include this video:

The Brat Diet

Dear Tummy, you are the real brat.

Sounds like a diet made for me, doesn't it? Well, it is. For now. After I spent last last month talking about my tummy and how far I've come, I have to admit. I've had a total relapse. It's not totally my fault though, it seems as though my body just can't tolerate any food aside from steamed rice, plain breads, yogurt and steamed milk (as well as bland chicken and some steamed veggies). That's not like me... I love my cookies, my processed cheese (we all have our vices), my rich wild game meats, all that glorious french food and a glass of wine on Monday nights.

Over the summer I started to challenge myself and was surprised at how well I stomached everything, but then... now. I don't know when things got this bad... I can't stomach a thing. It's come on slowly and I thought it as just stress but now I don't know. Maybe I don't know how to identify stress or perhaps I'm so use to stress in my life that it feels normal, though I don't really think that is the case- what could I be stressed about?

School is done, I aced everything achieving over 95%. I adore Christmas, I have more than enough money to support my life style and tuck enough away for retirement. I have an excellent relationship with my family and I have some of the best friends a girl could ask for. Truly, I feel blessed, at times a little lonely but I've felt lonely in relationships before. This girl can't complain... except about her stomach.

I've been to the doctor and so I have some tests I am waiting to take. Mostly they are just routine tests for when she writes a referral to a specialist, we can say that I definitely don't have:

an ulcer (I'm pretty sure I don't have one of those)
Celiacs (have you seen how much gluten I can put away- unlikely)
Lactose intolerance (yogurt, milk, good cheese- all things that still are part of my bland diet)

The problem is one of the tests called a Helicobacter Pylori Urea Breath Test does not allow me to have Bismuth Subsalicylate (aka: Pepto-Bismol) for at least 2 weeks prior to the test. No Pepto for 2 weeks! That is unheard of. Truth, I always have Pepto on hand but I can go months without using it. Right now though, I need it more then ever. Or do I...

In efforts to get my tum-tum back in order I've been exercising a fairly bland diet of bagels, bread, cream cheese, milk, rice, steamed veggies, chicken, Wor Wonton Soup and water. It's been hell but the effects of testing my tummy with my usual eating habits lead into a far worse system of events that make eating anything a blessing. If I even take a step off the side and try to eat like I used too (even as simple as having a little dark chocolate in the afternoon) I end up shaking uncontrollably, over heating and shivering, dry mouth, intense abdominal discomfort and feeling totally disoriented. The last time this happened I was out to dinner last week about to go see Stuart McLean. An attack occurred halfway to the concert hall and I spent the first half of the concert shaking in my seat, holding my mothers had as Laura escorted me, arms linked,  to the ladies room.

My sister was on a "white food" diet when she was a wee one. She had contracted a virus that was effecting a lot of people and putting them in hospital (by the way, I'm going to say this now, there is no such thing as the "Stomach Flu" is actually called Gastroenteritis and is caused by bacteria, viruses, or parasites. The flu, influenza, is a respiratory infection that affects the lungs.). My mum kept her out of the hospital and eating on this diet of bland, white foods.

This is where I get to "the BRAT diet"
BRAT diet, which is an acronym for:
  • Bananas
  • Rice
  • Applesauce
  • Toast

These bland, low-fiber foods are easy to digest and may help with diarrhea, and most people who have a stomach illness can tolerate them pretty well. The BRAT diet has spawned other eating regimens that have a similar effect on upset stomach. They include the BRATY diet, which stands for:

  • Bananas
  • Rice
  • Applesauce
  • Toast
  • Yogurt
And the BRATT diet, which stands for:
  • Bananas
  • Rice
  • Applesauce
  • Tea
  • Toast

So what I plan to do is combine this BRAT diet theory with the "white food" diet my sister was once on along with some of the other foods I know my body can handle and HOPEFULLY get a grip on my tummy. At least until I have that one test done that limits my Pepto ingestion. Once I am in the clear I can start challenging myself again, eating foods that might upset my tummy and deal with the consequence freely without the concern of botching up an important exam or major physical discomfort.

I know stomach issues are common, have you ever been through something like this before?

Hat Tips:

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Confession: I Found a Horcrux

True Story. Don't tell Voldermort.

One horcux found in accessory department at Forever 21.

[photo credit: Laura Barrett and her iPhone]

Monday, December 6, 2010

For the Love of God

So what do you do when you are an artist and your mother says to you "For the love of God, what you are going to do next?"

well... you create this:

Artwork Title: For the Love of God, 2007

Diamond covered platinum skull
Damien Hirst

The skull which apparently belongs to a European living between the years of  1720 - 1810. It has 8,601 "flawless" pavé-laid diamonds, weighing in total 1,106.18 carats over a platinum cast covering the entire skull. The teeth, real human. At the center of the forehead, a pear shaped fancy colored diamond.
call me old fashion but I think this is about as useful for diamonds as the Victoria Secret Fantasy Bra:
Victoria Secret 2010 Fantasy Bra.

Such a waste of good diamonds in my honest opinion.

Back to the skull though, for the first time since it's unveiling you can view this scintillating spectacle at Palazzo Vecchio in Florence till May 2011. Usually, it is kept covered-up and tucked away in a vault somewhere at the request of the insurance company that has insured it's $100 million worth.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Oh My Stars!

Oh my edible stars! On Cupcakes, cookies and many festive treats!

Certified Kosher (just so you know), available in pink hearts, silver stars and gold glitter.

Buy them HERE

Mmmmmm... glittery

[Hat Tip to Oh Happy Day]

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Pierre Trudeau: "the style is in the man"

Grey Cup 1970

He was Canada's version of Paul McCartney, a man who with a flash of a smile and a wave, could have throngs of screaming nubile young women appear out of nowhere and give chase, if only to catch a glimpse of the prime minster, if not a picture and a kiss. 

All politicians have charisma, but his was a special kind. This broad appeal was matched only by his peerless attention to style and sartorial flair. He strolled the streets of Saint-Pierre-et-Miquelon wearing a nautical top and a jaunty "necker-cheif". He ice skated in a full length fur coat. He showed up to the 1970 Grey Cup looking like he's just walked off the set of Super Fly. He wore loafers without socks and a rose in his lapel.

It was not just audacity either, he understood the meaning and the importance of the fit and a good cut of a suit. Unlike Paul Martin or Jean Chretien, please loved him, even though who thought Liberals were nothing but indecisive pansies.

He pissed people off and that was part of it. He word sandals and slid down banisters in parliaments because that as who he was. He smoked cigars with Fidel Castro and mixed with rock stars and gave protesters the finger. He dated celebrities because, well,  someone had to pick up where JFK left off.

Like Sinatra, Bowie, Versace and very few other icons of his time, he knew the one and only true rule of style: that it's not just about the clothes you wear, the high end watches hanging from your wrist or even the coin in your pocket. It's about the attitude. Pierre Elliott Trudeau had a lot of that. He was the man who made Canadian politics cool (if only for a moment).

Friday, November 19, 2010

A Dog Blog

this is a dog on snow

Truth: I love dogs and have grown up with them. My Mum is a breeder of Golden Retrievers and also has been training dogs for 35 years.

Having a dog and knowing them makes dog humor pretty great. My friend Calvin sent me a link to a blog post titled:

It's the funniest thing I've read in a long time (mind you, I've been in school so that accounts for a bunch of text book reading- that's beside the point). Awesome illustrations and just flat out fan-freaking-tastic.
The perfect way to start your Friday morning.

[image care of Hyperbloe and a Half post Dogs Don't Understand Basic Concepts Like Moving]

Friday, November 12, 2010

The Nenshi Family Samosa Recipe Borrowed from Dinner with Julie


I follow this wonderful tasty blog named Dinner With Julie, it's always full of tummy warming treats and heart warming stories. She just posted the other day The Nenshi Family Samosa Recipe which delights me beyond anything. First of all, they have to be good. They are on the Dinner with Julie site. Second, my friend Reena use to bring in her Mum's homemade Samosa's and they were the best things I have ever eaten. I was never able to get Reena's mum to part with her recipe but this one might just fill the void.  I guess during Nenshi's campaign to Calgary Mayor, his team was kept going with these tasty little num-nums.

Thanks to Dinner with Julie for sharing this with the world (and to Noorjah for making them so).

Noorjah’s Samosas

The citric acid (available at Community Natural Foods and other specialty/health food stores as well as many Indian groceries) is used as a souring agent – you could substitute lime juice or amchur powder, which is made from dried unripe mango – both are naturally high in citric acid.

1 lb. lean ground beef
1/2 tsp. citric acid (optional)
1 tsp. crushed garlic
1/2 tsp. crushed ginger
1/2 tsp. garam masala
1 tsp. dhana – jeera mix (coriander and cumin powder)
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. crushed green hot pepper
4 long green onions, finely chopped
1 small onion, finely chopped
1/2 bunch chopped fresh cilantro

Samosa paste:
2 Tbsp. all-purpose flour
3 Tbsp. water

1 pkg. samosa or spring roll wrappers, thawed if frozen
canola oil, for cooking

In a large, heavy skillet, cook the ground beef, adding the citric acid and breaking up any lumps. Add all the spices and continue cooking until meat is cooked through. Remove from heat and drain any fat on paper towels. Stir in the onions and cilantro.

In a small dish, stir together the flour and water to form a paste. Fill and fold the samosas. (Note: if you don’t know how to do this, Google it for visuals. Generally you want to fold over the end of a strip of wrapper to form a triangle, form it again to form a pocket, fill the pocket, then keep folding, maintaining the triangle shape, to the end of the wrapper. Use the paste to seal it closed and fill any holes in the tips of the three corners.

In a medium heavy pot, heat a couple inches of oil over medium-high heat until hot but not smoking. Fry a few at a time, without crowding the pot, flipping as necessary as they turn brown. Remove with tongs or a slotted spoon to paper towels to drain. Serve warm. Makes about 1 1/2 dozen samosas.

*Though these ones are not vegetarian, I am sure with a few adjustments they can easily be made so.

**Recipe/Pictures copy and pasted directly from: Dinner with Julie

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Amazing New Diet! Man Eats Fewer Calories and LOSES WEIGHT!

Just don't trust me when it comes to advise on Hedge Funds

It's been all over the news.

Dr. Mark Haub, a professor of nutrition at Kansas State University spent the last two months eating pretty much nothing but junk food and lost 27lbs and improved his cholesterol profile.

How did he do it?

He ate fewer calories than he burned.

Is it important?

Yes, but not perhaps in the way you might think.

There's simply no surprise that a nutrition professor eating a calorie reduced diet lost weight. If that were news we'd also regularly be seeing stories about the amazing business professor who saved more money than he spent and saw his bank account climb. There's also not too much surprise that his cholesterol improved in that the benefits of losing 13.5% of your body weight likely outweigh any risks inherent to the diet that led to that loss.

No, what's truly important here is the fact that this story made headlines the world over. That's important because it hammers home one incredibly unfortunate fact - the world doesn't understand calories.

Calories are the currency of weight and we need to empower people to use and understand them. A thorough understanding of how many each of us needs and how many we're having, must become part of our nutritional consciousness if we ever hope to put a dent in obesity. I'm not saying obsess over them but be aware of what you are eating and read nutrition labels if you are buying something pre-packaged.

So thanks to Dr. Haub for proving what shouldn't have needed to, because truly, the fact that the world was wowed by a guy losing weight eating fewer calories than he burns highlights just how far we've got left to go in educating the public.

A shame that doesn't appear to be the message that he's chosen to promote.

CBS News Story on Dr Haub.
SMH story on "the Twinkie diet"

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Look at What the Light Did Now

Here she comes, out from behind the shadows into the light in a cinematic fever dream. She's been in hiding for the most part aside from an interview on Q, some fantastic collaborations with Beck (a little of this and a little of that), and a few shows at the 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympic games.


Look at What the Light Did Now- Trailer

A documentary about Feist and her collaborators by Anthony Seck. Produced by Jannie McInnes. Look at What the Light Did Now documents the journey of Feist’s Grammy nominated album “The Reminder”. This poetic film pulls back the curtain to reveal intimate partnerships with the people Feist calls her ‘amplifiers’: The photographer who helped her hide within the frame, shadow puppeteers in hockey arenas, an artist who built a thread-radiating mural, the video director who conducted fireworks, the pianist who guided the recording of the album, and other musical and visual collaborators. The film follows Feist and her supporting cast through an impressionistic array of flickering scenery, echoing stadiums, puppet workshops, the red carpet, a crumbling French mansion, definitive concert performances and uncommonly candid interviews. Itself a part of the creative mosaic it portrays, Look At What The Light Did Now illuminates the synergy of collaboration, art as magnifying glass, and the power of trust.

You can buy it December 7th and In addition to the bonus audio CD, with it’s 13 tracks and solo piano reinterpretations of Feist songs by Gonzales, the DVD release contains additional live and uncut footage from The Reminder Tour, highlights from the Living Lantern secret shows, a collection of short films, music videos, archival clips and so much more.

Check out this hidden beach canyon duet with Feist and Little Wings, performing Look At What The Light Did Now:

Little Wings + Feist Duet - Look At What The Light Did Now

(Little Wings, AKA Kyle Field, is a true west coast cosmopolitan, making art and music out of the seismic waves, skateboarding legends and freeway traffic jams that is Big Sur revivalism.)

Stunning. I'm so excited. So-so-soooo excited.

79 Years of Life and Counting

My Dad, back row on the right.
It's 1946 and he is 15. He is already attending McGill University

I thought my Dad was older but thankfully he's only 79 years old. Born November 9th, 1931 in Donnacona, Quebec. I called him this morning on my walk into work and wished him a happy birthday. He laughed with pleasure when I asked him if he was taking the day off from work.He's not. He could take the day off, he is owns his own company but he likes to work and I doubt he will ever retire. He isn't taking the day off. He only takes Thursday afternoons off so he can go hiking with my mum and the dogs at our country house. There isn't anything frail about my Dad, I look at other 80 year olds and think how frail and aged they look but not my father. Though a little off balance at times, his mind is sharp. His eyes are sharp and so is his wit. How many 79 year olds do you know that text message?

My Dad is very special to me. When I was little I would dream about saving him from Monsters and burglars. I was Super Daughter. Now I spend time with him going to the opera and talking on the drive along the Cow Boy Trail.

I'm not really sure what I am trying to say in this post other then...

Happy Birthday Dad!

You teach me so much about life everyday. and I love you.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Confession: I Have a Crush on the Worlds Worst Mother

Crow Pie anyone?

"I'm not a dealer, I'm a mother who happens to distribute illegal products through a sham bakery set up by my ethically questionable CPA and his lawyer friend"


A captivating actress. Intelligent. A woman who is moving past her mid 40's without an inch of Botox (yes, I believe it).

I like her.

Tricks of the Trade

Borrowed Thoughts

I hate having an upset tummy, though I am not sure there are very many people who enjoy it but I really don't like it. I would go as far as saying that there was a time when it was a full blown medically diagnosed phobia. I was told by a doctor that I had "a very creative eating disorder"- it had nothing to do disorder body image. I didn't want to loose weight, actually it was the opposite. I wanted to be healthy, I wanted to be happy and I didn't want the nasty demon of disordered eating riding my shoulders any more. I just didn't eat because I was scared I was going to throw-up at any point, I still had radical, disordered thinking but it had nothing to do with how I looked. At my worst my food intake was limited to "safe" foods that didn't appear to be contaminated. Bagels, cream of wheat, ice cream and cookies were the foods of choice. All I wanted to do was eat but the last thing I wanted to do was deal with the mental discomfort of having food in my belly and the fear of that at any moment I might just throw up. Talk about not having much faith in ones own body. I'm not even sure where all this abstract thinking came from, just one day it was there.

There is a positive aspect to this chapter of my life. I, thankfully, was honest with myself to be aware that this was an issue. Something that I needed to dive into a work on. Dig it up, get to the root and get the f*ck over it. So with baby steps I did, but it was hard. When I was hungry I felt at peace, there was no worry that I would spontaneously reject whatever was being digested in my stomach. However, I was hungry and I knew that I needed to eat and I wanted to eat but I just couldn't eat. My mind wouldn't let me so, I used this to my advantage. At the time I was a smoker and I wanted to quit, I had my reason and I finally had my self control. I used this habit of forbidding myself the things I really wanted (food) to forbid myself from smoking. It worked like a charm, the cravings were easy to deal with and I actually found quitting to be easy. I am thankful to have been able to have done that so easily when I was so young.

Another thing that happened was my full blown phobia of Spiders were minimised to just a fear or concern. This was a fantastic realization because not only did I feel free from something that use to haunt my all summer but also, I learned that phobias and fears can shift. Get better. Move on.

I worked long and hard and bit by bit I slowly began to trust my body again. With the support of close friends and my family I started to get over it. I would hit bumps along the way but I'd jump right back on and keep working my way back to health. The worst part were the panic attacks and the times where my tummy would get upset (never amounting in my worst fear though). I had safe crutches along the way, the biggest thing was first of all being honest about what was going on for me in my head. Not only did I learn the depth of peoples acceptance but also, I learned about other peoples anxiety as well so I could be a support to them too. This phobia wasn't going to be my dirty secret.

Gum, Pepto, Peppermint Tea, Peppermint Oil, Tums, wiggling my legs and time all became my crutches to get me through the physical or mental discomfort. As did connecting and eventually I was eating a healthy diet again (minus a few things that were still "scary" to me). Yes, I wasn't eating very much meat unless it was Lamb, Duck, Bison or Quail. Garlic was an offender as well so I became a lover of the rich and creamy nature of french food. Mmmm... Fast Food, cheap restaurants, deli meats and processed foods (cookies aside, of course) were still  taboo to me. It wasn't a bad diet, that's for sure but I knew that I wasn't eating the "offending foods" for the wrong reasons. I was scared of them. So, with the help of a woman who I recently employed to help give me the last push I needed. I entered into cognitive and behavioral therapy and found myself facing my final fears head on. My crutches weren't being used as much and with my gently nurtured confidence in my body, I dove right in. I ate beef on a bun, chicken at the pub, ham in my submarine sandwiches. I didn't shy away from food at my friend Rheann's wedding which was heavy on the BBQ and low on the veggies. I had a steak sandwich which I hadn't had in years, mini burgers where were last eaten in 2006 (is that right Calvin?). If I had an upset tummy I would still eat regardless.

My body did rebel, I haven't had such an upset tummy in years. I think it has almost gone into shock with the stress of life mixed in with all these nasty foods I had not eaten in years. The panic attacks came back last month but I am not giving into it. Yes, I need my friends more right now then I may have last year at this time. But they are there for me, cheering me on with support. And I've been there for me too which is something new. Last week when trying to keep a panic attack at bay so I could get my work done I discovered that searching "Beautiful Pictures of Nature" on Google would put everything at ease. I don't have a place in my head that I can go too when I am distracted by anxiety so manufacturing it by looking at images. Within 5 minutes I was back at ease. On my own. Without the aide of anything other then my imagination.

This post originally was just going to be a short one about searching for pictures on Google and finding them helpful in calming my mind but it ended up being more of a confessional, taking on a life of it's own. Many know this story, but it is an old story now. It doesn't effect my life as much as it once did, even as I challenge myself with my final fears. True, I still keep stock of Pepto but I don't stock it in my purse anymore and if I do, it's No Name Brand. I'm better then I've ever been , even though I feel as though I am floundering and flopping around like a fish out of water. No one ever said change was pretty.  It will come together because I want it too.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010


It's sometimes better to be a bit too formal rather than a bit too casual, with anything.

"You have to remember there are two ways of saying 'you" in French: the plural and more formal 'vous' and the singular, more casual 'tu'. Never use the 'tu' form with someone you don't know very well- it's a big faux pas and very disrespectful. It's easy to get mixed up, so I always play it safe and stick with 'vous,'even with people I've know for 20 years."

-Jennifer Carter, president of Hermès Canada

Monday, November 1, 2010

It's Not About How You Look

this is Dave and his friend. I have no idea who he is but doesn't he seem interesting?

Okay, it kind of is. But it kind of isn't. It is maybe when you are in your 20's 30's even 40's but by the time you reach your 70's it becomes less about how you look and more about how you are.

Last year I went through my 17th "mid-life crisis" and decided that I was officially "old" and unattractive. What the heck! For someone who doesn't read fashion and beauty magazines I have no idea where this idea came from. Actually, I blame reality TV just because it's an easy target. I also blame all these young children making their first 500 million dollars by the time they are 11. Who can compete with that! Not this girl... I didn't even have my Social Insurance Number until I was 18.

It hit me though, through all this crazy talk and thought that really. It wasn't about what I looked like, or having a few laugh lines or squint wrinkles or any of that jazz. It really is about how interesting of a person you are and how well you can relate to others.

I don't want to attract a life partner who is all about me being a young, hot, lady. I want to attract a life partner (why am I using the term "life partner") who finds me interesting and I find them interesting and we do interesting things together. I want to be friends with interesting people (which I am). I want to be an interesting person because that is what stays with a person well past the years of perky boobs and a smooth, line free neck.

I am going to keep brushing my hair and flossing my teeth. Dressing up, moisturizer, perfume- all good things. Showers, even better. I'm not going to stop doing the things that make me an easier person to be around but I've stopped worrying so much about the expression lines along my forehead and my paler than Edward the Vampire skin (Though sometimes I wish I sparkled in the sun- actually, that wouldn't be right.). The superficial things... No one is really looking and if they are, what does that matter? My focus needs to be on building my mind and my communication skills. Being interested in people and their life.

I don't think this post makes much sense... it just a fleeting thought as I clean up from my day at work. Rather than complaining about all the phone calls I have been getting I decided to indulge in a little self-thought sharing.

So what are your thoughts?
Do you want to be an interesting person?
Do you think you are an interesting person?
What makes you interesting?
Do you not care and instead worry about other things?

Indulge me in your self-thought.

Friday, October 29, 2010


Bob, I think it's carrots you smell. The cooked kind.

Fresh Baking, lumber stores, and freshly brewed coffee- good smells.

Bacon, Popcorn (especially the stale popcorn breath smell of movie theaters), Cigarette Smoke and Boiled Cabbage- not so good.

Even worse? Cooked Carrots. Oatmeal.

I can't stand the smell of either of those things. I'm not sure what it is. Maybe it's the sweet undertone? Maybe it is a residual childhood memory that involved having the flu and those smell pushing my nausea over the edge. I can be walking through the office enjoying the smell of freshly brewed coffee and toast when all of the sudden I am stopped dead in my tracks by Oatmeal. Someone has cooked it and almost instantly my tummy turns. Ugh... I'd rather smell the sickly sweet synthetic Maple Syrup instant Oatmeal because it overpowers the original assaulter.

I don't have an issue with Oatmeal cookies or granola, it's just the cooked stuff. I don't have a problem with raw carrots or even eating cooked carrots (usually)- I just don't want to smell the stuff.

Am I alone in these aversions? What smells can you just NOT STAND? Please, do tell!

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Friggin' Twilight

There are some things that make you laugh so hard that you had to admit... I watch Jersey Shore.

Figgin' Twilight from Jimmy Kimmel Live

Top 40 Essential Canadian Novels of the Decade

Words for Thought

I am a CBC listener and lover. Over the last month CBC has asked Canadians to come forward and nominate the top Canadian books of the last decade.

Well, the response came in by the thousands and here is the top 40 list:

A Complicated Kindness by Miriam Toews
Bottle Rocket Hearts by Zoe Whittall
Clara Callan by Richard B. Wright
Come, Thou Tortoise by Jessica Grant
Conceit by Mary Novik
Crow Lake by Mary Lawson
Drive-by Saviours by Chris Benjamin
Elle by Douglas Glover
Essex County by Jeff Lemire
Far to Go by Alison Pick
February by Lisa Moore
Galore by Michael Crummey
Heave by Christy Ann Conlin
Inside by Kenneth J. Harvey
Late Nights on Air by Elizabeth Hay
Life of Pi by Yann Martel
Moody Food by Ray Robertson
Oryx and Crake by Margaret Atwood
Pattern Recognition by William Gibson
Room by Emma Donoghue
Shelf Monkey by Corey Redekop
Skim by Mariko Tamaki and Jillian Tamaki
Sweetness in the Belly by Camilla Gibb
The Best Laid Plans by Terry Fallis
The Birth House by Ami McKay
The Bishop's Man by Linden MacIntyre
The Bone Cage by Angie Abdou
The Book of Negroes by Lawrence Hill
The Day the Falls Stood Still by Cathy Marie Buchanan
The Fallen by Stephen Finucan
The Last Crossing by Guy Vanderhaeghe
The Stone Carvers by Jane Urquhart
The Way the Crow Flies by Ann-Marie MacDonald
The Year of the Flood by Margaret Atwood
Three Day Road by Joseph Boyden
Through Black Spruce by Joseph Boyden
Twenty-Six by Leo McKay Jr.
Unless by Carol Shields

Canada has spoken! We asked you for your nominations for the Top 40 Essential Canadian Novels of the Decade and did you ever answer.Canadians around the world sent in their suggestions through our recommendation form, email, Facebook and Twitter. We tallied up each and every vote. More than 6,000 nominations came in and you voted for 400 different novels of every genre: science fiction, mystery, romance, young adult and more. We couldn't be more thrilled with the result! But enough about how awesome Canadian book lovers are. Without further ado, here's the Top 40 list as chosen by you!

Cast your vote for your most essential novel below! Only one vote per person, so choose carefully. Over the next 10 days we'll be exploring the chosen novels in more detail, so check back to get the lowdown on all 40 contenders. The poll is open until midnight ET November 7, and we'll reveal the Top 10 list on November 9.

To cast your vote go to CBC Canada Reads

I've only ready a handful of the books listed above. I think I will dive in and pick another handful to bring into my reading list- Oh but which ones to pick?

Have you read any of the books on the list? If yes, which ones have you enjoyed? Which ones have you not enjoyed...

I definitely pick my books by their covers. Not all but many... I've often found myself pleasantly surprised. I am drawn to the following books:
  • Skim by Mariko Tamaki and Jillian Tamaki
  • Come, Thou Tortoise by Jessica Grant
  • Moody Food by Ray Robertson (mostly for the mention of food)
So I think I will start there.

Monday, October 25, 2010


Nice things don't just come in Blue Boxes you know.

There is a new way of saying...
I Love You
I'm Sorry
Happy Birthday
or Just Because

It's not flowers, it's not candy, it's not jewelery (though it usually doesn't hurt either),  it's BeautyGram.

"Sending a BeautyGram is the sweetest way to simply and conveniently make her feel special. Women all over are talking about getting the "pink box" . This little packaged bundle will encompass the feel good factors and stimulate the senses with all the beauty must haves a woman deserves. The Beautygram experience begins with the first glance at the hot pink box which continues to radiate its glitz by its amazing tastes and smells, and finishes off with an amazing spa day experience. Let her indulge with the finest products that make her day!"

Sounds kind of cute in my opinion. These little packages start modestly at a cool $99 (Canadian) and work their way up effortlessly from there.

Hand Delivered in Style
Cute, isn't it! I'm not a Sex and the City OH MY GOD I LOVE SHOES AND PINK kind of girl but I like creative ideas. I like having as many different options for gift giving becasue it makes my life easy. This is one of those things. Kudo's to new ideas!
Pictures borrowed from the Life Styles section of the Calgary Herald.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Five Differences

Today is Friday and I played this game at work in the afternoon:

A new spin on a classic game. The graphics are surprizingly attractive.

Never Say "No" to Panda

Whoever said Panda's were cute obviously never said "no" to them:

Never say "No" to Panda

Panda is a Cheese company in China.

Thursday, October 21, 2010


It takes:

  • Nelly Furtado
  • Walter Gretzky
  • Olivia Newton-John 
  • George Stroumboulopoulos
  • a few hockey players
  • A bit of Glee and a whole lot of Hockey to make this movie...

It opens this Friday and to be honest, it makes me giddy just like a Tim Hortons commercial and wool socks.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

The Day After

It is the day after Election Day and Calgary has a new Mayor. He was called the dark horse, a distant third in a battle of 15 candidates. No previous political experience, only business and life experience. He won the respect of the hipsters, the young voters plus others and in the end he won the race.

Meet Naheed Nanshi:

It was wonderful to see Calgary passionate about something other than hockey, Stampede or the H1N1 influenza vaccine clinics. Calgary was passionate about Calgary. The election broke city records with 53.24% eligible voter turn out, killing the previous record from 1989 of 47%. Voting stations ran out of ballots and had to have more couriered for other places. There were chalk drawings on the ground for one candidate and happy volunteers marching down the side walks holding signs for another candidate. People were honking, waving and happy to be having an election (that is until you got into line, the voting stations were not organized for such a voting participation).

Now, as a city, it will be interesting to see what we have chosen. I admit, I didn't vote for Nenshi. I started out being a supporter but over time and through my research I found that another candidate grew on me. Up until the last hour before I went to cast my vote I was undecided. It came down to "If my vote was the deciding vote, who would I want to choose..."

And that is how I came up with my final decision.

Nenshi has many promises and ideas of how to build on the city and make it better. I am curious to see where this takes us. Really, I'm just happy that half the city came out to vote. And happy that we busted out of our Cow-Town stereotype... at least for a while.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Decisions are Made by Those Who Show Up

Make your mark.

The word idiot originates from the Greek word idiwtes (idiotes), which refers to a person disinterested in participating in democracy and public life.  These people were viewed as selfish, contemptible and stupid as they were more concerned with their daily personal affairs than they were of the good of the society. 

Today is voting day in Calgary.

For the first time in my short little life I have actually witnessed passion in a civic election. Perhaps it's just my ward and my demographic however, people are actually interested. It's a hot topic on many peoples lips. Mature conservatives are pulling towards McIver, younger risk takers are Team Nenshi and some are even pulling for a former evening anchor woman Ms. Barb Higgins. Out of a race of 12 (? I think. 3 people have pulled out early) there are 3 front runners all appearing to be neck to neck to neck -- though what do the polls show anyway? That's a whole other conversation.

I don't care who you vote for (Well, in a way I do. There are a few people I would rather NOT see in City Hall but truly, I'd rather that everyone show up and cast their stone.) just as long as you vote.

Don't feel educated enough to make a decision- here are some links that might help you out:

Full unbiased list of all contenders

Everything you need to know before you vote

Don't be an "idiot" and get out there and vote. You don't have a legitimate excuse in my opinion. Employers are obligated by law to allow their employees time off to cast their ballots. Plus, you get a free breakfast at Holy Grill after you vote (Polls open at 10am). Yummy! 

Happy Election Day Calgary and remember, decisions are made by those who show-up.

*gets off soap box


Wednesday, October 13, 2010

It Starts With Us: Love Bombing

This is Nate St. Pierre, we wants to change the world.

Some people think you have to be rich before you can start changing the world. Some people think you need to have power, fame or even a job (Don't get me wrong, I think jobs are great things and everyone should have one.). You don't have to be religious, selfless or a saint to make the lives of others better.  You don't. It can be smiling at a stranger crossing the street, giving a friend a hug or even as simple as "love bombing" a persons blog. Simple, small actions that requires minimum effort and has maximum output.

Have you heard of them? I didn't until just after just reading an article about them at The Calgary Herald. As I expressed yesterday, I like positive intention. Curious, I went to the site and here is a little synopses of what they are all about.

The goal of ItStartsWith.Us is to build a global community of individuals focused on making a positive impact in the lives of the people around them.

Each and every one of us has the ability to change the world by touching lives in this way. And when we hear stories about the positive things others are doing, we become more aware of the opportunities we have to make a difference for the people around us.

We have a global team of thousands of people who join together each and every week to make a difference in this world. We have a Love Bomb team who provide hundreds of notes of love and encouragement to hurting people every week. We’re developing a Love Drop team who are beginning to give back financially to families who need a little help. I work with all kinds of organizations to show them how they can use this concept of micro-giving among digitally connected people to make a huge difference in their community.

We're changing the world, in just 15 minutes a week.

Pretty great isn't it. Simple but effective.
I don't belong to It Starts With Us -yet- but it seems intriguing. I like to do little things in my day-to-day life that brighten up the lives of those around me. I usually send people mail- all kinds of it at different times of the year for no reason at all. Give little packages of sweets to complete strangers or other things that might just make anothers day a little easier.
How about you? Are there little things that you do in your life that brings joy to other people. Random acts of kindness? Tell me, I'd love to know!

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

What Really Matters

Dogs (animals) teach us what really matters in life.

I haven't been on Blogger for a while- okay, a week maybe. That honestly is a long time for me. Even though I don't always write I often come on and read what everyone else is doing. So anyway, I was perusing through my blog roll of people I follow and came across something titled "What Really Matters". The title alone struck me. What really matters? What REALLY matters? What really matters. To me.

A lot of things matter to me. I can say that there is a lot I feel passionately about.

The obvious answer would be LIFE but in a way I would be darting the question because it's such a broad decision.

Under the heading of LIFE, the things that matter the most to me are:

  • My connections- with family, friends and myself. It doesn't mean I have to stay connected with everyone I encounter at all times. People do come and go depending on the circumstance and where we each are in life. It just means having those connections with people and with myself. Allowing a little vulnerability. Intimacy and to be needed. Human connection is something that really matters to me.

  • Pleasure-  taking full advantage of life within my own personal means and what it has to offer. Enjoying the things I enjoy to the fullest. With uncensored joy. Sharing this pleasure with my connections means a lot to me as well but has been somewhat difficult recently. This is something I am working on shifting.

  • Experiences- I read somewhere that money brings happiness from experience. It's not the things you buy with money it is the experiences you create while using money. Not to say that you need a lot of money to have experience but it does need a be there somewhere. Even if it is just a $2 peddle boat ride. Using money as wisely as possible. Even taking a class to learn a new skill or move forward in life. Reading a new book. It all matters.

  • Kindness and Respect- to animals, to time, to the earth, to others and to ourselves. I don't really think I need to expand on this.

  • Boundaries- knowing when to say no. Knowing when to call time out and knowing when to call it quits. As important as it is to me to know my boundaries, to stick-up for what I need and want... it's also very difficult. It matters because it's a part of the relationship you have with yourself. I stand-up and support the people in my life, why wouldn't I do that for myself?

And under all those sub headings comes the tiny little passions:
  • Music
  • Food
  • Laughter
  • Nature
  • Adventure
  • Art
  • History
  • Health
  • Dance
  • Conversation
  • Creating  Etc...

I'm sure this reads rather dry and overly optimistic. I tend to be that way. I'm sensitive to negativity and am often defensive when I find myself  in the same room as it. Life isn't perfect, my life isn't perfect but it should feel good. Do you not agree? These are some of the things that matter most to ensure I make the most out of what really matters, for me. My Life.

So, care to share? What really matters to you?


October is my favorite month. Perhaps favorite it the wrong word because I don't find myself sitting around all year pining away for October to come around. I don't sing songs or dream about October and I would not name my first born child October either. Actually, the hippy in me says that might be a better name then my original idea of "Tangerine" (Tange for short)- true story. You can thank-- actually I don't really know who you can thank about that. I think I came up with that all on my own without the inspiration of anything. Anyway, not the purpose of this post.

October often seems to be the month where everything comes together. Loose strings from the summer tie them selves up into a neat little package ready for the cold winter months. Lessons learnt are harvested and stored away to be used later on. Everything just has a way of working out, in October. If I didn't know better I might almost say that there was a type of magic in the air.

Perhaps there really is a Great Pumpkin?

It's the Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown

Does October hold something special for you?
Obviously aside from Halloween and Canadian Thanksgiving.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Now Just Hold On A Second

Riq using the tree to scratch his back

So, I could continue on and blab about this and that and all these wonderful silly things that happen in my life and just how I am. Truth be told, I have other things going on too. We all do don't we. We all have stories and times when things seem a bit much and than there are those times when it feels like you can't do anything wrong in life.

Usually I am feel fantastic but I've take a bit of a trip and things have sort of stalled me a bit. I'm good- regardless. I will be for year, decades and maybe even a century. Or at least that is what I am trying to convince myself. No, I'm really okay.

There won't be a thanks giving dinner this October which is unfortunate, it's one of my favorite holidays. Spending all that time with some of the people closest to me- it's great. It's pretty rare that we are ALL together at the same time, this year will not be any different. My mum is going in for another surgery. Apparently they found something that looks like the "C" word (Cancer) and so she is being operated on Tuesday. My oldest sister is coming in from Vancouver for the day. I think she suddenly feels left out of my parents life because she has been so focused on her self, which is fine. She has made a successful business for herself but I think it just kind of slipped her mind that time is moving a long and with that we are all getting older.

Because of my family situation my parents are older then other parents of children my age so their health appears more fragile and I am slowing coming to terms with the fact that they will die. As enlightening as that thought is I know that one day I will have to deal with that. Each minor health issue that pops up for either my father or my mother is just one more reminder that time is moving along.  I am the executor of both my parents will and two of my siblings. This whole death thing that everyone is talking about right now is pretty sobering and the shitting thing is I was never drunk to begin with. I didn't need sobering up.

So, over the last year there has been a lot of sickness and death in my family. Lots of surgeries and everyone taking full advantage of our socialized health care system (thank goodness). It might not help that I am in the line of work that I am. I deal with illness, injury and death on a daily bases (in between spreadsheets and RRSP's). It's weird to talking to someone one week and the next requesting death certificates from grieving family members.

The good news is I haven't been sick in a while and after having my whole body checked over I am as healthy as a horse (Naaay)- minus a health dose of stress. we all need a little to know we are alive.  Bonus points for keeping up with my Sinus Rinse- BOOYAH!

I've been working on some things in my life that need to be refreshed. I refuse to let life slip me by without actually trying to partake in it however because I am facing fears it hasn't all been pleasant. I'm working on it through...

Our family's oldest dog, Riq is sick too. That is always a difficult thing. He has cancer and my mum has done everything possible to try and keep on top of the tumors but it has gotten to be too much. So now we have embarked on a waiting game. It has been hard watching him slow down- his spirits are still high and elated but he sleeps more. Walks slower and just over all is showing his age. He has lived a full life and isn't ready to go just yet but again, preparation is key. Doesn't make it any less sad though and the hard thing is I feel as thought I have to justify my sadness. Some people just don't understand the depth of connection between an animal and a human. No bereavement time for me.

Sometimes I get tired of pretending that none of this is going on inside of my head and truly this isn't the half of it. Along with the fluff, trivial knowledge  and music lyrics there are thoughts that aren't as pleasing to the mind. I don't really know when to talk about it either, I see that everyone else has their own troubles and I just don't want to get involved with my own. Is this really show and tell? I guess this goes back to a post I wrote a month or so ago about being human.. That to be human is to be everything that you are, not just selective portions.  

Being human can be uncomfortable. But I wouldn't change it for the world.

So this is me being authentic- this is who I am right this very moment and I am okay with that. Candy diet, University courses and all. This is also my blog so I give myself permission to say whatever the heck I want to say.

and with that I say Good Night- sleep tight.