Friday, October 31, 2008

Here's a an interesting concept from Chuck Westbrook, a twist on the Book Club. A few days ago he had a post on his blog to help create a community of bloggers among those who have a small audience with those who are ever seeking new reading material. All you have to do is subscribe to the feed on his blog and show your interest by signing up in the comments section. Out of this list a blog will be chosen and everyone flocks to the chosen blog and swells their sitemeter and comments. More details will follow as this takes shapes, but hop on over to his October 23th post - already there are 438 blogs signed up to participate.

THE BIG IDEA: Ending the tragedy of underappreciated blogs
This is a problem we can do something about without too much trouble. Here’s what I’m thinking.Gather some nice bloggers who believe in helping good content rise. The more the merrier. This becomes our group for the project. A good, lesser-known blog is chosen. Everyone in the group will read that blog for two weeks.
At the end of the two weeks, the group moves to another blog to read. With scores of bloggers focused on a particular blog, the author should see many nice things happen over those two weeks, especially if the blog really is a hidden gem. This includes discussions, traffic, constructive criticism, encouragement, and connecting to some of the bloggers in the group. That author then joins the group and we move along and do it again.

Halloween Pumpkins

My neighbourhood doesn't appear to have many of these pumpkins on display

Gruesome pumpkin
Witchy pumpkin
Cannibal pumpkin
Cheeky Pumpkin(s)

Drunk pumpkin
Fiery Pumpkin

Fireman Pumpkin

'I am not a pumpkin' pumpkin(s)

Laughing pumpkin

smashing pumpkin

Oh, wait, maybe the last one....

Thursday, October 30, 2008


little piggy

littly piggy on kitty
little kitty parteh

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Sam and Ella are home

Good news folks --- Sam and Ella have been returned!

Hamilton police returned Sam and Ella to at
noon yesterday. The turtle went missing Monday, leaving owner Marc
Cunningham heartbroken.

Police recovered the turtle Cunningham says is "priceless" after they got a call from the school. A student had taken the turtle and was turned in by others after they read about Sam and Ella's plight in The Spectator.

As a result, Cunningham will give a $300 reward to the Maplewood Avenue school.
"That's very generous of him," principal Kevin Heer said. "We're just really happy the turtle has been recovered and it's back at its rightful place."

Cunningham said he started getting calls at about 6:30 a.m. yesterday. Some said they had seen a young girl with the turtle. Others just called to express their concern.

The turtle is extremely rare and needs to be hand-fed to survive."He's back home now, and folks are welcome to come and see him, but he is in a locked container," Cunningham added.

Now, for your added enjoyment here is a turtlecam I stumbled upon. I was going to post a picture of a regular, boring, old one-headed red eared slider for you, but this is so much better. Maybe.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

turtle soup

I have mentioned my cat, Abby, several times in these posts, and now my turtle, Otis, has informed me that he is rather offended at being so ignored. I noticed the other day that he was getting into an adolescent snit and trying to climb out of his home. Considering he is 25 years old, I thought this behaviour a little unseemly. When I got him, he was tiny, about the size of a loonie. (which hadn't even been invented, yet, so how do I know that was how big it was? Interesting thought.) I'd never thought about it before, but turtles need to learn how to swim properly and how to right themselves when they turn over on their backs. As they grow, you realize how amazingly strong their legs are, and their jaws, if you are foolish enough to get too close when feeding them. Bananas are a favourite snack, but can be a bit dangerous what with their mushiness and all. Turtles are also inclined to see fingers as food. And contrary to popular opinion they can move very quickly and will burrow if left out to play in the grass.

In other turtle news:

(found on Criggo)

and then there is the two headed turtle stolen from a local pet shop. Sam and Ella (I know, how droll) was last seen when three teenagers were in the store yesterday afternoon. Police say there is very little they can do, but if the turtles are not found quickly they will not survive.

An entertaining explanation of this can be found here from Jack Hanna.

(and when did youtube stop allowing downloads??)

Monday, October 27, 2008

Saturday, October 25, 2008

saturday afternoon

The bath is drawn. Hot water filled with foaming, frothy bubbles. Ginger and Lime. Candles create a dance of lace patterned shadows on the wall. The lights are dimmed to just enough for reading. The Saturday Globe & Mail lies on the floor, each section carefully separated. A tray with a glass of juice, pear (with ginger and lime to match the bubbles) and a small box of chocolates is within easy reach. k.d.lang is singing.

She leans back. Sighs into the warmth. Opens the box of Lindor and unwraps the first of the three chocolate balls. She takes the Style section and holds arms aloft to turn the front page back.

Oops. What.....??

The Globe T.O. section has fallen. Thank goodness for the bubbles. It is only half soaked.

Later.... the dried T.O. section is mildly scented. Lovely.

Friday, October 24, 2008

or how I tried to kill a cat

There are two semi detached houses on my route where both halves get a newspaper. The doors are side by side, flanked by sticking-out garages. Every night I go up one of the driveways and toss the papers, sometimes simultaneously using both hands, sometimes one after the other onto each respective porch. Because the porches are set back, they are in deep shadow. More than half the time, I can hear the distinctive bell from a poor startled cat running off one or other of the porches. I have no idea what this cat actually looks like as I have never seen it and I don't know to which side he belongs though he seems to favour the right hand porch, the one with the wicker chair. On more than one occasion I have heard a loud meeeeoowwwwww and know, instinctively, that I accidentally hit my target. And that Saturday paper can be heavy.


When I visit my clients for a massage treatment (my real career), I bring my table and all the necessary accoutrement with me to the client's house. Makes me rather popular. My table has a nice big coat to protect it. There is a large pocket on the front with another handle to make the whole thing easier to carry. I don't usually use the pocket for much other than tossing in my appointment book and maybe my keys. Cats especially find this bag interesting and worthy of inspection, and sometimes for sleeping on. Many times, I've had to rouse a disgruntled cat in order to pack up. Once, I packed everything up and put the bag into the trunk of my car. I have two sets of keys, but only one set works in the ignition. As I sat down in the driver's seat, I realized the ignition key was in the pocket of the bag in the trunk. I go back out, reach into the bag and my hand touches something very warm and soft. I open the pocket a little further and suddenly a tiny marmalade face with blinking green eyes starts mewling. My client's months old kitten had made herself quite at home and put up with all the churning and tossing about without a sound or attempt at escape.


Today, I return from the computer shop with my hard drive after a failed attempt to recover my RSS feeds (sigh, so many lost blogs). I have also a bag of groceries in one hand, the tower balanced on hip and arms, and my keys in the other hand as I manoeuver my way into the living room. My cat is rolling on the floor in a lazy greeting and suddenly jumps up. I trip over her and manage to catch the falling tower, choosing to drop the groceries instead. I bang into the corner of the wall in order to save my precious cargo as the cat sits resolutely on the floor hunkered down, ready to be stepped on again.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008


The Weather Network declared the temperature to be -7 with windchill when I got up this morning to head out to work. Welcome back windchill. These first few days of winterish weather are, to me, always the hardest to take. I was just getting into the crispy chill, not the downright cold. Then the dreaded word SNOW. It is too soon, I say. Go away.

I have been wearing my trusty waterproof boots for most of the past year (remember the dew on the grass?) and they have held up well, though each time I tie them up, I wonder if the frayed shoelaces will stay intact until I finally get around to replacing them. Then the glue on the right boot started to come come off which wasn't too bad. It gave my foot a rather squared-toed look and was noisy and made me realize I should probably replace the whole thing never mind the laces. Then, about 10 minutes into my night, the glue on the left boot gave up. It made for a rather awkward silly walk as I tried not to trip over my flopping sole. But, I don't live far away so I was able to come back home and because I had cleared up my closet a few weeks ago, knew exactly where my heavy duty winter boots were (because I've not gotten around to replacing my running shoes...I obviously will be shopping later today). Problem solved.

A day or so ago the latch on my car door broke and I've not gotten that fixed either. It hasn't been too bad, but I do need to keep the window rolled down and open the door from the outside in order to get out. Okay, it is a bit of a problem. I did mention that it was a cold -7 with windchill overnight? So I wore my winter jacket with a warm sweatshirt, turned up the heat, opened the vents, aiming the warm air at my hands and left ear. Keeping my coffee hot would be a problem, what with the warm air vents aimed up at me, not down at my cup holder. So I timed it so that I could sit in the parking lot and label all the papers that needed labelling and had room to stack them in order. Still sipping my coffee, I started to stockpile some pre-elastisized papers for tossing. I reached into the box in the back and pulled out a new bag of elastics. Somewhere around the arc of pulling the bag over the passenger seat and onto my lap, the bottom of the bag bursts open. Size 16 elastics spewed out ALL OVER THE CAR. They got into every nook and cranny, front and back, but especially in that inaccessible space between the front seats. For those of you not familiar, size 16 are the little elastics. A 454g bag holds thousands.

I sipped my coffee, surveyed the scene around me. I may even have said a few words. Yes, I definitely said a few choice words. Eventually I carried on, window open, vents on full. I was tempted to slam the car door a few times, but instead, I got out my frustration by making the necessary noise from rustling through the crunchy dead leaves. Somehow, I found that quite gratifying. I drove through a few piles and scuffed at a few and didn't care about the ones that got caught on the laces of my warm boots.

On the upside, none of the snow reached my area.

Now, I am finishing off the last of the mulled cider and there is about enough for one more glass which I will take to bed with my toast and the papers. The comics had better be funny. I need a laugh.

Monday, October 20, 2008

cider rules

A warming drink for gazing out the window.
Start it now and by the time you've put away the patio furniture you can sit back and enjoy.
2.89 litres apple cider (canadians) OR
2 quarts apple cider (americans)
6 cups cranberry juice
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
4 cinnamon sticks
1 1/2 teaspoons whole cloves
1 lemon, thinly sliced

Add all to a Crock Pot and simmer slowly for 1-2 hours.
Strain. Pour into your favourite mug. Enjoy.
Your Autumn Test Results

You are a energetic, warm, optimistic person. You approach everything with a lot of enthusiasm.

When you are happiest, you are calm. You appreciate tradition and family. You enjoy feeling cozy.

You tend to be afraid of change. You are never ready for things to be different.

You find solitude to be the most comforting thing in the world. Being alone with your thoughts feels very peaceful.

Your ideal day is active and full. You like to keep busy with your favorite things, and you appreciate a routine.

You are very impatient. You spend more time waiting for something than actually enjoying it.

What sort of Autumn Person are you?
The Autumn Test

Monday AMuse

Sunday, October 19, 2008


I am in love.
With my new camera.

Which isn't exactly brand new; I've had it since January, but am only now really getting back into photography. I think it is the digital amazement. Now I've figured out how to get the pictures from the camera onto my computer all by myself. Now I'm thinking maybe I shouldn't have deleted so many of my previous pictures. Yep, it is definitely that digital amazement.

Way back in my previous life, I studied photography in college. Had a darkroom and everything. Well, not exactly a darkroom; I had a windowless loo in the basement which served as a darkroom so long as you were really careful not to trip over any pans of developer or fixer on the floor. The stop bath was in the sink and the enlarger sat on a board on the toilet seat. It was not the best of set ups, but it was the darkest bit of the house with water access and I was determined. Then I lost interest. Or time. Or something. Possibly the cost was a huge factor. Developing black & white became quite expensive as did the developing from Black's. And being a bit impatient, my prints didn't always turn out as expected.

A few years ago, on one of my trips to Scotland I didn't even bother taking a camera with me. I was visiting family and I already had all the touristy pictures I needed and far too many that didn't do the real experience any justice. Besides, anything else, one of my cousins could send me as they always got double prints of everything. I found it to be surprisingly freeing. I enjoyed being in the moment and I think I saw more around me when I wasn't constantly searching for the perfect photo op. And because I was a bit slow, it usually took me awhile to get the perfect composition, the perfect angle, the perfect light... and people wandered off on me. Once, they all got in the car and slo-o-w-ly started to drive away.

But that was then, long before the digital age. Now, I don't have to worry about how many pictures I take - I don't have to spend a fortune to get back a bunch of blurry or too far away prints that never get looked at again. And I found out there was a photographic and digital imaging show on at the International Centre this weekend, so I hopped on over to see what was up and what I could learn from their many free seminars. Much of it involved buying new equipment and programs or was way beyond anything I needed. And a lot reinforced what I already knew but needed dragging out from behind the fuzzy parts of my brain. But, hot damn, if it wasn't exciting. I'm getting out of this luddite stage of my life.

The other day when I went out for my coffee I decided to walk to the old church yard to see if there was anything there blogpostworthy. The light was all wrong and the sky was darkening with clouds so I wandered to the lake to catch the change and stopped when it started to rain. I was surprised to see, when I uploaded my trip's takings onto the computer, that I had 36 pictures. That would have been a whole roll of film. I was just snapping away at so many useless looking things that struck my fancy. It was only about 15 minutes. I laughed when I read Yellerbelly's comment about getting a photographers eye! I think my 'eye' is coming back into focus. I was thinking about the things I would return to photograph another day, noticing things I'd not paid attention to before. Kinda the opposite of what I just wrote.

One of the the things I noticed was that there is an awful lot of yellow around and not just the leaves. And I was deciding as I walked home (getting drenched) that my first theme week would be on the colour yellow. So, each day I will head out for a walk, not far, maybe 6 blocks or about 1 km, and on SightLines I'll post something yellow that I find. Today, I'll start with the obvious.

Friday, October 17, 2008


There are 12 apartments on each floor in my building. For a few years we were a group of 12 single women. What are the odds? The pet of choice was overwhelmingly the cat. Six cats to one puppy. Two of my neighbours were very close friends and were always at each other's doors for a chat. They stayed in the hall for some reason and one of the ladies, Helen, had a rather booming voice. It went well with her opinions, of which she had many and was not shy to share. You always knew where you were with Helen. When Helen and Joyce were having one of their gabfests, doors would open (often mine first as they were right in front of my door) and soon Audrey would join in with her stage ready voice. Once Ursula came out well, much laughter ensued. Sometimes, Verna would pop her head out to say we were too loud, but would stay to see what the gossip was. Lorna would appear at the end of the hall, with her cat Timmy who followed her everywhere. People would get off the elevator and join in. If Catherine was nearby she'd have pictures from her latest trip which might include paragliding, or sailing. Serena would regale us with tales of woe from her job as a flight attendant for the now defunct Canadian Airlines. Her kitten (I forget his name) and Abby would venture out and we'd watch as Timmy cautiously wandered down the hall from his end and (let's call him Felix, for want of a name) would romp up and down the carpet sometimes with the puppy, Oscar, at his end of the hall. Abby would be in the middle, eventually wandering down to meet Timmy. Felix would watch to see if he needed to hide from flying fur. But the rest of us knew that Abby and Timmy had a long distance attraction. They would gaze at each other through the railings of our balconies. Of course, for that to happen, Abby would have to crawl over to Verna's balcony. Which she did with astonishing regularity. She always found a way to get around or under the solid divider that separated Verna's and my balcony to sit by the railing at the other end. For hours the two cats would sit and face each other quietly. Helen didn't approve of this. Her cats never left her apartment, not even for the balcony. She thought I was very negligent and that I would pay for my negligence by finding my cat on the ground one day. I must say, it was unnerving to see her peering over the edge with her front paws dangling, watching whatever was going on below. But she was perfectly safe and perfectly content.

Nowadays, I am the oldest (as in years of living here) tenant on our floor with Catherine and Ellie living here 2 years less than me. Helen had lived here since the building was built in 1964. She and Verna and Ursula and Audrey have all passed away. Joyce and Lorna have moved away. And Catherine has been on an extended holiday for much of the year. There have been several changes and the new tenants aren't nearly as friendly. No one seems connected. The laughter has gone, as has the gossip. Sometimes we will meet in the hall and barely a word will pass. Many times we will meet in the elevator and not even know that we are neighbours. The pet of choice has become the dog. But that is another post.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

sweater weather

It is with some small amount of dismay that I see the weather forecast includes both the words "chilly" and "frost" and a minus 1.

On the upside, I will get to finally wear my favourite autumn sweater. It has been patiently waiting.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Some days I run out of things to say. Or energy to say them.

Some days are just too damn fine to be sitting inside, and this is one of them. It has turned out to be a bright sunshiny day afterall and I'm off to the LCH for a sit on the patio with a good book and a delicious steaming coffee,
and maybe a blue-cranberry muffin.

Besides, I have to find where I vote.

I'll take my camera with me. I've been having fun learning how to use it and have decided to share in a separate photoblog. It is small, but I will post at least a photo a day. Most of them will be views of ordinary things I see around me. Trying to make the mundane interesting.

food, glorious food

After a weekend of good food to be thankful for, I read Jazz's post on other foods we should at least try, whether thankfully or not.

So here is the stolen meme:
"From the
parent post at Very Good Taste:
Below is a list of 100 things that I think every good omnivore should have tried at least once in their life. The list includes fine food, strange food, everyday food and even some pretty bad food - but a good omnivore should really try it all. Don’t worry if you haven’t, mind you; neither have I, though I’ll be sure to work on it. Don’t worry if you don’t recognise everything in the hundred, either; Wikipedia has the answers."

Copy this list into your blog or journal, including these instructions.
Bold all the items you’ve eaten.
Cross out any items that you would never consider eating. (or as in my case, who hasn't figured out how to cross out, italicize)
Optional extra: Post a comment at linking to your results.

Added bit:
Colour in bold red the items you LOVED, and bold lime green items you HATED

So here is VioletSky's unusual (or not) food taste:
I actually find it rather interesting the foods I have never tried - a Big Mac, chitterlings - compared with the foods I have tried - Krispy Kreme, haggis. Obviously, I am selective.

The Omnivore's Hundred

1. Venison
2. Nettle tea
3. Huevos rancheros
4. Steak tartare
5. Crocodile
6. Black pudding
7. Cheese fondue
8. Carp
9. Borscht
10. Baba ghanoush
11. Calamari
12. Pho
13. PB&J sandwich
14. Aloo gobi
15. Hot dog from a street cart

16. Epoisses
17. Black truffle
18. Fruit wine made from something other than grapes
19. Steamed pork buns
20. Pistachio ice cream
21. Heirloom tomatoes
22. Fresh wild berries
23. Foie gras
24. Rice and beans
25. Brawn, or head cheese
26. Raw Scotch Bonnet pepper
27. Dulce de leche
28. Oysters
29. Baklava
30. Bagna cauda
31. Wasabi peas
32. Clam chowder in a sourdough bowl
33. Salted lassi
34. Sauerkraut
35. Root beer float
36. Cognac with a fat cigar
37. Clotted cream tea
38. Vodka jelly/Jell-O
39. Gumbo
40. Oxtail
41. Curried goat
42. Whole insects
43. Phaal
44. Goat’s milk
45. Malt whisky from a bottle worth £60/$120 or more
46. Fugu
47. Chicken tikka masala

48. Eel
49. Krispy Kreme original glazed doughnut
50. Sea urchin
51. Prickly pear
52. Umeboshi
53. Abalone
54. Paneer
55. McDonald’s Big Mac Meal
56. Spaetzle
57. Dirty gin martini
58. Beer above 8% ABV
59. Poutine
60. Carob chips
61. S’mores
62. Sweetbreads
63. Kaolin
64. Currywurst
65. Durian
66. Frogs’ legs
67. Beignets, churros, elephant ears or funnel cake
68. Haggis
69. Fried plantain
70. Chitterlings, or andouillette
71. Gazpacho
72. Caviar and blini
73. Louche absinthe
74. Gjetost, or brunost
75. Roadkill
76. Baijiu
77. Hostess Fruit Pie
78. Snail
79. Lapsang souchong
80. Bellini
81. Tom yum
82. Eggs Benedict
83. Pocky
84. Tasting menu at a three-Michelin-star restaurant. (I wish!!!)
85. Kobe beef
86. Hare
87. Goulash
88. Flowers
89. Horse
90. Criollo chocolate
91. Spam
92. Soft shell crab
93. Rose harissa
94. Catfish
95. Mole poblano
96. Bagel and lox
97. Lobster Thermidor
98. Polenta
99. Jamaican Blue Mountain coffee
100. Snake

Friday, October 10, 2008

one beautiful weekend

Now that I am back, I am off again.

Searching for some fall colours.
And pumpkin pie. And apple cider.

Oh yeah, and family.
For which I am grateful.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

...and we're back

Wow, is it that time already? How are y'all doing??

Well, I think maybe part of my not sleeping problem was corrected during the past 9 days as I had no computer to distract me. No computer to play games on. To read blogs on. To read The Times and The Guardian on. To get email messages on.

It has been HELL, I tell you. I've missed you all. And thank you those of you who sent messages and emails, but I am fine. It was my Dell that was very, very sick. So sick she crashed and required major surgery. Whole new innards. So this will be short while I try to find where all my recovered data has been put. Because, of course, I did not back up anything. Panic ensued, but all is okay now. I think.