Sunday, April 30, 2006

So cute, it hurts!!

When Mummy and Daddy were off the nest a few minutes ago, I whipped out there with the camera, stood on a chair, and took these photos (without the flash, of course!) SO CUTE IT HURTS! I think there are three robin babies. Stay tuned for more photos over the next two weeks. After that, they should be fledged. That's Dad on the nest. He had just fed the babies.

Baby robins!

The robins have hatched!!! Daddy robin is now bringing delicious insect treats to the nest while Mummy keeps the eggs warm. Stay tuned for further developments. Not sure when they hatched, but I suspect it was today or yesterday.

Friday, April 28, 2006

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Mama Robin update

Mama is still on her nest. No hatching yet! And I still haven't gotten a good pic of her. I don't want to freak her out with the flash. Stay tuned for further installments!

Monday, April 24, 2006

Another day, another cat on his belly...

Poor Mashka really doesn't get much airtime. We got her in January of 1995 when she was about 3-1/2 years old, which makes her almost 15 now! She is happy old cat, and gets cuddlier and more demanding every year. It took us a very long time to draw her out of her shell, but she is QUEEN of the household now! Here she is getting some quality belly-time with her Daddy, who chose her because she was the only cat at the Toronto Humane Society not sleeping in her litterbox.

Gordon figured that was a sign of intelligence!

And here is Zoe looking like she rules the world. Which she mostly does, at least when Mashka isn't in the room! She was watching Coronation Street with us. Well, really she was blocking my view of the television and looking awfully cute.

Friday, April 21, 2006

Hubby will love this!

You Should Get a PhD in Science (like chemistry, math, or engineering)

You're both smart and innovative when it comes to ideas.
Maybe you'll find a cure for cancer - or develop the latest underground drug.

Well, I did get A's in Science, until I got bored and dropped it.

How American Are you?

You Are 17% American

You're as American as Key Lime Tofu Pie
Otherwise known as un-American!
You belong in Cairo or Paris...
Get out fast - before you end up in Gitmo!

I'm only surprised I'm ANY percent American!!!

Note to self

If you're making a crockpot recipe that involves chicken, chorizo sausage and white beans, and it calls for you to brown the chicken first, then pour in brandy, then ignite it, make sure you're not hanging your head over the pan when you light the match.

HAHAHA! Don't worry, I jumped out of the way in time. This is an artist's rendition only, and a good reminder to me never to overpluck my brows.

At least I didn't pull an "Eileen." My very sweet friend Eileen had a fondue party a little while back. The flame went out on one of the fondues, and before anyone could stop her, she poured fresh fuel on the still-hot burner. Faster than you can say "backdraft", there was burning fuel all over the table, the floor, and her new boyfriend Gary's ARM. For a moment, we all sat there a bit shocked, as we watched Gary lose armhairs by the second. Fortunately somebody finally jumped into action, and after melting a few polyester napkins and the tablecloth, we got Gary's arm, the floor, and the tablecloth extinguished.

Gary was okay, thank goodness, although he's sporting a bit of a scar. And as his co-workers like to say (he and his wife split over a year ago), now he has been burned by TWO women! But Eileen's worth the pain, in my opinion.

(Eileen if you're reading this, just pretend you can't hear me. Lalalala! I can't hear you! Lalalala!)

PS: I really do look like crap without eyebrows.

Thursday, April 20, 2006

More robin!

These photos are marginally better than the last ones. I am working on it. I don't want to disturb her too much!

Earth Day - turn off your engine!

Earth Day
is this Saturday, April 22. My current pet peeve is motorists who let their vehicles idle unnecessarily. Good God, way back in the 1970s, in GRADE SCHOOL, I learned that letting your vehicle idle was a bad thing! In fact, I wrote and presented a whole speech on "ecology" in 1973 and won a school award for it.

And here with we are, over 30 years later, whining about astronomical gas prices, driving huge vehicles, with global warming now a fact, and still I see vehicle after vehicle idling away, pouring out the fumes and burning up fossil fuel for no good reason. (I'm not talking about vehicles in traffic; I mean the ones in drive-through line-ups, parking lots, driveways, etc., etc.) For the earth's sake, turn off your damn engine if you're going to sit there for more than 30 seconds.

As for the drive-through, we all need more exercise. Park the car and walk inside for your drink. I bet it will be faster than waiting in a long car line-up anyway!

And what kills me is how many mothers and fathers I see letting their cars idle. Here I am, child-free, and I'm doing all I can to protect the environment, yet it's the children and grandchildren of these idlers that will suffer from the effects of global warming and the waste of fossil fuels. Kids, tell your parents to GET WITH THE DAMN PROGRAMME!

In fact, most of the people I see speeding through Clayburn Village, doing 90 kmph in a 30-kmph zone are MOTHERS IN MINI-VANS!!! It just kills me. #1, speeding wastes gas, and #2, I don't think any parents would like it if I sped down their street, where their children were trying to play. Sometimes it's all I can do to cross the Clayburn Road with my dog without getting run down. Slow down, save gas, and save lives, both animal and human. I am tired of seeing roadkill in a 30-kmph zone! No one should be hitting an animal at that speed.

If you ask me, gas prices aren't high enough if people can afford to waste so much gas just idling. Start charging $2.50/litre for fuel and maybe people will learn to turn off the frigging ignition key. Don't even get me started on monster vehicles. Even if you own an SUV, there are things you can do to conserve fuel.

Here's a good article about Earth Day and how little we really do for the environment. It's an American article, but it applies to Canadians as well. Last I heard, Canadians produced more garbage than any country in the world, including the USA. Smarten up, people!! Here in Canada, the new Conservative government is hardly environmentally friendly. In fact, they intended to pull us out of the Kyoto Protocol. Not surprising, given that our PM is a good old boy from Alberta, oil capital of Canada. Read on:

My favourite quote? "Live simply so that others may simply live." Keep that in mind on Saturday. And go pick up some garbage from the side of the road!

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Not particularly helpful

Can someone please explain to Mr. Julius that it's not particularly conducive to my productivity when he lies down between me and my keyboard, then stands up to stare at me when I dare to stop petting him!!

Do you see my tea mug on the left? My best friend Audrey gave me that in 1980, when we were both in grade 10. It has a chip in it but it's one of my favourite mugs. It used to have a lid, and a ceramic tea-strainer insert, but those are both long gone. Fortunately, the friendship is in better shape!

Sunday, April 16, 2006

Robin on the nest

Can you spot the robin? Unfortunately a little widget broke off our good digital SLR, so I'm having to use our little digital camera and I am having troubles with light balance, so it's hard to get a good pic of this. And I don't want to freak out Miz Robin with the flash!

Last year, I had the guy who runs our local birding supply place build me a lovely cedar robin nesting shelf. We positioned it high on the wall on our front porch, nice and sheltered under the roof. So what happened? A pair of robins built a nest in the $7 pansy pot situated about 12 feet away from the lovely cedar robin nesting shelf! However, the pot is right next to my office window, so I can watch the goings-on from my computer. Excellent, or should I say, egg-cellent!

I think Mama just laid her eggs in the past couple of days as she is only now sitting on the nest in earnest. The pink outline shows her tail just sticking up out of the pot. I am going to work on getting some better pictures!

Thursday, April 13, 2006

Three question personality test

Interesting, very interesting....

Your Personality Is

Idealist (NF)

You are a passionate, caring, and unique person.
You are good at expressing yourself and sharing your ideals.

You are the most compassionate of all types and connect with others easily.
Your heart tends to rule you. You can't make decisions without considering feelings.

You seek out other empathetic people to befriend.
Truth and authenticity matters in your friendships.

In love, you give everything you have to relationships. You fall in love easily.

At work, you crave personal expression and meaning in your career.

With others, you communicate well. You can spend all night talking with someone.

As far as your looks go, you've likely taken the time to develop your own personal style.

On weekends, you like to be with others. Charity work is also a favorite pastime of yours.

Christmas in ... April?

Anusford does not offer used-Christmas-tree pick-up service. Therefore, you must take your used Christmas tree to the recycling place on your own, which frankly just pisses me off. Last year, we just got lucky. Our dead tree was out on our driveway, and the January flood just took it away to who-knows-where. This year's flood wasn't strong enough for that, which is probably a good thing.

So our neighbour Nora kindly offered to dispose of our tree with hers. She had a friend with a truck who was going to come and whisk away both trees, except that for some reason that I have never discussed with Nora, the guy never took our tree! And it's still in Nora's driveway. And I suppose we should deal with it, but we haven't.

From my office window, I have been watching it slowly decompose.

Notice anything brown and wretched in this photo?

Look a little more closely!

Why YES! It's our Christmas tree. O Tannenbaum, O Tannenbaum, you're just a pile of brown needles now...

PS: Nora has a tarp on the roof over the suite she has attached to her garage-office. Blue tarps on roofs are not an uncommon site in BC. It rains so damn much, it challenges any roof! There are at least two tarped roofs in our village right now. As for us, we just blew $4000 on a new roof for the flat-topped addition at the back of our house. Flat roofs are a VERY bad idea in a place where there is so much rain!

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Clint the Wonder-poodle

Last year, my friend Phyllis DeGioia took in two foster dogs in the wake of hurricane Katrina. Phyllis already had two dogs and a cat, so of course she was not going to keep these foster dogs. Oh no. It was a merely temporary situation, then the wee doggies would be on their way. Yeah, right...

Well, one of the dogs, a cutie named Bella, did go off to a loving new home, but Phyllis had fallen hard and fast for the tiny poodle she called "Clint", after tough-guy Clint Eastwood. So Clint stayed, as new older brother to Chelsea (the un-amused cat) and Fred and Ginger (two little mixed-breed cuties.)

Clint was a bit of a mess when he showed up chez Phyllis. He had a mouthful of rotten teeth, a not-so-lovely coat, and he was too thin. He also loved to twirl obsessively and he had a noticeable hunchback. On top of it, no one new his exact age, other than "ancient."

Well, Phyllis went to work on her new furry baby, and in the photos above, you can see the transformation that seven months of tender loving care have brought about. The top picture shows Clint in September 2005, the bottom one in April 2006, looking like a little spring lamb.

I'm not sure who is luckier, Clint or Phyllis, but the old poodle-boy now has a wonderful new life in Madison, Wisconsin, not to mention his own playpen! When Phyllis adopted Clint, she figured he couldn't have that long left on this mortal coil, but Mr. Clint has been keeping busy proving her wrong. He just keeps getting better and better! I'm starting to think he may outlive Phyllis.

Here's to Clint the Wonder-poodle and Phyllis, even if she won't dress Clint in a pink tutu for me.

Monday, April 10, 2006

Bread, my Waterloo

... or something like that. Not really Waterloo, as I haven't surrendered yet. I am trying to learn to make bread by hand. I have had success with one grainy sort of bread recipe from my Canadian Living cookbook, but not so much luck with any wholewheat recipe I try.

So the other day, I attempted this sesame-whole wheat bread recipe. It was supposed to make three loaves and it did. You were supposed to hand-shape them, and separate them after baking. They came out looking like this, a tad misshapen... I called the The Evil Triplets:

Apparently all my years of pottery classes have had no effect on me whatsoever. I can't even form a loaf of bread evenly! Come to think of it, I never mastered the pottery wheel either. I was more a "freeform" pottery kind of gal.

I separated the triplets in a crude operation:

And while it may not be something you want to associate with bread, does this not look like someone's BUTT?

The bread tasted pretty good and was reasonably light, but I don't like the way it toasts. I like bread with more body. It's fortunate that Gordon will eat just about anything I bake, with the exception of that wholewheat brick I made last month.

The Butthole Bread will probably make experienced bread bakers shake their heads. Funny, I can cook and bake just fine, but bread escapes me. I'll keep trying for now.

Back to the drawing board.

Breakfast happenings

Super-hubby made blintzes yesterday morning, with strawberries and sour cream. Not bad for a Scottish lad, eh? However, I am wondering why he decided to put a Jewish treat in the shape of a cross!!! And are blintzes traditionally square? I'm not sure how much it matters. The "squareness" might just be Gordon's personal touch.

The recipe is from The Sunlight Cafe by Mollie Katzen. Gordon also makes dang good latkes. Interestingly, he can't make haggis. I think he was born in the wrong culture.

I could eat blintzes every day

Friday, April 07, 2006


Your Famous Last Words Will Be:

"I dunno, press the button and find out."

I'm not entirely sure how I feel about this! Given the number of visits to the ER that I've had over my life, and the fact that I nearly amputated my finger with a hedge-trimmer last summer when I got distracted and started talking to a neighbour, I feel it may be eerily accurate!

Thursday, April 06, 2006

My latest handiwork

I present to you my latest rug-hooking creation, Kitten in Knittin’, which I finished the other day. It's not particularly large, about 11" x 15", but it was fast and fun. It's not bound yet; that's the rug warp (white) showing around the edges.

A boy and his cat

Okay, I know that first one looks a little centrefold-ish, but they were just watching TV together last night. And Zoe is really MY cat, but since we rearranged the living room furniture, she has gravitated towards Gordon's lap instead of mine, for reasons I do not understand. I mean, it's not as if we look alike!!!!

Young at heart

Ah, I just shaved 11 years off my age!
Apparently, I am 31 years old.

You Are 31 Years Old

Under 12: You are a kid at heart. You still have an optimistic life view - and you look at the world with awe.

13-19: You are a teenager at heart. You question authority and are still trying to find your place in this world.

20-29: You are a twentysomething at heart. You feel excited about what's to come... love, work, and new experiences.

30-39: You are a thirtysomething at heart. You've had a taste of success and true love, but you want more!

40+: You are a mature adult. You've been through most of the ups and downs of life already. Now you get to sit back and relax.

Tuesday, April 04, 2006


I prefer to limit political commentary here, since I don't want to get into it with any Conservatives, but why is this man running our country? WHY? WHY?!?!?

We call him "Helmethead".

Be afraid. I know I am.

Monday, April 03, 2006

Natalie is the best choice!

I don't know these people, but the girl with the pink do is apparently named Natalie. This is what happens when you tick "public" on your Flickr photos. But they look like nice girls! This is what I learned on the web today:

"Natalie rocks a pink bob better than anyone else"

Okay, search "I went to the mall with Natalie" on Google, and see how many hits you get! My friend Peg got me onto this one. Amazing... I sure get around.

Evidently, I have a friend who is the 14-year-old offspring of a Valley Girl. She also has issues with spelling and grammar:
"Then i went to the mall with natalie and asia! omg and did we see like everyone there! wow! omg and a fight alomst went down"
Moral of the story? If your kid has friends named after continents, teach 'em how to capitalize.

I have another friend who bakes but is rather vacuous:
"Monday, i Made cookies then i went to the mall With natalie. i have decided i should live at the mall i go there too often"

I also helped some stud pick out a new shirt:
"Well yesterday i went to the mall with natalie and i bought a shirt. we helped this guy at american eagle pick out the right size lol."

I also have legions of fans:
A cable insider has a different view: "Natalie is the best choice".

And in case you thought I was just a Canadian artist:
"Natalie is the best bartender in Chicago!"

I also smell quite nice:
"Hayden says Natalie is the best-smelling celebrity."

But I have a dark side:
"Natalie was arrested, and then exonerated when the answering machine tape, which Palmer had stolen, provided proof that the killing was an accident."

"Ever since Natalie was arrested, her peers having been avoiding her"

"Natalie was arrested later on from planet Umora, for consolation of planning to take over all the Koalas' minds and use them to invade Disney World"

And finally:

"By the way I think "Natalie" is a man."

The Internet: use it for good, not evil! (Yeah, right...)

PS: The woman my mother named me after:

Natalie Wood

PPS: I am not a man, I have never killed anyone, and I hate the mall.

Sunday, April 02, 2006

True Love

When I visited my friend Phyllis in Madison, Wisconsin last spring, I fell in love with a mouse outside a cheese shop. He had quite a sausage. Don't tell my hubby.