Sunday, July 27, 2014

Three Days, Three Months or Three Years.......

We are planning to go away for a few days to a cottage near Algonquin Park. My husband is still using up holiday time and this trip will use up four days. I never thought that I would find taking holidays a chore, however, having one a month for the last four months or so is becoming a little tedious. Shakespeare once said, "If all the year were playing holidays, to sport would be as tedious as to work." Sigh!

Maybe I just need to go away for a longer time, to make it seem more like a holiday. With three days, you never really disconnect from work, house, kids etc. Plus you have to take a ton of "stuff" with you. If you go away for a month, let's say, you know that you will buy everything you need at your holiday place because you will use it up there. However, for three days, you decide that you don't want to spend time shopping and why buy a bag of sugar, for example, when you could just take some from home.

So it is, that we have a list of 43 items to pack before we even pack our clothes and our bedding. Of course we have to unpack all of this when we get home!! Nevertheless, I am not about to look a holiday pack horse in the mouth, so I am gearing up for four days and three nights of kayaking and hiking during the day and BBQing and cottage fires at night. I know there will also be a lot of mosquito swatting, massaging of aching limbs and "Oh Gee, we forgot to pack bandaids."

I even thought of buying hiking boots which were on sale at Sporting Life (50% off). However, I still looked like Rosie the Riveter in them, so I decided I'd wait until I do the Camino (if I ever do) for hiking boots.

The picture? Last year at Oxtongue Lake.

Have a great day!

Friday, July 25, 2014

An Evening of Sliders Part 2

My eldest, who was away the evening we did Sliders Part 1, decided that he would like to try making some. He hadn't cooked much at home, while he was working in catering and complained regularly that he didn't have time for his Art. Now that he is supposed to be working at Art full-time, he's doing more cooking, go figure! Anyway we decided that since there was a small filet of salmon in the freezer to use up, he could do a medley of salmon, turkey and beef sliders Thursday night. Here is how the evening was orchestrated -

1. I took out the salmon and the hamburger from the freezer the night before to thaw in the fridge. I also ordered 18 slider buns from Cobs on Wednesday for Thursday pick up. I know, there would be five for dinner with three burger choices each, that would be 15 buns. Math was never a strong point :)

2. Thursday my son went out to buy minced turkey and some other ingredients. Fortunately everything he forgot to buy, we had in the fridge or freezer. Cranberries keep frozen for a long time, don't they?

3. After work, I arrived home and began cleaning up the chaos. In restaurants, chefs cook. They don't empty dishwashers or wash pots, pans, bowls, plates, cutlery etc. I had my work cut out for me, while he stirred the cranberry sauce, he'd made from scratch, the caramelized onions, checked the salmon baking in the oven and chopped the dill.

4. His sister left to get beer for herself and the other brother. Her excuse was that St Louis' serves beer with their burgers. What I lacked in math, she lacked in logic. I decided not to argue.

5. The other brother left to pick up a large bottle of Coke for the cook. Unfortunately he got Pepsi Max which is like a diet cola with sugar. OK, another one with some missing genes for logic!!

6. My husband disappeared upstairs to fold laundry - probably the only one with any sense at the moment.

7. While the chef moulded all the ingredients into tiny patties, which fit perfectly on the BBQ, I washed the Romaine, zapped the bacon in the micro wave and toasted one slice of bread for the Ceasar salad.

8. I left the cook to assemble the salad and watch the burgers, while I dashed out to pick up some "real" coke for him. Even I couldn't have had something like Pepsi Max after doing all the work he had done that day!!

7. In true culinary hubris, (can I say that with sliders?) the chef dressed all the burgers, as he thought fit and stuck each one with a colour coded toothpick - order from chaos!!

8. My husband appeared with a bag of potato chips to round out the meal and we all finally sat down to sliders of - salmon with mayo dill and capers, turkey with cranberry sauce and caramelized onions and last, but not least, a traditional beef slider with tomato, melted cheese and ketchup!! YUM

The picture? Coloured coded sliders all in a row. :)

Have an awesome day!!

An Evening of Sliders Part 1

My husband has always wanted to try the salmon burgers from De La Mer, the fish shop on Bayview. He said to the kids one night, "how about salmon burgers for dinner on Saturday?" Silence, some nose twitching, an indiscernible moan or two. I then suggested that we buy one burger and split it four ways so everyone could try it and make a decision without ruining an entire meal with fish on a bun when everyone really just wanted beef!!

On route to the fish shop the next day, I suggested sliders as a way of dressing up the small bits of salmon burger we were about to try.  Of course, "he of little faith" said, "you won't get slider buns anywhere around here." Me of too much faith said, "I'll just ask." Well, lo and behold, Cobs bakery, which is almost next door to De La Mer, did buns for sliders!!! I bought four. My husband bought our usual three salmon pieces (I know there's four of us - we are a math challenged household) and one salmon burger at $5.00. Somehow, even if the sliders worked, I don't think that we will be buying salmon burgers at $5.00 each for four or five of us. $25.00 buys a lot of non-burgered salmon and a whole lot of meat for way more than five people!!

Finances aside, we served the quartered burger as an appetizer dressed with the usual, tomato slices, mayo, lettuce and raw onions. Really you can't put much more on those small buns and even smaller wedges of minced salmon. I am amazed that they often serve sliders, as an hors d'oeuvre at cocktail parties. How anyone is expected to sit down to a four course meal after two of them and a few other nibblies is beyond me. Indulgent as they were, they were delicious. I have now become addicted to sliders.

The picture? It was labelled salmon burger, however, I can't remember having one, I think it must be a crab cake, also from De La Mer. Anyway, imagine a quarter of it on a slider and you get the idea!

Part 2 tomorrow. Have a great day!!

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Art and the 3D Printer.....

I've been thinking a lot about Art this week. - that's the medium as opposed to the man :) My son is working on a few commissions and a series for a gallery showing, as well as putting some of his pieces up online. I often wonder how that "works" - putting your art up for sale online. I think on photography sites there are downloadable options, however, with one-of-a-kind pieces they have to be shipped.

This morning I shared a post to my FB wall from a friend about a site with the prestigious name of Saatchi. The art here is amazing!! I also read an article in the paper about Hasbro and 3D printers. Apparently Hasbro is funding 3D printing developers to build a platform where artists can create and sell their work under the umbrella of Hasbro. Now these creations have to be part of the My Little Pony line, so maybe it's not really art. (neigh) The article is actually from the NY Times and talks about the expansion of 3D printers and how they will be readily available soon, at a store near you, for around $1,000.00. Some even print in gold for jewellery!!

Now I did go out and buy that 3D pen, I posted about last week. The learning curve with a handheld is huge. It might be called "Tremors as Art." sigh! How does one turn squiggles into art. I know others have done it, but I think that they must have had a lot of talent to start with. I have just ended up with a lot of plastic worms.

The picture? an early printer. We have now moved from printing descriptions, to printing the real "thing." Be afraid, be very afraid :)

Have a fearless day.

Friday, July 18, 2014

TV - Love It or Leave It

Every year my husband's company takes all its employees away for three days and two nights to a series of workshops punctuated by very good meals and the amenities of an upscale hotel in the country. I have to make the best of being left at home. It reminds me a little of the movie "Home Alone" - what does one do with the place all to oneself!! (Yes, the kids are still at home, but they have their own lives, fortunately.)

I watch TV. I never watch TV normally. Well, there is usually a ball game on or some other sport's venue, so I read. My husband and I are polar opposites as far as tastes in movies are concerned and since most of the movies these days aren't worth watching, nothing is worth fighting over. Actually, I think that we need to subscribe to Netflix or something like that, because Rogers on Demand had the worst selection of movies and TV shows I have ever seen, or not as the case maybe. It was the equivalent of eating at fast food restaurants every night. If "reality" is really, what is portrayed in "reality TV shows," stop the world, I want to get off!!

Now I know how we elected our mayor, Rob Ford. If 50% of the population believes that this is how the other 50% lives, (or wants them to live) then we are indeed doomed!! I do, however, watch CSI. I am addicted to mysteries. I even watched a few reruns of "Murder She Wrote," while waiting for a rerun of CSI. I know I should probably be watching a good documentary or PBS, but there are times when I just need to "veg out." Now, I do this once a year, some people do it every night and the worst case scenario is all day and all night!!

Ironically most of the advertising, I had to watch, was geared for seniors - I'm in denial. I always remember my father in his nineties refusing to go to the seniors' centre because, he thought that it was just for "old" people. The ads also gave me a profile of the audience they were targeting - mostly woman (personal care products) at home alone (dating sites) with a little money (retirement info) but not much direction (online seniors sites). It is so easy to fall into the convenience trap of TV. Actually, I have a close friend who gave up her TV when she retired. She had worked in home health care (mental health) well into her seventies and saw what TV could do to people. It can become a kind of visual cocaine. She didn't need that drug!!

Seriously, I have been thinking of upping my 2.5 mile walk each day to get closer to 5 miles and I have "liked" the page "Growing Bolder" on FB. Now this might be the Yang of TV's Yin (or is it the other way around?). Growing Bolder expects that you will be up to sky diving in your nineties. Somewhere in between there has to be a balance!!

The picture? The best I could do for the spontaneity of "youth." However, I am not going to get a tattoo, run around in skin coloured tights or stand on my hands, but I will keep challenging the limits and trying to turn traditional thinking on its head.

Have a balanced day!!

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

The Good Side of Rain

It's raining again today and we are halfway through July so the farmer in me says, it's been a wet July or a wet summer so far. I think that we have watered the garden once this year, sometime in June. Sigh! Actually, when it rained Sunday morning, I am sure a lot of people changed their plans for the day because very few were out walking, at least in the ravine we chose for our outing.

Serena Gundy Park

The walk from Serena Gundy park over one of the tributaries of the Don to Sunnybrook park and then along Wilket Creek to Edwards Gardens is a wonderful "hike." The road is paved, they have put in four or five new bridges (our tax money at work) and they have kept the wilderness feel of the area. It is often a very busy trail, full of walkers, cyclists, sprawling extended families, etc. However, this Sunday morning it was empty!! Here is what I saw -

I'll have to look him up later.


Other flowers, I need to look up these too.

Dragonfly, maybe :)

Ground hog

Lots of water

And doughnuts that will save your life - eat your heart out Tim Horton's :) The river is actually behind the bushes. The reflection is in a rather large puddle on the path. Yes, I think that we have had enough rain!!

Have a wonderful day!!

Saturday, July 12, 2014

On Doing Ordinary Well

The photography group that I am in and out of these days is doing an exercise on the ordinary. Ordinary is what happens daily. It's the extraordinary that takes work. However, photographers do ordinary very well, and some make it extraordinary, without a lot of effort. I have written before about photographers who have literally shot the kitchen sink and were considered geniuses (or maybe that's genii - these come in a bottle, though.)

Here are my takes on the ordinary - Art imitating life or Life imitating art -

It's the handle of a water jug.

From a different angle


The ice palace in a glass vase

Starry night


My daughter left the house wondering if I had gone completely mad......I decided not to comment :) Sometimes just doing the ordinary - taking a picture of something very ordinary - a pot of tea, becomes extraordinary. However, if I did it all the time, they'd lock me away. So I guess that I will have to endure the ordinary most of the time and then wait until nobody's looking to snap the extraordinary!  

Have an extraordinary day!!

Friday, July 11, 2014

Life in the Slow Lane.....

I'm sitting here just a little antsy to be off doing something different, something exciting perhaps, certainly something better than face booking my morning away. Yes I have seen some amazing "things" on-line - gorgeous trees houses, inventive coffee cups, creative videos of just about everything....etc...etc.... I love looking at what others have done, but it does create a restlessness in me, a desire to be one with that creative force - always dangerous.

Orange Lilies

Currently my main creative outlet, besides my business, is my garden. In fact, over the last 10 days I have spent six of them working in the garden, at least 5-6 hours a day. I may have exhausted my garden quotient :) I know that I still have to saw some rather large limbs from a spreading yew that has overspread itself and I do have to turf out all those day lilies in the shade that never bloom and replace them with Rudbeckia, which always blooms from July to late September - I could populate another planet with Black-eyed Susans (Rudbeckia), Hosta and Lady's Mantle.

Lavender and Hosta

Unfortunately, I won't be rewarded for my efforts until next year, when all those limp transplants are firmly established and all those pruned bushes have "filled themselves in" - an interesting concept. I wish it applied to fauna as well as flora!

Lady's Mantle and carpet roses

No there are few "quick fixes" for the gardener and today I need a quick fix. I am thinking 3D pen or walking marathon - totally opposite concepts. Neither of which is quick. The pen I'm sure has a learning curve and for the walk to be a "marathon," I would have to double my usual 2.5 miles. Then again I could walk to Deserres for the pen!! Hmmmm

Have a great day!

Friday, July 04, 2014

Four Feet of Separation.......

About eighteen months ago, I moved my office across the hall. The hall is three, maybe four feet wide. So I guess you could say that I moved about four feet away. I vacated one room and opened up another. No big deal! Life went on. Letters arrived, parcels arrived and the postman picked up boxes outside of the new space.

Enter the new improved postal system - Ta-Dah!! This is the system designed to "save" money. I should have had some inkling that change was in the works last week, when I noticed all the spanking new vans, sometimes three to a block dressed in the livery of Canadapost!! Hmmm why hadn't someone told my husband that the way to save money was to buy a new car or maybe several new cars!! I can do the math - multiply those shiny new vans on all those blocks by all the blocks there are in every city or town that still gets house to house mail delivery and you have a orgie of spanking vans - oops that should be spanking new vans :)

The results of all these improvements are, I get my mail at the end of the day rather than the beginning and I still get mail only a few days a week at the office. When I lived in England, we had three posts a day and one on Saturday.  I read, with a great deal of nostalgia, lines from Victorian novels that say things, such as, "her letter came in the morning post" or "my package went out with the last post." The last post indeed. I hear the bugle's mourning refrain for the dead soldier, postie or system that served us well, most of the time.

Well, this change has given me fuel for a few good fights against the establishment!! I now no longer get my shipments picked up because the new people on board go to room 104, across the hall and if no one answers, they leave and register an attempted pick up on their handhelds. Of course on leaving the building they would have had to trip over the boxes I had left in the hall for pickup. Nope, no one even noticed. They had their blinkers on and their new instructions!!

I spent several days on the phone this week with customer service. Yes, I had to change my room number officially for their database to be updated and for the daily pickup, which I pay for, to be reinstated. I'll see what happens next week.

This, however, is only half the equation. The other half of the problem is the shipments coming to me from suppliers, who can not manage to update their databases with my new location. I had to pick up four large boxes on four separate days from my sub-station because Canadapost now starts delivering at 8:00am and I open up at 9:00 and yes, they only deliver to the suite that matches the number on the shipping label. The old system knew where I was, the new system is a machine that has turned workers into robots and ignored the fact that real people actually generate the letters and parcels which give them their raison d'ĂȘtre.

The picture? The best I could do for something Canadian - sorry! I would have posted this ages ago, but I didn't have a picture. So to avoid - "For want of a picture the post was lost," I just found a random shot and put it in :)

Have a great day!!