Wednesday, May 26, 2010

The Daily Shout-Out

Today's winner made my day. Funny, creative, and well written (unlike me). Please visit Unruly Helpmeet when you have the time. If you don't laugh, I swear I'll refund the price of admission.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Look What I've Got!

Hubby surprised me with a used Sony Book Reader that he got from Ebay. This is an incredibly thoughtful gift as Hubby knows my fondness for books. When I first found out about it I was very skeptical. Half the fun of reading is selecting the book from the store based on cover art, and flowery description. Plus you can't beat that new book smell. None of these features are available with the Sony Book Reader. It's just sort of... blah.

The first book I loaded onto it was Robert Jordan's The Path Of Daggers.

(I'm currently re-reading this because of the latest release in the series).

Look at this cover art:

How awesome is that? Look at what I'm missing? This is a lovely picture, but it really is much more impressive in real life. Cooked up right out of the artists/authors imagination. Sigh.
When I am reading a novel I will often flip back to the cover, or maps to help create a visual in my mind of the characters, or geographical reference. You don't get to do this with the book reader. There are zero graphics. Not that I need graphics... I DO have an imagination, but I miss them.
This is the part where I tell you I'm converted. Even though I had condemned it before I even attempted to use it, I am now an advocate of the digital book reader. Why, you ask? Several reasons:
1. It's very portable and is now a permanent fixture in my purse. I take it everywhere and use it all the time.
2.I no longer need to worry about dog-earring my precious book collection, or having it get squished up and torn on an airplane, (the fate of the most recent addition to my collection - The Sookie Stackhouse novels).
3. It's super light. Some of my novels are 700 pages or more and can grow quite heavy after an hour of reading. My hands never get sore from holding the book open, and I don't break the spines anymore by squishing them flat. Most of the time I'm not even holding it, it's propped between the bed and the wall. The reading experience is now much more comfortable.
4. I move a lot. A LOT. I have packed and unpacked the same books 10 times in the last 12 years. I've lugged them upstairs, and downstairs, in elevators, from car to car. I am TIRED of moving books. Now I don't have to. Ever again.
It was a little irritating flipping the pages so much at first. I had a hard time adjusting to the 5 inch screen, but now don't even notice. I love it. I'm converted. My entire book collection is being packed up to go to the used book store. All is right in the world.

The Daily Shout-Out

Today's chosen blog is Michelle In Russia go and check out her post on Cloud Blasting and tell me whether or not this sounds like a good idea. I'm all for saving the tax-payers money, but messing with the weather? Sounds dangerous to me. Michelle In Russia is an American perspective on events and culture in Russia. Now I have to add that to my One Million Places I'd Like To Visit List. Ok. So the list is only 127 items long. I'm working on it.

Friday, May 21, 2010

The Daily Shout-Out

Today's Daily Shout Out goes to Humor & Fun because it really did make me laugh out loud. It's a collection of random jokes that are actually funny. Read the one about the notes received from parents to excuse their kids from school. That one cracks me up.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Optimism keeps me sane.

Today shut off my alarm clock then fell back to sleep without getting up. Then I stubbed my toe on the bedpost, (wrecking my very first pedicure EVER). Then I went downstairs to rush around frantically and stepped in a freshly puked up cat hairball - with socks on. Also the cat food had been spilled (Felix does not like his face to touch the sides of the bowl so when it gets low he dumps it over - but that is a post for another day). After cleaning up the catfood I went to refill the bowl and discovered that someone had broken into the cupboard, and eaten a conveniently cat-head-sized hole in the side of the bag. However, I did not notice this until after I'd yanked the bag out of the cupboard, effectively spilling 9.5kgs of dry catfood over my new kitchen floor. After cleaning this up I made a bowl of mini wheats. Then decided that I didn't need a clean pair of socks, I would just wear my sandals. Sigh. Mini Wheats and sandals. Everything was going to be ok. Then I got to Tim Horton's for my caffeine fix and didn't have change. I had to put the $1.75 on my MasterCard (thank god they have that option). I drove out to the highway to continue my commute and opened my coffee. Incidentally, this is one of my favourite parts of the day. I turn the radio on and smile all the way to work while leisurely enjoying my coffee. I take my first sip. There is no cream and no sugar in it. It's black. It tastes kind of like coffee - but without the good part. I sigh and stick it back in my cup holder. I look up and slam on the brakes because there appears to be a very large slow-moving vehicle in front of me. It's a farmers tractor. Normally I love farmers. I grew up on a farm. Today however, I am late for work. The tractor is moving at 45kms per hour. There is too much oncoming traffic for me to pass. We continue all the way to my turn off at 45kms per hour. My 20min drive has now taken 35. However, I am here. All is good, and now I'm talking to you! What could be bad about that? One of my coworkers will feel sorry for me and go get me a real coffee (plus I'm cranky without caffeine, they don't do it just to be nice to me.. it's really in their best interests), and all will be right with the world. Since I have a short memory, in about 15 minutes I will forget this happened and will go back to my normal, happy, smiling day.

I have no socks and have to put on my steal-toed shoes to go out into the plant. I now have sweaty, sock-less feet. Ew. I hope my coffee gets here soon. It's going to be a good day right? It's going to be a good day. It's going to be a good day. It's going to be a good day.....

UPDATE: Incidently, this was the worst day ever. The mantra was ineffecive.

The Daily Shout-Out

Today's Shout-Out goes to the one, the only, Stinkydog! Ok. I admit. It was the title that made me stop zooming through random blogs. It caught my eye. No one would entitle their blog Stinkydog unless they had a sense of humor right? (note: funny is a neccesary component to enjoyable blog reading for this crazy cat). I was not disappointed. The writers sarcastic, dry humor, is exactly my brand. If you're looking for a chuckle this morning, go over and take a peek.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Dear Ross the Teflon Guy

Recently I wrote a post about my Angel Food Cake Experiment. The following day, I was shocked to find this comment:

My Dearest Ross:

I wasn't endorsing your product. Thinking back I probably should have used the words "plastic coating" instead of teflon, as I'm not even sure it WAS teflon. I certainely wasn't recommending that other people use your product, unless of course you're planning to cut me a check for the advertising expense? No? I didn't think so.

So I'm thinking you're a guy, who is paid to google the word TEFLON as some sort of market research experiment. Wonder if that pays well? Sorry, I digress. Anyway, I'm thinking you're just doing your job so I'm not going to go all spastic on you - but if you had bothered to read any of the other posts in my blog, or read Angel Food Cake post a little more thoroughly, you would know that I DO NOT, infact, write a cooking blog. I would never do that to the general population. Maybe a learning how to cook blog. Or something entitled "if my family depended on me to bake, they would all STARVE." Or possibly a how NOT to cook blog. Yes, that would work.

I purchased the mystery-coated pan as part of a personal journey into the world of ---> I'm a woman, I should know how to cook. (Do you like my arrow? This is what I use when I have no idea what punctuation is supposed to go where! Very effective, isn't it? Maybe I should use it more often). I did not purchase the pan because I think your product is wonderful, merely because it was on sale and it had Betty Crockers name on it (she's a cook or something right? Very famous-ish).

So... to make a long rant short - I think you should find a new career Ross. Your current one isn't very popular.

P.S. Please do not try to sell me anymore of your products. If I have need of a cookbook or a recipe I'll find it on my own. That being said, if you happen to stop by for another visit, please do us all the courtesy of responding without the sales pitch.


The Daily Shout-Out

Today's featured blog is Dr. Krog's Read Along Blog. I'm not sure if it's redundant to write a review about a blog that's about reviews... but who cares?

Most of you who know me are aware that I am a science fiction and fantasy writing junkie. I used to aspire to be a writer... but that dream was lost in the sands of time and the realization that I would never have proper grammatical skills, (just ask Carolina). That being said, I do love to read a good book, already I have several of the titles from Dr. Krog's reviews on my wish list. I'm sure that they can't ALL be brilliant, (I'm pretty picky with my reading), but what an opportunity to find out if the book is worth reading from someone who actually writes! The internet has made everyone a critic, but an informed opinion is hard to come by. Please take the time to pay him a visit and comment.

Happy Reading!

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Who says tanning is evil?

Ok. So the doctors, health experts, dermatologists, cosmetic reps, and even your mother have reported the risks of sun exposure. These risks are known to increase from long-term exposure to the artificial lights in tanning beds.

Well Guess What?

My doctor has perscribed tanning to me. Backwards isn't it? Aparently it's a cure for the winter blues. Vitamin D and all that. I voiced my concerns about skin cancer, and dying a horrible painful death from something I could have prevented by staying out of the sun....

Me: But... um... isn't tanning bad for you?

Doc: Yes. Yes it is.

Me: But you still want me to do it?

Doc: I think it's an option for your specific circumstances.

Me: Does that mean that I should do it?

Doc: Well, I can't really order you to do something that's harmful.

Me: But you think it's a good idea?

Doc: I think it's an option, yes.

Me: That's a little vague. Do I have an other options?

Doc: Well, we could try some medications. Some of the side effects are serious... depression, suicidal tendancies, insomnia, fatigue, headaches, muscle tenderness, and so on.

Me: So tanning is a better option?

Doc: I didn't say that.

Me: Yes I know. That's why I asked.

Doc: It seems like the most benificial with the least amount of side effects.

Me: So what happens if I do neither.

Doc: Nothing.

Me: So right now I'm not dying, but if I go tanning I might be a little more cheerful when the winter is here?

Doc: Basically. Yes.

Me: And quality of life is worth risking the chance of getting skin cancer?

Doc: I didn't say that.

Me: I KNOW. I'm looking for a little direction here. Can you help me out?

Doc: Why don't we re-asses in a few months. You can make an appoitment with the receptionist on your way out.

Me: Thanks for nothing.

I have been tanning for a few months now. Not over doing it, just a couple times a week and you know what? The doc is right. I have more energy, I'm blogging again, and my house is clean. Ok, no it isn't, but I could do it if I wanted to. It is 15 minutes of bliss 3 times a week. My stress melts away. If I could figure out how to do it all the time without killing myself I would. I have to warn you. It's very addictive, and I'm certainly NOT encouraging anyone else to try it unless you have a similar pointless conversation with your doctor.

The Daily Shout-Out

Today's featured blog is More Mindless Rambling. If this doesn't make you laugh, a space alien has cut open your brain and sucked out your sense of humor. Much like what appears to have happened to poor Jay Leno in recent months. Enjoy!

Monday, May 17, 2010

The Butterfly Effect

Saturday morning dawned happy and sunny for the first time in weeks. We were visiting hubby's parents, who live in the Niagara region. There were lots of blooming lilacs, and blooming lilacs bring all kinds of beautiful butterflies.
Here is the boy attempting to catch a beautiful butterfly. His tactic is to smash the net over the poor critter while hoping that he doesn't squish it with the edge of the net. He's not very subtle. Ever.
Beautiful lilac. Can't you just smell it?

I said, "show me your butterfly hunting face", and this is what happened.

The beautiful butterfly The Boy was chasing. It looks sort of like a monarch, but isn't. Mental note to google that later.

Daddy has taken the net from The Boy in an attempt to capture the butterfly without smashing it. Daddy demonstrates the technique GENTLY with success.

Hubby and The Boy coaxing the butterfly into the bug carrier... incidently the butterfly DOES NOT want to be in there.

MISSION COMPLETE. Said butterfly is contained safely in its temporary home. All in a days work.
note: no butterflies were hurt in the making of this post. All butterflies captured were released after much oooohing and awwwing.

The Daily Shout-Out

I'm am terribly glad I found today's winner, Words...Thoughts...Nonsense. The latest post actually made me cry into my coffee, while the one previous to that made me giggle. Everything I'm looking for in a good blog. The author's "voice" is startling and refreshing. Go take a look, you won't regret it.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

The Daily Shout-Out

Today's Shout Out goes to Chicago Sit for extreme bravery in the face of bad neighbourhoods. It's a big wake up call to read about a journey in a busy metro area and reminds me that I definitly take my safe, suburban lifestyle for granted. Go take a look.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Sharks are scary when you're nine.

While in Florida we visited Universal Studios. It was a fine adventure filled with Chirros, pizza, cartoon characters and very wet water rides. One of the attractions there was a thrill ride themed around the Jaws movies. As adults, we expected a nice tour around in a boat filled with some movie sets. The boy expected to see a real shark and possibly some fish (he is not familiar with the Jaws movies and prefers not to watch anything which may even LOOK like it's a horror film).

The boy, outside of the ride posing for a fun pic.
The boy procrastinating by VOLUNTEERING to be in fun pics. This is unusual behaviour, as he usually runs and hides when I get the camara out. This is probably a defense mechanism that has grown over time as a result of having to pose endlessly for family portraits taken by his beloved grandfather.

Some lovely scenery along the boat ride.

Some wreckage from the tour boat in front of us which has radioed MAYDAY for help from some unforseen accident.

The shark which ate the tourists in front of us. The Boy is now very nervous and is having trouble distiguishing the story from reality. He keeps looking at my smiling face as if puzzled about why we are still in the boat and why we haven't ordered the tour guide to get us out immediately.

The shark burst out of the water directly beside The Boy. He screamed so loud, people on the shore probably thought we were stabbing him to death. He is now SOOO terrified he is unwilling to listen to the soothing noises I am making as he tries to climb over everyone in the boat to GET OUT! There is only water on the other side of the boat. As a concerned parent, I cannot simply let him get out (the lap bar security system is apparently not made for rediculously skinny 9-year-olds). I hug him very tightly and explain that it is not real and we're not going to get eaten by sharks.

The water is now swishing around from the thrashing of the shark. Explosions are going off on both sides and The Boy is screaming as if he's developed a new mantra. Ahhhh. Ahhhh. Ahhhh. Ahhhh. I am now feeling horribly guilty for bringing him on the ride and am considering going to the police to turn myself in for bad parenting.
We then enter this dark area when we can feel the boat being lifted up. Sparks are going off on both sides, and the shark is back. The dark makes The Boy even more upset. Soon the shark is dead and we are out. The sun is shining and the ride comes to a close. The boy calms and then says....
" Don't even ASK me if we can go on that again."

The Daily Shout-Out

After my long absence from the blogging world, I've noticed that most of the blogs I enjoy reading on a daily basis are also on hiatus. This forced me to go random blog-hunting for some new reading material. This in turned prompted me to notice that so many blogs go under-appreciated. In an hour of random blog surfing I found 3 blogs which inspired me enough to follow.

All this random greatness has given me the motivation to start a daily shout-out. Hopefully this will help all of us realize just how many entertaining writers are out there that we aren't even aware of. This will force me out of my little blog-rut and hopefully infuse some culture into these meager words.

So - without further adjectives or delays, todays shout-out is for Stacey who authors Sitting In My Green Room. Her photography is nothing short of brilliant (I'm very envious), and she has a wonderful sense of humor which translates easily from her camara to her words. Please take a moment to visit and see for yourself.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Birds are scary.

In the lovely temperate zones of Florida there is an abundance of waterfowl attracted there by rich seas, and MacDonald's-eating tourists. I love wildlife, and I always thought I loved birds. Recently, I've discovered that my love of avian life forms is restricted to those that are small, cute and vocally brilliant. Upon landing at home base in Indian Shores, I discovered that I have a fear of birds. I was already aware of my fear of very large bird-like creatures (ostriches.... they have those creepy beady eyes that look at you like you're a giant bug they are about to snap up). Now I know that this fear is not limited by size... although size does tend to intensify the feeling that my eyes are about to be pecked out and eaten for breakfast.
Whilst in Florida we went to a lovely bird sanctuary. These birds were all trapped by man-made idiocy and needed help to free themselves. Many required medical treatment and some can no longer fly or take care of themselves. Awwww. They are scary, but even scary birds need love. I think the white ones with the razor sharp eye-poking beaks are called spoonbills... but I'm not sure.
This crane was actually coming to get me. I took the picture, then screamed and ran away.

Hubby is not afraid of the birds, but step-son is TERRIFIED - whilst trying to look manly and unafraid. He chose to throw the bread far, far away from the darting, vicious birdies.

No... this is not red-eye caused from the camera... this is natural red eye. Why does this bird have red eyes? I'm going with creepy defense mechanism to terrify predators from eating it.

The sheer quantity of birds here is ridiculous. There was nowhere to run and hide. The entire sanctuary was heading our way to take part in the feeding frenzy caused by the tossing of bread crumbs. Shorty after this I cowered in the car.

This is really a vulture. He is waiting for the other birds to peck out my eyes so he can have the rest.

This bird I actually thought was very pretty. Until I got up close and saw the red beady eyes. Pretty turned to creepy. The longer it stared at me, the more uneasy I became until the point where I decided that only crazy people visit bird sanctuaries and I - being NOT crazy - should vacate the premises immediately.

A grey pelican. The most numerous of the Floridian birds we saw.

These pelicans kept trying to steal step-sons bait whilst he was fishing. Then when he caught a little fish, tried to steal it while he was reeling it in. Have you ever seen a pelican with it's beak wide open? It could swallow a little boy whole. Powerful beaks made me keep a wary distance. They are not shy either - and they are not afraid of curious tourists.
While they made interesting photo subjects, I was very happy to get back to the resort and away from all the non-blinking eyes. whoaaaa. I still get shivers. If you notice, most of the shots are blurry, and to the untrained eye, this may seem as though I am a horrid photographer, but to us professionals it is easy to see that they are action shots. The blurriness is for effect. It allows you to really FEEL how fast I was running and screaming.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Mahuffer - Wurst Place on the Beech!

Adventures in Florida. Sigh. In March, hubby and I went to visit his parents in Indian Shores, FL. Because most of the community is filled up with snowbirds (those that spend the summer in Canada, and the winter in Florida), hubby and I were looking for something to do in the evening. This particular evening, we struck out on our own to find some entertainment. This bar was just down the street from our resort.
We had heard tales of this place from some of hubby's other relatives who had ventured inside earlier in the week. I must say, from the "disgusted" description his aunt gave, I wasn't really looking forward to it. Hubby, however, was very excited so we ventured inside.

Hubby took this photo of me by surprise. I believe I was trying to wink and drink at the same time. He has such a good eye for catching me at exactly the worst point to take a photo. Anyways. Back to the bar. As you can see, there are bra's, panties, and other undergarments from various generations of tourists, most of them Canadian. If you added up all the money that had been stapled to the wall and signed by visitors, the owners of the bar could probably retire.

Hubby thought that this was much more interesting than Disney's magic kingdom. While I am prancing around trying not clothesline myself on hanging bra-straps, hubby is pointing excitedly to various articles of clothing and announcing things like "OMG - did you see the size of that thong?" Whist I am focusing on looking for somewhere to stand where I won't contract a major disease, and for the love of God - NOT touch anything, hubby is getting two more beers from the bartender so we can stay LONGER. I must say, after the second beer, I was feeling much more at ease, the place didn't really seem so bad, plus it was raining outside. Who wants to walk in the rain when you can study archaeological items such as garter belts from 1955?

There were 2 dogs like this one lying on various bits of furniture and mingling with the customers. In Canada this would be illegal (something about health code violations or disease control), but in the good ole US of A, all is well. This dog was cute and rather friendly, but like the rest of the bar, needed some hygienic attention.
All in all, it was an experience I'm glad I had... and no - I did not staple my bra to the wall. I thought briefly about leaving a sock, but didn't have any on.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Out of my imagination

It started when I was 4. It was Easter. I have no idea why I remember that it was Easter, only that it was. That's when my re-occurring nightmare began. It always starts the same way. I'm walking down the stairs to the kitchen in my nightgown (presumably because it is morning). My mother is at the kitchen sink doing dishes. She hears me, and turns around, starting to smile. Then when her eyes fill with the vision of me standing at the bottom of the stairs - her look changes. It changes from her pleasant, good-morning-happy-to-see-you-face, and turns into her OH-MY-GOD-SOMETHING-IS-TERRIBLY-WRONG face. Not something a 4-year-old wants to see. The butterfly's are fluttering madly in my stomach now, and I timidly ask,
"What's wrong mummy?"
"OH MY GOD" she says, "you have OLD FASHION PURPLE NAILS!" Then she screams this long diva-like scream, which would make any cheesy horror flick proud.
I look down at my hands and they are sprouting these ridiculously long, purple fingernails which curl around themselves in a spiral like fashion. My heart feels as though it will burst in my chest.
I have no idea why this is so incredibly scary. It has some variations which are slightly less scary to live through. One version involves me trying to play the game Perfection with my terrifically terrifying talons. When I say it out loud it seems not so scary at all. Interestingly enough, the dream repeated itself a few times a month for years. If I was a shrink, I'd say I had mummy and daddy separation issues, but I'm not so I'm going to chalk it all up to an over-reactive imagination and too much sugar in my grape Kool-Aid.
If you google purple nails you will discover it is a symptom of blood clots or liver disease. Maybe I'm psychic and it was a prediction of things to come. Or maybe I just have an over-reactive imagination. What kind of 4-year-old dreams up OLD FASHIONED PURPLE NAILS anyway?

Monday, May 10, 2010

Angel Food Cake... sort of.

The box says Fat Free... and it was too. Right up until the point where I slathered (love that word), it with white frosting - complete with rainbow chips. So Yummy.
I've learned that getting an angel food cake out of the pan (I should mention at this point that said cake is my 3rd attempt), requires a certain amount of patience, and some specialized equipment. As my pan was teflon coated and I didn't want to ruin it, I made due with a spatula. It sort of worked. The cake came out... or most of it anyway.
So... frosting an angel food cake... not so easy as it seems. I waited for the cake to cool and then applied said frosting. The frosting ripped the top of the cake off... but no worries, I glued it back on with more frosting.
Needless to say, not a stellar attempt, but edible. Hubby would rather the cake WITHOUT the frosting, and my co-workers would rather the frosting without the cake. So the end result was a happy medium really. I just love it when everything works out well in the end, don't you?

Saturday, May 08, 2010

A toast to the end of financial struggling!

Not that the struggle will ever be over, but hubby has accepted a new job! After being out of work for nearly a year and a half, he is heading back to the work force to a much better position that the one he left. I feel as though the biggest weight ever has been lifted off my shoulders. I am so proud of him! Finally we can begin again.
Just thought I would share. I have far too many butterfly's in my stomach to write anything brilliant.

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