Tuesday, December 30, 2008

On the Cusp of 2009

I'm sitting quietly in the basement this evening, doing some work for Chamber Choir and putting some more music onto my iPod. I now have an iPod dock to take to work, so I want to make sure that I have lots of good stuff to listen to when I go back on the 5th! There will probably be nappage in the near future, as I think I'll be joining WH and his friends after their rehearsal tonight for a little bit of social time, and I need to be all peppy and ready to go.

I remember seeing the following on many blogs last year, so I thought I'd give it a shot. The basic premise is to go back and look at the first sentence posted on the blog in each month of the previous year. I think it tells a neat story!

January: Happy New Year Everybody!
February: Earlier this week, Episcopollyana was kind enough to nominate me for the Excellent Blog Award.
March: WH and I are just back from our big grocery store run of the month.
April: Hey folks ~ Once again, many thanks to all who have posted kind and thoughtful comments about Granddad.
May: I was very lucky to get a chance to witness a very special thing the other day.
June: "It's like goldy and silvery, only made of iron."
July: Reality being laundry, mostly, and work again on Monday...
August: From the Revgals today, a Friday Five about Locks and Blocks!
September: I think that Edmund Burke said that it was the most powerful law in nature?
October: I had a nice birthday. Thank you for all your kind messages!
November: I'm in City with Lots of Roses, and things are going well so far!
December: If I were to identify two services during the year that I love the most and would most regret missing, I would say Palm Sunday and the Advent Lessons and Carols Service.

So there's the year, in a few bloggy statements. It's always interesting to see where my mind was just a few short months ago. I'll probably post more about the past year and the coming year in the days to come, but that will do for now!

Happy New Year All!

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Christmas Review

We've had a lovely holiday here at chez The Wee House. Wonderful things to eat and drink, lovely things under the three, lots of games and laughter and fun. And we have spent the last couple of days watching seasons 3 and 4 of The Office, which were a gift to WH. And WH pulled off the surprise of the season and bought me diamond earrings and a diamond pendant. I'm very happy amongst all my sparkles.

I hope that you all had wonderful holidays!

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Well, here we are...

... on Christmas Eve. I'm at work for a little more than a half day before heading home to get ready for the church run tonight. I'll assist WH with the music for the early family service - turning pages and whatnot - and get music ready for guest singers at the late service, and then we're all hands on deck at 11pm for the biggie. That baby is comin', and we have some celebrating to do!

I hope that wherever you are, this Christmas is a warm and loving one, with peace and goodwill and turkey (or tofurkey, if that's your thing). That you are close to those you love, either physically or in spirit. That you have a chance to sing. Or be sung to. And if nothing else, you laugh.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Gingerbread House

Our project this evening!

This 'n' That

Other than two performances of Messiah that went really, really well, we didn't do a whole lot this weekend! Let's see...
  • I got a grant application all but finished, which is great... just a couple of little details to finish up.
  • I made Chocolate Crinkles from the Company's Coming Cookies book... so yummy.
  • We went to the Church Choir Christmas Party, which is always a wonderful time, with lots of terrific food and SINGING!
  • We played Cribbage and Sorry.
  • I finished all my Christmas shopping on Saturday morning and came home and got everything wrapped that needed wrapping.
  • We slept in.
And that about covers it! It's so nice to be finished with the choral commitments, and to know that we're both actually going to be home on a weeknight, for once. Hurray!

Friday, December 19, 2008

Friday Five: To Do!

From the Revgals, today, a Friday Five about the last five days before Christmas!

There are only five full days before Christmas Day, and whether you use them for shopping, wrapping, preaching, worshiping, singing or traveling or even wishing the whole darn thing were over last Tuesday, there's a good chance they will be busy ones.

So let's make this easy, if we can: tell us five things you need to accomplish before Christmas Eve.

1. Shopping - I have just a few things left to get... something for The Boy (my nephew), one more thing for WH, and a couple of stocking stuffers for him. Then I'm done!

2. A little bit of house cleaning in preparation for Christmas dinner and a house guest that will be staying with us after Christmas until the New Year.

3. We still have a gingerbread house that we are planning to decorate. I think that will happen this weekend.

4. I have some business things to take care for Chamber Choir, namely, I have a grant application that needs finishing, and another one that needs starting.

5. Sing two concerts of Messiah, starting tonight!

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

The Ugly, Horrible, Nasty Truth

I am in last place in the hockey pool.

Not only am I in last place, but I am THIRTY-SEVEN points behind the guy in second-last place.

My hockey team is a disaster of epic proportions.

I hate the hockey pool.


Tuesday, December 16, 2008

A Christmas Story

So, one of the things that I bought my husband for Christmas this year is a pair of gloves. And the reason I bought him a pair of gloves is that the only hand-warmers he has are very large heavy-duty mittens, which are great in the cold, but don't afford a lot of flexibility for finicky things like getting your keys into your car, changing the radio station in the car, etc. So I thought (rightly or wrongly... possibly both) that what he needed was a nice pair of thinsulate gloves that he could wear whenever the big mittens were too cumbersome. I wrapped them yesterday and tucked them away with the rest of his Christmas presents.

Cue the following conversation in the car on the way to choir practice last night:

WH: I don't know what's more annoying... wearing these mittens or just having cold hands.
Chorus: Oh yes?
WH: But at least they're not gloves. I HATE GLOVES.
Chorus: What? You hate gloves?
WH: Yes, I HATE GLOVES. I hate having my fingers separated, and I can never find gloves that fit... I HATE GLOVES.
(long awkward silence)
Chorus: Well... I guess I'll just take them back then.
WH: Take what back?
Chorus: The gloves I bought you for Christmas.
WH: Ha ha... wait. Are you serious?
Chorus: Yes.
WH: Oh. ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... I bet I'll like them!

(much hilarity ensues)

Cue the following conversation on the way home from choir practice when we stopped to put gas in WH's car. If you've never pumped gas when it's -25, it's a miserable task.

WH: Boy it's cold out here.
Chorus: Do you have your mittens?
WH: Yes. I sure wish I had gloves though. (sheepish grin)

Monday, December 15, 2008

All We Like Sheep...

...are singing Messiah this week!

Tonight is our last rehearsal with WH, tomorrow night is piano rehearsal with the guest conductor, Wednesday night is orchestra rehearsal, Thursday night is dress rehearsal and then two performances, one each on Friday and Saturday night!

It will be a long week, and I wish that my Christmas shopping was finished, but I do love Messiah, and am grateful for another opportunity to sing it!

Friday, December 12, 2008

A Christmas Meme

I got this Christmas meme from I'm Still Me. Let me know in the comments if you play!

Wrapping paper or gift bags? Both... I use gift bags for presents that have lots of different little things in them, and wrap for bigger things.

2. Real tree or Artificial? Well, you see, that is the question, isn't it? In fact, it's going to be a real tree again this year.

3. When do you put up the tree? When I was growing up, the tree never went up until December 24th, but WH has talked me into an earlier timeline. The tree will go up this weekend, I think.

4. When do you take the tree down? Again, when I was growing up, the tree stayed up for 12 days and then came down on January 5th or 6th. We will probably take the tree down in the first week of January, in plenty of time to vacuum up all the pine needles before we both have to go back to work.

5. Do you like eggnog? I like it in small quantities.

6. Favorite gift received as a child? I know that I got many lovely gifts as a child, but the one that stands out most clearly in my memory is the year that my parents bought me a new 'big girl' bed. Secretly, I think the new bed was a ploy to keep me from climbing into their bed in the middle of the night (I kicked), and... it worked!

7. Hardest person to buy for? I find it difficult to buy for children, because I'm not always comfortable with what toys and games are appropriate for what ages. I rely heavily on the recommended ages!

8. Easiest person to buy for? WH is never too difficult because he's usually pretty good about giving hints about what he wants.

9. Do you have a nativity scene? Not yet... we don't really have room for one in the wee house that wouldn't be tormented by the cats. When we get a bigger house, I'd like to get one of the beautiful Aboriginal nativity scenes from South America.

10. Mail or email Christmas cards? Neither this year... I just ran out of time. But usually Mail.

11. Worst Christmas gift you ever received? A friend of mine in high school bought me a star fish one year. A real one (dead, though). It would have been neat, except that it smelled atrocious. Like dead fish, appropriately.

12. Favorite Christmas Movie? A Christmas Story

13. When do you start shopping for Christmas? Usually not until December... sigh.

14. Have you ever recycled a Christmas present? I'm sure that I have, but I can't think of a specific example at this point.

15. Favorite thing to eat at Christmas? White chocolate brittle with candy cane chunks in it.

16. Lights on the tree? Absolutely! This is WH's job... he's very good at it!

17. Favorite Christmas song? Once in Royal David's City

18. Travel at Christmas or stay home? This year we're staying home. We've sort of alternated back and forth between Prairie City and Big City in the East where WH's family lives, but travel at Christmas is tricky because of WH's church responsibilities.

19. Can you name all of Santa's reindeer's? Heavens, no. Well, probably, but only if given time, and a pen and paper.

20. Angel on the tree top or a star? Star. Ours is fibre-optic.

21. Open presents Christmas Eve or morning? We used to open one present on Christmas Eve and then the rest on Christmas Day. Fundamentally, Christmas present opening happens on the 25th

22. Most annoying thing about this time of the year? White elephant gift exchanges and atrociously bad pop versions of traditional Christmas carols.

23. Favorite ornament theme or color? WH and I buy each other an ornament every year... the tackier the better!

24. Favorite for Christmas dinner? I like the traditional fare - turkey, mashed potatoes, cranberry sauce, gravy... you know...

25. What do you want for Christmas this year? Oh, peace and goodwill and all of that excellent stuff. And also an iPod dock.

26. What do you like most about Christmas? I enjoy the undeniable spirit of the season. And also the Church Choir Christmas Party.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Status Update

On Christmas Plans:
  • The decision about the tree has not yet been made, but we're going shopping this afternoon just to look.
  • Plans for family dinner are pretty much secure. We will do appetizers and presents in the afternoon at our place while the turkey roasts, and then we'll march the food across the alley to MB's house to eat it, because he has the bigger dining room table. We have bought the bird; we just need odds and ends of ingredients to finish it off.
  • House cleaning and decorating is on the list for this weekend, as we're having friends over for dinner on Sunday night and would like to have the house all gussied up in time for them.
  • Shopping... aie aie aie. I've got a few things, but I'm nowhere near done. Oh well.
  • The Gingerbread house kit has been purchased but we haven't put it together yet.
In other news, we did actually get our paint touch-ups done last weekend, a project that we've been NOT doing for the better part of two years. Hurray! This is the first on a list of a projects we want to get done around the house before we put the house on the market. We have more painting to do, in the bathroom and the basement, and some new lino that needs to be put down on the stairs and in the bathroom. I think that we will also replace the sink in the bathroom with a slightly bigger model.

And so it goes!

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Trader Tuesday: Steamed Artichoke

I'm a bit short of ideas today, so I'll post this treat that WH and I enjoyed last night.

Purchase a whole artichoke. Cut the tips off the outer leaves, and then cut the top off the artichoke. In a pot, place water, a clove of garlic, lemon juice and a bay leaf if you have one. Put the artichoke in a steaming basket and put it in the pot. Boil the water, and then reduce to simmer for anywhere between 20 and 45 minutes. You'll know that the artichoke is done because the leaves will relax a little bit and pull away from the core.

I know of two options for condiments... melted butter or aioli. For the latter, mix a cup of mayonnaise, a minced clove of garlic, salt and pepper and a little bit of lemon juice.

To eat: Pull a leaf off the artichoke. The edible portion is the white bit on the inside bottom of the leaf. Put the leaf in your mouth and drag it through your teeth to free the "meat." (After dipping, of course!) Once you get down into the heart, there are all kinds of edible bits in there, and the bigger mess that you've made, the more successful you've been at enjoying this treat!

Monday, December 8, 2008

The Tannenbaum Quandry

Sounds like the title of the next Bond movie...

Anyhow, both WH and I grew up in homes where real Christmas trees were a staple of the holiday experience. When my brothers and I were very young, our father used to take us out into the bush to cut down our tree. As we got older, and that errand became more difficult to manage, we would get our tree from one of the local tree farm sales lots, or from Big Chain Grocery Store, or from Colourful University's forestry students, or wherever was most convenient. What was important was that the tree was always real. (We did have one year when we took the whole tree thing in an entirely different direction, but that's a story for another day. So is the story of the year that MU and I stole the Christmas tree...)

In the three Christmases that WH and I have spent together, we have put up a real tree, much to the great delight of our cats, and much to the distress of WH's allergies. We would never have considered an artificial tree; it just ran against every idea either of us have of what Christmas should look like in our home.

But a number of things have come to light in the last couple of years:
  • WH's parents, and his sister and brother-in-law, made the switch to artificial.
  • Middle Brother made the switch to artificial.
  • Friends of ours bought an aritifical tree this year that looks FANTASTIC (and very real!) at a really reasonable price.
  • I got more than normally annoyed at how many pine needles I was still finding all over the house in July and August.
So now we are in a quandry in our little wee house. I think that we both still feel emotionally pulled towards the real tree and what it meant for us growing up. And we are both aware of the environmental reasons why real trees are desirable. And having allergies didn't stop us from getting cats...

But you know, I just have this feeling that we're going to make the switch. Maybe, when we're in a bigger house and have children, we'll switch back, and maybe we won't. We'll have to see how this first year goes...

I think that we both know that real or fake isn't actually that important, and didn't actually play as big a role in our childhood Christmas traditions as we think that it did. And we'll inevitably discover that our Christmas is as wonderful and memorable with an artificial tree.

But isn't it funny the things that you hold on to?

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

More from Funny Felines

I think this video is hilarious. Enjoy!

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Trader Tuesday: Teriyaki Chicken Salad

This is a great meal if you're cooking for that special someone for the first time. It came to me via my friend, S. The recipe is easy, uncomplicated, and totally impressive. Serves 4 as side salads or 2 as full meal.

Pre-heat oven to 350F.

¼ c. Soy sauce
1 tsp. Sugar
½ tsp. Prepared mustard
¼ tsp. Ginger
1/8 tsp. Garlic powder
2 boneless Chicken breasts

Stir first 5 ingredients into a bowl.
Add chicken, turning to coat. Marinate for 20 minutes.
Remove chicken and lay on foil-lined baking tray.
Bake uncovered @ 350F for ~ 30 minutes.
Brush with marinade every 10 minutes, turning once
6)Cool, cut into bite-sized pieces.

Note: I've used this Chicken recipe for other things as well, like stirfry. It makes really nice, moist, teriyaki chicken.

8 oz. (250g) Rotini
1 tbsp. Cooking oil

Bring salted water to a boil.
Cook pasta until tender, but firm. (10-12 minutes)
Drain and rinse with cold water.

2 tbsp. Vinegar
¼ c. Cooking oil
3 tbsp. Sugar
¼ tsp. Garlic powder
1/8 tsp. Pepper

Combine ingredients in a small container (use one with a lid so you can shake to dissolve sugar). Stir well.
Pour over pasta to coat.

Final Touches
½ c. crumbled Feta
1/3 c. sliced pitted Black Olives

2-4 tbsp. chopped Pimiento

Divide pasta among your plates, place chicken on top, and sprinkle with olives, feta and pimiento.

*Note: Pimientos can be purchased by jar at any grocery store.
I didn’t know that the first time I made this recipe, and spent about 45 minutes pulling pimientos one at a time out of a jar of green olives.

Monday, December 1, 2008

A Looooooooooong First Sunday

If I were to identify two services during the year that I love the most and would most regret missing, I would say Palm Sunday and the Advent Lessons and Carols Service. The latter was held yesterday, and it was lovely, but it was sandwiched in the middle of the First Sunday of Advent that WOULD NOT END.

0730: Up, out of bed, into shower, into clothes, into makeup, under hairdryer, etc.

0845: Into Flora (sexy red car) with WH and MB, off to Tim Horton's drive-thru for weekly Sunday breakfast order (Exra large triple triple, large double cream, medium double cream, fruit explosion muffin, banana nut muffin, toasted honey wheat bagel with plain cream cheese)

915: Church Choir Practice for Advent One service

1030: Advent One Service

1200: Quick lunch at WH's desk while he puts finishing touches on Lessons and Carols (L&C) bulletin

1230: Print bulletins. Engage in 1 1/2 hour long fight with photocopier from h*ll. When we had the upper hand on the fight, we folded and stapled. The whole thing took about twice as long as it should have.

1500: Rehearsal for L&C

1600: Sing L&C service, including brief solo-stint as Second Boy. Music includes three carols, the Advent Prose, Mattins Responsory, and four (or five?) hymns.

1700: Look longingly at post L&C potluck supper but dash away to grab quick sandwich from Subway and then head to Big Concert Hall in downtown Prairie City for gig with local military band in support of local branch of Awesome Charity.

1730: Rejoice in discovering that WH has a dressing room for this gig. Trust me, when 60 women from the choir and 25 women from the band are all competing for two washroom stalls at intermission, a husband with his own dressing room (and bathroom) is wonderful.

1735: Watch as WH attempts to register the massive pipe organ at BCH while various members of the band rehearse various pieces of music in various keys and various volumes. Curse self for not bringing Advil.

1830: After arrival of other members of Orchestral Choir, rehearse opening and closing of the program.

1900: Participate in requisite pre-concert reorganization of the choir into more balanced seating arrangement. Remark with fellow alto on similarities between choir reorganization and herding cats.

1920: Without usual member of Orchestral Choir who gets us lined up before concerts, pre-concert lining up takes much longer than usual, and considerable confusion results about how we walk into the BCH. Miraculously, we end up in the right places in the choir loft.

1930: Sing concert, consisting of four traditional Christmas carols, an arrangement of Do You Hear What I Hear (hear Chorus gag), and a song called I'm Dreaming of Home, commissioned a number of years ago to recognize those soldiers who fought at Vimy Ridge and used often now to commemorate those soldiers who are serving overseas and are thinking about home. Dry tears.

1940: Watch member of bass section from Orchestral Choir throw up (in the choir loft).

2020: Intermission. Go use spouse's bathroom (first in line!). Have similar trouble lining up choir. Return to choir loft for second half.

2200: Finish concert

2205: Dash upstairs to post-concert reception, eat three appetizers and a square, shake hands with band leader.

2210: Go home.

2230: Photocopy sections of grant application for Chamber Choir that is due today. Put grant application into envelope and clearly mark with address so that WH can drop it off on Monday (today!).

2300: Attempt to go to sleep.

2300 - 0615: Toss and turn.

Friday, November 28, 2008

In which Chorus Shops

With all deference to Black Friday (which doesn't really happen up here in Canada) and Buy Nothing Day (which does, but I always seem to need to buy something on that day, so I buy nothing on other days to compensate), WH and I are going shopping this evening.

On the list:
  • New pants for WH because since September 1st, he has lost 25 pounds!
  • A pair of boots, with fuzzy lining for me, something that will go with pants and skirts.
  • Perhaps a new pair of boots for WH that he can wear to shovel the sidewalks.
  • Something to send back to WH's hometown for his best friend's new baby boy.
  • Maybe some groceries if we feel up to it.
I've started thinking a little bit about Christmas plans this week and what needs to get done in the next little while. I'd like to get a package together and sent off to WH's parents and sister's family in the next couple of weeks to make sure it gets there for the 25th. And I guess I need to make some plans for baking. I think that it would be a lot of fun to do a gingerbread house this year, but I'll have to see how much energy we have. Also on the baking list is, of course, rum balls, and a couple of kinds of cookies that I made last year that were fantastic, and probably some new ones as well.

And we'll try to find some time to invite some friends over during the holiday season when schedules are a little bit more relaxed and people might have more time.

I have to say, that despite how busy November has been, I feel like I have more energy going into the holiday season than I did at this time last year. We'll see if it lasts!

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Being the Choir Wyf, Part 4

I've been involved in a number of conversations in the last couple of weeks about the choices that professional musicians make about balancing family and career. We know many professional musicians who have chosen to have no family at all and have thrust all their energy into the career side. In many cases, extreme loneliness is the result, even if the career is highly successful. When we got home on Friday night after the performance of Solomon, WH said to me how happy he was to be able to come home and celebrate a successful concert with someone else. One of our singer friends has been the subject of some criticism for having had children and a family perhaps at the expense of what could have been a vast international career. But at the end of the day, she goes home to two beautiful children, and a house and husband that she loves... and I'm pretty sure that she has absolutely no regrets. And I am glad, hugely glad, to be able to be the person with whom WH comes home and celebrates his successes.

Here's a bloggy safe picture of my hubby rehearsing the choir before the dress rehearsal of Solomon last week. Pretty cool, eh?

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Roomba Kitty

I love this video... I think that it's the tail dragging behind that cracks me up the most.

Trader Tuesday : Grilled Summer Pasta

This is our favourite summer recipe to cook on the BBQ. It tastes amazing and makes wonderful leftovers, which never last very long!


¾ Cup olive oil

½ lemon juiced

2 TBSPS dried basil or oregano

Salt and Pepper to taste

(we often use just pre-made grill spice for vegetables for the marinade, and I don't think I've ever put lemon juice on it...)


1 yellow pepper seeded, cut in chunks

1 red pepper seeded, cut in chunks

1 orange pepper seeded, cut in chunks

1 medium sweet potato, thinly sliced (Pre-cook in microwave until 50% done) (we often leave out the sweet potato... it's yummy, but also kind of a pain. We replace it with more peppers, usually... green ones are good.)

1 red onion, sliced

2 zucchinis, sliced


1 bag of fusili pasta (cooked)

1 cup goat cheese, chopped

1 cup FRESH basil, chopped

1 cup field tomatoes, finely diced

¼ cup pine nuts, toasted (Do not burn the pine nuts. Burnt pine nuts are bad for a marriage. The first time we made this recipe together, I burned the pinenuts, much to my husband's distress. Then he burned the pine nuts the next time so badly that they left little pine nut shadows in the bottom of the pan. I felt vindicated and probably gloated quite a lot.)

Mix together marinade and Veggies. Grill Veggies on a hot BBQ until soft and slightly charred.

Mix while hot with cooked fusili, goat cheese, fresh basil, diced tomatoes and pinenuts. Serve and garnish with freshly ground black pepper.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Revelling in the Quiet

Solomon went very, VERY well. We had a terrific house, and all the musicians - orchestra, choir and soloists - performed wonderfully well. I'm so proud of what WH has accomplished with this concert... what a rush the whole experience has been.

We have spent the rest of the weekend moving around very quietly and without a lot of motivation. We didn't get dressed yesterday until 3pm, and are having a quiet afternoon today with the Grey Cup, trying to get caught up on some of the work that we haven't had time to focus on in the last couple of weeks.

I think that the cats are grateful to have a little attention.

Back to the regular grind tomorrow, which will be just fine. Prep for Messiah is well underway, and at least one other Christmas gig, as well as early work on our spring concerts.

And, of course, my day job!

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

We're Hanging in There

This week is unbelievably busy.

Yesterday, we picked WH's parents up from the airport in the morning, and then WH had his first orchestra rehearsal for this Friday's production of Solomon. This morning, we were up at the crack of dawn to get to a promotional TV shoot for the concert at 6am, and now (10am) WH is doing a radio interview. Then we're rushing home to catch a phone call from the local paper, grab some lunch, hopefully find a bit of a nap, and then the orchestra and soloists rehearse from 2 until 4:30. Then home for a quick dinner before orchestra and choir rehearse tonight from 6:30 until 9:30.

WH teaches first thing tomorrow morning before we rush off to do another TV promotion, and then I think we have the afternoon quiet before our dress rehearsal in the evening.

There are no rehearsals on Thursday, but I have to go to a meeting in the morning, and then a grant application workshop in the early afternoon. One of our soloists is giving a master class at Colourful U. in the afternoon, which we both hope to get to, and then we are planning to make reservations somewhere for the cast of soloists for supper.

On Friday, I think that we are going to be very quiet and very relaxed so that we are full of energy for the concert in the evening!

I took this week off work and I'm very glad that I did. I wouldn't want to be missing all this excitement! Having WH's parents in town is wonderful, because they are taking care of a significant amount of the food preparation for us, so we're not having to worry too much about getting fed!


For those who asked about the car break-in: WH lost an old iPod and a bunch of spare change, and they punched in the lock on the passenger side, so we'll have to get that fixed. So it's a pain in the butt, but at least they didn't break any windows.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Witnessed in the Police Station This Morning

... where WH and I were filling out a report about a car break-in.

The gentleman in line in front of us was, apparently, visiting the police station to see how he could have his samurai swords returned to him. The swords had been taken from him two years ago by the police in an incident that also involved a tasering.

Police Officer: Did you get tasered because you were carrying the swords?
Guy: No, I got tasered because they asked me to put down my weapons, and I told them that they weren't weapons, they were educational tools.
Police Officer: Actually, they're weapons.
Guy: With all due respect, they're not weapons.
Police Officer: With all due respect, get the hell out of my police station.

Then there was a lot of yelling. The police officer was a lot louder at the yelling, so the guy left. But not before leaving a multi-page hand-written manifesto about his right to have his swords back.

Ah, Saturday morning in the community station.

Friday, November 14, 2008


From Time.com...

Wednesday, November 12, 2008


Wednesday evenings are my evenings at home on my own. WH is in rehearsal tonight, but when he's not rehearsing, Wednesdays are his curling night. (If you're not familiar with curling, read here. Curling is awesome.)

Because I'm in rehearsals most other nights during the work week, Wednesdays are my night to get business manager work done for Chamber Choir, get caught up on house work, cook a nice dinner, cuddle with the kittehs, knit, cross-stitch, chat with friends, play Word Twist etc.

And it's my night to watch crime shows on TV! Well, actually, first I often watch America's Next Top Model, although lately, I've found that the show has gone from Endearing-Stupid to just Stupid-Stupid, so I've stopped seeking it out. But I have started watching Criminal Minds again, as well as CSI NY. I'm especially fond of Criminal Minds, if I can get past the fear factor.

So now I'm going to get back to it!

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Trader Tuesday: Herbed Fish and Vegetables

So this recipe is taken from Prevention's Healthy One-Dish Meals in Minutes. It's on our meal plan for Friday night, so I can't speak to how good it tastes, only that it's quick (40 minutes total - prep and cooking time) and easy! 

Herbed Fish and Vegetables 

1 1/2 Tbsp lemon juice 
1 tsp dried thyme leaves 
1/2 tsp onion salt
1/4 tsp ground allspice 
1/8 tsp freshly ground black pepper 
Pinch of ground red pepper (optional) 
4 swordfish, halibut or other firm white fish fillets (4 oz each)
4 medium potatoes, cut into 1/2" cubes
4 onions, quartered 
2 stalks celery, thinly sliced 
1 large green pepper, cubed 
4 tsp butter or margarine 

Preheat the oven to 425F.  

Lay four 12" x 18" pieces of aluminum foil or parchment paper on the work surface and lightly coat with no-stick spray. 

In a medium bowl, combine the lemon juice, thyme, onion salt, all-spice, black pepper and red pepper. Add the fish, potatoes, onions, celery and green peppers. Toss to coat. 

Place a fish fillet in the center of each piece of foil or paper. Divide the vegetables evenly among them. Top with the butter or margarine. 

Fold the long sides of foil or paper together, making several folds to encase the food snugly. Fold the ends closed, like a package to enclose securely. 

Lay the packets, seam side up, on a baking sheet. Bake for 25-30 minutes, or until the fish and vegetables are tender when tested with a fork. Be careful of escaping steam when opening the packets. 

Per Serving: 373 calories, 8.8g total fat, 3.7 g saturated fat, 55 mg cholesterol, 369 mg. sodium

Monday, November 10, 2008

Meal Planning

Not actually Chorus.

I did it, I did it, I DID IT! I planned our dinners for the WHOLE WEEK yesterday, and then we went to the grocery store and bought all the groceries for all the meals I've planned. If that doesn't seem like a big deal, trust me, it's a big deal for us. This week will mark the first time EVER that we've actually planned a week's worth of food and then followed-through with it.

So here's what's on the menu, starting with last night:

Sunday: Orange Cumin Chicken, white rice and steamed carrots.
Monday: Chili (WH is making this for the crock-pot right now!) I'll go home and make some muffins to go with it.
Tuesday: Chicken Quesadillas with green salad
Wednesday: Marinated Pork Tenderloin with baby potatoes and broccoli
Thursday: Penne with Roasted Red Pepper Sauce
Friday: White Fish (probably halibut) with potatoes and veggies, all done in a tin foil pocket in the oven!

The only thing I have left to buy for the week is the fish, which I'll buy fresh from FredtheButcher on my way home from work on Friday. I'll provide a recipe or two tomorrow for Trader Tuesday!

In other news, the first concert of the year for Chamber Choir went very, very well. This concert was a joint project with one of our local youth choirs, so we had a huge audience and they were very responsive. The choir sounded great!!!

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Friday, November 7, 2008

Friday Five: Funny Papers

Today from the Revgals, we have a Friday Five about comics! Presbyterian Gal writes:

After an exhausting election here in the states it's time for some spirit lifting! Join me with a nice cup of tea or coffee or cocoa and let's sit back and read the Funny Papers!
1. What was your favorite comic strip as a child?2. Which comic strip today most consistently tickles your funny bone?
3. Which Peanuts character is closest to being you?
4. Some say that comic strips have replaced philosophy as a paying job, so to speak. Does this ring true with you?

Hmm... that's interesting. I definitely think that there are some comic strips that express a certain philosophy brilliantly... Calvin and Hobbes was great for that... Opus too!

5. What do you think the appeal is for the really long running comic strips like Blondie, Family Circus, Dennis the Menace as some examples?

I think that the appeal is probably to a generation of comic strips that were relatively simple and un-complicated in their approach. An approach that proved to be timeless, even when the comics themselves were running out of steam in the "funny" department.

Bonus question: Which discontinued comic strip would you like to see back in print?
See above, re:

Thursday, November 6, 2008

On the Other Hand...

So now, despite my glee at the election results, and the rush I still get when I think of Obama's acceptance speech, I feel like I have to say something about the aspects of this election that went badly.

Because frankly, my heart is broken.

Broken for gays and lesbians in California who have once again had their right to marry taken away.

Broken for gays and lesbians in Florida and Arizona, who have had the right to have their relationships recognized excluded from their own constitution.

Broken for gays and lesbians in Arkansas, who have been excluded from the state's newest legislation regarding the adoption of children.

But more generally, I am saddened that some segment of the population has taken it upon themselves to define what it will mean to be in a committed and loving relationship. That some segment of the population feels that it is their RIGHT or RESPONSIBILITY to tell other people that their relationships are somehow less valuable. And to insinuate, in the absolutely most ridiculous of terms, that their own relationships are somehow threatened by the love that two people feel for one another.

And you know what I hate the most about this? I hate the way it makes it sound as though straight people are perfect. As though straight people never do anything to damage the sanctity of marriage. As though straight people would always make perfect parents for a child in need of a home.

Because we all know that that is complete crap.

We all struggle. Most of us get more relationships wrong than we get right. We all have good parenting moments and bad parenting moments. And none of that has anything to do with our sexual orientation.

So to the people that voted to keep gays and lesbians from enjoying the same rights afforded to you I say, please get over yourselves. If you devoted even half of the energy that you have put towards this insanity towards loving your neighbour, the world would be a much, MUCH, better place.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

And I'm Back

Landed in Prairie City early this afternoon after another uneventful travel day. Happy to see WH and the kittehs again and to have an afternoon to get re-settled at home and plan for the rest of the week, which includes a Chamber Choir dress rehearsal and concert.

WH is at a rehearsal this evening, and Mama Cat is asleep in my lap. Good to be home.

And the experience of witnessing the U.S. election last night? VERY cool. I did a lot of grinning.

Lovely things purchased in City with Lots of Roses:
-a black turtle neck, a black cardigan, a grey jacket
-a new pair of nylon-tipped tongs from Williams Sonoma, where I had to resist the urge to buy ONE. OF. EVERYTHING. Also bought a bottle of sauce. Resisted the table linens.
-a bottle of wine for our fancy-schmancy wine collection
-a couple of presents for CR, which I can't reveal because I haven't given them to her yet!

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Quick Check In

Hi all!

I'm in City with Lots of Roses, and things are going well so far! We had good travel experiences on both flights here (with the exception of a little bit of turbulence) and have spent our first day here getting familiar with the downtown and doing a little bit of shopping. I finally found the black cardigan I've been looking for all these months!

The hotel is just fine, and all the conference events are right in the hotel, so I never have far to go. I went to the pre-conference workshop today, and that was valuable, if not as interactive as I would have liked. I'm just about to head downstairs to the opening speaker and reception, and then the conference kicks off in earnest tomorrow morning!

Take care, all!


Friday, October 31, 2008

Happy Halloween!

Thanks to Jan for this fun link! You can carve your own pumpkin!

I'm off to this conference tomorrow and am not sure if I'll get a chance to blog in the meantime. If not, see y'all on the 5th.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Trader Tuesdays: Slo-cooked chicken

WH and I have the following conversation almost every single day:

What do you want for dinner tonight?
I don't know; what do you want?
I don't know.

Who starts the conversation depends on who phones who at what time... it varies. As we enter what will probably be one of the busiest months of our entire existences, we have to do better. I'm hoping to do some meal planning for November before I leave for City With Lots of Roses on Saturday morning. In that spirit, this morning I actually got up a bit early and I put four chicken breasts (two for dinner, two for leftovers), a great slug of salsa, some corn and an onion in the slo-cooker with salt and pepper, and put it on low. WH will put rice on before I get home from work, and ta da! DINNER! Pro-Activity, thy name is CHORUS! I would love to get in the habit of putting some thought into dinner every day before I go to work...

What about you?? What are your favourite and best slo-cooker recipes?

Monday, October 27, 2008

Top Ten Hymns

I thought it would be fun to try and narrow down the hundreds of hymns I love into a concise list of my favourite ten. I decided quite early on in the process that I would call this A top ten list of my favourite hymns, rather than THE top ten list, allowing for the fact that if I do this again in a month's time, the list will probably be different. I've included the tune names in italics. (and you'll have to forgive me for linking to cyberhymnal and their terrible electric versions of all these hymns. You have to imagine them with choirs and descants and pipe organs and alternate harmonizations and all that good stuff. Think English Cathedrals!)

1. Eternal Father, Strong to Save - Melita

2. For All the Saints - Sine Nomine

3. Jerusalem, the Golden - Ewing

4. Praise, My Soul, the King of Heaven - Praise My Soul
This was our wedding processional, and I can't sing it now without getting teary.

5. We Plough the Fields and Scatter - Wir Pflugen

6. Once to Every Man and Nation - Ebenezer

7. Rejoice the Lord is King - Darwall

8. At the Name of Jesus - Weston

9. All my Hope - Michael (with the descant that Howells wrote - another wedding hymn)

10. There is a Green Hill Far Away - Horsley (preferably with last verse unaccompanied)

Friday, October 24, 2008



And I have a whole bunch of little miscellaneous bloggy thoughts to share with you today!
  • I wasn't home for the game last night, so can't really blog about it in much detail. But I was happy to see that BJ Upton had a better night than he did in Game 1, going 2-4, which helped the Rays pull out the win at home. I would have started to doubt my prediction if the Phillies had won both games in TB, but I'm sticking with the Rays in 6/7.
  • I wasn't home last night because WH and I went to see the Orphei Drangar, or the Sons of Orpheus, which is probably the best men's choir in the world. They come from Sweden, and are touring North America as a part of the farewell tour of their long-time conductor, Robert Sund. The concert was FANTASTIC. The choir has an incredible range of styles in which they are experts, singing everything from Schubert to an arrangement of Shenandoah, and all of it beautifully.
  • I am going to be in the United States for the election. I'm travelling to City With Lots of Roses next weekend for a conference and don't fly home until the day after America votes. It will be an interesting experience to compare to our most recent federal election.
  • Last thought about the election... when candidates say things like, "God will do the right thing for America," it turns my stomach. This means you.
  • I look at my schedule for next week, and it makes me want to cry. And I think about going to this conference, and I don't want to go. And then I think about getting to go shopping at Macy's, and I do want to go. And then I think about the Canadian dollar, and I don't want to go again.
  • I get to babysit two of the most lovely babies in the whole world tomorrow. CAN'T WAIT.
  • WH gets his stitches out today.
  • We are going to spend most of the weekend marking scores for the upcoming performance of Solomon. WH's hope is that if we can get all the orchestra scores marked beforehand, that will save him MAJOR time in the orchestra rehearsals. But somewhere between the publisher and Prairie City, one-third of the orchestra scores have disappeared. We have all the upper string parts, but no bass, no winds, no timpani, no harpsichord. Aie.
And that's about it for today!

Have a wonderful weekend everybody!

Thursday, October 23, 2008

My favourite quotation...

... related to last night's World Series game. I took this off of Ken Tremendous's latest post on Fire Joe Morgan.

(*Warning! Swear words ahead!)

By the way, I'm currently watching Game One of the Series on like an hour TiVo delay, and Tim McCarver, after Shane Victorino almost got picked off second, said something like, "You've probably heard that you should never make the first or third out at third base, but in this case, you should never make the first out at second base."

What he could have said: "You shouldn't get picked off in a [fucking] World Series game."

I (heart) Ken Tremendous.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Blogging World Series Game 1

Let me just begin by saying... WORST. NATIONAL. ANTHEM. ARRANGEMENT. EVER.

Otherwise, looks like a big and lively crowd in Tampa Bay! This must be so exhilarating for players like Carl Crawford, who have seen so many very bad days in TB, and the teeny-tiny crowds that go with them. I bet they sell more hot dogs at Tropicana Field tonight than they ever have before.

(Cat-related interruption... Baby Cat is sitting right on top of Mama Cat. Right on top of her. Mama Cat doesn't seem to mind. They're both sleeping.)

Top of 1 (T1): Mike Schmidt presents the Phillies line-up for Fox. Isn't it funny how baseball players always LOOK like baseball players, even long after they've retired. Schmidt refers to Chase Utley as Chase "Born to Play Baseball" Utley. That's... creative. A one-out walk to Jayson Werth, first base runner of the night. OOh! There are stingrays in a tank in center field... I bet PETA loves that. Fox tell us that the biggest crowd ever at Tropicana was 47, 150... for a New Kids on the Block Concert. Chase "BtPB" Utley hits a home run over the right field wall... 2-0 Phillies. Scott Kazmir strikes out Pat Burrell to end the half-inning. (1H, 2R, 0E)

B1: The Rays choose to use their own players to introduce themselves, but they do it in one take, with each player walking up the camera, and Carl Crawford screws it up. But at least it was his position he got wrong and not, you know, his name. Iwamura beats out a close play at first for the first Rays runner of the night. I love me some good hustle. BJ Upton erases the runner on a 4-6-3 DP. Upton does not hustle. Another ground ball ends the inning. (1H, 0R, 0E)

T2: Infield hit for Shane Victorino, who looks like he never blinks. Kazmir goes 3&0 on Pedro Feliz, giving credence to what the Fox announcers have just said about his propensity to be wild in early innings. This will likely be the only credible thing that the Fox announcers will say tonight. And there's the walk. The Rays come VERY close to picking-off Victorino at 2nd. The ump made the right call though, to my eye. Kazmir walks the bases loaded and gets a nice visit from the pitching coach. Jimmy Rollings hits a fly ball to to center field, but it's not very deep, and Victorino tags up and gets thrown out at home. (1H, 0R, 0E)

B2: Nothing very much happens this half-inning, except that Cole Hamels looks very dominant on the mound, especially with Kasmir being a bit wild. (0H, 0R, oE) I'm starting to crave popcorn.

T3: Jayson Werth starts the inning with a double for the Phils. Utley advances him to third on a ground ball. Jason Werth used to play for the Blue Jays. As a fan of the Blue Jays, I will take credit for his success. Ryan Howard strikes out. Burrell strikes out too. (1H, 0R, 0E)

(Cat-related interruption... The cats are now fighting. All good things must come to an end. Mama Cat gives up and moves to my lap.)

B3: One-out single for Ben Zobrist. A walk to Jason Bartlett. Did you know that the whole Rays starting rotation is younger than 26? That's pretty impressive. Base hit for Iwamura on a hung curve ball, bases LOADED. And now Hamels gets a nice visit from the coach. But Upton hits into his second DP (5-4-3) of the night, and the inning is over. (2H, 0R, 0E)

T4: Victorino leads off with a single, and immediately starts to bother Kazmir again, as he did in the 2nd inning. Predictably, Feliz hits a single to put two on with nobody out. Chris Coste bunts both runners over. RBI Ground-out by Ruiz, 3-0 for the Phillies. Kazmir strikes out Jimmy Rollins to end the inning. (2H, 1R, 0E)

B4: Crawford hits a home run to right field! Woo! The crowd comes alive, and the Rays are on the board. (1H, 1R, 0E)

T5: I love Joe Maddon (the Rays Manager). If he doesn't win the Manager of the Year, I'll be surprised. Kazmir issues his 4th walk of the night with two outs. The Rays have to get out of this inning quickly to try and build on the momentum created by Crawford's home run and to keep the crowd in it. The first basemen, Pena, gets handcuffed and commits an error that allows Burrell to reach first. Two on, two out. The next batter grounds out and there's no harm done. We'll see about the momentum... (0H, 0R, 1E)

B5:Navarro strikes out to start the inning. Zobrist follows it up with a ground ball out. Bartlett walks to bring up Iwamura, who is 2-2 tonight. Bartlett steals second, and Iwamura lifts a beautiful double to left field to score the run. 3-2 Phillies. This is the kind of late game excitement that the Rays are known for! Upton pops out to foul territory to end the inning. (1H, 1R, oE)

T6: Can somebody explain to me why (Feliz leads off with single) the baseball team from Tampa Bay FLORIDA is playing in a covered stadium? It is 24C in Tampa right now, at 10:30 in the evening. Ridiculous. Kazmir passes the 100-pitch mark, and we are seeing activity in the bullpen, including from a guy who throws so dramatically side-arm as to look like he's bowling. Whatever works for ya, I guess! No pitching change by inning end though. (1H, 0R, 0E)

So Taco Bell has this promotion where if anybody steals a base in the World Series, they will give a free taco... TO EVERYONE IN AMERICA. And Bartlett stole a base last inning, so... SO CLAIM YOUR TACOS, MY AMERICAN BLOGGY FRIENDS! (Tuesday, October 28th between 2 and 6pm, apparently.)

I'm getting my popcorn soon. I can smell it. He's a good husband.

B6: Carlos Pena is safe at first on an error to start the seventh but is thrown out at second trying to steal. Joe Maddon is arguing (loudly) that the pitcher balked on the pitch... And then Longoria strikes out for the second out. Crawford grounds out to end the inning. (0H, 0R, 1E)

T7: JP Howell in to replace Kazmir. WH calls the Fox commentators stupid. I laugh. Werth strikes out to start the seventh, and we get to hear the conversation between Maddon and the Ump between the inning with regards to the questionable call in the previous half inning. It is an entirely decent and reasonable coversation. How nice! Utley gets a single up the middle and steals second base. FREE TACOS PEOPLE. Wild pitch, and Utley's on third with one out. Ryan Howard strikes out. Howard walks Burrell and is pulled from the game. The new pitcher is Grant Balfour, a good French Canadian name, except that he's from Australia. He strikes out Victorino to end the inning. (2H, 0R, 0E)

TAKE ME OUT TO THE BALL GAME... etc. (And I don't care if they actually play God Bless America instead... this is Take Me Out to the Ballgame time. God Bless America was a moving and touching tribute after 9/11. Enough now.)

B7: The Rays do nothing with their half of the seventh. Cole Hamels is now at 100 pitches, and I think they should pull him now. With the great bullpen that the Phillies have, and a one run lead, why run the risk of giving that up because of a tiring starter? We'll see...

T8: The Phillies go in order in the eighth.

B8: I can't tell if the fact that WebMD sponsors the injury reports on Fox is genius marketing, or actually kind of creepy. Anyhoo... I would like the Rays to do something spectacular with this inning. Something home-runish, or bases loadedish... The Phillies have, in fact, changed their pitcher. (I told them to do that.) Ryan Madsen takes the ball and gets Bartlett to pop up to start things off. Iwamura flies out to right. BJ Upton is one home run away from tying the record for most postseason home runs, which is currently held by all kinds of people... Beltran, Bonds (ugh), Glaus. Wouldn't right now be a good time to hit one? Upton strikes out... and that's the eighth.

On to the ninth!

T9: Balfour is back out on the mound for the Rays, and he strikes out Rollins to start things off. Ground-rule double for Jayson Werth, and the Rays walk Utley intentionally (he was born to play baseball, after all). Balfour out, Miller in, Ryan Howard strikes out. WH asks the following excellent question: "Why does Fox have aerial coverage when the game is being played in a domed stadium?" I have no answer for that. Both runners advance with no throw but a pop-up gets the Rays out of the inning.

B9: Brad Lidge has not blown a save in 49 tries. Carlos Pena strikes out. Evan Longoria strikes out. Crawford pops it up and that's Game One in the books.

Just a few thoughts... No surprise that this game was dominated by pitching; that's my expectation for the whole series. The Rays need to continue to believe in their ability to make games exciting late. The Phillies will need bigger things from their power bats, Rollins and Howard especially, and for the Rays, BJ Upton needs to hit the ball.

And if the Jays were in the series, would Canadian tacos be free too?

For the Record

My prediction is Tampa Bay in six or seven games.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Oh, blech.

So I've posted once before about our hockey pool and about the fact that this year, I'm the only girl participating. It's really not a big deal to be the only girl; I've known all the other participants for a while, and they're all good guys, so while our pool has a fair amount of trash talking, the chatter always stays focused on the teams themselves.

Until yesterday.

One of our regular participants brought a friend to the pool, a guy that none of the rest of us really know. Fundamentally, this is great; the more participants, the more money! Early this week, my team had a little surge of success, and jumped over a whole bunch of others, including New Guy, to about 5th place in the standings. Somebody else mocked New Guy for being suddenly at the bottom of the pool, and asked how he was enjoying the view. New Guy responded that the view was just fine because there was a skirt above him.

So not, in the grand scheme of things, a REALLY offensive comment, but more just... yucky. And not really the kind of attention that I need or want as a part of my hockey pool participation. So WH, bless his heart, replied quickly that, actually, I was wearing pants, and that I was kicking New Guy's @ss all over the pool. So that was gratifying.

More than I am offended by the comment itself, I'm annoyed that New Guy went in that direction. He's introduced an element of awkwardness to the pool that has never existed before. Blech.


On another note, Baby Cat caught her first mouse last night!

Monday, October 20, 2008

The Good, the Bad. the Ugly

of Chamber Choir Retreat Weekend!

The Good

We learned a TON of music, made good progress on our memorization of three spirituals (Deep River, Witness, Wade in the Water) and started to learn the (very difficult) music for our Spring concert. The food was fantastic. And we spent lovely quality time with other choristers in a beautiful location. AND got our choir pictures taken in remarkably short and well-organized time. Hurrah for hiring your wedding photographer to take pictures of your choir!

The Bad

I suppose that there is a blurring of lines between The Bad and The Ugly, but I think I'll say that the only bad things were the standard bad things that come out of a weekend-long rehearsal process... I'm exhausted in pretty much every way, I ate too much German food, my back is sore from sleeping somewhere other than my own bed, and I missed the kittehs.

The Ugly

WH hit his head. Hard. Against the edge of a low-hanging ceiling in the room where we were sleeping. And we all know how speedily and liberally heads bleed. I'm so grateful to the retired nurse in the choir who took control of the situation and insisted on driving us to the hospital, which was a half hour away down the pitch-black Prairie Province highway. Three stitches later, and WH is fine. No concussion, which is a relief. Actually, the most uncomfortable part seems to be the spot on his left arm where they updated his tetanus shot.

I'm glad to be home.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Friday Wrap-Up

Well, wasn't THAT a baseball game to remember last night?! Leave to the Bo-Sox to mount a seven-run comeback (the second longest in history) and run this series to a sixth game. Back to Tampa Bay they go!

And the National League series is all wrapped up, of course, with the Phillies taking it over the Dodgers in 5 games. The last time that the Phillies were in the World Series, they lost to the Blue Jays... sigh. Those were such happy days...

Anyhoo, this weekend is retreat weekend for Chamber Choir. We're headed out of town tonight to a cottage run by German Mennonites where we'll spend the next two days singing and singing and singing some more! The German Mennonites will do their very best to stuff us full of food during any moments when we don't happen to be singing. I'm looking forward to it... It will be tiring, but there are many, many worse things than a weekend full of good music.

Have a good weekend everybody!

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Blog Action Day 2008

T - Talk - to your children, your family, your friends, your church - about poverty in your neighbourhoods, your cities, your country, and the world.

A - Act. Donate money, food, clothing, furniture, toys. Volunteer.

K - Knit - sweaters, mittens, toques, socks, gloves, hats...

E - Educate yourself. Read the newspaper, consider the statistics.

A - Assemble. We can't solve this problem on our own. But we can if we work together.

C - Consume less. Eat less. Buy only what you'll use. When you buy new things, donate the old.

T - Talk some more - to your politicians, leaders, aid organizations.

I - Insist that poverty cessation be a priority where you are.

O - Own the problem. Poverty is not THEIR problem. Poverty is OUR problem.

N - Now. If not now, then when?


No matter what poverty looks like to you, TAKE ACTION AGAINST IT.

We are equipped to SOLVE the problem of global poverty.


Tuesday, October 14, 2008

A Random Things Meme

Thanks to Mandy at First You Make a Roux for the opportunity to meme today! The goal of this meme is to provide six random facts about myself... so here we go!

1. I like word games - crossword puzzles, Word Twist, Scrabble, etc.

2. I drink one cup of coffee every morning. After that, I drink hot water for most of the rest of the work day.

3. I have a number of significant scars on my left side - on my knee from a bike accident, on my side from a chest tube, just below my arm pit from lung surgery, and a lumpectomy scar - and only one on my right side, a burn on my right thumb.

4. I love creme brulee, and feel called to eat it any time I can. If it's on the menu, I have to order it. One time I had it with raspberries on the bottom of the bowl... that was my favourite.

5. I am moved by the Psalms.

6. I don't understand the need to have a full weeks' worth of Halloween-related activities in the office, starting a full five days before the day itself. I also don't understand the need to have more than ONE of those days include a requirement to dress up. Don't get me wrong, I like Halloween... but it all just seems like a bit much.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving

Happy Thanksgiving (the Canadian edition) Everybody!

We've had a lovely weekend so far! We worked around the house and yard yesterday, and then went to see Daniel Taylor and Dame Emma Kirkby in concert last night, singing a variety of Arias and Duets from Handel's oratorios and operas. One of the best concerts I have EVER been to.

This morning, we celebrated Harvest Thanksgiving at church and then came home to put the turkey in the oven, peel the potatoes, make the stuffing, string the beans, toast the almonds, make the pie, whip the cream, open the wine, etc. Everything turned out well!!

WH has gone to bed, and I'm heading that way soon too. Tomorrow is a day off too, and I'm hoping to get some pretty major cleaning and sorting around the house. After sleeping in, of course.

Today, I'm thankful for so much, too much to list here. Hope that all have had a restful weekend, whether it's a holiday for you or not!

Friday, October 10, 2008

Friday Five: Business Trip

Today on the Revgals Friday Five, we are invited to share our experiences with the exciting, challenging world of business travel....

1. Does your job ever call for travel? Is this a joy or a burden?

The only travel that I've done (and will be doing) for this job is related to attending conferences. When I worked in student services I attended provincial and national conferences, and now I have a big Pacific-region conference that I go to every November. While I like travelling, I find conferences really lonely. I'm not much of a schmoozer, and the pressure of being sociable and outgoing and friendly all day long makes me very tired.

2. How about that of your spouse or partner?

WH travels quite often to do adjudicating and examining at various festivals and competitions across Canada.

3. What was the best business trip you ever took?

Hmmm... nothing springs to mind as being truly exceptional, but I enjoyed my conference travel last year, which represented my first ever trip to the United States! It was at a time when the Canadian dollar was in particularly good shape [looks at current state of Canadian dollar... sighs], so I got some good shopping in!

4. ...and the worst, of course?

Again, nothing specific comes to mind, except that I'm always ready to come home about two days before conferences are over. I miss my hubby and my cats and my house and my routine. At last year's conference, which was at a beautiful city in the middle of the mountains, my view from my hotel window was a brick wall, built about three feet from the window. It was awesome.

5. What would make your next business trip perfect?

Good weather, good conference sessions, maybe some shopping, down time, good food...

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Sunday, October 5, 2008

A Conversation

The Scene: WH and I were eating Baked Tostitos with Salsa and Sour Cream as as snack. We eat this snack quite often, or some close derivative of it.

Chorus: I only want to buy this kind of salsa from now on. I like the corn in it.

WH: You know... I don't think that I really like salsa...

Chorus: Really?! Because... I don't think that I really like salsa either!

WH: (Gasp!) We learned something more about each other. We have something in common!!!


So it's been that kind of revelatory evening. Seriously, neither of us like salsa, and never thought to mention that to the other, in the whole four years we've been together. That's four years of salsa eatin' that we could have avoided...

Note: We have a friend who makes homemade salsa that we exempt from our new-found dislike of salsa. It's yummy.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

On Yams, Part 2

Ok, so I couldn't get one with the Rum, as requested, but here is the yam with a standard pop bottle.

On Yams.

That's right. Yams.

So, I sent WH off to do some grocery shopping yesterday afternoon, which he does quite happily during the week because the Big Chain Grocery Store is much less busy than on the weekends.

One of the things on the grocery list for yesterday was a yam or sweet potato, because they're healthy, and tasty, and the recipe I use calls for a liberal dose of Rum, so how can you go wrong?

When I got home from work, WH took me into the kitchen to show me all the groceries he had purchased, and we're looking at what we've got for produce, and he reaches into the drawer and pulls out... My dear friends, the BIGGEST YAM I HAVE EVER SEEN.

It was about as long as the distance from my elbow to the ends of my fingers.

And he said, brandishing the yam at me, "This was the smallest one they had. You should have SEEN some of these yams!"

Which was about the point that I got hysterical.

On Mr. Paul Newman

Who better to tell it, than Robert Redford?

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

A Quick Game of Bloggy Catch-Up

  • I had a nice birthday. Thank you for all your kind messages!
  • MU and EB and I accompanied the family cat on her last journey to the vet on Monday, which was a sad but peaceful kind of a process. She was a fairly terrific age and in some significant discomfort, so there was solace in seeing her at rest. You can read about her here and here.
  • Baseball playoffs start in earnest today, and how excited am I for CUBS VS DODGERS!! Very excited, is the answer.
  • We are home tonight, for once, and hoping to get the yard cleaned up and the patio stuff put away and the garden pulled. The weather in Prairie City is currently BEAUTIFUL, so it's a good week to get that work done.
  • At some point this evening, our real estate agent is going to stop by to have a look at the house and give us his assessment of what work needs to be done in order to give us the best chance of selling the property. I like our real estate agent; he's a good man.
  • Work is insanely busy right now, so I should get back to it.

Monday, September 29, 2008

One year older...

Today is my birthday, and also my lovely husband's birthday. We were both born on September 29th, he in 1971 and I eight years later.

I'm twenty-nine this year. TWENTY-NINE! Twenty-eight was a lovely year, but I'm looking forward to twenty-nine as well, and all the things that will come with it!

We went out last night and had a nice birthday dinner at our favourite restaurant. Today is pretty much business as usual... work for me, teaching for him, Chamber Choir for us both tonight.

But everything is just a little bit nicer for it being our birthday!

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Hockey Pool Day

I hadn't perfectly realized how much I wrote yesterday about the kittehs... clearly I was in the mood to write a lot, though perhaps not much of any substance.

Anyhoo, today is Hockey Pool Day. WH has run a hockey pool for a number of years, and when he and I started hangin' out together, I naturally became a part of the annual hockey pool organization and administration team. There are normally anywhere between 10 and 15 players who descend on our home one afternoon in September to pick teams, eat chili and have a good time. Each player picks two full lines - six forwards, four defensemen, two goalies - plus one enforcer.

So right now, WH is at rehearsal, the chili is in the crock pot getting hot, and the house is the most peaceful and quiet it will be until much later this evening. All the stuff is printed out that needs to be printed out. I still need to grate cheese for the chili...

What are you up to today?

Friday, September 26, 2008

The Feline Schedule

I'm in a kind of bloggy funk this week... not enough time to think clearly about what I want to say, and too tired to blog even about what is making me tired. But that's ok. The thought of writing a little bit more about the kittehs seems like a peaceful kind of idea...

Our cats are on a schedule. Make no mistake, it is not a schedule of our making. They took care of it all on their own. We would make adjustments to the schedule, if we could. We push it sometimes, on occasion, but as time goes by, the schedule stays the same.

Mama Cat sleeps on our bed with us every night, for the whole night. She will begin the night curled up by my belly or under the covers behind my knees. When she sleeps under the covers, she kneads my rear-end. She moves a number of times through the night, positioning herself in places that inevitably result in my having lower back pain in the morning.

Baby Cat spends most of the night elsewhere in the house, either on top of the piano or on the guest bed curled up on clothes we haven't put away. At about 5am, she will ARRIVE in the bedroom, situate herself between our heads and let loose an earth-shattering purr. When she is confident that she has our attention, she will either curl up by my face and lie down, or climb under the covers to cuddle with WH.

Sometimes, they wait for the alarm to go off before they commence OPERATION ANNOYANCE, but not always. OPERATION ANNOYANCE involves walking around on the bed with their pointy feet, scratching at the bed skirt, meowing, biting, and generally being a nuisance. OPERATION ANNOYANCE is their first tactic for reminding us that they are due a meal.

I am usually the first one out of bed and into the shower. Mama Cat comes into the bathroom with me and sits on the back of the toilet while I shower. This is so that she is the first thing I see when I get out, so that I am reminded that she is due a meal. While I'm drying off, Baby Cat usually makes an appearance in the bathroom too, just to remind me that she is due a meal.

Both cats sit in the dining room while I get dressed, positioned so that they can keep an eye on me and an eye on the passageway to their food dishes. When I head to the kitchen to make my breakfast and lunch, both cats make a mad and loud dash down the stairs to the basement for their breakfast. Breakfast is warmly received... lots of mewing.

After breakfast two things happen, though not necessarily in the same order. There is running around, usually out of excitement that WH is now up and about, and that they've been fed, and that sometimes one just has to run around a little bit. There is also washing, both of themselves and of each other. Sometimes this leads to wrestling and further running around.

Then, it's time for the morning nap. Acceptable places for the morning nap include, but are not limited to, the top of the piano, the couch, the bed, the guest bed, the dining room chairs, and WH. WH is often home for some portion of the day, and there is nothing he can possibly be doing at home that is more important than acting as a reservoir for sleeping cats. If WH is working on the computer, then the computer will do just fine for a napping place. If WH is working on score-study, then the scores will also work just fine.

The morning nap bleeds seamlessly into the afternoon nap, though there might be brief interludes of washing, running around or simply moving napping locations.

At 2:45, both cats rise up and commence OPERATION REMINDER which involves sitting where we cannot possibly ignore them, and serves to remind whoever is home that they are due a meal. We are reasonably certain that when neither of us is home, Mama Cat simply sits in the living room and meows at the top of her lungs until we get home. She is often hoarse when we get back from an afternoon away.

Lunch is served at 3pm. If not, OPERATION REMINDER reverts to OPERATION ANNOYANCE.

After lunch, the run around and bathing rituals repeat themselves, followed by the late afternoon nap. The late afternoon nap is sometimes interrupted if we are cooking something that involves cheese, because it's very important for the cats to be present in the kitchen lest cheese fall on the floor.

While WH and I eat dinner, Mama Cat and Baby Cat are in a state of heightened vigilance for food dropped on the floor or left on the kitchen counter, or for glasses of milk that are left momentarily unattended. When dinner is over, it is time for the evening nap. Now they sometimes have a choice about which human receptacle they will sit upon. Sometimes they both choose the same human, which makes it very hard for that human to get anything done in the evening.

At 9:45, we commence a renewed iteration of OPERATION REMINDER, followed, if necessary, by OPERATION ANNOYANCE. Dinner is served at 10. WH and I get ready for bed while they're eating, and then the four of us commence the night-time routine once again.

Note: Mama Cat will not graze; she eats everything that is in front of her all the time. So if it seems as though we feed them quite often, it's because we give them little portions of food each time. We think that Baby Cat would graze, except that Mama Cat inevitably eats whatever is left over if Baby Cat walks away.

Note2: Weekends are a bit different and involve helping me with the laundry by sitting in the dryer, helping me change the sheets by lying on them, and by an occasional change to the morning schedule which involves my getting up to feed them and going back to bed, which means that they come back to bed for extra cuddling after their breakfast.


Clearly they are leading a very difficult and trying existence.

That's Mama Cat on the top of the couch, and Baby Cat on the seat. Doesn't that look harsh?