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.