Thursday, August 19, 2010

"V-A-C-A-TION, in the Summer Time"

Are you singing along with Connie Francis and I!

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This is it bloggies! The moment I've been waiting for since last summer ...... VACATION!
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My lovely friend and ex-SIL, Judy, and I are probably on the road as you read this, listening to oldies on the I-Pod, singing at the top of our lungs & sipping our Tim Horton's ice-caps! The sun will be shining and there won't be any yahoos on the road to get in our way! (Optimism in action there!).

We hit the road this morning, leaving Halifax at 7 AM; and we should reach Cape Breton Island between 11 and noon. We'll cut across CB at Hunter's Mountain (just outside Baddeck) to take the scenic Cabot Trail where we'll drive along the coastline past Margaree Harbour, the French village of Chetticamp, Ingonish Beach and St Ann's -- through the Cape Breton Highlands National Park and some of the most exquisite country on the planet. Look at those roads! We are pumped!!! .
We are excitedly anticipating our overnight stay at Annfield House, a beautiful Victorian B&B in a little village not far from North Sydney. And tomorrow morning at approximately 11:30 AM, we leave North Sydney and travel across the Gulf of St Lawrence on the NL ferry, the Caribou. .

The trip should take us about 6 hours. (Note the emphasis on the "should"; I've taken these ferries many, many times!!) We can nab a table and have numerous cups of tea, games of Skip-Bo and/or cribbage (and maybe even a cocktail in the lounge); OR we can nab a reclining chair in front of the movie screen and hope there's a decent movie scheduled. (But we shall try to avoid eating in the cafeteria because of the prices!)


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Once we've finally disembarked at Port aux Basques, we have another 3 hr drive to Corner Brook where we will each collapse into the arms of loving family and allow them to cater to our every need --- for at least that first night!!

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There'll be much to blog about when I return in 2 weeks!
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Until then, as we say in Newfoundland -- "See ya, bys!"

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Wednesday, August 18, 2010

A Winning Cookbook

This is Suzie Ridler, blogger and foodie extrodinaire who has one of my favorite blogs -- SuzietheFoodie. She's from Halifax, NS and describes herself as "Foodie, writer, photographer, reviewer and self-taught cook and baker. Welcome to my test kitchen."
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She recently hosted a cookbook giveaway with fellow Haligonian Shelagh Duffett who posts another of my favorite blogs, Alice in Paris Loves Art and Tea.
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Guess who won the giveaway? Moi!! And what a gem of a little cookbook!.
I was pleased to have won, of course. But upon looking through the book last night, I am extremely pleased. It's chock-a-block of great recipes like these:
  • Sun Dried Tomato Pesto on Brie (Emmmm)
  • Romaine and Mandarin Salad (Yum yum)
  • Nova Scotia Vegetable Hodge Podge (Slurp)
  • Luscious Ginger Cake with Crystallised Ginger Cream Frosting (OMG!)
I was salivating all over my nightie as I read through it in bed. Yum!
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However, I have to wait to try the recipes as I begin my vacation tonight. But if I've excited your salivary glands and you simply cannot wait for me, Suzie has highlighted a couple of the recipes on her blog.
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Even better, you can pick up a copy of Shelagh's book for yourself here at Amazon:
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A huge THANK YOU to both Suzie and Shelagh.
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I'm looking forward to working my way through the cookbook once I return.
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Friday, August 13, 2010

Fertilizer Friday Aug 13.10

The most noteworthy thing about gardeners is that they are always optimistic, always enterprising, and never satisfied. They always look forward to doing something better than they have ever done before.
- Vita Sackville-West
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Yes, I am optimistic.
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I'm optimistic that the day will come (very soon?) when I can relax in my garden once again rather than run through on a Friday morning and snap a few bad shots of my lovely babies who are continuing to bloom.
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I'm also optimistic that I'll get to sit out on my back deck again very soon (ain't it all purdy now!) ..... with a tall, cool something or other (it could be something liquid or it could be something male!!) ..... and enjoy the sunshine and the plants found there. .



The geranium in the basket isn't blooming right now, but look at how lush the ivy has become with its beautiful shiny leaves!




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And I'm optimistic that I'll get all my necessary chores done before I head off to Newfoundland for vacation next Wednesday .
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Plans for the weekend, you ask?
  • I'm helping one daughter get settled temporarily in one bedroom
  • Helping the other pack for nursing school and putting it into the trunk of my car to take with me when I leave for NL next Wednesday
  • Finishing the organization of one bedroom for my new Mexican student
  • Varathaning the yellow bench so I can get it out of the other half organized bedroom for my new German student
  • Making a list so that when 18 yr old flies to meet me in NL, 20 yr old can move from temporary bedroom to permanent location AND clean temporary bedroom for new student
  • Ripping hair out of head, screaming and/or moaning and looking towards the heavens whilst shouting "Why me, Lord? Why me!"
  • And generally collapsing in exhaustion!

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I'm also optimistic that I'll get to join Tootsie Time for Fertilizer Friday.
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Perhaps we'll see each other there! I'll be the cross-eyed one with the bald patches and the limp!

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Thursday Morning Love Affair

Anybody ever see the stage play (or the movie) called "Same Time Next Year"? It's about a guy and a gal who meet at the same location on the same date every year to carry on an illicit love affair. Although they marry others, have children, change jobs, etc etc, they continue to meet at this motel every year. So, let's get this straight: you're happily married yet run into the arms of this other person every (insert date)? Huh? I never could figure that one out.
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Then I realized that I do the same thing every Thursday! (Without the great sex, that is!)
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I'm quite happily in a long-term healthy food relationship where I partake of lots of cholesterol-fighting oatmeal, low fat/low sugar, veggies and fruit etc etc. And Wednesday nights you'll find me at my TOPS support group getting weighed in and taking an active part in encouraging others to eat healthy.
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Yet, (almost) every Thursday morning I carry on this illicit love affair with not just one but TWO others. These are the ones I meet:










Mr Med Decaf with 2 milk .... and Mr 12 Grain Bagel, toasted with butter AND low fat strawberry cream cheese.
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Why, I've even been known to invite this fellow back to the office with me for a little "elevensies"! Naughty, naughty girl, Sandy!
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It's been going on so long that I've dubbed Thursday "Sandy's Day to Cheat". Sometimes I don't even cheat all day! And the other 6 days of the week, I'm a pretty good girl who goes to the gymn, enjoys a daily salad, and keeps red meat at bay. And I'm feeling really good and losing weight.
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But this Thursday early-morning rendevouz satisfies a latent desire in me --- and I don't even need a cigarette afterwards!
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And so, I ask you to please forgive me for my weakness! And I beg you not to judge me. Because in spite of being in a happy relationship, I don't want to give up my lascivious liaison with Tim every Thursday morning.





Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Summer Dinner w/ Friends

I have a very good friend from Ireland whom I only see once a year during her short annual visit. So we try to make the most of it and do a sleepover (involving wine, laughter and long talks into the night). On Sunday, I met up with her and a mutual friend at the Folk Harbour Festival; and then we all came back to mine for a dinner. I'd prepared everything that morning with fresh corn, zucchini and beets that I'd bought at Saturday's farm market. It was light fare; but oh sooooo good!
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The menu consisted of warm dinner rolls, Beet/Apple salad, Marie's scrummy Corn & Bean salad and a bottle of Italian sparkling wine. We finished with a fresh fruit ambrosia..
Let me tell you! This Corn and Bean salad had a marvelous lime and yoghurt dressing, and it was to die for! Oh my gosh - I'm serious! I absolutely love, love, love that salad. The whole table raved about how good it was; and I can attest to the fact that it was even better on day two! It's a "must share"recipe; so head over to The English Kitchen for Marie's wonderful recipe.
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Thank you Marie! I'll make this salad often!
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The other wonderful salad was a simple beet and apple salad. Toss together cooked & cubed beets, a chopped apple (Granny Smith), half 'n' half mayo and sour cream with a touch of Dijon mustard and a light sprinkle of salt & pepper. Mine sat in the fridge from 9 am to 6 pm, so the flavors had mingled beautifully.
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The ambrosia consisted of fresh, chopped strawberries and peaches, blueberries, a hand full of mini marshmallows and a generous sprinkle of flake coconut. The dressing was a little orange juice, a little sour cream, about a tsp of Amarato and a smidgeon of finely shredded lime and lemon peel (just a wee smidgeon, ok!). During the marinating process, the marshmallows soften to a nice light fluff and the flavors of the fruit and Amarato mingle so beautifully. Another of my favorite things to make in the summer.
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When we finished our bottle of wine, we drank Rhubarb punch spritzers. If you've never tasted rhubarb, you're missing a real treat! I bought the frozen syrup a month or so ago from the Summer Fling at West Side church.





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(It also makes a lovely smoothie the next morning!)
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Now, I've just got time to have breakfast before I head out to work. I'm feeling mighty hungry after all this talk of good food!

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Lunenburg Folk Harbour Festival

Amidst the whirlwind of prep, packing and activity that is my life these days, a body must have a break. So I spent a glorious Sunday afternoon in historic Lunenburg at the Lunenburg Folk Harbour Festival. Being a "poor, single mother", I only attended the free concert at The Gazebo. But that's where I wanted to be anyway; I wanted to see my daughter's friends play.
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Lunenburg is a beautiful town, full of quaint little shops, galleries and yummy food eateries.
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We got there before the music started and were delighted to have a front row bench. The crowd grew as the afternoon passed. We were a lively and appreciative bunch.
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The talent showcased on this particular stage, The Ken Matheson Memorial Stage, are some of Lunenburg County's finest up and coming singer/songwriters. Peter Whynot (in blue) was wonderful: he was quirky & funny and wrote beautifully poetic songs about life -- everything from misguided love to being a hypocondriac. I will definately buy a CD when he cuts one! On the lower left is Katherine Heim who was the junior winner in the South Shore Music Festival; she had a beautifully strong & pure voice for a wee little 14 yr old! And opening the afternoon were The Lustre Boys, a great bluegrass group. .
But the reason I choose to come to this venue were these guys -- The MacGyver Girls. (Yeah! Note the one girl!!) The 2 young people centre front are very good friends of my daughter Amy; and manys the time they sat, laughed, ate and made a mess in our home. These guys were so good! I was so proud to see them grown and flourishing and so bright and beautiful! Desi Gordon is the beautiful young thing with the uklele. She's a creative song writer, and sang about "Oh to be an Octopus" and the joys of such things as being able to knit several sweaters and "still hold your hand". And my favorite song is one about her ex-Vegan lover who didn't treat her very nicely, how he looked at her as if she were cheese, and there was a full chorus with quite emotive back-up echos which stated emphatically "I'm not a piece of meat"!!! It was a lovely mixture of sad and funny. And next to her is Liam Frier, a phenomenal guitarist who delighted us with his up-dated version of the theme song from the TV show "The Littlest Hobo. And the other 3 members of the group happen to be none other than the brothers and nephew of Harry Chapin of "Cats in the Cradle" fame.

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What talent we have in Nova Scotia. And as my Irish friend said, how wonderful it is that Canada supports and celebrates it's young, upcoming musicians.
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I thoroughly enjoyed my day of rest. But now, I've got to "get my skates on"!
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No rest for the weary!!










Thursday, August 5, 2010

Chicken Soup for the Soul???

August 6th is the 2nd Annual "Show Us Your Roosters" party hosted by Barb at BELLA VISTA. Everyone will be preening and strutting around; there'll be a hub-bub of activitity in the farmyard!
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So why don't you grab a little feed and something to drink and sit for a while: I'll tell you a story .....


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Once upon a time, in a pretty little house near a babbling brook surrounded by dancing daisies and happy hosta, there lived an extremely handsome but vain rooster named Geoffrey Glass. Geoffrey spent his days doing not much more than looking down (literally) on all the other roosters in the dining room and flirting with the beady-eyed twins, Plucky & Lucky (aptly named for their rather loose morals when it came to Geoffrey!).He often regaled them with stories of his travels, talents and bravery. "Ever hear the one about the chicken crossing the road in Hollywood, girls?" Geoffrey crowed. "That was ME! I went to see my friend, Gregory Peck!".



The girls almost laid an egg with delight! "Oh Geoffrey!" they clucked. "You truly are the Cock-of-the-Walk!"

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Geoffrey's jibes and snobbery were a constant irritant in the room, especially for the Shelf Gang led by peg-legged Captain Tall-Comb.

"Come down off yer high perch, glass boy!" said the Captain. "I can see right through you (literally)! Take a good look at him, girls! He's as blind as a bat and doesn't have a leg to stand on (literally). And his stories? Why they're nothing more than a load of chicken manure!"
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Geoffrey's tail feathers were ruffled! "I'm not going to stand here and be insulted!" said Geoffrey. "I'm NOT a chicken; and I'll prove it! Who'll come on an adventure me?"
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Leave the safety and comfort of the coop? whereupon one of the Chinese triplets fainted. "Not I!" chirped Henny Penny. "Not I!" said Clucky Lucky."Not I!" said the Czech brothers! "Not I!" said Dotty and Spot! "Not I! Not I! Not I!" A chorus was heard throughout the room..

In a huff, Geoffrey Glass jumped off the china cabinet to the floor. But before he had a chance to move on, something landed next to him with a LOUD thump! Geoffrey slowly turned ..... and looked down.

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His face took on a look of absolute horror, and he began running about the room crying "The sky is falling! The sky is falling!" Quicker than you could say Colonel Saunders, Geoffrey was back where he started at the top of the china cabinet, his feathers still quivering in fright!

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Not a peep was heard as the formerly high and lofty Geoffrey Glass suddenly went from being a Rhode Island Red to a Hungarian Yellow!

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The moral of the story:

In the poultry world,

talk is "Cheep!"

(literally!)

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Rednesday Relaxation

It's Rednesday. And in my house, red always brings to mind one of my favorite rooms, my bathroom!


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I think the mocha walls and red accessories make a very pleasing color combination. And when life gets to be too much, this room reminds me not to complicate things and that God has given me a place of refuge. Even with 4 females in the house most of the year & only one shower; even if I have to schedule in my "spa" time; it's well worth it! I've tried to create a place to relax, de-stress and temporarily run away from it all. It's a place where I can talk to God (after all, it is the "throne room") and not talk to anyone else..
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I love my cranberry colored towels and accessories. I can't always find exact matches for my them (the store I bought them from has since closed); but as you can see, I'm not adverse to the occasional good quality, excellent condition red towel from Frenchies or Value Village..
The walls have some of my favorite little pieces of art: the Love & Peace plaques from my friend Eva; the 2 beautiful silk-screened fish prints framed in copper (purchased years ago for $1 ea at Frenchies!); the old-fashioned bathtub print ($1); and the the pretty watercolor of sailboats ($2 yard sale).
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And no home bathroom spa would be complete without the necessary ingredients of relaxation music, epsom salts (for those aches and pains) and lots and lots and lots of lovely fragrant soaps, bath oils, salts, bombs, bubbles, etc..
A warm fragrant bath, soft background music, a good book and my favorite red beverage goes a long way to helping me bring my world into a healthier perspective and putting the roses back in my cheeks!
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Happy Rednesday! And don't forget to stop by and visit Sue and friends at It's A Very Cherry World.




Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Blooming Tuesday

The temperatures are much more comfortable in Nova Scotia these nights. My garden likes that!
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New blooms developed this weekend that I have to show you.
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These two lilies were planted 4 summers ago and are for the first time blooming. Slow starters, but they sure are pretty.


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And every morning brings a new and sometimes different colored Morning Glory bloom.
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The other lovely bloom that graced my garden this weekend was my middle daughter Molly and her boyfriend. They are leaving for a Newfoundland holiday and came for an overnight visit. What a nice guy he is! (And I'm not just saying that because he's a home-grown Newfie boy!) They even plan to stop for an overnight visit with her grandparents, which pleases my Mom to no end! (Besides, I know my Dad will be able to ferret out who his father is, if he's an upstanding citizen -- or a sleveen! -- and whether this young man is "worth his salt"!)
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Breakfast with my Molly yesterday morning was a bit of a celebration:Apricot scones, freezer strawberry jam, scrambled eggs, Havarti cheese, juice and tea ... and each others company undisturbed for an hour or so!


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Being together as family is always a reason to celebrate!