Sunday, May 10, 2009

A Special Mother's Day

My day started very nicely. I was able to wake up at my own pace. Julia brought me breakfast in bed, consisting of Cheerios, milk, and an unbruised banana.

For lunch, I was invited to the Medturanian Food Place.

When Scotte and I arrived, the hostess showed us to a lovely table by the window. A plant on the table was adorned with caterpillars bearing the words "Mothers Day" and our reservation was marked with butterflies inscribed with our names.

A waiter promptly arrived to take our drink orders. I selected the Shirley Temple. It came served in a custom ceramic goblet and was absolutely delicious.

While we were waiting for our meals, Scotte and I were able to play dots and boxes and tic tac toe on the paper tablecloth. This is the first time I recall a restaurant providing a full rainbow of crayon colours. A very nice touch! We were also given a colouring page.

For appetizers, Scotte and I both had salads: his had an exotic peanut dressing, while I stayed with the more conventional Caesar salad. Since the kitchen was out of croutons, I asked for a side order of garlic bread. It arrived, still warm, with my salad. Yum!

There were so many delicious-sounding options on the menu. In the end, both Scotte and I chose the daily special: a 3 bean & lentle stew. While not piping hot, it was pleasantly warm, and considering the distance of the dining area from the kitchen, really very acceptable.

There was no dessert menu as the restaurant only offers a single type of dessert. And really, when the dessert offered is "platter of homemade chocolate chip cookies", what other dessert is needed? They were simply scrumptious.

Our hostess and server obliged me with a photo at the end of the meal. I must say, they are as good-looking as they are efficient.

You can find more photos from today's special meal here.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

A Poem

You know how sometimes a song gets stuck in your head? Well, today I have a poem stuck in my head. And it isn't a catchy well-know poem, or Dr. Suess, or anything like that.

It's a sample poem from an English class I took with professor Hornyansky at Brock University as part of an enrichment program in about grade 8 or 9. I did not especially enjoy the class at the time, but I've been grateful for it since then.

Professor Hornyansky was the person who introduced me to cryptic crossword puzzles. It was another 5-10 years before I actually attempted to solve one, but then I was hooked.

He gave us a variety of exercises designed to challenge us to write in new ways. We had to write a story from the point of view of a non-human. I wrote from my cat's perspective.

We were to watch for grammatical errors in the newspaper and in public speaking. He suggested that we particularly watch politicians if we wanted to find errors. (He must have had a heyday with Bush as president!) He is probably the person who triggered my obsession with misplaced (present when they shouldn't be or vice versa) apostrophes.

Another exercise had us write new words to a familiar tune. The idea was to write a poem that fit a particular rhythm. This is where I first heard that the Beatles' song "Yesterday" was originally called "Scrambled Eggs" before it had lyrics.

I suspect it was as part of this last exercise that we were given the poem that has been stuck in my head today. It was one of those free verse, non-rhyming things that I could not, at the time, understand why it was considered "poetry". To the best of my recollection, it went like this:

Farewell to the west:
the unending horizon,
the foothills descending to the rim of the land.
And the ridge where you stand, with your clear eyes averted,

Notice anything strange about it? Maybe if you saw it written this way instead:

Farewell to the west the unending
horizon the foothills descending
to the rim of the land
And the ridge where you stand
with your clear eyes averted unbending.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Two accomplishments in one day

I knew the day was coming, and today was the day! When I entered my weight on PhysicsDiet, my rolling average BMI (body mass index) was 24.9 -- in other words, no longer overweight!

Now, I'm still overfat -- my percentage body fat is still higher than it should be -- so my weight loss journey isn't over. But it feels fabulous to know that I've already statistically reduced my health risks.

Speaking of fabulous, it feels wonderful to master a new skill. And I did that today, too. At my Aradia Fitness class, we did our first inversion. I showed Scotte when I got home. Here are some pics.

Yay me!

Monday, February 2, 2009

Happy Groundhog Birthday

I haven't updated my blog in ages, but Scotte took some really great photos today, so it seemed like a good time to jump back in.

Julia turned 10 today. Her birthday falls on Groundhog Day, and we have taken her picture with Wiarton Willie's statue in Wiarton every summer since she was born. We had never, however, had the opportunity to see his prognostication live.

We headed up to the Spirit Rock motel on Sunday afternoon. Charles was feeling a little under the weather with a bad cold, so rather than take part in the evening's festivities, we got take-out food and ate in our hotel room. We played Monopoly (won by me) and Apples to Apples Jr. (won by Scotte). We turned in early.

This morning, we were all up, dressed in many layers, and out of our motel room by 7:00 a.m. There was lots going on while we waited for Willie to appear.

Julia got to meet Terri Hastings, a member of Willie's shadow cabinet.
From Groundhog Day 2009

And this man came all the way from Toronto this morning to celebrate his birthday with Willie, just like Julia. Both of them had their names and birthdays announced.

These people were definitely in the spirit of things:

Julia actually got tapped on the head with the Willy-Wacker on our way into the pancake breakfast later. Fortunately, it was made of polystyrene, not wood, so this was not a traumatic event.

Willie's mascot sure has some good dance moves!

To get things officially underway, a schoolboy sang "O Canada" on Ojibway. Then Canadian Idol finalist, Drew Wright (no, I'd never heard of him before) performed.

Scotte got this photo of Julia while we were waiting. Doesn't it look like she should be on the cover of a magazine?

Finally, it was time for Willie to make his prognostication.

Fortunately, the mayor speaks perfect Groundhog-ese.

Unfortunately, she had to report that Willie had seen his shadow, so we're in for another 6 weeks of winter. At least the pancake breakfast was indoors!

On the way back to our van, we noticed a street sign, and just had to get a photo:

When we were in town picking up supper Sunday evening, Julia and I had peeked in the window of Karen's Creations, Wiarton's scrapbooking store. As a result, we knew that (1) it had Wiarton Willie-themed products and (2) it opened at 9:30 this morning.

We had finished our pancake breakfast quickly enough that the scrapbooking store was not yet open. So, even though we had just finished eating, we went to Tim Horton's to fill some time. This is where Julia opened her birthday presents. She is thinking of getting a Nintendo DS Lite, so all her gifts were in the form of gift certificates offering her a choice between cash and an alternate gift (such as mother-daughter pedicures). I'd say she looked pretty happy with that solution!

The scrapbook store opened late this morning, but we convinced Scotte and Charles to wait, so we got the kits, paper, and embellishments we were waiting for. I'll have to post photos of our pages once we get them done.

On the way to Wiarton we had seen a huge snowman. On the way home, we stopped to snap a photo. Notice that it is taller than the house behind it! It has a large barrel as a hat.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

What makes a beverage a "sports drink"?

Tonight was my second learn-to-dive class. We actually got to dive tonight, first off the side of the pool, then off the 1m board.

I had never dived off a diving board before, and before I started these classes, I was really rather scared to. But tonight when that was the next thing for us to do, I just did it. Hardly even thought about it. That was cool!

A short while later, however, I felt really woozy. I think the supper I had (roasted chicken and a salad and a glass of milk) didn't keep me properly fueled. Or maybe I just ate too much of the skin on the chicken! In any event, I ended up watching the last 30 or 40 minutes of the class instead of actively participating.

After class, to try to alleviate the wooziness before driving home, I bought a snack and a beverage from the snack machine. I chose a "Berry Blitz" Powerade. Powerade is labeled as a sports drink. But what is a sports drink? According to the nutrition information on the label, it contains no vitamin A, vitamin C, calcium, or iron. It contains 3% of a day's worth of sodium, and 2% of a day's worth of potassium. I think I remember learning that our bodies can lose too much sodium and/or potassium when we exercise very hard and sweat a lot, but a replenishment of 2 or 3% doesn't seem particularly significant. Mostly it seems to contain sugar. Given that I hadn't been exercising hard enough to need to worry about sodium and potassium replenishment, I think I basically could have derived the same benefits from a (cheap!) glass of Kool-Aid.

At least I got a lot less water up my nose this week!

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

How much water did I get up my nose?!

I started adult learn-to-dive lessons tonight. I now know a dozen ways to jump off a 1m diving board. I can't do all the jumps correctly or consistently, but you've got to start somewhere, right?

The downside to jumping (as opposed to diving) is that your nose hits the water nostrils first. I rarely have trouble with water up my nose when I swim, because I can breathe out hard enough to keep water from flowing the other direction. I quickly learned that this does not apply to jumping.

I used the washroom when I got to the pool, again halfway through the 2-hour lesson, and needed to go again at the end of the lesson. Which leads me to wonder -- was I over-hydrated before I got there, or did I take much more water up my nose than I realized?

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Website headaches

Our house is part of the Beechwood South Homes Association. The BSHA maintains the community pool and tennis courts, and organizes some other events during the year. Membership is mandatory (until the convenant expires a few years from now) for 209 homes in the neighbourhood. It was one of the things that drew us to this neighbourhood when we were house-hunting a few years ago.

Sometime in the past, a website,, was created to post information about the BSHA. I became the volunteer webmaster (or web goddess, if you prefer) a year or two ago.

The company who has been hosting the website has caused so much grief for us. Our password to access our account has frequently changed without us being notified. At one point when I tried to get the password reset, I learned that the problem that time was that they had changed our username without telling us. The old username had been reassigned to a garden centre somewhere in the United States!

Needless to say, with the account coming up for renewal, I am switching us over to a new web host. And that means more headaches. It seems that when the person who originally set up the website moved out of the neighbourhood, the contact information got changed on the web host's records, but not in the records.

I contacted the web host to ask to have the email address changed since the old email address (let's call it "xyz") was no longer valid. They replied that I would have to sign onto a special page to make the change -- and that they had sent the userid and password I would require to the email address "xyz". Hello? Did they not read my message?

Anyway, it seems plan B was to fax my request on letterhead including the signature of an officer of the organization and a copy of a piece of government ID for that person so that they could verify the signature. I did that on Friday. The decided that the fax of the driver's licence wasn't clear enough. I have asked the president to re-fax his information.

I will be SO glad when all this hassle is behind me and we are switched over to the new web host.

Wish me luck!