"My mind sees that I am nothing, my heart sees that I am everything, between these two poles my life unfolds."

Friday, May 27, 2011

A quick note to let everyone know that I will be away until Wednesday. I'm at a memorial for my grandmother, who passed away in March. Sad but not tragic, as she was in her 90's and had lived a long and very healthy life. I'll catch up on everyone's blogs and respond to any comments once I've returned. In the meantime, I leave you with pics of my violas. The pansy is my favorite flower, probably because (to me at least) they each have their own unique face. Don't they look just like busybody ladies listening to a juicy bit of gossip?! Cheers!

Greetings! I receive the Posit Science Brain Fitness newsletter and find the articles in it sooo interesting. Everything health-related fascinates me, especially anything concerning The Brain and it's inner workings. This month's newsletter reports a study which indicates musician's brains have stronger auditory processing and working memory than non-musicians. Drawing on decades of musical training, the musicians had sharper hearing and thinking skills than their non-musician peers and may be at a lower risk for impediments of aging, such as some age-related memory decline and hearing problems. Learn more.

This makes me wish I had taken my piano lessons more seriously...! I tried out numerous instruments when I was younger, but only dabbled before giving up; the trick is to persevere and get in that 10,000 hours they say it takes before you can get good at anything. It's never too late though, I've read numerous articles stating that one of best things you can do for yourself as you age is learn a new skill - be it ballroom dance, knitting or another language. The important thing is that it be a completely unique challenge.

As for musicians, we've seen way too many rockers going strong far into their 60's and 70's not to recognize this study may indeed hold some merit; Neil Young, Mick Jagger, Paul McCartney to name a few. Here's two finely preserved relics, Daryl Hall (64) and Peter Frampton (61) to help prove my point. Enjoy :)

Thursday, May 26, 2011

"You have no idea how much it costs to look this cheap."
-Steven Tyler 

Greetings! With Scotty McCreery being crowned last night, another season of American Idol has come and gone. I wasn't going to watch this year, (you may recall I blogged about this a couple months ago) but I made the fatal mistake of "just watching the tryouts" and I was hooked again! Turns out it was one of my favorite seasons of all; and I've watched them all, religiously. What I'm mostly going to remember is Steven Tyler's most endearing, kooky self... and his one-liners. I sure hope he's back next year.

 I'd be surprised if you were aware that May 26th is officially known as Princess Leia Day. I stumbled across this oddity in my travels and found it quite amusing. I'm not sure just how true it is, but I'm running with it anyways! In honor of the day, here's the famous Jabba The Hutt scene with Princess Leia as slave. And speaking of great one-liners, another video featuring Pizza The Hutt from one of my all-time favorite movies Spaceballs. Too funny! 

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

This is our third day of light rain. We were just beginning to get dry and this is so perfect. It's slowly permeating everything. I thought I'd pass along this great video. Close your eyes and I think you'll be hard pressed to tell the difference.

When I purchased a salmon filet over the weekend, a new blue label on the package caught my attention. There's a lot of interest lately (& rightly so) about where our fish, & food in general, is coming from. I watched a documentary a while back profiling these same concerns. Some countries have very different standards for food production and processing than we are used to. Much of our fish for example, is caught off our coasts, transported to China for processing and then back here again for packaging. It boggles the mind! As well, there are questions surrounding the health benefits of wild vs. farmed fish. Don't even get me started on GM foods.

There, that's better!

I like the idea of knowing "where and how my fish was caught" so I followed the link, entered my secret access code and was informed my salmon was in fact a halibut...! I emailed the website and received a quick reply informing me that since this is a very new program they are encountering some initial bugs that need ironing out. A promise was made to get back to me with the correct info. Despite this initial hiccup, I think it's a great concept.

Here's an interesting website.

In other news, I nearly lost it last night when I stumbled across American Idol and realized it was already 3/4's of the way through...the final competition! WEDNESDAY nights for the past three months or so, I have faithfully watched each and every episode, and the results on Thursdays. Why they would suddenly host the final two shows (the Idol will be crowned tonight) on a Tuesday and Wednesday is beyond me. I must have missed that announcement and I can't be the only one who did.

You know something? 
After tonight, I am sooo done with American Idol - till next year, that is :)

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Greetings! A bit of this 'n that for you today.

I enjoyed as the author of this humorous (& timely) book was interviewed on CBC Radio One yesterday morning. Sounds like an entertaining read. I'm watching the bargain bins for this one.

History’s Worst Predictions is a lighthearted look at fifty of the grandest predictions the world has seen—and how they proved to be spectacularly wrong. 
The book asks why we are still here, given that the end of the world has been foretold over 200 times, including: for 1833 by William Miller, who claimed to be in direct contact with god, and for 1997 by Nostradamus, king of the poor prediction.
Also looks at now-infamous gaffes that are in fact fake, such as Charles H. Duell, former Commissioner of the U.S. Office of Patents, who is wrongly credited with saying, in 1899, that “there is nothing left to invent.”

A few months ago I shared set pics and a link to Peter Jackson's Facebook page. Here is interesting video he posted from the start of production on the Hobbit. Ian McKellen (Gandalf) is in this one and a look at some very familiar sets from The Rings series.

Thanks to the latest free issue of The Violet Ray, Natural Health and Conscious Living Digest I picked up in my local health food store, I now know there is a new 'Whisperer'. We already have Horse, Dog, Lion and Ghost Whisperers; it only follows that there is now a Body Whisperer...!  Stay tuned for a show on TLC.

I recently reinstalled a moon phases app along my sidebar. The majority of us are not in tune with nature as we once were, or should I say as we once needed to be.  A Moon Trivia write-up in The Violet Ray caught my eye and is worth sharing.

Moon Trivia

May 17, 2011 Planting Moon (Corn or Milk moon) The blooming flowers of May and new crops are abundant everywhere during this time.

June 15, 2011 Strawberry Moon (Rose moon) Time to harvest your strawberries and red berries.

July 15, 2011 Buck Moon (Hay moon) Time for the buck deer to push out their new antlers, this signaled hunting season for the natives, also known as Thunder Moon, because of the thunderstorms that are most frequent during this time.

Gardening by the Moon

New moon to Full moon...Increasing in light 
Fertilize, Graft fruit trees, Re-pot tidy and manicure houseplants, Sow seeds of plants that grow above ground, Plant evergreen and deciduous trees.

Full moon to dark of the moon...Decreasing light
Eliminate slugs, Weed, Plant bulbs, crops that grow below the ground, such as carrots, potatoes, beets, Plant biennials and perennials, Prune shrubs.

Lastly, there is a new debate raging. One space or two after a sentence? I know that's what we were taught in grammar school and good habits die hard, (I still use two, except here on my blog - two spaces leaves quite a gap) but times are changing. I've caught this discussion a few times now on CBC (the latest this morning on Q).  Slate has an article on it (actually it's all over the internet) with lots of readers weighing in. So what are you - a one or two spacer?

Monday, May 23, 2011

Mondays With Mireille

Yesterday afternoon while I was deciding what I was going to make for today's installment, it started to rain. As a result, my goal was then to find a recipe for which I already had all the ingredients on hand! Something my family and friends all know about me is that I detest going to the grocery store. If I can get someone else to do it for me - anyone - I will. I especially abhor going there in the rain (even though I love the rain). Banana Mousse thankfully fit the bill. 

Voila, one Banana Mousse! 

3 very ripe bananas, peeled
Juice of 2 lemons
Juice of 3 oranges
2 tablespoons liquid honey
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup yogurt (I used plain 3%)
3 eggs whites *

1. Mash the bananas with the lemon and orange juice. Add the honey and vanilla extract and mix well. Add the yogurt and mix well.

2. In a separate bowl, beat the egg whites until they are stiff, and fold them gently into the banana mixture. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour (plan on a few hours) before serving. Serves 4.

Overall impressions: This recipe is a great example of the simplicity of French cooking; fresh ingredients, quick and easy to prepare. This was the first time I'd tried this particular recipe, next time I will add another egg white or two to firm it up a touch. I'm certain you will come up with your own tweaks and if you do, please share :)

A lovely, light dessert after a heavy meal, for those times when you just want to serve a little something afterwards. I give this one 3 out of 4 frogs legs. Thanks Mireille!

* With eggs and all other raw foods from animals, there is a small possibility of Salmonella food poisoning. The risk is greater for those who are pregnant, elderly or very young and those with medical problems which have impaired their immune systems. These individuals should avoid raw and undercooked animal foods.

Monday Greetings! I trust your long weekend has been enjoyable. I know we were certainly spoiled with lovely weather. It was hot throughout (+26C) and even a touch humid at times - I really don't see us getting that last late frost we live in fear of around the time we first put out our bedding-outs and hanging baskets. As a rule I don't do anything before the first week in June; but this year I took a leap of faith which I hope I do not live to regret and did all my pots etc. on Friday. Saturday was just plain gorgeous and I didn't seem to accomplish a whole lot of anything. Sometimes I wonder where the days go... Sunday morning I went for a long walk, barbecued for lunch and lounged about on the deck until the weather took a surprising turn. Threatening clouds rolled in and rain was coming down by mid-afternoon. A fortuitous turn as I look at it; we are just starting to get dry and could use a few days of rain. Looks like much of the same for today.

On my walk I took pics of the many trees in bloom. This is such a beautiful time of year!

A starfish :)

I am a late convert to the joys of walking. It's really only in the past year that I have begun to walk on a regular basis. Now I don't understand why I was so resistant in the first place; I feel better both mentally and physically as a result. Below is an excerpt and link to what I found to be a very interesting article on the benefits of walking. I especially enjoyed the comments section below the essay. The author replied to each person in such a gracious, encouraging way.

* Look for a Banana Mousse recipe later this afternoon from Mireille Guiliano's French Women For All Seasons :) 

The Spiritual and Emotional Benefits of Walking
When I began walking, it was the middle of January in our often dreary and harsh Toronto winter, but I somehow kept going. Everything about me changed. My body, as I started toning from the daily practice, but more than that, my perspective changed. I felt it was my opportunity to commune with nature, which prevails regardless of the weather or the season. A great lesson we are offered from Mother Nature, if we care to observe it. In our modern stress-filled lives, where we seem to be moving faster and faster with more to do and less time to do it, walking allows you the opportunity to slow down and be aligned, a chance to breathe and relax. Walking from a place of relaxed intention is a freeing practice. It is a way to bring your mind, body and spirit into balance. Walk this way and your senses are enlivened. Colors seem more brilliant. The smells and sounds become more alive. I hear the birds song and some days I believe they recognize me and are singing their song to me, inviting me to fly with them. The leaves on the trees are dancing in the breeze and I have a sense of freedom, of being in touch, in harmony with some cosmic orchestra. Full article here.

Resource Furniture

Someone posted this on Facebook. It profiles amazing space saving furniture.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Jane is very happy :) I finally purchased a bistro set for my front walkway. I've wanted one for a few years and this one is so perfect: wicker, wrought iron, slate - plus my house is white and gray. I see myself actually using this set quite a bit since my home faces east; so for most of the day this area is cool and shaded. It came fully assembled, I simply had to fold down the chairs to transport them home in my vehicle... thank goodness for the 'instruction' sheet provided or I would still be trying to set them up lol!

Also, a few pics of the pots I have out front, all begonias.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Well, apparently the joke's on me... my daughter (she's 24) has kindly 'pointed' out that the cute chalk drawings I shared with you on Wednesday are in fact x-rated! I'd posted them on my Facebook page as well...! I plan to leave them up (hehe) anyways. They are still amusing (even more now) and besides, we see what we want to see...at least that's what I told Caroline...

Now I'm really wondering what he's saying...!

The debate continues. If you will recall, a few months ago I posted about the controversy surrounding the Oxford Dictionary's decision to include a number of slang terms in their 2011 online edition (including omg, tmi, wag and my personal favorite muffin top!) Well, yesterday morning CBC Radio One discussed reaction to the newest words accepted into the game of Scrabble. If you've ever played Scrabble with friends or family, no doubt you've had many an argument over whether something really is a word or not... I know I've been frustrated by other people's (who shall remain nameless!) nitpickiness more than a few times myself. Fyi: my spell check doesn't recognize the word nitpickiness, go figure :) 

A couple examples of the latest additions to the Collins Official Scrabble list include:

GRRL: 1. female internet user 2. term connoting strength, self-confidence
THANG: thing
BREDREN: brother
GOBI: cauliflower
INBOX: email folder for incoming mail
INNIT: isn't it
NANG: cool
PUNAANY: female sex organ
QIN: a Chinese zither
TWIGLET: wheat snack
VLOG: video blogging
WAGYU: a breed of cattle

Friday, May 20, 2011

Is tomorrow the Big Day?

I hope not...
I have a very interesting post scheduled, 
I just bought a really great new polish for my toenails...and
the American Idol finale is on Wednesday!

I don't understand this obsession some people have with the end of the world,
it's like they are hoping...

Personally, I'd really miss a few things:

Till tomorrow!

Islands In The Stream 

Here are a few examples of the extraordinary homemade dams holding back the Mississippi, as desperate residents try to save their homes. I sure hope they continue to be successful. 

I don't mean to sound pessimistic, but lately it seems there is so much going on in the world at one time it's hard to keep up. The economy is in free-fall, the wars in the Middle East rage on with no end in sight and to top it all off I heard on a CBC documentary last night that France, China and southern USA (Texas & Kansas in particular were mentioned) are all suffering from drought conditions. The fact that it is a spring drought in France and not one gradually brought on by hot summer conditions is especially worrying. The world wheat supply is already strained due to the drought last year in Russia. Food prices are most certainly going to rise and possibly dramatically. This is getting scary. I plan to really stock up over the next few months on non-perishables.

Here in Canada we are flooding in Saskatchewan and out west a number of small northern towns (including Slave Lake) were evacuated this week due to forest fires. Many people lost their homes and livelihoods. 

In light of the above doom and gloom, the pictures below are actually kind of encouraging: they are a testament to the the average man's ingenuity and can-do spirit when his back is up against the wall. 

Thursday, May 19, 2011

The very first rule if you are a shutter-bug is: don't leave home without your camera (dummy)! Even if you are just running errands or going for a quick walk. I have learned this sad lesson the hard way on a number of occasions (you'd think I'd learn?) - the latest being a lost opportunity to get great close-ups of two Canadian geese that were hanging around the pond close by my house. Grrrrh! A faithful reader send me a link yesterday which demonstrates this point perfectly.

This photo taken with a cell phone by Stefanie Gordon aboard a passenger flight
from New York to Palm Beach, Fla. shows the space shuttle Endeavor as it
streaks toward orbit shortly after liftoff Monday May 16, 2011.

Let me start off this post by first admitting to having my fair share of frogs and the like peeking out from under the foliage in my yard, and if you live in Edmonton and recognize your home...I apologize in advance, but the other day I realized how amusing it is to consider other people's ideas of lawn decor. These pics were taken on my walks over the last few days and are an approximate ten block radius sampling!

There is a matching bear on the other side :)

Different homes...there is a definite theme happening here... 
I saw a third lighthouse in my travels, but couldn't get close enough to get the shot.

I'm sure this is very cute once her annuals are planted.

I am confused by this implement...
it sits beside a lovely ornate concrete bench.

This goose had a mate for years, but it seems to have flown the coop.

No yard is complete without a gnome... 

or two!

Now here's something I can relate to!

I thought I'd post this rascal and see if anyone recognizes him... Mom?!!

Today was the weird, tomorrow the wonderful!