Saturday, September 30, 2006

It's Christmas Time at the Gift Shop!

Today is the grand launching of the Christmas Section of my Ukrainian Gift Shop for 2006! Check out six brand new designs featuring angels, Christmas stockings and more, all with a Ukrainian theme! There's even Christmas cards with greetings written in Ukrainian or English!

Some changes have been made to the navigation of the shop as well, to make it easy for you to find just the right Christmas ornament, card or present!

Have fun!

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

BeanDreams finally updated!

Sorry it took so long! If you want to get all caught up on BeanDreams for the last half of the summer, check it out:

BeanDreams: time to put the garden to bed (shortly)

I'm going to have to put the garden to bed soon - it's so late in the season, there really isn't much more time for the tomatoes and cukes to grow. And with the frost warnings starting to appear regularly on the weather forecast, the time to dig up the garden has come. I've picked several tomatoes already (for ripening inside), and I'll have to do the rest in the next couple of days.

It's kinda sad: on one hand, you don't really want it to end...but you can tell from the chill in the air that Nature's saying "it's time to button up for the winter!" So it doesn't feel unnatural, you can clearly feel in the air that growing season is over, that it's reached it's natural conclusion, and it's time to move on.

Thanksgiving is in a couple weeks - just in time for the end of our growing season. I'll process my tomatoes for freezing, and serve them as part of our harvest meal. :) I'll give lots of details on my prep for this feast coming soon!

Sorry I haven't been updating my garden stuff more - with the big server migration last month at my web server's company, I wasn't able to do a lot of updating, and I got behind. But I've almost done catching up, and will upload it shortly. :)

Sunday, September 24, 2006

Great idea for sprucing up office buildings

Nice story from Japan this morning: Shinji Kato is an official who came up with this great idea to beautify a tall office tower. He had them plant "Heavenly Blue" morning glory plants from each landing - when the vines grew long enough to reach the landing beneath them, officials attached them together, so it looks like a giant waterfall of vines. The flower are expected to bloom in a few weeks, and should make for an even more gorgeous display.

Isn't that wonderful? What a fun idea to beautify an office building, something which might ordinarily be seen as something cold and imposing, now brought back to nature a little bit. Wonderful! It makes you wonder what we could do with our own office or other areas that might be a bit too bland and cold - now's the time to start dreaming these things up for next year! :D

Read the whole story on Mainichi here.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

I won a little piggy! :)

Too fun, had to share: my mom's birthday was yesterday (Happy Birthday, Mom!) and we went to the Dragon Buffet King to celebrate. Yum! Great selection of Chinese food, including soups, salad and dessert bar. Very nice, fresh dishes were brought out from the kitchen constantly. General Tao's Chicken was my favorite, definitely went back for a second helping there. :)

On the way out, I saw they had the Crane Game (like this sort of thing) in their lobby - $2, play till you win. It's not as easy as it looks on tv, that's for sure. :D I had my eye on this little piggy, and we had a lot of time to kill (waiting for the supper hour traffic rush to end so we could drive home), so after about 20 minutes, and several close calls, I was able to get him! I was very happy! :D He's some cutie. Then we went around the corner to Michael's (a big craft store chain from America, this "branch" is the only one I know of in the Halifax Regional Municipality). Holy moley, I've been to big craft stores before, but being in Chain Lake (home of the IMAX and tons of big box stores), this particular craft store is ENORMOUS! I was in Heaven!! The sheer volume of products was almost overwhelming! Showing incredible restraint, I managed to come away with only a few items, but I tell ya: if I ever win the lottery, that's probably the first place I'm going! :D heh heh heh

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Important: Foreign Dignitaries, when visiting Canada, MUST go to Tim's!

Glad to hear that foreign affairs minister Peter McKay (a Nova Scotian) was making sure Condi Rice had the full "Canadian experience" and took her to Timmy's during their walkabout in Stellarton today. (She was here for some 9/11 ceremonies yesterday, to thank the people of Canada for all their help when all of those planes who couldn't land in the States were diverted here).

There are Tim Hortons doughnut/coffee shops EVERYWHERE in Canada. You cannot drive very far in any direction without hitting one (not literally HITTING one, of course). Their coffee is highly addictive (to those who love their coffee), and bringing a box of "Timbits" (little round ball-shaped doughnuts, in a mixed variety of flavors) is practically mandatory for business or group meetings. Truly a cultural institution here in Canada. Tim's has added a variety of foods to their product line over the years - their bagels and cream cheese are really good, as are their soup and sandwich combos (bread's a little dry, though). But by far, their coffee and doughnuts are the most popular.

See the CBC's story on her visit to Tim's: Rice has time for Tim Hortons (A play on Timmy's motto: You've always got time for Tim Horton's"). And there's more here.

Saturday, September 09, 2006

Photo Journal: The Beauty of A Swamp in Fall

We're really lucky - here in Nova Scotia, there aren't any poisonous creatures or plants in our swamps! So I was able to go into our local one the other day, squishing along in my rubber boots, and got some photos showing the beauty of our swampland/wetlands in the early autumn. (It's still a little creepy in there though, there's a lot of weird noises in there, in the ground under your feet...clicking noises, and squeeking noises...I didn't go in as far as I had planned!) :D Fall always comes first to the swamp areas, so the leaves are already starting to turn there.

The best fall leaf viewing for Nova Scotia (outside of swamps) comes around the 2nd to 3rd week of October, so plan your visits for that time of year to get the best show! It's pretty amazing. :)

These first few shots just show the abundance of plant life in the swamp area - some evergreen fir trees on the periphery, with tall bullrushes' leaves starting to brown on the tips. The gorgeous ferns are showing their autumn colors in full, in deep oranges and reddish-browns. Beautiful! There's a million other plants in there, too - thick mosses cover most of the ground, and many different bushes and small trees that enjoy the wet ground. There isn't an inch of bare ground, everything is covered with vegetation!

These following two shots show a common sight in wet soil in Nova Scotia: the pitcher plant. I think it's called that because the leaves act as a pitcher, collecting water. The first pic shows the flower, and down below you can see a closeup of it's "pitcher" action, with water filling up the leaves. Neat! :D

So you see? You can even find great beauty in a place with a name like "swamp"! :)

Friday, September 08, 2006

Fun new novelty designs added to the gift shop!

I've added a few new fun novelty designs to the gift shop, for Ukrainian Moms and Dads everywhere! It features a bold geometric pattern based on traditional Ukrainian folk embroidery inside the "Mom" and "Dad" text. The design comes in both red and blue. Check it out!

Thursday, September 07, 2006

A lack of obstructive goats....?

A Swiss driver was ticketed for speeding in Ontario (in Canada, east of NS) and according to the BBC:

"A traffic officer's notes said the Swiss driver had said he was taking advantage 'of the ability to go faster without risking hitting a goat'."

*snort* ha ha hah hah hah...

Read the full story...

Its true though, you know, I never have seen a goat on a highway around here...

Sunday, September 03, 2006

Adorable Dog & Pony Friendship

Cute story from Gloucestershire, England: Freddie the dog loves to ride around on Daisy, the Shetland Pony's back as she walks around her owner's fields.

Of course Freddie is a Jack Russell Terrier - what other breed would have the guts to give horseback riding a try? (Dave's mom has a Jack Russell, and she's absolutely fearless!).

Read the full story on the BBC.