Monday, February 27, 2006

Olympics wrapup, newsletter

Olympics Wrapup

Wow, they're over. Boy, I'm glad there's a closing ceremony to help finalize that it's over, it makes it a bit less of a shock (and, they had Ricky Martin singing the Cup of Life, the best sports anthem EVER, which makes a lot of things better!). :) My goodness, the Games were fun while they lasted though! :) Canada did its best ever showing, in third place! Awesome!

Another great Olympic moment came towards the end of the games, with Clara Hughes winning the 5,000 metres in speed skating. You could tell she was giving it positively everything she had, and when she saw that she had won the Gold, the look of joy on her face was amazing! Shortly thereafter, the poor dear collapsed on the ice, face down sobbing, because she really had given it EVERYTHING, the tank was empty as they say, and she broke down for a little bit. Then she recovered and was able to do her victory skate, etc. Her story is amazing because she is both a Winter Olympian and a Summer one too (cycling, and a bronze medal winner at that!). She seems a very sweet and happy girl, and obviously one with a huge capacity to ignore her own physical pain! Her skating teammate, Cindy Klassen, was our flag bearer for the closing ceremonies, because she won a Canadian record 5 (five!!!) medals in this Olympics! What a powerhouse!

So, all in all, we're in excellent shape for when we host the games in 2010 - every country wants to do its best when it hosts, and so it is with us!


Just a note to my regular subscribers, that my monthly newsletter was sent out this morning. If you didn't get it, please check your email settings, and be sure that it's not being bounced back or filtered out as junk mail, etc. :) Enjoy!

Saturday, February 25, 2006

New Birdie!

We recently installed a bird feeder close to the house, after considering doing so off and on for years. And boy has it been popular! :) We always had a bird feeder out in the suburbs when I grew up, but there wasn't much variety of birds that would come (it was still a lot of fun!) - lots of black capped chickadees, blue jays, crows and squirrels. But out here in the country, we have a huge variety of bird life. I'd see them in the trees when I was out and about, and now that we have a feeder, I get to see them up close and personal! I plan on posting pics of many of the different birds we see, but today I'll share a pic I took about an hour ago, of a bird I had only seen in books before today! They were gorgeous!! A whole flock of Ruby-Crowned Kinglets, boys and girls. And some of the boys had so much red! I'm sure some were juveniles and some adults, which accounts for the differences in colouring. It was very exciting to see that gorgeous red, such a lovely flash of colour in the middle of winter.

Friday, February 24, 2006

Men's Curling Gold! Woo-hoo!

WOW! Our Men's team curled an AMAZING game - the score says that it was very close the first few ends, but that's really not the case, to be honest - we kept getting steals of one, and outcurling them right up until the 6th, when the Finns made a bad miss and we were able to get 6. It was pretty much over at that point, and had it been any other game, they probably would have shaken hands, but at the Olympics you have to play 8 ends, so on it went for 2 more ends, till finally they all shook hands, and we won the Gold! It was great, the kids in Newfoundland (where our men's team is from) got the afternoon off so they could watch the game (this was a REALLY BIG deal) - the whole province is in party mode now! It's great too, because one of my favorite curlers, Russ Howard (the guy in the center of the photo, with his mouth open), :) had joined Gushue's team last winter (he usually curls in New Brunswick), and was a great veteran presence for this young team. He's hilarious to watch, he screams and hollers louder than ANYONE (I mean, you have to yell orders to the sweepers, but he takes it to a WHOLE new level). There's nothing malicious in it, it's really just his huge excitement level, and there's always bets on how long it'll take him to lose his voice during a tournament. Until I saw him in person, I thought he was just really loud, :) and that was it - but really, it seems to me to be almost like he's WILLING the stone to move the direction he wants, purely with the power of his voice. It's an amazing and entertaining thing to see, and I'm very pleased for him, and for our whole men's team! Great job guys!!

Read the whole story from the CBC.


*duh* I thought I had a bag of dirt still...apparently it's been a while since I looked, and I'm all out! :D Oops. So, I'll have to get out to Home Hardware and get some soil-less growing medium, or some soil, depending on what they have.

So, slight delay in the BeanDreams...I'll keep you posted!

Upcoming Newsletter, and Cool NS News

Upcoming Newsletter
I'm putting together my latest newsletter, which will go out on Monday (AST). Highlights include the revealing of two new designs for my Cafepress shop, a sneak peek at an as-yet-untitled work, my recipe for a great mid-winter corn chowder, and more! If you've not signed up already, you can do so on the front page of my main website.

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Cool NS News
Fortress Louisbourg is a great place to visit in Cape Breton. It really takes you back to 1700s - and you HAVE to try the bread that you can buy when you first arrive, that the soldiers used to eat. It really helps you get in their mindset, eating this incredibly dense, dark bread. I've had it every time I've gone. :) In any case, the cool thing is, an outer retaining wall that was long since believed destroyed, was just uncovered by a storm surge. Archaeologists are scrambling to study it and hopefully preserve it before it gets washed away! That must be very exciting, to find something "new" from something built in the 1730s.... :D Cool!
Read more from the CBC.

Thursday, February 23, 2006


WOW!!! I ordered my stuff from Vesey's on Sunday, and today it arrived!! Already!!!! I was really pleased, especially since it was such a large order (I ordered for myself, my mother in law and my mother, so we could save on shipping). It was a heavy box, and a lot of fun to open up and sort through! :D

So, tomorrow I get to get my tomatoes planted and set up some place warm, bright and sunny! Yay! Stay tuned for more info as it comes!

Monday, February 20, 2006

Hockey Gold!

Woo hoo! Our Women's Hockey team won Gold today at the Olympics! They played really well throughout the whole tournament--congrats to our girls!

BeanDreams, continued...

Due to budget constraints, and some last minute replacements (Vesey's was sold out of my preferred tomato - it's an exclusive they carry, very popular!), my garden plans now consist of the following:

- Pilgrim Tomato
- Gold Rush Bean, untreated
- Green Forest (Romaine) Lettuce

- Ladybird Poppy
- Empress of India Nasturtium

- Gardener's Dream Fish Fertilizer (Non-deodorized)

The order is in, and now it's just the waiting! This gives me a chance to get everything set up - where I'll keep my seedlings as they grow, awaiting transplant. Gotta have lotsa heat (to start), lotsa light, and be safe from the cats! The tomato has to be started right away, they need to be of a good size when it's time to transplant them outside. But come to think of it, the beans and lettuce are direct sow (as in, they work best if you don't transplant them - some plants don't react well to that). Hmmm...and the nasturtiums don't usually bloom till July, so that's plenty of time for them to grow outside, and poppies are another plant that don't react well to transplanting. So, I just have to start the tomatoes indoors! Cool! Our last frost date is May 6th, but it's traditional around these parts to start gardening in earnest on the long weekend (Victoria Day), around the 21st of May. We'll see how the weather is, I'll probably turn the garden ground over in early May.

So, stay tuned for more info on BeanDreams as it happens! :)

My cat is defective. I can hear him upstairs, rolling a potato around on the floor. Normal cats should not play with potatoes. What a weirdo. :)

Saturday, February 18, 2006

Another favorite Canadian artist

As you probably know, I really enjoy works that are vibrant in colour and whimsical in subject. Marilyn Cook's works from "Smooth as Silk" really fit the bill.

My favorites are under the links Paintings/The Comic Series (the 4th one down). Really bright, colorful and really really fun! Her comic pieces have a very stylized look that I enjoy (the ancient Celtic works, and much of Ukrainian folk works are similar in that respect). The cats that she uses as a link to the section are adorable, and I LOVE her piece with fish and lobsters (pictured above). Without a doubt, I am very fond of fish and lobster related art--really apropos for here in the Maritimes, with the abundance of delicious seafood available. I wish I had some shrimp, I'd have it for dinner...a little white wine, chicken broth, butter and garlic...mmmmm....

*ahem* Anyway, back to Marilyn's work...she does some pieces that you can wear (silk scarves, blouses, ties, etc.) and some pieces that you can hang on the wall. All her work is lovely, from the delicate florals, to the beautiful herons and landscapes. Take a few minutes and wander through her online gallery, I'm sure you'll enjoy it!

Ramblin' Wanderin', and delayed Olympic kudos

Ramblin' Wanderin'

A couple of days ago it was a VERY warm day, again! Really any case, Casey and I enjoyed our walk, and found some more tracks, and this time what I believe are raccoon tracks, too! While they were very fun to see and photograph, raccoons really should be hibernating right now, so it's disturbing that they're out and about so early.

Also, a squirrel has found the suet I made (the birds, naturally, are ignoring it completely, since I made it just for them). :D He bit down the string holding up the pine cones full of suet, and now that they sit on the deck floor, he takes a little chunk out, and runs to the deck rail or the top of the BBQ to eat it. Cagey little bugger. I got pretty close from inside the house and got a pic before he really noticed me. He's not the regular squirrel we have, however: the "stupid" one. You can walk right up to the stupid one, out in the woods, and he won't notice you. You stare at him for a while, then suddenly he'll turn around, see you, and take a total freak out, like it's your fault that he didn't notice you. He's got a special place in our hearts, nonetheless. I'll try to get a pic of him sometime. :)

Today's walk was fun (and much colder), we went farther than we'd ever gone before through the back woods, and found even more trees in the forest that were toppled by Hurricane Juan a few years ago (no one owns this particular part of the woods, so there's lots of downed trees in the area, that were never cleared up by anyone). The tree in the picture here had a HUGE root system, it towers above me. You can see Casey in the pic for an estimate of how really tall it was. Amazing. And underneath, all rocks. (No wonder it and so many of its brethren blew down, the roots had to grow outwards, across the top of the thin soil, not deep into the ground). Nova Scotia has SO MUCH BEDROCK, it's quite humorous if you don't need to do any digging. Heh heh :)

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Delayed Olympic Kudos
(this was supposed to go up a couple of days ago, but was having server problems, so I didn't get a chance to put it up until now).

Oh, I'm so proud!

Sadly, American skater Johnny Weir didn't do so well in his last skate of the men's figure skating competition, he just wasn't able to put it all together, and didn't medal, despite being in 2nd place coming into this last phase of the competition.


Our little Canadian sweetie Jeff Buttle won the bronze medal!! He was so surprised, he skated with personal best scores, and came in third! What more could you hope for at the Olympics than to do the best you've ever done, AND medal for it?! Fantastic!!

Thursday, February 16, 2006

Pitchers and Catchers Report!

"It's the most won-der-ful time of the year..." (sing along with me)

Spring is really showing signs of arrival, it's the first beginnings of baseball season...yay! I really enjoy baseball, the Jays are gonna do really well this year, woo hoo! It's just the perfect thing for evening (and sometimes afternoon) entertainment. Get some nachos together, a little pop or beer, and you've got some good times. AND, for those games that are so long you can't pay full attention during the whole thing, they make very inoffensive background noise (unlike a lot of what's on TV these days, ugh). Back in the days before we had the sports channels on TV that cover most of the games, we used to listen on the radio to Jerry Howarth and Tom Cheek, they were icons of the Blue Jays, covering virtually all the games in the Jay's history, since the team began. They really made you feel like you were back in the old days, before TV, so descriptive, so you could really visualize the action. You could hear the background noise of the crowd, the crack of the bat, it was fantastic, really made you feel like you were there, in a way that TV doesn't capture. And the duo really played well off each other, each with their own strengths that they brought to the broadcast. Poor Tom Cheek passed away in '05 (brain tumor), so the duo won't be able to broadcast together again, it's truly a great loss. They were amazing. I feel very privileged that I had the experience of hearing them, it's something I'll always remember and treasure.

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Lots of tracks to see!

Today's walk with Casey was a lot of fun! I saw tonnes of tracks in the snow, and I'm sure I would have seen more if Casey hadn't been so curious about what Mommy was looking at. She comes trundling up with her stick, dropping it right on the track I'm looking at, or dances around all over the track saying "Hi! I have a stick! Would you like to toss it?" As I say, she's a very silly puppy, and knows nothing about bunny print hunting...

This pic is of what I assume is a crow's feetprints. They touch down occasionally in the woods for a little peck around.

This is a day or two old bunny track. You can see the shape of their huge feet hopping off towards the left, with the round tail imprint behind. We had a little snow yesterday morning that filled in the prints a little, but you can still see the outline.

Here's where a couple of bunnies hopped together, I hope they found something interesting to eat in the snow out there. I don't know what bunnies eat in the winter, I should look that up sometime... :)

Anyway, all told, it was quite a fun walk, with lots to see! One day, I hope to see an actual BUNNY! heh heh

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

A Norwegian Coach is my Hero!

I can't believe it!! This dude totally deserves some sort of good sportsmanship medal or SOMETHING!! One of our girls broke her ski pole in the middle of the Cross-Country Skiing women's team sprint, and a Norwegian coach who was nearby had some extra poles ready for his girls. They didn't need them, but our girl did, and God love him, he gave one to our girl without a second thought! What a stud! He's totally my hero! We won Silver in the event to boot, yippee!!!! I mean, we wouldn't have medaled without our girls being really well trained and strong, but it would have been next to impossible with only one bloody pole!

That is just SUCH good sportsmanship! Again, that's what the Olympics is all about!

The full story is here.

SOMEONE has to make an Olympic commercial vignette outta that one, that's for sure.

*bleargh* keyboard blues, Olympics as I see them, & happy Valentines!

keyboard blues

Note: new keyboards do NOT come apart like old keyboards. DO NOT UNSCREW these new "floating key" keyboards to clean them. It's taken us all afternoon to put this one back together. I thought we'd have to buy a new one for sure, but thank God we were able to get it back together and working (I just couldn't bear having to buy a new keyboard when this one had been perfectly fine, but I screwed it up because I wanted to clean it).

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Olympics as I see them...

Johnny Weir. Wow. He's actually really good, he's a figure skater for America. I haven't seen him before, but he's very expressive, he did exceptionally well just now in the short program. I haven't paid attention to figure skating for several years, all the scandals kinda put the final nail in the coffin of my dwindling interest in the sport, but he's definitely one to watch, I'll watch the finals to see how he does. Of course, I'm also rooting for Jeffrey Buttle, one of our Canadian guys, he seems to be a sweetie.

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Happy Valentine's Day to one and all! Hope you're enjoying it, however you're spending it!

Monday, February 13, 2006

Pathetic Puppy Photo of the Day

I mean, LOOK at how desperately, pathetically sadly she's looking at me as I pass her by on the landing. And this was after I had already taken her for our regular walk. Admittedly, it had to be cut short as her knee is acting up again (an old Frisbee injury), but still, you'd swear she'd been living a life of complete boredom and non-interaction. Well, she's only 2 1/2, she's still a baby really. And a very pouty baby at that. :D She's my sweetie, that's for sure.

Oh, the pain! Olympic-sized pain!

Good gravy, watching the Alpine Downhill skiing, women's, this AM. Some of the women "lost their edges" in the "grippy snow" (I'm not familiar with all the jargon, but that's how they put it) and the wipeouts were HORRIBLE...dear God, at least one of them had to be airlifted off the mountain...It's such an exciting sport to watch, but you forget sometimes how extremely dangerous it is to be going that fast! And this was just the training run...already some of the medal hopefuls have been eliminated. Extremely dangerous sport. A lot of fun to watch when horrible accidents aren't happening, though...

And speaking of accidents, the luge is going incredibly wonky! There have been tonnes of wipeouts (again, agonizing to see), our CBC commentators said they had never seen so many wipeouts ever, and that there might be something wrong with the track, which would be really unfortunate.

As I said, there's always something interesting happening at the Olympics!

Saturday, February 11, 2006

SWEET!!! It's a gold!!!!

Afternoon update, we won GOLD in Women's Moguls! YAY!!!

I'm just a little excited!!

Already, awesome Olympic moments!

Man! I just finished watching the Nordic Combined - Individual Gundersen 15 km (the end is like a race on cross-country skis over different terrains). Wow! It was really exciting, you could really see the strengths and weaknesses of different people: some looking like they could just fly up the hills, and others really going for it on the straight-aways. The ending was so exciting, the secondplace guy looked like he was going to take over at one point, but lost it just at the last little bit. The really exciting part was watching for third place - I've never seen such a race for the bronze, it was incredible! I still don't know who came in third, it was a photo finish between two Norwegians, it was really thrilling! They were both going all out, wow! Now THAT's the Olympic spirit!! It's great too, that they were both from the same country, a little bit of friendly competition between the two. :)

Now I'm watching the women's moguls qualifiers, we've got a medal contender there, so fingers crossed! :) Oh sweet! She just qualified in first place for the finals! Yay! And all our girls made it to the finals, so that's really great!

*sigh* I really do love the Olympics... :)

Friday, February 10, 2006

Nail Enamel du Mois, and the Olympics are finally here!

Enamel du Mois
For the last several years, painting my toenails fun bright colours has been an amusing little thing to do to perk myself up, no matter what the season (of course, I get to see them a lot more in the summertime, what with my sandal addiction and all). The most recent toenail colour of choice is Avon's Speed Dry Nail Enamel in "Sizzling Sky" (I have to link to Avon's main page, and not the individual product page, because they have a frameset on their site). I love the colour, a pretty bluey shade with lotsa sparkles. Very fun!
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The Olympics are finally here!
Wheee! I LOVE the Olympics: the competition, trying to do your personal best, meeting in fellowship with all the other nations of the world, records being broken, the highs, the lows, it's just fantastic! Not to mention you're guaranteed to have something very interesting to watch on TV every day: during the Olympics, I watch all kinds of sports that I normally don't, like downhill skiing and speed skating - you're watching the best in the world, after all, so why not?! Yes, the doping scandals are depressing, but you just gotta focus on all the athletes that aren't doping, not the few that are.

Best of luck to all our athletes! And special good luck wishes go out to our lone representative from Nova Scotia, Sarah Conrad (best of all, she's from Dartmouth, where I grew up!). Good luck Sarah, do us proud!

Thursday, February 09, 2006


And so the planning continues...I consulted Vesey's extensive online help regarding growing hints for the veggies I selected. I've kept in mind companion planting. (Basicaly, it's been shown that certain plants get along so well with other plants that they both grow better - they're mutually beneficial. When you grow mutually beneficial plants together, it's called companion planting. On the other hand, some plants make very bad company together, and you have to grow them separately. There's a lot to keep in mind when planning a garden!) I have created this illustrated layout for my garden this year. Lettuce is beneficial to both tomatoes and beets, so I'm planting a row on either side. Bush beans are also beneficial to both tomatoes and beets, so they're in between the two. I'll be planting a total of two rows of each plant, as shown in the diagram. I will have to order my seeds soon though, so I can start them growing indoors! Which also means I need to set up a "growing plants" area that both gets a lot of heat (initially) and light (later on) AND is not accessible to the cats. Baby Boy LOVES plants, and anything young and tender usually gets eaten (fortunately we don't have any toxic houseplants). Silly boy.

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Boo Boo the Chicken & BeanDreams

Boo Boo the chicken was given mouth to beak CPR and brought back to life after it got startled (yes, that's how it got it's name) and fell into a pond. It's a great little story from Arkansas, give it a read here. Heh heh heh. Brightened my day! :D


I generally start to break out the gardening catalogues at this time of year, it's SUPPOSED to be blustery and freezing outside, and the garden-planning is supposed to bring relief and hope for spring - however, today was so warm when I took Casey on our walk through the woods that I got overheated. In Nova Scotia. In February. This is not good. Not good at all. I'm very scared for the health of our planet... :( Did I mention we had a RAINSTORM and all of the snow we had accumulated melted away. *sigh*

However, on a brighter note, I hope here to be able to keep you all up to date on my garden, and we'll see how the plans I make now actually work out! As with many plans for many things in this world, the actual exectution is very different from the plan it came from. :)

So, here's the plan, in it's earliest stages:

I haven't actually ordered from the catalogue yet, but here is my rough draft of my order from Veseys (a great company in the neighbouring province of PEI, who specialize in developing seeds for short growing seasons)

Yellow Wax Bush Beans (Gold Rush, excellent freezer, 54 days maturity)
Baby Beets (Pablo, hybrid, deep red, good for processing or fresh (and will mean lots of great borscht), 45 days maturity)
Romaine Lettuce (Green Forest, strong bolting tolerance, 70 day maturity (I prefer iceberg lettuce; however, the darker the lettuce, the healthier it is for you, so I'm trying to eat Romaine-types more.)) :)
Tomato (Determinate (Non Staking), Cabot, very popular with Maritime and New England gardeners, bright red fruit, approximately 69 days maturity from transplanting (which definitely means it'll have to be started indoors - I've never tried to grow my own tomatoes from seed before, this should be interesting)).


Calendula (Victoria Sunset, gorgeous big orange tipped yellowish centre flowers, 18-24" high)
Nasturtium (Empress of India, Heirloom variety, dark green foliage with electric red flowers, 12-16" high)
Poppy (Ladybird, the original Flanders Field poppy, I'm growing this gorgeous red beauty partly as a patriotic way to remember our fallen war dead).
Pansy (Snow Pansies, can survive over winter. I'm choosing a lovely red colour - are you seeing a theme here? Yes, I'm sticking with reds and oranges this year. 8" high)

And I'm going to be buying some fish fertilizer as well, I'm trying to stick to the organic stuff, but boy, will it stink!

I've asked my fiance, Dave, to build me a little cold frame (we need those here to protect our plants in the early stages from late season frost, etc. The plants can stay outside and get lots of sun, but still be protected from the elements - it's like a mini-greenhouse).

So, that's the plan in it's earliest stages. We'll see how it goes! :)

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

A new "Eden"

Fun and interesting news!

A new "Eden" has been found in the Indonesian jungle! Read the BBC article here! It's amazing! A newly discovered, untouched-by-humanity self-contained ecosystem that's almost impossible to get to (thank goodness, hopefully we won't screw this one up!). LOTS of new plant and animal species that we can study and learn from - they even found a bird that had been first described over 100 years ago, but no one had ever found where it originated from!

Be sure to look at the pictures, found a little ways down in the article, in the box titled: "FOJA MOUNTAINS SURVEY", click on the link "In pictures".

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Storm Day

Finally, a good old-fashioned nor'easter! All this extremely untypical warm weather has been downright scary. Over the last several years, our weather has changed A LOT. Very disconcerting. But more on Global Warming another time. We had a lot of fun today playing around in the snow - as you can see, it goes as high as Casey's belly, and she really enjoys a good gallop through the drifts.