Category Archives: Life

Tonight's Meal – Fruit and Berries with a Chaser

I’m like the poster child for good great eating habits. Just look at what I cooked up (well, sliced up actually) for myself tonite. EB may be on the road, but this house is nutrition heaven baby.

Here’s the latest installment of tonite’s meal in 424 pixels or less…


Disclosure:  the burger was from Joe’s on W. 4th.  It had bacon on it. It had cheese on it.  It had a pickle on it.  It came with fries.  I used ketchup.  It was delicious.

Tonight's Meal – Indian with a Twist

EB’s out of town on a road trip and there seems to be a fair bit of debate about my eating habits while she’s gone.

It’s true I love to order from Veneto Pizza on Londsdale, Musashi in the West End for sushi, and I get a hankering for fish and chips from C-Lovers on Marine (their web site barely exists, sorry).

But heh, just because EB’s not in the kitchen doesn’t mean there can’t be some mean cookin’ goin’ on.

So, what better challenge than to be totally transparent and blog my evening meal for the next week or so. You know, let the sad truth hang out for all to see.

I nixed the idea of taking a picture of what I’m eating, I’ll leave that kind of thing to Roland.

Instead, I present . . . tonite’s meal . . . in 424 pixels or less . . .


Old Dogs, New Tricks

old dog in howe sound

My mom and dad are both in their eighties and grew up on the prairies. Even though they live in an area where there are lots of lakes and rivers, my family heritage is not water based.

Definitely flat landers.

Aside from a short and wet ride once on a Laser, my dad’s never been on a sailboat. My mom is super uncomfortable in anything smaller than a BC Ferry.

So, I really wasn’t sure how they’d take to Madsu, our 22 foot Catalina sailboat.

Both of them totally loved it. I couldn’t get my dad off the tiller, and my mom actually claimed to be relaxed, even when the boat heeled in the puffs. The latter is a feat of immense proportion.

I have an old sailing text book in my nautical library (a corner of the shelf in the living room) and dad feverishly devoured every page in the evenings. Out on the boat, he quickly got the hang of things. Like any beginner we had lots of snake wake, but I was surprised at how fast he got the feel for the boat. It’s no rocket ship, but the little Catalina 22 is certainly forgiving and a perfect little boat for the old dogs (and me).

Watching my 80 plus year old dad head up to the fore deck to change the head sail made me both nervous and proud all at the same time. And the fact that my mom, deathly afraid of small boats, actually pestered me to go out “look, the sun is shining, we can go sailing now” is something else.

All I can hope is that when I’m in my 80’s I’ll still be game to try something new.

Cat Supervisor

Ozzie seems to take his job quite seriously. I’m not entirely sure what his job is, but its not just house cat. It appears to be supervisor of all activities.

For instance, if we watch a DVD or more likely an old episode of StarGate on DVD, he’ll curl up on the arm of the couch next to Garnet and watch intently. He seems to particularly like SG1 vs. Atlantis, but I digress.

The last couple of days, Garnet has been busy pulling moss off our tar and gravel roof. I’d be happy to leave the moss alone, particularly as I’m reading more and more about green roofs, but our insurance company insists we get rid of it.

So while Garnet’s been busy up on the roof, Ozzie’s been busy too. Watching him work.

Ozzie the Cat Watches us Work

His vantage point today – the top of the chimney, presumably so he won’t miss any details of the job at hand.

In the Pink

One of my mom’s aunts bought a new Cadillac ever year. It was her way of proving she was a city girl – strong, independent and in charge.

In the summer, she’d drive out to Manitoba from Montreal to visit her sister, my grandmother.

A shiny new Caddy showing up on dusty Red River Valley farm was a sight. My grandmother didn’t drive and she’d look disdainfully out the kitchen window at all that chrome and fins parked under the yard light. She’d never say it, but I knew what she was thinking, “useless for taking the lunch out to the men working in the fields”.

For us kids, it was a glimpse into another world. We’d circle the car like it was alive. From the kitchen we could hear my aunt’s exotic big city French, her sentences punctuated with bursts of laughter. We’d press our faces to the car window, marveling at the sights unseen, the world as viewed from those plush leather seats.

Later my aunt would come out and we’d pile in for a crazy drive down the line roads, windows wide open and the radio turned way up. My aunt would toss her head back and smile her city girl smile, as if to say “you don’t get one of these from shelling peas and canning peaches”.

Though they lived very different lives, when they were together, these two women would positively shine. My aunt was proud of her sister, proud of how she’d left the comforts of a wealthy home in Montreal to be a farm wife. Proud that she’d given birth to 14 children, all of them delivered upstairs in that very farmhouse.

And my grandmother gushed with admiration for her sister, a self-made woman, rich in fact, who was not afraid to spend her money on cars and travel and life. “Look” she’d say, “this is how we live in Montreal, this is what I came from”.

Those summer visits taught me volumes about family, choices, and values. Not in words, but in actions.

Buy a House on your Credit Card

When you live in the lower mainland of British Columbia, you get accustomed to ‘average’ house prices in the high six figures, and first time house buyers scraping together every penny just to make a 10-percent down payment.

It seems inconceivable that at the same time, in Detroit Michigan, you can pick up a house for about the same price as a new car. Full story at Yahoo news

Steve Izairi, 32, who re-financed his own house in suburban Dearborn and sold his restaurant to begin buying rental properties in Detroit two years, was concerned that houses he thought were bargains at $70,000 two years ago were now selling for just $35,000.

At least 16 Detroit houses up for sale on Sunday sold for $30,000 or less.

A boarded-up bungalow on the city’s west side brought $1,300. A four-bedroom house near the original Motown recording studio sold for $7,000.

Go Forth With Confidence…and maybe a key logger


Every time I read a story about a high school kid getting into trouble for hacking into a school computer, I react badly. 

Seems to me the kids should be getting extra marks instead of kicked out of school.

The latest story involves a tony West Vancouver private school, West Point Grey Academy, a school that charges upwards of 16,000 dollars Canadian tuition, and has had among its recent faculty, Justin Trudeau.

According to the Vancouver Sun, one or more Grade 12 students is being investigated, and may be expelled, for finding a way into the school’s computer system and snagging a recent exam.   The headlines reads: “Hacking probed at west side private school”.  Very ominous indeed.

Now, I’m relying on the Sun’s story for my facts here, in the print version of the paper, there’s some speculation that someone may have used a key logger to capture a teacher’s logon information on a classroom computer.

Here’s the thing that drives me batty.  These are supposed to be institutions of higher learning. Unfortunately, the kids know more about computers than most of their teachers.  My kids are in elementary school and when I read the Sun story out loud and got to the part about the key logger, they both went “D’oh”.  

I don’t know about you, but if I was leaving my computer unattended daily in a room of 30 video game playing, MSNing,  SecondLifers I’d be changing my password hourly.  And if my employers were goofy enough to network THAT computer into the a library full of highly sensitive exams, I’d just suggest promoting one of the so called high school hackers into the IT departments security expert.

In Praise of the Nap

nap dialogue box

Last week the service shop called the house to say the car was ready. It was 3:15 in the afternoon and my son answered the phone and promptly told them “Dad can’t come to the phone, he’s napping”.

When I went down to pick up the car, I was met with uproarious laughter. “Sorry we interrupted your nap, har har har“.

Truth is, the last laugh may rest with me, at least according to a new study that pretty much proves us nappers have something going for us…

In a study released Monday, researchers at the Harvard School of Public Health and in Athens reported that people who took regular 30-minute naps were 37 percent less likely to die of heart disease over a six-year period than those who never napped. The scientists tracked more than 23,000 Greek adults, finding that the benefits of napping were most pronounced for working men. (from the Boston Globe, via the International Herald Tribune)

I come from a long line of nappers.  On the Ouimet side of the family, napping is considered an art and is given its proper due.  As a kid, you learned early and quickly to tip-toe around the sleeping elders in their La-z-Boys, carefully watching ‘the feet’ for fear of movement, the tell-tale sign that a precious nap had been interrupted.

There’s no recliner in our home, but who needs it. All those years of flying 150,000 miles a year proved a powerful training ground for getting shut-eye in all the wrong places.  Call it modern nap-evolution, but I can catch zzz’s pretty much anywhere.

And who knew, I’m so much the healthier for it.