Friday, 29 February 2008

Media Frenzy

The word is out... and Baby Callum is Front Page News!
The phone has been ringing off the hook with reporters desperate for photo ops.
He makes a great pin-up boy even in his more serious moments!

Would you take financial investment advice from this baby? Apparently he's already written a bestseller. Buy low, sell high. Or is it the other way round? Oh well... Obviously a genius.

And he's already made a huge impact on the entertainment world with his memorable singing voice. This pic was taken in the middle of a rousing chorus of "My Way".

This isn't the last that the world will hear about this charismatic new media personality.

More to come, folks.....

Monday, 25 February 2008

In The Pink

This is how it started back in January. A dry amaryllis bulb, a bag of soil and a plastic pot. Just add water, a generous dose of TLC, and.....

...keep in a fairly cool place, this one lived in a north facing window.

Two stems emerged, each one with a fat flower bud. No leaves, they come later. Flowers are far more important.
Growth speed was phenomenal, some days it gained a full inch.
But it seems that even though this plant is sold under the name Amaryllis, it might really be Hippeastrum, according to Wikipedia.
Whatever it's real name, it's gorgeous.

There are FOUR giant blooms on the shorter stem, and SIX blooms on the tall one.

It may be cold and wintery outside, but indoors I am enjoying a definite sign of spring that should keep me from climbing the walls with a bad case of cabin fever reasonably sane until the snow melts.

Saturday, 23 February 2008

Worthless Eyesore or Heritage Building?

The grain elevator that has been a town landmark since 1922 is being threatened with demolition. It was built to service what was back then essentially a farming community. But the farms are long gone, the big city is only a short jaunt away, and the fertile farming land is being covered with roads and houses.

It's one of only five grain elevators left in Ontario, and is the last agricultural building left in town. More pictures here.
The current owner, GO Transit, wants to get rid of it to make room for expansion of their commuter parking lot.

Many people agree, and say it should go.... it's been empty for years and is gradually deteriorating.

But the grain elevator is on the town's heritage inventory list, and there are plenty of people who say it should be preserved. This building played a significant role in making this town what it is today.

Some of the suggestions for this building are to turn it into a restaurant, with the upper levels turned into play area for kids, or to move it to the park to be used as a museum and interpretive centre. Our local Radio Station is looking for an antenna location... what better place?

What do you think.... bring in the bulldozers, or start fundraising?

Thursday, 21 February 2008

Total Eclipse of the Moon

Were you outside staring into space between 10pm and 11pm last night?

If you were, you witnessed a Total Lunar Eclipse. Here's what NASA had to say about it.

"Eclipse Predictions by Fred Espenak, NASA's GSFC"

Looking up through the bare branches in the back yard, I could see that the full moon was gradually turning dark orange. But it was really cold, about -12C, and not a cloud in the sky. Too cold to stay out there very long. I braced my little Nikon Coolpix2100 camera on top of the bird feeder and zoomed in to take some shots. Most of them suffered from a bad case of the shivers, but this was the best one.

No detail, but what a cool colour!
I'll have to wait until December 21, 2010 for the next Total Lunar Eclipse visible in North America.
Maybe I'll have a better camera by then.

Tuesday, 19 February 2008

Let me present.....

.... my first grandson...


7lbs 15 oz and 20-1/2" long.
Blue eyes and just a little wisp of darkish hair.

Born by emergency c-section just after 10am this morning, Tuesday February 19 2008, after 24 hours of horrible labour that wasn't going anywhere.

OlderSon and The Equestrienne are thrilled. And thankful that their son has arrived safe and sound after a very bumpy journey.

Even on the first day of the rest of your life, you have to have a bath.

But the warm water feels so nice, no need to cry.

I know we're going to have lots of fun together, Callum.
We've all been so anxious for your safe arrival.

Welcome to the outside world.

Friday, 15 February 2008

Baby Update

Since so many bloggers have been enquiring about the chicken and egg ticker at the top of the page, here's the scoop.

My first Grandbaby is being a little stubborn and staying where he/she is right now, even though the due date was last Monday.

The doc says that all is well with both mother and baby, and it's just a waiting game. But if Baby doesn't make an appearance over the weekend, Monday will be The Day!

Update Monday 18 Feb, 9:45am. No sign of Baby yet, but the doc says we've all waited long enough and so Mummy and Daddy are at the hospital ready for the process to start. Stay tuned!

Update Monday 18 Feb 9:01pm. Baby is definitely on the way, but is a little reluctant to meet his/her new family. Probably feeling shy. Mummy is breathing a big thankyou to medical science for the blessings of an epidural, and Daddy has been providing awesome encouragement. More news in the morning.

Wednesday, 13 February 2008

Winter Wonderland

The winter of 2008 just keeps on keeping on.
It costs the City of Toronto $3 to 5 million to clear the snow from it's 5,300 km of roads and 7,100 km of sidewalks for each major snowstorm. The snowclearing budget is $67 million for 2008 and the City Piggy Bank is almost empty. They are running out of places to pile the snow. Video here.
Up to 201 de-icers and 673 road snowploughs are assigned to manage a snowfall in Toronto. The City operates 303 sidewalk ploughs and can deploy more than 400 additional pieces of equipment.

The Toronto area has had 3 times the average February snowfall this month and today's only the 13th, with more snow expected on Friday. Torontonians are getting tired of shovelling.

Oh well..... this is Canada in February, people. Don't complain. We should enjoy this old fashioned snowy winter. It's just a little different from the milder snow-free winters that we have become used to.

Meanwhile, meet my new neighbour.

The name's Frost... Jack Frost.

His friends call him Frosty.

Sunday, 10 February 2008

Misleading the Consumer - Cuppa Tea, Anyone?

Doesn't this look delicious? Green tea with juicy Mandarin Orange segments.... just imagine yourself relaxing with a good book and a cup of this steaming hot tea, aromatic with the fragrance of mandarin oranges
And it comes in a pyramid shaped teabag too.... Pyramid Power for the People!

But if you look closely at the small print ingredients, you'll see that somebody forgot to put the mandarin oranges in. The "real pieces of fruit" (to quote the bilingual product blurb) are mango, peach and apricot. Not a mandarin within miles.

Plus it contains SUGAR! Can't we be trusted to put our own sugar in?


Now, I agree that the label doesn't exactly claim that it contains Mandarin Orange, but when the front of the box states "real pieces of fruit" next to a picture of six juicy orange segments, don't you think the average consumer might jump to the conclusion that this product could have encountered at least one teeny weeny segment of orange during it's manufacture?

But no, sadly just another example of manufacturers misleading the consumer with devious advertising.

I called the 1-800 number on the package. I spoke to a very polite and apologetic lady at Lipton's who said she would convey my concerns to the appropriate department, and offered me coupons for more of the product.

Very kind of you, Mr Lipton, but no thanks.

Thursday, 7 February 2008

An Old Fashioned Winter

This is how the back yard looks this morning....

... and this is how it looked six months ago....

Can't wait for Spring to arrive.

Wednesday, 6 February 2008

Pancake Day

Did you have pancakes yesterday? If you didn't, you should have! But it's never too late for pancakes, enjoy some today!

Today is Ash Wednesday, the day that Lent begins in the Christian calendar, which means that yesterday was Pancake Day...or to use it's rightful name, Shrove Tuesday.

Lent is a Christian holiday that was established in the 4th century as lasting 40 days and leading up to Easter. It's traditionally a period of fasting or other forms of self-denial. Fats, which were generally prohibited during Lent, had to be used up. The eggs and dairy products left in the pantry would be used to make pancakes.

So, do you like the North American version, a pile of thick pancakes served with butter and maple syrup, and a slice or two of bacon....

Or do you prefer the English version... thin like crepes, and rolled up with a squeeze of lemon and a sprinkle of sugar.... ?

Pancake photos borrowed from the internet.

Monday, 4 February 2008


Okay, so this combative helmetted and padded and tight pants extravaganza has been going on for the past fortytwo years.... good excuse for a party! I'll never understand Football, even though the rules have been explained to me in great detail on numerous occasions. However, I'm always up for a family get-together, specially if it involves food, and someone else is doing the cooking.

This year, OlderSon opted out of serving the traditional Super Bowl Chili, and made SOUPer Bowl 42 Baked Potato Soup. YUM! Served with fresh bread, topped with green onions, real bacon bits and shredded cheddar cheese. Brilliant choice! And he baked the potato skins and served them with dip.... even more brilliant!

Then we settled down to watch the game.

Those Patriots were a bit too confident on victory and it didn't pay off. That last minute of the game took sooooo long to play. But the Giants proved that pride goes before a fall. We were all cheering for the underdogs, including Tessa who can indentify with underdogs!

Great party.... thanks everyone. Go Giants!
And in the unforgettable words of the Beatles............

Sorry, I still haven't figured out that video loading thingy... you'll have to click on it!

Sunday, 3 February 2008

Square Eyes

Some people see dots in front of their eyes, I'm seeing squares.
Knitted multicoloured squares.

A great way to use up all the leftover yarn that I find in the local charity shop.

I've made about fifty 6"x6" squares so far, but I need to make quite a few more before they'll make a decent size blankie.
I'm not looking forward to sewing all those ends in.

And now I have to find someone who can teach me to crochet them all together.