“There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle.”

― Albert Einstein

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Thailand - part one.

Let's see the last # i ended on was #22 on January 16, 2011.  In March of this year I took a trip of a lifetime with my oldest son.  We went to Thailand!  So many firsts happened on this trip. The trip itself being #23. :-)

  • 23.  Flew across the Pacific, well up and over, but still the same idea.  Thailand is literally half way around the world from my home.  Exactly a 12 hour time difference. Three flights to get there.  Winnipeg to Vancouver, Vancouver to Hong Kong (so long! almost 13 hours) and then Hong Kong to Bangkok.  I could just rack up a dozen or so firsts with the new things about this travel.  Like first time having curry as an inflight meal on Sri Lankin Air lines.  Or first time in Vancouver and Hong Kong.  You see how the list could add up quickly.  But there are so many unique and once in a lifetime things I did that I really don't feel the need to count them all in my list of 40 new things.  So, #23 my first time in Southeast Asia and all that it took to get there. The pilot of one flight was so cool, he let Erik visit the cockpit...once we had landed, of course. :-)
  • 24. Learning to really use an i-pod touch. I know it seems lame next to # 23, but it's good to keep things in perspective. New things aren't always life changing, once in a lifetime round the world travel. For a super busy full time working mom of three who is not techno savvy, finally mastering an ipod touch is a real accomplishment. I have dabbled before. But on this trip I learned how to connect to wi-fi everywhere possible, send not just emails, but photos, video and "voice" memos. I'd wake up ridiculously early and sit on the little "porch" of our room. i'd check emails, facebook and I just loved to hear all the tropical birds singing. It would start with just one and then as I sat more and more voices would join in. It was beautiful. As the days went on it rained more and more. It rained a lot while I was there and the sound of the rain falling added to the sound of the morning and made me know that I was definately not in Kansas (or Keewatin) anymore. :-)  This is a video of the area right outside our room at Lamai on Koh Samui.
  • 24. Floating market - This was one of the first things we did when we got to Bangkok.  I had the best mango ever!
  • The floating market was really fun. You speed around on this boat and pull into all these fun shops with interesting things and people. I could have bought all my sovourneirs there that day, if only I had brought more money. They really should put an ATM right in the centre of all of it. Along this site seeing journey we stopped at a Buddhist temple. We bought the incense, flowers and gold leaf and did the ritual. We both thought is was very interestesting.
    Along with buying fun stuff, eating some great food.
    We also saw some wildlife along the way.
    In upcoming blog posts I'll tell you more about Bangkok.  About petting a bengal tiger.  Getting taken by a con-artist/seaside sales woman.(ha!)  Having a seaside pedicure. Driving a scooter, successfully and without injury.  Getting a Thai massage.  And More! It was a great trip, filled with so many firsts.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Lordy, Lordy Look Who's Forty!

 If you missed it, piled way back many blogs and a few months ago.  I am, that's who! teehee!

I started this blog before I turned thirty-nine in an attempt to push myself to get moving on my list of dreams.  I've had a great life and a huge list of things i want to do!  I really just want to spice it up, mix it up, scare myself spitless and have fun.  I thought that doing and recording 39 New Things would be the way to let myself know (aka prove) that I had lived.  Not just lived, but really gone for it, you know?  I started in January and wondered if I could do all 39 before I turned 39 ... but that was only five months.  A tad unrealistic, but as the saying goes, "shoot for the moon and you'll hit the stars."  On my 39th birthday I went for a float plane ride #21.  Undaunted I have kept on tracking the new things I have done.  Though as time went on with less need to prove a point.  New things happen and come into my life spontaneously all the time.  I have planned and gone out of my way to make them happen too.  Most of all what has come through this little experiment or game of mine is that I have a deeper appreciation for how great my life has been and how good it really is.

Some highlights that I will blog more in depth are:
  • Singing for the Shoephoria kick off party and being recorded by David Cassiey! (Thanks Kris for that opportunity!)
  • Co-Hosting Q 104 Morning Show with Ken O'Neil and my nieces!
  • A trip to Thailand with my son Erik where there were all kinds of New Things happening and so many shenanigans that I have to blog about!  Hilarious!
  • Going to a writers' workshop with Armin Wiebe and really learning! ( just as an aside, as a pre-med, pre-nursing and then health major, creative writing wasn't in the mix of required classes.  this was a first for me.)
There are more and photos too.  It may take a while, but some of it is so great and funny that it really MUST be shared!   Oh, I almost forgot.  Always wanting to present myself a challenge, like life isn't challenging in and of itself, I wondered if I could read 40 books in a year.  I began September 2010 and by September 2011 I had read 40 books.  I will post my favourites off that list shortly. : )  

i know what you're thinking... "promises, promises.  now she won't post again for a year!"

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Are You Happy?

I just listened to these TED talks and thought how having a 20 minute commute would be perfect if I could listen to a TED talk on the way.  Not much time to listen to them in my day as it is.  But I listened to three tonight that have really got me thinking.

Listen to this talk about how choice makes us unhappy.  

Thursday, April 21, 2011

A little reminder is good.

I've just come home from a late night rendezvous with my friend.  One we try to do each year on this day. We met at the cemetery.  This year it was late and well into the blackest part of night.  We haven't had our cemetery visit at night in a long, long time. I have been there in the darkness on Christmas Eve when the ice candles fill the hills.  But in this early springtime those hills are covered with tombstones and solar lights of all kinds of colours.  It was beautiful and peaceful, though a little cold with the crispness of snow still lingering in the air.  So though the earth is bare of snow, you know it lingers in the shadowy places not yet melted away. 

This year we both had children in tow.  As we drove in our separate cars to meet, we explained to them the five "W's".  They've heard it before, but we usually go just the two of us, so the story needs re-telling for these young ears.  "Mom, I'm going to build a time machine, they will exist one day you know. And I'm going to go back to just before the accident and get the ice off that spot on the road."  "She didn't deserve it Mom." "She ONLY got 19 years?!" "Mama, that means she never got babies."  This is the course of comments in my car as we drive across town in pjs.   I'm glad to have brought them.

They say the cemetery is spooky and stay in the car when my friend gets there.  Her son hands me a rose and one to his mom.  The kids jump in with mine.  And we both think that's fine, this is a climb and vigil we like to do alone.  "Wow, is it getting steeper, or are we getting older?"  "No, it's just really uneven."  "You know we're going to be 80 climbing this hill together."  We laugh. "I hope so." "Me too."  We talk and tidy, reflect and remember until our teeth start to chatter and we shiver. We lay flowers on the grave stone of our dear friend. Mine yellow, hers pink, laid side by side on the cold, dark stone. Then we walk back to the car, returning to our lives and the world.  The kids jumping around in the lit up van - playing and giggling.

I think about how this is her 40th birthday and think how lucky I am for all that I have gotten to do in my life.  I think of how young 19 is and how much living has happened between then and now.  I start to count the good things and all the people I love.   And fight back the shame of my ingratitude and any thought i've had that my life has been less with a vow that I will remember.  I will remember her and how fortunate I am.  And I'll smile, dance, tell jokes, laugh and have fun and live life to the fullest, because that's is how she lived her 19 years and she'd be pissed if I didn't do the same. : ) I can still hear her laugh.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

4 crossed off the list things started...

Here are Four things that I am so glad to have finished!! They are (drum roll please)

  1. a loom knit scarf, started with the kids over a year and a half ago

  2. a hand knit scarf that I started last April with Clara (it's made of organic cotton, not wool - its so soft, it feels luxurious!)

  3. 2 wall mounted guitar holders - with a small living space having things off the floor is best and now that they are out of their cases they are getting played more... except the acoustic which is in progress of getting strings changed, frets re-dressed, etc....hopefully the completion of that one will be on the next list. : )

  4. the flower night light/lamp put up in Ellie's room.

It is interesting to note that on all four of these projects I was not alone... So THANK YOU Clara and Jerry! Rome wasn't built in a day and it sure wasn't done by one person!!! : )

Friday, January 21, 2011

Here's a minus 40 misadventure....

how do you warm and start a car that has sat for 14+ hours in minus 40?
Well you warm it with whatever heat producing devices you have lying around the house of course!! : )))

then... when all of that's done, use the battery jumper cables??

Sunday, January 16, 2011

22 - Mulligatawny

This has been on my list for only a year and a half or so. One delicious lunch at the Bistro on Second and I was convinced that this was the best soup I had ever tasted. It had such a delicious sweet and spice flavour with wonderful surprises with every bite. "Was that a piece of apple in my soup?" Why yes is was. YUMMY!! And such a great name - Mulligatawny! I don't eat out very often and every time I have gone back they haven't had the soup when I was there. I have even called over to see if that soup was there a few times. I really think I ought to see if I could get on some sort of email alert system for when they have it! : )

Anyway, so not being able to get it anytime I wanted it presented a problem! I thought I'd just have to learn to make it and that it how Mulligatawny got on my new things to do list.

Normally I am not intimidated by making a new dish, especially a soup. And I even have experience making Indian dishes - I have a couple really good ones in my repertoire. But as soon as I googled searched for a recipe I realized that this dish was going to take me places I have never ventured before.

First of all Mulligatawny means "hot pepper water" and was invented for the British who occupied India because their palates were unaccustomed to the thick, stew like dishes that are common in India. So my wonder soup isn't even an authentic traditional Indian dish! Kind of like Tex-Mex. The second thing I discovered was that just like stew and chili are generic labels for any number of different versions, Mulligatawny can be make many, many, many different ways.

So the hunt was on to find one that resembled the soup I had at the Bistro and one that I thought sounded good. I narrowed it down to three. One with a really long ingredients list. And two others that seemed more basic. This being an adventure for the 39 new things list, I chose the hardest one with the longest list of ingredients.

Now there are several things on the ingredient list that I have never purchased before and some I haven't even heard of before. I had to ask my friend at work who hails for Indian heritage for some input and advice. And in fact when I couldn't find cardamom pods in town, she got some from her mom, at which point I heavily hinted, okay I out-right asked if her mom could give me a cooking lesson and we make it together. Years ago I had a lovely Indian woman teach me the first few dishes I mentioned above - so I thought to make this dish different (ie new experience) I really needed to do it on my own.
I set out to amass the ingredients, and then put off making the soup.... for months actually. Just too busy to stop everything to focus on a new soup. And then this weekend I became determined to make it! I have learned so many things I didn't know before and I still have many questions. Thank goodness we live in the age of google!
Did you know that there is such an ingredient as a curry leaf? Not curry the spice, but curry the leaf? I didn't. I found them dried at Keewatin Place. (the best place in Kenora to find any kind of ethnic food ingredients) Once I found them I thought -"Oh no. My whole life I thought curry (the spice) was a blend of a bunch of different spices and now I discover it comes from a leaf?" But actually the two aren't related at all. (see link for more info)
I laid out all the ingredients and much to my chagrin I realize that I went to all the effort to buy more cardamom pods, the curry leaf and fresh ginger - only to NOT buy a fresh lemon? and not buy fresh cilantro (we always have some around, my husband is of Mexican heritage.) and then of course I am out of ground coriander. (another pantry standard for us) Guess I can't make anything new without a call and assistance from Mum and hand delivered to my house by Dad! I'm always so glad they are there!
These are almost all the ingredients - missing from the photo is the chicken stock, made from scratch the day before.

So I started it out with my ingredients laid out, my recipe in hand and my trusty side kick/quick clean up crew at my side. She is always at my side, or under my feet, or just behind me when I'm cooking. She either adores me or is just an opportunist waiting to catch "treats" as they fall to the floor. She passed on a chunk of fresh ginger though. : )

It took me a long time. I had many questions along the way - did I buy the right kind of tamarind? how does one "bruise" a cardamom pod? and does coconut milk always come out this thick? So after a few google interruptions and "little chefs" volunteering when they were loving the smell and then abandoning to the other room when the sweating spices got too strong, and a long time later. There was a soup produced. It tastes and looks nothing like the soup at the Bistro, but it is good. Now that I have made one version I will try the others. ... I wonder if the Bistro would give me their recipe? ; )
If you are curious the link below is the recipe I used this time. I probably won't make it exactly this way again and perhaps I will do what I do with other soups - know that basics that go well together and then make it up as I go.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

40 is a BIG number

Forty is a number of significance. I was thinking of how many times 40 comes up in the Bible. How many days did it rain for Noah? 40. How many days did he float there waiting for the water to recede? 40. How many years did the Children of Israel wander in the wilderness before reaching the promise land? 40. How many days did Jesus fast and pray before beginning his ministry? 40. Moses and Elijah also fasted 40 days. I especially like that Goliath came out for 40 days and challenged for an opponent and on that 40th day David answered that challenge. We all know how that turned out. After I googled it I found even more, the list could go on and on.

And today how many days is lent for Catholics? 40. I am sure Muslim's and Jew's also have some 40 day observances too. In fact I was just reading that Buddha and Mahomet fasted for 40 days too just prior to starting their ministries. And that in Ancient Egypt is was said that it takes 40 days for the spirit to actually leave the body.

Other interesting things about 40

In numerology 40 basically means completeness.

And how long is a full term pregnancy? 40 weeks.

I read that in Japan on your 40th birthday you are at the beginning of "the old age" - "shoro."

And lastly what is the traditional number of lashings for punishment? ... yup.

Like I said 40 is a big number. More than half a lifetime for most people. Makes me kind of pleased to be reaching it.