Saturday, September 30, 2006

All the leaves are brown...and the sky is gray.....


Not really. The leaves are a beautiful melange of hues of reds, greens, oranges, golds...and the sky is blue, feathered by a few wispy white clouds.

The car radio plays tunes from the Mamas and the Papas and Simon and Garfunkel. The CD player is busted- so much for the 10 disc CD player! It doesn't work! In the passenger seat sits the driver's faithful companion, still a bit groggy after his minor operation. He tries to stick his head out the window to bite the air, but realizes he's too weak and reluctantly flops back onto the seat. There's a look of sadness in his eyes. Or is it just the anesthetics?

She reaches over, puts one hand on her pup. "Life is sweet", she thinks, as they zoom across the winding country roads. Gorgeous Fall colors, wide open fields, cattle grazing, and the occasional deer crossing the highways are all part of every day life on the island. There are sandhill cranes in one of the fields they pass, and the Canada Geese are flying above them. How picturesque. It feels like time stands still on the island. "It looks very much like a scene or a painting from Provence. Very old, very French, very rustic", a tourist from France once said. Hmm...it looks like perfection. It's so natural, so clean, so fresh, so quiet, so simple.

Of course, nothing's ever that simple.

The dog sighs. His face is tender and red where the vet shaved him. His left eye is barely visible from the swelling. Will he learn that porcupines are not his friends? The car pulls into the long driveway. Home sweet home.
Friday, September 29, 2006

All God's Creatures, Great and Small...


Behhh...who am I kidding? I am such a liar. I USED to think ALL of God's creatures were wonderful, beautiful things and each had their own special reason for being on this planet. Uhhh...that was until last night!!!

My hubby was at a meeting and I was alone at home, when all of a sudden, my puppy starts barking like mad from outside. The sound he made was the most horrible sound ever. I was almost scared to go outside and see what was happening. Well, sure enough, the pup got into a little stand-off with a PORCUPINE!!! Those stupid creatures! I wish we could have shot it! (How horrible is that of me to say??) It got my puppy in the face and we tried for hours last night to remove the quills. Chance wouldn't let us near him. He has about 50 quills in his face- near his eye, on his nose, on the side of his face. The poor baby. He was fussing so much that every time we tried to get a quill out, he'd thrash himself all over the place and made himself bleed.

This morning I told the hubby, "I don't care how much it costs. I'm taking him to the vet." I have to pick him up at 5PM. They had to give him an injection and knock him out for a while. The quill that's near his eye is a bit too close. Hopefully there's no hematoma (sp?) because the pup's eye is pussing and the area around it is swollen--so swollen, you almost can't see his eye.

So, if I sounded like I was a nature-loving, earthy, save the world kinda gal before...I take it back. Porcupines are horrible, horrible animals! ;p
Thursday, September 28, 2006

Boooooks!! Uhhh..what's a book meme??


Got this from the ultra cool, highly intelligent, super fun Ms. Mamma (Thanks, Mamma!)

Book I think everyone should read:
Paulo Coelho’s “The Alchemist” just blew me away. Like the quote on the back of the book, it is indeed “a wise and inspiring fable about the pilgrimage that life should be.”

One book that changed your life:
Tough one...there are many that have changed my life. Don't laugh, but "The Outsiders" made me see that life is fleeting - you know, the "Nothing Gold Can Stay" bit thrown in there... and J.D. Salinger's "The Catcher in the Rye" moved me.


One book you read more than once:
Like Ms. Mamma, I'm a fan of the Bronte sisters and could read "Jane Eyre" again and again. I can also re-read "Memoirs of a Geisha" again. The movie "Memoirs of a Geisha" is premiering tonight on Star Choice, so I'm anxious to see whether or not the movie lives up to the book. Oh and one more book I could re-read is "Anne of Green Gables". I'm a little girl at heart :)

One book you want on a desert island:
Jean Auel’s “Clan of the Cave Bear”…I just couldn’t put the book down and didn’t want it to end. A must read! I'd also like to take with me, Gabriel Garcia Marquez's "One Hundred Years of Solitude".

One book that made you cry:
“Bastard Out of Carolina” by Dorothy Allison is shockingly heart-wrenching. Bone, a young girl, must test her loyalty to her mother when caught in a dreadfully horrifying situation with her step-father, Daddy Glen. Not for the faint of heart- this novel deals with abuse, physical and emotional. How anyone can do such things to a child really sickens me. The novel is also about growing up, coming of age, making decisions, family dynamics (mother/child, step-father/child), etc.

One book that made you laugh:
John Gray's "Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus". Not sure if it was meant as a funny book, but it was to me! (Mostly because lots of the stuff discussed seemed to be true to me at the time!) Oh, does "The Importance of Being Ernest" count as a book??? It's a play, but you can read it...so it's also a book, right? Oscar Wilde cracks me up. What an eccentric chap he was. Love the play on words too.


One book you wish would have been written:

"How to Tune Out When Someone Around You is Annoying", "How to Tell Someone they're Stupid Without Hurting Their Feelings"... lol



One book you wish had never been written:
Edith Wharton’s “The Custom of the Country” has got to be (for me, at least) quite possibly one of the most boring books on earth. Even though I majored in English Lit, and this novel was a ‘must read’ for all Lit students, it bored me to tears. I wanted to burn it when we were done with it. I think I donated it to the library fundraiser! LOL


One book you are currently (re)reading (again & again):
"Memoirs of a Geisha"- I just wanted to read it one more time before I see the movie. Oh, and Ben Okri's "The Famished Road".


One book you have been meaning to read:

Khalil Gibran's "The Prophet". I've heard so many great things about it and I've read a few quotes from Gibran that are inspiring. I've got "The Prophet" on my bookshelf, but haven't read it yet.


Three people you will tag:

Jill
Dina
Curiosity Killer


Monday, September 25, 2006

FYI


For all you newly married couples, or couples soon to be wed, the government of Ontario has changed their policies on documents required for your 'change of name' when getting married. We got married in June and have been trying to change my name since so I can get my credit cards, driver's license, Health card, etc changed. The pastor who married us said that the piece of paper issued to us at the marriage (which was signed by our witnesses) is legal and official.

I brought the 'solemnization of marriage' to the driver's licensing office and the lady told me they don't accept those anymore. What??? So, I asked around and everyone I know who's been married in the past few years agreed with our pastor that the piece of paper we have is indeed the one they used to do their name change on all their documents. My SIL and several of my friends used the document they got at their weddings, so they couldn't understand why I couldn't use mine.

Frustrated, I figured perhaps this was too much of a hassle and I'd just keep my maiden name and just 'assume' hubby's last name in all cases other than government and legal documents. Hmph. THEN when in Kingston, my brother's friend who works for the Ministry of Transportation clarified the situation for me. She said that it's just been recently that the actual copy of the marriage certificate (with the seal) has been necessary. Before this, the document we currently have in our possession was the one that all government agencies accepted. So now I have to apply for the certificate, which will take 5 to 8 weeks to process and then I can begin the change of name and address. *sigh* I should get our certificate of marriage in the mail on Oct. 2. The charge to your credit card is $22 for the long form. I, unfortunately, paid $44 because I got booted off the internet and then repeated the entire process, thereby paying TWICE. Wonder how long it would take to rectify that situation...and will the MOT correct that double payment I made??? (I've already e-mailed them). *sigh*

You'll never believe this!!!


SHE'S BACK!!!

Yesterday, I was just thinking of Nala (our cat that's been missing for ages now) and I asked John to please go out and look for her...I just needed some confirmation even if she was 'deceased'. I had come to grips with the idea that Nala was an old cat and that she may have gone into the woods to be alone so she could die. Surely, being away from home for that long would make it difficult to survive. I mean, sure she could hunt for her food and find places to draw fresh water from, but there were the elements of nature to contend with as well as wild animals that could eat her for lunch! Anyway, John came back in the evening and said, "You are never going to believe this!" and in waltzed Nala, looking really rough and making a lot of noise! After being gone for almost two months, the cat has returned home!!!

Crazy, huh?
Saturday, September 23, 2006

Things I pray for


* my parents' health
* my grandmothers' health (they're both still very healthy- but both my grandfathers have passed away)
* world peace
* success and happiness for my brothers
* that my nieces are safe and that no one brings peanut butter sandwiches to their peanut free school
* my husband's health and that each day is a good one for him (it's sometimes dangerous working on the farm and in the woods and with the sawmill)
* the health, happiness and safety of people around the world- even people I don't know
* that hubby and I always have a roof over our heads and food in our tummies (you never know, with all the natural disasters like tornados and hurricanes)
* I pray that people take care of the earth because we take it for granted sometimes
* most of all, I pray that my hubby and I have a healthy, happy baby someday soon :)

Isn't it funny


how certain sights or sounds can transport you back in time to places locked deep in your memory... Places you've long forgotten or have tucked away for safe keeping???

As I was making homemade Rigatoni Bolognese for my hubby's supper, cooking implements and veggies from the garden scattered all over the kitchen, I had the Jackson 5 playing in the background.

Instantly, the smell of the pasta dish and the voice of a young Michael Jackson brought me back to JAPAN (of all places, eh?)!!! I remembered my Sundays and Mondays off from teaching, cooking in my small apartment, the breeze blowing and my curtains swaying. The CD player set on random, switched from Jackson 5's "I want you back" and "ABC" to Bic Runga's "Sway". Everytime I hear that song, I am reminded of the bittersweet days I spent in Japan. Youth, new found independence, adventure, being in a foreign country without my friends and family. Most of all, Bic Runga's "Sway" reminds me of a certain person and a shared experience.

Hmm..the power of music..or rather the power of sound, sight, taste, smell, touch...amazing, no?

With a faint half-smile, I added the finishing touches to the Rigatoni...
Thursday, September 21, 2006

Something cool and something weird...


What do you want to hear first? Something cool or something weird? Okay, let's do the weird one first.

I was standing in F's kitchen the other day and we were both doing dishes together. She's been married for yeeeeears now and I only three months. I leaned over and said, "Whoever said being a wife was not a hard job was definitely wrong." "Oh?" "Yeah, I love being married, but there's always so much stuff to do and now there's someone else you have to think of..." Knowing she's a stay-at-home mom, I meant to say that being a wife and a mother was a full time job in itself. I say, "I know what you mean being a housewife" and to this, she gives me a look and winks, "That we're all desperate?" hinting at the Desperate Housewives program on TV. Uhhh...no, not what I was thinking at all! LOL! I found myself feeling slightly uncomfortable and not knowing what to say next. So I quietly continued washing dishes alongside my friend. Weird.

Now for something cool. J picked up Dan Brown's "The Da Vinci Code". He was anxious to read it, but I snatched it up and couldn't put it down! I used to read a few books a week in univ (I majored in English Lit) but haven't had much chance to sit down and enjoy a nice leisurely read in a while. Anyway, I read the book in two days. I finished it at 4:46 AM today. It's the kind of book that is so gripping, you just don't want to put it down nor do you want it to end.

Basically, there's a murder inside the Louvre and clues in Da Vinci paintings lead to the discovery of a religious mystery protected by a secret society for two thousand years... which obviously could shake the foundations of Christianity as we know it. Could Jesus have been a man who was married to Mary Magdalene, who bore his child? Was the quest for the Holy Grail really about finding the cup of Christ?

The story had awoken all sorts of ideas I'd wondered about in the past and poked at the curiosity I had with regard to organized religion. Hmmm...what do you think? Anyone else out there read "The Da Vinci Code"?
Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Home sweet home


I love going on little trips, but there's nothing like sleeping in your own bed after being away for some time. Our little jaunt included a trip to the Outdoor Farm Show in Woodstock, and we visited friends and family in Clinton, Toronto, Richmond Hill, Kingston and Barrie.

It was so nice to catch up with everyone. J and I don't have much free time, nor are we able to really leave (life on the farm..always busy and can't get away because there's always work to be done and the cattle can't take care of themselves). Anyhooooooooz, we were able to schmooze with loved ones and I got to finally meet D's little guy! Ohhh he's such a handsome boy and his cheeks are so yummy!!

Lele and I went shopping for maternity clothes at Old Navy. They've got HOTTTT stuff there that will make all mommies look great!! Love it! Lele's 4 months preggo now and is starting to pop! I say she's popped, but they don't think she's officially popped. By popped, I mean that moment where you just know a woman's preggo by looking at her...when her belly starts to show..you know :) J was joking around with Lele, saying that once the inny's an outie it means it's done (the bun's out of the oven) LOL. Those two are crazy when they're together..they were talking about my SIL's belly button (hence the inny and outie thing).

Spent some time with my little bro too. He came over to my other bro's and SIL's. We ordered a pizza. Bu asked J what he wanted for supper and the guy said, "PIZZAAAAA!!" We don't get to order pizza..no pizza delivery on the island...nor do we get to indulge in fast food or junk food ofte. Anyway, J jumped at the opportunity but I assure you, if we lived in the city, the novelty would wear off fast! Anywayyyy, the point is, we got to spend time with my little brother and eat pizza and sing karaoke. Gosh, I miss that kid. He's a univ student and always so busy. The kid hardly has time to call or e-mail his big sister. He didn't even tell me he had a girlfriend!! The little bugger! Guess you can say I'm suffering from separation anxiety. I just love that kid. He lives way too far from home. All I can say is he better be coming home for Thanksgiving!!!

Ohhh so psyched! Got me a big yellow "Farmers Feed Cities" sign to nail to our mail box post!! That's me :) Once I'm hooked on a cause, I'm hooked! Will post a pic of our new sign when I get one! (Also got a Farmers Feed Cities sticker on my SUV)

Brand new addictions


Thanks to my brother and his wife, my hubby and I have gotten addicted to a few new things.

1) My brother and SIL have a PS2 and a whole bunch of karaoke games. It’s the coolest thing ever. It’s just like karaoke but you have to try to get on the right pitch and you get scored for it. I can’t believe my hubby is a mic hog! He and my SIL were singing all night! The funny thing is, you can take a photo of your face and paste it onto a character so it looks like it’s really you singing. Too funny!

2) Lele and Bu also got us into playing cribbage. Crib is a game that is pretty commonly played here on the island. All the old folks in town play crib and euchre. One old guy tried to teach me several times, but I can’t ever seem to remember all the rules. Anyway, Lele and Bu got us playing and now I’m hooked.

3) This addiction is not attributed to Lele and Bu. This one is Dina and Gavin’s fault! J and I went to visit them and their little Elie. I can now say that I am addicted to that sweet little baby smell. Perhaps it’s Johnsons and Johnsons, but I really do think that there is a distinct fresh new baby smell that little ones have. It was great seeing D and her hubby and finally meeting their little guy. He is so precious!

4) Finally, J and I went to dinner with my brother and his wife. We went to Red Lobster since we don’t have it on the island. The coconut shrimp is to die for! J and Bu had the “all you can eat” shrimp and boy was it ever good! Lele and I ordered lobster and scallops but we did help the boys out with their shrimp!
Thursday, September 07, 2006

Is this for real????



A friend of mine e-mailed this to me. All I can say is...is this fo' real??? Because I'm the complete nutbar that I am (a slightly obsessive one), I am going to do an internet search to see if this is real or if it's something that's been PhotoShop'd ;p
Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Wowzers!!!


Seems to me that not too long ago, maternity clothes weren't much to talk about. Now, there are soooooooooooo many really cute, fashionable and reasonably priced outfits that look great! I've got pics of my mom and aunts when they were preggie, and their outfits made them look like they were wearing potato sacks (but they were cute in their potato sacks)!! :)

My sister-in-law and several of my good girl friends are pregnant, so I've been going ga-ga for baby stuff!! Here are a few cute things I saw for them at Old Navy.
Monday, September 04, 2006

Ohhh nooooooooooooo!!!


One of my favorite TV personalities died on Monday :( I'm sure many of you are familiar with the name "Steve Irwin" aka The Croc Hunter. He was killed by a stingray barb while filming an underwater shot for one of his television series.. Soooooooo sad. I loved that guy!! Perhaps it's his Aussie accent...or the fact that he was a great wildlife icon and a passionate conservationist. I'll miss watching that crazy guy on TV.
Sunday, September 03, 2006

Something my mom sent me



She thought this 1955 Housekeeping Monthly article was interesting. I am so glad I wasn't a wife in 1955! (click on the image to enlarge- hopefully you can read it)

Any comments?


Montreal bans sleeping in public (Article from CTV news)
Montreal is cracking down on the city's homeless population by imposing a controversial ban that makes it illegal to sleep overnight in all public places.
CTV.ca News Staff
Effective Friday, Montreal will fine people who sleep in public places overnight
Effective 12:01 a.m. on Friday, Montreal's solution is to fine people who sleep in public places overnight.
"We've had problems with prostitution, drug dealings, street gangs, and stuff like that," City of Montreal spokesperson Benoit Labonte told CTV News.
It was already illegal to sleep in public parks, but now Montreal has added downtown squares to the ban. The controversial move is in response to complaints, the city said.
Almost 200,000 Canadians are homeless. Cities across Canada have been looking for solutions to the issue, with Victoria, Ottawa and Toronto adopting partial bans similar to Montreal's.
Trying to find shelter for them and keeping them out of public parks is an increasingly complex problem. Montreal has about 500 beds in its three main shelters.
The city has instructed police to first suggest a list of shelters. But eventually they will be slapping sleepers with fines ranging from $38 to $141.
Because shelters are often listed as the only address for some of the homeless, shelters say that tickets arrive every day for nuisance crimes such as spitting on the street or crossing a street against a red light.
If you're living on the street, it's unlikely you have money to pay a fine. Montreal has a solution for that, too: unpaid fines win the sleeper a stay in a city jail.
Mathieu St-Jean, a homeless Montrealer, said he has lived on the city's streets for eight months. He panhandles during the day and settles into a park at night to sleep.
"I'm not bothering anybody," he said.
"I would have thought as a city such as ours, we're better than simply sweeping them out of the squares," said Jim Hughes, director general of Montreal's Old Brewery Mission.
Experts estimate that at least three-quarters of people who live on the streets suffer from mental illnesses. Many don't want to go to shelters.
Estimates of the number of homeless people in Montreal vary, with 30,000 being one of the highest. The city has about 500 beds in its three main shelters.
The ban could force many of them underground. Some of Montreal's homeless say it will force them to seek refuge in bus shelters, stairwells and alleyways -- out of sight, but not off the streets.
Member of the homeless population say that being homeless is bad enough, being fined for being homeless is yet another seemingly insurmountable problem to deal with.
"Dealing with this kind of repression just means angrier and angrier people," one homeless man said.
With a report by CTV's Genevieve Beauchemin in Montreal
Saturday, September 02, 2006

Homemade apple sauce


Busy, busy, busy. Now that the students have left and I am not teaching summer students, it's time to help my hubby with the farm. My MIL and I were doing some pickling and making apple sauce, but before that, we had to clean out the grain bin and do some caulking.

With all the apples about ready to be picked, I've made LOTS of apple sauce!! I used to use my blender and puree the stuff, but my MIL introduced me to an amazing invention...a FRUIT PRESS!!! It's basically a specially designed strainer on legs that you use to press the fruit into a sauce. She also does her tomato juice this way. My blender is amazing, but if I don't peel the apples first, it leaves little skin and I don't like the texture that way. I like my applesauce smooooothe!!

Here's what you need:
apples (# depends on size and I use more than one variety for flavour and color).
sugar (use your discretion)
Dutch oven
a bit of water
fruit press
bowl

Cut/quarter your apples (no need for peeling) and add a bit of water into Dutch oven. Add apples. Let cook until soft. Once cooked, put into fruit press and press. Once done, add sugar. You can add whatever spices you like (cinnamon, nutmeg, etc), but I like my applesauce as it is.

Enjoy :)

I think I'm in love...


The other day, I just happened to have the TV on while doing 4 loads of laundry and Oprah was on. I had the TV on for background noise, but stopped to watch a bit because there was a guest on her show that surprised me. Everytime I'm in my SUV, I hear this beautiful song play on the radio. I never knew who the singer was or what the name of the song was, but all I know is that I just love it.

I found out that the singer is a very mild mannered James Blunt and the song is entitled "You're Beautiful". His lyrics make me want to cry (because that's the sort of sappy person I am). He also told the story behind the song. "It's kind of miserable," James says with a grin. "It was about seeing my ex-girlfriend on the Underground in London with her new man who I didn't know existed. She and I caught eyes and lived a lifetime in that moment, but didn't do anything about it and haven't seen each other since." Soooo sad.

I'm sure many of us have experiences where we have been torn --trying to let go of a former partner or losing a former partner or even just knowing that you can't be together and that it wasn't meant to be.

Anyway, I'm in love with James Blunt's music. He played another tear jerker called "Goodbye My Lover" and that just about got me hooked. I need to buy the CD!!!

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About the Blog Author


City girl moves to the country, falls in love, and marries a farmer. She tries to incorporate her city ways with her new country lifestyle and blogs to keep in touch with friends, family & students who live far, far away :) Can this city girl go country? Watch as she learns all sorts of exciting things about life on the farm and in a small rural community. *UPDATE* We are now parents! Our baby girl was born on Nov. 11, 2008 (at 28 weeks gestation- 12 weeks premature, but she's quite the trooper)!!!
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Life on Manitoulin: Just a bunch of ramblings from a city girl gone country!

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