Friday, May 29, 2009
Sometimes it doesn't take much to make me happy.
Tuesday, May 26, 2009
Monday, May 25, 2009
Loser Monday... Yippee!
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 small onion, diced
1 lb lean ground turkey
1 can diced tomatoes with jalapeño peppers
1 10.5 oz can of each: chickpeas, black beans, kidney beans
1 can low-sodium chicken broth
¼ tsp each salt and cumin
1/8 tsp each cinnamon and cayenne pepper
Heat oil on medium-low heat. Sauté onion until transparent. Add turkey and brown 5 minutes. Add other ingredients. Bring to a boil then lower heat to medium-low and simmer for 20 minutes. Done!
Sunday, May 24, 2009
Sunny Weekend ☺
Last night I did this...
I planted some tomatoes in pots (and in front is a container of zucchini).
And I did this...
Friday, May 22, 2009
poor sweet abby dog
Wednesday, May 20, 2009
Measure twice; cut once.
Let me explain. Monday night, fairly late, I realized that if I wanted to pin my Spring Spell quilt after school on Tuesday, I had better cut a piece of batting and get it all ready to go. I had written down the measurements of the quilt and underneath had written the size of batting I needed to cut from the chunk I had on hand.
Unfortunately, when I went to cut, I read the wrong set of numbers and ended up with a piece a bit too narrow. Like I said, it was fairly late at night. Uh Oh! What to do?
Since I didn't have another large piece of batting, I decided the next best thing was to sew a length to the piece I'd already cut. I've done this before, but usually only on table quilts or 'test' projects - just trying to use up and not waste.
Can you see the seam in the picture above? Sort of... I just used a wide zig-zag and butted the two straight sides together. The seam is fairly flat and I've hidden it under the 'racing stripe' on the back of the quilt. Fingers crossed it doesn't show or leave a ridge.
So, here's the quilt, batting and backing all packed up to take to school.
This was what I saw Monday morning when I woke up. The temperature has been hovering around the freezing mark for about a week now. I think we're in for some nicer weather in the next few days. I hope so!
Monday, May 18, 2009
Weather: Snowing when I woke up this morning
Temperature: 0 ºC = 32 ºF
To-do list: 2 chapters of textbook to read, assignments to mark, paper to begin, seminar to prep, date with Mr. P at the gym, laundry to wash
Bright side: I have a pot of stew bubbling in the slow cooker for supper tonight. Yum. Always gotta have something to look forward to, right?
Friday, May 15, 2009
Thursday, May 14, 2009
But not all is gloomy. I did some exploring in Blogland. One link led to another and another and eventually to Floss's blog Troc, Broc and Recup'. Floss, who is originally from Scotland, now resides in France where she teaches English. I think she's living the life I was meant to have! I am going to enjoy getting to know Floss and reading her adventures.
Floss is also having a giveaway! Included in her prize pack are some unique Scottish, French and vintage items.
Tuesday, May 12, 2009
Monday, May 11, 2009
Monday's Post / Graduation Day(s)
His [Kessler's] resulting theory, described in his new book, The End of Overeating, is startling. Foods high in fat, salt and sugar alter the brain’s chemistry in ways that compel people to overeat. “Much of the scientific research around overeating has been physiology — what’s going on in our body,” he said. “The real question is what’s going on in our brain.”
“Highly palatable” foods — those containing fat, sugar and salt — stimulate the brain to release dopamine, the neurotransmitter associated with the pleasure centre, he found. In time, the brain gets wired so that dopamine pathways light up at the mere suggestion of the food, such as driving past a fast-food restaurant, and the urge to eat the food grows insistent.
Once the food is eaten, the brain releases opioids, which bring emotional relief. Together, dopamine and opioids create a pathway that can activate every time a person is reminded about the particular food. This happens regardless of whether the person is hungry.
But the key to stopping the cycle is to rewire the brain’s response to food — not easy in a culture where unhealthy food and snacks are cheap and plentiful, portions are huge and consumers are bombarded by advertising that links these foods to fun and good times, he said.
Deprivation only heightens the way the brain values the food, which is why dieting doesn’t work, he said. What’s needed is a perceptual shift, Kessler said. “We did this with cigarettes,” he said. “It used to be sexy and glamorous, but now people look at it and say, ‘That’s not my friend, that’s not something I want.’
“We need to make a cognitive shift as a country and change the way we look at food. Instead of viewing that huge plate of nachos and fries as a guilty pleasure, we have to … look at it and say, ‘That’s not going to make me feel good. In fact, that’s disgusting.’ ”
Interesting, eh? Definitely "food for thought".
That's my Loser Monday post, Sharon. I never have any good news anymore. I may just have to go underground for a few weeks and, hopefully, come back a svelte, healthy person. I don't know how I'll swing that, though.
I didn't tell you how grad went, did I? It was wonderful. Thursday night was the commencement service at the Basilica. It included a liturgy (mass without the eucharist) and then a diploma ceremony. The diplomas aren't actually their High School diplomas, since school isn't finished for the year. They are simply a certificate of participation in the commencement. The service was really nice, though. The students all did really well and there were only a few glitches 'backstage' that nobody would have noticed. Here is a not-so-great picture of the church. You can see the students in their blue and white grad gowns in the main part of the church. It was packed with students, families, teachers... and it was very warm in there!
I wore my red skirt and got quite a few compliments on it. People were astounded that I made it myself and that surprises me. Not because everybody should know by now how talented I am ~ haha ~ but because I can't believe the number of women my age who can't sew. I thought every girl had to take home ec. in junior high. No?
Friday night was the banquet and dance, which was held at a convention centre downtown. It was beautiful. All those girls in their gorgeous prom dresses with their hair up. And the boys in tuxedos and real shoes. Wow! It made me a bit teary to see them all dressed up and looking so grown up. I didn't want to post photos of particular students, so here's one of the staff doing the traditional dance at 11:00 pm. That's me on the left-hand side of the photo in the brown dress (that I also made), acting like an idiot... and I wasn't even inebriated this year. It was a very late night ~ I got home at 2:00 am after clean up and making sure everyone was gone.
It's back to school for all of them today. But, not for me. Mr. P has an appointment at the hospital for some tests and the OnlyChild has a doctor's appointment, too, so I shall be taking the day off to drive them around. I'll have to make sure I take my textbooks with me, as I still have a chapter to read in each to stay on track for the week.
Happy Monday (if that's possible).
Sunday, May 10, 2009
Lazing on a Sunday Afternoon
We moved the couch in there last summer when the OnlyChild decided she didn't want it in her room anymore. I love it! It's a wonderful place to nap in the warm afternoon sun. The quilt on the couch is one I made quite a few years ago from fabrics I purchased in Nova Scotia. It was one of those slash and sew quilts.
Don't you love the little Jack Russell puppy? No, he's not one of the Wild Things; he was my Mother's Day gift from the OnlyChild. She must have thought I needed a well-behaved pet to make up for the two crazies. His name is Simon.
Here's the other side of the porch. The rocking chair is one I bought when I was pregnant. Many nights I rocked the OnlyChild to sleep in this chair when she was a baby. You can also see Lola, the OnlyChild's bicycle, which was parked in the porch when it started to rain one night.
And here is a view of the house across the street. It's the oldest one on the block, according to the OnlyChild, who did some research at the public library. Our house was built in 1909; this one is a few years older. A quite elderly man lives there alone and he is very self-sufficient ~ he shovels his own walks, mows the lawn, trims the hedge. If I lived in that house, I would give it a good paint job and trim the windows in black, or maybe red. Oh, who am I kidding. I haven't even painted the windows in my own house.
Wednesday, May 06, 2009
Duck and Cover
Isn't that great! I found it while doing some research for my next grade 12 Social Studies seminar. I wanted to do something different and it had to be a Cold War topic so I started googling, looking for ideas. I've decided the topic will be propaganda of this era, so I'm going to show this video (the real version is about 5 minutes long) along with 4 others. Then I'll do teacher stuff and then I'll make them do some student stuff. Planned!
Over the last few days, I've been reading these:
I wish I could say I was making good progress, but I should be finished reading up to page 58 in the book on the right and I'm on page 11. Yeah...sigh. It's as dry as dust and I can't get into it. Lucky for me I am a Class-A bullshitter so I was able to write my online post about it without even reading it. Now I'm just backtracking to cover my butt.
The book on the left is pretty interesting, though, so I'm on track with my reading in that one. That is until the weekend, when I'll officially be behind again unless I Back. Away. From. The. Sewing. Machine. And. The. Computer...
Speaking of the sewing machine... after that frenzy to get the Spring Spell quilt sewn together, it still sits on the bed in the spare room awaiting a backing, batting, quilting and binding. It may have to sit there until the hurricane that is my life settles down a bit. The good news is that grad is tomorrow and Friday then that's all over until next year. The bad news is that I seem to be lagging behind in every single task I have to complete right now: housework, this course, my marking (how quickly that piles up when I'm not looking ~ I swear those assignments multiply in captivity), and all the learning guides and tests I still have to write for next year's new courses. I'm drowning. Yep, the housework will have to be put on hold haha.
And speaking of housework... for the third day in a row, I had to clean up dog shit when I got home from work. Yeah, I'm through with the euphemisms. It can be "doo-doo" or "crap" the first day, but it's "shit" the third time I have to clean it up! I know it's Abby Dog. She just can't hold it. Ugh! And it's hard to be sympathetic when you're gingerly scooping up lumps from the floor. Ugh!
Anywayyyyy... it's raining here. Remember all that snow we had a while back? Yeah, well, now we have rain. Can you see it in that picture? It's helping the lilac bush blossom, I guess. No, we don't have any flowers yet. It's too cold here still. How about some sunshine, please?
I shouldn't complain ~ when it's colder out, I can still wear sweaters and pants that help to disguise my flab. I'm quite disgusted with myself. I promised me I would wear my nice red dress to grad but there's no way it will do up. I had really hoped to be down to my goal weight by now, four months after I made the commitment. I think I actually weigh a bit more than I did when I started.
So here I am bitter and frustrated and cold. Blogging when I should be reading or reading when I should be marking or marking when I should be writing. When am I going to be able to say, I should be sewing?
Monday, May 04, 2009
Saturday, May 02, 2009
Today is Splendid Saturday. Why? Well, first of all because it's Saturday. That should be reason enough. But it's also very nice outside and the predicted temp for this afternoon is 19 ºC (66.2 ºF).
Plus, I won a giveaway and the prize arrived in the mail yesterday. Look!
What a gorgeous book! I love scrap quilts because they give me the opportunity to do some stash-busting... except for the very first scrap quilt I ever made, which was beginning of my stash building.
This package came from Joanna at Fig Tree Quilts. I entered her contest for naming the new Moda Patisserie Line. I had forgotten all about this so it was a wonderful surprise. I cannot wait to make these projects ~ I guess I'll have to buy another jelly roll!
And speaking of Jelly Rolls... (no not the one around my middle; I'm working on that)... I did some sewing on my Spring Spell quilt last night. I've named it "Spring Spell" as a result of a comment Stacy made about me casting a spell to get Spring to finally arrive in this part of the world. I think the spell may have worked! I have just the borders to sew onto the quilt and, of course, the quilting to do. I'm very happy with the way it's turned out and excited to finish it.
Another splendid event is the giveaway at Magnolia Bay Quilts. If you leave a comment on her giveaway post this weekend, you could win this:
Yes, it's Splendid Saturday. I hope it's splendid for you, too!
Friday, May 01, 2009
(With the OnlyChild in NYC, Summer 2008)
My job ~ I have an interesting job with a good salary. It's pretty secure, even in this recession. I work with great people and, though the kids sometimes make me shake my head, I have more good days than bad, and more fun than aggravation with them. I've also learned so much from working with young adults, some things I'd rather not know...
(Social Studies Department, June 2008)
My brain ~I may not have been born stunningly gorgeous, but I was born with a brain in good working order and that's more important to me. I just can't imagine being dumb and I'm thankful I am able to earn a good living, solve my own problems, read quilting patterns, enjoy good books, and have interesting conversations.
My friends ~ As I get older, I find it more difficult to form strong friendships. I live 5000 km from where I grew up and have moved around far too much in the past 18 years. Although my high school friends mean the world to me, we sometimes lose contact for months at a time. Thank goodness for the handful of new friends I've met since I moved to the city. I do tend to keep to myself, but there is still someone to meet for coffee, someone to have lunch with, a quilting and scrapbooking friend, and colleagues with whom to share a friendly word. It's not good to live in isolation.
(With my best friend from junior high, Cheryl - February 2008)
The pets ~ Poor old Rexy. At nearly 18, he must have used up about 8 of his 9 lives. He gives us more trouble than pleasure lately with his midnight meowing, the failed attempts at getting it in the litter box, his tendency to be underfoot at the most inconvenient times, and all the messes we are forced to clean up. But he's family and we love him. Abby and Derby are a constant source of entertainment and are great company when I'm home alone (which is not very often lately). All three of them love us unconditionally and are always excited when we get home from work/school.
(A Christmas Day walk with Abby)
Bernice ~ I ♥ my sewing machine. I think she must be the best gift I've ever received! I am never bored because there is always some project that Bernice and I can be working on together. In the 8 years I've had her, she's never let me down.
(The only thing I wanted for Christmas last year ~ but not the only thing I got)
Dance class ~ Six years ago when we moved to the city, I was unemployed, friendless and lonely. One day I won $2000 in a radio contest and the OnlyChild (in grade 6 at the time) said to me, "Now you can take that belly dance class!" And I called the instructor, Nada, to register immediately. Since that first session in September of 2003, I have missed only one term of belly dance classes with Nada. I love it! Sadly enough, she had to cancel our spring session due to low registration. We'd had two weeks of classes, but there weren't enough people to make it worth her time (or the hall rental fee). I think the dogs will be happy, though. They'll get walked more often now!
(Spring dance recital, 2005)
You ~ I entered the world of blogging in January of this year. I was not a decision I made with trepidation; I just jumped in with both feet the day before Christmas vacation ended and haven't looked back. I love connecting with people who share the same interests and I love catching up on what everyone's doing in their homes, gardens, jobs, with family and friends. It's a very interesting world out there! Thank you!
So there you have it: my gratitude list. Not a sentimental list, by any means, because I'm a pretty straightforward gal, but it will be something I'll go back to now and then when I need a gentle slap upside the head and a reminder that I really do have a good life! (That's my new mantra)