Tuesday, December 31, 2013


I’ve tossed around a few ideas for my word for 2014 and I have landed on BELIEVE.

  • I believe that I will be successful in 2014 
  • I believe that I will be there as a friend and partner to Hilary 
  • I believe that I will be the best parent I can be to Liam 
  • I believe that I will continue to become a better runner 
  • I believe that I will grow my Tae Kwon Do skills 
  • I believe that I will achieve my health goals 

I believe in me

Sunday, December 29, 2013


This year for Christmas dinner we had a 15 pound turkey for 3 adults and 2 kids (who don't really count based on what they ate!)

Hilary will be turning the turkey into both potpie and curry to have in the freezer for quick meals in the weeks to come.  Before she could do that though, I had to have my favorite turkey dinner leftover meal*.

What do you do with your holiday leftovers?

*This meal was in no way inspired by The Colonels Chicken bowls, which I have never, and will never eat.  My idea came first.

Saturday, December 28, 2013

Kitchen Complete

Another room done!

And since the new tenant is painting the living room, Hilary and I are officially finished in the apartment!

Not just for Easter anymore

These just might become a new Christmas tradition!

Friday, December 27, 2013

I did DO

Last year at this time, I selected a word to aspire to for 2013.  My word was DO.  Looking back over 2013 I did DO many things that are important to me.

Things I did in Tae Kwon Do: 

  1. Liam and I passed our Yellow Belt TKD tests
  2. I won a Silver Medal 
  3. We passed our next test for our Green Stripes
Things I learned to cook:
  1. Cheese
  2. Perogies
  3. Yogurt
  4. Meatballs
  5. Gnocchi
 Things I did for me:
  1. I treated myself to a French Manicure
  2. I had my eyebrows waxed for the first (and probably last) time
  3. I got a new tattoo
  4. I learned to run and ran my first 5k race
Things I did for others:
  1.  I shaved my head to raise money for Cancer Research
  2. I ran in the Run for the Cure 5k race
  3. I ran in the Food Run race to raise money and donations for Feed Nova Scotia
  4. I started a running group

2013 was a pretty good year overall.  Now I need to come up with my word for 2014.  If you had to pick one word to aspire to for a whole year, what would it be? 

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Merry Christmas

The presents are opened and being enjoyed.  The turkey is ready to go in the oven.  Everyone is safe, happy and loved.

Liam is having a very Whovian Christmas this year.  He is also VERY excited to have his own tablet!  We can't wait to hear him play his new ukulele too.

I hope everyone is having a wonderful, merry Christmas!

Wednesday, December 18, 2013


Slowly, but steadily the apartment is coming along.  Having no electricity and it being dark out by 4:00 is a bit of a hindrance, but we are persevering.

The exciting news is that we have a tenant for January 1st!  So the push is on to get things finished.  The bedroom, den and most of the bathroom are complete (who knew it was so hard to hang a towel bar?)

Here are some before and after pictures of what we have finished.  We moved the washer and stove back into the kitchen today and the last cupboard doors will be put up tomorrow.  That just leaves the living room to paint.

I really hope we don't have to go through this level of cleaning/fixing/replacing again for a very long time!

Monday, December 9, 2013

20 years

Today is a very special day as Hilary and I celebrate our lives together. Today is our 20th anniversary. We have such a wonderful life together that I can’t wait to see what the next 20 years bring us.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Running and Religion Don't mix

I’ve spent a fair bit of time thinking about my final decision for running or not running the Salvation Army’s Santa Shuffle. During all of this thinking, I came to the realization that for me, running and religion don’t mix. (Many runners will proclaim that running IS their religion, but that is a whole other topic.)

I don’t mix religion into any other aspects of my life, so I’m not going to start now. I think running can be a great fundraiser for a lot of causes, and the 3 organized races I have done so far have all been fundraisers but none of them were for religious causes.

So I’m choosing to NOT run the Santa Shuffle, not because it is put on by the Salvation Army, but because it is put on by a religious group.

You could say that I don’t Jog for Jesus, Race for Religion, Canter for Christ, Amble for Allah, Sprint for Shiva, Vamoose for Vishnu or Dash for Divinity. I will however Scramble for Schools, Compete for Cancer and Hurry for Hunger.

Mostly though, I run for me.

photo credit: skreened.com

Monday, November 11, 2013

The 5th Doctor

Liam got to meet Peter Davison who played the 5th Doctor Who.  He got his autograph, chatted him up a bit and had his picture taken with him.

Liam is a very happy Whovian now.

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Hal-Con Highlights

Even though it was overbooked and we couldn't get back in after stepping out for lunch on Saturday, we had a great time at Hal-Con.

We did all things Dr. Who.

We saw some amazing costumes.

Liam even got to try on 60+ pounds of 16th century armour.

I'm sure this is now going to become a yearly tradition for us!

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Who to believe?

As a Lesbian, I have read the stories and seen the pictures about Salvation Army Christmas bell ringers being homophobic, going so far as to post signs on their kettles "We help people, just not the gays".There is also a story circulating that during a radio interview, a Salvation Army member said that all gays "should be put to death".

Like any story I'm sure there are 2 sides.  And like many organizations, there are zealots who take their beliefs too far and don't actually reflect the original views of the group they are representing. I don't know anyone who is a member of the Salvation Army, so I've never had the opportunity to sit down with them to discuss their beliefs.

I always like to try and do my own research (even if it is just a Google search) on topics before I fully believe something controversial - if you can ever fully believe one side over the other.  This one has been harder to research.  The radio interview  seems to be true, since there is a recording off it for all to hear.  The pictures of the bell ringers are often debunked as having been  Photoshopped.  There are very few mainstream news articles about the subject.

I started down this road yesterday when a friend posted an upcoming 5 km race on Facebook.  There aren't a lot of December races, so I thought I would sign up.  But it turns out it's a fundraiser for the Salvation Army.  Years of LGBTQ "habits" kicked in, and I said, thanks but no thanks, I'm no supporting them. I realized however that I had no actual proof of my own that they were indeed a homophobic organization.  So I sent off this email to the contact person for the race:

I am considering entering the Santa Shuffle, but I am concerned with rumours I have heard regarding the Salvation Army.  I am a Lesbian, in a relationship for 20 years, and my partner and I have an 11 year old son.  As you can understand we do not support homophobic groups, or groups that would not help out our family if we are in need.  

I recognize that the Salvation Army does great work in helping out families, especially around the holidays, so I'm hoping that you can comment on the Salvations Armies views on gay and lesbian families like mine, and whether your help would indeed be extended to us in a time of need.

I look forward to hearing from you.


I figured that would be the end of it and that I would not hear back from them. Imagine my surprise when I got a response in less than 2 hours, late on a Friday night.

Hello Andy

I am very glad that you reached out to me directly.

I am also very glad that in this case, I believe the truth will help get us all on the same page,

Firstly, let me say that as the largest non-government provider of social services in Canada it is our mission to help anyone in need, period. In every case of assistance, our decision to help or not is based entirely on the individual's need and our capacity to help, and nothing else. We are happy to - and regularly do - provide services to people of every race, religion, belief etc., and certainly this includes any and all members of the LGBTQ community.

To answer your question directly, if your family was in need our response would be entirely dictated by your need and our capacity and nothing else. We would be happy to help.

Recently, in particular, there have been a couple of stories making the rounds. The Salvation Army responded to those directly a little while back and I am happy to provide the link for your information: http://www.salvationarmy.ca/maritime/2013/10/07/the-salvation-armys-response-to-allegations-of-lgbtq-discrimination/

Of these two stories, one is a complete fabrication, which is terrible for all parties involved.

The other is an example of one individual - who was employed by The Salvation Army in Australia - saying things that in no way reflect the beliefs of the Army. Immediately - without delay - The Salvation Army across the world came out against those statements, making it clear that while this person was employed by us, he in no way reflected our previously posted and still adhered to beliefs. Our organization is very large - in Canada alone we are in 400 communities and employ 10,000 people - and now are in almost 130 countries. You add all that up and it's a lot of people who 'represent' the Army, and unfortunately sometimes people think ways and act ways that don't jive with our posted beliefs of service to all. This is no excuse, just an unfortunate reality,

The very last thing I want to say is that this extends way beyond paper and policy. People share details of their lives beyond what we ask for, so I personally know of clients of ours who are members of the LGBTQ community, and that detail is completely irrelevant when it comes to the services we provide. They are treated no different than anyone else.

I apologize if this response is a little long, but I do hope that after reading it and looking into our official responses to recent issues, that you will agree that when it comes to services that we provide to people in need, our top priority is to not discriminate for any reason.

We would love to have you at the Santa Shuffle. If for any reason, you decide the Santa Shuffle is not for you, obviously that's fine, but I am glad that you asked this question, and I hope that I have helped shed a little light on the matter.

Have a good evening,

Daniel Bonner
Communications Specialist
Maritime Division
Public Relations and Development
Well then.

I feel like I'm back to "Who do I believe?"  I doubt if they really are a homophobic group that Daniel would have written that in an email to me.  He is after all a Communications Specialist in the Public Relations and Development department. But he talks a good talk and makes it sound like they are very inclusive.

I still don't know if I'm going to enter the race and I rarely make cash donations to anyone standing outside a store, bells or no bells, so I don't think that habit will change.

Who do you believe on this one?  Do you know anyone who is an active member of the Salvation Army?  Do you know anyone who has ever been helped by them?  Have you ever personally been discriminated by them?

Monday, November 4, 2013

Future Electrician

Liam is picking up some great life skills while we get the apartment cleaned up.

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Passing on a tradition

Growing up, my parents owned 5 6-plex apartment buildings.  My Dad had built them and we lived in one of them and they did all the landlord/maintenance work themselves.  This included cleaning and painting empty apartments as old tenants moved out and new ones moved in.

The Casa-Linda Apartments on Willow Rd in Guelph, thanks to Google St. view.

As landlords, my parents have hundreds of stories of deadbeat tenants and just as many horror stories of the mess tenants left behind.  There was the vengeful tenant that they evicted for non payment who dumped a carton of milk in the fridge, unplugged it and shut the door so that it was a sour mess by the time they got in to clean.  Angry people who smeared baby poop from diapers in every electrical outlet, and some who's level of day to day filth was just so horrible that I wasn't even allowed in the apartment while they cleaned.

As a kid, I hated that we had to look after the apartments.  It meant putting out smelly garbage for everyone once a week.  It meant picking up litter from the lawn since the apartments were between a corner store and a bus stop. It meant sitting around in empty apartments while my parents cleaned them.  The only up side to that was that often the tenants cable hadn't been shut off yet, and my Mom would set me up with a lawn chair and a portable TV so that I could watch Saturday morning cartoons.  We didn't have cable, so this was a real treat. I did have one job to do anytime my father had to paint an apartment.  I had a bucket and my own screwdriver and I had go around and remove all the plug and light switch covers for him.

As a teenager and young adult I vowed to never be a landlord.  Who wanted the headaches, the dirt, the middle of the night phone calls from drunks who had locked themselves out?  Karma is such that I ended up being a landlord anyway.  Our current house has a basement apartment that we rent out.  It's only 1 unit, and we are 2 for 3 for having had good tenants.  The latest ones have moved out, and unfortunately they fall in the group of "level of day to day filth" that is going to require some major cleaning and painting before we rent it out again.

In preparation of painting, I am passing along a tradition.

I wonder if one he will be a landlord too?

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Happy Hallowe'en

from my favorite Ghostbuster*!
Very proud of his homemade PKE meter

Channeling his inner-Egon!

another attempt at a Ghostbuster pumpkin.

*and yes, this is the same costume he wore 2 years ago!

Monday, October 14, 2013

Daring Kitchen - Pierogi

Blog Checking Lines: In a "celebration" of past Daring Cooks and Daring Bakers challenges, Lisa challenged all of us to search through the Daring Kitchen archives and pick any one we'd like! The REAL challenge was picking which delicious recipe(s) to try!

I went through the all the old posts and figured out there 132 recipes to choose from and that I had already participated in 24.  Since Mom is here visiting we sat her down in front of the list and let her choose the recipe.  She decided on Pierogies.

 After researching a variety of recipes I cobbled together the filling on my own.  We had some cauliflower in the fridge, so I roasted it and mashed it in with potatoes, cheddar cheese and bacon.  It made for a very creamy and delicious filling.  The recipe I found for the dough had a cup of mashed potatoes in it and made for a very delicate and tasty dough.

We even put Mom to work helping to fill the pierogies.

We like our pierogies fried up with onion, mushrooms, celery and bacon.  Some people boil their pierogies first, but we skip that step and add them straight to the frying pan.

And a dollop of sour cream makes everything tastier.

Saturday, October 12, 2013


What better way to enjoy a beautiful Fall day then to spend it in a corn maze with your family?

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

He's wearing glasses!

We've struggled over the years with the photographer that the Liam's school uses for their photos.  He doesn't seem to be able to photograph someone wearing glasses without huge amounts of glare.  His solution last year was to have Liam take his glasses off.  To us, it didn't really look like Liam, since he has worn glasses since he was 5 years old.

We were intrigued to see what would happen this year.  Liam came home with 2 proofs today.  One, of course, has a glare in it.  The other one doesn't!

Of course, I like the look on his face better on the one with the glare, but I'm still happy with the other proof.

Sunday, September 22, 2013

It hurts to be cheap

I'm not always cheap.  I'm more than willing to pay $6.00 for a Chai Tea Latté with Lactose Free Milk at least once a week.  But in most other aspects of my life I look for bargains.  Why buy fancy expensive shampoo when my hair is less than a 1/4 in long?  Designer or brand name clothes?  Who needs them.  So when I found no-name brand low-end razors on sale, I scooped them up.  A razor is a razor, right? Do I really need triple blade, pivoting action with aloe gel strips?  Of course not.  I'm just going to shave my legs.  I've been doing this for 30 years now.  It's not that hard.

Let this be a cautionary tale to women every where. Spend the extra $$ on the fancy razors, lest you end up looking like this:

I actually had to remove a piece of skin from the razor blades.  I screamed in the shower when the water hit the open gaping wound.  24 hours later it started bleeding again when I changed the band-aid.  

It's a good thing the weather has cooled off, as I don't think I'll be shaving again till next summer!

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Run for the Cure

Now that I'm running on a regular basis, I figured I should use my power for good! I'm hoping to raise at least $150 for the Run for the Cure 5K run on October 6th.
Breast Cancer will affect one out of every nine women in their lifetime. One out of 29 will not make it. Although the stats have improved tremendously over the past 20 years due to early detection, we'd like to see that number disappear. The funds raised from Run for the Cure will go a long way in helping with research, education and health promotion.
I have been very fortunate that my immediate circle of friends and family have not been affected by breast cancer. Two of Liam's teachers have, parents and relatives of our friends have and so have co-workers. So it touches us all in some way. So while I'm not running for any one specific person, I am running for all women.

Please click on the "Donate Now"  button below to sponsor me.

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Daring Kitchen - Gnocchi

This month's Daring Kitchen Challenge was to make Gnocchi.  I had only ever made Gnocchi once before, and that was using potato flakes instead of real potatoes. They were okay, but turned out very heavy and sticky.  This time, using not only real potatoes, but sweet potatoes and beets as well, they turned out light and fluffy and quite delicious. 

Blog-checking lines: Todd, who is The Daring Kitchen’s AWESOME webmaster and an amazing cook, is our September Daring Cooks’ host! Todd challenged us to make light and fluffy potato Gnocchi and encouraged us to flavor the lil pillows of goodness and go wild with a sauce to top them with!

I baked all 3 instead of boiling them.  It cuts down on the water content in your dough and gives them a sweeter taste.

I couldn't find our potato ricer, so I used the grater instead.  Other then being very messy, it worked well.

I couldn't conquer the technique of rolling each piece of dough over a fork to give it ridged details.  I went with slightly squashed or disk shaped instead.

After boiling the gnocchi for a few minutes, I tossed them in a brown butter and sage sauce, sautéeing lightly. 

The final dish.  I had planned on also making a spinach version, but I forgot to buy spinach.  I think the green would have looked great mixed in with the white orange and purple.  But 3 batches in one day was enough work, so maybe it was for the best.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

A young Elder

Liam headed off to school this morning to start grade 5 - or be a young Elder as his school refers to them.  Being 11 and "all that" he was not too keen to have his picture taken!  But this camera totting Mama always gets her shot!

He agreed to the first shot, as long as that was all.  I tried to sneak in the rest, with mixed results!

I hope he has a fabulous year!

Monday, August 19, 2013

It wouldn't be a birthday without it

I don't know when Hilary first got the recipe book that included Chocolate Irish Potato cake, but ever since then almost every birthday has been celebrated with it.  We even made it as a wedding cake for friends of ours, they loved it that much.

So of course Hilary spent the day slaving over a hot stove making it for my birthday.  We've never had a dome shaped one but it cooked up evenly and just as delicious as always!

Its a great way to start off being 43!  And there is lots left over for breakfast!

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Swimmer's ear

Let's talk about parenting guilt.

Over a week ago Liam complained of ear pain, even woke up crying from it in the middle of the night.  Of course, this was in the middle of our vacation.  We considered taking him to the local small town ER where we were staying, but by the time he woke up in the morning he seemed fine.  I didn't think taking a very healthy looking, active, not currently in pain kid to the ER was a good way to use our fine Canadian medical system. So we ignored it.

Then the ear got better.  Then the pain switched ears.  Then it hurt again.  Sometimes the outer ear hurt to the touch, sometimes it was the inner ear.  Then it got better.  Then the pain switched ears.  Rinse and repeat for a week.  The guilt inducing part was the fact that with all the switcheroos going on, I didn't really 100% believe him.

Last night the pain was at it's worse, so we decided to head to the walk in clinic today, no matter how it felt by morning.  It's a beautiful day out and the clinic is only a 20 minute walk from home.  Or a 60 minute walk if you get most of the way there and realize that Liam's health card is in Hilary's purse at home.

Turns out the he has an infection, commonly referred to as Swimmer's Ear.  His ear is so full of goop (technical turn used by the doctor) that he couldn't even see his ear drum to tell if it's perforated or burst from the plane rides or driving up and down the mountains.  Having never had swimmer's ear myself, I didn't realize that the pain comes and goes and can be felt more on the outer physical ear then the inner ear. Way to go Mama.

He has ear drops to use for the next 7 days and needs to keep his ears dry for the week too.  He's very excited to have a legitimate reason to avoid hair washing!  Of course he starts going to a day camp tomorrow that has swimming as part of their schedule.  Luckily he's fine with sitting it out for the week.  He started a Dr Who novel while we were on vacation so he can take that to camp to read during swim time.

Note to self:  If the kid is complaining about something, believe him!

Monday, July 22, 2013

Daring Kitchen - Yogurt

Well I'm more then a week late with this post, but better late then never!

Blog-checking lines: The lovely Cher of The Not So Exciting Adventures of a Dabbler was our July Daring Cooks’ hostess and she asked us to create homemade yogurt in our own kitchens! No incubators needed, no expensive equipment or ingredients, just a few items and we had delicious yogurt for a fraction of the cost and a whole lot healthier than what you buy in the stores!

We used to make yogurt every week.  We would eat it with fruit, cereal, strain it and cook with it.  But over the years we moved on to the convenience of simply buying yogurt, even though it's not that hard to make.  We had talked about getting back to making it again, so this challenge was just the push we needed

We made a plain yogurt, then strained it to thicken it and added garlic, cucumber, salt, pepper, red wine vinegar and some sugar and turned it into tzatziki.  We then served it on homemade turkey burgers.

Sunday, July 21, 2013


I decided to pamper myself this weekend.

First I had a manicure:

Then I had a pedicure:

Then for the first time ever I had my eyebrows waxed:

For the record, having your eyebrows waxed hurts 1000% times more then getting a tattoo!

And Hilary is going to cut my hair.  I feel like a new woman!

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Another Year

"It's not every day that your
young man turns 11!"

11 years ago at 11:58 AM a new little baby joined this world.  And I have the privilege of being one of his mothers.

I can't wait to see what the next 11 years (and beyond) will hold. 

Happy Birthday Liam!

Saturday, June 22, 2013


We've used the initials of our three first names to refer to our family for quite awhile now. HAL is how we often sign cards, fill out our return address on mail and I even have it stamped on a necklace that I wear all the time.

For a long time now I have been toying with the idea of getting another tattoo.  Why yes, I already have 2 that I got in my early 20's. After lots of consideration for what I would get, where I would put it, colour, design and choice of tattoo artist, I finally decided:

I left the overall design up to the tattoo artist, Helena.  I just told her during my consultation that I wanted it on my forearm, I wanted our 3 initials and that I wanted it somehow bordered by a Celtic line.  One of my other tattoos is a Celtic knot on my shoulder, so I thought it was a nice tie in.  I had tried to doodle many designs on my own, but since I have the handwriting of a drunk squirrel wearing oven mitts, my "designs" were kinda frightening.  I was thrilled when she showed me her drawing today.  I hadn't settled on colour till I sat down in the chair, when I decided to go with purple.

I'm so happy with the overall result!  I can't wait for it to heal (and no, the blueish/purplish colour around the HAL is not bruising, it's shading) so that I can see exactly how it will look for the rest of my life.