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Sunday, March 31, 2013

Nice Easter weekend...

Had a nice time in Westree this weekend with Jenn and her men and visiting Denise and Don Alexander. As usual the hospitality and food was fabulous. But if you know Denise, you will have to ask her the story of how the spatula broke cutting the chocolate cream cake. I was laughing so hard I had tears in my eyes.  Oh by the way, the cake was for Tyler and myself as we celebrated our birthdays. Mine is March 31 and Tyler’s is April 1. So it was a great time. Jennifer said I am a difficult person to buy for in terms of gifts. So she opted for buying a bottle of whiskey. But WOW, what a bottle … A Glen Breton Rare 10-year old single malt Scotch.  It’s the only single malt made in Canada. It’s a special craft whisky. The bottles are filled by hand, not by machine. So this is a saver… I plan to crack it open on Christmas Eve. I can’t wait.
A well-known reviewer gave it a very nice recommendation on YouTube. 87 out of 100!

The boys had more fun that you can imagine on the weekend, thanks in part to the amazing sunny weather. Tyler and Nathan got up on top of Granddad’s woodshed to enjoy the view and ended up tossing the football with Scott down below. The boys had a great time … especially when they missed the ball and had to jump off the roof into the waist deep snow.

The week was good in another way. I was told I have won a couple of national journalism awards. One is the top prize for a spot news photo and the other is the top prize for our coverage of the Timmins forest fire.  Competed against 250 other papers across Canada. Pleased

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

More political television ... love it!

There was an excellent TV show running a few years back, a drama that documented life behind the scenes at The White House. The show was called The West Wing, starring Martin Sheen. The show won all kinds of awards but the corporate folks canned it because it did not have high enough ratings. I hate it when they dumb-down television. It's one of the reasons I don't usually watch regular television. I do have Netflix though and this week I began watching a new political drama about the White House, starring Kevin Spacey. It's called House of Cards.
Oh yeah. It's good. As expected Spacey is excellent.  If you get the chance, sit down, pour yourself a drink or get some popcorn, and enjoy some good television.

Sunday, March 24, 2013

She's kinda good lookin' if you ask me...

Feminine beauty. Okay, so this is something purely subjective, but over the years it seems feminine beauty has become manufactured.  For some of our lady Hollywood types, if you can’t buy it in a cosmetics shop or  get it from a doctor’s office, you just aren’t beautiful enough to make the grade. I noticed this on Saturday night when I was watching a movie… starring Ingrid Bergman, a true beauty who was also a fine actor. She won three Academy Awards during her acting career.
 I was watching the Hollywood version of For Whom The Bell Tolls and was amazed at Bergman’s beauty, even as she was presented in a plain jane fashion opposite Gary Cooper. It was 1943. She was 28. She even made the cover of TIME magazine that year. 

Friday, March 15, 2013

Reading Hemingway ... what a treat.

Okay, so I bought too many books this month for the e-reader. Not a big deal, except I imposed my own personal spending limit.   I looked through the Internet and was pleased to see there are several ‘classic’ books out there that are free, or cost only 49-cents or so. I downloaded Ernest Hemingway’s classic For Whom The Bell Tolls. I haven’t seen that book in like 40 years, but Wow! It is so much better to read it a second time.  I can’t tell you what a treat it is to read that kind of literature. It’s an amazing story about the Spanish Civil War, and members of the International Brigades who fought the fascists. Hemingway brings it totally to life as the guerrillas struggle day to day. You can feel the sweat dripping into your eyes as you trudge through the mountains and endure the cold fear of fighting against incredible odds. I am learning that it pays to be a bit discerning when seeking out something to read.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Fryin' pan man

It’s the simplest thing you can imagine, but I am feeling good about my latest purchase. I try to not to speak of things I buy because I would like to think I am not materialistic. I think I get things I know I will actually use. If I don’t use, or cannot use, something I throw it away or give it away. My parents were of that generation that saved everything, threw nothing away, thinking ‘I will need this someday’. I am at the point where if I don’t have what I need for that moment, I will do without. I have discovered that I usually manage to survive that terrible moment. As for getting rid of things I don’t need, I am lucky to live in a building that has a unique way to get rid of things. Bring ‘em to the laundry room.  In the laundry room you can leave books, teacups, pots, pans, sweatshirts and magazines … and voila, next day, they’re gone. Somebody can use whatever some one else has left. Just last month I felt smug satisfaction with myself as I delivered my last computer and a television set to the local homeless shelter. Imagine my surprise at seeing their TV was better than my NEW TV.
Anyway, getting back to my original thought… I have a new frying pan. A friend recently raved about cast iron frying pans on Facebook and attached a video, produced the by the Lodge company, which makes cast iron cookware in Tennessee. So I purchased a nice big Lodge cast iron fry pan.
Now I remember Mom and Dad singing the praises of cast iron years ago. But when I was a teenager, I was always the one doing the dishes and always got stuck doing the pots and pans. I remember having the scrub the big black frying pan. Well it turns out I was doing things wrong. One does not scrub a cast iron frying pan, or use things like SOS and Comet … like I used to do. Take a stiff brush, some hot water and clean the pan out and then wipe it dry with a paper towel. Apply a bit of new vegetable oil, a bit of heat, a dash of salt,  and the pan is ready to use again. That’s what YouTube has taught me. So from this point forward I plan to use my new pan for a variety of meals including an apple dessert recipe. 

It’s almost as big as a Dutch oven. Research tells me that cooking on low heat for longer periods is what makes the cast iron produce great results.
So I am planning stews, steaks and spaghetti sauces. Look out Gordon Ramsay!

Thursday, March 07, 2013

Good things...

March has been good so far. Way better than I expected. For starters, Jennifer is advancing in her nursing studies… thanks of course to her smarts and hard work. There are only a limited number of students that can move forward in the program and Jenn is one of them. I’m happy for her, and proud too.
I found some new Miles Davis music… what I am saying, Miles has been dead for more than 20 years, but I discovered some of his amazing jazz albums that I had not heard before. So that’s good. Jazz makes me happy. I wish I knew more about it when I was younger, but it just evokes good emotions. I just watched a move that had Miles Davis and Bob Dylan on the soundtrack. Doesn’t get much better than that. By the way, if you feel like watching a 90s movie again, Jerry Maguire is a good choice.
Had a nice chat with Neil last weekend. Actually I waited until 2:00 p.m. to call him because it was 11:00 a.m. in Vancouver, and he works late. I felt a tiny bit guilty because I think my phone call woke him up.  He answered with a combined grunt, sigh and groan that sounded like "Hlo..hlooo." 
Anyway, he is liking the new pub he works in and he is happy. This week he is off to L.A. to spend time with friends. I always worry when he travels (Dads always worry about their kids) but he was telling me he and his friends know Los Angeles pretty well and they know how to be safe.
Wow, things don't get too much better eh. Both of my children are happy and healthy. I am blessed.
Work is good. I am lucky that I don’t find it be like, y’know, Work. Some mornings I have actually been getting up earlier because I want to get to work earlier.
The e-reader is amazing. I have been reading so much that the battery died today. The book said the battery is supposed to be good for two months before a re-charge. Not quite!
And next weekend is St. Paddy’s Day…. Some of the media gang reminded me that last year’s St. Paddy’s Day party, which I hosted,  was so good we should do it again. Hmmm… for some reason my memory of that wonderful event is still a bit blurry.  I think if somebody donates a bottle of whiskey I can be convinced to cook the dinner. We will let you know.