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Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Yummy or what!

Well it all began innocently enough, Monday morning with a Vicky D'amours buttertart. Vicky is a popular baker in Timmins who makes the best cookies, cakes and pastries. Let me share a story about her food. A few years back there was a civic reception in Timmins at the opening of a new building. I was there to take pictures. It was a gala thing. Men in suits, women in gowns. Soon enough, the VIPs and politicians were making a few speeches. At the back of the room, the caterer arrived and quietly began moving food and drinks in.  I heard whispers. "Vicky... Vicky D'amours. People were turning to look and the whispering became a bit louder. People were noticing that Vicky D'amours was setting up the tables, loaded with  hors d'ouevres and pastries. The speeches continued. People began leaving their chairs and heading for the food! 
So that will explain why on Monday I decided to have one of her buttertarts for breakfast. It was delish. I also had a cup of tea, and a glass of apple juice. That was it. I remember telling Jennifer I don't feel that hungry some mornings, so a buttertart and tea is fine.
Here's the thing, I had to go to Life Labs for a blood test, among other things. The lady at the front counter asked me when was the last time I ate, since I would be having a random glucose (blood-sugar test). So this test is a set up for another appointment, sometime soon, for a colonoscopy. I also had to do an electro-cardiogram, pee in the jar, blah blah blah.
So it was all good. I remember commenting to the lab girl as she was taking blood how much I enjoyed my buttertart, that it was a Vicky D'amours. Her eyes went wide and she smiled.
"Lucky you!" she said. Oh by the way, don't you love it when you get a good lab person who knows how to pull blood? I barely felt the needle and she hit the vein on the first try!
So on Tuesday, I was walking through the parking lot, getting ready to drive home for lunch, when my phone rang. Caller I.D. said it was a Toronto number. It was a doctor, from Life Labs. He identified himself and asked how I felt. I feel fine, I said. This was strange, I thought.
He explained that he had my lab results and my blood sugar number was high. 31. Hmmm. Okay, I said, what does that mean. He explained that the blood glucose level should not be that high, ever. I told him about the butter tart. He paused and then said, well that might influence it ...because he said he was about to ask me to go to the emergency room.
Well, that sure got my attention. So he made me promise to see a doctor right away. I told him I don't have a family doctor, but I said I could see a doc at 5:30 p.m. at the walk-in clinic. As I was back at work Tuesday afternoon, the phone rang. It was the walk-in clinic. The Toronto doc had faxed my lab results to Timmins and they wanted to see me. So I said, okay, see ya soon. So the doc was a pleasant fellow. I remember he used to be chief of staff at the hospital.
How are you feeling, he asked. Fine, I said. Are you thirsty, do you urinate a lot? I told him I get thirsty every now and then, but I didn't think anything unusual. So he sat down and we went through four pages of lab results.
So that's it, he said, as he described his diagnosis for me. I will book you in to see a specialist, he said.  He will do a whole new series of tests and then prescribe new meds, I was told. 
I couldn't help but think of the buttertart and how good it was. I don't think I will get to enjoy too much more Vicky D'amours treats now that I have Type 2 Diabetes. Darn.

Saturday, April 18, 2015

Beans, booze and tea bags

What the hell is going on with the price of beans? I shop on a regular basis throughout the week, grabbing stuff as I need it. All the stores now have beans priced at about $1.99 a can. Give me a break! I am not paying that price. The good news? I am sure my apartment will smell nicer. Ha ha ha.
Red Rose tea bags. Bahhh. They have created tea bags made of 100 per cent renewable plant material. Big deal. The bags keep breaking apart in boiling water. No more Red Rose. Good news. Tetley Tea has a new product… BOLD tea. It is a blend of teas from Kenya and Africa. Tastes pretty good and the tea bag doesn’t break in boiling water.
Whiskey. Everyone who likes whiskey knows that 40 Creek has been winning all sorts of awards in the past few years. They make an incredibly smooth product. This week I have been enjoying Spike, a honey whiskey blend. Very nice. 

Oh by the way, I am upset at myself for inadvertently breaking my NestlĂ© boycott. I wanted to grab some easy coffee for work and I saw these very nice Cappacino coffee packages. So I grabbed a couple, and they were excellent. Problem is they’re made by NescafĂ©. I honestly didn’t notice. I will have to find a new product.

Friday, April 17, 2015

Yeah, we sure had fun.

I was pleased this week to have some time to drop by the annual chamber of commerce Nova Awards. It's a big deal in Timmins. It's quite the gala affair and everyone who is anyone goes. I had to shoot a few photos... so I had to be there. I ran into the new managing editor for the CTV Northern Ontario, Michelle Tonner. We worked together so many years ago. If I had stayed at CTV, she'd probably be my boss now. Anyway, it was great to catch up on all the old gossip. I also met her boss, Scott Lund, who is the general manager. I remember Scott from when he was a high school student and worked as the night camera operator for the late news. Whoa, that was back in the 1970s. So we had some more catching up to do. I also met a really good friend who still looks as good as when we worked together in the 1980s, Sharon Bowes. Wow, those TV gals always look good. But it was great to chat with her too.
I remember thinking how much fun it was fun to work in the old CKSO newsroom in Sudbury. I was the rookie assigned to cover stories across the North from a Bureau in Timmins. Back in the day, newsrooms were loud, smoky places will with a good deal of profanity, argument, debate and laughter. Especially laughter. And it was not unusual for some of the bosses and senior reporters to have the smell of liquor on their breath before lunch. I enjoyed my visits to Sudbury, because it usually meant I had an important story and the older staff were always welcoming and helpful. One of the best things is that this was back in the day before fax machines, before cable TV, before satellite TV and before the InterNet. We learned to do research the old-fashioned way ... on the telephone, or face to face. I remember calling up cabinet ministers at Queens Park at 10 o'clock at night, and they would take our calls and give us comments and reaction. At least two or three times a year, I could get through to premier Bill Davis for comments. It was a lot of fun to be a reporter back then. 
By the way, the winners are the NOVA event are all pretty amazing people, who are doing amazing things for Timmins. That's one of the reasons why I enjoy this town so much. 

Saturday, April 11, 2015

Fabulous news from Jennifer

Wonderful news today. I called Jennifer to chat and discovered she had her six-month check-up with her oncologist on Friday. The doctor said she was fine and informed her he is about ready to declare her fully cured from the terrible cancer that knocked her down back in 2009. Jennifer said the doctor told her this doesn’t normally happen until ten years on, but he was confident about her situation. So that is just excellent news.
I had called Jenn to let her know I finally have a family doctor again. So that is good also. I have just gotten a referral for a colonoscopy at the urging of some friends, so that will be interesting, but I promise, no pictures.
On to culinary matters. I enjoyed the basmati rice I cooked for supper last night, but like I told Jenn today, it’s not a big deal. It was okay. Jenn said she liked it because it is less starchy. I still like the old fashioned Uncle Ben’s. So today I was looking for a ride pudding recipe. And I found one… that includes Whiskey! The recipe called for bourbon. But I switched it to Scotch. I will let you know how incredibly perfect this will be! Ha ha.
One other thing. I mentioned here awhile ago that so many Hollywood movies suck lately.
Well I enjoyed a wonderful film last night, based on the true story of Chess Records from Chicago in the 1950s and 1960s. The movie is called Cadillac Records. It includes great stories about Muddy Waters, Chuck Berry, Howlin’ Wolf and Etta James. The character for Etta James was played by Beyonce. Incredible. So find this movie, get some popcorn and enjoy.
Listen to this YouTube Clip from the movie:

Friday, April 10, 2015

New shoes!

So it’s Friday evening. I haven’t had supper yet. It’s still cooking. I am trying something called Basmati Rice, with carrots, peppers and beef. I will let you know if it is okay. In the meantime, I just made lovely bourbon/dubonnet Manhattan. I will let you know if it is okay. Wait a minute. Of course it is okay!
Today was a pleasant day, not just because it was Friday but because it was pleasant and mild. But right now at 8:10 p.m. there is a bloody snowstorm outside. Thank goodness for my perfect Manhattan. I can close my eyes and imagine I am back living on the south side of Timmins where the snow isn’t as fierce. Ha ha. Just kidding.
I also did something today that some of my friends think is a bit overboard. I purchased some new shoes. They’re exactly, precisely like the shoes I bought two years ago. But they were on sale. I like them and I know I will get months, no, years of good wear out of them. Actually, they’re low rise boots made of buffalo leather. They might not be as stylish as my Doc Martens, but I like them.  So buying a second pair is entirely appropriate. By the way, I think the current “fashion” for men’s shoes is pretty blah. Those long pointy things where the toes curl up just …hmmmm… retarded.
 The week has been good, thanks mostly to the fact I visited Jenn and her fellows last weekend. It was a wonderful Easter weekend and Don and Denise were there as well. So the whiskey was nice and the food was outstanding. By the way we celebrated Tyler’s 15th birthday… something I will remember because he is now taller than I am, or at least the same height. I was able to spend most of the Saturday with Tyler and Nathan and we had a great lunch. I hope I didn’t bore them too much with stories of my hitch-hiking days back in the 70s and how I visited the west coast and road a freight train through the Rockies.
So things are good with the boys. Tyler is obviously making a good impression in his first year of high school. His average is in the 90s and he is exempt from all the exams.
Anyway the weekend was so nice. I think one of the best parts was being out by the bonfire Friday night, enjoying that big full moon, the fresh air and the great company.
Well the ice is clinking in my empty glass. Time to go.