Thursday, January 28, 2010

Theatre, Choir, and Republic of Doyle

Just a quick post before bed (so please forgive me if there are any errors or it otherwise doesn't read well)...

Updates on my life: I found out yesterday that I have managed to land one of the more significant roles in the local theatre's upcoming production, and I went to the last choir rehearsal before our Olympic torch relay performance tonight.

Update on TV-land: I am happy to say that episode 4 hooked me within a couple of minutes and kept me interested until the end. Yay! They got it right! I thought there was an excellent dose of intensity and suspense in the mix tonight. Rose was great, I was glad to see (what felt like, at least) considerably less of Tinny (her appearances were an enhancement rather than a drawback for me this time...the whole less is more thing, I guess...), and I enjoyed seeing a little more of the constable's sassy side (although I wasn't a fan of what seemed to be a blatant come-on to Jake when she she asked him on the phone what he was willing to do to get a look at her files...that was taking it a smidge too far this early in the game for my taste). I must admit I was wondering for a bit where the pregnancy line was going...I wavered from buying that the test was Nikki's to speculating who else's it could have been (I briefly thought perhaps it may have been Tinny's). I'm glad the writer(s) decided not to make Jake a daddy right now, however I was not a fan of the very last few moments that ended the episode. I can't quite put my finger on what spoiled it for me at present, but something certainly did. My partner happened to comment that all the slang is going to confuse the rest of Canada, though (personally I think if might do them good to get a good dose of colourful speech to try and decipher), and I have to say that the split screen shots are annoying as crap. I'm not sure what the issue is, but every time they show one the volume goes wonky (or at least it does on our TV when we watch it).

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Car Woes

Have you ever been supposed to go somewhere or do something and had a niggling feeling that maybe you shouldn't? Such was the case with us on Monday evening...

We were due to go to theatre auditions and my partner said a few times that maybe we shouldn't go. I was of the opinion that we had said we were going and so we had better show up...however, as the day wore on and we ended up a tad behind schedule, I was inclined to wonder if perhaps he was right and we should just stay home. In any case, we plodded on and made our way to the theatre (arriving more than a little fashionably late) and got through the audition process (me on the stage and him plotting possible lighting options for the play). Everything was pretty much wrapped up and we were just having a little chat with some other stragglers when a couple that had left a few minutes before returned to let us know they had backed into our car in the parking lot. Sigh...sometimes you should just go with your instincts.

We went out to survey the damage (the other couple felt really bad and we did our best to make it as painless as we could for them) and, of course, it was the front bumper that we had replaced the winter before last that had fallen victim (along with one of the front fenders).

Since they requested to pay for repairs themselves instead of going through insurance, we agreed that we would get some quotes and get back to them. Out of the three places we have gone, there is a range of about $1000 between estimates. Crazy.

Tonight we get to break the news that it will be a two day job and, since we only have one vehicle and I am on call, we will also be needing a rental. I hate having to be the bearer of news like that and neither of us is good at delivering it (I don't know if it is really possible for anyone to be good at that). I am hoping it will go smoothly and this will continue to be an easy transaction, but one can never tell. I'd say I am keeping my fingers crossed but that would be intensely uncomfortable for me right now, since I also managed to bruise my fingers at choir last night while practicing for our performance of the Olympic torch song later in the week (we are doing the insane clapping/slapping and stomping SATB version)...perhaps a few of you could cross yours for me?

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Quick and Easy Pasta

I meant to post this with my other "Quick and Easy" yesterday, but by the time I sat down to type I couldn't for the life of me remember what the second recipe was that I was going to share. Anyway, here it is...

I was wanting something different the other day and this is what I came up with (I checked on for a similar recipe to what my taste buds were craving and modified the one I found):

1-2 cloves of garlic, minced
2-3 field or hothouse tomatoes, diced
2-3 tbsp olive oil
3-4 fresh white or button mushrooms, sliced
salt, pepper, basil and oregano, to taste
about 1/8 cup parmesan cheese, give or take
about 2 cups whole wheat penne, give or take

Cook pasta according to package directions. While pasta is cooking, heat the olive oil in a pan and sauté garlic and mushrooms. Add tomatoes and spices to pan and continue to cook on med-low heat. When pasta is ready, combine with tomato mixture. Top with parmesan cheese and toss to coat. Serve and enjoy!

If you try this, let me know what you think. My partner and I quite liked it :0)

Friday, January 22, 2010

Quick and Easy Salsa

I mentioned a little while ago that I was going to post this, and with the weekend upon us I figured why not now?

You will need the following:

1 medium onion, diced fine (I use yellow, but red might be alright too)

1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and finely chopped

3-4 tomatoes, diced (field tomatoes are good for this purpose, I find)

fresh cilantro, finely chopped (I have only been able to find it in huge bunches, so I just estimate how much I think will be enough...about 3-4 sprigs should do it, if I remember correctly)

the juice from one lime

Combine ingredients in a bowl, cover and refrigerate for at least an hour - more if you prefer.

Since this salsa is a bit messy, I have found that eating it with Scoops tortilla chips is the tidiest option. Any leftover salsa will keep in the fridge for a few days.

If you try this, let me know what you think. Enjoy!

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Republic of Doyle: Episode 3 - Revised

Mediocre. I think that about sums it up. Some parts were enjoyable, others not so much...Episode 2 is still the best of the three that have aired so far in my humble opinion....but I will be back for Episode 4 nonetheless.

...I am returning to this post after a couple of days to elaborate a bit...

While I still don't think Jake has proved himself as a "rogue" in some senses of the word, he has certainly solidified his image as a bit of a player. (I'm glad they didn't have him sleep with the Constable, though.)

The show was lacking some punch this week.

I am seeing some definite improvements in Krystin Pellerin's character, who is becoming more multi-faceted. However, I don't particularly enjoy the character of Tinny.

The guest appearances by well-known Newfoundlanders are kind of neat, and I'm looking forward to seeing who will be next. I enjoyed both Mary Walsh and Greg Malone Wednesday night. Incidentally, a little lesser known Newfoundlander (who happens to be a friend of mine) also made a "guest appearance" on the golf course of Episode 3...although he was definitely making an astute and practical observation when he advised that I should have a magnifying device handy if I wanted to see him in the shots in which he appeared.

It was good to see good ole George again. The western bars and pubs are just not the same...

Is "Newfie" the Newest 'N' Word?

A few months ago, I read this post by Nadine at Missing The Rock. I left my "two cents worth" afterwards, but it got me thinking that perhaps I should elaborate a little on my own experience and add it to the conglomeration of writings on the subject already. I have hesitated to be a pot-stirrer and post on the subject, but it has recently come up again in my own personal life and so I thought it might be time to get this off my chest.

When I was growing up in Newfoundland, the term 'Newfie' was thrown around quite a bit and I never gave it any thought. I certainly never stopped to consider that it could be considered derogatory - I had never been exposed to anyone who had used it in such a way. It was simply a word we utilized to describe ourselves - a shortened form of 'Newfoundlander,' that contained all the same implicit imagery of home, the roots of our colourful culture, and the pride associated with being from our beautiful island, as found in the long version. It was a label applied to the shared aspects of our identity and that was all. As for 'Newfie' jokes, well, they were just harmless fun that mostly depicted our ingenuity or proved that we had a sense of humour and were simultaneously secure and humble enough to laugh at ourselves.

When I moved away, I bandied the word about with more pride than I had ever felt while living at home; I had never really embraced my Newfoundland roots until I left the island. In fact, being from "the Bay" was almost a source of embarrassment for a time when I was thrown into the mix with all the "Townies" at MUN. There was certainly some friction between our respective student communities at the university at times (then again there was also an issue with people from Mount Pearl as a separate entity as well, but that's a whole other ball game). I suspect this mutual slightly pejorative use of the terms "Bayman" and "Townie" varied largely between individuals and was not really an accurate reflection of the student population as a whole. However, I fast became aware that we "Baymen" were very much looked down upon by a faction of our fellow Islanders and learned to minimalize the more easily identifiable aspects of my accent to blend in and avoid being branded and scoffed at (a topic which I will talk more about at a later date). However, when I was with people from "out around the bay" I could let go of those self-imposed constraints and be free to let it all hang out and be who I was, so to speak. Of course, there were also those times when it was simply curious to find out that some of the words in regular rotation in my vocabulary were not in residence in those of my academic colleagues. I remember well the first time I said something that someone did not understand - it was my rude 18-year-old awakening that parts of my speech (aside from the obvious slang) were, in actuality, not standard English...but I digress...

Then, as I mentioned, came BC. Once I got over the initial culture shock I experienced after being displaced, I embraced my uniqueness and clung to my identity for all it was worth, feeling, at times, isolated and alone amongst a different breed of people altogether. It was then that I actually started to develop a fondness for "Newfie" music - which, ironically, I previously couldn't stand - because it brought me some comfort from home. For the most part, I was trying to learn about the new culture in which I found myself immersed and still didn't stop to think of any other connotations associated with "Newfie," proudly admitting to being one every chance I got. However, I did start to notice the scatter reaction from some when they learned where I was from that seemed a little less than flattering but without being blatantly obvious. Mostly, though, there were just a bunch of the typical humourous incidents when language barriers got in the way (luckily there were a couple of Nova Scotians in our midst who were pretty good at translating when the need arose) and were later laughed at by all parties involved....

...And then came a day when a young teenager quite seriously referred to me as a "goofy Newfie" (incidentally, there is a restaurant called the Goofie Newfie in Fergus, Ontario, which I am sure doesn't help matters for their local population of displaced Newfoundlanders and Labradorians who may take issue with the term). I was shocked. I mean, this kid clearly got that from an adult somewhere along the way, because I am pretty sure he hadn't been exposed to many Newfoundlanders in the area we were in, nor able to come up with that assessment or term on his own. I didn't let it bother me too much, because I knew him to be a very angry youth with deeper problems than I had ever known...but at the same time it made me a little uncomfortable to know that there were obviously those adults in the community who held those beliefs about us. Still, it was the "goofy" and the tone of voice in which it was delivered that made me take offence at all.

Fast forward to the following summer when we were visiting friends of ours in the Toronto area..We were out sightseeing one hot day and happened to stop and get some soft serve ice cream (the 'custard cones' of my youth) at an ice cream truck. The man who served us noticed that my friend was wearing a T-Shirt with a print of the map of the island portion of Newfoundland on it (isn't it funny how that image speaks to us and evokes such strong feelings?) and asked if that was, indeed, from where we hailed. At our satisfied confirmation, he proceeded to make digs and crack jokes about Newfoundlanders, asking how many drinks we had had already that day (it was before noon) as a parting shot as we walked away. I took it all in stride but, a little dumbfounded, turned to my friend and asked, "did he just say what I thought he said?" "Yes," she replied, shaking her head, "You wouldn't believe how much of that crap I have to put up with here."

Now, you may think I am a bit slow - and in retrospect, perhaps I was - but the meaning I associated with "Newfie" was so ingrained in me that it still did not fully occur to me that it was not necessarily a self-explanatory, complimentary thing to be called...that, contrary to being respected as hailing from a unique, colourful, and proud group of people by the world at large when they found out where I was born and raised, "Newfie" might actually be thrown at me as an insult. I mean, I'm not a completely oblivious individual, but I definitely came from a very sheltered upbringing and suffered from acute naivete for a good portion of my life. I just didn't really give credence to the fact that there might be that kind of inter-provincial prejudice in my country (I don't count a sense of competitiveness or light-hearted jabs as evidence of prejudice). I suppose that was utterly dumb of me, thinking back to the views some easterners have of westerners as well, but I didn't really take that seriously, having my own bias as an Atlantic Canadian. Having said that, there is not a widely known term applied to any of the other provinces' citizens to my knowledge (aside from the labels applied to French-speaking Canadians by some ignorants).

Anyway, flash forward again to last winter when I was searching for a place to get some down-home grub on the west coast. I figured I'd look in Vancouver would probably be the most likely spot and, as we were planning a trip there in the near future to see some extended family, it would be ideal to bring them with us. I did happen to find The Newfie Tap and Grill (which is, in fact, now called the Atlantic Trap and Gill and which I wouldn't necessarily recommend, as we were sadly disappointed. Their online menu is outdated and the food we had didn't much resemble east coast fare in presentation, quality or taste) but during my online travels I also stumbled upon a site where some Vancouverites were debating whether or not we like being called "Newfies" because some of us take offense to it. That was the first time I really fully opened my eyes, but, again, I was incredulous and stunned. What? There are Newfoundlanders who don't like being called "Newfies"? When did that happen? Why? Aren't they proud of where they are from? Geez...oversensitive much? That's just being silly!

There was also an article I read online - which I cannot find for the life of me right now - about some incidents in St. John's whereby someone had the nerve to spray paint "Stupid Newfies" in various locations, which I thought was absolutely awful. There is no arguing that something is meant to be pejorative when preceeded by a descriptor such as "stupid." Of course, the article sparked a huge debate and a long list of feedback comments from all over the country, some of which were quite interesting to read to garner the differing perspectives of Newfoundlanders and Labradorians, ex-pats, and the rest of the country.

I have been in my current locale for over 3 years, and I have to say I am very aware of these things now. The prior incidents - few and far between, for the most part - have taken on new meaning for me: My first boss here, who has a great sense of humour and whom I still love dearly, crossed the line one day by making a dig about 'lazy Newfies,' which got my back up...when I was doing my first play here, another actor found it quite amusing to regale me with Newfie jokes galore (which really grated on my nerves)...and more recently, when the cable guy came to hook us up at our new apartment, he immediately went to the topic of Newfie jokes when he spied some tell-tale elements of our decor. I quickly stopped him before he could start by relating a joke I had just picked up a couple of days earlier from Steve at Oh Me Nerves. I think he got the point. We then ended up discussing the various forms of prejudice we had both witnessed over the years towards various segments of the population, and he pointed out that Newfie jokes are no more than your run of the mill fill in the blank jokes that can be used to poke fun at just about any group of people and I shared that there are jokes in circulation in Newfoundland that exchange the roles of Newfoundlanders and mainlanders as well.

Anyway, I have done my homework over the past year and discovered that what I once considered an innocent source of pride has very disturbing connotations for many, and that the debate still rages on, as evidenced here at Todd's blog, here on a facebook group, here at Squidoo, here and here at, as well as any number of other examples posted on the web. In fact, there are even definitions of the word Newfie at Wikipedia and Urban Dictionary.

As for myself, well, I have been increasingly careful about my usage of the term in the last couple of years and I can't un-see or un-hear all of those things since having opened my eyes. Taken from another Newfoundlander I don't have as much of a problem with it (and I guess this is the basis some have used to contend that "Newfie" is similar to the other N word in circulation, whereby it is acceptable from peers who share the same - for lack of a better word at the moment - classification, but not from outsiders). After all, we are all entitled to our own thoughts, feelings and opinions and I was once with them in my beliefs...However, I cringe when I see or hear it used in the presence of non-Newfoundlanders because I am aware of what some of them may read into it now and I do not take kindly to being looked upon as a laughingstock. I am now very attuned to people's reactions to me once they have learned of my home province and I have to say that they have been very mixed, indeed. So, are there those who are prejudiced against Newfoundlanders and Labradorians? Absolutely. Is all of that summed up in the use of the word "Newfie"? Probably not. But I hesitate to apply it anymore, nonetheless.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Homemade Solutions

I am sitting here with globs of oatmeal drying onto my face and thought I would share some quick all-natural "recipes" while I wait to go rinse it off. Let's start with what I am wearing...

For the face:

Honey Oat Scrub/Mask

If you mix together about 1/4 cup of rolled oats, 1 tbsp honey and 1 tbsp milk (give or take), you can use it as a facial scrub or apply it and leave it on until it dries to get the benefits of a mask. Personally, I start with the scrub and then put a fresh coat on and use it as a mask. It really works!

Here's one for the body:

Bath Salt (from 1001 Natural Remedies)

Combine the following:
1/2 cup Epsom salts
1/2 cup sea salt
1/2 cup baking soda
1/2 cup borax

Use 4-8 tbsp in a warm bath to relax and purify (I like to add about 1/2 dozen drops of lavender and tea tree or eucalyptus essential oils* as well).

* I have ranted on here before about my chemical/scent sensitivities. Interestingly enough, although I still cannot handle those that are particularly pungent, most essential oils do not seem to bother me. Perhaps due to the lack of chemicals?

And for the home:

Sink and Tub Cleanser (from 1001 Natural Remedies)

1/3 cup baking soda
1/3 cup borax
1 tsp natural liquid dishwashing soap (I use Nature Clean's all purpose cleaning lotion in my cleaners)
5 drops lavender essential oil
5 drops eucalyptus essential oil

Try 'em out and see what you think!

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Testing, Testing

Thank you Stephen! I have finally been added to the NL Blogroll (which I've been displaying on here pretty much since I started haha). Just a quick check to see if my blog is pinging it when I post. Something of more substance in the near future...

OK...test failed so I did as suggested and used the direct service from BlogRolling.

Problem solved :D

Friday, January 15, 2010

Hey Rosetta! Does Vancouver

OOOOOOOOOH the excitement! I just found out here that Hey Rosetta! will be playing at the Orpheum in Vancouver on February 19th. I SO hope we can make it! :D

Now, if we could only get Punger out here...

...or perhaps some Masterless Men?...

...sigh...well a girl can dream, can't she? :0)

Thursday, January 14, 2010

The Continuing Plight of the Cod

While perusing the web today, I happened to find myself at Our Place in Canada - The Newfoundland Experiment. As I scrolled down the page, this post caught my attention. Now, I am the first to admit that I do not follow the news regularly and have not been diligently keeping tabs on the cod stocks or their management by any stretch of the imagination. So, my first reaction to "The Cod are Back! (But it's not ours anymore)" was "What? You must be joking!"...then I followed the link at the end of the post, which lead me to this. Again, my reaction was along the lines of "You're kidding...You have to be." I am just dumbfounded that our government could be so....for lack of a better word...DUMB (wait, scratch that...I suppose I shouldn't be surprised considering some of the other harebrained schemes they have hatched and followed through on)! Anyway, this information (while probably not news to most Newfoundlanders, Labradorians and ex-pats, is new to me and) has me truly choked (and also motivated to re-educate myself about the whole issue). So, rather than say too much about that which I know relatively little at the moment, I urge all of you to check it out for yourselves and make your voices heard if it is not already too late.

Help for Haiti

For all those who may be interested:

Links to sites detailing how to contribute to Canadian relief efforts in Haiti:

. Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada

Republic of Doyle: Episode 2, and Avatar

Although I still don't totally buy into some aspects of The Republic of Doyle (certain relationships, for example, due to a continuing shortage of chemistry), I am of the opinion that episode two was a definite improvement on episode one. Yessir, I was right there with it this week until the moment when Jake and Mal met up with Bill to deliver the news that his girlfriend (who was, in reality, not his girlfriend but his daughter) was found dead. Bill's response killed it for me. All the suspension of disbelief and the building of momentum during the convoluted plot (and I mean that in a good, "you kept me guessing" sort of way) was shot down in that split second. Incidentally, the moment when Victor's son stated that Emma had died after he hit her the one time was also horrible for me. Not convincing AT ALL. In addition, I am wondering when whatever happened at the end of the last episode is going to be addressed. Episode one ended when Constable Bennett was on Jake's doorstep letting her hair down and raising her hand to knock. The only mention of that incident in episode two was when she alluded to having seen Jake and Nikki together "the other night" or "a couple of nights ago" or something like that, and Jake is totally oblivious to her dig. Anyway, the show delivered enough to bring me back again next week, loyal Newfoundlander that I am.

On a completely unrelated note, I saw somewhere online the other day (MSN maybe?) that a faction of society has decided that Avatar is racist. What? Really? Come on, people! I mean, how disturbed would you have to be to read into that storyline and convince yourself that it is promoting racism? It must be absolutely exhausting to be continuously driven to find new excuses to be angry and bitter...

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Culinary Conquests

Once in a while the mood strikes and I thought I might as well take advantage of it. So, this evening I did something I haven't done in a while: I cooked multiple dishes for a few days of suppers all at once. I am aware that some people do that on a regular basis, but I personally can't stand making that many dishes dirty all at once and having to face on them afterwards (I detest doing the dishes and we only have an apartment sized dishwasher, which probably couldn't handle anything other than flatware, plates, bowls, glasses and mugs. And before I get any protests from my partner, I had better add that he does the dishes as well. I just don't think it would be fair to expect him to clean up a huge mess like that either). However, tonight I didn't think it would bother me that much so I went for it.

First, I prepared BBQ chicken breasts (a recipe I got from my basically make the 'BBQ sauce' and cook the chicken in it). While they were in the oven, I started prepping for a vegetarian lasagna (yum!) and then, while the lasagna was baking, I made a spinach salad for tonight. I was totally impressed with myself for staying in the kitchen for so long and cleaning up after myself as I went along. Now all I have to do is make a couple of sides on Thursday to go with the chicken. I am taking a break to sit here and type this, following which I am hoping to work out, shower, and make a cherry cheesecake. Of course, that is subject to change depending on how long everything else takes and how energetic I am feeling when I get up again...

Anyway, I haven't posted any recipes on here yet (although I was going to share a quick and easy salsa one a couple of weeks ago...perhaps later...) and since I so enjoyed the salad I whipped together, I thought I would post the ingredients so others could replicate it and give it a try if they so desired. It's based largely on a couple of different salads I have had at Boston Pizza in the last few months (and contains a couple of ingredients I would previously have never considered putting into my salad). Unfortunately, I can't list specific amounts because I just sort of judged it as I was going and threw in whatever looked like enough to me.

BayGirl's Spinach Salad:

baby spinach leaves
orange bell pepper, coarsely chopped
fresh mushrooms, thinly sliced
hard boiled egg, sliced
marble cheese, finely chopped

Top with ranch dressing (or dressing of your choice) and enjoy!

It probably would have been better if I had included a picture, but it didn't occur to me to post this until after I had eaten it. Perhaps next time I make it I will try and remember to add a shot to this entry.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Out of Control: A Disturbing Documentary

Last night I watched Out of Control with Hana Gartner on The Fifth Estate at It was deeply disturbing and thought provoking in such a way that I am still trying to organize and articulate my views on the problems brought to light in the story. By the look of the comment section, a lot of other viewers have also found themselves powerfully affected by the program.

A number of thoughts, questions and impressions entered my mind while watching the documentary. These mostly pertained to the importance of following protocol and the need to change and modify some of the protocols that are currently in place, the necessity of following through with consequences, the shifting of responsibility and blame, the lack of accountability, the ineffectiveness of certain aspects of the penal and social support systems, and the circumstances in which members of the most vulnerable and misunderstood segments of the population often find themselves. I try to look at all aspects of an issue, and I can honestly say that I still haven't figured out where I stand on some of these points, and suggestions for valid solutions continue to elude me.

I can understand that Canada's corrections workers are obligated to follow the procedures that have been put into place for them and that there must be consistency (and that many of them are tired and overworked due to shortages in certain areas and the crap they have to deal with day in and day out). I also understand the frustration that comes from knowing that some methods one is expected to use are clearly ineffectual and tend to place a huge demand on available resources, yet being caught up in a cycle and powerless to change what has been dictated down the chain of command from the top. Likewise, I can identify with the need to protect yourself and your livelihood by complying with the rules and regulations in the face of threatened disciplinary action.

What I find difficult to grasp is how the public image concerns of institutions and the need for individuals to safeguard their jobs somehow managed to surpass the importance of saving a life in this instance. I don't understand how someone could order others not to help a person who is clearly sick and how this particular situation escalated to that point. When the corrections officers were told not to enter Ashley Smith's cell unless she had stopped breathing, what meaning were they to infer from that? Does "not breathing" mean "passed out" or "dead"? And once that last act of self-strangulation had been put into play, did it really take that long to figure out that she wasn't breathing? Out of an audience of seven attending her death, I would assume at least one had adequate powers of observation to note the absence of breathing before it was too late. Or was it a case of mob mentality/ brotherly solidarity/peer pressure or whatever you would like to call it, with no one wanting to be the first to suggest or attempt going into Ashley's cell for fear of being attacked by the inmate once more or disciplined by the powers that be for disregarding orders?

From the outside looking in, it was clear from a very early point as this tale unfolded that the routines Ashley Smith and her guards fell into did nothing to discourage her behaviours or otherwise improve things. In addition, transferring her from one place to another did nothing to address her the problematic circumstances of her incarceration. If anything, it only served to exacerbate her behaviours and their consequences by teaching her that no one was equipped to deal with her and leaving her new captors to keep using the old methods to no avail.

I guess one can never truly comprehend a given situation unless they are forced to navigate it, but Hana Gartner and The Fifth Estate have certainly reminded us that Canada has some definite issues that need to be worked out...and that will take people much smarter than me to figure out. I only hope that the people who needed to get that wake up call - and anyone who is in a position to create change, really - have received the message loud and clear and plan to act to prevent history from being repeated.

Have any of you seen it? Any thoughts?

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Email to Make You Laugh Out Loud

In keeping with my renewed efforts to get back in shape...I received a forward from a close friend yesterday that made me burst out laughing several times as I read through it on my BlackBerry. I am glad there was no one else around to see me sitting alone in my car in the dark parking lot waiting to pick up my partner and giggling uncontrollably...the last thing I need is another rumour circulating as to the questionable state of my sanity.

Anyway, it was pure gold and I can't resist sharing it. I hope it tickles all of your funny bones as well, because we could all use a good laugh now and then. It is, after all, the best medicine for whatever ails you!

So, without further ado, here are the contents of the email (hey, it's my blog and I can do what I want with it!):


If you read this without laughing out loud, there is something wrong with you. This is dedicated to everyone who ever attempted to get into a regular workout routine.

Dear Diary,
For my birthday this year, my Husband (the dear) purchased a week of personal training at the local health club for me.

Although I am still in great shape since being a high school football cheerleader 43 years ago, I decided it would be a good idea to go ahead and give it a try.

I called the club and made my reservations with a personal trainer named Christo, who identified himself as a 26-year-old aerobics instructor and model for athletic clothing and swim wear.

My husband seemed pleased with my enthusiasm to get started. The club encouraged me to keep a diary to chart my progress.

Started my day at 6:00 a.m. Tough to get out of bed, but found it was well worth it when I arrived at the health club to find Christo waiting for me. He is something of a Greek god - with blond hair, dancing eyes and a dazzling white smile. Woo Hoo!!

Christo gave me a tour and showed me the machines. I enjoyed watching the skillful way in which he conducted his aerobics class after my workout today.

Very inspiring!

Christo was encouraging as I did my sit-ups, although my gut was already aching from holding it in the whole time he was around. This is going to be a FANTASTIC week !!

I drank a whole pot of coffee, but I finally made it out the door. Christo made me lie on my back and push a heavy iron bar into the air then he put weights on it! My legs were a little wobbly on the treadmill, but I made the full mile. His rewarding smile made it all worthwhile. I feel GREAT !! It's a whole new life for me.

The only way I can brush my teeth is by laying the toothbrush on the counter and moving my mouth back and forth over it. I believe I have a hernia in both pectorals. Driving was OK as long as I didn't try to steer or stop. I parked on top of a GEO in the club parking lot.

Christo was impatient with me, insisting that my screams bothered other club members. His voice is a little too perky for that early in the morning and when he scolds, he gets this nasally whine that is VERY annoying.

My chest hurt when I got on the treadmill, so Christo put me on the stair monster. Why the hell would anyone invent a machine to simulate an activity rendered obsolete by elevators? Christo told me it would help me get in shape and enjoy life. He said some other shit too.

Asshole was waiting for me with his vampire-like teeth exposed as his thin, cruel lips were pulled back in a full snarl. I couldn't help being a half an hour late - it took me that long to tie my shoes.

He took me to work out with dumbbells. When he was not looking, I ran and hid in the restroom. He sent some skinny little bitch to find me..

Then, as punishment, he put me on the rowing machine -- which I sank.

I hate that bastard Christo more than any human being has ever hated any other human being in the history of the world. Stupid, skinny, anemic, anorexic little aerobic instructor. If there was a part of my body I could move without unbearable pain, I would beat him with it.

Christo wanted me to work on my triceps. I don't have any triceps! And if you don't want dents in the floor, don't hand me the damn barbells or anything that weighs more than a sandwich.

The treadmill flung me off and I landed on a health and nutrition teacher. Why couldn't it have been someone softer, like the drama coach or the choir director?

Satan left a message on my answering machine in his grating, shrilly voice wondering why I did not show up today. Just hearing his voice made me want to smash the machine with my planner; however, I lacked the strength to even use the TV remote and ended up catching eleven straight hours of the Weather Channel.

I'm having the Church van pick me up for services today so I can go and thank GOD that this week is over. I will also pray that next year my husband will choose a gift for me that is fun -- like a root canal or a hysterectomy. I still say if God had wanted me to bend over, he would have sprinkled the floor with diamonds!!!

Update on Republic of Doyle

After reading a host of different opinions and rumours circulating the web, I took it upon myself to contact a friend of mine - who happens to be the Assistant Production Coordinator of the show. According to her, although it is true that the Republic of Doyle actors have gone home for the moment, the continuation of the show is currently dependent upon Season One's viewership - it has NOT been canned.

The pilot was shot in 2008, but was not aired as some of the actors were changed and the format of the show went from 1/2 hour to full hour episodes. So far, 12 hour long episodes have been shot (filming was done this past summer/fall and things were wrapped up just before Christmas) and (I would imagine) everyone involved is hoping there will be a Season Two to follow up Season One. I would assume they are cautiously optimistic, as episode one garnered closed to a million viewers but, no doubt, they realize that that number is just based on the one hour premiere of the show and could change.

To sum it up and (hopefully) lay the mixed understandings and rumours to rest:

1. The show as it is airing is NOT the pilot but the actual show
2. There are 12 episodes in Season One, of which we have seen the first
3. The actors have gone home, but are on standby to come back as soon as they get the go ahead for Season Two
4. Season Two is dependent on viewership of Season One
5. Hence, if we continue to watch there could be many more seasons to come

There, I've done my part to clear the air...

Building a Fitness Arsenal

Like a lot of others, I have hit the harsh wall of post-holiday reality - in the form of the bathroom scale. Ouch. I knew this was coming and it was my own fault, but the time has come to do something about it...again. What this means at the moment is that (although I am still proceeding to stuff my face with leftover holiday goodies) in a bid to combat the effects of overindulgence (and since I have yet to overcome my gym phobia and do not particularly enjoy frequent walking in the wintertime), I am attempting to revive my home workout program (and I use that term loosely).

I jump started this initiative by spending countless hours sitting in front of the computer frustratedly researching what's available and indecisively polling friends. A little silly and excessive, I admit, but I wanted to spend money wisely instead of impulsively making purchases. The next step was to buff up my collection of workout DVDs. So, in addition to the likes of Leslie Sansone (I have a bunch of her Walk off the Pounds DVDs), Michelle Dozois (Pilates Plus is one of my staples, although I have it on VHS and would really like to get the DVD version), Jillian Michaels, Billy Blanks and Jennifer Pohlman (the latter two are definitely NOT among my faves) who I have collected over the past 10 years, multiple new videos starring Rodney Yee, Jennifer Kries, Debbie Siebers, Shiva Rea and the Yoga Zone crew (as well as some new ones featuring the old assortment of trainers) have now moved in to grace my shelves. I admit I may have went a little crazy with it - more than doubling my fitness DVD collection in a few days, but the theory is that if I can outsmart my tendency to become bored (therefore quickly giving up), I might actually be able to develop and sustain a routine that lasts more than a couple of weeks.

So far, while I still intend to throw a few of the old standbys into the mix again eventually, I have tried them all except the new Jennifer Kries' pilates routine (which hasn't yet arrived from Chapters...or was it Amazon?) and have had mixed reactions. Of the new ones (most of which are yoga based, which is all new to me), I have to say I am finding the Yoga Zones and Debbie Siebers easiest to follow as a newbie. The others are enjoyable as well, but I will probably leave them on the shelf until I become better acquainted with yogic practices. However, I have to say, finding Mariel Hemingway on some of the Rodney Yee vids was a little disturbing and I don't think her segments will become part of the regular rotation.

The bottom line is that I am beginning to feel better; more flexible and energized, already, and that I have enough fresh material to rotate through to keep me going for a long time without it feeling stagnant. That has to be a step in the right direction, doesn't it? I am also finding that the yoga DVDs are self-motivating, meaning that I don't have to work too hard at convincing myself to get up and do them. That is also a bonus (although I have to wonder if it will continue to be that way once the novelty wears off) which I intend to make the most of while it lasts.

Most importantly, I am breaking my holiday routine of inactivity-while-feeling-lonely-and-sorry-for-myself...which was totally not healthy...and I am thinking that if I could find the will and determination to stop smoking 4 1/2 years ago and make it last, this is totally do-able. Perhaps 2010 will be the year that I finally stick with it and see ongoing results instead of my habitual yearly round of follow the yo-yo with that pesky 15 pounds that just will not quit. Of course, I also have to break the bad eating habits I have allowed myself to slip into over the past couple of months as well, but one step at a time - right?

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Republic of Doyle

Well, I just finished watching (well about half an hour ago now, I suppose) and logged in to give my 2 cents worth when I noticed that Townie had beat me to it. Being that he is in a different time zone and probably got to watch it first, I guess it's not that surprising. I actually don't have a big lot to say about it, but I will give my opinion before I go read his take on it (which is probably more comprehensive, as he has titled his post a 'review') so that his views don't end up influencing mine...

So, here goes...I enjoyed the first show. Could it have been better? Yes. Was it worth watching again? Also yes. I like the lead characters, it was great to see and hear shades of home on national TV, and it was entertaining. I was surprised to see Shaun Majumder on there and it was interesting to see him play Benjamin, as I haven't seen him do that sort of character before....I'm not sure how I felt about his performance yet, though. Not that it really matters, it was just a guest appearance as far as I know. The music was somewhat catchy, the writing and editing could stand to be tightened up, the preview of the next episode looks promising and I intend to watch it again (with hopes that its weaknesses will be addressed and improved on over time). All in all, not a bad start. Kudos to all those involved!

.....Did I mention it was good to see glimpses of the island (well of "town" anyway) and to hear the accent and snippets of familiar expressions? :-)

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Thoughts on Home

Some fitting quotes for my current mood. I am hoping they have all been attributed to the correct people...

You can never go home again, but the truth is you can never leave home, so it's all right. ~Maya Angelou

The ache for home lives in all of us, the safe place where we can go as we are and not be questioned. ~Maya Angelou

Home is not where you live but where they understand you. ~Christian Morgenstern

Home is a place you grow up wanting to leave, and grow old wanting to get back to. ~John Ed Pearce

...and finally, "Sometimes you wanna go where everybody knows your name, and they're always glad you came" ~Gary Portnoy and Judy Hart Angelo (Cheers theme song)

...which reminds me of an instance last year when I went to have our water bottles refilled and almost burst into tears when the lady at the counter had to ask how to spell my last name for her records. Of course, I was feeling particularly homesick that day and it was the millionth time that had happened to me since I've been here. It's probably happened another thousand times since. I never realized before how much comfort comes from the simplicity of knowing that people recognize your name and can pronounce and spell it without your help....

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Unexpected Mail and Media Plugs

An old friend of mine from way back has been playing in a band for a few years now (Punger) and they have recently released an EP. After a long wait, I received my copy in the mail yesterday, as promised (I had actually all but forgotten that my friend had said he'd send it to me). However, I was pleasantly surprised that not only did my friend send me the EP, he also included a USB-Key so that I can plop the tunes onto my iPod, and a DVD of some of the band's videos and performances. You can check them out on MySpace here and YouTube here if you are curious. Or, if you are in the Toronto area, swing by the Fox and Fiddle some Wednesday night and check them out (they host a weekly Open Jam at 9pm) and keep your eyes pealed for other local performances (they have played at the Horseshoe Tavern as well as several festivals and have also appeared on Toronto's Talent). I happen to think they are well worth a listen ;)

Also, as I am leading an incredibly boring life at the moment and need something to look forward to, I thought I'd put in a plug for Republic of Doyle, which I am anxiously awaiting. It is set to premiere tomorrow evening at 9pm PST on CBC. I really hope it meets and exceeds my expectations. The last thing we need is another crappy series on TV. It should be different, if nothing else!

Standing at the Edge and Looking Down

It's amazing how a mood can change in mere seconds. I have managed to go from drowning in frustration induced blues mired in indecision to a sort of cautious, optimistic anticipation. I am still not past the dreaded murky waters, but I am approaching a precipice and am attempting to work up the nerve to take a life altering plunge (in more ways than one). I have a feeling 2010 will shape up to be a big year for me, even if it does get off to a slow start. After all these static months spent analyzing, wondering, and trying to sort out what feels like a myriad of convoluted decisions that need to be made, something's got to give.

I am reminded of a conversation I had with a friend back in the fall. She pointed out that part of my problem may be that I had a life plan in my mind and I am panicking because that plan isn't working out the way I had hoped. So I am working on editing that plan, discarding some baggage, and minimizing the pressures I have placed on myself over the years in the process. It has taken a few months to convince myself that it is not a matter of life and death if I don't meet all the goals and deadlines I set for myself. Perhaps it is silly to even imagine that life would unfold that way just because I envisioned it and tried to work towards it....which just triggered another conversation I had with some different friends of mine while I was home this past summer. You just can't plan certain things. Sometimes the unexpected lands in your lap and you have to follow where it takes you and see where it leads. I am trying not to think about the alternative - that I will be one of those people who endures a boring existance and never finds the right direction to get where they want to go....

I know I will be ok no matter which path I choose (although the outcomes may be different). It's just a matter of taking that first step...

Any good vibes sent this way would be greatly appreciated. Meanwhile, I will be crossing my fingers and hoping for the best. Wish me luck!

Friday, January 1, 2010

Ringing in the New Year

It is shaping up to be a pretty low key day - as I'm sure it is for a good portion of the population who are hungover today; a condition with which we, luckily, have not been afflicted. We are, however, lazing around and working on the last mounds of junk food contraband residing in our apartment after a late night and a (fairly) early rise.

The good news is, we were able to redeem the last moments of 2009 at the Jammies Extravaganza. I have to admit I was a little unsure what to expect going in, but it was exactly what I needed. We were, indeed, comfy in our PJ's (all of which were rated G) and there was a wealth of food, drink and laughter to go around. It was also our first introduction to Cranium (we'd heard about it, of course, but had never gotten the opportunity to play) and it was hilarious. I tried to keep the sketches my partner and I drew depicting "mad scientist" when we went up against each other in the art category, as I thought it was infinitely amusing (and rather eerie too, come to think of it!) that we drew exactly the same things in exactly the same order and arrangement (you know you've been spending too much time with someone when...) but they slipped out of my pocket at some point and went MIA, so you'll have to take my word for it. Suffice it to say, I am glad we decided to go and I am in a much better mood today.

One more thing that came out of the New Year's Eve soiree is that it gave me something to think about. Our lovely hostess from last night also happens to be involved with one of the local papers and mentioned that they may be hiring a reporter (I'm guessing this will be happening in the near future?). She says it would be a part time, supplemental type gig (which I would probably be able to incorporate into my life right now...the only trick would be working it around my partner's work as well since we share the car). Anyway, I've always toyed with the idea of writing for a paper (or any kind of published writing, really) but have never made a move to do it. The closest I have ever come was a couple of years ago when I contacted the editor of the other local paper to ask how one would go about writing for them...but when he came back to me with an email asking if I was interested in filling a need they had for a 'slice of life' column, I bolted. I don't know what it is, but I have always had such an inferiority complex and fear of failure- which is, of course, most pronounced in areas that require me to open myself up to others and put the fruits of my labour out there for all to see and judge. In light of that fact, I also have to admit that I have amazed myself on several occasions by being able to fight it enough to achieve certain things - such as a university education, a career that requires me to interact with the public on a regular basis and, more recently, dabbling in community theatre and choir.

But the written word? That has to be the hardest for me to face (next to singing on stage for an audience...that was a definite toughie to conquer...or at least beat into submission long enough to get through a few performances). It's sad, really. I grew up being so passionate about writing, but so afraid to share what I had written, and was never able to muster the courage to pursue it. It's become buried over the years, but the urge has always lingered somewhere in the back of my head and emerged from time to time, only to be ignored and laid back to rest. And part of it is practicality...I mean, aspiring writers are a dime a dozen, right? You have to be really good to survive and get anywhere. And for that, you most definitely have to be able to believe in yourself and TRY.

So, there's a really long-winded way of saying that I am considering that tidbit of information but am undecided as to what to do with it yet. On the one hand, it could be an opportunity to broaden my resume (the career search is at a bit of a standstill at the moment anyway...), but on the other it scares the hell out of me.

Oddly enough, the day before when the cable guy was here hooking up our new phone and Internet services, he happened to pitch me the idea of doing a show of some sort for the community channel. Apparently he used to be the producer and there is a definite shortage of material at the moment. I can honestly say that is not something I had ever considered doing. I currently have no ideas for a community cable show nor the first idea of how to put one together and make it happen. All the same, it's weird how these two opportunities appeared out of nowhere in such a short timespan. I have always envied people who are able to recognize any opportunity and turn it into a successful venture.

On that note, it has just occurred to me that I am thinking too much today and should probably give my brain a rest until tomorrow, at the very least. I have a few things that need to be accomplished today so I should probably go do them as I have taken the whole day off so far...

To quote from a friend's facebook status, "May the best of 2009 be the best of 2010"

Cheers, everyone!