Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Nonsense

I get to the Detroit airport early and with hopes to change my late evening flight home to the early evening one. The line up was short so I got to the counter in less than a minute. The clerk told me to help myself with the self-check-in terminal. But she stood beside me and told me to press here, swipe my passport, press to continue….. Why didn’t she do it herself from her counter if she was going to take the time to do it with me????
Anyway, when I selected the "change your flight" option, the next screen told me that it was “Not Available” for that flight.
True to myself, I questionned her ”What does that mean, Not Available?” Snotty, she reply, “it means not available, sold out." Well, I said, why then is there an option here right beside to make the change for $25.00 if it’s sold out?”
Puzzled, she told me to try it. I proceeded, under her watchful eye, to swipe my credit card, select my seat (the flight was almost empty!) and check in my bag! So why is it that the bozo who created that program did not use wording as “Available with a supplement only” or something similar. How many other peple could not change their flight and had to kill a few hours at the airport just because the machine is not detailed enough and the check-in clerk doesn’t know any better?? Isn't that her job to check you in??
Things that make you go hummmm.....

Sunday, December 2, 2007

Things I've Learned ~ part 4

Eat brain food so your brain can kick in overdrive when needed! When things happen quickly, it’s amazing the number of thoughts that you can actually have in a very short time. As I realized I was crossing the other lane, I was relieved there was no incoming traffic, I applied the breaks for a second, then thought “Well, that was stupid, it can’t do nothing, I know better”. Once my brain assessed that the situation was out of control, I realized I had to let go and wait for it to be over. When the truck finally immobilized, I though “Why is no one coming?” I then pressed the hazard lights button to make sure someone would see me because I thought I was probably a bit below road level. Then I couldn’t unbuckle myself and was becoming impatient. Again, I thought “Why is no one coming???” I then reasoned with myself, stopped struggling with the seat belt and just waited for someone to come. It took just seconds. It’s truly incredible how much you have time to think, plan and do, in very short stressed-filled moments.

Saturday, December 1, 2007

Things I've Learned ~ part 3


It’s also much easier to be patient you when you have no control at all on the situation. While I was hanging upside down, it was easy for me to assess that I was alright, that I had no injury at all. I was just stuck up there, unable to detach the seat belt. The crowd that assembled around the truck was very nice and inquired if everything was fine. Greg or Steve first wanted to crawl in to detach me but someone reminded them him that we’re not supposed to move an injured. Because I was not in a situation to detach myself and even thought I knew I was ok, I decide not to argue and antagonize them. After all, they were there to help me; I just had to be patient. Although I’d like to, things don’t always happen on my time schedule.

Friday, November 30, 2007

Things I've Learned ~ part 2


It’s easy to let go when you have no control at all on the situation. I’m a control nut and I always feel that I can influence a situation somehow, someway. So I rarely let go.
There was a moment as the car was sliding and rotating that I knew there was nothing I could do anymore. Whatever was going to happen, was going to happen and I only had to be patient for it to come to an end. That’s when I stopped hanging on to the steering wheel and prepared for the truck to flip. No no, I didn’t see my life flashing in front of my eyes, I knew it was going to be alright, I just had to be patient.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Things I’ve Learned ~ part 1

Be fully insured. In my situation, without a significant other or family members in the area to rely on, it was a relief to learn that not only did I have a same-category rental car included, my cab fare to get to work the morning after will be reimbursed. Just less things to worry about.
Unfortunately, because it was a single-car accident, I am at fault but my policy includes a first offense crash-forgiveness clause. We’ll see where that takes me when I have to settle on the value of the truck with the insurance company.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Wear Your Seatbelt

Always. If I didn’t have that good habit, I couldn’t write tonight. Early evening, the road conditions turned treacherous quickly and I didn’t not realize. I lost control of my truck on an ice patch and, after rotating 180 degrees in the other line, my truck slid, flipped and finally stopped in the ditch, on its roof.
And for those of you wondering, speed was not a factor, only road condition. It took less than a minute after my truck immobilized for Greg to get to me while Steve, who was following me on Highway 2, called 911. Greg was just great; he introduced himself right away and they both kept talking to me till the EMS arrived. There was also a nice young female who stood by and gathered some of my stuff that spilled out of the truck by the broken window. I’m grateful for their help & company. It took 10 minutes for the firemen to get to the site and just a couple minutes for them to assess my condition, secure the truck and release me from the seat belt. I had been “hanging” upside down, hold up to the seat by the seat belt, unable to detach it. Once the fireman cut the belt, I was able to crawl out of the car, with their help pulling me out, and I walked out unscratched. Without the seatbelt, I would have been thrown all over and would have been seriously injured for sure.
Use it; it is not an optional accessory.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Are Shell Casings Biodegradable?

Today was a sunny but cold fall day. I thought I’d try to get a bit of exercise in my day and I went for a walk in the Presqu’Ile Provincial Park. After all, it’s in my backyard and I should enjoy its peaceful beauty as much as possible. The water level is so low right now and I was also curious to see if I could cross by foot on the two islands across the bay. The park was not very busy because the season is not the greatest: it’s cold and all the fall foliage is already on the ground so Nature is not at its best.
I also chose to go today because it’s hunting season and that section of the park is closed off on Saturdays to allow the hunter free roaming where the waterfowl are most present. I’m not really sure why there is hunting permitted in a provincial park; isn’t their mandate to protect and promote the nature? Anyway, I don’t really understand it but I guess if there’s a need for it….. But shouldn’t the waterfowl hunters be respectful of the environment? It was saddening to see plastic shell casings everywhere, not only near the dozens of hide-outs constructed for the hunters but everywhere on the shores. Very sad. I often find shell casings on my beach, all the way across the bay, and wondered where they came from. Now I know. Sometimes it’s better to be ignorant.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Monday, November 5, 2007

As a young teenager, I read this book featuring a donkey-pulled camper-trailer. The heroes of the story travelled to Italy and I think that initiated my desire to travel the world. Even though I fell lucky to have visited so many different countries so far, there is still so much more to discover!
30 years later, not much have changed! I still dream of far away places and I still want to hit the road and check out all small town USA with no time constraint or pre-planned route. The transportation mode has changed however when I came across the Roadtrek line-up of camper vans. Isn’t that a dream??
Better check that lottery ticket from last Saturday’s draw!

Sunday, November 4, 2007

Mouse Invasion!

I thought I was alone in my unfortunate situation until Mary expressed her similar exasperation! It appears the little rodents have mastered the art of licking the peanut butter off the trigger without setting off the trap. Very frustrating! We are contemplating taking some legal actions against the maker of these ineffective traps; it has caused many nightmares and hardships and we should be compensated appropriately! Should I mention all the times I hear the little rodents scratching at the crawl space door to come inside? Or the other time my cat chased one around the living room while I was sitting there? The nights I lay awake plotting new execution plans? Just maddening!
Today I came back home to a dead body neatly laid at the foot of my favorite chair in the living room. Finally, a return on my investment in the house cat. But too little too late.
Enough is enough! These visitors have overstayed their welcome! I’m changing tactic and have acquired a new bait house that promises positive results in no time!! It’s already installed at a strategic entry way, full of fresh bait and ready to help me reduce the population of mice in Brighton!!

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Aaron Lines & Jason Blaine on Tour


Last nite, I was a guest of CMT to the Aaron Lines concert In Belleville. I was able t0 go backstage before the concert and meet with Aaron and Jason Blaine. The surprise was actually special guest Jason Blaine. Originaly from Pembrooke, On but now living in Nasville, I'm sure we will hear much more about him shortly: his 30-minute concert had a very enthoused crowd and the line up for autographs after confirmed his success. He's a real cutie and has talent to boot!
Aaron Lines show was very good too, just a bit more engrossed in himself. He did say they were saying a lot of "crazy" things! Probably because they were on the 8th day of a 9-day/9-city tour.
All around a great evening of music with these 2 Canadian boys!

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Amazing Shots!

A friend sent me those pictures circulating on the internet; they are so beautiful that I had to share them with you. Unfortunalety, I cannot give credit to the photographers. Enjoy!

SHARING

TRUST

WANTING TO BELONG

FRIENDSHIP

JOIE DE VIVRE

GREED

OPPORTUNITY

SKILL

LOVE

And don't forget to SMELL THE ROSES!

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

BBQ Party 2006



More pictures but this time from the 2006 affair! Maybe I'm a bit nostalgic because I stored the garden furniture this past week-end and the deck is so bare without the beer fridge ready to dispense refreshing beverages....

BBQ Party 2007



Today was such a morose fall day that a bit of sunshine from this summer's BBQ would lift anyone's spirits! 8 more months till the next one and hopefully more of Marion and Doran's tasty rum punch!

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

The Pause Button


Today my aunt sent me this article from realsimple.com about why When Being Right Is Wrong; the timing was exceptionally eerie. How could she'd know that I needed that right now?? It's basically about the wasted energy we spend proving we are (I am) right when it would be far more fructuous to move on and focus on the big picture and what's really important. I seem to be doing a lot of that right now and I have to practice pushing the Pause Button next time before I try to prove I'm right. Thanks Rachel for the reminder and I hope all will turn out well for you, soon.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Beware of this Cat!


Sometimes she's a real cat: bringing back a bird trophy, chewing on rodents and jumping after crickets. Sometimes she's like a dog: guarding the house, fighting with the neighbourhood cat and chasing the fox.
But always so cute!

So Long Clippy and Rocky!



Good bye my friends! You've been helpful, but now that my office computer has been updated to MS Office 2007, I'm moving on! The new Office 2007 is so full of great features that I might not even miss you....
And darn you IT guy for introducing me to it: I enjoy it so much now that I might have to update my home computer as well! Ahhh so tough to keep up with the latest technology!!

Monday, October 8, 2007

Something To Be Thankful for this Thanksgiving


My Dad! Thanks to him, I've been enjoying veggies all summer long! In the spring time, he made 2 raised beds and after cutting down 2 ill trees to make room, filled them with compost and triple mix he went to pickup at the garden centre. I only had to pland and water the radishes, beets, purple, green and yellow beans, snow peas, yellow and red peppers, carrots, coriander, basil and 4 varieties of tomatoes. I'm now eating the last of the crop and I've enjoyed every bite of it.
Thanks Dad ~ I'm very lucky!

Hummm, smoky cedar-plank salmon!

Corn Dog Trials


Quite an experiment in corn dog making today!
I added some chili powder to the batter to give it some zing! But I could barely taste it! Maybe my taste buds are not so sensitive anymore??
I then added some chopped jalapenos, as per a recipe sent by Jamie. It still didn't do it! I expected a hot and spicy corn dog and it ended up tasting just like a regular one.
Then I mixed some grated cheeses with the batter, aiming for a cheesy corn dog. Again I could not taste the cheese! What's with that???
However, the wieners were very good: I took the regular, all beef ones and they tasted just perfect.
But there's so just many corn dogs I can eat at one time! I'll have to make more trials on another day.
I also have to get a thermometer for oil to make sure the oil temperature is just perfect. It was probably not hot enough for the first one and the batter ended up absorbing the oil too much. Too greasy. And my last one was overcooked on the outside but raw on the inside = oil too hot.
Maybe I'll put a proper thermometer on my Christmas list. Hint Hint! Mom??

Simple Breakfast ~ but so good!!


To make great food, not only to you need good ingredients to start, you also need great cookware! A few years ago, I whined enough to my Mom that just to shut me up, she parted with her 35 y.o. Le Creuset enameled cast iron skillet. You see, this skillet is synonymous with great stuff from my childhood; my Mom makes the best scrambled egg and the best grilled cheese shandwiches possible. Now with THE skillet, I can do the same. Almost! Since I can't really upstage my mom in the sandwish department, I have to make variations: I made this grilled cheese sandwich with a mix of greated cheeses: cheddar extra mild and old, swiss and a bit of parmesan. And I added bacon, cooked on the BBQ grill of course!
Merci Maman!
I also remember my Mom made corn dogs (commonly called Pogo in Quebec!) sometimes for lunch when I was in grade school. This must where I took my love for the things! I have all the ingredients ready to try a few homemade ones for lunch today! Stay Tuned for an update!

Sunday, October 7, 2007

Thanksgiving Turkey


This year, I decided to try to roast the turkey on the spit. It was a first for me and I certainly learned a few things. I learned that I have to learn to truss a bird, I should be using a butter-basted turkey, I should collect the drippings to add to the gravy and I should check the cooking carefully not to overcook it!
It seems that everything I do on the rotisserie cooks quicker than by traditional methods. Although it looked beautiful and the dark meat was very tender and juicy, the white meat was a bit in the dry side. The gravy was not as good as usual as I didn't have cooking drippings to use. Oh, and you can't make Yorkshire puddings without egg, they stay flat instead of puffing up.
Next time will be a better success!
In case anybody is wondering why I would cook a whole 10-lbs turkey for my self, the reason is very simple: no restaurant can offer a turkey dinner as good as home-cooked and best of all, it provides bones for a soup to come and lots of lunches!!

I made fingerling potatoes to accompany the turkey and chestnut stuffing. When I saw the fingelings at the grocery store, I had to get them: they're exactly like the ones served at Le Splendid in Lyon and just the sight of them brought back delectable memories! I dedicate these ones to Conal, who was generous enough to share his with me at dinner. Breaking bread with Irish people, I learned that they sure do love their spuds and I know how it must have been difficult for him to see me eat most of them!

Is this about Global Warming?


I've never seen Lake Ontario so low! This summer has been very dry so I'm sure precipitations are below normal. But I've heard before that the Great Lakes levels are controlled manually, if that's the case, couldn't "they" raise them? Or should I call Al & Leonardo to discuss the Global Warming issue??

Saturday, October 6, 2007

Nortown Meeting


Frank had the great idea to hold our montly meeting/ride to The Big Apple in Colborne to make it easier for me to join as it's just down the road from here.
I'm not a a big fan of starting a motorcycle ride in the rain so I took my truck instead. A bit embarassing, when I saw them arrived on their bikes, in the rain, all the way from Toronto! After a couple hours of serious business discussion, less serious chit chat and sing along of King of the Road (Destination...Bangor,Maine), the group desided to gear up again and to hit the road as the rain was not letting out and it was becoming foggy.
It was great to see you again Frank, Fred, Cathy and Betty Anne and to finally meet Hazel, hopefully a future member of Nortown! I hope you all made it back home safely.

Friday, October 5, 2007

Ahhh Lyon!


Lyon is the French capital of gastronomie and I wished I could have stayed longer to experience all its speciaties! This business trip was much too short: only there for 3 evenings and we found ourselves booking the same brasserie for a 2nd dinner, so I must recommand this restaurant: Le Spendid in Les Brosseaux neighbourhood. The food was truly splendid! The house salad is not be be missed and make sure to leave room for desserts: they are prepared with care and should be enjoyed with delight!
This is my only picture, taken from the taxi into town on our arrival day. We did not have much free time to enjoy the sights. Maybe next year...

Thursday, October 4, 2007

Great Food in Dublin!


I'm far from being an expert about Dublin, but I want to share a few great places.
The first place to go for Irish food is definetely the Temple Bar neighbourhood, any restaurants will have great Irish everything: fare, drinks and music. A must!
At Ely Wine Bar, you are assured of delectable food, exceptional service and an unparalleled list of wines by-the-glass. The expertise of the wait staff is amazing and they will find a wine to suit your desire. Don't forget to keep some room for the Sticky Toffee Pudding!
At the outer limit of town, you will find Brown's Barn, a century old coach house. The original brick shell of the builing has been preserved and it creates a great atmosphere for the dining experience. The Terrine of Black and White Pudding is a must, authentically Irish. Enjoy!
Spar is a chain of convenience store and it's the perfect stop to pick-up lunch on your way to a relaxing afternoon at the park. They have a fabulous selection of out-of-the-ordinary sandwiches! I highly recommand the chicken with onion & sage stuffing in a traditional brown bread! Their flagship location at Merrion Row, a few steps from St Steven's Green will not disappoint you.
The food in Ireland will surprise you: not the bland boring fare you might expect!
I hope that Dubliners with expand this post with their own food places of Dublin.
And I'm very grateful to my employer for allowing me to discover Ireland once again!

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Monday, October 1, 2007

Dublin South Coast Tour, Co.Wicklow, Ireland

Bray, Co.Wicklow, Ireland

Bray reminded me of my own Brighton Beach ~
Windy, pebble beach and waves just like at home!