Sunday, February 10, 2013

He said, She said

In life there are powerful words that define who we are. Quotes from movies and books can create personal philosophies and change outlooks forever. But sometimes these powerful, inspirational words come from friends, coworkers or even strangers and more often than not, these impactful statements are said, innocently, spontaneously, off the cuff; yet we remember them and internalize them. These statements become stories, told and retold and always include statements like, "and I'll never forget what she said next". These are words that change lives.

Thing is, despite, all the relaying of stories, the influential person who speaks these words, rarely gets acknowledged. We forget to stop and to let the person know just how impactful their words really were.

It is because of this that I have started my new website, Take a few minutes to share your story. Who said some 'off the cuff' remark to you that turned on a light in your brain and caused you to change your life for the better? Did a teacher make a comment on a particular answer you gave to spark something in you? Did a stranger see something in you that you never knew was there? Did a friend hit a nerve he never knew was there, but caused you to change what you were doing?

Go to and hit Submit. The rest is easy. Share your story today.

Saturday, January 5, 2013

New Year, New Project

Dear All,
I'm embarking on something new this year and would love all of you to come along with me for the ride.
I've started a new blog and a new website. Check it out and let me know what you think.
Looking forward to reading YOUR stories!

Friday, June 22, 2012

School's out for summer...

....and so am I.
Taking a break, and hoping to be back soon!
Thank you all for taking the time to read my musings.

Friday, June 15, 2012

Happy Birthday to You!

To tell you the truth, I didn't expect to write anything at all this week. I was ready to take the week off...until just now. I started to think about my daughter's birthday, which is today, and then my mind went to...birthday cake.

Is it just me, or does birthday cake have to taste mediocre to be really good?

I was raised with a mother and grandmother who could bake the best of the best. We had 3 desserts every night at dinner (I swear, I'm telling the truth here...dessert was always and still is quite revered in my household). There was never a bad dessert that passed my lips. They were always homemade. Except for birthday cakes. We kids deemed that they HAD to be bought, because to us, bought cakes were decadent.

I have many fond memories peering through the window of the bakery at Dominion Store (do any exist anymore, anywhere in Canada?) as the brilliant ladies decorated birthday cakes. They glopped white icing on sheet cakes, added piping and coloured flowers faster than I could ever imagine. These were works of art! There was no such thing as Cake Boss back then. It was white or chocolate glop on a cake, with maybe a plastic something stuck on top. THAT was a birthday cake. And to me, it still is.

So, I didn't make my little girl a birthday cake today. She only gets the best from me...the best of the bought...glop and all!

Happy Birthday to you, my baby girl!

Friday, June 8, 2012

Embrace Your Banana!

I have never been an athlete. When it comes to moving, I subscribe to the 2000 Year Old Man's (Mel Brooks in famous interviews with Carl Reiner) explanation (well, one of them) as to his longevity. In order to live a long life, he believes one should 'never run for a bus. There will always be another'. I heartily agree, and so it is for that reason, plus not enjoying sweating that I do not run.

And I hate swimming. When I was a kid in swimming class and couldn't swim far, my instructor would step on my hand as I'd reach for the pool ledge. I can swim, but I don't enjoy it.

To quote my late father, "I hate the winter so much, I hate it from last year", so there goes all winter activities (although I have tried snowshoeing and enjoyed it, but that's an anomoly).

I do not play any sports. The only thing I really love to do is walk. I can walk long distances and truly enjoy it. And hiking. That's fun, too.

Now, enter New Hubby, the 'anti-me' when it comes to all things outdoors. He's a tri-athlete, which means he can swim, bike and run long distances. He has run marathons. He's even done Iron Man Canada--twice. He has also participated in the Princess Margaret Ride to Conquer Cancer every year since its inception.

For two years, I watched him train for that 200k ride, taking him from Toronto to Hamilton on Day 1, and then Hamilton to Niagara Falls on Day 2. I would meet him in Hamilton and then again at the finish line. It's quite impressive. And it's all for a good cause. I don't know what got into me, but last year when he finished the ride, I told him that I would do the ride with him this year, but with a catch--we would do it on his tandem--a bicycle built for two (I ain't getting on no bike myself...gave that up when I was twelve). The deal was simple; he would ride, and I would sip pina coladas and wave. He accepted, and I forgot all about it....until February, when he reminded me of my promise.

And so, we began to train. We started indoors--hated that. He tried so hard, letting me watch the Food Channel while we pedalled away. Anything to get me pumped. Didn't work. Still hated it.

Finally, the weather warmed up enough to start biking outdoors. Slowly, slowly I began to build up my strength and stamina. He took me on rides with beautiful scenery to make it interesting. He didn't overwork me. He gave me the 'spa' treatment...I didn't even have to fill my water bottle or get the snacks. He did it all. All I had to do was ride.

Before I knew it, I was conquering one challenge after another, training for the big day. First, I began building my stamina. Next, I attacked some pretty steep hills, including the dreaded (in my mind) Niagara Escarpment. I even succeeded riding through cold and wind. It seemed that I was almost ready for the Ride, until I had to face the final, unspoken personal challenge. I had to get through eating a banana.

As a child, my brother used to sing a little song to me, "Bananas are my favourite, because they have a-ppeal'. Well, not to me, they don't. I don't like them. I don't like how they smell and I don't like how they taste. The conundrum is however, that bananas are the absolute perfect cycling food.

Yes, bananas are considered a super-food for athletes. They contain three natural sugars, glucose, fructose and sucrose which provide enough carbs and sugar to fuel the ride. Also, they have lots of fibre, to keep you feeling full. Thjey are healthy, natural replacements for gels and drinks and such that athletes tend to use all the time. They just smell and taste gross.

So, it just so happened that we had some fairly firm, unripe bananas in the kitchen. New Hubby decided to take two of them on our last practice ride. When we stopped to snack, I downed half of my homemade granola bar, and thought we were done. That is, until the banana appeared. New Hubby peeled it and offered me some. I hesitated, but then imagined all of the other hurdles I had managed to conquer. I took a deep breath, took off a chunk and popped it into my mouth. And I am proud to report that it tasted...... a banana. But at least it wasn't too ripe, so it was okay. Another challenge ticked off the list.

Well dear readers, the only challenge that remains is the Ride itself. It takes place this weekend, June 9th and 10th. As I've said to all the wonderful donors who have sponsored me, none of what I'm doing compares to the challenges that cancer sufferers endure each day. New Hubby and I will put in the hours, climb the hills and brave the winds.

And maybe, I'll eat a banana or two along the way!

Friday, June 1, 2012

Aow, would it really be loverly?

Ok, here's the train of thought...
I am here at the computer trying to avoid noshing something else before dinner. As I daydream about what I would like to eat, I am taking a mental inventory of what is in my 'candy cupboard'. It is fairly well stocked right now, as my daughter and I recently visited our favourite bulk food store. In my mind, I am surveying the land, vacillating from from milk chocolate almonds to dried veggie chips and back to dried fruit, when all of a sudden in my sweet/salt stupor I'm stricken with the strangest thought: When did I start liking these foods? Have my tastes changed over the years? Since I know that I will never be what one might call 'sophisticated', have my tastes arrived before the rest of me?

In the years that it was on TV, I got a huge weekly kick out of watching the fictional Frasier and his brother Niles on, Frasier. These gastronomic geniuses knew their food and wine as well as any of the editors or columnists of Gourmet. And while we're on the topic of food snobs, I must admit, there is something really admirable about those judges on TV shows who can discern certain flavours, and compare one dish to another so expertly. I think it's really cool that some people have vast knowledge of different foods. Especially cool are those who know their spices. I'm galaxies away from being one of those people. Those are sophisticated people, with sophisticated palates.

So here I salivate, thinking about the snacks in my cupboard and wonder, what happened to Cheezies? Have I 'grown out of' Fritos Corn Chips? Does the term 'developing world' now refer to people's tastes in food?

I am going out on a limb here to People might like dried this and that, and yogurt covered you-name-its, but they still love chips and pretzels and cheezies. And here is what I'm basing it on. Bar Mitzvahs. Bear with me while I explain...

A sit down Bar (or Bat) Mitzvah meal in North America is usually one of beauty. Guests are served their beef, chicken or fish (or combination thereof) on a bed of something or another. There is almost always some jus de je ne sais quoi poured over the main, as well as a 'medley' of vegetables, served either beside or tucked underneath the star food. The presentation is always lovely. The guests ooh and aah, nod to their tablemates and then begin to tuck into their meals. For a few moments, all is well. But things change quickly. Before you know it, all heads begin to turn toward the kids' tables.

While the grown ups are being served their gourmet fare, the tots and teens are, more often than not, chowing down on chicken fingers or wings and french fries. As the meal progresses, the adults, who until now have been alternating between lively conversation and longing glances at the kiddie table, begin to conspire with the others at the table. The brave, designated adult gives the beckoning finger to their children from across the room. No, they don't want a hug, or even to say hi. All these parents really want are some of the chicken fingers and the french fries, and they want their children to fetch some for them. Sometimes surreptitiously, other times blatantly after the children refuse to comply, the grown ups make their way from their tables to their children's. The phrase, 'you're not going to eat all of these, are you?' is whispered, and so go the spoils.

You now ask, does anything change when it's time for dessert? The answer is simple. No, it does not. The fancy mousses are always traded in for the (pareve) ice cream sandwiches. My point here is clear; we may pretend that we like to eat fancy things and that our tastes are sophisticated, but when both options are put before us, the call of the basic and simple remains strong.

So, go ahead; tell me how wrong I am. You can say what you want, but this Eliza Doolittle won't hear you, because she's scrounging for goodies. Mmmmmm, Lots of choc'lates for me to eat.......

Friday, May 25, 2012

A Simple Pleasure if you Dare

This blog posting is coming to you late. To tell you the truth, I'm in a funk. I'm afraid that my Shavuot is not going to be the one I expected. Why, you may ask? It's Dare's fault.

Every year since I was a child, Shavuot meant Zebra cake. My mother would take her grey Melmac plate out of the cupboard. She would begin with chocolate wafer cookies and then alternate them with whipped cream. It was amazing how the plate was the exact right size to use up all the cookies. When the log was done, she would slather the whole thing with more whipped cream and some chocolate sprinkles on top. It would then go into the fridge overnight. Poof! The next day when the beast was cut in a slant, we would have the perfect Zebra cake.

I have enjoyed this cake every year since I was a child. I make it for my children (ok, it's as much for me as it is for them) using Dare's Simple Pleasures Chocolate Wafers. But not this year. I can't find the cookies.

I know they exist. I checked on the website, but I've had no luck. I have been to four or five grocery stores (and in different cities) looking for the cookies. Oh, I can find plain ones, and oatmeal ones. I'm sure they're tasty, but they are not chocolate. And I REFUSE to use those gawdawful chocolate petit beurres. They're too thick and not chocolatey enough. Besides, they are the absolute wrong shape.

I had hoped that this posting would have a happily ever after element to report. I was hoping that I could end this telling you that I found the cookies at the one place I had forgotten about. Alas, this is not to be.

I do have a few hours left. Maybe they'll magically appear..............Guess I'll be stuck eating rich, yummy cheese cake. One must always make sacrifices.
Wishing you all a wonderful Shavuot.