30 September 2010


Today's sunrise, brought to you by:
GLOBAL ROTATION- It Makes the World Go 'Round!

28 September 2010


I was feeling seriously frazzle-brained this morning. My mind was obsessing on one of the issues in my life, and just wouldn't let go. After spinning around in circles for a good hour and wringing my hands (metaphorically speaking), I decided this was stupid. So I stuck my feet into my running shoes, headed out the door and marched up the hill. I walked to the end of the road, skirted around the big gate that closes up the end (it's okay, the owner doesn't mind), and walked up the path into the woods. All the way to the lookout that gives such an amazing view over the lake.

And looking down the steep hillside towards the lake, I saw a bald eagle. Sitting on a branch of a tall dead tree towering over the woods, he was just looking around as if he owned the world. And then he took wing, and soared away, southwards.

What a magnificent creature. "They shall rise up on wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; they shall walk, and not faint; they shall renew their strength." I was comforted.

Then there's the cartoon I saw in Reader's Digest yesterday, while I was waiting at the doctor's office. It's showing two eagles, sitting in the nest. One of them is wearing a wig, sort of a comb-over job, and the other one says to him: "When are you going to accept that you're a bald eagle?"

On the way back home from the woods I saw some very weird mushrooms by the side of the road. And they had nothing to say to me, whatsoever.

17 September 2010


"Quail: verb (intr.)- draw back in fear, as at the approach of a vehicle, then heedlessly run back into the road, repeating this action approximately a dozen times."

Okay, fine, I made up the last bit- but that's what the word should mean. Quail have got to be the stupidest birds on the face of the planet. I'm quite sure their internal dialogue goes something like this: "Oh, oh, oh, a car! Oh, let's run to the side of the road! Oh, no, let's run to the other side of the road! Oh, that's not a good idea, is it, is it, is it? Let's run to the side of the road! Oh, the other side! This side! That side! Oh..." Multiply that by three dozen, and that's about the only explanation I can come up with for the behaviour of those fearsomely, perhaps even frivolously, foolish fowl. That I didn't leave a number of quail pancakes in the road by my house yesterday is due to sheer luck, or perhaps my exaggerated sense of not-wanting-to-flatten-something-alive-under-the-wheels-of-my-car, so I step on the break rather than run over them. It's quite likely I frustrated at least one of the flock in a suicide attempt. Chicken-with-its-head-cut-off is nothing to Quail-in-its-perfectly-healthy-state. Maybe we should invent a few new phrases for the English language: "I was so startled I ran around like a quail by the side of the road," or "He's just quailing around in that job."

Rumour has it that those birds are quite tasty, though. Perhaps next time I shouldn't step on the break, and try a new dish for dinner? Oh, that's evil. Especially as the little baby quail (are they called chicks? Probably.) are so darn cute, quailing around after their momma ("Queenie, no, dear, don't go calmly walking to the side of the road and stay there! What if car comes by? Quentin, back into the road, off you go! Shoo! Another three times, that's a good boy!"). I couldn't, I just couldn't. But if someone wants to serve me up some roast quail sometime, I wouldn't be averse to trying a bite or two (or three, or...). There has got to be a good reason why the People of Israel nearly got themselves wiped out in the desert for the sake of those plump little critters in their roasted state. And I'm not thinking Quail McBuckets, and made by no colonel, neither.

Ah well. I probably won't get to taste the flesh pots of Egypt any time soon. I'll have to stick with the leeks and onions, they don't go quailing around by the side of the road when I come driving by.

14 September 2010

Fruit Fly Season

Fruit fly season has arrived. It follows hard on the heels of peach season, carries right through plum, pear, apple and grape season, and sometimes lasts right until Christmas (depending on how well we keep our compost pail covered). The fact that it's the season was just borne home to me by a glass of red wine, which I had left sitting on the counter while I was quickly checking a few e-mails. When I returned to my bibulous pleasure, I found about a dozen drosophilidae swimming around in my beverage. ("Waiter, what is that fly doing in my drink?" "I believe, sir, the breast stroke.") They were probably trying to drown their sorrows (I mean, how much fun can it be to be a fruit fly?), and inadvertently drowned themselves. Poor things. Okay, I lie- I didn't feel sorry for them at all, actually. They had a lovely end.

What is fruit fly season, you ask? Well, it's when fruit flies proliferate, and of course we make the most of it, being the frugal sort. Fruit fly jam, canned fruit flies, fruit fly pie... The latter is somewhat like shoo fly pie, but smaller. That's because it's Canadian; it's colder up here than in the places where they make shoo fly pie. Our produce doesn't get quite as lush, but the flavour is more concentrated. There are fruit fly breeders who select for best qualities and processability (really! Check any good science text book on genetics, it'll have a section on fruit fly breeding).

Life, the universe, and drowned drosophilae. Alcohol is believed to have been a factor.

12 September 2010

On the Need To Be Profound

When I started out writing this blog, it was just meant to be for fun. Silly. Not very deep. Then I found myself writing a few entries in which I ended up waxing rather philosophical. I mean, I do that. I go from silly to philosophical and back in a few nanoseconds. Someone once said that the measure of a person's intelligence is how many different and conflicting ideas they can hold in their head and believe in at the same time. By the same token, I wonder if a measure of a person's emotional intelligence is how many different and conflicting emotions they can feel at the same time. Boy, I'd be an emotional genius at that rate.

But the thing about being profound is that it sets up this standard. You've done it once, you feel you have to do it again. Repeatedly. And before you know it, you're stuck in this trap of profundity (is that a word?). Out the door goes all nonsense and silliness; you can never just be lame, dorky or uninteresting any more.

Piffle, I say! I refuse to be locked down into seriousness. I claim the right to be as silly or as dull as I darn well please. Well, perhaps, I can promise that if I say things very dull indeed, I'll say at least three of them, like Miss Bates on Box Hill (and if Emma wants to criticise me for it, I know I'll have Mr Knightley to protect me).

On that note, did you know that September 28th is "Ask a Stupid Question Day"? It is, truly. It's an international holiday. Comes not much more than a week after "Talk Like a Pirate Day", which is on September 19th. And in between is "Hobbit Day", on September 22nd, but that goes without saying (it being Bilbo's and Frodo's birthday).

Now aren't you glad you know that?

08 September 2010


I got myself a "new" breadmaker at the second-hand store. I was suddenly overcome by a craving for homemade bread that I won't have to babysit- you know, knead, let rise, be there to punch down, be there to shape, be there to let rise again for the exactly right amount of time, be there to take out of the oven at the exactly right time... Sure, that kind of bread is better than those weird cubical loaves you get from a bread machine; it's prettier, for one. But convenience has its definite advantages. So I hit the store, and struck pay dirt. Or paid for dirt, or whatever. Actually, it was very clean, the machine I got. Which is why I picked it. And paid for it.

So I'm trying it out now, the machine. I actually don't have the manual for it with the "correct" recipes. I tried to find it online, but so far no luck. We did have a bread maker before, so I still vaguely remember how to do it, and I did find some recipes on the web. (And yes, of course I've requested a bunch of breakmaker books from the library- was there any question about that?)

Now, as the bread machine is squeaking and rattling its way through its first cycle, I sit here contemplating.

Might talk more on the subject of "Lost Instructions": this time, I don't operate on hope, like with the knitting, but just wing it and see what comes out. Not always having to do things "correctly", just sort of approximately- it's a skill I could stand to learn more of. I think I'm making progress.

Then there's also the subject of "Getting Rid of Things": as I said, I did have a breadmaker before, and cookbooks to go with it, but I gave them away. Now I'm re-acquiring them. So was it a waste to have gotten rid of them? Should I have hung on to that machine, and the books, and saved myself twenty bucks and the time it took to shop for the machine? No, I don't think so. I'm glad I got rid of the other one, and saved all that storage space, and time it would have taken to move the thing from one storage spot to another. My life was a bit lighter in the meantime. And besides, I would not now have had a topic to waffle on about to you. So there's value, right there.

If you come to my house sometime in the next while, you just might be able to get a bowl of slowcookered stew with fresh breadmachined bread to go with it. Sound good? Yes, I thought so, too.

Postscript: here's the finished product. Told ya it'd be funny-looking. But the smell- aaah... Give it a try: just stick your nose right up to it and inhale... Bless you! Not my fault you haven't dusted your screen, is it?