Thursday, March 14, 2013

Zen, the Vinyl Cafe & Stuart McLean

Zen for me this morning was a run while listening to the Vinyl Cafe podcast. It was awesome. I decided during breakfast that since the sun was out, I needed to get out for a run. I woke up feeling slightly migraine-y and figured the fresh air would do me good instead of popping advil. Guess what? It worked. I feel better, physically & mentally.

If you've never listened to (or even heard of...*gasp*) the Vinyl Cafe, it is AWESOME! It's an hour long variety show hosted by one of the best story tellers I've ever heard, Stuart McLean (oh, and he's Canadian!). It airs on CBC Radio a few times a week and is also available as a podcast. The show usually includes a couple of stories read by McLean as well as a few songs by a guest singer or band. Although I've enjoyed all the Vinyl Cafe shows I've listened to, by far my favourite are the ones where he reads the Dave and Morely stories. They are HILARIOUS!!

Stuart McLean tells a story in such a way that you are just drawn in. You want to listen. And you want to keep listening. I find myself relating to many of the stories he tells. Like the story about when Stephanie, Dave & Morely's daughter, goes to visit her aunt in England. It reminded me of when I was 10 and went with my grandfather to visit my aunt in England. It brought back many wonderful memories for me. It was also a wonderful story! If you're like me, you make sure you're able to tune in whenever he's one CBC radio. I've found myself scheduling when I will wash the kitchen floor for when Vinyl Cafe is on Thursday at 1 pm. If I miss the show and I'm still around in the afternoon, I will switch to a western feed of CBC radio and listen to the portion I've missed. For the last few Sundays, Jere and I are coincidently sitting down to lunch at noon, just as Vinyl Cafe is starting on CBC Radio 1. Another thing I love about it is I can be up doing stuff: cleaning, baking, whatever and listening to McLean tell whatever wonderful story he is telling. I swear the man could read a book on tax or real estate law and make it exciting!

The other thing I love is that I've been introduced to a few cool singers and bands through the Vinyl Cafe. The podcast I listened to today on my run included musical guest The Once. They are from Newfoundland and I really enjoyed hearing them! Enough that I want to listen to more of their songs.

Having the Vinyl Cafe podcast with me on my run/walk this morning was great company. It was, to me, Zen. Sunshine, a run or walk in the fresh air & the Vinyl Cafe...all at once. Awesome. :)

Wednesday, March 13, 2013


I was at Wal-Mart on Sunday with Jeremy. I decided to check to see if any new Monster High dolls were in and sure enough, yes, there were some new dolls! There is a new Cleo de Nile doll I want but I think I'll wait to see if they have sale on them (or wait till I go over to Michigan ;) ). I wandered back to clearance section to see what toys they had and there on the shelf was a Monster High doll! "No way", I thought. I figured it would be too good to be true that a Monster High doll was in the clearance section. The doll was Ghoulia Yelps, daughter of zombies. Jeremy insisted we check the price because he's awesome and knows how much I love Monster High dolls (oh, how I wish I could find Blythe dolls in a clearance section!). The doll came up on the scanner as being $10.00. $10.00!!! Jeremy insisted I buy it at that price. I wasn't about to argue! YAY!!

So, I now have a new doll in my collection. I have yet to give her a name (I don't keep their Monster High names) but she's awesome and fits in quite nicely, as you can see from this group shot of all my dolls:

And here's a shot of just my Monster High dolls, showing Ghoulia's very pretty face up front:

I think what I like about her is her vintage look. She looks like she walked out of the 1940s, which is awesome. Now I just need a name for this new girl. I don't know if I'm going give her an ancient name like I did with Elektra & Elysia or give her something a bit more modern. Hmmmm....

Thursday, March 7, 2013

A Tribute To A Great Canadian

Yesterday, Canadian singer Stompin' Tom passed away at the age of 77 from natural causes. For those that don't know, Stompin' Tom was an iconic Canadian singer. He wrote over 300 songs and is just as Canadian as hockey, a Timbit and poutine. He is probably best known for his song called, quite appropriately,  "The Hockey Song".  Nearly every Canadian, even ones who are not hockey fans, know this song.

I'm a CBC radio junkie and when I'm home, CBC Radio 1 provides the soundtrack to my day. It is great company. Stompin' Tom has been on CBC Radio 1 all day - different stories, tributes & music. I have heard more Stompin' Tom music today than in my entire life (sad, I know). I have learned so much about him and when I was listened to Ontario Today while I had my lunch, I realized what an amazing Canadian we lost yesterday. People who knew him were calling into the radio show and sharing memories. Listening to them, all I could think is he sounded like a fun, down to earth guy. I found out he would hitch hike in his younger days and when he was famous and travelling the road, he would often pick up hitch hikers because he knew what that sort of life was like.

Teachers were calling into the show and saying how they would use Stompin' Tom's songs, such as the "The Name The Capitals" song, to teach their students about Canadian history. That is awesome. I wish my teachers had done that because honestly, I'm thinking I might know about Canada.

Lieutenant-General Romeo Dallaire, author of "Shake Hands With The Devil: The Failure of Humanity in Rwanda" called into the show also. He told the story of when he on his peacekeeping mission in Rwanda and his headquarters was under bombardment, he helped to keep up their morale by playing Stompin' Tom's song "The Blue Berets".

Jian Ghomeshi on CBC 1 radio show Q did a wonderful tribute to Stompin' Tom.

Yesterday, I hardly knew a thing about Stompin' Tom, except that he was a Canadian singer and he wrote & sang "The Hockey Song". Oh, and he liked to stomp his foot when he was on the stage (hence the name...Stompin' Tom). Today, in listening to CBC, I've come to know who he was and what a great Canadian he really was. He will be missed but we can be thankful for all the awesome music he left behind for us. A few days ago, Stompin' Tom wrote a letter to all his fans and I'll close this entry with that letter. It's short yet says so much:
Hello friends,
I want all my fans, past, present, or future, to know that without you, there would have not been any Stompin' Tom.
It was a long hard bumpy road, but this great country kept me inspired with its beauty, character, and spirit, driving me to keep marching on and devoted to sing about its people and places that make Canada the greatest country in the world.
I must now pass the torch, to all of you, to help keep the Maple Leaf flying high, and be the Patriot Canada needs now and in the future.
I humbly thank you all, one last time, for allowing me in your homes, I hope I continue to bring a little bit of cheer into your lives from the work I have done.
Sincerely, Your Friend always,
Stompin' Tom Connors
Thank-you, Stompin' Tom, of reminding me why it's awesome to be from Canada and for sharing so much with us. 

Monday, March 4, 2013


I started my 2013 garden last week. Inside, of course, because it's still freaking winter/cold here in the great white north.

Not even a week has passed & I see green!!

Yup, the arugula has sprouted and is growing!! Yay!! Hoping the other plants will follow along soon but I think of them all, arugula had the shortest germination time.

Friday, March 1, 2013


So, today, it's real exciting. I'm making veggie stock for a soup! Yay! Can you contain yourself? I didn't think so. Those of you that know me, know I am a health nut, a bit of a food geek & I LOVE to cook and bake. One area though I have never been confident in is with soups and stews. Nope. No confidence. Until a few weeks ago...

My friend went on a soup kick. She's a stay-at-home mum and in an effort to be healthier, decided to start making her own soups (I've tried some of them and they are delicious!). I was inspired by her and decided to do the same thing. So far, I've made a couple different lentil soups and they have turned out delicious! You might be wondering why I was so impeded in this area. It was stupidly simple...I didn't want to use store-bought veggie broth because of all the crap they put in it and I just assumed making your own veggie stock/broth took hours.


Thanks to this awesome vegan recipe book called "How To All Vegan", I found out how easy it is:
Awesome vegan recipe book!!!

Yup, this book is awesome! My friend lent it to me and I'm thinking of picking up a copy at some point. I've made a few things out of it (including vegan french toast which Jere loved!) and they've all been delicious! Okay, so back to it...

Yes, so thanks to this book I have found out how simple veggie stock is to make. Take veggie trimmings (all those parts of the veggies you don't celery leaves, although those are good in salads, carrot ends, broccoli stems, pieces of onion, etc), throw it in a pot with water, bring it to a boil and let it simmer for 45 minutes to an hour. The flavour is drawn out of the veggies as they simmer and have homemade veggie stock that is sodium free, does not have MSG or any other additives. If you wanna add some herbs, a bit of salt or pepper, garlic, go ahead. When it's done, you just strain the veggies out and you are left with your stock to make some delicious soups, stews and even chili. 

I stay away from store-bought stocks because often, they contain MSG (watch out for autolyzed/hydrolyzed extracts; those are forms of MSG), added sugar, nasty preservations & SODIUM! Some broths have over 40% of the recommended in take of sodium. I've also tried store-bought veggie stocks and the flavour is nothing in comparison to a homemade broth.

Yes, I realize it takes time to do this but once you get it started, it just simmers away on the stove. If you've been chopping lots of veggies and you're gonna be home, why not throw them in a pot with water and make some veggie stock? I'll seriously get this stuff going and go play videogames, clean, work on my plan to take over the world or write a blog post, while it simmers away! Oh, and you don't have time to make soup? RELAX! You can freeze this stock and when you're ready to make soup, you've got it!

I know. Not the most exciting entry in the world but for you foodies out there, maybe I'll inspire you!