Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Love At First Sight

Okay, I've told you that I believe in reincarnation, soul mates and telepathy - but how about "love at first sight"? Well that is a different matter. I used to see much more than I do now, but even back in the day, I never really put much stock in love at first sight. To me it was always the old adage of you can't judge a book by it's cover so how can you judge a person? I trust my internal instincts to give me a sense of who the person is on the inside.

If everyone in my life believed in love at first sight, then I wouldn't have many people in my life. I certainly would not have had most of the romantic relationships that I've had if the guy only looked at the outside. I would have to request a vision test and a mental examination of any guy who claimed "love at first sight" when he saw me! My external packaging is not the most flattering to put it politely. But the people who have looked past that and taken the time to see who is inside are the people who love me for me and that is real love.

If there is such a thing as love at first sight, then how does that work for those of us who are blind or visually impaired? Think about it - we can't really see the details, so HOW would we know that it was love at first sight?

Maybe it should be "love at first instinct"?

Maybe we are supposed to take the phrase figuratively rather than literally. Even so, that still leaves the question open doesn't it?

You can instinctively know that you feel a connection - that you care and want to know this person better. But "love" is a bit of an exaggeration! People change over time and it is highly doubtful that they will look the same as they age. We all "see" external looks in a different way. What is appealing to one may not be to another - and we also judge others on their appearance.

As much as I truly miss being able to really see what the people in my life look like, sometimes that is actually an advantage as you look past the cover and take a look inside.

None of us are the same as we were when we were teenagers and falling in love for the first time. It's often humorous to look back and try and figure out what we were thinking.Personally, I believe that the best love and the longest lasting love, comes over time as we get to know each other and see through the initial infatuation and facade that we each project to a potential love interest. This can also apply to a friendship that slowly turns to love - sometimes without us even realizing that our feelings are changing and growing. A friend sees us in good and bad times and puts up with all our faults. If that person can love you in spite of all your faults, then take a closer look as you may have found the real love of your life.


Monday, April 28, 2008


Telepathy: the communication of ideas, thoughts etc directly from one person's mind to another person's mind without the use of hearing, sight etc.

Do you ever get the feeling that you know what is going to happen? Do you ever get the sense that something good/bad is happening to someone you know? Do you ever have the feeling that someone is thinking about you?

I've had these things happen to me several times in my life. Some were much stronger than others, but they are very real to me. It generally happens with people that I feel somewhat connected to.

In the early 80's, I was at work when I had the strongest feeling that something was wrong with someone in my family. I found out that night that a close relative had an emergency appendectomy that afternoon.

I was at my brother and sister-in-laws home in early 1983. My grandma was quite low and my mom had gone to be with her. At one point, I said to my sister-in-law; "She's gone". Ten minutes later we got the call that grandma had died at that time.

One time, I had a feeling that a guy I was seeing was having a really bad day. He lost his job and had a relative die.

Fall of 1987, a close friend was seeing their doctor to get the test results of a potentially deadly illness. I stood at my apartment window and stared in the general direction of my friends doctors' office. The appointment was the first one of the morning. A few minutes past the time, I had an overwhelming flood of relief through my whole body. My friend stopped by an hour later to give me the good news. The tests were all negative and my friend was fine.

A little weird, huh? It isn't all doom and gloom. I've also had senses of receiving a hug or a loving hand on my shoulder, only to find out that someone close to me was thinking about me. I've occasionally picked up when someone was writing me a letter. I'd make a note of the time/date then check the mail over the next few days. Sure enough, I'd get a letter from that person with the same date on it. It has even happened with e-mails!

Through the 1990's, I knew an amazing woman. Her ability to read people and know when they needed her most was downright scary. She'd know exactly when you needed to talk to her and call before you could call her. She could read some of us so well. Regardless of how you even said "hello" when you answered the phone she knew exactly what was going on. Our lives took separate paths in 1999 and we lost touch. I had a feeling something was wrong and I tried to contact her after 9/11 but couldn't find an address. Sadly, she died of cancer in January 2002.

She could drive me crazy sometimes, because I didn't always feel comfortable knowing that someone could read me so deeply, but I miss her so much it hurts. There have been times over the last few years that I really could have used her input in helping me to sort out some of the vibes and senses that I have been picking up.

There were a few mild, brief experiences in late 1999 and early 2000. The senses that I picked up were of a gentle hug, a strong male hand on my shoulder and a good morning kiss on the cheek (the kiss would often wake me between 5 and 6AM). I'm pretty sure I know who these were coming from, but never was able to ask the person as our paths only crossed a few times in 1999. This was also a new experience for me because this was the first time that I was not close to the person. As far as I know, there weren't any other people in my life, at the time, that I could possibly have been getting such senses from.

I didn't experience anything of real note again until last year. What I have been feeling/sensing in the last 8 or 9 months is, for the most part, much more intimate in nature than anything I have ever experienced before. It has crossed my mind that these latest experiences could be related to starting menopause. However, I have seen and read a lot of interviews/articles about the symptoms of menopause and they have never mentioned anything like what has been happening to me!

For the most part, these "incidents" are brief and heartwarming. Things like a gentle touch, a loving thought or tender greeting. Then there are other times..... I won't go into intimate details, but I will say that my imagination and past experiences are not nearly as good as some of what I have been experiencing!

I should say that there have only been three or four "incidents" that were really intimate in nature and I have no control over when any of these start or stop. They can come at any time, but are most frequently in early morning between 7 and 8 or mid evening. I can be sleeping, working out, in the kitchen, the shower, at the computer or any number of other places. The best way to describe it is that someone changed the channel and they are the only one who knows how to change it back. To some, this may be a little unnerving but frankly, I've learned to go with the flow and I'm rather enjoying the spontaneity of it! Although there is no significant other in my life, I do have a suspicion of who it may be, but I won't ask. I wouldn't want to alienate or embarrass someone that cared about me, however if they choose to tell me at some point that's a different matter.

So, am I just going through menopause? Am I loosing my mind? Is there really someone out there who is "thinking" about me? I really don't know - but given my past experiences, I believe it is the later. Someday, I may learn what is really going on, but I have a feeling, that at least for now I am just supposed to be happy knowing that someone does care about me in a special way. So, if that is all that there is for me in this life then I will accept that and enjoy the TLC (tender loving connection)!!

If I ever DO learn who it is - I'm not telling or sharing!


Saturday, April 26, 2008

I Want Another Attorney

Thought I'd share a humourous e-mail that I recently received. Hope you find it as funny as I did!!

Subject: I want another attorney

These are from a book called Disorder in the American courts, and are things
people actually said in court, word for word, taken down and now published by
court reporters who had the torment of staying calm while these exchanges
were actually taking place.

ATTORNEY: Are you sexually active?
WITNESS: No, I just lie there.
ATTORNEY: What gear were you in at the moment of the impact?

WITNESS: Gucci sweats and Reeboks.
ATTORNEY: This myasthenia gravis, does it affect your memory at all?

ATTORNEY: And in what ways does it affect your memory?
WITNESS: I forget.
ATTORNEY: You forget? Can you give us an example of something you forgot?
ATTORNEY: What was the first thing your husband said to you that morning?

WITNESS: He said, 'Where am I, Cathy?'
ATTORNEY: And why did that upset you?
WITNESS: My name is Susan!
ATTORNEY: Do you know if your daughter has ever been involved in voodoo? WITNESS: We both do.

WITNESS: Yes, voodoo.
ATTORNEY: Now doctor, isn't it true that when a person dies in his sleep, he
doesn't know about it until the next morning?

WITNESS: Did you actually pass the bar exam?
ATTORNEY: The youngest son, the twenty-year-old, how old is he?

WITNESS: Uh, he's twenty.
ATTORNEY: Were you present when your picture was taken?

WITNESS: Are you kidding me?
ATTORNEY: So the date of conception (of the baby) was August 8th?

ATTORNEY: And what were you doing at that time?
WITNESS: Uh.... I was gettin' laid!
ATTORNEY: She had three children, right?

ATTORNEY: How many were boys?
ATTORNEY: Were there any girls?
WITNESS: Are you kidding me? Your Honour, I think I need a different
attorney. Can I get a new attorney?

ATTORNEY: How was your first marriage terminated?

WITNESS: By death.
ATTORNEY: And by whose death was it terminated?
WITNESS: Now whose death do you suppose terminated it? __________________________________________
ATTORNEY: Can you describe the individual?

WITNESS: He was about medium height and had a beard.
ATTORNEY: Was this a male or a female?
ATTORNEY: Is your appearance here this morning pursuant to a deposition
notice which I sent to your attorney?

WITNESS: No, this is how I dress when I go to work. __________________________________________
ATTORNEY: Doctor, how many of your autopsies have you performed on
dead people?

WITNESS: All my autopsies are performed on dead people. Would you
like to rephrase that?

ATTORNEY: ALL your responses MUST be oral, OK? What school did you go to?WITNESS: Oral.

ATTORNEY: Do you recall the time that you examined the body?

WITNESS: The autopsy started around 8:30 p.m.
ATTORNEY: And Mr. Denton was dead at the time?
WITNESS: No, he was sitting on the table wondering why I was doing
an autopsy on him!

ATTORNEY: Are you qualified to give a urine sample?

WITNESS: Huh....are you qualified to ask that question?__________________________________________
And the best for last:

ATTORNEY: Doctor, before you performed the autopsy, did you check
for a pulse?

ATTORNEY: Did you check for blood pressure?
ATTORNEY: Did you check for breathing?
ATTORNEY: So, then it is possible that the patient was alive when you
began the autopsy?

ATTORNEY: How can you be so sure, Doctor?
WITNESS: Because his brain was sitting on my desk in a jar.
ATTORNEY: I see, but could the patient have still been alive, nevertheless? WITNESS: Yes, it is possible that he could have been alive and practicing law.


Thursday, April 24, 2008

Soul Mates

Do you believe in soul mates? Is there really only one true love for each person? They really are tough questions.

I think there really is such a thing as soul mates. I don't believe that everyone necessarily hooks up with there true love. Sometimes people are too impatient to be with "someone" to wait for the right "someone" to come into their life, so they settle for a less than perfect match. Any relationship is hard, but making it work with the wrong person can be downright exhausting and often not worth the emotional toll.

When I was in my late teens and twenties, I saw a lot of my friends falling in love and getting married. I could never understand how they could be so positive that this was their soul mate. It seemed so easy for many of them to find their mate. I have no idea how many of those marriages have survived. At least a few have hit the thirty year mark and I know of a few divorces. My parents were married 59 years and 5 months when my dad died in 2003.

I've never married. Never even come close. Have I regretted that? Occasionally, but for some reason I've always believed that I was supposed to be single in this life. The chorus of the old Linda Ronstadt song "I Never Will Marry" always seemed to be in the back of my mind!

"I never will marry
I'll be no man's wife
I expect to live single
All the days of my life"

I know, never say never - and you are right - there still may be that one guy out there for me and for whatever reason, we haven't connected yet. Maybe we have met but it just isn't our time. Maybe there is a reason (from a past life) that we aren't together in this life.

I think it is highly possible that I have already met my soul mate. There have been several people that are (or have been) part of my life that I have felt connected to, but for whatever reason, we aren't supposed to be together in this life or at least not yet. I think it is more important that you actually cross paths with your soul mate in each life rather than actually spending that life with them.

"Where Or When"
by Rodgers & Hart

Sometimes you think you've lived before
All that you live today
Things you do come back to you
As though they knew the way
Oh, the tricks your mind can play!

It seems we stood and talked like this before
We looked at each other the same way then
But I can't remember where or when
The clothes you're wearing are the clothes you wore
The smile you are smiling you were smiling then
But I can't remember where or when

Some things that happen for the first time
Seem to be happening again
And so it seems that we have met before
And laughed before and loved before
But who knows where or when?

This song was written for the movie "Babes in Arms" (1939), but I've included a version by Julie London that does not include the verse. Hope you enjoy it!


Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Earth Day

Living on a farm, you learn not to waste things. If you can possibly find another purpose for something, then you don't throw it out.

We grew a lot of our own produce and did a lot of freezing and canning. We had a huge garden - and unless it was a bad growing year there was always enough to feed an army! What we couldn't use, would be donated to the hospital or seniors lodge. We'd spend hours picking, preparing and canning/ freezing fruit and vegetables. Mom and I would make a huge pot of pasta sauce every year. She would also do canned tomatoes and make her own tomato soup.

My mom made jams, jellies, pickles, relish and even made home made salad dressing (mayo). I never tasted bought mayo or relish until I was in elementary school! My dad did a lot of fishing and after the fish were filleted, mom would can or freeze what we didn't eat. The jars were reused until they cracked. If the seals and rings weren't rusted/dented they were reused. If the freezer bags that were used for produce weren't stained or had holes, they were washed and used again.

We lived on a mixed farm. In other words, we raised grain and animals, I only remember raising pigs and chickens, but dad also raised cows and other animals. The pigs would eat all the vegetable and fruit scraps. They loved corn cobs and watermelon rinds! Once a year we would have a pig slaughtered for our own freezer as well as buying a side of beef. Every fall we'd spend a couple of days slaughtering chickens and cleaning them for freezing and canning. Luckily, by the time I was old enough to help with that whole process, dad had switched to strictly grain farming!

Any old clothes that couldn't be mended or resown into something else were used as rags. We didn't buy a lot of canned goods, but when we did, the tins would be cleaned and used to store nuts, bolts, nails, screws or whatever else in the garage. Old coffee cans were used for taking grain samples to the elevator to be tested to see how dry the grain was (ready to be harvested). Empty plastic containers with lids would be used to freeze soups, sauces and other things. The waxed paper that lined cereal/cracker boxes was wiped clean and saved to use between steaks, chops, burgers to be frozen. Paper and plastic bags were reused until they ripped. Any flyer's we got with printing on only one side were cut up for scrap paper and lists.

We washed and saved old waxed milk cartons, then cut them down about halfway and dad used them to start his tomato and bedding plants every spring.

When my dad was young his parents even had a smoke house to do meats and bacon. They even made there own butter and ice cream.

We never had a shower until the mid 70's. We hauled our own water until the mid 90's. Unless the water was filthy, we'd add a little more hot water and the next person would have their bath. If it wasn't really disgusting after everyone was done we'd also use a partially cut gallon jug or an old ice cream pail and bail water to help flush the toilet. We never did a half sink of dishes or a small load of laundry - that wasted too much water.

Farmers are a resourceful lot. Farming is a risky business, You may have a great crop that is almost ready to harvest when you are hit by a bad storm or the prices plummet, Upkeep on farm equipment has become astronomical in the last thirty years and many hearty souls have had to give up the dream of living off the land.

The truth is that even if you aren't a farmer there is a lot you can do to reuse, reduce and recycle.
- buy reusable bags to carry groceries and other purchases.
- if you have the room start a compost
- keep your car in good repair as it uses less gas - and don't leave the car idling!
- turn off lights when they aren't needed and use low energy bulbs.
- buy energy efficient appliances
- recycle paper, plastic, glass and metals whenever possible.
- if you can use public transit or walk/cycle to work.

Every little bit adds up to make this world a better place for the coming generations.

Today is Earth Day and there are all kinds of events planned worldwide to celebrate and to help us be more environmentally conscious of the impact that each and everyone of us has on this little planet we call home.

Check out these links for the history of Earth Day and some great ideas on how you can make a difference.


Monday, April 21, 2008

Will Week In Manitoba

April 21 to April 25, 2008 is "Will Week" in Manitoba.

This is the perfect time to pull out your will and make sure that your assets are divided the way you want them to be. If you don't have a will, then this is the time to write one. Simple wills that don't involve children, second marriages or a lot of properties/assets can be drafted by hand and notarized in most areas. Even if you don't have much of value, do you really want the province/state appointing a complete stranger to make decisions for your belongings? They never knew you or your relationships, so how can they possibly know what you would want done.

The same applies to "Health Care Directives" which are also known as "Living Wills". Basically, it is a document that appoints a person(s) of your choice to speak and make medical choices on your behalf in the event of an accident or illness that leaves you unable to express your wishes for medical treatment.

A "Health Care Directive" is one of the most important documents that you will ever have. Even someone in perfect health should have one. As much as we like to think that nothing is going to happen, the reality is that we don't know what is around the corner.

Think about it. What measures would you want taken. Life at any cost - even if that meant life as a quadriplegic or on a ventilator? Would you want transfusions, feeding tubes, amputations, transplants? In the event your heart stops would you want a "DNR" (Do Not Resuscitate) order on your medical file? What level of disability do you draw the line at?

Have you talked about any of these issues with your partner/spouse, parents, children friends? If you haven't you should. We may think that we know what other people would want, but the reality is often different and it can cause a lot of problems if the unthinkable happens. Making decisions for other peoples lives can tear even the closest of relationships and families apart.

In the early 1990's I lived in a building that was a mix of able bodied and disabled tenants. I had the opportunity to talk with many people living with permanent disabilities. Some were glad they were still here and willing to fight for life at any cost. Many wished that their loved ones had not been so determined to keep them alive at any cost, as they were the ones living with the permanence of the disability, not the relative/loved one who made the decision.

I wrote my first holograph will when I was in my early twenties and have made many rewrites over the years.

I wrote my living will in my early thirties. I remain steadfast to those choices. I've lived with disability my whole life and the level of my disability has increased as I age. Living with vision loss is challenging enough, but throwing other disabilities such as a wheelchair or ventilator in the mix - well for me that is unthinkable. I am a fiercely independent person and to loose any more of my freedom would be unbearable. I don't want transfusions, ventilators, feeding tubes, amputations, transplants, wheelchairs or speech/hearing/communications issues. I don't want life at any cost. If the medical professionals can't promise that I will not be more disabled than I already am, then please respect my wishes and let me go. As you may have guessed, I also included a "DNR" in my living will.

By the way, I also want a private non religious wake for my immediate family and closest friends. I want my favourite music in the background, lots of chocolate, and other favourite foods. I want people to tell stories and remember the things we did together. No droll, stuffy service for me. I also want to be cremated and my ashes scattered in places I loved or wanted to visit.

These are my choices and I don't pretend to speak for any one else but me. We EACH have to decide what we can and cannot live with. Assuming that others will know our wishes or that we will die peacefully in our sleep in our old age is just not realistic. I'd rather be proactive and make my own choices than to ask a loved one to make that choice.

The conversation won't be easy, but it is necessary. It is your body, your life, your choice, your death. If you don't make your wishes known to the people in your life, then how can they possibly respect your wishes?


Friday, April 18, 2008

Spring Thaw and Flooding

A few days ago, I told you that there was a creek running through my parents farmyard. I've seen many spring floods over the years that I lived on the farm. It would often come in stages.

The first stage was as the snow and ice on the creek would melt. The creek would slowly start to rise, depending on how much snow we had that winter, or the average high and low temperatures or how much sunlight we were receiving. This could last a few days or a couple of weeks.

The water generally would start to go down just in time to rise again in the second stage, as the snow from the Pembina Hills started melting and flowing downstream.

The third and usually final stage would occur as the larger tributaries such as the Boyne River and the Assinaboine River would overflow their banks. The cumulative affect could be felt many miles away in the smaller tributaries like the one on our property. Overall the flood effects could last a few weeks every spring.

I can remember several years that the water was actually lapping on top of the bottom step at the front door! Our home was never actually flooded as it is built a bit higher than ground level, although we almost always had a few inches of water seepage into the basement. Many items were kept on cement blocks year round to prevent damage. The one major exception was the regulation size pool table that only went on blocks as the snow started to melt. The sump pump would run almost constantly some springs.

Some years, the water would only go a few feet over its banks, but there were many years that our entire yard would be covered in muddy water. Many years, the water would actually cover the lane. There was a bit of a high spot in the center of the yard, and a couple of other areas. so vehicles and implements would be moved to higher points. I recall several years that my dad would drive us kids out the lane to meet the school bus in the front end loader of the tractor. There were also years that we could use a small motor boat on low lying parts of the property. We even took a boat a few times to meet the bus or to the mailbox which was about a 1/4 mile down the road from the end of our lane. We also have old black and white photos from when my dad was a kid with a row boat tied to the back steps of the house!

One of my most vivid memories of those spring floods happened when I was only about 8 or 10. The water had been coming up slowly. My sister and older brother were already living out on their own and I don't recall where my other brother was. It was Saturday and as usual, mom, dad and I had gone to town in late afternoon to do shopping and visit neighbours and friends. Going to town on Saturday was a farming community tradition. The stores were open late and everyone would visit and catch up on all the news.

It was late and well after dark when we drove home. The water was over the lane as we drove in. The main yard and the sidewalk to the house were covered in several inches of icy cold water. We hadn't put our boots in the trunk before we left as the water had been rising quite slowly. How were we going to get from the car to the house? Well, there really wasn't much choice. Mom and I took off our socks and shoes and grabbed what packages we could carry and started walking through the freezing water to the front steps. We screamed as we walked in the dark to the nearby house. Dad yelled at us to pipe down - it wasn't that bad and we'd be dry in a few minutes. He'd bring everything else in from the car. It was only about 30 feet or so but it felt like a mile. We made it and grabbed some towels to dry our numb feet.

A few seconds later we heard this booming yelp from dad and he screamed "DAMN THAT WATER IS COLD!!! Mom and I laughed and told him to quit complaining! He never did admit whether he yelled to make mom and I feel better or because it really was that bad! Personally, I think it was a combination of both factors.

The waters haven't risen like that in many years. They probably won't rise a lot this spring either as the creek has been very shallow for the last few years. The lowest lying areas of the yard still get covered most springs and there will still be seepage in the basement, but the sump pump can handle that. The furnace and the hot water heater are in the basement, but they are on raised pads and there is no longer anything else of value in the basement.

My dad always joked that he was like a rich Texan. Instead of taking the family to the lake, he'd bring the lake to us every spring!!

Frankly, I'd have preferred going to the lake.


Wednesday, April 16, 2008


"Golf is a good walk spoiled." - Mark Twain

A few days ago, I stopped in to say hi to a friend who is an avid golfer. He asked me if I knew what day it was. "Thursday?"; I asked. "Besides that!", he said. "Um, the first day of golf season?" He said; "Close - The Masters Golf Tournament starts today! You are going to watch, aren't you?"

Yeah, sure I'll watch that, the same way I promised my mom I'd watch the curling!" Okay so I'm not a sports fan, but I can understand to some extent the passion that some people have towards their favourite sports. I have passion for music. I've just never really been into sports, mostly because of my low vision and overall lack of athleticism. I'm just not that coordinated. I've tried several things over the years, mostly to gales of laughter or looks of pity from on lookers and the poor soul who is trying to teach me!

Actually, I have tried golf, though I've never been on a real golf course. Back in the 70's, my dad was a member of the local golf club. He only had a couple of woods, irons and a putter but he would practice his swings in our large yard. He tried to teach me how to swing, but I really don't remember much of the lessons.

Our farmyard was so large, that dad even set up a 3 hole course. There were a couple of large flat grassy areas that worked well as fairways. There were lots of trees and shrubs and the nearby creek was a water hazard. He didn't have sand traps, nor did he plant special grasses for the greens. One of the holes could even be considered a dog's leg. You could also play that hole in reverse as dad put a hole at each end. One end the ball could overshoot into trees, a ditch or even over the municipal road. At the other end, it could land in a farmers field - which could make finding the ball challenging depending on what stage of growth that years crop was! It was a fun way to kill some time and enjoy the outdoors.

The actual origins of the game date back to the 11th century, but the most similar to the game as we know it today was established by the Scott's in the late 1400's. By 1567, even Mary Queen of Scott's was playing the game.

This past Sunday morning, April 13, I watched an interesting piece on CBS Sunday Morning called "The Long Drive". Phil Keoghan (emmy winning host of "The Amazing Race") embarked on a golfers' odyssey in Scotland. Over 4 days, walking a little over a marathon/day or 107 miles of putting a golf ball from Greenoch on the west coast over the neck of Scotland and ending at the fabled "Old St. Andrews Links" on the east coast for 18 holes - and he did it wearing the traditional Scottish kilt! He met many interesting people as he hit the ball along roads, meadows, towns and up hills. He also stopped at "Hilltop" a 1900's era golf course that has been restored to it's rugged glory and where the traditional handmade hickory sticks are used rather than the modern day clubs. A lesson in humility for even the best of golfers.

See "Keoghan Putts Across Scotland" at;

I have several friends and family members who love to golf. I've heard many stories over the years. One of my friends had an encounter with a black bear last year while on a rural course. The friend I mentioned at the top has taken golfing vacations and even has a hole in one to his credit! Somehow I don't really see any of them wanting to try Phil's extreme golfing challenge, although I'm sure they wouldn't say no to playing at "Old St. Andrews Links"! Until then, they'll have to settle for the numerous golf courses here in Winnipeg and throughout southern Manitoba.

As it turns out last Thursday was actually the first day of the season for "Kingswood" a course near La Salle (10 minutes south of the Perimeter Highway) that opened all 18 holes that day. There was still some snow along the trees and in the rough, but the fairways were dry and ready to go. The club is usually the first to open as it uses a giant snow blower on the fairways in early March to clear the snow to about 6 inches. That means that as the weather warms the snow will melt faster and the course is ready earlier. Many other local area courses are opening over the next few days.

I know my golfing pals are chomping at the bit to hit the links and work on their game. Some took winter vacations and played a round or two, but many haven't played since late October or early November. That's a long time to go without being able to play your favourite sport!

Would I ever try golfing again? Sure - if I could find someone brave/crazy enough to take me. There is a "Blind Golfers Association" and I've read articles about an 85 and 92 year old blind golfers who each got a hole in one! So maybe there is hope for me yet.....


Monday, April 14, 2008

Chocolate- Chocolate Chip Cookies

This recipe is pretty much the same as the original "The Orchards' Chocolate-Chocolate Chip Cookies", with the exception that I use a combo of whole wheat and all purpose flour. I also use my Kitchen Aid stand mixer on low speed to do the mixing rather than mixing by hand as the original recipe specified (I don't have enough strength in my arms to mix that heavy a dough). Without a stand mixer, I would highly recommend cutting this recipe in half as it will overwork most electric hand mixers and you're arms will scream with exhaustion if you try the whole thing by hand! I've also included a couple of variations for you to try.


3 cups whole wheat flour
2 1/4 cups all purpose flour
1 cup plus 2 Tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
2 1/4 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 1/2 cups margarine, softened to room temp.
2 cups granulated white sugar
1 3/4 cups brown sugar, lightly packed
5 eggs
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
3 - 3 1/2 cups semi sweet or dark chocolate chips


Combine the flours, cocoa powder, baking soda and salt. Set aside,

In stand mixer combine margarine and sugars on low speed until creamy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each one. Add vanilla and combine. Add the dry ingredients and continue to mix on low speed. When well combined, add chocolate chips and mix just to combine evenly.

Drop by well rounded tablespoon on parchment paper lined baking sheets. Bake in 350F oven for 8 minutes. These cookies will spread, so leave space and DO NOT OVER BAKE. Carefully slide parchment paper and hot cookies onto wire racks to cool completely before storing or freezing. Makes about 12 to 13 dozen cookies.

Variation #1: Reduce margarine to 1 1/2 cups and add 1 cup crunchy peanut butter. I also add 1 cup crushed peanuts when you add the chipits.

Variation #2: Reduce margarine to 1 1/2 cups and add 1 cup nutella (chocolate hazelnut spread). I also add 1 cup chopped almonds with the chipits.

These cookies are very rich and sinfully delicious!



Sunday, April 13, 2008

Orange Almond Chocolate Chip Cookies

Today I'd like to share one of my variations of a recipe from "The Search For The Perfect Chocolate Chip Cookie". The original recipe was on page 67 and called "California Chocolate Chip Cookies". The recipe is basically the same, except that I have used almonds rather than walnuts (I'm not a fan of walnuts - but LOVE almonds!). used a combo of whole wheat and all purpose flour, and increased the amount of orange juice. I also increased the recipe by 50% as I prefer making large batches in my Kitchen Aid stand mixer, then freezing the baked cookies so that I can thaw them as needed. 10 or 12 seconds on high in a microwave will make any thawed cookie taste like it just came out of the oven! If you do not have a stand mixer then please make only 1/2 of this recipe (use 2 eggs if making half recipe) as the dough is heavy and will overwork a standard electric hand mixer.


2 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
2 cups all purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 cup finely ground almonds
1 1/2 cups margarine
1 cup white sugar
1 1/2 cups brown sugar, firmly packed
1 Tablespoon vanilla extract
3 eggs
fresh, finely grated zest of 2 medium oranges (about 2 Tablespoons)
juice of 2 medium oranges (about 1/3 cup)
4 cups semi sweet or dark chocolate chipits
2 cup chopped almonds


Combine flours, baking soda, salt and ground almonds. Set aside.

In a stand mixer combine the margarine and sugars on low speed to combine, then increase speed and mix until light and fluffy. Add the eggs, vanilla, orange juice and zest. Mix well. Gradually add the dry ingredients and mix on low speed till well combined. Add the chocolate chipits and almonds and mix till evenly blended.

Cover and chill dough for 2 or 3 hours. Form into balls about an inch or so around. Place on parchment paper lined cookie sheets and bake for 10 to 12 minutes in a pre-heated 350F oven. Carefully slide the parchment paper and hot cookies on to cooling racks to cool completely. Makes 11 to 12 dozen Flavourful Delicious cookies!

TIP: When I'm baking cookies, I always have four or five cookie sheets ready with a sheet of parchment paper for each pan. As each pan comes out I slide the sheet and cookies on to cooling racks, then when the pan and cookies are cooled, I can reuse the same paper on the same pan for additional cookie baking. Having several pans on the go assures that you will always have one pan in oven, one or two on standby and one to prep. This way you aren't wasting energy and time waiting for pans to cool to reuse. Each sheet of parchment paper can be used 2 or 3 times for cookie baking before it is too fragile to reuse.



Saturday, April 12, 2008

The Search For The Perfect Chocolate Chip Cookie

Back in 1992, I read an article in The Winnipeg Free Press about a cookbook devoted to chocolate chip cookies. I still have the dated article. The cookbook was called: "The Search For The Perfect Chocolate Chip Cookie" and written by Gwen Steege. It was a hard cover cookbook with just over a hundred recipes for that delectable delight! The book had been written as a result of a nationwide chocolate chip cookie recipe contest that was sponsored by Chester Soling, owner of "The Orchards", an inn in the Berkshires of western Massachusetts. The contest was held in early 1987 and received over 2600 entries! Wouldn't you love to have been a judge for that contest?

"The Orchards" sounds like a great place. Rather than a mint on the pillow, when guests retire for the night they will find freshly baked, warm chocolate chip cookies and a glass of cold milk on the bedside table!. Apparently, the tradition continues, according to their website;"Freshly baked cookies are also provided with our nightly turndown service."

I kept the article and called a couple of local book sellers and was told it wasn't available anymore. Several months later, I was in Toronto for an eye treatment and phoned "The Cookbook Store". Sadly, I was informed the book was out of print. However there was always a chance that it could be reprinted or that some old copies could turn up in a warehouse sale of old merchandise. They asked if I'd like them to contact me if they found one. I said yes and gave them my Winnipeg number - assuming I'd probably never hear from them. Why would they bother with calling someone long distance and shipping a book?

Well about a year later, I got a long distance call from Toronto - The Cookbook Store had gotten copies of the book and would I like to order one and have it shipped? OH MY GOD!!!! They actually kept my info and called me!! The book was only $10.00 plus shipping and taxes. I think I paid about $15 or $16 in total. The book arrived a few days later.

I was in seventh heaven! I didn't know what to make first! There were several versions of common recipes like "Dad's CC"; "Oatmeal CC"; "Peanut Butter CC". I started making a list of recipes that I wanted to try. I wrote down at least 20. Over the years I've tried at least 2 dozen recipes and tweaked several of my favourites. The book is full of post it notes and pages are stained and a bit dog eared in places. The binding is starting to come apart. There are about 8 or 10 that I tend to keep in rotation and are always a hit with company or as gifts.

To the best of my knowledge, the hardcover edition of the book is no longer in print, but I have found copies for sale on amazon. All is not lost however, as I have also found a paperback version that seems to be readily available on; eBay, , borders and other websites. From what I've been able to see of contents and indexes it is the same book with a different title. The paperback is called "101 Perfect Chocolate Chip Cookies" by Gwen Steege, and is also published by Storey Books.

I have read and made hundreds of chocolate chip cookie recipes in my life, but "The Search..." is still by far, my favourite source for amazing mouth watering delectable delights that will satisfy even the connoisseurs of the chocolate chip cookie world!

Over the next 2 days I will print two of my of my favourite (slightly modified versions) recipes from the original book.
If you ever come across a copy of this cookbook - BUY IT for yourself or as a gift for that chocolate lover or baker in your life.
I highly recommend the following recipes:
page 6 "The Orchard's Chocolate-Chocolate Chip Cookies" (will print on April 14)
page 62 "Crisp Rice Chocolate Chip Cookies"
page 67 "California Chocolate Chip Cookies" (my version tomorrow!)
page 71 "Apple Orchard Chocolate Chippers"
page 81 "Milk Chocolate Chip Delights" (try with instant lemon or chocolate pudding mix rather than the vanilla!)
page 101 "Oatmeal and Sour Cream Chocolate Chip Cookies"
page 102 "Peanut Butter and Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies"
page 118 "Ice Cream Chocolate Chip Cookies"
page 119 "Cheesy Double Chocolate Chip Cookies" (try with any fruit flavoured cream cheese!)
page 128 "Creamy Delightful Chip" (Instead of Irish Mist try other liquors!)
If those don't get your mouth watering and taste buds popping then you really aren't a true chocolate chip cookie lover! But that's okay - it leaves more for the rest of us!!

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Déjà vu or Reincarnation

Déjà vu: An impression of having seen or experienced something before:
Reincarnation: Rebirth of the soul in another body.

Am I crazy or have I already been here? Well, I am sure that some people would say I am crazy and a few years ago, I might have agreed! The truth is, that there are a few things that I just can't explain in any other logical way.

My parents farmyard has a creek running through it that twists and turns at several places. The farmhouse is surrounded on three sides by the creek. It's a pretty small creek, except during spring runoff when water from other tributaries overflow and the water rises. I also used to work at a summer camp on Lake Max in southern Manitoba in the mid 70's. I loved sitting on the dock and watching the water and enjoyed canoeing if the water was very calm. I live in Winnipeg near downtown and not far from the The Forks Market where the Red River and the Assiniboine Rivers meet. So I should be comfortable around water - right? Sort of. As long as the water is very calm, within its banks and I'm not in it, then I'm fine.

As kids, we were taught at a very young age to respect the water and not go near it when it was running fast or overflowing. We had a small fish pond (about the size of a kiddies wading pool) in the yard and I was the only one of the kids who never fell in. I wouldn't even go near it. My siblings learned to swim in the creek. I tried swimming lessons but was to terrified to put my head under, unless I knew I could stand up right away. My dad had a four seater motor boat but I wouldn't go unless the water was like glass and they promised not to go fast - and of course I had to have a life jacket on. I did go on a handful of local riverboat trips on "The River Rouge" and "The Paddle Wheel Queen" but I was always a bit nervous. For the most part, I could watch "The Love Boat", but then again they never really showed anything but calm waters.

During the late 70's I was at a winter retreat with about 40 fellow students and teachers from the school I was attending. The principal rented an old reel to reel movie that he thought was one of the best ever made and wanted us all to see it. It was "Ship of Fools" about the sinking of the Titanic. I couldn't watch it. I had to leave the area. When I was alone, I broke down and started to cry and shake. It took me a long time to compose myself. I don't think I ever told anyone why I left, other than that I wasn't feeling well. I have never been able to watch any movie or documentary that involves the April 14. 1912 sinking of "The Titanic" or any other boats that sank. I did go see "The Poseidon Adventure" in a movie theater, but kept my eyes closed through most of it. I had bad dreams and nightmares for weeks.

I've never been comfortable around any type of military uniforms. or small planes. I had a few Uncles who did military service in World War 2, but they never talked about it or wore their uniforms. I have a cousin who was in the Air Force for many years. I only saw him in uniform a couple of times but I was very uncomfortable. The worst was his wedding. There were uniforms everywhere. About 15 years or so ago, I was in line at a Dairy Queen with my sister. A couple of guys in uniform came in from the nearby base and were standing right behind me. I could hardly breath and I had to fight off a panic attack. I've never been able to participate in Remembrance Day services on November 11. I can't even wear a poppy in honour of the lost souls. It is too emotionally painful.

I've manged to watch a few WW2 movies such as "Casablanca" and "Mrs. Miniver". But they were in black and white and I covered my ears when the planes would fly over. I managed to watch M*A*S*H but most of them I saw on an old black and white TV. Even so, I had to play tricks with my mind and tell myself it wasn't real - even if it was based on real events.

In April 1997, Winnipeg experienced the flood of the century. The city was in danger of flooding and the military and air force had a huge presence in the city. They helped man the sandbagging and dyke patrols. There were uniformed men and women everywhere. The planes were flying low over the city waterways almost constantly. The raging flood waters and drone of the plane engines were terrifying. I wanted to hide under the covers and away form the windows every time I heard a plane. I felt like a prisoner in my apartment. I was afraid of the water, the planes and the uniforms. There is no real logical or reasonable explanation for any of these reactions.

I love the music of the 30's and 40's. I heard a bit as a kid but not a lot. The music is very relaxing and strangely familiar. Even when the announcer says something like "Here is a very rare recording" it's vaguely familiar. It's like my soul has been transported through time. I never heard old radio dramas/comedies until I was in my 20's but there are times I'd swear I've heard them before.

So was I on "The Titanic"? Was I living in war torn Europe during WW2? Did I seek cover in a bomb shelter during air raids? Was I a prisoner of war or on a fighter plane? Was I in a USO show?

I have no idea. I don't know who I was or what I did. I may never know. I try not to dwell on the negativity of these senses and experiences. I have embraced the music of the war years and take solace in the comfort and peace it brings me. I try to focus on the good things in this lifetime and cherish the good memories and the caring friends around me.

So, am I crazy? No, I don't think so. Have I been on this Earth before? YES, I believe I have - and probably will be again someday.

Okay, technically, this song isn't about reincarnation, but I do believe "We'll Meet Again". You can listen to this Vera Lynn song here;

and you can read the lyrics in the attached comments section.


Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Did you know.......

I received an interesting email yesterday. It was one of those ones that was filled with all kinds of little tidbits of information. I thought I'd share it with you.

Did you know:
-'Stewardesses' is the longest word typed with only the left hand
-'lollipop' is the longest word typed with your right hand. (Bet you tried this out mentally, didn't you?)
-No word in the English language rhymes with month, orange, silver, or purple.
-'Dreamt' is the only English word that ends in the letters 'mt'. ? (Are you doubting this?)
-Our eyes are always the same size from birth, but our nose and ears never stop growing.
-The sentence: 'The quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog' uses every letter of the alphabet. (Now, you KNOW you're going to try this out for accuracy, right?)
-The words 'racecar,' 'kayak' and 'level' are the same whether they are read left to right or right to left (palindromes). (Yep, I knew you were going to 'do' this one.)
-There are only four words in the English language which end in 'dous': tremendous, horrendous, stupendous, and hazardous. (You're not doubting this, are you?)
-There are two words in the English language that have all five vowels in order: 'abstemious' and 'facetious.' (Yes, admit it, you are going to say, a e i o u)
-TYPEWRITER is the longest word that can be made using the letters only on one row of the keyboard. (All you typists are going to test this out)
-A cat has 32 muscles in each ear.
-A goldfish has a memory span of three seconds. (Some days that's about what my memory span is.)
-A 'jiffy' is an actual unit of time for 1/100th of a second.
-A shark is the only fish that can blink with both eyes.
-A snail can sleep for three years. (I know some people that could do this too.!)
-Almonds are a member of the peach family. An ostrich's eye is bigger than its brain. (I know some people like that also)
-Babies are born without kneecaps. They don't appear until the child reaches 2 to 6 years of age.
-February 1865 is the only month in recorded history not to have a full moon.
-In the last 4,000 years, no new animals have been domesticated.
-If the population of China walked past you, 8 abreast, the line would never end because of the rate of reproduction.
-Leonardo Da Vinci invented the scissors Peanuts are one of the ingredients of dynamite! Rubber bands last longer when refrigerated.
-The average person's left hand does 56% of the typing.
-The cruise liner, QE 2, moves only six inches for each gallon of diesel that it burns.
-The microwave was invented after a researcher walked by a radar tube and a chocolate bar melted in his pocket. (Good thing he did that.)
-The winter of 1932 was so cold that Niagara Falls froze completely solid.
-There are more chickens than people in the world.
-Winston Churchill was born in a ladies' room during a dance.
-Women blink nearly twice as much as men.

Now you know more than you did before!!


Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Two Chicken and Peanut Butter Recipes!!

Here are two of my favourite Thai and Indonesian inspired chicken and peanut butter recipes:

Chicken In Peanut Sauce

3/4 pound (380g) boneless, skinless chicken breast, cut into bite sized pieces
2 cups thinly sliced carrots
1 cup chopped onion
2 cloves garlic, minced (I use the bottled type found in produce section. It is either packed in water or olive oil)
1 cup water
2/3 cup peanut butter
3 Tablespoons light soya sauce
1/4 rounded teaspoon ginger
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
2/3 cup frozen peas, thawed (don't use canned)
3/4 teaspoon white wine vinegar
chopped green onion for garnish
blanched, salted peanuts for garnish

In the bottom of a dutch oven, evenly layer the chicken, carrots and onion. Sprinkle the garlic over top. In a separate bowl, whisk together the water, peanut butter, soya sauce and pepper flakes. Pour evenly over the chicken and vegetables. Cover and bake in 350F oven for about 35-40 minutes or till vegies are tender and chicken is cooked. Stir in thawed peas and white wine vinegar. Cover and let stand for 5 minutes. Serve over brown rice and garnish with green onion and peanuts. Serves 4. This isn't technically a stew, but it is thick, flavourful and loaded with protein. Delicious!!


Baked Thai Chicken

Okay I know this sounds like a gross combination, but please trust me! I SWEAR IT IS FANTASTIC!!

1 cup light Catalina Dressing
1/2 cup crunchy peanut butter
2 Tablespoon light soya sauce.

Pour half the sauce into a 9X9 baking dish that has been sprayed with Pam. Cut 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (1 pound/454g) into cubes or strips. Place chicken in single layer over sauce and cover with remaining sauce. Marinate, covered in fridge for 30-60 minutes, then bake in a 375F oven for 30-35 minutes. Serve over brown rice with steamed vegetables or a tossed salad. Serves 4. Yummy!!

Note: I start baking a dish of brown rice while the chicken is marinating. In a 2 quart/litre greased casserole dish combine: 1 1/2cups Uncle Ben's Whole Grain Brown Rice, 3 cups water, 1Tablespoon oil or margarine and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Cover and bake at 375F for 45 minutes.



Monday, April 7, 2008

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Muffins

Due to popular request - oh all right one request - from my chocolate loving friend leelu (and her PB nut hubby!), here is one of the recipes you requested!

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Muffins

1/4 cup + 2 Tbsp. margarine, softened
1 cup + 2 Tbsp. crunchy peanut butter
3/4 cup brown sugar, loosely packed
1/2 cup white sugar
3 eggs
1 1/2 cup milk (I use 1%)
1 1/2 tsp vanilla
2 cup whole wheat flour
1 cup all purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
3/4 tsp. baking soda
3/4 tsp. salt
2 1/4 cups chocolate chips

Cream butters and sugars together. Beat in eggs one at a time beating until smooth. Stir in milk and vanilla.

Combine remaining ingredients in a separate bowl and then add to wet ingredients, stirring just until moistened.

Divide batter into 28-32 paper lined muffin cups. Bake in 350F oven for about 25 - 30 minutes or till toothpick test is clean. Cool on wire racks. Freezes well.

Note: This recipe is a modified version of "Peanut Butter Loaf" on page 65 of Company's Coming Muffins and More. The original recipe used only all purpose flour (I use a combination) and smooth peanut butter (I prefer crunchy). It also called for "dates" (YUCK!!) so I OBVIOUSLY made a better choice and used chocolate chips instead! DUH!! Instead of making it into a loaf, which was a little on the heavy/dense side, I increased the recipes' quantities by 50% and made muffins as they rise better and are therefore much lighter in texture.



Saturday, April 5, 2008

Star Gazing

I've never had much of an opportunity to meet any celebrities. The only Canadian celebrities that I've ever met were the guys from Moxy Fruvous (met them at a very casual autograph session and a year later before a concert in mid 90's - really nice guys!) and the cast of Royal Canadian Air Farce (met the foursome in January 1994 at a TV taping in Toronto - got photos and autographs!!).

I'm not a big celebrity watcher and there really are only a handful of stars that I would even consider waiting in line to meet or sending a fan letter to. So who would I want to meet? I could probably come up with 10 names if I really tried, but the top 5? Well that's easy!

5) Peter Falk - I LOVE Columbo and he was fantastic in "The In-Laws" and other movies!

4) Lily Tomlin - From "laugh In" to "Murphy Brown" to The West Wing" and her outstanding work in films to her amazing one woman show "The Search for Signs of Intelligent Life In The Universe", Lily has entertained me for hours!
3) Carol Burnett - comedic genius extraordinaire! Her variety show was a must see and still a classic (Tim Conway and Harvey Korman would be in my top 10!)

2) Mary Tyler Moore - Who didn't love her as Mary Richards and Laura Petrie?! A passionate activist and classy lady.
My # 1 Pick is easy! DICK VAN DYKE! I have loved him since I was a kid watching "The Dick Van Dyke Show". Dick and Mary as "Rob and Laura Petrie" were the perfect team. Every kid thought they were the perfect parents and I loved the parties where all the guests would get up and perform. I wanted to go to parties like that when I grew up. I have about 30 or so episodes on VHS as well as the reunion show the cast did a few years ago. I never missed an episode of Diagnosis Murder and have seen a lot of his movies. He is the consummate performer. He can sing, dance and act! I've seen and read many interviews with Mr. Van Dyke, and he always comes across as a funny, sincere and classy guy.

Many years ago, I learned that there is another reason that I love Mr. Van Dyke, we share the same birthday! We were born the same day and his year of birth is the same as my mothers. It sounds crazy, but I felt a connection because of that date.

I've never really enjoyed my birthday and pretty much ignore the whole thing, but I am proud to say that I share that day with my favourite performer! I haven't done anything to celebrate my birthday in more than a dozen years, but, I raise a glass of sparkling white grape juice in his honour every year!

He's the only celebrity I ever wanted to write to and get an autograph. When I got this computer in the fall of 2007, I did look for info on Mr. Van Dyke and did try writing to an address that I found on line. I sent the letter with Birthday greetings, told him about our shared b-days, how much I admired his work and expressed my sincere gratitude for the countless hours of entertainment that I had enjoyed because of him.

The day after our birthday's the letter was returned to me unopened with a note on the back, from the property owners son, stating that I had the wrong Richard Van Dyke and that he thought the one I was looking for lived in Arizona now but wasn't sure.

I was disappointed but not really surprised, It was too easy to find that address, even for a novice like me. Oh well, at least I tried. Have I given up looking? NO! Will I try to write again? If I found a solid lead I would write in a heartbeat!

Thursday, April 3, 2008


Peace Man! The rallying cry of the 60's. But, when was the peace symbol actually created and by whom? Well believe it or not the peace symbol turns 50 this year!! I turned 50 a few months ago, and this is my 50th post so I thought I would take this opportunity and use today's post to celebrate Peace and the Peace Symbol.

Many symbols of peace have been used throughout history such as the Biblical references to the dove and the olive branch. During World War 1, a broken rifle came to symbolize war resistance.

Italy began using a rainbow coloured flag with the word "PACE" (Italian for peace and derived from the Latin word "pax") in 1961 during a peace rally. The popularity of this flag has increased in recent years especially since the 2003 invasion of Iraq.

"The "V-sign", also called the "peace sign" and the "victory sign," is a hand gesture with the index and middle fingers open and all others closed, facing the viewer. Originally strictly a sign for victory, it developed into a peace sign during protests against the Vietnam War (and subsequent anti-war protests) and by the counterculture as a sign of peace. Because the hippies of the day often flashed this sign (palm out) while vocalizing "Peace", it became popularly known through association as the peace sign. Originally, however, its symbolic meaning was love; signing "love" and saying "peace" was a hippie anthem and mutual greeting."

The peace symbol we are the most familiar with was completed on February 21, 1958. "Gerald Holtom, a designer and former World War II conscientious objector from West London, persuaded DAC that their aims would have greater impact if they were conveyed in a visual image. The "Ban the Bomb" symbol was born.
He considered using a Christian cross motif but, instead, settled on using letters from the semaphore - or flag-signalling - alphabet, super-imposing N (uclear) on D (isarmament) and placing them within a circle symbolising Earth.
The sign was quickly adopted by CND.
" (Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament )
The new peace symbol made its public debut at a peace rally on Good Friday April 4, 1958.

Less than a decade later it was adopted by the anti-war movement and the counterculture of the 1960's and has since become an international icon for peace.

If only world peace could be as quickly and widely accepted as the peace symbol.
Last Night I Had The Strangest Dream
words and music by Ed McCurdy
Last night I had the strangest dream
I'd ever dreamed before
I dreamed the world had all agreed
To put an end to war

I dreamed I saw a mighty room
Filled with women and men
And the paper they were signing said
They'd never fight again

And when the paper was all signed
And a million copies made
They all joined hands and bowed their heads
And grateful pray'rs were prayed

And the people in the streets below
Were dancing 'round and 'round
While swords and guns and uniforms
Were scattered on the ground

Last night I had the strangest dream
I'd never dreamed before
I dreamed the world had all agreed
To put an end to war.

You can find a copy of this song performed by "The Weavers" for download at;
Peace, my friends!

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

FINALLY!! New shows are starting to air!!

Well the wait for new episodes of some of my favourite shows is almost over! Two have already returned;

"Men In Trees" (Feb 27) still has six more new episodes to air. Well you already know how much I LOVE this show! No word yet on whether it will be picked up for a third season but I've got my fingers crossed!! Tonight's' episode is called "Get A Life" and guest stars Morgan Fairchild.

"How I Met Your Mother" (returned March 17) has now aired 3 of 9 new episodes. I wasn't sure about this show at first, as I wasn't thrilled with the Barney character, but he's grown on me and I like the camaraderie between the characters. For me, it's reminiscent of "Friends"

Two more of my favourite series return this week;
"Criminal Minds" - tonight on CBS at 8PM central and CTV at 10PM Central with the first of 7 new episodes. I love the cast and main characters on this show. They are an eclectic mix and their personal characters are being well drawn. We learn a little more about each one as we go and it keeps drawing you back despite the darkness of the story lines that are laid out so vividly. First up: "Damaged" Rossi revisits an unsolved case from his past involving the murders of two young parents nearly 20 years before.

"Without A Trace" - Thursday on CBS with the first of 6 new episodes. I've watched this show from day one. A very talented cast and I love that the characters can be so flawed yet believable. First up: "Hard Reset" Jack goes missing after he tries to take down a human-trafficking ring.

"Desperate Housewives" returns on April 13 (ABC/CTV) with the first of 6 new episodes including a two hour season finale! Can't wait to see what's new with the folks on Wisteria Lane in the aftermath of the horrific tornado! ABC is repeating the tornado episode and the one after it on April 10 to get us refreshed and ready for the new stuff. I'm guessing that creator Mark Cherry has some pretty good twists up his sleeve. Just when you think you see where he is going he throws something unexpected into the mix. The web site is running a trailer that says something along the lines of; Everything is calm on Wisteria Lane, except that; Susan is pregnant; Mike is in rehab; Victor's dead; Carlos is blind; Gabby is broke; Bree is homeless; Lynette feels guilty; Catherine's secret is out and Edie is Edie! There is also a sneak peak at the next new episode! It looks good!

"Women's Murder Club" is expected to return in late April with three new episodes, This show hasn't gotten a lot of attention but it is a good mix of characters and interesting stories. I hope it gets picked up for next fall. Check it out on ABC.

For a complete list of returning shows see;

Happy viewing!


Tuesday, April 1, 2008

April Fools' Day

April Fools' Day is widely believed to have started in the 1500's when the Gregorian calendar took over from the Julian and thus moved New Year's Day from April 1 to January 1. Those who forgot, or could be convinced otherwise and continued to celebrate on April 1 were teased as "April Fools'"! There are, of course other versions and many traditions of how this day should be observed. An interesting article can be found at;

"1957: BBC fools the nation: The BBC has received a mixed reaction to a spoof documentary broadcast this evening about spaghetti crops in Switzerland.
The hoax Panorama programme, narrated by distinguished broadcaster Richard Dimbleby, featured a family from Ticino in Switzerland carrying out their annual spaghetti harvest.
It showed women carefully plucking strands of spaghetti from a tree and laying them in the sun to dry.
But some viewers failed to see the funny side of the broadcast and criticised the BBC for airing the item on what is supposed to be a serious factual programme.
Others, however, were so intrigued they wanted to find out where they could purchase their very own spaghetti bush.
Exotic delicacy
Spaghetti is not a widely-eaten food in the UK and is considered by many as an exotic delicacy.
Mr Dimbleby explained how each year the end of March is a very anxious time for Spaghetti harvesters all over Europe as severe frost can impair the flavour of the spaghetti.
He also explained how each strand of spaghetti always grows to the same length thanks to years of hard work by generations of growers.
This is believed to be one of the first times the medium of television has been used to stage an April Fools Day hoax."
Quoted from the BBC website. A video can be found at:

I've never been a huge fan of practical jokes, but in my teens and early20's, I did make a few prank calls, most; your old school type stuff. There was one call I made that really worked well, but it was not an April Fools' Day prank so I will save that story for another time!
I do, however recall a couple of April Fools' Day pranks that occurred while I was going to a post secondary school in a small southern Manitoba town in the late 1970's and living in a dorm. The girls pretty much behaved - but the guys? Well they had a little late night fun on the eve of April 1. Around midnight, several of the guys walked to a teachers home about a 1/2 mile or so away. The teacher had a small car and had left it in the car port as usual. The guys quietly lifted the car and turned it 90 degrees so it was sitting sideways in the port! It took the teacher over 20 minutes to get out of his driveway April Fools' morning. He knew it was the guys dorm that was responsible but I don't think he ever got the names of those who did it. He was a little annoyed but also thought it was a great joke and told the story for years!

That same night, a few of the same guys and others also moved a VW bug of a fellow male student, from it's usual spot. There was a big church about half a block away that had a large wide staircase. At the top of the 10 or 12 stairs was a wide area where people gathered just outside the church doors before and after services. Yup, you guessed it, the car was pushed to the church, then carried up the stairs and placed sideways in front of the doors! The church wasn't overly impressed, but they didn't make a big fuss. The same guys that moved it ended up having to help get it down, but there were no hard feelings.

There is a lot of temptation out there to pull a fast one on someone, but if you do, please be careful and don't do anything that you wouldn't want done to you! Payback can be a real bitch!