"Oh no you didn't!"

Oh yes I did!

My current runners were totally clapping out, giving me foot pain and stinking to high heaven. Got myself a fresh pair of runners which are this year's update of the old pair. I also bought fancy stretchy laces that you tighten and loosen with a pressure toggle. In fluorescent orange. They'll see me comin'!


Some toothepaste for dinner gems

And, for any of you who know much about Rocco and his throw back tendencies:

Last but not least, poop is always hilarious:


Geez Louise

Aw geez, guys. I've been wracking my brain but I just can't come up with something to blog about. Sorry for the mental lag. Been doing too much reading for these upcoming exams. I sure am ready to put them behind me but nowhere near ready to actually write them yet. Picked up another eight books at the library yesterday, *sigh*.

Oh, but I am reading a truly great fiction book right now, courtesy of Dora. Prodigal Summer by Barbara Kingsolver weaves together stories of a few people living in in the southern Appalachians. They are all connected to the landscape in different ways and understand their relationship to that land independently. The writing is very sensuous and kind of gritty in some way I can't quite pin down. Kingsolver has obviously done her homework because as you read you learn all kinds of things about moths and other insects, arboriculture, predator-prey relationships, and the vast ecosystem that humans are a part of - even if some of us refuse to acknowledge that connection. I don't have much left of it to read and I'm not looking forward to finishing the novel. I read Kingsolver's Poisonwood Bible a couple years ago and was a bit disappointed, more in the plot resolution than in the writing style or subject. Let's hope I'm not equally disappointed with the conclusion of Prodigal Summer. Thus far it's an engrossing read particularly for people with an interest in environmental issues and/or botany and biological systems, but anyone with an ear for lyrical prose can appreciate this book as those environmental elements become plot devices for stories of love and loss, expectation and revelation. Put it on your summer list!

Ooo, that's another good thing to blog about, and to ask you to blog about. What should I read? I always need a good work of fiction to dig into at night before bed. Prodigal Summer should be on your to-read list; what should be on mine?


Your friendly neighbourhood pusher

No, normally I wouldn't endorse a whole heck of a lot of materialism, and my blog (hopefully) doesn't tend to read like an infomercial. But today, you're getting a dose of it. I'd like to introduce you to three products that I think are the bomb. The shiznat. The cat's pyjamas, nay, the cat's lingerie! Let's just get down to it, shall we?

  • Mr. Clean Magic Eraser
My sister told me about this product when she was preparing her apartment for viewing to be sold. I was all, "yeah, yeah, yeah" until the burnt food stains on our gas stove finally got to me. Picked up a Magic Eraser with heavy skepticism, after investigating the product's environmental rating, and holy cats. Like, seriously, Batman, holy cats! Fairly light swiping of the stove top actually did erase the stains that months of elbow grease and other household cleaners couldn't shift. I called Rocco into the kitchen and without even giving him a hint as to what to look at, he exclaimed, "Wow!" We've used this little white wonder on the bathtub (friends, your children can safely bathe in our tub now and I won't need to feel ashamed!), on my Macbook (it's ok, dad, I read reviews of the process first), and on random wall scuffs. Nothing stands in its way.
The Skinny: Magic Eraser is made out of industrial grade sound insulation (!) that someone discovered is a primo cleaner when water is added. The product degrades with use so eventually all you throw out is a blackened, twisted little smudge of material waste though traces of the product will be rinsed away every time you use it. Environmentally, folks concur that it is essentially non-toxic. There was a bit of kerfuffle over whether or not the product contains harmful formaldehyde, but that was due to a misreading of a minor ingredient (formaldehyde-melamine- sodium bisulfite copolymer) that is not at all harmful and does not 'pose a safety risk'.
The Phat: Works like magic with little to no residue and keeps our environment squeaky clean (don't tell my colleagues I'm using this 'clean' language - they'd lynch me), plus it's super cheap, like $3 for a box of 2 erasers.

  • E-Cloth
My friend Nicki told me about E-Cloth products that she found at our local hippie-go-happy grocery store (Capers). The basic 'cleaning system' is two cloths, one textured with microfibre hooks and whorls, and one smooth polishing cloth. The textured green cloth is a general surface cleaner that works on ceramic, stainless steel, countertops, etc, etc. The polishing cloth cleans mirrors, shines stainless steel after washing, polishes glass, and on and on. Their claim is that the "clever fibres" (yes, they do actually use 'clever') take hold of surface grime and lock it into the cloth. No products are necessary at all - no products! - you just wet the cloth, wring it out to be damp, and scrub/wipe/clean away. When it's done its job, you toss it in with your regular laundry and it even goes in the dryer. Apparently it lives through 300 laundry cycles. You're thinking, yeah right?! But guess what, it made this list because it truly works. No, if you're really into killing helpless little bacteria and ridding the world of the little bugs who save us from the super bugs, then you're probably not going to be satisfied by the E-Cloth.
The Skinny: In our house, the E-Cloth does a super job of cleaning and polishing every bathroom surface (except the floor) and various glass and mirror surfaces in the rest of the apartment. Really, it does! The basic kit with the two cloths was around $13 and we've been using them for almost a month now so we've saved that much product. It makes sense that every once in a while we'll haul out the spray bottles and give the whole place a douse of environmentally friendly chemicals, but for everyday, regular cleaning, the E-Cloth appears to be all you need. My hands and my eczema are so thankful!
The Phat: Better living through chemistry, they say? Pfft. Better living through clever fibres! LOVE this product. And I'm happy to bring them back to AB if some of you can't find them around there.

  • Green Giant Broccoli & Cheese Sauce - Low Fat
Yes, he's back! The jolly Green Giant is still around, still pushing green on the kids, still making handy dandy convenience foods that also tend to be relatively healthy. For whatever reason, I can't for the life of me find the actual product I'm writing about as the Internet only seems to know about the original products, not the low fat versions available now. The low fat bags of broc and cheese have a red banner beneath the blue title banner that makes the low fat claim. For 1 cup of low fat broc and cheese mix, you get a mere 50 kcalories and 1.5 grams of fat. Even if you're not counting calories, this is a super deal! It's the easiest, tastiest, most guilt-free snack you can find after water since you throw a measured cup into a bowl, cover the bowl, microwave for about 3 minutes, stir and chow down. It is also delectable as a side dish to accompany your Helen's Kitchen tofu steaks or Schneider's Oh Naturel! meatless chik'n cordon melt. Admittedly, the treat is super tasty because the sodium level is cringingly high, but the taste is so satisfying and the goods are so gooey that in that moment, it just doesn't matter.
The Skinny:
I'm so addicted. I realized today that Rocco hasn't even tried this product because I ate the whole bag before he got around to having any! Egads!
The Phat: Skinny broc and cheese! Microwavable! The bag is resealable! Not so organic nor independently produced... but ah well. Who can resist the Green Giant?


Din dins!

Veggie Philly Cheesesteak


1 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 medium onion, sliced
2 large portobello mushrooms, stems and gills removed (see Tip), sliced
1/2 large red bell pepper, thinly sliced
1 tablespoons minced fresh oregano or 2 teaspoons dried
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1/2 tablespoon all-purpose flour
1/8 cup vegetable broth or reduced-sodium chicken broth
1/2 tablespoon reduced-sodium soy sauce
1.5 ounces thinly sliced reduced-fat provolone cheese
2 whole-wheat buns, split and toasted


1. Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add onion and cook, stirring often, until soft and beginning to brown, 2 to 3 minutes. Add mushrooms, bell pepper, oregano and pepper and cook, stirring often, until the vegetables are wilted and soft, about 7 minutes.

2. Reduce heat to low; sprinkle the vegetables with flour and stir to coat. Stir in broth and soy sauce; bring to a simmer.

3. Remove from the heat, lay cheese slices on top of the vegetables, cover and let stand until melted, 1 to 2 minutes.

4. Divide the mixture into 2 portions with a spatula, leaving the melted cheese layer on top. Scoop a portion onto each toasted bun and serve immediately.

Number of Servings: 2

Oh So Yum! My dad would hate this recipe but it is tasty tasty!

Later: And, yes, they were awesome!


Subversive behaviour

In honour of Mother's Day, I'd like to share a story about my wonderful yet kooky mom.

Once upon a time, mom and dad made a trip out to Vancouver. They visited merrily with two of their three daughters and their partners, drinking glass after glass of red nectar and exploring the taste sensations of the city. Having recently visited overseas, Rocco and Liminal Me bore gifts from afar for mom and dad from friends on the Emerald Isle. Unfortunately, the gifts were sub-par and kitschy, but the sentiment was warm and friendly.

The visit continued and a great time was had by all, but finally the last day of mom and dad's visit dawned early. To maximise on visit time, the clan assembled at The Tomato Fresh Food Cafe for a quick brunch. Mom had already tried to regift the Irish kitsch, but her clever offspring were too quick for her, so the kitsch was borne to brunch, headed for its rightful home in Alberta.

As one is wont to do, mom excused herself to the ladies' room after eating, but carried with her a mysterious lump bundled into her jacket. Oddly enough, the jacket was decidedly unlumpy when she returned to the table. The next person excused herself, not attracting much attention, but returned quickly trying to stifle giggles and mirth. What could it be, we all wondered? Mom didn't wonder; mom looked coyly smug. The Irish gift, a wood plaque painted with a cliche of good wishes, was nestled among restaurant paraphernalia on a table outside the restrooms. It fit right in!

That was in March. It is now May, and the Tomato Fresh Food Cafe will soon be closing their doors at the current location, moving to Kitsilano. Rocco and I wandered up the street for brunch there yesterday, ruing the announcement of their impending move. After brekkies, I made my way to the ladies' room. Lo and behold, what did I find? That not only was the Irish kitsch still displayed, it had in fact been moved to a better location to be kept out of harm's way!

Can you spot it?

We're really excited about the possibility of the kitsch being moved from the Cambie location to the new location in Kitsilano. They move at the beginning of June, so I will seek out the kitsch at that point and document any findings.

Here's to moms who keep us laughing!



Main Entry: ai·lu·ro·phil-ia
Pronunciation: I-'lur-o-'fi-lE-&
Function: noun
Etymology: Greek ailouros cat
: cat fancying : the love of cats

Some strange things have been happening on the internet. A website called I CAN HAS CHEEZBURGER? displays funny pictures of cats with weird captions written in poor grammar and misspellings. Intentionally. The result? They're very, very funny! Here are a few to titillate your ailurophilia, should you have such a thing or need the motivation.

This one above reminds me of the mummy cats we saw in the Egyptian exhibit at the Royal Ontario Museum.

I laughed about those poor mummy cats for days. Not sure if this means I'm an ailurophile or an antiailurist* (a hater of cats?) for being so amused at the preservation of a little kitty. Just so you dog lovers (canophiles) out there don't think you're getting away with anything, mummified dogs have also been found.

*Rocco's contribution. I'm not sure about it...


Thunder! Na naa na naaa na na naaa na

ACDC has come to Vancouver! Ok, no. Not true. But THUNDER has! I have lived here two and a half years and have complained at length about the lack of dynamic weather. Well nail me to the wall because it's a-thunderin'! It's been on and off rainy today and not raining currently where I am but the thunder is shaking the house! Rocco is out tonight at a photography course and I'm starting to wonder if it's wise for him to ride the bike home.

Yeehaw! Thunder! Bring on the lightning, I'm ready!

In Memoriam

Beatrice has found a new home where she will be well cared for and adored. We put her up for sale a couple weeks ago and Rocco made the final deal while I was in San Francisco. A young couple who already have experience with a VW van were delighted with the little red beauty and offered a decent price. Turns out they are moving to Nanaimo so Beatrice is returning to her origins; she was first purchased from a VW dealer in Nanaimo in 1973. We'll miss her dearly, and hopefully someday down the road we'll have the capacity to own another classic car. It would be ideal to have a garage for a car of that age so the car is out of the elements and there is room to do some tinkering.

For right now, we're buying a car from my parents that will actually go up mountains and that you can drive in the rain (one of Bea's major downfalls is that water would rush up into the car through the rust holes if it was wet out). I know the Mazda very well and it's a reliable car that will take us where we want to go. We'll have to find some identifiable bumper stickers for the Mazda though or else we'll never be able to identify the boring car in a parking lot full of boring cars. The bobblehead lobster in the back window will help a bit with that. It's more of an albino bobblehead lobster now having been bleached by the sun for the last three years, which I suppose makes it even more unique.

Anyway, we certainly will miss little Beatrice! Maybe we'll get to visit her next time we're on the island. Have a good life, my little red friend!