Friday, February 28, 2014

Love the new camera bag.

I've been sitting on an order of random things from Monoprice for months and I finally placed an order and received it yesterday, just a bit after I got home from work.

The best item is the camera bag. I can fit my camera and all the spare lenses if I wanted to.  I also got myself a USB wall plug, several cables to charge devices like my android, a battery pack for those types when I'm either camping or needing long battery life on phone. I even got a pair of  noise reducing earbuds from there for $6.   Also got a car charger with double 12V and a usb plug.  Lots of cool toys for the geek in me.

Thursday, February 27, 2014

The sewing bug bit me.

Butterick B5662

Now that I have a functional machine again, the sewing bug has hit me. I picked up today, along with sewing machine oil, some patterns. Today I only picked up historical patterns for costumes, but this is something I really enjoy.  I'm collecting costume patterns, especially of certain era's.

I picked up 2 Butterick historical patterns for corsets.  I've never made a corset but it might be fun trying.  There's so much work involved it sounds like a fun project, or maybe a project that never gets fully finished. But if I master this I know plenty of people who will want me to make them a corset.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Cabin fever

Canoe waiting for someone to buy it
You  can tell people are having cabin fever as suddenly I'm getting tons of responses about my Genuine Indian Brand canoe that I have put for sale on Kijiji.  It's been on sale there since October I think. I put it up too late in the season for anyone to pick it up even for hunting.

Last used in May 2013 at Les Hautes Gorges de la riviere Malbaie
I love this canoe. It reminded me of the first canoes I ever used  in my teens when I went canoe-camping down the Riviere du Diable in the Laurentians. We went down some rapids and also portaged. The most fun though was going down rapids with just a life jacket. The thrill. I did it 2 or 3 times.

The biggest issue I have with my canoe is that it's too heavy for me to portage or even to put on my Grand Vitara alone. I'm strong for my size [Barely 5ft, 110lbs] but this is just more then I can handle.  I would guess it's about 70 lbs.  So it's a great canoe if you aren't going to portage it.      It's also a solid canoe, that can take a beating. In the time I've had it, I've never had a leak, never had to fix it. 

Before it was painted green, 3 people in it.
It's also the best canoe you can use if you're a beginner. It's forgiving and extremely stable in the water.  We've never come close to having it tip and we've used it in bad weather on a large lake with high winds.  We've used it both empty, and filled with gear, and I don't travel light, and it does really well. I should also mention that you sit on the seats of this canoe, you don't kneel. Something that was awesome as I have bursitis in my right knee and kneeling for extended periods is really not recommended.

Someone enquired if they could use it with 2 children under age 5 and 2 adults. I don't see why not. They can sit either one in front of the middle bar, one in back or both side by side.  Or alternatively the bigger child near the middle bar, and the smaller child in the front  tip.

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Potato Salad

Made potato salad tonight, with potatoes that had big big eyes. 

HI! HI! HI! HI! HI!, I can see you with all my eyes!!!!!
I dunno if I should call it potato salad, it also had grated radishes and carrots. It had tiny cut pieces of celery,  red pepper and orange pepper. It had half a cup of chopped parsley and a bit of chopped cilantro. It had an entire red onion in tiny little pieces.  It was seasoned with ground dried garlic and onions and black pepper and lots of mayonaise.

Potato Salad

Saturday, February 22, 2014

Pyjama pants

Pattern I used.
For the first time in years I sewed for myself. I bought the pattern before my surgery over 10 years ago to make myself pants to wear around the house after surgery.  I bought the end of a roll of fabric on Thursday and it was 2 pieces, one of  80cm and the other of 30 cm. She sold it to me as 1m, and total with taxes it came to $6.

Meow pants
I knew it would make for short pants, but the pattern I picked up had pants with cuffs, and the pair I made goes to my ankles with the cuffs, which is fine for camping. You don't want long pants when the ground is dirty or wet :)

Friday, February 21, 2014

Nothing is permanent but change

No Ottawa for us this week-end.  I didn't even go out tonight, was too tired after going to Carrefour Laval after work. Didn't buy much. Got a tshirt in liquidation at AEO to go with my floral turquoise pants.

I was hoping to get a bohemian cotton sweater in a blue/turquoise shade that would match the pants but neither available style had a colour that really matched. So I decided to get myself a 2nd off-white one. The original one I bought last winter, I've worn a lot and I originally bought it to prevent myself from burning in the sun while driving. In off-white so the sun is least hot.

At Mira River Provincial park in my bohemian knit sweater
I also went to Costco in Laval. I find that one far less stressful then the one in Pointe-Claire  It is easy to go there leaving from Carrefour Laval. 

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Dating sites

Why is it the majority of men on dating sites, are either in photos with their car, truck, or their guitars or bass, or even with their children?  Like they need a gimmick.

Dunno when I look at a photo of a man I want to date, I don't want to see his kids. I don't want to see his truck or his guitar, it's distracting and makes me think he's got so little personality he needs to worship his guitar or his truck.

And don't get me started on the percentage of men who have horrible pictures. Like really the picture of you looking bored stiff and with a bad hair day isn't going to impress anyone.   And no they won't just notice the guitar at that point, they will also notice that you're making up for bad hair with a guitar!

One of the sites I was on, I had men as far away as Australia hitting on me. Which is flattering, but as I messaged a couple,  I told them I was looking for someone to go camping or canoeing with and the commute from Australia would be epic. One guy I had to spell out that he's over 1500miles away, and no, I have zero interest in a long distance relationship.  I can make friends online anywhere. I know this and I'm good with it.

On a dating site I'm not looking for long distance friends, I'm looking for local people that I can get together with in person from time to time. 

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Lens Pron!

I happened to stumble upon this article, 2 days ago and now I want a Tamron SP 150-600mm F/5-6.3 Di USD.telephoto zoom. It's almost a 5lb lens... but oh what a paparazi lens. I've been pining for a lens that is more then the 300mm I have for taking animal photos

I'm not sure when the Sony version of this lens will start to sell. I  know so far the only model they have on the Tamron Canada site is that Canon model.  The announcement says that it will be available for Canon first then Nikon and Sony. I bet the Sony is last and just in time for Christmas 2014.

Sadly because it's a new lens, I'm not going to find it cheap on Kijji.

Monday, February 17, 2014

Damn I'm good

Blowing away any heat left from my fingers :)

This photo shows 2, count them 2 AMD W600 cards, each in a stretched 3x2 mode, in 1920x1080 resolution, for a total of 5760x2160. What you are seeing is 6 screens per display or desktop.

Yes this system is themed "Sanctuary" after the TV show. It is a HP 8300 Elite, with 4Gb ram, using Windows 8.1 64 bits, and the latest driver from ati, I believe the 13.251.1, from 29-01-14.   

What is impressive is that it is the first time ever I get this config going with 2, yes count them 2, ATI Firepro W600 cards.  Damn I'm good...

The reason I'm patting myself on the back so hard, is that no one else at my job has managed to get this going. Hell I argued with a manager this morning that try as I might, I could not get this going.  And I did. With Catalyst, no less.... WOOT!!!!

Best made plans of Mice and men!

So two weeks ago, my friend and I decided we would drive down to Ottawa this coming week-end. We would leave Friday around lunch time and come back around dinner time on Sunday.

Well that was fine until my friend got an interview at Canada Post on that morning at 8am.  That changes completely the schedule, since my friend was going to pick up a niece to bring them to Ottawa as well.

Then last night I found out that on this Friday night, there is a Cheers reunion.  I'm really not the type for bar reunions but if there was a bar I spent many Friday nights at in my adult life, ti was the Cheers West Islands most Friday nights in 2004, 2005 and possibly 2006.  I also found out that many of the friends I used to go to Cheers to see on Friday nights will be there.  So while I hate going to these type of events, my desire to meet up with these people in a neutral ground where I don't have to make phone calls or send messages, really rocks.

So its starting to look like we're going to be going to Ottawa early Saturday morning, instead of Friday night. This would give me a chance to go to the Firm on Sources/Hymus area and socialize. While part of me is terrified as I haven't seen some people in 4-5 years, I know it won't be an issue and it would be best for my social life to go.

Friday, February 14, 2014

I love snow storms

Not fond of the traffic during snow storms though and people drive so incredibly slow sometimes. Took 15-20 minutes to get down Sunnybrooke from Kingsley and make it down St Regis to where I work.

Thursday, February 13, 2014


If I had a penny for every time someone told me I was over reacting or when someone tells me to relax or says things to make me think I'm crazy. Well, it's a phenomenon most women are aware of, and the word gaslight appears to be correct. Check this article.

Chickpea Casserole Recipe

By demand for my eldest daughter, here is my : 

Chickpea casserole recipe 

1 tbsp of vegetable oil or water
1/2 - 1 cup of chopped onions
2 garlic cloves finely chopped or minced
1 bay leaf
1 cup cooked brown or white rice
1 cup canned cream style corn
1  x 19 ounce cup of chickpeas drained and rinsed
2 tbsp of curry
1/2 tsp tumeric
1/4 cup of water

Preheat oven to 375F

  • lightly oil 1 1/2 quart baking dish
  • heat oil or water in a large frying pan on medium heat
  • cook onions garlic and bay leaf until onions are tender (5 minutes)
  • remove pan from heat, discard bay leaf
  • add remaining ingredients and mix well
  • Throw into baking dish
  • Bake covered with aluminum for 30 minutes or until sauce bubbles.

    12 step programs

    I've never been a big fan because of the religious component, but read this tonight which makes me wonder why 12 step programs are one of the few things out there for addiction.  I'm rather grateful that I was able to quit drinking on my own with some will power and stay quit all these years. Now going on 32 years...

    Wednesday, February 12, 2014

    Gluten free fruit square - another variation

    The first variation I did of the fruit nut squares was using just one bag of  of the president's choice  frozen mixed fruit blends.  The 4-fruit blend that contains peaches, strawberries, pineapple and mango.  It was what inspired me to mix berries and mangoes to make the  "Hawaiian punch" version. The recipe is here.  Just substitute the 3 half bags of frozen fruit & berries for this one bag shown on the left.

    I get bored so I'm going to keep experimenting with various mixes. I tend to buy frozen fruit when there are sales. Sometimes it's cheaper to buy a bag of frozen strawberries then fresh ones!  And for baking it does not matter if it has been frozen.

    Also learning to toss in my freezer any ripe banana no one will eat because it's too ripe.   They are perfect for cooking.

    Sun bathing in the kitchen.

    I've been known to sunbathe in my kitchen but I'm catlike :) 

    Ziva sunbathing in the kitchen.

    Jethro, napping while sunbathing in the sun.

    Tuesday, February 11, 2014

    Pan-fried Haloumi is good

    Pan-fried Haloumi served with onions and peppers
    But if you like heat, try slathering  frank's hot sauce on top of the cheese, while the other side is cooking. When you turn it over, you turn over cheese covered in hot sauce.   It grills nicely and develops a really nice tang.  Most people say to dip the cheese in flour but I like it just pan fried in coconut oil.

    I used a Haloumi that is a mix of cow, sheep and goats milk and is a product of Cyprus.  I  prefer it to the Haloum cheese that I can also find at Mourelatos but is more  salty and is made only of cow's milk.

    Gluten Free Fruit Squares or bars

    These are the fruits and berries I used in the fruit squares
    Gluten free fruit squares or bars  "Hawaiian punch flavour" 

    1/2 bag of a 600g mango cubes
    1/2 bag of a 600g cherry medley
    1/2 bag of a 600g berry blend with pomegranate 
    2/3 cups of coconut oil
    1 mushy banana
    1/2 cup of almond milk
    3/4 cup of walnut flour or crushed flax seeds
    3/4 cup of coconut flour
    1/2 cup of gluten free rolled oats
    1/2 cup of coconut flakes
    1/4 cup of peanut pieces or walnut pieces. [optional]
    1/4 teaspoon sea salt.
    1 teaspoon of chinese 5 spice [Could also be allspice, or cinnamon  or whatever you enjoy]

    1 - preheat oven to 350F. Put all the frozen fruit in a pot and warm up. Drain all excess liquid after the majority of the fruit has thawed out, and then cook mixture until mango is mushy. 

    2 - Lightly coat an 8 1/2 x 8 1/2" dish baking pan with coconut oil. In a small bowl, mix almond milk, banana, coconut oil. TIP: If your coconut oil is hard, put in microwave to liquefy it before mixing with other two ingredients. In a medium bowl, combine flours, rolled oats, coconut flakes,  nuts &spices [if using] and salt. Add wet ingredients, then mix well.

    3 -  Place fruit in a blender or food processor.  Turn into even texture. Should be thick.

    4 - Place half of the oat mixture in the prepared pan and spread evenly across the bottom. I use a spoon to tap it down evenly. Spread fruit mix evenly on top. Add the remaining mixing on top of the fruit layer. Pat with a spoon to flatten.

    5 - Bake for 25-30 minutes [Depending on your oven]. Remove from oven and let cool. When cool cut into 16 squares.

    Alternatively instead of laying fruit in middle, I've mixed everything together and put it in the dish. I bake for same amount of time but cut into 8 bars.  If my 8 1/2 x 8 1/2" square glass dish isn't available I use my 7 1/2 x 11 1/2" oblong glass dish instead.

    "Hawaiian Punch" gluten free fruit bar

    mId winter bleahs

    Been feeling like crap for a few days. Could be worse I could have the flu that is going around.   I just feel crappy. I know it  will pass . But it's been making it hard to interview and find motivation at work.

    I'm trying to decide if I want to get Lasik surgery as well. My daughter is very pleased with results, and I can still read without glasses, so at least I could get away with driving and spending most time without glasses until I need reading glasses regularly.

    It's funny when I was telling someone I was feeling bleah yesterday they suggested I go shopping for clothes. It's what I did Sunday. Spent 3 hours at Carrefour Laval. Went to La Maison Simons, bought pink tights for $2.99 in liquidation. Went to Old Navy picked up funky teal floral print rockstar Jeans, 2 tank tops and a long sleeved hemley for $25 with taxes. Also picked up "Artist" jeans and a dress at American Eagle Outfitters. Then went to Aerie and got a bathing suit. One of the Brooke ones, in a red shade though almost bought a teal one.  Was in a teal mood yesterday.

    Monday, February 10, 2014

    Gluten Free Fig Squares - Revised

    Gluten free Fig Squares

    1 bag of dried black mission figs [it was 375g]
    2/3 cup coconut oil
    1 mushy banana
    1/2 cup of almond milk
    3/4 cup of almond flour
    3/4 cup of coconut flour
    1/2 cup of gluten free rolled oats
    1/2 cup of coconut flakes
    1/2 teaspoon of baking soda
    1/4 teaspoon sea salt.
    1 tsp of chinese 5 spice [ or it could be allspice, or cinnamon - whatever floats your boat]

    1 - preheat oven to 350F. Put figs in small saucepan, cover with water and bring to a boil. Turn of heat and let figs soften for 5-7 minutes. Do not drain.

    2 - Lightly coat an 8 1/2 x8 1/2" dish baking pan with coconut oil. In a small bowl, mix almond milk, banana, coconut  oil.  TIP: If your coconut oil is hard, put in microwave to liquefy it before mixing with other two ingredients.  In a medium bowl, combine flours, rolled oats, coconut flakes, baking soda spices, and salt. Add wet ingredients, then mix well.

    3 - Remove softened figs from water and place in a blender or food processor. Add 3-4 tablespoons of the re-hydrating water and puree until smooth

    4 - Place half of the oat mixture in the prepared pan and spread evenly across the bottom. I use a spoon to tap it down evenly. Spread figs evenly on top. Add the remaining mixing on top of the fig layer. Pat with a spoon to flatten.

    5 - Bake for 25-30 minutes [Depending on your oven]. Remove from oven and let cool. When cool cut into 16 squares.

    Sunday, February 09, 2014

    Arabian Spinach

    I'm not a huge spinach fan but I like it stir fried.  This is an easy to prepare recipe that is highly satisfying.

    1 package of fresh spinach
    2 garlic cloves crushed
    1 red onion
    1 tbsp of coconut oil
    1 tsp of cumin
    1 19 ounce can of chickpeas or garbanzo beans
    a handful of grated Kashkaval cheese

    Heat up the coconut oil in a wok, add the onion, then the crushed garlic, and finally the cumin.   Stir, then add the spinach and stir fry it until it is greatly reduced. Once spinach cooked add the chickpeas, keep stirring to warm up chickpeas. Once everything is hot, cover with the grated cheese and put lid on wok, let sit 5 minutes, to give time for cheese to melt.


    Cute pet photos :)

    I took these while visiting friends in the townships.

    Ziva being a diva in my nightshirt

    Ziva under my nightshirt.

    Saturday, February 08, 2014

    Sunlight soap bar revisited

     The label off the bars still in my cupboard.
    So the packaging has changed a little bit since I last bought some, but otherwise I did find some at IGA. I had to look and look and look. It was so well hidden on the shelf.  But was very happy to find some. I hadn't seen it in any store in years. 

    Beautiful day for skating

    My shadow on the skating rink
    It was a beautiful winter day. I left home around 2ish, first went to IGA down the road, then proceeded to the Parc on Rive Boisee. I spent about one hour skating around the ice rink. After taking my skates off I went to the other side of the park, the one along the Riviere des Prairies and even walked on a snowshoe trail halfway across the bay to a little island. But decided I went far enough and came back. Took a bunch of photos before proceeding to Mourelatos.

    Ice rink at parc de la rive boisee.
    I had a great time going skating especially since there was absolutely no one but me the entire time I skated. Not on either rink. Just as I had enough some people arrived to play hockey on the hockey rink.  I don't understand those people who whine they are all alone. I had a fabulous time by myself today.

    What amuses me is that the first five minutes I skate hurt the most. I usually want to call it quits. If I can get past it, then I can last an hour. I'm still breaking in new skates so it's good I can last an hour.

    Friday, February 07, 2014

    Sunlight soap bars mom used to scrub every stain on the clothes with sunlight soap before throwing it in the washing machine. She had no faith that the machine would clean the clothes as well as she could . But then she could wear the same shirt 5 days in a row.  The collar would get rather greyish.

    Last time I found sunlight soap I stocked up and it's been a while since I've seen it in a supermarket but I've found it available at home hardware today by Googling. Will be buying a few bars in the upcoming weeks.

    What I love about this soap is that you can use it to whiten fabrics that you can not bleach. I have a little white handkerchief I keep in my purse,which tends to get yellowed in the purse.   I wet the item and lather it well with sunlight soap. Then it put it out in the sun until it's dried.  I'll then rinse it out and see if the stains/yellow is gone, if I'm not satisfied I'll do it a few more times.  Drying out in sunlight is key. After a few times, your item is nice and white and has no more stains.  

    If wanting to remove stains on non white items, you can lather it up with sunlight soap but let it sit in the sink for a few hours soaking with the soap, then toss it in the laundry with the other clothing articles.

    Thursday, February 06, 2014


    I survived the day from hell. I managed to make it to the dentist by 10:30 for an 11am appointment. Except that they didn't take me till 11:15, which mean my appointment ran to 12:15.  So I called from the lobby at 12:20 to tell our receptionist to advise the HR lady that I was potentially going to be late for my 1pm appointment.

    To make sure I was not late instead of taking the decarie service road to the 40, I actually took the Decarie highway.  It wasn't jammed, despite the snow. I could not believe a woman from Ontario driving an SUV cut in at the very last minute to get on the 40, and was driving 40km per hour, on a highway with a minimum of 60. The minute I could, I got out from behind this moron.   In the third lane of the 40 I was comfortable going 90km per hour.  So long as there is no one close to you, snow should not prevent you from driving.

    I made it back to work at exactly 1:02pm, despite having to go park on the street because the front parking was full.  I took an extra 5 minutes to wolf down a tabouleh salad with feta, before doing my first interview.

    Would you believe I was running 2 minutes late and some yahoo from another division just walked right into my interview with a comment like "It's my turn now". I asked her politely to let me finish. It's one thing to respect interview schedules, but to barge in while someone else is interviewing after they go beyond the allotted time by 2 or 3 minutes is called lack of respect. I mean WTF?  When I walked out a few minutes later ,the woman ignored me and just barged in. I tried to tell her you can't just walk into someone's interview. But she was just going to be a bitch. So I complained to our HR lady. That  this yahoo needs to learn some manners. We don't just  barge in and then when we're told to wait, SLAM the fucking door?!?!?!  Mature!  and they say I"M MOODY! HA!!!!

    I did the 5 interviews. This university thinks it's giving their students a better chance for jobs by having us decide to hire their students first [last day to tell them who we want is this Friday, all other schools is next Friday]. Well not having seen other candidates, I was only comfortable choosing one of their students. This girl was awesome, the first female candidate I interview that has built her own PC, and is totally comfortable with hardware.

    Besides this school is giving their students bad advice. I'm told they tell the students to apply to all the jobs they like whether or not they meet the requirements.  Well for a QA job that doesn't fly. If you can't read requirements, I will think you will not do QA properly.  If I ask for first or 2nd year bachelors students,  I will put in the garbage all the resumes from people in 3rd, and 4rth year bachelors degree, and all the masters students.    Also we have a minimum required GPA, if you don't meet it, I can't hire you. If I cannot hire you, then I certainly won't waste my time interviewing you! I received a pile of 20 CV's from that university. I interviewed 5, the other 15 went straight into the garbage.

    Wednesday, February 05, 2014

    Oh what a fun day today will be

    I have a dentist appointment around 11 this morning, to get my teeth cleaned and checked for problems.  I should be back at work by 1, and then I get to do 4 or 5 job interviews for summer internship by myself because my colleague is on vacation at the moment.

    Just to make life more interesting, I will be driving to my dentist in a snow storm.  We're expecting about 10 cms or 4 inches.  Weee.

    Because of the fact that I have to get going early to be at work early to do an hour or so before the dentist, I barely slept last night, kept waking up or being awake. Yay me.

    Tuesday, February 04, 2014

    Random fact for the day.

    A complete random unrelated fact, there is still a golden sheen on the passenger seat of my Suzuki, from the sunscreen my eldest daughter had on her last summer when we went camping.   I notice it from time to time and it reminds me of my daughter.

    Saturday, February 01, 2014

    Good things come to those who wait

    Patience they say is a virtue.  On August 10, 2012, I put an ad on Kijiji to look for a Pfaff Calanda 3000 sewing machine. To replace mine that my daughter's  dad gave me back in 1985, and which got broken back in 2006 or 2007.

    Earlier this week I got a message on Kijiji from someone in Ste Anne de Bellevue, who has the machine. After 2 days where we did not connect finally tonight I was able to go to Ste Anne, and pick up the machine which works like a charm. 

    I'm so thrilled. I can finally sew again... Yes!!!

    Now time to take down my ad from Kijiji.