Saturday, January 28, 2006

Today I Ran

Today (well, it is really yesterday, now - having another of those nights) I ran. This may not be significant to you able kneed people but to me significant. They say I will never run and they say I shouldn't run. The big reason is because of the huge build up of scar tissue inside my knee that when I run, the impact cuts off the blood circulation and thus endangers my transplant. However, I just can't accept this. I love running. Not running like Katie or Laura or Sarah or any of you other long distance runners. I love running full out, sprinting. I was fast in my day (not as fast as Sarah, of course). But I used to win all the races at the pioneer day picnics in Fort George Park. I can still remember running bare foot with through the grass as fast as I could. Later, in high school, I never came in first - lots of seconds and thirds. But I still loved that feeling.

Anyway, today I ran. We were hurrying to catch the bus to make it out to a bird sanctuary tour for our homeschooling group. So I ran this funny kind of joggy thing that is anything but graceful. My right leg refused to go heel first but goes toe first. I think my ankle is compensating for my knee - absorbing the shock at least a little, on behalf of my knee. Very kind of my ankle but not very pretty. But the feeling of running, my elevated heart rate, my muscles working hard and fast like that (well, they were working faster). It has been sooooo long since I was able to run that evern running for 1 minute (which is all I did at a time) was such an effort. I kept thinking of when it was not such an effort. I want to be able to run. Really run. I don't want to run a marathon but I would like to be able to work up to running 30 minutes again. I liked how 'in shape' my body felt then. Will I ever be able to? I need to get one of those mini trampoline things. The physio says I can start running in place on one of those.

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Reflections on the Election (hey! that rhymes)... I'm such a geek!

Well, in the end, I couldn't do it. I couldn't vote strategically. I had to vote with my heart, for the candidate that I wanted to send to Ottawa. And actually everyone I know who was also debating about voting strategically also voted with their hearts. I just couldn't vote for the liberal guy. I couldn't stand the guy running in our area and I also think the Liberals need a break from running the country. You just can't have that many big scandals and keep going. I didn't want to vote out of fear, either. In the end, it was the usual Conservative sweep of the entire Okanagan Valley from Penticton to Vernon (3 ridings). But at least I am comfortable with how I voted.

Upon reflecting on the results, I do think that it turned out for the best. The Liberals needed to get out of power. I am glad that it is a minority government. I am glad that the NDP picked up more seats - especially in BC. (did you notice that Terrace went NDP?) (probably not) I am glad because I think we need balance. I think that it is time we changed our adversarial system. I think we should have all minority governments and that they should have to work together - more of a concensus approach. I think we need every view to make the best decisions and to truly represent the entire country. You have to remember that democracy was developed in Athens which was a CITY state - not a huge, huge country. It is challenging to unify our vast country. I was also glad to see the Conservatives pick up seats in Quebec. If those rednecks in Quebec are going to vote for the right, I'd rather they voted for a nationalist party. With the way parliament is, I don't think that Harper will do anything extreme. It should be an interesting couple of years. I hope he lasts longer than Joe Clark.

Watching all the results come in and listening to all the commentary led me to think of the innate sexism still bubbling under the surface. Like the NDP getting the most seats since Ed Broadbent was the leader. . . Who were the leaders between Broadbent and Layton? 2 women. Alexa McDonough and Audrey McLaughlin. I don't really think the party has changed that much. I think people have an easier time trusting a man to run the country than a woman. And why is that? Most women handle the finances and run their homes... It's weird but I have to agree that for some reason, I do too on some deep, unconscious level. (although in my own defence, I did vote for a woman in this and the last election) Although I really admired Alexa and I thought she was very wise about somethings. And then Kim Campbell came on last night commenting on the election from Madrid (first Conservative government since she was booted uncerimoniously out). I thought she was extremely bright and intelligent and had some astute observations about the election and the challenges that lie ahead. Yet when she was Prime Minister the PC party lost official party status. Of course a lot of that had to do with Mulroney's antics but still. I am wondering if some of it has to do with the fact that she is a woman. I liked the guts of Sheila Copps - how she wasn't afraid to stand up for what she believed in and get down and dirty and tough with 'the boys'. And look what happened to her. Paul Martin jetisonned her like yesterday's trash. Of course there are other factors that come into all those things but I think that there is still some systemic sexism in us Canadians. I think one of the big reasons there are less women in Ottawa than men is because we would rather have mostly men. I think if the tables were turned overnight by magic and all the men were women and all the women were men, I think it would be very threatening. I think it would take us awhile to get used to all those women having so much power. Think of it. Really. Be honest.

Monday, January 23, 2006

Snoring and Voting

The sleep saga continues. Last night I went to bed right after I put Rhiannon to bed. I was fast asleep before 8pm. But.... Rhiannon didn't wake me up this night. In my dream, Drew was snoring very loudly and I kept trying to wake him up to get him to stop snoring. In the end, I was really angry at him for not waking up and still snoring and then I was awake and the snoring continued as Dean snored a very loud snore right in my ear. I poked him until he rolled over muttering "I can't help it" or maybe I said something like "Roll over for heaven's sake!" Yah, maybe it was something like that... That was at 1:45am. And then I laid there until 2:15 at which time I knew my mind was so wide awake it was not going back to sleep. It was starting to plan my blog so here I am. I actually got quite a lot done in the wee hours yesterday morning and I didn't run out of energy - even went for a hike with a friend in the afternoon. But by 6pm, I was toast. I kept falling asleep while I was reading to Rhiannon. Again, she was not impressed.

Now, today is the day we vote. I am in a quandry. I don't know who to vote for. I heard someone on CBC who described themselves as being non-partisan and he claimed that he had voted for every major party at one time or another. That describes me perfectly. I am non-partisan. Somewhere inbetween the McLeans who vote NDP on principle and think it is the morally right thing to do and Dad who votes whatever is the farthest right party at the time (PC, Reform, Alliance and now Conservative) on principle and thinks it is the morally right thing to do. I have voted for all the major parties and the Green Party as well. I am very situational. I am loyal to no party. Last time I voted NDP. Would I vote NDP if I didn't live in the Okanagan full of rednecks. It has been well more than a decade (and probably much longer than that) since anyone who didn't represent the extreme right got in around here. I have worked with too many of the disadvantaged and seen their potential and seen the complete lack of support in their lives to agree with the Conservative's platform. I don't want Stephen Harper to be the next Prime Minister. I don't want to go to war. I would do almost anything to make sure that my son didn't have to go to war. Not to mention that I think war is wrong and in the long run only begets more war. I think it is about time we started thinking up some different solutions to solving our differences... I also think that we need to do Kyoto and that we need to honour agreements made with First Nations. But how can one vote for the Liberals? The Liberal candidate in our riding could really be a conservative if our conservative party wasn't so very far to the right. I liked the old Progressive Conservatives. I liked Joe Clark (not so fond of NAFTA and Brian Mulroney) and Jean Charest. I think that voting NDP will just be throwing my vote away. I don't really believe that the Okanagan will EVER send an NDP candidate to Ottawa. I think the Liberal guy has a chance and I want to stop Stephen Harper. But I don't like the Liberal guy and I don't really want him representing me in Ottawa. So I can't decide. Maybe I will vote NDP and send my own private little message to whoever gets in, "Andrea wants you to lean a little more towards the left - be kind to poor people, think of the environment, don't go to war." Anyways, my conundrum. How will I vote?

Sunday, January 22, 2006

More about Sleep Deprivation

Well, I just can't win, it seems. I went to bed on Friday night at 9pm. I could hardly stay awake that late! I kept dozing off while Rhiannon read a book to me... she was rather annoyed. Then she woke up at 11 and I had to get up and put her back to bed. I slept then until 7am. But being woken up just 2 hours after I fell into an exhausted sleep just wrecked it. I was tired anways. It would have been better to stay up until 11 and then have 8 hours of uninterrupted sleep. It is the interruptions that get to me.

Then I went to bed last night at 10:30. Rhiannon crawls into bed with me sometime. I barely notice and keep on sleeping. Then my son! plays music loudly on the computer at 2:30am. The computer is right below me. I had to get up and come downstairs and tell him to turn off the computer and go to bed and threaten to move his bedroom back upstairs if he pulls stunts like this (staying up all night). I put Rhiannon back in her own bed.

I lie in bed. I lie in bed. I lie in bed.

I turn on the light and try reading to put me to sleep. I turn off the light.

I lie in bed. I lie in bed.

I turn on the light and write in my journal all the thoughts that are rattling around in my head. I turn off the light.

I lie in bed. I lie in bed.

I give up on sleep and come down and work on the computer planning the classes and working on the promo for classes at the Inner World School. So now it is 5:30 and I have not been back to sleep. Right now I am not tired but I am frustrated. I know that I will 'hit the wall' as it were. Sigh. At least I have not wasted my time. I had such ambitious plans for today. Now I am worried I will be too tired and I will just peter out. Well at least you got an update!

Sleepless in Vernon...

Friday, January 20, 2006

Snow, Snow, Snow

Well, we got an unpredicted dump of snow last night. The kids are happy. And it is close to 0 so the roads are not too bad. I am having a rather lazy day. I am tired. I am exhausted by Rhiannon's renewed drive to sleep in my bed, crammed up against me. I don't know how people do it. I just loved it so much when she was sleeping through the night in her own bed. Sweet sleep. Mom always told me how much I needed sleep from the time I was a wee baby. I DO need my sleep. 8 hours of uninterrupted sleep guarantees a happy and energized Chick.

I went to the dollar store and stocked up on new and interesting prizes for sleeping on ones own bed. I can hope can't I? I was going to say dream but it somehow seemed inappropriate.... I think I will make scrambled eggs for dinner with toast of home made bread.

That reminds me. I made the best cinnamon buns that I have EVER made. I have made the recipe before but they never turned out this well. I wish I knew what it was that made these ones so good. The rose perfectly and they were light and sweet and sticky and delicious!

Well, I know this is a boring post but I feel boring. I'm tired (whine). Just so you know...

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

More on the Mermaid Chair

Here is a review from that says it very well. I found the book very symbolic and deep and very inspiring in my own relationship with my husband. I love Sue Monk Kidd's women in her novel. There is great commaraderie (however you spell that), unconditional love, support, loyalty and wisdom in their friendships.

"The Mermaid Chair is set on a tiny island off the coast of South Carolina, where a monastery has a chair carved with mermaids and dedicated a saint who was supposedly once a mermaid. Jessie Sullivan leaves behind her husband to come back home to this island after her mother's violent and unexplained self-mutilation. Jessie finds herself relieved to be without her husband and also finds herself falling for Brother Thomas, a Benedictine monk about to take his final vows. Jessie embarks on a period of self-discovery while the secret of her father's death decades before appears to hold the key to her mother's actions. Sue Monk Kidd's second novel (after The Secret Life of Bees) has received mixed reviews with BookPage saying, "Reconciling the spiritual with the human, The Mermaid Chair is a captivating metaphorical and sensual journey into one woman's soul." "

Book Report

Well, since Christmas I have read several novels. It is my time of the year to do such reading. I've forced myself to read some I really didn't care for but I have also read some really good ones! I read "The Mermaid Chair" by Sue Monk Kidd and I really, really loved it. I was so inspired by the book. It filled my heart with good feelings for my husband and our marriage. I really appreciate it when a book uplifts me. That is the same author of "The Secret Life of Bees" that I read on the bus going home from Nanaimo after the sisters bike hike (Laura! Where is your account?!)

Last night I finished reading Peace Like a River that Laura recommended earlier. It took that long for me to get it from the library. There was a looong line up for it. I really enjoyed it, too. I enjoyed the faith of the book and the power of the father. I also really enjoyed the writing style of the author. You know, it reminded me of Laura's style of writing. Several times I could imagine that she would describe it that way. I'm not sure exactly what it was... the sentence structure and the often tongue-in-cheek way of looking at things, especially himself. Anyway, if you haven't read it, I recommend it.

It snowed all day yesterday but not much of it stuck. In fact by 5pm, although it had snowed for hours, you could still see the grass. Rhiannon was very discouraged as she really wanted to take out her sled and crazy carpet again (for the second time only). When we left for piano lessons she commanded the heavens to snow real snow! When we came out of piano lessons an hour later, a good 2 inches were covering everything. She quickly ate dinner and went out sledding with Daddy and Drew. I let her stay up late to do so as it is supposed to be +6 today so that snow won't be here long. Weird weather we're having this winter. She fell asleep within minutes of getting home. Couldn't even stay awake for the cinnamon buns I had in the oven.

It was Dean's birthday on Jan 14. He's 44. A good number, I think. We had his birthday dinner on Sunday when he got home from Golden where he had been playing for the week end. He had ordered lasagne so that's what I made along with brocolli and cauliflower with cheese and cesaer salad and ice cream cake for dessert. He loved it. That's what matters, I guess.

Wednesday, January 11, 2006


Well, time for an update. I have been hard at work yesterday and today on Rhiannon's bedroom. For those of you who haven't been here, my home has not been updated since the early 1970's. It has the original carpeting, panelling, etc.

So, over Christmas Kaetlyn moved down to Erin's vacated room. So yesterday we moved Rhiannon into Kaetlyn's old room (going to be my sewing room) so we could work on her room. We tore the wallpaper off and then washed the paper off. Rhiannon and her friend helped to rip off all the wallpaper. Dean and Drew helped me get all the paper backing stuff off. I have basically spent today getting the glue off of the walls. Whew. My eyes feel funny - I think it is the glue... Wow! Was that glue ever ON there. I washed the walls with various solutions suggested on the internet, finishing up with TSP. I washed twice with TSP. Total, I have washed the walls 5 times. My arms are sore. My feet are sore. I am sure my back and side will be sore. But... the walls are clean. When I am done here I will have a bath and get dressed (I am still in my jammies - this was a morning project...) and fill the holes in the walls.

So, that has consumed me since yesterday. I like what dramatic changes you can make with simply a lot of your own effort. I babysit a girl whose mom works at the paint store so I get staff prices on everything I need.

I have a New Years goal - a fun one. I want to try a new recipe out of my Betty Crocker cookbook everyday. I was thinking - why do I always make the same bread recipe? Why not make this one with sundried tomatoes and kalamata olives? I sundried a bunch of tomatoes and haven't used any. Why not now? I'll let you know what works!

Oh yah, and I was actually on the front page of the newspaper today. Hilarious! Check it out here: - go down to the dog days one.

Sunday, January 08, 2006

Recipe Update

For the first recipe (black bean and sausage soup) I use 'Freybe Chicken and Turkey Sausages' which are really more like smokies. In fact they are in the section with the smokies and pepperoni and stuff like that in Save On Foods (I've never been able to find them any where else). There are several different seasonings (flavours?). The Mexican one is quite spicey (I like it, the kids don't). I've tried all the different ones and they are all good with the soup. I've also made it with turkey smokies when there were none of the Freybe Sausages.

Friday, January 06, 2006

Slow Cooker Recipes

Here are the promised slow cooker recipes - somewhat later than originally promised...

This one is my family's favourite of all time (and I created it myself!)

Sausage & Black Bean Soup
1 package of turkey sausage or smokies
1 large box of fat free, reduced sodium chicken broth
1 can of black beans, rinsed and drained
1 small zucchini, shredded
1 lg can of diced canned tomatoes
1 green pepper chopped up
1 onion, chopped
1 T of oregano
1 T of chili powder

If you are using raw sausage, cook and drain, breaking into small pieces (I usually use the smokie type that don't require cooking) Place in slow cooker.

Stir in all other ingredients. Cook on low heat for 4 - 5 hours or on high setting for 2 - 3 hours.

All following recipes are from "Better Homes and Gardens Biggest Book of Slow Cooker Recipes" (fantastic cook book! I love it!)

Slow Cooker Minestrone (pg 144)
1 can of black beans
1 cup of shredded cabbage
1/2 c shredded carrot
1/2 c of chopped celery
1/2 c of onion
1 can of diced tomatoes
1 14 oz can of fat free low sodium beef broth (I've used boullion instead)
3 c of water
1/4 t each of salt and pepper (I hate pepper, never add it)
8 oz fresh green beans cut into 2 inch pieces (I don't like fresh beans so I always use 1 small can)
1/2 c tiny shell macaroni
2 T snipped fresh parsley
1/2 c finely grated parmesan cheese

1. In 3.5 - 6 litre slow cooker add all ingredients except parmesan cheese, macaroni, parsley and green beans (if using fresh - if using canned add now). Stir and cover. Cook on low heat setting for 8 - 10 hours or on high-heat setting for 4 - 5 hours.

2. If using low heatr setting, turn to high heat setting. Stir in green beans and macaroni. Cover, cook for 30 minutes more. Stir in parsley. Ladle into soup bowls. Sprinkle each serving with Parmesan cheese.

Cheesy Potatoe Soup (pg 145)

This one is super easy and super yummy! I've also made it faster just cooking it on the stove.

6 medium pototoes, peeled (I never do that) and chopped
2 1/2 c water
1/2 c chopped onion
2 t instant chicken boullion granules (I've also used broth instead of boullion and water)
1/4 t pepper
1 1/2 c shredded cheddar cheese
1 12oz can evaporated milk (1.5 cups)

1. In a 3.5 - 4 litre slow cooker combine potatoes, water, onion, boullion granules and pepper. Cover; cook on low heat setting for 8 - 9 hours or on high heat setting for 4 - 4.5 hours.

2. Stir cheese and milk into mixture in cooker. Cover; cook onlow heat setting for 1 hour more or on high heat setting for 30 minutes more. Mash potatoes slightly, if desired (I usually mash alot - makes it thick and creamy).

Beef & Garden Vegetable Soup (pg 34)
2 to 2.5 pounds (1kg) meaty beef shank (I use whatever is the cheapest kind of steak that has a bone in it)
2 medium carrots, shredded
2 stalks of celery, sliced
1 large potatoe, cubed
1 c coarsely chopped cabbage
1 small onion chopped
3 c water
2 c tomato juice
2 T instant beef boullion granules
1 T worcestershire sauce
1 T chili powder
2 bay leaves (I never use these)

1. Cut meat into 1 inch cubes, reserving bones and trimming off fat

2. In a 3.5 - 6 litre slow cooker, place all ingredients, including bones. Cover; cook on low heat setting for 8 - 10 hours or on high heat setting for 4 - 5 hours.

3. Remove and discard bones and bay leaves. Skim off fat.

Those are my favourite recipes, anyway. I also do a thing where I put mushroom soup, cooked chicken bits and rice and the appropriate amount of water in a slow cooker and cook but I haven't got the amounts just right and it ends up too dry - not saucy enough. Haven't tried it in awhile.

Keep on cooking!

Monday, January 02, 2006

Happy New Year

We had a wonderful New Years this year. Dean was gone, of course. (that was not necessarily the wonderful part...) Redfish played Castlemountain this year. (That's by Pincher Creek in Alberta - do you remember dad talking about Pincher Creek?) So Kaetlyn Drew, Rhiannon and I cleaned the house and then bought some snacks and rented some movies (5 to be exact). We rented all 3 of the newest Star Wars episodes and Fox and the Hound and Brother Bear. We watched movies, ate and played games. We wanted to play all of our board games but we didn't get very far. We played Sorry, Uno and Snakes and Ladders. We watched Fox and the Hound and the first 2 Star Wars. Midnight occured during the second Star Wars. We paused, counted down, shouted "Happy New Year" and kissed each other and continued the movie. The next morning we woke up in the late morning and continued eating snacks and watching movies - onto Brother Bear and the last Star Wars which none of us had seen and so we really enjoyed it. Then an old friend visiting from Calgary took us out to Narnia. So within a 24 hour period, I watched 6 movies and several of them were longer than 2 hours! We topped it off by finishing off our snacks and playing Scrabble last night. Our snacks were really good. In addition to the usual - chips and pop, we had a veggie platter with dip, an 'oriental platter' from M & M meats, and 2 shrimp rings. Then the friend from Calgary brought us cookies and more chips! (there are still chips left)

I loved it. It was so relaxed and easy and fun. And we all enjoyed every part together. Rhiannon even watched Star Wars (although she fell asleep during the second one at around 10:30).

I have to say that I LOVED Narnia. I was a little nervous seeing it as I really loved that series of books as a child. I had games built up about them and everything! (I had an invisible pet Lion named Aslan, too.) I have to say that I think that is the best adaptation of a book I have ever seen! I really, really enjoyed it and so did the kids. Rhiannon asked a lot of questions but I think she got most of it and wasn't too scared, either.

Hope all of you had great New Years as well! I was thinking of you all!