Sunday, December 22, 2013

Life With Bea

It's been the best of's been the worst of times.

Two weeks ago, as many of you know, Husband and I expanded our wee family by one, by welcoming Beatrix Tucker Buggo into our lives.  Our lives changed pretty instantly and we can no longer imagine it without her in, and it's been amazing.....but not all the time.

We both knew things were going to be very different by taking on such a responsibility, but I don't think we realized quite how much things would change.  Getting up several times during the night to get a whimpering puppy to the washroom on time - and succeeding about 50% of the time - and having to keep an eye on her every minute, having to beat it back home after work to make sure she's ok, happy, well fed and watered, not bored.  I run into people in the hallways at work and they say "yikes, you look so tired." I say, "we have a puppy." They say, "AHHHHHH, it's like having a baby."

As lost as I feel sometimes when Bea just wants to shred things and nip and bite, I love her so much.  It makes me want to figure everything out, and to be the best puppy Mama I can be with what I know.  Thank you so much to all of you who have given us advice and shared what has worked for you, it's great to have a support group.

Ultimately, I know we are on the right track.  I know she's well taken care of, interested in life, not lacking for anything, comfortable and happy.  I know we'll get through the tough bits with her, and see the other end, with a well behaved, respectful puppy who loves us as much as we love her.  I look forward to it!

Bea having a snuggle with one of her fave toys, Munk.
Till next time!

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Sleeping Bea-uty

Yeah, I've become one of those people.  Those people who carry around pictures of their pets or babies and offer them up to perfect strangers in elevators, and over and over to friends who patiently smile and nod in agreement that yes, the puppy IS the cutest one to have ever lived.

But mine really IS. ;)

Good god, look at that!  The lil tongue!  Oh my heart, how am I ever going to get anything done from here on??

Till next time, friends!

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Bea's First Snow Adventure!

This afternoon, Bea and I hung out in the backyard for a bit.  On Sunday, Bea's friend Willa gave her a little coat that had gotten too small for her, so Bea would be warmer in the Winter.  Look how sporty!

Since it snowed yesterday, I thought it might be fun to see how Bea reacted to it.  Mostly she just followed me around and ate the snow, but I think pretty much anything she does is super cute so I had to share.  It's possible that there are some hard-hearted individuals out there who won't think that this tiny clip is the most adorable thing ever, but whatever.  

I know there's not much action, but I love it at the very beginning when she munches on the snow, and when she tries to turn around but her little coat is too thick so she has to back up instead.  And that little face!  Oh my heart!  Gotta go kiss it!

Till next time!

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Hi Everyone, My Name Is Bea!

I'm the newest member of the family!  I'm just a baby, only seven weeks old, and I'm half Boston Terrier, half Pug, and allllll cute.  My favourite things to do are snuggle with Mum and Dad, eat my kibble and play with my squeaky chipmunk. Oh, and I love to chew on my Mum's moccasins too, but I get the feeling I shouldn't.

Anyhoo, looks like some kibbles and snuggles are heading my way, so I'll be going now.  It's probably not the last you'll hear from me though, so stay tuned!

Till next time!

Saturday, November 30, 2013

Col. Chris Hadfield - Astronaut, Hero and Really Nice Guy

Last night, Husband and I had the pleasure of meeting a real Canadian Hero.  Col Chris Hadfield, former Commander of the International Space Station and inspiration to millions, came to a Halifax Chapters to do a signing for his book, An Astronaut's Guide to Life on Earth.

Husband snapped this just as Col Hadfield reached over to shake my hand!  In fact, even though there were probably thousands of people there, he managed to make eye contact with, shake hands with and have a little chat with every single person.  He told me he liked my t-shirt:

It was a surprise that Husband ordered for me online weeks ago and serendipituously (Col Hadfield's own word when we told him about it) arrived yesterday afternoon.  He admired the likeness and told us about how it was his son who wrote the new lyrics.  My face still hurts from grinning so hard. 

We waited to get our books signed for close to four hours, but it was a surprisingly quick four hours.  Everyone was cheerful and so excited, and besides, we all had a wealth of millions of books to look through as the signing line went on.  I spotted at least four tiny astronauts in homemade space suits waiting to meet the hero with their parents.  Young and old, girls and boys, people of every background gathered at the bookstore to meet and express their appreciation for a man who has inspired them.  

When Hadfield was still on the space station, he constantly kept in touch with us mere earthlings via social media.  He published photos of his views from up there, snippets of interesting information, and just general observations about his life and work while he was in space.  He made being there, in a way, accessible to everyone, and fueled the imaginations of people in a way that no one ever has before.  In a world where people often have to look hard for a champion, here came this charming, generous, brilliant mind who wanted to share his fascinating life with us all.  And we are better for it.

I am fully aware that I am gushing, don't worry, but I think you'd be hard pressed to find a cynical soul on the premises yesterday, when so many other people were fighting for their place in line for half price Korean tvs, we were all basking in the presence of greatness.  

Till next time!

Thursday, November 21, 2013

So Much To Do......

This is the busiest time of the year for many people, the weeks leading up to the holidays, as it certainly is for us.  A month - EGADS! - to go and not even one present has been made.  How did the end of November sneak up on us so quickly?  There is so much to do around the house and to get ready for Christmas, but yipes, so much fun to be had too.

Like tonight, for example, I'll PROBABLY go to the Tedeschi-Trucks Band show instead of dusting my salt and pepper shakers.

Although that rabbit DOES look somewhat dismayed. . .

And tomorrow, we might just have a dinner and drinks and games party with family and friends rather than doing the raking in the chilly backyard.

Looks like one thing I WILL have to do before the dinner party, is some grocery shopping.  Pretty hard to make risotto without arborio.

And though I'm gonna have to at least do some ironing beforehand. . .

. . . I'm pretty sure we'll be going to Husband's work Christmas party instead of folding the laundry.

Oh for shame, as my Mum would say.

Yep, things pile up pretty quickly when there are holiday and birthday parties, friends having babies, astronauts to meet, family to visit, concerts to go to and addictive television shows to catch up on.  What can you do but carry on?

I hope you're all having an easier time keeping up than I am!  Till next time!

Tuesday, November 12, 2013


Yes, I realize the title of this post is less than welcoming.  But, dear friends, it is not without just cause.  Take a look:

Our poor, sweet patio set.  And YES, I know it is November, and YES, I DO realize what country I live in.


Poor lil barbeque.  You're gonna be a bit lonely for a while.  Sorry.

Pumpkin that I bought two months ago and keep meaning to do something with, maybe you'll become a science experiment now.  Perhaps I'll put you up in the corner where nothing seems to grow and see if, over the winter and next spring, your hundreds of seeds may, in fact take root.

Garlic babies.  I was told you like the cold?  Though I am reluctant to leave such a pretty planter out all winter, you are deeply rooted in there now, and I feel like if I pull you out, you will not be happy?  Oh garlic baby, if only you could talk.

Anyway, it's frigging snowing.  I know, it has to happen, it's pretty much Winter.  But I don't have to like it.

And that's all I have to say about that.

Till next time!

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Le Bon Poulet

A while back I was searching for a good new chicken recipe - I mean, there must be trillions, right? - and I came upon this super easy, if time consuming recipe that we've fallen in love with.

It all started with an over zealous tomato buying trip to the Farmer's Market.  Husband is not a big fan of the mighty tomato - crazy, I know - so having purchased a dozen of them was, perhaps, foolhardy.  They were getting dark and squishy in our fridge but there was no way I was tossing them out, so in my search for a new chicken recipe, I looked for ones that included tomatoes.  I could not have found a more perfect solution.

It's a French recipe, called Poulet Saute Au Vinaigre, which, funnily enough, according to my Mac's dashboard translator, means Chicken Jumps to the Vinegar.  Whether or not that is the most accurate translation, I think we can all agree that it's the one we shall use.  This is what you need:

That's it!  You gotta love such a simple meal.  So here we go. Chop the tomatoes - I should mention, the riper they are the better, so this is a great recipe for when like us, you find yourself with a surplus that's at risk of going bad.  So yeah, chop them up.

No need to be precise here, just chop.  Then, take a good chunk of the butter and melt it in a medium sized sauce pan - ok, another aside - if you don't have good quality pots and pans, you might want to skip this recipe.  The very nature of it means that the pan WILL BURN on the bottom.  If you have a good quality pan, no big deal, if it's a cheap one, it may never recover!

Anyway, melt yo' butta.

Keep it on medium to high heat, melt it all, and then pop in your chicken - breasts are the best cut to use. Keep a pair of tongs close by and push the chicken around every couple of minutes, until they are browned nicely on both sides.

Then toss in your chopped up tomatoes.

This is the part that takes the longest - you have to wait for the tomatoes to release all their juices, and then reduce.  You want them to turn into a thick, dark, sticky sauce.  Keep the heat at medium to high, and give it a stir fairly frequently.  I have found that this takes about an hour.

This is what it looks like in all it's tomato juicy goodness.

This is what you should have in the end.

Now, add about a cup of red vine vinegar.  You have to stir it in and, again, reduce it, this time to about half.  The vinegar reduces much more quickly than the tomatoes.

Once the vinegar is reduced, add a cup of chicken broth.

Again, reduce, but this time, until you have a sauce consistency that you like - I like mine to be still pretty saucy since I serve it over plain rice.

Finally, add another chunk of butter - this IS a French recipe after all! This makes the sauce a bit slicker and creamier.

Take it off the heat and now you're done!  Like I said, I serve mine with rice, but whatever you like.

The result is a rich, delicious meal, made with whole ingredients.  It takes a while but it super easy to make.  Enjoy!

Till next time!

Thursday, October 31, 2013


If you should happen to run into this fearsome bugger in our neck of the woods tonight, DO NOT BE AFRAID!!

He (or...she...) and a pack of his (or her) friends are just keeping watch on the neighbourhood, greeting the littles at the door when they come along.

Tonight marks the first Halloween since both Husband and I moved away from home as young pups, that we have had the opportunity to meet the kiddies at the door and toss some yummy treats into their bags.  We've both always lived in apartments, and in my nearly twenty years of it, have never had a Trick-or-Treater!  So we're stoked.  I MAY have gone overboard at the dollar store today to get decorated and spooky.  Put it this way - I left with a bag of rats big enough that I had to cab it home.

Tomorrow we have a grown-ups Halloween party right here at our house, but tonight, it's all about the little ones.  I've already had a tiny, tiny dragon toddle up to the door and emit a ferocious "RRRRR!!" when I opened.  I can't wait to see what other monsters and ghouls make their way over!

Have a scary night, friends, till next time!

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Bike Stuff

Husband and I had a date night after work last week.  We had a nice, slow supper at Estia, the greek restaurant on Spring Garden Road, and then headed home for some snuggling on the couch with Dexter Morgan, haha.  Anyway, we'd both bussed it to work that day because it had been pouring rain when we got up, so after our meal, we strolled down to the bus stop to await our ride.  That's when I noticed this:

In case you don't know, and I didn't as it's the first time I've ever seen such a thing, this is a bicycle repair post!  There are a bunch of appropriate tools to fix your bike if you are downtown and get stuck with a busted something or other, plus a pump if you've got a flat!  How cool is that?  Is Halifax suddenly and finally getting more bike friendly?

Another hint that it is, is that a couple weeks ago, they extended the bike lanes on Windsor Street, to go almost all the way from one end of it to another!  You know what this means?  It means my ride to and from work is 75% in a bike lane!  And THAT means I get to worry just a little bit less while I'm cycling.  Mind you, it seems as though it's going to take a few slower people a while to figure out they can't park in the bike lane, but hey, baby steps.

Keep it up little city!  The more people we've got traveling on two tires instead of four, the better!

Till next time!

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Fallsy Downsies

About a week ago, we had the pleasure of attending a reading at The Carelton, by local author Stephanie Domet, of her newest work, Fallsy Downsies.

Fallsy Downsies is Stephanie's second novel - the first one, called Homing, came out a few years ago.

Homing was great, a story about missing people you love, getting over a slump and figuring out what's next.  Also, it was set in Halifax, so it was really cool to read a novel that constantly referred to places I know and have been to.  The above is a special edition cover.  I owned another copy of Homing that I gave to my friends C and M to take home to New Zealand with them when they visited last year, and hopefully pass around to as many of their kiwi friends as possible.  Husband joked to Stephanie at the reading, to watch out for a spike in sales in Wellington.

Fallsy Downsies is about an aging Canadian musician on the road with a couple mismatched friends and hangers-on.  Since we just got it the night of the signing and I just finished the book I was reading previously, I am only a few pages in, so I will quote the back of the book: Fallsy Downsies is a novel about aging, art, celebrity, and modern Canadian culture, told through the lens of Lansing Meadows, the god-father of Canadian folk music.

Stephanie read chapter 18 in her novel.

It was a funny scene in which Lansing Meadows, the main character, plays a show in a restaurant to a fairly inattentive audience until he gets some accidental help from a few unlikely guests.  Stephanie's captivating and animated reading was met with appreciative enthusiasm and afterwards, she greeted her friends and fans and signed books for everyone who wanted.

I can't wait to get into this one - in fact, friends, I think that'll be the plan for the afternoon!

Till next time!

Monday, October 28, 2013

The Avett Brothers

This summer, as usual, was great for live shows.  Holy smokes we were lucky - Old Crow Medicine Show, Dr. John, Xavier Rudd, Hey Rosetta!, Barney Bentall, Dustin Bentall and the Smokes, Ron Sexsmith, Rush....whew!  And just a few days before our wedding, back in the middle of September (oh how time flies!), we got to see The Avett Brothers at the Rebecca Cohn.

Having been a fan for a few years now, I was really excited about this one.  Husband, D and I got tickets the morning they went on sale, and waited somewhat patiently until the night of the show.  The Rebecca Cohn is a theatre venue, and often the audience remains fairly reserved, staying seated even when they want to dance their butts off, and clapping politely as each song ends.  Well the Avett's blew that trend right out of the water.

Everything about this show was lively and exciting, from the lovely background and light show, to the incredible energy the band had, to the raucous song performances.  The Avett's have a lot of sweet but very slow, quiet songs, but even these often got a rocking treatment at this show.

One of the few times it did get quiet, Scott Avett got up and played a solo song on the guitar.  The stage was dark except for him standing in the spotlight; I wish I could have gotten a better photo!

Speaking of better photos!  Augh.  Near the end of the show, after the band had whipped everyone up into a bluegrass loving frenzy, the two Avetts, Scott and his brother Seth, jumped down from the stage and played their way up the middle aisle, just a few feet away!  By the time I realized they were right beside me and it was a good opportunity to take a snap, they were on their way back, but man was that a cool moment!

They actually really surprised me with how much they rocked out.  Husband admitted after the show that he'd been nervous he'd fall asleep if they played as many quiet songs as they have on their albums, but there was NO chance of that.  Seth Avett never stood still once, dancing his way through every song, Scott jumped up and down in place, landing on the pedal for his own kick drum every time, and cellist Joe Kwon ties Romesh Thavanathan of Hey Rosetta! for most rockingest, enthusiastic cellist ever.

It was one of those shows that you just hoped would keep going and going, but as all good things do, it eventually, of course, came to an end.

I hope they come again!  In the meantime, treat yourself to this:

Till next time!

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Baby, It's Cold Inside

When I was a kid, my Dad used to say I was "stubborn as a mule," referring to my adamant refusal to feed the chickens, to stop trying to convince the parents to take us kids to the beach, or to turn down the blasting music in my room.  Some things never change, but nowadays it's poor Husband who has to put up with it.  My latest challenge that I'm having a hard time giving up on is particularly tough for him, and yes, I'll admit, a bit goofy.  The challenge - not turning the heat on in our house yet.

The first thing that inspired me to try to wait as long as possible is the bills for oil that we got when we first moved in - terrifying.  Husband and I are, luckily, both healthy and gainfully employed, so we can afford to heat our home when we need to, but I can't even imagine how hard it must be for some people who aren't as lucky as we are.

The second thing that inspired me was simply just the test of how long we could go without it.  I mean clearly,  people used to just live that way, how hard could it be?  I've got lots sweaters!  And I always sleep better in a room that's a little chilly, so you can really snuggle up under the covers.

Well, we've made it this far.  Husband says it's like living in the 19th century.

The mornings are tough, but then again, even when it's warm mornings are tough for me.  But getting out from under those warm, cozy covers to get ready for work is particularly hard when it's freezing cold in the house.  Changing from sleep wear to biking-to-work clothes is scary cold and the floors are a nightmare.  Yesterday I bought slippers.

But, it's kinda fun, in a way, when it's winding down time in the evening.  We snuggle up on the couch with some blankets - good thing our Grammies were such skilled knitters - and watch a movie or show....

...and then head to bed.  That first skin-to-sheets contact is difficult, but soon things are toasty.

I know I'm gonna have to give up the game soon; it's getting to the point where even I am wishing for the sound of the furnace coming on.  But in the meantime, what better excuse could you have to say, "hey, come snuggle!"

Till next time!

Saturday, October 26, 2013

It's The Most Colourful Time Of The Year

We've had the opportunity to get outta the city and see the season change over the last month, and boy, is it worth the drive, if you can do it.  Even though it means the summer is over and winter is coming and it's soon time to pull out the Sorels and mittens, Autumn sure is a gorgeous time!

Couldn't resist a drive-by.

Barney's River

The cornfield beside my folks' house.

I <3 fall.

Although I sometimes wish I lived in a land where I could wear dresses and cute shoes all year long, I, at the same time, can't imagine living in a place where you couldn't watch the seasons change every year.

Hope you're been able to play in the leaves this fall!

Till next time!

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Another Quickie

Supper guys.  I mean supper.

You know how it is when you get home from work and the very last thing in the world you want to do is cook?  It's so much easier just to order in or pop a crappy frozen pizza in the  oven.  Well I'm here today to let you know that's just not necessary.  Especially this time of the year.

Husband and I, on out way home from Thanksgiving at my family's home, stopped at a farmer's market and picked up a bunch of freshly harvested squashes - spaghetti, acorn and my favourite, butternut.  The next day, when I came home from a tiring day at work, I made a soup.

It's very, very simple.  You take your squash, (I used the butternut) peel it and chop it.  Grab an onion, a few potatoes and some garlic.  Slice, chop, mince.

I put it all on a baking sheet covered with parchment paper, ground some salt and pepper on top and put it in the oven to roast at 375 degrees for about an hour.

This is when you can do other things - catch up with the hubby, watch that episode of Glee you missed, add another layer to that paper machier project you've been working on, throw in some laundry - you get it.

When the timer rings, bring those roasted veggies on out.  Can you poke a fork through them really easily?  Yeah?  Ok, done.

Don't worry, that white haze in the right corner is neither smog, nor a ghost, just those veggies giving off the most delicious smelling steam.  So let them cool for a few minutes.  Now's the time to try to beat your Candy Crush score.

Then it's simple.  Pull out your food processor.  Dump it all in.  Press the button.

As it's pureeing, pour in some stock - I used chicken stock but use whatever you have - until you get your desired consistency, OR run out of room in the processor.  I like a pretty thick, hearty soup myself, seems more like a meal.

I would normally try to jazz a food photo - foodto? - up with some garnish and better lighting but hey, I was hungry, so you'll just have to forgive me.

The resulting soup is pretty rich and sweet and I have been known to sprinkle a tiny bit of balsamic vinegar on top to cut that and give it a little bit of an edge.  But whatever you like, just make sure you take good advantage of the seasonal produce where you are - it'll be the best, I promise!

Till next time!