CrazyTown Redux – the Golf Edition

One week from today, JD will be golfing. Specifically, it will be his Player’s Ability Test, the qualifying exam for the Canadian Professional Golfer’s association. He will be playing 36 holes of golf in one day, and needs to get a maximum score of 155 strokes to qualify for his “pro” status.

As you can imagine, every spare moment has been spent on the golf course and the driving range, the chipping and putting practice areas. Lessons have been booked with our favourite golf instructor guru god, the one and only Shawn Clement, who has been MOST generous with the time and energy he has devoted to JD.

All of this practice/instruction is paying off. JD is shooting the best scores of his life – scores that mean he will get his “card”. Still, many things could go wrong on the day of the PAT, and we are taking nothing for granted.

We are experiencing the worst heat/humidity of the summer right now. No one in their right mind would be on the golf course today. But that is exactly where we are headed this evening for another practice session. Because, of course, we are not in our right minds. We are in Golfing CrazyTown.

More to post later, should I survive. 😉


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Best. Sunset. Pic. Ever.

Taken last night coming home from the golf course. (We actually stopped golfing before the sprinklers came on. Usually JD is ducking around the spray, trying to get a last hole in.)

Taken with "Sunset" setting on my old Panasonic Lumix (still love it!!!)
Taken with “Sunset” setting on my old Panasonic Lumix (still love it!!!)

This sunset was so stunning, JD and I weren’t the only ones stopping at the side of the road to take pictures. Even better than the honeymoon sunset at Bayfield (home of the Best Sunsets in the World, according to National Geographic), in my opinion.

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From Inspiration to the Table

Yesterday I had an almost perfect day. It went like this:

Got up (too early since Friday night was late, but that’s OK…see Nap, later). Headed out to Cora’s Restaurant for breakfast with JD’s (and now mine) Auntie Lorna, down from Exeter, and to meet her old friend and neighbour Aya, who she is staying with. (I had my usual delicious Bobby Button breakfast with only tomatoes, spinach and cheese in the omelet. Ate half, took the other half home to enjoy later,  for lunch.)

It was a wonderful visit and always, when I am in the presence of vibrant older women, I just soak it all up…I find it so inspiring to see healthy and engaged elders enjoying life, still thriving despite life’s inevitable blows, both minor and major. Both ladies have been widows for quite some time and both expressed to me their total surprise that they were able to function so well without their  “decision makers” in their lives any more.  It certainly seemed to me that they were functioning well – their agenda for the rest of Saturday made my head spin. Oh, to have that much energy to pack so many things to do into a day when I am in my seventies!

After bidding the ladies adieu, I went back home to put my breakfast leftovers in the fridge and to get ready to walk down to the Village centre to my pedicure appointment, with the lovely Tracy of Tips n’ Toes by Tracy. By some miracle (told you I was having a near-perfect day, didn’t I?), I had some extra time to stop off at the Library on the way to Tracy.

The library has been one of my happy places since I was a young child. My definition of a perfect summer Saturday when I was about 10 years old was jumping on my bike to meet up with my book lovin’  friends to head off to the library together, then stopping at the Tea Room in downtown Preston to share a plate of fries and some cherry Cokes before hitting  Stedman’s store to lust after gaze upon the latest Barbie dolls and their sparkly mostly-pink or purple “fashions”. Then happily riding home again, my bike’s basket full of lovely books, to enjoy with a cool drink under a shady tree.

(And oh, the day I was finally allowed to borrow from the Adult section, at 12 years of age! Heaven! A precocious and prodigious reader,  I had exhausted all the books of interest in the tiny childrens’ department within no time, so I often had to re-borrow old favourites on my Saturday sojourns. )

Anywho, where was I? Oh yes, at the Village Library, in the present day! I picked out a well-balanced diet of books. 😉

Consisting of: an autobiography of David Suzuki, a short story compilation by Alice Munro, and a couple of trashy “beach-read” type paperbacks, just for the pure escapist pleasure of them…

This side trip left me with 5 minutes to cross the Village square to get to the salon where Tracy works. A pleasant hour or so of pampering and chatting ensued and I left the salon with pretty toes and soft feet again. The annual Music Festival was happening in the Village Park so that became part of my route back home.

After meeting and chatting there with some of my downtown acquaintances from my days’ on the Village’s Business Improvement Association Board of Managers, I was quite happy (ever the introvert) to get home again for some quiet time.  Did my strength training workout per the July challenge, had a quick shower, then my lunch –  and decided a nap was definitely in order!

Is there anything more luxurious, more satisfying than taking an afternoon nap? I never used to be able to nap when I was younger. Too nervous, too keyed up, too full of Dutch Protestant work ethic, to consider stopping everything to lay down in the MIDDLE OF THE DAY?!?!?! It took a lot of hard work (I’m actually being serious here!) to get over this and get to the point where I could take a nap, sans guilt, but I am happy to say it is a skill I successfully mastered. (Disclaimer: being severely anemic for a few years helped immensely.)

I am so pro-nap these days, I feel I could start a club. Maybe I will. The Red Nap Society. Red Nappers Matter. We’ll wear our red and purple hats strategically placed over our eyes to keep out the daylight as we doze. 🙂

Replenished by the nap, upon waking my domestic goddess roared to life, and I quickly found inspiration for what I wanted to create in the kitchen:

Thai Pork & Papaya on a bed of Quinoa

However, I lacked the necessary papaya, lime and fresh cilantro so some adjustments were in order. I decided to make a similar dish, based on what I could find in my kitchen, with a bit of an Indonesian flair.

First, I made a batch of quinoa in my rice cooker. Cooked it in chicken broth on the brown rice setting and it turned out perfectly! 1.5 cups quinoa + 2 cups chicken broth = fluffy, yummy, perfect protein, whole-grain comfort.

Then I scoured the sadly neglected vegetable drawer in my fridge to see what I could chop up for a stir-fry to accompany the quinoa. Hmmm…a couple of only slightly withered looking red bell peppers, some carrots and a red onion. I had some very tasty tiny French green beans (thank you Costco!) in the freezer – all of these ingredients would give me the basis for a colourful and healthy veggie addition to the grain portion of the meal.

As I was defrosting the pork loin roast in the microwave, I happily chopped up the veggies and dumped them, with a tablespoon of  grapeseed oil, into my heated wok. I added a teaspoon of curry powder (Lalah’s, the best IMHO) to the sautéing vegetables – a trick I learned from the Caribbean chef at Rambell’s Waterside Dining in Ayr, sadly no longer in existence.

Once the veggies were almost done, I covered them and turned the heat off, to let them finish by steaming themselves to tender-crisp perfection (I hoped!) while I worked on the meat in another pan.  To the heated olive oil in the pan, I added the now chopped-into-chunks pork loin, chopped garlic, sambal badjak and ketjap manis – didn’t keep track of the amounts  but just added “to taste”.  The meat didn’t turn out as dark as in the photo in the magazine (food stylist trickery??) but it the taste was there, believe me.

Here is the finished dish:

Mizz D's Indonesian-style Pork and Veggies over Quinoa

Feels good to be cooking again…tastes even better!

My near-perfect day ended with connecting with JD at our rental property (and future home) after his shift at the Golf Course, and heading back down to the Music Festival to hear some great bands.

Why can’t every Saturday be like this?

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Return of the Domestic Goddess

Just thought I’d share with you a few casual shots of me doing my thing around the house. Here’s me in my usual cleaning outfit – I think I was in the seldom-used TV room, if I recall correctly, sweeping dirt under the carpets as per my routine:

dom-goddess

And here’s me again, deciding what delicious man-pleasing entrée to make for supper….really! Oh yes!

cooking3

You know, I wasn’t sure I’d look good in that shade of yellow, but I think I can actually rock it.

What, you don’t believe me???

That’s OK. I don’t believe me either.

Seriously though, I am feeling a little goddess-y lately, in the domestic sense. I’ve started knitting again.

And I fully intend to actually cook something this weekend!

It hasn’t been a good summer so far for cooking. Between working long hours and spending long hours at the golf course (not a bad gig, really) helping watching JD practice for his big tournament later this month, there hasn’t been a lotta face time logged in at Chez D’s Kitchen.

But that is about to change. A cooking post to follow sometime this weekend! I promise.

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Are We Crazy?

Last week I found out I was accepted into an online MBA program, starting Oct 3.

Today my husband of just under 1 year, JD, found out he was accepted into the same program, same start date.

I realize wall-papering together is a death blow to any marriage and to be avoided at all costs… 🙂

…but what about working towards “his and hers” MBAs?

We are thrilled, but is that because:

a) we are naive

b) we are crazy

c) we are naive and crazy

d) all of the above?

You have 30 seconds to answer the question. No peeking at your neighbour’s answer. Turn your paper upside down when finished.

joy-of-learning

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Dear Em

A few days ago, I read this posting by Yarn Harlot.  She, without fail, publishes a great Canada Day post – one that I love to read and makes me feel so proud to be a Canadian. This year’s was no exception. I urge you especially to click on the link in her posting,  to read and savour former Prime Minister Paul Martin’s speech about same-sex marriage, in its entirety.

In this year’s  posting however, she did something uncharacteristic, which was to prematurely complain about the critical emails and comments she was sure to receive from some of her readers for being pro-Canada and for being accepting of gay people and gay marriage. I think I understand her frustration, although I have not experienced much of this kind of response myself, and I hope under the same circumstances I would think twice before hitting the publish button with that remark in the posting…but (sigh) I probably wouldn’t.

I scrolled through the comments (and there were a TON of them, as usual) and most were very positive. Of course, some weren’t. She did, after all, pretty much ask for it. One commenter’s  thoughts  in particular, really have stayed with me, days later. The commenter, Em, left several comments about gay marriage and her view of  homosexuality. “IT IS AN ABOMINATION AND A SIN and God hates it”, is how she put it.

Wow. Strong words.

Then later, in the comments (copied exactly, spelling/grammar errors included),  Em reveals that she is all of 17 years old and about to enter the military:

Well I really don’t know what else to say that hasn’t already been said. I’m only 17, a week a way from leaving for bootcamp for the United States Navy. Despite everything, I am honored to serve my country.
The botom line is if you don’t belive in the Bible, then you have no reason to think that gay marriage is wrong. Period. Quite frankly if our founding fathers wanted gay marriage to be legal they would have put it in the constitution, or there would have been an amendment soon after when people saw that it wasn’t legal and became outraged. Fact is, that didn’t happen, back then people would have been outraged if the idea of it being legal was even thought of. Its only been in the last couple of decades that people have wanted equal rights. It tells you something about the way our thinking has gone.
If you don’t like gay marriage being illegal in most of the United States of America, then go live in Canada. And quit harping about how you are embarrassed of the United States, which despite most peoples thinking, is the greatest place in the world. Just go ask the people living in Haiti, or Uganda if they would like to move here.
One more thing, I am not a hater, although I have never personnally known a gay person, or at least I didn’t know if I did. I don’t hate them nor do I think they are disgusting. I think there sin is disgusting, just as is mine. I can only fall on my knees and thank Jesus Christ for dying for me so that I can be with him forever. And I would pray that everyine would find HIM.
“Every way of man is right in his own eyes; but the Lod pondereth the hearts” Proverbs 21:2

When I read this comment, my heart just melted for Em. I think she is a thoughtful and passionate young woman and I wish her only the best.  If she was commenting on my blog, this is what I would say to her:

Dear Em,

How I would love to hear from you again when you are 27, 37 and 47, to hear your thoughts on this subject at those times in your life, as you progress and gain life experience! I hope in later years, that you do get to know some gay people (you probably already do, but they are afraid to be honest around you due to your beliefs) and perhaps your mind and heart will open a bit, and you will begin to think independently and critically, and question the motives of those telling you what is a sin and what isn’t.

There are many people who believe that being gay is a lifestyle, a choice (your comments suggests you might think the same). And to those people, I’d like to say: Is your sexuality a choice? Did you get to choose to be attracted to whichever gender you are attracted to (whether that is the gender you publicly profess to be attracted to or not is another story)? Did you choose to be right or left handed? Did you choose your eye colour or your height? I would be surprised if you say yes because that has not been my experience nor the experience of any people I know.  In the words of certain pop star – I was born this way. Being 5 foot four (on a good day), green-eyed, right-handed, and straight is something I am, not something I choose to do or be.

And let me paraphrase Dolly Parton here, to share with you my views on the subject of homosexuality.  She said it best for me when she said being gay is not something you do, it’s something you are. Then she followed with: How can it be a sin to be who you are, when that is who God made you to be?

I’d like you to consider these statements, now at 17… and later, as you gain more life experience.

And Em, I hope you came back to the Comments to read this one, from Aidan. He pretty much sums up exactly how I feel about love – there isn’t even close to enough of it on this earth to then limit it only to those who “qualify”, according to certain religious groups:

I don’t believe in Gay Marriage. I believe in Marriage. Period. If teh ghays wants to get married, well, all right by me! Let me know where you are registered.

Twenty-something years ago, when I was younger and thinner and had more hair, Reform Rabbis in North America were getting together to vote on whether or not teh ghays should be allowed to serve as Rabbis or Cantors. Our congregation held a meeting to provide our Rabbi with counsel. At this meeting there were some horrible words springing from the mouths of people I cared a great deal about — words like “abomination” and “evil inclination”.

Then an old man I had never seen before stood. He rolled up his sleeve and he showed us the tattoo on his arm. And he said “I want you to see my credentials for speaking to you today. I lived in time when I thought love was dead. The sun had disappeared, tolerance was gone, G-d was dead. Well, somehow, love survived. And I don’t care if men love each other, or women love each other, I’m going to side with love every time. If they want to be Rabbis? They will have my support. If they want to marry on the bimmah, under a chuppah? I will dance at their weddings. G-d only survives as long as love and tolerance survive.”

I cried there. I have cried every time I have thought about it over the last twenty-some years. I am crying now, as I type. I never saw the man again, and I never learned his name. But as G-d is my witness, I will always come down on the side of love and tolerance. And G-d survives.

Em, I wish you only the best and I hope that your experience in the military is a positive one, that you serve proudly and escape harm. Continue to be passionate about your beliefs. Too many of us are afraid to stand up for what we believe. Or afraid to even think deeply on the subject of WHAT IS IT exactly, that we do believe and feel in our hearts. I hope that as you mature, you do continue to think deeply about your religion and your beliefs and will not be afraid to challenge those ideas that don’t sit quite right with you.

And mostly, thank you Em, for creating for me this opportunity to think deeply about what I feel on the subject of  love between two consenting adults, whatever their gender.

Best regards,

Anyone who knows me very well, knows I struggle with my feelings about organized religion, though I consider myself to be a spiritual person. Most days my feelings are leaning towards viewing organized religion as among the worst of the evils that escaped Pandora’s box.

Is there any human-controlled force on Earth that has caused more war, death, persecution and suffering than organized religion?

Are there any teachings, that have been abused more, twisted more, promoted more, to push and control people to live and behave a certain way in order to further the agendas of others, than those found in religious materials?

I wonder. When I read comments such as posted on YH’s blog (mild compared to some I have come across on the web), this only reinforces my thoughts on the subject.

I am sure there are those who will tell me there has been a lot of good done by individuals in the name of religion as well, but I wonder if these people wouldn’t have been compelled to help the less fortunate among us anyways, and organized religion just afforded them to an outlet to express their basic nature and altruism? (Just as organized religion provides the perfect vehicle for those with evil,  self-serving motives .  Unfortunately, there are examples of this in the news just about every day.)

We human beings are slow-learners. We are getting there – women are considered to be human nowadays in most parts of the world, as an example – but we still have a long way to go.

 

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July Challenge: Become an Iron Maiden

Looking back on my Workout Log (see left sidebar for link) for June, I see a lotta pink (daily steps), a fair smattering of blue (brisk walks), sprinkling of purple (C25K training), and one lonely little green entry (strength training).

Oh Data, it’s such a marvelous thing! It allows you to make objective decisions based on the facts, just the facts, ma’am. And the fact is, I need to make strength training as much of a daily/weekly habit as snapping on my pedometer and going for a walk!

So, here is the July Challenge pour moi:

At least 10 minutes of strength training per day for every day in July. Simple yet effective, non?

I have three DVDs  (Tamilee Webb’s Tight on Time Hot Spots, & Tight on Time Body Blast, and Spark People’s  Fit, Firm and Fired Up in 10 Minutes a Day) to choose from, that offer just that – 10 minute workouts with weights, each workout focusing on different area of the body…and even one whole body 10 minute blaster. A month of these 10 minute workouts will lay the foundation for bigger and better sessions come August!

Happy Canada Day everyone!!!!

(especially my Canada Day baby…Mizz J. Happy Birthday dear daughter!)

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