Demystification Guru

Just because we don't understand something, doesn't mean it isn't understandable.

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Location: Ottawa, Ontario, Canada

Monday, July 31, 2006

Tomatoes and Sunday Bike Day

At long last, the tomatoes have begun to ripen.
yellow tomatoes
I bought four plants and one of them was billed as a yellow cherry tomato. It turns out, the label was correct. However, the one plant is much smaller than the other tomato plants and it doesn't look like they will catch up.
red tomatoes
Even the red ones are slow to come along.
cherry tomatoes still life
But they do look nice, all in a bowl together. Too bad it's not more.

Canadian Museum of Civilization in the background
Sundays, they close off some of the roads until 1pm and we usually go for a ride. Yesterday, we biked toward downtown and then crossed the bridge at Island Park and continued on the Quebec side of the river. We crossed back at the bridge leading into the downtown core (the Interprovincial I think), the one with the pedestrian and bike side planked in wood. That's me with the Museum of Civilization in the background (on the Quebec side of the river).
Parliament Hill in the background
Here's Peter with Parliament Hill in the background (the Ottawa side). A little touristy perhaps but it does make for a good picture. Peter is mugging for the camera a little.
Chateau Laurier and locks
Here I am, struggling up the hill toward the top of the steep set of locks at the end of the Rideau Canal. There are a lot of people leaning over the bridge at the very top, watching the boats.
locking through
These boats had reached the top of the several steps and are about to be released into the canal proper.
noon break
We got back to the Pretoria Bridge a bit after noon and stopped for a bite. Peter's checking his bike computer. We did about 37 kms that day - not too hot or humid for a change.

Thursday, July 20, 2006

on keeping recipes secret

The other day, I got two requests for recipes and both of the requesters asked if I kept recipes secret. In one, I said, "I don't GET people who keep recipes secret" and typed out my recipe for potato salad. In the other, I wrote out instructions for my way of keeping burger patties from falling apart. Later I thought about it some more and asked Peter if he could come up with a good reason why people would keep a recipe secret. He said "if it was an old family secret and the person who gave it to YOU actually asked you to keep it secret". Then I thought about proprietary reasons - the Colonel's secret herbs and spices sort of thing.

But really, aside from that, what would be a person's motivation for keeping something like a recipe secret? I can only think that it is self-aggrandizing. I puzzled over how I would feel after I refused to give someone a recipe. I would feel churlish and selfish. People who never give others recipes must feel something positive - as Dr. Phil would say, "they are getting something out of it." They may feel a sense of superiority perhaps - they have or know something you don't. Of course, I may never know for sure. Imagine if I asked someone (especially now) for a recipe and they said they don't give recipes and then I asked them why. I once asked my ex-brother-in-law for a recipe and he refused, saying it was a secret. I never did ask him why. Given what I know about him (especially since he is an ex now), my theory holds water.

Sunday, July 16, 2006

Cherry Tomatoes and Candlelight

I don't think my cherry tomatoes can get any bigger without getting red now.
cherry tom no flash
There aren't that many of them but they all look vigorous and plump. I liked the way this same photo looked when I used the flash - all dark on the background.
cherry tom flash
The two photos were taken only minutes apart. I made an enlargement and noticed all the spiky bits on the stems of the tomato and even the tomatoes themselves looked like they had fur.
cherry tom close up
Again, this one was taken with a flash.

Some time ago, my sister gave me a ceramic pot in which one was supposed to put candles. She knows I have a real fondness for deploying candles all summer when it gets dark enough outside. I had never thought of putting this pot right in the garden itself until last night and then it worked wonderfully. Here it is in the day time.
garden pot
Then Peter helped me set up a tripod and we took a photo of the pot with the candle glowing in it, at about 9:30pm.
garden light
The static nature of the photo doesn't give any of the sense of the movement of the candle light and the changing scene as you move yourself back and forth, past the cutouts in the bowl. Norah, it's lovely!

Friday, July 14, 2006

Red Buttons

Here's a nice and brief tribute to the late Red Buttons.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

More on the Garden

How does my garden grow?
It continues to fill in nicely. I only have to weed it about once a week. When it doesn't rain much, I water the tomatoes (not in these pix) for about 20 minutes with the sprinkler. In the first photo, my perennial. regular chives have come back finally but they are still sparse compared with the other pot of garlic chives. The marigolds really seem to enjoy their company. The impatiens in between the herbs are thriving and so are the taller cosmos along the fence.
With last year's plants!
I find it interesting that the violas from maybe two years ago seeded themselves and have made a come back with this hardy little bunch that popped up among the annuals. In fact, I have two volunteer violas growing in the lawn as well! Lawn mowing day is Thursday and they were flowering yesterday. They'll get cutback tomorrow but I bet they'll be flowering again in a few days. It's like the yellow snapdragons that I planted as annuals maybe three or even four years ago. The following Spring, they popped up here and there among the gravel ground cover and have been coming back every year since.

Thursday, July 06, 2006

Detergent and Disappointment

dish detergent
Imagine my disappointment, nay -- my shock and disappointment, when I went to refill my dishwashing detergent container and discovered there had been a mistake at the factory (apparently) and now I must wash my dishes with floral-scented soap instead of lemon! I have this nice, small, Julie-hand-sized container for dishwashing soap that I have used since (I think) before I was married. I refill it with the larger, more economical soap container. And I have been using the No Name "brand" for years. But it must be lemon scented. Since you cannot get unscented dish soap, I have opted to go with the lemon. I am used to the lemon and I prefer the lemon.

I unscrewed the cap on the most recently acquired refill container and out came lemon coloured soap but it smelled floral! I cannot begin to describe my dismay. Of course, I would not have kept the receipt, without which one cannot return such things. I suppose I could womanfully stride over to the manager of my local Loblaws and demand satisfaction and they might agree to a trade, based on the fear of me being mentally unhinged more than anything. But I decided it will be a good test of acceptance, of Zen nature. And the new scent has not caused me to sneeze or react as new scents often do so at least I am spared that. But from now on, when I buy the labeled lemon scented detergent, I am going to sniff check it first.

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Mammograms and Such

I went for my second annual mammogram this afternoon. The first one wasn't that bad so I was fairly nonchalant about this appointment. I checked the maps before going and decided to bike across Meadowlands and get on the bike path at Hog's Back and follow Riverside that way. The bike path does go quite a bit out of the way and I felt I was running late so I stepped on it and got there at an average of 20.5 kph over 12 km. Sweating freely, I arrived at the check-in with 5 minutes to spare before my appointment. And then I wasn't called for another 10 minutes after that.

I got a technician with some attitude and when I confessed to her that I was "trying to write my first novel" she asked, was I trying or was I writing? Hahaha. So I said that indeed, Yoda himself had said "do or do not, there is no try" and therefore I was actually writing. She also squished my breasts more than the first technician had done last year and I had to say "ouch" twice to get her to stop twisting that little dial. Other than that, it was an uneventful event, which is what you want in an appointment like that.