Monday, December 21, 2009

The evils of Sugar and sugar substitutes.

I often get excited when I think I've found a new product in the food section that I can eat. I mean when it comes to pre-prepared foods there isn't much out there that I can eat, because it almost always either has white flour, sugar, high fructose corn syrup, corn starch... and the list goes on of bad refined flours/sugars.

I had found this new brand, that is sweetened by splenda. It seemed harmless enough. It was coleslaw dressing. I tried it out the same afternoon putting a decent amount on my large coleslaw. First off, I never could finish, the sweetness made me nauseous. Then there's the fact that like anything else that fucks with my sugars even a little, it made me moody... but that kind of moody that comes out of nowhere, that I'm not aware I'm moody until I blow up over not much.

So I had better learn to recognize splenda in the list of ingredients because apparently having food with SPlenda is a no no.

I found this article on Splenda a great read. It's long but it talks about sugar sensitivity. Which is my problem.

It sucks. I mean the list of things I use to love that I had to give up is endless. I was reminded today, how much I loved danish butter cookies something I haven't had in maybe 15 years or more. Cookies, chocolate cake, Manischewitz wine, especially the blackberry one, among other things.

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

Sleep patterns shot to hell

I wasn't already having enough of a hard time sleeping, with the changing back to no daylights saving, I'm sleeping even less.

I'm so fed up of waking up around 5am starving. Then I can't get back to sleep. I really don't need to get up before 6:30 or 7am. But I've been awake since 5 and starving. If I eat now, I still won't get back to sleep or if I do, I'll wake up groggy and pissy startled at 7:30.

My problem is that I fall asleep too early at night. Drives me NUTS. Lately between 10 and 11 I go out like a light. But the side effect is waking up between 4-5 am.. which as I stated earlier does nothing for me.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

My car is considerate

My car broke down on Sunday night coming back from Kahnawake. It broke down about 5 minutes away from home. It was weird too, we were driving along sources and the car just stalled while we were driving. No amount of cajoling, or coaxing got it going. I had to call for the CAA and get it towed to my favorite garage, the Midas on St Charles near the 40.

In all fairness, I drove 5 hours on Sunday. I drove 2 hours to Ottawa, then another 2 hours back but didn't drive straight home, I drove to Kahnawake to pick up Bill. The boys had a boys night out planned, which included seeing the movie "Capitalism" and going to a strip club. One cannot live in Montreal and never have been to a strip club. It is just unheard of.

We stopped about 1 hour in Kahnwake and then were driving me home when the car stalled. To the car's credit, it did not stall in Ottawa or on the road to Ottawa. It did not stall in our 2 week trip through the maritimes. Heck it could have stalled on the Mercier bridge going into Kahnawake. But it chose to stall just a few minutes from home.

Midas figured it was the timing belt that was finished, and damaged. A coworker explained that when a timing belt breaks it could destroy your motor. I lucked out mine got damaged before it broke. While it cost me over $1000 to fix, at least it was for a good cause.

My little Mazda Protege 1999 rocks! [But I still hate Mazda the company for their horrible treatement of those who buy their cars]

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Why is there SUGAR in EVERYTHING?

I'm having a bad day. A bad Tuesday. Because this week Monday was Canadian ThanksGiving.

So this morning I wake up to 17C in my house. It's been hovering between 18-20 since Friday, but now it's 17C. So I broke down at 6am to call for repairs. I'm still waiting 8 hours later. Very much like last time, where though they were supposed to be here between 7am and 1pm, they called at 1pm to say it woulnd't be that day. Well now furnace isn't working, so today it's going to be TODAY. At least I hope so.

Anyways, so I'm getting hungry and figured I should get myself lunch. I checked in the freezer and realized we have smoked Salmon. I love smoked Salmon. Was reading packaging to figure out how to thaw it out and serve it, and low and behold the ingredients:

Salmon, salt, SUGAR, smoke flavour.


I'm so SICK OF SUGAR. It's like the worst poison on the planet for some people, people like me who are hypoglycemic, and it keeps creeping into EVERYTHING.

I can't have coleslaw or most salads in restaurants because the vinaigrette has sugar in it. I have to read carefully the ingredients of everything I want to put into my mouth because 90% of it comes with added SUGAR.

I mean the government bitches, whines and complains about the obesity epidemic and the diabetes epidemic. Does it not occur to anyone that it has to do with the VOLUMES of sugar put in most foods? Of course not. Lets' add MORE SUGAR in MORE THINGS and kill each other off more quickly.

Like we need sugar in SALT [yes.. they add sugar in Salt too!], or FISH, or tomato sauce, or salad dressing..... I mean it's enough it's added to nearly everything, but FISH????

Who puts SUGAR IN FISH????

Anyways this did nothing to put me in a good mood. I just wanted to toss the Salmon into the garbage. Again who the fuck puts SUGAR in FISH??????

Sunday, October 04, 2009

Google Maps

I tried mapping the trip with Google maps but it went crazy on me. I'm going to have to try again. We travelled somewhere between 4200-4500km. Crazy eh?

Also another thing I want to research is how cold it was each night at the location we stayed at.

Friday, September 25, 2009

We're going back home today. Our trip is over.

It started to rain about 4 am. It did not let up till the car was completely packed. It was fun taking down the camp it heavy rain. Despite that I managed to take a walk to the beach, wanted to see if it was worth making a stop before heading back towards Quebec. It was pretty scenic. Took a few photo’s of the vegetation, especially the lichen hanging from some evergreens. Was just amazing.

Once we packed up, we went to pay for the night. They had said it was fine if we paid on our way out. We made a short pit stop at the beach, so Samer could take a few photo’s of the coast/beach. Then we got on the road towards Fredericton and then towards Grand Falls. We took exit 18 in Edmonston and stopped to gas up and to eat. We stopped again at a subways and this one had whole wheat bread, so we had lunch there before continuing to drive.

We stopped at a road side stop past St Jean Port Joli and then we switched drivers. It was mid afternoon. I predicted we’d be around Quebec City for rush hour and I was right. We were there around 5ish and ended up in a lot of congestion for about 30 minutes and continued on the 20 until we met up with the 30, and we took that to avoid coming in by the Champlain bridge downtown. The 30 becomes the 132, and you can get the Mercier bridge that way, which is easier living on the West Island of Montreal. You avoid all the downtown traffic.

We got home around 8:30 and found Bill hanging out with the cats. He’d been house sitting for us. Was just weird that there was no car in the driveway. He had Earl, his mom’s bf, drop him off on the way to work Monday the week before.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

We head towards Digby, to take the Ferry to St John's

Surprisingly I managed to be awake at 6am Montreal time and since it was raining we managed to get packed and leave the campground before 9am. We made it to Digby by noon local time.

We bought our tickets for the Ferry from Digby to St John’s and then went to eat in Digby, at Shore line restaurant and gift shop. I had the greek salad and fries, he had an ‘Acadian poutine’ and shrimp fussily alfredo. Was pretty good. We had originally stopped in the Subways but they had no whole wheat bread which is a deal breaker for me.

Then we spent the time we had left in Digby shopping for souvenirs. I even picked up 2 M of Nova Scotia plaid fabric! We got on the Ferry around 4pm and I’m typing as we are about to leave Digby from the ferry. This particular ferry takes 3 hours to cross the bay of Fundy. Unfortunately I was a touch seasick and ended spending par t of the time at the laptop station recharging Samer’s laptop and surfing a little.

We could might have seen whales but didn’t. We got to St John’s just around dark. We took the road to New River Beach, probably 20 km away. It’s a provincial park on the shore of the bay of Fundy. It was pretty scenic, except we arrived in the dark.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

We spend the day in Halifax near Pier 21

Today we drove from Porters Lake to Halifax. The original plan was to go to Peggy’s cove first and then visit some of Halifax, but apparently having an inaccurate map sent us in another direction. Halifax seems to be just as disorienting for me as Sydney was. Some places, it seems I just get lost in, or drive in circles. So we first got lost in Darmouth because I pointed Samer who was driving in the wrong direction, then we got lost in Halifax.

Ironically if we’d followed our gut, we would have landed in Peggy’s cove. In the end lacking a good map, we followed the tourist info sign, which took us to Halifax Harbour. The downtown part, near pier 21, were the Maritime Museum, the SSC Arcadia and the HMSC Sackville are located. We toured the museum where we could have spent 4 more hours. But I knew the ships’s tour ended at 5pm, so we hurried up. We also ate at Murrays [murpheys? ] restaurant a 1 lb lobster and some sweet potato fries. We bought souvenirs there as well.

After the visit of teh ships, we walked around a couple of blocks to take pictures of |St Mary’s cathedral and 2 other churches that were within eyesight of each other. We had parked the car and did all this tour walking. We arrived in Halifax by one bridge and left by the other. We got lost kinda a 2nd time going to Porters Lake park & campground, but at least we knew what road the park was on and found it more easily.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

We leave Cape Breton and head towards Halifax

Today we drove from Whycocomagh National Park in Cape Breton to Porters Lake National park, in the outskirts of Halifax. Instead of taking the main highway, we decided to follow the eastern coast, going through every little port and inlet. The only time we diverted from the road was to avoid a ferry, since we didn’t know the schedule and figured t might delay us.

We stopped in Sherbrooke at the Sherbrooke Inn for lunch. I had the haddock and fries, Samer had the fettucine, and some fries. We got lost on the way into porters Lake and ended up circling around it well spiralling around it before we actually found our way. We made it around 8pm. Nice spot, we thought it would rain, because it was cloudy originally but then Samer ended up watching the stars.

Monday, September 21, 2009

We stopped in Membertou, Visited Louisbourg and camped in Whycocomah

Day’s inn was ok, we stopped in Merbertou to get stuff at the gift shop for my friend in Ottawa. Then we took the road to Louisbourg. We spent the afternoon walking around Louisbourg. We had lunch there in the "middle class" place, I had the mussels, and he had the pea soup, and the haddock with carrots and turnips. Traditional fare from back then.

We walked around, and just before leaving ran into the Mi’kmaq exhibit and got into a convo with the Mi’qmaq lady who gives info about the booth. She was a delightful lady. Funny first she thought Samer was my son, then she thought he might be native. But when I told her he was 15 years my junior and that he was more mature then my ex... she gave me a you go girl.

After leaving Louisbourg, we drove back towards Lake bras d’or to Whycocomagh provincial park. It wasn’t my idea to go back that away... however it was the only provincial park in cape Breton that still was open for camping. It was a great choice. We were camping up in the hills and had a view from our campsite on Lake Bras d’or. Also with the breeze, most of the time, the smell of sweetgrass was distinctly floating through. The sky was also good for stargazing and we enjoyed a nice fire. It didn't rain, and it wasn't particularly cold.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

We drive around the Acadian side of the Cabot trail and head for Sydney

We left our campground with barely ¼ tank of gas. Samer suggested to go back to Ingonish to fuel up, I figured we were going to much out of our way, I wanted to keep going on the Cabot trail towards the Acadian side. I figured we would gas up in Neil’s Harbour. I had noticed a small gas station there.

Well I hadn’t realized it was Sunday and in some communities it means everything is asleep till 10 or even noon. Well that gas station was opening at noon. Not to worry, there was also Cape North which should have gas station. Well they were closed too. We eventually got to Pleasant Bay and found no gas station. We even stopped at a motel to ask where the nearest gas station was and it was Cheticamp.

By then the out of gas light was actually on. This means that part of the top of the highlands we didn’t stop much at the lookouts to take pictures because we didn’t know how much fuel we had left and we weren’t going to take a chance. We also drove on momentum in down hills to help conserve fuel. Thankfully we made it to Cheticamp and fuelled up along with 3000 bikers that were doing the Cabot trail for breast cancer. We finally understood at Cheticamp why we had run into so many bikers that day already and most with pink ribbons. There was some sort of drive your bike for breast cancer thingie.

We had lunch at the restaurant of the Parkview Motel. I had the Acadian fish soup, and he had the fish and chips. We stopped at the local dollar store there picked up souvenirs, and also a pink scarf to put on the car, driving for Gloria... After we kept driving, we were hoping to find where the hell Membertou was. And we had decided to go to Louisbourg after picking up brochures at some tourist shop or another. We stopped at a gas station in a Mi’kmaq reserve to ask where it was. We were sold a map of Nova Scotia and sent to the suburb of North SYDNEY. Right after that, a Hawk crossed my path like we were in teh right direction.

We drove towards Sydney and that was fine. But as soon as we entered Sydney we started getting lost and arguing about it too! We eventually found Membertou reserve and the gift shop. Of course it was closed. But we found in the same building Kiju’s restaurant. We had dinner there. I had the Atlantic salmon. He had the chicken and shrimp curry. We started dinner with hummus and pita as a appetizer.

We then decided to settle in at the Day’s Inn on King street and of course got lost 3 times trying to get to it :P We chose it because it had smoking rooms. Incidentally, it also had a pool and hot tub. We used the hot tub for about 30 minutes. It was nice and warm. This cost $128 with taxes. The most expensive night of our trip. We also had wifi internet access free, so I chatted with my girlfriend and my eldest daughter a bit.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

We drive around the Scottish side of the Cape Breton Highlands

We woke up and went to the beach before buying our park permit and renewing our campsite. The view was stunning. The shores of cape Breton are just breath taking. Sharp or soft cliffs, rolling hills, sandy or rocky beaches, it’s just breath taking. The waves we heard crashing the night before had to be pretty big. So we went back to park entrance, payed for 2 nights camping and a park permit that covered us that day and the next day till 4pm.

We went back to our campsite, got tea and first went looking for the beach at wreck cove that a friend suggested. We stop at what I think is it, and Samer thinks it can’t be it, so we go on down the road, not much further and a road repair worker has us stop to wait. We ask here where wreck cove is and she says .. you’re in it. We ask about the beach, she says we just passed it. Of course if I’d been smart I would have just u-turned then and there, but didn’t.

Instead we stopped at the Wreck cove general store, then we went back up the road. Went to the beach to take photos and enjoy the moment. It was cool, I ate wild raspberries growing there. Found myself familiar with the vegetation. The asters, the raspberry bushes... the golden rod... and even fireweed. Heck we stopped on the road at a large fireweed patch because I wanted to cut some out to bring back home. When we got there a large blue-green dragon fly was waiting for us. It just stayed there, posing for us.

From Wreck cove we drove past our campground to Neil’s harbour and drove around the little trails. We stopped at all the different gift shops, including one Scottish one where they carry all tartans for all clans. We stopped at all the lookouts and places from Ingonish to Bay St Lawrence and then back in the dark of course, in the sinuous mountain roads I love driving so much :P

Much like at Fundy, we had rain and sun and took pictures of a rainbow going up the Cabot trail earlier in the afternoon.

Friday, September 18, 2009

We take the ferry to Nova Scotia and head straight for Cape Breton Highlands.....

We had breakfast in Murray Harbour at the Brehaut restaurant. I had scrambled eggs and their breakfast potatoes, he had a full breakfast. On his way out they asked him how he found the breakfast. He told them it was the best he’d had in days and they ran into the kitchen to tell the chef. It was cute. We then went to the gift shop/flea market next door, and I picked up a pinkish stone ashtray, and some different candlesticks.

We drove around the eastern side of PEI before taking the Woods Island Ferry to Pictou in Nova Scotia. From there we took the road that took us to cape Breton. We drove until we found the Cabot trail and followed it. By then it was getting dark. Of course as we went up Smokey mountain, I had a truck up my ass with his bloody lights blinding me the whole fucking way. It was irritating. At some point I managed to find a place to pull into and let all the 20 cars that had accumulated behind me pass.

I’m still driving at like 60 or less when road is more curvy, when I get someone up my ass again. When he passed me we realized it was an RCMP SUV. Of course the guy had to know we didn’t know the road well, what with a Quebec licence plate?!? We did make it to the highlands and campground and the guy was super nice, told us to pay in the morning and get our park permits then too.

We of course set up camp in the dark. I had crashed by then and was very pissy. All the stress of driving up and down mountain roads with on and off rain, and people tailgating had seriously done a number on my mood. But all was good after I ate. We realized we could hear the waves from our campsite at Broadcove. It rained off and on all night. It was warm though in comparison to the nights in Fundy and in PEI.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

We have dinner in Charlottetown....

After doing some laundry, we went to the West point Lighthouse’s craft and souvenir shop. We also took pictures from that spot in daylight. Beautiful view of sea. Then we drove to North Cape. There is wind mill electricity making farm there, and a research facility in wind powered electricity. There is also the North Cape lighthouse, and one of the longest rock reefs in the world.

We took pictures, checked out the gift shop and then drove back on the TransCanada to stop in South Granville on route 231 at a wind chime making place and picked up 2 amazing sounding wind chimes. Really nice guy with a black & white cat that’s ubber friendly. Then we kept going to Charlottetown, were we stopped at the Canadian tire there. Our propane stove died, and we were also out of propane. Then we headed towards the wharf for a seafood dinner.

The place on the wharf looked more like a noisy pub and I really wasn’t in the mood so we walked a bit around the area, and stumbled into a small place called Fishbone, which is also a jazz club providing live entertainment on the terrace. We ate inside, good thing too; the trumpet player couldn’t keep a note! The food was amazing. We started with PEI blue mussels as an appetizer. Then he had a salmon curry with Naan bread and I had haddock fillet with fries. Also really good and I had no problems digesting.

It was at that point that we realized that we were not an hour later in the Maritimes but an hour ahead. And it was already 8pm and we still had a drive to Woods Island. We were going to stay at the Northumberland Provincial Park and camp, but by the time we good to Woods Island it was 10pm and usually it’s too late to check in to a park. So we found the Meadow lodge motel.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

We head towards PEI and cross the Confederation Bridge.

We left Fundy National park and headed to Moncton, wanting Canadian Tire and a grocery store. Right into Moncton we found Sobeys so bought mostly non-perishable foods. Then we drove into Moncton some more until we found a Canadian tire. Unfortunately it was under renovation and they had little in terms of camping equipment. We did pick up a T-shirt as souvenir though.

Then we ate at Wendy’s, and headed towards the Confederation Bridge. It took roughly 12 minutes to cross. It’s just 2 lanes, one each way, with an 80 limit. I had some Islander tailgate me most of the bridge! Once off the bridge, we headed towards West point. Where the West point lighthouse is, there is also the Cedar Dunes Provincial Park. Small campsite on the same ground as the West Point lighthouse, right on the south west point of PEI. The sunset on the gulf of the St Lawrence was stunning. We walked on the beach at 1am taking wacky pictures. He also had fun with his telescope as the sky was absolutely clear. The wind was magical, but also a little cold. Was a different kind of cold then Fundy, not as damp, but far more windy.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Exploring Fundy National Park

We bought a park permit and decided to spend a 2nd night camping there. We wandered into Alma for high tide. Of course we were an hour or two after high tide, but still, you can see the boats in Alma harbour still in water at that point. Then we drove back into Fundy Park to two other lookout points, including wolf’s point to see the bay and its level. Then we went back to our campsite for lunch and went back to Alma and Wolf’s point for low tide. It was spectacular we also stopped at their gift shop to pick up a few gifts. After which, we went back to campsite and enjoyed the mostly mosquito free park. We did get a touch of rain but nothing major. Just enough to wet stuff, not enough to leave us too damp. We took pictures of rainbow overlooking the bay of Fundy.

Monday, September 14, 2009

We make a run for Fundy National Park

The room at Motel sur Mer was fine, and had a view on the river. From the left side we could see towards l’Ile d’Orleans, on the other side you could see across the river Mont St Anne. We had breakfast at Lisa’s diner on route 132 in St-Valliers. Samer had the lumberjack breakfast, and I just had some eggs. We started at St Valliers, drove to Riviere du Loup, and made our way into New Brunswick

We stopped at Timmy’s in Grand falls though we wanted to see the fall and go to the
Grand Falls Park but going around in circles around Grand falls made us decide to keep going. We drove from there to Frederericton, where we stopped to stretch our legs, before heading towards Bay of Fundy. We took the TransCanada until we got to the 114, which took us around the Fundy area. We arrived after dark so we didn’t have to purchase a park permit, just a camp site.

Chignecto Bay camp site, the only one still opened at this time of the year. This campground is one that is fairly close to Fundy bay. The view from various roads was scenic. Of course it was fun setting up tent in pitch darkness. More fun trying to start a fire, with somewhat wet wood!

Sunday, September 13, 2009

We leave going towards Riviere du Loup....

First day of trip and we left Montreal around 2:30pm. First we gassed up the car and then we took the Mercier Bridge. I took the 132 until it became the 30, then back to 132. Somewhere between Yamaska and Nicolet on the 132, there was a 4 way intersection. I had yellow light, proceed with caution, so I slowed down from 90 to about 75, especially since the intersection was partially blind to me because there was a large pick-up truck or SUV in the right late waiting to merge onto route 255, going to the 20.

Well just as I got to the intersection I see a silver 2007/2008 Sebring pop in front of me. I pressed on the brakes like I’ve never done before. I thought I’d avoided the car but unfortunately I hit the bumper. Great way to start a vacation. I pulled over and got out of the car. Turned out to be grandma & grandpa coming back from spending the day in Quebec City and deciding they had enough of the 20, and wanting to take the Ferry at Sorel. Grandma shouldn’t have tried to cross the intersection. She had a red flashing light and a stop sign. If I didn’t see her because of the large vehicle she didn’t see me for the same reason and she went ahead anyways. Grandma was 80 and apparently has been driving since she’s 25 and never had an accident. Well this time she caused one. Some good Samaritan couple in a large pickup truck called the police, and they hung out until police showed up.

No one was hurt, but a few seconds difference and we might all be dead. I didn’t stop enough to miss the other car, but enough so that everyone survives. The old lady had the nerve to say I was coming pretty darn fast to the police. The office told her nicely that it was a 90km/hr road and that’s pretty fast. Then later after doing the report he told her she was lucky he was feeling generous because he could give her a citation for not stopping at a stop. She started to argue the point with him. He said she had a stop and she should not have proceeded until she had a clear view of intersection and no one was coming. Obviously she had stopped and went without checking for traffic.

When we first started to cross the street, someone said to us “yeah this car sped past us, we’re not surprised something happened to them”. The good Samaritans also said it was the old lady’s fault, and so did the people whose house we were in front.

I realized afterwards that the good Samaritans, probably stopped, because they lost good friends just a year ago at that intersection. More so they called the cops because they want a light at this intersection. Every complaint of accident adds fuel to that fire.

We had dinner in Levis at Normandin, and stopped at Motel bord de la mer in St-Valiers. Waterfront motel and we have a room with a view on the St-Lawrence. It will be breathtaking in the morning.

We finally go on our Maritime Vacation....

After talking about wanting to go to Halifax now for several years, and even attempting to do it fall 2008 and failing, what between bursitis on my knee and hubby not being able to pass his driving test. But finally we went this year, driving across the Canadian Maritimes. Hubby will get a more diverse Canadian experience. Canada isn't just Montreal, as fond as I might be of the city I was born.

So I am posting the log I kept of each day, as they happened mostly, while I could still remember.