Saturday, April 30, 2011

Syrian dad a hero!

Best story I've read all day to come out of Syria. Brought tears to my eyes. If you've been finding all my posting about Syria depressing, read this blog.

Why have a $100 when most stores won't take it

This is one of my pet peeves. Most stores have signs up that say that they will not accept bills larger then $50's or that they will not accept $100 bills.

However here's the thing, Canadian bank machines do give out $100 bills. So exactly what should you be doing with them? Using them as toilet paper because most places don't accept it as legal tender?

This isn't new. This has been ongoing for years. I know they can be counterfeit, but there are ways to tell if it's a fake or a real $100. Why don't more stores train their employees instead of refusing them?

More deaths as Syrians continue on their road to freedom

Syrians took to the streets 'en masse' after Friday prayers. They took to the streets in most cities, towns and villages. Everywhere they could. The armed forces is still attacking Deraa. The people there have 60 bodies in refrigerated trucks waiting to be buried, but they fear if the army or secret police find them, they will destroy them so there is no proof that all those people were killed by government forces. 

The UN security council failed to reach an agreement on condemning Syria for the brutal attacks on unarmed civilians. The 3 dissenting countries were Russia, China and Lebanon.  It bugs me that Lebanon voted against but I understand that they are stuck between a rock and a hard place. They are immediate neighbours and many Lebanese and Syrians share common families and ancestries.  Still though the international community should come to the help of the Syrians like it has come to the help of Libyans.

The Syrians have a long road ahead but the will of the people will prevail!

Friday, April 29, 2011

Asshole at work

I blogged a few weeks back about having a Diamond  Radeon HD 5870 - Eyefinity 6 card.  It had been running in a Dell T7500, because it was one of the few machines that could handle both the power hungry requirements and the size requirements. About 3-4 weeks ago I needed the Dell T7500 for other use so I took the Eyefinity 6 out of the system and left it on the employee's workbench. It was there for a couple of  weeks. I know this for a fact because I remember showing one of our stagieres the 6 mini displayport connectors on the card.

Wednesday when I came back from Easter break, the Antec 902 case I purchased to fit 2 Eyefinity's on my Gigabyte EX58-Extreme motherboard had come in. My hardware co-worker put my mobo in the Antec 902 case and at that point I went to get the Eyefnity 6 to test how well it would seat. The card on the desk which I thought was the Eyefinity was another large Radeon but with 2 DVI connectors. So whoever took it had the presence of mind to leave a decoy so we would not notice it had gone.

After sending an email to about 60 co-workers, talking to our tech support department and a few other people I made a report to security. Especially since there are 2 camera's not so far from that workbench, so I figure we could probably see who took the card.

Today one of my employees asked me if the Eyefinity had been found. I said no and happened to be next to that workbench from where it disappeared and sitting in the back on top of dozens of cables was the Eyefinity.  It was definitely not there even yesterday. Heck I suspect someone brought it back at lunch time, because I know most of us were gone from that area at that time.

What's fishy is that normally I label all my equipment with fluorescent pink stickers which say my department and has my phone extension. The label has been peeled off. These labels are hard to peel off, so there is abundant trace of the sticker having been removed .

I informed security the card was returned. I hope they find who brought it back via the cameras. 

The thing that baffles me is why one would risk their job over a $600 graphics card?

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Montreal streets eerily quiet after Canadians lose to the Bruins in playoffs

The one thing I know about Montreal is that either winning or losing a hockey game during playoffs, especially to a rival like the Boston Bruins, can mean riots downtown. It's so unpredictable. It starts off like a peaceful party if we're winning or just disappointment if we lost and somehow gains momentum.

Last year after losing the playoff game, youth took to the streets threw bottles and rocks at police on horseback,  damaged store fronts and looted.

This year people after the game people just went home. Dozens of my friends vented their frustrations on Facebook, which is a better way then rioting.  

The city of Montreal had deployed as much police as it could to patrol the downtown core and to ride the subway to ensure to break any pocket of people that could start a riot, but it was quiet. Very quiet.

Now the Canadians can enjoy golf season!

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Ever so slowly things start changing.

In a surprising turn of events, something that would have been unthinkable even a month ago, more then 200 members of the ruling Baath party in Syria have resigned in protest over the military assault. Mostly members from Deraa and surrounding areas of Syria as well as members from Baniyas. The army has been heavy handed in places where the most intense pro-democracy marches have taken place. They are killing people and tossing people in jail.  Estimates are that over 450 people have died so far while peacefully protesting in the past 6 weeks.

Then there's Yemen. People there aren't happy with the deal the GCC made with Saleh which gives him a month to leave the country with his family and aides without repercussions. The people want him out now. Yemeni in 18 towns and cities launched a civil disobedience campaign starting today. Saleh has lost most of his political allies, who have deserted him as well as some key military leaders. They estimate that more then 130 people have died peacefully protesting either in the hands of security forces or pro-government supporters.

Things are nasty in Bahrain, there are apparently more then 800 people in jail, all Shia. That includes 71 women. This is unusual for Bahrain, to jail women. Since the protests where quashed in Bahrain, they have been persecuting the Shia. Many claim to have lost their jobs.  Of course the government which is Sunni, denies any wrong doing.  I'm sure  though if the Sunni's were the minority and the Shia were in power, the problems would be exactly the same. I mean all Bahraini's should have the same freedoms regardless of what type of Islam they follow, you know?

Different flavor, same results

While Bashar al-Assad doesn't appear to be the same kind of crazy as Gadafi, the results are very similar. These are 2 despots that won't take criticism from it's own people and thinks that shooting to kill any opposition is the good way to run a country. 

Sure everyone agrees with you most of the time, most people would agree to anything with a gun shoved against their head. Also love their spreading of false information. In Libya it's Al Qaeda that's behind the revolts, in Syria, it's people from other countries who want to destabilize their country.  It's not their own people who want change, democracy and freedom, how unthinkable!!!!

I mean why give the people the right to peaceful congregation?!?! They might actually have an opinion!

Monday, April 25, 2011

Gardening boots

My trip at Canadian Tire this morning was not a complete waste. I did end up picking up some rubber boots for gardening  on special. 

They are the most comfortable pair of rubber boots I've ever owned.  They also appear to be warm.  I have some "billy boots" that date back 20 years ago. I wear them if I need them but I've never found them comfortable or warm. Even with a thick pair of wool socks.

Canadian Tire disorganized, manager surly

I went to Canadian Tire in Kirkland this morning to pick up a few items including some "Color my Garden" black CIL Cedar Mulch that was $2 off. You buy them at the cash and pick them up with your vehicle at their gate.  It was obvious the kid working there wasn't the sharpest in the drawer, since he needed the help of another clerk to figure out which mulch the folks before me bought.

After waiting what seemed like 20 minutes, he finally gets to me, tells me to pull my truck near the mulch. That's when they start to panic because there was 7 packages and I had bought 10. In the end there was only 7 to be had, they had to get the manager who told the kid he needed to take me to the cash to get me a refund since they didn't have it now, but they may have it this afternoon.  The kid was telling me to follow him and the bags weren't even in my truck.

The manager was surly and not very nice, considering it's not like *I* complained. I paid for product they didn't have. I was not responsible for the blunder, they were. I didn't ask to speak to a manager. The two boys who coulnd't find more of the mulch went to get the manager.

She made me feel like somehow I was a HUGE PAIN IN THE ASS and  I should be more understanding that even though I was in before noon, and the product is clearly advertised in their flyer and on their website, that it's normal for them to sell product they don't have.  Then it's a HUGE INCONVENIENCE for them to refund the poor SCHMUCK who bought them in good faith. 

That's OK, what goes around comes around.  If she has no tolerance for people perhaps she should get a job restocking shelves at night. What's for sure is karma will get her. She'll meet someone as surly as her I can guarantee it.

I didn't feel like an appreciated client that's for sure. I felt  like how dare I buy something they didn't have in stock and made HER look bad. DO you think she apologized for store not having it? NO. She made it sound like I  was being totally unreasonable for buying 10 so early in the season.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Early Easter dinner

Last night I had my daughters over for an early Easter dinner. I had spent part of the day cooking. I started around 10am making the Irish Stew. I always find it's best if it cooks for hours and hours. 

While the stew was cooking I also made coleslaw. I split the coleslaw in 2 and seasoned one batch with mayonnaise and one batch with apple cider vinegar and olive oil.  I also made seven bean salad, and Greek salad.  The last thing I made was some gluten free pasta with Kashkaval cheese, zaatar and sun dried tomatoes.

I had made sure to have apple juice available, so they would have something to drink. What amused me to no end is that they showed up after stopping at Loblaws, with wine, apple juice and all the makings for salad. So apparently I was well in tune with my daughters this time over what to feed them. 

I was surprised too that they both wanted to sample my gluten free pasta. It's actually pretty awesome :)  Of course now I have all this food to eat for the coming week. Perfect, now I can work in the garden for the next few days and not have to worry about what I'll be having for dinner.

Candles still burn for those who have fallen fighting for freedom

Yesterday I lit 2 candles to honor all of those who had fallen in the name of freedom. I lit them around this time of the day and they are still going 24 hours later.

As the candles die out, I will be thinking of all those men and women who have died in the Middle-East in 2011 fighting for human rights, democracy and freedom. I will be thanking them for the sacrifice they made so that others could be free. Chukran.

Things getting ugly in Syria

Human rights monitors say that dozens of people were arrested as secret police raided homes near Damascus.  They claim they got rid of emergency law, but obviously they didn't if they go fish people out of their homes.

Two Syrian legislators resigned their posts in parliament as outrage grows over the killings of innocent protestors. Many outside Syria are saying it's not enough to condemn the violence of the government forces. Now that they are told to "shoot to kill" protesters, the international community have to impose sanctions. No one really wants to get involved with imposing anything on Syria so it will be interesting to watch and see how things play out.

In another part of the Middle-East, it seems that the GCC have managed to get Saleh to agree to leave Yemen in a month. However that does not completely make the people of Yemen happy. Saleh gets to leave and no sanctions will be imposed on him or his lackey's. I think we need to sit and watch this one out. Besides who will they replace him with? Someone who rules exactly the same way and oppresses the Yemeni's just as much? 

I haven't been talking about Libya because there seems no end in sight. For every progress the rebels make, government forces make as well. Don't know how this will end sadly. Gadafi really doesn't want out.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Politics on this side of the pond

I've been blogging about what's going on in the middle-east a lot but I haven't said much about the up coming Canadian Federal elections, beyond the fact I really don't like Harper. On that note check this site out. Makes it clear to me that I can't stand him.

Besides it was pointed out to me a couple of days ago, that Harper's Government has consistently disrespected women. Would you vote for a party that treats half the of countries people like 2nd class citizens eroding their rights? 

There's groups like Catch22 which suggests that we can defeat Harper by strategic voting. This means not specifically voting for the person who you feel is best, but voting for the candidate that is most likely going to defeat a Conservative representative.

There's also another group called  project Democracy which has similar aspirations as catch22. That is to help vote to keep Harper's Conservatives out!

This is probably the first time in my life that I'm going to vote for a major party in a Federal election. Usually I'm so turned off by each and every party and their leader that I vote for a small candidate that has no way of getting in but doesn't give my vote to someone I can't stand. 

I've always been somewhere between the Liberals and the NDP in the spectrum. I remember debating with my dad years ago about the NDP. He was fundamentally against them because of their stand on NATO.  I'm not sure how they stand on NATO these days, but I still think they are a good alternative and for the first time in years they have an actual chance of being the official opposition. 

Many articles have said that there is not much different between where the Liberals and NDP stand these days in terms of major issues, so I can't help but wonder if I'm just going to toss a coin on election day. 

The Syrian people demand the downfall of the regime

Syria claims to have repealed it's emergency law that dates from the 60's which should mean that people can finally demonstrate peacefully. However during the marches of "Great Friday" after prayers this past good Friday  anywhere from 75-100 peacefully protesting people were shot dead by government thugs. It's hard to get a real number. The government says 10 people died, the protesters say it's over 100.  So this repealing of the emergency law is just on paper and not the reality.

As time progresses more and more Syrians have taken to the streets. It is becoming resoundingly clear to more and more of them that  Assad is not the reformer he claims to be and he won't listen to the will of the people. Those who originally took to the streets to protest for reforms now are protesting for a regime change. 

Four people have been killed today at a funeral for protesters killed Friday in Douma with no end to protests or funeral marches in sight. Sometimes I'd like to be a fly on the wall and be witness to these incredible uprisings by the people. To march with the people and feel the change. Other times I'm just happy to be safely across the world from all the unrest. 

Things aren't much better in Bahrain then in Syria. There too the government is killing innocent protesters, and also bullying doctors and medical personal trying to help those injured. 

Today I will burn a candle to honor all those who have fallen, fighting for one of the greatest rights man can have,


Friday, April 22, 2011

An outdoor shot just in time for Caturday

Spock and Ziva first time outside with harness.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

A touch early for Caturday

They are always so cute at the patio

Teen-aged prisoners of Conscience in Syria

This morning I wanted to write about Tal Al-Mallouhi, who was a 17 year old Syrian teenager from Homs when she was arrested for crimes of espionage for writing in her blog in December 2009. 

It was said she was passing information to foreign governments through her blog. Really all she was doing was showing sympathy for the plight of the Palestinians, restrictions of freedom in Syria and hope for peace for the Middle-east. She was doing this through essays and poetry.

In 2010 she was brought in front of a Syrian court, without any lawyer and her family was not allowed to assist. Without showing any proof of her crimes she was convicted and given a jail term of 5 years. She is in solitary confinement. No one can visit her, not family, not friends, not even a lawyer. 

Here is an illustration of Tal's poetry: [Taken from AlJeezera English site]

You Will Remain an Example
(In reference to Gandhi)

I will walk with all walking people
And no
I will not stand still
Just to watch the passers by

This is my Homeland
In which
I have
A palm tree
A drop in the cloud
And a grave to protect me

She was the youngest prisoner of conscience in the world, but sadly isn't the only one in Syria anymore. Recently they have been rounding up teens who wrote anti government slogans in Daraa. They have blamed some teens for being the sole instigators of the pro-democracy movement in their town.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

A little bit of geek heaven.

Every 4-6 months I get to order new hardware for testing purposes, that gets shared among the team. Sometimes I get to chose some of the hardware, sometimes it gets chosen by the lead of the hardware team, anticipating the needs for my team knowing what new products we will be testing. 

The new equipment just started coming in this week from the list we made in March. For a geek like me it always feels like Christmas when we get new hardware. This time is no different. The most exciting piece of hardware on my list had to be the Z800, FM014UT model. It's a dual 6-core Xeon with hyper-threading. Just seeing those 24 processors listed in windows today was so exciting.

I also look forward to try out the ASUS PA246Q, all of it's 4 ports :) I have 6 LCD's just cabled waiting in line to be tested. I wonder if the cleaning staff think I'm a nut! The other hardware, I'm going to unbox and make sure it's not DOA.  Sure I could have someone else do it, but I find it fun to unbox and try out all the new lcds and USB devices.

I don't care much for freezing rain

But at least it's not January and it won't accumulate several inches of ice on everything.

This morning it's snow, rain, freezing rain, drizzle, ice pellets and anything else you can imagine that can come from the sky when the temperature is hovering around the freezing mark.

When are we going to get spring already?

I bet you it's all Harper's fault with all the campaigning he just finished doing in Northern Ontario and Quebec. Obviously mother nature is trying to get us all to see what utter bull he's been telling people!

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Syrian government struggling with honesty

It had to happen. The protests spread to Homs, my mother-in-law's hometown. People started out at funerals for killed protesters when more got shot at.

The Syrian government is blaming armed gangs for the unrest. Wow. Probably the armed pro-government gangs who go out and shoot peaceful protesters, if it's not police or the military.

The sad part is that those shot, are not going to the hospital for fear that they will be arrested when they arrive at the hospital and tossed in jail.

First they were just calling for reforms in Syria, now they are asking for a regime change. If they cannot peacefully protest what freedoms do they have? 

My hubby went with a Syrian friend to a solidarity vigil in Montreal last Friday on the eve of Syrian independence day. I'd say at least 100 people gathered for the vigil, where they burned candles as night fell.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Beware of the little dogs with something to prove.

I tend to find small dogs are often more aggressive and dangerous then large dogs. I don't care much for small dogs as they also tend to be vocal hyper little things. I like big dogs that are more even tempered.   

I am weary of unfamiliar dogs  because I've had bad experiences with dogs. I used to pet a small dog on my way to school every day for several months when I was in first or second grade and one day this dog bit me. It sucked because when I told the teacher a dog bit me on the way to school, I was immediately sent to the hospital emergency and given I presume a shot against rabies. I don't remember exactly but it was in my butt and I couldn't sit on that butt cheek for at least 24 hours . 

My next unfortunate run-in with a dog was with a German Sheppard. My mom had sent me to the grocery store minutes before it closed, so I had to run most of the way. While I was running out of nowhere comes this big German Sheppard and bit the back of my leg. I yelped, he was taken aback. At that point I noticed he had broken his chain as he was collared with a chain following him as he ran off. I walked the rest of the way so he wouldn't try to "catch me" again.

I'm don't tend to go up to unknown dogs to pet them. I will pet dogs who come to me and lick me but that's the extent of it.  I'm more cautious then I used to be since dogs can be unpredictable. 

I was reading today about a woman who's works as a greeter in a hardware store in Ottawa who's nose was almost bitten off by a Shih Tzu dog.  It's the comments that amazed me. People blaming her for the dog biting her.  She's the store greeter. She was greeting the dog too. I mean if the dog was not friendly isn't it up to the owner to warn the greeter?  Or keep the it at home!

What amazes me is those people who feel that their dog should go everywhere they go. Was the Shih Tzu going to help her choose paint at home depot? Or decide which toilet seat she was going to purchase? 

Yemeni women continue to protest

Yemeni women in silent protest
I was reading earlier today that the ruler of Yemen has told women that it was un-Islamic for them to protest along the men. Considering that most Yemeni women cover themselves from head to toe, I'm not sure how much more modest they could be?

The good thing is that it has not deterred women from taking to the streets to protest. If anything they are going out in bigger numbers. They will not be silenced, even though they protest in silence in this picture.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Looking forward to today

I'm visiting a friend in Ottawa and he's taking me to a friends place in Quebec about 1 hours drive from here. They have a wildlife refuge. Animals that are found in need are brought to them by the game and wildlife, they heal and rehabilitate the animals and hope to return them to nature.  They have raised all sorts of baby animals. 

Since the early 90's I've been seeing in my head a quiet place, which I've attempted to draw twice.  My friend tells me it looks exactly like his friend's place. I wonder how it will feel to go there, since I've been seeing this place in my head for nearly 20 years.  I wonder if it will feel like déjà vu or very special.

I've gotten to places for the first time, like this small town in England and it was like I'd been there before. I remember getting off the tour bus with my grandpa who wanted a particular type of chewing gum to help with his digestion and despite having never been to this town before, I knew exactly where to find the convenience store. Not only that but I walked in and didn't even look, just picked up what he needed off the shelf and put it on the counter.  Blew my mind, my grandpa's mind and his sister who was traveling with us.

Normally when I'm in a new environment I feel very lost and I have to look up and down the place several times before I get my bearings.

Gas free day

I didn't gas up yesterday. So I went gas free. But I dunno what impact people not gassing up had as an effect. On snopes they suggest that gas free days have been called since 1999 and they have little impact. It's not like it calls for reducing our gasoline consumption but merely moving by a day when you fill her up.

But I suppose it makes people feel good thinking they are doing their part to help the environment.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Ad pulled off the air as society becomes more paranoid....

Apparently a local furniture store had ads for washer/dryer sets  saying that the dryer is also good to calm the baby down. The ad was pulled off the air lest some parents do this.

Well it is a pretty well known trick to calm down a fussy baby. I thought it made the ad amusing. Other well known tricks include  long car rides, walking baby back and forth while patting gently back or butt, running dish washer or vacuum cleaner, baby swings...

I had never heard of using a dryer to calm a fussy baby until well after the eldest was over colic. By the time I had the youngest though I knew. She had colic pretty much most evenings. If her dad was home, he'd walk her around while I did chores. If he wasn't home I'd keep all my drying for 8-11pm for her colicky period. I'd put a soft folded towel on the dryer and the baby wrapped in her cocoon on the towel.  I'd put a chair in front of the dryer so the back of the chair would prevent her from rolling off. I'd sit in front of it folding laundry and doing other tasks. It worked really well. 

As distracted as I can be, I somehow managed to watch my little ones like a hawk. A childhood friend of mine had several mishaps with her first child. The baby rolled off the changing table once. The baby fell off the couch at 9months.  Then she dislocated her daughters shoulder by pulling her up by her arms instead of by her underarms a few months after that.

On child safety, most children can open childproof  bottles. My youngest managed between 2-3 years old to open the child proof cap of a Tempra bottle in less the 5 minutes. It gave me just enough time to catch her just as she had gotten the lid off and before she could take a swig! I remember it well. I was downstairs and she was upstairs. I had listened to her use the bathroom, flush, wash her hands and instead of the patter of little feet coming back downstairs, that silence that parents dread. I ran, and caught her just in time.

You can't childproof the entire world. Where does it end? Besides, I always love the saying,"Make it idiot proof and someone will make a better idiot." and no I don't mean children are idiots, just saying there's a limit to what should be regulated. What's wrong with people using coming sense and taking responsibility for their actions?

Thursday, April 14, 2011


I feel all discombobulated this morning. Too many rainy days and I feel very drained.  I want to go frolic outside but in sunshine dammit. 

Too many cloudy days make me grumpy. It also makes it hard to get out of bed and get going in the morning. I sure won't be at work at 9 this morning. Looking more closer to 10am. Thankfully I work for a company that doesn't care what time I show up so long as I do my hours. 

I would hate having a boss watch me come in looking at his watch "You're 3 minutes late"

an Aurora

I finished this a week or two ago and forgot about it.

I also just realized that I had comments on the web gallery disabled. I fixed that. 

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Arab Spring

Things seem to have lost their momentum in what is being called the Arab Spring, but it's just a temporary setback. People who have toppled their autocrat like Tunisians and Egyptians will not tolerate more of the same thing under a different dictator or the army. 

It was sad the peace attempt by the African union when they met the Libyan rebels earlier this week. How can such a plan include keeping Gadafi and his family? The rebels have it right, no compromises with Gadafi.  But other African leaders had to stand behind Gadafi because he has stood behind them in the past. Things are getting just as bad in Syria, where the army, the police, secret police and even people loyal to Assad are firing on peaceful protesters. But notice how the west is not getting involved, unlike in Libya?

In fact it's something that has struck me. America and Europe have been supportive of the people in some countries and supportive of the dictator in other countries.  Russia and China have been deadly silent.  China has also been blocking all the news coming from the Arab world. I suppose they don't want the Chinese to realize that they too could protest against their regime.  Heck even countries like Israel and Turkey are choosing which people are their allies and which dictators. Same with most African countries. In some cases they support the current regime, in some cases they support the people.

So the people in Syria and Bahrain are going to have to fight the system extra hard because it seems no one will help from the outside. If anything Bahrain's neighbors want to keep everything exactly as is and fuck the will of the people.

The fear that some alarmists are trying to scare us with is that if more Arab countries topple their current leader, that the whole region will become fundamentalism Muslim. That it will give rise to ultra conservative groups. However did you notice how the only country where they were riots following the Koran burning by the twit in Florida was Afghanistan? 

Remember last year when the same twit threatened to burn the Koran, there were protests in most Middle eastern countries?  It's not like the Egyptians weren't out there in force protesting to bring Mubarak to Justice. They could have rioted over the Koran burning, but they didn't. Human rights and democracy are more on their minds then 1 twit in Florida.   The reason why they protested in Afghanistan is because of the how oppressed people are and it is a way of fueling anger.

The fight for freedom and human rights will keep going. The Arab youth will see to it. And when Libya finally gets rid of Gadafi the momentum will pick up again. One thing for sure, this is a Pandora's box that once opened will not be closed again.  The will of the people will prevail!

I love my cats but at 3am I think they are out to get me.

Hubby tries to go to sleep earlier then me but I'm sure he fails because there's a percentage of the time, where just trying to go to the bathroom a few feet away is an adventure. I don't open lights in the middle of the night because that would wake me up and then I'd be hyper for 3 more hours.

So I go around blundering in the dark. Most nights it sounds like this:

Random creaking of wood floor.

A muffled thump.

Sound of a herd of elephants dispersing 

"Jesuuuuuus fucken christ, one day I'm going to kill myself tripping over one of you." in soft voice.

At the patio door, Pixie, Ziva, Spock. Jethro is on the chair
Most of the time it's Spock I'm tripping over. It's like he waits in ambush in my bathroom for me.  If it's not him, it's Pixie.  Tonight first I tripped over Spock, and when I was giggling over what it must sound like to others and walking back it was Ziva who bolted, bumped into me and flew down the stairs. That had me in stitches for a couple more  minutes.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

I had a distracted moment

I just realized now at 10pm today is not the 15th, but the 12th. I dunno how I missed it earlier today. Didn't miss my therapist' appointment today despite not realizing the date.

So then I suppose people lined up yesterday because the price was cheap. It was $1.42 this morning.  I guess it's Friday we're not supposed to gas up. Here's hoping my truck doesn't need gas till next Monday!

[Fat chance. I can hear it go gulp gulp gulp guzzling gas just thinking about using it!]

April 15th, no gas day

When I drove home around 7:30 pm last night I was puzzled as to why all the gas stations on Sources blvd were full of line-ups. Sure $1.29.4 is 'cheap' compared to gas prices of almost $1.40 per liter but it didn't explain the huge line-ups.

In my email this morning one of my Linkedin contacts sent me a reminder that today is Gas Free day. I dunno how much this type of protest really affects anyone, but I can wait to gas up on Wednesday.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Prayers go out for Japan

On this Monday our hearts and prayers go out to the people in Japan, who suffered another aftershock today on the one month anniversary of the 7.4 earthquake. Hopefully this is the end of such tremors and efforts to get daily life back on track will prevail.

Nature is full of surprises

Here are a few more photo's from my garden. Love the fact the crocus grew through the snow and flowered :)

Crocus growing through snow!

Front lawn full of crocus


Middle east chaos for a monday morning.

So much is going on in the middle-east, you'll be hard pressed to find much written about the marchers in Lebanon yesterday.  I found this blog for secularism. I'm sure many Lebanese feel like he does. 

Apparently anywhere around 2500 - 10 000 marched for three hours from the national museum to the center of Beirut chanting "revolution against the regime, against corruption". Others cried "We do not want confessionalism or civil war". There is a march planned for next Sunday. It's been planned since last year's   march.

Though there have been no protests in the UAE, several pro-democracy activists have been detained. There has been increasing discussions online about political reform. Political activity is restricted in the UAE,  there are no political parties, and no official opposition. Since pro-democracy demonstrations have started in other areas of the middle east, several petitions have been given to the UAE demanding constitutional and parliamentary reforms. 

Things are going from bad to worse in Syria. More then 120 people have been killed in the protests so far. People are continue to protest despite lock-downs and blackouts.  One port city yesterday had no phone, no electricity and no internet. 

In Yemen protests against Saleh continue while other Gulf states are trying to find solutions for his leaving power. 

In Egypt the people are still protesting, demanding that Mubarak be brought to justice. 

In Libya, African leaders are in Benghazi for peace talks. Let's hope they manage to get Gadafi to leave already!

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Lebanese March some more for Secularism

Today Sunday, Lebanese are out again in numbers to march to end the sectarian regime that has plagued the country since the very beginning.

I'm there in spirit supporting my mother-in-law and all my other Lebanese friends. I'll be blogging later today about how it went.

Meanwhile I'm removing dead leaves and weeds in my flower beds until it starts to rain.  

Today my mom would be 78 years old were she still alive. Happy Birthday Mom!

Saturday, April 09, 2011

Late Spring, later blooms.

It's been cold and not much of a spring this year, but today felt like spring. At some point it was warm enough that what I have been wearing inside was warm enough outside to work in the garden.

Despite having snow in the back where the primroses grow, I have several patches of giant snowdrops in front and in back. I also have a couple of crocus and as well the arabis which is starting to bloom.

I checked and cleaned around the catnip patch and the plant is doing fine. I have 4 pickets and chicken coop wire around the catnip plant otherwise it wouldn't have a chance of growing. This must be the 5th time I plant catnip, and usually by the next day some cat has come along and eaten the entire plant. Now I figure the main plant is protected by chicken coop wire, and if the plant goes beyond it's enclosure whatever does is for the cats who find it. I'm hoping to have a patch big enough eventually that I can remove the wire and no longer worry about the welfare of the plant.

I'm seeing tons of tulip leaves just coming up. I'm hoping this will be my best tulip year :)

Peanut butter Panda puffs

I went to Tau natural foods after work yesterday to buy different gluten free products. One of them was a cereal called Peanut butter Panda Puffs.  Trying them out for breakfast this morning. I miss having peanut butter toast for breakfast. I find peanut butter really gets me going in the morning.

So I'm testing out if these Panda puffs will give me the boost I need to wake up and work long term so I'm not hungry again right away. They taste pretty good. Sweet even. But lots of stuff tastes sweet to me, by virtue I never eat anything with sugar.

Since I went gluten free most work mornings my breakfast has consisted of oatmeal. Sure I make interesting oatmeal with blueberries or strawberries, or raisins. I also can add hulled hemp seeds, walnuts [not the Amira ones being recalled], pecans, and various spices. It makes a good breakfast but after months of it, I'm bored!!!

I'm having my panda puffs with my favorite soy milk, Vitasoy, but I realized yesterday that it contains some barley, and I believe barley has gluten. Though I believe I have more issues with wheat then I do with barley.

Much like I try to stay dairy free, but I won't let a bit of dairy spoil my fun. The worst I get with a bit of dairy is stomach bloat.  I do try to use only goat and sheep cheese but it's hard to find ready made products that use goat or sheeps cheese.

Friday, April 08, 2011

It's sad what's going on in Libya

It's a pity that Gadafi is crazy. Not only is he doing his own country a great disservice but he's helping despots still in place in the middle-east to be overconfident that all that is required to maintain their position is to bully and kill their own people with brute force.

Headlines this morning are about snipers aiming at children in Libya. How horrible is that? To actually target CHILDREN. Our future, our youth, our innocence. Children should never be stuck in the middle of that. 

Yes we know Gadafi is crazy and the spin he brings to everything he says is so full of lies and deceipt. He would like us to believe that he's just a dumb crazy Arab and that Libya is a poor backwards country stuck in the middle ages, who without him will turn into a chaotic mess like Somalia. That he's the reason his country is under control!?!?!?!

Well it's nothing to be proud of, to kill your own people and rule in such a way that all dissent is killed?  I read an inspiring article by Najla Abdurrahman yesterday.  One of the points she makes is that the people of  Libya are not as backwards and ignorant as Gadafi tries to make them out to be. Western scholars have been arguing that in most Arab countries, the uprisings will eventually bring about Muslim extremists in power. That these poor uneducated people cannot possibly know what to do with democracy. 

I beg to differ. The governments that end up in place may not be the type of allies the West is looking for but if they do the will of the people in the country who chose them, then who are we to judge their choices?  I mean it's not like George "Dubya" Bush was a great leader for the Americans but the rest of the world didn't invade the US to get rid of him, although many probably gave it thought.  I can't say I'm proud to have Harper as a leader for Canada, but I certainly wouldn't want other countries to take him down.  It's up to the people to get rid of him democratically. 

The people of all these Arab countries in turmoil are entitled to self-determination.  

As this is Friday, I wish all those out protesting for change in their respective countries that their voice is heard. I believe there are marches today in Syria, Yemen, Oman, & Egypt. In Jordan a man put himself on fire, much like the man in Tunisia who's same act was the catalyst for all the unrest in the Middle-East.

Thursday, April 07, 2011

Can't get enough Mac & Cheese

I don't know what's up with that, but lately I can't seem to get enough of pasta and cheese. Last Sunday I made a batch of  it that was divine. I've eaten some every night for the past 4 days and I'm disappointed I have no more left. I'm pinning for more.  I know I make strange uses for za'atar mix but I love the taste of it. 

Here's the recipe:

Gluten and Casein free Macaroni and Cheese with Za'atar

- 2 cups of brown rice pasta
- 1/2 cup of Kashkaval cheese in small cubes
- 1 tbsp Nuvel margarine [Nuvel is casein free]
- 2 tbsp of za'atar mix
- 6 sun dried tomatoes chopped in small pieces
- Salt & pepper to taste
Boil about 6 cups of water. Once water is boiling throw in your pasta. Let it cook at low heat about 20 minutes. Drain the water.  Add cheese, margarine, tomatoes, za'atar and seasoning and stir until cheese has all melted, and you have cheesy pasta.

Les Marchés d'Aliments Naturels TAU Inc

New health food store opened near work, and I suppose not that far away from home as well. It's in Pointe-Claire, at the MegaMall, next to the Omer Deserres art store. You can get to it either by the 40 service road going west, or  from Sources blvd going south, the entrance just before the 40 service road. It's not even showing on their website that this store is opened in Pointe-Claire yet.

I checked it out at lunch today for the first time.  I will have to go back after work or on the week-end to pick up gluten free bread. They have a lot of gluten free foods, so I will be going there regularly. They have Larabars but more expensive then everywhere. I need to order those online.

I even found decently priced cat food, called "The Healthy Cat".  Now will the cats like it??

Wednesday, April 06, 2011

Martyrs Week

Wednesday, Thursday and Friday have been dubbed "Martyrs Week" by some Syrian protesters.  Things are heating up in Syria. So far they figure about 80 protesters have been killed by security. Now 2 policemen have been shot in an area of Damascus where 8 protesters were killed recently.

The protests will continue, the will of the people is unrelenting!

Tuesday, April 05, 2011

What if GM didn't let you test drive their vehicules....

Because you show up in a Honda? It would be pretty bad for sales. 

Well Steven Harper did exactly that. His security staff escorted out two students out of one of his events in London because the students had a photo on Facebook where they were posing with Ignatieff. So if you hang out with Liberals apparently you cannot go to Conservative events. 

I applaud the young women who decided to go to as many different political rallies as possible, and listen to as many leaders as possible. Many youth  do not care about politics, the fact they wanted to be more informed  and go to events was wonderful. Shame on Steven Harper and his staff for dismissing them. 

Sunday, April 03, 2011

Toronto "Slut Walk"

There's a ready made Fark headline, but I digress.

I blogged several weeks ago about this incident, where a member of law enforcement told women at a personal security class that "women should avoid dressing like sluts in order not to be victimized". Well I'm not the only woman who found it highly offensive. Hence the "Slut walk" in Toronto.

I hope it drew a lot of attention and make people realize that blaming the victim is not helpful. Not to the victim who blames herself, not to the perpetrator who will likely continue perpetrating this type of behaviour.

Saturday, April 02, 2011

Just in time for caturday....

As I've mentioned before Ziva loves to play with plastic balls. One of her favourite spots to play is in my bathtub.

Ziva playing with a purple ball.

Ziva playing with a white and green ball.

Bouncing for that green and white ball.

International community always focuses on their own interests

We are hearing a lot about the uprisings and revolutions in the Middle East because the international community has vested interests. Most of the world's fuel currently comes from the Middle East and North Africa, so the international community really care what happens there. 

But what about what is going on in Ivory Coast? Things have been going out of control there for the past 4 months, ever since the incumbent president decided to not step down and listen to the results of the elections. It's not the only country in crisis that has been largely ignored by the international community. What about Somalia? The only time you hear about Somalia is when one more ship gets hijacked in the gulf of Eden. What about Sierra Leone? What about Nigeria? What about Sudan, which is now poised to be split into 2 countries after the referendum? I could go on listing big and small African countries where things are tense however it's all moot.  There is little or no interest for this news and it's not freely flowing. 

Overall I've noticed that since the uprisings first started in Tunisia, the news coming out of the rest of Africa has diminished to a trickle. Yes since the middle of January you'd be hard pressed to find too much written about the problems affecting Somalia, Sierra Leone, Nigeria and any other African country where things are shaky. 

Friday, April 01, 2011

The apple doesnt fall far from the tree

Apparently my eldest, was bored at work today and decided to make dozens of colorful paper fish and she dropped by before I got home to put them in my shoes and boots and even on my laptop!

Here fishy fishy fishy!

It would seem mischievousness in women runs in my family. Both my daughters are mischievous in their own way.

April fools

I remember when I was a little girl, pre-school age, I used to cut out dozens and dozens of fish of different sizes made out of paper, color them brightly and put them in my grandpa's work boots. So when he'd get up at 4:00  AM on April 1st, he'd find his boots full of fish. In French we call the day "Poison d'avril"  Aprils' fish day!

The funny part was, it would piss off my grandpa, who was grumpy regardless, but obviously it made my grandma giggle, because she'd be the one who would remind me each year when April 1st was. Because as a  preschooler one does not have a concept of dates that much. 

Of course another alternative is while I'm inspired making dozens of colorful paper fishies grandma could get on with her housework. So she was willing to put up with 10 minutes of grandpa bitching before he went off to work, for the 3 hours of peace she was getting encouraging me in an art project. Or heck, maybe she liked both the peace and giggling over the joke. My grandma had very mischievous steel-gray eyes.  I've never run into anyone with gray eyes like hers in my life since either.