Thursday, October 31, 2013

The answer isn't 42.....

As I mentioned a couple of entries ago,  I threw out my back. Well it feels more like I'm fighting an infection, like the flu, rather then just being muscle aches. 

Originally the pain was at the usual spot, the last disc in my spinal cord. That's the one that locks in certain conditions, and Sunday the pain was there. But by Monday it had migrated to surrounding area to that disc but n the right side. Tuesday it was spreading on the right side, but I figured I'd be fine for work Wednesday. I went to work Wednesday but in such pain, mostly in the back and a bit on the right. My back still hurts, but now it's also all my right side, from the hip to the knee. The muscles and connecting tissue hurts.  Getting up from sitting is uncomfortable at best, painful to the point I moan, groan or downright scream if no one is in earshot.

I walk so funny due to the pain that people I've never spoken to at work, asked me if I was ok. Yes I'm ok. Yes I'm in pain. Yes I'm walking funny.  No I really don't want to talk about it.  I just want to hide. Normally at the speed I walk, I can hide. But walking slower then a turtle, seems to take forever to get from my desk to parking lot and people have a chance to catch up with me.

I ended up doing really boring tests today, because I could stand  in front of a cart, and just move my arms and do the test. It involved doing 20 insertions on 9 connectors, to check the robustness of the new source for those connectors. Normally I'd assign a task of this type to an underling, usually an intern.  But today I did 180 insertions of cables into connectors. It's about as exciting as watching paint dry, but it's important work.  If we have to start using this part on 4 different product lines we still sell, it had better work. This testing took about 2 hours of my day but at least during those two hours, since mostly only my arms moved I wasn't in much pain.

People have suggested I see a doctor, to what end? So I get told I have a sore back? Or muscle aches? And be giving pain killers, which I won't take because they just upset my stomach but don't relieve my pain.  I'm almost sure this is viral and the reason I'm in this much pain is because I'm fighting a flu. In the same time frame as this back ache has been nasty headaches, where I feel someone is stabbing me. on the right side of the head.  I've also developed cold sores in my right nostril. That all points to fighting a flu. There are plenty of viruses going around at work.  So far I don't have respiratory symptoms or digestive ones, and I'm going to hope it stays that way. I'm in such pain when I move right now, it already makes going to the bathroom difficult I can't imagine having to run there in those conditions.

Despite being annoyed by the pain, I'm amused because I visualize how I would look like if I was in an animated cartoon. Most days I feel like I'm still 16, today I felt like I was 85. I guess in the end it all balances out.

Potato & chickpea curry

I made this one, two or three weeks ago, put 2 servings in the fridge and the rest in the freezer. It's incredibly good for a very simple curry. A friend sampled it and wanted the recipe.

Wasn't easy to find it either, there's at least 3 or 4 other chickpea potato curries on that website. Originally I linked the wrong one. I was on the right site, I was sure I had the right recipe.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

My back sucks

This is the 2nd time this fall that I throw out my back by coughing.  This time it was at 10pm Sunday night. I did everything I needed to do. I had just finished doing the dishes and cleaning up the kitchen from my cooking on Saturday, when I sat down and coughed. That was it. I went straight to bed figuring perhaps just lying down for the night would help. No, it did not and I spent the last 2 days in bed unable to move much.

Today I'm going into work, my back is better, it's still twingy but between the tiger balm and the Ibuprofin liquid gels I should get through the day.

At least though, I don't have to spend several hours dressed up as a Timmy's coffee! I feel sorry for the poor guy who does this during rush hour on Sources to advertise the new Tim Hortons on Sources going south between de Salaberry and Hyman blvds.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Coconut vegetable Curry

I made some Coconut vegetable curry last Saturday but had not had the opportunity to try it out. It was unsure I'd like it, it smelled of okra, despite not having much okra, but happy to report, it does not taste like okra. Nice strong curry taste. Hot, spicy. Of course it could be because I added 2 tablespoons of cock sauce to the sauce.

Monday, October 28, 2013

Gluten free tabouleh

I've been experimenting with gluten free tabouleh. First I tried my fruit and nut with millet. I still need to experiment with quantities, though the first batch was edible.

This time I made more traditional style tabouleh, using quinoa and this recipe.

Sunday, October 27, 2013

What's a little pussy on a bed?

Jethro heard the camera, so he was listening

Decided that camera or no camera, it was time to nap.

Amazing the difference fresh cilantro can make.

Made some more batata harra this Sunday for brunch and this time they tasted perfect.  The secret is fresh cilantro. The dried one will never give it any taste that will even resemble cilantro.

I love spicy potatoes. I have mastered this recipe enough to be able to share with others.

Delicious homemade batata harra.

Saturday, October 26, 2013

So what's cooking?

Today I made some Garbanzo Bean & Tomato soup based on this recipe

2 tbsp olive oil
2 leeks, thinly sliced
3 zucchinis, chopped
3 garlic cloves, crushed
1 x 28ounce can of diced tomatoes
2 tbsp tomato paste
1 bay leaf
3 3/4 cups of vegetable stock
1 x 19 ounce Garbanzo beans drained [another name for chick peas]

Heat oil in saucepan, add the leeks, and zucchini, cook briskly for 5 minutes stirring constantly
Add garlic, tomatoes, tomato paste, bay leaf, stock and garbanzo beans. Bring to a boil and let simmer for 10 minutes. Remove Bay leaf and serve with some crusty bread and/or cheese.

Garbanzo bean and tomato soup, served with melted goat cheese

My mischiveous female cat: Ziva Part II

Yes she's not finished.

Meanwhile Pixie comes to check it out. I mean boxes... all cats love boxes. You put a new box somewhere all your cats will want to check it out.

She spots Pixie in her box. That will not do.

Tries to repossess her box.

Pixie moves his paw so fast its just a blur from which Jethro emerges.

Pixie leaves the box

She back in fine form and remodelling.

Now my work is done. See how nicely I redecorated the hallway for you :)

Photos all taken with Sony Alpha 350 with Tamron 18-270 lens.

My mischiveous female cat: Ziva Part I

This is how the boxes were in the hallway leading to the kitchen for at least a week, and then Ziva got bored one night.

These are a few of the hundreds of photos I took that night while Ziva was hard at work :)

I don't know if he dared her or if he said anything to her, but this is where it all started. Note the boxes are still stacked as in earlier photo from another angle.

And she's in motion, she starts to dislodge  the blue lid.

Here she starts attempting to open the box.

She dislodges one of the boxes that is flat against the wall

Goes back to removing the blue lid.

Now she's determined to get into the box.

Ziva has managed to get herself inside the box.

Tries to get rid of all the lids.

She tells me she's not quite finished.

She wants to knock the boxes away from the wall

Jethro isn't convinced she's finished either.

Stay tuned for part II...

Friday, October 25, 2013

Something I've believed for a long time.

As a rule I hate all fundamentalists,  be they Christian, Pagan or Muslim. 

Airplane food

When I was travelling to the Middle East, I discovered that not all airlines serve you uneatable food like Air Canada.  I remember the first time I travelled with Emirates airline. I was so surprised and impressed with their vegetarian meal. It was surprisingly delicious, and not sugar laden.

Apparently I'm not the only one who notices that most North American carriers feed you sheer garbage. This article tells of the best airplane food, and no carrier in North America made the list. But delicious Emirates Airline makes the cut.  See article.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Windows 8.1 isn't as charming as you would think.

This pop-up can appear on any of the 4 corners, Randomly.
Undoubtedly the most annoying feature of Windows 8.1 is the random popup telling you that you can use corners.  I was trying to put a valid serial number and this stupid charm popped up OVER the location where I was entering the serial number. I'd made it go away and go back to giving windows a serial number and it would come back.

Seriously when Microsoft said it would make Windows 8.1 more PC friendly they were joking. Windows 8.1 isn't any friendlier then Windows 8.0.  But some idiot at Microsoft thought they would teach us how to use it by putting these charming popups to spam. This is about as useful as the "desktop Icon cleaning feature" of Windows XP, the gadgets of Windows Vista and a slew of other stupid features some moron at Microsoft thought was very cool.

Monday, October 21, 2013

3rd woman assaulted at UBC

Lets hope they catch the man who has been terrorizing the UBC campus in Vancouver. This is the 3rd assault in weeks.  Women on that campus should use the buddy system when coming home after dark.

Hopefully the man is caught quickly before someone gets raped.

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Not sure how a headscarf affects someone's professionalism.

I remembered recently my first experience of interacting with a veiled woman. It was during one of my 2 labours, in either 1987 or 1988. I cannot remember which one it was.I do know that my experience in the hospital for the birth of my 2 daughters was a mixed bag. Most hospital personnel while competent are generally busy, rushed and abrupt.  I'm not saying they were not efficient and did not get the job done, but they did not spend any time treating you like a human being.

In comes a very young nurse, she was in her early 20's, and wearing a white veil.  Her features were middle eastern.  I was in pain and going through labour, a nurse is a nurse.  She was the sweetest, most kindest nurse I have ever met to this day. She wore a beautiful smile, asked me if I could use more pillows, asked me how she could make my labour more comfortable. Offered to massage my back, my feet. Offered to sit for a while, and hold my hand, or even cuddle with me or hold me, if I wanted.  Those who know me know I don't care much for being touched by strangers. I had my husband holding my hand most of the labour, but I remember he had gone for a break when she was around.  She stayed with me as long as she could, she was calm, peaceful, smiling, pleasant and made me feel good, as good as one can feel when going through the pains of labour!

I remember thinking, that perhaps where she came from, that nursing was more about caring and treating a patient humanly then about just fixing the physical problems.It's also forever gotten me to know that veil or no veil, she was a very sweet woman. Nearly 30 years later I remember her as one of the positive experiences of  childbirth.

I never felt her veil was threatening or encouraging me to be Muslim. It was who she was, and how she was comfortable. This did not prevent her from being the best nurse she could be and a really caring person.

This IDIOT Janette Bertrand, can go search for a white French Quebecois doctor if she likes,  I'm personally going to chose the one who treats me with the most respect and the most competance.

Just like I'm very satisfied that my male therapist, a psychologist I've been seeing for close to 3 years, is of Israeli origin.  He's the first male therapist who did not make me feel uncomfortable. Fact he wasn't born here and came in his late teens does not take away from how much therapy with him has helped me.  I was amused when he scheduled an appointment with me which has to be moved because he scheduled it on a Jewish holiday.  :) You'd think he's remember!

I love the fact that Montreal is very multicultural and you don't know who you will meet. My driving instructor in the mid 90's was a wonderful Haitian man, who was highly educated in Haiti, but could not find job in his field in Montreal. Instead he taught people how to drive.  Not only did I learn how to drive with him, but was delighted by his vast knowledge and stimulating conversations. I'm sure the fact I could have awesome conversations with the man, helped me learn how to drive so much faster.

I love where I work that we chose people based on merit, not on appearance. Currently in my team I have 1 guy who's a mix of French and English of Quebecois origin.  I have one guy who was born in the Philippines, very Christian and immigrated in his late teens early 20's. I have another guy who was born in the Caucus region of what used to be the USSR, with a Jewish wife, who has been in the Russian army, and who immigrated in his 30's.  I have one guy, Muslim,  who is from Algeria, who immigrated with his wife, also in their early 30's I believe. My last guy, is a Vietnamese boat person. From what I know he left Vietnam multiple times  by boat and was caught many times before he finally managed to escape for good.    Then there's a guy I work in close contact with daily  who came from Chili as a child as his family escaped the horrible situation there.

It makes for a highly interesting workplace with a high level of respect among the employees. It is also a great environment for interns, both those who are new immigrants to Canada, and those  Quebecois who come from remote regions of Quebec and get their first experience working with  an "ethnic diversity", not seen in remote regions of Quebec.

I've seen one year where I had a Haitian student and a very sheltered white student, who'd never met a black before. By the time their 4 months were up, these two youngsters were going on outings together with their girlfriends on week-ends and really enjoying each others company.

I'll be honest, I'm a French girl who's mom sent her to English school. In a predominantly Italian neighbourhood. I was teased for being the French kid at school. Then I'd go home and was teased for being the only French kid in my neighbourhood   going to English school.  I was made to feel I didn't belong anywhere, so as I got older, I began spending time with folks with whom I felt I belonged. Those ended up being new arrivals and the children of immigrants.  I remember one year in CEGEP being at a friends place for dinner with our common friends and the dad, a high executive at Alcan commented his house was like the United Nations. Everyone there was from a different background. By then I would proudly announce my (step) dad was from Belgium, so I was the Belge girl there that day.

This is the kind of environment my daughters grew up in. It amused me to no end when my eldest dated a boy in Drummondville in her late teens, and she went there to visit him one week-end. When she came back she messaged me "MOM, did you realize they were all white and french speaking in Drummondville".  It amused me that she noticed how homogeneous the population is outside large cities.

Don't get me wrong, I don't dislike the Quebecois, but I prefer those who are like me and open to others. Overall it's sad this whole charter thing, because I find we are nicer and friendlier and more opened to strangers here, then they are out west or in most countries.  Typical Quebecois will be weary of strangers and distrusting of new people, but once the ice is broken generally they are willing to accept differences and befriend others.  There's a few bad apples and this stupid proposed Charter is making them come out of the woodwork loudly and making seem like the rest of us are for as well...

I'm not.  I feel comfortable enough with who I am to not feel at all threatened by hijabs, or large crosses, or yarmulkes or turbans. I live in an area that has not only churches, but mosques, synagogues and Hindu temples. I run into people of all walks of life and I'm comfortable being me in all of that.

I'm off my soapbox for now.

I wish I had turned on video.

She senses she's being watched

Notices the gnome.

Starts to creep up on the gnome.

I moved some leaves and she jumped out of her skin :)

Friday, October 18, 2013

No Fricking Fracking!!!

No violence against our first nations people in Canada. Not even those who protest against fracking!

Please Share and sign this petition.

Charter of rights, who's rights?

The charter of rights, which wants no large visible symbols of religion in government employees is just falling short of imposing a dress code on all it's employees. I mean why not. In the past many more jobs had dress codes, then they do now. Let's all force everyone to wear the same thing all the time and make everyone clones!!!

Freedom of choice should be exactly that. Everyone should be free to chose what they can wear. I ran into a veiled women during one of my interviews.  The fact she was veiled did not take away from the fact she's a dynamic, intelligent and well informed woman.  She has been in Quebec for 2 years and she is visibly disappointed with the proposed charter, but quipped that all the Quebecois she met had no issues with her hijab, that it seems some political agenda!

I asked her a few questions about how things were in her country work wise. She said she was one of very few women who worked in non-traditional field and she was surprised to see that there were not more women here in Quebec working in this field or even studying in the field since it is accessible to women here.  She also admitted to me that she far prefers working in a predominantly male environment and in the past had become close friends with a male colleague. I asked the questions more to see how she would fit in my department, but I know that all women who apply for the internship have be learn to be comfortable in a predominantly male environment if they want to succeed in engineering.

Here's the fascinating thing. Before coming to Quebec she did not veil herself.  My understanding is that in some more progressive Muslim countries, especially the ones highly influenced by France, being veiled is seen in a negative way and can prevent access to certain jobs. So modern women in some Muslim countries end up choosing their profession over a veil. They come here thinking this is a country with more freedoms so they can be free to both have a career and wear a veil.

How disappointing this proposed Charter must seem for them.    This young woman was rather wise, she said, she realizes that the women of Quebec fought hard to acquire their freedom so can can understand some of their fears.  Personally, so long as it's a scarf on their head, I have no objection.  I see it as a style of dress. Some young women manage to find beautiful ways to wear scarfs and dress modestly and at the same time be quite fashionable.

I mean who are we to tell them not to wear scarves, anymore then telling hassidim women not to cover their heads? Are the charter police going to check for whether a woman is wearing a wig and has a shaved head underneath?

One of the things I love the most about Montreal is the fact it's multicultural. You can meet someone from anywhere in the world, and be enriched by their culture. This is also Canada, where we are a mosaic!  Why are we trying to be a melting pot like the US with this charter?

Why are we still blaming the victim's behaviour?

A statement made by a female advice columnist to young women was basically "don't drink if you don't want to get raped". By that logic, I'm surprised she didn't suggest young women also stay home and don't date.  I'm surprised she didn't call for a curfew on all young women to make sure women were home safely!

I remember reading that when Golda Meir was asked to put a curfew on women following a series of rapes suggested that it is the men that should be under curfew as they were the ones committing the rapes.  Yet Golda Meir is supposed to be no friend of women, despite having been a woman in power.  But she got it, to not blame the victim but the attacker.

I never told my daughters not to drink, but I did tell them if they got really intoxicated they could always call home to ask for a lift because people will take advantage of a drunk person. That we wouldn't lecture them about drinking, we'd just pick em up no questions asked. 

Ultimately why are women still blaming the victim?  I was raped and I wasn't drunk or intoxicated enough to not know what was happening. I was VERY AWARE I was being raped. I chose not to fight because I didn't want to have broken bones on top of sexual violence.  I don't remember drinking that night, but if I did it was one or 2 beers, nothing to make me lose control or not know what was happening.  I didn't really start to drink or do drugs to excess until AFTER I was raped.

I've rarely seen campaigns aimed at men saying "NO MEANS NO" and "Rape is bad". No often when a woman reports a rape, we get told, "You were originally willing, now you changed your mind".  What amazes me the most is women who still blame the victim? Or people who will tell me not to divulge I've been raped because it makes me damaged goods!    Right. Would you say that to someone who was beaten up in an alley to get his wallet stolen?

People don't even take no for simple things. I remember having a huge confrontation with a door to door salesmen who would not take no for an answer and sadly had managed to corner me in the hallway leading to my apartment. Trust me if I had been in the apartment I would not have answered to his knocks.  He was selling long distance telephone plans. From the minute he talked to me I told him I was not interested. He kept insisting. When I finally got into my apartment I slammed the door, locked it and yelled "NO MEANS NO MEANS NO". ANd I heard him yell back in the hallway "STUPID BITCH". Yes.. I'm a stupid bitch because you could not bully me into signing a long distance phone contract I did not need and could not afford. But I'm the bitch!!!!  And most people would see it as me being out of control, because I stood my ground and did not let a jerk bully me.

Rape education should be aimed at men.   You shouldn't be turned on by an unwilling participant!!!! 

Thursday, October 17, 2013

A comic by Bill Watterson

Who doesn't love Calvin and Hobbes? Here is a comic from the same guy.

Monday, October 14, 2013

The cats took a stroll in the leaves

Let me out please!

They slowly wander out

Jethro grows balls and starts to wander alone

It doesn't last, he sticks close to ziva

Hmmm what to do?

I have an eerie sense I'm being watched....

More shopping

Spent another couple of hours shopping at the MegaCenter in Kirkland, where the Colosseum cinema's are yesterday. I could not resist getting another 5 pairs of socks for $10 and this Ardene had a completely different selection. Happy I found some red socks.

I went to Winners, I always like looking at the jewellery, and the shoes. I could not resist getting a pair of Hush puppy marijanes in a rust colour. Also go one pair of "Smartwool' socks. They regularly go for $25 in specialized sports stores, got this pair for $10.  They are incredibly comfy and warm, and this pair also had pizzaz. Wool socks are often boring. Also picked up a pair of tights that were partly marino wool.  As much as I hate wearing all this footwear, winter is coming. The last item I picked up at winners was a gluten-free diet and nutrition guide, for $5. Originally a $30 book.

The surprise purchase was a dress and top at Le Garage. The top is pretty cool. Has a neat lacy back insert, and is a nice shade of teal.

 I went to Pier 1 Imports, figured I'd check it out since it was a different location. They had a few of the same wind-chime at the same price I bought mine. They had another wind-chime with dragonflies, but it was all metal dragonflies and I really didn't like it as much. It was even more expensive. But I did pick up some citronella candles for dirt cheap for next summer. Theirs are white rather then yellow. I picked up both a pack of 6 votive candles for $2.08 and a package of 30 tea lights for $2.48. They do have a strong citronella smell, I'm sure I'm going to enjoy them next summer.

After that I went to Healthree to pick up some mayonnaise and a few other items. 

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Batata harra

Or Lebanese spicy potatoes. I attempted making some for the 2nd time. They turned out pretty good except I used dried cilantro instead of fresh. I should have used fresh. Could not taste the cilantro. I did make them hot though. So they were spicy, just not tasting exactly right.   I loosely followed this recipe.

Batata Harra

Saturday, October 12, 2013

I shopped till I dropped...

The 5 patterned socks,  and the charcoal wool/cotton blend socks
Seriously, I left this morning at 9am, and got home at 3pm.  I have not done marathon shopping like this in years, and alone no less. Usually I get fed up after an hour or two. Today I went to Mega Mall in Ste Dorothe.

I started at a perennial favourite, l'Aubainerie. I like that one. It has a nice selection. Don't bother with the one on sources. Smallest store and lousiest merchandise. The one in Laval rocks though.I picked up a black cotton cami, some charcoal cotton tights and some 45% merino wool 40% cotton charcoal socks. Those socks were only $6.  

I went to most of the stores and not much was appealing to me today. I did get 5 pairs of socks for $10, all with 70 or 75% cotton blend. I just loved the socks with the cat designs and the penguin designs.  I didn't specifically choose the hot pinks, the kitty designs just happened to be in hot colours. 
Dragonfly wind chime

I went to most stores and just looked at stuff. Looked for a few things but didn't find them.  I went to target for the first time, and  well meh. Bought light bulbs  Used the self serve cash.  I found a plush animal blanket like I wanted at Walmart. Helped a lady get a box of kitty litter into her cart. She was surprised that I was not only volunteering to help but that I was not that young either. lol. But it wasn't as heavy as the one I picked for myself.  Also found this little blue plastic balls to put in the dryer that is supposed to help with static. Well I had them in the dryer with the blanket and it seemed to work.

I wandered trough Pier 1 Imports and had to take home with me a dragonfly wind chime. A really sweet one. Has a beautiful sound. It was a bit expensive and not reduced because summer is over, but I just had to have it.

I skipped Reno Depot and Canadian Tire. I'm sure if I'd stopped to have a snack, I could have visited a few more stores. :)  I could have made it till closing at 5pm. 

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Oh Look at the penguins!

Last Monday I was at Galleries des Sources and in one of the liquidation stores, there was a store selling PJ bottoms for $5. I picked these up. I have an old navy black undershirt like long top that will compliment it perfectly as camping PJ.s

Tuesday, October 08, 2013

My first digital Camera

My little SONY DSC-S70, that my dad gave me as a combo gift, as a get well gift after  hernia surgery December 13th 2000, my birthday on the 15th as well as Christmas  that year.  Although he went to get it with me in early December I did not play with the new camera until after the surgery. I figured it would keep me busy while being stuck at home convalescing not being able to do much.

I loved my little Sony camera, and it took a full year after I got my first SLR to use the SLR more then the older Sony. I had gotten excellent at taking photos with that camera even anticipating how slow the camera was, and how still I had to be to get non-blurry shots. Heck I could anticipate when my daughter would kick a soccer ball so I would get it just as the ball got in the air :)

I stopped dragging it around everywhere in 2012. A full twelve years after I got it. I still drag 2 cameras around but they are both dSLR's now.

Two things I love the most about digital cameras. One, you can take endless amount of shots, so you get at least one shot with good lighting and non blurry, and the 2nd you don't need to put film in.  Film was my nemesis.

This little camera was my first digital love. At 3.3Mp for 2000 it was an expensive kick-ass camera. Of course compared to either of my SLR's its nothing special now.