Monday, February 28, 2005
Sunday, February 27, 2005
I underestimated the time it would take to prepare the meal, but our friends didn't seem too put out by the wait.
We got some fun pressies and when Boo thanked her friend Xander for them, she said: "Thank you for the colouring book and the Play-Doh Xander, that was very sweet of you." He looked at her funny.
Later on, Boo (3) tried to plant a smooch on her friend Xander (4) but, he swiftly recoiled and said:
"Don't kiss me, kiss your mommy!"
My daughter proceeded to avert her eyes and went back to nibbling on some grapes. I saw and felt her embarassment. When I asked her about it later, she seemed hurt, so I explained to her how boys are, and she said: "Thank you, Mama."
Friday, February 25, 2005
I was in search of a little flavour kick and stumbled upon what I suspect can be quite habit forming.
2 slices white bread
your favourite peanut butter
red pepper jelly
The above combination is interesting to say the least.... I LOVE Thai food, so it definitely appeals to me. Then I thought:
"This sandwich, with some chicken cooked in garlic, fresh ginger and lime, topped with some crisp lettuce and bean sprouts.... PMS home remedy!"
What say you?
Monday, February 21, 2005
* Consider the effect you have on your own happiness and self-esteem when you put yourself down based on your looks or body
* Stop comparing yourself with others – nothing positive will come of it
* Focus on taking great care of yourself and focusing on what makes you feel beautiful
* Love your body – take a moment each day to remind yourself that you ARE beautiful
* If certain television shows, radio programs or magazines make you feel pressured to meet an unrealistic beauty ideal, stop watching or reading
Remember that you have an impact on the self-esteem of others
* Think about the impact you have on your friends and other women in your life when you make judgments or remarks about others’ appearance
* Know that your comments, behaviour or judgments – things you aren’t aware of even – leave a lasting impression on the young girls and adolescents in your life
I was happy to read their mission statement and am feeling very warmly towards them right now. If I didn't already use some Dove products, I would go out and buy some right now.
The Dove Self-Esteem Fund is a national resource established as a link to Dove’s Campaign for Real Beauty, a program aimed at changing the current, narrow definition of beauty. We believe that to make a real difference, we must take action and contribute in ways that will help women and girls celebrate their individual beauty.
The goal of the Fund is two-fold:
1. Develop tools and resources to help Canadian women and girls build stronger self-esteem.
2. Support organizations in Canada that foster a broader definition of beauty and positive self-image among women or girls.
I forgot to mention that Dove has paired up with NEDIC A website that has been providing me with realistic information and comfort since 2001.
Tuesday, February 08, 2005
I then prepared all my components for Vietnamese-inpired stir-fried noodles, which I whipped up just before Ray got home. I wanted to use up the ingredients, while they were still fresh. They were a great accompaniment to the left over Thai chicken curried coconut soup I made on Sunday. What a taste sensation! It took a lot of practice, but I'm finally making dishes that taste like what we used to eat out. And, I have total control over the ingredients and therefore can scale down the fat with super results.
Well it's a good thing I did cook yesterday. I was up most of the night making sure the girls' temperatures stayed within reason by medicating and keeping them hydrated. Yes we too are sick. Today I feel worse than a spanked ass and am thankful for the baking dish of macaroni and cheese in the fridge, ready to be warmed up for dinner.
Chicken curried coconut soup was inspired by this recipe.
Macaroni and cheese inspired by this recipe.
Monday, February 07, 2005
The word comes from the Old Italian carnelevale, which in turn appears to be derived from the Latin carnem levare, meaning to put away meat. This, of course, refers to the former practice in the Roman Catholic Church of foregoing the eating of meat during Lent. The eve of Ash Wednesday would have been the time at which meat was to be put away or carnelevale (later, carnevale).
Matthew Spender, in Within Tuscany, cites an Italian expression, Carnevale, quando ogni scherzo vale (during Carnival, anything goes), in discussing the origin of Siena's famous Palio. The Palio is an anything-goes horse race around the Piazza del Campo in Siena. After a number of citizens were left dead in the streets from competitions held during Carnevale in 1291, Siena's municipal authorities substituted the Palio for the even wilder events that townspeople had been participating in previously.
Lent was always my favourite time of the year. Growing up in an Italian neighbourhood, it was the perfect answer to the question:
"Aren't you eating?"
I would just say that I gave up whatever I was being offered for Lent. In didn't take much convincing for my best friend to join me. "It's the perfect time of the year to get in shape for the spring!" She would say. She called me a genius. We could practically starve ourselves and were held up as 'good Catholic girls ' by her mom who so desperately wanted to believe it of her daughter, and of me.
Meanwhile we plotted and meted out revenge on those that had crossed us within the past year, while subsisting on coffee, cigarettes, lettuce, fruit. We walked everywhere, exercised twice daily, read cards, used her mom's wedding ring as a pendulum and cast spells. We really did Lent in a big way. Good times.
Mardi Gras Dog Parade!
Friday, February 04, 2005
WARNING! Language may not be safe for work.
Thursday, February 03, 2005
As a teenager I explored Santeria and VooDoo thanks to the public library and Caribbean market next door to the Italian grocery store I worked at. I've done the Neo-Pagan thing and the Wiccan thing but it never quite fit. It was easy to relate to the 'reverence of nature' aspect of paganism, but I couldn't wrap my head and heart around the hodge-podge of tenets borrowed from different, more ancient religions of the world and, mythic deities for prayer. It always fell flat and lacked the inner truth and magic of lets say... asking Saint Anthony to help me find a lost object or a parking space!
I am Catholic. I seamlessly blend folk magic (witchcraft), ecclesiastic teachings, my deep devotion to the cult of the saints and the Virgin Mary, and my love of nature. Like many Italians, I mix the sacred and the profane customs that are characteristic and traditional to my culture and identity.
Wednesday, February 02, 2005
In our home growing up we celebrated San Biagio/Saint Blaise on February 3rd.
We didn't go to mass or anything. Due to the influence of a number of different ethnic groups in our own family, we celebrated Feb 2nd, the end of winter and the return of the light, La Candelora, by lighting candles and eating crêpes, because it was the French-Canadian custom, and "when in Rome", and because my aunt really liked them. The French agrarian tradition was to make an offering of crêpes to the fairies and nature spirits. San Biagio was mentioned in passing on the third, and my aunt would recount the story of the saint best known for "curing throat illnesses". She baked cookies and lit a candle to honour him and ward off throat illnesses.
What's amazing to me is I woke up with a swollen gland on my neck under my left ear. I've been fighting off a sore throat since last week. I placed my hand on the swelling while I read about San Biagio and felt the swelling shrink almost down to normal as I was typing this very blog entry.
I kid you not.
As a poem by Robert Herrick records, the eve of Candlemas was the day on which Christmas decorations of greenery were removed from people's homes; for traces of berries, holly and so forth will bring death among the congregation before another year is out.
In the British Isles, good weather at Candlemas is taken to indicate severe winter weather later. This is also the date bears emerge from their winter hibernation to inspect the weather; and wolves who choose to return to their lairs on this day know that the severe weather will continue for another forty days at least. In the United States and Canada, Candlemas evolved into Groundhog Day celebrated on the same date.
The earliest American reference to Groundhog Day can be found at the Pennsylvania Dutch Folklore Center at Franklin and Marshall College:
February 4, 1841 - from Morgantown, Berks County (Pennsylvania) storekeeper James Morris' diary..."Last Tuesday, the 2nd, was Candlemas day, the day on which, according to the Germans, the Groundhog peeps out of his winter quarters and if he sees his shadow he pops back for another six weeks nap, but if the day be cloudy he remains out, as the weather is to be moderate."  (http://www.stormfax.com/ghogday.htm)
In France, Candlemas (French: La Chandleur) is celebrated with crêpes, which must be eaten only after eight p.m. If the cook can flip a crêpe while holding a coin in the other hand, the family is assured of prosperity throughout the coming year.
Sailors are often reluctant to set sail on Candlemas Day, believing that any voyage begun then will end in disaster.
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-David Brent, The Office