Ten on Tuesday: The Weekend

I love the weekend. Well…I guess I should specify that as “days off”. As I generally work shifts, I don’t always get a traditional weekend, where the work week ends by 5pm on Friday afternoon and starts again by 9am on Monday. Even so, today’s Tuesday Ten is all about favourite things to do on the weekend. I’ll just turn that into “Days Off” 😉

Gardening: I don’t mind gardening. It’s not my absolute favourite hobby, but I like the results. Next year I need to be a little more consistent with my gardening and yardwork.


Cleaning: Again, not an absolute favourite thing, but again, I love the benefits. And there’s just something about a clean carpet or linoleum or fresh laundry that just says “home”.

Video Games: I’ve never been a huge gamer. I really don’t get into all the games that are on the market. I used to play World of Warcraft until that sucked way too much time out of my life for very little return. Nowadays I play The Sims 3, which is relatively easy to pause and quit when I need to.

Bike Rides: We had been saving for new bikes this summer, and we were really happy when they came in a couple of months ago. Robin is more active in the cycling community, and definitely rides more than I do, but we’ve taken to doing comparatively short rides on the weekends. My new saddle is almost broken in, and I adore being able to pedal from place to place. All they need to do now is start putting bike cars on the C-Train lines so that we can be a truly intermodal city 😀


The Zoo: Once in a while we take some time and hit up the zoo. We also have a membership to the museum, but haven’t really gone all that often. Now that the C-Train extends to our neighbourhood, that may be something we do more often. Hooray for not having to find parking!

Entertaining: Once in a while we have friends over for dinner, board games and such. Every so often we fire up the Xbox and get into some serious Rock Band action.

Being Entertained: Other friends aren’t so much into the travelling to our neck of the woods thing, so we go visit them. It’s a great excuse to get away from the house and play with the kids in our lives. 🙂

Spinning: Since I started getting back into spinning, it’s gotten more and more difficult to just stop, which makes it a great weekend activity.

Knitting: Do I really need to explain this?

And the number one thing to do?

Spending time with the Husbeast. Because even after almost 10 years (we’re counting down the days now), he’s still amazingly awesome 🙂


Ten on Tuesday: For the Love of September

Today’s Ten on Tuesday is all about September. To be exact, the ten things you love about September.

Kids are going back to school
Not so much an issue for the Husbeast and I since we don’t have children, but it does mean that for some things, the neighbourhood is quieter. When you work shifts that go around the clock, this is an important thing.

Stationery is inexpensive
Sure, they’re gearing children up for “back to school”. I like to think of it as “cheap art supply” time!

The weather is getting cooler
Calgary is a city of extremes, it seems. Either it’s hot, or it’s cold. There is snow, or there is no snow. It’s like Yoda decided to impose his teaching rule of “Do or do not, there is no try” on Calgary. This summer has been somewhat unpleasantly hot (either that or I just haven’t been able to mitigate the extra warmth adequately). I’m looking forward to the cooler weather

It’s Harvest time!
This is a great time to get fresh fruit and veggies from the Farmer’s Market. Seriously. This is a great time for fruit in particular. Yummy!

New Neighbours
This is the time of year that folks seem to move…at least in our neighbourhood. Our  next-door neighbours and the folks across the street moved this year. As soon as the new folks move in, it means getting to know their quirks such. Probably training them not to park across our driveway 😉

Knitting and spinning in comfort!
Because the weather is cooler, it means that the range of knitting projects I could conceivably work on has expanded. Yes, I’m in the middle of a sock explosion (thank you, Scarefest), but very soon I should be able to dig out Robin’s Sweater and start work on the sleeves!  I know at least one person in this house who will be happy when this happens….

Fall Collections are starting
Fall fashions are hitting stores and that doesn’t just go for clothing. There seem to be about two different times of year when things wake up for both fashion and knitting. Part of that seems to be due to the fall sheep & wool festivals. Either way, I’ll enjoy it.

TV Seasons are starting back up
Hooray for TV that doesn’t suck! There are a few shows that we like to keep up with, and it’s nice when you’re no longer sitting through reruns of the worst shows a network or cable channel could dig up on the cheap. I got to see the new episode of Dr. Who last week, and I’ve been happily watching Grimm for the past two or three. If anything, I’m a little sad that The Newsroom is on break.

It’s the time of year for long walks
Some of our most memorable times have been going for long autumn walks downtown in some of the more gentrified areas. We can’t afford to live there, but we can sure afford to spend some time looking at the architecture. September is when we start doing this — going for long walks, sometimes with a warm drink in our hands. Having the new C-Train stop so close to the house is only going to make these walks a little more possible more often.

We’re getting closer to October!
I’m a big fan of October. If I were more European, I’d almost blame it on Octoberfest. Instead, I’ll relate it to Socktoberfest (It’s a knitting thang) and Hallowe’en. I’ve been a fan of Hallowe’en for as long as I can remember. These days I tend to carve a pumpkin and give out treats, but when I was a kid, I was the one who started thinking of costumes back in February (whether or not they came to fruition was always another story).

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Ten on Tuesday: The Beach

As a transplanted Ontarian, there are a few things I miss about my old home. I miss being able to drive out in any direction and find small towns, adventure, and sometimes ice cream (I’m lookin’ at you there, Pakenham). I miss architecture that is attractive and sticks around for more than 50 years, and I miss going swimming in fresh water that doesn’t freeze your appendages off.  Today’s Ten on Tuesday is all about things you can do at the beach, and if it wasn’t for growing up outside of Alberta where there actually is a concept of “Beach” that doesn’t involve leaving the province, I suspect I wouldn’t have much of a frame of reference.

When I was wee and living in BC, my parents would take my brother JP and I to a beach just over the Canadian/US border in Washington State. Apparently it was one of the less-crowded sandy beaches around. By the time we were getting old enough to swim around on our own without a ton of parental supervision, my folks were renting a cottage on the Ottawa River from one of my Dad’s aunts for two weeks during the summers. Later, we moved to an old Victorian home just a ten minute walk from the river itself, just down the street from Robert Simpson Park in Arnprior, Ontario. JP and I spent as much time in the water as we could – we had the months pretty much mapped out as to just when in May you could get away with taking your first swim of the season (1).

Dog paddle like you've never paddled before!
Robin, braving the cold glacier-water

We would be at the river almost every day – Making castles, critters and other sculptures out of sand (2), getting a tan (3), or – more likely – getting a burn (4). We learned very quickly that the one thing that very fair-haired kids needed to do was to wear a shirt to the beach (5). Preferably a light one.

Spray Lakes
Spray Lakes, western Alberta

When my maternal Grandfather would visit, he’d take us fishing. The beach in the park had a wharf, and as long as you didn’t aim towards the swimmers, you were allowed to fish from it (6). There was also a boat launch, and Boompa (our name for Mum’s Dad – my cousin couldn’t say ‘Grandpapa’, and it stuck) loved to put in his little three-man fishing boat with the 10 HP Johnson motor with the best batteries in the region, so that he and my brother could go fishing (7). My brother now has that same boat up in Yellowknife for much the same purpose. Friends of the family had a much larger cruising boat, so there were times when we were able to take tours of the different islands (8) in our part of the river.

The beach was also a great place to enjoy live music (9), as the park down the street used to play host to a festival called the “Salute to the Ottawa Valley“. I seem to recall that it was mostly country music, but googling to see if it was still an annual event shows that it was discontinued at some point. Apparently they’re trying to get another festival going in its place.

When we got older, it seemed that the big thing was attending bonfire parties on the beach (10). I never attended any of the unsupervised teenage bonfires, but then…I somehow don’t think I missed much. I much preferred the family-and-friend parties where you could enjoy the fire and the songs of the frogs in the reeds after a long day of  activity.

Wading in
Jamie and Robin try to decide whether or not to take a dip

Here in Alberta, there don’t seem to be a lot of public beaches, and the season is really quite abbreviated. I haven’t seen a lot of pools in backyards the way that we used to in Ontario, and I think that it’s because the swimming season is so short. There are campsites that seem to have swimming holes, but they seem to be few & far between – and they’re up in the mountains, so they tend towards being full of glacier water. A little cold to swim in, from my meagre wading experience. The only swimming I’ve done in the past 15 years has been in well-chlorinated pools. While I still enjoy the occasional swim, chlorine is one of the things that deters me from doing so more often.

And yes, it does make me nostalgic for the days when all I needed to do was toss some clothes on over my swimsuit, hop on my bike, and ride down the street to the beach 🙂

Photos from 2010 trip to the Spray Lakes.
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Ten on Tuesday: TV!

It’s time for the Ten on Tuesday yet again!  This time the subject is one I can get behind…’Ten TV shows from your Childhood”.  As a member of the very first generation to have that much exposure to TV during early development, this one should be a breeze.

I grew up mainly in Ontario, where most of the kids programming came in through TV Ontario. I don’t really recall us having cable until I was a teenager, and even then it wasn’t like we were getting “Pay TV”. That was for rich folks. That said, there was plenty of other programming on the Tube. Since there are so many shows to list (more than 10!), I’m just going to list them in related bunches.

Commence Wall Of Text! (No, I don’t have any real images. Sorry!)

Sesame Street / The Electric Company (and anything with Muppets):
Once you graduated from Sesame Street, you got to watch The Electric Company. Electric Company seems to have been revamped and modernized, but when I was a kid, it was a place for stay-at-home-Moms to watch Spiderman and hear Tom Lehrer songs. To this day, my mother can and will still sing the song “We are the kids known as whimper and whine” when she thinks my brother and I are acting out. Yes, in our 30’s. And my brother has kids of his own to warp. I wonder if Mum sings that song to my niece and nephew?
I had to tack on the “Anything with Muppets” on the end, because obviously Sesame Street was developed as Jim Henson was developing The Muppet Show. I still miss Jim Henson and his humour. Seriously, I cried when I found out he died. Jim Henson was kinda like my generation’s John Lennon (only without the Yoko factor). The Muppet Show was one of the few TV shows with multiple layers of comedy that would appeal to both adults and children. I definitely want as much Muppet Media as I can get my hands on if & when Robin and I spawn. Because a world without Muppet humour is a world without sunshine.

Polka Dot Door / Friendly Giant / Mr. Dressup / Mr Rogers’ Neighbourhood:
I consider this the Big-4 of CBC/PBS broadcasting. I dare you to find any kid in their mid-30’s to early 40’s who doesn’t have fond memories of how “The Polkaroo was here…and I missed him AGAIN?!” I’d expect most US-raised kids to understand the other 3, but Polka Dot Door was definitely a Canadian production, and I don’t know if it was aired in the US. Basically, it was two adults talking to a bunch of dolls as though they were children, teaching them games and singing songs with them. Very low-budget. Every so often, one of the adults would slip away and change into the “Polkaroo” character suit to do a segment with the other adult. When they came back, the usual reaction to being told that they had missed a visit from their friend the Polkaroo was the typical “Aw Shucks” reaction mentioned right at the beginning of this paragraph. Thing is, I figure most kids were in on the joke. Maybe that was part of the fun.

Rocket Robin Hood / Hammy the Hamster / Fables of the Green Forest:
The Trifecta of early-AM TV watching, though I could probably expand it to include “The World of Oz” and “The Mighty Hercules (which was interchangeable with Rocket Robin Hood). These were the shows that you watched between the time Mum forced you out of bed to wolf down a bowl of cereal, and the very last moment before you were shot out the door to go to school.

Read All About It
A weird little mystery TV show that aired on TV Ontario. Often right before reruns of Dr. Who (I don’t know why I never got into Dr. Who. Maybe because it seemed to be in black & white, and I figured I was beyond all that sort of stuff). Read All About It focused on a group of kids who formed a club to solve mysteries, and hung out in an old, converted carriage-house – I think. The clues to the mysteries usually involved reading and sounding out words and stringing together phrases. Perfect edutainment for when I was in my Trixie Belden phase.  Yes, my Mum was more a Trixie Belden fan than Nancy Drew. I still wonder just what happened to good old Beatrix in the end…

Wait Til Your Father Gets Home / Looney Tunes / Wonderful World of Disney
The Sunday TV lineup, generally enjoyed at my grandparents’ place. Looney Tunes and Disney are pretty self-explanatory. The first show, though, was more like an animated sitcom.  I only ever saw it when I visited Granny and Grandpa, so I have no idea where it came from, or what channel it aired on. I seem to recall it being a good show, though.

Jem and the Holograms / Jeremy / Barbapapa
I used to battle my brother for the TV when Jem would come on. He always wanted to watch something with guns, like GI Joe. Reminds me of our famous battles for the TV at lunch hours. We lived right down the street from school, so we’d come home for lunch. He’d want to watch Robotech (aka Macross); I’d want to do the 20 minute workout.  He’d often win, and I never did lose weight (my friend Kathy had told me that she lost her baby fat doing the 20 minute workout. I wanted to just lose fat).  Something tells me that if we had the same choice now, he’d probably PVR Robotech, and watch the 20 minute Workout for the girls in the scanty bodysuits. Then again, back then we didn’t have PVRs. We didn’t even have a VCR. It alarms me that our kids will grow up with better acronyms than we ever did.

Battlestar Galactica / Star Trek TNG / Anything else Star Trek you care to list:
My Dad can be a bit of a science fiction nut. He would often steal the TV on Saturday mornings so he could watch Star Trek on the CBC. As I got older, I recall watching the original Battlestar Galactica (reinforcing my opinion that no matter how hot Katie Sackoff is, Starbuck is a man, even when played by a woman), complete with Lorne Green. That man didn’t just narrate the Wild Kingdom, it seems he brought it with him. At any rate, Battlestar evolved into the Star Trek franchise  as I got older. I think I stopped watching not long after TNG finished up. DS9 took a long time to really get going, and by the time Voyager and the one with Scott Bakula rolled out, I had pretty much moved on. But Battlestar and Scott Bakula reminded me of a couple of other shows from the same timeslot/genre: Bad News Bears (played around the same timeslot as BSG, I think), The Greatest American Hero, Buck Rodgers, and Quantum Leap. I still go looking for Al and Ziggy when someone says “Oh boy”),

Dukes of Hazard / CHiPs / The A Team / Knight Rider:
Kinda interchangeable shows. I think everyone was mandated to watch these in  the early to mid 80’s. Typical action-adventure shows. My brother had a real thing for any TV show that had a helicopter or a car that pulled wheelies.

The Littlest Hobo / The Beachcombers 
The Cancon of my childhood. Because, y’know, there’s a voice that keeps on calling me. Down the road – that’s where I ought to be. Every stop I make, I make a new friend. Can’t stay for long, just turn around and I’m gone again. Maybe tomorrow I’m gonna settle down. Until tomorrow, I’ll just keep movin’ on… 😉
Yes, I think everyone my age can sing the theme song to The Littlest Hobo.  That’s because they usually aired it around the same time that there was anything with Muppets (The Muppet Show, Fraggle Rock, etc)

Twin Peaks / The X Files:
The shows that saw me growing up. Part of the reason I wanted to do the 20 minute workout? I wanted to look more like Audrey from Twin Peaks. Seriously. To this day I still have a thing for saddle shoes (and lucky me, I own a pair). The X Files is STILL a treat for me to watch. I’m currently going through Season 2 on Netflix, and thoroughly enjoying the mild retro nostalgia.  The uncanny valley of technology isn’t so wide that the technology looks TOO far out of place, and the stories seem to hold up to the test of time.

So.  What kind of shows did everyone else watch? I’m finding Netflix pretty handy for the nostalgia-factor 🙂

To-may-to, To-mah-to.

Apparently this week’s Ten on Tuesday is “Favourite Ways to Eat Tomatoes“. Considering I’m not a vegetarian (and thus have a certain kind of “veggie-fu”), this may be limited.  Why?

1. Because I don’t drink Tomato juice. So you won’t catch me eating them that way.
2. And I tend to limit my bread, so I’m not going to be enjoying them on my bruschetta.
3. I do like pasta. So I’ll gladly open up a jar of Classico Florentine Spinach and Cheese on the very rare occasion where I allow myself a treat.
4. Tomatoes and beef are the base for my chili, so we generally have that at least once a month.
5. Not so much the Ketchup. I usually only have Ketchup on hot dogs and as a garnish for meat loaf.
6. However, I do like a slice of tomato on my bunless hamburgers. Nummy! Goes with the pickle slice and bit of lettuce.
7. I’ll also eat raw, sliced tomatoes on their own, with a little bit of salt. Because FRESH tomatoes really don’t need much to dress them up.
8. That said, I’ll still toss tomato wedges (or cherry or grape tomatoes) into a salad. Because they add a bit of zing.
9. Like the zing you get when you add a little bit of tomato paste into a base for a soup or stock.
10. Because yes, sometimes I like a tomato-based soup like minestrone.

Huh. And here I was wondering whether I could even think of 10 ways to prepare tomatoes, let alone eat them. Go me! 🙂