Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Ellen Page Rocks

I've loved Ellen Page since her early days on TV. She is a talented, down-to-earth, smart, CANADIAN gal who is going on to do great things. And, she is a childhood friend of my eldest daughter's boyfriend, who spent summers with her in Nova Scotia.

Ellen is one of those naturally gifted actresses, and in interviews comes across as a relaxed and mature young woman of consummate grace, even when being interviewed by the odious Babwa Walters. I loved Ellen's hint of an eyeroll when Babwa bullied her into a song in her pre-Oscar show, while trying to make it sound like Ellen agreed. We saw right through you, Babwa.

Anyhow, I stumbled across some vintage clips of Ellen, from her Pit Pony days to the classic Canadian Trailer Park Boys, and even an upcoming role in Smart People.

If you love Ellen too, go check them out:


Monday, February 25, 2008

Sarah and Matt and Jimmy and Ben

First of all, this is not safe for work, or if you're offended by bad language, or if kids are around. Unless they're my kids, in which case, go ahead, they've seen and heard and let's face it, said much worse.

(They also do charity work, enjoy spending time with their parents and do their own laundry, so puh-lease, I can excuse the odd f-bomb.)

First, Sarah got Jimmy.

The Jimmy got even. Boy, did he get even:

A birthday card too good not to share

My fellow writer and friend, the talented and wonderful kc dyer, sent me this card (by Andrews McMeel Publishing) and I have to share it with you as it had me ON THE FLOOR laughing. I write cards for American Greetings and I'm pretty sure I could never get away with this.

The outside of the card shows two pleasant-looking girlfriends talking over drinks.

First girl: "Where's your birthday party at?"

Second girl: "Don't end a sentence with a preposition."

Open the card:

"Where's your birthday party at, bitch?"

Ah, I loves ya, kc!

You. Complete. Me.

Chocolat, comme il faut

"Chocolate, as it should be"

My lovely, warm, funny friend Laura blogs from her home in France.

Besides photos, and fascinating stories about her gorgeous family and homes for rent in Burgundy, today there is a recipe for a heart-shaped chocolate cake that is making me drool just thinking about it.

And don't even get me started on her newly renovated wine cellar. (le sigh)

Check out her blog from the column on the right, or go here:


Friday, February 22, 2008

Ode to a Penis

Because no blog is complete without a penis poem...

This all started on the Compuserve forum during an animated discussion on how graphic one should be when describing a man's naughty bits. I posted a poem about the aforementioned manly bits, because I think the poor things are woefully under-represented in most novels.

Next thing you know, my friend and writer extraordinaire Diana Gabaldon asked to include Ode To A Penis in her SIWC workshop: Writing About Sex Without Blushing, where she read the poem aloud (without blushing.) Then, much like the organ in question, it suddenly took on a life of its own. Check out Diana's wonderful blog for the workshop notes.

My poem follows below:

How does a writer describe the aroused male member in a romance novel without tarnishing the family jewels?

Despite thousands of words used to describe Wee Willy Winkie (Mark Morton lists 1,300in his book The Lover’s Tongue: A Merry Romp Through The Language Of Love And Sex) none seem to adequately convey the language of love, with its most obvious method of delivery, without giggles. One might argue the biggest organ of love is the brain, but a man’s brain is not the organ which makes its presence most boldly known in the throes of passion.

But how does a writer of romance describe ‘It’ without ruining the moment? There’s no denying ‘It’ is there - its presence is as keenly felt as the relentless prodding of a Labrador’s nose against an outstretched hand.

One might wish to use a soft touch and describe a poet’s Dart of Love. A knight shields his Lance of Love, his Excalibur seeks its sheath. A fighting man thrusts his Hooded Warrier, or if angered, his Bald Avenger. The CEO fires his Executive Staff Member, the chef heats up his Meat ‘n Potatoes, the outdoorsman handles his Rod and Tackle, and the butcher unwraps his 100% All Beef Thermometer.

No, I think for romance to work, allusion is everything. I humbly offer up the following poem:

Ode to a Penis


Advice For Romance Writers

I think that I shall never see,

a penis lovely as a tree.

Though both can be described at length,

it’s best you don’t.

Please show some strength.

For ample members are best left

(even when one’s hands are deft)

untouched by writers’ florid prose,

whether roused,

or in repose.

So drop the little one-eyed snake,

of other things you should partake.

Admittedly, they do enthrall,

but after one,

you’ve seen ‘em all.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Neti pot, oh neti pot

Dr. Oz, a frequent guest on Oprah, swears by this neti pot thing. Now, anyone who swims regularly has experienced water up the nose, so the thought of doing this on purpose is not something I can wrap my brain around.

However, this woman makes it look easy. She also gives those Stepford Wives a run for their money. I don't usually laugh out loud at anything, but this video left me crying and breathless.


Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Eric Bana...who knew?

I had no idea Eric Bana was so funny. His impression of Arnie slays me. And then there is Sting singing party songs. Oh my...

Sunday, February 17, 2008

This is how Mondays make me feel

For some most excellent photos go to Stuck in Customs (link on right) and head for the blog.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

More Snow Means More Baking

I've lived in Montreal for close to twenty-five years, and I've never seen so much snow in one winter as I have this particular year. Experts are citing something called "Snow Fatigue" which is defined as that feeling you get when one storm ends and another begins and you arrive home from work, in the dark, and before you can even park your car in your own driveway and scurry inside, you have to shovel the driveway but you can't even make it to your own front door and you run out of places to toss the snow off your driveway and you JUST WANT TO PACK UP AND MOVE TO FLORIDA....I'm not kidding. The snow piles are at least 10 feet high in places. Even the "snow dumps" are full.

(I'd take a photo but my camera is broken. What's that you say? My birthday is next week? What a coincidence!)

I haven't actually been able to see out of my dining room window since Christmas. And poor Buddy has to do a dolphin move just to get to the backyard, then dip his Doggie Nether Bits into the snow to pee. That can't be comfortable. Fun to watch, mind you.

So, since it's due to snow again tomorrow, out comes my Inner Housewife.

Remember the best egg bread recipe? Well, here's how to dress it up.

Caramel Nut Bread

1 recipe Egg Bread dough (look at previous post: Unleashing My Inner Housewife)
1 cup walnuts
2/3 cup butterscotch pudding/pie mix
1/4 butter, melted
1/4 brown sugar

Caramel Topping

1/2 brown sugar
3 tbsp corn syrup
1/4 butter

Make dough according to your bread machine instructions, or mix in a mixmaster. Mix 1/4 cup melted butter and 1/4 cup brown sugar and set aside. Mix caramel topping and set aside. Grease a bundt pan. Lots of butter and Pam. (Have I mentioned how much I love having canned oil sharing my name?)

Put walnuts and the caramel topping in the pan.

Take balls of dough (doesn't have to be exact, but around the size of eggs) and roll them in the pudding mix. Place in the pan on top of the caramel. When they're all in, pour the 1/4c melted butter/1/4 c. brown sugar mixture on top.

Bake at 350F for about 30 minutes. Let sit for about five minutes then turn upside down on a plate, taking great care not to burn yourself. Do NOT daydream and lick the pan. Trust me.

Tuck in. Try not to tear into it like a jackal on the Serengeti.

Perfect for a weekend brunch. Or a snow day.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

If a picture tells a thousand words...

...then Rarindra Prakarsa is a master story-teller. Each photograph is like a fairy tale come to life. Some may find the photos a bit twee, but I think they're magical.


Tell me what you think.

Friday, February 1, 2008

Why I Shouldn't be Allowed to Bake or Vacuum

I vacuumed a cake today.

Not cake crumbs off the floor. An actual cake. Please tell me there is someone else out there who has done this.

Here's the thing. Today is Buddy's birthday. He's my Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, and though he doesn't sit upon a jeweled throne, he acts as though he has one but it's currently in the shop having more rubies and gold leaf applied to it. So dear Buddy turned four years old today, and to celebrate, I thought it would be nice if I baked him a chocolate cake. Well, it was actually more of a chewy brownie type thing. And of course, dogs can't eat chocolate, so that meant we would have to eat it for him. See? The dog didn't get all the brains in the family.

The cake/brownie slab turned out quite nice - dark, chewy, sticky, chocolately goodness. The recipe said to liberally sprinkle icing sugar on the warm brownies, as soon as they emerge from the oven. I did so, and as I sprinkled, I noticed a distinct and really unpleasant smell, like melting plastic. I thought maybe I put the pan on plastic wrap, so I sniffed all around until I realized the smell was coming from the icing sugar, or more specifically, the plastic container it had been stored in. All my hard work, and all that chocolate, would be for naught if I didn't act quickly and get the icing sugar off the cake.

I grabbed the hot pan and brought it to the sink, where I proceeded to blow on the sugar in an attempt to get rid of it. All that accomplished was a coughing fit as I breathed the sugar in.

I tried scraping it off with a spoon, but that didn't work either. In my panic, I looked around and spied my new Dyson vacuum cleaner. It has this nifty attachment that I reckoned would work pretty well on sucking up rogue icing sugar. I thought the trick would be to just lower it and let it hover over the pan, and the icing sugar would just....lift off. It's not as though I was going to touch it with the hose. I'm not a complete idiot.

Now, I don't know if you've ever used a Dyson, but when that British guy in the commercial says it doesn't lose suction, he's not kidding. I sucked up a lot of the icing, but a couple of times, the arm just, well, got away from me and tunneled into the cake. In a couple of spots. Maybe three.

Worse than having a cake full of holes was a vacuum with bits of sticky brownie now going whompa-whompa-whompa around the clear canister, leaving greasy streaks and gathering bits of dog hair, a sight that was both repellent and curiously compelling, like reality TV. The good news is, the cake tasted reasonably good, assuming one stuck to eating bits around the edges.

Maybe the dog did get all the brains in the family.