Saturday, June 30, 2012

Happy B-day, Canada

Canada Day Fireworks
Canada Day Fireworks (Photo credit: Bruce Guenter)

Well Happy Canada Day all you Canuckians out there.

(I refuse to use the term 'Canuckleheads'.  I do have a few standards.)

And everyone else, well, it's our b-day this week-end.

We're 145, if I am not mistaken.

And we look pretty darn good for 145, I think.

So I'm going to be out and about celebrating with everyone else.

Remember I told you I had standards?

Just kidding. 

I bought a headband with flashing maple leaf bobbles to wear all week-end.

Flynn the dog is totally embarrassed and refuses to be seen with me.

Like people don't know she was born in Bancroft, Ontario, eh?

Secnarf is in Ottawa.

The Liberals are putting pressure on her to enter the leadership race and for

some reason she JUST had to talk to Justin Trudeau about it.

Butterbrains and Smarty Pants pestered me until I drew them a car

and a canoe and they've gone up to Algonquin Park.

So my dear friends I'm going to be taking a break of sorts too.

I have some other projects I want to work on,

and I've also decided to increase my volunteer hours in the community.  

I'll still be blogging at a North End Journal, just not as often.

Now I have to figure out where Flynn hid the batteries
so I can get my maple leafs flashing...

Happy Canada Day, Everybody!

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Thursday, June 28, 2012

Those Cluckers

English: Henhouse near Ganthorpe
English: Henhouse near Ganthorpe (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

So the chickens are coming home to ro roost.

The Conservative chickens that is.

And you'd better hope that you aren't in the hen house when it collapses.

Or on the bridge.

Or under the overpass.

Or in the shopping mall.

I was going to post a blog about the omnibus budget

before it passed last week,

actually started gathering a few facts

but I'm trying not to blog about Canadian politics at this site

and because there is nothing that will cause a severe case of

the dreaded eyes-glazing-over disease faster than the words, 

"Canadian budget",

I didn't.

And I suppose it wouldn't have mattered.

At the time I was worried at the cuts the government had planned

for our most vulnerable; seniors, aboriginal women, etc.

I didn't know the cuts also included funding to our search and rescue teams.

I'm very thankful they were deployed to Elliot Lake

and pray that if any more disasters are slated for Canada

that they happen this fiscal year

before the teams have to be disbanded.

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Sunday, June 24, 2012

Eat Your Heart Out, Tomato Growers

In my family it is a tradition that my Uncle Mike,

who is a grower-from-seed and

connoisseur of all things tomato,

donates several of his precious seedlings

to each family household in the spring.

And we all look forward to receiving our yearly gift.

Because as you know

there is nothing like picking a fresh sun ripened tomato

and eating it a few minutes later.

But life has a way of pulling the rug out from under you

 and last summer

when my father was dying

I didn't have the time or the heart to tend to my plants.

And leaving the North Pelham countryside and moving to the city

 after Dad died was hard in more ways than one.

I went from 10 acres of land to a few metres.

So this year I sadly declined my gift of tomato seedlings.

Where would I grow them?

I get very little sun here in the urban jungle,

only a few hours late in the afternoon.

But Uncle Mike,

who knows tomatoes like neurosurgeons know the brain,

or maybe better,

suggested that I take a few of his hardy Siberian tomatoes.

Not really expecting much I took them home

and slipped them into the strip of soil in front of my patio.

And as you can see in the picture above


Sometimes you just gotta have faith.

And an Uncle Mike.

From her most excellent vanttage point

Flynn guards the tomato plants.

I think it's going to be a good summer after all.


Friday, June 22, 2012

Hey! It's Gay Pride Week!!!

DSCN2311 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Hey everybody, it's June and that means

Gay Pride week is coming up!!

You go girls!

(and boys of course, but you boys please remember to cover your testicles when you are on TV.)

Last year I wrote about my friend, A., who asked me to
meet her female life partner.

I went to Tim Horton's to meet them not really knowing what to expect.

Of course what I found were two perfectly ordinary people,
companions who were lucky enough to have found each other
and were working hard to make a life together.

We had a great visit.

Then last December I was invited to an extended family Christmas party.

While there I met another lesbian couple,
one of whom is my second cousin.

Both young women accepted and loved dearly by their families.

And I was struck by how times have changed.   

I don't think gay people have it particularly easy in 2012
but I do think it is getting better.

And I love that CTV commercial advertising Gay Pride Week.

You know -

The one that ends with the words


Have a great Gay Pride Week everyone!

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Thursday, June 21, 2012

Throwing a Christian to the Lions

Good Shepherd
Good Shepherd (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Recently I noticed that I had a new follower.

As soon as I saw the icon I went immediately to her blog.

A Christian.

My heart sank.

Why would she be interested in my blog?

I have been known to use a few bad words and my religious views aren't exactly traditional.

And she had so many followers.

"Jeesh," I thought, "this is one of those American southern Baptist women.  She isn't interested in anything I say.
She just wants me as a follower so she can preach at me."

For some reason, (to be polite), I did follow her and was totally surprised that she, on occasion, commented on my blog.

I went back to her site and surprise of surprises I actually know her.

I taught 3 of her children!

I try to follow blogs from different areas of society. 

That's  important to me.

I hadn't realized how easy it is to shut down in the face of Christianity.
Me, who takes pride in being so inclusive.

I believe in God.


And I love the Bible stories of Jesus that I grew up with.

But when I sit in a church, being an old feminist,  I feel as if I am only hearing half of the story.

Anyway, that's my problem.

The truth is that I'm not so much shocked at the large number of religions there are in the world as I am at the small number. 

Because I think there are many ways to find God.

And I believe if you are on a path whichever one it is, it is the right one.

So I have gone back to the blog of this Christian woman that I know and have started carefully reading what she is saying.

And I have found that she has a deep understanding of how the good in the universe works.

Her lovely writing is clothed in the robes of Christianity,

but  her message of love is universal.

A lesson learned.


PS  Mrs. B's blogsite is now on my sidebar.  It is called 'Just a Thought'.

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Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Run, Elizabeth, Run

Promotional photo of Elizabeth May, leader of ...
Promotional photo of Elizabeth May, leader of the Green Party of Canada. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

My heart is more interested in social justice issues than environmental ones.

In recent years however, my head has been telling me that things like justice and equality aren't going to matter much if we continue down the path to ecological destruction.

So when Elizabeth May, leader of Canada's Green Party came to Pelham a while back I was  interested enough to go and hear what she had to say.

I was impressed.

By the woman as much as by what she had to say.

I decided to see if there was a place for me in the Green Party.

I was pleased to find out that Social Justice is one of its main tenets.

And so I became a party member.

In the past few years my admiration for Elizabeth May has grown exponentially.

For the Green Party not so much.

I haven't renewed my membership yet.

I have been playing around with the idea that perhaps my Federal vote would be best placed with the Liberals.


"If only Elizabeth May was leader of the Federal Liberals," I thought to myself.

I googled 'Elizabeth May as leader of the Liberal Party' and found out I wasn't the only person who imagined mixing oil and water. 

(Bad analogy, but you know what I mean.)

Not gonna happen, I know. 

Too many egos in both parties to make the necessary compromises

but jeesh

if she brought the Greens with her

that would be one kickass political party.

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Sunday, June 17, 2012

Whisk and Ladle Niagara

I had a phone call this week letting me know that my driver's licence,
and  the insurance and ownership for the spy car, were at a Pelham golf club.

I don't play golf and, truth be known, didn't even know they were missing.

The explanation involved a gas station and cupcakes.
(You don't want to know.)

Anyway, on the up side,
it meant I had to go 'home to Pelham' if I wanted my stuff.

And I must say, trip down the 406 was worth it ...


I called up a former co-worker and we decided to meet for lunch at

The Whisk and Ladle

in downtown (downvillage?) Ridgeville.

I parked the spy car right in front and inspected the sidewalk sign.

Gourmet Lunches?

Happy news indeed. 

The interior, which used to sell kitchen utensils,

has been turned into a diner!

But 1957 never looked this good.

It was a nice day so we decided to step into the Knife and Fork Garden Café.

The menu was displayed neatly on chalk boards.

Placing an order was difficult.

The menu was full of fascinating choices

AND there were also three mouth watering specials to consider.

But there are times in her life

when a woman's gotta do what a woman's gotta do.

My friend, Janet, ordered #3 - the avocado and baby shrimp
with dill mayo on fresh focaccia bread.

She also ordered a side salad.

She said it was


I decided on #2, the chicken salad sandwich with

grapes, walnuts, celery, scallions and fresh herb mayo,

also on homemade focaccia bread.

I ordered green tea and was so happy that it came in a pot

and the water was hot

AND the waitress brought me some honey when I asked for it.

I wish I could describe the delicate taste sensations.

Everything was light, fresh and savory! 

It was definitely a 5 YUM lunch.

We both ordered a half sandwich 

but I must say if I had known it was going to be so good

I would have ordered a whole sandwich and taken half home.

Lunch was less than $10!

I think one of the nicest parts of the lunch was the atmosphere.
This was our cheerful waitress.

This is Ruth, chef and owner of the

Whisk and Ladle.

I just love this picture!

One of the most charming portraits I've ever taken.

Even when I peeked into the gleaming kitchen,

the young woman working at the stove smiled at me.

The Whisk and Ladle

306 Canboro Rd.,

Ridgeville, Ont.,

is so much more than just a place to get a gourmet meal.

You can buy prepared meals,

have a party catered

and even  arrange a private cooking class party with some friends!

You can check out their website at

phone: 905-892-9262

fax: 905-892-1773

Trust me,

and I am the  one restaurant reviewer you can trust,

You need to eat here!

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Laura's Bridge - Secnarf Speaks

English: Laura Secord warning Lieutenant James...
English: Laura Secord warning Lieutenant James Fitzgibbon of an impending American attack, June 1813. Français : Rencontre entre Laura Secord et le lieutenant Fitzgibbon, juin 1813 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Part 2 - The Present

June 22 will be the 199th anniversary of Laura Secord's walk.

The big celebration is next year.

By 'big' celebration I mean big in an understated Canadian kind of way, i.e., there will be a commemorative walk.

But nobody can figure out how we are going to cross Twelve Mile Creek.

That's when I knew I had to find Secnarf.

Francie: Thanks for seeing me, Secnarf.  I know you don't usually dabble in municipal politics but we've got a serious problem.

Secnarf: The Rhinoceros Party is interested in serious problems at the local level.

Francie: Well good, because I'm afraid to say the move is afoot to build a bridge over the Twelve Mile Creek so the hikers commemorating Laura Secord's walk can cross safely.

Secnarf: Ridiculous! Laura Secord shinnied across the creek on a fallen log.

In the dark.

Without shoes.


And she had her period!

Francie: Laura Secord had her period?

Secnarf: It's Secnarf's Law.  Anytime a woman has to go somewhere where it would be totally inconvenient she gets her period.

Francie: Holy cow!

Secnarf: Yes, cow is the key word when we speak of Laura Secord. The people of Niagara don't need a permanent bridge.

Too expensive.  If you elect me

the only politician who looks
like a cabinet minister,

The Rhinoceros Party of Canada promises to bring a herd of cows down to the creek and you ladies can swim across on their backs.

Totally Laura Secord.

And we'll throw in a box of those Laura Secord Chocolate Miniatures to anybody who makes it across alive.  

 Francie: Wow! Thanks, Secnarf!

Secnarf: No problem:  Don't forget -

Vote Secnarf,
the last remaining member
of the Rhinoceros Party of Canada
and the only politician who looks
like a cabinet minister.


Francie: When are you going to update your picture?
Secnarf:  When Bev Oda quits smoking.  Now get lost, will ya.  I gotta rent some cows.

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Sunday, June 10, 2012

Laura's Bridge

Laura Secord statue, Valiants Memorial, Ottawa
Laura Secord statue, Valiants Memorial, Ottawa (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Part 1 The Past

Laura Secord's husband James was wounded at the battle of Queenston Heights in 1812.

When he didn't turn up after the fighting was over she went to the battlefield and, as we say now - dragged his sorry ass home. 

He was still recovering in May of 1813 when the Americans pushed the British forces, their Indian allies and the Canadian militia to Stoney Creek, (near Hamilton) after the Battle of Fort George.

The Yankee scoundrels then proceeded to occupy Niagara!

In late June the Secords overhead several American officers talking about an upcoming attack.

James Secord had taken a musket ball to the knee at Queenston Heights and still couldn't walk.

 They decided that Laura would have to get the message to the British commander, Lieutenant James Fitzgibbon who was camped at Beaverdams, (near present day Thorold).

Early the next morning, June 22, 1813, Laura kissed her young children, (and probably her own ass), good-bye, pulled on a brown dress with an orange flower print and headed out. 

She stayed off the main roads.

She knew that if the Americans caught her out after curfew she would be shot.

She passed through 30 km filled with wolves, rattlesnakes, disgruntled beavers and a variety of other interesting critters.

Somehow,  she crossed Twelve Mile Creek which, although it isn't the mighty St. Lawrence River, isn't exactly a babbling brook either .

Eventually, tired, dirty and shoeless, she stumbled into an Indian camp.

She spoke enough Iroquois to make herself understood and the surprised warriors led her to Lieutenant Fitzgibbon.

Thanks to her, Fitzgibbon and his men were ready when the attack came.

 The Americans retreated to their side of the Niagara River.

But they didn't take it well.

In retaliation they spent the next 200 years building really cool shopping malls all along the border.

 Next: Part 2 The Present

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