Category Archives: food
For a number of reasons, 2018 was not the best of years, so I’m quite happy to see the back of it. Last year round about this time I posted a New Year post, with a list of goals. It seems that I didn’t get too far with it. Ironically, the one I did fulfil was one that I’d rather not have fulfilled in the way that I did. One of the goals was to visit a new place. I said that I’d always wanted to visit Iceland, but that I didn’t think I’d visit it any time soon. Unfortunately, I got to stop in Iceland on the way to my Dad’s funeral in April. I’m sure I’ll get to go back there at some point, but I’d rather not have gone there last year for the reason I did.
Since I did such a lousy job on the list last year, I’ll post it again and see if I can do better this time. Here’s the list:
Break a Bad Habit – Last year I said that I needed to curb my cynicism. That probably still is the case, so I’ll set that again for this year. Hopefully I’ll be able to do better this year.
Learn a New Skill – I still haven’t spent the $50 gift card I got for Michaels at Christmas 2017. However, this year one of the books I received was ‘The Joy of Scrapbooking’, so maybe I’ll use the card to try this out. Once I’ve read the book I’ll see if it’s something I can do.
Do a Good Deed – As I wrote last year, hopefully I’ll manage more than one good deed this year!
Visit a New Place – We’re not planning any big trips this year, but there are plenty of places in Ontario that I have never been to, most of which are within short driving distance.
Read a Difficult Book – I have a number of books on my shelf that could be considered difficult, so I’ll pick one at some time this year and try and get through it.
Write and Send a Letter – Last year I wrote:
I haven’t written a ‘real’ letter for many years. For sure I write emails quite often, but that’s not really the same thing. Maybe I’ll try and write and send at least one letter each month this year. It’s something I used to do quite often, so I’ll see how it goes.
I never wrote one last year. Hopefully I will this year.
Try a New Food – This should be easy enough. I am vegetarian, but there are plenty of vegetarian things I haven’t tried yet.
Take a Risk – I’ll need to think about this one. I seem to be less willing to take risks as I get older, but I’ll try and change that.
I think that last year I lost focus on this list and actually forgot about it. This year it will hopefully be different. I’ll post some updates as it all progresses.
‘Bookish (and not so bookish) thoughts’ is hosted by Christine at Bookishly Boisterous. It’s just a round-up of bookish and other things from the previous week or so. Share a link there if you want to participate.
1. It’s been over a month since I posted anything here. Although February is the shortest month, this year it seems to have just dragged on. A very close friend of ours – the Godfather of our children – passed away at the end of January. Although he had been ill for quite a while, it still came as a shock to us. He was one of my first Canadian friends and was also born in the UK. Because he had also immigrated to Canada from there, he was able to help me a lot as I transitioned to Canadian life 24 years ago. He will be sadly missed by us all.
2. Although I bought a fair number of books this month, for a number of reasons my reading was pretty poor. I only managed to finish three books. Hopefully I’ll get back on track soon, as my TBR pile just continues to grow. Some of my reading challenges for the year should help me to get going again.
3. Last weekend saw my ninth anniversary of becoming vegetarian. I can honestly say that it was one of the best things I did and I often wonder why I didn’t do it sooner.
4. I binge-watched the first two seasons of Fargo during the last moth or so and am hoping that season three will appear on Netflix soon. Meanwhile, I’m looking for something else to binge-watch. I managed to watch a few movies during the month, the best being Black Panther, which we saw in the theatre last weekend.
5. We’re into the third week of Lent and for the first time in a few years I didn’t write a post about how I intend to follow it this year. I was away on Ash Wednesday and I just couldn’t get my mind around it. I’m keeping it fairly low key this year, but the things I’m doing have been quite helpful so far.
6. I still have a $50 Indigo/Chapters card from Christmas burning a hole in my pocket. Each time I’ve been to Chapters lately there have been too many choices and I have come away empty-handed. There are a couple of books I’m waiting to be released, as well as a couple of others that I’m waiting to come down in price. It’s not like I don’t have enough books to keep me going anyway!
7. I’m hoping that Spring is just around the corner. Winter seems to have dragged on this year. It hasn’t been particularly bad, although there were a few vicious storms, but it just seems to have felt so long. We have no big plans for Summer this year, although we will be having some family visiting, which is something to look forward to. Also, our daughter will be home for the summer after finishing her first year at university, which will be something else to look forward to.
Today I was looking at the post I wrote last year outlining some of my goals for 2017 and wondering how I could come up with one for this year. I probably did better than I realize on some of the things there, but there are some I still have to work on. Maybe I’ll revisit some of those things in another post.
As I was looking for a quote about New Year, goals, resolutions, etc. I came across the above list and decided I might use it as the basis for this year’s goals post. I’ll list each point below, with a few points how I can achieve them.
Break a Bad Habit – I didn’t really have to think much about this one as I’ve been talking about this for the past couple of days. Generally, I tend to be quite cynical at times, which can lead to quite a negative attitude. This often rears its ugly head when I’m talking about stuff connected with my work. So, I have decided this is something that needs to change for both the sake of myself and those I interact with. From this point forward I will endeavour to see the good in my situation at any given time and if there is something that is not good to approach it in a more constructive than destructive manner.
Learn a New Skill – One of the things I received for Christmas was a $50 gift card for Michaels. For those of you who don’t know, this is an arts and crafts store. I haven’t fully decided what I’m going to do with this card yet, but it may inspire me to take up a new skill or hobby. Watch this space.
Do a Good Deed – Hopefully I’ll manage more than one good deed this year!
Visit a New Place – I’d really love to visit Iceland, but I don’t see that happening this year, unfortunately. It will happen some time, though. However, having said this, there are lots of places in Ontario that I have never visited yet, so I’ll see if there are a few I can get to this year.
Read a Difficult Book – It’s kind of obvious to anyone who knows me that I love to read. There are a few books on my shelves that I’ve avoided over the years because I’ve looked at them and decided that they are too difficult. So, I’ve left them unread there. One book that I seem to have avoided for so long because of this is In the First Circle by Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn. I have started it a couple of times and each time have ended up abandoning it. It’s a fairly large book, with a long list of characters (listed in a number of pages at the start of the book) who have long Russian names, which is probably why I have given it up each time I have tried to read it. I think it would be worth reading and it intrigues me greatly, so perhaps 2018 might be the year I finally get over my fears and read it through to the end.
Write and Send a Letter – I haven’t written a ‘real’ letter for many years. For sure I write emails quite often, but that’s not really the same thing. Maybe I’ll try and write and send at least one letter each month this year. It’s something I used to do quite often, so I’ll see how it goes.
Try a New Food – I have been a vegetarian for almost nine years, but I’m sure there is something out there that I’ve never tried before. This one could be fun or disastrous. Nothing different comes to mind right now, but I’ll research it and see what I can come up with.
Take a Risk – As I’ve gotten older I seem to have lost the desire to take risks. Perhaps I need to reevaluate this aspect of my life, because I could be missing out on something exciting. I’m not sure exactly where to take this one, but I’ll start thinking about it anyway.
So, there you go – eight different tasks for the year ahead. Feel free at any time to challenge me on any of these things. Some of them seem easier than others, but they all need some kind of effort on my behalf or they won’t happen. What goals, if any, have you set for yourself this year?
‘Bookish (and not so bookish) thoughts’ is hosted by Christine at Bookishly Boisterous. It’s just a round-up of bookish and other things from the previous week. Share a link there if you want to participate.
1. I can’t believe that we’re more than halfway through September. Where has the summer gone? Having said that, with the temperatures we’ve been having this week it almost still seems like summer.
2. I had hoped that I’d do better with my reading during the summer, but I got into a rut there and was hardly reading much at all. Recently I’ve got back to more reading again and, hopefully, I’ll get back on track. I put together a TBR pile for fall yesterday and I’ll be happy if I get at least half of them read. I always get sidetracked by other books anyway.
3. Lately I’ve been a bit more grateful for living in a small town where very little happens. There’s a lot of crazy things happening out there in the big world – hurricanes, earthquakes, crazy world leaders playing games of chicken with deadly weapons – but life here just seems to tick along regardless.
4. We made a quick trip to the Book Outlet store in St Catharines last month, but I was very restrained only picking up five books for myself. I made up for it last week when visiting our local thrift store I managed to pick up ten Clive Cussler books. I’m trying to put together a reading plan for getting through my Cussler collection. I read a few of his books when I was a teenager, but he has written at least 70 books that are part of 5 different series. I think I’ve managed to work out a way forward with them. It’ll take a few years, but it’ll be worth it.
5. We dropped off our daughter to the University of Waterloo for her first year at the start of September. She’s only an hour away, but it’s really strange not having her around and we miss her. Her younger brother has some mixed feelings about the situation, though. She’ll be home for Thanksgiving in a couple of weeks time and we will also have family visiting from the UK at the same time.
6. I’m still enjoying my foray into #bookstagram and have been enjoying trying to keep up with some daily challenges. You can check out my pictures HERE.
7. Christmas is just over 3 months away, so I’ll need to start thinking soon about putting together my Christmas book wishlist together. I have no idea what to ask for yet, but I’m sure I’ll manage to come up with plenty ideas.
P.S. The picture at the top is from the wonderful meal we had at Pazzo in Stratford to celebrate our 27th Wedding Anniversary in August. It’s a great place to eat if you’re ever in the area.
‘Bookish (and not so bookish) thoughts’ is hosted by Christine at Bookishly Boisterous. It’s just a round-up of bookish and other things from the previous week. Share a link there if you want to participate.
1. Although I only finished a couple of books in the last week, I did a lot more reading than I have in a long time. Although I seem to be enjoying reading again, the downside is knowing what to read next – my TBR pile just grows and grows. Summer is coming, sticio hopefully I’ll get more down time to be able to attack that pile.
2. I participated in a Kairos Blanket Exercise this week, organized by our local Ministerial Association. It’s the second one I’ve participated in and it was a very moving experience. If you ever get the opportunity to participate in one then do so. The more people that are able to do this, the more hope there is for real change to take place.
3. We managed to see Guardians of the Galaxy 2 last weekend. It’s a great movie and every bit as good as the first one, maybe even with some deeper themes running through it. I had to watch the first one again the night before going to see the second one, as it had been almost three years since I saw it and my memory isn’t as good as it used to be.
4. My latest favourite thing to make is mushrooms that taste like bacon bits. They’re easy to make and addictive. Also, they are probably a lot better for you than bacon, which I haven’t had for over 8 years now anyway.
5. I’m looking for something new to binge watch on Netflix after last week’s disappointing experience with the unavailability of Better Call Saul. I only have two more episodes of Father Brown to watch and I’m caught up again. I’m open to any suggestions anyone might have to offer.
6. We’re trying to work out a visit this summer to our favourite used bookstore, Bearly Used Books, in Parry Sound. When we lived up north we used to pass through there more often, but no it’s a little out of our way. It’s worth visiting and we still have a fair bit of store credit to use up there. You never know what you are going to find and I’ve picked up some great bargains there over the years.
7. I had to buy a new copy of 1984 today as my old, well-read copy is starting to fall apart. Our daughter borrowed it for school, but it was in such poor shape that I thought I’d better get another one.
8. U2’s Joshua Tree Tour 2017 kicks off tomorrow night in Vancouver, which means it’s only 43 days until we get to see them in Toronto. I’m interested to see what their set is tomorrow night and also what the stage set-up looks like.
Today marks the eighth anniversary of when I became a vegetarian. It’s not something I regret and there are times when I wish I had embraced it sooner. It’s been an adventure and it’s a journey that I’m glad I have kept on. I am not ready to embrace veganism at this point, but it is something I may eventually do.
There are many reasons why it is good to give up meat, but in the end it is up to the individual. I wrote a post eight years ago briefly outlining the reasons why I was becoming a vegetarian. I still hold to these and see no reason to go back. Initially the smell of certain meats cooking were a temptation to me, but now I find the smell of meat quite repulsive. Even the smell of bacon, which I once loved, does nothing for me now.
I’m still on the lookout for any new veggie recipes and like to try new ones from time to time. So if you have any you think I might like to try please pass them on to me.
If you are considering moving towards a vegetarian lifestyle, then here are some sites that have helped me:
I’m not that big on resolutions, but I like to sit down at the start of the year and set a few personal goals for the year ahead. This is the first time for a few years that I’ve written a post about it, but in doing this it might help me to be more accountable and to actually follow through on them.
2016 was a roller-coaster of a year personally. There were some really great moments, but there were also some times I’d like to forget about. It’s all in the past now, so there’s no point in dwelling on any of it.
So, on to 2017. Here are some of the things I want to work towards:
My health – I had my 50th birthday last year, which hardly seems possible, but it’s true. Most of the time I don’t feel like 50, but there are some things that remind me, although quite often it is those around me who remind me. I have found it harder to keep off the weight in the past year, so one of my health goals is to make sure that I exercise regularly. To do this I’d like to go for a 20-30 minute walk each day. If this is not possible then at least 20-30 minutes on the Wii Fit, either in the morning or the evening. Some days I’d like to even do a combination of both, but I’ll settle for one or the other. The other part of my health I’d like to work more on is my food intake. Being a vegetarian you’d be tempted to think that this wouldn’t be a problem, but I am probably about 20lbs heavier than I need to be. So, I’m working on my food intake and looking at changing some of my eating habits. If I could cut out my evening snacking that would probably be half the battle. At some point I’d like to explore going vegan, but I’m still working through all that this would mean for me.
My family – I moved to Canada almost 23 years ago and in five years time I will have spent half of my life here. It’s not a move that I have ever regretted and life here has been pretty good for the most part. In many ways, I now see myself more as being Canadian than Scottish and would find it hard to ever move back again. One of the downsides of the move has been feeling gradually distanced over time from my family (and friends) on the other side of the Atlantic. I have to admit that I’m not always the best at keeping in touch, so some of the distancing has been my fault as well. I always enjoy my visits back ‘home’, although quite a few of them have been for funerals, which can be kind of bittersweet visits. My goal this year is to make more effort to keep in touch with family and friends overseas. When I first moved over here it was harder to keep in touch, but now with many different means of communication available it should be easier to do so. As well as family over there, I always need to remember that I have my family here as well, so I need to continue to find ways of spending as much quality time with them as well. Our oldest child will probably be heading to University after the summer this year, so we need to make the most of her time at home in the next few moths as well.
My spiritual life – this is an area I’m constantly working on, but I made some personal breakthroughs in 2016 that have helped me move forward in a number of ways. It’s a little personal to share here, but I have shared some of it with those who need to know. For some reason I have started to waken up at no later than 6am each morning, with no need for an alarm. I have started to use extra early time in the morning more wisely and most days I manage to spend 15-30 minutes then developing my spiritual life. Some of what were my core beliefs have been really challenged over the last year or so and this has been a good thing. I’m not as dogmatic in my beliefs as I used to be and I’m finding that my spiritual priorities continue to change for the good. One of the things I really want to try and fit into my schedule this year is a silent retreat of at least 3 days. I’m working on finding something like this that will work for me. Another thing I’d like to work on is a personal rule of life and I have gathered together some tools that will help me develop this.
My working life – for the last few years this has been quite frustrating for me. Most of the time I’m fine with what I do and where I am, but there are times when I’d prefer to be anywhere else doing whatever. Most people probably find this happening to them, but I’ve come to the conclusion that I really need to do something about it. Conversations have taken place and I’ve put in writing some of my hopes, dreams, concerns, and so on, to those who need to know how I feel. I really can’t share here what this means, but am hoping that things become clearer in the year ahead.
My reading life – it would probably be an understatement for me to say that I really like books and reading. Last year, however, I really struggled with my reading and fell quite short of the goals I had set for myself. As I enter 2017 I’m feeling better about my reading. As I write this I’m still working on my reading goals for this year and am working out which reading challenges I want to sign up for. I’ve found a few that really interest me. Once I’ve worked this out I’ll add a tab at the top of this blog with links to the challenges I end up joining. I have a lot of books that I really want to finally get to this year, so I’m looking at challenges that can help me accomplish this. One thing I’d really like to do is to write more reviews of the books I read, even if some are only a paragraph or two.
Blogging – I started my first blog (Once Upon A Time In The North) in 2005 and have kept up some form of blogging ever since, although there have been time when I have posted very little. It’s something I enjoy doing, so I’d like to continue doing this in some form or other. My goal is to post more often, not for the sake of posting, but to try and make it more meaningful in some way or other. I’ll just have to wait and see where it goes, but I hope I can keep it up.
Photography – I enjoy taking pictures, even if at times the results aren’t the best. Over the last few years I’ve tried to maintain a photography blog with varying results. I did manage to complete a 365 type blog for one year, but it became more of a chore than it was worth. I still like the idea of having some kind of photography blog, but I’ll never attempt a 365 again. Instead I’m working on something else that I have referred to one friend as a 365ish blog. Once I’ve worked it out I’ll add a link to it somewhere on this blog. Making sure I have a camera with me wherever I go would be a good start as I work all of this out.
So, these are some of the things I’m working on at the moment. I have a lot of optimism as I move forward into 2017. If you got this far, then congratulations! I hadn’t intended for the post to be this long. If you have any ideas or suggestions as to how I can accomplish any of my goals then feel free to make a comment here or drop me an email. I appreciate the input of others, so any input would be more than welcome.
Happy New Year and may 2017 be a good year for us all.
It has been an unusual year so far and it still has over a month to go. We started off the year living in half a house, as we were still undergoing renovations. Finally, in mid-April we were able to do most of our unpacking, almost ten months after we got here. We still haven’t got any of our pictures up yet, but I’m working on it. Besides all of this, we also had a lot of visitors (family and friends) visit this year, which was great. We never had many visitors during our 14 years in Elliot Lake, but now that we are in St Marys we are more accessible. It’s always great catching up with family and friends, so we’re just thankful that the house was in more of a state of readiness by the time they all visited.
When we moved here last year I had hoped to blog more regularly, but with all that was happening and things we had to unexpectedly deal with, I just got out of the habit and just didn’t feel like it at the time. However, that has changed and I now feel in more of a better place to post more stuff here again. A lot of it will probably be book or movie related as I enjoy taking part in some of the memes that go around a number of the blogs that I follow. Plus reading and watching movies are two of my favourite things to do in my spare time, so it’s kind of natural for me to want to blog about them.
My reading did kind of suffer there for a while as well. There were times when I couldn’t focus or just had trouble remembering what I had just read. Thankfully I am getting back to enjoying reading again, but I won’t reach my target of 75 books for this year, although I will still probably be close to 50. Fifty is a fitting number for this year as well, because I turned 50 in April, which hardly seems possible, but is true nonetheless.
At 50 I think I’m in better shape than I was at 40, but I’m finding it harder to keep off the weight these days. Once all the rush of Christmas is past, Pamela and I are considering signing up for Forks Over Knives. If you are wondering what that’s about click on the link or watch their movie, which is available on Netflix.
Getting back to my reading, my habits have started to change again, although one thing that hasn’t changed is that I buy more books than I read. I’m seriously thinking of giving up my participation in The Classics Club as I haven’t been able to keep up with it. I also have found that I’ve not been enjoying some of the books as much as I expected to. I’ll make a decision on it soon. One unusual thing that has happened is that I have discovered that I enjoy the odd romantic novel. During the summer I received a free romance in a giveaway, read it, and discovered it was a good escape for me. I’ve read a few more since then and they haven’t been all that bad. It’s only a certain kind that I enjoy, mainly contemporary, inspired, suspense, and sci-fi. The other categories don’t really appeal that much to me at all. I’ve found that I can get a lot of what I like for free or cheap on the Kindle or Kobo apps, so that has given me enough to read. Also, on the reading front, I joined the Renovaré Book Club this year again after taking last year off. The four books chosen for this year look like great reads and I’m enjoying being a part of it again so far.
For my 50th birthday my family gave me a turntable, so I now have something to play my vinyl on again. I now have to work out how to get my collection of vinyl that is still in Orkney over here. Now I spend some of my spare time checking out thrift stores for records. I’ve found some good deals there so far. Also, there’s a great vinyl store in Stratford, which is only 20 minutes away.
One other thing that happened this year is that we have TV again. For the past few years we’ve been relying on Netflix, DVDs, and the internet for our occasional viewing, but a few months ago we discovered that we could get a good deal with Rogers for their basic TV and signed up for it. We had been with Bell for our internet and home phone, but their prices were getting ridiculous. Being fed up with this, we shopped around and discovered that Rogers offered phone, internet, and TV for less than the two services we had with Bell. So, we changed to Rogers and haven’t looked back. We also gained unlimited bandwidth with Rogers internet, so we don’t have to worry about going over our limit like we had to do with Bell. We’re still not watching much TV, but we are enjoying the on-demand feature, which is something new to us.
Well I think that’s enough catching up for now. Hopefully I’ll keep up more with the blogging now and make keeping this site up worthwhile.
Today is Ash Wednesday, which marks the first day of Lent for this year. I was encouraged to find out that our local ministerial hosts a series of Lenten lunches during this time. The first one was today and was a meaningful short time of reflection followed by a light lunch. They will be held in the local United Church each Wednesday at lunchtime up until Easter. Although the location is the same each week, the services are led by different churches each week. Our congregation is responsible for March 2. I’m looking forward to this series of lunches as it is not something that happened in our previous community.
You may ask ‘What is Lent?’ My favourite description of what Lent is comes from the introduction to Bread and Wine, a book I have read a few times during the period of Lent and Easter:
First popularized in the fourth century, Lent is traditionally associated with penitence, fasting, almsgiving, and prayer. It is a time for “giving things up” balanced by “giving to” those in need. Yet whatever else it may be, Lent should never be morose – an annual ordeal during which we begrudgingly forgo a handful of pleasures. Instead, we ought to approach Lent as an opportunity, not a requirement. After all, it is meant to be the church’s springtime, a time when, out of the darkness of sin’s winter, a repentant, empowered people emerges. No wonder one liturgy refers to it as “this joyful season.” (page xvi)
For some people Lent is a time of giving up, for others it is a time of taking on. I like to embrace both of these things and try to incorporate a bit of both into my Lenten observation. For the past few weeks I’ve been reflecting upon what I would do during Lent this year. After a fair bit of prayer and reflection I’ve come up with the following:
- Fast for 12 hours each day following my evening meal. This is something that has become standard for me during Lent for a number of years now. It has been a help in previous years and I’m sure it will continue to be so.
- Give up all bread and related products. I really like bread and have lately come to the realisation that I eat too much of it. A regular day might find me eating a couple of waffles, four or more slices of bread, a bagel, a couple of buns, and so on. I’ve probably gained 20lbs since the fall and I know I am suffering for it. Perhaps abstinence from these things during Lent may help me to break this habit.
- Work on fulfilling the Renovaré covenant in more meaningful ways. You can find out more about Renovaré HERE. The covenant states: ‘In utter dependence upon Jesus Christ as my ever-living Savior, Teacher, Lord, and Friend, I will seek continual renewal through spiritual exercises, spiritual gifts, and acts of service.’ I signed it a few years ago, but I need to go back and re-examine it and make it a better part of my life.
Last year praying the Daily Office was one of my goals and, for the most part, I’ve kept that up. So, this will continue to be one of my daily goals. Also, last year I endeavoured to put up a daily Lenten post, but it became a burden as Lent progressed. I have decided that it wouldn’t be helpful to try that again this year, but I’ll try to post some periodic posts and updates.
My main daily resource is the Renovaré publication pictured above – Less is More: A Lenten Guide for Personal Renewal. I just downloaded a copy of it by donation this evening and am looking forward to getting into it before I sleep tonight. It is still available from the Renovaré website.
Following Easter I will try to post an update of how it all went. If you have any thoughts, Lenten experiences, or ideas you would like to share please feel free to post them in the comments section.