April 23, 2023 · 8:51 am
Shortly after discovering a pretty major food intolerance about 15 years ago, I quickly realized that I needed to brush up on my cooking and baking skills. A person can get bored pretty quickly on a rotation of just three “safe” dishes: shepherd’s pie, chili con carne and grilled chicken breast with a tossed salad.
I consider myself a pretty good short order cook with a natural curiosity for trying different food combinations. That being the case, removing wheat from my diet was not a catastrophe to me. In fact, I think it just spurred on my curiosity even more.
I just had to make time to practice more, to locate recipes that appealed to me and to test them until I got the desired results.
At first it was a bit stressful to explore a world without wheat and flour, especially when some of the resulting dishes didn’t look anything like the picture and tasted like cardboard. But eventually, some reliable go-to recipes emerged and things fell into place.
But along the way, I made another discovery. During that incubation period of trying new recipes, I found that cooking and baking can have a relaxing effect on me. Continue reading →
Filed under food, home, Humour, stories
Tagged as baking, cooking, cuisine, curiosity, curious, happiness, hobbies, joy, kitchen, mindful, mindfulness, recipe, recipes, relax, relaxation, serenity
December 17, 2017 · 8:42 am
The first Christmas after Ivy the Wonder Cat joined me, the same jitters that I felt before her adoption were back with a vengeance. This time, I was worried about how she would behave around the artificial Christmas tree.
Five months into our relationship, I already knew she was a good little kitty who didn’t have any predispositions to destructive behaviour. Nonetheless, she still had a strong curious streak which could make the tradition of keeping a Christmas tree upright a challenge. I had heard enough horror stories and had seen enough videos to know just exactly what cats are capable of, in the presence of a bright, shiny “play structure” in the middle of the living room.
I turned to my panel of experts at the office who all offered fabulous, practical tips to keeping the tree and the cat safe (thanks again, everyone!) Plus, with experience, I added a few of my own ideas upon realizing that my cat was not only smart but fearless when it came to climbing the tree.
Here are some of the strategies I use to keep my Christmas tree vertical throughout the holiday season:
– For the first Christmas with Ivy, I kept my most cherished (and breakable) ornaments in a box, safely tucked away until I knew how she would behave. This took some of the fear and apprehension out of the experience.
– When I install the tree lights, I try to avoid the branches at the very bottom, within the reach of her paws. By avoiding those branches, not only is it safer for Ivy and the tree, I find that at human eye-level, the overall appearance of the tree is enhanced given the greater concentration of lights higher up. Continue reading →
Filed under Cats, Christmas
Tagged as advice, apprehension, artificial, cat, Cats, Christmas, Christmas tree, curiosity, curious, decorating, decoration, decorations, fear, garland, health, hints, holiday, how to, ideas, ornaments, peace of mind, pet, pet care, pets, safe, safety, season, strategies, stress, tips, traditions, tree, unbreakable, worry
November 6, 2016 · 8:36 am
On a recent visit to the mall, I noticed a little girl was carefully perusing the contents of the row of gum ball and toy vending machines, with the same intensity I demonstrated when I was shopping for new appliances. She was contorting herself around the machines, checking out all of the contents and trying to predict which items were to come out next.
I understood that this was a major purchase and she was looking for the best value for her hard earned allowance money. That was me 40+ years ago!
After much scrutiny and analysis, she pointed to a machine, put in her coin, turned the crank, opened the plastic bubble and voilà! Pure joy and a huge smile! I could only assume that she got what she was looking for as she was visibly delighted with her prize.
I was reminded of my own childhood and my borderline addiction to those machines. I remember my sock drawer was proudly filled with little gum-ball-machine toys I had collected from trips to the grocery store or the department store.
I don’t think my experience was all that unusual though. With those machines at eye level for a kid, it was so easy to beg parents and relatives for coins, to get something I “positively need, and promise I won’t ask for anything again”… until the next visit.
But what is it about those machines that ignites our curiosity? If common sense prevails, one would think that being able to hold, feel and inspect a product up close to make an informed decision would the more balanced way to go. However the separation of human and product by a plastic window seems to appeal to our sense of adventure.
Or is it because we have become the product of our own life-long Pavlovian experiment since a very young age: put in a coin, get a treat? Continue reading →
Filed under Humour, Misc blogs, Travel
Tagged as adventure, childhood, childhood memories, coins, curiosity, funny, funny stories, grocery store, gum ball machines, hotel, humor, humour, kids, machines, malls, motel, Pavlov, pay toilets, progress, shopping, soda pop, soft drinks, technology, vacation, vending machines, wine