Monday, November 11, 2019

Ladies Night Journal Prompt 11 Nov 2019 ~ All Alone

Today's Prompt:  All Alone

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What is your idea of a perfect night alone?

My perfect night alone is a hot cup of peppermint tea, music playing, and working on a favourite project or binge watching a mindless TV series.

Book Review: Marching As to War by Pierre Berton

“I have called this period Canada’s Turbulent Years – turbulent not only because of the battles we fought on the African veldt, the ravaged meadows of Flanders, the forbidding spine of Italy, and the conical hills of Korea, but turbulent in other ways. These were Canada’s formative years, when she resembled an adolescent, grappling with the problems of puberty, often at odds with her parents, craving to be treated as an adult, hungry for the acclaim of her peers, and wary of the dominating presence of a more sophisticated neighbour.” – From the Introduction

Marching As to War is "only" 632 pages in paperback but Pierre Berton's writing held my interest to the very last page.  I've always been interested in history.  I even took a history of WWI and WWII in university.  I wonder if they would consider swapping out the texts from that course for Marching As to War?

Here is a little biography:

Pierre Berton was one of Canada’s most popular and prolific authors. From narrative histories and popular culture, to picture and coffee table books to anthologies, to stories for children to readable, historical works for youth, many of his fifty books are now Canadian classics.

Born in 1920 and raised in the Yukon, Pierre Berton worked in Klondike mining camps during his university years. He spent four years in the army, rising from private to captain/instructor at the Royal Military College in Kingston. He spent his early newspaper career in Vancouver, where at 21 he was the youngest city editor on any Canadian daily. He wrote columns for and was editor of Maclean’s magazine, appeared on CBC’s public affairs program “Close-Up” and was a permanent fixture on “Front Page Challenge” for 39 years. He was a columnist and editor for the Toronto Star and was a writer and host of a series of CBC programs.

Pierre Berton received over 30 literary awards including the Governor-General’s Award for Creative Non-Fiction (three times), the Stephen Leacock Medal of Humour, and the Gabrielle Leger National Heritage Award. He received two Nellies for his work in broadcasting, two National Newspaper awards, and the National History Society’s first award for “distinguished achievement in popularizing Canadian history.” For his immense contribution to Canadian literature and history, he was awarded more than a dozen honourary degrees, is a member of the Newsman’s Hall of Fame, and is a Companion of the Order of Canada.

Pierre Berton passed away in Toronto on November 30, 2004.

Here's a review of this book:

Canada's twentieth century can be divided roughly into two halves. All the wars and all the unnecessary battles in which Canadian youth was squandered belong to the first — from the autumn of 1899 to the summer of 1953. From the mid-1950s on, Canada has concerned itself not with war but with peace.

The first war of the century, which took Canadian soldiers to South Africa, and the last, which sent them to Korea, bracket the bookends on the shelf of history. They have a good deal in common with, these two minor conflicts, whose chronicles pale when compared to the bloodbaths of the two world wars.

Canada's wartime days are long past, and for many, the scars of war have healed. Vimy has been manicured clean, its pockmarked slopes softened by a green mantle of Canadian pines. Dieppe has reverted to a resort town, its beaches long since washed free of Canadian blood. Nowadays, Canadians are proud of their role as Peacekeepers, from which they have gained a modicum of international acclaim the nation has always craved, with precious little blood wasted in the process.

In this monumental work, Pierre Berton brings Canadian history to life once again, relying on a host of sources, including newspaper accounts and first-hand reports, to tell the story of these four wars through the eyes of the privates in the trenches, the generals at the front, and the politicians and families back home. By profiling the interwar years, Berton traces how one war led to the next, and how the country was changed in the process. Illustrated with maps and line drawings, Marching as to War describes how the experience of war helped to bind Canada together as a nation and chronicles the transformation of Canada's dependence upon Great Britain and its slow emergence as an independent nation caught in a love-hate relationship with the United States.

Movie Review: The World's Fastest Indian (2005)

 The World's Fastest Indian is based on a true story about a feisty old man who spends all his time working on his 1920s Indian motorcycle.  His friends and neighbours are inspired to  raise funds so Burt Munro and his Indian can travel to the United States and try to break a speed record on the Bonneville Salt Flats in Utah.

When Burt (Anthony Hopkins) arrives in Los Angeles in 1967 he gets help from some very unlikely characters and is able to make his way to Bonneville, Utah.  Hopkins plays the part of Burt with naivete and down-under charm.  The story of his trip is truly enjoyable.  

When Burt arrives at Bonneville he learns that he needed to preregister in order to run the salt flats.  Burt is not one to give up and his passion and charm draws supporters to his cause and he is allowed to run unofficially.  

The story is amazing.  Anthony Hopkins as Burt Munro is charming.  The movie is long but I just didn't care.

Thursday, November 7, 2019

Journal Prompt 7 Nov 2019 - So What Do You Do?

Today's Writing Prompt: So What Do You Do?

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What do you spend most of your time doing - when you're not journaling , of course!

Most of my time is spent working on various craft projects, trying to keep my apartment clean, looking for the joy in my life, and spending time with my family and friends.

A Taste of Canada ~ Fiddlehead

I do enjoy fiddleheads.  They have a green bean-y, asparagus-like, pea-ish taste and they are just fun to look at.

From Chateline Magazine:

It’s Almost Fiddlehead Season! Here’s How To Cook This Springtime Veggie Properly
Fiddleheads are a Canadian delicacy, but undercooking them can lead to food poisoning
by Amy Grief 
Updated Apr 9, 2019

The fiddlehead season is short, so get 'em while you can! Photo, iStock.

Fiddlehead season is short, so when you see the adorable green curlicues at your grocery store or farmers’ market, buy them while you can. Before chowing down on these little springtime delicacies, there’s a few things you should know first since fiddleheads can cause food poisoning if they’re not cooked properly.

What are fiddleheads?

These tightly curled coils are ostrich fern fronds. They start appearing in late April and early May in Ontario, Quebec, Nova Scotia and New Brunswick and are usually found in forests, marshes and by rivers and streams. Taste-wise, fiddleheads, which are popular amongst food foragers, are often compared to asparagus and artichokes. They’re packed with nutrients, including omega-3 fatty acids, antioxidants, vitamin A, vitamin C and are a good source of fibre.

How to cook fiddleheads

Health Canada urges Canadians to never consume raw or undercooked fiddleheads since these spring greens have been associated with cases of food poisoning. Here are its recommendations for properly preparing fiddleheads:

Start by removing as much of the brown husk as possible.
To get rid of the rest of the husk and dirt, wash your fiddleheads in multiple changes of cold water.
Cook fiddleheads before adding them to stir-fries, frittatas or any other dish by boiling them for 15 minutes. Or, steam them for 10-12 minutes.

Fiddlehead Soup

Poached Orange Scallops with Mint

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Closest photo I could find online.  We were too busy eating to take photos when I actually served this recipe.
1 orange, peeled and chopped
1 small onion, chopped
1 cup orange juice
1/2 cup light cream or whipping cream (next time I'm using the whipping cream)
1 tbsp orange zest
1 tsp dried mint or 2 tbsp chopped fresh mint
1/2 tsp dried basil or 1 tbsp chopped fresh basil
1/2 tsp sea salt
1/2 tsp ground black pepper
1 lb scallops

Combine all of the ingredients, except the scallops, in a medium-sized saucepan and bring to a boil.  Reduce the head, add the scallops, and simmer for 5 minutes, or until the scallops are whie and tender.  Remove the scallops and set aside.

Cook remaining mixture until the liquid reduces by half.

Return the scallops to the pan.  Heat the scallops in the sauce for 1-2 minutes.  Serve immediately.

Wednesday, November 6, 2019

Journal Prompt 6 Nov 2019 ~ Divorce

Today's Writing Prompt: Divorce

What are your experiences with divorce? It's hard to be untouched by it in today's society. Have you gone through it? Your friends? Your parents?

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Oh yes, I have experienced divorce . . . and at a very young age . . . mostly because 18-year-olds don't always make great life decisions.  This is the reason it took my dear hubby of 34 years almost two years to talk me into marriage.  He was definitely persistent, thank goodness.