My mother named me Phyllis. She thinks it is a lovely name. It is not the name that fits me. Phyllis means "foliage" in Greek. (I kill houseplants) In Greek mythology this was the name of a woman who killed herself out of love for Demophon and was subsequently transformed into an almond tree. It began to be used as a given name in England in the 16th century.
Fortunately for me my initials were P. A. M. and my grandfather started calling me Pam. Pam is a name that is comfortable to me. The meaning of the name Pam is all honey.
When : Always February 28th Public Sleeping Day is an opportunity to sleep in public. We can think of a whole lot of places to sleep in the public eye. And, today is the day to do it. You can sleep on a park bench. You can doze on a blanket on the beach. Some people may opt to sleep on the job. They do so at their own risk. Have you ever caught twenty winks on a bus or subway traveling to or from work? Sure, we all have. Wherever you choose to sleep today, we hope it is peaceful and restful.
I've rarely been bothered by the rain in spring, summer or fall. On the other hand, I hate rain in the winter because it makes me feel miserable and I am anxious for my friends and family who have to be out in it. I also am terrified of thunderstorms.
This is a fun photo from our Hewson family reunion July 2014. Our wienie roast was very quick as we were racing a rainstorm that we could see on the horizon. I'd been looking forward to toasting marshmallows all day and I was going to get one if I had to stand over the campfire with an umbrella . . . LOL
How would your life be different if you were working in your dream job?
I've never been able to decide what my dream job is. I get bored easily. I've always wanted to try so many things and was never able to decide which thing would make me happiest. I guess I'm just one of those people who has never had a true calling.
The yucky old snow is here again so I thought I should share this delicious, hearty soup. 1 tsp vegetable oil 2 cups onion, chopped 8 cups reduced-fat chicken broth 3 cloves garlic, minced 1/2 tsp thyme 1/4 tsp pepper 2 large carrots, sliced thinly 1/2 cup celery, chopped 5 oz. dried wide egg noodles 1 pound boneless chicken breasts, cut into 1 inch cupes (about 2 cups) 1 small zucchini, thinly sliced 1 medium-sized tomato, seeded and chopped 2 tbsp parsley, chopped In large pan or Dutch oven, heat oil over medium heat. Add onion and cook until softened, stirring frequently. Stir in broth, garlic, thyme, pepper, carrots, celery and chicken. Reduce heat to low; cover and simmer until carrots are barely tender and chicken is no longer pink (less than 10 minutes). Remove from heat. Stir in zucchini, tomato and parsley. Cool. Pour into labeled freezer bag; freeze. To Serve: Thaw. Place in large pan or Dutch oven; add noodles. Heat over medium heat until heated through and noodles are cooked through. Per Serving: 230.3 calories; 2.9 g fat; 33.6 g protein; 29.1 g carbohydrates; 58 mg cholesterol. Changes I made: I added the noodles and continued cooking until the vegetables and noodles were cooked.
You may recall that Challenge #8 was organizing your paper cosmetics. I have a rather large collection although I am pretty sure there are lots of you with even more. But mine ARE organized.
So I am more than ready for Challenge #9 . . .
Books and Magazines
Inspiration for scrapbook pages is everywhere. But what is the best way to organize it so that it's actually USEFUL?
First consider cutting up your magazines and idea books, and only saving the ideas that you really plan to use. Magazines and idea books that just sit on your shelves aren't really useful. It can take hours to go through your books to find the one layout you remember. Having your ideas in a condensed form, arranged in a way that makes sense to you is much more effective. If you are able to cut up your magazines, here are some ideas for arranging them:
theme (holidays, birthday, babies, pets, travel etc) number of photos used in the layout journaling ideas colours quotes techniques
Now that you've decided how to arrange them, where do you store them? A few ideas:
* a composition book or some other kind of sketchbook: you can sketch in here and adhere page ideas into it. It's also portable, so you can take it with you to crops! * an index card box: adhere your ideas to index cards * idea file folders. Place your ideas inside file folders and label the index tab. Store in a portable file box. Add categories as needed. * binder with page protectors: tuck clippings into the page protectors
If you have decided you are NOT cutting up your magazines . . .
SORT: Make sure that the magazines and books are still relevant to you. If you are holding onto magazines more than a year or two old, REALLY make sure they still interest you. Sort them into piles: KEEP, DONATE, SELL, TOSS
PURGE: Trash the TOSS pile. Arrange immediate drop-off or pick-up of the DONATE pile. Bag up and assign a price and your initials to the SELL pile.
ASSIGN: sort your magazines/books by title/date of issue, and consider storing your books and magazines down low due to their weight.
CONTAINERIZE: store in boxes or magazine holders.
EQUALIZE: Consider getting varied colours of post-it flags, and setting up categories for ideas. Each time you get a new book or magazine, flag the pages you like according to your system, so that you an easily see from the outside of your books which one might have an idea applicable to the project you are working on.
Today's Writing Prompt: Bathroom Secrets Name three things you have in your bathroom, right now.
This may be an exciting question to ask some people but I don't haven anything unusual in my bathroom. I just have regular stuff like hair dryer, toothpaste, hair brush . . . sorry I couldn't come up with anything interesting . . . Wait . . . I have some art up that I think is interesting.
I recently ordered in "Committed" by Elizabeth Gilbert. I loved "Eat, Pray, Love" and hoped to continue the experience through her latest book. Sigh . . . I finished reading the book almost like some sort of punishment . . . I've ordered it, I'm gonna read it . . . It took a long time to finish reading. I felt like I was in a lecture hall because that's what it was . . . a lecture on marriage. And a lot of whining. Sorry Elizabeth but maybe I'll like your next book . . .
This movie is crazy. It is also French Canadian and in French with English subtitles. I thought this might bother me, but it really didn't. The movie was just that good.
C.R.A.Z.Y. is the store of a sexually confused young man and his totally dysfunctional family. The setting is in Montreal during the 1960s and 70s. There are many funny moments and some really sad moments; the best moments were the ones with real insight into the lives of these very different people.
The director makes excellent use of music to set the passage of time through the decades. The characters are well developed. I think it is definitely worth seeing.
This movie swept the Genie awards in 2006 -- Best Motion Picture, Best Performance of an Actor in a Leading Role, Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role, Best Achievement in Direction, Best Screenplay Original, Best Achievement in Art Direction/Production Design, Best Achievement in Costume Design, Best Achievement in Overall Sound, Best Achievement in Editing, Best Achievement in Sound Editing and Golden Reel Award. It also won Best Canadian Feature Film at the Toronto Film Festival and Audience Award at the American Film Institute in Los Angeles.
Hmmmmm . . . I guess I'm not the only one to think this is a good movie worth seeing . . . and yet I wouldn't have known about it if I hadn't read 151 Best Movies You've Never Seen.
If you could change one personality trait about yourself, would you - and which one?
I would like to be a calmer person. Anxiety is a daily problem for me to start with . . . but if someone messes with my plans or schedule suddenly I become so agitated that I make myself crazy. Yes, I would definitely like to be calmer.
Northern Hemisphere Hoodie-Hoo Day When : Always on February 20 On this winter day, people go out at noon, wave their hands over their heads and chant "Hoodie-Hoo".
It is a day to chase away winter blahs, and bring in spring. After all, everyone in the northern hemisphere is sick and tired of winter at this point and a little crazy being cooped up inside all winter and not seeing the sun. Get out there, hoodie-hoo, and take a photo to share. Did you know? Hoodie Hoo Day is a copyrighted holiday. It was created and is provided, courtesy of the great folks at Wellcat.com
Quantity : 5 servings Preparation : 10 min Cooking : 30 min 330 calories/serving
Ingredients 2 potatoes, chopped into 3 cm pieces 400 g 3 1/2 cups broccoli, cut into florets 420 g 1 1/2 carrots, chopped into 3 cm pieces 150 g 1 zucchini, chopped into 3 cm pieces 130 g 1 1/2 stalk celery, chopped into 3 cm pieces 110 g 1 1/2 onions, chopped into 3 cm pieces 300 g 5 cups chicken broth, low-sodium 1.25 L 5 tsp butter, unsalted 24 g 5 tsp olive oil 25 mL 5 slices bread, whole wheat, for the croutons 180 g 2 1/2 tbsp olive oil, for the croutons 38 mL 1 pinch salt [optional] 0.2 g ground pepper to taste [optional]
Before you start
A blender or food processor will be very useful to purée the soup.
Prepare the vegetables. Peel the potatoes. Coarsely chop all the vegetables except the broccoli into uniform 3 cm pieces. Cut the broccoli into florets. Heat the butter and oil in a saucepan over medium heat. Add all the vegetables except the broccoli and cook over medium heat for about 10 min with occasional stirring. Add the warm broth and cook an additional 8 min, uncovered. Meanwhile, prepare the croutons. Add the broccoli stalks, which take longer to cook, then add the florets 2 min later. Cook, uncovered, 10 min maximum until the potatoes are cooked and fork-tender. Don't overcook the broccoli, so that the soup will maintain a nice green colour. Purée in a blender. Add salt and pepper to taste. Portion out into bowls, add the croutons and serve.
The soup keeps up to 7 days in the refrigerator or up to 4 months in the freezer.
How does it feel to know we are nearly done? Your crafting space should be looking a lot better by now. I bet you aren't opening 15 different containers while trying to find one item. Challenge #8
It is time to organize our "paper cosmetics": paints, inks, embossing powders, mists, and other products that add a little something special to our pages. If you do mixed media art I bet your stock of paper cosmetics is pretty substantial. Let's get started . . .
SORT: first go through each of these items and make sure your colours haven't expired. Are ink pads still juicy? Are lids still intact? Do paints still mix together when shaken? Are your chalks still intact enough to use? Sort all of your paper cosmetics into TOSS, KEEP, SELL, DONATE
PURGE: Throw out the toss items. Bag up and assign a price and your initials to the SELL pile, and put them immediately in your garage sale box. Arrange for pick-up or drop-off of the DONATE pile.
ASSIGN: Sort your KEEP pile into categories that make sense to you.
CONTAINERIZE: Inks last longest when stored horizontally, upside down (that's why Stampin' Up ink pads flip that way!) on a shelf, in a drawer, or maybe a cassette tape holder? Paints could be stacked on a narrow shelf, on a tiered rack, in spice racks, etc. Embossing powders, chalks and other cosmetics could be stored in well-labeled drawers.
Wow. Nothing to Envy: Ordinary Lives in North Korea by Barbara Demick is a very shocking and interesting book. Demick is a journalist who has covered North and South Korea for the LA Times since 2001. She tells the story of several different families trying to survive in a devastated North Korea. She uses excellent sources for her information to make the book dramatic, factual and realistic. Demick creates an amazing connection between the reader and the people she is writing about. "In NOTHING TO ENVY, Demick follows the lives of six people: a couple of teenaged lovers courting in secret, an idealistic woman doctor, a homeless boy, a model factory worker who loves Kim Il Sung more than her own family and her rebellious daughter. "Demick spent six years painstakingly reconstructing life in a city off-limits to outsiders through interviews with defectors, smuggled photographs and videos. The book spans the chaotic years that saw the death of Kim Il-sung, the unchallenged rise to power of his son Kim Jong-il, the devastating effects of a famine that killed an estimated twenty percent of the population, and an increase in illegal defections. "While many books focus on the North Korean nuclear threat, NOTHING TO ENVY is one of the few that dwells on what everyday life is like for ordinary citizens. With remarkable detail, Demick brings to life what it means to be living under the most repressive totalitarian regime in the world today. She gives a portrait as vivid as walking oneself through the darkened streets of North Korea." http://nothingtoenvy.com/about-nothing-to-envy/ "Nothing to Envy follows the lives of six North Koreans over fifteen years—a chaotic period that saw the death of Kim Il-sung, the unchallenged rise to power of his son Kim Jong-il, and the devastation of a far-ranging famine that killed one-fifth of the population. "Taking us into a landscape most of us have never before seen, award-winning journalist Barbara Demick brings to life what it means to be living under the most repressive totalitarian regime today—an Orwellian world that is by choice not connected to the Internet, in which radio and television dials are welded to the one government station, and where displays of affection are punished; a police state where informants are rewarded and where an offhand remark can send a person to the gulag for life. "Demick takes us deep inside the country, beyond the reach of government censors. Through meticulous and sensitive reporting, we see her six subjects—average North Korean citizens—fall in love, raise families, nurture ambitions, and struggle for survival. One by one, we experience the moments when they realize that their government has betrayed them. "Nothing to Envy is a groundbreaking addition to the literature of totalitarianism and an eye-opening look at a closed world that is of increasing global importance." http://www.amazon.ca/Nothing-Envy-Ordinary-Lives-North/dp/0385523904
Have you ever seen this movie? What a riot. This movie is a satire about everything that is wrong with reality television with some great side-swipes at the American government. And I love Hugh Grant. Hugh Grant is an ideal choice to play a character inspired by American Idol's Simon Cowell. Grant plays the very personable host, a man who has every trapping of success but still isn't happy. Not every
actor could portray a self-loathing individual and still retain our interest in
him. Grant manages that feat. Grant's character meets his match in the unlikely form of Mandy Moore, a
sweet-faced girl from the Midwest who’s chosen as a contestant on the show. Her
all-American looks are deceiving, as the people around her are doomed to learn
for themselves: she’s about as warm as an iceberg. I also loved Marcia Gay Harden and Dennis Quaid as the First Couple. This movie is definitely not to be taken seriously. Just enjoy it.
What's the best thing about being either single or partnered, whichever one you currently are?
Hal and I have been married for 36 years . . . or has my dear hubby says when he "thinks" he is funny . . . on our second life sentence. Being married is the most annoying and fulfilling status in the world. It sometimes feels that Hal is always trying to push my buttons. You know the ones. Those little things that irritate the hell out of you. And just when you are just about ready to lose your mind, he does something so sweet that you forget all about how annoying he is . . . until the next time.
I really enjoyed this recipe, especially the sauce. Of course, I threw in extra vegetables.
Quantity : 2 servings Preparation : 10 min Cooking : 15 min 240 calories/serving
Ingredients 1 yellow or red sweet peppers, cut into 1 cm-wide strips 200 g 1/2 onions, halved and cut into 1 cm-thick wedges 100 g 3 cloves garlic, minced 2/3 chicken breasts, boneless, skinless, cut into 1 x 5 cm pieces 200 g paper towels 2 tbsp cornstarch 16 g 1 pinch salt [optional] 0.2 g ground pepper to taste [optional] 1 1/2 tbsp canola oil 23 mL 3 tbsp water 45 mL 1 1/2 tbsp soy sauce 23 mL 1 1/2 tbsp rice vinegar 23 mL 30 leaves fresh basil, larger leaves torn in half 16 g
Before you start
Put the serving dish in the oven at the lowest setting to keep the meat warm while you cook the vegetables.
Prepare the vegetables : Cut the peppers into 1 cm-wide strips; halve the onions then cut them into 1 cm wedges; mince the garlic. Cut the chicken into strips ½ to 1 cm wide and about 5 cm long. Pat the strips dry with paper towels, then toss them with the cornstarch until they are coated. Season with salt and pepper. Heat half of the oil in a large nonstick pan over medium-high heat. Sauté the chicken pieces in batches, so as not to overcrowd the pan. Cook until browned, but not completely cooked through, 4-5 min total. Transfer the chicken to a plate and keep it warm in the oven. Pour the remaining oil into the pan, then add the onion and peppers. Cook over medium-high heat, tossing often, until they begin to brown and soften, about 5 min. Add the garlic then cook until fragrant, about 1 min. Season with salt and pepper. Pour in the water, soy sauce, and vinegar. Put the chicken pieces back into the pan. Cook, with tossing, until the chicken is cooked through, about 3-4 min. Remove the pan from the heat, stir in the basil leaves, adjust the seasoning then serve.
So how did you make out with Challenge #6? I'm not a huge fibre user on my pages so I was pretty sure this was an easy challenge for me. It was fun re-discovering just how much pretty ribbon, floss and washi tape I actually have.
Are you ready for Challenge #7?
Embellishments are some of the easiest things to buy. Everything looks so good, and you really believe you NEED everything! Embellishments are also one of the supplies most affected by trends. Careful consideration is really needed here.
It's also important to find a system that will help you store all of your embellishments in a way that won't overwhelm you, yet also is visible enough that you don't forget to USE them.
Let's S.P.A.C.E. them.
SORT: As always, bring all of your embellishments together. Touch every piece that you have and ruthlessly sort through them, deciding what to KEEP, TOSS, SELL, DONATE.
PURGE: Immediately throw out the TOSS pile. Bag up and assign a price and your initials to the SELL pile, and put them in the garage sale box. Set up a drop-off or pick-up of the DONATE pile.
ASSIGN: Sort through the KEEP pile in a way that makes sense to you. Some ideas for sorting your embellishments:
1) by category (buttons, brads, alphabets, charms, etc.) 2) by colour 3) by manufacturer 4) by type (metal, acrylic), or 5) by theme
CONTAINERIZE: Now that you've decided how to sort your embellishments, the next step is decided how to store them, and how to label them! Researching online will give you great ideas. Talk to other crafters about what ideas worked for them.
EQUALIZE: Take a few minutes at the end of each scrapping session, when you return from a crop, or return from a shopping trip to put your embellishments away where they belong.
My dear hubby is not generally very good at listening so we have rules of engagement for discussing serious issues like money which include having no distractions, sitting comfortably facing each other, and having any necessary information available . . . such as pulling up the bank account on the lap top. Sometimes he forgets the rules of engagement and it never ends well. That has become the exception rather than the rule, thank goodness.
If you had the resources and extra time to go back to school, what would you like to study?
If I had the time and money to go back to school I would like to do my Masters Degree in Political Science. I loved going to university as a mature student and I would go back in a heart beat if someone were willing to pay my way . . .
What an amazing story!!!!! I read this book in two nights, staying up WAY past my bedtime to do so. This novel is written in a crisp, exciting style and I just couldn't put it down.
When Nebraska police officer and divorced mother of three Kathryn Bolkovac saw a recruiting announcement for private military contractor DynCorp International, she applied and was hired. Good money, world travel, and the chance to help rebuild a war-torn country sounded like the perfect job. Bolkovac was shipped out to Bosnia, where DynCorp had been contracted to support the UN peacekeeping mission. She was assigned as a human rights investigator, heading the gender affairs unit. The lack of proper training provided sounded the first alarm bell, but once she arrived in Sarajevo, she found out that things were a lot worse. At great risk to her personal safety, she began to unravel the ugly truth about officers involved in human trafficking and forced prostitution and their connections to private mercenary contractors, the UN, and the U.S. State Department. After bringing this evidence to light, Bolkovac was demoted, felt threatened with bodily harm, was fired, and ultimately forced to flee the country under cover of darkness—bringing the incriminating documents with her. Thanks to the evidence she collected, she won a lawsuit against DynCorp, finally exposing them for what they had done. This is her story and the story of the women she helped achieve justice for.
Hubby and I had a look through Maitlin's list of 151 movies and picked this little gem. I definitely had never heard of it before. Driving Lessons stars two faces familiar to Potter fans: Rupert Grint,
who plays Ron Weasley, and the wonderful Julie Walters, who plays Ron’s mother
in the Potter movies. But that's not where I know Julie Walters from. I kept staring at her and staring at her and finally realized she is Rosie from Mamma Mia.
We thoroughly enjoyed this movie. It was funny and sad and dramatic and totally enjoyable. Watching Ron grow in maturity and strength was truly charming. And Julie Walters as the mad as a hatter Dame Eve Walton is a riot to watch. Her eccentric behaviour is totally engaging. Eve takes a theatrical approach to almost everything in life, and introduces the
sheltered teenager to a world in which his poetic nature can blossom. Despite
their age difference, these two characters create a strong bond of