Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Finally a plant update

Okay so this is maybe the worst update ever because what am I doing?  Posting pictures of my plants from like 3 weeks ago.  They are all way bigger now.  But I am lazy.  And tired.

Above - the lone cauliflower that survived!  It is probably double that size by now.  The little stubby thing in front of it is a sunflower that something ate, but now it has come back to life and isn't eaten.

Below - calla lilies!  I'm really hoping they bloom by the wedding so I can use them in my bouquet.  I thought maybe there was something wrong with them because they had all those white spots/holes on their leaves, but that's yellow calla lilies for you apparently.

Below - the goyo kumba eggplants!  I think by mid-September I'll have a billion.  What am I going to do with them?  I don't know.  Maybe draw jack-o-lantern faces on them and take pictures of them and then compost them.  I think they are more ornamental than edible.  Waste of a plant?  Maybe, but kind of fun to grow from a seed.

Below - two angles of all my plants.  The tomatoes in the pictures are now all about double those sizes but still only one spoon plant with actual ripening fruit.  They seem to be ripening a bit later this year, but maybe it's my imagination.  I'm sure by next week they'll be ripening faster than I can eat them!

And last but not least - the garlics are still trucking along...

It is really cool knowing that every single plant I grew this year, with the exception of a few herbs I bought, was grown from a tiny seed.  The spoon tomato plants, which I really do want to do a post on at some point, are the most impressive because the seeds are ridiculously tiny but have grown into huge, sprawling bushes.

What did I learn this year?  ONLY USE NEW SEEDS.  How dumb was I to use a bunch of last year's seeds... a lot of my plants got a late start because of that.  Also, the Jiffy Greenhouse was a bad idea because the dirt pellets retained too much moisture and killed a bunch of plants or just rotted the seeds.  Don't mess with a system you know works (aka last year's system) is my gardening lesson of the year.

Friday, July 27, 2012

Sorry baby spiders

Today I discovered these strange looking things on my front step:

I'm not 100% sure but I think they were spider egg sacs.  That's what Google Images seemed to sort of verify.  Whatever they were - I didn't put them there and they were made by some sort of animal or bug.

I know I got all sad about the tadpoles I couldn't save so it seems hypocritical that I threw these potential baby spiders in the garbage can.  However, about 5 years ago I got some insanely painful bites on my leg that the doctor said were probably from spiders somehow making their way into my bed.  I am moving out in a couple weeks but I would rather not have several hundred (thousand?) baby spiders hatching and then crawling in the front door of the house, regardless if I'm still living here or not.

And I'm pretty sure they'll still hatch - just at the landfill, rather than on my front step.  Sorry baby spiders.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Robyn: 1, Motion Sickness: 0

YOU GUYS!!!  Today was a super bumpy flight home from work LET ME TELL YOU.  Like, one of those flights where you are glad to be wearing a seat belt.  And we had to take off and land 3 times and the landings were all really rough, but GUESS WHAT!

Not a tinch (a tiny inch - phrase coined by my friend Sherri and her sibs) of motion sickness!  And I only took half a Gravol while normally I'd be totally puking on that rough of a flight even with a full Gravol.

What is my secret?  I can't remember if I already mentioned this before but I was reading about motion sickness and it's caused when what you're seeing with your eyes doesn't match up with what you're feeling in your inner ear.  For example, when you're on a plane you're moving so fast and don't have anything close enough to relate to that your eyes don't understand that you're bumping around, but your inner ear totally feels it and your brain gets confused and is like "what to do?  Throw up I guess".

So apparently the way to fight motion sickness is keep your eyes closed so your inner ear has nothing to get confused about.

AND IT WORKS!!!  It's basically a miracle.  Ever since I started trying this out I have not had a speck of nausea on a plane, and I got confident enough this week to use less Gravol to make sure it actually was working.  The only sucky thing is that it's really boring to have to spend 3 hours with your eyes closed if you can't sleep.  No more reading on the plane for me, except maybe in winter when the flights aren't bumpy.  I guess I need to be proactive and download some podcasts or something to listen to instead of reading.

The other sucky thing is this means it will not be helpful for fun things that cause me motion sickness, like rides.  I still don't know how much worse my motion sickness will get in my life but I really hope I can always enjoy roller coasters to some degree.  I think the issue with roller coasters is that they go so fast that your brain doesn't have time to register where you are before your inner ear feels it.  And motion simulator rides are basically the opposite of a bumpy plane - you're not actually moving but your eyes think you are.

Gravol doesn't make me too drowsy though so if I have to take it to enjoy Disneyland, that's what I'll have to do I guess.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Food Texts from My Mom

A Taste of Saskatchewan happened a couple weeks ago in Saskatoon.  It's an annual food festival by the river where various restaurants offer three different dishes to try for usually 5 bucks.  I used to love it but lately it's become mostly mediocre restaurants offering mediocre, usually deep fried items.  However, Saboroso Brazilian Steakhouse had a decent BBQ beef on a bun, as evidenced by this text from my mom:

Mom:  The beef bum thing fr sab oh row so is good not huge but just a taste Haha you would like it joeys only has fish and chips that looked good

It was also my mom's birthday around the same time.  I was at work but my sisters put on a taco supper at our house, but not until ruling out dinner at Las Palapas:

Mom:  Should we eat at lap pala pas 67 shoul3 we make tabos At Your hous

Maybe mom texts about food are the best...

Friday, July 20, 2012


Something I've noticed since I stopped being in university is that I've felt a lot dumber.  I mean, I'm still an intelligent person, but my memory has really gone downhill.  I can't remember people's names at first meeting anymore, and in fact a lot of the time I completely forget meeting someone and embarrassingly have to ask who they are again and they're like "you don't remember me?"  I used to be the person who never forgot a face or a name, and it feels wrong to have regressed so much.

I am quite certain the reason for my declining memory is that I just don't exercise it anymore.  All the way from kindergarten until I graduated university I was constantly memorizing and studying - whether it was doing Mad Minute math in grade 2, memorizing a song on the piano in grade 7, learning lines for a play in grade 11, or studying my butt off in university, I have always been actively exercising my mind.

But when I finished school and got a job I didn't really need to actively exercise my mind anymore so I didn't and things started to deteriorate.  I really want to improve my memory but I want to find a way to do it that doesn't feel like a chore.  I also want to find a way to do it that doesn't cost me a ton of money in case I end up not using it.

I thought I'd found the perfect solution with Luminosity.com - you've probably seen the commercials.  I made a free trial account and played a few of the games.  They were great - straight and to the point explanations, simple games that still exercised your memory.  And a year's subscription was only $6.70?  Awesome!  Sign me up!

But then I realized, as I was about to buy, that the $6.70 was a monthly fee rather than a flat yearly fee.  So now I am not sure of what to do.  Should I pay 80 bucks for a year's subscription to Luminosity (the 7 bucks/month is only available if you pay all at once - to pay by the month is 15 bucks/month)?  It seems like the best brain improvement site out there - the free games on other sites are a bit lame and have long intros and just don't seem to be the quality of the few Luminosity games I tried.

But if I pay 80 bucks, I need to make sure I get my 7 bucks/month worth of memory improvement.  I wish you could get a free month instead of only 3 days free because I can't judge in 3 days whether the site actually works and whether it's something I'll feel like I want to stick to.  And 80 bucks is a lot of money that I don't just want to throw away on something.  Plus, I won't be able to use the site at work so I'll only get to use it 2 weeks out of a month.  I sound like I'm making excuses but I'm just trying to figure out what to do.

How else can I improve my memory in a fun way that doesn't have a monthly fee?

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

What's a shower for anyway?

I wanted to write a little bit more about my bridal shower - something that wasn't related to having a poutine hangover.  To tell the truth, the whole idea of a shower made me a bit nervous, right up until I walked in the door.  I was excited, because I knew it would be fun, but a party with the purpose of "showering" me with gifts was a little guilt-inducing for me.  I also felt like the concept was a bit outdated - give the little housewife a bunch of gifts so she can cook her husband meals?  I think at one point I said "I don't really need to have a shower" which was met with "yes you do, people want to come to a shower" which is sort of weird to accept - why would people WANT to have to come to a party where the purpose is to give someone gifts?

Because they love you, duh.  Because they want to show their support of your marriage and giving you some tea towels isn't an obligation, it's their way of supporting you by helping you set up your married home.  (The A Practical Wedding book helped me to wrap my head around this concept, otherwise I might still be guilt-tripping about all the money people have and will spend on us.)

The kindness and love I felt at the shower was kind of amazing.  Everyone there was genuinely so happyto be there and I didn't feel for a second like anyone felt "obligated" to be there or wasn't enjoying themselves.  It's great to have friends and family like that.  And seeing your friends and family who previously didn't know each other start connecting is awesome.

The most amazing gift of the shower, and maybe the most amazing gift ever in life, was a binder of recipes that my maid of honour Sherri had compiled from family and friends all over the place.  She'd worked with the moms to collect recipes from all sorts of friends and relatives and people sent in new favourites and family secrets, often with accompanying anecdotes and pictures of me or Brahm as kids.  My great aunt Marilyn sent a couple of original recipe cards from my great grandma's recipe box, Brahm's uncle shared his family favourite pickled peas recipe, even my grade 7 teacher contributed her famous popcorn balls recipe that she would hand out every Halloween (and every kid in the school would make a trip to her house for one).  It was such an honour to receive something that so much work had gone into, and it will definitely be a cherished possession.

I'm really glad I did get to have a bridal shower.  Because it's not just "something you have to do" when you have a wedding, or at least mine wasn't.  It wasn't just for me either, it was a chance for (most of) the whole network of women that I am close to to get together and celebrate becoming a community.  At first I had wanted a "mixed" shower because of the (see above) outdatedness of it all, but now I see the value in spending time with just your community of women.  I get wedding showers and baby showers now, because they are definitely not just about gifts at all - they're about building community and a support network.  And having a community and support network is a wonderful, important thing.

PS - if anyone did not contribute to the recipe collection but still wants to you can always feel free to give us your recipe(s).  For example I know longtime reader Joel might want to share his recipe for KFC gravy on stale bread, and I have heard great things about another of his recipes entitled "vegetables in a bowl".

Monday, July 16, 2012

Poutine Hangover

I have this rule about breakfast in restaurants that I tell Brahm he needs to help me to adhere to when we go out for breakfast: never order a sweet breakfast.  For example, French toast stuffed with berries and candied pecans, a waffle dipped in a sugary glaze, etc.  While sweet breakfasts are amazingly delicious, I just can't handle an entire plate of (basically) cake for a meal.  I suppose this goes for all meals really, as one time I made a mistake of ordering maple catfish with a side of mashed sweet potatoes.  But I can only handle so much sweetness before I start coveting the bacon at the next table.  So unless there's a good balance (e.g. bacon and eggs with one piece of French toast - why don't restaurants do this?  It would be the perfect breakfast and everyone would order it!!) I need to opt for a savoury breakfast.

I have another rule now:  never order breakfast poutine.

Breakfast poutine, if you don't know what it is, is generally just poutine but with breakfasty additions (usually poached eggs and bacon at very least).  Yesterday I had a breakfast poutine at The Hollows, because it was the day of my wedding shower and everyone was like "it's a special day!  You're going to be eating cupcakes all afternoon anyway so throw caution to the wind!" and I was like "yes, good idea!"

But here's what happened.  I ate a breakfast poutine (fries, cheese, bacon, eggs, and gravy) and then basically wasn't hungry for the rest of the day.  I ate a few vegetables and crackers and dip at the shower, but along the way did not drink very much water.  I meant to, but I felt like it would be rude to get up and go get more water in the middle of someone handing me a gift or something, and also wanted to try the sangria, so by the time the shower was over I'd mostly just eaten a breakfast poutine all day and only drank about a cup of water since breakfast.

I went home and ate a bunch of vegetables and drank about 1.5 L of water, and then went to bed.  I could tell I was dehydrated because drinking all that water didn't make me pee much.

I woke up in the middle of the night to pee and you know how sometimes if you hold your pee for a really long time, you get stomach (I'm assuming kidney) pains for a while after you finally pee?  This is what it felt like except it was more painful than what's happened before, and lasted until I fell asleep.  Then it happened again when I woke up in the morning and peed again.  And again, a couple more times.

Eventually I was ready to go to the doctor to find out if I had infected my kidneys or something but the pain mysteriously disappeared on the way to the clinic so I turned around and went home, where the kidney pains turned into indigestion and gas (I don't mean I was farting all over the place okay, I just mean in general I was having gas pains).  Those went away within a couple hours using general gas-elimination remedies (no details to be provided).

At this point, I realized that I most likely had a poutine and dehydration hangover.  I definitely had not followed a regular eating and drinking schedule the previous day and my body was telling me how much it was not into that.  Don't get me wrong - the breakfast poutine was delicious.  But not worth a morning of pain.

Poutine always seems like a good idea at the time, but almost never turns out to be.

Friday, July 13, 2012

Worse than Twilight

A couple weeks ago I was bored on a Saturday evening and found myself watching one of the Twilight movies.  It was on TV and my sister was watching it - please make note that I did not actively say "I would like to watch Twilight."

I have never seen or read any of the Twilight movies or books but I totally judge them without giving them a try, and finally seeing that the movie was as bad as I always dreamed showed me that sometimes, you really can judge a book by its cover, because it was pretty terrible.  I think it was mostly an excuse to have a bunch of shirtless guys walking around showing off their pecs and abs.  But my question about that is:  if they need to keep their shirts off so they don't rip their shirts when they transform into werewolves, why do their pants remain intact?  If their pants are made of a special material that does not rip upon transforming, why can't they get some shirts made out of that too?  It seems like it would be cold running around in the middle of the night in Washington or Oregon or wherever on the coast it took place with no shirt on.

So anyway I was like "It's true - this is actually the worst movie EVER!" and my sister was like "This one is way better than the first one" and I was like "Change the channel, this is so terrible and boring" so we flipped to a different movie.

This movie was a romantic comedy starring Mandy Moore as a clumsy but beautiful marriage counselor whose parents get divorced, so she tries to marriage counsel them back into love.

And I have to say - it was legit worse than Twilight.  Like actually WAY worse than Twilight.  For example, in the middle of marriage counseling some people, Mandy Moore realized her receptionist sister was reading patient files and she was like "What did I tell you about reading patient files!  Give those back!" in front of the people she was counseling, and the sister was like "No, I am so wacky, and unprofessional, I want to keep reading these!" so Mandy Moore grabbed them and the sister held on and they had a tug of war with the confidential patient files and then the wacky sister let go and Mandy Moore went flying into a bunch of stuff and tables went crashing down on top of her, ha ha so clumsy and wacky.  All in front of Mandy Moore's clients. 

So the moral of the story is, yes, Twilight is terrible and lame.  But it's sadly not the worst thing out there.  However I did not finish watching either movie because they were both so terrible.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

This Is My Canada

This is an interactive blog post, because to truly appreciate it I think you're going to have to put yourself in my shoes as I tell the story and try to picture the situation.

When I'm at work I try to walk to my office from the camp building as often as I can but if the weather is bad or I don't feel like walking I'll take the bus.  Sometimes the bus has radio playing while we ride it, but usually it doesn't.  This day though the stars aligned.  I was riding the bus AND the radio was playing.  Strangely, much louder than the usual background tunes.

Just as we pulled out of the parking lot, this song came on the radio:

What I want you to do now, is play the song but don't watch the slideshow.  Just close your eyes and picture being on a bus with a bunch of blue-collar contractor types while this lame song blasts over the speakers.  Imagine the loud proclamations of "What the F---????", "Turn it offffffffff!  Nooooo!", and "FRENCH???" and then finally, imagine these blue-collar contractor types finally accepting their fate and starting to sing along.

Maybe this isn't that funny to you.  Maybe you had to be there.  But for me, it still remains one of the funniest things that has happened to me at work.

Monday, July 9, 2012

CBC Radio

I used to complain about the radio a lot because let's face it, the radio sucks.  It is just total overplay of the same terrible songs, usually by Bruno Mars, who is the worst and so super cheesy and lame, I don't understand why people like him instead of make fun of his lyrics all the time.

When I complained, Brahm always said "stop complaining and start listening to CBC!"

I don't know why it took me so long but I started listening to CBC and I will never go back to normal radio.  CBC is the best and I love it so much.  I can honestly say that every time I listen, even if I'm just driving 8 blocks or so to get groceries, I always learn something interesting.  Need some topics for conversation starters?  Listen to CBC!

I don't know what else to really say except if you also hate the radio and Bruno Mars or Nickelback or whoever, give CBC a try.  You won't be sorry.  My sister Megan who is shelving books for the summer was complaining that the radio was the worst because she heard the same songs and artists a million times a day.  I told her to try CBC and got a text the next day saying "I love CBC.  I learned so much."

540 AM, 94.1 FM in Saskatoon.  Prepare to become a fan.  You're welcome.

Friday, July 6, 2012


I have always had a soft spot for frogs and tadpoles.  I don't know why, but as a kid I was always fascinated by catching frogs, or even better, catching tadpoles and watching them grow into frogs.  There was an awesome pond behind one of the elementary schools in Humboldt that always had an abundance of tadpoles in the late spring.  I had one batch that grew all the way into frogs and then either got picked off by a cat/bird, escaped, or drowned in the 5 gallon pail and my parents told me the escaped.  To this day I don't know what happened.

Anyway last week a co-worker pointed out this sad sad situation to me:

Look really closely and you will see a whole bunch of tadpoles fighting for their life as their puddle home shrinks by the hour!  It was the day I was leaving work so I didn't have a chance to save them, and the friend I delegated to save them said the puddle was dry by the time she got there at the end of the day.  SAD.  Those poor little guys never had a chance.

And so concludes my saddest blog post ever.  Even sadder (maybe) than when I couldn't find lime yogurt.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Sorry sorry sorry

I've been a really sucky blogger lately and I am sorry.  I wanted to stick with the Monday Wednesday Friday schedule but lately things have been really busy and when I've had time to write, I just haven't felt like it.  But here are some updates and things I hope to elaborate on soon:

CHEEZIES.  When we were in Calgary a couple months ago for my cousin's wedding, Brahm and I were listening to a documentary on CBC radio about Cheezies.  It was quite interesting - Cheezies only have like, 90 employees, and are only in Canada, and don't pay for prime spots on the shelves in stores.  So if a store sells Cheezies, it's because the people who run the store believe in Cheezies, not because they've paid to be on the shelf.  Interesting!  So afterwards, all I wanted were Cheezies but I couldn't find them anywhere.  Then Brahm bought me some from a corner store.  Yay!  I love Cheezies.  And Brahm.

My vegetables are growing so well!  It's been a rainy spring/summer so far, which has been giving them some good humidity and moisture.  I need to make a big post about them soon.

Ever been to a conference where they were like "okay, now we are going to have an hour long break so you can network" several times?  An introvert's dream.  NOT.  Sometimes I desperately wish I was not so shy.

One time some SaskTel guys came to my house to install the fibre optic network and it took a million hours.

The house hunt is sadly stalled until after the wedding.  Too much going on all at once :(

When I was 13 I had blonde bangs but brown hair.  Hoping to track down a picture and tell you why one of these days.

Our wedding is in 46 days!  Eeeeek.  We have a fun honeymoon planned to go to some national parks in the US.

I think I've figured out a motion sickness strategy that works!  For planes anyway.  But won't be of any help on motion simulator rides. 

The naked legs post I promised a million years ago!  I can't remember when I posted about it so if you don't remember, I can't link to it because I don't want to Google "Robyn naked legs"...

My Transformers 2 review has been getting a lot of traffic.  I think because people are looking for that picture of Megan Fox sprawled on a motorcycle.  I hope it is educating them about inappropriate and sexist portrayals of women in media while they ogle the picture.  Speaking of Transformers, we watched Transformers 3 yesterday and today (it is so long) so I need to figure out the best way to put my thoughts together on that one.  Then what?  We need a new terrible trilogy to watch I guess.

Okay!  Sorry again for the sucky blogging.  I'll schedule a post in for Friday and then hopefully get to a few next week.