Saturday, April 26, 2008

I have the craziest dreams

Do you recall your dreams? I recall the majority of my dreams and they are crazy! Take for example the one I had the other day...

I dreamt I was about to go into a life threatening surgery so I was going to have a bath to prepare myself for it. I remember walking into a room that seems to be a conference room that represented my house. My parents were there as well as numerous people from my past. They all seemed to be talking in hushed voices, not really talking to me. It was like they were attending my funeral. I walk through the room and no one turns to look at me for fear that I would see the pained looks in their face. I open a door to what was supposed to be the bathroom only to open it to the outside world where a claw foot tub stood at the end of a dock. I walk to the tub that's already filled with water and bubbles and climb in. As I am laying there, there is a man standing in the water fishing (as the tub is at the end of the dock) and he casts his rod. Slowly he reels his line in only to catch a fish. Excited I lean over the tub to peer at his catch swimming by. The tub somewhow moves back on the dock so the man's fish leaps on the dock as he is fighting to get away. The fish turns out to be huge and resembles a pig's face. That was when I woke up.

Crazy eh? I wonder what it means and if it has anything to do with the ongoing fish debate I am in.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

I can't wait

I've been wanting something for the majority of my life and I am about to get it! It's big (well it fits me), red and full of awesomeness. I am about to get a motorbike :) Originally I was all over the cruiser, specifically the Boulevard S50. We went around to numerous bike shops around town which by the way there aren't many. We went to Custom Cycle where it took us 3 trips there before a salesperon actually took the time to talk to us and find out we were serious. It was only afterwards we heard other people complain about their service. It almost was like pulling teeth as he basically answered your questions and didn't offer information that a new biker should know about (I think I may have learned more off of other people shopping there!)

So Cyclemania rolls around and we went to it thinking there would be tons of dealerships there but I was slighlty disappointed at the lack of dealers there. I think there may have been less than 10 dealers there. So be it. We ran into some friends there who highly recommended the service from SuperCycle out of North Battleford but they were not present at the show. Hmmm lovely ole North Battleford where I was born and raised was only an hour-ish away. So off we went and I have to agree, the service there was awesome. I actually sat on a Boulevard M50 which actually suited me better so the decision was made!

Back to Saskatoon we go only to put more thought into it and after talking with our friend Allan we changed our minds again about the type of bike to get. So we acted on his suggestion and I can't wait for it to get here.... I wonder what I got ;-)

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Happy Earth Day Everyone!

Did you wear green today? I did but I have to admit it was just a coincidence that I was wearing green today as I completely forgot about Earth Day. Why is it that I was more aware of Earth Hour than I was about Earth Day? Sure it was mentioned briefly in our staff meetings and Google changed their home page image to reflect it but outside of that I would have never known about it. I still don't even know the details of Earth Day besides the obvious that we should be doing our part in protecting the environment. I even went as far as searching for what events were taking place in Saskatoon and found relatively 0 events occurring (and yes I realize the site I referenced refers to the month of April being devoted to protecting the Earth).

I came to the conclusion that knowing the background of Earth Day didn't matter. I do my part to help save the environment, albeit small things but it's the small things that count no? If everyone adopted processes no matter how big or small of an impact they make, it can add up to a lot.

I do try to be environmentally conscious, seriously I do - I try to reduce the amount of paper bills I get (though I have to admit it may because I hate filing more than anything), turn off the water whenever its not required, turn off the lights when I don't need them, unplug appliances that are not in use, unplug chargers, recycle etc etc. I realize there is plenty more I can do and would be willing to adopt practices that other people follow. What are your practices and what do you think needs to be done so more people are aware of Earth Day?

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Meet our babies

Meet our newest additions to our family. Their names are: (from top left to right) Mint, Basil, Dill, Thyme and (bottm left to right) Parsley, Italian Basil and Chives. Started on the evening of April 2, 2008 in their Areogarden incubator just a little over 2 weeks ago, both the parents and children are in good condition.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

The one time I wished the weatherman was wrong

Yup, you guessed it. We got snow in the middle of April, again. I heard the horror story that it was going to snow, and snow hard and by golly when I woke up the next morning was it ever true.

Thanks Old Man Winter for delaying a delivery I have been wanting all my life.

Pet Peeve #2

People who clip their finger nails in a public restaurant. EWWW I don't care if you are done your meal and are just relaxing. You are not at home so don't make yourself that comfortable. Sure you may have that one nail that is just irritating you but go to the washroom and clip your nails there. I don't need to see your nail clippings flying in all directions, do you know how far they can fly?? Nothing grosses me out more in a restaurant than seeing people who clip their nails. Show some respect for those around you who are trying to enjoy their meals.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

They're back!

That's right, the pelicans are back. Spotted 2 pelicans by the Saskatoon wier.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

What is the point...

...of a unicycle? I was driving around one day when I saw this guy on a unicycle making his way up Spadina Cres. At the rate that he was going, I could have walked faster than him. Yes I know, I shouldn't be so hard on him as I am sure it is a great cardio/balance workout. I guess it just isn't for me and if I were to ever exercise I would find different means to do so. Note, I said, if I ever were to exercise so I guess this guy is doing more than I am. Cheers to him for sticking with it.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Does anyone have a solution for me?

The thing is, I love playing video games, or rather games in general. However I can’t play FPS games as it makes me sick. My husband loves playing Half Life 2 and I would too except I feel nauseous after watching 2 minutes of it. I have no problems playing any other types of games and have no clue why I get sick off of FPS games. Any solutions would be greatly appreciated.

Friday, April 11, 2008

What is wrong with people?

One of my biggest pet peeves on my list (and trust me when I say my list is not long) is people who do not pick up after their dogs. I happened to be driving when I noticed a man walking his dog and his dog "getting into position" on someone's lawn. Noticing that he did not seem to have a bag with him I kept an eye on him in my rear view mirror. Sure enough, the dog did his business (and there was no mistaking what the dog was doing) while his owner pretended to be interested in the house he was standing in front of. The dog finished his business and off they went, like NOTHING happened! Come on people, do you lack respect for other people's property that you can't pick up after your dog? What goes on in these people's minds? Do they think dogs taking a dump is just part of nature and it'll blend in with the surroundings? Sure the owner may have forgotten to bring a bag but really, you're taking the dog for a walk, how much simpler can it be? Also when you decide to own a dog, there are responsibilities that come with it like PICKING UP AFTER YOUR DOG. If you can't handle this or are a slob yourself, don't own a dog. Yes I know, I am ranting but I am tired of going for walks and having to pay attention to where I walk. I want to be able to go for walks and think about other things besides dog shit. It is (almost) to the point where I want to stalk people that do not clean up after their dogs and take a dump on their lawn so they know how it feels. To all the other dog owners that picks up after their dogs, thank you.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Speaking of Youtube

One of my favorite Youtube videos that makes me smile everytime I view it is the one of otters holding hands. I don't know what it is about it that makes me smile or even why I like it so much but it is number 1 on my list of favorites. Do you have a favorite video that makes you smile? If so, what is it?

It's amazing what elephants can do

I happened to be on my friend Todd's facebook profile where he had linked to a Youtube video of an elephant painting a self portrait of himself. Curious, I watched the video and was blown away over the elephant's talents. I highly recommend watching the video.

Naturally when it comes to wild animals forced to exhibit unnatural skills, you wonder what methods were used to train the elephants. I decided to investigate further and was directed to that sells the elephants' paintings. Digging further it explained how these domesticated elephants were used for hauling lumber but due to cutbacks on logging in Thailand the elephants were no longer needed. Thus the elephants were trained using positive reinforcements (like bananas and sugarcane) and non-toxic paints to help protect them from people using them for illegal logging or begging on the streets. Proceeds from their creations are used to protect their natural habitat as well as for veterinarian care, food, and caretaker education. All paintings listed on the site were sold out so I was unable to see what the paintings sold for. However I am glad to read the elephants are not being abused and are protected.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

I'm seeing double

While birth defects are not new, I have to admit I have never seen a baby with 2 faces. Born a month ago in an Indian village, she is being hailed as the reincarnation of a Hindu goddess. This rare condition is known as craniofacial duplication where her eyes, nose and mouth are duplicated. Doctors have examined her and deemed her to be in healthy condition. A CT scan was suggested to ensure that her internal organs are fine but the father declined it, saying his "daughter is behaving as a normal child". She drinks out of both mouths and blinks all 4 eyes at the same time. Here's hoping she lives a healthy life.

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Enhancing the way you view your photos

I love technology and trying out new software, especially when it is 100% free. Hence, if you like viewing photos online, you should install to your computer. PicLens created by Cooliris Inc has revolutionized the way people view photos online and is compatible with a number of platforms: Safari, Firefox and IE(released back in February). PicLens organizes your photos on a 3D wall where you can effortlessly drag, zoom, and flip through your photos. PicLens also works with a number of sites such as Flickr, Facebook, Google Images, and Friendstar. Try it out for yourself, and I promise you won't look at another photo online the same again. Here is a screenshot of one of my photo albums in Facebook using PicLens.

Do you know of any software that is good to try out? If so let me know.

Monday, April 7, 2008

If you like gourmet pizzas do I have a place for you

If you live in Saskatoon or are visiting on a Wednesday, stop by Aroma Mediterranean Resto-Bar for half price gourmet pizzas and cheap pints if you haven’t already. I promise you won’t regret it.

I’m not as big of a pizza lover as my husband is but I like going here for their pizza every week. The pizzas are not only made with fresh ingredients on its thin pizza crust but you are also able to sit in front of the pizza making station and watch the pizzas go into their “wood stone fired” oven. I discovered this diamond when I attended an Occupational Health and Safety course approx. a year ago and the head chef also happened to be enrolled. Let me tell you, having gone through this course previously for a different employer, having him tell me about this deal was the best thing I learned. Since then my husband and I have been religiously eating here on Wednesdays, inviting friends whenever they can join us. Having eaten here shortly after they came out with this deal, the restaurant has increased immensely with diners to the point where you either have to go really early after work or later in the evening to get a seat. Pizzas like Da Em and Em, Big Island Drive By, Pollo Greco, and other great ones are just few of the items in their unique menu. Each week they also come out with a featured pizza that begs the question as to why they are not regulars on the menu.

The staff here is super friendly and helpful, from their servers to those that make the pizzas. After a hard days work, the ambience (and variety of music) is exactly what the doctor ordered. See you at Aromas!

Do you have a recommendation for a restaurant that you enjoy as I love trying new restaurants?

Sunday, April 6, 2008

Houston, we have sprouts!

Last Thursday I blogged about purchasing the AeroGarden Pro 200 and attempting to grow our own herbs. Well under 3 days later we have liftoff! Sprouts have been sighted for our Thyme: 5-10 days was the estimation for sprouts (albiet they are tiny signs), Chives (est. 5-10 days) and our Italian Basil (est. 3-7 days). We are well on our way. Wish us well and stay tuned for more updates.

Would you eat fish out of the Saskatchewan River (Saskatoon)

Recently I became involved in a debate regarding eating fish out of the Saskatchewan River after explaining how my parents used to take me fishing when I was younger in North Battleford, Sk. I have fond memories of fishing every so often with my parents and my mom cooking up the odd pickerel that we caught. Keep in mind that was approx. 20 years ago and times have changed, or more specifically the environment.

The debate focused on eating fish out of the Saskatchewan River in Saskatoon over concerns of the mercury level in fish. To be fair, mercury is found all around us, in the soil, air, plants and animals but the fact remains it has the highest concentration in fish. If mercury is found all around us, what is the big deal about eating fish that contain traces of mercury?

Before attempting to answer that question, an understanding of how fish are exposed to mercury in the first place needs to be addressed. Fish are subjected to mercury via the environment they swim in (naturally) but the majority is taken from the organisms they consume. Hence the older the fish are, the more mercury they may have in their system versus younger fish. Mercury levels in fish are reported in ‘ppm” (1 part in a million, mg/kg) while mercury in the water is measured in “ppb” (1 part in a billion, mg/kg). Methylmercury is the converted form of mercury that is absorbed by organisms. In addition, the higher up in the food chain the fish are, the higher the mercury level is in their flesh.

Where does that leave Saskatchewan? A provincial Contaminants-in Fish Committee has been analyzing Saskatchewan fish since 1969. They correlated the mercury levels of fish to their length. The Canadian Health and Welfare deemed .5 ppm as the acceptable tolerance level in fish. Fish with less than .5 ppm were considered acceptable to eat while those higher were definitely not acceptable for commercial sales. Then in 1984, Saskatchewan adopted the guideline that fish between .5 and 1 ppm could be eaten in limited amounts. In 1986, Saskatchewan adopted the following mercury ratings that corresponded with Manitoba and Ontario:

- 0 indicates fish contain less than .5 ppm
- 1 indicates fish contain .5 to 1 ppm
- 2 indicates fish contain 1 to 1.5 ppm
- 3 indicates fish contain more than 1.5 ppm

Thus the recommended guidelines for consumption are:

- 0 means the fish may be eaten in unlimited amounts
- 1 or 2 means that fish can be eaten in limited amounts
- 3 means that fish should not be eaten

What do these numbers mean? Well a 1 signifies that a fish should only be eaten for one meal every week and a 2 means that fish should only be eaten one meal every 2 weeks (emphais on eaten!). Keep in mind that there are benefits to eating fish such as the proteins, essential nutrients and low levels of saturated fats and presence of ‘healthy’ fatty acids they provide. Thus in 2004, Saskatchewan Environment concluded the level of mercury in Saskatchewan fish were as following:

Could the environment change that rapidly in 4 years? Of course it can but did it? Throughout my research of this topic (and keep in mind it was contained to the www), I found 0 up-to-date documents supporting the argument that eating fish out of the Saskatchewan River is harmful to your health. This is not to say that I do dispute the fact fish are contaminated with mercury but the level of mercury to the point where it is harmful is. If fish were REALLY that bad for you to eat out of the Saskatchewan River (in Saskatoon) don’t you think there would be more public awareness of it? What are your thoughts and if you have any factual documentation proving otherwise, let me know and I will be first to change my opinions and admit it.

PS. Since we are on the topic of fish I thought that I would throw in a picture of the 46lb sturgeon my parents graciously let me reel in off the shore in North Battleford (and boy was it a fight). Thanks mom and dad :-)

Friday, April 4, 2008

I made a point to watch a talk show

Normally I do not watch talk shows. I am not the type to watch talk shows. However I made an exception when I saw an upcoming episode advertised twice the morning of April 1. Being that it was April 1 and I only saw the commercial twice, I was skeptical that it was an April Fool's joke and I wasn't alone.

It wasn’t. The talk show: Oprah. The topic: an interview with the first pregnant man. That’s right, you read it correctly the first pregnant man. Intrigued I set out to watch the show that was set to air a few days later.

Meet Thomas, a happily married 34-year-old man who is 6 months pregnant. As you might have guessed, Thomas was once a woman, Tracy who at one time was named a finalist in the Miss Hawaii Teen USA pageant. Hearing his story was intriguing as he went through life feeling like she was a tomboy at a very young age and thinking something did not feel right. She stopped dating men and tried out her first lesbian relationship. Learning more about transgender, Tracy approached her then girlfriend about the idea who did not support it, which ultimately ended the relationship. Finally in her 20s Tracy started the physical transformation taking testosterone and testosterone injections that lowered her voice and grew facial hair. Thomas also explained how he had his breasts surgically removed and how the doctors pulled the skin to resemble a man’s chest. Tracy soon became Thomas but elected to keep her reproductive organs, as he knew he always wanted to have children. Oprah then asked the question that was on everyone’s minds with respect to the unmentionable regions. Thomas replied that the hormone treatments did alter her clitoris so that it grew into the size of a small penis to the point where he is able to have intercourse. During the show as he was explaining this he did make the joke that size is not supposed to matter.

Once his transformation was complete, Thomas was legally considered a man in the state of Oregon. Soon after, he and Nancy, who was completely aware of the situation, said I do. The decision to start a family came shortly after and they looked into their options. As Nancy was unable to bear children they looked into having Thomas artificially inseminated. A year ago, Thomas was successfully pregnant but complications arose as the embryos starting growing in his fallopian tube instead of his uterus. As his life was in danger, an operation was preformed to remove the embryos that resulted in losing his fallopian tube as well. They tried again and were successful last October.

Throughout his story it was interesting to learn about his views and how at one point, he would do anything to protect his family. Now he is not so eager to enter into confrontations for fear of harming his baby. You start to feel sorry for him when he describes his clothes and how there are no man-ternity clothes (keep in mind that at no point in the show does he complain or ask for anyone’s pity about anything, even over the situation of finding a doctor that will monitor his progress). I am sure that going on the Oprah show and doing a story in People Magazine will result in designers who will jump at the chance to design clothes for him, if they do not fear their reputation will be jeopardized.

What do I think about all this? Well it is definitely an unusual case; however Thomas was once a woman so it is not that far of a stretch. The advancements in technology and science over the years make anything possible. I am not religious nor am I in a position to judge others and I think people have the right to do whatever they want as long as it does not harm others around them. To put it in perspective, I would rather a child be born to loving parents versus parents who are unfit and unable to care for a (unwanted) child even if the method is unconventional. Thomas and his wife comes off as a normal family expecting a healthy and normal child, the only difference is Thomas is the one giving birth. What are your thoughts?

Thursday, April 3, 2008

AeroGarden Pro 200

So my husband and I love food - we love cooking it and we love eating it. You might say that is how we first met, over food. When it comes to cooking, we know how important it is to use fresh herbs. Fresh herbs are what makes a meal. Sure you could use herbs like Litehouse freeze-dried herbs or even Toppits frozen herbs (which is the closest thing to fresh herbs and very convenient if you are in a rush) but nothing beats the real thing. However the problem with fresh herbs are it can be pricey and doesn't last long. That is why when we saw the AeroGarden Pro 200 on an outing at Home Outfitters in Saskatoon we knew we had to get it. The only problem was they were sold out.

The more we thought about it, the more we had to get it. Imagine fresh herbs at your fingertips for up to 4 months or more no matter what season it is! The AeroGarden guarantees anyone can grow herbs without having a green thumb and provides a 36 day trial or your money back. What's more, it requires no dirt and relies on full-spectrum compact fluorescent bulbs (that uses less energy than a 60 watt light bulb) for healthy plant growth. That's right, you heard correctly NO dirt! The system is apparently so easy it tells you when it requires more water and nutrients and has a built-in timer to provide the right amount of lighting depending on what you are growing - twice as fast as growing it in dirt.

So out comes the laptop searching for a supplier (as everyone knows you can find anything on the web) and I ended up going with Why? No reason really as the price was basically the same across the board wherever you looked. So I eagerly ordered the AeroGarden Pro 200 on March 16, 2008 from a United States company. Within a few days I got a reply mentioning the shipping charge that was not mentioned on the site (why have a link to estimate shipping costs when it produced an error message?). Okay, one small set back but a small price to pay so I irritably agreed to it and the next day it was shipped from Arizona. I waited for it to arrive like I was 2 years old again and it was Christmas Eve.

It finally arrived 9 business days later, falling within the 6-10 business days advertised and I opened it with excitment. The box was 13x14x20 and weighed approx. 14 lbs.

The time came to put it together. I cannot tell you how simple it was to do so even without the "Quick Start Guide". As promised it came with the following items:
  • Lamphood, lamp arm, base, bowl, bulbs
  • Gourmet Herb kit consisting of: pre-seeded bio-domes of mint, italian basil, dill, thyme, parsley, purple basil and chives, nutrients and dome covers

  • Master Gardener 4 Season kit with everything you need to grow whatever your heart desires (as long as it doesn't grow too tall)
  • Instructions and pamphlets on how to care for your herbs and AeroGarden

So it is day 1 of having it fully set up and I cannot tell you how many times I have gone over to check on the herbs. It's like watching paint dry but slightly more fun. The first herb promises to sprout on day 3 and harvesting occurs in 3 weeks. I can't wait. Stay tuned for updates.

So I bought some boots...

...and can't get over how much I love them. In the past I've tried on dozens of boots but none seem to fit my scrawny calves. However that all changed!

Approximately 3 weeks ago, my husband and I were running some errands and stopped in at Redline Harley Davidson in Saskatoon for reasons that require a different post. Anyways there was a pair of boots that caught our eyes and I usually don't fall in love with footwear without trying them on. Keep in mind that I am also not the typical female that has footwear as her #1 priority. Don't get me wrong, I love footwear but have tons of other things I would like to save up for. In the end I walked out of the store without trying them on.

A couple days later, after some convincing from my husband we went back. The store had rearranged their display to make room for more inventory and I thought I lost my boots. The salesperson was very helpful, recalling past sales and even checking their main website for styles that were not displayed. After studying the boots on display, we found them not recognizing them initially as they were displayed differently. The salesperson asked for my size explaining these boots fit a size smaller than regular shoe size. I was in luck as the boots I was looking at was a size 6. I tried them on and they literally fit like a glove. Then came the debate as the boots also came in brown and suede but were half a size bigger. I finally made a decision on the black leather boots as I am a girl who loves the color black. The price was surprisingly reasonable considering they were Harley Davidson boots and I've seen nice shoes around the same price if not more. Not only that but the boots came with a 1 year warranty. What was even better they recorded my information in their system incase I lost my receipt and yes I realize I may get the odd flyer sent to my house but if it is one less receipt that I have to keep for a year the happier I am. Overall I am appreciative of my husband for purchasing these boots for me as I can't seem to take them off. Wonder what we'll get next.

Service at Redline Harley Davidson: knowledgeable, helpful, friendly
Rating: good

Style: Women's Afton 5-strap Boots

Warranty: 1 year

Boot size: 6

Material: Genuine leather