Sunday, September 30, 2012

inviting walkways

"I will explore this path while I wait for him to arrive," she said as the sun warmed her face and brought a warmth and peacefulness to her spirit. She didn't know this place was here and was happy to find it.


The yellow glow of the outside light created such a stunning and welcoming entrance way, she observed as she waited for him to lock his car, catch her hand in his, and offer a sweet kiss in the night's full moon light before going inside.


The climb down took them to a beautiful earthy forest which was cleared and made into the most lovely of places for a future picnic. "Walk the bridge with me, my darling, and lets see where life takes us." The thought lingered in her brain but was never verbalized.


Jules :O)

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Sunshine

I went to the Bowden Sun Maze on the weekend. Most of the flowers were no longer in bloom, they had happily transitioned from flower to sunflower seeds. I thought it looked really cool how the tiny yellow flowers become the soft seeds. They were pickable, but softer than they should have been. This pic shows the seeds just forming. Someone (not me) had created the heart. Adorable. 


There were still some in bloom, and the ones that were all housed at least one bee. I tell you, you wouldn't want to go there if you were allergic to them, for sure. They were just minding their own business, though. I was able to macro a few of them and they didn't mind.


Here's one I feel like posting just for the cool texture. I think it's amazing how they start off so compact and tiny, then just open into hundreds of stars. Happy.


Well, that ought to have been much more uplifting than the last post which I wrote but decided to delete.. hey?

Jules :O)

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Red Lentil Veggie Soup

I made another soup. This time no meat, no rice, just soup.

Following the same sort of procedure as last time, I just cut up veggies, put them on the stove top with enough water to cover and then another 2 cups more, let it all simmer together and then blended it in the pot with the emulsion blender (but it was a bit messy). It was yummy. Here's what I used, but don't ask me for measurements, as I just sort of threw stuff in without measuring. Use your judgement if you're going to make it. I'll estimate. This made a fair amount, about 4 servings.

Here it is while cooking.

Here it is blended, just so you can see the color and texture.

2 cups baby carrots (chopped)
1.5 cups green cabbage (chopped)
1 medium sweet potato/yam (orange flesh, cubed)
1.5 cups red lentils (approx)
2 tbsp cayenne pepper (adjust for desired spiciness)
salt and pepper to taste
3 cloves of garlic (crushed)

Simmer on stove until everything is mostly tender and then blend it, if it seems a bit too thick, add a splash of water, but then taste for spices and readjust. Yum! It is absolutely healthy and filling! High nutrient value, no preservatives, very low sodium (depending on how much salt you add), and packed full of vitamins. I suggest serving it with a few chopped up leeks just tenderly sitting on the surface, or if you don't have those, just use green onion.

Jules :O)

Friday, September 21, 2012

Hospital.. another round, please?

I'll be having a full thyroidectomy on October 11th. Pray for me and wish me good luck, not only with the surgery, but the findings that will happen once they can finally biopsy the thyroid properly. I'd rather it just come back as all benign, if it's no bother to anyone else, please and thank you. That'd be awesome.

It's been getting larger and larger for some time now, for about 5 years (you can see it in my photos if you look closely). It's creating a situation that's making it increasingly difficult to swallow and talk. So, thankfully, I am having the surgery soon. I think you all knew this was coming anyway, so this isn't really news.

But your support and positive thoughts, etc. are not taken for granted and are much appreciated!

Thanks!
Jules :Oj

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Sunshine Chicken Stew

I was inspired by a Doctor Oz show which focused on the topic of healthy eating. Actually, it focused on Dr. Fuhrman's concept of being a Nutritarian (which basically means striving to eat wholesome foods that are high in micronutrients). It's not rocket science, but it is considered new science. Have a look (linked above). He claims to be able to reverse disease with food and eliminate the need for medications. That's got to be a great thing (even though prescription pushes and pharmaceutical companies would probably disagree).  Anyway, because it inspired me, I ended up making this totally delicious stew for supper, which I'm calling Sunshine Chicken Stew due to the warmth and color of it. I had no recipe to follow at all, I just went into my fridge, pulled out some things that I thought should taste good together and started to cook. It's not in any way based on Dr. Furman's theories, it's just what I felt like making.

If you follow this recipe, you will not be disappointed. It was really hearty, warming and satisfying. Not to mention healthy. It only takes about 30 - 40 minutes to make from start to finish on a regular stove top (and really, the hardest part is dicing vegetables which can be done ahead of time). This recipe made 3 supper sized servings (just increase the amounts if you need more food). Try making it for your supper tonight!

Ingredients:
3 Large Carrots (peeled and chopped small)
1 Med/Small Zucchini (somewhat peeled, diced)
1/2 Large Red Bell Pepper (diced)
1/2 Large Orange Bell Pepper (diced)
1/2 Small Yellow Onion (diced)
1 Medium Sweet Potato or Yam (orange flesh)
2 Cloves Garlic (freshly pureed)
6 Chicken Thighs (boneless/skinless)
2 Cups Brown Rice (cooked)
Salt and Pepper (to your liking)
3 Cups Water

Method:
Pre-cook brown rice and set aside (hint: I used 'Minute Rice Fully Cooked Whole Grain Brown Rice' because I like it's texture). Brown rice is infinitely better for you than white rice. Don't argue. Just do it.

Dice all vegetables so they are of similar size (make carrots smaller as they take longer to cook) and throw them into a pot with the water. You want enough water to cover the vegetables plus a little bit extra (3 cups did the trick for me). Add in the garlic and salt and pepper. Cover and allow this to boil until most of the veggies are tender.

While the veggies are cooking, in a separate pot, simply salt and pepper the chicken thighs, and slowly boil in water until cooked. When cooked, dice them up into small bite sized pieces and set aside (discard the broth if you want to be healthy, you don't need it for flavor anyway).

Once the veggies are cooked, don't drain the water. I used an emulsion blender and just blended all the veggies/water together in the pot I boiled it in (you might be able to use a traditional blender, I'm not sure). It makes a thick soupy broth. Add in the pieces of chicken and stir in the warm rice. That's it, it's ready to serve!


I added a buttered piece of ancient grain bread to sop up the yummy goodness in the bowl when I was done with my spoon.

Who'd have thought I could pull something so good off without having a recipe?!

Jules :Oyumm)

Sunday, September 16, 2012

little moments aren't always little...

They wake up and enjoy a morning of leisure and coffee in bed. As they're planning their day together, she says "Oh, hey, by the way, what's in that nightstand bottom door?" On her side of the hotel room it's just a pile of magazines, but she hid a small thoughtful gift on his side before he'd arrived the night before and was waiting for an opportunity to let him know it was there. 

"Oh! There's a package in here... it says to pamper myself..." as he reaches for it and pulls it out. It's wrapped plainly in brown paper and strung with a twine bow. "I'm going to have to rip the paper, Sweetie," he says with regret as he tries to open it. 

Soon thereafter, the paper's gone, and the contents are now in plain view.  They giggle a little bit at what's laid out before them. It's two cans of shaving cream and some eco-friendly razors. "Are you trying to tell me I need to shave more?" he jokes. She says "Nooo.. remember that time you told me you love this shaving cream and that you hardly ever buy it because it seems like a 'pamper yourself' type of item?  Well, now you can pamper yourself!" she says offering a kiss on his cheek. 

He thanks her sweetly and they snuggle for a bit before they decide to get up and get ready for their day. He goes to put his little gift in his suitcase to take back home with him, pauses, looks at her and says, "Why don't you take one of these home with you, then I won't need to bring it up with me when I come there, it'll already be there." 

She almost passes out from the influx of butterflies in her stomach. She thinks.. 'Did he really just suggest leaving something that belongs to him at my house?'  She lets out a wide smile and squeals, "You have no idea how happy that just made me.. you want to leave something at my house!" and scootches over to him for a long embrace. 

Who'd have thought a little can of shaving cream would be such an impactful item? First a can of shaving cream.. then a tube of toothpaste, some socks, underwear, a few shirts, pants, etc? Eventually himself? **sigh**  
She thinks to herself, "Well, a woman can dream, can't she?"

Jules :Oweee)

Saturday, September 15, 2012

lime green

You don't just have to look up to see the stars. They are on the ground you walk all over too. Isn't this moss beautiful? I love how it's so vibrantly lime green in the center with each tiny leaf ending in a crimson color. And the white things make them each look like little shooting stars. 


Here's another shot of brilliant lime green fungus that is completely covering some branches of a thickly forested evergreen tree, as the sunlight filtered down and illuminated it's branches. This was taken by Dolly Varden in Kootenay National Park one magical afternoon last spring.


Jules :O)

Friday, September 14, 2012

tender moment

I made a point of telling Thanan how proud of him I was about a certain something yesterday.

"Mommy's so very proud of you, Little Man!" I said as I kissed his right temple. We were cuddling and that was the part of his face that was most reachable.

As I kissed him, I felt his eyes smile. I pulled my face away from his after that brief moment, just in time to see his beautiful gentle smiling face. Then he said to me "Mom, I really love it when you kiss me, it makes me smile."

That was one of the nicest cuddle times before bed that we've ever shared, just because of a little compliment and kiss.

Don't forget to share the love to those in your world. You never know what will come back to you.

Jules :O)

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Safta's Kitchen

Well, as you know, Thor and I partake in the wonders of Radium Hot Springs quite often. Last time we went there, we ate at a darling little restaurant that's fairly new on the scene. It is owned and operated by married couple KD and Roi, and it is definitely worth a visit to taste their food. 

Safta, in Hebrew, means "Grandma". The restaurant is aptly named because KD and Roi got their start making falafel after learning the recipe from Roi's Grandmother back in Isreal. Once they perfected the art of making falafel, they opened up a stand and made a start selling just those. They quickly expanded their menu to include such favorites as Israeli couscous, hummus, shwarma and a bunch more. There are a few sweets to choose from and they have a bit of a kid's menu, as well. 

We ate there twice that weekend. Once for supper and the next day for lunch. I had a very tasty chicken shwarma, and we shared hummus and ganoush with pita, and couscous on the first day and the second day we both indulged in the flalafel. Let me just say YUM! 

Stand here to observe the menu. 


Stand here to observe their cute little bulletin board with personal photos of their travels and wedding, etc., while selecting your toppings and talking with the uber friendly duo.


Watch the wonderful couple stand there behind the counter while they make and serve your food with the smiliest of smiles. These people love what they are doing, and you can tell.


Here's some stats. On UrbanSpoon, 100 of the people who have eaten there liked it. The reviews on Yelp gave it 5 stars. Trip Advisor has it ranked #2 out of 21 restaurants in the area and gives it 100% excellent on all categories. What more can you ask for? People are calling it delicious, authentic Middle Eastern cuisine, and I totally agree.

So the bottom line is that if you are in Radium during the tourist season, stop into their lovely little restaurant and enjoy some of the yummiest recipes from Safta's Kitchen! My mouth's watering just thinking about it!

Jules :Oyummm)

Watch your advertisements

Well, I don't know about you, but any place that has signs like this beckoning people to follow them seems like a good place to go! I was totally intrigued by them as I passed them on the way out to a beach day one day this summer (don't worry, I pulled off the road to take the photos). But yeah, check this out: 



Awesome signs, right? They did leave me curious, so I kept watching for more. I thought it was going to be a wedding announcement or directions to a reception. That would have been fun and fitting. It's a pity that the last sign was one for a religious camp of some kind. I'm not saying that because I don't like religion, that's not the case at all. I'm saying it's a pity because in essence, these people were advertising that their religion was a blissful fairy tale.

Oops.

Jules :Oj

Monday, September 10, 2012

a seriously random story from my brain

I just thought of this the other day while I was driving back to the city.

So imagine you are a cow. No, imagine you are a calf.

One day you are frolicking along, flicking flies from your back, and watching drops of snot collect on your nose with each heavy breath you take. It's a game you like to play. Your highest count is 7 at any given time. You decide that you're starving. You spot a patch of nice long green grass growing as high as the middle string of barbed wire and you think to yourself "mooo," because you're a calf. But translated that means "Holy man, that patch of grass looks amazing. I've got to get me some of that!"

So you run full out over to it and happily start munching. You're totally in disbelief that something so delicious exists and that you were lucky enough to claim it among all the hundreds of look-a-likes you live with.

Suddenly, your mom cow calls you on over to her and you think "mooo," because you're a calf. But translated that means "You know what? Some milk would go dandy with this grass in my bellies" and you leave the perfect patch of Heavenly undisturbed grass. But before you leave, you memorize where it's at, so you can come back to it in a few hours for another snack. It's in line with the tree that only has 4 branches on it and 7 leaves, and by your count, it's 142 fence posts over from the corner of the square you live in. Right. Got it.

You go, drink some milk, have a pee, decide to splash around in the pond for a while.. just enjoy in the general activities of a cow's day. Before you know it, the guy who rides the horse and has that yappy dog comes along and herds you into the giant wooded building for the night. You're bummed. They always let the big huge cows stay out at night, but for some reason you always have to go inside to sleep. The next day you are on your way back to your little patch of green Heaven. You're about 20 feet away. A weird looking smile dances upon your lips which bounce around as you gallop towards it, and a string of drool falls from your chin stretching nearly to the ground before it breaks off and disappears. Just as you feast your eyes on your delicious grass, you look up and see your second cousin's uncle bull lifting his tail and depositing a nice giant cow patty right on your patch of grass. You think "moooooo!" because you're a calf. But translated you  mean "Oh the heck! There goes my patch of Heaven!"

This, my friends, is the definition of "reality check".

No matter how much you love the idea of something, it doesn't always mean it's not going to get shit on from time to time.

Jules :Omoo.


Sunday, September 09, 2012

The Badlands of Alberta

Recently I took a trip to Drumheller with my family. It was 8 of us, 2 vehicles, a large agenda, and lots of smiles, singing, laughs and stories along the way. We left home at 9:30am and we didn't return until 9:30pm. A solid day of romping around the grounds where the dinos once roamed and now stand bare boned and glorious, of exploring the marvelously striped earth, and free standing legendary HooDoo's. We took some time to splash around in the splash park downtown Drumheller, and went across the Red Deer River via the Bleriot Ferry on the way home. It was lots of fun. I think were I to do it again, I'd want to do it with Thanan and Thor, but on a weekend where I'm not working, because I couldn't fully explore the HooDoo's with my foster guy with me.


These guys were in the Royal Tyrrell Museum. It's a fantastic museum, and I recommend going to see it if you're in Alberta and fancy a trip to the Badlands.


The HooDoo's are 16 kms from the town of Drumheller, so just a quick little drive. It doesn't take long to see these giant ones that are thousands of years old, but you can go walking on the paths throughout the cool foothills and come across more, I am told. These ones easily stand about 6 meters tall. They're really quite interesting and unique. I found out that:

"The name "Hoodoo" comes from the word "voodoo" and was given to these geological formations by the Europeans. In the Blackfoot and Cree traditions, however, the Hoodoos are believed to be petrified giants who come alive at night to hurl rocks at intruders" at this site where you can also check out a self guided tour to go on.


The only thing we didn't do that I really am interested in going back to do was take in the tour of the Atlas Coal Mine, which is a national historic site and the last of 139 coal mines that once were in operation. 

Along the way home, the sky completely lit up as the sun set. It was totally mesmerizing. I snapped these as my sis held the wheel on the way home. Oops. But not bad for a couple of "out the window" shots, hey? 



Jules :O)

Friday, September 07, 2012

the ER

Do you ever wonder who would be by your side and at your service ready to help when you are faced with an emergency situation?

So tonight I had one to deal with. My son was in a crisis and needed medical attention. My foster guy went out for 3 hours from 6 - 9 and if I didn't have time to deal with Thanan's crisis before he was due to come home, what would I do? He's autistic, I can't just call on anyone in particular. It had to be someone who knew him and his medical needs.

I took Thanan to the walk in clinic where the doctor said that his abdominal pain might just be severe constipation, but that he wouldn't prescribe anything to flush his system until he'd had an xray to reveal whether or not he had a blockage in his intestines or not first, and that had to be done at the ER. Now, anyone in Canada knows that the walk-in's are a quick place to get help, but normally the emergency rooms are anywhere from 3 - 5 hours wait time. So that meant that I wouldn't be home in time to receive my foster guy.

Called his mom, she wasn't reachable. My mom wasn't in town. My sister had her own kids to deal with. Thor doesn't live here. Thanan's real dad wasn't getting back to me. All immediate family were unavailable and friends couldn't really help. Finally as a last ditch effort, I called the regular respite family that I use and she came to my rescue. She just dropped anything she might have had going on and said "Don't worry about it, I've got your back, I'll be right over to get his supplies and then his evening worker can just drop him right off at my house so you can go to the ER and not worry."

How many times in life do you meet someone and have the honor of knowing them on a level where they'd just drop anything and help you out? Not often. Now that's a person with strong character and values, right there. Sure, I will need to pay for her to care for my foster guy tonight, but that's a small price to pay to have peace of mind that I could take my son to the hospital and have my foster guy looked after as well.

Being a single mom is really really really difficult in this type of a situation. I do not want to be a single mom anymore. I need the help and reassurance that comes from having a spouse... I need that back up person to always be around and know for sure they've got my back. I need someone to come home to and cry on their shoulder when I'm falling apart after the adrenalin high has worn off and I'm crashing from all the stress. Maybe I shouldn't be writing these thoughts down for everyone to see. But this is my blog, it's my thought process, and I need to get it out. I don't just want someone. I want Thor. These types of nights make me wonder how much longer I am going to have to endure being alone.

Anyway, it has all worked out this time. Thanan is ok, he's been able to have several bowel movements and isn't screaming in pain anymore. They hooked me up with a Pediatrician for follow up care and gave me this bowel flushing drink I'm supposed to administer to him starting tomorrow.  I don't know if I will be so lucky next time, should I have another emergency. The agency I contract out to has an emergency on call number, I guess I could access them if it was really dire, but that's intended for use for the foster guy's emergency situations, not my own family's.

It. Was. A. Stressful. Night.

The End.
J :O(

Wednesday, September 05, 2012

random snaps

This time when I was on my journey southward, I took the Crowsnest Pass route and crossed the border just above Eureka, MT. It was really a bit of a stressful drive, there was tons of traffic and people were driving like assholes. I wanted to just take my time and enjoy the scenery, as there was one road that joined Hwy 2 with the Crowsnest that I hadn't ever driven on. I love driving on roads that I haven't been on yet. So I took this photo just after joining up with the Crowsnest. I pulled off the road to take a pic of a wind generator, but was captivated by the sun's rays poking through the clouds too. It made for a better shot than the generator one. 


At Flathead Lake, you always see some sort of movement on the water.. people, I mean, unless it's int he dead of night. This was the first time I saw a kite boarder (I think that's what this is called). Thor brought it to my attention while we were busy digging a trench to run electrical from one boat house to another. I only paused briefly to get a photo. It looked like he was having fun, though I only saw him lift off the water once, and was too slow to get it on pixel. Get it on "pixel"... where'd the days of film go?


I have been looking around for a doorknob and plate for my back yard getaway project. Thor said I can have one just like this one, basically. This one was still necessary, but the one I'm inheriting from him is in need of a change. So when he gets that switched out, I'll happily add the one like this to my garden! :)


After the electricity was wired into the boathouse, I got to explore what was inside. There was literally decades of wonderful things hung about here and there all attached to significant memories and past goings on. It was almost like being in a museum, though there were current things stored in there as well. I don't know when this sticker had been applied to the boathouse door, nor who put it there, but I totally loved looking up at it, seeing it's edges curled as time has aged it, and took great pleasure in noticing how it stood out against the other bright colors around it. I love how the branches of the willow tree sweep down towards it, trying to kiss and caress it.. or perhaps just embrace and dance in the wind together, but coming up just short.


Jules :O)