Thursday, January 31, 2013

TV is Not a Dirty Word

Like many people, I have a conflicted relationship with television. I have a fond memory of my dad climbing on the roof to adjust the antenna when I, waiting for The Friendly Giant to come into view, spotted a bear in the orchard. And I recall being quite excited for Sunday night's Disney hour-long specials such as the memorable Flight of the Navigator. I loved MASH and Monty Python for periods of my teen years and then I went without TV for many years, pretty much the entire run of Seinfeld and the first six years of Survivor. I was busy living large with few possessions and even less income; TV was the last thing on my mind.

It wasn't until I settled in my current city with my now-husband that we got our first TV off craigslist. My parents gave us their old VHS player and we'd rent video tapes from the library. (And yes, I realize just how very out of date that sounds now, eight years later, but imagine how peculiar it will sound to our kids in another eight!)

With those new-to-us technological advances I watched the entire series of Blackadder. It wasn't the first time I'd seen the show but I fell completely in love with the series and still give it top three ranking today. It was around this time that the current TV comeback was picking up momentum thanks to shows like The Wire and Six Feet Under. These programs were proving that shows could be better than movies, offering more in terms of character development and plot lines.

Here is a list of the shows I've watched in the past decade that I enjoyed, loosely organized chronologically.

  • Deadwood
  • Carnivale
  • Life
  • Californication
  • Mad Men
  • Breaking Bad
  • Game of Thrones
  • Sherlock
  • Boardwalk Empire
  • Downton Abbey
  • Wallander
  • The Hour
  • Parade's End
  • Black Mirror

You can see I've been on a BBC kick the last while (Thanks Dad).

Oh, and just for the sake of it: my top three TV shows of all time are Wallander, The Wire, and Blackadder.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

This Week's Book

That's Not a Daffodil by Elizabeth Honey

We have read dozens and dozens of books in the past few months but truly, none have made me smile the way this book does. And so it deserves recommendation, a mighty acorn of approval, if you will.

This sweet book is about a preschool aged boy and his neighbour, a grown-up gardener.

The weeks, months, and seasons are marked by visits from neighbourly Mr. Yilmaz, who brings homegrown produce to Tom's family with each visit. First apples and an unlikely looking daffodil bulb, and at other times carrots, a pumpkin, and lemons. The passing of time is also marked by visiting grandchildren, a weekend at Grandma's and Mr. Yilmaz's absence when he's away in Turkey.

There is a peacefulness about this book. It contains just the right details; the reader is left needing no more than we are given but savouring every encounter.

With the daffodil's growth a trust and friendship also grow between Tom and his neighbour. Mr. Yilmaz's gift turns a skeptical, expectant boy into a clever-metaphor weaving believer. Mr. Yilmaz sits back and lets the magic unfold for Tom, giving the boy an even better gift than a flower: the experience of  discovering something first-hand.

I hope Mr. Yilmaz moves to my block soon!

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Excuses, Excuses

I've got a few excuses for not blogging lately. Whether or not they are good excuses I'll leave up to you.

First of all, my longtime friend, sometimes client, and newly certified massage therapist, Dana Smith, has begun publishing her own blog, The Anatomy of Touch, in which she explores the quirky workings of the human body and the benefits of massage and various other roads to wellness. Her website is also hot off the press and these two projects display not only my newly acquired html code-writing skills as well as my editorial consulting skills (much to the detriment of my own blog).

Then it was Christmas - merry and bright and full of family, toys, treats, a little snow, and a week of night terrors. (As soon as I learned to handle them, in other words, to not handle my boy as he was going through it, but to simply standby, they disappeared). And then we all got sick (see previous post for the play by play on that one). So here I am to report, in photographic detail, on these events.

There's not much left of our snowman now but a few arms, buttons, and hair (sticks, rocks, and ivy).

The carousel at the Vancouver Christmas Market was a big hit as were the waffles on a stick.

Bennett's first fishy encounter.

Our annual visit to the aquarium.

Playing with his cousin's new Christmas present.

Grandpa is the best stroller driver: he aims for the icebergs!

An icy day for a bike ride on the Richmond dyke.

Hot baths aplenty.

Midweek in January, Granville Island is essentially a ghost town with buskers.

Third attempt at ice skating and he's only holding one hand!

A rainy day hike in Lynn Valley after which we all came down with terrible colds. 

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Season of The Soup

We've all been there. My family of four has had the displeasure (and discomfort) of having just been there last week. We've been in the land of the sick. Congested, coughing, and sneezing with only soup, lemon n honey's, trucks and trains, and BBC's "Parade's End" to get us through it.

My soup season began with an old standby, Green Soup:

Next I made this pureed cauliflower soup from Vegan in the Freezer. Next time I'll try a version where the cauliflower and garlic are roasted for more flavour.

Most recently, I made a version of slow cooker "nutrient dense" chicken soup based on this recipe from Paleo Infused Nutrition but with more veg and noodles:

And though, according to The NY Times, the data is inconclusive on whether or not one should take in more fluids when suffering from a cold, we've decimated the tea cupboard and burned through honey, lemons, and ginger. 

The aforementioned trucks and trains (most of which were new additions at Christmas) have been a source of entertainment for our boys during these days of runny noses and ugly weather. The back edge of our sectional sofa has never seen so much traffic and the coffee table has been transformed into a bustling train station whose hours of operation perfectly coincide with the boys' bedtime. 

Today, we are officially over the worst of it and I have the best intentions for tomorrow. We will be out of pajamas by 8:30am and I plan to venture out into public after my husband heads back to work. The only downside of our recovery is that along with our tea supply we've also plowed through all five remarkable episodes of the BBC's "Parade's End". A return to regular life would seem dreary after our evenings spent in Ford Maddox Ford's parade if we weren't so thankful to have our nasal passages back in working order.