Wednesday, March 25, 2009


My love of lists means that when something like the "Top 100 Baby names in Canada" comes out, I must take a look at it. It isn't a very well edited list (Cole is both number 52 AND 53 on the list of boys names), but here are a few things that struck me about it.

Number 35 was "Noemie" and Number 43 was "Oceane". These two names that I have never heard were way ahead of number 70- Ashley (and all the various spellings of it). Also beating Ashley were Florence (#28), Maelie (#57), and Charlie (#60). Who knew? Also, I had no idea that Emy (#44) was a name.

I know of people who in the last 5 years have used 6 of the top 10 names. Felix is number 32. This must be a popular francophone name, because I've not really heard it used much. Number 61 is "Loic". I'm not even sure how to pronounce that one. Numbers 67 and 68 are "Victor" and "Hugo" (how geeky am I that that amuses me?)

One of the only names that appears on both lists is Jordan- #74 for girls (although there are many spellings) and #96 for boys. On the boys side, the top ten seem to be "classics"- names that have been around for a long time (most of them biblical). The top ten girls names are a little more varied, although it seems that for them, old is new as well (with the biggest exception being Madison)

So there you have it. A post about my strange fascination with lists. I still kind of wonder if the numbers for Victor and Hugo got fudged a little so that they would be back to back like that.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

apparently i have a bit of a theme going...

With needing to post pictures. Clearly the bacon shirt is a little more cheerful than this one.

Anyway, the cover of the Metro Ottawa paper today broke my heart (link ). I couldn't stop staring Ms. Lane and I welled up a bit. Her grief is just so obvious and I never want to know what that feels like. (For those who don't want to click the link, she is at the "casket arrival" ceremony. Her husband was killed in Afghanistan)
During a week where there has been much talk about the people at Fox making fun of the Canadian military, I think that this picture shows that yes, Canadians are making some pretty serious sacrifices in Afghanistan. Whether you agree with it or you don't, there are Canadian families across the country that are living without their loved ones- both temporarily and permanently.

For the record Fox, as Canadians, we're not used to thinking about our military as being part of combat missions and "fighting". (at least my generation of Canadians isn't anyway) So this is kind of weird for us. It really will take awhile for us (both the military and just the plain old citizens of Canada) to recover from this.

And on a happier note, (and I considered waiting for this one, as not to make light of the previous picture, but decided to put this in anyway) someone in New York also loves bacon:

Saturday, March 21, 2009

ah bacon

If I ever go vegetarian, this will be the shirt for me. I could probably go without chicken, I'd miss a burger but I could do it, but bacon? Life without bacon would just feel a little less happy.

Friday, March 20, 2009

the very hungry caterpillar

This is what I was greeted with when I opened my browser today.
The very hungry caterpillar was always one of my favourite books to look at as a kid- even when I was well beyond the age of reading "picture books", I just always loved to look at the pictures (of almost all of Eric Carle's books actually). I guess some people at Google feel the same way. They made me smile this morning. I hope it gives you a smile too.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

dude. not cool.

As many of you may have already read/heard, the Pope is visiting Africa and says that condoms are NOT the answer to the HIV/AIDS crisis that is decimating the continent. (Seriously decimating- it is estimated that 22 million people in sub-Saharan Africa are infected with the disease. That is the majority of the population of Canada)

Now, I am someone who sometimes likes to make random suggestions and talk out of my ass about things that I don't really know a lot about. I don't always do this, but sometimes I do. So take this with a grain of salt...but I really don't understand why a chaste man should be making such statements about something which he knows so little about. Ok, so he's preaching abstinence, which clearly he knows a thing or two about, but if George Bush and Sarah Palin have taught us anything, it is that people are going to have sex. Especially when people tell them not to.

While I don't think that condoms are the (or the only) answer to the crisis, I really don't understand why it would be a good idea to speak out against something that offers at least some protection.

And I just find the guy to be really creepy: eek!

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

copyediting: a lost art?

I was foiled by two different headlines this week.

The first was about the Montreal Canadiens. The headline read: Canadiens can coach Carbonneau.
I read it and thought to myself "I don't get can a team coach a coach?" Then I read the story and found out that the team fired the coach. As in he got canned. And then I felt dumb.

The second was on the BBC health site and read: Migraines increase pregnancy risk. Well this I had to read. Migraines make you more fertile? What? Then I read it and found out that if you suffer from migraines, you are more likely to have a stroke during pregnancy. (and if you are a migraine sufferer and don't feel like reading the story, don't worry, the risk of stroke during pregnancy even with migraines is really quite low)

So my question is: am I just dumb or were those headlines poorly written? I'd like to think they were poorly written, but I fear that maybe I'm just having a bit of a slow brain week. Maybe I have a migraine coming on?

Tuesday, March 10, 2009


Since the cool kids are posting recipes, I thought I'd share my quasi recipe for the yummy quinoa salad I made last night. I'm quite into the quinoa lately. If you haven't tried it, it can be scary looking at first, but don't be afraid. It is delicious AND nutritious.

First I cooked about a cup (it would have been a cup if I had a full cup left, but I had about 7/8ths of a cup left) of quinoa in vegetable broth. I've learned that cooking it in broth is FAR tastier than water. I've also mixed water and broth...good too.

As I was cooking it, I chopped some yellow pepper, cucumber, tomato, feta, green onion (wanted to use red onion, but the one I had was old and scary looking, so I went with the green), artichoke hearts (I had some to get rid of) and spicy marinated eggplant. I think the eggplant was key. It is kind of a different texture and added some really good spice to the salad. Plus, it reminds me of DiRienzo's sandwiches, and those are just darn tasty.

Once the quinoa was done, I put in in a bowl and stirred it for awhile to cool it down a bit. I added the rest of the stuff while the quinoa was still warm, but not piping hot. (this made the feta soften a bit and i liked that)

Since the eggplant was marinated in oil and spices, I figured I didn't need too much dressing, so I just splashed in some white wine vinegar and olive oil. I thought of using balsamic, but thought the white wine would be a little mellower.

All in all, I really liked it- though I probably should have added a little more vinegar, it was lacking a bit in acid. I find quinoa to be really versatile. It is good on its own, good in salads and is really quite good for you.

So there you have it: mish-mash quinoa salad.

Monday, March 09, 2009


I haven't seen the movie, but this picture was in the metro paper (yay for free periodicals) around the same day as this eloquent post was written. I stared at the picture for a good couple of minutes. I'm not sure what it is about it. I think it might the look on sunglasses guy's face, or maybe just the words on his sign. It almost leaves me speechless. I can't imagine what it must feel like to be gay and look at that sign. I know I have almost a physical reaction to it, so it must be just that much worse.

Sunday, March 08, 2009


I just ran outside for the first time since November. It was both terrible and wonderful at the same time.

Saturday, March 07, 2009

oh no i didn't

When I moved to Ottawa, one of my goals was to meet Jack Layton (leader of the New Democratic Party of Canada) and have my picture taken with him. Why? You know, I'm still not 100% sure. Maybe because I'm from Alberta and the NDP is pretty much the farthest thing from the stereotypical "Alberta" as you can get. Maybe because growing up in Calgary and NOT voting conservative makes me feel a little like an outcast? Regardless, I'm a bit of a socialist, and he kind of embraces some of those values.

My quest for the picture has been pretty well documented on this blog. From the first week here in Ottawa, I was already disappointed that there had been no Layton sightings. Then I went to a day of training and found out that he was likely down the hall the entire time. My boss's husband even works for him, but wasn't able to send me the heads up that he was going to be at a reception that I left 30 minutes too early!

I've seen Michael Ignatieff, Bob Rae, Tony Clement and even the evil Rob Anders (no Stephen Harper...but I'm pretty sure he just lives in a cryogenic chamber attached to his office). Then there was the time I completely missed him when he walked right by because I was too busy looking at his wife and thinking "gee she looks familiar". And the NDP bus that was at Tim Hortons on our way back from the race in Toronto, but there was no way I could do anything but make a run for the bathroom because I had had to pee for about an hour.

So, I was starting to think it would just never happen. And then...

We were headed to the Ottawa vs Calgary game on Tuesday, when who gets on the bus* but Mr. Layton himself. I'm pretty sure I said something like "no way" as he got on and walked on by me to take a seat not far behind me. At that point I really had no idea what to do. Do I go up to him on the bus and talk to him? Do I try to get my picture taken with him right there? (and boy am i glad i decided to bring my camera to the game) I went back and forth in my head between "just let it embarrassing will it be to go up to him and ask for a picture" and "there is NO way you can just let this go". Finally, I said to Jordan "I'm going to have to do it" and handed him my purse and made a move to stand up. To which Jordan replied "what are you going to do? sit in his lap? maybe you should just wait until we get off the bus". And so I waited. And prepared myself for the embarrassment of approaching someone just to get a picture taken with them.

When the bus stopped I kind of figured "well, who cares, I'll just go for it". So I got off the bus, walked up to him and said "Hi, my name is Kristen and I'm pretty sure that for awhile I was the only NDP voter in all of Calgary South West. I'm wondering if I can get my picture taken with you." And, it worked. He was very kind, he took the picture, he gave me his card, and we even chatted it up on the way to the arena.

And so, I can leave Ottawa satisfied:
(and you should have heard how quickly i said "no just me" when one of the guys with him asked if instead of taking the picture, Jordan might like to be in it....sorry about that Jordan)

*and like the proper socialist and environmentally friendly person he is, he actually took the bus. we kept looking for Harper to join in, but figured he was probably taking the hum-vee limo

Monday, March 02, 2009

not so reality tv

So as I was watching the Biggest Loser last week, something strange happened. A guy ran a marathon with very little training in under 4 hours. And not just "some guy", but rather a guy that had just lost 100 pounds in 8 weeks (impressive weight loss though. WOW).

Being someone who likes to run, I was actually looking at the clock when they showed him finishing his marathon. It looked to me like it read either 5:XX or 6:XX, so I was chin dropping surprised when they said that he had completed his first marathon in under 4 hours (i think it was something like 3:53). Keeping in mind that the Boston marathon qualifying time for women under 29 is 3:45 (for men of the same age it is 3:10), that is pretty darn speedy...and that is on not much training and honestly, when they showed him running it didn't seem that fast.

We thought it was a little fishy, but figured it was just a typo or something like that. Then, this comes out: apparently he had a little help, and the production company lied. Not cool NBC and Reveille productions. I suppose not cool Dane too, but I kind of feel sorry for him. He has accomplished a lot and I really feel like he is a bit of a victim in some of this. Especially when you read some of the comments...harsh much? Come ON isn't like he killed someone or stole something. Lets cut the poor guy some slack here. The production company needed a shot of the finish line. They are the ones that mentioned his finishing time on the show. They could have just let it go and say he ran a marathon...but nope, they had to go and make up a time.

And here I though the show was 100% real 100% of the time. I mean those nutritional tips about chewing extra sugar free gum and using ziplock storage bags were just so out of the blue and seemed like real tips. Bob really does want me to walk to Subway doesn't he? And those frozen vegetables? No one paid them to mention those did they?

here's an update with some of Dane's version of the story: link

next up, i had a delightful meal last weekend...hopefully i can muster the time this week to tell you all about it.