DIARY FROM ONTARIO CANADA MARCH 2002

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Sunday 31st March 2002

Another beautiful sunny sunrise. Was able to sleep until 6:30 a.m. this morning - and was so exhausted that I slept from 1a.m. However, the filthy pus from this cold has now got into my sinus and inner ears. This makes blowing the nose quite painful and also makes one deaf.

The Queen Mother died yesterday afternoon. I noticed that she had this kind of infection (cold/chest/cough) at about the same time I did previously this year. It really is a killer cold. The cough doubles me up and I feel as tho' my head is going to break open. Just when you think it has gone for good .... a few weeks later it comes back and is worse than ever! The first time it gave me an eye infection as a preliminary. This time I have very sore lips and swollen throat. Almost does resemble myxomatosis!

Last night on CBC News there was an item: New immigrants being seduced into coming to Canada by claims that Canada is land of plenty and land of opportunity. When they get here they cannot get jobs. They are on welfare and having to go to food banks. Excuse me for the use of teenage vernacular .. but DUH!!! Just read my pages for January 1999 at: http://www.sentex.net/~oficserv/Jan1999.html In addition to the terrible winters, for which most of them are unprepared, we now have global warming which is predicted to increase the appalling heat of summer. This, in turn, is increasing all the diseases which existed here in the old days - from sleeping sickness to malaria, plus some new ones which overpopulation of this area can only exacerbate. We swallowed the government disinformation concerning "land of opportunity". We were shown all the pretty pictures of lakeside cottages and winter fun. If we had not been able to start a business of our own and to be self-employed, we too would have been on welfare.

Friday 29th March 2002

Another beautiful sunrise, up at 5:30 a.m. (and 1:15 a.m., 2:30 a.m. and 3:15 a.m.). @#$% cold!! Have a temperature of 100, throat swollen and ears popping. What can you do. No-one ever said life was supposed to be easy.

Thursday 28th March 2002

Lovely day, at 5:30 a.m. I was up to see the sunrise. Still cannot sleep as cannot breathe properly with this cold. Last night I could not eat either as my throat has swollen. That and being unable to get air caused me to choke instead of swallowing. Oh well, it's just a cold. In two or three weeks I'll probably get another. Doctors are in such short supply here. The Government has set up an 800 number to call a nurse for advice. The nurse almost always tells one to see a doctor! At least it's nice to have someone to talk to. If you are choking and on your own, keep your arms above your head - it helps to get air. The only problem with that is - it may also suck bits of food or drink further into the lungs? Who knows.

Wednesday 27th March 2002

Today was bright and sunny, but still quite cold. I felt ill (having not slept for two nights with a killer cold). Eventually called a truck to clear the driveway. At least it will save it from being frozen and lumpy next day. Had to call someone to walk the Tsunami as well. Colds really cost me! Had to get out anyway for a few groceries.

Snowy morning

Tuesday 26th March 2002

Another horrible day. I took a few pictures from a friend's window:

View of the storm

Tuesday 19th March 2002

Yet another horrible morning. The snow has settled and ice has formed on top of it.
My relative sent me this humour - my morning smile.


*** A week at the gym with Bruce ***

This is dedicated to every woman who ever attempted to get into a regular workout routine.
Dear Diary...
For my Christmas present this year, my husband (the dear) purchased a week of personal training at the local health club for me. A little over 60, I needed some help. Do you think my hubby wanted the old me at 130 lbs- - remember when!!!
I called the club and made my reservations with a personal trainer I'll call Bruce, who identified himself as a 26 year old aerobics instructor and model for athletic clothing and swim wear. My husband seemed pleased with my enthusiasm to get started.
The club encouraged me to keep a diary to chart my progress.
Monday:
Started my day at 6:00am. Tough to get out of bed, but found it was well worth it when I arrived! at the health club to find Bruce waiting for me. He is something of a Greek God with blond hair, dancing eyes and a dazzling white smile. (Woo Hoo!!)
Bruce gave me a tour and showed me the machines. He took my pulse after five minutes on the treadmill. He was alarmed that my pulse was so fast, but I attribute it to standing next to him in his Lycra aerobic outfit.(Woo Hoo!!)
I enjoyed watching the skillful way in which he conducted his aerobics class after my workout today. Very inspiring. Bruce was encouraging as I did my sit-ups, although my gut was already aching from holding it in the whole time he was around. Please don't let me fart. This is going to be a FANTASTIC week!
Tuesday:
I drank a whole pot of coffee, but I finally made it out the door. Bruce made me lie on my back and push a heavy iron bar into! the air- then he put weights on it! My legs were a little wobbly on the treadmill, but I made the full mile. Bruce's rewarding smile made it all worthwhile. I feel GREAT!! It's a whole new life for me! Hope he didn't notice, I wet my pants a little, must wear a panty liner tomorrow.
Wednesday:
The only way I can brush my teeth is by laying on the toothbrush on the counter and moving my mouth back and forth over it. I believe I have a hernia in both pectorals. Driving was OK as long as I didn't try to steer or stop. I parked on top of a GEO in the club parking lot. Bruce was impatient with me, insisting that my screams bothered other club members. His voice is a little too perky for early in the morning and when he scolds, he gets this nasal whine that is VERY annoying. My chest hurt when I got on the treadmill, so Bruce put! me on the stair monster. Why the hell would anyone invent a machine to simulate an activity rendered obsolete by elevators?? Bruce told me it would help me get in shape and enjoy life. He said some other shit too.
Thursday:
Bruce was waiting for me with his vampire-like teeth exposed as his thin, cruel lips were pulled back in a full snarl. I couldn't help being a half an hour late, it took me that long to tie my shoes. Bruce took me to work out with dumbbells. When he wasn't looking, I ran and hid in the mens room. He sent Lars to find me. Then, as punishment, put me on the rowing machine... which I sank.
Friday:
I hate that bastard Bruce more than any human being has ever hated any other human being in the history of the world. (Stupid, skinny, anemic little cheerleader!) If there was a part of my body I could move without ! unbearable pain, I would beat him with it. Bruce wanted me to work on my triceps. I don't have any triceps! (And if you don't want dents in the floor, don't hand me the &*@*#$>&*@*#$ barbells or anything that weighs more than a sandwich. Which I am sure you learned in the sadist school you attended and graduated magna cum laude from.) The treadmill flung me off and I landed on a health and nutrition teacher. (Why couldn't it have been someone softer, like the drama coach or the choir director?)
Saturday:
Bruce left a message on my answering machine in his grating, shrilly voice wondering why I didn't show up today. Just hearing him made me want to smash the machine with my planner. However, I lacked the strength to even use the TV remote and ended up catching eleven straight hours of the*$@#&& Weather Channel.
Sunday:
I'm having the Church van pick me up for services today so I can go and thank GOD that this week is over. I will also pray that next year my husband (the BASTARD) will choose a gift for me that's fun like a root canal or a hysterectomy!!


Sunday 24th March 2002

My movie this week was the Time Machine. Excellent effects etc. I had seen other versions and had read the book. Enjoyed the movie anyway, but preferred the book for the story. My imagination (once I get absorbed into a book) beats any effects. I can see the action taking place in my mind. What a wonderful thing it is to be able to read. The cinema was not very busy so I was able to keep well away from everyone .. as I have a cold coming.

Tuesday 19th March 2002

Truly awful morning. Took the Tsunami for a walk in 50 mph wind and freezing ice pellets! Received this amusing message by email :-

TRADITIONAL CAPITALISM

You have two cows.
You sell one and buy a bull.
Your herd multiplies, and the economy grows.
You sell them and retire on the income.

ENRON VENTURE CAPITALISM

You have two cows.
You sell three of them to your publicly listed company,
using letters of credit opened by your brother-in-law at the
bank, then execute a debt/equity swap with an associated
general offer so that you get all four cows back, with a
tax exemption for five cows.
The milk rights of the six cows are transferred via an
intermediary to a Cayman Island company secretly owned by
the majority shareholder who sells the rights to all seven
cows back to your listed company.
The annual report says the company owns eight cows, with an
option on one more.
Sell one cow to buy a new president of the United States,
Leaving you with nine cows.
No balance sheet provided with the release.
The public buys your bull.

AN AMERICAN CORPORATION

You have two cows.
You sell one, and force the other to produce the milk of
four cows.
You are surprised when the cow drops dead.

A FRENCH CORPORATION

You have two cows.
You go on strike because you want three cows.

A JAPANESE CORPORATION

You have two cows.
You redesign them so they are one-tenth the size of an
ordinary cow and produce twenty times the milk.
You then create clever cow cartoon images called Cowkimon
and market them World-Wide.

A GERMAN CORPORATION

You have two cows.
You reengineer them so they live for 100 years, eat once a
month, and milk themselves.

A BRITISH CORPORATION

You have two cows. Both are mad.

AN ITALIAN CORPORATION

You have two cows, but you don't know where they are.
You break for lunch.

A RUSSIAN CORPORATION

You have two cows.
You count them and learn you have five cows.
You count them again and learn you have 42 cows.
You count them again and learn you have 12 cows. You stop counting cows and open another bottle of vodka.

A SWISS CORPORATION

You have 5000 cows, none of which belong to you
. You charge others for storing them.

A HINDU CORPORATION

You have two cows. You worship them.

A CHINESE CORPORATION

You have two cows.
You have 300 people milking them.
You claim full employment, high bovine productivity, and
arrest the newsman who reported the numbers.

A WELSH CORPORATION

You have two cows.
That one on the left is kinda cute

A CANADIAN CORPORATION

You had two cows.
You sold the cows to pay the taxes. You became unemployed and went on welfare.

Tuesday 19th March 2002

Quite a pleasant morning. Getting up to 6C today. Reading my email .. My relative sent me this picture:

Wonder how people I do not know manage to send me messages with no return address? Wonder why they bother to send me messages that I never read anyway! I guess they must be making some money or just wasting their time.

Sunday 17th March 2002

Last week I bought a pot of hyacinth bulbs. Every spring in Canada they have bulbs at the grocery stores. The bulbs do not really appear in the gardens until May. So those of us who come from England miss the lovely spring flowers that you already have at this time of year. I took pictures. The perfume of these flowers fills my kitchen and reminds me of the bluebell woods of home:

Hyacinths

The weather today is bright but very cold. This afternoon I went to see "Ice Age". Excellent cartoon, not frightening for the children. Amazing art and design of the animals. Enjoyed very much and would see again.

Sunday 10th March 2002

As beautiful as yesterday was, so was today quite as horrible. Frightening winds and rain through the night, turning to snow, with constant wind warnings. Temperature dipped to minus 3C, with wind-chill to minus 20C.

This afternoon, my movie of the week was "Shipping News". I enjoyed this movie immensely. The woman next to me said she had read the book twice and suggested I should get it from the library. Although she enjoyed the movie, she said much of the book had been missed out.

Last night I finally pulled together the ingredients and made a passable Beef Stroganoff: (I took the basic recipe from the Good Housekeeping Cookbook. This is a splendid book of over 3000 recipes tried and proven in the Good Housekeeping Institute ... a complete kitchen reference book for beginners and accomplished cooks.

1 Lbs beef tenderloin (I used some stewing beef. It is easier to cut up if it is partially frozen).
Butter or margarine
1 large onion, minced (and I added a finely chopped clove of garlic)
Lb mushrooms, sliced
2 teaspoons dry mustard they don't say hot, but I used hot (I only had ready-made)
1 teaspoons salt
teaspoon pepper
Beef broth (I used OXO cube)
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
1 cup sour cream (I used yoghourt)
I also added about 4 oz. medium sherry.
About 45 minutes before serving:
1. On cutting board, trim fat from tenderloin, cut meat across the grain into inch slices. Cut each slice into 2" x " strips. (I just cut it up quite small). Dry strips well on paper towel.(I didn't do that)

2. In 10 inch skillet over high heat, in 1 tablespoon hot butter or margarine (be careful not to let it burn), cook half of meat, stirring constantly, until lightly browned, about 1 minute (meat will be rare). Well, I do not approve of rare meat, so I cooked mine until it was cooked enough. Pour meat and drippings into a medium bowl; set aside. In the skillet, now add some more butter or margarine and cook the remaining meat; pour it into the bowl and set aside. I did not have as much meat, so didn't need to cook two separate lots. I poured the sherry over the meat.

3. To the skillet, add 2 tablespoons more butter or margarine, the onion, mushrooms, mustard, salt and pepper. Cook over medium heat, stirring frequently, until vegetables are tender, about 5 minutes.

4. Into measuring cup, drain drippings from meat; add beef broth to make cup. I had already made the OXO broth in the big measuring jug and had put the meat and sherry all in together with the broth. 5. Stir the flour into the skillet mixture until blended. Then, gradually stir the liquid into the skillet mixture and cook, stirring constantly, until thickened.

6. Stir sour cream into mixture until smooth; add meat and heat, stirring. Be careful not to boil, or the cream will curdle! This really spoils the sauce.

I used a smaller amount of meat and changed the ingredient amounts to suit my requirements. This made enough for three cereal bowls of meat and sauce. It doesn't look very good - a pale creamy brown mixture, but it tastes delicious. I served it with rice and whatever green vegetables I have on hand, usually fresh broccoli or oriental frozen mixed veg.

Saturday 9th March 2002

This is the anniversary of the day I broke my arm! I am so happy to be recovered that almost any task is a pleasure. Even sweeping the garage and getting the dog doo off my back patio is a pleasure just to be able to do the job myself without pain.

This morning I took the Tsunami out to Long Lane Orchards again. On the way I stopped to visit a friend, who had a serious car accident and had been disabled about this time last year. I was so pleased my friend had recovered and is now able even to jump on the leg which was shattered. It was interesting to share the fact that, at our age, taking extra calcium (about 1500 mg per day) had improved our hair and fingernails. I had thought it was my imagination. We are both having trouble with dry eyes though and there seems to be no remedy for that but using eye drops. If anyone out there has any comments to help this problem we'd certainly like to hear from you. We try to drink extra water and avoid caffein (which is a diuretic).

The weather this morning was just amazing. The temperature in my car was 25C. I walked around the pond and John was out there checking up on his fish. There was someone fishing for his supper. Very shortly he picked up a beautiful rainbow trout. I bought some more Mutzu apples. These are my favourite - very crisp, sweet but sharp. Also a couple of their excellent sausage rolls.

On the way home I bought a bottle of medium sherry (about $5.00) for my stroganoff recipe. They had a good selection of spring bulbs in bud, for about $6.00., so I bought a pot of four chubby hyacinth. They smell so beautiful in my breakfast room and remind me real spring is just around the corner.

This afternoon it is expected to cloud over, a high wind is building. There will probably be thunder storms (the first of this year). Then the temperature will plummet to about -2C and we shall have some snow. I hope it doesn't stay long.

Last night I was pleased to find the "Heartbeat" program on TV Ontario. This series has continued with Constable Rowan and his new wife and daughter Katy. They are now in a mountainous area of Canada and it is winter. I actually wish they had continued in Yorkshire, but it was getting a bit monotonous I suppose.

Sunday 3rd March 2002

Was quite a pleasant morning. Up very late tho', so didn't see much of it! As forecast the weather rapidly deteriorated.

This afternoon went to see "Italian for Beginners". This was not as expected. It was in Dutch, with English subtitles. The scenes took place mainly in Holland, in a small restaurant, school-room, church and the characters' apartments. They were certainly interesting characters, quite eccentric, with problems. They did eventually go to Venice. I enjoyed this movie, but not as much as "Amlie" or Gosford Park.

By the end of the movie a great wind had developed and the pavement had begun to freeze .. so guess I won't be going for a walk this afternoon.


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