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Sunday, May 30, 2010

Blue Monday on May 31, 2010


Franz Kafka's house in Prague (close to the castle), Czech Republic. I love this shade of blue *smile.

Click here to see more Blue Monday submissions.

I'll Be Away

Hi friends,

I will be away for awhile visiting family so you might not hear from me while I'm gone. Though I will have my laptop my time on it will be limited since the wireless costs after using the allowable "bytes" is very expensive.
I have set up a few posts which will publish while I am away. 
I hope you enjoy them. 
As always, I love hearing from you.

People come into our life disguised as angels, and sometimes angels come into our life disguised as people. It is possible to see God anywhere. All it takes are open eyes and ears and the willingness to see miracles. They are everywhere. God is as available as we are. Having friends that inspire us to rise to higher and greater levels is an awesome gift. Surround yourself with people that inspire you to do better and inspire your friends as well. It is a profound truth that the people we spend time with shape the path that we travel.  http://www.familyfriendpoems.com/quotes/

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Bananas Anyone? How about Banana Bread?

I always have bananas on hand and though I try to buy only a few at a time it seems I overbuy and the bananas are ripe before I have eaten them. Half of the time when I shop, the bananas on offer are already over ripe or I would purchase them slightly green and let them ripen on the counter.

When I have over ripe bananas I put them in a fruit smoothie (more on this another day) or I make some banana bread though I can't say I've baked any for some time. Yesterday I had a hankering for some banana bread and didn't want to purchase any while I was out for coffee with a friend. I meant to bake the banana bread last night but was a little too tired so today (Thursday) was the day.

Banana Bread Recipe



Ingredients

  • 3 or 4 ripe bananas, smashed
  • 1 chopped and mashed apple (i only used 3 bananas so I added a Fuji apple)
  • 1/3 cup melted butter
  • 1 cup sugar (I reduced mine to 3/4 cup and it was still a bit too sweet)
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1 1/2 cups of all-purpose flour

Method

Mash the bananas and then in a large bowl add the melted butter into the mashed bananas. Next add the sugar, egg, and vanilla into the bowl and mix. Sprinkle the baking soda and salt over the mixture and mix in. Add the flour last and mix. Pour mixture into a buttered 4x8 inch loaf pan. Bake for 1 hour. Cool on a rack. Remove from pan and slice to serve.

This recipe was found here . It was my first time trying this recipe and it was very simple to make as well as quite tasty. I modified the recipe with the addition of the apple as I also had some apples that were going brown. I reduced the sugar by 1/4 cup and I think it could easily be reduced by another quarter cup if you don't like things too sweet.


For your convenience, I have now added a recipe converter to the side bar (on right hand side of your screen). Enjoy!

Have Passport, Will Travel

Well it's that time of the year to dream of travel plans.  Before I can do anything concrete I need to renew my passport. I got my last passport in November 2005 but they are only good for 5 years. Actually it works out to 4 1/2 years since you must have a valid passport with at least 6 months left on it before you can travel. Mine will expire in about 6 months so it must be renewed.

Passport applications and renewals are done at the Passport Canada Office at the Sinclair Centre in downtown Vancouver (corner of Hastings and Granville).  That is where I spent my time Tuesday. I had to wait until Tuesday since the Monday is the annual statutory holiday, Queen Victoria Day in honour of Queen Victoria.

Photograph of Queen Victoria by Alexander Bassano, 1887.

On my way to the passport office I caught a glimpse of this demonstration. I also decided to stop off at the Dressew, a Vancouver institution; where I bought skeins and skeins of wool and cotton yarn to make dishcloths and try my hand at a child's sweater. See  more about my knitting adventure here and here.

I finally made it to this place.



The passport office is on the second floor. There were a lot of people in there but the line up moved fairly quickly. I waited in one line for an agent to review my documents and give me a number which would be called when another agent would take my money and give me instructions.

Altogether I was in and out of the office within a half hour. It cost me $87 Canadian. Twenty of this is for the processing fee which includes sending my passport to me by registered mail (requiring adult signature for delivery acceptance).  It is the same price for an original application or a renewal application. I was told to expect my passport around June 8, 2010.  If I needed it quicker, I would pay an additional $20 and be able to pick it up at the same office on the third day after drop off.

This got me to wondering how much it costs in your country for a passport (original or renewal) and how long it takes to process. I'd love to hear from you!

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Demonstrators Gather at Carnegie Center ~ Wordless Wednesday, May 26, 2010

 
Click here for more Wordless Wednesday.

Update May 26, 2010 - This update was posted due to the great interest in the subject matters of the demonstration. I am not 100 percent sure about the demonstration but I believe it was organized in protest of the closure of a health centre located next door. The building where the people are gathering is a community centre which provides recreation and other programs for the very dispossessed people living in the area. These people are the  poorest of the poor in Canada and many of them are on drugs and have health issues such as HIV.

The regional health authority removed funding for the health centre recently because it said that the same services were being provided at another location in the neighbourhood. The residents disagree with this assessment and so took to the streets. This is only one of a series of demonstrations on this matter. When I passed through the area on the transit bus the crowd was just getting organized.

Thank you to  my readers for your keen interest in these photos.

Monday, May 24, 2010

My World Tuesday - May 25, 2010


I was on a walk earlier this week and wanted to share some photos of the houses in the area. If you look at the map below, the area in which I took these photos is represented by the purple house icon.

Many of my blog readers are from Australia and Africa and are curious to know how we live in Canada and what the houses, shops and tourist sites look like. This post will give one little peek into some of the housing here though there are many other neighbourhoods with many styles of houses and apartments.  This particular neighbourhood is a well established one and the costs of a detached home in the area would run upwards of $1 million Canadian dollars. Perhaps they even cost more than that as a fabulous two bedroom condominium here can now cost over a million dollars at the higher end of things. That is a lot of money but these are by no means the most expensive properties in the city.

You can check out the real estate market and see what is available in different parts of the city at this site used by realtors.  Click here.
Enjoy the tour.

















Click here to see more scenes from around the world.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Blue Monday ~ May 24, 2010




I took these photos of blue signage on a recent trip to the interior City of Kamloops. 
Read more about Kamloops here and here if you like.

Join Sally and the gang for more Blue Monday here.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Another Scenic Sunday in Vancouver

In one of my walks this week I took this northward facing shot. In the distance is the City of Vancouver. The high tower in the background is a great place from which to see the sights of Vancouver on a sunny day by going to the observation deck at the top of the building. If you'd like to read more about the tower click here.

I will be posting photos of houses in this neighbourhood for my foreign blogger friends who are interested in how we live in Canada. You can find them on my blog on Tuesday. 


Click here to view more wonderful scenes from around the world.  

Friday, May 21, 2010

A Rose is Sweet ~ Simple Joy Saturday


I was blessed this week with roses blooming in my garden.  I love flowers of all kinds and I especially love roses. This one comes from my garden. It comes from a rose bush that was in my garden when I moved in to my apartment. It has always been a spindly plant and I'm afraid I don't tend to it well. Yet it gives off such pretty blossoms each year. Only a few blossoms though and so they are rather precious to me.


Thinking about the beautiful rose brought to mind the famous Shakespearean line about roses.

A rose by any other name would smell as sweet




Meaning
What matters is what something is, not what it is called.
Origin
From Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet, 1600:




JULIET:
      'Tis but thy name that is my enemy;
      Thou art thyself, though not a Montague.
      What's Montague? it is nor hand, nor foot,
      Nor arm, nor face, nor any other part
      Belonging to a man. O, be some  other name!
      What's in a name? that which we call a rose
      By any other name would smell as sweet;
      So Romeo would, were he not Romeo call'd,
      Retain that dear perfection which he owes
      Without that title. Romeo, doff thy name,
      And for that name which is no part of thee
      Take all myself.
 

Please drop by Jan's new meme, Simple Joy Saturday by clicking here and tell us about your simple joys.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

A Beautiful Sunset, Skywatch Friday

This was the view on many nights from my hotel room in downtown Vancouver. Some of my old readers will know that I stayed in a hotel for 4 months last summer after a fire in my building. It was nice to be away but nice to get home too. After all, a hotel is only novel for so long *smile. One thing I do miss is the fantastic water views and sunsets. 

Thank you for dropping by and a big shout out to all my new readers. You make me happy and I hope you will come again soon.

For more sky scenes from around the globe, click here

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

A Little Bit of Knitting and A Little Bit Italian Chicken

Well today (Wednesday) was a very busy day dashing to the medical laboratory for early morning tests, stopping at the post office, doing some thrifting, dropping in on my travel agent, stopping for a lunch of Thai food, stopping at the dollar store, then rushing home to do some laundry, boil some beans and put the dinner on.

At the thrift stores I bought a number of skeins of yarn and various sized needles. I only go for "newish" yarn and needles that are not bent and well worn. I am creating my stash for when I want to branch out with new projects. For now, I am focussing on improving my very newly learned knitting skills with a simple dishcloth pattern. So far I've made four. I finally felt like I could knit on the fourth one. I am on my way! Yeah!

Here are my four facecloths. I will probably give the green/blue ones to my mom and keep the other two for myself. A friend has already asked me to make several but I want to practice other things right now as well as get better at knitting before I try to knit for others.


Given the busyness of the day and the fact it started raining I felt like having something comforting. I don't know what to call this made up and simple recipe so am calling it A Little Bit Italian Chicken *smile.


Recipe:

- 4 medium to large chicken thighs with legs attached
- Italian seasoning
- 1 large can of diced tomatoes
- a handful of parsley.

I baked the chicken pieces with a sprinkling of Italian seasoning on top. The chicken was baked at about 350 Farenheit oven until crispy brown. Once it was browned, I drained out as much fat out of the pan as possible. I then added a large can of diced tomatoes to the chicken along with some chopped parsley and more Italian seasoning. Continue cooking at same temperature for another 20 minutes or so.



Side dishes

Brown Rice
Red Kidney Beans


I bought dried beans and soaked them overnight changing the water twice and rinsing them after the 2nd soak and just before boiling. After such a long soak it didn't take so long to cook them by bringing them to a gentle boil for about 45 minutes. Now if you decide to make your beans this way, you can cook them longer or shorter depending on how crunchy you like your beans.

I like bland foods more than some so if the rice and beans are too bland for your taste you can add other seasonings. Likewise with the chicken, if the tomatoes and Italian seasoning is too bland you can add something like crushed garlic to the "sauce" before baking.


To serve place one piece of chicken leg and thigh on plate alongside a few scoops of rice. Top the rice with your beans and the tomato mixture. Season with salt and pepper as needed and a sprig of parsley to garnish.

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