Saturday, November 24, 2007

Beautiful needlepoint being raffled off to support Moncton SPCA

This beautiful needlepoint work - which could be used as either a wall tapestry or Christmas tree skirt - is being raffled off to support the Moncton SPCA. The creator of this exquisite work wishes to remain anonymous, however rest assured that the many many hours she put in to creating this have not gone unnoticed! Thank you!

Click on the photos for larger versions. This is authentic and handmade, folks... photos don't do it justice. (It's very large.)

Tickets are available for $5 each at the Moncton SPCA. Draw date is Saturday, December 15. Tickets will also be sold at the Moncton SPCA gift wrap booth in Champlain Place beginning on Friday, November 30, when the gift wrap booth opens for the season.

Christmas Countdown: 31 days!

Winter Wonderland - Del Rubio Triplets

O Holy Night - Josh Groben

12 Days of Christmas - John Denver and The Muppets

Moncton SPCA's annual Santa "Paws" Pet Pictures event scheduled for December 1, 8, 9

Click on the photo for a larger version!

Friday, November 23, 2007

Christmas Countdown: 32 days!

Santa Claus Is Coming to Town

Blue Christmas - Elvis Presley

Funniest thing ever! The Three Little Pigs' Christmas

Countdown to Christmas videos start tonight!

OK OK... I just can't hold off any longer. I need to start posting some Christmas content here before I burst. Because the U.S. Thanksgiving has passed, the TV specials are starting, so it's only a matter of days until we're fully into the season. Stay tuned!

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Getting ready for a low-carb holiday season

Hump Day
Published Wednesday, November 21, 2007
Appeared on page D6, Moncton Times & Transcript

I have tears in my eyes from trying to force myself not to decorate for the holidays. I have no idea why the urge is so strong and so early this year.

Despite the couple of houses on my street that have already been decorated (one with a tree that's been in the window since Remembrance Day), I know that if I set up for the holidays this early that I'll just get really sick of it before the big day even arrives.

Well there's that, and the fact that my tree will be naked by Christmas if I put it up now because the cats will have swatted off all the decorations by Dec. 25. Apparently, my blood-curdling screams to stay away from the tree are no match for a few dozen hanging "cat toys" (at least according to their furry little brains) that shine and glisten so temptingly. It's like trying to tell a teenager to stop listening to loud music. They can see your mouth moving, but their attention is elsewhere.

I need a new artificial tree this year. There are many nice ones around and there are sales everywhere, it seems, but I'm going to stick with a plain old fake tree -- no fancy pre-lit ones with embedded purple tinsel or ones so high-tech and expensive that you can't afford any gifts to put under the stupid thing once you buy it.

Besides, a few years ago, I bought a whole mess of blue LED Christmas lights, the ones that don't get hot and that are energy efficient. I've always been fascinated by blue Christmas lights and I finally have enough to decorate every tree in a forest, so I really didn't want to go out and buy a pre-lit tree with white or multicoloured lights when I'd just be pining away for my beloved blue ones.

I find blue lights so relaxing. There's nothing better than sitting on my nice comfy sofa staring at all those relaxing hues of blue, a blanket over my lap and listening to beautiful soft holiday jazz wafting its way through the house. That is, until I spy that lone little paw out of the corner of my eye swatting away at an ornament in the semi-dark and trying to make it go for a complete loop around the branch like a daredevil kid on a swing set who's swinging himself way too hard.

I scream. Cat runs. Relaxation ends. Ella Fitzgerald, thankfully, still continues to sing away in the background and I begin to relax again until, inevitably, that little paw reappears out of the corner of my eye. Sigh. Can't I ever have anything pretty?

Maybe I'll just put the tree up on New Year's Eve at 11 p.m. and take it down at 12:01 in the middle of Auld Lang Syne. For those 61 minutes, I'd guard the tree with a machine gun and a truckload of dynamite. "One false move, kitties, and you'll both be singing the Purina Cat Chow song to St. Peter before the clock hits midnight!"

I've also been experimenting with low-carb (sugar-free, wheat-free) holiday treats for weeks, now. I began eating low-carb on June 17, which basically means that I avoid potatoes, starchy vegetables, bread, pasta, flour, sugar, etc. What I do eat is meat, non-starchy vegetables, berries, eggs, cheeses, seafood, nuts, etc. It's working beautifully for me because I'm a very carb-sensitive person.

Some people have trouble with cigarettes. I've never smoked. Some people have trouble with booze. I could care less if I ever drank. Some people have trouble with video lottery machines. I may put $5 in them per year. No attraction to me, really.
But put a bowl of sugar in front of me and I'd sniff those little crystals of sweetness up my nose like they were cocaine. I'll have to avoid much of that stuff for the rest of my life -- except in very (very!) limited quantities -- once I hit my goal weight. With 71 pounds gone so far, I'm well on my way.

This holiday season, I want to make sure that I have some goodies around that I can munch on when visiting friends and relatives. Since Christmas is one of the times per year when the sugar industry's profits go through the roof (including Valentine's Day, Easter and Halloween), it's best to be prepared ahead of time since it'll be impossible to avoid the stuff for the next six weeks.

It's more difficult during the holidays because food and tradition go hand in hand. There are only certain candies around at this time of the year. I mean, what's Christmas without taking a bite out of a yucky orange cream chocolate only to put it back and hope no one finds out it's you? Or literally feeling cavities grow in your teeth after sipping on that incredibly rich commercial eggnog that's been in the stores for weeks, now?

Thankfully, I've managed to find a solution for at least one Christmas favourite. My mother makes an Acadian meat pie from Prince Edward Island called "pâté" every holiday season. This year, she'll be making it with some low-carb flour that I found on the Internet, so at least I can enjoy that. It's bad enough that I have to avoid that starch-laden Acadian Christmas favourite -- the poutine râpée -- this year, but having to avoid pâté, too, well . . . that would have been rough.

I guess it's all a matter of making choices. I could get a pre-lit tree without blue lights, but I don't want to. I could just not put up a tree at all, but what would my cats entertain themselves with during the month of December? I could forget about my diet for the holidays, too, but what good would that do me? Zero.

Nope. This year, I'll be untangling my blue lights, yelling at the cats to leave the tree alone and sticking faithfully to my diet. And I'll be loving every minute of it.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Addicted to The Waltons...

My biggest guilty pleasure: The Waltons. I have several seasons on DVD and hopefully will get a few more this Christmas.

Today's Hump Day: Getting ready for a low-carb holiday season

Hi everyone,

Don't forget to check out today's Hump Day column on the editorial page (pg. D6) of today's Moncton Times & Transcript. Today's column is about decorating for the holidays and staying on track with good food during the Christmas season!

I hope you enjoy it. It will be posted online here tomorrow.

Talking cats

The original:

The translation:

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Support the Moncton SPCA at Shoppers Drug Mart, 18 Champlain Street, on Saturday, November 24

Click on the photo for more details. For every $5 donation made to the Moncton SPCA at Shoppers Drug Mart's 18 Champlain Street location (next to Kent) on Saturday, November 24, receive a 15% discount off regular-priced items.

This week's Hump Day column...

... is about my wanting to decorate for Christmas really (!!) early this year. And what to do about my diet over the holidays, hmm?

Read Hump Day on the editorial page of tomorrow's Moncton Times & Transcript.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Awesome Canadian Idol concert in Moncton tonight!

I saw an awesome Canadian Idol concert in Moncton tonight featuring winner Brian Melo, runner-up Jaydee Bixby and third-place contestant Carly Rae Jepsen. Fifth-place competitor Dwight D'Eon also made an appearance and opened the show with a couple of songs.

Jaydee followed and blew the roof off the house with his showmanship and obvious love of what he was doing. To the obvious delight of the crowd, he ventured into the seats several times to sing to the fans. Carly Rae was up next and was the same charming, sweet self we saw on Canadian Idol this season. She said a couple of times how much she loved performing in the Capitol Theatre, which was nice of her! She even proposed to a girl in the audience on behalf of her boyfriend - who said "yes," just in case you were wondering! Brian Melo closed the concert with an amazing set of rock songs.

The encore consisted of all four Idols coming back to sing "We Will Rock You" and "Life Is a Highway" to a long and heartfelt standing ovation from about 800 fans packed into the theatre. What a great time!

Here's last season's finale of Canadian Idol that aired in September, with Brian singing "All I Ever Wanted."

Here's Jaydee singing "Break It To Them Gently," which he also sang tonight in Moncton. (Go to 5:42 in the video.)

And here's Carly Rae singing "Torn," which she sang in Moncton tonight, as well.

Finally, here's Dwight singing "Kiss From A Rose," his audition song, which he sang tonight.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Scariest commercial ever

I always imagined that God-awful bear attacking me and ripping out an artery. Ugh.

I'm gonna be on CBC Radio Moncton's Information Morning tomorrow!

Check out the 6:30 a.m., 7:30 a.m. and 8:30 a.m. newscasts on CBC Radio Moncton (1070 AM) tomorrow morning (Monday, November 19). I was interviewed regarding the Facebook group I set up for Dix aiguilles / Ten Needles, the book by Martin Latulippe on Sean Collins. We're up to 1,500 members already! I'll also be interviewed live at 7:40 a.m. on Information Morning. I hope you all tune in! If you can't listen the old-fashioned way (on the radio), you can tune in live through the Internet. Just click on the Information Morning for ways of doing that!