Thursday, 31 July 2008

Happy Birthday Julie Ann

Today would have been Julie Ann's birthday.

While I can't talk with her, I can remember her and all the fun birthday adventures that we had over the years. I believe it was the year we turned 18, that we had a communal party. Patrick's birthday was on July 29, Glenn's (Skippy) on the 31st as well, and mine is on August 7. We had about 72 candles on the cake, The flames were soaring inches above the cake. All was going well until a moth flew into the flames...

A birthday cake is in the oven as I write this post. Its a lemon cake, which will have a lemon curd filling and a fluffy, white frosting.

Julie Ann was a terrific supporter of Canadian Music and Literature. In her honour I have registered at books by three Canadian authors. The Letter Opener by Kyo Maclear, Exit Lines by Joan Barfoot and Obasan by Joy Kogawa. After I put a memorial book plate in the front covers I will be giving them to other friends of Julie Ann. I'm sure they will enjoy them as much as she would have.

Happy Birthday my friend.

Monday, 21 July 2008

The Letter Opener by Kyo Maclear

Much of this novel is set in the 'Undeliverable Mail Office' of Canada Post in the Toronto, Ontario area. Naiko has become friends with Andrei, an immigrant from Romania, who sits at the next work station.

A few months prior to the fall of the Romanian government, Andrei disappears.

Throughout the course of the book we are teased with tidbits about both Naiko's and Andrei's lives. I found myself identifying with her. She is a regular person with a typical life. She works, she goes home, visits her mother etc. When her friend is missing she has to come to an understanding of why. Much as she would investigate a lost piece of mail, she reviews and researches Andrei's life.

Even when I re-read this book, I was still saddened as Naiko comes to accept that Andrei hadn't told her all his secrets and that he was gone for good.

If you have ever lost a friend you will find this story pulling at your heart strings. I would highly recommend this novel as a 'Book Club' read.

I hope to see further novels by Kyo Maclear in the near future.

This book is a nominee for the 2008 Evergreen Awards.

Thanks to HarperCollins for the cover photo.

Also reviewed at:
Perogies & Gyoza

Sunday, 20 July 2008

Bottomfeeder: How to Eat Ethically in a World of Vanishing Seafood by Taras Grescoe

Mr. Grescoe presents the reader with a well researched study on the well being of our oceans and the sea life it supports. It's unfortunate that in too many cases if a report card were to be issued many of the grades would not be passing.
As he travelled the seafood capitals of the world, he spoke with fisher persons of all sorts. Those who work from shore with nets, on huge trawlers, in fish markets, in aquaculture and finally those who continue to study the fish and the methods used to capture and reproduce them.
He discusses several methods of fishing which have varied and differing impacts on the fish populations. His findings: individual lines have the least impact, while dynamite and cyanide are incredibly destructive. You will have to read the book to find out the intimate details.
Much discussion centres on the trophic level the fish feeds at. The higher the trophic level , the more concentrated the pollutants, such as mercury in tuna. Eating from the lowest levels is a much better choice. Full discussion of trophic levels and their fish are included.
I have not read such a detailed description of aquaculture previously. It covers so much more than the neat and tidy presentation I had at a local trout farm.
There is a serious message under laying the whole book. The current state of our fisheries can not be maintained. The quotas are much too generous and are not being well policed. Something needs to change so we do not blindly follow the route of the mackerel, blufin tuna and cod that are already in deep peril.
The final message of the book is that all hope is not lost. As piscivores (fish eaters) it is our responsibility to get informed and eat sensibly.
For further information: Sustainable Seafood Canada .
Thanks to HarperCollins for the cover picture.

Friday, 11 July 2008

21.1 Kilometres Later

Its July 6, at 6:50am and we are getting ready to line up at the start of the Calgary 1/2 Marathon. Actually, the full Marathon started at the same time and place.

That's me on the left, my sister Shelley in the middle, (she was our support member as she doesn't run), and my sister Nancy on the right.

The second picture is us at about the 15k mark. Shelley crossed the bridge, took pics and then hurried back to the finish line.

The final pic is very close to the finish line. We are holding hands in an attempt to have the same time. We came close, but Nancy's official time is one second faster than mine.

I will admit, that about 1 1/2 k before the end of the race, Nancy had to turn and look at me and check whether she was looking good and that her hair was neat. She had to ensure that our finish pictures would be good. Of course she looked wonderful.

What a wild experience. Will I do it again? Maybe!

Sunday, 6 July 2008

We came, We ran, We conquered

Today I successfully ran the Calgary 1/2 Marathon with my sister Nancy. Awesome

I am in recovery mode and will be travelling home tomorrow. Will be posting some pics here in the next few days.

Yahoo (in Stampede language).