Monday, July 28, 2008

Soup to Nuts Carnival! The First Course

It's time for Dinner...a Progressive Dinner. I am amazed at the number and calibre of entries for the First Course of the Soup to Nuts Carnival...I can only believe if the entries received by the rest of the hosts for this Dinner are as interesting as mine, this Progressive Dinner will be a great success.

I would like to thank everybody involved, especially Jason, Kimberly, Lisa and Kilroy for their promotion and aid in organizing and their time, which was given so freely.

The First Course can only be described as eclectic. From discussions of World politics to Education to the Restaurant industry to Spirituality...the conversations are quick and lively, with something to interest everyone. Please follow the links to read each entry and feel free to leave a comment to join in the discussion around the table.

I can only be called a hesitant host, having no experience at it, but Kilroy talked me through and tried to decipher my emails to him with great panache. Thank you, Kilroy.

I sought to come up with a novel, creative way to list the entries, and have failed miserably. I only know what I prefer, when I visit a Carnival Post...and that is a simple list. In this way, I can peruse and visit each blog very easily. It becomes a little like a surprise gift, then...what will I see when I open the page?

And so, without further are the submissions for, listed in the order in which they arrived, the First Course...Bon Appetit!

1. Aaron from Today is That Day submitted his post Personal Development as a Result of Ignoring the Rules.

2. Barbara from Britannica Blog asks What to do About Insane Governments.

3. Jason from the Shabam School blog expounds on Making Rules Visible in the education system.

4. Praveen from My Simple Trading System tells about Wealth and Luxury in Ordos, China.

5. Praveen, again, in another blog named Tao of Simplicity, inspires with her Mother's Day Story in Chicago Tribune.

6. Banquet Manager That's Me, on his blog So You Want to Be a Banquet Manager lets us peek into the Hospitality world with his post entry Why Can't We have an Executive Steward?

7. Amanda from Pajama Mommy Community asks businesses What Can You Do For Me?

8. Tip Diva tells us "Tip Diva unfortunately had her wallet stolen yesterday. Luckily, her ATM card and driver's license were not in the wallet, but the perp decided to buy $200 worth of train tickets using her credit cards. Here's what to do in case your wallet is stolen." Here is her post.

9. Jeff talks about the movie American Graffiti on his blog Stuff Running 'Round My Head.

10. Cindy from her blog Cindy King enlightens us with her post on ICANN. In her words..."ICANN, the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers overseas a number of Internet related tasks. ICANN met in Paris this week. There were a few interesting things that came out of this meeting." Please read her post entitled Use of Non-Latin Characters in Domain Names to be Reviewed in November.

11. My friend Anthony, with his blog What I See Out My Window, brings us views from all corners of the world. This post is Zack's view from his office window in Chicago.

12. Kilroy, of Fear and Loathing-The Gonzo Papers, interviews Hunter S. Thompson on his book Kingdom of Fear.

13. Anthony, on another blog he writes called The Lives and Times..., submits his photos of Entrances to Hell.

14. Kilroy, from The Good, the Bad and the Ugly (Things I've Found in the Blogosphere), shows his photographic side in his post A Little Farther to the Right.

15. In his blog A Photographer's Eye, Kilroy shares another photo of a Gazebo here.

16. Karyn educates us with her blog All About Orlando. Her story about Orlando's Best Attraction can be read here.

17. Jacob, on his blog JobMob, announces the 2008 JobMob Guest Blogging Contest.

18. Kim, on her blog Profitable writes..."Ah, always a good idea to have the meal before the dessert. The same holds true for making sure that you don't file an amended tax return before the IRS receives your original return! ". She tell us about it in her post Bad Tax Idea.

19. Isabella, on her blog Change Therapy, announces the Blogathon 2008: Countdown to Insomnia where she will post a blog entry every 30 minutes for 24 hours for her favourite charity.

20. Helene, on her blog Work At Home Mom and Dad, advises us on Finding A Great Home Based Business.

21. On his blog, Savvy Daddy, Tony writes about his son's first words in 2 Years In, the
Sentences Begin.

He states..."Ever wonder what kind of words a toddler picks up first? Well, here's my son's list of his first 123."

22. In Mad Kane's Political Madness, Mad Kane gives her opinion in verse in her post A Humorist's Lament (Covering The New Yorker Cover Brouhaha In Verse) - Updated.

23. In A Night At the Santa Cruz Beach Board Walk, Damaris posts about an evening there. As an added bonus, she gives us a great looking recipe, on her blog Within the Corners of My Kitchen.

24. Brent, on his blog The Ominous Comma give us a dose of dry, witty humour. This particular post may perhaps not be the most appetizing subject for a Dinner Party...but it would certainly liven things up. Read his post Aromatic Audio Offering.

25.Vegoftheweek, the author of a blog called, appropriately enough, vegoftheweek, gives a fabulous use for Mirin, one of my favourite ingredients. And she includes a recipe. Read her post Mock Egg Salad Recipe: Look ma, no eggs!

26. Brice contributes financial advice along with the power of positive thinking on his blog Financial Zip. He gives a great example of beliefs in his post Believing is Achieving.

27. At Mixed Metaphor, Jenn presents a fictional story about reconnections to the past. Read her lovely entry entitled Her Debut.

28. In Manely Montana Memories - Come On Inn, innkeeper GP gives us a very hilarious take on some long ago hints from the previous the account called Innkeeping Heloise Style.

29. Kimberly in How To Make Money From Home Part #3 shares great ideas on finding one's passion. Do you know what your passion is? Read Kimberly's blog How To Make Money to find out.

30. SalesDiva in Stories of a Travelling Diva tells a hilarious account of a trip to the Island of Dominica in her post Cooties in the Caribbean. And this was supposed to be a relaxing trip?

31. Jacob, in his post How to Run An Awesome Group Writing Project, shares his knowledge on running a successful project such as this. Read Jacob's blog Group Writing Projects...he certainly knows what he's about.

32. Kimberly, in Terrier Lover, talks about eye stains on those adorable white terriers. Read her story Eye Stain-Home Remedy for Maltese Terriers.

33. In her blog How to Lose Weight Fast, Kimberly gives a link to an online diet generator. Her story, The Fat Loss 4 Idiots Online Diet Generator will be a great tool to use, in the ongoing weight control battle.

34. Lastly, my own entry Relaxation. Perhaps, after a First Course with such diverse guests, a little meditation is required.

Please also visit the other hosts who have contributed time and effort and also considerable expertise in running the Soup to Nuts Carnival.

Kilroy has done a yeoman's job in making sure all entries were submitted to each host for each course. He hosts the Main Course on Fear and Loathing- The Gonzo Papers.

Lisa at Stories of a Travelling Diva is hosting the Hor's d'oeuvres category.

Jacob serves the Appetizer category at his blog Group Writing Projects, and Kimberly dishes up the Dessert Course at Blog and Butter. Sounds yummy!

It's been great fun, putting the First Course on the table. The conversation grew heated at times, with humour added for great measure.

I met lots of great bloggers and renewed old friendships. What could be better?

Friday, July 18, 2008

Tunnel Dream

I have stated many times before, after finishing the building of a kitchen, that I would never do it again.

And each time I say "never"... the Universe sends me another challenge.

So this time, I expresse
d relief and heartfelt gratitude at the completion of the new kitchen here. I caught myself a few times, wanting to say never again. But even if I can catch the words before they flow out of my mouth...I know I still feel it.

Kitchen builds are horrendous. The upheaval, the waiting and the patience required to do so make these renovations one of the most stressful. And I already had a kitchen I could use while this one was I was far ahead of the usual game.

But it's finished now. A few bugs here and there still have to be worked out. It is a beautiful kitchen, with the woodwork made of Hickory and oil-rubbed Bronze pulls for the drawers.

And each drawer is self-closing, making a smooth snicking sound as it does so.

It would be anyone's dream, this kitchen. And yet...I have not completely accepted it as mine. With a whole heart.

There are so many changes, you see. My mind can't seem to keep up these days.

The other morning, as I went into the new kitchen to prepare breakfast, I had to ask myself...Which kitchen was I in? The motel kitchen, the old kitchen here, the Rye Road kitchen...or the new kitchen?

And if, in my morning addled state, I was in the new kitchen...where on Earth did I put everything yesterday?

And how does the dishwasher work, to its fullest capacity? And the fridge...there must be a way to optimize the space...and when does the Ice Maker start to work? This oven is a newer model of my older one...and the makers, in their wisdom, have changed quite a few crucial elements I had grown accustomed to. Such as entering the temperature, should I not want the pre-set one.

Can you sense I am not, in this instance, enamoured with more change?

I believe it is because I have to focus my sad, tired Mind. These days my Mind wants to flow along the proverbial River of Life, without any obsta
cles in the way. My Mind wants a rest.

I have become overwhelme
d. I have probably been so for some time...but it took me awhile to realize it.

The least thing throws me off. It is time to de-stress, it is time to balance my body. I am way off the balance beam. Most of my attention has been focused on the Physical body...and I have ignored the Spiritual, Emotional and Mental bodies to a great degree.

Just when I'm ready to sit on the Pity Pot for an extended stay...a Hand...a strong but gentle Hand directs me to a chair on the deck. I know this Hand...strong directions emanate from it...and I do not resist. It seems impos
sible to do so.

Instantly, I am whisked away, down long tunnels, different colours in each. I discover I can ask for what I want to see...I may or may not be granted a vision, however. When I ask to see, the speed of the flow into the tunnel intensifies. And the visions granted are quick...Awareness is key, I discover.

And each time, at the end of the tunnel, whatever vision
I received, I was enveloped by strong, golden light.

The Hand and its pressure to sit are not eased, for a long while. I use the Wind Chimes to call me back, finally...and Lucky, whose wet nose pushes
my hand and wakes me completely.

Again, I am reminded I am not alone. The Powers-That-Be watch and wait for a time when I am willing to hear, with open Heart and receptive Mind.

The new kitchen can be approached with awe and discovery, instead of anxiety and grumbles. I have the ability to change my outlook, thereby changing the reality into one that feels like mine.

And once I decided to change my approach, things fell into place much more smoothly and intuition once more reigned.

The kitchen, the heart of the home, is done...ready and waiting for me to take charge.

There is a light at the end of the tunnel.

Tuesday, July 08, 2008


I heard the announcer on the radio this morning advising his listeners to use insect repellent and to avoid Mosquitoes...the flying invaders have been bad this year.

The weather lately has only been fit for ducks...or Mozzies. Mosquitoes. The word Mozzie sounds comforting somehow, like a well-worn sweater or a cozy blankie. The direct opposite of what these tiny monsters really are.

It's rained...and although I felt as if everyone and everything was drying to a crisp before the rain appeared...once more, the Mozzies are on the swarms, at times.

The Female Mozzies suck blood in order to lay more eggs. Male Mozzies...well, they're there for the mating. They dine on flowers, they don't apparently have a need for blood. And they usually die soon after mating. Most Females can go on to lay more and more eggs.

And those eggs hatch, in any pool of water, in a matter of hours. They'll leave their birth pond in only four to seven days.

There are few things more annoying than the whine of a Mosquito in my ear, just as I am drifting off to sleep.

It is even more annoying for my partner, whose hair on the top of his head is decidedly sparse. Mozzies are drawn to that inviting pate and the resultant bumps and itches would make anyone annoyed.

We live in a forested area. It reminds me of Provincial Campgrounds, also places from the past where Mozzies were a part of Summer fun.

They have huge powers, these tiny insects. Whole areas can be cleared of any mammal, when a resting area is disturbed and the whining becomes a buzz saw.

Nate, as an example, decided to go for a meander the other morning. It was cool and cloudy, having rained hard after a thunderstorm...just the right temperature for a walkabout, he thought.

But the Mozzies were on the hunt, and it was not long before our errant Dog returned, shamefaced, wet and covered in Mosquitoes and their bites. Why, when, on certain days, Nate will not even entertain the thought of the lower bench, because of the Mozzies, he decided to brave them in the deeper Forest, is slightly beyond me. But freedom beckoned.

I don't want to give the impression we are always besieged by these insects; on warm, dry days, of which there are many, there are few. They make up for their absence on cloudy, still days, especially if it's wet.

I've used natural products and Deet. They all work to a degree, but should there be a particularly hungry Female about, she'll find the one spot on my skin that hasn't been treated and go to town.

They're attracted to carbon dioxide, these Mozzie ladies, in order to find their blood meal. The idea behind Citronella is that it disrupts their sense of smell. I burned a strong candle on the deck, and it seemed to do the job. But I find I am allergic; my nose and eyes run and burn if I am in the area.

Mozzie-free areas come with a price.

"Mosquitoes use exhaled carbon dioxide, body odors and temperature, and movement to home in on their victims. Only female mosquitoes have the mouth parts necessary for sucking blood. When biting with their proboscis, they stab two tubes into the skin: one to inject an enzyme that inhibits blood clotting; the other to suck blood into their bodies. They use the blood not for their own nourishment but as a source of protein for their eggs. For food, both males and females eat nectar and other plant sugars." National Geographic

An interesting fact, that the Female Mozzie sucks blood to nourish their eggs. And it is the parasites of a particular disease the Female picks up from another host that she passes on...the diseases themselves don't originate with the Mosquito itself. Small comfort.

That enzyme they use...that's the part that reacts with the body and causes the itching. National Geographic says... "The only silver lining to that cloud of mosquitoes in your garden is that they are a reliable source of food for thousands of animals, including birds, bats, dragonflies, and frogs." So there's that.

I read, as well, that humans are not the first choice for the Mozzie. They prefer Cattle, Horses, and Birds. I wonder what it is in their Blood that is preferable?

No seems, as I learn more about the Cariboo, the ubiquitous Mosquito, the plague of which has been written about extensively by the area's authors, is here to stay.

I wonder if that radio announcer knows a way to avoid Mozzies? Other than closeting oneself inside?

It would be great to know.