You are currently browsing the monthly archive for January 2009.

Almost a year ago, I joined the Opimian Society as a way of educating myself a bit about wine. Along with the ability to order various cases of wines from all over the world, it offers what are known as Select Cases. Eight times a year, someone who knows alot more about wine than I do chooses six different bottles from a particular region and sends them to subscribers. So far, I’ve received Select cases from Italy, California and two different regions of France. Still to come are wines from Spain, Agrentina, South Africa, Australia and New Zealand. I was even able to place a special order for some scotch. The only down side is that there is a fairly limited supply from Canada, apparently because the producers of our best wines tend to sell them farm gate, where they can make a higher profit margain.

While many of the wines need a bit (or more than a bit) of cellaring, I have tried several bottles, and there was only one that I didn’t enjoy.  My favourite so far has been an Italian red from the Delibori winery. Light but scrumptious! I will definitely order a whole case of it the next time it’s offered.

If you’re interested in learning more about wine, The Naked Vine  is worth a visit.  This site is good for the basics.


What would you do to get the best job in the world? You have GOT to watch this job application from Meandering Michael. Insane!!

Yeah! York University goes back in session on Monday. Iris gets to finish her year (albeit two months late), my nephew gets to graduate, and my brother gets to make his mortgage payment!

Yippee! It’s Friday afternoon, the sun is shining, it’s mild (-2) and things are calm enough here that I can leave work on time today (or maybe even few minutes early).

Yahoo! Jamie is done another term of school. Each month that brings him closer to making it through high school is a month worth celebrating.

Have a good week-end everyone!


The photo below is of me doing my ‘I’ve lost 20 pounds’ happy dance. It was taken just after I’d gotten home from flamenco class – thus the attire. Unfortunately it’s a terrible photo: grainy and out of focus. The only reason I’m posting it is because I felt I should keep a record of my initial weight loss goal. I think I’ll lose about five more pounds (remember the blue dress) and then that will be it.

My camera really is on its last legs. Time to watch for a good sale.


Last night Joe and I went out to celebrate the Chinese New Year. Typically dragonI don’t enjoy eating Chinese food in Whitehorse because I haven’t been able to find anything that comes even remotely close to the amazing food my sister-in-law used to make. But actually, last night’s meal was quite good. In addition to the usual menu items there were various types of dumplings, some special seafood dishes, and of course B-B-Q duck. I didn’t see many of these traditional foods though.

We ran into one of Joe’s students at the restaurant. She was with her two little ones so Joe gave them both some lucky money. It’s something I used to do for my nephews, but now that they’re grown up I have gotten out of the habit. I do miss being in a big city like Vancouver or Toronto at this time of year, where Chinese New Year is celebrated with great ‘show’.

As for New Year’s superstitions, I find it interesting that many of these are ones that I practice myself in preparation for January 1st.

Happy New Year – Kung Hei Fat Choi – to my Chinese friends and relatives, and may the Year of the Ox be good to us all.

Beautiful heather!

Beautiful heather!

More heather

More heather

Dinner is served. This photo was taken through the steam coming from a pot on the stove, which explains its 'smoke' appearance.

Dinner is served. This photo was taken through the steam coming from a pot on the stove, which explains its 'smoky' appearance.

One of several toasts, each one of course followed by a swig of golden dew (scotch).

One of several toasts, each one of course followed by a 'cup of friendship' aka whisky.

the entertainment. There was piping...

Next, the entertainment. There was piping...





and pickin'.

and pickin'.

Unfortunately my camera is on its last legs and a lot of the other photos didn’t turn out (sorry, no photo of me doing the Address to the Haggis). All in all though, I think everyone had a good time. Here’s one last shot…of McJamie.


Iris was interviewed by CBC Radio today about the strike at York, and the fact that she’s been away from classes for 11 weeks now. Later in the program, they talked to two other Yukon students, who are also in York’s dance program.

All three of these young women have pretty much given up on their year and on York.  They are all questioning what they should do now.

Iris has applied to a number of schools in the Vancouver area for the fall, both in dance and in criminology, and she’s planning to look for work in Toronto in the meantime.  No matter what, I don’t think she’ll go back to York for Term Two. They’re talking about extending that term into the summer, but if she has to go to school in the summer she’s lost all opportunity to work and earn money for the fall. It all seems so unfair.

As a part-time faculty member, my brother is one of those on strike. However he doesn’t agree at all with the stance taken by the union and particularly by the the teaching assistants. It’s a real mess all round.

Yikes! Both work and home life have been out of control busy this last week or so. A work trip, Jamie’s year end performance at school, getting ready for our annual Robbie Burns supper, etc. etc. I keep telling myself, “Just breathe Janet, just breathe.” Hopefully after Saturday life will slow down a bit and I can get back to posting more regularly. In the meantime, thanks for your patience.

Postings worth reading or watching: here and here .

A performance worth attending: Frankenstein. This was absolutely breath-taking. The last show is tonight…don’t miss it!

A moment of amazement: waking up this morning to the sound of water dripping from the roof…it’s mid-January in the Canadian North and it’s +3 degrees Celsius.

A moment of happiness: finding out that my youngest son, who has always struggled in school, is going to have a mark of close to 90 percent in socials this term, and going out for lunch with him to celebrate.

And finally, a photo that will make you smile from this website.


I am a morning person, and my normal practice is to get up around 5 a.m. to do some yoga. However because of putting in some long hours at work lately, I am more bagged than usual. So this morning went something like this:

5:13 a.m.: <opening my eyes and looking at the clock>. I just need two more minutes.

5:16 a.m.: It’s so nice and warm in here…I’ll get up in a minute.

5:22 a.m.: I don’t need to do a full hour of yoga this morning. Besides, I’m sore from last night’s dance class.

5:27 a.m.: I’ve got so much work to do today. I wish things would slow down. Well, I’ll just take another minute to relax. I’ll get up at 5:30 for sure.

<Drifted off to sleep>


I was up and into my yoga room in about ten seconds flat. How’s that for motivation?

Back in the early ’80s, Joe bought me a blue dress. It was designed and sewn by a seamstress in Ontario and in my mind it was (still is) gorgeous: French Chantilly lace, simple lines, and in my favourite colour. You can see it here, in this photo taken about 25 years ago at my brother-in-law’s wedding (yes, the picture screams 1980s, but I think the dress itself has withstood the test of time). 


In spite of the fact that I haven’t fit into that dress in many years, I’ve never been able to let it go. So last night, just on a whim, I pulled it out and tried it on.

No, it didn’t fit as it should…it’s still too tight. But just the fact that I could actually get it over my hips is no small feat. So here’s my new goal: I want to be able to wear that dress at my 50th birthday party in April. I might be aiming a little high, but I think I can do it. Wish me luck.

It’s no secret that I mind the cold. Lately I’ve taken to wearing multiple layers indoors (as I sit here writing this in the middle of the night – insomnia – I am wearing fleece pjs, a fleece jacket, I have a blanket wrapped around me and I’m wearing a toque). Hot baths have become my salvation and when I’m not in a bath I’m washing dishes just so I can put my hands in hot water!

So you can imagine my interest in this article from No Impact Man. How clever! Still don’t think I’d do well without some additional home heating though.

With the cold weather we have been experiencing lately, we have been rather remiss in keeping the snow clearing under control. Last night it warmed up somewhat, and with it came new snow. So there was no putting it off any longer. Remember this from a December posting?


Well this morning, it looked like this:


Not that I’m getting an feathered visitors at this time of year, but if I were they wouldn’t be able to find the food if their lives depended on it!  A quick cleaning solved that problem. But next there are the steps leading up to our upper deck. They look more like a slalom run at the moment. That job I think I’ll save for Jamie.


I had the strangest dream last night…I don’t even know if you could call it a dream. I saw a series of black and white photos flash before my eyes – all of which were pictures of women in prison. Now why would I dream that?? And then today, I found this.  I think these images are incredible!

The deep freeze temperatures continue here. My poor car battery gave up the ghost and has now been replaced by a new one, along with a battery blanket. Like that old battery, I don’t do well any time the temperatures drop below minus 30. However I’m trying to think positive and look towards the warm weather holiday we’re planning to take over March Break.

Iris and Alan have both gone back to (relatively) warmer climes, and I keep hoping the strike at York University will end soon. Already Iris is on the brink of losing her term. At least they’re negotiating again and there’s an offer on the table, so we’ll see what  happens.

On the good news front, and in spite of all the goodies I scarfed down over Christmas, I have lost a couple more pounds. Fifteen down, five more to go.

Each year, my friend Lucca and I follow a tradition of exchanging tiny gifts that go in 12 tiny booties, one to be opened on each of the 12 Days of Christmas until Old Christmas Day (Jan. 6th). My gift to her this time is a jigsaw puzzle of herself…each day she opens a few pieces of the puzzle. I did the same for my friend Ted.


Lucca’s gift to me, as far as I’ve been able to piece together so far, is a set of prayer beads, along with a wealth of information about prayer in its many forms. She knows full well that while I’m not a religious person per se, I do believe strongly in the power and benefits of prayer. So I thought it fitting today to post a Sanskrit prayer that, for years, was taped to my work computer where I would see it every day.

Look to this day for it is life,
the very best of life;
in its brief course lie
all the realities and truth of existence;
the joy of growth…
the splendor of action…
the glory of power…
for yesterday is a memory,
and tomorrow is but a vision;
and today well lived
makes every yesterday
a memory of happiness,
and every tomorrow a vision of hope:
look well, therefore, to this day.

It would do me well to remember this today, as we continue a cold snap here in the Yukon that is making me one very cranky gal!

For much of my life, I have professed that New Year’s Eve has no real meaning for me. I haven’t been one to make New Year’s resolutions and New Year’s Eve parties leave me feeling rather empty. But it would be untruthful to say that I don’t mark this day, because – as I was reminded yesterday – I mark it in all kinds of ways. For starters, any debts I owe must be paid off before midnight on New Year’s Eve. Yesterday, even though a plumbing business was closed, I tracked down one of the owners and met her so that I could pay an over-due bill.

I also must return anything I’ve borrowed (apart from the library books and movies that aren’t yet due back). I was rather agitated to discover last night that I still have in my possession two movies that neighbours loaned me months ago. I will return those today and hope I haven’t jinxed myself and any good fortune that was earmarked for me in 2009.

AND, I must have a clean kitchen; especially a clean kitchen floor. A cursary swipe with a mop won’t do the trick either…I’m talking about a ‘down on my hands and knees’ scrubbing session. If you’d dropped by at about 8 o’clock last night that’s what you would have found me doing. That was AFTER I made perogies from scratch. For some reason dinner had to be perogies, even though I think I’ve only made them once before in my whole life. It sounds strange, but I felt driven by some force outside myself to make those dumplings.

I did take some time out of my domestic duties to watch a movie with Joe (the ever so creepy No Country for Old Men) and to finish reading a book, but all in all it was my superstitions/rituals that saw 2008 out the door.


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January 2009
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