If you like affection, one in three squirrels makes an excellent companion. – Bernhardt GoetzHappy Wednesday!
Last Wednesday, I enlisted the help of some fabulous ladies to sample and review 4 different mint-based teas from David’s. I love mint – mint and chocolate especially – but mint…well, mint doesn’t like me. Fortunately, these 7 women do!
Did you know…Peppermint stimulates passion and creativity. It’s good for upset tummies and soothes sore throats.
All of these teas are herbal, and therefore, caffeine-free. I asked the ladies to sample each tea and provide their description of it. Then I asked them to rate them from least favourite to favourite.
#4 Organic Serenity Now. It currants, rosehips, apple, lavender, spearmint, hibiscus, blueberries, strawberries, quince, and rose petals. Lavender is calming and spearmint is rejuvenating.
Ranking: 4/7 placed this in #4 place, while the remaining 3/7 placed it in #3.
Comments: From “plain”, “flavourless” and “no mint” to “very bitter, no fragrance”. Someone commented that it was “minty, hint of fruitiness, mild overall” as another noted “very floral but not minty”.
#3 Organic Peppermint Amour. The only ingredient is peppermint leaves. This tea is Fair Trade.
Ranking: This received one each for spots #1 and #2. 3/7 ranked this #3, leaving 2/7 placing it #4.
Comments: It had a nice golden colour, but the majority of comments related to an aftertaste. Some liked it; others found it “dry”, “bitter”, and “sour”. Some found it very minty while others found no mint flavour. I noticed that the leaves expand significantly.
#2 Organic Mother’s Little Helper. This contains peppermint, lemongrass, hibiscus, rosehips, chamomile, valerian root, cornflowers, and peppermint flavouring. Valerian root is known to relax nervous tension and induce feelings of sleepiness.
Ranking: 2/7 in #1; 3/7 in #2; 2/7 in #3.
Comments: This tea was “similar to Sleepy Time Tea, with equal parts mint and chamomile” and someone else noted that the “lemon grass comes through”. While an aftertaste was noted, most of the comments were “good”, “very nice flavour”, and “mild peppermint”. One comment still didn’t find it “minty”.
DRUM ROLL PLEASE…
#1 Organic Cold 911: This particular tea contains peppermint, apple, eucalyptus, juniper berries, and natural orange and peppermint oils. Eucalyptus can help relieve sore throats, sinusitis, and bronchitis.
Ranking: 4/7 placed this as #1, with 3/7 placing it as #2.
Comments: The words “good” and “best” were used to describe this tea. It has a “strong mint flavour but rounded, with little to no aftertaste”. It was also described as “smooth, containing a light fragrance and taste, while another described it as “strong peppermint flavour which reminds me of spearmint gum”. I noticed that it had a vibrant, bright yellow colour, which was very inviting!
Many thanks to the lovely ladies who took time to sample and provide their feedback.
A cup of tea warms the soul like a good friend.
Perseverance is the courage to ignore the obvious wisdom of turning back…
…and perhaps the courage to not worrying about looking like an idiot doing it!
My parents really enjoy their bird feeder, just outside the kitchen window over the sink. (that last detail is important because I once caught my Mom gazing dreamily at the feeder…with a carton of ice-cream discreetly hidden in the sink. Sorry Mom. In her defence, she was hiding it from my kid, who didn’t need more ice cream…) 🙂
I’m pretty sure my Dad snapped this one quick, right before my mother stormed out the side door with a broom. If it was morning, she might still be in her jammies. Just like the bat story, I really wish I could draw!
Please welcome a Guest post from my very own Little Guy!
This summer, I took Little Guy to an art gallery to (hopefully) see some paintings by Tom Thomson because Little Guy had written 2 school papers on the artist and his contributions to Canada’s identity through art. Not only did we see an exhibit of Tom Thomson, we also saw Lawren Harris (Group of Seven) and the Group of Seven Guitar Project. Unbeknownst to us, the gallery also owns Tom Thomson’s cabin. I think it was the highlight of Little Guy’s trip!
* * *
Thomas John Thomson, or Tom Thomson, was an important Canadian artist. Tom inspired many, including a number of those in the famous Group of Seven, who were his friends. Tom, because of his unique Canadian landscapes, is considered a significant person to Canada because he shaped the way people thought about Canada through his art.
The Life of Tom Thomson
Tom Thomson was born in Claremont, Ontario on August 5, 1877 from Scottish-Canadian stock. He Tom died a mysterious death at age. Tom died a mysterious death at age 39, in Algonquin Provincial Park, Ontario on July 8, 1917.
Tom’s parents were Margaret Matheson and John Thomson. Tom’s family moved to Leith two months after he was born, a place near Owen Sound. Tom was the sixth of ten children in his family and grew up on Rose Hill farm.
Tom liked to draw and fish, and he grew up with an appreciation for music and literature. Tom’s father was a naturalist. Tom went to school locally with his nine other siblings.
In 1899, Tom tried to enlist in the army to fight in the Boer War in Africa, but he was turned away, so he moved to Seattle to study at the Acme Business College, which his brother co-owned. After college, he worked as a graphic designer, then he moved to Toronto to work as an engraver in a big company, but he hated being indoors. Then. he got a job as a designer at the Grip Limited. He made friends there and they often spent Sundays sketching together in the country. They taught him more about mixing oil paints and drawing landscapes using lines. He also took courses at what is now the Ontario College of Art and Design in Toronto.
Dr. James McCallum loved the outdoors and was a landscape art collector. He learned about Tom from Lawren Harris and James MacDonald. He offered to pay Thomson’s expenses for a year which allowed Thomson to quit his job and become a professional painter. Dr McCallum also introduced Tom to A.Y. Jackson.
In 1912, Tom went camping and canoeing at Algonquin Park went with some friends, a suggestion from his friend, Tom McLean. Tom fell in love with the wilderness in Canoe Lake. They paddled from Canoe Lake to Tea Lake and camped near a dam where the logs ran through.
By 1913, Tom’s friends, including Lawren Harris, James MacDonald, Arthur Lismer, and A.Y. Jackson (part of Group of 7), were discussing how to promote national art for Canada. Canada had become a new nation in 1867 and the artists wanted to celebrate the country’s natural features and grow pride in Canada.
Tom died on in Algonquin Provincial Park, Ontario on July 8, 1917. By this time, he was living there 3 seasons of the year; he spent winters in Toronto. Tom had gone out fishing and his empty canoe was discovered the next day. His body was found a few days later. He was buried in the Canoe Lake cemetery, but the cause of his death remains a mystery. Some believed he was murdered, while others believe he drowned. His family had his body exhumed and buried in Leith, but in 1956 some men dug up a body in Tom Thomson’s grave. Some believe his body was never sent to Leith. The skull was last examined by some forensic experts in 2010 and they believe that it does belong to Tom Thomson, but they can’t do any more tests unless the family agrees. The mystery of his death helped him remain popular as an artist. Even the group Tragically Hip have written a song about Tom’s fiancee, Winnifred Trainor.
Tom developed a practice for making major paintings, and used it. Once, on his third trip, Tom took a camera but he quickly ran out of film. Tom usually sketched the landscape, and would paint it later when he had more time and supplies. He used bold colours and often used the perspective of sitting in a canoe.
Part of Tom’s style of art, was mixing colours to create new colours, and certain brush strokes too. Tom’s style of art made his artwork very recognizable. Tom’s art was also often non-traditional and bold, painting very unique scenes from Canada. He developed his own unique style that quickly became well recognized. Some of his famous paintings are The West Wind (1917) (shown left) and Jack Pine (1916-1917) (shown right).
It was shortly after his death, that his friends joined together to become the famous Group of Seven. They focused on showing Canada’s rugged northern wilderness. Currently in 2017, there are eleven people inside of The Group of Seven. A public school ( in Ontario ) and an art museum, ( in Owen Sound, ) were named after Tom Thomson in memory of him.
Take everything as it comes; the wave passes, deal with the next one. – Tom Thomson
Tom succeeded in becoming a Canadian legend for his art style. His artwork has inspired many artists. In 1990, a group of artists created postage to honour Tom Thomson. Tom’s friends in the Group of Seven, were, and still are, the most famous Canadian artist group. Tom accomplished in helping to create the group of seven. Tom is an important Canadian artist, because of his creativity, and influence on how others now see Canada.
Painting photo credit: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tom_Thomson
Show Us Your Cans (Part 1) – Click Here!
January 28: The soup elves were busy again
The soup can total for the [awesome-Engineering -people] group. as of this morning (7:00 a.m.). is 276 cans of soup! That is an increase of 64 cans of soup from Friday morning.
Thank you for all the anonymous soup donations that appear at my desk. Thank you to Dennis for donating 10 cans of soup. Thank you to Safi and Ron for each donating 24 cans of soup. Last Friday someone donating cans of soup and I spoke to the person, but I am suffering from old timer’s disease and forgot who I was speaking with. To the Friday morning soup can donator, thank you!
We now only need 1901 more cans to beat the world record for the most amount of (full) soups cans collected for a group of 25 people within a 14 day period. Speaking of 1902, the year 1901 had its ups and downs, but wasn’t all it was cracked up to be:
- Australia joined at federation to become the Commonwealth of Australia.
- Winnipeg Victorias sweep Montreal Shamrocks in 2 for Stanley Cup (last year Toronto Maple leafs made the Stanley Cup playoffs)
- Queen Victoria dies
- Horse racing is banned in San Francisco
- New York becomes first state to require auto licence plates ($1 fee)
- The US Stock market crashes (won’t be the last time)
- The first Nobel Prize ceremony is held in Stockholm on the fifth anniversary of Alfred Nobel’s death.
- A bunch of other stuff happened, but I’ve got to get some work done.
We only have three more shopping days till the big contest. Any amount of full soup cans are welcome. You don’t need to bring in a whole case. With your contributions, we (awesome- Engineering) are well on our way to crushing the other groups!
Keep up the good work!
The soup can total for the [looks-like-we’re-going-to-win-awesome-engineering-group] as of this morning (7:00 a.m.). is 325 cans of soup! That is an increase of 49 cans of soup from Monday morning.
Thank you for all the anonymous soup donations that appear at my desk. Thank you to Dennis for donating another 12 cans of soup (his individual total is 30 cans). Thank you to Ron for donating another 24 cans of soup (he is now tied with Simona and Turab for donating the most cans of soup at 48 cans each). Thank you to Hai Yen for bringing in another 14 cans of soup, (both her own donation plus others who donated in her group, which brings her total up to 35 cans).
We now only need 1852 more cans to beat the world record for the most amount of (full) soups cans collected for a group of 25 people within a 14 day period. Did you know that in the year 1852:
- The first public men’s and women’s toilets open in Britain
- Netherlands begins issuing postage stamps
- Studebaker Brothers wagon company, precursor of the automobile manufacturer, is established
- Fire destroys 1,100 construction sites in Montreal, but no one dies
- the first Hawaiian cavalry is organized
- Emma Snodgrass is arrested in Boston for wearing pants?
Wow, only two more days and you will finally stop getting these annoying e-mails! Any amount of full soup cans are welcome. Thanks to those who have already contributed, I strongly believe we [coolest-engineering-group-ever] are crushing the other groups! This Thursday will tell.
Keep up the good work!
January 30: Only one more day left. Tomorrow morning is the last day to bring in a can of soup for the soup mountain challenge.
The soup can total for the [awesome-Engineering-people]. as of this morning (7:00 a.m.). is 347 cans of soup! That is an increase of 22 cans of soup from Tuesday morning.
As of this morning, the top individual donations (Hai Yen’s includes others and not just her own contributions) are:
I don’t think we will make the world record for the most amount of (full) soups cans collected for a group of 25 people within a 14 day period as we need to bring in another 1830 cans by tomorrow morning. However, we have collected a substantial amount of full soup cans. Thank you to all our contributors. Your donations will make a difference.
Speaking of 1830, did you know:
- The first US railroad station opens in the US (Baltimore)
- First railroad time table published in the newspaper (Baltimore American)
- The first train delay takes place due to cows on the track
- First person run over by a train is William Huskisson (England)
- “Mary Had a Little Lamb” is published and Mary’s lamb takes its first trip on a train
- Horse beats first US built locomotive (near Baltimore) and the first horse run over by locomotive (near Baltimore)
- Great Britain, Prussia, France, Austria and Russia recognize Belgium. It had been wearing a fake nose and moustache.
- Revolution breaks out in Paris, opposing laws by Charles X
January 31: C-Day (Campbell’s soup day)
The soup can total for the [brainiac-engineering] group as of this morning (7:00 a.m.). is 395 cans of soup! That is an increase of 48 cans of soup from Wednesday morning, and still counting.
It is still early and I have heard that there will be more cans of soup to be brought in this morning. I will be taking a group picture with our mountain of soup at 9:30 this morning. Please meet at the area between seat A50 and A51 for the picture.
Well that isn’t the end of the story. When we took our photo, we had 412 cans of soup. This would have won the competition by 2 cans of soup. However, Richard and Shivi each brought in over 120 cans of soup. The final total for the [winningest-engineering-team-in-history] was 735 cans of soup which crushed the other teams like yesterday’s soup can.
And then came the congratulatory emails:
Congratulations on leading our team to the prize finish. It is obvious to me that you are a great motivator and should move into management in the near future. You have already mastered the art of writing e-mails with a lot of useless information that nobody really wants to read.
The moral of the story: Even a bunch of Type A personalities can have fun and help out the local community in the process. And, oh yeah, don’t mess with us.
We would like to issue the following challenge to your teams but only if you have what it takes. Our team will be recognizing International Soup Month by creating a mountain of Soup cans to donate to a local food bank. The challenge is simple largest donation wins the prize. The prize of course “a can of soup.”
Jeff, Manager [group name removed to protect the instigators]
This is the challenge that went out from one of our engineering teams to all of the others in engineering. That’s like waving a red flag in front of a bull. Whenever a bunch of Type A personalities gets involved in a competition, somebody is going to get hurt! The game is afoot.
January 21: Gord was the only one who had brought any soup cans in.
The soup can total for the [incredibly good looking team name removed] group as of this morning (7:00 a.m.) is 45 cans of soup!
We only need 2132 more cans to beat the world record for the most amount of (full) soups cans collected for a group of 25 people within a 14 day period.
We may be a small group, but we have a lot of heart! Hope you can help with the soup can collection!
We have been approached by the [name removed to protect the not-so-innocent] team to see if we would like to join forces with them in collecting enough cans of soup to beat Jeff’s team in the total number of soup cans collected. I believe they got wind of how many cans of soup we have collected so far and feel threatened.
What I want to ask the group is:
Do you want to join the [not-so-innocent] team?
Do you want to crush the [less-innocent-by-the-second] group and the [nameless instigators] all by ourselves?
So far I have one vote for crush the other teams all by ourselves.
What is your opinion?
I suggested to the DMM team this morning that we could also wait until close to the end of the competition to see how well we are doing and then decide to join forces if it looks like we will be crushed as opposed to doing the crushing.
Now I don’t want to give the impression that we’re all self-centred, ego-maniacal genius, rocket science types. But you can see that this isn’t going to end well. Somebody gonna get a hurt real bad.
January 22: Only one can of soup came in.
January 24: The soup can total for the [awesome-Engineering-people]. as of this morning (7:00 a.m.). is 80 cans of soup!
We now only need 2097 more cans to beat the world record for the most amount of (full) soups cans collected for a group of 25 people within a 14 day period. I have done a count of the [not-so-innocent] group number of cans and they have 69 cans of soup, provided they are not hiding any cans.
Keep up the good work!
By now, intrigue and espionage was making its way into our friendly contest to see who could raise the most soup cans for donation to the local food bank.
January 25: The soup can total for the [awesome-Engineering-people] group as of this morning (7:00 a.m.) is 212 cans of soup!
This new total is thanks to a soup run made by Simona and Turab. We now have 12 cases or 12 soup cans. A case of soup was donated by Ed, Graham, Len and Bruno. Four cases of soup were donated by Simona and Turab. Both Simona and Turab are tied for the individual soup can leaders with 48 cans of soup. The previous leader was moi, with 45 cans of soup.
We now only need 1965 more cans to beat the world record for the most amount of (full) soups cans collected for a group of 25 people within a 14 day period. I am told that 1965 was a very good year. I was not born yet, but I hear it was nice. That was the year that Canada adopted the maple leaf as our national flag symbol, the St Louis Arch is completed, cigarette advertising is banned on UK television, In the US the average cost of a new house is $13,600.00. Average income per year is $6,450.00. a US gallon (not litre) of gas is 31 cents, a new car is $2,650.00. A loaf of bread is 21 cents and the average rent per month is $118.00.
Any amount of full soup cans are welcome. You don’t need to bring in a whole case. With your contributions, we [awesome-Engineering-people] will crush the other groups!
I have no idea how many cans of soup the [name removed to protect the not-so-innocent] group has, since they are hiding some of their cans, but I am pretty sure we are well ahead of their total. Emma saw the cans on the desk beside me and asking if they can join our group and not the other way around.
Keep up the good work!
There was less than one week to go!
I thought this was beautifully written and wanted to share it.
I don’t want to write much on all this school shooting stuff, because it’s grown into a topic with a million facets; from people debating the merit of mental health funding over gun control laws, to people insulting the media for sensationalising criminals. My opinions aren’t important enough to mill around with all of that, but there is something that has occurred to me, as incorrect or presumptive as it may be.
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On December 6, 1989, the evening news reported a mass shooting at the École Polytechnique de Montréal. A 25 year old man had entered the school in the afternoon, forced a classroom of students to separate into groups of male and female, and shot the women, before moving through the building, targeting any woman he saw. He finally committed suicide. His suicide note blamed feminists for ruining his life…14 female students died that day.
I was 16 and expecting my first baby. Violence against women hadn’t really entered my world before. I knew about it, but now it was at the forefront of my mind. I struggled to conceive how anyone could commit such an act, let alone target his victims based on gender. Little did I know that in a few years, I would learn more about it from the survivors themselves.
As part of the practical experience portion of my Child & Youth Worker training in College, I worked at an emergency shelter for victims of domestic violence. In particular, I worked with the child witnesses to wife assault.
After college, when I couldn’t find a job in my field thanks to government cutbacks and the amalgamation of services in the area, I took on a volunteer position with the Sexual Assault Crisis Hotline. Every shift was stressful because you didn’t know who was calling at the other end of that line. Was it someone in crisis, or someone just needing to talk? The phone line for the centre was linked to my home phone, so I didn’t have any support if the caller was, for example, suicidal. I heard stories from women (and men) who had survived abuse, who had escaped from abuse, or who were still in abusive relationships. They were from every walk of life because abuse doesn’t choose sides. Some of these individuals showed incredible strength, while other struggled to move beyond their experiences. Many of their stories still break my heart.
Little Guy came home last Spring and shared a story with me that another boy in his class, shared during Show and Tell Time. It was a story of domestic violence – rather detailed. That broke my heart too.
Sadly, not much has changed since December 6, 1989. While we speak more freely about abuse, while it may be reported more often by younger individuals (proof that education does have some impact), there are still far too many suffering depravity at the hands of those they most love. Breaking the cycle of domestic violence is a crime that affects us all. We need to remember – and we need to speak out!
“Creative people as those who take bits of information from stores of memories, knowledge, and skills, or the environment around them, and combine them in novel ways”. – Shelly Carson, psychology lecturer and researcher at Harvard University.
Most of us don’t classify ourselves as creative, and the older we get, the more likely we’ll underestimate our creative abilities (…or is it that we’re more likely to give up the naïve notion that we’ll leave our mark on the world?). But author Jonah Lehrer says, “It’s a myth that creativity is a rare gift possessed by a lucky few. It’s a universal trait. We all have it, and that means we can all get better at it”. Yeah, there’s hope!
Both hemispheres of the brain are involved in the creative process: The right hemisphere is interactive and emotional, while the left hemisphere is orderly and detail-oriented. Scientists can now pinpoint when someone has a “light-bulb” moment by a burst of activity in both hemispheres. While some of us are wired to have original ideas, Carson says “we all need to recognize our creative abilities and exercise them…through practice and learning…The more stuff floating around in your cognitive workspace, the bigger repertoire of things your brain has to combine in original ways”.
But how to do it? First, gather information and explore the world around you. Push your boundaries and dare to be a bit fearless (I started this blog – does that count?)…
Once you have stocked up on information, relax (I like this idea) Our brains can only sift through so much information if you are too focused on an idea, or too plugged into external sources, like the internet. It’s tempting to throw out an idea before we have had time to fully process it. Ideas flow better when we don’t feel judged. Keep paper handy because when our brain is relaxed, inspiration comes and goes quickly. Does that mean all those scraps of paper with notes littering my house can actually help me organize, understand, and build on my ideas? Cool!
Finally, find your own creative process. Some of us work best after an aerobic workout (not me), first thing in the morning (not me), or right before bed. Hmm… I’m tired after all this research and writing…so I think I’ll take the “right before bed” suggestion and change it to “take a nap first”. Maybe I’ll wake up and feel creative…
My friend (of many years) posted this on Facebook yesterday, and I thought it was hilarious. I could relate on SO many levels. I asked her I could repost and she said “yes”, so for the first time, I have a “guest blogger”! Enjoy!
FORTUNATELY, I had a nice evening at 4Worship, then to Timmy’s with my friend.
UNFORTUNATELY, I had a Cafe Mocha which made me not-so sleepy.
FORTUNATELY, there were people interested in things I have posted online for sale.
UNFORTUNATELY, I got carried away with posting more things and responding to messages till 1am.
FORTUNATELY, my bed felt so good when I laid down.
UNFORTUNATELY, A. crawled into my bed around3:30a.m.
FORTUNATELY, I was able to doze off again.
UNFORTUNATELY, there was a thunder storm that woke E. up.
FORTUNATELY, I was able to settle her by lying in her bed for a bit.
UNFORTUNATELY, sharing a single bed with no pillow is not so comfy!
FORTUNATELY, when A. had to pee, he got out of my bed.
UNFORTUNATELY, he missed the toilet, so when I went to pee I stepped in a puddle.
FORTUNATELY, I found a towel to clean it up quickly.
UNFORTUNATELY, E. still wasn’t sleeping.
FORTUNATELY, after staying for a little while longer, she agreed to go back to sleep on her own.
UNFORTUNATELY, A. was back in my bed.
FORTUNATELY, I was able to convince him to go back to his own bed at 5a.m.
UNFORTUNATELY, the birds were singing their hearts out by this time.
FORTUNATELY, I was able to get back to sleep.
UNFORTUNATELY, I hit the snooze button too many times.
FORTUNATELY, the kids were all up by the time I pried my eyes open.
UNFORTUNATELY, it was then 7:45 (school bell rings at 8:35).
FORTUNATELY, all three kids cooperated and got dressed while I made their breakie.
UNFORTUNATELY, A. spilled cereal and milk in the hallway (what was he doing in the hallway with his cereal bowl on his head anyway?)
FORTUNATELY, we made it to school when the second bell rang.
UNFORTUNATELY, A. had no hat.
FORTUNATELY, I have no kids for a few hours.
UNFORTUNATELY, there’s a mountain of dishes and a long to-do list.
I’M GOING BACK TO BED!!!