Perfect Cup of Coffee

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Flavoured Coffee: 

Do as instructed below but leave out the cinnamon and put the pinch of salt in after you put in and evenly distribute your coffee

For Non Flavoured Coffee:

Grab the mug you are going to use and fill with water, the amount of coffee you plan to drink (be sure to leave room for sugar/cream or whatever you may take in your coffee), then fill the coffee maker

Put in the filter, add a pinch of salt

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Add your scoop of coffee

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Push down so it’s evenly distributed in the filter. then add a pinch of cinnamon

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It’s time to turn it on and start brewin’

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Add the desired amount of sugar or sweetener to your mug, I use about a tablespoon and a bit of brown sugar

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Now pour your fresh brewed coffee

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Add your desired amount of cream, I use half and half

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Stir well

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Now this ladies and gents is a REAL “I need coffee stat” selfie!

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I get the perfect cup every time. Well almost.. Some times there’s too much cinnamon but that’s okay, it doesn’t ruin the whole cup. My flavoured coffee of choice lately has been Van Houtte Irish Cream and my regular has been Nabob Organic Reserve.

 

As Long As It’s Edible

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Instagram and Pinterest are two of the biggest forms of social media when it comes to “pretty” edible delights. But what about those of us who are average ? Yes we can make or attempt to make a lot of those recipes but they don’t usually turn out as “pretty.”

So what’s wrong with that? Nothing I say! As long as it’s edible, preferably good tasting, it doesn’t have to look professional.

Here are a few of my creations. *Please note, I don’t tend to specifically measure my ingredients so be sure to gage on your own accord.

First is my take on a healthy cookie.

Banana Chocolate Walnut Cookie:

Preheat oven at 350 degrees F

Ingredients:

  • Bananas
  • peanut butter chocolate protein powder
  • quick oats
  • chopped walnuts
  • dark chocolate melting wafers
  • olive oil

Mash bananas well. Then add the protein powder and stir thoroughly.  Add the oats and walnuts and mix. Add a touch of olive oil (so it won’t stick)

Put parchment paper on a cookie sheet. Spoon out the mixture onto the sheet. Mine made a full batch of 12, then I had enough for about 7 more cookies. Flatten out each cookie blob with one dark chocolate wafer in the middle. Bake for about 10-15 min. I check every 5 min or so just to make sure they aren’t burnt. You can always bake a little longer.

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Next recipe is a little more sweet but who says you can’t indulge right?

I call it “Maple Pretzel Blob”   Unless someone can let me know a better name ??

Ingredients:

  • Maple marshmallows
  • mini pretzel twists
  • a touch of margarine or  butter
  • walnuts
  • small handful of dark chocolate wafers

In a bowl, maple marshmallows and touch of margarine or butter. Melt in microwave. Be wary it can melt over the bowl and be a bit of a sticky mess. Mine was manageable though. Mix as best you can once melted. Add the pretzels, walnuts and wafers and stir. Pour mix into a parchment paper lined pan. Put into the fridge to set.

(told you it looks like a blob! but a tasty blob!)

Next is homemade chips!

Spicy Tortilla Chips:

Preheat oven to  350 degrees F.

Line parchment paper on a cookie sheet.

Ingredients:

  • olive oil
  • tortillas cut into pieces
  • spices (any that you want to use)

In a bowl add spices to olive oil and stir. Drench or coat lightly the tortilla pieces and place on the cookie sheet. Bake until desired crispness.

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For tasty homemade nachos I shredded some cheese 0006810089386over these chips and melted in the microwave.

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See I’m not a professional by any means but I can make tasty things, even if they don’t look “pretty!” How about you?

Small Town Comicon for a Cause!

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Nanaimo, on Vancouver Island, in British Columbia, Canada isn’t known for many things, aside from the Nanaimo Bar desert, the international Bathtub Races, Diana Krall etc.. What should be added to that list is a newly popular, ever-growing FREE Curious Comicon!

May 6, 2017 was their 3rd year, and biggest turnout so far! Curious Comicon takes over the entirety of Country Club Centre, helping make it a free event, as well as help the businesses in the shopping centre, not to mention the home of Curious Comics Nanaimo, who put on the event.

Curious Comics is Vancouver Island’s premier comic book shop with three locations in Victoria, Langford and Nanaimo.

Web: Curious Comics

The purpose of Curious Comicon is to make Free Comic Book Day a whole lot bigger, bring together some amazing local merchants, get kids and parents geeking out and the biggest goal, to help raise money for the Children’s Wish Foundation of Canada.

Children’s Wish grants wishes to children from ages 3-17  with life threatening illnesses. It’s the largest and only all Canadian wish granting charity.

This was my very first convention EVER! For it being small-scale in comparison to other cons, I was overwhelmed! It was great to see kids and parents dressing up together and sharing the love of imagination. My Free Comic Book Day haul:

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Yes, that’s a small bar of soap in the photo. I got a free sample from Quadra Island Soap, which had really cool Pokeball bath bombs which contain a little toy inside! (Didn’t have any cash or else I would have snagged one!) We we only allowed to choose three free comics, so I made my choice wisely. Vampirella, because I’m kind of vampire obsessed, Guardians of the Galaxy because duh the sequel is out in theatres ( it kicks ass by the way), and Zelda for the nostalgic( watched others play the game, never got to myself but always fascinated by it).

I attended this Comicon with two other companions. Here is what they thought of Curious Comicon:

Courtnay had this to say about her experience: ” I really wasn’t too sure what to expect from it because I’ve never been to a proper convention or anything close, really, but it was a lot of fun getting to geek out over all the fandom stuff around other people who got it and didn’t act like I was weird for loving or getting excited about things like that. I would definitely do it again in a heartbeat.”

It was super cool seeing kids as well as adults in cosplay. It’s a great sight, seeing parents encouraging their children to dress up, and vice versa. Already they have something in common that they can both be passionate and excited about, and it just warms my heart knowing that geeking out at these kinds of conventions are more and more becoming the common norm. It’s something I never saw much of growing up and I wish that had been happening more back in the day,” says Angela. 

When we were getting ready to leave, we seen a mom arrive, with a home-made costume, in which Angela got really excited. (in case anyone doesn’t know from the photo, this is Sailor Venus from the Sailor Moon Series)

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Here’s Angela’s Free Comic Book Haul:

Comics all 3

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Here is the link to the Nanaimo Bulletin’s piece, interviewing Mike Drummond of Curious Comics: Nanaimo Bulletin on Curious Comicon

I cannot wait until the next Curious Comicon, in which I hope we can make it another huge success!!

 

 

 

Petunia PuddleDuck

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I had the chance to ask Miranda Turner a few questions about her unique pets, including a very special duck named Petunia.

When did you decide you wanted a pet duck?

“It was sprung on us without warning. Back in 2010, Patrick [now husband] and I were volunteering at the World Parrot Refuge and had become very good friends with the owner, Wendy. On our weekly visit out, Wendy came over and asked us if we could help her with something. Some people had surrendered their parrot but only on the condition she also take in a duck that their dog had attacked. The poor thing only had one wing and could never be released into the wild. But due to strict wildlife regulations, it is ILLEGAL to have a wild duck, and she was afraid of word getting out about this duck. So we brought it home and named it Ducky. After a bit of research we found out ducks do best in pairs or groups and that’s where it all began.”

*Nanaimo does have bylaws in place regarding wildlife such as rabbits and ducks (poultry), with restrictions, such as limits as to how many of each you may own, and fines associated with breaking these laws. Check your area’s bylaws regarding ownership of wildlife before considering having them as pets.

What kind of animals do you have and how do they all get along?

“We currently have cats, dogs, 1 parrot, ducks and rabbits. My special needs cat doesn’t get along with most of our pets and other than that, pretty much everyone else does get along.”

Do you find it rewarding?

“I’m happy to rescue any animal that I can. Nearly all of our pets are a rescue in one way. The most unusual of the group is our dog, Cyrus, he came here to Vancouver Island from Kuwait(yes, the other side of the world). We were only supposed to foster him, but he got along so well with out other dog and all our pets that we decided to keep him. The only down side to having all these wonderful pets is it’s hard to go anywhere. Everyone has to be let out to run around during the day and then put away for safety at night, and it can be tricky herding ducks. The rabbits and parrot require a special diet, and then there is the constant cleaning up!”

What kind of adventures has Petunia been on?

We got her when she was about a week old. She was given up by her owner because she had Wry Neck Syndrome (torticollis) and would need extra care to hopefully cure it. And thankfully with some liquid Baby vitamins and some love she made a full recovery in 24 hours!! Petunia is what I call a 50/50 Imprint. She thinks she’s people and will follow me everywhere but she will gladly go spend the afternoon outside with the other ducks, doing ducky things.”-Miranda’s Facebook photo album of baby Petunia

“Petunia is a pretty spoiled Fid (fur/feather kid). She gets to go paddle boarding up at Westwood Lake as part of her therapy for her arthritis (she can barely walk but swims like a fish). She has been out to Alberta at least twice to visit family. As a baby she got to go to the Velodrome in Victoria to watch Patrick. She gets to go to the ocean to eat baby crabs and swim in the summer when it’s warmer out. Last year we checked off one of her bucket list items which was to ride a Ferris Wheel with West Coast Amusements when they came to Nanaimo. I just found a helicopter company in Campbell River that said they would let her come out for a helicopter ride, but until I get it in actual writing I won’t get my hopes up.”

Ferris Wheel Adventure

What kind of challenges do you have as a duck owner? and as an owner of many animals?

“The biggest challenge is finding a vet. I have about 5 different vets I have to use because not everyone deals with bunnies, or ducks, or is available when we need them. Although, lucky for us, we did manage to get a bit of training from our time at the World Parrot Refuge, myself growing up on a hobby farm, and Patrick’s first aid training, so some things we can deal with ourselves.”

Has anyone ever told you having a pet duck is crazy?

“No one has ever told me a duck shouldn’t be a pet. Most people are so surprised and think it’s great, especially when we are out at the lake and she follows along behind me or is asleep on the paddle board. I do get a few people who tell me when they were younger they had a pet duck or grew up on a duck farm and how much they miss having them around. I also get people telling me how tasty ducks are and that I should just eat her.

Having a pet duck or pet poultry has really evolved over the past few years. I am friends with Nettie, the owner of Party Fowl on Etsy. She makes custom duck diapers so your duck can roam around the house and there is no mess. I know Carla and Daniel, [who] recently became an internet sensation after accompanying Carla on a flight in the U.S. as her therapy pet.  Carla Fitzgerald Check her out, she’s a pretty awesome lady and Daniel is an amazing duck.”

What advice do you have for anyone who wants to have a pet duck?

“Pet ducks are awesome, just like dogs. But they require more attention and maintenance and it’s a lot harder to find a vet. If you think dog hair is annoying, wait until your house turns into a snow globe when they molt! Adopt don’t shop! There are hundreds of animals locally waiting to be adopted and YES that includes ducks! If you can’t adopt, volunteer at a local shelter, they always need support!”

Check out Petunia’s Facebook page: Petunia PuddleDuck

Check out Miranda and Petunia’s Etsy page: The PuddleDuck Store

Check them out on YouTube: Petunia PuddleDuck

 

 

I’ve Heard the Mermaids Singing

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Taken from, The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock by T. S. Eliot, I’ve Heard the Mermaids Singing is an independent Canadian film. It has ranked ninth in the Top 10 Canadian Films of All Time, by the Toronto International Film Festival, in 1993, with director Patricia Rozema being the first female director on that list.

Seeing a feminist approach and the artistic intentions, Canadian film critic, Thomas Waugh, describes Rozema as “the most prominent of English Canadian lesbian filmmakers.” Refusing to define her films as “distinctly feminist,” in an interview in 1991, Rozema insists that “gender is a category that does not interest her.” But in 1993, Rozema acknowledges the feminism in her films, saying, … “it’s in their foundation.”

The script explores two things which are very admirable of this film; the imagination of the viewer through fantasy which intertwines with the curiosity of Polly’s sexuality.

Through the art of staging, director Patricia Rozema has created a layered world co-existing through the eyes of Polly Vandersma; the simplicity of the art gallery and Polly’s bachelorette apartment compliments Polly’s fantasies and images through her photographs; each is strategically placed to enlighten and inform the viewer of what is going on around Polly and what is inside her head.

Through cinematography we not only see through Rozema’s camera lens, we see through Polly’s; not only to watch her take photographs but be her taking the photographs as we become aware of the surroundings in which Polly finds interesting and artistic.

Sheila McCarthy’s performance not only captivates the viewer but also compliments the film as a period piece (initial release Sept 11, 1987); her on screen chemistry with her co-star Paule Baillargeon (Gabrielle, museum curator) dares to tease the viewer into believing they may end up as lovers.

The special effects of this film are incredibly simple, delving into the minds of the viewer it lets them use their imaginations; Gabrielle’s painting, shown as white light, leaves the viewer puzzled at first glance but lets them decide for themselves to picture what they wish the painting to be.

The repetition and on and off screen of Leo Delibes’s “The Flower Duet” helps to set the tone and mood of the film; it guides the audience in and out of Polly’s fantasies and helps to penetrate the minds of the viewer.

This film does a very good job in capturing the period in which it was filmed; special effects such as Polly’s flying scene, the clothing/hairstyles, music and filmed with a 16-millimeter lens are clear indicators. I enjoyed watching Polly’s curiosity in things through her photographs and through her relationship with Gabrielle and watching Gabrielle and Mary’s intimate relationship because it gives a sense of innocence. Polly is 30 years of age but the way in which she is presented and presents herself shows her as more child-like. I liked the confessional aspect of the film, it was an effective use of storytelling and in the end, is tied together in the present after she is finished her confessional. The fantastical elements pull the viewer into wanting to know and explore what exactly Polly sees. The very ending made me want to know what world the three characters of Polly, Gabrielle and Mary were going to explore.

Overall, this film helps to unleash the artistic, curious open minded desires in the viewer.

*If the narrative of the film was not done through Polly’s confessional would it still have the same impact? Also, if Gabrielle’s (really Mary’s) painting were a painting instead of white light would that take away from the fantastical element of the film?

The Girl on the Train: Book and Film

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*May contain spoilers*

While the book has its merits, I felt the film was able to better convey the thriller of the story.

To elaborate, the book does a good job in setting up the three main characters and how each of their own lives and stories intertwine with each other. Like with all well written books it has great description of setting. However, unless you know the region personally, ie England (where the book is set) it’s much harder to envison. If the film had kept the original setting, England, instead of “Hollywoodizing”(New York in this case), it may have been on par with the book.

To continue further with the visual notion, the film not only has this aspect but also the added bonus of audio. Not only do you hear the characters speak but a good film score adds incredible depth to a story played out on screen. This is especially true with thrillers, giving the added element of suspense and other deep emotions.

To be honest, I did see the film first, so many could put forward the obvious argument. However, I have read books before seeing their film versions and have had the same feeling of the film being better than the book. It can vary depending on the “hook” either the novel or film has. For some, it doesn’t matter which was experienced first, otherwise why would you bother with both in the first place?

The only other real qualm I had, was the nature of Rachel and Scott’s “relationship.” The longing to know how the story would possibly be better or worse or neutral if, in the film, they has slept together as they did in the book. Or as viewers, were we supposed to pick up on the implied notion they slept together when Scott spent the night at Rachel’s and we see her cuddled up next to him?

The other thing people tend to forget about is the “show don’t tell” rule. It’s especially important in film, that being a visual medium. The book does a good job in “showing” the reader the details we need to know, i.e. setting, character profile, etc.. I found the film did well in its adaptation, despite “Hollywoodizing” the setting.

The way in which the story goes back and forth telling each character’s point of view is excellently written. As a reader, I didn’t find that I got lost in the story or confused as to whose point of view I was reading about. As a viewer, I found the film does a great job in doing the same.

Only thing about the book I didn’t like was how Tom told the story of what happened to Megan. I quite prefer the film version, which shows a third person point of view, as Rachel recalls what she saw of what happened to Megan and how it all ties together.

Both are excellent pieces of thrilling art. I highly recommend them both, to the avid reader and moviegoer.

Singles Awareness Day

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Single this February 14th? NO BIG DEAL. Stop feeling sorry for yourself and start living it up.

A few years ago, on Valentine’s Day, a couple of single friends and I decided that we were going to have an anti-Valentine’s Day and picked the most ridiculous comedy at the theatre and made a night of it.

It turns out there really is such a holiday. According to singlesawareness.com, it’s called Singles Awareness Day (or S.A.D.) and it takes place on February 15th. Obviously enough, the day was created by single people who were tired of feeling neglected and left out of Valentine’s Day. The goal is for singles to get off their sad lazy butts and celebrate with friends. According to the site, “Suggested activities for this day are sending yourself flowers, planning parties for other singles to mix and meet and to participate in some sort of single’s event. This is especially recommended if you don’t WANT to be single. Of course, for those who kind of like being single it’s a blessing and a reason to have some fun.”

What do You do With Your S.A.D.?

Alright people, here’s what you do. Grab a bunch of single friends. If you want, you can do all guys, all girls or mix em’ up. No, there’s not going to be spin the bottle and other lovey-dovey crap. If you want to do that then you aren’t celebrating the right holiday.

Grab your favourite snacks and head to your local film renting facility for a bunch of classic movies like “Ferris Buller’s Day Off,” “Top Gun,” and “Ghostbusters.” You don’t like 80’s movies? Well grab a bunch of movies you like instead, whether it’s blood and gore, or laugh your tushy off, or both.

If you don’t feel like sitting at home, then don’t. No one is forcing you to stay home and listen to how long your parents have been in wedded bliss for. Instead, make t-shirts with “Singles’ Awareness Day” on them and head to the bowling alley for some pin-crunching fun.

If bowling isn’t your style, pick a movie in the theatre where there won’t be many couples and enjoy. If there are couples, throw popcorn.

There’s lots to do in town too, like the art galleries downtown and on VIU campus. You might find some really good anti-love pieces you’ll “fall in love with.” How about the museum? At least you know you won’t be entering the “tunnel of love” when you walk through the coal mine exhibit. If you don’t mind a bit of an atomic wedgie, rock climbing at the Romper Room could really be fun, especially if you’re belaying for your best friend who is slightly afraid of heights. If you don’t mind some bumps and bruises and being careful of your tender tailbone, ice skating at Beban Park or the Nanaimo Ice Centre might be for you. What about taking a ferry over to Vancouver? You never know if your favourite band has a show. There is so much out there it would take a novel to describe it all. Check out the events calendar for some more ideas.

Don’t end up with a few friends? It’s not like you aren’t capable of doing things by yourself. You may even end up making new friends along the way.

Five Things to Avoid

Mix Tapes. You don’t need to be listening to any music that will cause emotional strain, especially if it’s a tape from an ex.
Chick Flicks. Just because you like them doesn’t mean you should watch them when you’ll be the only single person in the theatre.
Heavily wooded areas or any place near water. These can be considered make-out places and on this day, you do not need to be surrounded by couples. No one will hear your screams.
Your parents and any exes you may have. That’s just asking for trouble. Your parents, if still together, will tell you stories of how much they are in love. If separated, they will tell you stories of how the other hurt them or how much they love your step parent. Any exes you may have… need I say more?
Your bedroom. Yes, I said it: your bedroom. That is the one place that will drag you down the most. There is no way in H. E. double hockey sticks that you should sleep all day in your pjs, surrounded by darkness etc,. no matter what type of person you are. This is a HOLIDAY people. You are to get out and celebrate. It’s YOUR S.A.D.
Why it’s Great to be Single

YOU get to be YOU. Some people find themselves changing who they are just to obtain and maintain a relationship with someone. Whether it’s to get someone to like them or to please the other person. Take the time to figure out who you are and be comfortable with that, you will be happier for it and you will find someone in your life who will too.

Plus, you won’t receive any messages in the middle of the night begging you to bail them out of jail or pick them up and take them to the McDonald’s drive-thru for that cheeseburger they’ve been craving, disrupting your awesome dream with Samurai swords and unicorns.

By: Kristy

Disclaimer: this article was originally published for “The Mind’s Eye” in 2013 in print, blog and website. This youth paper no longer exists. 😦