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2015 Gardening Plan

I’ve decided to give square foot gardening a try this year. I have my raised bed frame and garden plan – a 4′ x 4′ grid with 16 squares. I started some seeds indoors a couple of weeks ago and am convinced I have magic beans…

I picked up a mini greenhouse for $30 at Lowes to store my seedlings indoors in a warm spot (my office) which will also work well when I harden them off later this spring out on the deck.

I decided to start some from seed and buy the rest as plants from the nursery. The seeds I started include basil, beets, green beans, spinach and marigolds. The plants I’ll be buying include cherry tomato, regular tomato, peppers and onion sets.

I started my seeds in early March which may be a bit early for the beans. This is them a week later. The beans sprouted really quickly. I’m a bit worried that they’ll grow too quickly before my outdoor garden is ready but I figure worst case scenario, I’ll transplant as needed in to bigger containers and I can always plan new seeds directly into the soil. I’ll play it by ear but they should be fine.

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Below is the mini greenhouse and the potting soil I’m using:

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And I transplanted some of the beans (top) and the beets (bottom):

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These were taken today. I transplanted more of the beans and thinned out some of the beets.

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Beets:

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These were the first beans transplanted. Magic beans. :)

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Stay tuned for progress!

Oscars 2015 – Update

Here are the results – I didn’t do very well this year. I correctly predicted 16 out of 24. For some, I went with my heart instead of my head and that’s never a good strategy (Animated feature, Visual Effects, Makeup). :) So happy Eddie Redmayne won for Best Actor – so deserving. I was surprised Boyhood lost the Editing race but happy that Whiplash won it. I thought NPH did OK as the host – it’s a tough gig.

Some of my favorite moments from the show (yes, I DID watch the whole thing) were: J.K. Simmons’ speech to Call Your Mom, Eddie Redmayne’s unrestrained glee, Lady Gaga’s tribute to the Sound of Music, the performance of Glory (song from Selma) and the exchange between Idina Menzel and John Travolta.

Here’s the list containing my predictions (bold) and the winners:

Best Picture

  • “American Sniper”
  • “Birdman”   winner
  • “Boyhood”
  • “The Grand Budapest Hotel”
  • “The Imitation Game”
  • “Selma”
  • “The Theory of Everything”
  • “Whiplash”

Best Actor

  • Steve Carell, “Foxcatcher”
  • Bradley Cooper, “American Sniper”
  • Benedict Cumberbatch, “The Imitation Game”
  • Michael Keaton, “Birdman”
  • Eddie Redmayne, “The Theory of Everything”   winner

Best Actress

  • Marion Cotillard, “Two Days, One Night”
  • Felicity Jones, “The Theory of Everything”
  • Julianne Moore, “Still Alice”   winner
  • Rosamund Pike, “Gone Girl”
  • Reese Witherspoon, “Wild”

Best Supporting Actor

  • Robert Duvall, “The Judge”
  • Ethan Hawke, “Boyhood”
  • Edward Norton, “Birdman”
  • Mark Ruffalo, “Foxcatcher”
  • J.K. Simmons, “Whiplash”   winner

Best Supporting Actress

  • Patricia Arquette, “Boyhood”   winner
  • Laura Dern, “Wild”
  • Keira Knightley, “The Imitation Game”
  • Emma Stone, “Birdman”
  • Meryl Streep, “Into the Woods”

Animated Feature Film

  • “Big Hero 6″   winner
  • “The Boxtrolls”
  • “How to Train Your Dragon 2″
  • “Song of the Sea”
  • “The Tale of the Princess Kaguya”

Cinematography

  • “Birdman”   winner
  • “The Grand Budapest Hotel”
  • “Ida”
  • “Mr. Turner”
  • “Unbroken”

Costume Design

  • “The Grand Budapest Hotel”   winner
  • “Inherent Vice”
  • “Into the Woods”
  • “Maleficent”
  • “Mr. Turner”

Directing

  • Alejandro González Iñárritu, “Birdman”   winner
  • Richard Linklater, “Boyhood”
  • Bennett Miller, “Foxcatcher”
  • Wes Anderson, “The Grand Budapest Hotel”
  • Morten Tyldum, “The Imitation Game”

Documentary Feature

  • “Citizenfour”   winner
  • “Finding Vivian Maier”
  • “Last Days in Vietnam”
  • “The Salt of the Earth”
  • “Virunga”

Documentary Short Subject

  • “Crisis Hotline: Veterans Press 1″   winner
  • “Joanna”
  • “Our Curse”
  • “The Reaper (La Parka)”
  • “White Earth”

Film Editing

  • “American Sniper”
  • “Boyhood”
  • “The Grand Budapest Hotel”
  • “The Imitation Game”
  • “Whiplash”   winner

Foreign Language Film

  • “Ida,” Poland   winner
  • “Leviathan,” Russia
  • “Tangerines,” Estonia
  • “Timbuktu,” Mauritania
  • “Wild Tales,” Argentina

Makeup and Hairstyling

  • “Foxcatcher”
  • “The Grand Budapest Hotel”   winner
  • “Guardians of the Galaxy”

Original Score

  • “The Grand Budapest Hotel”   winner
  • “The Imitation Game”
  • “Interstellar”
  • “Mr. Turner”
  • “The Theory of Everything”

Original Song

  • “Everything Is Awesome,” “The Lego Movie”
  • “Glory,” “Selma”   winner
  • “Grateful, “Beyond the Lights”
  • “I”m Not Gonna Miss You,” “Glen Campbell: I’ll Be Me”
  • “Lost Stars,” “Begin Again”

Production Design

  • “The Grand Budapest Hotel”   winner
  • “The Imitation Game”
  • “Interstellar”
  • “Into the Woods”
  • “Mr. Turner”

Animated Short Film

  • “The Bigger Picture”
  • “The Dam Keeper”
  • “Feast”   winner
  • “Me and My Moulton”
  • “A Single Life”

Live Action Short Film

  • “Aya”
  • “Boogaloo and Graham”
  • “Butter Lamp”
  • “Parvaneh”
  • “The Phone Call”  winner

Sound Editing

  • “American Sniper”   winner
  • “Birdman”
  • “The Hobbitt: The Battle of the Five Armies”
  • “Interstellar”
  • “Unbroken”

Sound Mixing

  • “American Sniper”
  • “Birdman”
  • “Interstellar”
  • “Unbroken”
  • “Whiplash”   winner

Visual Effects

  • “Captain America: The Winter Soldier”
  • “Dawn of the Planet of the Apes”
  • “Guardians of the Galaxy”
  • “Interstellar”  winner
  • “X-Men: Days of Future Past”

Adapted Screenplay

  • “American Sniper”
  • “The Imitation Game”  winner
  • “Inherent Vice”
  • “The Theory of Everything”
  • “Whiplash”

Original Screenplay

  • “Birdman”
  • “Boyhood”
  • “Foxcatcher”
  • “The Grand Budapest Hotel”   winner
  • “Nightcrawler”

I made my first rabbit for supper today and it turned out pretty good! Fresh rabbit was on sale at our grocer store so I took the opportunity to knock this item off my Life List. :) The butcher cut the rabbit into 8 pieces (thankfully) and I found a recipe online for Lapin à la moutarde (Rabbit with mustard). I got out my Le Creuset dutch oven and went to town.

Here are the 8 pieces and a bowl of Dijon mustard. The recipe said to season the rabbit with salt and pepper, then to smear them with the Dijon. Anytime I can smear something is a good thing.

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Here they are again – smeared!  I like to use a silicone brush for my smearing activities.

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Searing the pieces.

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I seared them in two batches then moved them to a platter while I cooked the onions in wine. Then, added the pieces back to the pot along with  a bouquet garni (rosemary and sage).

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I roasted some parsnips in the oven and also added cremini mushrooms to the pot for the last 15 minutes of cooking. And then, dinner was served!

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Quite tasty! The house smelled amazing. The rabbit was great and the sauce was very yummy.

Kia EV Commercial

I’ve been a fan of the new Kia ads with the hamsters. Big fan of the one to Lady Gaga’s “Applause” where the three male hamsters workout like crazy and end up all sleek and snazzy for the red carpet.

I like the latest one too to Maroon 5’s “Animals” with the female hamster that sneaks into the experiment and transforms into a sexy leather-clad hamster. But one thing bugs me about it: At the end, why isn’t the girl hamster driving the car??

Hmph. :-\ It would be much cooler if she was driving.

 

 

2015 Oscar Predictions

oscars

It’s that time of year again! The time between the day the nominees are announced and the Oscar show airs is usually a mad race to watch as many as nominated films as possible. Since I do this every year, I often end up seeing films I may not have opted to watch otherwise. I also have a pretty good record on predicting who will win (I got 21 out of 24 last year). As of today, I have watched (or attempted to watch) all Best Picture nominees except Selma; the two I started watching but couldn’t get through were Birdman and The Grand Budapest Hotel. I appreciated Boyhood and the concept of the 12 year time period, but don’t see it winning Best Picture. I do see it winning for Best Director (keeping at it for that long and keeping the cast aligned with the vision) and Film Editing (imagine working with film spanning 12 years and getting it down to a couple of hours – that’s a feat).

Eddie Redmayne was fantastic in Theory of Everything. J.K. Simmons was fantastic in Whiplash. Although Train Your Dragon 2 is a sequel, it was a really good movie, so I’m taking a risk. I’ll admit to doing some research for the Short film, Documentary and Foreign film categories.

For Visual Effects I was torn between Interstellar and Dawn of the Planet of the Apes – I finally went with Apes for all the CGI but wouldn’t be surprised if Interstellar won. Sound Editing – war movies usually win this one. Sound Mixing – if you’ve seen Whiplash, you’ll know why I chose it.

For Adapted screenplay, I was torn between The Theory of Everything and Imitation Game and chose the latter because the film was good enough to warrant a win somewhere. For Original screenplay, The Grand Budapest Hotel has had a lot of hype and it was pretty quirky and different.

There were some great performances this year and I have some personal favourites (Eddie Redmayne in The Theory of Everything – Amazing). Below is the list of nominees with my predictions in bold:

Best Picture

  • “American Sniper”
  • “Birdman”
  • “Boyhood”
  • “The Grand Budapest Hotel”
  • “The Imitation Game”
  • “Selma”
  • “The Theory of Everything”
  • “Whiplash”

Best Actor

  • Steve Carell, “Foxcatcher”
  • Bradley Cooper, “American Sniper”
  • Benedict Cumberbatch, “The Imitation Game”
  • Michael Keaton, “Birdman”
  • Eddie Redmayne, “The Theory of Everything”

Best Actress

  • Marion Cotillard, “Two Days, One Night”
  • Felicity Jones, “The Theory of Everything”
  • Julianne Moore, “Still Alice”
  • Rosamund Pike, “Gone Girl”
  • Reese Witherspoon, “Wild”

Best Supporting Actor

  • Robert Duvall, “The Judge”
  • Ethan Hawke, “Boyhood”
  • Edward Norton, “Birdman”
  • Mark Ruffalo, “Foxcatcher”
  • J.K. Simmons, “Whiplash”

Best Supporting Actress

  • Patricia Arquette, “Boyhood”
  • Laura Dern, “Wild”
  • Keira Knightley, “The Imitation Game”
  • Emma Stone, “Birdman”
  • Meryl Streep, “Into the Woods”

Animated Feature Film

  • “Big Hero 6″
  • “The Boxtrolls”
  • “How to Train Your Dragon 2″
  • “Song of the Sea”
  • “The Tale of the Princess Kaguya”

Cinematography

  • “Birdman”
  • “The Grand Budapest Hotel”
  • “Ida”
  • “Mr. Turner”
  • “Unbroken”

Costume Design

  • “The Grand Budapest Hotel”
  • “Inherent Vice”
  • “Into the Woods”
  • “Maleficent”
  • “Mr. Turner”

Directing

  • Alejandro González Iñárritu, “Birdman”
  • Richard Linklater, “Boyhood”
  • Bennett Miller, “Foxcatcher”
  • Wes Anderson, “The Grand Budapest Hotel”
  • Morten Tyldum, “The Imitation Game”

Documentary Feature

  • “Citizenfour”
  • “Finding Vivian Maier”
  • “Last Days in Vietnam”
  • “The Salt of the Earth”
  • “Virunga”

Documentary Short Subject

  • “Crisis Hotline: Veterans Press 1″
  • “Joanna”
  • “Our Curse”
  • “The Reaper (La Parka)”
  • “White Earth”

Film Editing

  • “American Sniper”
  • “Boyhood”
  • “The Grand Budapest Hotel”
  • “The Imitation Game”
  • “Whiplash”

Foreign Language Film

  • “Ida,” Poland
  • “Leviathan,” Russia
  • “Tangerines,” Estonia
  • “Timbuktu,” Mauritania
  • “Wild Tales,” Argentina

Makeup and Hairstyling

  • “Foxcatcher”
  • “The Grand Budapest Hotel”
  • “Guardians of the Galaxy”

Original Score

  • “The Grand Budapest Hotel”
  • “The Imitation Game”
  • “Interstellar”
  • “Mr. Turner”
  • “The Theory of Everything”

Original Song

  • “Everything Is Awesome,” “The Lego Movie”
  • “Glory,” “Selma”
  • “Grateful, “Beyond the Lights”
  • “I”m Not Gonna Miss You,” “Glen Campbell: I’ll Be Me”
  • “Lost Stars,” “Begin Again”

Production Design

  • “The Grand Budapest Hotel”
  • “The Imitation Game”
  • “Interstellar”
  • “Into the Woods”
  • “Mr. Turner”

Animated Short Film

  • “The Bigger Picture”
  • “The Dam Keeper”
  • “Feast”
  • “Me and My Moulton”
  • “A Single Life”

Live Action Short Film

  • “Aya”
  • “Boogaloo and Graham”
  • “Butter Lamp”
  • “Parvaneh”
  • “The Phone Call”

Sound Editing

  • “American Sniper”
  • “Birdman”
  • “The Hobbitt: The Battle of the Five Armies”
  • “Interstellar”
  • “Unbroken”

Sound Mixing

  • “American Sniper”
  • “Birdman”
  • “Interstellar”
  • “Unbroken”
  • “Whiplash”

Visual Effects

  • “Captain America: The Winter Soldier”
  • “Dawn of the Planet of the Apes”
  • “Guardians of the Galaxy”
  • “Interstellar”
  • “X-Men: Days of Future Past”

Adapted Screenplay

  • “American Sniper”
  • “The Imitation Game”
  • “Inherent Vice”
  • “The Theory of Everything”
  • “Whiplash”

Original Screenplay

  • “Birdman”
  • “Boyhood”
  • “Foxcatcher”
  • “The Grand Budapest Hotel”
  • “Nightcrawler”

The Oscars air next Sunday February 22nd at 7pm ET.

For Valentine’s Day, Chris and I wanted to do something different. What could be better than trying something new at one of our favourite vineyards: Thirty Bench in Beamsville! We’re wine club members and received an invite for a special Valentine’s Day event – snowshoeing in the vineyards followed by lunch at the winery prepared by The Good Earth with wine pairings. We signed up ASAP!

We arrived at the winery and enjoyed a glass of their amazing Winemakers’ Riesling while we waited for everyone to arrive to head outside. The rear room was setup beautifully for lunch:

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The view was beautiful:

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It was a cold overcast day and as we started out to put our snowshoes on, it was snowing lightly. We trekked up a small incline to one corner of the vineyard, right by the Wood Post Riesling section.  We enjoyed a wine tasting (I believe it was the Wood Post Riesling) and some very informative commentary from Emma the winemaker. It was still lightly snowing as we continued our snowshoe trek.

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At the next stop we enjoyed another tasting (this time was red, don’t recall which one unfortunately). This is where the snow and wind picked up. We had the choice of continuing to the next and final stop at the far corner of the vineyard or return to the winery to thaw and prep for lunch. Since it was quite windy and almost blizzarding at this point, most of the group we were with opted to return to the winery.

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Lunch was delicious and each course / pairing presented by Therese from the Good Earth and Emma (Thirty Bench winemaker). We started with a tomato chipotle soup paired with a Gewürztraminer. Next was the winter salad paired with a rosee. Then the main course – a modern take on beef bourguignon paired with a pinot noir and a merlot. And a savoury cheesecake for dessert paired with the Benchmark red. Plus a chocolate truffle to take home (which never made it home – we ate it right away!). Everything was delicious and the pairings were spot on. Great job to The Good Earth and Thirty Bench for putting together a great day and superb lunch.

After picking up a few of our favourite bottles from the store, we sadly headed home.

We’ll definitely do this again next year!

Sh*t Chris Says

My husband and I were out of town attending a team meeting, just an overnight stay at a ski resort a couple of hours north of where we live. When we arrived, I realized that I had forgotten my hairbrush at home. Ack! The shop on-site was closed and would only open at 10am the following morning – which wasn’t practical since our meeting started at 9am. Ever the resourceful one, I borrowed a (clean) fork from the dinner buffet thinking it was better than nothing.

The following morning I used the fork to slowly, but surprisingly effectively, “comb” my hair into some semblance of a hairdo. I came away from the bathroom mirror feeling pretty happy with the results.

Chris looks at me and says: “What the fork happened to your hair?”

This is what I live with people…. :)

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