Friday, July 31, 2015

Blue Moon - July

July 31 is a Blue Moon.

The next time skywatchers are likely to see a blue moon is in 2018 on January 31.

So enjoy!

Blue Moon
  • The song has been covered by countless artists, including Benny Goodman, Louis Armstrong, Mel Torme, Theresa Brewer, The Lettermen, Rosemary Clooney, Tony Bennett, Bobby Vinton, Billy Holiday, Sam Cooke, Rod Stewart, and Elvis Presley
  • Written in 1934 by Richard Rogers & Lorenz Hart
  • Originally performed Glen Cray & the Casa Loma Band, it was a #1 chart hit
  • Although it has been used in many movies, including "Words And Music" (1948); "Malaya" (1949); "East Side, West Side" (1950); and "With A Song In My Heart" (1952), it was the only song by Rogers & Hart that was not actually composed FOR a movie or Broadway show
  • The only version ever to crack the Top 40 in the Rock & Roll era was one by The Marcels, who hit #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 with the song in 1961
  • Richard Rogers hated the Marcels doo-wop fast version of their song, which was originally intended as a ballad, to the point where he took out ads in the music publications urging people not to purchase The Marcels version of the song
  • To add insult to injury, a wildly popular doo-wop cover version by Sha-Na Na in the movie Grease in 1978 was extremely popular
  • Most people today don't even know the song was originally a ballad

Thursday, July 30, 2015

July Garden


My staycation was a bit of a break to do some gardening. Mainly transplanting things here and there, and tending to much needed weeding. Most transplants really like their new homes, but others have already become compost. Survivors are the hostas and tovara, but sadly the anemone didn't quite make it. The painted ferns will bounce back, I'm sure of it.

Our three goldfish made it to four years old, spending winters in our basement. It was a pleasure to watch them glint in the sun and so it was sad indeed when the racoons (or was it opossum) scooped the fish out for fresh sushi. One morning we woke to see the fountain spout yanked out of the pond and the fish nowhere to be seen. Just a few scales remained on the stone bench. At least this time the were fully eaten - last time just the eyeballs had been sucked out and the carcasses left to rot in the sun.  

Blooming now:  Henry clematis, brunera, purple coneflower, bee balm, black-eyed Susan, Dahlia, bunchberry, nasturtium, day lily.

The mondivilla is very striking now, with flowers like red velvet. I haven't seen any pollinators attracted to the huge blossoms, maybe my timing is off. How else would there be so many continuous blooms?

Tested out the homemade Weed Be Gone solution and it worked quite well on the weeds that were growing between the paving stones.
Weed Be Gone
1 gallon of vinegar
2 cups Epson salt
1/4 cup Dawn dish soap

Mix and spray in the morning after dew has evaporated. Walk away. Go back after dinner and all the weeds are gone!


Wednesday, July 29, 2015

The Americas - Winetasting

Picturing the Americas is a fantastic exhibition on at the AGO. I first visited on my staycation, and was happy to return for a second viewing. An artist I want to learn more about is Tarsita do Ameral, who painted the canvas above and is known by her first name in her native Brazil.

This time I was at the gallery because Frank was celebrating the Americas with a winetasting. An exquisitely prepared meal with thoughtful wine pairings had me relishing every bite and sip. Everything was beautifully plated and presented, and the chef and sommelier introduced each course and then visited the guests at table to answer questions and make small talk.

I got a chance to try new combinations and ingredients that were brand new, thinking of simpler versions to try at home. Apparently you can pick up packaged sugar cane at Metro - an ingredient I'll keep my eye out for, since it helps make fabulous cocktails. Charred octopus with malbec was amazing, changing the experience of the wine by softening tannins.

Definitely will get some Cuvee Catherine for a summer celebration. The wait staff greeted us with this as we arrived and it was perfectly chilled to cool us down on a hot summer afternoon. The Sauv-Blanc was also a delicious surprise - great on its own and paired with the salad.

A wonderful evening with Kaarina, Grace and Kirsti, although I did pay for my excess the following day at work by moving a bit more slowly than usual. I blamed it on the heat.


MENU

CUVEE CATHERINE / CANADA
Henry of Pelham 
sparkling rose made in the Champagne style

DUCK
sugar cane
CAIPRINHA / BRAZIL
cachaca & half a lime in wedges muddled with white sugar, ice and sugar cane

CEVICHE
mahi mahi & wahoo
 PASSION FRUIT PISCO SOUR / PERU-CHILE
pisco, passion fruit puree, simple syrup, lemon juice & eggwhite

SALAD
summer squash & peach
gooseberry mash
raspberry vinaigrette
SAUVIGNON BLANC / CHILE
Cartegena  Casa Marlin   2012
crisp acidity and tropical fruit flavour

OCTOPUS
puffed tripe, local grains
malbec gastrique
MALBEC / ARGENTINA
Terra Rosa  Mendoza 2012 
The nose is full with ripe almost sweet blackberry fruit tones that are tempered by that 'stony' quality one finds in the high altitude and rocky vineyards of the Valle de Uco

BISON
blood sausage, grilled scallion, asado king oyster mushroom, fingerling potatoes, chimichurri
CABERNET SAUVIGNON / USA
Ray's Station   Mendocino 2012
The palate has flavours of boysenberry, blackberry and wild cherry.

DESSERT
"I Had Too Much Ice Wine Sugar Pie"
pet de noones, plum chomeur sauce

Friday, July 24, 2015

Life After Life


Deja vu!

I felt like I've read this book before.

Life After Life is about someone who keeps being reborn into the same life. Each time a detail or two changes, and then 'darkness falls' until the start of the next chapter.

In fact, my BPYC book club read it a couple of years ago.

This time it was a Book Babes selection, with discussion around whether Ursula's ability to relive her life was a gift or curse, and talk about whether there were things (big or small) we would do differently if we had our lives to live over again.

Our heroine Ursula isn't fully conscious she is revisiting her life, but has a vague sense of foreboding and sometimes a compulsion or impulse that she acts on that changes the course of events. Small things, like choosing to walk on the other side of the street one day, or bigger choices, like pushing someone down a flight of stairs, or  plotting someone's murder. The book has such a fascinating premise.
Inevitably, metaphysics creeps in. We travel and return to the psychiatrist’s office where Ursula’s parents take her, at age 10, for sessions in which the conversation touches on reincarnation and the nature of time. When Dr. Kellet suggests that the moody, spacey Ursula may be remembering other lives and asks her to draw something, she produces a snake with its tail in its mouth. “It’s a symbol representing the circularity of the universe,” the doctor explains. “Time is a construct, in reality everything flows, no past or present, only the now.” New York Times