Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Bag O' Milk!

Funny thing that Alex and I discovered right away after we moved to Mississauga, Ontario:  Milk is sold in plastic bags here.  Actually, it's a plastic bag filled with 3 individual baggies of slightly less than a quart each (Don't ask me what's that in litres.  I'm working on one thing at a time; and it's the outside temperature in Celsius, and how fast 60 kilometers per hour is, that are the more pressing things for me to get used to right now.).  Anyway, what you do is, you buy this scary plastic bag of milk (like a huge water balloon, that you must hurriedly shove into your own shopping bags yourself at checkout.  No baggers or free bags provided at grocery stores here.) and then when you get your plastic bag of milk home, you plop one of the mini baggies into a little plastic open-topped jug so that the top of it sticks up over the top edge of the jug, snip off one corner of the baggie, and pour.  (There's a YouTube Video this charming young girl put together, which gives you a better idea.  Oh, and she knows the litres too.)

Works pretty well; although, when you get to the end, it's a little messy when there isn't enough weight from the remaining milk to anchor the bag into the jug as securely.  (That may be also due to the age and skill-level of the person pouring.  Only time and further study can reveal all pertinent factors.)  The advantages to this way of packaging milk seem to be that it's cheaper (you can also buy milk in cartons, but not as economically) and that the milk stays fresher longer (or at least, the expiration dates seem to be much further off than those I found on the cartons.)

So, there you go:  Some worldly trivia with which to bedeck your conversations at that upcoming cocktail party.  

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Casa Loma Dec 23

Alex very helpfully uploaded some photos from our visit to Casa Loma on the 23rd.  There was a special program there for kids.  We got there fairly soon after it opened at 10 a.m. and discovered the room where Santa was before anyone else came in.  Emily's animation and rowdiness fell away the moment she spotted him, and she very slowly and tentatively approached the great man.  They had a very earnest discussion about her age, what she hoped to get for Christmas, and some other things I didn't quite catch.  But before she left, he explained to her how the reindeer prefer their carrots with some green left on them (you know, the leafy bits); and asked if she could leave some of those out along with the cookies (she brought up the fact that we would be making him cookies and hot chocolate).  Luckily, we did have some carrots "au naturale" in the fridge.

Casa Loma, built in 1911 (I think?  You can look it up later.) is pretty interesting.  Within the first half-hour of our exploring the house, we were greeted by Mr. Tom Board (not sure of the spelling), who was described by a lady in the gift shop as a "fixture" in Casa Loma. He is the former (now retired) superintendent of Casa Loma, and still comes and hangs out there most days.  His wife was the head tour guide there.  Both were apparently very devoted to the place.  He told me some fascinating things about it - for example, the central vac system; and he and the plumber's discovery of the remains of Lady Pellatt's fabled perfumed shower.  There was a lot about it that reminded me of Biltmore, although, there is obviously much less money to care for its upkeep than is enjoyed by the Biltmore estates.  I vaguely remember having Casa Loma pointed out to me on streetcar trips when I was small; but I don't believe I've ever been to it before.  I find the story of how Sir Henry Pellatt lost his fortune (mainly due to the kleptocratic actions of the Canadian government) and eventually Casa Loma very compelling.

Among the many amusements aimed at the kids, were several costumed . . . I don't really know what to call them . . . but Emily tried out quite a few.  I think this one was the one she liked best.

Anyway, we really enjoyed our visit to Casa Loma, as well as exploring the underground passageways to the garage, potting "shed" (with a square footage approaching many of our own homes), and stables.  Once the weather turns warm, I'll want to go back and explore the gardens.

Christmas Morning - Only Two Visits In The Wee Hours From A Little Person Asking If It Was Morning Yet.

So, Alex and I are sitting here typing away on our computers, while Emily has splendid adventures all over the house with her various new stuffed animals and other little items.  Found a great Cinnamon Roll recipe, the dough for which I, of course, made in our bread machine.  So, not much sleep, 2 cups of coffee and a cinnamon roll later, you can imagine how the adults in this house feel . . . I suspect all the other adults we know with little munchkins in the house feel much the same.

It is fairly cold outside (20 F), but not windy.  I hope that later today we will go for a walk on one of the many trails we have discovered meandering throughout the city.  Just a block away, there's one below "road level" that follows a rather large stream.  Very pretty, and the noise of the city is muffled down there.  Lots of bridges around that are perfect for pooh-sticks (The game doesn't work so well at present, as the water is pretty much all frozen over, except for the fast-moving parts; and our aim for those hasn't been so great.  It's the mittens.  They mess up one's release when one throws the stick.)

I kinda' wish it would snow more today.  There's not much accumulation on the ground.  The grass is still showing.  Mississauga has this weird lake effect "bubble" that diverts snow to areas only a few kilometers to the North and West (And don't get the impression that I have gotten to grips with "kilometers" already.  I haven't.  I'm just parroting Alex there.)

Emily has $50 from her Grandparents, and it is burning a hole in her pajamas pocket.  We have assured her that everywhere is closed today . . . twice, so far.

Well, I hope you all are cozy, happy, not too tired, well-fed, healthy, and Merry this Christmas morning.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Whee! This is fun!

O.K.  So I am up this late because I ate too many Samosas (  Alex came home with a box of them left over from a little holiday feast at work the other day.  Apparently, there's this great place near the airport ( that sells 'em by the boxful.  They microwave beautifully.  They are spicy (the sneak-up-on-you kind of spicy: you don't notice it much until you are most of the way through your first one, and therefore too hooked to stop).  There are a lot of fine sources of Indian food in Mississauga, and we have been eating a lot of curries, etc., lately.  Just one more fine example of the curious blend of pleasure and pain that makes the human experience so very interesting.

Twelve Days in Canada, Two Days Till Christmas

O.K.  I finally got around to it.  It was that I couldn't find a clever enough name for this blog . . . the reason I only am just now setting it up.  Several months ago, I was making all these elaborate plans to use it to chronicle our drive up through Virginia, West Virginia, Pennsylvania, and New York (did I miss one?  Nope, think I got 'em all) and into Canada.  I was gonna make it educational, witty, informative, and . . . well, something that some future historian would come across in fragments off the half-melted hard drive of some server buried in an iceberg, and say "Wow!  Those humans really led stimulating lives."  Yeah, RIGHT!  Ha, ha!

So, within every procrastinator is one big, ridiculous ego!

Now that I have reminded myself of the fact that, even though the Internet has the potential to allow everyone to watch one's performance, it's very, very, very unlikely much of anyone will, I will commence writing about the mundane and make observations of interest really only to Alex, Emily & myself - and of partial interest to all our friends and loved ones.  (I mean, you all have lives - and busy ones at that.)  This is mostly just a way for us Chapmans to sort of "bump into" y'all on occasion, share whatever is happening between our respective sets of ears at that particular moment in time, and continue to weave those passing thoughts of each other into our respective life tapestries.  (Yeah, the preceding gaggle of words simply meant:  "I want to stay in touch.")

So if you can find a moment or two to occasionally read this, that would be great.  Comments about what's going on with you and the family back home would be even better!