Rest In Peace Gord Downie

Last night Gord Downie, the frontman for Canada’s house band, The Tragically Hip passed away.

May you Rest In Peace Gord. I thank you for all the music you gave us.

With love, Stacey and so many, many Canadians. Go with love.

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Baked Potatoes on Almost Wordless Wednesday 

Dinner last night was in the Burnaby test kitchen where we were playing around with the toaster oven to see how quickly and effectively we could bake a couple of potatoes. Once the potatoes were baked, we added butter, fresh salsa, a little thinly sliced red onion, a bit of our candied bacon, and a side of avocado slices. 

Delicious. On another note, yesterday I picked up an Instant Pot. I’ll be writing more about that as I try it out!

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An Inspirational Thought

As many BC teachers (me included) continue to grapple with implementing new curriculum to their teaching practice, the following quote from George Couros’ book “The Innovator’s Mindset” struck a chord with me,

“Again though, at the heart of innovation are people, not stuff.” 

That’s my inspirational thought to end what has been a very long day.

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The Vita-Mix; My Favourite Appliance

One of my all time favourite kitchen appliances is my Vita-Mix. The Vita-Mix is so much more than a blender! I believe it has a 2 horsepower motor that drives the blade inside the container at something like 20,000 rpm. Crazy powerful.

I used to use my Vita-Mix everyday because it is so easy to use. But then I moved into a condo and, well, the only negative about the Vita-Mix is how noisy it is. So when living in a condo, it is not nice to get up at 6:30am and run the appliance. That will guarantee nasty notes from your neighbours.

So I got out of the habit of using it. But now, after my second hospitalization, and some changes I’m making to my diet, I’m now getting back into the habit of using it!

For example today I used the Vita-mix to make fresh carrot soup. I went out to the garden, pulled up a handful of our carrots, washed them off, and then coarse chopped them into two cups of water.

I brought the water and the carrots to a boil and then let the carrots cook for about two or three minutes.

Then I poured the boiling water and carrots into the Vita-Mix container. A quick rinse of the pot and the dishes from making dinner are almost done.

Sadly, I’m out of veggie stock so I just skipped that. However, I do have oatmeal so I spooned in four heaping teaspoons of rolled oats. Yes, uncooked, dry oats. The rolled oats? Just to add another layer of healthy to the soup. And a big teaspoon of corn starch to thicken the soup.

I also had about a quarter cup of cheddar cheese that I chopped into cubes and added that to the container. And then I set it to blend.

Let it rip for two minutes on the “high” setting and voila- I had a couple bowls of fresh carrot soup.

I poured a couple bowls from the Vita-Mix container, added a pinch of grated Parmesan and a dollop of sour cream and dinner was served.

The best part? My kids actually liked it! And it is healthy!

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New Pizza Joint; Doppio Zero Pizza

I am really looking forward to seeing this new pizza joint called Doppio Zero Puzza open in Coquitlam.

I have started to follow their social media – Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter feed and I have to say, their pizza and pasta look stunning.

I also really like the look of the restaurant; yes, it is still under construction but I love the use of “barn wood” accents in the construction.

I’m really looking forward to seeing them open so I can taste their pizza and pasta dishes.

Doppio Zero Pizza is located at 1655 Como Lake Ave in Coquitlam. They are not yet open so don’t bother trying to get inside just yet.

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R.I.P. Mr Tom Petty

I remember a summer sometime around 1989 when my Dad and I and a couple friends went to a festival in the alpine part of the Stein River valley.

The festival was fun and all that, but I remember that trip as a kind of a “coming of age”.

On that trip my father and I drove up to Lillooet or wherever we hiked into the festival from in my vehicle. Back then I had a 1987 Jeep YJ – somewhat derisively referred to as a Yuppie Jeep.

I remember the trip as a coming of age sort of experience because it was the first time that we had gone somewhere as two adults. And the fact that my Dad and rode up in my Jeep, with me driving, well, it was me being responsible for something my dad was typically responsible for.

How’s this connected to Tom Petty? Well the only cassette tape we had with us on that trip was a Traveling Wilbury’s tape! And we just let it play as we bombed along in my Jeep with the top off and the sun shining down on us.

Rest In Peace Tom Petty.

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Back to the Royal Columbian Hospital – Again

Unfortunately I experienced another partial blockage of my bowels which lead me to be hospitalized again barely two months after my previous stay in the Royal Columbian Hospital.

A positive from this stay in the hospital is that I did not require surgery to get my guts functioning again. Another positive is that I had an opportunity to see the x-rays of my abdomen and I am very proud to say that, in spite of what my school mates said about me when I wouldn’t swing on the rope and jump into the lake, I do have guts. I’m not gutless!

As well, I noticed in my x-ray that I also have a spine. So clearly I’m also not spineless.

Now for a couple observations about how to survive staying in a hospital.

I figure a hospital is like a cross between a night in a frat house and a stay in prison.

Royal Columbian Hospital

It is like a frat house because there are people sleeping or lying down every where and there is a lot of vomiting. There are also a lot of very attractive females in hospitals and frat houses who you have no chance of sleeping with.

A hospital stay is also similar to a stay in prison (not that I know anything more about being in prison other than what I learned from the tv show Prison Break).

First, the nurses, all wonderful and caring people are the guards of the institution. They “control” your daily activity and are the ones who can and do bring you the small pleasures in life – things like an extra package of sugar or an extra little creamer.

Royal Columbian Hospital

And even if you don’t need that creamer or little thing of milk, you stash it away just in case you might need it later or are able to trade it later for something else you need or want.

And as the nurses are the guards, the doctors are the wardens. They are the ones who will issue your pardon or tell you that today is the day you can go home.

On a sad note, I have to report that on my last stint in the RCH I shared a room with a very sweet elderly lady. During this stay I saw her husband and we had a moment to chat. Sadly, in the weeks after I left the RCH this summer her cancer came back with a vengeance and she very quickly passed away. Her husband was/is one of the kindest people I have ever had the chance to meet.

He sat in a chair beside her bed for day after night after day just to keep her comfortable and make her feel safe. Dedication. Pure love.

Out of respect for their privacy I’m not using their names.

But to end on a positive note, again I am happy to report that virtually every single person I have encountered during my stint in the RCH big house has been kind and caring.

From the people who sweep the floors and clean the toilets to the people who bring the meals to us to the nurses and doctors – every person I have encountered has treated me like I’m the most important person they’ve seen that day.

That may sound odd, but rather than just treating me like a person on their case load, an operation they need to do, or a patient they are responsible for, everyone has been kind and caring.

And, after being on a “nothing by mouth” diet for five days, the food they served me in the hospital was pretty darn good. If you like puréed purée.

I will end by making a quick comment about the bunk mates I had on this stay at the RCH. Honestly, I could not have asked for a nicer set of room mates. The old days of rooms being segregated for men or women only is a long gone and on this stay I had two women and another man to share a room with.

I hate to admit this but I was probably noisiest one in the room! I often woke up in the night and I couldn’t hear a single snort, snorfle, or snore from my room mates. I am assuming then that I was the noisy one in the room.

Overall, even though there are some similarities between being in the hospital and a prison, I am very grateful once again for the care I received from the people who choose to take care of the sick and vulnerable people.

And I love the way they say good bye to you when you leave the hospital – “I hope to not see you again!” To be honest, I would love to see any one of those hospital workers again but only in a coffee shop where I can buy them a treat.

Royal Columbian Hospital

And my first meal after my release – a big bowl of Wonton Soup. Which I only ate half of. More on my new diet later.

That’s it.

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Nathaniel Rateliff; I Never Need Grow Old

I was laying in my hospital bed yesterday afternoon just feeling sorry for myself and the rest of the world so I decided to check my FacePlant page (you can check it out as well @adadintheburbs). Oh, and tomorrow I’ll tell you more about my stay in the Royal Columbian Hospital. 

On the FaceBook I discovered one of my colleagues had put a link to a Nathaniel Rateliff song. I hit play and the pure, beautiful raw energy of the music got me up and out of my bed and feeling the power of LOVE and LIFE.

Of course my hospital room mates may have wondered what was possessing me but…

I’m not saying Nathaniel Rateliff saved my life. I’m just saying he got me out of my funk.

Have a listen.

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Chicken Holic in Coquitlam 

I recently tried a funky new chicken place on Austin Ave in Coquitlam. It truly is a cultural mash-up.

Chicken Holic

Chicken Holic is run by a Korean family and while there, I had a Butter Chicken Poutine. French Canadian food with an Indian twist made by a Korean. The food was truly delicious and I will be returning to Chicken Holic again soon.

  • Chicken Holic is located at 1104 Austin Ave in Coquitlam.


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New Westminster’s Wild Thyme

I had heard great things about Wild Thyme, the New Westminster restaurant that serves Lebanese food so this week for a lunch meeting a colleague and I popped in to give Wild Thyme on 12th Street in New Westminster a try.

Wow. No wonder there is such a buzz about this place! Incredible flavours.

Wild Thyme

We each started with a green salad. And no word of exaggeration, I was basically full after the salad! It was massive. And full of amazing flavours of balsamic vinegar and olive oil.

I have to admit that we made a strategic error when we ordered. We did not realize that the lunch “mains” were so large. Honestly, we should have ordered one lunch entree. Instead we ordered two.

Wild Thyme

After we finished our salads another plate arrived at the table – four dips and a massive piece of bread fresh out of the brick oven in the restaurant.

Wild Thyme

The bread was still puffy and full of delicious heat from the oven.

Wild Thyme

Then our entrees arrived! You would think that I would know how to take a better picture of food than the one above. The problem is that the restaurant is so small I could barely move back from the table to try and capture an image!!

My lunch entree was the cauliflower bowl. Except it wasn’t a bowl but a dinner plate loaded with smoky roasted cauliflower and heaps of unknown deliciousness. I actually took more than half of it home.

My lunch companion ordered the 1/2 meat, 1/2 chicken “bowl” which came in a full sized frying pan! There was enough food in that dish to feed four people! And the flavours…out of this world!!

I will definitely be returning to Wild Thyme but we will be sharing a lunch or dinner entree next time. I have no hesitation recommending Wild Thyme.

  • Wild Thyme is located at 705 12th Street, New Westminster


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