Find Journeys of The Zoo on Google+ Journeys of The Zoo: October 2011

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Saturday, October 29, 2011

Results of the James Bond Movie Marathon. And the Winner is...

If you only ever see one James Bond 007 movie, make it...

Friday, October 28, 2011

James Bond 007 Marathon, #22 Quantum of Solace and Recap

Tonight we watched #22, "Quantum of Solace" (2008). The female lead was incredible, the plot was top notch especially the continuity with the previous film and there wasn't a gadget to be seen. Not one. The theme song was something to be desired. Even so, this might be our favourite movie of the bunch. In order to erase the uncertainty, we will be watching "License to Kill" tomorrow night just to make sure.

Ed gave it a "9" rating and I gave it a "10".

To sum up our Marathon, Ed and I both voted Pierce Brosnan our favourite Bond. I mean, he IS Bond and everyone else is just trying to emulate him. Our favourite theme songs were those where the song matched the movie; For Your Eyes Only by Sheena Easton, A View to a Kill by Duran Duran, License to Kill by Gladys Knight, Live and Let Die by P. and L. McCartney and GoldenEye by Tina Turner.

In summary, below is the movie and what Ed and I (in that order) have rated it.
1. Dr. No, 6, 6
2. From Russia with Love, 5, 8
3. Goldfinger, 7, 7
4. Thunderball, 8, 9, (7.5 for Poppa)
5. You Only Live Twice, 7, 7
6. On Her Majesty's Secret Service, 6, 5
7. Diamonds Are Forever, 7, 8
8. Live and Let Die, 6, 7, (7 for Poppa)
9. The Man with the Golden Gun, 7, 9
10. The Spy Who Loved Me, 7, 7
11. Moonraker, 6, 7
12. For Your Eyes Only, 8, 9
13. Octopussy, 8, ???
14. A View to a Kill, 8, 8
15. The Living Daylights, 6, 8
16. License to Kill, 9, 10
17. GoldenEye, 7, 8
18. Tomorrow Never Dies, 8, 9
19. The World is Not Enough, 8, 8
20. Die Another Day, 7, 7
21. Casino Royale, 7, 8
22. Quantum of Solace, 9, 10

And so ends our twenty-two movie journey that began 35 days ago on Saturday, September 24, 2011. That is until #23 is released in 2012.

Check out tomorrow's post for our All-time Favourite James Bond Movie!

Journeys of The Zoo  Besos, The Zoo

Not Another Cooking Blog

You'd think that I was trying to alienate all of you. What, with yet another post about my dinner and no pictures of the kids. Hey, it beats posts about Bond right? Oops, I go on to talk about Bond at the bottom. Sorry.

Today I was thinking, what should I have for dinner (Ed is having last nights leftovers). We're getting ready to leave (in around 6 weeks) so I pulled some chicken breasts (or so I thought) out of the freezer. When it came time to cook dinner (read: too late to put them back and/or prepare something else), I realized that they were chicken legs with thighs that Nanna had got us when there was nothing else at the store. Seeing as I didn't have my staple cream of mushroom soup to drown fry them in (on the stovetop), I needed to come up with plan B. FYI, I don't have a plan B.

Speaking of leftovers, the kids had Shepard's Pie for the first time today (it wasn't ready in time for their dinner last night). Artemis finished her bowl and Max had two helpings.

It turns out that Nanna also cooked a mean Shepard's Pie this week. Her adaptation (to my recipe) was that she doesn't cook the hamburger beforehand. This ensures that it stays moist. I didn't have that problem but I used a ton of worcheshire sauce and added (an extra) egg.

So it turns out that I have more than two loyal followers. Okay, I knew this already but I thought that I would play up my patheticness (new word). In comes Amy to the rescue. She left me a comment with a link to a tried and true (unless you're me) roast chicken recipe.

Being the chef that I'm not (hence the post title), I decided that chicken legs/thighs was the same as a whole chicken and I would just pretend as such. I didn't want the potatoes (although I did have them) but figured that their purpose was to allow the air to circulate under the chicken. In turn, I put the chicken on a rack (I'm so adaptable). I also only cooked them for 45 minutes, because. No, I didn't just commit a grammatical error, it's just "because".

Well, the chicken turned out amazing (I never get tired of tooting my own horn). I served it with basmati rice and steamed broccoli (to go with Ed's dinner). I would have served it with freshly steamed beets but they're just cooking now.

I wanted to wait before picking the beets as we've been eating them every day for years weeks but Ed informed me that it's supposed to go down to -5 tonight so I didn't want them to freeze. Does anyone (read: Amy my loyal commenter) know if they would have been okay anyways?

Since my last request met with a successful outcome, anyone know an easy and tried and true (read: I can't mess up) gravy recipe?

Back to Bond. Apparently, I've seen #21, "Casino Royale" (2006). I had four "flashbacks" throughout the movie that reminded me I'd seen it. Fortunately, it didn't ruin any of the suspense (I have a bad memory). For reasons I can't figure out (Ed and I have tried), I want to give this movie a high rating. I hated the beginning (too short and simple), I hated the first half of the movie (the plot was not obvious and was different than the latter part of the movie), I absolutely loved the middle part (the casino scenes) and I kept waiting for the movie to end. Sure there was a twist but it came at the expense of my boredom and didn't make up for anything. "Q" wasn't in the movie and there was only one gadget. This was my first Daniel Craig movie and I thought that for the times (2006), he did a really good job. I think that they were trying to portray him as a "hardened" Bond but Craig managed to soften him up quite nicely. The female lead (Eva Green) was one of our favourites. I look forward to the next one (which I don't believe I've seen but who knows...). Ed rated it a "7" and I gave it an "8".

Next up, #22, "Quantum of Solace" (2008). The last of the Bond films (until 2012).

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

What's for Dinner?

Today I actually made it to Playgroup. You see, last Tuesday, Ed helped me get the kids all ready (it takes two to make it on time). When we arrived, there was a sign on the door saying that playgroup (for that day) was cancelled. Here I'd gone to all the effort of getting us out of the house and I wasn't going to let it go to waste. So, I took the kids to the park and we all had a great time.

At playgroup today, Artemis set herself up to paint and did a pretty good job (except the one swipe where she touched her top and pant leg with RED, NON-REMOVAL paint). She really enjoys drawing, doing puzzles and reading.

Both of them sat through circle time for the first time (the entire 20 minutes). Max even got up and was doing some of the motions. Max loves music. He loves to listen to the radio (rock or country) and play along. He also loves to read.

Both kids are talking up a storm and Artemis has been using two words "sentences" for the past few weeks (Max has for a while, usually "More" followed by a food). Today, Artemis handed me my shoes and said "shoes Mama".

For the past few days, Artemis has dropped her one and only nap (this could be why she was in such a bad mood today, probably her first day ever!). Maybe it's the change in season?

Ed has been really busy with work so we haven't had a chance to watch the final two Bond movies. It's probably a good thing as Ed thinks that we're losing our readerhip with all this "Bond Talk" (what is one person less than zero?).

Tonight I made "Shepard's Pie" for the first time. I basically followed this recipe with the following changes. I didn’t have any beef broth but found that the hamburger was moist enough. I added an egg and oregano to the hamburger (before frying it, as if I was making hamburgers). I used carrots and corn. I ended up broiling the pie for a few minutes at the end although it was starting to brown. Afterward, I thought that a few strips of fresh parmesan cheese on top (under the broiler) would be good. We’ll try it on the leftovers. I served it with a cucumber and yogurt salad (garnished with crushed garlic).

Overall, it turned out really well. That's saying a lot because; I'm no cook (until the kids came along, I'd never baked a chicken), I don't like mashed potatoes (like at ALL), I don't like ground beef (as in pasta sauce, hamburgers are okay, if you try and tell me that it's all the same, it's NOT), and to top it off, I don't like Shepard's Pie. I'm currently eating the rest of my dinner, cold while I'm typing this and it's really good.

So, why would I cook something that I didn't even like? Well, because Ed really likes it and I want to continue to offer the kids different food options (especially foods high in iron). Speaking of kids and food, for the past few weeks, they've been feeding themselves almost all of their meals even ones that require spoons and forks. We still give them their (pureed) vegetables except for beets. This week, they've been devouring (small pieces of) beets from our own garden. I've got another pot left and then we're done for the year.

Anyone have any secrets to baking a chicken that; comes out cooked (kind of key), golden brown and is easy to prepare/cook when two kids are running through your legs (literally)?

Next time, I'll take pictures of the kids and not dinner. Really, there isn't time for both.

Monday, October 24, 2011

James Bond Marathon, #20 Die Another Day

Tonight we watched "Die Another Day" (1999) with Halle Berry. Unfortunately, it didn't live up to Ed's expectations. The first part of the movie was really great and showed such promise but then the plot got hookey (really hookey). Ed and I had both seen the movie.

We forgot to mention that the last movie was the first was with John Cleese playing "Q". He didn't have a big part (in either movie) but he makes a great "Q". For the past two movies, James car of choice has been a BMW, however, for this movie, his Aston Martin was back. A welcome surprise.

Ed gave the movie a "7" and so did I.

Next up is #21, "Casino Royale" (2006). This is Daniel Craig's first movie and I've never seen him as Bond. I'm really looking forward to it.

Journeys of The Zoo  Besos, The Zoo

Sunday, October 23, 2011

James Bond 007 Marathon, #19 The World is Not Enough

Tonight we watched #19, "The World is Not Enough" (1999).

I had seen this movie before (Ed had not) and all I can say is that Denise Richards Sucks. If she hadn't been in it, it might have been my second favourite movie of the series but alas, it was not to be.

Ed rated it an "8" and so did I (the plot and script was awesome, I didn't recognize the theme song). See, that's how good a movie it was when one wasn't tainted by the suckiness of Denise Richards.

Next up is #20, "Die Another Day" (2002). Ed and I have both seen this movie (together) and it's not one of my favourites, however, it stars Halle Berry so it is the best movie ever (in relation to her other ones meaning, they're ALL awesome, if you're Ed). Needless to say, Ed is a BIG fan.

Journeys of The Zoo  Besos, The Zoo

Saturday, October 22, 2011

James Bond 007 Marathon, #18 Tomorrow Never Dies

Tonight we watched #18, "Tomorrow Never Dies" (1997). The beginning was my favourite so far. I loved the movie's female lead and Carver was great (his shimmy was my favourite part in the movie). The special effects were amazing and the gadgets were the best so far. Ed and I have both seen the movie before (although I didn't realize it until we were well into it). The theme song was by Sheryl Crow and it might be my least favourite to date.

Overall, we both really liked the movie and rated it an "8" (Ed) and a "9" (Me). It might be my second favourite movie.

Up next is #19, "The World is Not Enough" (1999).

Journeys of The Zoo  Besos, The Zoo

Friday, October 21, 2011

James Bond 007 Marathon, #17 GoldenEye

So far my favourite ending is "On Her Majesty’s Secret Service" (I know, it's also the movie that I liked the least), followed closely by tonight's movie #17, "GoldenEye" (1995), Pierce Brosnan’s first time as Bond as well as a first for Judi Dench (as "M", Aunt Sally will be happy).

The beginning of this movie is Ed's favourite so far. The theme song "GoldenEye" (By Tina Turner) is my favourite, it's catchy and very James Bond-ey. The female lead was great and so was James American sidekick. He reminded me of an American character that played out in two previous Bond films. Unfortunately, the script was inconsistent and fragmented. The Aston Martin was replaced with a BMW that did nothing (except move forward) and the gadgets just weren’t up to par. Ed and I have both seen this movie before, several times.

Ed gave it a "7" rating and I gave it an "8". It was good just not amazing.
Up next #18, "Tomorrow Never Dies" (1997).

Journeys of The Zoo  Besos, The Zoo

Thursday, October 20, 2011

A Touch of Latin Culture in the Culinary Sense.

For those of you that don't know us in real life, the kids have an (obviously) Spanish last name. Their paternal grandparents are from Panama (Hola Abuelos!).

One very latin food (and I'm sure it's popular in other cultures and countries) is Plantain. The kids absolutely love it. It's so popular that it could be used as a barter to eat other less popular foods (not that I would ever do that...).

I've turned a couple of friends onto all of it's greatness and thought that I would continue on with my plans for "worldwide domination of plantain" ("go big or go home" is my motto). Note that it's readily available (and has been for a while) in most grocery stores (even out in the boonies where we live).

There are many ways to prepare it but here's what we do.

Method one is the the Mexican Way (and my favourite). Use ripe plantain. Slice not too thick. Put enough oil to cover the bottom of your large frying pan. Turn to high and put plantain in before it's hot (or don't, find out which works better for you). Just before it gets really hot, turn it down to medium-ish. When they get golden on the bottom and are still firm (not hard), but not gooey, turn them over (maybe 3-4 minutes!?). Cook on the other side (it should take less than on the first side). Pat dry with papertowel and let sit for a few minutes. I break them up before I give them to the kids because the inside stays really hot for a while. If eating yourself, dip each one in a pile of salt (yes, you should be able to see the grains) and enjoy. Note to grandparents, no, I don't put any salt on the kids share. Speaking of which, I've started to cook two at a time because they love them so much.

The key is to not cook them for too long at too high a heat, otherwise, they'll go hard. You can still eat them but my kids won't because they're not as sweet.

Method Two is the Panamanian Way. The differences here are to use GREEN plantain, cut them into thicker slices and cook for just a minute or two (on both sides), just until they've gone a light yellow colour. Place them on a cutting board, sprinkle with garlic powder, mash flat with can, refry them (on both sides). They should turn out harder and not as sweet. Coat with salt.

When selecting ripe plantain, black and soft is not bad, only if the banana has started to rot. Less black (than pictured) is fine.

You'd think that I was an only child either that or my parents spoiled me. Let's just say that I'm not an only child...

One thing that I really don't like sharing is my favourite foods unless there is so much of it that if I ate it all I'd be sick. Even then, I don't LIKE to share.

So, today while Ed was out (limiting my requirement to share), I made myself one of my favourite lunches; hungarian salami, bagels with cream cheese, sliced onions, smoked salmon, capers and cottage cheese (note that we didn't have any cambozola or caviar). I wasn't too worried when "the mooches" started to show some interest because what kid(s) likes any of that.

It ended badly... for me. I shared. I eventually had to give them their own bowls (and they'd just had lunch).

And some cuteness from yesterday.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

James Bond 007 Marathon #16, Licence to Kill

Tonight we watched "License to Kill" (1989). It was Timothy Dalton's second (and last) Bond film and starred Carey Lowell.

Carey also starred in Law and Order as A.D.A. Jamie Ross from 1996-2001. I recognized her right away but Ed wasn't so sure. Then, we got to wondering what she's been doing since 2001. Well, in 2002, she married Richard Gere (and had his son in 2000).

As for the movie, it was pure brillance. Both of our favourites by far. I could tell you about how great the gadgets were, plot, smartness, romances, twists, just everything but I think that you should just watch it. Our high rating might have been due to the fact that neither of us had seen it before. Regardless, I would watch it again to find any subtleties that we might have missed. Ed rated it a "9" and I gave it a "10". Yes, it was THAT good.

The only teeny, tiny issue we had was that it didn't appear to show the credits for the theme song at the beginning (turns out it was Gladys Knight singing). However, we might have missed it. Regardless, it wasn't the best theme song but it was good.

Next up is #17, "GoldenEye" (1995), Pierce Brosnan's first Bond movie.

Journeys of The Zoo  Besos, The Zoo

Monday, October 17, 2011

Plugs for Publicity and Other Mundane Stuff

So as to not alienate my two loyal followers, I will start with the Mundane Stuff. Note that this Stuff will not be Mundane if you are named Nanna or Poppa.

This post is really long (maybe my longest yet) and discusses my kids bowel movements. Should you continue (at your own risk), suggested reading libations include two alcoholic beverages (at a minimum). You've been warned.

A couple of weeks ago, Max and Artemis were introduced to Mr. Potato Head. Great invention once your child stops putting things into their mouth. The kids can pretty much get him all dressed (including glasses) with everything in the right spot. Unfortunately for us, the window between not eating the small pieces and using yourself as a Human Mr. Potato Head was short. Today, Max started inserting the nose, mouth and ear pieces into his said orifices (Artemis quickly followed). Good bye Mr. Potato Head (for now). Sorry, no picture, I was too lazy responsible to run for the camera.

This afternoon, Artemis woke up early from her nap and wouldn't quiet down. I went in to make sure that Teddy hadn't been ejected from her crib and saw that she was trying to "talk" to me. She kept saying "mama" and then patting her bum. Sure enough, she had a dirty diaper. Lately, when the smell tells me so, I've been asking them if they have a dirty diaper and a few times Artemis has (correctly) answered in the affirmative. Max could give a crap (pardon the pun).

Tonight during their annual bath, Artemis started to flatulate. This is a normal occurrence as bath time tends to end prematurely after a chocolate bar is spotted, hey, that's not a chocolate bar (anyone recognize the movie reference?) her generous gift. In light of our earlier "conversation", I thought that I would try her on the potty. No pressure just see if she would sit on it (note that she has stood IN it before but never sat ON it). Well, it went well. Well enough that I had time to call Ed and have him hand me the camera and take nine shots. During her bath, she asked to be put on the potty TWO more times. Nothing came of it (except some great shots to show at her wedding) but she appeared to enjoy the experience, was proud of herself and loved all the accolades.

Just this week, whenever we get to the last page of a book or the credits come up (Nanna's been here so they've been watching a fair amount of tv), the kids (especially Artemis) get teary eyed and start to cry. Once distracted, they quickly forget about it but it's hilarious to watch. It's like they think that they'll never see Elmo again.

Last night, I put steamed vegetables (but not yet pureed, no, I'm not willing to talk about the fact that I STILL puree my kids vegetables, sweet potatoes and carrots to be exact) in a container. The vegetables came up to the lower ring. Using my (not very) scientific brain, I thought, well, the vegetables aren't even packed down so there's some air pockets in there so when I puree them, they'll still all fit. Nope. How is that even possible? It should come as no surprise that science wasn't one of my stronger subjects. The reason why I even cared was because I like to use the same container. Same container = Less dishes. Yes,

I'm cheap like that.

As all good things must come to an end, after seven sleeps, Nanna went home today. In keeping with tradition, we took pictures of Nanna with the kids. Remember the good 'ole days where the kids would just hang out,

(literally) at two months,

six months,

or even 11 months.

By 19 months,

the writing was on the wall. Sure, we made excuses (he's tired, she's teething). However, there's no denying it now. Here are some pictures from this mornings photo session. Good Times, Yeah. Credit given to J.A. (which stands for "Jill Awesome"), a blog that I stalk.

Note that all ages reflect their "actual age" and not their "adjusted age" as I know that it really bothers Cousin Kev if it's not clearly stated. Only two more months and then you're in the clear...

Moving onto Plugs, I'm not talking about these, these or these (credit to Ed).

I do some of my best thinking when hot water is involved. Today while doing the dishes, I realized that while my mother is right about many things (she says I'm pretty and really smart, see, she's right), she is a bit off in thinking that I'm so "internet savvy" that I should be a "professional blogger".

I say this because, I just realized why people separate key words with periods. Such as Micr.osoft or A.pple. They do it so that search engines (and in turn the company, which is usually the case) won't find their post. If I'm wrong about this, no need to correct me, I've already admitted that I'm not internet savvy. Moving on.

For example, if I wanted to comment about Cheer.ios (, note the comment from the Cheer.ios Facebook Team asking if they could send this post to their 500,000 fans. Yes, you read that correctly 500,000) and not have them find me, I would just add a period (like I did, I don't want them to find me again unless...).

Or, if I actually wanted the company to find me, I would make the title "I Love Old Navy Socks" and leave it at that. By the way, I thought about making that the title of this post but I'm so not like that...

Another thing that makes me not internet savvy is that I never realized why people had to clearly publish that they were "compensated for their post".

You see, I don't have the problem of having people give me things for free like say a bunch of pairs of kids Old Navy Socks (size 2-3T) and/or cash in exchange for me writing something nice about them. Think about it. Why would Old Navy offer me anything (like a bunch of kids socks, size 2-3T) when I give a list of all their awesomeness for FREE? I mean, I'm so naive (not to be confused with knave) that I would go so far as to give a list of reasons why "I Love Old Navy Socks" and all for $0;

1. The size on the sock actually reflects the actual size of the kids foot (note to Cousin Kev, that is actual and not adjusted),
2. They have tons of amazing colours and designs (unfortunately, they were out of our size in the ones that we really liked; Dinosaurs and Argyle, I mean every boy needs Dinosaur and Argyle socks),
3. The socks can be neatly rolled to the ankle and not bug an almost 2 year old toddler, or, they can be unrolled and stretch all the way to their knees. What AWESOMENESS! I hate seeing kids, especially in the winter with exposed ankles, poor things,
4. To top it off, they're currently on sale for $1.25 a pair! Yes, even my SUPER cheap friend Rene (juries out on who's cheaper) would spring that for a pair (or 10). But she's so cheap, she'll probably just wait for my kids hand-me-downs and given their quality (hey, that should be #5), she'll still get some use out of them (I better not hear from Old Navy's lawyers on how I've screwed them out of sales because it's not my fault that their stuff is such great quality).

While I'm at it, I should let you know that I also LOVE Mountain Equipment Co-op. Pretty much every aspect of their business rocks; quality, customer service, prices, variety. Ed and I went there yesterday (thanks again for babysitting Nanna) to exchange our super awesome, can't live without baby carrier. We got it just before we left on vacation in August and upon returning noticed that the upright support stand was out of whack. Nathan at customer service took it back, no questions asked and replaced it with a new one. We didn't even have our original receipt. He did mention that MEC likes you to return the item as soon as possible (something about their warrantee people, yadda, yadda). I joined at their Toronto location in 1990 and will continue to do business with them.

Seeing as I'm on a roll, To top it off, I bought some stuff from Karen at A Mother's Touch this week. Being the awesomeness that she is (I love the word AWESOMENESS), she offered to meet me in Kemptville so that I could save (100%) on shipping. She was in the area having lunch with friends but still! The stuff I got was just as I expected (I ordered online, I was an online virgin) and she took the time to answer my 3,000 questions (even though she needed to rush home to save help her husband with her FOUR kids Halloween party.

I was going to write that "I was not (yet) compensated for anything that I stated in this post" except Karen really messed things up for me. You see, she threw in some free organic soap nuts (by the way, thank you Karen!). In my opinion, it doesn't really count because I don't know what they are or how to use them as compensation because she didn't/doesn't (but I will tell her) know that I had a blog or that I would be writing about it. I mean, she might have given them to me so that I would tell friends but we can't blame her for being a good business woman. Regardless, I am going to air on the side of caution because I don't want any problems with the "legal beagles".

I admit, I have no shame.

Journeys of The Zoo  Besos, The Zoo

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Time with Nanna, Remembrance and James Bond 007 Marathon #15

On Saturday night we continued on with the marathon by watching #15, "The Living Daylights" (1987).

This was Timothy Dalton's first movie and I really liked him in it. Ed and I will be reserving our ultimate rating of "Favourite Bond" until the end but he was good. It sucks when your Supporting Actor can't act (see below for more details).

As the movie progressed, I was starting to think (more and more) that this was going to be my favourite one. But in the end, not so much. The plot started out believable and fairly easy to follow and ended up with people riding horses in the desert and falling out of airplanes in jeeps (hope I didn't just ruin the movie for you).

Besides, the female lead (whoever she was, no need to remember her unless you want to remember her so that you'll never see a movie with her in it again but fear not because I'm pretty sure that she wasn't in one) was a really bad actor.

Ed gave it a "6" rating and I gave it an "8".

On Sunday, we all went out for breakfast. Afterwards, Ed and I headed into Ottawa for a day of errands. We didn't end up watching a movie as Ed had to prepare for several meetings (in Ottawa) that he has tomorrow.

The kids have been adding new words to their vocabulary every day. Artemis loves to draw, organize things and do puzzles. Max likes to play with balls, drive his car and play his musical instruments (electric piano, manual piano, tambourine, drum, whistle, horn and his karaoke machine). They're both 33" and almost in 24 month clothing.

Unfortunately, all good things must come to an end and after seven sleeps, Nanna will be leaving us tomorrow.

I need to take more pictures but we've been really busy. Here is one taken during breakfast. Artemis loves to show her teeth (note that she can say "teeth" and also show you where yours or hers are).

Yesterday, October 15 was Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day. Everyone deals with the loss of a child differently but most people enjoy talking about their child. Don't be afraid to let them know that you're thinking about them and that you remember their child. Sometimes the memories are all they have left.

Journeys of The Zoo  Besos, The Zoo

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Weekly Drivel and James Bond 007 Marathon #13 and #14

We spent Friday night at Finnerty's.

It was the first time that the kids visited since they were little babies (probably 6 months old).

They were really well behaved (and didn't get us kicked out). They enjoyed playing with the kids toys (that friends bought them), eating chips and climbing all over everyone.

There was only one little problem because I forgot the diaper bag (read: soothers and diapers) at home. The soothers weren't needed but the diapers were...

On Saturday night, after the kids went to bed, Ed and I had a dinner to remember (or not, that's why we took pictures).

It started out with appetizers.

Russian Caviar, Russian Smoked Salmon (cut straight off the fish), Spicy Hungarian Sausage (also from our favourite Russian Deli that we've been going to for 10 years and was originally recommended by a Hungarian work colleague of mine at Nortel), Kalamata olives and Raspberries.

The only thing that would have made it perfect was a few slices of Cambazola cheese. Note that I actually went to the store especially for it but forgot as it wasn't on my list.

For dinner we had Rack of Lamb, basmati rice and beet greens (from the garden) with fresh ginger.

Besides the fact that we like good food, the reason for the fancy-schmancy meal was because Ed has been saving something for a rainy day and we decided that today (while lovely out and no sign of rain) was the perfect day.

Tonight, we drank Ed's bottle of 1996 Cakebread Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley, USA. Here is what the winemaker had to say;

This bottle was supposed to be drunk from 1998 to 2006 (we didn't know this). Regardless, we loved it. We would both like to try a bottle of 2007 or 2008, which have received high reviews (92). The only problem is that the LCBO sells the 2008 for $99.95.

We have several other bottles that we've been saving. One is a bottle of 1999 (something or other, red) that we bought in France in 2001 and a couple more that are around 10 years old.

The 1996 Cabernet Sauvignon, with its attractive garnet colour, releases scents of plum, cedar, and vanilla. Mild, smooth flavours of red currants and plums build on the palate and linger through the long finish. Mid-palate, hints of chocolate and mint emerge. The predominant characteristics of this wine are its overall roundness and lingering aftertaste.

I'm not sure whether it was the wine (the older a wine gets, the higher the sugars) but shortly after the start of Octopussy (#13 in the series), I fell asleep.

I've seen this movie before. I saw it in the movie theatre in 1983 (at age 11). I went there on a triple "date" with Peter Smythe, Mike White/Jenny Mullins and Amanda Smith/Toby Morrison. Eleven sounds so young but I can remember feeling "so mature" at the time.

Ed stuck it out and gave it a rating of "8". I will need to watch the movie again this week (while Ed is away).

On Sunday we watched "A View to a Kill" (1985) which is #14 in the series. I had not seen it before. It was really good. It was almost up there with my favourites but something (I’m not sure what) was missing. The sound track (by Duran Duran) was really catchy. I rated it an "8" and so did Ed.

Monday was Canadian Thanksgiving. Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

In July, Aries had an altercation behind the BBQ and got an eye infection. Well, the antibiotics never made the infection completely go away. That's because a side effect (of the infection) caused her eyelids to turn in. Therefore, the hair on her eyelids was scratching her cornea and constantly infecting her eyes. So, today, Aries had entropion eye surgery.

In the morning, Eric (and Sandra) kindly drove Aries to the vet in Ogdensburg. They were going to mail a package and offered to save Ed a trip. On the way home, Ed conquered Thanksgiving traffic (I didn't think that it would be that bad but he had to wait 1.5 hours at the bridge), and Aries was still walking off the effects of the anesthetic (she was falling all over the place). Her eyelids look worse after the surgery. A small price to pay for some more quality time with our 16-year-old cat.

Yes, this is the best picture of the lot.

The next movie in the marathon is "The Living Daylights" (1987), the first of Timothy Daltons (two) movies. However, Ed leaves for San Diego tomorrow (on business) so we won't watch it until Saturday night (probably).

Today (Tuesday) was another beautiful day. The alarm went off at 4:45am. By 6:45am, I had dropped Ed off at the airport and was back at home in bed for another hour (before the kids woke up). Eric came and walked the dogs (thanks for always looking after them Eric!). Nanna (who arrived yesterday) and The Zoo went for a long walk. Afterwards, we tried to get every ounce out of the good weather and we played on the jungle gym until the sun set and it got cold quickly.

Oh, I almsot forgot (well, actually I DID forget but the power of the internet lets me go back and update my post before you even noticed, maybe I didn't forget at all...). The kids turned 22 months old today! Where has the time gone (that's a rhetorical question as I do actually know where it's gone).

Here are some pictures of our day.

Journeys of The Zoo  Besos, The Zoo

Thursday, October 6, 2011

James Bond 007 Marathon #11 and #12

After a two night visit, Poppa went home yesterday. The kids loved visiting with him and my garden thanks him also (he helped me weed and prepare it for the winter). Thanks Poppa.

Last night we watched "Moonraker" (1979). The major problem was that the movie was slow with a poor plot. I liked the Gorgeous Allie and there was Continuity (Jaws was in it).

I rated it a "7". Ed gave it a "6".

We're halfway through the Bond Series (the 23rd movie is due out in 2012). Eleven more to go.

I like plots best when "Spectre" is the Enemy. It makes the ludricrous plot that much more believable because a man with no face, a diabolical laugh and white cat (that he pets all the time) is behind it.

Tonight we watched "For Your Eyes Only" (1981).

This movie had it all; amazing theme song ("For your Eyes Only" by Sheena Easton, ties for first place with Carly Simon "Nobody Does it Better"), Car Chase, Ski Chase, Underwater Fights, Gorgeous Allie, Ditzy Blonde, Great Plot that read like an Agatha Christie novel, Much Improved Cinematography, Continuity (the Evil Guy from #5, "On Her Majesty's Secret Service" had a part) and everything ended as it should with words from a Parrot. I had not seen this movie before.

I rated it a "9" and Ed gave it an "8". Thunderball is still his favourite and I have to admit that the kung foo and James' Allie were top notch. For me, this tied.

In summary, below is the movie and what Ed and I (in that order) have rated it.
1. Dr. No, 6, 6
2. From Russia with Love, 5, 8
3. Goldfinger, 7, 7
4. Thunderball, 8, 9, (7.5 for Poppa)
5. You Only Live Twice, 7, 7
6. On Her Majesty's Secret Service, 6, 5
7. Diamonds Are Forever, 7, 8
8. Live and Let Die, 6, 7, (7 for Poppa)
9. The Man with the Golden Gun, 7, 9
10. The Spy Who Loved Me, 7, 7
11. Moonraker, 6, 7
12. For Your Eyes Only, 8, 9.

Next up is "Octopussy" (1983).

Journeys of The Zoo  Besos, The Zoo

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Last night we watched #4, "Thunderball" (1965) on DVD. The movie had been remastered which was better on the eyes, however, it made the authenticity of the movie seem less real. Your eyes think modern movie but the technology and cinemetography say ancient. It messed with my head a bit.

Poppa was our movie night guest tonight and he rated the movie a "7.5". Ed and I liked everything about the movie. It had a great plot that was easy to follow, tons of gadgets (for the car and Bond), great allies, music, you name it. The underwater fight scene was a bit long.

When this movie started, I had no idea that I'd ever seen it before. That was until the "pool scene". It should be noted that this movie is the reason why I'm afraid of swimming in pools (at night), lakes (almost all the time) and oceans (never). Whenever people would tell me that there was no such thing as sharks in pools, I'd remind them of the James Bond movie (I never quoted the name because I didn't know it).

Even so, I gave it a rating of "9" and Ed gave it a rating of "8".

Tonight we watched movie #8, (another one that we’d missed) "Live and Let Die" (1973). Roger Moore did an amazing job as a first time Bond, you wouldn’t even know it. Jane Seymour was a great Bond Girl. The theme song by Paul and Linday McCartney was my second favourite (To Carly Simon's, Nobody Does it Better)

The gadgets were great, the boat chase was epic (although a little long), and there were tons of really "smart" scenes. The problem was the plot (really hokey) and the ending (dragged on).

In turn, our ratings weren’t that good; Poppa "7", Ed "6" and I "7".

Next up is movie #11, "Moonraker" (1979). And we’re now back on track.

Journeys of The Zoo  Besos, The Zoo