An Open Letter to Pigs (And Other Picky Eaters)

Originally posted on Eva Lesko Natiello:


photo by David Merrett

Dear Pigs,

By the way, may I call you that? Pigs? It’s meant with the utmost respect, and after all, it is your name. Believe me, pig. I’ve never used your name in vain when referring to perverts or sleazeballs. I don’t know who started that. Uncool. Nor have I ever said, “Go clean up, you filthy pig!” to either of my kids or my husband. Even that time when they were so foul I wouldn’t let them in the house without hosing off in the backyard first. I’ve read that elephants and rhinos are much dirtier than pigs, but the dirtiest of all, obviously, is the dung beetle. Just so you know, whenever possible I do correct people by saying, “Go clean up, you filthy dung beetle!”

Okay, that’s not why I’m writing you. I need to talk to you about the state of pigs…

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My first introduction to a pretzel was the cracker-like, snack-food kind—tiny, crispy. slightly salted and perfect with beer or a glass of wine.  I didn’t know they also came the size of a dinner plate; a twisty bread hot out of the oven with a slightly salty, crispy outside and a soft inside. My cousin demonstrated how to eat it slathered with hot mustard, but I preferred mine unadorned, tearing pieces of it and savouring the warm dough. Being young and skinny, both of us enjoyed our hot pretzels without any guilty thoughts of bread control.

So, it was a revelation to see that food trends had taken a new twist–pardon the pun. I always enjoy seeing “something old becoming new again,” but who would have put the lowly pretzel in the retro box?

I now think  of pretzels as the “perfect” food. You know, like a pizza that has your carbs, proteins and veggies, pretzels can be dressed up or down the same way.  There is a new pretzel cart in town. When I saw the pretzel cart, I dashed over to check it out. I love to nibble on the plain, hot twisty dough, but now I can add my choice of melted cheese, tiny cocktail sausages, teriyaki baby prawns, crispy bacon and a scoop of tangy salsa—see, carbs, proteins and veggies on a dinner plate size pretzel!

And, for all you chocolate lovers out there, there were also chocolate dipped mini-pretzels for dessert.  Heavens, what next?  Oh wait—I just spotted something new at my supermarket—chocolate dipped potato chips. . . Pul–leez tell me that’s not so!



Thank you for writing such a great post on being a Writer. I have reblogged you on

Originally posted on From the Laundry Room:

I am a writer.

When asked, upon meeting someone new, “What do you do?” these four words are tough for me.  Lately, I’ve been wondering why.

“I am a writer,” sounds silly, whimsical, not quite, “I’m a circus performer,” but close.  They are fine words, even great, when I am in front of my computer, or when I close my eyes at night and wonder what the hell I’m doing.  I tell myself, “I am a writer.”  It’s what I do, but it doesn’t seem to ring glorious and confident out in the world, the real word.

The declaration, “I’m a writer,” is often met with, “Ah…” or “Really!?”

See?  Sort of the circus performer or the ballerina response.

After the initial surprise, the next step is what I call The Legitimizer.  People need to know if I am really a writer, a legitimate writer, and that always revolves around…you guessed it.


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Almost April and Shorts

The old adage, “Time is wasted on the young” makes tons more sense to me now than when I was in my 20s.  Back then, Time seemed to drag forever, especially on slow work days and when there was someplace exciting to be when the work day was over. Now it seems, Time is racing and even though obstacles and barriers are placed in its path, nothing and no one will slow its progress.

Checking my calendar, I suddenly focused on the fact that March is sprinting for the finish line and morphing into April–a super month of warmer sunshine, that colourful blast of more bountiful blooms in the gardens and best of all, less clothing. By less clothing, I’m thinking, stash away the heavy sweaters and winter coats–bring on the light jackets and short sleeve tops. The weather here may be warmer but it’s still too fickle deciding upon rain or sun, so only a hardy few are showing off by wearing tees, shorts and sandals. Did I mention that the few hardy souls have buff bodies and legs that go on forever?

Being short has its disadvantages. When I wear my shorts, what you see is all the leg view you’ll get. And that segues nicely into my next thought—I am on a searching-for-the-right-shorts mission. Like searching for the right bathing suit, finding the right pair of shorts can be quite daunting. Many are designed for itty-bitty waists and have enough spandex to lock a body into a highly contained package guaranteed not to pop open with a strategically placed zipper/button/snap in the right location. When the right body slithers into it and zips/buttons/snaps it closed, it looks spectacular–everything fits as it should and the person wearing it can still breathe quite normally. The length is short enough so that the wearee cannot bend over unless she wants to be arrested. There is still room enough to insert a tiny hand into the tiny front or side pockets.

My ideal pair of shorts must have an elasticized waistband with no zippers, buttons or snaps to worry about. It definitely has to have two deep side or front pockets for snacks, parking meter money, cellphone, keys and hanky. It has to be short enough to be called “shorts” and when I bend over, I’m definitely safe from being arrested for indecent exposure. AND my perfect shorts has to look good,  feel good and be in my favourite colour.  Simple, right?

I did find my ideal version of the perfect shorts but it was in the big ladies department. The small could fit me quite comfortably in one leg hole. Okay–back to my mission.  This may take my entire Spring/Summer.  Hmm-mm, where did I pack away my fave pair of faded denim shorts from last year? After all, it took me 10 years to have it “seasoned” with that faded, slightly ripped, holey look and best of all, it still fits!

Spring Has Sprung

It seems that 90% of Canada is suffering through the worst Winter ever with blankets of snow and ice and blizzard conditions, while here in the “Banana Belt” of Canada, we have had an early Spring since late January.

My hometown of Victoria, British Columbia, situated at the southern tip of Vancouver Island, is enjoying a notably mild and warm Winter. Our only complaint in January were the days of cold and damp, often accompanied by that pesky rain–either spitting, drizzling or a horrendously heavy downpour—alternating with a day or two of sunshine. By early February, the downpours became light drizzles and the first of the early bulbs were poking their green shoots above ground. By mid-February, the mini-daffodils, the snowdrops, the crocuses: buttery yellow, creamy whites and gorgeous purples were taking over boulevards and front yards. By late February and the first week of March, the plum trees, the ornamental cherry trees and the magnificent bulbous heads of the pink and cream magnolias were colouring the boulevards and gardens. Now we are at mid-March and already a blizzard of pink and white blossoms have drifted onto lawns and sidewalks.

My friend, Jane Wilson’s recent blog titled “The Bulbs Know” found at:  describes her wistful hopes for an early Spring and I fervently wish her an early one too. Other bloggers have noticed the new growth of blossoms and blooms in their neck-of-the-woods, so we know that Life does march on and the seasons will pass from a cold, gray Winter to a sparkling Spring.

I love Spring and its promise of new life, new beginnings and new challenges —after all, it is Spring that brings fresh starts and new hope everywhere.


Recently celebrating a significant birthday  had me thinking some serious thoughts. One sobering thought being that birthdays are annual markers measuring significant stages of our lives. I hadn’t thought about birthdays much—it was just an event that I celebrated with family and good friends.

At one stage of my young life, I felt seriously ripped that my birthday happened right after New Year’s. How awful was that? By the time Christmas flew past and then the excitement of celebrating the New Year, along came my birthday which everyone felt too pooped to celebrate back then. Of course, now that I’m a mature and responsible adult with mature and responsible adult friends, logic flies out the window. We celebrate anything but if there’s someone’s birthday, then that’s a reason for party, cake and chocolates.

I can honestly say that I have never celebrated my birthday with such gusto and enthusiasm as I have these past few years. Blame it on the aftermath of Christmas and New Year’s. I like January because we also celebrate Chinese New Year’s at the end of the month depending upon the Chinese calendar. This year, however, Chinese New Year was later as it fell on February 19th, the Year of the Ram. But when it falls in January, the whole month is mine because Chinese New Year runs for two whole weeks—none of this one day celebration for us!

What’s really interesting is that the very young and the elderly are not at all bashful about disclosing their age. Being older is a badge of honour.

My little granddaughter will be 4 on February 28th. If you ask her how old she will be, she will gaze at you with her blue eyes, flash her dimples and proudly declare that she is “sebben.”  That happens to be her older sister’s age. At least I always thought it was but I’ve been corrected as Big Sis informed me, “I’m 8, Po-Po. I was 8 in August.” Whatever happened to my plump little brown-eyed cutie-pie?

My Mom has always been very private about disclosing her age to anyone other than her taxman and her doctor. When Mom moved to her seniors’ apartment and met her many neighbours, it was quite a revelation as all the ladies were eager to disclose their ages—after all, a number were already in their late 90s and four ladies ranged in age from 101 to 104. Mom’s older sister recently celebrated her 95th and her sister-in-law celebrated her 97th last October. Now my very private mother is telling her table-mates that she will be 90 in August.

With two aunts well in their 90s and my Mom almost there, I hope I’ll be blessed with longevity too—barring heart attacks, diabetes, the dreaded falls, the big “C” and whatever else lurks out there. Of course, there’s always the runaway truck/car/train or that big earthquake that’s long overdue on the West Coast or any number of events or other health crisis that may fall. BUT I’m not going to let the “what-ifs” stop me from enjoying my Life to the fullest. My wise Dad use to say, “If your number’s called, then you have to go. Just do everything you ever wanted to do before your number comes up!”

Thanks Dad–I’m finally listening. I’m grabbing Life by the coat-tails and not letting go.  .  .  .

Dark Chocolate Covered Marshmallows

I have this mad passion for dark chocolate covered marshmallow hearts. You know—the after-the-holiday-is-over ones. They’re tossed in a basket and sold  2-for-1 since the store has to clear them in a hurry in time for the next chocolate marshmallow event, which is Easter.

The after-the-holiday-is-over chocolate marshmallows are the best. Of course, they are also called leftovers, but I prefer the term “aged.”  I get several “fixes” a year—the dark chocolate covered marshmallow hearts in February followed by the chocolate covered marshmallow bunnies and/or eggs for Easter. Sometimes, Halloween has the chocolate marshmallow witches while Christmas produces the chocolate marshmallow Santas. Natch, it has to be dark chocolate and since they’ve been around a while, the marshmallow has that chewy texture, not that airy, soft marshmallow that seems more egg whites and sugar than the slightly more set and chewy ones.

Chinese New Year hasn’t figured out the dark chocolate and chewy marshmallow treats yet. Instead we have these molasses Buddha and astrological animal’ shaped cookies; chewy deep-fried Chinese donuts with the red bean or lotus filling and the crispy, braided sesame mini-bread sticks—all of which are very good but they’re not dark chocolate over marshmallows.

On my Friday morning grocery run, I saw the basket of dark chocolate covered marshmallow hearts leftover from Valentine’s. Perfect! Grabbling a fistful and pretending they were for my grandkids, I contemplated in the car whether I should eat one on the drive home or wait.  Hey, marshmallow hearts wait for no man or woman when it’s screaming to be eaten now!  And yes, it was perfectly “aged”—tasty dark chocolate, chewy marshmallow and a mouth that wanted more. . . . . .