June 30, 2000

Wild Oats



Here are a few of my favorite online haunts:
[This is the site I visit to fantasize about living in Toronto again, which is almost every single day during the winter]

Jonathan Cainer's Zodiac Forecasts
[This is where I visit in the morning, when I need a positive spin on things past, present and future.]

Living Local
[This is where I go to see what Canadians are up to, sometimes I even buy things from the businesses listed there.]

Environment Canada Weather
[This is the site I visit every morning, and before every road trip during the winter]

It is surprising, in a way, that I still like oats. I do not just like oats; I love oats.

I like a bowl of oatmeal in the morning, creamy and hot with cold white milk and sweet brown sugar. I like oatcakes, rich and caramelly. I like apple crisp, crunchy sweet oats, and sharp tart apples exploding on the tongue. Then there is oatmeal bread, oatmeal biscuits, oatmeal...

The first time I prepared oatmeal myself, I would have been around seven years old.

I awoke that morning to a riot of birds singing in the trees just outside the open window. The house was silent. This was unusual. I tiptoed to my parent's room only to find an empty bed. I tiptoed downstairs to find an empty kitchen, an empty bathroom, an empty house.

There were no adults on the premises that morning, a strange experience.

In the next hour or so, the rest of the little people in the house began to appear in the kitchen.

We waited for an adult to appear. No one came.

After several hours, I made the decision to provide. Out came the cooking pot and the tall round oatmeal box. I could read the instructions but the abbreviations were a complete mystery to me, tsp., tbsp. I did my best guestimation. The oatmeal was creamy and smelled delicious. I served it into bowls. I placed the milk on the table; along with a spoon and the bag of brown sugar, setting them in the middle. Breakfast was served.

I called the other little people to the set table and proudly turned to the sink to soak the now empty pot.

The sounds coming from behind me, from the direction of the table, were not those I had expected. In fact, the exclamations were quite shocking. The consensus was that the oatmeal "tasted bad". Busy at the sink I suggested adding more sugar. They did. It did not help.

Finally finished at the sink I took my place at the table, poured the white liquid into my steaming bowl of oatmeal, sprinkled on the crumbly brown sweetness, and took my first bite.

They were right! It did taste bad, horrible in fact. I was devastated.

Hours later, an adult appeared on the scene. An Aunt had been called in to check on us; my parents had been in a car accident during the night. They returned several days later.

The other little people eagerly told the Aunt all about the horrid oatmeal. They relished the story. The Aunt cleared up the mystery. A tsp. of salt is not, it seems, the same amount of salt that fits nicely into the bowl of a large wooden spoon. In my humiliation, I learned the lesson of carefully following instructions while cooking.

I am older now, but I still like oatmeal and I measure recipe ingredients very carefully indeed.

And oh yes, I am still quite sensitive to the opinions of food critics.

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Dogwood by Maggie Turner


Page by Page: A Woman's Journal
by Maggie Turner

Canadian Maggie Turner writes and publishes poetry, photography, and a personal journal online. Her work reflects the current way of life in Canada, embracing Canada's past, present, and future in a unique portrayal of everyday life. Maggie's voice is one of the many that actively depict the rich diversity of Canadian culture.

Photography: "a term which comes from the Greek words photos (light) and graphos (drawing). A photograph is made with a camera by exposing film to light in order to create a negative. The negative is then used in the darkroom to print a photograph (positive) onto light-sensitive paper.
Source: University of Arizona Glossary

Poetry: "a form of speech or writing that harmonizes the music of its language with its subject. To read a great poem is to bring out the perfect marriage of its sound and thought in a silent or voiced performance. At least from the time of Aristotle's Poetics, drama was conceived of as a species of poetry."
Source: Creative Studios

Journal: " "Though a journal may be many things - a treasury, a storehouse, a jewelry box, a laboratory, a drafting board, a collector's cabinet, a snapshot album, a history, a travelogue..., a letter to oneself - it has some definable characteristics. It is a record, an entry-book, kept regularly, though not necessarily daily.... Some (entries) will be nearly illegible, written in the dark in the middle of the night.... Not only is it a record for oneself, but of oneself. Every memorable journal, any successful journal, is honest. Nothing sham, phony, false...." (Dorothy Lambert from Ken Macrorie's book, Writing to be Read )
A journal is a way to keep track of your thoughts about what you read... as well as what you did on any given day."
Source: Journal Writing

A Blog is an online journal created by server side software, often hosted by a commercial interest.

"The term "weblog" was coined by Jorn Barger[4] on 17 December 1997. The short form, "blog," was coined by Peter Merholz, who jokingly broke the word weblog into the phrase we blog in the sidebar of his blog in April or May 1999.[5][6][7] Shortly thereafter, Evan Williams at Pyra Labs used "blog" as both a noun and verb ("to blog," meaning "to edit one's weblog or to post to one's weblog") and devised the term "blogger" in connection with Pyra Labs' Blogger product, leading to the popularization of the terms."

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