Friday, 9 November 2012

Is it safe to travel to Surrey?

Now how often do you see headlines like this in your hometown?

Homicide team investigating woman's death in Surrey

Yes, I live in Surrey, there are headlines relating to shootings and homicides all the time.  Yet, when someone dies or is beaten up in our city, there is never a warning put out by the media to avoid traveling to Surrey.

When we were in Mexico last January, we saw news of 3 people killed in our home town while we were away, so we joked that we must have been safer in Mexico!

Yes, I am kidding.....I know not to hang out with drug dealers or people who carry guns, in Surrey and in Mexico (or anywhere for that matter).  Every city has an area you should not hang out or even walk alone at night, so you avoid those at home, and you should use even more caution when you are traveling.  Common sense right?

I just get annoyed with people and the media for always asking "Is it safe to travel to Mexico?" before they have all the facts about a crime or a death.

Yes, you should investigate the places you travel to before you go, another common sense thing to do, but don't let news headlines stop you from traveling to Surrey, it really is a nice place to live or visit!

Thursday, 8 November 2012

Do you have Earthquake Insurance?

Living in beautiful British Columbia we are always complaining about the rain, but we do know we are lucky because we don't have weather that can kill us. (Like tornados, hurricanes etc.)  I don't think earthquakes count as weather, but it is the one thing that might get us here on the west coast.

There have been 2 rather large earthquakes on the west coast in the past 2 weeks, luckily these were not centered near major population centers, and no damage or injuries occurred.   On October 27th, a saturday night we were sitting on the couch watching TV, enjoying a glass of wine, when I noticed the chandeliers above us were swaying.....I am pretty sure it was only one glass of wine....but I pointed up so my spouse would confirm what I was seeing.....and sure enough the lights were swaying even more now.  We got up, could not feel the ground moving, but looked outside to the pool, turned those lights on and watched the waves form in the pool.  The motion lasted for 3 or 4 mins, with the lights swaying so much that the metal was clanging on the glass.  I wasn't scared because the ground was not moving, but it was amazing to see.
these are the chandeliers I am talking about
Too bad I didn't think to film the moving chandeliers, but I'm sure you get the idea.

Of course the next thing I did was look for some news of an earthquake, nothing on TV, and nothing on the internet for quite sometime.  I did find the earthquake Canada website, but it was almost 20 mins before they confirmed the 7.7 quake near Haida Qwaii.  I was glad to know we were not imaging things.  Also amazed at the size of the quake.  I took the time to fill in their questionnaire, titled "Did you feel it?"

Now, last night it happened again, the lights only swayed slightly this time, and only for 30 seconds or so, but I knew what was happening right away.  Again I checked the earthquake Canada website, and the site was already updated showing the 6.3 quake just off the west side of Vancouver Island.

I am glad to see that the experts at earthquake Canada were able to improve their notification times, they had said on the news after the Oct 27th quake that there were things they could improve on, and obviously they took that seriously.

Now what about us, are we ready when those lights start to sway again?  Well, we do have a large earthquake kit, it is on a shelf in the garage, I am thinking it is over 6 years old so I should probably check the contents and replace the old water bottles, and whatever food is in there.  (maybe today even)

We did not buy earthquake insurance this year, first year in a long time....(yes, probably why we are having these quakes now, the superstitious would say).  I admit to buying earthquake insurance for many years without really reading what it covers.  So this year I did read it, and calculated the deductible to be aprox $65,000.00.   Yes, read your policy, deductibles are usually 10% of the value of your home.  
The cost of earthquake insurance for us was aprox $800 more on our premium, you can reduce this a bit if you take the personal content insurance off or lower the amount on the earthquake portion.   We chose not to buy the earthquake coverage at all, because we built this house, we know the quality of construction, and believe the risk is low that our damage would be over $65,000.00.

Now that is our personal, informed decision we made after talking to our insurance agent about what is actually covered by earthquake insurance.  I recommend you have this discussion with your insurance agent.  I have heard you can even buy another policy that will cover the deductible amount, but that is another yearly cost to you.  Get all the information and make your own informed decision about earthquake insurance.  (NOW before our lights start to sway again!)

Wednesday, 7 November 2012

Best Wishes to Diane Sawyer

If you know me at all, or even read my blogs you will know I read and watch the news quite a lot.

I don't often watch American News, but last night I think everyone was watching for a while at least, just to see who would be the next President.  I am very happy they chose Barack Obama, he is a great man, and if the republicans will just cut him some slack, he will accomplish great things!

I love the new TV series The Newsroom, it is a very intelligent, fast paced, real life drama.  Much like the old series, The West Wing. (I loved that one too!)
If you didn't see the first season, (there were only 10 episodes), I think they are replaying them on HBO.

The sad thing I saw in the news this morning is about Diane Sawyer, the news anchor on ABC.  If you saw her live, or watched the clips online, you have to wonder if she was drunk or just really tired or what?  If the public was wondering this, why didn't the network take her off the air?

I do hope all is well with Diane Sawyer, but I have to admit that she does not look well, and at the age of 66, maybe she should be retired already!   There are many young americans that need a job!  Even without this alleged drinking incident, her age is really showing, (OK that sounds mean but how do I put it nicely?) If she had retired at 65 none of this would have happened, she would have left as a respected News Anchor, and provided a younger person with a much needed job. American's need jobs!

 I also know in this day and age we cannot discriminate against age, sex, race etc, but honestly I prefer watching younger News Anchors.  I also like it if they are intelligent, and can speak clearly, just like Diane Sawyer in her prime.

Monday, 5 November 2012

Great muffin recipe, Wheat free or not

I hate to brag about my baking abilities as I am sure I will never be the master like my Grandma was, or yours, but I did once have the nickname of "muffin", so it must of come from somewhere.(No I don't look like a muffin,....I Hope!)

Here is the best muffin recipe I have found recently, it is from the Looney Spoons cookbook, and not only healthy, moist and Delicious!

The Looneyspoons Collection: Bananaberry Bombs

Moist banana-blueberry muffins with oats and flaxseed


  • 1 cup quick-cooking rolled oats (not instant)
  • ½ cup each all-purpose flour and whole wheat flour
  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • ¼ cup ground flaxseed or wheat germ
  • 1½ tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 1½ cups mashed ripe bananas (about 3 large or 4 small)
  • ¼ cup butter, melted
  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup fresh or frozen blueberries


Combine oats, both flours, sugar, ground flaxseed, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a large bowl. Mix well and set aside.
Preheat oven to 375°F. Spray a 12-cup muffin tin with cooking spray and set aside.
In a medium bowl, whisk together bananas, butter and egg. Add banana mixture to dry ingredients and stir just until dry ingredients are moistened. Gently fold in blueberries.
Divide batter among 12 muffin cups. Bake for 20 minutes, or until a wooden pick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool on a wire rack.
Makes 12 muffins
Per muffin: 183 calories, 5.7 g total fat (3 g saturated fat), 3.7 g protein, 30 g carbohydrate, 3.1 g fiber, 26 mg cholesterol, 209 mg sodium

Now you all know I cannot eat wheat , or bananas anymore, so I made some changes to the recipe above and it still turns out great!

For a wheat free version, substitute 

all wheat  for 1 Cup Spelt flour
bananas  for  1 1/2 cups unsweetened peach/apple sauce

go ahead and add nuts, chopped raspberries, or other fruit of your choice.
take note that spelt is a more delicate flour, so do not over mix, just fold until all dry ingredients are mixed in. (which is the way you should make all muffins anyway)

I make 10 muffins instead of 12, as I find if they are too small you will just have 2, so this works out to less calories than 2 muffins. (
Now compare these calories with a starbucks muffin, you won't find one under 390 calories.
Nutrition Facts
Serving Size 97 g
Amount Per Serving
Calories from Fat 
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 
Saturated Fat 
Total Carbohydrates 
Dietary Fiber 
Vitamin A 4%Vitamin C 3%
Calcium 6%Iron 7%
Nutrition Grade B+
* Based on a 2000 calorie diet