Saturday, October 31, 2009

Happy Halloween

Have a Happy Halloween, intraweb!

Oh, and FU Universe for giving my son the flu.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Itchy and Scratchy

Itchy and Scratchy
Originally uploaded by greyhorse_azeri
An Open Letter to the Head Lice That Keeps Returning to my Children's Place of Higher Learning-

Hey! What's up? Are you still here? I hate to be the one to tell you this but: nobody likes you here.

Don't you know when you're not wanted?

I received the written notice from the school telling me that you are still hanging around. I've read all the things that I need to do to get rid of you. I know about the special combs, the killing shampoos and the like and, you know what? I don't care.

Let me be the first to say that you have overstayed your welcome. For reals. Nobody wants you here, dude. Nobody. Do us all a favour and make like Sammy Hagar.


P.S. And if I get another note that you are in my kid's school, I will cut you.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

B's Movies

My son has always loved film. His first film in the theatre was Finding Nemo and though he wa not fond of the Disney paradigm of "Kill the Parent" ("I don't like this TV show, Cece"), he soldiered on and has grown into a discerning cinephile.

This weekend, he was quizzing me on the roles of Sir Ian McKellan (I shit you not!) when it occurred to me: why don't I give the boy a chance to spread his wings and lead the reading public (all 4 of you) towards movies that you may (or may not) enjoy. Benoit style.

Ladies and gentlemen, I give you : B's Movies!!!!!!!

The first film: Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs.

Cheesy. Ha! Get it? Cheesy.......I didn't really like it.

Friday, October 23, 2009

The September Issue

Anna Wintour
Originally uploaded by Sir Bozok
When Cheryl and I were in Paris, we went to see the doc, The September Issue. It is a fantastic film - though, at times, a little too reverential - that documents the coming together of the largest issue in Vogue magazine history. Riveting stuff.

This film is part doc, part profile of Anna Wintour, the mercurial editrix of the style bible, who comes off as half-way human by the filmmaker here (There is a scene in which she talks about how she is seen by members of her highly-accomplished family that will, honestly, break your heart).

The real star of the thing, though, is Grace Coddington, Vogue's artistic director and the real force behind their vision. If Wintour is the whip, Coddington is the shepard, guiding the magazine towards it's rightful place at the fore-front of modern fashion.

Get out there and view this thing. It's well worth the $8.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Rickie Lee Jones

rickie lee jones
Originally uploaded by Nmarie
It's raining so we're listening to Rickie Lee Jones. She is a rainy day musician.

When I was in my twenties, I went through an unbelievable rough patch: too many extra-curricular liquids and herbs, silly man choices and the like. I refer to it now as my Rickie Lee Jones period. Partly because I kept listening to this same song of hers - Night Train - over and over again, and partly because I was trying to figure how she make her voice sound like three different people in the same song. It was my first brush with the concept of range. And this lady had it in spades.

My sister, Cheryl, and I went to see her in concert a few years later and it was truly incredible. We couldn't believe how reverential the crowd was in her presence - so hushed, so quiet. She played my song and told us that she had written it in order to get over a break-up with her man . A break -up song, I thought. I was obsessed with a break-up song! How cliche I'd been.

And then she told us the man in question was Tom Waits (Tom Waits, people!!) Didn't feel so bad then, for some reason.......

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Rules Can be Good

I was surfing the intraweb this afternoon in lieu of actual productive work when I stumbled across a site that kinda rocked my world (Thanx, Cup of Jo!). It is called 1001 Rules for my Unborn Son (
and it is beyond awesome.

Written by Walker Lamond (maybe he's related to Greg.....), the site's goal is simple: listing every day maxims about how to be a great man. Here are some examples:

#196 Whistle
#238 Read before bed every night
#389 After writing an angry e-mail, read it carefully. Then delete it.
#395 Buy good tires, good sheets and good shoes.
#379 It's not a gang without the cool girl.

Brilliant, non?

Walker has also written a book by the same name that is coming out on October 27th. Well done brother!

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Xenia's World

As many of you may already know, my husband is a fairly accomplished photographer and the other day, he gave my daughter our small digital camera with one instruction: take pictures of your world.

These are small sampling of the results:

Not bad, huh?

This is how Xenia has always approached the world to a large extent: up close and personal. It's a good way to be, I think.

Monday, October 12, 2009

The Weekly Soup

Soup Kitchen
Originally uploaded by glenda.suebee
It is Thanksgiving Monday, the day when most Canadians are putting away their summer lawn furniture, checking the Canadian Tire circulars for sales on shovels and rakes and making soup out of the leftovers. I did all of the above.

When a chill appears in the air, I make a natural switch from salads to soups and so to will Black by Popular Demand. The Weeky Salad feature will disappear for a few months and be replaced with The Weekly Soup.

But don't be sad, fair reader. Soup is not a harbinger of doom! In so many ways it is better than salad. Can you freeze salad? No. Can you put salad in a thermos? No. Can you bring salad to a pot luck? Well, yeah, I guess you can but it looks way better in a Le Creuset, non?

Here's the 1st Weekly Soup of the Obama era. Enjoy!

Winter Squash and Apple Soup

Grab whatever is left of your leftover roasted squash and throw it in a pot with 4 cups of chicken broth (veggie broth works great, too). In another pan sautee 1 diced onion, 2 diced apples and 1 diced clove of garlic. When soft throw it in with the squash. Add 2 tablespoons curry powder, a dash of cayenne and some salt and pepper. Throw it in a blender (or wand it) and call it a day. Add a dollop of sour cream for flair.


Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Irving Penn - Cuzco Children, Peru, 1948

When I was 11 years old, I used to sign out this massive book out of the school library called Life Magazine's Greatest Pictures. It was dog-earred beyond recognition, weighed about 200 pounds and was just big enough to fit comfortably into the bottom of my vinyl Adidas bag. I took it out on a weekly basis and when I did , it was all I could do to get home, sprawl on my bed and peruse the photos inside.

One of my favorite pictures was a portrait taken by Irving Penn of two children in Peru. I stared at that picture until it was a brain tattoo, etched it into my consciousness to the point where when I saw it again, many years later, I had to remind myself that I hadn't conjured it. It's simplicity was beauty itself.

The man that took this picture, who took some of the most beautiful pictures of the 20th century died today at 92. This image, and many more like, will remain. A testament to ordinary beauty sanctified.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Nie Nie Dialogues

Some red baloons
Originally uploaded by Gijlmar
Techno-pundits are forever telling us that the internet connects us and for tons of reasons, I have always thought that this was a load of crap. That was until this summer, when I started my blog after being inspired by another.

The Nie Nie Dialogues is a blog written by a lovely, creative mom in Salt Lake City, Utah and for a few weeks at the beginning of the summer, I started reading it after seeing her posts. Even though we had very little in common - she was a Mormon, a vegetarian and lived several thousand miles away- I loved how she was able to bring such joy and beauty to documenting the every day moments of her life and I decided that I might make an effort to do the same - except I would try to bring on the funny.

Then a terrible thing happened. The entries stopped for a time and then a posting: Nie and her husband - who she referred to affectionately in her postings as Mr. Nielsen - had suffered a terrible plan crash. Mr. Nielsen, with 30 percent of his body badly burned in the crash, dragged his wife from the wreckage. She was in a coma for more than 3 months and when she awoke, a good deal of her body had been burned. Her prognosis for recovery was grim.

When I read this, I was devastated and cried as if I had known her my whole life. I had come to love her and her family beyond measure and wanted more than anything for her to be okay. I wanted her to get back to her beautiful family and the life that she had so lovingly chronicled.

All of this because of the Internet.

There is a happy ending here, though. Nie has made a very strong recovery, is back with her family and is blogging again with the same enthusiasm that she did in her early days. For this I am grateful.

You can check her site out at

Or today on The Oprah Winfrey Show. You heard it here first.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Weekly Salad

With the weather as blase as it is, I want to eat something that puts me in mind of late summer....which we never got this summer summer, either by the way.

This is a good one because it has my favorite salad leaf: arugula. Here's what you need:

A handful of green beans
8 - 10 fingerling potatoes
1/2 teaspoon grated lemon zest
the juice of one lemon
fresh ground pepper
1/4 cup of olive oil
1/4 cup of pine nuts, toast and chopped up
1/2 cup of parmesan cheese, shaved with a vegetable peeler
1 1/2 cup of arugula

Cook the beans to your likeness and roast the fingerlings in the oven until golden brown. Whisk lemon juice, zest, pepper and some salt. Set aside. Toss beans, potatoes and arugula together, coat with the dressing and garnish with the parmesan and pine nuts.


Thursday, October 1, 2009

Laura in Paris + 2

As many of you know, I turned 40 this year and as a gift, my sister took me to Paris. Sweet, huh?

We had a blast, of course, but as an added bonus we brought along a friend.

Silver bear is the bear my daughter asked me to bring along to the City of Lights to enjoy the sights. He had a lot of fun but a couple of nights he drank WAAAAAY to much wine, puked on a Japanese tourist and ended up getting banished by yours truly to a discarded suitcase in our hotel room.

Don't worry. He apologized the next day.

But, Hey! What happens in Paris, stays in Paris.