Friday, August 10, 2007

Favourite haunts...

One of my favourite things to do is to sit back, relax and have a very good cup of steaming hot coffee. The curls of steam finding their way into waiting nostrils signal a euphoric response that is welcomed and embraced, no matter the weather, the temperature or the season. Spring, summer, winter and fall are filled with perfect days for enjoying the nectar of the gods; the breath of life; giver of awakeness, etc. (insert other cool catch phrases here!). Most of us NEED coffee, we CRAVE coffee and embark on a daily QUEST to get our fix. It might be one of the most addictive substances, but also the most enjoyable.

Since our move to Saskatoon a few years ago, I have taken to embarking on a personal quest to discover this cities caffeination haunts. As a recent implant to Saskatoon, it is taking a while for me to familiarize myself with all the coffee shops and roasting houses that offer up a delectable selection of the bean of the gods. However, I think I have at least made a dent and to date Mackenzie Cole's is my favourite - at least in my neighbourhood.

Mackenzie Cole Coffee, 815A Gray Avenue (corner of Gray and Cental, just north of the railroad tracks). Saskatoon's Sutherland subdivision began life as a "CPR Town", where the trans-continental railroad serviced it's locomotives and prepared trains for destinations along the mainline and branch lines. Mackenzie Cole Coffee brings coffee enthusiasts a good place to stop and rest on the east side of the city - much further east and these guys would be out of town! They get their coffees from Globe Coffee in Toronto.

This is a great little shop close to my new home which I frequent often. However, whenever I return to Regina, Roca Jack's is one of my first stops. It will remain forever at the top of my list of great and un-surpassed haunts that offer up a delectible menu of great conversation, not diet-friendly treats and a number of flavours of the bean that we worship. The nice thing about RJ's is that they also sell the beans they brew and one can leave with a little taste of heaven to enjoy at home on those rare occasions where one is unable to take in the eclectic atmosphere of this quaint little paradise.

There may be other haunts in Saskatoon, but I've not enjoyed them as much as that above. My memory is now turning to the places that hold a dear spot in my heart from my true home town, Regina, Saskatchewan.

Roca Jack's Coffee House, 1939 Scarth Street and another on 13th Avenue and formerly of the University of Regina - location in Campion College. An excellent espresso bar and roastery, situated in the heart of Regina's downtown, across from scenic Victoria Park and just a block away from the historic Hotel Saskatchewan. Not only will you get a great coffee, you can grab a delicious and healthy lunch or snack at the same time. This is a sure place to indulge your thirst for both coffee and the most eclectic and awesome group of people engaged in conversations ranging from politics to the state of the arts in Saskatchewan. You can find another location on 13th Avenue should that prove a little more convenient. AND SHAME ON THE UNIVERSITY OF REGINA for not renewing the contract for the Campion location of Roca Jack's. I was very saddened when I heard that RJs needed to vacate the premises....countless students shall now go coffeeless!!! Although, other coffee bars do exist, none shall come close to the quality of RJs in many of our hearts.

I hope you enjoyed my editorial upon the need for good coffee and where to get it. As previously mentioned it is a NEED and that should not negate the desire for a good cup of coffee. If you have a favourite shop, please feel free to tell me all about it. I am always on the lookout for good coffee!!!!! Who knows, my next quest may begin in your home town.

Borrowed but valuable advice...

I have borrowed this from a friend's blog. I am unsure as to its origin, but felt it bore repeating as, any number of women will attest to, it is valuable advice...

1. Vacuuming too often weakens the carpet fibers. Say this with a serious face and shudder delicately whenever anyone mentions Carpet Fresh.

2. Dust bunnies cannot evolve into dust tortoises when disturbed. Rename the area under the couch The Galapagos Islands and claim an ecological exemption.

3. Layers of dirty film on windows and screens provide a helpful filter against harmful and aging rays from the sun. Call it an SPF factor of 5 and leave it alone.

4. Cobwebs artfully draped over lampshades reduces the glare from the bulb, thereby creating a romantic atmosphere.

5. In a pinch, you can always claim that the haphazard tower of unread magazines and newspapers next to your chair provides the valuable Feng Shui aspect of a tiger, thereby reducing your vulnerability.

6. Explain the mound of pet hair brushed up against the doorways by claiming you are collecting it there to use for stuffing hand sewn play animals for underprivileged children.

7. If unexpected company is coming, pile everything unsightly into one room and close the door. As you show your guests through your tidy home, rattle the door knob vigorously, fake a growl and say, "I'd love you to see our Den, but Fluffy hates to be disturbed and the shots are SO expensive."

8. If dusting is REALLY out of control, simply place a showy urn on the coffee table and insist that "THIS is where Grandma wanted us to scatter her ashes."

9. Don't bother repainting. Simply scribble lightly over a dirty wall with an assortment of crayons, and try to muster a glint of tears as you say, "Junior did this the week before that unspeakable accident...Ihaven't had the heart to clean it."

10. Mix one-quarter cup pine-scented household cleaner with four cups of water in a spray bottle. Mist the air lightly. Leave dampened rags in conspicuous locations. Develop an exhausted look, throw yourself onto the couch, and sigh, "I clean and I clean and I still don't get anywhere...I think I'll just take a break and check my e-mail!"

Thursday, August 09, 2007

Is Saskatchewan's Economy Improving for the better?

The news is overflowing with success after success. The air waves and the internet job search engines are promoting growth beyond what has been experienced in recent years. My question is: Is this growth sustainable? Is the economy expansion actually improving our communities or creating an environment where minimum wage jobs are the norm and home ownership is far beyond the reach of the "nuclear" family? What are your thoughts?