Canadian Expatriates: The Expat Blog: January 2006

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An Invitation from Foreign Affairs Canada [-]

Canadian Expatriates, its contributors, and readers have been invited by Foreign Affairs Canada to participate in a series of eDiscussions. The current topic is “Showcasing Canadian Culture and Know-How Abroad”.

We are asked to consider the following questions:

  • What role does Canadian culture and know-how play in our foreign policy?

  • How might the government best promote Canadian talent and expertise in the world?

    The eDiscussion runs from April 4 to May 6, 2005. At its conclusion, a summary of the discussion will be sent to senior policy planners.

    The Expat admin team encourages its readers to join in the eDiscussion at the Canadian International Policy website.

    Posted by Admin

  • Call for Contributors [-]

    The administration team is currently searching for Canadian expatriates who would be interested in contributing to the Expat Blog. The subject matter is wide open, but must remain family friendly.

    If you are interested in joining our blogging team, please send an email our way!

    Thank you!

    Posted by Admin

    Tuesday, January 31, 2006

    I ♥ Saskatchewan
    by Expat

    My apologies, in advance, to my fellow Skatchers.

    Gotta Love Saskatchewan

    A guy from Regina passed away and left his entire estate to his beloved widow, but she can't touch it 'til she's 14.

    How do you know when you're staying in a Moose Jaw hotel?
    When you call the front desk and say; "I gotta leak in my sink!" and the clerk replies; "Go ahead."

    How can you tell if a Saskatoon redneck is married?
    There's dried tobacco juice on both sides of his pickup truck.

    Did you hear that they have raised the minimum drinking age in Kindersley to 32?
    It seems they want to keep alcohol out of the high schools.

    What do they call reruns of "Hee Haw" in Saskatchewan?

    Where was the toothbrush invented?
    Swift Current. If it had been invented anywhere else, it would have been called a teeth brush.

    An RCMP officer pulls over a pickup on the Trans Canada and says to the driver, "Got any I.D.?" and the driver replies; "'Bout wut?"

    Did you hear about the $3 million Saskatchewan Lottery?
    The winner gets $3.00 a year for a million years.

    The Premier's mansion in Regina burned down! Yep. Pert' near took out the whole trailer park. The library was a total loss, too. Both books- POOF - up in flames and he hadn't even finished coloring one of them.

    A new law was recently passed in Saskatchewan. When a couple gets divorced, they are STILL cousins.

    A guy walks into a bar in Prince Albert and orders a mudslide. The bartender looks at the man and says, "You ain't from 'round here are ya?"

    "No," replies the man, "I'm from Winnipeg".

    The bartender looks at him and says, "Well, what do ya do in Winnipeg?"

    "I'm a taxidermist," said the man.

    The bartender, looking very bewildered now, asks, "What in the world is a tax-e-derm-ist?"

    "I mount animals."

    The bartender stands back and hollers to the whole bar ... "It's okay boys, he's one of us!"

    Tip o' the toque to Knoodle.

    Monday, January 30, 2006

    Tim-mobile: Kandahar
    by Expat

    If the Canadian Forces gets its way, troops in Afghanistan may soon be munching on Timbits and drinking Double Doubles on their way to muster at the Kandahar Air Field.
    If [Tim Hortons] and the Canadian Forces agree to terms, Mr. Cleyson [director of the Canadian Forces Personnel Support Agency for the Afghanistan mission] said a small "Tims trailer" could be in place within a couple of weeks, perhaps even days depending on how the availability of cargo space on the military flights into Kandahar.

    "There's a lot of logistics involved certainly," he said, "but it wouldn't take much to get it up and running."

    The 800 Canadians now in Kandahar air field have been buzzing for weeks about the prospect of being able to buy a double-double on their way to their duties.

    "American coffee just isn't the same thing," said one grizzled warrant officer, making a face at his morning cup of coffee in the base's mess tent.

    "I'd pay some serious coin for a good cup of Timmies."
    I know the feeling, mate. I know the feeling.

    Friday, January 27, 2006

    Arctic Showdown
    by Expat

    A salty ex-submariner, who just happens to also be American, emailed me the link to the following news story:

    Canada Reasserts Arctic Sovereignty.
    Harper said during a campaign speech in December he would dramatically increase Canada's military presence in the Arctic North. He intends to construct and deploy three new armed icebreaking ships and construct a $1.7 billion deep-water port and an underwater network of "listening posts."

    "The single most important duty of the federal government is to protect and defend our national sovereignty," Harper said in the December speech. "There are new and disturbing reports of American nuclear submarines passing though Canadian waters without obtaining the permission of, or even notifying, the Canadian government."
    In addition to the link was this message, "The Lego man and his Lego Navy stopping my submarines? Hmmmm...."

    Remembering the last pictorial show-down between Canada's Navy and that of the US, I realized how futile the fight would be and quickly thought of a new retort.

    "Clearly, you are not aware of Mr.Harper's campaign promise to train polar bears for military purposes. I believe that the following pictures tell the sordid details."

    A polar bear meets the USS Connecticut, April 2003.

    So far there has been no response from the scurvy sailor, but I can smell his fear.

    Thursday, January 26, 2006

    Colbert "Fixed Canada"
    by Expat

    Love the new PM or hate him...

    Canucks now know who to blame thank for Stephen Harper's success:

    Stephen Colbert and his massive balls.
    I fixed Canada!" Colbert exclaimed Wednesday night on his show, The Colbert Report (pronounced RAY-pore), which airs Monday to Thursday. Colbert noted that his show debuted in Canada on Nov. 7, and featured a message, replayed on Wednesday's show, to Canadians: "I am Stephen Colbert. I have balls. If you're lucky, they might just rub off on you."

    "Well, it looks like my balls rubbed all over Canada," Colbert noted triumphantly as a photo of Prime Minister-designate Stephen Harper and a Canadian flag appeared behind him. "Because they just elected a new prime minister, Stephen Harper, an American-loving, health-care-dismantling Bush wannabe."

    "I fixed Canada in 77 days!" he exclaimed as balloons fell from above and a band played a jaunty tune.
    That jaunty tune, Mr. Unkown Journalist of the Canadian Press, was the United States Marine Corp Hymn.

    Check back later for a link to the video.

    Wednesday, January 25, 2006

    Beaver Tails
    by Expat

    Beaver tails were first enjoyed by the early North American voyageurs and today are a staple for skaters on the Rideau Canal. The deep-fried pastries can come with a variety of toppings and, despite being available under a myriad of names at summer fairs across North America, are considered to be an Ottawa specialty.

    With the following recipe, homesick expats can enjoy a copycat version of the treats at home.


    1/2 cup warm water
    5 teaspoons dry yeast
    1 pinch sugar
    1 cup warm milk
    1/3 cup sugar
    1 1/2 teaspoons salt
    1 teaspoon vanilla
    2 eggs
    1/3 cup oil
    4 1/4-5 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
    oil (for frying)
    granulated sugar (for dusting)


    1. In a large mixing bowl, stir together the yeast, warm water and pinch of sugar.
    2. Allow to stand a couple of minutes to allow yeast to swell or dissolve.
    3. Stir in remaining sugar, milk, vanilla, eggs, oil, salt, and most of flour to make soft dough.
    4. Knead 5-8 minutes (by hand or with a dough hook), adding flour as needed to form a firm, smooth, elastic dough.
    5. Place in a greased bowl. Place bowl in a plastic bag and seal. (If not using right away, you can refrigerate the dough at this point).
    6. Let rise in a covered, lightly greased bowl; about 30-40 minutes.
    7. Gently deflate dough. (If dough is coming out of the fridge, allow to warm up for about 40 minutes before proceeding).
    8. Pinch off a golfball-sized piece of dough. Roll out into an oval and let rest, covered with a tea towel, while you are preparing the remaining dough.
    9. Heat about 4 inches of oil in fryer (a wok works best, but you can use a Dutch oven or whatever you usually use for frying). Temperature of the oil should be about 385°F
    10. Add the beaver tails to the hot oil, about 1-2 at a time, BUT -- before you do, stretch the ovals into a tail - thinning them out and enlarging them as you do.
    11. Turn once to fry until the undersides are deep brown.
    13. Lift beaver tails out with tongs and drain on paper towels.
    14. Fill a large bowl with a few cups of white sugar.
    15. Toss beaver tails in sugar (with a little cinnamon if you wish) and shake off excess.

    * Dough can also be made in a bread machine on the "dough" setting.

    Tuesday, January 24, 2006

    Harper Wins Minority
    by Expat

    Whether you are celebrating the news or drowning your sorrows, there is a political potable for you.

    Monday, January 23, 2006

    Election Coverage
    by Expat

    Expats looking for the election results can do so at the following links:
    Stateside expats can also catch a simulcast of CBC's special on C-SPAN.

    Coverage begins at 10pm EST when the polls close in both BC and the Yukon.

    Men With Brooms
    by Expat

    "Man, this movie sucks."


    "The acting is terrible. The plot is terrible. All of it is terrible."

    "You do realize that this is a comedy right? A parody of sports movies? A play on Canadian stereotypes?"

    "Umm... it is not looking that way to me."

    We were watching the second half of Men With Brooms on television. Having missed the first part of the movie, the resident Yank had no idea what the plot was about and I was getting the impression that he thought that he was watching a drama set in Canada about curling.

    "Are you kidding me? You know that Canada is not how they are presenting it."

    "Ummm.... it isn't?"

    I couldn't tell if he was pulling my leg or not. As such, the only solution was to see when the movie was next airing. As luck would have it, "Men With Brooms" was on again immediately afterwards on another channel. This time we watched the movie in its entirety.

    Somewhere in between the dearly deceased falling out of the casket, the funeral director nearly getting cremated, and the rogue beavers roaming the road, the Dude realized that the show was, indeed, a comedy.

    I wonder how many other Americans caught the show and thought that it was a drama.

    Friday, January 20, 2006

    Election Laugh
    by Expat

    Martin, Harper and Layton are flying on the Executive Airbus to a gathering in British Columbia when Harper turns to Martin and says, chuckling, "You know, I could throw a $1,000 bill out the window right now and make someone very happy."

    Martin shrugs and replies, "Well, I could throw ten $100 bills out the window and make ten people happy."

    Not to be outdone, Layton says, "Well I could throw a hundred $10 bills out the window and make a hundred people happy."

    The pilot rolls his eyes and says to his co-pilot, "Such arrogant asses back there. Hell, I could throw all three of them out the window and make 32 million people happy."

    Tip o' the toque to Knoodle.

    Thursday, January 19, 2006

    Voting Cheat Sheet
    by Expat

    Having trouble choosing between the evils?

    Wondering if the devil you know is better than the devil you don't?

    Fear not! offers a series of relatively impartial questions to see how your preferences align with the main party platforms.

    Give it a go at Making My Choice.

    Wednesday, January 18, 2006

    Canadian Spell
    by Expat

    Tossing, turning, and unable to sleep, I moved out to the couch to read.

    The little yellow dog abandoned her spot at the end of the bed to come and see what I was doing. She made herself a nest in the blankets beside me and happily fell asleep. Following her lead, I soon joined her in slumberland.

    A handful of hours later, we both were awakened by a muffled digital tune emerging from my husband's jacket pocket. The string of notes that it played was very familiar, yet I was surprised that my husband had chosen that particular tune for his ringtone on his work cellphone. In fact, the nature of his job made it that much more intriguing. It certainly can not be often that a US government issued cell phone plays Canada's national anthem.

    It appears that the resident Yank is falling under my Canadian spell.

    Tuesday, January 17, 2006

    Daily Diversion
    by Expat

    I came across a fun little game on the Carnaval de Québec website.

    The premise of the game, 400 Years of Quebec Adventures, is that you are to guide the absent-minded hero, Oriel, across the levels without getting hurt. As it is a point and click game, the challenge is to do the tasks in the correct order.

    Just in case there are some cheater-cheater-pumpkin-eaters out there, I will post the walk-through in the comments section. :)

    Good luck!

    Slick Deal: PC Cookies
    by Expat

    This is a public service announcement for the south-of-the-border Canucks who are craving some "Made in Canada" cookies.

    This week, Jewel-Osco has President's Choice The Decadent Cookies on sale for a mere 99¢. Fruit flavoured varieties from the Temptations line are also on sale and priced at 2/$5. To make this deal even sweeter, go to the customer service counter and sign up for a Jewel-Osco Preferred Card. With your card, you will receive a coupon for a free bag of The Decadent cookies.

    We now return you to your regularly scheduled programming.

    Friday, January 13, 2006

    Friday's Funny
    by Expat

    An Oilers fan was driving home from work when he passed by the local priest. He stops and offers him a lift. The priest thanks him kindly and together they proceed to the church to drop the priest off.

    On the way, they pass a man walking his dog on the other side of the road. Upon closer inspection, the man was seen to be wearing a Flames sweatershirt. The Oilers fan just hated the Flames and he suddenly felt an uncontrollable urge to run his car into the man. He put his foot down on the accelerator and aimed to hit him. At the last minute the Flames fan jumped out of the way. The driver of the car heard a bang, but he was certain that he had missed the man.

    The two men proceeded to the church in silence. The Oilers fan pulled up to the church and said, "Look Father, I'm really sorry about that incident back there. I don't know what came over me. Can you forgive me, Father?"

    The Priest replied, "Of course I can forgive you, my son. Don't worry - I GOT HIM WITH THE CAR DOOR."

    - Author Unknown

    Thursday, January 12, 2006

    Hockey Day in Canada
    by Expat

    Saturday marked the glorious return of CBC's Hockey Day in Canada, an event that was postponed last year due to the National Hockey League'’s lockout. The event has become very much a tradition since its inception in 2000 with many Canadians of the belief that the event should inspire a national holiday. (Oh, the blasphemy that it is not!)

    The 13 hour televised extravaganza contains clips and features of hockey from the grass roots level and is broadcast from small communities across Canada in a build up to the NHL'’s triple header which featured four Canadian teams.

    You can see what official Hockey Day in Canada events were planned for your neck of the woods via CBC's interactive map or try your hand at a little 3 on 3 hockey against the "Red Menace". If you are an expat living in an area without NHL coverage (Oh the horror!), you can get your fix listening to live broadcasts of your favourite teams on the NHL's official website.

    Wednesday, January 11, 2006

    Welcome Aboard!
    by Expat

    The Canadian Expatriates blogging team would like to extend a warm welcome to our newest contributor, Dean P.

    Dean is currently residing in the United States and co- authors Mike and Dean's Cross-Border Tagteam. Take a moment to visit their blog, whose description proudly boasts that it is about "the political and other musings of two Canadians. One in Toronto at the Centre of the Universe, and the other in Los Angeles, at the, 'ahem', Center of the Universe. When we're not tag-teaming, we're attacking from both ends."

    They have some interesting observations regarding both Canadian-American relations and politics and also some interesting observations while live blogging the recent leaders' debate.

    Welcome aboard Dean!

    Tuesday, January 10, 2006

    Beethoven's Hair
    by Expat

    The day after Ludwig Van Beethoven's March 26, 1827 death in Vienna, a twelve year old boy cut a lock of the famed composer's hair to keep as a memento. 167 years later, the lock of hair was sold to two Americans at an auction. The Beethoven's Hair website unravels the mystery surrounding the hair and documents its journey across both centuries and continents.

    The hair's journey is not the only extraordinary story contained within the site. According to CBC's arts programme Opening Night:
    An increasing number of visitors of the Beethoven's Hair website have recently reported sightings of strange images (objects, faces, insects, etc.), unusual sounds that are NOT actually programmed into this interactive documentary

    Paranormal activities on the Beethoven's Hair website???
    Check it out for yourself at Beethoven's Hair: An Extraordinary Historical Odyssey and a Scientific Mystery Solved.

    Also be sure to try your hand at summoning Beethoven's spirit in this surreal adventure, The Haunting.

    Monday, January 09, 2006

    Campaign Cocktails
    by Expat

    Have you painted your rumpus room NDP orange?

    Done your patriotic duty by replacing your neighbour's Liberal campaign signs with those of the Green Party?

    Purchased your official Stephen Harper Lego action figure?

    Still feel like you have not done enough to support your favourite political party?

    Well now you can show your true political colours with "Sip the Vote Canada".

    Impress your friends and fellow party-goers by sipping on one of the following cocktails: Conservatini, Red-y or Not, NDPeel Me an Orange, The Grass is Always Greener, and Ice Bloc.

    Complete recipes for these political potables can be found here, Sip the Vote Canada!

    Sunday, January 08, 2006

    Wisk Had It Right
    by Expat

    I don't see a difference.

    Do you see a difference?

    Sometimes it doesn't matter which kind of detergent you use...
    The stink just won't wash out!

    Friday, January 06, 2006

    RIP SK
    by Expat

    I have been informed by the United States Postal Service that there is no longer such a location as Saskatchewan.

    Each coming day welcomes more and more of my Christmas cards to my mailbox with the phrase "NO SUCH ADDRESS" stamped in bold red ink across the front of the envelopes that I had so methodically addressed early last month. I know for certain that the addresses are correct, as my cards made it to their intended recipients last Christmas, just as did they for miscellaneous occasions throughout the past year.

    As such, I can only account for all of the "return to senders" by assuming that, in my absence, the entirety of Saskatchewan was sucked into the vortex of a black hole or perhaps detached from the rest of the continent and fell into the sea. That, and because the story did not have any American ties, it was not picked up by the media here - either that, or somebody at the USPS had simply never heard of Saskatchewan and was too quick with the red stamp.

    So, if Saskatchewan does still exist, I would like to let the good folks back home know that I did not forget about you and, indeed, did send Christmas cards this year, but somewhere along the line from here to there, they were intercepted and returned to me. Please accept my apologies and well wishes for the belated holiday season. On the other hand, if Saskatchewan does no longer exist, as has been suggested by the USPS, then I clearly have a lot of catching up to do.

    Thursday, January 05, 2006

    General Oddities
    by Expat

    While I have managed to remain healthy this season, this poor blog has fallen victim to a highly contagious virus that has infected the blogosphere - the "Five Weird Things About Me" bug!

    Thanks to Leigh-Ann for passing this on. ;)

    Five Weird Things About Me

    1. My feet always fall asleep while blogging. The pins and needles become so bad that I have to get up and walk around for a few minutes, which causes the dogs to try to herd me around the house. In fact, both of my feet are asleep as I write this. I think that it has become psychosomatic - either that, or I really need to stop sitting on the floor with the laptop. :P

    2. My favourite drink is warm milk with a teaspoon of molasses.

    3. I am fascinated by abandoned farm houses and factories. On road trips, I can not pass one without thinking about the people who once lived there, worked there, and dreamed there. If I was brave, I would love to explore such places and keep an online album of my explorations such as this, but, alas, I would not want to trespass.

    4. I have always had a love affair with the writing of L.M. Montgomery. When I was a child, my dream was to move to Prince Edward Island and work at the L.M. Montgomery Institute. Now, I love W.O. Mitchell and my dream is to return to my beloved Prairies.

    5. I prefer the company the average dog and bird to that of the average human.

    The next blogs to be infected by this bug are Canadian Down Under, Expat Travels, Life Without Borders, The Maple Lounge, and Odd Muse. Although, I have been assured by Leigh-Ann that not doing this meme with not bring you bad luck! :)

    "When something that honest is said,
    it usually needs a few minutes of silence to dissipate."
    - Pamela Ribon, Why Girls Are Weird

    Wednesday, January 04, 2006

    No Doot Aboot It
    by Expat

    Seeking a reprieve from the marathon of college football that had plagued our television over the holidays, I stole the remote and quickly started surfing. Anything had to be better than yet another football game. ANYthing.

    Quickly passing the Speed Channel, something caught my eye. Did the guide say "bobsled"? I believe that it did! I went back and was delighted to find that it was not a bobsled competition, but rather skeleton - the coolest winter sport of all time!

    The World Cup skeleton competition had been held in Igls, Austria at the beginning of December, but it was just now being broadcast. Enthralled by this high speed, head first, version of Krazy Karpeting, I sat mesmerized and watched as Carla Pavan of Lethbridge, Alberta and Mellisa Hollingsworth-Richards of Eckville, Alberta swept first and second place.

    After the competition, the victors were interviewed. Listening to Pavan and Hollingsworth-Richards speak, it hit me that Canadians really do say "aboot".

    Tuesday, January 03, 2006

    Special Request
    by Expat

    Are you an Albertan living abroad?

    Have you been following political blogs and intend to vote in the upcoming election?

    If so, Dalia Thamin from CBC Radio would like your help with an upcoming story.

    She can be reached at thamind (at) edmonton (dot) cbc (dot) ca.

    Thanks in advance. :)

    by Expat

    On Saturday, Tanith Belbin, a Canadian-born figure skater, became an American citizen. She was sworn in at a USCIS office in Detroit one day after President Bush signed an appropriations bill designed to speed up the naturalization process.

    According to this article, the new measure allows Belbin and other people "of extraordinary ability" to take advantage of changes in immigration rules that speed up the process. Since 2002, individuals like Belbin have been allowed to apply for a green card and visa at the same time, rather than waiting 18 to 24 months. As a result of the measure, Belbin and her ice dance partner Ben Agosto will be eligible to compete in the winter Olympics in Turin Italy.

    I first heard about Belbin and her bid for US citizenship while watching a figure skating competition on television. The announcer did not explain her situation in detail, but simply stated that Belbin was waiting on President Bush to push through her immigration case over the holidays so that she would be able to represent the United States in the upcoming Olympics. Not knowing that Belbin had to abide by the old immigration rules, I was quite put off by the thought of a figure skater (from Canada nonetheless) jumping to the front of the line because she had a chance to bring home a gold medal.

    I followed the story about Belbin for a week, grumbling when I would hear about her on the radio, grumbling even more when I saw the new label on the Diet Coke bottle - a greyscale picture of a figure skater with the words "proud sponsor of the US Olympic team". Daily, I have checked my case status online with the USCIS and, daily, I have been disappointed to see that no changes have been made. In fact, I still smart from being treated poorly the last time that I dealt with the USCIS office in Chicago and am so tired of living in "immigrant limbo" that I would like to throw up my hands in frustration and jump on the first plane back to the Motherland. That is when I realize just how stuck in limbo I am. My life in Canada stopped the day that I came here, and my life here has not had an opportunity to begin.

    Perhaps this system is somewhat better for those of "extraordinary" ability who can capture the media's attention, but for ordinary me, it has been terrible. I think back to the timeline that our immigration lawyer had estimated - working by this date, green card by this date, life returning to normal by this date - and realize that another deadline has passed and I am still known as "that immigrant girl".

    Hopefully 2006 will bring some welcome changes.

    Sunday, January 01, 2006

    Happy New Year
    by Expat

    While we expats were welcoming the new year from abroad, those in the Motherland welcomed a fresh start to a new year in a myriad of ways.

    A winter storm left the good folks of Newfoundland ringing in the new year in the dark, while folks at the West Edmonton Mall risked life and limb to bungee jump. Some in in Nova Scotia had a frigid beginning to 2006 as they started the day with an early morning polar bear swim.

    To find out what was going on in your neck of the woods, see Canadians Ring In 2006.

    Expat Talkback
    How did you celebrate the new year?

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