Thursday, December 30, 2010

Christmas Time Was Here

So, Christmas happened. This was the first year GP and I spent the holiday together and it was fantastic. I had a little trouble (like I always do) reconciling my love for Christmas and my disdain for the Christian theft of Pagan traditions, but I said fuck it and I let myself enjoy the company, food, and most importantly, presents. We went to GP's mum's on Christmas Eve for an enormous and delicious dinner and a metric ton of presents. Then we came home and had Christmas morning here, which was great. I won't get all sappy or nothin', but Christmas with someone you love more than most things is pretty fucking special.
Isn't our tree adorable? I took it (and all other Christmas paraphernalia) down yesterday, which made me feel like such an adult. I no longer innocently come home from school on a January afternoon to find the tree has disappeared. Anyhow... Even Friskies got into the Christmas spirit! And by "got into the Christmas spirit" I mean was forced to wear a scarf I made for her out of the leftover yarn from the stockings I made for GP and myself. I don't care how much it looks like abuse, she loved it.
Here she is, in her Christmas scarf, posing with one of my favourite gifts from GP: The Flavour Thesaurus. It's not a recipe book, it's even better: it's an inspiration book! I barely ever follow recipes anyway, so it's perfect for me. It gives ideas for flavour combinations you might not normally try. One that I'd like to do sometime (probably in the spring) is rose petals and chicken. Sounds so exotic! Other favourite gifts, you ask? There are so many, but the easiest to show you pictures of are my Nigella Christmas cookbook and the bamboo stand on which it sits:

GP's dad, brother and girlfriend-in-law (or whatever a sister-in-law is when they're not married yet) came over for waffles and more gifts on Christmas morning. Then we went to my dad's in Victoria in the evening and had even more presents from him and his girlfriend and another huge meal. We tied up the visiting with a trip over to see my mum. GP was supposed to come to the Nutcracker Ballet in Vancouver with us, but we got the dates mixed up and he had a meeting with a client on the day we were supposed to go. All was not lost, however. My long-time chum Caitlin ended up joining us and we had a fabulous time. She even helped me carry my Christmas gifts home!
Face is blanked out to protect the not-so-innocent. Is it bad that I sang "not-so-innocent" to the Britney Spears tune?

That's my "holiday" in a nutshell. Although now that school is over (wheeee!!!) and I'm unemployed (hm...), every day is kind of a holiday. If you know of employment that pays $17.50+/hour 9-5 Monday-Friday, let me know! And please send positive job thoughts my way.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

In This Club

Every time I signed in to my blog to make a post I couldn't stop laughing at the previous post of my cat. It distracted me to the point where I forgot why I was at my computer.

No more! I am now making a post about nothing in particular, but it will start with a song. Specifically, one by Usher. Even more specifically, Love In This Club.

How the hell did I miss this gem of a music video?! Please observe below a carefully googled image of various screencaps:I know exactly how I missed this video and I'll tell you right now: when it came out three (?) years ago, my life was not centred around hilarious internet videos, knitting, and my cat. I'm not really sure what in my life was so important at the time that I couldn't watch this, but there it is.

Anyway, I was watching this video and several things jumped out at me.

The first was that the lyrics for this song are patently absurd. I know this isn't a revelation for any song on the radio, least of all one by Usher, but I HIGHLY doubt Young Jeezy has the power to free me "sexually, mentally, physically, emotionally". Maybe I just have to give him a chance and "make love to a thug in the club with his ice on, 87 jeans and a fresh pair of Nikes on". Clearly he hasn't seen an IPA representation of the word Nike because if he had he would know that it has two syllables, the latter containing a high front unrounded vowel, but I digress.

That's all I really have to say about this song, I guess. I had a lot more ideas when I started writing, but my flowery wording distracted me. I agree with the charts when I say that the song is catchy as fuck and I'm not ashamed to say I like it. The lyrics are terrible, but I'll be the first to admit that the last poetic song in top 40 went the way of Pogs(TM) some time in the mid-late 1990s. The video, however, has no redeeming qualities. I can't stand it when videos are either completely disjointed from the song they're representing to the point of being absurd, or so obviously the EXACT SAME THING as the song that you just know the creative team had a hard night of drinking and could think of fuck-all. In short, I just wish people would make some creative mainstream music videos.

Actually, I do know of one thing that I liked about this video. The Michael Jackson influence. The abandoned bar, the dreaminess, the magic/disappearing stuff? That's Smooth Criminal to a T! And, well, just about every other MJ video.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Happy December

I nearly pissed myself when I saw the above result of my experiments with this website. It's a make-your-own awkward family photo Flash application put together by Sprint. I think GP thought I had gone crazy, or maybe his suspicions were validated once and for all, when I uploaded a picture of my cat for this. Whatever, I still think it's hilarious. Why doesn't anyone else think it's as funny as I do?

Monday, November 29, 2010


I just got a comment from a STRANGER! Not that my followers aren't totally awesome, but I never thought my blog would ever be read by anyone other than my circle of friends and my boyfriend's mum. (Again, nothing against you people; you are great and my life would be significantly worse if you weren't in it.) I really hope someone didn't make up a fake profile as a joke on me. If so, touché.
This meal I made is kind of Italian in that it's inspired by pizza and the sausage is "Italian" flavour, whatever that's supposed to mean. Local turkey sausage, caramelized shallots, chanterelle 'shrooms and Swiss cheese on a polenta-thyme base. We ate it with a fairly nondescript salad of local greens and other stuff. Absolutely scrumptious.

Anyway, GP just said "Think about how many strangers you'd have reading your blog if you actually wrote interesting stuff". Who the hell does he think he is? I can't think of anything more interesting than delicious food and my cat. If my blog has attracted 10 followers and one Italian vegetarian who hates Sarah Palin and his own corrupt government, that's good enough for me. In that spirit, here are some photos of food I've made recently. I still can't find the battery for my fancy camera, so you'll have to use your imagination and pretend the photos are good.
An authentic Thai green curry with not-so-authentic butternut squash, scallops, prawns, and salmon. It was so nice to have a spicy warm dish like this when it was so frigid and snowy. It's really supposed to be eaten on top of rice, but we bastardized it and ate it as a soup because we're "watching our figures" and we try to limit carb consumption to breakfast... 'Cause coconut milk is just so low in fat...
THE most AMAZING bran muffins ever. Even if you don't normally bake, you have to try this recipe. I scoured the internet for one that piqued my interest and promised other-worldly results. This recipe produces the shangri-la of bran muffins. And if, like me, you are concerned about keepin' regular, top-notch bran muffin recipes are important to you. Sure, the tops aren't perfect domes, but anyone who needs to eat perfect food is probably not going to eat bran muffins for the reasons I do anyway.

Last but not least, a simple fast, and easy meal. It's just a kale and crimini mushroom frittata with shallots, thyme and Swiss cheese melted until bubbly under the broiler. To go with that I made roasted carrots with balsamic vinegar (pet peeve: I don't like it when people just call it "balsamic". That's an adjective. Learn how to speak, you pricks), some grapeseed oil, thyme and S&P.

That's all I got for now. I don't want to overwhelm you with too much foodey goodness. Also, GP is making dinner tonight and I have to go make sure it doesn't burn.

PS, I handed in my LAST ENGLISH PAPER EVER last night. The trumpet sounds within-a my soul!

Monday, November 22, 2010

Someone, Please

Wake me up from what I hope is just a bad dream. GP has just informed me that Sarah (a disgrace to the name, I might add, as I know a Sarah who is infinitely better in every way than the one of whom I speak) Palin's reality TV show had double the viewers in its pilot episode than Mad Men did in its season finale. How can people take anything seriously from a woman who has less to contribute to society than a Bump-It?

As much as I love Say Yes to the Dress, I find it very difficult to support a network that supports (yeah, they pay her a quarter mil. every week) this assault to everything that is good and logical in the world. In fact, pretty much every show they carry (even SYTTD sometimes) is offensive. Toddlers in Tiaras, Nineteen Kids and Counting, Sister Wives... Do we see a pattern here? Um, yes: sexualization of children and women, ego-centrism, extensive consumerism, inequality between men and women, blatant conservatism in every way except financial... I can't even finish my sentence I'm so fired up.

I'll admit it, they got me hooked on the sheer implausibility of what really happens in "mainstream America". No more, TLC, no more. I will get my fix for appalling and addictive reality TV elsewhere. Goodness knows there's no shortage of it.

Thursday, November 18, 2010


If I were in a romantic relationship with my university, this is how our most recent falling-out would go:

Me: Hey, long time no talk. Thanks for emailing me, I really missed you.

UVic: Yeah, I thought I'd email you, to be nice. You should be thankful I ran across your paperwork at all. I've just been really busy lately with, y'know, school and stuff.

Me: Oh yeah? I wish we talked more- I don't even know what you do during the day.

UVic: I have like, a lot of people I see, and I have to do a lot of stuff, like meetings and business and... Money-counting.

Me: Ah, I see. Well it's just that it was back in August that I gave you my request for a letter of permission to take a course through TRU and I only just got your permission today...

UVic: I've been busy! Fuck! Get off my goddamn back! You're lucky you even got a letter at all. Plus, it's not even my fault- you're the one whose class got canceled.

Me: No, no, you're right, an entire semester isn't long to wait for me to get it back from you and I chose to have my professor get sick and cancel.

UVic: Look, I didn't get back in touch with you to get yelled at. I don't need this bullshit. [Heads for the door]

Me: [Pleading] No! Come back! Why won't you love me? Why do you keep hurting me?

UVic: Ummm... Haha... [Nervously edges toward the door]

Me: [Begging, on knees] This is not a healthy relationship. How can we work on this?

UVic: Uh... I gotta go. [Quickly exits]

Me: [Collapses in tears of anguish and frustration]

UVic: [Pokes head back into room] Oh, you have to pay me now for my gracious service to you, otherwise I'm not giving you your degree. Kthxbye. [Exits even faster than before]

Me: [Googles "How to tie a noose"]

PS, It's no coincidence that while I was writing this, this song came into my head:

Monday, November 8, 2010

Reason Number 1

...Why I am an old lady:

I had a minor panic attack when I thought I had lost my 6mm circular knitting needles that can only be bought as part of a very expensive set. Then I remembered they're in my bedside table, holding onto a project that I kind of forgot about.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Oak Bay, Here I Come!

I'm ready for retirement. I really am. All this going to school, finding a job, being unhappy with that job, getting more training to get a small pay raise, getting a career, working in that career for much too long, all the while going through things like embarrassing Christmas parties with coworkers and dismal birthdays spent in a depressing break room (also with coworkers) eating cake that I would never otherwise eat but Debbie (coworker) ordered special so I can't refuse... That stuff can all go to hell. I am ok with retiring right now. I already have all the characteristics of a retiree anyway.

I was considering doing a few "Reasons Why I am an Old Lady" posts independent of one another, and maybe I still will but GP and I were just talking about retirement and how fantastic it would be, so I thought I'd amalgamate all my age-inappropriate fantasies into one post... For now.

Let me set the stage for you, so you can know that even just sitting here at the computer I am being an old person. None of this is made up. My desk, first of all, is an antique. It's not expensive or anything but it is from an old school house in Ontario, and it has iron legs. Retirees love antiques because they (antiques) are old. Friskies is sleeping nearby (I need say no more). My computer and printer are both old and ugly, but maintained well and in perfect working order. Old people (like me) don't see the point in getting "snazzy" new things when their old things work just fine. There's a sticky note on the wall facing my desk reminding me to sit up straight. In the same vein, I am sitting on an exercise ball. Old people know the importance of correct posture (or, at least, many of the ones I know do). I'm drinking tea. That's not necessarily an old person thing in and of itself, but I am very particular about how my tea is made and what kind of tea I like (none of that hippie crap with the herbs), and how much milk I like in it. Everyone knows old people are ornery about weird things.

The previous paragraph is just the tip of the iceberg of the old person-ness I experience on a day-to-day basis. That list was just the things I'm doing right now as I type this. Nevermind the fact that I did some gardening today, looked at knitting patterns for longer than I care to admit, made trips to several specialty shops for different things (meat, bananas, dry cleaning, all at different places), and did my recycling. Recycling isn't part of it, but it is important.

My fantasies for retirement include:
1. Having a hobby farm with a full garden from which I can harvest many things to preserve for the winter.
2. Getting up at 5 every day to tend to said farm, and to sit in the kitchen and play solitaire while GP sleeps. My uncle (originally I had his name and occupation here, but then I realized he probably wouldn't want to be associated with this ridiculous excuse for a blog) does this and it seems like a great way to spend a morning.
3. Knitting. A lot.
4. Enjoying the benefits of a reduced appetite and an increased penchant for afternoon strolls.
5. Puttering.
6. Taking up an obscure hobby like glassblowing or cat photography. (Or both, combined?)

Well, I guess I should put an end to all this fantasizing. After I do my homework, I plan to round this day out with an appropriately early bed time, right after I check tomorrow's weather forecast and lay out my clothes accordingly.

Friday, October 29, 2010

My Cat (Again)

I received an email this morning from PetSmart. Before you rush to conclusions (I'm not really sure what conclusions you'd rush to, given this information, but sometimes I like to cover my ass [other times I like to leave it bare, obviously]), I'd like to give you some background information: I signed up for the frequent shopper thingie at PetSmart, where they give you a keycard thing that they swipe and, supposedly, you get a discount for shopping there frequently (sorry for the long sentence and the absurd amount of brackets/parentheses contained therein). I have yet to see this discount, but I will continue to shop there when it is convenient for me. Given that PetSmart is a huge chain that is soaking up the pet merch money from the other small pet supply businesses in town, I only shop there if I know they have something the other places don't. I just like to support local businesses, y'know?

Anyway, I was talking about Friskies... Um... I forget... Oh yes, I got an email this morning from PetSmart about nutritional supplements for cats and dogs, and I'm not sure what scares me more: how excited I was about PetSmart now carrying GNC pet vitamins, or how efficient PetSmart's marketing tactics are.

Yesterday I spent more money than is defensible on food for my dear feline. I justified this by the fact that she is getting older and creakier (she is 13 and I remember when we got her, so that makes me feel old too) and she needs good quality food so she doesn't die so soon, and she is also fat, so she needs special low-cal food, and she needs cranberry extract because she has pissing problems from time to time. Maybe I feel like I have to buy her love because I feel guilty about keeping her indoors.

In summation, I fucking love my cat.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Food Etc.

So the tactic I embraced last post of only using up half an hour worked pretty well. Another rapid word regurgitation coming your way right..... Now!

The commute is still going well. With my new phone (you'll hear about that in a minute, I promise) I've been taking pictures of funny things I see along my commute, as well as things I've seen at school. I'm starting to think I should create a blog just around my commute to Victoria, because you really do see so much more when you're not the one driving. I recently had my first carpool with another woman who lives here in the CVRD. She is a professor at Camosun, so our schedules work out quite well. Here are some photos of my commute:
Yup, that truck says "Skookum Tools". Would sending this picture to my Dialectology of Canada professor be really nerdy?

Here is a cute tiny bunny at UVic. I'm surprised there are still little ones around- it seems like they're usually only little in the spring time. I hope this one doesn't die... Actually, I think I had a dream about finding a warren of tiny baby bunnies last night. Or maybe it was reality. Sometimes it's hard to tell the difference.

A cool stencil I found on a wall at Cornett. I've been seeing more and more spray-painted stencils around lately but most have not been as well-executed as this one. Maybe I just like the subject matter here more than the others.

This is the sky at UVic at 8am. Days like this make commuting not so bad.

So, my phone. As you may or may not know, as of August I had had a Motorola (not even sure of the model number because of reasons that will soon become clear) phone for around three years, although it seems longer than that because of how deep our relationship was, and how outdated it was already when I got it. It is so old I couldn't even find a picture of it online so here is a picture of it taken by yours truly:
Those are all fruit/vegetable stickers. I'm not sure how it started, but it became a mild obsession for me to see how abused I could make my phone look, not because I hated my phone, but because I wanted it to be unique in the growing sea of phone facsimiles. It served me well: it went through half a cycle in the washing machine before I realized it was in there and fished it out. It has been dropped more times than I could count. The ringer volume button is so worn that it's black instead of silver, and the stickers are so fused with the body of the phone that if I wanted to take the battery out it would be impossible to open the compartment. It might actually be waterproof now, with all the stickers on it.

Anyway, my phone and I have decided to part ways. It was getting tiresome to text when the phone's T9 vocabularly was so limited (it didn't know swear words, and those make up most of my texting speech). The plan was expensive, too, and it didn't even have a camera. I still keep it around for nostalgia and because GP and I have a friend with the same phone who periodically needs parts. I get the feeling he doesn't take care of his as much as I did mine. I now have a Palm Pre and I am continually in awe of the technology that most people have been acquainted with for several years.
Last night GP and I watched Food Inc. I didn't really learn anything new from it, but it did remind me why I continue to make conscious decisions regarding where I buy my food and especially my meat. It's fairly easy for us, here in the Cowichan Valley, to find locally grown produce and it's cheap as dirt. We're very lucky in that regard. Meat isn't much of a worry either, because of Quist Farms' Meat Market. I remember how difficult it was to find local produce and meat in Victoria, though. And what the hell?! Victoria is the greenest city I know, yet most of the organic fruit and veg in their stores is from California. Yesterday GP went to the store for dinner stuff and the only organic bell peppers they had were from Argentina and were six times the price of the BC hothouse peppers. They, of course, had every reason to be, given that they were shipped from way too far away.

It's a tough decision to make: do I eat obscenely expensive produce shipped using ridiculous amounts of fossil fuel, but that has no yucky pesticides, or do I eat pesticide-poisoned food that requires intensive energy to produce but has been grown a few hundred kilometers away. There's always the choice in this situation, if we really love bell peppers and couldn't live without them, to move to Argentina, which is ridiculous. I don't like bell peppers that much. I think the best, sanest choice is to eat locally, regardless of whether or not pesticides are used, because if it's a small operation many times there is very little pesticide use and, if they don't use any, it is labour-intensive and expensive to seek certification by an organic food board, so farms don't bother. Jesus, that was a long paragraph.

Speaking of farming (ok, not a great segue, but go with it), I plan to plant spring bulbs this weekend!What we have above is a delightful assortment of narcissus, tulips, hyacinths, bluebells, crocuses, and snowdrops. My mum has been busy making window boxes for us (me, I guess, GP has nothing to do with this) to put on the railings of the balcony. I'd like to fill them with flowers in the spring and then, if possible, grow veggies in the summer. Hopefully I will be done enough homework today and tomorrow that I'll be able to carry out this plan. Oh hell, who am I kidding? I'll be planting this stuff regardless of whether or not I'm done my homework.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Hiatus? No, Just Busy-ness

If you're reading this, my thanks go to you for not giving up on my now pitifully backlogged blog. I have been so busy with school and life in general that updating my blog has seemed more frivolous an exercise than knitting, although I guess that doesn't mean much coming from me. GP and I have been very busy on many fronts, so allow me to update you, dear reader.

On October 1st we moved to a new and, happily, better living situation. I'll give you the bad news first: There is only one window that opens and it is in the bedroom and it faces a somewhat noisy street, so we can't really have fresh air at night without listening to noise. I guess that's the only bad news about this place... Oh, wait, no, our neighbours often have noisy sex. But that's kind of entertaining, so I'm not sure it can be counted as bad news, except that they are very unnattractive. They tend to talk a lot (weird...) and I'll admit that GP and I have sidled up to the wall to hear what they're saying on more than one occasion. I wish they would enunciate more because their words are very muffled. The only other thing I can think of negatively about this place is that it is on the second level and let me tell you, that sure was a bitch when we were moving our heavy furniture. Thank god we had done P90X not long before, otherwise we would've been passed out half-way through the gruelling 24-hour move. Yup, getting stuff packed up and put into the truck took around 12 hours and taking it all out again took another entire day. All I can say about that is thank you, U-Haul.

I would put a picture of the mess that was our furniture and earthly belongings, taking up most of the parking lot on the day we moved here, but we were too tired to even think of taking pictures. We were obscenely lucky that it was a sunny day.

Here are the great things about our new place: the second floor part makes me feel slightly safer, even though anyone could climb the stairs to our place because they are on the outside of the building. I can also imagine it being noisier on street-level, especially when the guy with the huge Dodge truck leaves for work in the morning. (Incidentally, that guy is the one living next to us and we are fairly certain from the sounds we hear from his girlfriend that he has that truck for a reason, if you know what I mean. Sorry, too much information?) The balcony is spacious enough for our BBQ, various gardening stuff, and a little table and chairs. My mum is even going to build us some boxes to put on the railing so that we can have flowers in the spring and veggies in the summer. I can't wait to get planting! Our worms had to come inside, now that it's getting chillier, and they seem happy in the kitchen. The good news is that there is a lot more room in this place, so we can actually fit the giant worm box inside without having to knock a wall down. And no, it doesn't smell because we are exceptional worm stewards. The new place has carpets in the spare bedroom/Kim's office and in the master bedroom. The only bad thing about that is that Friskies loves scratching it, so we've had to put up a kitty gate that she still manages to climb over:
She should talk to Alanna Kostiw about going climbing sometime because even after us having made an overhang, she STILL gets over the damn thing. Besides that, though, she has adjusted well.

Another great thing about this place is that it's SO much brighter than the last place. We are facing east, so we get the morning sunshine, whereas our last place was facing north so we got... Bupkiss. Also, this place has a full-size dishwasher, which is awesome because now I can cook whatever the hell I want and GP can stay as happy cleaning it up as he was when he was eating it, and I can bake and cook all sorts of amazing food with my Kitchenaid and Cuisinart and not worry about having to hand wash the damn things when I'm done. What have I made so far? Well here's the first dinner we had here:
A simple but delicious meal of roasted chicken and root veggies (parsnips, carrots and beets, to be exact). And a few weeks ago I marinated some chicken in red wine (surprising, I know) and sundry other delectable things and made a salad to go along with it. Needless to say it was delightful.
The picture doesn't do it justice, so just believe me when I say it was yummy.

I think that's enough of an update for now. I'm trying to limit myself to only spending half an hour on this and my time is almost up. I'll try my darnedest (weird spelling) to make sure this hiatus was a one-off and, as I said before, I'll post soon about my new phone, about which I still feel ambivalent.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

On Life and Living

...Because death and dying is much too morose and negative for the following post.

I attended a memorial today for a family friend who recently died in a car crash. She was young and her death was, as car crashes have a habit of being, a sudden shock and of course very sad for everyone who knew her. I did not know her especially well, and I am a few years younger than she was (these tense changes are confusing), but our families sometimes visited and so I did spend some time with her.

Her memorial service reminded me of what's really important in life: love and being in the moment.

You can think that's corny, but if you do you're an asshole (ha, wow, what an un-loving sentence this is). Really though, that's all we have, no matter how you slice it. Some Coldplay came on my shuffle as I was driving home tonight and the lyrics got right into my brain: yeah, we do all have someone to lean on and yeah, we really do live in a beautiful world. Sure, it's totally fucked up, but it's totally beautiful too. So why not do all we can to appreciate that? And why not honour our incredible ability to care for other people?

Why, since life is so short, do we put off things that are, in the end, so important? Things pile up and get in the way of friendships and family, but awful accidental tragic terrible things happen to remind us to wake up and re-evaluate how we value (or do not value) the people in our lives. What if you're not alive tomorrow? What if I'm not? I don't want to be one of those silly idiots who goes out and gets Carpe Diem tattooed on her lower back (how perfect of a tramp stamp would that be?!), but this horrific loss of life has changed my mind to believe that this is really the only way to lead a full, happy, honest, carefree life.

Why not strive to do your best? Why not smile? Why not start conversations with strangers? Why not keep in touch with your brother? Why not look people in the eye and tell them why you will or will not ___? So many people ask why they should do something. Well, really, why not?

Let the beauty we love be what we do. There are hundreds of ways to kneel and kiss the ground. -Rumi

Monday, September 20, 2010

Misty Malahat, Murchies, Morphology and Marvelosity

Well jeez, it seems as though I've fallen off the blogging bandwagon a little bit. An update? Don't mind if I do. I wonder if I can get this all down in the 20 minutes before I leave for school. Yes, school, I'm still doing that! Only 11 weeks to go, but it's already very hard and I'm already going to be attending some office hours to help me with my first assignments.

Commuting to school has been interesting. I'm finding that soothing music helps with my road rage on the two days per week that I drive and reading on the bus is absolutely fantastic. I haven't had any creepy weirdos talk to me yet, but there are 11 weeks left. One thing I really love about driving on the Malahat four days every week is how damn picturesque it is. Most days it has been misty and foggy and sooo pretty.
Ok, so it's not the best picture, but it was taken on my (new!) cell phone. Blog post to follow about that bittersweet event.

Tuesdays and Fridays are my bus commuting days, on which I get up at 6:30 and take the 7:00 commuter bus. I get into town at around 8:15 and I get so much work done because my classes don't start until 12:30! Last Friday I met my friend Meghan at Murchies and we had a delightful time knitting the morning away. In fact, I was having such a good time I almost forgot about my 12:30 class. Luckily Meghan reminded me at noon that I had a class and off I went on the closest bus to school!

School itself is hard, I won't deny that. In fact, I'll be the very first to admit it. I think the people in my classes think I'm a bit dim, but I just don't remember anything from my courses last year. It's really frightening, actually. I'm not really sure how someone who got relatively good grades (a B and two B-'s) in the feeder courses for the ones I'm taking could feel so lost with the homework she has been given, especially phonology and morphology. Syntax I am just fine with. The upside of this is, though, that this is the first year I really feel like I can ask for help and elaborate on what I don't know.

(Aside: someone just walked past the window where Friskies is sitting staring out. They saw her and said "Oh hi, you're pretty". I am so proud.)

GP has been really good so far about taking on more responsibilities at home. In the summer I did most of the household chores because I wasn't really doing anything, so I could. Now, though, we both have school and work, so GP has to pick up some slack and I must say he's doing marvelously. It's his responsibility to make dinner twice a week and do the laundry, while I'm responsible for cleaning and making dinner on the other nights. Whoever cooks doesn't do the dishes. I think it's pretty fair and it's helping me a lot with getting more work done. Last weekend and the weekend before he made me pancakes. I hope this is the beginning of a wonderful routine!

Thursday, September 9, 2010

First Years

School started yesterday and as much as I sometimes loathe going to school, I was feeling incredibly nostalgic because yesterday was my last first day of undergrad. I can remember my very first first day like it was yesterday (cliché, I know, but it's true) and watching all those bright-eyed first years wander around with the obviously faked look of knowing where they were going made me look back on my university experience. What would I have done differently if I could start over? What advice would I give to someone starting university for the first time, fresh out of high school? Between my victory lap or two, almost transferring to three schools, and changing education paths more times than I care to admit, I like to think I know a bit about what to do and what not to do at school. Then again, the more I learn the less I know and the more I learn the less I believe there is one way to get things done. However, if you were to do things my way, here is how you would do them:

1. Live in rez, preferably with a roommate. It's the experience. How are you going to know what you like and dislike in a roommate if you never have (ha, almost typed 'hate' there, Freudian slip I guess) one? I know people who absolutely loved their first year roomies and still talk to them. I know other people, myself included, who ended up abhorring them and blocked them on Facebook as soon as they signed up for the damn site. I also know people who loved living in rez and hated it. Both my brother and I hated it, for different reasons. Actually, that's not true. I really liked the people but I hated the actual building and the oppressive atmosphere of the university and city in general. My brother hated the lifestyle. Actually, I guess I didn't like it either. But what I'm trying to say here is that you need to live in rez, even if you don't think you'll like it, because it's one year that you can look back on and say "Good heavens, what a great/awful year, I wish I could/I'm glad I don't have to do it again".

This was the whiteboard outside our door, probably near the end of our relationship.

2. DO NOT have a boyfriend/girlfriend. I made this mistake in first year. It was even worse for me because my relationship was long-distance. I know lots of people who stayed with their high school boyfriends/girlfriends in first year and regret it. First year is about meeting new people and finding your niche, and you just can't do that with the responsibility of a relationship. It's about not putting your eggs in one basket. You need a balance between all your relationships and, although this takes a while to figure out (I'm only figuring it out now, when I'm almost done school), it's nice to get a head-start in first year.

Puppy love.

3. Take courses you're really excited about as well as ones you're either only vaguely interested in or have never heard of before. The only reason I am in Linguistics now is because of a whim. Some of the best courses I've ever taken were completely off the cuff decisions, like EPHE 142-Personal Health, Wellness and Potential. Other courses I enjoyed were things I knew I was interested in but didn't know much about, like Women's Studies. Don't be afraid of what people will think if you tell them what courses you're taking and don't let people bully you into taking courses you're not into. I took an introductory PSYCH course because everyone else was and I absolutely hated it. Stay on top of add/drop dates so that you know when you can get out of a class if you don't like it. You don't have to explain why you're taking a course to anyone; your education is your decision and if you're in French but you want to take a Computer Science class, take it, dammit! Also, don't think you have to take only 100-level courses in first year, only 200-level courses in second year, etc. Learn how the calendar works, how prereqs work and make your courses work for you.

4. Learn about what services are available to you and TAKE ADVANTAGE of them!
The UVic health plan covers a lot of dental, as well as massage therapy, chiropractic, physio and other things too, I think. Need a pair of orthotics? Get 'em while you're at school because they are WAY cheaper! Believe me, I've done it. Prescriptions are also partially covered, so get your HPV vaccine right now while you're young and it's cheap. I've done that and have the reduced risk of cancer to prove it.

This goes for teachers' office hours, too. I consistently get higher marks in the courses of professors whose office hours I attend when I need help. I think this is because when you really have a good grasp on a concept the other course material becomes more interesting. How are you going to be interested in something you don't understand? Of course, there are exceptions to this. GP didn't talk to any of his profs in undergrad and pulled off very high marks, but it doesn't hurt to at least go and introduce yourself. Profs, like wild beasts, are a lot less scary when you have them cornered in their offices.

5. Join a club. Just join one. You will meet people who share your interests and learn how to talk to strangers. This is the only time when you'll have this kind of thing thrown at you, and it will look fantastic on your resume.

6. Party your nuts off, if that's what you're into. You need to get all your hormone-drenched beer-thirsty naive first year partying over and done with while you're still in first (and second) year so you can focus on school in the subsequent years. Profs design first year courses knowing that you're a dumb high school kid who has a lot more to think about than English 135, so take advantage of that. This is the only time you're going to be able to enjoy the freedom of partying-mid week, not having anyone to answer to, and not having any real responsibilities. As Ms. Frizzle says, make mistakes and get messy. Just remember the next piece of advice...
This about sums it up.

7. Take care of your body. You've surely heard of the Freshman Fifteen, where you're supposed to gain an extra fifteen pounds in first year because of all the shit young irresponsible people put in their bodies. Don't do that! Eat well. There are healthy options if you look for them; you might have to get creative, but your body is worth it. Don't, for god's sake, eat donuts for breakfast, burgers for lunch, and fettuccine alfredo for dinner every day just because you can! Many people do this and end up feeling bad about themselves. Many people also feel bad about themselves and try to eat as little as possible. Don't do that either. It will deplete your brain power and physical energy and make you want to binge on really awful food, which will lead you to feel even worse about your body afterward. I'm no doctor, but I think it's safe to say eating vegetables and lean protein and staying away from fried foods and refined carbohydrates will give you a leg up on nutrition.

Studies also show that physical exercise not only improves brain power, but also helps you sleep better, avoid depression, cancer and heart disease, and significantly increase your self confidence. A minimum of 30 minutes a day is all you need and it's likely you spend that much time procrastinating on Facebook, so why not take a walk and take your phone with you so you can walk and procrastinate at the same time?

Also, you should have an up-to-date medical history, so go to the campus medical clinic on AT LEAST a yearly basis to get screened for the plethora of disgusting illnesses that plague first year students. It's important to have a baseline for your health.

Above all, respect yourself and the fact that this body is the only one you're going to have. Take it out for exercise and feed it good things. Don't make foolish mistakes that have serious life-changing consequences. Pregnancy can be fixed (depending on your beliefs, but if you have those kinds of beliefs you're likely not going to be in that situation anyway); HIV, HPV and herpes cannot, so use a damn condom if you're the humping type.

8. Don't go home every weekend if that's an option. You need space from your family to grow up and they need space from you to learn how to let you grow up. Besides, you should be out making friends, not going home and eating chicken soup made from scratch every weekend, as nice as that sounds. Finding out who you are means sometimes being uncomfortable and/or unhappy and learning how to deal with that yourself, without the help and comfort of home.

9. Call your mother. She loves you and she wants to know you're safe. She remembers when she was in university (maybe??) and how crazy first year was. She worries. You don't have to call every day, but once a week would be nice. You never know what could happen, so it's good to keep on good terms at most times. There is also something in it for you, because when you have a good relationship with your family they'll be more likely to help when you phone at 1 am on a Tuesday morning in late November when you're up to your eyeballs in papers and assignments and it's not going anywhere and you're running out of money because your Theatre prof requires that you attend expensive theatrical performances and you don't know what to do because you feel like you're getting the strep throat that's been going around in rez and you really (sob) just (sob) need (sob) a hug. When a hug is impossible you'd be surprised at how good most mums are at pep talks. If you don't have a mum for this, you can call mine.
She's great.

10. Use your agenda. I cannot stress this enough. WRITE EVERYTHING in that thing! If you've never been organized, now is definitely the time to at least try. And sometimes if you fake it long enough it just starts being an actual skill. Also, write your name and phone number in the front of it. I have been saved by that on more than one occasion.

11. Talk to people. First year is when relationships are made and broken. If you don't talk to people in your first year and stick your feelers out as much as possible you will have nobody to take notes for you in third and fourth years, when school actually matters. There's also the fact that if you're from out of town you won't know anyone and you need to know people to at least find out where stuff is, if not to have people to hang out with. Plus, it's a confidence booster to know that you have the social skills to strike up random conversations and the more you do it the better you get at it.

12. Don't text in class. It is SO disrespectful to the prof. Think about how you'd like it if you were giving a speech on the thing you're most passionate about and someone whips out their cellphone for the entire duration. Don't think s/he can't see you, because s/he has had lots of experience with in-class texters and you, likely, have had less. Sure, you've paid for the course, but that doesn't give you a license to be rude to the professor. Also, it totally gives you away as a first year. As does a cell phone ringing in class, so just turn it off.

13. Take things when they're free. Trust me when I say you'll need every last penny, so when they hand out free bars of soap in rez, take as many as your pride will allow. Same goes with sticky notes, pens, binders, and toothpaste, not to mention free coupon books that give you $10 off when you spend $__ at Thrifty's. I'm not ashamed to admit I picked up quite a few of those and abused the hell out of them. Maybe I'm the reason they stopped doing that. Don't buy an agenda or any clothing at the bookstore in September. You can get an agenda for free at the SUB and the bookstore has REALLY good sales usually at the middle and/or end of the semester. You should, however, buy your books when the bookstore is busy. If you're a first year this is a rite of passage that you cannot miss: it builds character.

14. Don't own a car. Chances are pretty good you'll meet some dumb chump who owns a car and has to pay for the parking, insurance and increasingly expensive fuel, if not the loans too. It is unlikely, if you live in rez, that you'll ever need a car. If you do, though, borrow someone else's and make them cookies in exchange. As well as being a waste of money, cars just don't enable you to explore a city like the bus does. On foot you get to know a place a lot more intimately. Also, if you're taking the bus you're forced to plan ahead and know when and how you're getting somewhere. This helps with getting home from the bar (although if you're an 18 year-old first year I guess you wouldn't be going to the bar in B.C.- head to Alberta for first year!) and with people who have trouble being on time. And hey, not owning car is good for the environment too, so that's cool. I wish I could practice what I preach here, although I guess I didn't own a car in first year so I'm still ok.
Do as I say, not as I do.

15. Respect money. If you are someone who is putting yourself through school, you know (hopefully) how important it is to be wise with your money. Make a budget and stick to it. DO NOT get a credit card. And don't make people whose parents pay for their schooling feel bad. Just because money isn't a problem for them doesn't mean their lives are easy. If you are someone whose parents pay for your schooling, don't tell many people and don't lend people money. If you do, don't expect it to be paid back and do expect to have a lot of 'splainin' to do when your parents find out you lent Whatshertits x-amount of their hard-earned cash because she was irresponsible with hers. Respect your parents and their money by making a budget and sticking to it. They will appreciate this and will be more likely to give you extra money for fun things once in a while. Also, realize that you are in your current financial situation entirely by luck.

16. Don't eat at Applebee's. The food and drinks are overpriced and under-tasty. Support your on-campus pub instead. Oh, and to save you from making an embarrassing faux pas like I did, it's prouncounced fuh-LISS-ih-tahs, not fell-ee-SEE-tahs. (It's annoying not having the IPA alphabet on my keyboard. If I could write all my sentences in IPA I probably would... Maybe.)

Tuesday, September 7, 2010


Of a cat who knows she's not supposed to be on the bed.
It shouldn't be surprising that she has climbed onto the couch and is now purring in my lap.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Cake on Judgement Day

No, I have not become a born-again (actually, I guess it would be 'born for the first time') fanatic Christian. I have just been thinking about how much I tend to judge people. On the weekend our friends David and Jenn got married and being around them reminded me of how open they are to new people and how they don't seem to form any preconceptions about people they meet. They are truly great people in many ways, but this is something about them in particular that I definitely aspire to.

These people are not David and Jenn.

David's telling me "I really look forward to getting to know you better" was really refreshing because so often people make snap judgments and simply think that you are how you look and their expectations of you form your personality for them before you even get a chance to be yourself. (Whew, you can tell I'm worked up about something when the sentence is longer than it really should be.) I'm probably the most judgmental person I know, but I also get misjudged constantly. Sure, I knit, wear cardigans and adore my cat, but I also swear like a truck driver and enjoy conversations about Feminism, semantics and/or masturbation. I know just as well as the next guy that having someone else's incorrect or incomplete definition of you shoved down your throat is so goddamn frustrating.

So why can't I let go of snap-judging? Because not being judgmental is a skill; it's not something humans are born with. You can't just tell yourself "I'm not going to think anything about this person until they give me a reason to" and have that happen consistently forevermore. Actually, maybe it's even an art. Hell, I don't know, I'm just flying by the seat of my pants here.

What I'm trying to say is that everything is not as it seems: there's always more to the story. This is really more of a reminder for me than anything else.

And now for the "cake" part of this post:

For quite a while my brother was in a relationship with a wonderful person, Sophia, who happened to be the daughter of an amazing cook- May. Our families got quite close and sometimes we would be fortunate enough to visit when May was cooking an authentic Chinese feast. I'm not sure why, because I'm sure she would have great success, but May never liked to make dessert. She probably just spent so much energy on dinner that by the time dessert came around she simply had nothing left. The reason doesn't matter, really, because most times we went to dinner (and dessert) at the Xiang residence we would be treated to an amazing Chinese Bakery cake.

This cake is, I will have you know, quite different from normal cakes. It is an extremely light and only slightly sweet sponge leavened with eggs (no baking powder) and iced with gelatin-stabilized whipped cream, which is a helluva lot tastier than it sounds. Usually the cake is decorated with fresh fruit and sometimes draped with very thinly-sliced mango. I had (curiously) forgotten about this ambrosial cake until I stumbled across a recipe for it on a lovely food blog that I frequent. I knew I had to make it sometime, so I bookmarked it for the right occasion, which came around this weekend for GP's birthday. I made a mango/blackberry version:If you don't trust the pictures above (I wouldn't blame you- the lighting leaves a lot to be desired), I can tell you myself that the cake came out very very well. If you're considering making the cake yourself, you might be interested to know that 4/5 of a cup is 2/3 cup plus three tablespoons, for the sugar measurement (so that's 1/3 cup plus 1.5 tbsp. when you split it in half, as the recipe calls for). Also, you should make sure your forearms are strong because there is a LOT of folding to incorporate all those egg whites!

GP had an excellent weekend food-wise, if I do say so myself, because on the morning of Saturday (his real birthday, but also Jenn and David's wedding day, so we saved the birthday dinner for tonight) I made him wholewheat Belgian waffles with an apple-blueberry-ginger compote and, of course, whipped cream. Behold:
Fucking YUM.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Where the Lawyer Is or The Joys of Occasional Dog Ownership

You might think the pictures above and below are spooky as hell, and you'd be right to think that because they are, in a way.
I, however, respectfully disagree with you because directly above is the driveway to my cherished mother's house, where I am as I type this. The house itself is, not coincidentally, pictured indirectly above. I am here because my mum has a sailboat and we intended to go sailing together today, tomorrow, Thursday and Friday morning. The weather had different plans for us and instead of being out on the water we've been enjoying a cozy foggy rainy day inside, knitting our hands off. We might go out tomorrow if the weather cooperates.

I love being at 'home'. Really I do, a lot. My mum has two dogs which I adore almost as much as Friskies and when I come 'home' I get as much dog lovin' as I can handle, which is quite a bit. Today I took them on a run in the foggy misty fog and they had a great time chasing birds. I think I must've been a dog in a past life because I enjoy chasing birds just as much as they do and I seriously envy their ability to shit and piss in public without the penalty of being socially outcast. Also, I would like to sleep in whenever I want and not be called lazy and hump what/whoever, just to be funny. Hmm, I might've done that on my birthday, actually.

Playing with the dogs is probably one of the top three reasons I like to be at 'home' because I can take walks in the rain alone and not be called an emo kid, not that I don't do that when I don't have the dogs. In fact, being able to take lone walks is probably the number one reason why I'd want a dog of my own. That and cuddles when GP isn't around, which brings me to the only downside of being at home: no GP.

---If you really want an authentic blog-reading experience, you should take a break here for dinner, because that's what I did. If you want a really REALLY authentic experience you should go to your mum's house (or maybe even MY mum's house) and ask her to make you some grilled Arctic Char with steamed broccoli and a slice of mushroom-leek pie and a couple chocolate-covered blackberries for dessert. I'd be lying if I didn't get some of my culinary know-how from that woman. You should also do the dishes, but not because I did it and it would give an authentic blog-reading experience, only because it's a nice thing to do and whether you're eating at your mum's or mine I know she'll appreciate it. Now you should read the paragraph before this one again and skip this italicized paragraph. Ok. Good talk.---

I know that makes me sound super gross and lovey, but I've said it before and I'll say it again: this is my damn blog and I'll write what I please. There are perks to dating a lawyer (like the weekend he just treated me to at Tigh-Na-Mara for my birthday, complete with a delicious dinner and breakfast, full-body massage, paraffin treatment and outrageously delicious never-ending gourmet tapas; if my internet skillz are what I think they are, you should see a super dorky picture of us enjoying a sunny seaside getaway to the right of this paragraph), but until he is more experienced and has more pull in the vacation department, the freedom to take many weeks off from work every year is not entirely his. That was a long sentence- my apologies. I guess the point I'm trying to make is being at my mum's house is lovely, but it's not really home if GP isn't here and I don't care how much of a dope that makes me sound.

Ok, I couldn't resist putting this picture up. It makes my mum's house look like a Tibetan hermitage. Just around the corner of the house on the left-most side of the photo is the hot tub where I'll be spending an hour or two tonight.

Monday, August 23, 2010


Y'know, birthdays are funny things.

My birthday was on Sunday. Every time I have a birthday it seems I get forced to think about my friendships, and what it takes to be a good friend and which of my friendships are worth working on. Since my birthday is in the summer there are, inevitably, people who can't make it to the party because they've gone home to their parents' houses, or they're on holiday, or they bought Michael Buble tickets for their mum for her birthday in March and there is no way they are going to pass up an MB concert to come sing karaoke with me and my drunk ass. This is understandable. It's the way that friends express themselves that I find really interesting, because peoples' actions really do show their authentic thoughts. I hope that doesn't sound passive aggressive, but if it does that's too bad because this is my blog and I can write what I bloody well feel like.

I always seem to have this problem when August 22nd rolls around and I always seem to get frustrated and stressed on my birthday, and that's not a nice feeling to feel when you're celebrating the day of your birth. So next year I will plan a party that's as low-key as possible, that would work if it were only GP and I, so that any extra guests will be happy additions to the party and we won't have to worry about who's coming or who booked another party on the same day even though our party was planned months and months in advance.

I'm not too sad about some friends not being able to make it to GP and my combined party (his birthday is on September 4th and we have friends getting married on that day, so we had to re-arrange) because we had an absolutely amazingly fantastic time with the people who did show up. Since I like dressing up, I thought we'd make costumes compulsory. GP decided he'd go for the Joaquin Phoenix look and I did Ginger Spice.

We were accompanied by Lady Gaga, Justin Bieber, Courtney Love, Raylene Rankin, Britney Spears, Cyndi Lauper, Blondie, and likely other characters I've forgotten.

Since GP and I had such a great time, telling you all this via Facebook seems like a cop-out. I'm not the "thanks for the birthday wishes everybody" type and though I do appreciate your posts on my Facebook wall, I hope you don't expect reciprocation. That's just not my bag, baby. I guess what I'm trying to say here is thanks to all the friends who came out with us. You made our birthday one to remember (the pictures help with the memory part) and we loved the thought and effort you put into your costumes. You are all hilarious and I'm glad I'm your friend.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Remember Yesterday's Post?

Regrets. I haz them.
I may have just vacuumed crumbs off my shirt.

All Jazzed Up with No Place to Go

If you were someone with the happy circumstance of being financially supported by your parents and living in Duncan and having no job or school work because the class you thought you were going to take has been cancelled you would know that sometimes you have days where you feel really jazzed up and you want to do something, but you don't know what the hell to do (phew, long sentence). When I first found myself in this situation it was easy to figure out what to do, because there was lots to do:

-clean the house
-purge the closets and get rid of stuff we don't need
-catch up on correspondence with long lost friends, relatives, and business acquaintances (haha, ok, I don't have the latter, it just sounded good)
-brush the cat
-stockpile food of various types in the freezer so that when I actually am busy we won't go hungry because neither GP nor I thought about dinner
-take various online courses that give me basic skills I'd need in service jobs, such as Serving it Right and FoodSafe

Now that I've done most of those things (or have managed to form them into a somewhat mindless habit) there is very little to do all day, which is one of the reasons I have this blog. Right now I'm sitting outside with Friskies, enjoying a cup of tea and a cool breeze (what did we do before wireless internet?!). It seems I am, for all intensive purposes (hehe, a joke) an accidental housewife. Believe me, this does not thrill me but I'm coping asbestos I can (gawd, I'm hilarious today). So what do I do when I can't think of anything to do? Well, find out how to get certified as a fitness instructor, of course! Would you attend a fitness class led by me? Here's how I think mine would go.

Here are some pictures of the delicious things I've been cooking lately:

A few nights ago I made this yummy yummy seared snapper fillet with avocado and grilled veggies. Grilled veg is becoming a staple, it seems, and I am slowly starting to tire of zucchini, scrumptious as it is cooked on the grill with garlic and finished with a little lemon juice. If only we could eat chocolate zucchini cake, but no, GP never fails to remind me that I'm not eating what's best for my body every time something starchy or sugary comes close to my quivering salivating lips. Needless to say, I tell him I'd rather have a satisfied tummy than a perfect body, but he does have a point. I can't eat cake every day and feel good about myself. Goodness knows I've tried. Sometimes I think about making a pan of Rice Crispies Squares in the morning and eating the whole thing before he comes home. Pretty sure that borders on Bulimia, but let's not go there. Onwards!

Above you will see some chicken (quickly marinated in a simple garlic-rosemary-S&P-oil mixture) kebabs atop a basic Greek salad. I bought the olives pitted because I effing hate having to fiddle around with my teeth getting the pit out. Maybe it's a bit more expensive, but it's really worth it if, like me, you love kalamata olives but not the pits. Plus, if you buy your veggies at the Farm Market for a pittance you can afford to splurge on olives and scrum-diddly-umptious Feta cheese.

By the way, did you know that, since 2002, Feta has been one of those protected designation of origin products, like Champagne? Yup, it's only allowed to be called Feta if it was produced in Greece (or Lesvos) and is made of sheep's milk or a blend of sheep and goat's milk (the amount of goat's milk cannot exceed 30%). The more you know.

Anyway, the dinner was fucking tasty. We've been using a thermometer for our meat cooking and our chicken has been consistently amazingly juicy and tender. I think GP just likes using it because it makes cooking feel like a science experiment, but the results are amazing. People overcook their chicken so much, it's no wonder everyone is so afraid of putting it on the grill.

Oh! I almost forgot to mention the tzatziki I made! It's P90X-proof, meaning it has some added protein and no fat to speak of. I used the last of my most recent batch of yogurt, which I have been meaning to talk about here. I think the secret to a firm and successful yogurt is fourfold: add skim milk powder (I think I mentioned this in my post on yogurt), use a powdered store-bought starter, incubate for more than 12 hours, and strain half of the yogurt for about half an hour to add back to the unstrained portion. The last step is especially important for a thicker, creamier yogurt. I was impressed at how deceivingly creamy our skim milk yogurt turned out when I did this. It wasn't as mouth-stickingly thick as the very first batch in my previous yogurt post, but it was the exact consistency I was going for: a bit firmer than commercial yogurt, but not as firm as sour cream. Plus, the extra hours yielded a more sour and very pleasant taste.

Anyway, I kind of got sidetracked by the yogurt. The tzatziki consisted of the leftover yogurt, some garlic, lemon juice, dill, and S&P to taste. I didn't add cucumber because GP and I aren't too keen on lumps, but if you did add cucumber you would want to strain it after you grated it for maybe half an hour and then plonk it into the sauce.