Sunday, November 27, 2011

The Timeless Wisdom of George Michael, or, My Offspring Will Need Therapy

While dancing unabashedly to great tunes from such disco-era legends as the Bee Gees and Prince on the "Maximum Party" channel today, baking apple/rum-filled banana bread, I came to a very important realization. That is that, had I children, perhaps this kind of behaviour would verge on child abuse. I'm pretty sure if GP and I had kids, they'd be pretty fucked up. Or hilarious. Or maybe both, depending on your definition of either term.

The ability to let loose, get crazy, and, more importantly, embrace my silly side is one of the things I like most about myself. Of course, I can be pretty uptight sometimes; it's impossible to feel completely comfortable in any situation, but I like to think I'm pretty easy-going in most scenarios. This part of my personality recently came in handy when someone made a pretty inappropriate comment about something I was wearing.

I can't give specifics in case that person finds this blog, but suffice to say they tried to knock down my confidence a notch or two with a comment about how ugly something I was wearing made me look. It was something very silly that I don't normally wear and I was trying it out, just for the heck of it. I knew I'd get some unusual reactions, and I did, but they were mostly smiles or laughter. Thus, I was caught completely off-guard when this person made such a rude and opinionated comment.

The reason it stayed with me is because I want to know the motivation behind it, or maybe I know the reason and I am mystified. Yes, the second one. The insulter (let's name her/him Franklin) has an obvious lack of confidence, so he has to make sure everyone he comes in contact with feels inferior to him. It's really quite sad.

I have a feeling that Franklin really wishes he could just let go and not worry about what other people think so much. I'm so glad that I have that trait and that either my friends do too, or it rubs off on them when they're with me. Let's hope it's genetic so that when I have kids they'll be crazy little underpants dancers like their mother. GP will just have to wait out the craziness elsewhere.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Necessary Essentials

Things I'd Need If I Were Moving to Montreal (more on this at a later date) And Were Getting There By Car And Could Only Take Ten Items (GP is not on this list; he'd be coming with me with his own list, which I suspect would consist mostly of video games and systems on which to play them):

1. The kitten and her accoutrements
2. Cuisinart food processor
3. VitaMix blender
4. Kitchenaid stand mixer
5. Cardigan knitted for me by my mum
6. My great yoga mat
7. Camera (and battery charger; that doesn't count as another thing)
8. Phone
9. My grandmothers' pearls (both sets count as one item)
10. The painting my mum did of an iris

Commentary and/or your list greatly encouraged on this post; I want to know if I've missed anything).

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Haikus For You-kus

A few autumnal haikus for your (and my) enjoyment:

Drinking tea inside
Loud raindrops falling outside
I'd rather be here

Wool socks and slippers
Homemade gifts for winter time
Lost in arts of yore

The dogs are anxious
I dread a walk in the rain...
Blue skies spell relief!

And, of course, it wouldn't be a blog post without something kitten-related:

Kitten sleeps deeply
A perfect feline circle
Warm, soft, and purring

Friday, September 23, 2011

A Figment of Your Imagination

GP can't go grocery shopping with me without getting thoroughly frustrated and, oddly, sweaty. Actually, it might not really be odd that he gets sweaty. My grocery shopping style, much like my approach to life in general, is disorganized, indulgent and highly irrational. Some days I will want nothing but pea shoots and falafels. Other times my attention to good nutrition (ha! The kitten just pounced on my typing fingers from afar; what a little scamp!) goes out the window and I will eat an entire wheel of Gorgonzola and a loaf of olive bread for dinner. That's no joke. It has happened more times than I care to divulge.

It's not just my shopping mindset that is frustrating. The reason why GP gets sweaty, as I didn't really fully explain in the previous paragraph, is that I don't even physically approach the shop from a systematic perspective. My travel pattern around the store is an erratic zig-zag. I'll go to the individual sections of the shop many times before leaving, and even after that, I'll probably return because I usually remember what I've forgotten to get as I sit down in my car.

The point of all this rambling would be wholly irrelevant if it weren't for the fact that, in a recent haphazard voyage to the shop, I bought two wonderful looking figs on a whim. I love figs. I love the taste of them, I love the look of them, and I especially love the feel of them. They are much heavier than they seem, but their skin is so soft and fragile. I know what you're thinking, you pervert, and you're completely correct- they do look like that and my description doesn't help.

Here is what I did with my figs:
I cut them both in half, spooned some ricotta on top, spooned some unpasteurized local honey on top of that and then topped the whole thing with walnuts and stuck it under the broiler. This is what they looked like before:

And this is what they looked like after:

Pretty delish.

I actually didn't realize the fruit was in the same position in both photos until I uploaded the photos just now. I must've really been on the ball!

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

The Scatterbrain Bird Alights

Maybe my repose away from blogging wasn't very brief, but if you know anything about me, you know that I am not one to apologize for not writing on my own blog. So I hope, if you're reading this, you're not here because you thought you'd read some pathetic groveling prose making impossible promises about how I'll never leave you again, dear readers. It is very likely that I will leave you again. Just so you know.

Predictably, much has happened since my last, very sad, post. GP and I had to say goodbye to our dear Friskies. On Friday, July 24th, I took the afternoon off from cute catwork so we could hang out together. It was a lovely sunny warm day, so we went outside. She had been hiding under the bed for most of the week, but she knew that this was a special opportunity, so she came out and enjoyed the sun. We sat next to the roses on the edge of the lawn and watched bugs in the grass. Greg also left work early to spend some time with her. Then we took her in to the vet's, where they have a room for goodbyes, painted in soothing colours with a nice little table with soft padding. She was injected with painkillers and I petted her until she fell asleep.

I doubt I'll ever be able to talk or write about her death without crying, but I know it was the right decision. I will always miss her and she'll always have a special place in my heart. I know she'd be happy, too, that GP and I now have a new cat to keep us on our toes. Her name is Reese and she is both a delight and a little beast, at 15 weeks old tomorrow. As I type this, she's half sitting on my lap. The other half is slowly sliding off the sofa as her tiny oblivious body shudders from cute tortoiseshell kittenthe depth of her purring. The only thing keeping her on the sofa is my arm. How adorable, she just yawned and stretched! After a few months, it really was time for us to get a new feline friend. Reese is short-haired, so GP has less of an excuse to complain about allergies, although I'm sure he won't let this stop him!

Work is going very well. In my time at the company I've already seen a new person in the same position as me be hired and fired, so I believe I'm doing quite well. Two weeks from today will mark the end of my three-month probation period, at which time you won't have to guess who's going to work in her pajamas. Yesterday the boss man asked me into his office to show me a new advertising tool we're going to be using for our clients. He gave me more instruction on it today and I thought it was going well until I stepped out of his office and realized I had enormous gaping holes in my knowledge and I don't really know how to go about putting together my client's campaign at all. I think he and I have an understanding, though, so I doubt asking for extra help will be an issue.

Another fantastic thing about work: they support my cat-loving ways. I'm not sure whether or not they're just humouring me, but everyone I've shown pictures to (90 percent of the people at work) has ooh'd and aah'd over Reese. The chances that they all call me a crazy cat lady behind my back are pretty good, but I came to terms with that part of myself a long time ago.

Other happenings: my birthday, GP's birthday. We went to Quadra Island to celebrate our aging and had a lovely time, despite our progression into senility (especially GP). My mum made me a cake, but I don't think she realizes my birthday isn't at Christmas, because, well, you can see from the icing. Not that I complained; it was delicious. My garden is still growing, even though I've been mostly neglecting it. When my broccoli raab was still edible, I was using it for killer dishes like the pasta salad to the right, upon which a delectable piece of baked halibut is perched, with pesto from my basil.

I don't want to make any promises, but I have a few awesome blog post topics up my sleeve. So expect more soon. Or not.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Good Grief

I've debated whether or not I should plague my readership (however small it may be) with what is undoubtedly the most difficult thing, emotionally, I've had to struggle with in my short life. I have decided that I definitely should. It is my blog, after all. And you don't have to read this post (although I think you should, because everything I write is gold, naturally).

Friskies has been my friend and confidante since I was 10 years old. Although I was the one who got to choose her rather unfortunate name, I never personally took it upon myself to claim her as my cat. She, however, took it upon herself to claim my bed as hers and so our relationship grew. She watched (actually, maybe napped is the better verb here) while I awkwardly made my way through middle school, high school, and puberty in general. When I came home from university she was always there, ready to provide cuddles and gentle indifference. She got kicked out of the room the first couple times I kissed a boy, and she dutifully stood guard at the door until she was welcomed back. Soon after a somewhat resentful chirp and some annoyingly slow stretching and chin-rubbing on the threshold of the door, she would reliably be right back in her middle-of-the-bed station, purring as though she were part 1969 Ford Mustang, muffler-free.
The only time I've had to deal with anything bad happening to her was when she was six or seven and she had to have a small operation to remedy a bladder issue. Now I have to deal with something of a more sinister nature. She has become increasingly rotund through the middle and bonier in the shoulders and hindquarters. Not long ago her appetite started dropping off, so I made an appointment with the vet. I took her in on Thursday and, after having x-rays done, I was told that there was a mass of some kind in her abdomen. It could be either a tumor on her spleen that has just become very large or a tumor that has formed around her intestines, making digesting food difficult. The former possibility is what we are hoping for, because spleens are superfluous organs for cats. The latter is, in most cases, inoperable. Either way, she is in pain. We won't know exactly what the problem is until an ultrasound is done. Hopefully that will be tomorrow.

So this situation is, understandably I think, the only thing I have been thinking about since Thursday. I've had a bit of time to mull it over and get used to the idea of her not being around anymore, although that is obviously the last thing I want. She has been my friend for so very long and I have been so lucky to have her in my life. In fact, we've been friends for most of my life. Normally not a particularly sentimental person, I am surprised by how many things trigger an emotional breakdown for me. On Friday at work before my shift, I was reaching into the cupboard for a mug. A co-worker came into the kitchen and said "Hi, how are you?" and I burst into tears. He was completely stunned and said, after a pause "Can't find a cup?". I then exploded the whole cat story onto him and he stood there, very kindly, listening to me, likely thinking "Wow, that new girl sure is a fruit loop". I doubt he'll ever ask me how I am again!

Friskies has an ultrasound tentatively scheduled for tomorrow, although I haven't a confirmation heard from the vet's office. She is barely eating anything and today I had to actually place her in her litterbox for a pee because her energy is so low that I was afraid she might not make it. She is definitely not herself. It's a very sad thing to witness, the slow decline of one of your best friends. I don't give a fuck if people think I'm crazy for calling her my best friend. They obviously, and unfortunately, have never had the incredible experience of becoming close with an animal. It sucks that I have to make these kinds of decisions now, and deal with this overwhelming sadness, but if this is the payment I have to make for the unconditional love I have received from her throughout her entire life, I think it's more than worth it.
Please, friends, keep positive thoughts for Friskies in your mind. If you're the praying type, I'm sure she'd appreciate that too.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

On the Job

Better late than never to announce to blogdom that I have a job. Yup, I now have a real grown-up person job as a copywriter/search engine optimization expert at a local business that creates websites for real estate companies. I started on June 27th and I'm really enjoying it. There's a lot to learn, but there's always something new to be done, which I can totally appreciate. Plus, they call the "behind the scenes" stuff of websites the "back-end", and I find that absolutely hilarious. Today I brought in pictures of Friskies and GP and me in a little frame to make my desk more homey. I regretted it almost immediately; it's difficult to focus when there's a photo of the most adorable cat on earth staring up at you.

My coworkers are fun. We had Sports Day today (it's a weekly thing) and we played soccer. I suggested starting up a running group and they were completely into it. We'll see how long it is until I've instigated a composting program. It's a very different work environment compared to the last place; they seem to actually like their employees here. There are medical/dental benefits, a gym membership incentive, a new computer payment/loan program, a lunch program (the fridge is completely stocked and we just make lunch with whatever we like) and once a month there's a cake day, to celebrate the month's birthdays. What more could you ask for?! Oh, and there are potlucks every so often, with prizes for most tasty food and best presentation. Needless to say, I'm in it to win it. I think I'll be making lemon meringue cupcakes, with meringue roses to top them. I've already started testing the recipe and I think it's going to blow everyone else out of the water.
It's a crappy photo, but you can still see how pretty they are. I think the only thing prettier than meringue roses are real ones.

General life things have been going smoothly. Not much to report, other than an excellent (albeit drizzly) camping trip to Tofino on Canada Day long weekend. So good, in fact, that after three vigorous washings, my hair still smells like campfire smoke.

My garden is growing at warp speed. I harvested all the broccoli raab (aka rapini, brocoletti, and/or broccolini) yesterday and we had it with dinner today, just steamed. It has so much more flavour when you grow it yourself: broccoli, yes, but with a hint of mustardy spiciness. Man, was it ever delicious. I'm hoping the new shoots come quickly.
There's really no taste like a fresh strawberry straight from the garden, with that shiny tight skin. I can't wait for the similarly sweet taste of the cherry tomatoes I've got growing. They need to get their butts in gear and set fruit already. Same with the sugar snap peas. So much to look forward to!

Monday, June 13, 2011

Floating Islands

Sometimes I feel like spending hours making roses out of meringue. No, really, that's not sarcasm. When one doesn't have a job, one must find ways to fill in the time. For Mother's Day I made a cake for my mum that was "iced" with an entire meringue rose bush. I found this absolutely gorgeous recipe and couldn't resist making it. Unfortunately, I don't have the proper icing tip (mine is too short and stout; must remember to get one very soon), but it still came out beautifully:
I changed the original recipe a bit. It seems like I can't just leave anything well enough alone; I always have to have my two cents. Except for switching up orange for the lemon, I followed the cake recipe verbatim (and wouldn't use it again; it wasn't as fluffy as I thought it'd be), but the filling is orange curd and blackcurrant, instead of lemon and raspberry. It sounds so much fancier than the original! Here's a cross-section:
In the same vein, last night I made iles flottantes on a sea of cardamom-lemon custard with some fresh first-of-the-season organic peaches. I love peaches and I love the way they taste with a little cardamom. Oh hell, I'll say it, I love cardamom with anything. It turned out well!
I only had time to take one picture and it's sideways, unfortunately. After the first picture, the urge to eat it all in one mouthful overtook me and I became powerless against it.
Anyway, it was delicious. Not too sweet, all the textures and flavours worked so well together: the airiness and slight chewiness of the meringue and the firm juiciness of the peaches as well as the smooth creaminess of the custard. I wonder how many batches I can make and eat before GP gets home... My recipe follows, if you're interested. Make the custard first so it can cool; I like it slightly warmer than room temperature. Since the meringues are shaped (as opposed to haphazard blobs), I couldn't poach them as usually done for Iles Flottantes. This way works well, though.

4 cardamom pods
6 egg yolks (or five if you spill some down your front like I did)
1/3 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cup milk (any kind is fine; I used skim but whole would taste better)
zest of one lemon, preferably un-sprayed
a few drops of vanilla extract

In a medium-sized saucepan, whisk together yolks, sugar and salt. Separately, heat milk and cardamom pods. It is important not to boil the milk, otherwise when it is poured into the egg yolks they will seize and you'll be eating sweet scrambled eggs. When bubbles start forming around the edge of the milk, it is ready to pour into the egg yolks. Whisk slowly as you pour and then place over medium-low heat. Stir slowly and constantly, making sure it never comes to a boil. When the custard has thickened, add the lemon zest and vanilla and set aside to cool while you make the meringue.

3 egg whites, room temperature
2/3 cup superfine sugar

Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Whip egg whites until soft peaks form. Gradually (one tablespoon at a time) add sugar until entirely incorporated. Plop the meringue into a pastry bag and pipe into roses, then place on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Bake in oven for 3 minutes; any longer than that and the meringue starts to burn. To get the roses off the parchment, lightly grease a rigid spatula and slide under each flower.

When the meringue has been baked, it's time to assemble the dessert. Slice the peaches and arrange them on one side of the bowl so that they will be visible above the custard. Pour the custard into the bowl, then float the meringue roses on top. Eat it with a small spoon so you can enjoy it as long as possible.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

The Burbs

So, it's official, I live in the 'burbs. Yes, they could be the very same ones as in the 1989 blockbuster of the very same name. I think growing up on idyllic and tiny SSI gave me a very romantic idea of what the suburbs were about. Where I lived we didn't really have neighbours. You can't on a 22.5 acre farm. I mean, we obviously had people who lived next to us, but not in the same way I do now. We couldn't just walk across the street to borrow a cup of sugar; we actually had to walk down the hill, over the bridge, and up through the forest. Really. We had no garage and couldn't see our neighbour's house.

The sounds of the place I grew up were as follows: birds, llamas occasionally doing their weird braying when something suspect was afoot, and frogs. The sounds of suburbia, as I've been noticing are: birds and frogs, but also automatic garage doors and lawnmowers. The latter item brings me to the real reason I'm writing this post: lawn care. More specifically: maintenance. More specifically than that, even: push mowers.

GP's mum's gas-powered lawnmower is not working and has not been since we moved in and, since GP has a full-time job and values hanging out with me in his spare time more than fixing lawnmowers (and I wouldn't even know how to go about fixing it if I did), it has been sitting un-repaired for a while. Long enough that the grass grew embarrassingly high and I grew frustrated with it and decided to take matters into my own hands. Little did I know that those very hands would be aching and blistered by day's end. I can write more about this ordeal in a handy how-to format for your future mowing (dis)pleasure.

How to Mow Your Lawn Manually or So You've Chosen Suicide: A Guide

Phase one: Preparation. Prepare yourself as though you are running a marathon. Heed the immortal words of Ice Cube: "[lawn-mowing] ain't a track meet; it's a marathon".

1. Clear out your schedule for the day. If this doesn't take you at least three hours, you're doing it wrong.

2. Fill a water bottle but remind yourself it is only to be used in a life-or-death situation, seeing as if you take a break you will never ever want to get back to it.

3. Make a playlist for your iPod. This will keep you motivated like nothing else. Avoid songs by artists like Sarah Mclachlan and Coldplay. If you're anything like me, I suggest you go for angry gangsta rap or anything by ABBA.

4. If it's a sunny day (which it most certainly has not been for the most part in my part of the world), protect yourself as needed. This goes doubly for my fair fellow frecklies.

Phase two: Work. This part is fairly self-explanatory.

5. Under no circumstances once you start mowing are you to take a break. Not a drink of water, not to check to see if anyone has called, not to bandage up your hand blisters, not for ANYTHING. The only time you stop is if you are on the brink of death, if you finish the job, or if a slow song comes on in your music shuffle. Stopping will make you realize how foolish you are by undertaking this gigantic endeavor.

6. Get into a rhythm. If you're a first timer, like I was, you'll realise there is a definite method to the madness. If you get the blades going at the right speed and the right angle at the right time, you'll be able to cut the longer grass down so you can go over it directly again afterwards. That probably doesn't really make much sense. Oh well. Just don't let your lawn grow to jungle-tastic lengths and you won't have that problem.

7. Silently (or not) curse your neighbours who walk past and do not offer to let you use their motorized mowers. Really, is it so very hard to say "Hey, I noticed you're sweating your tits off and this is taking you hours. You are more than welcome to use my fancy schmancy LawnMower 3000 for the rest of the lawn"?! No, it most certainly is not. If someone had offered I would've even chipped in a few bucks for the gas. Oh well, we'll see who is somehow out of sugar when they come knocking for a cup...

Phase three: PME, or Post-Mowing Euphoria/Exhaustion.

8. Once you're finished, don't bother looking at your neighbours' lawns. Your lawn will not look as good as theirs. Comparing will just make you frustrated. Your lawn will likely look similar to my grandpa's head: bald with a few tenacious bits sticking up that you can't hack down no matter how hard you try.

9. Pry your hands off the mower. They will be curled to fit the shape of the handle; that's perfectly normal. Wrap those mitts around a beverage either hot or ice-cold, depending on the temperature of the day.

10. Get your motorised lawnmower fixed as soon as possible.

Friday, May 6, 2011

Peaks and Valleys

So, I have a half-finished post saved that I wrote a few days ago about all the things I hated about my job and, as luck would happen, I got fired today. Wait, rewind, I'll start from the beginning.

Today I received a phone call from my manager telling me not to come in to work tomorrow because they had hired new people and had training shifts scheduled for them. She said I was to come in on Monday, which was fine with me. Then I phoned her back because I remembered a few dates I wanted to give her far in advance that I would be unavailable. She told me to fill out the form they have for requesting days off and I said that wouldn't be a problem I'd do it on Monday, and to have a good weekend and "bye!". All's well, right?

She phoned back not five minutes later, saying "I don't think this is going to work". I was unsure what she meant. It totally blindsided me. She went on to say "With the time you took off at the beginning and then the time you're requesting now, I just don't think it's going to work". I told her that the time I was requesting now was far in the future and that my volunteering was only once a month. She didn't care; she talked over me and told me how I was to go about collecting my paycheque. I said "I'm sorry it won't work" and all she said was "yeah" and I said "ok, bye". What a bitch.

This leaves me feeling a few different things. The first is shock, because I did well in that job, and I had never been fired before. The second is sadness, because I won't be able to go in there anymore and because I liked some of my coworkers. The third is frustration, because now I have to find a new job without the support of already having one and because I did absolutely nothing wrong.

Here are the reasons I hated that dumb job anyway:

1. Bitchy micromanagers who make me do stupid busy work when I'm already actually doing something useful. You are not better than me because you actually want to work there.

2. After I came back from Edmonton nobody asked me how it was or said "It's nice to see you again" or "We missed you" or whatever. It seemed like nobody noticed I was gone. I don't want to work somewhere I don't feel needed or appreciated.

3. The floor was really hard and my feet hurt like the Dickens after walking around all day.

4. The owners and managers did not trust the employees: there were cameras everywhere and I was told they watch the tape. The employees would be watched and they would be fired if they weren't always looking busy or helping someone. That's bullshit. I want to work hard because I respect my boss and believe in the product being sold, not because I'm afraid of being fired.

5. The pay was shitty. Better than the other stores in the mall (or so I was told), but still shitty.

6. Almost every product they sold was made in China and had a HUGE mark-up. I don't want to have to sell things I wouldn't buy normally.

7. Michael Buble, Andrea Bocelli, Il Divo, and the Hair soundtrack are great and all, but not when you listen to them over and over and over.

8. The dress code was quite strict and hypocritical. We had to wear all black, but we could "accessorize" with white. That meant we could wear a white headband (ew), or white jewelery (ew again) or a white shirt under a sweater, but it couldn't show too much. I once wore a white cardigan and the manager took me aside and told me it was "too much white". Like the customers would even notice or give a fuck. And as for the hypocritical part, the managers could wear grey when they felt like it, and the owner's daughter could wear whatever the hell she liked.

9. There were rules and forms for everything and it was only a small store! I'm not sure a job could be more bureaucratic unless you worked for the government.

10. They didn't recycle or compost. Maybe this should be at the top of the list.

In summation, I am disappointed. Mostly because I want/need to have money. But also because I'm pretty sure my good looks and incredible people skills made my manager feel threatened because she is fat and ugly and comes off sounding phony and condescending when she talks to customers. I'm thinking this probably happened so that I could find something much better. Onwards and upwards. Hooray for positivity!

Wednesday, April 13, 2011


GP and I are moving, or getting ready to, which is why you haven't seen much action on this blog lately. The following are some brief and random updates. Please forgive the shoddy cell-phone photography; I have no clue which box my real cameras are in.

I got a job at a place that sells all sorts of delightful housewares, jewelry and general bibbity bobs. I started on Monday and I like it so far. It is full-time.
It's spring time and my flowers are growing like weeds (haha). The planters on the deck are bursting with pinks, yellows, whites, and purply blues. I love this time of year. The seeds I planted a few weeks ago now are pushing out their true leaves and are almost as excited as I am about the warm weather to come.
Friskies is enjoying more access to the bed. I just can't deny her sweet little face the pleasure of a very comfy nap. It's also a real pain in the ass to climb over the gate at the bottom of the stairs holding a large box of something or other, now that we're moving things. She looks so very regal in this photo.
I went to the UVic grad party, masquerade theme, on the 31st of March. My mask was clearly the most beautiful (and maybe the most creepy) one there. I made it myself!
I am packing the kitchen up today so that we can move everything up to Nanaimo tomorrow and start sleeping there. To give me the energy to keep packing, I made myself an incredible banana almond butter vanilla almond milk shake. The picture is especially awful because it was so effing delicious that when I stopped to take a picture I experienced withdrawal symptoms and started shaking. (Not really). It had half a banana, a large spoonful of almond butter, four ice cubes, a scoop of vanilla protein powder, and enough almond milk (homemade of course) to get the blender to mix it. It was so creamy and yummy and almost guilt-free!
Another delicious treat I made recently was the birthday cake for Amanda a week (I think?) ago. It was impossibly light vanilla Chinese bakery cake (leavened with egg whites only, no baking soda or powder) with raspberries and cream between the layers, iced with whipped cream and then glazed with dark chocolate ganache on top of that. It was, well, incredible. If I do say so myself. And fun as hell to decorate. I might've gone a bit overboard with the leaf piping tip, but I like the pretty daintiness of it. She had never had a cake made for her, so I hope this set the bar high!
Tonight we're having a huge Kim-style Greek salad (Greek salad with chick peas and negligible amounts of onion and REAL olives, not the yucky canned ones) with homemade bread because I didn't feel like going and buying a loaf when I have everything to make one. It's from the Hollyhock cookbook and it has lovely things in it like flax meal and sesame seeds and poppy seeds and oats. I have high hopes for it. I might take a picture and post it, or not. Clearly my priorities do not currently lie with this blog.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Taking a Dump

I know that sounds rude, but I really just mean a dump of photos. Sorry to disappoint if you're into that kind of thing. Lately I've been getting creative with food, pictures of which I'd like to share.
Chili is fantastic for several reasons: dried beans are cheap and nutritious, and chili (and soups) freeze well. This chili was delicious. It had, besides the usual tomatoes and beer and spices, butternut squash, quinoa, corn, carrots, and garbanzo, black and kidney beans. Speaking of delicious and nutritious...
A parrot smoothie. Pear+carrot=parrot. I've been making smoothies like there's no tomorrow because I am now a proud VitaMix owner. In case you're unaware, VitaMixes are extremely powerful blenders, the kind bars and cafes use to crush ice in mere seconds. It makes killer almond milk and blends stringy vegetables like kale into smooth liquids. Most mornings I throw in half an apple, some OJ, spinach, and 1/4 of a banana with some ice and protein powder. I've been using rice protein lately because there's no sour aftertaste like whey, although the texture is grainy.

No blog post would be complete without a cute cat picture:
I was searching and searching for her last night and couldn't find her until Greg went into the bathroom and I heard "Kim...". She is so unbelievably adorable sometimes.

Two more food photos, the first is of homemade sweet potato and spinach gnocchi with tomato sauce, also homemade (the other ingredients I forget, but it was tasty). Sometimes the photos don't rotate, so you'll just have to rotate your head.
Pears poached in white wine and orange juice with cardamom and other spices, with Greek 'gurt:
GP believes I suffer from a legitimate food addiction and I am starting to believe him. He's done a surprising amount of research on it.

In other news, life is going quite well. And by "well", I mean it's moving along at quite a clip. GP and I recently celebrated our two-year anniversary, and I made us a delicious living room floor "picnic" to celebrate:
Tortilla "rolls" with lox, avocado and sprouts, red, black and white quinoa salad with cranberries and other stuff, homemade Raincoast Crisps and goat cheese, Greek spinach salad, and chicken kebabs. Not pictured are the almond cookies I made, served with a blackberry/yogurt sauce.

Job things are starting to move, and GP's mum is moving out of her house soon, which means we'll be able to start moving in soon, which means GP won't have to commute an hour every day for work anymore and which also means I'll be able to have a little garden this summer if I get started right away!

I already have gotten started, actually. Today I dragged GP to Seedy Saturday and bought some seeds I am very excited about: poppies (ha, almost typed poopies), flowering sweet peas (almost typed 'sweat', what is wrong with me?!), sugar snaps, heirloom spinach, 10 ever-bearing strawberry plants (YUM), and indeterminate (trailing) tomatoes. Here's a picture of the latter:
You can't see them, but they're in there! They have to be started inside and transplanted when they're big guys and it's warm enough. I'm very excited about them; they're a variety called "Soleil", developed by the grower I bought them from. They're supposed to be very sweet orange fruits. Sounds good to me! For some reason GP just can't match my enthusiasm about this project, which I don't really understand. I love that I have the power to actually GROW things. I think it's amazing and I don't care how weird or nerdy that makes me sound. These puppies are supposed to germinate in a week to ten days. If I post a picture of tiny green sprouts at that time you'll know what they are. Also, if all these seeds germinate (doubtful), then I will have a great many tomato plants on my hands. Good thing my faithful blog readers like tomatoes....... Right? Are giveaways appropriate for a blog with only twelve followers? Who cares?! Count yourselves lucky.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011


I still don't have a job and it fucking sucks. Sometimes I get really down about my very high resume sending to interview ratio. Maybe I'm being too picky, I don't know. But I think I could be excellent at anything I want to do and, really, I don't think the jobs I'm applying for require a lot of skill. I am more than qualified to be a receptionist.

I'm also pretty tired of relying on my parents for money and not being able to do fun things because I don't make my own money. It takes a toll on one's self-confidence, for sure.

Anyway, to stay positive I've been thinking about all the excellent things about not having a job and here they are:

Top Ten Awesome Things about Being Unemployed

10. Not having to worry about what to wear. I just wear jeans and call it a day.

9. Our house is super clean because, even after doing things I want to do, I often have time to vacuum or sweep. And I don't feel guilty for doing it because I don't have homework to do.

8. My mother hears from me frequently because I call her when there's an icky chore I don't want to do. So you could say my familial relationships are better because I don't have a job. Well, maybe that's a stretch.

7. Saving money is kind of necessary, so I'm getting pretty good at it.

6. We are eating healthier because I've done lots of reading about nutrition and stuff. And I have time to plan what to buy for the week at the store.

5. I'm way more in touch with current events because I can listen to the CBC while I'm doing whatever it is I'm doing around the house.

4. Having plentiful time to work out. I don't have an excuse if I miss a week-day workout.

3. Being able to volunteer. I love hanging out with the SPCA kitties.

2. Not having a schedule. If I want, I can head down to Victoria for the day and not have to make sure it's ok with work.

1. Getting to dance around my house to Europop at 2pm in my underpants with Friskies.

Writing this list made me realize how much I need a job. No amount of sugarcoating makes this lifestyle less boring or more rewarding. Does that sound depressing?

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Spelling Clean-Up on Aisle Three

I saw this sign today at Thrifty's and had to take a picture because I am a huge geek. I showed it to GP and we both agreed that mixing up effect/affect is a huge pet peeve. I won't hold it against you if you don't know the difference. Yet another reason for someone to hire me: I can keep you from looking like a fool to people like me. Everyone needs a hobby, mine just happens to be looking for spelling and grammar errors anywhere and at all times.

Thursday, February 24, 2011


To yesterday's post. I've been thinking about it more and reading the comments that people keep posting on SAHG's post and, for the most part, they seem to be of two camps: the anti-feminist antagonists and the people who say they're feminists but really don't seem to be aware of what feminism entails. If both of these camps saw feminism the way I see it we'd all be better off and EVERYONE would be a feminist because it benefits everyone. Because all people quite literally biologically come from women it's important to realize that equality of the sexes is not just an issue for women.

It is important, for example, to allow access to safe abortions because women who do not want to carry their child to term will find ways to get an abortion any way they can. Women need strong health and social support systems so that if they do choose to have children in the future, those children will grow up to be responsible and compassionate people. Our upbringing and, ultimately, our outlook as adults is directly related to the care, respect and support our mothers receive before and while they raise us.

I know I'm reading really far into it, but I think it helps to see the stay-at-home-girlfriend as a post-feminist dare to critique the current state of our gender equality (or lack thereof). It's not hard to see that we still don't live in an equal society. Every time I turn on the TV I see gender stereotypes in ads. People seem to forget there is still a large wage gap between men and women doing the same work in some industries. For example, I realize the data is a bit old now, but the Centre for Gender Studies at Radford University ranks Canadian women 27th in the world in economic opportunity (defined on their website). That's behind China, Slovenia, and Russia.

We are NOT in a post-feminist society. It's time to remind ourselves what feminism is about: caring for each other equally. It's not about refusing to ever cook for your boyfriend even if you love cooking, or about laying down and letting him fuck you whenever he feels like it. It's about finding the middle ground where you're each giving and taking equally. Where women and men treat themselves and each other with respect and love. I hope we will ever be post- that.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Deploy the Unemployed

I make a lot of jokes about my current employment status: Un-. Mostly I do this because if I didn't laugh about it I'd be crying, so this is really the best option available. When I read crap like this, however, I get quite another emotional response: anger.

Ignoring the very slight possibility that it could be satire, there are two reasons this type of Cosmo trash gets me angry. The first is that it reinforces the gender roles feminists have fought so hard to break down since my dad and my grandpa sat at the dinner table in the '50s while my grandma plonked down dish after dish of amazing food for them, watched them eat it, and then cleaned up after them.

The second reason is that the situation the "article" (we don't have a word for "piece of crap that passes for writing these days but really belongs on toilet paper", otherwise I'd use it) talks about hits so close to home for me. I don't have a job and I live with my boyfriend. I am currently looking for a job and I do many of the chores around the house, although we are a lot more balanced than the couple in the article. GP does the dishes after dinner and the laundry on weekends. I do a lot of other stuff, but that's because I also have a lot more free time than him.

The insinuation that you should be up for sex any time you're not on your rag really got me. Someone who thinks "there is nothing more important in a relationship than that special time between the sheets" should not be in a relationship. Intimacy is one component of a relationship, but it is not the most important. There should be balance in a healthy relationship, and that means that no one component is more important than another; they all have a part in the pie. Besides, you can have intimacy and closeness without sex. "Cook and clean and still look hot"?! What a load of shit.

I actually agreed with most of the points in the article, but for quite different reasons. It could have been written so much better without the ridiculous gendered slant. I see no reason, given my plentiful free time, not to re-write the article here:

How to Survive as an ADULT (adult doing unemployed lofty things)

Don’t sleep in
I totally agree with this one. It's hard not to sleep in, knowing that I certainly can if I want. Recently I've made a resolution not to do that, and I get so much more done. I have more energy to apply for jobs, get a workout in, etc. I don't do that, however, for the reason the SAHG does. She wakes up to make her boyfriend breakfast and so that he doesn't think she sleeps in. I, however, couldn't care less what GP thinks of my sleeping habits. He has more important things to do than to keep tabs on how late I sleep.

Keep the place clean
Ok, getting into murky waters here. I do think it's important to live in a clean house, for the simple reason that it makes you feel good. When my house is messy, I feel messy; I feel disorganized and anxious. I like living in a clean house because it makes me feel good. GP works all day, so cleaning house usually falls to me. Yes, we both share the costs of our house, so some might argue I should only have to do half of all the chores, and in theory I agree. In practice, however, it's a lot more feasible for me to do more cleaning so that our weekends aren't spent with our faces in the toilet. GP still does laundry and dishes, and he doesn't behave like a slob, so I don't feel like I'm walking around after him cleaning up all his messes.

Cook or order dinner every night
Really? That's insane. I love cooking, but sometimes I get tired of it and just don't feel like making dinner. SAHG says "My boyfriend loves it. He’s always grateful for any and all of the little things I do." Yeah, so is GP, but he realizes I'm not Superwoman. To have a healthy relationship, you can't put up a Happy Housewife front and tell your S.O. when you just don't have the energy to make dinner. You have to share stuff. Remember, Betty Draper isn't as happy as she looks. Quite aside from that, how is an unemployed person supposed to have enough money to order take away every night?

Keep yourself up
Here is the reason I "keep myself up": I feel confident about my body when I'm healthy, I am happier, and I don't get sick. I would do that regardless of whether or not I have a job, so I'm really not sure why that's on this list. I do, however, like her tip for getting her clothes to last longer: wear your sweats if you're not leaving the house, that way you don't get undue wear and tear on the nice stuff.
Look how flexible I am!

Pamper him

Ha! Why is this on the list? I love my boyfriend dearly, but I fail to see how "pampering him" helps me survive. I like doing things for him because I love him and I want to make him happy, just like he does things for me for the same reasons. I would do nice things for my boyfriend whether or not I had a job. Pampering your partner is not realistic. Your significant other needs to know the way you really live. I am all for treats once in a while, but coming home to a hot rum toddy every day, nice as it may be, is not sustainable or realistic.
Yummy, yummy breakfast in bed!

Sexy time
SAHG has this to say about sex:
Everyone knows there is nothing more important in a relationship than that special time between the sheets. I have eight to nine hours everyday to send out my resumés and clean and make dinner, by the time he comes home from work I am well rested. Frankly, there’s no real reason (time of the month aside) why I shouldn’t be ready and willing when he is. I try very hard to keep my boyfriend happy and this is a key part of doing so.
Lord above. Where do I start? What twisted planet is this woman from?! My boyfriend is happy when I am happy, and vice versa. There IS a real reason (time of the month aside) why I shouldn't be ready and willing when he is and it is this: I don't bloody well feel like it. Sometimes that's just how the cookie crumbles. What, may I ask, isn't a real reason?! I won't say more, because GP's mum reads this sometimes.

Leave the house
Yes. Totally agreed. And get a cat. Seriously. Having a pet to take care of is such a welcome responsibility when you have none. And it's nice to have someone to talk to all day.

My other advice? Volunteer, take a course, and/or reintroduce yourself to the hobbies you neglected when you were in school or employed. You will feel more confident when you can fulfill a need in your community, learn a new skill, and/or meet new people. I've started volunteering at the SPCA, enrolled in the Canadian Securities Course, and gotten back to reading and knitting.
Bread-making: a tasty skill I've almost mastered. Yes the braid and hot-cross buns above are both my own.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

All You Need is Love

We also need food. That is why yesterday, on Valentine's Day (and also the Prophet's birthday, Allahu Akbar!) I made a bunch of food for the people I love: me and GP.

When I woke up yesterday I had totally forgotten it was February the fourteenth. I wished GP the usual nice things I wish him for his day, "Hope it's good, work hard, have fun, love you lots, etc." and then promptly went back to sleep for another half-hour, as unemployed people do. When I finally dragged my sweatpant-clad ass downstairs I was delighted to see the gorgeous bouquet of flowers GP had gotten me the night before with a sweet note in them. Immediately I felt guilty for forgetting what day it was. So I decided a simple three-course meal was the only way I could redeem myself.

We started with a terrine of beets and herbed goat cheese served with cucumbers and greens:
It was SO GOOD. Much better than the crappy photo would lead you to believe. I wish I could find the battery for my good camera. This blog should be called the Use-Your-Imagination blog because the photos are so untrue to real life. Anyhow, moving along...

Our entree was a sockeye fillet baked with wholegrain mustard, spring onions and thyme on top of smoky sauteed peas and beet greens with shallots.
Doesn't look like much, but I can assure you it was very yummy. The smokiness came from smoked paprika; no pigs were killed for this particular meal. I was originally going to do two whole trout stuffed with various herbs and spices and grilled, but there were none at the store. Besides, it was raining cats and dogs, so I'm kind of glad I had to change plans.

For dessert we were bad. Really REALLY bad. Tony Horton would not be pleased.
The above picture is of oranges caramelized in a cardamom-infused sugar syrup with Greek yogurt and it was every bit as good as it sounds. Actually, it was even better than it sounds. It was not, however, very light. I mean, the oranges were, as fruit should be, but the yogurt, well... That yogurt is like eating sweet butter, not that I'm complaining. We were kind of miserable after that, in the best way possible.

I hope your Valentine's Day was as tasty as ours and that the only kind of baby you made was a food baby. Unless, you know, you're in the market for a real one... I guess it would be okay then.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

One Piece of Paper

I graduated from high school in 2005. I finished my degree in December. After five and a half years of post secondary, I now have a piece of paper that certifies I am more specialized knowledge than someone without a double major in Linguistics and English. I am sure this will help me somewhere down the road (like when I give up with the real world and decide to get another degree), but it doesn't help right now when the only thing the jobs that I'm applying for seem to want experience.

In any case, here's my temporary piece of paper. I am too technologically illiterate to know how to rotate it:

Also, I made hot chocolate the other day and the bubbles and foam made a smiley face completely by accident. If that's not worthy of a blog post I don't know what is. These are the kinds of things that are becoming very important to me as an unemployed person.

Monday, January 31, 2011

Jobs, jobs, jobs.

I applied for a job today online. For the application I didn't have to submit a cover letter. Instead, they made me fill out a questionnaire. This is terrific because I hate writing cover letters and I feel a lot better filling out blanks because it feels like I'm filling out an online quiz of yore, à la Quizilla.

Anyway, I filled out the requisite contact info, previous work info about sales quotas, and travel experience (it's for Flight Centre) and then came upon this gem of a question: "What makes you 'unbeatable' for this role?". Oh goodness. Let me count the ways! Among other things, this is what I wrote:

"My academic background and attention to detail also give me an edge on other candidates. For example, I am sure no other candidate you have seen has told you about the embarrassing grammar error here on your website. Perhaps it will negatively affect my chances at getting an interview, but I feel compelled to notify you that the "it's" in 'Boost your career with a global organisation and one of the fastest growing businesses of it's kind in the world!' actually does not require an apostrophe."

Ain't I a stinker? I think this will definitely catch their eye and they will hire me lickety split. It's almost a liability NOT to hire me, actually, because who knows what other errors they're making with their headlong and irresponsible editing. I was this close to suggesting that they offer me a job as an editor of their media publications instead of a travel consultant.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

The Skinny

Today I finally broke down and joined the 21st century. That's right, I bought skinny jeans. I never thought this day would come, but I'm actually really excited about all the new wardrobe possibilities that have become available. I can wear boots with jeans tucked inside and not have to worry about unsightly and, more importantly, uncomfortable bunching in and around the boot. I can wear flowy tops now without feeling out of proportion and unbalanced. I can even wear dresses over top if I am so inclined! The possibilities abound.

Up until today I had never owned a pair of skinny jeans for one simple reason: I was not convinced they suited me and I am not one to blindly follow trends. Ok, sorry, two reasons. The former reason is also why I neglected to get a pair of cropped/capri style pants until they were on the way out of fashion. It's hard to believe you'll look good in a style if the only people you've ever seen whose figures are flattered by it are supermodels.

Also, I don't like adopting a style just because most everyone else is. Mark my words, I will wear skinny jeans, but you will never catch me dead in tights as pants. Ever. Pants must have pockets or they are simply not pants. And tights don't have pockets. Ugh.

You know, there's another reason I put this off for so long: I don't like being proved wrong. However, when your ass looks as fantastic in jeans as mine does, this is a concession I think I can live with.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

A Little Polite Conversation

...Over dinner. A few nights ago I made an amazing lasagna with local shrimp, fillet of sole, spinach, mushrooms, shallots, and a lemon-thyme cream sauce with asiago inside and melted on top. It was a lot healthier than it sounds, as I used whole-wheat pasta and skim milk instead of cream.

However, the best part of the meal, hard to believe as it may be, was not the food. The best part was that Friskies smelled the meal and decided it was so delicious that she had to invite herself to the table. She had a nice chat with GP about their respective day. His was, surprisingly, significantly busier than hers.

Polite conversation (ok, maybe a little less polite and a little more tawdry) was also had last night at Butchart Gardens with two great long-time friends. There's nothing a little rule-breaking (smuggling rum-laced spicy apple cider into the gardens) and magical blinkenlights can't cure:
We even had a go on the Rose Carousel:
I was riding a cat (of course) and Caitlin was stradding a horse. Sarah is not pictured, but I'm sure you can just imagine her atop a green spotted frog.
Something kind of unrelated: after our ride we saw the killer whale seat and instead of a saddle it had a giant starfish on its back, shaped like a saddle. How very unrealistic!

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Sweater Puppies!

Well, kind of. I'm sure that title got your attention anyway. Happy New Year and belated holidays and all that shit. What is really important in this post is that I have FINALLY finished knitting the sweater I started about a year ago. Ok, maybe two years ago, I can't remember. Anyway, it's done and it's amazing. Friskies helped me put the buttons on.
The sweater is exactly the same shade as her eyes in this photo. If I didn't know myself better I'd say that was the reason I picked out the yarn. GP will be exasperated at this, but I really think I should knit Friskies a hat out of the leftovers, to match my sweater. A slouchy beret maybe. The yarn is Berroco Ultra Alpaca, colour 6275-aka "pea soup". I think the colour is much prettier than pea soup. What a terrible name.

I actually should have put two more buttons on, but I was up until just after one o'clock this morning finishing it because I was so excited to finally be able to wear it and I kind of forgot two button holes. I might add a button or two more using an i-cord as the "hole", but I'm too excited to take it off. I love wearing it!

This is the best picture I could get. I look kind of silly doing the buttons up, but whatever. My gorgeous face would distract you from the beauty of the sweater anyway.

So that's it. That is the sweater that has been a part of my life for so long without actually being a sweater. I'm sure there's an anti-choice slogan in there somewhere. Youth Protecting Youth, eat your hearts out! In summation, this sweater will have to be pried out of my cold dead hands one day.