Wednesday, 30 April 2008
Slow day at work, you ask? Erm, yes. Employee of the month right here.
Anyway, cds are my crack. I can't stop at just one. In addition to the new Kooks (2-disc! limited edition!) album, I also bought Counting Crows Saturday Nights & Sunday Mornings, Sia Some People Have Real Problems and The Mountain Goats Heretic Pride. On top of picking up Adele's 19 last week. Is there CD Buyers Anonymous? If so, I should probably think about signing up. Especially since I'm planning on picking up Sarah McLachlan's new cd tonight. I'm so weak.
I've only had time to listen to Adele's album so far but I plan on remedying that just as soon as I've loaded all the new music onto my ipod. I'm not making any promises, but perhaps I will review some of the music on my blog. Not fancy professional-like reviews mind you, just any thoughts I may have while listening. I will start with Adele:
Adele has an interesting voice. If Amy Winehouse, Kate Nash, Corinne Bailey Rae and Regina Spektor had a love-child, Adele would be it. I loved the album after my first listen. Now, after multiple listens, there are a few songs that make me grit my teeth. Also, I have yet to learn any of the lyrics (which is rare for me and might be an indication of the songs' catchiness - yes catchiness is a real word. Don't test me, I'll kick you.) That being said, I would recommend this album if you like bluesy pop and unique female voices (like my friend Cale, who has this weird love of unique-sounding female singers. It's Cale's birthday today. Happy Birthday Cale! For your birthday, you can listen to my copy of Adele's cd.)
I used a mix of 4 different apples: (from left to right) golden delicious, granny smith, braeburn and fuji.
I used 6 golden delicious and 3 each of the other apples. I ended up with way too many apples. Next time I'd probably cut back to about 10 apples total.
I sliced the granny smith into thinner, smaller slices than the rest of the apples. They're crunchier than the other apples so if you make them the same size as the other apple slices you end up with crunchy apples in your pie.
Lemon zest is what makes this pie amazing. It adds an element of freshness to the pie. This is the zest of 2 lemons.
Add 2 cups sugar, 4 tablespoons flour, 2 teaspoons cinnamon, 1/4 teaspoon cloves, 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg and 1/4 teaspoon salt.
Mix it until the juice from the apples makes the dry bits stick to the apple bits.
Pile it into 2 unbaked pie crusts. Are you wondering why I go to all the trouble of making homemade pie filling but still use store bought pastry? Shortening freaks me out. It's gross and unnatural. Also? I'm lazy. Don't judge me.
For the topping, mix together 1/2 cup melted butter, 1 cup flour, 1/2 cup sugar, 1/4 tsp salt and 1 cup shredded cheese (use the smallest size grater you have.)
Mix it together until it looks like this.
Pile on top of the apples, making sure no apples are exposed.
Bake in a preheated 400degree oven for 40 minutes. I always bake the pies on a baking sheet to catch the juice that inevitably spills over the edge. The top looks a bit burnt in this picture but it tastes best that way.
Serve with a scoop of ice cream or, if you're pretending to be on a diet like I am, frozen yogurt.
Tuesday, 29 April 2008
Monday, 28 April 2008
- Westy's team lost, meaning they're out of the running to play in the RBC Cup in Ontario.
- S bought a suit (1 more thing we can cross off the wedding to do list!)
- I did absolutely no studying for my final (oh and I haven't finished the coursework yet either. And the final is on Saturday.)
- S decided that no, he doesn't want to go somewhere tropical for his 30th birthday. He's reverted back to his crazy Alaska idea.
Friday, 25 April 2008
Tuesday, 22 April 2008
We decided early on that there were some things worth spending money on (bitchin' venue! cupcakes!) and others that weren't so important (um, flowers? decorations?) We decided to try to save money on the not-so-important things by doing them ourselves. Fast forward to last night where S and I are hunched over the coffee table, trying to assemble our invitations using sticky dots that are the approximate size of an atom. We bought a wedding invitation kit, thinking that homemade invitations are twee. Unfortunately, homemade invitations that are made in our home? Look like crap. And are frustrating and time-consuming to make. Fortunately, we figured out early on that the problem was the infernal sticky dots and the situation improved greatly when we got rid of them.
Wedding Crafting Lesson #1: double-sided tape is your friend
So we picked up some double-sided tape and our invitation output increased. Things were moving along at an impressive rate until S dropped a french fry on a finished invitation. At which point I channeled Monica Geller and lost my shit. It wasn't pretty. I'm not proud.
Wedding Crafting Lesson #2: no food in or around the crafting area
In the middle of my lecture on Responsible Fast Food Consumption, I realized how crazy I sounded and we had a good laugh. And quit making wedding invitations.
Wedding Crafting Lesson #3: wedding crafting sucks
Hopefully tonight we have more luck. We didn't do save the date cards (because we are bad wedding planners. And, um, lazy) so we really need to get the invitations out soon. I keep having a dream where I forget to send the invitations out and no-one shows up at the wedding. I'm hoping that when we actually mail the invitations I will stop being a crazy. Or at least stop having crazy dreams.
Sunday, 20 April 2008
Hey, we just removed her ovaries and her thumbs - if she wants to hang out in our dirty clothes, it's fine by me.
Saturday, 19 April 2008
Stella started off the night in our bed last night. She usually sleeps in a crate beside the bed but sometimes (when we're feeling especially shmoopy) we let her sleep on the bed. Last night she was so upset from her surgery, and so uncomfortable with the big cone on, we decided she could sleep with us. At 2am I woke up to the cone poking me in the face. My sleep addled brain registered that Stella needed something so I made myself get up. I am So Happy that I did - as soon as we left the bedroom (carpeted) and got into the living room (hardwood floor) she let loose with the nastiest, most liquid puppy poop I have ever seen. She's very good about not pooping in the house so she was upset that she couldn't control herself (I think she was upset - she took evasive action when I tried to pick her up and place her on a puppy training pad.) I spent fifteen minute following my poor, sick puppy around the condo, wiping up splashes of puppy poop (have I said the word 'poop' enough? Really? You don't want to hear about my puppy's excrement?) And then I ran out of paper towel. And then I cried. I cried about 30 times yesterday. I cried (at work) when I googled 'dew claw removal' (I honestly thought that they'd just pull the claw out, but no, they CUT THE TOE OFF. With SCISSORS.) Then Turtle grounded me from Google (thanks Turtle!) I cried when I came home and saw my pathetic, bandaged, coned puppy lying on the couch. She was still drugged when we picked her up and it was so disturbing to see her acting so differently. Thankfully my little monster is back today (I know this from the bite on the nose I got when I leaned in for a good morning kiss.)
Thursday, 17 April 2008
Last night I went to the music store to pick up the new Kooks album. They didn't have the 2-disc limited edition in stock though, so I asked the cashier if he could tell me what was different from the 1-disc regular edition. He looked at me like I was the stupidest person he'd even encountered and said (voice dripping with adolescent attitude,) "there's 2 discs." Um, yes, thank you. What I meant was, does the second disc feature live music? acoustic versions of their songs? the Kooks doing covers of other artists' songs? I was curious because I felt like I should buy the 1-disc version because I had specifically driven to the music store to pick it up and by not buying it I would be wasting time / gas / effort. I wanted to know if the 2-disc edition was worth me going to another music store. Anyway, I didn't engage the cashier in any nastiness (though I had a few choice names I wanted to call him,) I just went home and ordered the 2-disc version online.
I did pick up Adele's album last night. She is my new girlfriend. If you don't have this album, go buy it now. You will thank me later.
I just handed in my last paper for the soul-sucking English course. I've still got some coursework left to do and a final to write in 3 weeks, but I feel like a huge weight has been lifted off my shoulders.
Today at work, the lights in our elevator call-buttons were replaced. The old ones weren't burnt out, they were just "too orange." I'm not kidding - that's what the technician said. I asked if perhaps the priority should be fixing the elevator that stops 6 inches below floor level and I got glared at. Seriously though, I have never once thought that the elevator call-button wasn't red enough. I have, however, tripped out of the elevator on multiple occasions because I wasn't expecting a 6-inch step. Everyone in the building avoids that elevator because we're convinced that one day it will free-fall to the basement and kill whoever is riding in it.
This week we had a really positive puppy class. It helped that instead of doing the boring sit-stay-come stuff we were doing tricks. I've found my puppy's calling - Stella wants to be a performer. She's such a ham. We had so much fun teaching her to give high-fives and play dead and roll over. At the end of class, the teacher let the dogs run around off leash and Stella didn't try to eat the maltese once. Progress, my friends, progress.
In other Stella news, she's getting her lady bits removed tomorrow. I'm a bit concerned (this probably has something to do with the waiver they make you sign that says if your dog dies they're not at fault) but I'm trying to not freak out. I'm not worried about the actual surgery because I trust Stella's vet; I'm just worried that she'll think we've abandoned her. She doesn't need to stay overnight though, so I'm sure she'll be fine.
Monday, 14 April 2008
Proof that my puppy isn't always a monster:
These past 3 months with Stella have really made me realize how ill-equipped I am to have babies. Not that we were thinking of having babies anytime soon, it's just that I thought that if a baby were to come along we'd be able to handle it. Now? Now I know that if a baby were to come along we would lose our minds.
Friday, 11 April 2008
1. What prompted you to start blogging?
I read a lot of blogs. For a long time I was a lurker. Then I started commenting. Finally I just felt a bit creepy, following this community but not contributing to it. So I started my own blog. I got engaged, turned 25 and bought a condo all within a few short months and I decided that it was the perfect time to start documenting it all. I've never been good at keeping a journal - I wanted to see if I could stick with a blog.
Tiny E's reason she started blogging is much more interesting that mine.
2. Have you ever been the victim of a crime?
My debit card information was stolen by one of those sketchy stand-alone atm's that you can find in bars. My chequeing account was drained but luckily I got all my money back. My boyfriend at the time worked for my bank and he got some higher-ups to expedite the process. Now I'm a freak about only using actual bank atm's.
3. Have you ever witnessed someone else being the victim of a crime?
I don't think so.
4. What is your favorite color? Why?
I can't choose a favourite colour. I'm a big fan of dark blue and light green but I also love red and plum and ... I can't choose. Don't make me.
5. What talent or skill would you most like to have, that you feel you don't have?
I would love to be able to sing. I love music. I love singing. I do not love the evil looks I get when I sing. My singing has been likened to cats dying. I wish I was joking.
6. If you could go back and do one thing over in your life, what would it be? Would you make a change, or do everything exactly the same?
I would go back to the year I graduated highschool and (try to) slap some sense into my 17-year old self. I would go to university straight from highschool instead of being all "I want to travel. I want to work. I want a taste of the real world." I travelled. I work. Doing university by correspondence while holding down a full-time job sucks.
7. What do you consider your most attractive asset? (Hair, legs, smile, etc.)
I'm going to go with my smile.
8. When do you feel the most vulnerable?
When I'm tired. I am tired a lot because I'm a crappy sleeper. It makes my brain slow and I feel like I can't function. It's not a happy feeling.
9. If you were a rap star, what would your stage name be?
I've been stuck on this question for about 10 minutes now. I'm going to have to say that I don't know. There's too much pressure. Suggestions welcome.
10. What is your favorite curse word?
My current favourite is 'asscock' (a noun best used in conjugtion with extreme road rage. Must include fist shaking.)
Use it in a sentence and tag five other bloggers you'd like to answer the same questions:
Hey Over-Thinker, Life in the Left Lane, Barefoot in the Country, Sharon's Space and Wanderings, don't be asscocks. Do this meme. Love Hillary
I went to the post office expecting the worst.
And came away with a large box from GM Canada.
About a month ago, I bought a new car. (I say that offhandedly, like it's not huge news, but it kind of is. It's my first! brand new! all to myself! car and I love it.) Anyway, Blue Steel, as I call her (S's car is called Magnum and if you don't get the reference maybe you should go watch Zoolander and report back to me,) came with a damaged brake light. Someone had used a knife (or other sharp object) to get the packing tape off. Which is funny because the whole point of wrapping packing materials around the lights is so they don't get damaged, right? Anyway, Blue Steel deserves better than that so the dealership agreed to fix it. I thought maybe the box from GM Canada was the new headlight (though why they would send the part to me and not the dealership is beyond me.)
Instead, when I opened the box, I found an ipod nano and a JBL ipod docking system. I was giddy. I'm a big fan of free stuff but unexpected free stuff is even better. I love Blue Steel all on her own but Blue Steel + unexpected free stuff = I heart GM Canada (until, of course, my payment comes out of my account. Then I'll be back to hating them.)
I debated giving S the ipod for his birthday next month (I already have, um, 2 ipods. Don't judge me - I have an ipod shuffle because they don't have a harddrive which means that I can run with it without it freezing up.) This idea was cut short when he walked in and saw the box of free stuff. It turns out this was beneficial to me; when he took the ipod out of its packaging, I saw that it has the Saturn Astra symbol etched on the back. How awkward would that have been if I'd given it to him as a birthday present? "Here honey. Happy birthday. Why does your birthday present have my car symbol permanently etched into it? Um, well, I wanted you to always remember the kind of car I drive. It's not a car symbol. It's a symbol of love." S is in love with his new ipod. It's funny - he's never been particularly interested in my ipods (heh heh, that sounds dirty.) It's one of those things that he didn't realize he wanted until he got it. Now he won't put it down. He brought it to bed last night. I'm not sure how I feel about this. It's cute, right? But also a little creepy.
Thursday, 10 April 2008
Tuesday, 8 April 2008
I do not love puppy school.
At first I was excited. I thought that Stella would thrive in an environment with other puppies. I thought that she would become more stable and possibly more sedate. Puppy school has not been a positive experience. Stella spends the hour ignoring the instructor, tuning S and me out and straining at her leash to get to the other puppies. We give her a command and she stares at us, eyes full of comprehension and a touch of belligerence. I wave a treat over her nose and tell her to sit. She sighs and sits slowly. I tell her to lie down and she scowls at me, thinking 'F you, F you, F you' in her mind (I'm projecting - this is what I'm thinking when my boss tells me to do something inane. Not that I think I'm Stella's boss; I am quite clear on our relationship and my role in it. If anyone deserves the title of boss in our house, it's definitely Stella.)
Puppy school is frustrating. Stella isn't having fun. S and I are uncomfortable with the instructor's obvious dislike of our puppy and the unspoken judgements of the other puppies' owners. Our puppy is sweet and spirited and comical. She will not win any awards for being best-behaved but if they were handing out awards for most-energetic she would win in a heartbeat. Her energy is what's holding her back in her training (in my humble opinion.) That and her limited attention span. Just watching Stella think is exhausting. My puppy's thought process is a little like this:
Oh! My ball! Do you want to pet me? How about now? Oh! My bone! Hey, did someone fill my food dish when I wasn't looking? *licks bottom of empty food dish* Oh! My ball! Do you want to pet me now? Now? How about now? What's that noise? Oh! My ball!
It's non-stop from 7am until she collapses into a pile of mushy puppy love fifteen hours later.
My puppy is sweet and rebellious and I wouldn't change a thing about her. That's a lie. I would make her stop jumping if I could. It's not so much the jumping up on people I mind (though it is getting old) it's her ongoing attempt to jump up on the kitchen counter. I don't know what she's planning to do if she ever makes it up there but it's scares me (the flooring on one side of the counter is ceramic tiles and on the other side it's hardwood floor - neither provide a soft landing surface for when she wants to jump off the counter.)
Tonight we head to our fourth puppy class. The halfway mark. Give me strength.
Thursday, 3 April 2008
It's become more difficult to walk Stella now that Spring has arrived. Everywhere we go there are daffodils and pansies taunting her. We cannot walk down the street without her lunging towards the flowerbeds lining the sidewalks. She is especially fond of dandelions (no champagne taste here, thankyouverymuch.) I'm not complaining - I am so happy that winter is finally over and it's actually pretty humorous watching my crazy pup try to annihilate her nemesis Mother Nature.
Wednesday, 2 April 2008
When I lived in England, I worked as a barmaid in a pub. I lived in small village and there were some days that I'd have no lunch customers. The only patron would be Barnie - an old man who lived up the hill behind the pub. Barnie would come in with Tara, his greyhound, and sit up at the counter. He was a fan of the ale, but on the rare occasion he didn't like any of the 3 we had on tap he would ask for Guinness. If we had pork scratchings he'd buy a pack and split it with Tara. If we didn't, he would ask for crisps and eat them himself (Tara didn't love crisps the way she loved those pork scratchings.) (PS: pork scratchings = grossest snack food EVER.)
Barnie would tell me stories about the Second World War. He was stationed in Venice and fell in love with a Venetian woman. When he was sent back to England he had to leave her behind because she had elderly parents that she had to care for. He ended up marring a British woman but still pined after his "Venetian girlfriend."
Barnie was lonely, his wife having passed away years before I met him. Tara was his only company when he wasn't down in the pub. I started going to his house on Sundays to clean, but every week I'd end up with a cup of tea in my hand instead of a vacuum. He'd talk about his kids and grandkids (who lived close enough to visit but rarely did), his sweet wife (who died suddenly from a brain aneurysm - something he never got over) and life in general. Barnie had an opinion on anything and everything and wasn't afraid to share it. Tact isn't something he concerned himself with.
I went back to England last May. Barnie had just put Tara down after the vet discovered the reason she wasn't jumping and playing like she used to; she had cancer in her bones and was in excruciating pain. Barnie looked haggard. He'd always looked old but this time he looked defeated. The last time I saw Barnie he told me to hurry back because he didn't think he'd last much longer.
In December, Barnie had a fall and ended up in the hospital for a month. His heart was bad, his legs weren't working properly, his body was slowly deteriorating. Yet he soldiered on. In January he was out of the hospital and back home. A friend who used to live in the same village visited Barnie last week and reported back to me that Barnie's had another fall. J is trying to convince Barnie to go into a care facility but Barnie is resisting. He wants to stay in his home. J asked me to call Barnie this weekend and convince him that going into a care facility is the best option. I think that if I pressed him, he would listen. I feel conflicted though. On one hand, I really believe that Barnie should be in a place where he can be monitored. On the other hand, if it's his wish to stay in his home, who am I to tell him otherwise? He doesn't have much time left. Shouldn't he spend it where and how he wants to? The whole situation makes me sad. I wish that Barnie's family was taking a more active stance in his care. I wish that Barnie had someone nearby who could check up on him more frequently. I wish that I didn't have to try to change his mind. I really wish that it wasn't going to be another year before I can make it back to England.
Tuesday, 1 April 2008
Also last week, I wrote about Westy's team being up 2-0 in their playoff series. I didn't want to make any predictions, lest I jinx it again. I'm happy to report that they pulled off a 4-0 sweep of Westside and have moved onto the finals. Games 1 & 2 will be played on Friday and Saturday in Penticton. I'm being a bad sister and not driving up to watch - the soul-sucking English course is kind of kicking my ass right now and I need to complete it. I write the exam in a month and then I can forget it ever existed.
We're coming up on the 4-month mark in the countdown to the wedding. I am less stressy this month than last month. Last month I was suffering from a touch of Crazy. We haven't accomplished much in the last month but I'm surprisingly okay with it. I'm not sure if it's me being zen or me being in denial. Either way I'm happy to not be hyperventilating about the wedding (anymore.)
I was having a lot of angst over our wedding favours. I like the idea of giving each guest a token of our appreciation. I don't like the idea of buying a bunch of crap in bulk and having 100 coasters (or keychains or candles, etc.) left over at the end of the night. I wanted the tokens to be something consumable but with more thought involved than chocolates (not that there's anything wrong with chocolates - I just wanted the favours to be homemade and there's no way I'd be able to make chocolates. Also, the wedding is in August and I'm pretty sure if we had chocolate favours they'd melt.) So after much deliberation with Turtle (who has been beyond patient with me through this wedding planning process - lady, you rock!) I decided on jam. We're going to make small pots of jam for each guest to take home. I love this idea for a couple of reasons. First of all, Turtle and Bow have both already volunteered their jam-making skills. Secondly, we can make the jam well in advance and keep it in my mom's pantry (this is assuming I can get myself organized.) Thirdly, we can make cheesy labels that say "Thanks for Jamming with us!" (S is a musician and a lot of his friends are musicians so a portion of the reception will be all the musicians jamming on stage.)
So does anyone have any fabulous jam recipes they'd like to share? I've been searching online but haven't found anything that really jumped out at me. Most of the recipes I've found have flavoured gelatin in them (I'm assuming they mean Jello.) I'd prefer recipes that are just fruit, sugar and pectin (and I think lemon juice is a key jam ingredient but I'm not sure.) I've only ever made freezer jam before; this is my first foray into the canning world. I really hope I don't give all the guests botulism.