Friday, March 31, 2006

Simple Food

Recently I was reading through the profile of the Food & Thoughts blogger, just kind of skimming the info but when she listed a couple of her favourite cookbooks and food related books, I sat up and paid attention. (Those of you who know me will know that I'm a big reader and I like to cook, so when you mix the two together ... only good things can happen!) Anyway, one of her links brought me to a book called Women Who Eat. I've now read the editor's notes and some reviews (thanks to Chapters.Indigo and Amazon - fyi - now it's on my wish list). Somewhere along the way I read "Rose's account of how fiercely she missed the most pedestrian American foods when doing a Peace Corps stint in Gabon offers both Mom's Egg Casserole and Terez's African Egg Casserole" - and I totally knew what she was talking about. I had had that kind of experience - fiercely missing the simplest foods. Suddenly I was back in Club Med. More specifically, in Paradise Island (which unfortunately I can't link to, think the village has been closed).

From August/September 1997 to November 1998, I was GO in Paradise Island. I actually worked as a GO from 1995 to 1999, but that's a story for another time. Today I'm talking about food. So ... where was I? Right, Paradise Island, working with Jill in the Bank. We'd sit there in our cell (aka The Bank), peer out at everyone passing by, listen to music and talk. Despite having incredible buffets at our disposal three times a day, seven days a week, we often talked about what foods we would eat when we went home for vacation. We didn't just talk about the foods we missed. We would make up whole menus of what we would eat for breakfast, lunch and dinner. My favourite lunch foods to fantasize about were a grilled cheese sandwich (yes, with orange processed sliced cheese) and a bowl of Campbell's tomato soup, with homemade chocolate chip cookies for dessert and a tall glass of chocolate milk. Mmmm ... good, eh?!

It sounds a little crazy, but you have to understand that as great as the food was in Club Med, it just wasn't the same as sitting down to a homemade meal. Sure I could have a freshly made omelet for breakfast made with exactly the ingredients I wanted, or fresh fish at lunch with a selection of fresh breads and French cheeses, or a variety of themed dinners (Mexican, French, Italian, Asian, Caribbean) any other night of the week. No need to worry about shopping for the groceries, doing the cooking or worrying about the clean up. It sounds great, doesn't it? It was. At first. For me the novelty wore off after a couple of months with this kind of eating and by the end of my 3 years in the villages, all I could stomach was yogurt and fruit. No matter how bad I wanted a plain ol' grilled cheese sandwich, that was just one of those things that wasn't on the menu. I could have a quesadilla - no problem - but it's just not the same, you know what I mean?

Now that I've been back in the real world for quite a few years, I have of course had plenty of opportunity to make that lunch. And you know what - it's still my favourite lunch, especially on a Saturday. I don't know why Saturday should make a difference but it does.

All that to say that it's funny how one little sentence can bring back a whole slew of memories and also remind you that sometimes it really is the simplest thing, in this case, food, that makes you happiest.

If I had any processed sliced cheese at home, can you guess what I'd be having for dinner tonight?

Thursday, March 30, 2006

She didn't want to be a wife

Probably closer to the truth than I'd care to admit. (Well, not really, but some days totally.)

Thanks to gapingvoid.

Public Service Announcement

If you're looking for a photo/frame shop with good customer service, Astral Photo is not the one to go to.

In January I bought three large (16x20) frames from Astral. I hung them up and admired the pictures I put in them. I was quite happy until about a week ago when I returned home after a day at work to find two of the frames in pieces on the floor. I don't know what happened. The nails and hooks are still in the wall. I'm going to guess that the top frame came apart, dropped onto the lower frame and then that one fell apart when it hit the floor.

After searching through my bills I managed to find the receipt and a customer service phone number. According to the receipt I had a 15 day period to return or exchange my items. As it is now March, that period has expired. But I called this customer service center anyway to explain the situation and was basically told that it's too bad for me, that I could go back to the store and show them and possibly they might exchange the frames, and finally - "good luck".

But before I do bring the frames in to the shop, I am going to take a picture of the wall with the hooks and nails still in and bring that in with the frames. Then we'll see what they say. It better be more than "sorry, too bad" and "good luck".

Update to follow.

Monday, March 20, 2006

Don't make these

Last Thursday night I used a new recipe for blueberry muffins. The plan was to take a yummy breakfast with me to the ski weekend for Sunday morning. I didn't have all the ingredients for the nice ones I made a little while ago, but I did have everything for a different recipe.

These ones are fine, but nothing special. I wouldn't make them again. Use the Kellogg's recipe.

Back from the Spa

So. Friggin'. Awesome.

When can I go back???

Friday, March 17, 2006

Off to the Spa

Getting ready to leave for the Spa!!! We'll be off early tomorrow for a day in the baths, followed by a body wrap and thermomassage. Topped off by a cocktail party, dinner and free night stay at Chateau Bromont.

Going to be sweet!

How long will it take me to notice?

This morning I just noticed that I bought 1% milk instead of my usual skim milk. Today is Friday. I bought the milk on Sunday.

Yes, it took me 5 full days to notice I bought the wrong kind of milk. Apparently not so hard to pull the wool over my eyes, as the saying goes.

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Tags on Clothing

I have a question. Well actually, a couple of questions.

1) What kind of fabric do clothing manufacturers use to make the tags they put in clothing?

2) Why do they use the most irritating, hard, crunchy and scratchy fabric that feels like hard plastic digging into me?

3) Why do they make these stupid tags so big?

4) Why do they sew these mean ol' tags in so well that it takes some serious and careful cutting to get the tag out, but sew buttons on with two stitches so that the buttons fall off after a single wear?

If you could see the marks these horrible tags have made on me throughout the years ... This afternoon I just cut the tag off another bra because it felt like there was the hard side of velcro digging into my back. And by the way, the turtleneck I'm wearing has a hole in the side of it (which means I have to keep my blazer on) because the tag was practically 3 inches long (well, 6" because it was folded in 2) and had actually scratched me hard enough to draw blood that I cut it off in a fit of rage and ended up cutting too close to the seam so the seam has come undone now and I have an air-conditioned top when it's -12C with the windchill out and I didn't put an undershirt on today because I didn't realise it would be so cold.

Is this day over yet?

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Monday, March 13, 2006

National Women's Show

Had a fun day in Ottawa on Saturday at the National Women's Show. My friend Sherry and I spent the day there and also did a little shopping afterwards. It was a good way to spend a random end of winter Saturday.

At the Show we got to see Steven & Chris, of Designer Guys and So Chic with Steven & Chris fame and I was able to snap a couple of pictures. They'll be up on my flickr page soon.

Update: pictures are up here now.

Thursday, March 09, 2006

Women of Distinction (A Belated International Women's Day Entry)

Last night I attended a little 5 à 7 at the Women's Y Foundation with my Mom. She has been nominated as a Woman of Distinction for her community service work at the Salvation Army's L'Abri d'espoir. The evening was for all the finalists to get together, have their pictures taken, be presented to all the other finalists and of course enjoy a bit of food and drink.

It was very interesting to hear about each woman and the area that they are active in. There are a number of different categories and in each of them, the women, I would say, are ahead of their time. It was fascinating to hear how many of these women are pioneers in their field.

The 13th Annual Women of Distinction Gala evening will take place on May 16th. Mom says she doesn't care if she wins, it's just kinda fun to be there.

Congratulations, Mom and good luck on the night!

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Muppet Personality Test

Here's a little non-alcoholic pick-me-up to help you get through Hump Day.

Who will be the first to say "I knew it!"?

You Are Scooter

Brainy and knowledgable, you are the perfect sidekick.
You're always willing to lend a helping hand.
In any big event or party, you're the one who keeps things going.
"15 seconds to showtime!"

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

More Tips for Guys (continued)

If you are married, DO NOT, UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES, contact me.

That means, no winks, no smiles, no woo-hoos, NOTHING.

Eventually the shit will hit the fan and it'll all come out - YOU'RE AN ASSHOLE!!!

Monday, March 06, 2006

Sleep Update

Since getting my oral appliance back nearly three weeks ago, I've had some difficulty sleeping a full night with it. I've been doing what I can, but quite often found myself at 4 or 5 in the morning, just taking it out. Last week was a full two weeks since I got it back so I decided to try my second night in a row, even though I hadn't slept a full night with it on Tuesday.

Maybe I was really tired, I don't know, but I slept straight through the night. Seven good hours. What a difference. That was Tuesday and Wednesday of last week. I took Thursday off, then slept with it in on Friday and Saturday. Another two full nights of good sleep. Last night I had off and this morning I had a terrible time getting out of bed! It was a bad night. I'm looking forward to the next two nights of good sleep. And I think by Friday I will try to move it up to 3 nights in a row.

Friday, March 03, 2006

Library Book

Stopped at the library last night on my way home from work. Returned one book, picked up another, you know, the usual deal. Made it over to the bus stop, caught the bus and went home. A few hours later (after some Pilates and dinner) I sat down in my reading chair all ready to get comfy and cozy for an hour or so with my new book. In less than 10 minutes though, I had to put the book down. It seems the previous person had a cat. And this cat left behind enough of whatever it is that makes me allergic to them that my left eye started itching. I didn't realise at first what was going on, so I rubbed and scratched a little. Then when I couldn't see anymore I decided to have a look in the mirror. My eye was completely bloodshot and all swollen and gross.

Ended up taking the book, throwing it a plastic bag and placing it by the front door (as far away from me as possible). Then vacuumed around my chair, on the chair and on the bookcase. Then washed my hands in very hot water and bathed my eye in cool water. Spent the next 30 minutes with a cool damp cloth over my eye. The rest of the evening passed without mishap. The swelling had gone down this morning, but my eye is still just a little red. It's been a long time since I've reacted like that. Maybe the previous reader of this book had more than one cat. Oh well. Looks like I won't be reading that book and I will be making another trip to the library this weekend.

Thursday, March 02, 2006

"Meh"

Last night my favourite celebrity chef show was on (plays on the CTV Travel Channel, Wednesdays at 9pm). It's called No Reservations and the chef is Anthony Bourdain.

This week's episode took Tony to New Zealand. Us viewers got to see his speech bomb in front of a crowd of foodies in Christchurch, then kill a wild boar (he didn't actually do the killing), drive an ATV along the beach and practically kill himself in the process (it literally rolled over him twice!), enjoy a bbq with all kinds of fresh seafood (I was salivating) and then was welcomed in a traditional Maori ceremony.

It was all beautiful, and in Tony's special way, he smoked, drank and cursed his way through the whole thing. I love him - mostly because he is so real. He's an ass, sometimes obnoxious but always honest.

The best though, was when he was on some billion year-old glacier and the guide was explaining about the snow, ice and flows, etc. He looked at the camera, shrugged his shoulders and said "Meh". "Meh" expressing his utter boredom and disdain for what was being explained. He just wanted some food and drink. Also, the "meh" is an expression or sound that I use often myself, so it was brilliant to hear someone completely out of my circle use it to perfection.

Keep on keepin' on, Tony. You rock.

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Simple Things

Being able to leave shoes at work so that when I arrive at work and put on my shoes, I can put on warm shoes (not shoes that are frozen solid and emanate cold for hours). It makes a big difference.

More Tips for Guys (continued)

If you wish to have some success in the cyber dating world here is a rule that should be followed, if you follow no other rule, at least follow this one.

"Use the 14-day over-and-out rule" on email correspondence. If a man hasn't been willing to meet me or set a date to meet after 14 days, he will be deleted from my list. He's either married, living with someone, deeply in debt, or the Hunchback of Notre Dame. Ignoring this rule leads to mistakes, heartache, and time lost (and who has time to lose, certainly not me).

So, for those 5 or 6 guys out there that stopped emailing me for 2 weeks/a month and then decided to get back to me, the above rule is why I have not responded to you. This also applies to the guys who have been shilly-shallying with the email thing, not providing their name, local phone number, picture, etc., after 2 weeks of this kind of nonsense I deleted you from my list.