Thursday, August 31, 2006

Tasty Treats and Things That Suck

And boy, if that doesn't get me more than one or two new readers, nothing can! Down to Business:

I’ve never been Wonder Woman – ok, except to that one guy, and yeah I do own a lasso that’ll make you tell the truth, but other than those two things no – so it should come as no surprise to anyone that there are aspects of running a small business that I suck at.

(That was grammatically awkward – the small business doesn’t suck, there are just some bits of it that I’m not so good at).

Todays suckiness is pricing. There are some basic formulas for working out what to charge for something based on the cost of ingredients. That’s what makes Tiramisu expensive – mascarpone costs more than three times what you pay for cream cheese. But it is a whole different story when you have something whose base cost is low, but whose PIA factor is high (PIA -or as A. says PITA - is for “pain in the ass”).

I have got the whole Grissini thing worked out. Grissini are thin crispy Italian breadsticks that are so yummy that every kitchen should keep a jar of them handy for snacking on. The problem is that while the basic cost is low, they are very fiddly to make, and it took a lot of experimenting to get them just right. Not to mention that you can’t get them fresh anywhere in Regina, so perhaps rarity should figure into the pricing. Probably can’t get them fresh – or this delicious! - in Saskatoon, either. At the Italian Star boxed and shipped from Italy, yes, but fresh, no.

So how on earth am I going to work this one out, to see if it is worth making them commercially? On the hand opposite the high PITA hand (which is itself opposite the low cost hand) there is the fact that they bake quickly, and I can do three trays at a time, with 20 or so per tray. Maybe even more, if I worked on it. I hate this stuff: I just want to cook!

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Pardon me?

You know, I made something of an effort today to look passibly nice - meetings this afternoon, and I thought it wouldn't be appropriate to arrive wearing a t-shirt and fluffy socks.
Which is what I wanted to do.

Anyway...I wore something that matched (I'm not TOTALLY non-girly, I can sometimes figure stuff out), and did the hair combing teeth brushing thing we all do - well, almost all - and I even managed to find shoes that suited the skirt. Anyway, here is the one remark I've had:

“That’s a very pretty outfit. You’re not really that bad looking you know”. I mean, ok, she truly thought she was giving me a compliment, so I didn’t mind, but still!

Friday, August 18, 2006

The best conclusion ever.

OK, so here is this story off the BBC - great story, until the last line. Laughed myself off my chair when I read that. I'm guessing they put it in to highlight the evil designs of dark chocolate. Milk chocolate must be less evil. I've been conned; I always thought the darker the chocolate the better it was.

US man survives chocolate ordeal

The vat was full of dark chocolateA 21-year-old US man ended up in hospital after spending two hours trapped in a vat of chocolate, police in Wisconsin said on Friday.
The man said he had climbed into the tank before becoming trapped waist-deep in chocolate, police chief Randy Berner told AP news agency.
However, other reports suggest he was stirring the chocolate when he fell in.
Rescue workers and staff at the Debelis Corporation used cocoa-butter to thin out the chocolate and pull him free.
"It was pretty thick. It was virtually like quicksand," Captain Berner said.
"It's the first time I've ever heard of anything like this," he added.
The worker said his ankles were sore after the incident, and he was taken to a local hospital where he is recovering.
The accident involved dark chocolate.

What will it take for something to go according to plan?

I would be interested to have, at some point in time, an event go exactly according to plan. I had to go to the dentist this morning to get, I thought, permanent fillings on two teeth that had each had a root canal and temporary filling.

First off, it turns out that one root canal was only a PARTIAL. Why? Why did I get all frozen and stuff and not get the whole thing done? What it means, however, is that they can't put a permanent filling in yet, and I'll have to go back and get the root canal finished. Apppointment is for October, so I have lots of time to think about how fun that will be.

They did do the permanent filling on one side, though. And all seemed to be going well, until I heard the following words (words no one should ever have to hear):
"I can't get the base down as it is. Give her some more freezing, and fire up the laser. I'm going to burn some flesh off of her gum line". So that's what they did - refroze, which hurt way more than the first needle did, and then, although I couldn't feel anything, I could still smell things. So I sat in the chair and tried to cope with the scent of my own flesh being torched. Not my most favourite Friday ever.

Not the worst, though, not the worst.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

The Lord giveth, and the Lord taketh away.

So on the one hand, here is the totally cool thing that happened:

No wait, preface first: I had to have the front yard dug up last summer to get the sewer line replaced. Now sadly, the pipe replacing people didn’t slam the earth back to its pre-dug up shape, so I had a giant coffin thingy on my front yard. This year (as suggested by City Work 12774) I planted potatoes. They took an initial battering from the dogs before we moved the leashes to the back yard. A few of them took a hit from my son and his friends who apparently MUST take the most direct route to the front door, regardless of what stands in their way, and almost all of them got mauled when the tree that was eating my house came down. They lived, and I’ve been caring for them most tenderly ever since. There, that is the preface.

As A. and I were coming home on Saturday, we saw a sign in our neighbourhood that said “Free Sod – Take from Pile”. Well, divine intervention or what? I can’t afford sod, my yard was a sodding mess, so I did what any sane person would do: I pulled up all of the potatoes. Poor things, they tried so hard, and here I harvested a month or so too soon. But free sod! So I spent the rest of the day until games time moving sod from their house to mine. And then Sunday A. and I killed ourselves getting it down. I didn’t have a roller to make it look perfect (there are some things a Saturn can’t do, and bringing home a rental roller is one of them. I couldn’t bring myself to ask anyone with a truck for help. It just seemed wrong to ask people to get out of their Sunday-go-to-meeting clothes just to come over and help me with the whole sod moving, sod laying roller flattening extravaganza. But I did get a deal on the sod – bread for sod. I think I got the better deal, yes?

So that is the good thing. But here’s the other hand: I am loading the sod into a borrowed wheelbarrow, and it is hot and heavy work. The people whose sod it is are in their garage, relaxing after their own very hard sod laying (they did all of both yards, front and back), when their parents arrived. I am just putting the forth roll on the wheelbarrow when grandma says to me “My goodness, don’t you have a man to help you with that?”

Possible answers:
“Yep, I got me a man but he’s out back a’swillin beer, and I ain’t a gonna interrupt that”

“I done divorced the man I had, and I’se too pudgy for the one I wanted”.

“Man?? (sobbing) My man done up and died on me, and I’d just about gotten over it 'til now. I don’t think I kin go on livin”.

Unfortunately all I did was say "nope" in a very surprised voice. Old bat. Stupid old bat. RUDE stupid old bat.

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Mahalo for the gift, dad, and you're welcome boyo!

Your parents handed you all sorts of genetic mush as a free gift to get started in life. At least mine did, maybe yours held back.

One of the things that my dad has told me came from him is the ability to sleep anywhere, should I be sufficiently tired to want to. I’ve seen him fall asleep at loud family reunion things, so I’m guessing he certainly has the genes for it. I’m also willing to believe that I do too. For the most part, it is a great gift. My heart goes out to those of you with insomnia. It occasionally sucks, too: I slept through the entire opening act at a U2 concert, three rows from the front stage, a stage that had huge towering amounts of speakers. I only woke up when someone stepped on my head in an effort to get closer to the stage. My ex-husband was with me (boyfriend at the time, but I eventually married him) decided not to wake me up because he found it funny (perhaps I should have seen at this point that this relationship was a mistake). It sucked because I ended up being a fan of the opening act (The Waterboys) and I haven’t had a chance to see them again.

I discovered last week that I have passed that particular bit of DNA on to my son. One morning, at about ten (and yes, he went to bed at a fairly normal time, eleven, I think), I went into his room to get him up. (He hadn’t answered when I knocked). He was sound asleep. Not so odd, you say, for ten in the morning, considering he is a teenager? Well, consider these factors:

The window was wide open, so were the drapes, ergo room brilliantly lit.
City workers were doing stuff to our driveway, so, working mere feet from his open window were:
An earth tamping thing
An asphalt mixer
A weird grinding asphalt spewer*
A bulldozer
Half a dozen guys, with shovels, yelling

Next door, maybe ten feet away they were tearing up the neighbour’s sidewalk with this giant whirling rotating metal disc thingy that was making my brain convulse it was so loud.

All this the lad slept through – do I know how to pass on good DNA or what?

*Yes, that is the technical word for it. I swear.